Title: Hall of Mirrors
Warnings: For the whole story slash, profanity, psychological and physical torture, character death.
Summary: Hotch has noticed that Reid has been acting extremely strange for the last year or so but has been reluctant to interfere. However, when Reid's personality seems to completely disappear - being replaced only by monotone facts - he delves deeper and discovers that the man he's believed to be a teammate is actually an imposter. Where is the real Reid? And who would go to so much trouble to take him? Written for hotchxreid promptmeme and amy494walker.
Word count: ~... Long, I hazard a guess that it will be over 10 000 words long.
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.
Written for and dedicated to amy494walker.
Feedback is welcomed with open arms. Enjoy.
If something's not right, it's not right. You've got to trust your instincts.
Hall of Mirrors
Aaron wasn't sure when that thought passed through his mind for the first time he was only sure of that this insistent thought did pass through his mind and that it had been passing through his mind with intensified frequency.
Most probably the first time that thought passed through his mind was back when they were down in California's Angels National Forrest pursuing Chase Whitaker who had been drowning his victims.
At the time Aaron concentrated on solving the case and not at something that part of him had found odd later on. Reid spoke of Tobias Hankel and Reid never spoke of Tobias Hankel before, that didn't mean that he didn't spoke about everything that happened to him during his capture at all but when he did talk about what happened he always used certain key words.
For an instance he never spoke about Tobias Hankel as one person, he always spoke about each of Hankel's personality as if he was talking about three different people. Charles Hankel was Charles Hankel, Raphael was Raphael and Tobias Hankel was simply Tobias, always spoken softer than any other part of the sentence in which he brought up the name.
And once it happened for the first time soon Aaron had found other nuances that started bothering him when it came to Reid. His comment about the statistics regarding widowed men and stating that Aaron was refuting the data made Aaron wish that he could whack Reid across the head with the file he was holding. It was cold, detached, as if Reid wasn't working with them when Foyet lured Haley back into their old home, as if what happened hadn't affected him at all even though Aaron knew better and Aaron did know better.
Something was wrong, very wrong Aaron just didn't know what.
For a moment he thought that he had found the answer shortly after Emily told them that they forgot about Reid's birthday, privately she admitted to Aaron that it seemed to her that Reid was questioning working in BAU. They both agreed that perhaps it was a small crisis and that showing Reid more appreciation for his work would made him feel more confident about staying with them. It seemed to work, for a while.
Aaron didn't miss how for a moment after Emily made her jabbing comment how pissed Reid was about being interrupted and how he barely managed to swallow around his anger. He didn't miss either how Reid stiffened when Aaron gently knocked his arm on the flight back to DC.
Aaron and the rest of the team knew about Reid's aversion to being touched, at one point they speculated that it was one of Reid's autistic quirks until one time Reid practically chewed off Morgan, Whitaker and Klein in rapid succession before he admitted to Aaron, still hissing and spitting like a very pissed off cat, that what they wrote off as an autistic quirk was in fact peculiar case of mild germophobia which connected with Reid's observation skills nine times out of ten made him avoid physical contact with strangers because he simply could tell where their hands had been shortly before they were extended and to provide an example of that Reid informed Aaron of that time when Aaron shook a hand with a local sheriff who just moments before their arrival was jacking off in the bathroom and didn't wash his hands.
Reid germophobia however didn't extend on his teammates, not only because he knew where their hands had been but because they made managed to make avoidance of physical contact practically impossible to him and he simply had gotten used to being touched by them unexpectedly. Between Aaron, JJ, Morgan and later on Garcia Reid stood no chance against a squeezes on his shoulder, hands on his arm, pats on his back, ruffling his hair and one armed hugs. With time he even allowed himself to return them and Aaron could safely say that Reid was the only person who could place a hand on his arm and get away with it.
Reid never flinched from Aaron's touch before but then again aside of shaking his hand at his impromptu and very belated birthday party in January Aaron realized that he hadn't touched Reid for a longer while without giving any warning that he was going to do it. Back in January Reid had a little, but still enough, time to mentally prepare himself that he was going to be touched by the other members of the team.
