DISCLAIMER: The Mark Gordon Company, ABC Studios and CBS Paramount Network Television own Criminal Minds. I just took them out to play and I promise put them back when I'm done.
It's my first fic and obviously English is not my first language as You will probably quickly spot it. However I hope that I'd given the characters the justice they deserve.
Reviews are greatly appreciated.
The man who thinks he can live without others is mistaken; the one who thinks others can't live without him is even more deluded.
Hone Your Rookie Day: 2
SSA Spencer Reid
"Why psychodrama?" Ashley asked when they sat down at the table with four seats around it on the jet, briefing table as they called it. "I understand that Gideon was a profiler once and that we need information about Wolfenstein from him and that depending from his psychological state we might get something or nothing at all. But I don't understand why psychodrama is so important."
Rossi at Ashley's right got himself more comfortable in his place and looked pointedly at Spencer who was sitting opposite to him with Kate at his right.
"It's hard to answer it in one sentence," Spencer sighed and he rubbed his chin. "Gideon's departure was… disturbing at best. Burning out in BAU and suffering from depression is quite common though not very loudly talked about. With everything we see day after day after day after day so called 'loosing it' is an occupational hazard."
"And Gideon lost it," Ashley said slowly.
"Spectacularly I should add," Spencer muttered. "Not that I blame him but to sum it up he had ran away like a coward with his tail between his legs at the worst possible time for the team… It cost us a lot."
"His trainee most especial," Rossi said quietly.
"Water under the bridge," Spencer said as he shot Rossi a glare. "And I know that I used to relay on Gideon like on a crutch way too much, thanks for showing me that I could walk on my own. Though if either of you happens to barely recover from getting shot in the leg don't go with him," he motioned with his chin at Rossi, "anywhere near any ditches and if you do, at least make sure that he has sporty shoes on."
Rossi's lips quirked on that comment.
"You lived," he said.
"I did. Did you like your coffee?" Spencer quipped.
"It was good, a bit salty on the side but then again I did expect some retaliation from you," Rossi smirked. "You didn't buy the shoes."
"Italian leather disagrees with me," Spencer shot back. "Presses a bit too much to the side. It's for anal retentive neat-freaks if you ask me."
"Only socially challenged quirks say that," Rossi quipped.
"Can we skip this lesson in intellectually insulting your opponent and come back to the subject at hand?" Kate asked curiously. "Gideon and his state of mind when he left, perhaps?"
"Do you use Maybeline cosmetics, Cameron?" Rossi asked simply.
"No, I was born with it and I had it honed by Unit Chief father, high school, medschool and four years of working at GUH's psychiatric ward where underage geniuses were in extreme minority," Kate shrugged.
"Isn't sarcasm a learned skill?" Ashley asked pensively.
"It is, but apparently it tastes better when one was born with magic ingredient," Kate said simply. "I've been told that I'm a model Capricorn and as much as I hate to admit it, there are few characteristics that I happen to agree with when it comes to Capricorns"
"You believe in folktale?" Rossi asked.
"I believe in psychological characteristics of people born on certain days of the year. Despite the folktale they happen to be quite accurate at times, at least in small aspects," Kate smirked.
Spencer looked from her to Rossi and did quick math in his head before he snickered, "I have a feeling that you two will get along just fine. After all a pot knows the kettle."
"Libra," Kate and Rossi muttered together. "Drop it."
"Ouch," Spencer smirked. "That hurt."
"Back to Gideon," Ashley sighed.
"Gideon was a typical case of what we refer in BAU, unofficially of course, as 'came back to duty too early'," Spencer sighed. "He was recovering from huge personal loss which was Sarah's death. We all knew that it hit him very hard. But that's the worst thing about being a profiler, you know how to pass psych evaluation even if deep down you know that you shouldn't. That was Gideon by the time he disappeared."
"He started having flashbacks during the case," Kate said pensively.
"On a case where we made huge mistakes, all of us. Except Gideon felt the most responsible of us all. So… he packed his cabin, his photographs and left," Spencer sighed. "He left a letter though… He explained it all… As I said coward's way out."
"It's understandable if…" Ashley started.
Spencer shook his head, he had remotely good idea where she was heading but that wasn't the issue with Gideon, it was the other way.
"He was going to leave one way or another, Ashley," Spencer grimaced. "He would have left, it was only a matter of time. The same happened to Elle," he sighed. "You cannot help someone who doesn't want to be helped and if there is one thing which I know for sure about the team is that we are the family, Ashley. We have each other backs and we don't let each other forget that. There are times when it's annoying and there are times when you beg for it but at the end of the day the most of all you are grateful for the others just being there."
"Except Gideon was way too stubborn to accept help," Rossi interjected. "That's why he left the BAU and the mess which his departure had caused."
"So we are tearing into the life of a middle-aged man who suffered from a major loss, who is a profiler himself which means that he can deceive us if he decides too. There is huge chance that our appearance won't be greatly welcomed," Ashley summed up.
"Unless we intrigue him which is way we are going with psychodrama," Kate said pensively. "He needs to know that the team hadn't been the same since he left, that there happened things which altered the team and in his mind it might have alter the people he once knew and not for the better."
"Wonderful," Spencer nodded and pointed at her, "You, shoulders hunched, stick to playing with the bag, don't talk much at the beginning but if you start keep to the babble. Tug at the hems of the sweater and try to appear as uncomfortable as possible without bolting to the car. Voice low and unsure or driven and slightly pitched." He paused then added after a moment, "There is one little thing. From time to time try to push invisible glasses to the bridge of your nose, make it look like you just got your contacts recently."
"Just be yourself but remember who is SAC at the moment," Rossi said simply. "One more thing I just remembered for you to be believable SAC and SSA Alpha Male. Refer and talk to me as Dave and don't overdo it."
