A/N: I've never written a piece of fanfic before. YOIKES. So I'm super nervous. But that being said, I would so dearly love any and all comments! I'm most concerned about OOC moments. I'm still writing the rest of the story at this point, so I'll update whenever I can through the end, and I so appreciate anyone who takes the time to read it. I hope it is enjoyable!
If you're not into the OC/Romance storyline, please start at Ch. 9 for general casefic!
Drafts of the first three chapters originally posted at the LJ Community criminalxminds under working title "Two of A Kind". That was before I knew Suspect Behavior had used that title! I was prompted to write this one because I love the Reid slash, and the dark Reid stories, but I also believe he can fundamentally be happy!
"I'm Calla Oliver," the woman said, extending her right hand towards Hotchner for a shake. "I'm a detective here in the 1-9; I'm the one who called. I appreciate you all being here." Reid glanced around briefly as Hotch made the usual initial introductions to Detective Oliver. It was twilight in Manhattan, and the jet had landed late at Teeterboro Airport outside the city. He saw lights in office buildings, but the immediate area seemed mostly residential and fairly quiet; the foot traffic was lighter here than on some of the avenues. JJ was already on her phone, working intently on coordinating with the large amount of New York-area media centers. The discovery of the bodies had already broken, but the evening news had been scant on details and spent only about 45 seconds on the story. As Hotch pointed him out, Reid looked up, intending eye contact only brief enough to avoid rudeness. "Dr.Reid?" Oliver commented, an eyebrow lifting. "What do you have your doctorate. . .s in?"
He caught the hesitation and the plural, and found himself more than normally impressed with this particular iteration of Local Police Officer. While he was confident that he could control his reactions carefully when called upon to do so, he tended to be open in his general interactions with colleagues, and he must have had a facial reaction that tipped her off to the inevitable correction had she said "doctorate." And that was after she had correctly deduced that his degree wasn't in medicine. "Actually, Mathematics, Chemistry, and Engineering."
Her gaze sharpened, and the eyebrow climbed higher. "That is most impressive. I'd be curious - " she cut her sentence off, gleaning the impatience of the rest of the team. "But of course, now's not the time. Please follow me, everyone."
She led them through the large blue doors into a precinct briefing room. They filed past the mostly uninterested faces of New York's Finest, settling in hard navy chairs around the conference table. The room was mostly bare, and somewhat shabby. Reid began thinking about the pattern of colored pins on the map of the city pinned to a dingy standing corkboard, but found his attention turning to Oliver as she began to outline the factors leading her to call the BAU. These were familiar to the team, of course, but they listened politely to the recital anyway. Reid found himself unaccountably curious - what had she been going to say? A sliver of his attention settled around her shoulders, quietly theorizing about this serious, quiet officer with unusual eyes, long fingers, and an interest in his degrees, as she distributed crime scene photos and pointed to details the team had identified on the trip in, not anticipating that the NYPD would have caught them.
The crimes were ugly. The team had become hardened to gore and viciousness beyond anyone's wildest nightmares, but some circumstances could still rouse expressions of disgust - at least, from anyone besides Hotch and Rossi. As Oliver spoke, calmly, she pinned crime scene photos to the board, next to the map, bending sideways to straighten an errant edge. Her voice didn't quiver, and her face showed no particular expression.
Someone had been seeking out twins in Manhattan - in the case where the siblings had lived apart, presumably kidnapping the local one and using her to lure the other to town. Brothers or sisters were held captive for indeterminate periods of time - although the most recently murdered victims showed some signs of recent, drastic weight loss - the skinned bodies, wrapped in shredded garbage bags, were left in the dumpsters of the Public Library branch on 67th Street.
There had been three found in the past week, in different stages of decomp - MEs were having a hard time deciding how old the oldest pair of bodies was, but they appeared to be older than eight months. The most recent pair had been found the previous night, and had been dead no longer than a week.
The geography wasn't clear yet, certainly - on the curling map, the blue pins represented the residences of the male pair; the green, where three female twins had lived. One had lived in Ohio. Following the briefing, Morgan voiced an initial query - in a city known for having tiny living spaces, how could the UnSub retain the bodies in such a state for so long without being discovered? Reid thought it was reasonable to assume the UnSub lived in an outer borough, or suburb - or was rich enough to own an incredible amount of property - or potentially had access to storage at work. But these seemed like obvious answers, and he hesitated before providing them. The team looked at him expectantly, waiting for him to respond; he felt obligated to chime in after the noticeable pause.
