A/N: This is a sequel to Of the Night, please read that first. For mature adults, contains sex scene and coarse language. The name is taken from the Persian poem mentioned in the story.
Disclaimer: For both Of the Night and this, I don't own Criminal Minds or Spencer Reid.
Layla and the Madman
- by Katemary77
The BAU team is working a case on the sprawling campus of George Washington university when, in the process of apprehending a killer, Dr. Spencer Reid is stabbed.
"Don't worry, you'll be fine," the paramedic says to him.
He's not worried. The slash to his arm doesn't hurt as much as a bullet through the leg.
"It'll probably just need stitches."
It does need stitches and when the doctor walks into the sutures room of the emergency department, she's looking down at the clipboard in her hands. She says his name and it comes out a question, full of surprise.
She lifts her head and Reid is surprised too.
"Dr. Reid," she says. "It's been a while."
"I guess I'm finally going to know your real name," he remarks.
"Dr. Layla Greene, pleased to make your acquaintance."
Reid smirks and thinks of the song; her name is perfect. He shakes her offered hand.
"You're doing a rotation here?"
She nods. "Emergency medicine."
She hasn't changed much in a year; she's certainly no less beautiful in her pressed slacks, shirt and white coat.
"Let me take a look at this."
With gentle fingers she lifts the bandage covering his injury.
"Ouch. Wounded in the line of duty?" she wonders aloud.
"Yes." The word comes out as a hiss when she prods the gash. She ignores him, studying the injury carefully with her sea foam green eyes. Reid imagines that she is tracing the path her stitches will take.
"Okay." She looks up. "Let me get you something for the pain before I start."
She moves away but is stopped by his firm, "No. No pain killers."
"You do know how much this is going to hurt, right?"
"I know. No pain killers."
Her lips press together and he knows she's caught him out.
"Seems like I'm not the only one with an interesting history."
History, he thinks, what a mild way to put it. But then history is full of human error, and what was his addiction if not human error. Reid finds himself wondering if she's distanced herself, like an historian does, and if she's gained any hindsight on her own past, if her ethics have changed.
"No pain killers," she murmurs and puts her hand on his uninjured shoulder and gives a gentle squeeze. He's surprised at the gesture but it's not unwanted.
When she stitches the cut he doesn't take his eyes from her. In her concentration, she pulls her bottom lip between her teeth. The action is mesmerising. It hurts, fuck does it hurt, but she's distracting enough for Reid to manage it.
Once she's tugged the end of the bandage around his arm, she snaps off her gloves and pushes some of her hair behind her ear. It smells of jasmine. She looks up and meets his eyes. He doesn't look away.
They contemplate each other for a moment.
"You cut your hair," she says eventually. "You look good."
She brings her hand up and brushes the back of her finger down the side of his smooth, shaven cheek. His whole body tenses.
She glances at her watch, looks back at him, assesses him evenly.
"I usually wouldn't recommend someone in your condition to drink alcohol, but I'm buying."
From the look in her eyes Reid understands that she's offering a lot more than a drink. Later, he'll try to calculate how long it took him to decide; no more than a microsecond, surely.
He nods once. She grins wickedly.
"There's a wine bar around the corner, next to the bank. I'll meet you there in twenty minutes."
As she pushes open the door she smiles at him over her shoulder. This time it's sweeter, full of anticipation.
Reid ditches Hotch and the others, claiming residual pain and an early night. He's sure there's something wrong with the ethics of this – she was an informant in a federal case, he's her patient, she used to be a call girl – but Reid can't quite muster up the effort to care. She's beautiful, she wants him, he wants her, and to his mathematics that equals: why should you hesitate?
Besides, Reid's been so goddamn lonely the past few months that the idea of being close to someone, of intimacy, of touching someone in that way has him short of breath.
Layla isn't there when he arrives, so he sits at the bar and waits. When she walks in she's wearing the same black slacks but she's changed her shirt for a sleeveless top with thick straps that reveals her décolletage and slender arms and swept her hair into a messy bun. She smiles, touches his forearm in greeting, orders two glasses of a spicy chambourcin and leads him to a quiet corner of the bar, where they sit on a low-to-the-ground sofa. Layla crosses her legs and angles her body towards him. Her knees brush against his.