"As for Ashley…" Spencer muttered and tapped his lips. "At the beginning put yourself in defensive position, make it plain that you wouldn't bolt though. Arms closed, skeptical pose, roll your eyes when you will hear Kate babble at what you consider too much but don't say anything about it."
"Got it," Ashley nodded.
"Make it evident who is mentoring you but don't overdo it either. When you make a point during the interview wait few seconds before looking up to Dave. Kate, you are doing exact opposite, point-look, point-look. The difference is that you," Spencer motioned with his chin at Ashley, "are keeping your points straight and short. Kate, you babble."
"On this case you forget the doctor part before Reid's name," Rossi said.
"Contrary to you," Spencer looked at Kate. "We will underline the doctor part starting from introductions and forward. No physical contact, just wave your hand and make sure that you have all of us between yourself and Gideon until we get inside," Kate nodded quickly when he paused to take a breath. "When inside avoid sitting, stick to circling behind my back nervously. Sit down only when directly asked and if you can drop a file on the floor."
"Understood," Kate nodded. "Now the other two interviews…"
Noon had found them at Pizza Hut because they were in mood for having one, though Rossi was quite adamant in his opinion that a true pizza was never found out of the boarders of Italy but their lunch satisfied their hunger and that was it.
Then upon leaving Rossi threw SUVs keys at him and the rocky road had started.
Being the passenger in the SUV was easy part and as a passenger he adapted to various drivers as they came. With Morgan behind the wheel the only real control in the car he had was AC and the map. Hotch on the other hand depending for how long he was driving and driving was an activity which gave Hotch some little needed relief, had allowed him control over the radio as long as Spencer stuck to remotely common for both of them music.
Rossi was the one he felt the most comfortable while driving with (aside of the first disastrous road trip, which wasn't talked about after the first time) for various reasons.
Spencer also knew what it mean to drive with Kate but for various reasons unless it was the whole team he had never found himself with Ashley in the car alone.
Driving with company was always about establishing the control. Driving with company for few hours on end was… well…
"Hem hem, butterflies are flying faster," Dave muttered from behind his back.
"SAC," Spencer quipped without tearing his eyes from the road.
"Whatever you say, Spencer," Dave hummed.
"How about Chinese for dinner?" Spencer asked calmly.
"Not good idea, I've seen you with chopsticks," Dave quipped.
"I worked once on a case where an unsub had killed two people with chopsticks and I mean really butchered them and not in that Hollywood assumed version," Spencer smirked to himself.
"Have you ever watched Need for Speed?" Dave quipped.
"He is already thick-skinned," Kate observed. "And despite the supposed laidback attitude it's evident who is the alpha male in the car."
"I remember reading something about it," Ashley quipped. "The loudest back-seat driver is always an alpha male."
"What does it make you?" Dave quipped.
"Depends," Ashley shrugged. "Kate what are you?"
"Alpha female if required," Kate said pensively. "Passive-aggressive for the most part."
"Sounds like classic mate of an alpha male," Spencer interjected.
"I'm a daughter of alpha male," Kate said simply. "All key male figures in my life and people I came to relay on were alpha males. You are the first blinker in charge. And because I'm a daughter of alpha male I know the behavior and I know how to act. I just chose not to. Ashley?"
"Passive-aggressive," Ashley answered. "Passive-aggressive female pretending to be alpha female I think."
"Sorry Dave apparently you were out-blinked," Spencer smiled to himself.
"And you were outrun by a cyclist," Dave quipped.
"Traffic lights are ahead of us why I should be driving faster if I would have to stop?" Spencer asked simply.
"I can kick you in the back," Dave coughed.
"Do it and one of the things I would be asking Gideon about will be if he would want to come back because our last Senior SSA had been left on the road in a ditch," Spencer rolled his eyes.
"You are never going to drop it, are you?" Dave smirked.
"I'm just distracting you from looking for the signs of the possible revenge for let's mess with Reid's mind," Spencer quipped. "You are just as guilty as the other two."
"Elephant," Dave coughed.
"It's called an eidetic memory," Spencer said simply. "Just stop paying attention to my driving skills and tell Ashley and Kate a story from old times."
"Cameron, can you be a dear and whack him across the head by the next red light on the traffic lights?" Dave asked innocently.
"Not until dinner," Kate objected. "If I whacked him across the head now I would be whacking my direct supervisor, so it will go on my personal files. However if I would whack him after dinner I would be whacking my friend which doesn't go into my personal files. Until then I have time to decide whatever or not he deserves a good whack."
"You have a clock on friendship?" Ashley asked curiously.
"Not on friendship," Kate smirked. "On physical violence against one another. On the clock it's a no-no, off the clock I can push him into a snow pile…"
"I can chunk a handful of flour at her," Spencer quipped.
"You are good baker," Dave said. "And you certainly bake a lot if Spencer's reinforcement cookies are any indication."
"Stress-relieving technique," Kate explained. "Something I picked up from my dad. He couldn't bake an edible cookie to save his life but baking itself… Especially after something went wrong. He always came home, changed into comfortable clothes, pulled all ingredients out of the cupboard and proceed to bake with me… of course baking always ended with us cleaning up the kitchen afterwards and a stock of inedible cookies but even when I was small I knew how much it relaxed him to do something so boringly normal and childish at times."
"You are good baker," Ashley said pointedly.
"I had Killian," Kate said simply. "I had to learn how to make edible cookies and I couldn't argue with logic. Kate, you said that you love chemistry. I did. Isn't cooking like chemistry but with edible chemicals? So I had to hone my cooking proves though baking is my strongest suit."
"You raised him single-handedly since you were eleven?" Ashley asked skeptically.
