Title: Hall of Mirrors

Warnings: For the whole story slash, profanity, psychological and physical torture, character death.

Pairings: Hotch/Reid

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.


Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton asked why.

~Bernard Baruch

Hall of Mirrors

After he left William Reid's office Aaron spent some time driving aimlessly around the town in the SUV he picked from the field office when he arrived to Vegas. It took him a while to understand why he was doing it.

Reid never really got along well with Klein and Whitaker. He tried but Klein and Whitaker never failed to remind him that they not only outranked him but had years of experience over him. As Reid's probationary agent Aaron found himself constantly stepping in between Reid and either one or both older agents in order to defuse the situation. At some point it got so bad that one day when Reid, paler than the immaculately white shirt he was wearing, entered Aaron's office, closed the door, sat down and said as calmly as he could that he felt deep, unyielding desire to kill Klein and Whitaker in their beds by strangling them with their own ties and that if Aaron wanted to avoid manslaughter Aaron should arrest him right here and right now.

Getting out of Reid what they tried to do to him this time was impossibly hard because right after his initial statement Reid fell silent and hadn't spoke a word for over an hour and even when he started talking he was only answering yes or no questions. Finally he seemed to snap out just enough to ask Aaron if he had time to take a road trip.

Reid drove and as he drove he talked about what happened. That conversation and the declaration which started it in the first place was going to forever remain between Aaron and Reid, Morgan and Gideon were never supposed to learn what happened or why within a week Klein and Whitaker were reassigned to CIA and deployed to 'an old college friend only knows were and don't worry Aaron they are both breathing, merely cursing their own existence and their egos'. Only years later Aaron learned that his old college friend made sure that Very Special Agents Klein and Whitaker were assigned to lead an investigation in Mongolia that lead them to a town called Olgii where they were killed by a psychotic runaway teenage girl they took for a prostitute and forcibly tried to persuade her into serving them.

Aaron only shook his head upon hearing that and Reid only asked what would happen with the girl considering that she had killed two American citizens, the answer was that in that regard nothing will happen because Klein and Whitaker had Kazakhstan's passports and that the girl will be tried like any other murderer unless Aaron and Reid really insisted which they most certainly did not.

"Serves them damn right," Reid said when he and Aaron were leaving the cafe when they were meeting Aaron's friend. "Can I drive back to Quantico?" he asked tersely.

The set of Reid's lips after that statement told Aaron how much Reid didn't want to talk about what happened few years earlier, one conversation was enough. So Aaron said nothing when Reid drove past the lane that would lead them to Quantico, nor when Reid crossed the state lines between Virginia and North Carolina, nor later when he spotted Welcome to South Carolina sign and neither he had said a word when Reid drove Aaron's SUV past Welcome. We're glad Georgia's on your mind. Because whatever was on Reid's mind that night Georgia wasn't one of those things as Aaron was about to learn.

It became painfully clear what was on Reid's mind when Reid got off from I-85 by Braselton and turned the SUV down road that would lead them south. Long before they passed through sleeping Monroe Aaron knew where Reid was taking them.

He parked the Tahoe by the entrance before he got out of the car and after turning over his Glock to Aaron he entered the grounds. Aaron followed him, neither too close or too far but just within Reid's reach which turned out to be a good thing because if Aaron didn't catch him in the last moment when he tripped Reid would have collapsed into a shallow grave. Aaron tried to keep him upright but it seemed that right in the moment he registered in which grave he was standing Reid's knees gave up and he sat down where he stood, on the edge of the grave with his knees down and arms wrapped protectively around his middle so rather than trying to drag him out of the grave Aaron sat down next to him and wrapped his right arm around Reid's shoulders to keep him grounded in the reality because that nightmare was over and the other nightmare that came long before Georgia was over too.

They sat like that on the edge of the grave all night long without sharing a single word, Reid didn't want to talk and Aaron wasn't going to push him into talking because he knew that sometimes just being there was enough.

The first word which Reid had said after leaving the cafe and asking Aaron if he could drive was when the sun rose above Marshall Parish chasing away the shadows of last night and bringing in the illusion of warmth into their chilled bones and even then it was a simple, "Thank you."

