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A/n some of you were kind enough to ask for a follow-up to "You don't know Me," so here it is kiddies. Please enjoy. The time frame is this summer after season seven.
Reid stepped off the elevator and into the windowless hallway that led to the pathology-teaching lab. He'd been down here several times in his career, sometimes as a student and a couple of times as a profiler. This time, he was there to pick up his date.
That word used to have only one meaning for him. It meant a slot on a three hundred and sixty-five day calendar and nothing more. He could count on his hand the number of times he'd gone out on an actual date, before he'd met Imogene James.
He didn't realize that two female agents were in the hallway until one of them said hello. He glanced up, but missed the way she looked at him and how she giggled with her partner as he moved down the brick corridor to the swinging doors at the end of the hallway.
It felt cold as he approached the doors, inset with long glass windows, and peered through them. He knew the temperature was controlled, but it still felt bitter, as though the dead within generated a chill. He shivered a bit and pushed open one of the doors as Imogene pulled the sheet back from the cadaver in the center of the room.
He didn't notice the acrid smell of formaldehyde, or the stench of decay it was supposed to mask. He didn't see one of the male recruits and two of the female recruits go green at the sight of the body. He didn't flinch at the wounds in the woman's mottled grey flesh. All he could see was Imogene, dressed in white scrubs with a surgical mask over her face and her hair pulled back in a clip.
"Note the wounds to the upper left quadrant," she pointed out. "Who can tell me what killed this woman?"
She looked up, but no one answered. The words came out before he could stop them, "Exsanguination due to cutting injury to the subclavian artery."
Imogene's eyes twinkled behind the protective goggles she wore. "Dr. Reid, good of you to join us. Class, this is Supervisory Special Agent Dr. Spencer Reid. He's with the BAU."
Two of the men looked around and sniggered. Reid ignored them and several of the women who were nudging each other and staring at him as if he was lunch.
"Alright, everyone settle down," Imogene ordered, but she winked at Reid. "Dr Reid is just observing."
She gave him a significant look and he mouthed, "I'm sorry," to her. She winked again and returned her attention to her class.
"Dr. Reid is quiet correct. When you think of exsanguination, or bleeding to death, you often only consider the slashing of the neck."
She moved to another body on a second table and pulled back the sheet to reveal a man with a gaping neck wound.
"Or perhaps a suicide, by cutting the wrists, but there are other ways to bleed out," she continued. "A stab wound to the femoral artery, a cutting wound to the brachial artery between the thumb and first finger," she pointed to the leg of the first cadaver and then the hand, "Will also kill you, as will the slashing of the subclavian. There are other ways, as well. Has anyone heard the expression "death from a thousand cuts?"
One of the female students raised her hands and the others sniggered. She glared at them. "Yes ma'am. It was a form of torture and execution in China from about 900 AD until 1905. The practice was outlawed that year. It is also known as slow cutting. The person was tied to a framework, usually in a public place and their flesh methodically sliced, remove pieces of the body. It served three purposes, public humiliation, a slow and lingering death, and punishment after death. It was reserved for the most heinous of crimes like treason, or killing one's parents."
"Very good, Cadet Parker," Imogene approved.
One of the men said something like, teacher's pet, and the cadet went red in the face. Reid nearly said something, but Dr. James stepped in. "Stop it, Cadet Blunt, or I'll be talking to your unit leader, is that understood?"
"Yes ma'am," he said stiffly.
Reid couldn't keep back the smile on his face at the young man's discomfiture. If only someone had stood up for him when he needed it.
Imogene dismissed the class ten minutes later. He didn't pay attention to the students as they dispersed, even though one of the female cadets tried to get his attention. He couldn't stop looking at Imogene and the way her hair glowed in the light from the large lamp over her head. It didn't matter that there were two bodies in the room with them. She was so lovely; his heart began slamming in his chest.
"Dr Reid, where are you?"
He realized he was staring at her so his face began to burn and suddenly the room didn't feel so cold anymore.
"Sorry, I was just thinking."
"What were you thinking?"
"That you're beautiful," he blurted out, too stunned to think of a lie.
"Thank you, you're quite attractive too."
He longed to put his arms around her, but there was some blood and other fluids on her gloved hands. He settled for waving at her and she laughed. "You're not squeamish, are you?"
He shook his head, "no, just concerned for hygiene."
She pulled off her gloves and dropped them into a medical waste can. "I'm just teasing you. Why don't you wait outside while I get changed, and then we can get out of here?"
He nodded. "I can't wait."
When she joined him ten minutes later, her hair was down around her shoulders just the way he liked it. She wore a pair of white Capri pants, a matching white blouse with lace around the arms and a scoop neck that showed a little cleavage, just enough to make his heart speed up at the sight. White strap sandals lifted her five foot six inch frame two inches. He smiled at the pink polish on her toenails and the gold ring she wore on her right big toe.
"You look like summer," he said.
"Where do you want to go for dinner?"