"Sixteen, officially," Kate coughed. "At eleven I had to be a big sister. By sixteen I was surrogate mother, I was seventeen when I legally got all parental rights."
"Why?" Ashley pressed.
"Why the sun moves from east to west?" Kate shrugged.
"Because it has to?" Ashley asked pensively.
"You got it, dearie," Kate nodded. "I had to so I did it, I'm happy that I did, it was hard and at times awful but I don't regret it."
"And you honed your parenting skills," Ashley said. "You would be the greatest mother in the neighborhood when you will have children on your own."
Spencer looked from the corner of his eye at Kate, she looked through the window.
"Not a comfortable subject," Dave whispered.
"I'm never going to have children on my own," Kate said quietly.
"I'm sorry," Ashley whispered. "Is this because of medical condition?"
"You can say so," Kate sighed.
"If you were physically sick you wouldn't have make it through the academy," Dave pointed out gently.
"Guys!" Spencer hissed.
"You really don't have to," Kate looked at him sympathetically. "The sooner they learn that the better I guess, additionally I'm still not past the mark and you know it. Chances are that nothing will happen but this… this is a wild card, one that being dealt with I managed to avoid so far. My luck might hold or it might not…"
"It's you who really don't have to talk," Spencer said pointedly.
"Schizophrenia is a lifetime illness and happens to be genetically passed," Kate said calmly. "My mother is an institutionalized paranoid schizophrenic, my sister, Killian's mother was disorganized, though not institutionalized, she was about to when she died. At the age of eleven I knew that what happened to them might happen with me, that's why I had chosen psychiatric medicine. That's why no matter how much I would love to have children one day I'm not going to have one on my own… Some things like sharp mind come for a bigger price… like incredibly messed up gene pool. I won't subject any future child of mine to this."
"Reasonable fear," Dave said quietly. "Though after meeting Killian I find myself strongly supporting the idea of you as a parent someday because, kid, you are great mother to him, letting your parental skills go would be a terrible waste."
"Thank you," Kate turned her face to the back of the car.
"I'm sorry if I made you uncomfortable," Ashley offered. "It wasn't my intention."
"I know," Kate nodded. "So who wants to play a road game?"
"What kind of?" Ashley asked quickly.
"Wordsnake?" Kate offered.
"The last letter of one word exactly the same as the one starting next word?" Dave asked. "It's been called differently."
"Mere technicality," Spencer shrugged.
"Yogurt," Dave quipped.
"Tramp," Ashley caught on.
"Postmark," Kate quipped.
"Kettle," Spencer quipped.
"Existentialism," Dave said.
'Ass,' Spencer snorted inwardly.
"Mechanical," Ashley said quickly.
Wordsnake had lasted for two hours, after half of an hour general rules had went out of the window and from English they had switched to the wild card of multi-linguistic abilities not that Dave or Ashley had a chance against Spencer and Kate because they didn't.
It was refreshing and challenging just as much as the next activity which had Spencer recite Dante's Inferno in English, Kate translating it into incredibly bad Italian which caused the other two to snicker. Ashley, most probably not wanting to be out-beat by the other two had thrown in Moliere in French which Dave immediately started translating into Italian which Kate proceed to translate into Spanish on which Spencer commented in Portuguese how much they managed to butcher the original line.
But bantering wasn't a luxury during a road trip.
Until Hotch called them up to check on them while the other three were in the middle of multi-lingual discussion (argument really) over Cyrano De Bergerac.
"I thought that I'd sent you to Oregon, not to Mediterranean," Hotch commented.
"It wasn't my fault," Spencer protested. "All right, tune that down you three," he turned his head to them and quickly turned back. "Sorry for that. I totally blame three hours ride without a break," he told Hotch. "How are you?"
"Just landed," Hotch said. "The lecture is tomorrow in the morning so we have time to snoop around without supervision. I will call again after seven."
"We should just reach Joseph by then," Spencer said. "Shut it! I can't hear a single word Hotch is saying!" he hissed at the other three. "Much better," he added after they fell silent.
"Something was blinking in the corner of the jet when we got there," Hotch said dryly. "It was probably yours."
"Hotch. They question my driving skills, they butcher good literature in Romanesque languages and they use very big words in road games. And for about an hour now I had been feeling the vibes of growing resentment towards my person," Spencer said calmly.
"Have you taken a bathroom break?" Hotch asked simply. "It's a long way…"
"It will be longer we still have three hours," Spencer said quickly.
"Coffee break," Dave coughed.
"Candy bar," Ashley muttered.
"Look at those woods," Kate said. "I can see a spring running through it. Water cascading through the rocks…"
"It's like taking a road-trip with a car full of third graders, Hotch, Reid out," Spencer said to the phone before he sighed, "Okay I got your point. First gas station in sight we are taking a break."
"Cameron, did he just blinked?" Dave asked calmly.
"I think that he just realized that he is outnumbered and he knows that the success of the interview relays on his shoulders so if he finds himself ditched in the middle of the woods he isn't going to succeed, which would mean that he failed Hotch and pretending to be Alpha he might be yet he still knows who is bigger Alpha above him," Kate answered.
"I hate you," Spencer sighed.
"That was so third grade," Kate, Ashley and Dave snorted in unison.
After the twenty minutes break at gas station in Pendleton the three passengers calmed down reasonably to busy themselves with their coffees and snacks before they moved to discussing the case and to make slight tweak in general plan of pushing on Gideon's buttons.
Spencer and Dave together had reached the conclusion that interviewing Gideon in the morning might have seemed good idea at the beginning but because the man always had been nightly owl they should use it to their advantage which meant that upon reaching Joseph they would go straight to his house which meant that another stop must be made on the way to Joseph, in Enterprise just close enough for the girls to change out of their semi-casual clothes into more into character costumes.