"You're welcome," Aaron answered back then because what else he was supposed to say.

"I saw a motel when we were passing Monroe, what you would say to a kettle of coffee and a plateful of pancakes with peaches?" Reid asked.

"Bring them on," Aaron said.

After breakfast rather than driving right back to DC Aaron persuaded Reid that taking a nap at the motel would be better than having one in the car, a suggestion to which Reid heartily agreed because he was yawning through the whole breakfast. When they finally started driving north instead of driving for over ten hours straight Aaron drew the way out for the rest of the afternoon and the following morning.

Come Monday Reid was seemingly back to his charming self at the least enough to not make the rest of the team think that there was something wrong with him in the first place. Aaron knew better, that's why he brought Reid with himself to Roanoke under the excuse that Reid needed more time in courthouse at perfecting his skills as expert witness.

If the situation required Reid could be an aggressive driver but more often than not he left aggressive driving to others because driving was one of the few activities that could completely calm him down. Driving required out of Reid complete focus on the road and keeping his hands on the steering-wheel and was one of the few activities that allowed Reid to lower his mental shields and to talk about things that bothered him immensely without becoming instantly defensive and completely withdrawn.

That road-trip to Georgia was on Aaron's mind as he was driving around Vegas pretending that what he just learned didn't bother him.

So Reid had a twin brother, more precisely a dead twin brother that didn't survive birth like any other of his siblings, a dead twin brother he hadn't know about...

Naturally Sherlock Reid could be really dead, Aaron hadn't exclude that possibility but what bothered Aaron at the moment was that Sherlock Reid had existed at all. Seemingly he lived for no longer than few minutes, maybe few hours but he did exist and his name, nor the names of any of Reid's siblings hadn't spring up during a background check before Reid was hired.

Why? Had William Reid made sure that his only surviving son would never learn that he wasn't his parents' only child? Or if not William Reid then maybe someone else made sure that all records of Sherlock's, Spencer's and Stella's existence were seemingly destroyed.

Why would anyone do that?

He was dialing Garcia's number before he even realized what he was doing.

"Bossman, what you need?" Garcia asked warmly.

"Garcia I need you to do something for me," Aaron said. "It will remain between you and me and under no circumstances you would repeat what we talked about to anyone, especially the person that happens to be related to that man. Am I clear?"

"Crystal clear, sir," Garcia said quickly. "Why the secrets?"

"I'm following a hunch," Aaron admitted. "Maybe I'm just wasting yours and mine time, maybe I'm not but until I won't get to the bottom of it no one, absolutely no one, especially the most interested party is supposed to know what I'm doing."

"Okay," Garcia said quickly. "So what you need Stormy Petrel?"

"Remember how three years ago we were investigating Reid's father in connection to Riley Jenkins murder?" Aaron asked.

"How could I forget it," Garcia said simply. "Did something happen?"

"Not yet," Aaron said grimly. "Remember that you promised that until I will get to the bottom of it you won't tell anyone about this conversation? Especially Reid."

"Yes," Garcia answered. "So?"

"The only thing we had done back then was hacking into his computers and checking all of his records that we had found regarding his life in Nevada," Aaron said.

"We had gotten pretty deep," Garcia said.

"Not deep enough," Aaron said grimly. "I talked with him today and he told me something that had never came up in our background check, neither in one we ran on Reid nor later when we were investigating William himself."

"We only concentrated on the years following 1991," Garcia confirmed. "What you need?"

"Everything you can get me on William Reid prior to Reid's birth, both national and international records. Concentrate on his stay in Oxford, if you have to ran facial recognition in every database you can think of."

"William Reid had never been to Oxford," Garcia declared.

"He said that he was, about five to four years before Reid was born," Aaron said.

"Then for sure he hadn't been William Reid at the time nor any other variation of such," Garcia denied. "He was born in Vegas in 1951, 18th March according to official records, studied law in Georgetown, married Diana Rosedale-Rozanov in Vegas back in 1973, they lived in DC for a longer while before they came back to Vegas and following Boo's birth they had never left Vegas other than to travel every year for a two weeks long vacation every July to Sarasota and Reno every December. Pretty boring life."

