I'm a bit nervous about this one. At the same time, I'm quite proud of it. I'm a bit of a recent fan so I've never yet written for Criminal Minds before. I'm hoping that I did okay with Reid's character here. I tried my best. Just testing out the waters before I try something more exquisite. I couldn't help but notice how similar Reid's character was with Sweets' character though. Both young geniuses and profilers for the FBI, for one. They're my favorite characters so I thought I'd try putting them together and seeing what was made of it. Contains some spoilers for the Bones on the Blue Line, takes place during Bones season 5, but that's about it.
Disclaimer: I don't own Bones or Criminal Minds. I wish I did, though. I already added it to my list for Santa.
October 19th, 2011.
As the the train slowed to a stop in front of him, he smiled. For a fleeting moment there he'd almost expected to miss it. It wasn't his fault, though, that he was let out of work a little later than planned. And it was definitely not his fault that on his way to the station, he'd been stopped by two confused tourists asking for directions. He usually didn't mind minor disruptions like that, didn't mind if he had to catch the next train, but today he was too tired to even want to breathe, let alone explain to some Floridians where to catch the Circulator.
He waited patiently for the doors to open, the robotic voice to speak (Doors opening, step back to allow customers to exit. When boarding, please move to the center of the car.) and took a cautious step in. Today had been the first time in over two months that he'd ridden the Metro to work. Nobody could blame him, of course, because the last time he had gotten a ride on the Metro, there had been an earthquake; and not only an earthquake but a water main break, a skeleton brushing up against the flimsy window in a raging river of angry water, and a young cancer survivor dying right in his arms. No, that definitely seemed like a good excuse to be wary of public transportation for a while. He needn't explain more.
Though he knew his anxieties were justifiable, he figured that he should face his fear and not let it consume his life. He'd ridden the Metro occasionally, when he wasn't looking forward to dealing with DC traffic, something that nobody could care for. It was convenient for him to walk a block or two to the station from his apartment, board the train and get off a block or two away from work. He didn't waste gas and he got a little exercise. The ability to people watch on the train was just a plus.
Have to do it sooner or later, he'd told himself that morning. Otherwise, I'll be paying twice as much for gas than I used to. I can't afford that. Not even the president can afford that.
He braced himself, grabbed his jacket for the rain, and forced himself onto the train despite the way it made his heart flutter and his head dizzy. There was a moment when he contemplated walking off, the sight of those seats and the pole in which his happy acquaintance had fatally injured his head becoming to him quite intimidating, overwhelming, and at that moment, simply too much. Before he could maneuver through the people behind him and exit, the doors had shut and the train had taken off towards its next destination. It had taken him a few moments to find a seat and compose himself, not wanting to panic and cause a scene amidst the strangers on board. He found, though, that the uncomfortable feelings had dissipated after a few minutes and the ride hadn't been that bad, for which he was extremely grateful.
Which led him here, once again boarding the train at the Federal Triangle station a few blocks from the J. Edgar Hoover building in which he worked, and having a seat beside another young man who simply gave him an awkward smile in acknowledgment and looked away. Apparently he wasn't up for conversation. Either that, or he was, like Sweets, rather too distracted to care.
Finally, Sweets thought as he got himself somewhat comfortable in his seat. I'm so glad that I can finally unwind.
The case that past week had been very long, very stressful. There had been two young bodies found in the woods in a nearby town in Virginia, belonging to two boys, ages six and eight. Brothers. They'd been taken from the bus stop while waiting for their school bus to pick them up and take them to their classes. They'd been missing for weeks. Their bodies were found mutilated beyond recognition. They'd had their heads bashed in with their killer's baseball bat, tortured, left alone to die. It had been one of the most gruesome cases they'd had to solve in months and Sweets was more than glad that they'd managed to catch the murderer, incarcerate him and give the family some long-awaited justice. Though their wounds would not heal so soon, Sweets knew that knowing that the monster who'd done such atrocities to their sons was no longer able to hurt anyone else, the parents could finally get a good night's rest. One that Sweets was looking forward to getting, as well.
Instead of heading straight home, though, Sweets found himself headed in the opposite direction, on his way to a bar that Hodgins and Angela had suggested they try, since they'd made a comfortable habit of heading to the Founding Fathers Bar and Grill whenever they yearned for a drink. It wouldn't hurt to try some place new, Sweets agreed. After meeting up at the Founding Fathers numerous times during the past few weeks, they could all use a fresh place to unwind at, and Hodgins and Angela had apparently found the perfect place.
As he tiredly leaned back in his seat, Sweets contemplated the long day at work. None of them had gotten much sleep since the case had started, and he was looking forward to the weekend more and more. Seeing as it was still only Wednesday, he had a few more days to go. He figured though that since the case had been solved, the rest of the week could be spent finishing up the paperwork he was behind on and meeting with a few of his patients as expected. He was just glad the stress of finding the brutal killer was over. He would rest easy tonight knowing he had helped put another bad man behind bars.
