Title: The Death of Spencer Reid
Fandom: Criminal Minds
Universe: We Can Be Heroes (Part 2.5)
Characters/Pairing: Morgan, Prentiss, Reid – gen
Summary: If there's one thing that's true of all superheroes, it's that death is rarely ever permanent. This is one of those times.
Warnings: Technically speaking, I should probably say that this contains character death, but, in case the summary wasn't enough, I'll mention that it doesn't last. The science in this story is superhero science – i.e., anything vaguely plausible goes.
Author's Note: I'm working on a story in this universe that's at a little over 8000 words, and since it'll be a long while before it's done, I wanted to write something short. Here it is.
The first time the lab exploded, they'd lost the house.
The second time the lab exploded, they'd been sent into an alternate universe.
The third time, it took six weeks to get the Béchamel sauce out of the downstairs ceiling.
Living with Spencer Reid, it was something of a given that any number of his inventions and experiments would in a fiery ball of electronic components, spare parts, and, in some cases, body parts.
The basement was reinforced and partially soundproof, but the resulting tremor still woke Morgan from what had been a fairly peaceful slumber. He was out of bed, and halfway down the stairs before his mind had even processed what had happened.
'Was that Reid?' Emily asked, as she came down the stairs after him.
'I think so. No way he survived that.'
'Do you have the list?'
'It's in the kitchen.'
The list was on the fridge, held up by two magnets; one for a radioactive material removal company, and the other for the local pizza place. Reid's writing was messy, and Morgan fumbled for the light switch in order to better read the instructions. It wasn't the first time the lab had exploded, but it was the first time after Reid had put a new recovery system into place.
1. Do not open the door.
2. Turn off the basement and house power. Leave the generators running.
Emily grabbed both of the flashlights sitting in the alcove above the microwave, and threw one to Morgan. The power to the basement ran off a different line – while the entire house was powered by the miniaturized supernova, Reid's inventions and experiments still sometimes managed to knock out the power. Apparently that was one of the side effects of harnessing the power of the universe.
Morgan found the fusebox, and turned off the basement power. Part of him wanted to turn off the power to the generators as well, but there were a number of machines on this level that ran on generator power, at least one of which he would need to bring Reid back to life.
3. Turn on the Matter Reassembly Device
He could just see Emily's face contorting into a frown. 'Which one's the Matter Reassembly Device?'
'I thought you saw him testing it.'
'I saw him test the Anti-Matter Stabilizer.' The frown deepened. 'Or maybe it was the Dark Energy Generator. Crap. Why doesn't he label these things?' She paused. 'I think it's the one in the cupboard under the stairs.'
'Maybe seventy percent,' she offered. 'I think he went in there once when he had to input the programming.'
'Did he, or didn't he?'
'I don't know!' she told him, angrily. 'He spent the week afterwards testing his memory eraser.'
Morgan frowned. 'I don't remember that.' He glanced down at the sheet of paper again, and realized that there was a 3a that he'd missed in the shifting torchlight.
Yes, it's the one in the cupboard under the stairs.
Apparently, the machine had been designed keeping those that didn't have an IQ of a bazillion in mind – there was a simple on-off switch that he flicked. The machine buzzed into life.
Morgan wasn't sure how it worked. Something to do with tracking nanobots, apparently, which was so far outside of his realm of experience, it wasn't funny. In his bomb squad days, the solution had never been "cut the power, and turn on the Matter Reassembly Device."
The sound of rumbling continued for several minutes, before coming to a screeching halt. Morgan turned his attention back to the list.
4. Ensure that the laboratory is stable. If the laboratory is not stable, read the instructions overleaf.
'It's stable,' Emily told him, reading off the LCD display that was hooked up to the door.
5. Remove the Electroshock Prod from its hook.
6. Open the door.
She put her hand against a second screen, and waited for it to turn green, before inputting a four-digit code. It wasn't the first time that they'd had to do a late-night rescue, and it wouldn't be the last. It was what you came to expect when you lived with a genius physicist engineer with an insatiable curiosity.
The lab looked as though it had been blown to pieces – glass, metal and ash everywhere. Reid wouldn't be happy. He kept all of his research data in his head, but equipment wasn't cheap.
His body was lying in the middle of the room, still twitching from being put back together. Morgan was skeptical that the process would even work, but if there was anyone in the world that he would have trusted to get it done right, it was Spencer Reid.
'This is really weird,' Emily said, shaking her head. 'I mean, I know we didn't see it, but he was probably in pieces a few minutes ago.'
'Perspective,' Morgan said with a shrug. Hotch had been turned into a walrus three times in the last year. "Weird" was part of the job.
7. Apply electric shock directly to the heart. Perform CPR as necessary.
Morgan squeezed the trigger of the Electroshock Prod. Nothing happened for a few seconds, and he was just about to give it another go when Reid sat up with a jerk, gasping for breath.
'Fuck!' Emily jumped backwards in shock. 'Jesus, Reid. You scared the crap out of me.'
Reid looked at both of them in turn, his brow furrowed. 'What happened?'
'You blew up the lab again,' Morgan told him, matter-of-factly. 'This is why our insurance policy sucks so much.'
'What the hell were you working on?' Emily asked.
He seemed to process the question for several seconds, before his brain kicked in. 'Actually, I think I was trying to fix the toaster.'
There was a beat of silence.
'I guess I'll make coffee then,' Emily said, apparently agreeing with Morgan's unspoken assumption that none of them would be going back to sleep. She stopped in her tracks half-way up the basement stairs. 'You weren't trying to give the kettle a jetpack or anything, were you?'
The overly innocent look that suddenly overtook Reid's face was enough of an answer that coffee was no longer on the agenda.
Morgan stuck the list back onto the fridge, and threw one of the magnets to Reid. 'Pepperoni. Extra cheese.'
'It's three o'clock in the morning.'
'And I just got woken up by an exploding basement,' Morgan told him. 'You're paying, kid.'
'You know, if I could perfect miniature wormholes, we wouldn't have to wait so long for delivery.'
Emily glared at him.
'It was just a thought,' he said, hastily, but Morgan knew that it would be less than twenty-four hours before he'd be up to his old tricks again.
And somehow, he was okay with that.