"He confessed to being in Oxford," Aaron muttered. "And staying there long enough to bury Spencer Reid."

"Boy Wonder is still in the bullpen and he is very much alive," Garcia quipped. "If you want me to I can go over there and pinch him."

"Better not," Aaron said quickly. "And by Spencer Reid I don't mean our resident genius," he added. "I mean a female infant born either in 1976 or 1977, she would have been a stillborn or hadn't survived birth, couldn't have lived for longer than a day."

"If you are so strongly convinced..." Garcia sighed and she waited for a longer moment. "Zilch Bossman."

"They had to stay in England for a longer while," Aaron said grimly.

"As far as paper-trail is concerned William and Diana Reid had never left United States," Garcia said. "They hadn't even stepped a foot into Canada or Mexico either."

"Why would he feel the need to lie to me," Aaron muttered, more to himself than to Garcia.

"Oh," Garcia gulped. "Technically sir, he didn't lie to you about being in England," she added. "He lied about the name. William and Diana Reid had never left the country but a man named Liam Reed prior to 1981 traveled abroad regularly and in 1976-77 had been living in Oxford. Let's see your driver's license Monsieur Reed... same face, different names, dates, married to Cynthia Reed, father of oh... Spencer Anne Reed, DOB/DOD 20th January 1977, born and buried in Oxford; Spencer Aaron Reed, born 04:04 AM 9th October 1981 in Las Vegas, Nevada, his birth was followed by birth of his twin brother, Sherlock Adam Reed thirty minutes later, he was born with unspecified heart-defect and died at 06:06 AM; there is also Stella Alice Reed, DOB/DOD 14th February 1984 in Las Vegas. Oh..."

"Names match," Aaron said. "What last oh was supposed to mean?"

"I followed Spencer Reed," Garcia confessed. "Two weeks following his birth and his twin's death Liam and Cynthia Reed had moved from Las Vegas to greater DC area, specifically McLean, Virginia and on Halloween of 1981 they flew from Dulles to Oxford and Spencer Reed hadn't left English soil until he was over eighteen years old, since then he traveled multiple times to France, Italy, Portugal, Spain... name every European country he had been there, then there is Russia, Mongolia, China, Japan, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Bolivia, Mexico, Pakistan, Israel... had been in and out of United States many times... Holly... oh no, no, no, no."

"Garcia!" Aaron snapped.

"Someone hacked into my system and completely turned it off.." Garcia growled.

In the background Garcia's cell-phone started ringing.

"What was..." she huffed. "Private number, I will give you private number... Penelope Garcia, FBI, BAU whoever you are you are going to be FUBAR once I'm done with you."

Aaron cleared his throat but other than that he hadn't done anything aside of making a mental note to never upset Garcia that much.

"Special Agent Nate Henderson," Garcia said.

Aaron frowned, why Nate was calling Garcia?

"Yes, that was me," Garcia confirmed. "Of course I received an order... from my SSAIC Aaron Hotchner..." she paused. "Agent Henderson wishes to see us ASAP at his house."

"Tell him that his as soon as possible is going to take me a longer while," Aaron said sourly. "I'm heading towards the airport and I will try to catch first plane to DC."

Garcia repeated what he said into her cell-phone.

"Bossman, can I ask which agency I'm going to hack into to have their system reduced to FUBAR?" Garcia asked angrily.

"Central Intelligence Agency, ill-advised plan," Aaron replied grimly. "It's not that I don't trust your abilities because I do but if you had done that without specified clearance their system wouldn't be the only thing reduced to FUBAR, our lives would be too."

"Who had given CIA any rights to crash my system?" Garcia huffed.

"Apparently Spencer Reed did," Aaron snorted. "Garcia?" he sighed.

"Yes, Bossman?" Garcia asked.

"No matter what do not leave your office until I will come to Quantico to collect you, do not talk to anyone about what you learned, anyone. Until I say so this stays between us," Aaron said stiffly.

"But..." Garcia started. "How bad it really is?" she asked timidly.

"Considering that CIA is somehow involved?" Aaron sighed. "TARFU and that's why it has to stay between us."

"TARFU?" Garcia whispered.

"TARFU," Aaron confirmed.

TBC