A/N: A oneshot that could very easily turn into something longer. This was an experiment with style and brevity. Review to let me know what you think.
Of the Night
- By Katemary77
The case was this: Three murders in central D.C. Necks snapped, black fabric bags over their heads. Cold, precise, meticulous killings. No evidence left at the scene, just dead bodies.
They aren't called in by the local PD; instead, it's the Justice Department who calls for the BAU. The man they meet with, John Gray, is an attorney from the Criminal Division, who says:
"I know who did this."
"Then why are we hear?" comes Morgan's response.
"Because I can't prove it. The evidence I've got doesn't cut it. I need you to bring me evidence that the Attorney General can't turn away."
"Evidence against whom?" Reid asks. He's not looking at the attorney; he's turning a pen in his fingers. This takes focus.
Prentiss chokes on her coffee. "I'm sorry, did you say Senator Williams? As in Senator Geoffrey Williams?"
"He's a bad man. The stuff I've got him on would make your hair curl."
"Then why do you need us?" Hotch asks.
"Because victims of human trafficking are not the kind of victims ready and willing to take the stand. Besides, Williams has his chain of command. If I go down that route I'm lucky to convict one of his lackeys. No, it's got to be a murder charge."
Gray reminds Reid of a dog with a bone. He gets the feeling that his pursuit of Senator Williams has consumed his whole life and he won't stop until the man is sitting in prison, or worse.
"So why is he killing these people? Do you think he's doing it himself?"
"Yeh. Williams wouldn't leave this up to chance. He's cleaning shop, he knows I'm on to him. These are the people he thinks might turn, might talk to me."
"Then we have to catch him fast," Hotch says.
Reid suspects his supervisor is remembering his glory days as a prosecutor. Maybe this makes him relate to the dogged attorney.
"This is what we're going to do..."
They get to work, running background checks, analysing the crime scenes, the mode of killing. They go over the evidence that Gray has collected with fresh eyes and begin to build a profile of the Senator.
On the second day, Gray jumps out of his seat when his phone buzzes.
He looks up at them.
"That's my informant. She wants to meet, she must have something."
"Who is she?" Hotch asks.
"A call girl. She's been the companion of Henry McGill for three years."
Henry McGill is the Senator's right hand man.
"How did you find her?" Morgan queries.
"I didn't. She found me. Once she realised what was going on, what she knew, she contacted me. She'll never testify in court, but the information she's given me has been invaluable."
"You realise you can't go to meet her," Morgan says. "You're being watched. If she were to be seen with you, she'd be the next body with a snapped neck."
"I know," Gray says, "Fuck."
"One of us will go," Hotch decides.
"One of you? If someone's watching her they'll know you for a Fed in an instant."
"Where do you usually meet her?"
"A diner near George Washington. She studies there."
"Send Reid," Prentiss says, "Reid will fit in there. Take off his gun and put him in jeans and a t-shirt, you'd never know he was a Federal agent."
Gray considers this.
"That might work. Okay. Okay, let's do this."
"Do you even own jeans and a t-shirt?" Morgan jokes.
"Somewhere in the back of my closet," Reid mumbles.
An hour later and it's all worked out. Gray is briefing Reid.
"Don't let her give you any shit. She likes to run circles around men."
Reid nods, gulps.
"How will I know who she is?"
"Oh, you'll know," Gray laughs. "She's difficult to miss."
"How will she know who I am?"
Gray smiles and Reid gets the feeling that he is quite fond of this woman.
"Calla says that you can always tell which man in a room is waiting for a woman like her."
"I don't know her real name. She goes by Calla Veilleuse."
Reid has a fact.
"Did you know Calla is Greek for 'beautiful'?"
He does know her when he sees her. Every man in the room knows her when he sees her. She looks like summer deified as she breezes into the room in short denim shorts, a relaxed white shirt buttoned low to expose the valley between her breasts and rolled up to her elbows, highlighting her deep, natural tan, and a pair of brown sandals. She removes her sunglasses, revealing soft green eyes that scan the room. She spots him and as she navigates through the diner towards him he notes her height – in heels she'd be almost as tall as him – and the graceful curves of her body.
She sits across from him and when she smiles Reid thinks that she is the most beautiful woman in the world and she's smiling at him. Her plump Cupid 's bow lips part as she says, "You were waiting for me?"
"Y-yes," he nods.
"I'm going to stand up and hug you like you're a friend that I haven't seen in a while. I think I'm being watched."
She stands, his eyes glance at her legs as they appear from underneath the table (long enough to wrap around you twice, he thinks) but then thinking isn't an option anymore because she's pressing her body against him, her mouth resting near his ear. Equations explode in his mind; numbers, symbols, variables scattering, drifting apart. Numbly, he puts his arms around her waist and they hold each other for a moment. When she pulls away she's smiling widely.
"It's nice to meet you..."
She sits, so does he.
