A/N: Hey there. :D I've been watching Criminal Minds recently and couldn't get this idea out of my head. It's been hanging around, demanding to be written, so I decided to comply and churned this out in a couple of hours. It's definitely not my best work but I just wanted rid of the plot-bunny; so here it is, for your enjoyment. ^_^ I also tried to get my American right; I'm from the UK so a few errors might have slipped in.
Also, if I get enough reviews, I might continue it; the idea definitely has potential. Anyway, enjoy and please leave a review!
Disclaimer: Criminal Minds – it is not mine. Not even Dr. Spencer Reid. *sigh* ...Oh, and Harry Potter doesn't belong to me either.
Chapter One: When Lines Converge
Reid rose from his crouch, having finished examining the body. The young woman was blonde and attractive; her brown eyes stared sightlessly at the night sky, frozen in an expression of terror.
"Pretty sick bastard, to have done this, huh?" Morgan stood next to him, grimacing.
"I think that's an understatement," murmured Reid, his gaze drawn unwillingly once more to the mutilated corpse.
Around them, the scene buzzed with activity. Gideon and Hotch were talking to a shivering woman – though from whether it was from the cold or fear, it was hard to tell. She was a prostitute who had discovered the body and she looked almost as terrified as the victim. Prentiss was deep in conversation with the police officer in charge, while his subordinates documented the area around the corpse. The familiar yellow-and-black crime scene tape fluttered in the breeze, holding back the curious gawkers who were milling about on the sidewalk and craning their necks to see down the alley, trying to catch a glimpse of the body.
"I'm going to see if JJ needs any help." Morgan jogged over to where the harassed agent was trying to dissuade the bystanders from their morbid curiosity.
Reid took a deep breath, drawing the cold night air into his lungs in an attempt to banish the lingering smell of blood with a pleasanter scent. It didn't work. In the city centre, the dominant smell was gas fumes; only marginally better than blood.
The young genius' unfocused stare drifted across the curious pedestrians, absent-mindedly profiling them – then his gaze sharpened and he focused intently on the one person whose appearance jumped out at him.
Across the road, in the shadows of the mouth of an alley, a young man leant against the brick wall. To the casual observer, his demeanour was relaxed and mildly interested – but to a profiler, there was a subtle, underlying tension visible in his stance. He wore black sneakers, navy-blue jeans and a long-sleeved, black T-shirt; all of which fit him like a glove and showed off a lean, muscular body. He was tall and handsome, with messy, raven-black hair and quietly intense green eyes, which watched the scene with an unreadable stare.
Reid gaped in astonishment, hardly able to believe their luck. He opened his mouth to speak, to call out to the team, when the young man's gaze suddenly snagged on his. The brilliant green eyes widened slightly, startled; then he turned and melted into the shadows of the alley.
"No!" Reid sped forward instinctively, swerving around Morgan and JJ, and rushing past the inquisitive bystanders.
"Reid! What is it?" He heard Morgan's shout as he darted across the road. The boy genius paused briefly to call over his shoulder, "I think the Unsub just went down that alley!"
The Previous Day...
"... there have been eleven victims in the past two weeks, all of them female, between the ages of fifteen and twenty-five," JJ informed the team, clicking her remote. The six agents sat around the round table, watching the pictures of the dead young women flashing up on the screen, one after the other.
"Clearly a highly prolific serial killer; a sadistic one judging by the bodies –" The images aligned themselves on the board; every single woman was covered in a multitude of lacerations, etched into their skin with surgical precision. "– and he is also sexually motivated, as the victims show evidence of having been raped."
"The wounds are shallow and designed to inflict the maximum amount of pain," Gideon pointed out, his dark eyes unfathomable as he examined the pictures.
"So this creep probably gets off on their pain – and their fear too, most likely," concluded Morgan with disgust.
"The cuts are also clean and sharp; no ragged edges, so no hesitation from our Unsub," Reid commented. "He's very certain that he wants to kill them."
"There's something else you should know." JJ pressed a button, and eleven snapshots filled the screen.
"'Mudblood'?" questioned Prentiss softly, her eyes filled with revulsion. Gideon leaned forward, his gaze intensifying. The images showed the word 'Mudblood' had been carved into the skin of each of the victims' forearms.