"So, what you think?" Dave asked as they leaned against the door of the SUV when Kate and Ashley had went to the bathroom to change.
"About psychodrama?" Spencer shrugged. "Kate will pull it off splendidly and we instructed Ashley how to confuse Gideon with her Elle/Emily attitude. I'm being calm about their act. It's my act I'm more worried about."
"Doctor Malcolm," Dave said pointedly. "Straight back, eyes focused on the target while intellectually tearing him a new one. Your alpha male attitude is anger oriented. The question is are you angry at Gideon?"
"He knew that I would be angry… that's why he left the letter," Spencer muttered. "I have severe abandonment issues, I trusted Gideon to be there, to be someone to whom I could turn to because I was struggling. I made it, no thanks to him. So yes, I'm angry."
"Then use it," Dave said simply. "Wow," he whispered after a second. "Did you look like that straight out of academy?"
Spencer looked up from the ground at Kate and grinned, "I didn't wear skirts but this… is me ten years ago. We will be fine."
Inwardly he couldn't help but admire how subtle things like changing jeans into sporty skirt and plain white shirt into dark green one with his old maroon jumper from Cal-Tech along with sporty sneakers could change Kate from certified psychiatrist who knew how to dress herself into awkward I-Just-Graduated-From-FBI-Academy-And-It-Scares-The-Living-Daylight-Out-Of-Me barely legal genius.
His oversized sandy sweater which he pulled from the deepest bottom of his closet was proverbial cherry on the top, along with awkwardly and strategically placed at the front of the right hip Glock 17, topped with FBI issued winter jacket Kate was picturesque definition of Rookie Reid.
"Tread carefully," Spencer told her when they settled in the car.
In answer he got meekly questioning look strengthened by widening big, blue eyes… Oh. My. God. Was I always so readable?
Kate wedged her old bag from medschool which had seen better days between herself and the door before she visibly hunched herself in her seat. The only typically Kate movement she had made was drawing her hair in a tight knot on the back of her neck which allowed him to see that despite her initial hate to use make up Kate had used it to strengthen the circles under her eyes.
"When was the last time I told you that you are a genius?" he asked her simply.
"At Sunday afternoon when you got cookies after a very long discussion about Quantum Physics with my precious, prodigious progeny," Kate answered simply.
"Funny afternoon?" Dave quipped.
"Very," Kate nodded. "If they didn't need substance and Killian wasn't supposed to get to the airport they would still be talking, trust me."
"How many similarities you see?" Dave asked curiously.
"A few but in so far more differences than similarities. Similarities are purely academic, differences are in characteristics. Killian openly overcomes his awkwardness in direct contact with other people. He initiates physical contact if he starts feeling comfortable, it's something he picked up from the therapy. If you feel good in someone's presence let them know that. It's subtle and quick like touching arms or hands and smiling or gentle swats on the arm."
"I'm not touchy-feely," Spencer said simply.
"Killian is and because he is psychologically challenging he knows how to use physical contact to have people open to him. That's the reason he is so good with children, kids yearn physical contact from someone they trust."
"Sounds like you have a profiler in training," Dave quipped.
"I hope not," Kate muttered. "I know about the importance and impact of role models on the psychological development of prepubescent children but I definitely find myself not supporting that career path. I would feel much more better if he kept himself academically fixated."
"You know what does it make you?" Spencer quipped.
"Hypocrite and yes I know," Kate smiled quickly. "We struck a deal on Saturday and in so far I hope that following that deal would keep him firmly academically busy until he turns at the very least twenty-three, twenty-five if my calculations are accurate."
"What was the deal?" Spencer asked curiously.
"I won't object to having you enter FBI Academy but only and I stress only if you enter the academy at twenty-three or after receiving your fifth PhD," Kate said patiently.
"Well he is certainly driven from what I saw," Dave snickered.
"He underestimates my Jedi mind-tricks," Kate snorted. "I know few people in the academy to whom I can complain how psychologically draining full training is for people under standard entry age and yes I know that makes me a hypocrite. But I'm his mother I have to do something more than sitting tight for a decade with my fingers crossed that something more interesting will capture his attention. That's," she turned to Spencer, "why I made a point of keeping the two of you apart but you just had to question it."
"Sorry," Spencer mumbled sheepishly.
"You are so not…" Kate grumbled. "You loved every minute of it. Controlled intellectual development of prepubescent child prodigies my oh so smart, read through your intentions, bum."
"Let's say that I prefer to have his mind on our side rather than the other side because that would totally suck," Spencer quipped.
"If he ever will find himself on the other side it would mean that I totally sucked as a mother," Kate muttered.
Gideon's shack was exactly where he expected it to be, at the very end of the road, far away from the neighbors in total seclusion surrounded by nature.
He and Dave get out of the SUV first but had waited with approaching the door until Kate and Ashley came from around the car and fell into steps three-four steps behind them.
Spencer kept his back straight, head up, eyes fixated on the door of the cabin. With his right hand he reached for his credentials and he drew his jacket back from the right side so his recently taken out of storage closet Glock 17 was clearly visible on his right hip.
As he stepped on the porch he knocked on the wooden door and took a step back as he passed his credentials from his right hand to left.
From the corner of his eye he saw Dave standing a step away from him, slightly a step behind him was standing Ashley and Kate was strategically placed behind Ashley's back.
Enter stage right, the highest time for a little psychodrama.
"Jason Gideon? FBI. We want to talk with you," Spencer said in firm and commanding voice.
It had taken him six months of traveling all over the states to finally settle in a cabin in East Oregon for no other reason than how much the place had reminded him of his old cabin.