"I'm not sure I have much to offer yet," he said apologetically, then proposed the various theories. Oliver, arms at her sides, looked quizzically between Reid and the others, clearly perceiving a minor tension. "Well, I know for damn sure he or she's not keeping them in my apartment," she said. The comment worked to break the tension, and she stayed to follow up with a few more details before leaving the team to their work.
Oliver knew the facts, and a good eye for details; she was able to describe to the team the way the bags had been shredded and knotted, and how the bodies had been placed in the dumpsters, rather than thrown, based on the pattern of the trash surrounding and beneath them. She was specific about when she was reasoning from evidence and it was clear at the end that her presentation commended her to the entire team.
As she left, Hotchner began laying the groundwork for a profile, and the team batted ideas back and forth. At the end of twenty minutes of discussion, the room broke apart to their respective destinations. They currently didn't have anything more than conjecture around the idea that the selection of twins and the skinning of the victims indicated an obsession with appearances - similarities or differences, it was unclear. If the UnSub wanted to stress that people are all the same underneath, why select twins in the first place? If the UnSub wanted to stress that you can't tell much from appearances, why remove the entire epidermis?
Because the geography initially offered few clues, Reid's first task was to focus on victimology, to see if he could uncover more than twinship. He therefore walked to Oliver's desk, which he could see through the glass pane on the briefing room door, and requested the highest-resolution versions of the crime scene photos. He also asked where he could obtain coffee.
As she led him back through the station, he found himself launching into unprovoked statistics. "While New York City generally has a similar concentration of adult twins to other urban areas, recently, there has been an increase in the rate of twin births since 2006. It's likely that this is just a statistically insignificant fluctuation that only appears meaningful because people don't really understand statistics, but it is possible that the UnSub has been seeing more twins, infants and toddlers, than previously - or, responding to media coverage, has been perceiving himself to be increasingly exposed to twins. There are a lot of popular misconceptions about twins giving rise to superstitious behavior, including. . ." he trailed off slightly, aware of Oliver's eyes looking directly into his own.
While he had comfort among his BAU teammates with his own discourses, he rarely launched into such an extended one when he was interacting with local law enforcement - and when he did, he had up until now been met with unvarying discomfort from the people he was speaking to. He expected some joke from her, or fumbling, an eagerness to distract him or to leave his company. He fleetingly wished he hadn't left the room alone.
There was a pause. The green eyes flecked with gold studied him calmly. When it became clear that Reid wasn't going to continue, she spoke. "So are you favoring more now the theory that the UnSub has a personal issue with twins, as opposed to using twins to express a societal message? Perhaps he was raised with a lot of superstitions and warnings?"
"It's possible," said Reid, steepling his fingers in front of his xyphoid process. He stopped, and waited.
Oliver hesitated a moment more before turning to the precinct's coffee setup and making an introductory gesture. She then excused herself to return to other duties, and Reid returned to the conference room, thinking primarily of the colors of those eyes and remembering almost nothing of what he'd just said. Rossi had returned from his phone calls, and was seated at the table, leafing through files.
"That lady has a great eye for detail," he commented, as Reid closed the door. "I think she'll prove to be a valuable asset."
"I agree," said Reid, as his gaze was drawn again to the figure in the blue uniform, bending down to pick up a phone from a desk.
"Did you know that, actually, Calla has not been a popular name since the end of the 19th century?" He didn't catch the slight lift of Rossi's eyebrow, or the tiny quirk of a smile as he continued on about American naming trends for the next two minutes.
For the rest of the long evening, Reid circulated between the map and the case files, eventually spreading photos and paperwork across the conference table. He wished the rest of the team good night, as they left singly or in pairs, somehow motivated to keep going by himself. When he left the room at 11pm, he found himself looking towards Oliver's desk as he crossed the room towards the precinct doors.
She was speaking to a middle-aged, heavyset woman with clearly hennaed hair, disheveled and wringing her hands. The woman must have been the mother of the latest victims. She appeared to suffer from arthritis. He paused to watch, as Oliver seated her gently in a chair near the desk. The detective seemed a different personality than the calm professional who had presented the case to them earlier.
Now, her face was mobile, expressive. Her body language was different; she touched the woman gently and often, patting her on the back, holding her hand.. And yet, both personae seemed genuine.
He reflected briefly that the same could be said about him - verbose, quick, and outwardly nonemotional in most cases. People who didn't know him well often thought him cold. But he felt things, deeply - and he knew himself to be capable of gentleness and compassion. He recalled the surge of emotion as he reassured Mary Newsome.
Oliver caught his eye as he resumed his pace and began to open the door, inclining her head briefly in farewell. Reid's features briefly lifted at the contact, and his step was lighter as he passed through the doors and down the steps to rest. He thought about the colored pins as he fell asleep. Particularly the green.