Thank you so much for the reviews I forgot how much I loved them! In response to one I thought I'd clear up the timeline with my other stories. This is the sequel to Falling and continues right after the epilogue. The spin-off I wrote actually happens between the final chapter and the epilogue, so it happened about two years before this story. It came about when I was watching a repeat of the start of season 7 and I wondered how Marley would feel about Hotch lying to her but it wouldn't have fitted in with the main story so I made a mini one. Hope that clears everything up. Idril xxx
"It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live." ― J.K. Rowling
The basement was almost in total darkness, only the flickering of a bare bulb offering a small circle of weak light in the middle of the room. The baby was in the middle of the circle, the central focus for both me and the other watcher in the room. The small baby girl was whimpering; she wanted her Mother. Her Mother was almost hidden from view apart from one jean clad leg, the bare foot showing a small heart tattoo on the heel. The dark haired baby gazed at me and began bawling at me with her arms raised up in a bid for my attention. I tried to move towards her, sensing the danger that she was in but my feet were stuck to the floor and try as I might, I couldn't get to her. The other watcher didn't seem to have that problem as the shadowy figure crept forward into the circle of light. I tried to call out. To stop them for getting any nearer to the little child but I was frozen in place. The masked eyes seemed to mock me as he prowled forwards towards the crying child. I couldn't even raise a hand to my gun. The baby and the mother were utterly helpless. All I could do was watch as the figure made its final move towards the terrified child.
I yelled out for Marley as I jumped up, the sheets tangled around my legs with a cold sweat dripping down my legs and face. I reached blindly out for my wife, desperately needing to know that she was safe, but her side of the bed was empty. Panic clasped painfully at my heart as I stared desperately around the room, hoping beyond hope that she would materialise. I yelled out for her again only to be rewarded with my startled wife appearing in the bathroom doorway. She instantly read my anxious expression and hurried over to the bed; her warm arms engulfed me and held me close to her beating heart. I breathed in her fresh scent from her wet skin, the familiarity of it all managed to calm me down after the disturbing dream. I pulled the side of her shirt up so that I could clutch her waist, the skin on skin contact allowing me to drown in her presence.
"Bad dream?" She whispered against my temple as she ran her fingers through my hair. I nodded before pulling back from her embrace slightly so that I could look into those calm brown eyes, only to notice her bizarre outfit. She was wearing a white shirt and a tiny black miniskirt held up with a black belt that held an array of oddities that I was sure was meant to represent a policewomen's belt. I ran my hand over it before cocking an eyebrow at her. "I have a surprise for you." She grinned mischievously before pulling away from me and heading for her bag.
"Does this give you a clue?" She asked as she threw Jack's toy sonic screwdriver at me. I picked it up before turning to give her an incredulous look.
"Doctor Who convention." She clarified before sashaying back to kiss me.
"You're the best wife ever."
"That's what my last husband said." She joked before sitting on the bed and lifting up her left foot so she could slip her tights on. It was then I felt my eyes drawn to the heart tattoo on her heel. It was almost embarrassing how long it had taken me to notice her hidden tattoo; it was during a game of truth and dare with the team that Marley had admitted she'd got one. Morgan had found it hilarious that I'd been dating her for over a year and hadn't known about it, I'd had to put up with the sexual jokes for about three months. "You obviously don't go in for anything adventurous do you, Pretty boy?" "Not into 69 then Kid?" But really, she had the worst circulation of anyone I'd ever met so she was forever in socks, and when we were in bed together her feet were hardly my main concern. Not that Morgan had accepted my well thought out arguments. He'd just continued his jokes until Hotch had sent him a withering stare and Dave began making comments about Morgan having a foot fetish. Marley had admitted later on that she'd gone through a rebel phase after she'd been turned down for a full ride scholarship and had believed she wouldn't be able to go to college. She'd decided to get a tattoo to annoy her Dad although subconsciously she obviously hadn't been that convinced that it was a good idea as she'd had it somewhere it could easily be hidden.
As I continued to stare at the tattoo I'd last seen on a dead girl's foot it felt as if my blood had frozen and congealed the blood in my heart as the dream came running back to me. I leaned forward so I could grab her arm, almost to remind myself that this was reality and Marley was safe by my side. She was safe. No one was going to hurt her again. Ever.
"What was it about? Your dream? I know it's upsetting you, hon."
"Nothing, just something from an old case. It's nothing. So do I get a costume to match my sexy wife's?" She obviously wasn't convinced by my lie but I knew telling her would bring back unpleasant memories from John. Not something I wanted her to be reminded of.
"There's a little something in my bag for you." She replied with a little smile after a few moments. She wandered back over to her case and pulled out a bunch of familiar clothes; I recognised the brown overcoat and scarf immediately as my costume from the last convention I went to with Garcia. She threw the pile at me before heading back to the bathroom although from the concerned glance she sent back my way before she disappeared from sight I knew that she hadn't bought anything I'd said. I undid the pile that she'd given me to find a small piece of torn notepaper with Garcia's curly cursive writing I want pictures you lucky thing PG XXX. I couldn't help but smile at Garcia and it also made me ponder how long Marls had been planning it.