"Why don't we try that new Indian place in Alexandria? I've hear the curry is wonderful."
His eyes lit up. "How did you know I've been craving curry for the last week?"
"I have my ways," she prevaricated.
He pursed his lips into a pout that made her want to yank his face down and kiss him till neither of them had breath left in their bodies. Instead, she grinned at him and punched the up button on the elevator.
"Stop pouting," she ordered despite the fact that her palms were sweating.
If only he'd understand just what it was, he did to her every time he met her eyes, or touched her hands, or went off on some very inappropriate tangent when they talked.
The elevator doors hissed open and disgorged three agents, one Reid recognized from the Organized Crime task force. "Hi, Warjinski," he squeaked.
"Who's the hottie?" Warjinski asked. "And what is she doing with you."
"This is Dr. Imogene James."
Warjinski took her hand and kissed it. Reid suddenly remembered that Warjinski was the ladies' man of the task force. "Um, we have to go now."
"Oh, too bad, I was looking forward to getting to know your lovely friend."
"Nice to meet you," Imogene said.
Reid pulled her onto the elevator and hit the button for the garage level even as Warjinski shouted. "Don't keep her to yourself, Dr. Reid, share the wealth."
The elevators doors closed and Dr. James grinned at Reid who was staring at the numbers over the door as if his life depended on it. He didn't talk to her until she confronted him as they entered the garage.
"You don't seriously think I'd consider that oaf," she stopped in front of him so that he had to stand still or walk right into her.
He dodged around her and headed to his car. "Spencer Reid," she shouted. "Don't you dare turn your back on me?"
He whipped around to her. "I don't -"
He couldn't form the words because he'd only known her for two weeks. They were friends that were dating, not married. Nevertheless, Warjinski shouldn't have talked to her like that because - well he didn't know why - because they weren't exclusive, but oh, how he wanted her to be with him, and only him. He should say something instead of just standing there. Then anger surged up in his gut because it was just typical that someone he liked might look at someone else. That mean that they could leave him, and -
"Spencer, look at me," Imogene snapped. "What's gotten into you?"
"You wouldn't understand."
"Why don't you try talking to me? You might be surprised."
Her sapphire eyes snapped like cold fire in the dead of winter. He flinched back a little, and then her eyes went soft. "I'm sorry, baby. Why don't we stay in and have dinner at my new place. You haven't seen it yet and we can talk."
He nodded his head and let her take his hand. She led him to his car and climbed into the passenger seat.
"I'm sorry, Imogene. I don't know what got into me. I just think that -"
"Why don't we talk at home?"
She interrupted him, by taking one of his hands and squeezing it tight. He tried to smile at her, but the certainty that he was going to lose her wouldn't go away. He pulled his hand away and started the engine.
Her new place was in a brand new apartment complex in Alexandria. He parked in the visitor's parking section of the underground parking, then got of the car and went around and opened, her door despite his inability to look her in the eyes. She led him into the building and to the elevator.
She lived on the second floor, in the middle of the building. Her place came furnished with new, but furniture consisting of a couch and easy chair. She had several books and magazines stacked on the coffee table. The carpet was apartment standard beige and the walls white. On the far wall was a mural size, black and white photograph of a long, sloping hill covered in wild flowers, with an old fashioned well at the top. It stood there alone and for some reason he couldn't top looking at it.
"We need to talk, Spencer."
He jolted out of his thoughts and nodded as panic replaced anger in his gut. What to say to her? He didn't know how to talk to women. He never had a relationship that lasted beyond the first date.
"I don't know what to say. I didn't mean to react that way."
She pulled him over to the couch and pushed him down. "I don't know everything that's happened to you, just what you've told me, but I do know that I really like you. I want to see where we go from here, but you have to meet me halfway."
"I know," he agreed. "I'm not used to this. You've probably had a lot of experience with guys. I don't know how -"
She put a hand over his mouth. "I've had relationships, but I've never met anyone like you. You're the only one that appreciates my brains, not just my looks. Every man I've ever been with only tolerated my brains and my profession. You don't tolerate it, you like it. Thank you for that."
He looked down at his hands, when she took one of them and held it so tightly it hurt.
"I really want to trust, but it's hard."
She wrapped her arms around him and put her feet up on the couch. "It all starts with one step."
"I think I can handle that."
She wiggled out of his embrace. "Why don't I order in from that new Indian place? Just by coincidence, it's only a couple of blocks away."
He narrowed his eyes at her. "Are you sure you didn't pick this apartment to live because of that restaurant?"
"You'll never know for sure."
He grinned at her even though they still needed to talk. "I think I can guess."
She picked up her bag. "Why don't you just admit that you could be wrong?"
"I'll admit it when it happens."
She slapped his arm. "That was very conceited of you, don't you think?"
"What happened to false modesty and the devil?"
She rolled her eyes. "Just sit down and be quiet, Dr Reid. I'm starving."
He sat and listened to her order food from the Pearl of the Sea and tried not to give into the feeling that some how, he'd do something to chase her away.