He feels excitement thrum through his veins and takes a long sip from the drink she's bought him.
"Hey, take it easy," Layla says with a grin, "I only have one income now."
He laughs and relaxes, the tension oozes from his shoulders.
"Where were you born?" he asks suddenly, realising that what he knows about her he could count on one hand.
"Here," she answers.
She nods. "Where were you born? Wait – let me guess." She looks at him for a long moment. "Seattle."
He grins. "Vegas."
She laughs and shakes her head, causing a strand of her hair to fall out and frame her face. "Where did you go from there?"
"Impressive," she notes. "That's where you did your PhD?"
He realises now that she knows nothing about him, either.
"Uh, actually I have three PhDs," he says, quickly taking a sip from his glass. The wine is peppery and leaves pleasant burn in his throat.
Her eyebrows arch.
He smiles at her laidback reaction; he could've expected it. "Something like that."
She takes a sip from her glass and licks the residue from her lips before the wine can stain them.
"When did you decide to go into medicine?"
"When I was a kid," she answers, shifting back so her body is resting on the lounge. The movement causes her knees to drag down the side of his leg. "My mother was a medical receptionist, I spent most afternoons doing my homework at the clinic. Being around doctors... I got a pretty good idea of what I wanted to do."
She tilts her head and Reid understands she is asking for a similar explanation.
"I was recruited from Caltech to join the BAU."
"Behavioural Analysis Unit?" she asks.
"Wow, you just get better and better."
He needs clarification on that one.
"You're a very interesting man, Dr. Reid," she supplies with a smile.
Reid catches on that word, man, he likes the sound of it. So often he's called kid, boy, that to have a woman like this reference his masculinity makes his shoulders straighten. He thinks he could say the same for her, but then that's in her past and he's not sure she'd welcome it being raised, so instead, he says, "Nobody's ever told me that before," and it's the truth.
"That's a shame," she responds. "I think everybody should hear that from time to time."
"What about people who aren't interesting?"
"Ah, but Dr. Reid, everybody's interesting to somebody," she says from behind her wine glass.
She takes a sip as he responds, "You can call me Spencer, you know."
"I know, Spencer."
"Did you know that the name Layla means 'night beauty'" he says, because he knows it and he can't help himself and it's kind of ironic.
Her smirk tells him that she appreciates the irony.
"I did know that. Did you know that Layla was a woman in ancient Arabia whose lover was driven mad because he couldn't be with her?"
"And the story was immortalised by the Persian poet Nizami." He recalls words read long ago and pulls them from the depths of his memory. "'Dearest heart, I am burning in love's fire... I am the moth that flies through the night to flutter around the candle flame. O, invisible candle of my soul, do not torture me as I encircle you. You have bewitched me, you have robbed me of my sleep, my reason, my very being.'"
He looks down as he says the words and when they are finished he glances at her. His keen, profiler's eyes don't know what to make of her face as she takes his glass from his hands and sets it next to hers on the low table in front of them and leans in to press her lips softly against his. He raises his hands to cradle her face, one slipping into her soft hair. When she moves back she blinks once before standing, fetching their empty glasses and walking towards the bar.
In the time it takes her to order more drinks, Reid takes ten deep breaths, solves a trigonometric equation and gets to E in the fifth edition of the DSM.
As Layla passes him his replenished wine, she says, "Do you know many Persian epics by heart?"
"Only the ones I've read," he answers earnestly, reddening a little when she breaths a laugh, although he knows it isn't malicious. "I have an eidetic memory," he explains.
"Ah, that must make exams easy," she laughs. Reid decides he loves her attitude, the ease with which she accepts what others fuss over.
Another glass of wine sees them through their work; yes, she enjoys her residency, and yes he does see a lot of dark things in his work, but then so must she. Reid finds a confession slipping from his lips, blames the wine, her loveliness; yes, sometimes he does wonder if it's worth it, if he should give the BAU up for a job in a university or a think tank (after all it's not like he hasn't had offers). She passes no judgement and he appreciates the opportunity for honesty without repercussion. They touch on politics, religion, philosophy, and Reid is unsurprised to find that she's a Democratic atheist, like him. The bar fills up, mostly with suits from Capitol Hill, the lights dimming and a band playing dark, moody music on the small, tucked away stage. Their corner becomes crowded and she shifts closer to him. Her body is now folded into his.