The aforementioned Marley appeared fully dressed and looking very much like a raven haired Amy Pond. She watched me tenderly from the doorway as she twirled a wooden hairbrush between her fingers. "I love you." She whispered so quietly I had to strain to hear her, making me wonder if I was meant to hear her declaration or if it was merely her subconscious spilling out. A sudden knock at the door startled me but Marley just smiled slyly before dancing over to the door to unearth yet another surprise.
"Mrs Reid?" I grinned like an idiot when I heard someone outside the door address my wife. She thanked a hotel waiter before closing the door with one hand while balancing a silver tray balanced in the other.
"What? You thought I was going down to breakfast dressed like a prostitute. They'll think we're replicating pretty women!" She laughed before placing the tray between us and revealing pancakes. The smell of warm batter and sweet syrup wafted up to my nose reminding me of breakfasts at home when my Mother was having one of her good days. She always liked to bake when she was having a good day; cakes, waffles, caramels, anything sweet and bad for you. "Something special for my little boy" she always used to say. Sometimes she used to cook on her bad days too; a meal for her students who were coming around for a study session. Usually she forgot and I'd come home to burning pans or flames leaping from the oven like the breaths of a dragon. I shook my head to displace the bad memories; there had been good days too. They were the ones to remember. Saturday mornings with pancakes and my Mother reading to me.
Marley's smile told me she remembered the stories too.
I could barely contain my excitement as Marley pulled me along towards a white brick building with every doctor replicated in every shape and size along with multiple companions (Amy Pond was by far the most popular although I could safely say that Marley was the best, even if she wasn't ginger) and even a full sized slytheen monster ambling along the pavement. My Amy turned to grin at me, her face lighting up even more when she saw the boy in a sweetshop glow that the whole scene had evoked in me. As we pushed our way into the throng and towards the open glass doors that led to the convention entrance it felt as if we were stepping into a different dimension. The noise of the street was muffled, instead the legendary theme tune was playing; beckoning us further into the building.
I picked up a guide from a stand and quickly flicked through it to learn as much about the convention as I could. I enjoyed processing the information; I guess part of it was my eidetic memory and part of it came from my job, the need to know everything that I could about a situation. Marley had known me long enough to understand my quirk and flicked through a copy she'd picked up to pass the time.
"What do you think we should hit first?" She asked once I'd finished flicking through mine a few times.
"There's the original movie? I haven't seen it in years. Have you ever seen it?"
"I can't say I have, my brothers weren't into it and we usually watched what they wanted to watch. It was the easiest way to keep them quiet." She laughed and I understood her reasoning; even though I'd only known her brothers for a few years and they were mostly grown they were still a boisterous lot. "I think that sounds like a great starting point though. Apparently there's Doctor Who themed game of twister and the two losers have to marry each other. We could try our hand at that. There might be a gorgeous alien waiting to marry me!" She joked tenderly.
"It doesn't mention it in the guide."
"Penelope googled the back stage gossip. She said she wanted a video if it happened to one of us."
"Well even if we don't I'm sure she'll photoshop something." I joked, remembering the peak at her secret photoshop file; a topless Morgan was a heavy feature. Marley seemed to have remembered the story too as she turned to fix a wicked grin at me.
"Let's find Morgan a partner."
"Garcia would have loved this; it was even better than the one we went to in Washington last spring."
"Well we got her pictures like she asked for." Marley laughed as she held up her camera where she'd managed to stock up copious amounts embarrassing photos from the day that I was sure Garcia would Photoshop and pin up in her office.
"I noticed how there's none of you. There are no mementoes of you in that outfit." I dramatically sighed as I wrapped an arm around her waist. I had grown quite fond of that outfit throughout the day. I hoped it would make an appearance at home.
"You have an eidetic memory, you can remember this moment forever." She paused before pulling her camera back out of her pocket. "Okay, but only for you."
I happily held out my hand for the camera, glad she'd given in so easily. I smiled as I watched the evening sunshine catching Marley's raven lock and I smiled; this was definitely going to be framed. Once I'd taken the picture she darted back to me and pulled me close, mumbling how we might as well have one of both of us. I held the camera out and wrapped my arm around Marley's shoulder so I could take the picture.
"Let's see then." She took the camera back and flicked to the last picture we'd taken. The two of us were clutching each other and grinning like idiots up at the camera. My bowler hat and the start of her police uniform giving away where we'd been. It was the perfect picture from yet another perfect day with my wife.
I knew it would be the picture that Garcia hung on the wall of her office next to the pictures of Jack's Halloween costume, Emily's high school photo and her personal favourite, Morgan in his swimming trunks among other delights from the years we'd been on the team. They were all clustered together under the heading "Family Fun." She liked to look at it when we were working a case.
All her babies happily smiling down at her.