I hope I don't get there too late, Sweets mused as he reached into his pocket to pull out his phone and check the time. It would take him a while to get to the right station, then walk to the bar and restaurant that the couple had picked out for them that evening. Sweets was looking forward to having a celebratory drink and some delicious, preferably greasy, food seeing as how he'd had to skip lunch in order to finish working up a profile and helping with an interrogation. He frowned, though, with exhausted realization that his phone was not in his pocket. In fact, the phone wasn't anywhere on his person.
Are you kidding me? He groaned, trying once more to locate it. No luck. Of course I forget my phone at the office! That's just great. What else can go wrong?
Sweets was suddenly struck with thoughts he did not like. A lot could go wrong, he told himself. Like derailing or having yet another person die in his arms. The memories from two months ago were still so raw, and he still found himself having dreams about the boy on the subway. He hadn't known him for more than a minute but he couldn't help but identify with the kid. Losing his life when he'd just found out that he'd beaten cancer was an unfortunate coincidence, and it had taken Sweets a few days to process the traumas he'd experienced.
He quickly glanced to the person beside him, and briefly considered the thought that he would be next. It was an awful idea, he knew, and he was glad that the young man could not hear his thoughts. There was no telling just how he would react.
Feeling eyes on him, the young man in the purple scarf turned and gave Sweets a perplexed look. He was not generally used to someone trying to strike up conversation with him; at least, that's what he deducted was about to happen. The very idea was counfounding to him, being as he had never really been much of a people-person. It hadn't so much been that he hated people, either, it was just that he'd always found socialization a bit difficult. He had always been different from the other kids while growing up and had never been truly accepted. He'd never truly learned how to relate to others in a way that they could understand. He liked having conversations but a lot of the time he found people ending their talk as quickly as they could, not being able to keep up with his endless spiels of random information. They had often assumed he had been trying to show off his intelligence, though the truth was that he had only been trying to share information in which he actually found interesting.
Finally seeing that the man beside him had noticed his gaze, Sweets cleared his throat and tried to shake the disturbing images from his head. This was not a time to think about death. It was time to rest his mind, forget those pictures of those mangled bodies once belonging to living children, and have a good time. He needed to distract himself.
"Uh, I'm sorry. Do you have the time? I seem to have forgotten my phone in my office."
The man glanced at his watch and looked up. "It's 5:56."
The man nodded. He kept his gaze for only a second longer before turning his attention elsewhere. Sweets noted with intrigue that the man had been carrying a book with him, one that he'd just flipped open and began to read. Judging from the cover, it was not a book he would find most people reading by choice, unless of course they were taking a literature class. The man was definitely young enough looking to be in college, but Sweets knew that that particular detail wasn't important. What was important, though, was just how quick the man was reading. Sweets decided that the only way the man could actually be reading that quickly meant that he had been skimming through, though it didn't seem that he gave himself nearly enough time to focus, let alone retain any of the information he had just read. It was unhuman.
Is he serious? Sweets wondered, nosily. There's no way that a person can read that fast and still understand what they're reading. And definitely not Shakespeare. It's just not possible.
He didn't mean to interrupt, but there was no way that he could let the man continue the way he was. The curiosity was just too much for him to handle. He had to know.
"Can you really read that fast?" he asked.
The man broke concentration and turned to Sweets with a hesitant look. "Yes."
Sweets had to fight the urge to laugh. He didn't mean to be rude but he'd never seen any one in his life read so velocious. It didn't seem possible. The man's eyes had danced across the lines in the book as if his life depended on it. Sweets was almost sure that it had been an act. There was just no way it could be the true.
"No way! Really?"
"Yes," the man answered easily. "I can read that fast."
The answer sounded so genuine to Sweets that he frowned. "You're serious? That's gotta be like ten million words per second. That's not even possible."
"No, it's not possible," the man said with a nod. "But I can read 20,000 words per minute."
"20,000 words per minute. Really?"
"Yes," the man confirmed.
Sweets released a thoughtful sigh and looked away. He was a psychologist, a profiler, he'd been trained to see the signs when someone was lying. He was pretty damn good at his job, too, being that he'd been among one of the youngest people to ever be employed by the Bureau in its history. There was no reason to believe that the man had been lying, but still, Sweets found it hard to believe. It just didn't seem normal.
"Wow," he exhaled. "That's...a lot of words per minute."
