To a Hooker

by: TarnishedArmour

A Criminal Minds fanfiction; Reid-centric.

Timestamp: During & after the events of season 4, episode 7, "title"

Summary: "You realize you just gave two grand to a hooker?" Hooker. It shouldn't hurt, not after all this time. But it did. Was that all she was anymore?

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The machines bleeped, blooped, and dinged all around her. There were a lot of happy dings coming from the machine to her left, and the man in front of said machine wasn't even trying. At least, he didn't have the look of a tourist trying his luck on the video poker games-that quiet desperation and the obvious need to enjoy handing money to the casino. That particular ding-it was more of a beeping-chord-tone, really, but ding worked-was the sound of the machine paying out. Minimum bet was five dollars, so whatever he was winning was in multiples of five. And had been for the past hour.

"Wow. Looks like you got a loose one," she said, just to say something. Who knew where the line could lead? It had done her well in the past.

"No such thing," he responded, not even looking away from the screen. Not a promising start. "These machines run on random number generators, no brains, no bias. Best odds in the house, though."

"Really? I thought craps had the best odds." Who in Vegas didn't know that? Other than the tourists, of course.

"Normally video poker odds are slightly worse, at .7% in your favor, but if you employ optimal strategy and always draw for the royal flush, you can push those odds to 2%." He still hadn't looked up. But the happy ding was back. He'd gotten another good hand-or employed optimal strategy and drawn for the royal flush. Whatever. She wasn't here to play, despite the time at the video poker machine and the empty martini glass. There hadn't been a martini, but the glass was another good prop. Most men didn't think of her kind of work as one that came with a drink in hand. Made it easier to get up to the room before negotiating price.

"Mm. Smart and handsome." Now that got his attention. He at least looked at her. But that wasn't the look she wanted. Shift of subject. "So, are you in town for the convention?" She reached for a cigarette. Most men like to see her sucking on something, and she'd used up the olive earlier on a non-starter. Hopefully this one wasn't a non-starter, too. It really was too early in the day for this.

"Ummm, there are twelve conventions in town this week. Which one were you talking about?" Damn. He was focused on the game again.

"Take your pick," she said with a smile that he didn't notice. She tossed her hair, just in case, and lit up. Yep. Still tasted nasty.

"Six minutes," he murmured.

"Excuse me?" she asked on the exhale. If he was talking about the average time to smoke a cigarette or how long it took to finish a man with oral assistance…one was too long and the other too short. Not that she had the statistics, just experience. Too much experience.

"I, ah, it's something I used to say to my mom to try to get her to quit smoking. A-a cigarette takes six minutes off your life, so every time she'd light one, I'd say, 'That's six minutes less that I get to spend with you.'"

"Aww. Did it work?" It really was sweet. She hadn't pegged him for a mama's boy, though. Maybe that would work? Couldn't overdo it, though. And it got a smile. Even a little laugh.

"No," he said, smiling, shaking his head.

"'Cause I've tried it all, the gum, the patch-nothing works." Not true. She hated smoking. But if it was a way in? Yeah, she was that low. Funny thing-she didn't even like sex much, but she was getting more and more curious about this young man-he was about her age, she thought-even with the odd sweater and unkempt, too-long hair. What would he want? To cover her own curiosity, she took another drag.

"You should try hypnosis. They, they've had-had a lot of success in the…" He stopped speaking. That was not good. Not good at all. She looked over at him. Desperation spoke.

"Tell you what, I'll put mine out if you buy me a drink?" He was looking at her now. Rather, he was looking in her direction. Not at her. What would this guy take to-

"Uh, not today, sweetheart," came a low, mellow voice. The tone wasn't easy, though. That was a warning. She looked up at the tall, dark man and his shaven head. Oh, please, not another gay one! And the older guy in the expensive jacket-now he was definitely not gay. But the hot one? Looked too good to be straight, especially with the attention that was focused on her uninterested mark. Damn, damn, damn, damn, damn. "We been looking all over the place for you. C'mon."

Without a word, her focus got up and started walking off. Last chance.

"Hey, you won, like, two thousand dollars here," she said, just enough wonder in her voice to make him turn around. From the reflection on the machine, he did. Over his shoulder.

"Keep it," he tossed to her, turning back to talk to his friends. Lover and friend?

"You do realize you just gave two grand to a hooker?" a new voice asked.

"Must have been quite a conversation. What was it about?" That was the hot one.*

She didn't hear his reply. She wasn't paying attention. She played a hand, made it look like she hadn't heard, didn't care. But she did.

"You do realize you just gave two grand to a hooker?" The last word echoed in her head. Hooker. It shouldn't hurt, not after all this time. But it did. Was that all she was anymore? She closed her eyes, blocking out the world around her while she regained something like equilibrium.

What had happened to her?

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* All dialogue and general movements quoted from S4, Ep. 7, "Memoriam." The rest of the story probably won't contain any quotes from this episode or others, but it may reference the events of "Memoriam." No copyright infringement intended.