The next time she leans in she does it slowly, as if not to scare him, and he is suddenly taken by her beauty. Fuck, he thinks, as his heart skips. Reid contemplates pinching himself but refuses to give in to the temptation to believe this is a dream; that would be a cop out. He can't let himself believe anything else but that this woman wants him, completely, and not for anything else, like because it's a joke or an experiment.
"You're coming with me?"
She asks it like she already knows the answer and Reid is reminded of when he first met her, how she knew that he was the man waiting for her.
He doesn't answer, feels as if it is someone else who stands and offers her a hand, someone else who leads her through the crowded bar and into the autumn night, someone else who hails a cab and slides into the back seat with her.
But then it's him who has her pushed against the hallway of her apartment building as she's trying to catch her breath and find her keys and kiss him at the same time. Eventually kissing wins and they remain there for a long moment until finally she pulls away, snatches her keys from her purse and opens her door with determination, pulling him in behind her.
And it's definitely him who's having his shirt unbuttoned with deft fingers, whose chest is being investigated by exploratory hands. He shoves his hand into her hair and pulls out the clip keeping it back, freeing it and knotting his fingers through it.
"You know, you're the only man who's known about me," she tells him between kisses.
There's that word again.
"It doesn't matter."
With that she leads him to her bedroom.
Standing by the edge of the bed he divests her of her jacket, slides the straps of her top down and lifts it away. He unfastens the catch of her bra and pulls it from her as she pushes his shirt from his shoulders. As she does, it she catches his wound, still sore, and he winces. She whispers an apology that he easily accepts because the pain is okay, it grounds him, reminds him of reality in a moment that could so easily slip into dream. She slides her slacks down her legs and steps out of them, before doing the same to him. They are naked, now, raw, and they take a moment.
She is all long, toned legs, firm and heavy breasts, the gentle swell of hips and the grace at the small of her back. She's as glorious as he could've imagined, only better because she's real, tangible, something he can touch and taste and something he can make moan and writhe and pant. He wonders what her green eyes make of him, but then it doesn't matter because she's stepping forward and it's skin to skin and she's warm and soft, and there is the bed, and there is the weight of her breasts in his hands and the softness of her neck against the heat of his mouth.
And then he is inside her and there is completeness. There is slick and hot and perfect and she arches into him, whispers his name like he hasn't heard it before. Every movement is precious, every sound she makes, the tips of her fingers in his flesh that ground him in reality he wants to capture and keep forever and why can't he and why hasn't somebody invented a way to keep experience because surely this is heaven and he wants to know it for eternity.
Then, she comes apart under him, in his hands, and he is undone. It is all tumbling breaths, white spots bursting in rainbows behind his eyes, the feeling of freefall at the end of a rollercoaster and the perfect moment as they breathe together, entwined, as one sated being.
They alternate for hours, cycling through dozing, chatting, laughing, exploring. At some point she sees that his bandage is spotted with blood. She takes him to the bathroom, where she pulls out a box of first aid supplies. Sitting him on the edge of the bath, Layla tenderly redresses his wound, her hair falling around her face. When he pushes it back behind her ears she smiles.
Around midnight they realise they haven't eaten and make pancakes in her small kitchen; she is naked and he's distracted and it takes them twice as long to make them because the kitchen counter is new, to him at least, and then he catches the idea of maple syrup and like a true genius sticks with it until the idea is exhausted.
Finally, it is morning. He wakes to her asleep sprawled across him and the blue morning light filtering through her window and casting shadows on her skin. He watches as the light goes gold with the sun and turns her skin and her hair molten and honeyed.
She goodbyes him fondly from her apartment door, half-dressed and content.
Remembering, I imagine you cost more than a bouquet of flowers, he orders a bunch of dahlias the colour of merlot for her that afternoon. When she calls in thanks, she's laughing.
A/N: Please review! I have an idea for a part three but nothing encourages or inspires me to write more than a review! I'd love it if you took the time.