"Actually, the average American adult reads prose text at about 250 to 300 words per minute. With the use of rapid serial visual presentation, the speeds can quickly exceed 400 words and reach even 800 words per minute, after an hour of practice," the man explained easily. "Comprehension speeds have been assessed at 400 words per minute for full comprehension, and research has shown that speed reading at 600 words per minute can achieve about 70 percent comprehension, while 50 percent comprehension is shown to be achieved at about 100 words per minute."
It took a moment for the newly acquired information to register in Sweets' head, though he was certain he had only caught half of what was said, being caught off guard by the other man's sudden statistical lecture. He had obviously not been expecting it.
"So, 300 words per minute compared to 20,000 words per minute," the psychologist mulled over slowly. "Wow, over 19,000 words more than the average person, huh. That's got to be a record, isn't it? That's like, I don't know, more than fifty times than average?"
"It's actually more like 66.666 times more than average."
Sweets blinked. "And you can actually, like, remember what you just read?"
"I have an eidetic memory," the young man explained, shutting the book in his lap and placing it beside him. "It's more commonly referred to as a photographic memory. I can remember pretty much anything I read."
"Wow. No kidding," Sweets expressed, rhetorically.
"I'm not kidding," the man assured him. "While eidetic memories are quite rare in the adult population, research finds that perhaps 2-15 percent of children may possess eidetic memory. In fact, there was a study by a man named Ralph Haber in 1964, in which 500 elementary school age children were screened, and as many as 50 percent of those children were found to possess eidetic memory. Additionally, geriatric populations also demonstrate a higher frequency of eidetic imagery amongst over things. It's actually quite interesting."
Sweets was seriously contemplating how in the world the young man could speak so much, so quickly, without having to stop for air. Definitely not an average guy, he mused. Definitely not average at all.
Knowing that he had gone into one of his random spiels again, the young man looked away. Too many times he had let himself get carried away with his facts, and too many times it had been the cause for uncomfortable situations. He always tried to be aware of when he was speaking too much, but his rambling was something that he had difficulty controlling. He thought the information was interesting and he hoped that the man sitting next to him thought so, too, otherwise he had probably just managed to annoy him, like he did most other people.
"Sorry," he apologized, embarrassed.
"Oh, it's no problem," Sweets chuckled. "It's just a little hard to keep up with all that information. My brain apparently isn't quite as fast as yours is." Knowing that the man in the purple scarf was feeling a bit uncomfortable by the change in conversation, Sweets decided to get back on topic. He motioned to the book between them and smiled. "Othello, huh?"
"Yeah, uh," the man began. "I haven't read Shakespeare in a while. My mom, she uh, she used to read it to me when I was little. She taught literature. She read me Othello one time and I remember I just thought it was really interesting. I just thought that I'd read it again, for old time's sake."
"I'm actually headed to the Folger Shakespeare Library right now," the man in the purple scarf said. "There's this free tour I'm going to check out, it's docent-led. It's called Mainfold Greatness: The Creation and Afterlife of the King James Bible. I thought I would check it out since it's free of cost, and it's right before the performance of Othello."
"Oh, you're seeing Othello?" Sweets asked, genuinely interested. He was a fan himself.
"Yeah, I've seen it before but that was years ago," the man answered.
"You know, I've never been to the Folger Shakespeare Library. I think maybe I'll have to check it out, though. It sounds pretty cool. I'm a fan of Shakespeare, myself."
The man with the purple scarf thought this would be a good time to share some Shakespearean knowledge. "Did you know that it is believed that Shakespeare was about 46 years old around the time that the King James version of the Bible was written? And in Psalms 46, the 46th word from the first word is 'shake' and the 46th word from the last word is 'spear'".
"I...did not know that," Sweets replied, slowly. "But good to know."
"By tradition, it's been generally supposed that Shakespeare was born on the 23rd of April in 1564, as well it's been regarded as the day of his death in 1616, when he was 52 years old. Although Shakespeare was actually born under the old Julian calendar, not the current Gregorian calendar that was created in 1582 and adopted in England in 1751. Actually, April 23rd during Shakespeare's lifetime would be more like May 3rd on today's calendar," the man with the purple scarf shared. "April 23rd is also Saint George's Day, the national day of England."
"..." Sweets blinked, "Yeah, I didn't know that either."
"Also, in Shakespeare's time, theatres had no curtains and used little or no scenery during plays. Playwrights actually described the setting within the text of the performance."
Sweets was really begining to wonder if the man with the purple scarf even required breathing to live. He was speaking so much, so fast, it seemed like there was never a second to get a breath of air in before he was spouting out more facts. Sweets wasn't sure how someone could remember all this, but he supposed it was thanks to the man's eidetic memory. He was absolutely amazing, and Sweets couldn't help but want to take a look at a scan of his brain, to see what was actually up there. He could tell already that the man with the purple scarf had a brilliant mind.