At first he liked the seclusion it offered him, complete, utter peace and only nature for the company. But after a year since he left Virginia and six months since he moved into Joseph he started coming out more.
He had made few friends within the town, it was easy to satisfy the curiosity of the country folk. A widower who couldn't stand living in his old house. They bought it and he didn't find himself eager to change the story once it was out.
Life was simply easier, calmer and the longing he felt inside was easier to bear when what surrounded you was nature.
He longed to return to Virginia, not for long, for a moment, just to face his old demons, see old friends, see people who had been his family. But as much as he yearned to do so something kept him firmly rotted in Joseph.
It was guilt, guilt over leaving them the way he did and regret for not leaving them more explanations than one letter addressed to Spencer.
He was remotely updated about their ups and downs. Wayne Wolfenstein sometimes slipped a word here, a word there about the members of the team alpha. He knew that after he had left BAU Hotch quite quickly got divorced for whatever reason, knew that within two months of his departure David Rossi came in to fill his old position. He knew that Spencer was shot at some point and that Hotch had problems with a man named Foyet, that Jennifer had became a mother of a boy named Henry, Garcia got hooked up with another technical analyst from FBI and that Morgan was still Morgan. There were few mentions about Emily having a car accident and much more later into some troubles with Interpol. There was nothing more than that, only what Wayne had passed to him and Jason never found in himself enough courage to ask for more.
At the same time he expected them to track him at some point, track him and have him dragged back to DC metaphorically kicking and screaming and he would have gone because it meant that he was needed and that was what he wanted. He wanted to be needed, needed by them.
So when he heard distinctive murmur of the engine of a SUV outside his cabin he found that something in his stomach had jolted, jumped, make a backward flip before it settled down.
From where he was he couldn't see them but he slowly tiptoed to the kitchen window that allowed him to see the porch.
Four people. Two dark-haired Caucasian males and two females, one blonde, one dark-haired. Which could only mean Aaron, Spencer, Emily and Jennifer, he felt slightly disappointed that Morgan hadn't come with them because he knew that David Rossi wouldn't come.
He approached the door carefully and just as he let his hand hover over the handle he heard, said in firm and commanding, a very familiar, yet so different voice, "Jason Gideon? FBI. We want to talk with you."
He took a deep breath and let it out before he took another, pressed the handle and pulled the door open enough to see his visitors.
David Rossi. What a surprise? Left hand holding his credentials casually but eyes fixated on his own right, expression solemn and somber.
Next to Rossi on the left was standing a blonde with an unreadable expression on her face. She definitely wasn't Jennifer.
Next to the blonde, strategically placed behind the other woman was a dark-haired woman who definitely wasn't Emily and with her big blue eyes wide open, shoulders slumped and old black leather messenger bag she bore more semblance to Spencer in his first months in BAU rather than to Emily.
Finally his eyes had stopped at the credentials and another familiar face.
Spencer, with hardened expression, eyes focused, left hand outstretched to hold his credentials, his back straight, Glock 17 firmly in sight.
"Jason Gideon," Spencer said stiffly. "Supervisory Special Agent Spencer Reid, those are SSA David Rossi and Special Agents Ashley Saver and Doctor Kate Cameron. We would like to discuss something with you."
Jason took in the scene before him. Rossi smirked briefly during the introduction. The blonde had nodded at the mention of Ashley Seaver, the brunette behind her waved her hand nervously at the name Cameron.
Wayne hadn't written in two months, a lot could have changed.
"Of course," Jason found himself saying as he stepped aside and allowed them to come into his sitting room. "Come in. Tea? Coffee?"
As if on a cue three heads turned to the right and three pairs of eyes had fixed on Spencer who held his head high and kept his expression unreadable.
"We had some just recently, thank you, maybe later," Spencer said calmly.
How different he was from Spencer Jason had remember from four years ago, skittish, nervous, constantly looking up between him and Hotch. This wasn't Spencer he had left. When their eyes meet Spencer's gaze had held his like a vice.
He wore plain black suit with white shirt and black tie and the whole thing was perfectly tailored to him. Even his hair were darker than Jason remembered.
'Are you surprised?' his conscience taunted him from the back of his head. 'You left not fully trained agent that struggled with drug-use, who had severe abandonment issues and had never felt comfortable in his own skin. One that used his intellect as a shield, one that looked up to you… That's what you've got for leaving Spencer all on his own with Rossi, Hotch and Morgan, he hadn't have a chance to grow comfortable in his own skin before they molded him into the chalk of their own, they were alphas, Spencer wasn't.'
And just behind Spencer, carefully observing Spencer's and Jason's staring contests, blinking rapidly between one and the other was the brunette.
Her shoulders were still slumped, head slightly cocked to the left, her expression unsure and her blue eyes big. She was standing half of the step behind Spencer, with her black messenger bag placed in front of her like a shield, Glock 17 placed on the front of the right hip. She wore layer upon layer of clothes, FBI jacket, oversized sweater vest that looked suspiciously like the one Spencer had in his wardrobe, under that was a maroon woolen jumper and completely mismatched with other colors green shirt. Sporty, khaki colored skirt and sporty shoes. Then she moved her left hand and made a move as if she was trying to prop invisible glasses on the top of her nose. So much like Spencer…
The mentor and the rookie. He should have seen this. He saw this with Spencer at the very beginning, gaze flickering between himself and Hotch, figures of authority, the mentors, older and trustworthy agents.
So brunette was Spencer's rookie but she looked so ridiculously young, perhaps it was a matter of clothes… but there was the doctor part… so young… so young.
"Excuse me doctor, how old are you?" Jason found himself asking.
"Twenty," she stammered. "As of last month I'm twenty."
He looked immediately to Spencer who had his left eyebrow cocked slightly but other than that his face was blank.