Aaron's touch was unexpected and it wasn't welcomed.
Reid was always intensely private person, to certain extent he was a borderline paranoid personality, he guarded his privacy and for a longer while avoided discussing his issues in public but if the circumstances required of him to share something very personal with the other people he gave up his privacy without as much as a blink.
But in a span of last few months the one thing Reid was very good at sharing was his anger and his discomfort, with an occasional trifle detail here and there which at least one person on the team already knew about.
Even Reid's anger was alarming to certain extent. Aaron remembered that when Reid flew off the handle he did flee of the handle, spectacularly on that and come hell or high water he did not avoid a confrontation, he initiated it and held his ground until someone managed to redirect his anger elsewhere, usually it was Aaron and when Reid knew or happened to be convinced that he was right he had no problems with butting heads with Aaron.
Back in Durant Reid had no problems with taking out his anger over the deception on JJ and to a lesser extent Emily but he avoided confrontation with Aaron at all cost, he couldn't even bring himself to really look into Aaron's eyes and to a certain extent in passing months avoided making eye-contact with Aaron until it wasn't absolutely necessary.
But back in Durant and in few following weeks Reid acted as if he had a personality, slightly dimmed but still a personality of his own. Now the only thing that was really personal was Reid's anger when it surfaced and practically since middle January Reid withdrew himself so far that the only things he ended sharing with the rest of the team were facts and statistics.
There was only one, simple and brutal conclusion to Aaron's observation, Reid was no longer Reid Aaron knew and happened to care for and once Aaron realized that he found himself drowned under questions he had no answers for.
Did Reid happen to suffer from a preexisting medical condition that lead to personality change? Last year he seemed to be suffering from intense migraines. What was their origin? When they stopped? Why they stopped? Have they stopped at all or did Reid simply had gotten better with hiding them? Was Reid suffering from a brain tumor? Did he had a head injury which wasn't reported anywhere in his medical files? Had his greatest fear became true and he suffered from a schizophrenic break he had hidden really well by keeping himself medicated... That couldn't be it, Aaron would have noticed something relatively early if it happened. But migraines also happened to be symptoms of dissociative identity disorder and that was another of Reid's greatest fears since he was captured by Tobias Hankel...
The longer Aaron thought about it the more he realized that medical issues didn't add up to form a full picture.
There was another explanation but it was even more whacked off that the idea that Reid would be able to hide schizophrenic break or dissociative identity disorder from the team: Spencer Reid simply wasn't Spencer Reid, not anymore.
That was the thought that followed him all the way to Las Vegas for his expert witness testimony. He managed to suppress it long enough to give his testimony and prepare himself for heading back to DC when a thought had struck him.
He was in Vegas, he was in Reid's hometown and he knew where to find Reid's parents. He didn't expect to get the full picture but at this point any clue or lack of thereof would be more than he had now.
He had no problems with locating William Reid and under the pretense of wanting to finally meet the father of his youngest and brightest agents he convinced William Reid to share lunch-break with Aaron in his office.
"Spencer is most certainly one of a kind," Aaron said finally after buttering William Reid up to get him into sharing mood. "My direct supervisor sometimes regrets that he doesn't have any siblings..."
"So FBI could stake a claim on them too," William grimaced. "Technically Spencer does have siblings. Last year in March my second wife Kelly gave birth to our daughter Emily and in a matter of four to six weeks we are expecting the arrival of our son but I most certainly doubt that they would end growing into geniuses."
"You don't want them to?" Aaron asked innocently.
"It's not that Mr Hotchner," William shook his head. "I never deluded myself that Spencer's brilliancy came from my side of the family. Certain aspects of his appearance, yes. Hair color, eye color, body built and height, thought Spencer shares his height not with me but with my brothers and my father. However when it comes to his intellect Spencer never took after the Reids but after the Rosedale-Rozanovs, they might not have been geniuses themselves but amongst those I happened to meet I never found one with common interests and very common knowledge."
"That's interesting," Aaron said. "Rosedale-Rozanov? Not Rosdale and Rozanov?"