"Mud...dirt? Dirty blood? Is there a racial motive here?" Morgan quickly made the leap in logic.
Hotch shook his head. "I don't think so. Look at the pictures – the women range in race. The killer isn't discriminatory that way. Apart from age and sex, there's no apparent physical link."
"You're missing the most intriguing aspect," Gideon murmured. "JJ, would I be correct in saying that the word is, in fact, in the victim's own handwriting?"
"Yes." JJ looked revolted. "It would appear that the Unsub made them carve it into their own skin."
"That would also explain the variation," Gideon nodded.
"Variation?" questioned Prentiss.
"Ah, if you look closer, the particular forearm which has been mutilated varies from victim to victim," Reid explained. "If the killer wrote it, he would stick to the same arm, but if the women themselves wrote the word, then it would change depending on whether they were left or right-handed. However, the thing that doesn't make sense about that particular theory is that 'Mudblood' is written with such clean precision."
"What do you mean?" Morgan asked.
"Could you cut a word into your skin so neatly?" Gideon looked at him. "The writing should be a lot shakier, and the wound a great deal messier, if the women were forced to write it. However, apart from that one detail, the theory makes sense."
There was silence for a few minutes as the team absorbed the new information. Then Gideon nodded, apparently having made a decision. "So, based on our evidence so far, the Unsub is mostly likely a male between the ages of seventeen and thirty. He is probably handsome, confident – and charming enough to persuade the women to accompany him, either on a date or to a secluded area. The lack of blood at the crime scene indicates that they were killed elsewhere and then were simply dumped in various locations around the city centre. It makes sense, considering that evidence also shows they were raped and that they died slowly, suggesting that he lingered over the kill in order to prolong their pain – both of which the Unsub probably preferred privacy for."
"This guy is one sick bastard," Morgan muttered, shaking his head.
"Ah, there's something I forgot to mention," JJ said apologetically. "Witnesses report sightings of a young man – apparently the same one – near several of the crime scenes. They say he was just watching what was going on, like the rest of them, but that he stood apart from the rest of the crowd. Physical description is sketchy but consistent; they all say he was tall, attractive and had black hair. Only one person was close enough to notice that he had bright, distinctive green eyes."
"Think this guy is our Unsub?" Morgan cast a glance at Gideon, looking ready to leap into action instantly.
The older agent nodded thoughtfully. "It's a definitive possibility. Revisiting the crime scene to relive the memory is consistent with the profile. He may also try to insert himself into the investigation; we'll have to be ready if he does." He appeared lost in thought for a few more moments, and then looked at JJ. "Have Garcia run a search; cross-reference the physical description with the sex offenders register. It's possible that murder is merely an escalation of previous sex crimes. Also, the Unsub may have a personal hatred of women; one, most likely his mother, set a bad example – perhaps by committing adultery and consequently destroying his family at a young age. 'Mudblood' might refer to the fact that he regards women as 'dirty' – or as lesser beings."
JJ nodded and whipped out her cell phone. Gideon looked at the other members of the B.A.U. "The rest of you – the plane leaves in half an hour. Get your things together. We have a serial killer to catch."
Reid sprinted into the alley, unhooking his gun as he ran. As his eyes adjusted to the gloom, he saw that alley itself was completely empty apart from a few trashcans and stray pieces of litter. The suspect had just reached the end of the narrow passageway and disappeared through a door into the interior of the adjoining building.
Reid slowed as he reached the door and then carefully nudged it open a little wider. His brain was only just catching up with his impulsive actions and now urged caution; he could hear the shouts of the rest of the B.A.U. team approaching but that was no reason to rush in and get himself killed.
Then Reid's eyes widened in surprise as the inside of the building became visible. It was an old movie theatre, ancient and run-down. The seats were red velvet – once plush and luxurious, now just threadbare and worn. One functioning spotlight still shone brilliantly, illuminating centre-stage. The harsh light was not kind to the old scenery – the paint was revealed as cracked and faded, the backdrop dangled sadly from one hook, and the curtains were filthy and moth-eaten.
However, Reid's attention was drawn to a door on the far side of the stage. Golden light spilled from underneath it. The agent crept stealthily across the room, threading his way through the rows of seats and up the stairs at the side of the stage. He pressed an ear to the door and listened intently.