"What kind of a doctor are you, Doctor Cameron?" Jason found himself gazing back at the girl.
"Of psychiatric medicine, sir," she said nervously. "I also have PhD from psychology and geography… and BA from mathematics."
"Are you a genius?" Jason asked before he could stop himself.
"Well," the girl seemed to shift from foot to foot, looked quickly up at Spencer before she continued quickly, "I'm not fully convinced that intelligence can be properly measured whatsoever but I do have an intelligence quotient of 183, an echoic memory and I can read 17 000 words per minute," she paused and looked quickly at Spencer before looking at the floor, "Yes, I'm a genius."
Interesting, incredibly interesting. But he looked at the blonde. She had her arms crossed over her chest, jacket slightly drawn to the right to show off Glock 17 placed on her hip. Her gaze briefly flickered between Rossi (first) and Spencer (second) before she looked at him and held his gaze.
"Ashley Seaver," Jason said. "Interesting name…"
"Family name Beauchamp," Seaver said quickly and took a step back. "Like Charles Beauchamp, sir."
Redmund Ripper, his mind immediately made the connection, quickly acknowledged how the girl strategically placed herself half a step behind Rossi, who smirked quickly.
This is what you are missing Jason, two new rooks, one genius, one daughter of a psychopath, Rossi's smirk was saying
"How are the others?" Jason turned his gaze to Spencer.
"They are alive," Spencer shrugged. "Well… for most of the part they are alive but in so far the ratio between alive and dead is higher than the other way therefore so far we are good."
"Oh," Jason whispered and held Spencer's gaze who held it until Jason looked at the floor. "Who?"
"Haley Hotchner was murdered by George Foyet two years ago and last year Emily Prentiss was killed by a sociopath on personal revenge but so far we are good," Spencer said simply. "Garcia was shot, so was I, few weeks after I contracted anthrax, JJ was beaten by a sociopath while interviewing a possible witness, Morgan managed to get himself mauled more than several times, Hotch was stabbed nine times by Foyet but Foyet is dead and Hotch is not… Well I guess, you didn't miss much… just a chunk of few years in the company of people who considered you as a family member but I guess that if spirit is unwilling and the flesh is weak…," Spencer shrugged.
"Not that I don't want to disturb this interesting exchange but it's not a social call, Spencer," Rossi said calmly.
Familiarity, so un-Rossi behavior.
"Sure it isn't, if it was social I would have come here three years and five months ago… Perhaps not, it was bad personal time and I needed actual help not the permission to struggle," Spencer said pensively, his eyes flickering to Jason at the word struggle. "Anyway we have a case. The deal is on the table, Gideon. You cooperate with us and answer all of our questions so we can go our separate ways like I'm sure you would love to do already or…" Spencer looked to Rossi.
"Or we will perform an official arrest for assisting a serial killer and helping to hide the evidence. Naturally if we are wrong we will apologize profusely and in public. But answer yourself this question. Do you want your peace to be disturbed by the arrest, Jason?" Rossi asked calmly.
Something heavy settled in his stomach.
"How many?" he asked quietly as he looked between Spencer and Rossi.
"In so far fifty-seven," it was Doctor Cameron who answered nervously. "Brunettes in position of authority, warring ages, severely starved to death but before that viciously beaten, branded and missing for few months."
"It's a very active unsub," Seaver interjected.
"Nation-wise active unsub," Doctor Cameron clarified, suddenly her gaze shifted from Jason to something behind his back and her eyes narrowed.
Spencer's "Gideon?" was spoken together with Rossi's "Jason?"
"Of course," Jason said quickly. "Everything you need."
"Every single photograph in this place," Doctor Cameron said quickly.
"And every single letter," Spencer stressed. "I don't care if it's a private correspondence or a bill every single piece of paper which you didn't wrote goes on the table. Dave, Ashley get the equipment and get us settled," he nodded at the other two. "Then proceed with the rest of the interview."
SSA Spencer Reid
He saw it in the moment Kate did, the photograph behind Gideon's back, the photograph of a one of the most recent dump-sides and next to that hung the photograph of the place of abduction.
Gideon had a decency to look stunned and agreed to help quickly. Before even Dave and Ashley had reached the car to pick up the equipment the long table in the corner had stashes of photographs framed and in albums placed in there as well as quite impressive stack of letters.
Spencer signaled to Kate to exclude Gideon's personal photographs before he settled himself at the letters, quickly separating bills and private correspondence into separate piles and returning to Gideon's hands the bills. Most of the correspondence held no interest to him, only one name that he had found quickly.
He was saved from answering any questions by Dave and Ashley who upon dropping the equipment by the table had went with Gideon to the kitchen to interrogate him as soon as the door of the kitchen had closed behind the other three Spencer separated Wolfenstein's letters from the others.
Silent sociopath who had been trained how to show compassion and understanding or at the very least enough of it to pass. Man who hated women in authority, brunettes. A narcissist judging from the correspondence and how plausible he described his journeys, meetings of the victims. And a sadist from the way they died.
Before the door of the kitchen had opened he and Kate had confirmed that Wayne Wolfenstein had meet fifty-seven women that had been found dead and most probably had killed another fifteen missing brunettes.
Two in Joseph in the span of three years, one three years ago and the other just four months ago.
He dialed Hotch's personal cell-phone number and said quietly, "Narcissistic sociopath with sadistic tendencies with fifty-seven confirmed victims and fifteen possible victims. Two of them went missing from this place."
"What you found?" Hotch asked quickly.
"Photographs and letters. We will visit possible dump-sides tomorrow," Spencer said stiffly. "Also Kate has a lead on Indianapolis but she is up into her neck in missing persons reports. She is sending the information to your personal cell-phone right now."