"Diana's father was Rosedale-Rozanov, whole family was back to either very early nineteenth century or late eighteenth century. I think that her mother was Ruzeckova my surname but I won't be putting any body parts on the line that I'm accurate because I never met her, I'd met the step-mother, Rodin by maiden name."
"Sounds like extended family," Aaron nodded. "Very big and close?"
"Close but not overly big despite the first glance" William shook his head. "Aaron, because that was Diana's father's name didn't have luck with male heirs at all. Diana had six younger brothers and she outlived all of them, the youngest died when Spencer was about five, he was also the last one and none of the older had lived long enough to marry and have children of their own."
"That's sad," Aaron admitted.
"It is," William agreed. "When I was younger and Diana's illness didn't hit with full force," he shook his head, "I had hopes but hoping for something doesn't mean that you are going to get it."
"I don't understand," Aaron frowned.
"One of the family traits running in Rosedale-Rozanov family aside from intellectual brilliancy was genetic predisposition to multi-births," William clarified. "Aaron himself had a twin brother and four other brothers, another set of twin brothers amongst them. Four of his six sons were twins too and I suspect, though I'm not completely sure that Diana might have a twin-sister that didn't survive birth."
"You were hoping for twins," Aaron nodded finally understanding what William was hoping for.
"I wasn't just hoping, Mr Hotchner," William grimaced. "Diana rationa... compartmentalized it in her own way and we both agreed to never bring the issue up with Spencer... It wouldn't change a thing and it would only hurt him more... Spencer wasn't our only child, he wasn't our first child either, what is most probably worse he wasn't our first child that we named Spencer. Four years before we had him when we were both in England Diana gave birth to our daughter, she was a stillborn, her grave is still in Oxford I think even though I hadn't visited her grave since we left England. The name is the same, Spencer Reid and later when she was pregnant with Spencer Diana didn't want to hear about any other name, it was supposed to be Spencer, end of story and don't you dare to argue with me or I will scratch your eyes out."
"The longer I think about it the more I think that Diana somehow rationalized the choice as a lucky charm of some sort, a blessing, some sort of protection because Spencer lived, he survived birth, infancy, childhood and made it fully into adulthood. Sherlock wasn't that lucky."
"Sherlock?" Aaron asked softly.
"Diana," William clarified. "I didn't argue because I liked it too and even if I didn't like it it wouldn't matter because one of the things we agreed on when we were getting married was that Diana would monopolize naming our children."
"And Sherlock was Spencer's twin brother," Aaron finished.
"Spencer was born first, he was very weak and the doctors were worried that he won't make it, they were also afraid that Sherlock wouldn't make it either," William sighed. "He didn't, they had taken him to neonatal surgery to fix his heart-defect, they tried... He died on the table, Spencer lived against all odds."
"Is this why you resented him?" Aaron couldn't help but find himself thinking that thought.
"After Spencer and Sherlock Diana didn't want to have any more children but after some persuasion she agreed to try one last time and never again," William admitted. "Stella was a stillborn like Spencer, our first daughter. It was hard but finally I accepted that perhaps that was the way things were supposed to be. Spencer was three at the time, he had so much energy, curiosity and brilliancy to spare four children. Did you know that last year he had gotten a PhD in Psychology? Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, Chemistry and Psychology. Four lifetimes, four children."
"He also has BA in Sociology and Philosophy," Aaron supplied. "Actually he is at the moment working on getting PhD in Sociology and I saw him staring longingly at anthropology curriculum, several times on that."
"You resent me," William said suddenly. "I can feel it."
"I don't resent you, Mr Reid," Aaron said sourly as he stood up and continued, "I only think that you are a coward who made sure that his only living child was as psychologically screwed up as he always happened to be brilliant. Reid pursues his education not only because he is curious and he wants to learn new things. He pursues his education not for you to be proud of him for each of his doctorates, each of his Master and Bachelor degrees he ever received but to show you that he didn't become who he is because of you but in spite of you," he added swiftly. "Like you said, four children, four teenage rebellions and four lifetimes of holding a grudge against a father who was never there. I will let myself out, you don't have to walk with me."