"I'm not a medical doctor. I'm with the FBI."
She nods silently.
"I'm not what you expected, am I?"
Reid thinks about the prostitutes he's met before in his work and the hookers that line the streets of Vegas. Dirty, despondent, fake hair, fake breasts, fake tans. No, she's the last woman he expected to walk through the door.
A waitress approaches the table.
"What can I get you two?"
"I'll get a burger with fries and a caramel milkshake," she orders.
"Same for me."
She turns her eyes back to him, looks him over, as if she's studying him. Something stirs in his gut.
"You've never paid for sex, have you?"
"What? No –of course not. It's illegal."
"Never done anything illegal?"
He thinks about the needle, the rush, the feeling of floating.
She grins like the Cheshire cat.
"Thought so." She's silent for a moment. Her fingers fiddle with the napkin. "You think my profession is immoral?"
"The legal status of something doesn't necessarily equate to its morality," Reid says. "But I think women being forced to sell their bodies because of addiction or abuse or no other choice is wrong," he states. "But that's not what you are. You're not a victim."
"Good observation," she notes.
It's not really. He can't imagine this woman's body being polluted by drugs, can't imagine a man who would lay a hand on her and destroy her perfection; it would be like blasphemy.
"So what am I? A model loans her body to sell products, I use my body to sell experience. But I also sell my brain, which is more than I can say for a model."
"Your brain?" Reid asks. He knows he should get to the business of the meeting, but he can't help himself. She likes to run circles around men, Gray had warned. Reid wants to be at the epicentre.
She leans back in her seat, Reid draws a breath that takes a moment to exhale.
"The kind of men on my client list want a very specific type of service. Intelligence, charm, sophistication. They want a woman who can move in their circles who they don't have to send flowers to the next morning."
"And that's you?"
Their food arrives and he watches as she pushes back her blonde hair and takes a bite from her burger, licks sauce from her fingers.
"I imagine you cost more than a bouquet of flowers."
This time her smile is like a cat with a bowl of cream.
"Is that a polite way of asking how much I'm worth, Dr. Reid?"
He doesn't answer, hopes his face is impassive.
"Well, how much are you worth?"
It's curiosity only, he tells himself. He's never paid for sex and he never will, no matter if she is Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly, Sophia Loren.
Her eyebrows arch again.
Reid gulps and does some quick calculations in his head. Presumes she works perhaps twice a week, that means every month she makes...
"Wow." The exclamation comes out rough.
She grins around the milkshake straw.
"Don't tell me I don't value my body."
"You don't ever think that what you're do is wrong?" he wants to know, earnestly.
She shrugs and bites off half a chip. It leaves an oily residue on her lips.
"I like to think that my moral compass is a little more Darwinian that most people's. I think yours is, too."
His eyes widen and he wonders for a moment if she isn't the profiler and if perhaps she is right. Surely he wouldn't be quite so attracted to her if prostitution weren't firmly in the grey area.
She sets down her empty stainless steel glass and leans forward.
"Something's going on with Williams. Something big. Henry is worried."
"What else do you know?"
"From what he was saying last night... I think he wants out, Williams has done something to scare him. I overheard a conversation, the name 'Jamieson' was mentioned."
Jamieson, one of the murdered, found dead in his living room.
"Henry was on the phone for a while, he was talking about a meeting tonight."
"Do you know where?"
"East Potomac Park, near the golf course."
Surveillance, Reid thinks. They can watch and see what McGill is up to.
She sighs, looks down. It's the first time he's seen vulnerability in her, somehow she's more beautiful because of it.
"Henry might talk. If you approach him, you must not mention me in any way. Do you understand?"
"Of course," Reid replies, understanding now how concerned for her safety she's become. "You'll remain anonymous."
She smiles at him, genuine. It's in her eyes.
They regard each other silently, until she says:
"Tell Gray that this is it for me. Another month and I'll be gone, no matter how it ends for Williams."
"Why? What happens in a month?"
"I start my residency."
It's the first personal thing she's shared. Reid wonders if even Gray knows.
"You're going to be a doctor."
"An OB/GYN, eventually. This was only ever a temporary thing, until I paid off my tuition."
Reid feels his face splitting into a smile.
"Congratulations. We'll just have to catch Williams sooner rather than later."
She lets him pay, of course, and when she stands to leave he stands with her. She moves forward, presses soft lips to his cheek, right at the corner of his mouth.
"Don't worry," she says as she steps back, her eyes evaluative as they look at him, as if she is taking inventory. "I probably wouldn't charge you anyway."
With that and a wicked grin, she's gone.
When Reid gets back to the office (via a detour, in case someone's watching) the team is all questions.
"What took you so long?"
"What does she know?"
"What was she like?" Morgan asks.
Reid feels his lips quirk and thinks of Greek words for 'beautiful'.
"She was Helen."
A/N: Don't forget to review, especially if you think it deserves a sequel.