"And Wayne Wolfenstein had done all of this?" Gideon whispered. "He wouldn't…"
The only answer Gideon had gotten was the last file with discovered victim, Molly Loraine, a state-trooper, Kate held it up to Gideon without tearing her eyes from between the photographs and the screen.
"I never thought that I would live to see the day when I will say that the idea of having the nation GPS tracked has its own merits," Spencer said grimly.
"Or that at least tracking the employees of government agencies has its own merits," Kate muttered.
"Have you found the stressor?" Spencer looked from the stack of letters at Dave.
"Have you ever fished with a fishing rod made from paper and paperclips?" Dave asked.
"Papier-mâché," Kate muttered.
"Still you have to have a lot of luck to catch a fish on something like that," Dave said with small smile in Kate's direction. "Self experience, Kate?"
Kate looked up and stared at Dave pointedly.
"Now would you like to share some more with us, Jason?" Dave turned to Gideon. "The earliest victim, Spencer?"
"22nd November 2001, Tampa, Florida," Spencer sighed. "Kate O'Malley, firefighter, mother of two. Beaten into unconscious state before she was left to die from starvation. Crime scene was also the dump-side because our charming sod hadn't come back to Tampa ever since. Her body was discovered two years ago but due to lack of physical evidence her murderer was never caught, preliminary profile was delivered to Tampa PD by Wolfenstein himself."
"He also delivered the profile for twenty-seven other victims and ten missing person reports," Kate added.
"He is obsessively clean in them," Spencer continued. "Controlled, meticulous, never leaves a detail out of place, covers every single ground. He plays with us…"
"Because he has power," Dave muttered. "He got away with it once so he tried again, and again, and again."
"So?" Spencer looked at Gideon. "Stressor?"
"In early November, around 10th if I remember well his fiancée had left him, she was section chief in internal police in DC, moved away to Seattle and had taken their daughter with her," Gideon said quietly.
"What was her name?" Kate asked quickly.
"Hannah Declan, Hannah and Fiona," Gideon said.
Kate furiously tapped the keyboard before she said, "Fifty-nine. Hannah and Fiona Declan were found beaten to death in abandoned factory loft on 24th September 2003 in Seattle. The coroner established the date of death as 20th September which is consistent with the profile because Wayne Wolfenstein delivered the profile about an arsonist in high school on 19th September 2003 to Seattle PD, departed on late 20th September which had given him enough time to do this…" Kate turned the laptop to show them crime scene photos.
"How many he had killed until then?" Dave asked quickly.
"Twenty," Spencer said quickly. "There is no learning curve and the cooling period varies, as if in every town he had ever been he had to take a victim.
"Narcissistic sociopath with sadistic tendencies. That one won't go down easily," Dave sighed.
"Or he will," Kate muttered.
"He has a gun and he is a good shooter," Ashley pointed out. "Ninety is quite good record."
"He is not the only person in the building with a gun," Kate pointed out. "About eighty-five percents of FBI employees in Quantico are licensed to carry a gun. What I'm saying is blitz attack with fast acting subduing medicine… Haldol usually works."
"Spencer?" Dave looked pointedly at him.
"Wolfenstein is sidelined on crutches and at desk job," Spencer mussed. "I would prefer to have strong evidence before the arrest rather than profile alone, I'm hoping that he had left something behind here and Hotch and Morgan are still in Indianapolis and it's already dark."
"Dump-side tomorrow in the morning," Dave nodded. "Kate you done with processing?"
"Almost, I'm a doctor not a blitz scanner," Kate sighed. "And one that is not blitz scanning actually… Would you stop announcing that your lamp is overheated for next five minutes?" she glared at the scanner.
"Did you try scanning the photographs in groups?" Ashley offered.
"That's what I had been doing, I'm scanning everything by towns and dates," Kate said pointedly.
"Dave, Ashley, Wolfenstein had been very active," Spencer said pointedly. "That's a lot of data to proceed."
"And we have the letters to scan too," Kate muttered. "Do we have backup scanner in the car?"
"The downside of separating the team is that you are separating backup equipment too," Dave muttered. "Aaron and Derek have the other scanner with them."
"Coffee break," Kate muttered. "Scanner went on strike."
"Photographs?" Spencer asked.
"All except these six," Kate snorted as she opened the scanner and handed the photographs to him.
"They will be all proceed for evidence anyway," Spencer said as he pulled evidence bag out of one of the carriers and stamped it with the label and wrote 'Not Digitally Proceed'. "Early night, early start, we are hitting the dump-side when the sun will raise."
"I saw decently looking motel not so far away," Dave said quickly.
"It has incredibly funky plumbing system," Gideon said suddenly.
"We slept in worse places," Spencer shrugged.
"I have two guest bedrooms upstairs," Gideon said quickly.
"Funky plumbing won't be a problem, I saw a motel just outside Enterprise too," Spencer said stiffly.
"Please, Spencer," Gideon said quietly. "That's probably the only thing I can do for you now. Offer you food and a place to sleep."
"Supervisory Special Agent Reid and we will be fine at the motel, Gideon," Spencer spoke as he stood up, he put strong emphasis on his own title as well as Gideon's surname.
Something akin to pain had passed through Gideon's eyes but Spencer had decided that he had done nothing to feel guilty about saying things that pained Gideon. God help him, let him feel the minimal dose of pain he had caused to them, to him, when he left without nothing more than one letter.
"Don't let it eat you," Kate said softly. "Because if you will let that anger and resentment you feel towards Gideon control your head the cravings for sure will return."
"I'm not forgiving Gideon," Spencer barked at her.