"...Ron, he's not stupid. He's not going stick around." The muffled voice sent a thrill of triumph shooting through Reid – then he realised belatedly that it was a woman speaking.
"I thought you said that he was mad, though?" The second voice was undoubtedly male and held a hint of uncertainty. Two Unsubs? A team?
"There's a difference between stupid and mad," a third voice joined in, also male.
Three Unsubs? That's pretty rare. Partnerships usually only consist of two; a dominant and a submissive. Not to mention that one is a women! And who is this 'he' they speak of? Reid's highly capable mind whirred frantically, juggling the pieces of the puzzle in an attempt to create a coherent picture.
"Besides, he's cunning in his madness," the female voice spoke. She sounded wearily exasperated. "If we want to find him, we're going to have to get creative."
"Well, the sooner the better. This bastard's going to Azkaban and getting the Dementor's Kiss if I have anything to say about it." The third voice was dark with anger.
Azkaban? Dementor's Kiss? Reid's brain searched for a reference in his internal database. Is that code for something? It almost sounds as if they are looking for the Unsub...
Silence fell for a few moments. Reid listened, his heart beating loud in his ears.
It was broken by a sigh. Then the female voice spoke again. "Ron, can you go and find Ginny? We need to re-group and she ought to have finished by now."
"Will do." The next second, a deafening crack echoed through the door. Reid fell back, unable to suppress a startled yelp at the noise.
"What was that?" The young genius struggled back into a sitting position as the sound of footsteps came from the other side of the door. He swung his gun up as the door creaked open. "Oh!"
A pretty girl of about nineteen looked down at him in surprise. She had a mane of brown curls and deep chocolate eyes; her crimson cashmere sweater and black jeans contrasted vividly against her pale skin. Behind her stood the raven-haired young man Reid had originally followed. Up close, he looked about the same age as the girl, no older than nineteen.
However, Reid's brain merely registered all these details automatically. What truly captured his attention was the objects they both held in their hands; long, slender pieces of wood that glowed at the tip with a subtle, yet somehow brilliant, white light. It illuminated the darkest corners of the old theatre.
Magic wands. The thought that came to the forefront of his mind immediately was absurd, unthinkable; Reid rejected it instantly as impossible. It was merely image association that caused him to make that connection. But yet...his disbelieving gaze then came to rest on what was behind the two young people. A lantern that radiated warm, golden light – and it was floating in mid-air. Reid's brain stalled.
"Oops," murmured the girl, casting a glance at the lantern and then at the wood in her hand.
"I'll take care of it. You go on." The boy stepped forward, looking weary but resigned. She nodded, turned on her heel – and vanished, accompanied by a quiet pop.
Reid's mind flailed under the sheer impossibility of what he had just seen; only to be pushed aside by a sudden burst of alarm as he noticed the young man pointing the wand directly been his eyes. Didn't he say he that he would 'take care of it'? 'It' being me?
"Sorry about this." The teenager did look genuinely apologetic. "Muggles aren't allowed to know about us, you see. It's against the rules."
Reid swallowed and tightened his finger on the trigger of his gun. Realisation flicked in the young man's green eyes. "Oh, I'm not going to kill you. Even if it was necessary... well, I've seen enough death to last me a lifetime." The last sentence was added in an undertone, laced with bitterness and grief. "I'll just make you forget what you saw."
Curiosity surfaced in Reid, despite the situation. His brain was still floundering under the impossible things he had witnessed but his interest was piqued by the strange teenager in front of him. "Who are you?"
A smile tugged at the young man's mouth. "Harry." He replied simply. "Just Harry." His smile turned apologetic again. "I really am sorry about this."
Reid found himself staring down the length of what he was increasingly inclined believe was a genuine magic wand. He could hear the sounds of his fellow B.A.U. members; by the volume, they were almost directly outside the door to the theatre. He looked up into brilliant green eyes and was momentarily stunned by the depth within them; they were the eyes of a man much older than nineteen. A man who had seen too much. They were filled with the echoes of old grief, loss, and despair – but also the strength, wisdom and maturity gained from such things. Currently, they radiated regret.
There was a bright flash of light and something warm rushed over Reid. Then, for the first time in his life, his mind went completely and utterly blank.
A/N: Remember to review! Thanks. ^_^