"Wow. You sure know your stuff."
"I think Shakespeare is fascinating," the man answered.
Shakespeare isn't the only thing that's fascinating here, Sweets mused. Is this guy for real? I mean, I know some people have really good memories but this is just crazy. His IQ must be as high as Albert Einstein's, if not higher. Pfft, and I thought I was smart.
"So, are you like in college or something?" Sweets asked. "Or a teacher?"
"No, I'm a profiler," the man replied.
Sweets blinked, surprised at the man's answer. He was really beginning to like this guy. If everything he'd been saying was true, then that meant that they were both in similar fields of psychology. Knowing that there was someone in the area who was just as fascinated by knowing things as he did made Sweets excited.
"Really?" Sweets wondered, amazed. "I'm a profiler too!"
"Yeah! I work with the FBI," Sweets answered eagerly. "I'm a psychologist but I do profiling work, too. I have been for years."
Now it was the man with the purple scarf's turn to look surprised. "You work with the FBI?"
There was a nod.
The man with the purple scarf could not believe it. The odds were just so unlikely. He could think up the statistics of how likely it was for his newly found friend to be a profiler like himself, but he was too preoccupied with finding out how come he'd never seen the young man before. "I work with the FBI, too."
"You're kidding! Really?"
"Yeah, I work with the Behavioral Analysis Unit at Quantico," the man with the purple scarf answered.
"Oh," Sweets nodded. "I work at the Hoover."
"That's probably why we've never run into eachother before," the man determined.
"Yeah, probably," Sweets agreed. He shook his head and smiled, amused. "It's kind of crazy though, huh? I mean, you're a profiler, I'm a profiler, we're both employed by the Bureau. What are the chances of that happening? I was not expecting that at all."
"The chances of that happening again soon are relatively slim," the man with the purple scarf answered.
"I thought so," Sweets laughed.
"Did you just get off from work, then?" The man asked him, interested. "I noticed you got on at Federal Triangle."
"Yeah, I just got off work," the psychologist nodded. "Actually, I'm on my way to meet some friends at a bar. We just finished solving a case earlier today and we all could use some unwinding. You know how that is, right? You work on cases, too."
"My team and I do solve cases," the man with the purple scarf nodded. "Sometimes a drink is all you want after a long day of work. Although, I don't really like the taste of beer. I'm not a big drinker. I prefer coffee. I spend more money on coffee than I do on water and electric."
Sweets laughed. "Well, that makes one of us."
"What station are you getting off?" The man asked suddenly.
"Uh, Eastern Market," Sweets replied, after a moment. "It's a few blocks away from the bar that my friends want me to meet them at. Usually we go to the Founding Fathers, I don't know if you know of that one."
The man nodded. "Founding Fathers, I've been there, once."
"Yeah, that's kind of our favorite spot to meet up," the young man shared. "That, and the Royal Diner. It's kind of tradition for us, really."
The man with the purple scarf suddenly looked down in deep thought, as if he were summoning the confidence to say something. After a moment, he glanced back at Sweets and shrugged. "I'm sorry, I know this might be kind of weird to ask but, uh..."
There was a shake of a head. "You know what, nevermind."
"Yeah, uh, I have to go anyway," the man with the purple scarf said, grabbing his book and pushing himself off of his seat. The train slowly halted to a stop. He turned to the kind stranger beside him and smiled. "This is my stop. It was really nice talking to you."
"Yeah, you too," Sweets agreed.
"Hey, maybe I'll see you around the FBI sometime," the man suggested. "Or at the bar or something. Maybe we'll even sit next to eachother on the subway again."
Sweets nodded. "Maybe."
"Okay, I guess I should go then."
Sweets glanced at the recently opened doors of the car and noted that he was only a stop away from where he was getting off, as well. The coincidence was funny to him. He turned back to his fellow profiler and smiled politely, knowing that he couldn't keep him, or else he would lose his chance of getting off at the right stop and have to walk even farther to the library.
"It was nice meeting you, again. Have fun at the library."
"Yeah, nice meeting you too," the man with the purple scarf nodded. "And thanks."
The men shared a small wave goodbye and the man with the purple scarf turned, ready to leave the car. However, just as he was about to step onto the platform, he turned, nearly crashing into an upset lady, and faced his acquaintance again.
"I'm sorry, what did you say your name was?"
"Sweets," the man repeated, storing it in his mind for later. "I'm Reid."
Oh, and by the way, I tried to make the details as precise as possible. It was actually raining on the 19th, and there was actually a performance of Othello that particular Wednesday night at the Folger Shakespeare Library. I'm a bit mad when it comes to things like this, I just wanted it to be as realistic as possible (in my crazy head, at least). Let me know what you thought of it, though, as I'm considering doing another. :)