"I'm not asking you to forgive him," Kate looked up from the screen up at him and straight into his eyes. "I know that forgiveness cannot be given fully if it wasn't earned. It wasn't. What I'm asking you, Spencer, is to be a better man than Jason Gideon. If not for yourself, then do it for me. Because I know that you are a better man, Spencer."
"I will do this but only because you asked me to, Kate," he said quietly.
They spoke this in Esperanto, a language they both knew but the other three did not, at least Spencer was strongly convinced that they didn't. Gideon didn't know it for sure when he left and it didn't seem that Esperanto would be something he picked during his hiding.
"We will take you upon your offer, Gideon," Spencer switched to English. "But only because we had a very long and tiring day. Don't read too much into it. You two okay with that?" Spencer looked at Dave and Ashley.
"I'll be fine," Dave shrugged. "And I really slept in worse places and company."
"I do remember that," Spencer rolled his eyes. "Broken SUV in Maine, spotty signal and where we got stuck no signal whatsoever for at least five miles, middle of the night and it rained like crazy. Threats of bodily harm and gagging had been involved and until today Hotch still cannot understand how it took three men ten hours to repair the engine enough to get the SUV to the nearest town," he explained to the girls.
"Because our doctor of mechanical engineering after a hour of poking and prodding had declared that statistically after the hour of standing like a beanpole outside in heavy rain his risk of developing pneumonia was increasing by every minute in opposite to the chance of getting that infernal car to even cough," Dave snorted. "Then he proceed to tell us a ghost story about a man who had been eaten by an unknown creature in the same forest we happened to be stranded."
"I got bronchit because of that," Spencer snorted.
"And a black eye because Derek thought that you were the creature and whacked you right away," Dave said dryly.
"I was stuck for over an hour in cold, pouring rain and I wasn't even supposed to sneeze?" Spencer protested. "Jeez, thanks, Dave."
"You're welcome, Spencer," Dave smirked.
"What about existentialism?" Ashley asked curiously. "You gripped the steering-wheel very tightly then."
"Apparently I have very quirky sense of humor and not many people understand it," Spencer rolled his eyes. "Ask Dave about the story, I'm going for the go-bags. Coming, Kate?"
"Sure," Kate nodded.
There was something incredibly disturbing when he realized that Spencer let Rossi and his rookie to interview him. It wasn't even a real interview, more like a series of pointless questions about his life here, about his friends here, about Steven and his family. It was just an excuse to keep him away from Spencer and his rookie. And as much as it angered him to be busied around in his own home and by David Rossi no less he went along with it because he knew that his peace was at stake.
Realization that his own student, a friend whom he had trusted for years could be responsible for deaths of fifty-nine women and his own daughter on that… It chocked him and made the guilt surge even higher. He was useless piece of shit, he was a fucking profiler and he had all clues under his very nose and it took two geniuses to figure out that a man he trusted was sadistic, narcissistic sociopath.
He should have seen it coming but he didn't.
It was the ridding guilt that made him offer them dinner and a place to stay the night even if deep down he knew that they wouldn't take it. Rossi certainly for the sake of principals, Spencer… he knew that Spencer would be angry with him when he left and that their first meeting afterwards won't be easy. At some level he expected this behavior from Spencer but he still offered.
Then he heard and observed the conversation in a language he didn't know. Heard his name being mentioned thrice, once fully, heard the girl speak Spencer's name twice. What he didn't understand in words was evident in voices and body language.
Spencer, angry barking voice at first, heavy with emotion. Then suddenly calm and collected, very controlled and hinted with riding emotions. Hands crossed over his chest, eyes narrowed at first, then slowly opening wider, calming down.
The girl, quiet and controlled voice, at some point even pleading. Body language open, eyes big and most probably pleading.
There was no question who was in control during the conversation. Whatever was spoken between them in the language only the two of them understood was something… something precious.
When the two of them left the room to pick the go-bags from the car he heard Rossi speaking.
"Kate is right," Rossi sighed. "He is certainly a better man. And he is lucky enough to have a very intelligent woman to remind him of that by his side."
"What was that?" Rossi's rookie, Seaver asked curiously.
"Esperanto," Rossi said simply. "I grew bored during retirement and Esperanto was something I picked after I broke a leg while skiing in the early days. I never had a chance to use it and those two had thought that no one would understand them. Don't tell them that, Ashley."
"Okay," the girl nodded. "Because it's better to have them convinced that no one understands them when they use Esperanto."
"Because part of evaluation between probationary agent and the rookie is observing their relationship. How can you evaluate something when you don't understand half of the things they are saying?" Rossi winked at Seaver. "It was a very enlightening exchange indeed. Morgan's fears were just that, fears, they will be fine. Now about the rooms upstairs could you give any specifics?"
"One double," Jason said slowly. "The other room has a bunk bed for the boys."
"I'm not playing enie miny miny," Spencer snorted as he entered the sitting room.
"We aren't," Rossi said dryly. "Girls will take double bed, we will take the bunk and you are going up."
"Because you don't want to explain to Hotch how I got low grade concussion because you rather explain how I managed to break a leg?" Spencer snorted. "Don't worry, your secret is safe with me."
"If you talk about it it's not much of a secret you know," Cameron smiled lightly.
"It's not really much of a secret by now," Seaver smiled too.
"Meh," Rossi snorted. "Kids these days no respect for elders. If you will start talking in your sleep SAC or no SAC I will smoother you with your own pillow," he glared at Spencer.
"Six letter word for pretending, starts with 'f'," Spencer quipped.
"Façade," Cameron smirked.
"What you want in your obituary, Spencer?" Rossi smirked.
"Died from old age," Spencer smirked.
"I will find the linens for you and I will start the supper," Jason said.
The stronger always succeeds.
Next: The confrontation heavily laden with guilty and anger (guess who is who).