Spencer Reid is a sensitive human with a newly emerged telepathic gift that links his mind to that of a serial killer. Arrested by the FBI on suspicion of murder, Spencer must convince the BAU and Sentinel Aaron Hotchner that he is witness to the crimes not the perpetrator. Can Spencer help the BAU catch a serial killer or will his telepathic gift be his downfall?
Author: Chestnut NOLA
Fandom/Genre: Criminal Minds
Relationship(s): Spencer Reid/Aaron Hotchner
Content Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 12,661
Warnings: Violence, Angst
“For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don’t believe, no proof is possible.” – Stuart Chase
It was gasping for breath around the gag in its mouth, the zip-tie tightening around its throat. Its long hair and slight body struggling against him was ecstasy. The excitement of this moment caused his body to tighten in pleasure as its eyes continued to look into his face pleading for him to stop. He transferred the end of the tie to his left hand as he plunged the knife deep into its torso. The feel of the warm blood flowing through his fingers and its high-pitched squeal started the crest of release he needed…
Spencer shot up out of bed with a gasping cry. The horror of The Knowing had occurred for a sixth time. He struggled briefly with the bed linens as copious amounts of sweat caused them to cling to his clothes. Sitting on the side of the bed gasping with his hands in his hair, Spencer tried to get a hold of his panic. Her face as she was killed burned brightly behind his closed eyes. That was the moment that affected him the most. Even the disgusting desecration and dumping of her body afterward wasn’t as blazed into his psyche as at the moment of seeing the light leave her eyes. Spencer still felt the sexual afterglow of the killer’s release and on trembling legs made it to the bathroom just in time to collapse and retch in the toilet.
Dragging himself up off the floor, Spencer washed his face and rinsed his mouth shuddering with revulsion at the images of the kill still in his brain. He had never hated his eidetic memory more than in the last six months. Looking into the mirror, seeing his drawn face with dark shadows around amber eyes, Spencer worked to calm his rapidly beating heart and slow down his panting breaths. Running his fingers through his hair, he looked objectively at himself. Beyond the results of the new trim to his hair–which still didn’t make Spencer look his age and caused the light brown locks to curl ridiculously around his ears–he was relieved to see that some color was coming back into his face. But despaired at his appearance, looking even more disheveled and unstable than he had just weeks before. He didn’t know how much longer he could keep The Knowing a secret.
Still shaking slightly, Spencer moved into his small living room to seek solace amongst his books and with his cat. He wasn’t sleeping again tonight. Gently picking up Gottfried from his position on the couch–the fluffy gray creature yowling in protest at the disturbance–Spencer sighed burying his face in the soft fur for comfort. “I’m going to have to call them again, aren’t I?”
In hindsight Spencer mused, he should have probably gone with a disposable cell phone rather than the small number of payphones left around the city. Still fidgeting slightly to straighten his tie and cardigan from their manhandling from his arrest, two men came into the room.
Spencer immediately felt the pressure on the edge of his mind of the presence of a Sentinel. As a sensitive, he could often tell when people he encountered were either Sentinels or Guides though it was not common to come across one. The empathic imprint of this Sentinel though was extremely powerful, full and rich in tone gliding across his brain like a tickling caress.
“Dr. Reid, I’m Supervisory Special Agent David Rossi and this is my colleague Supervisory Special Agent Aaron Hotchner.” Hotchner was the Sentinel and Spencer felt like he was vibrating out of his skin being in such close proximity to him. Agent Hotchner definitely looked the part of a G-man with his suit and shirt starched and pressed within an inch of its life. The younger of the two agents pierced Spencer to his chair with his gaze. Spencer quickly looked away from the Sentinel to the older agent who had a more friendly expression and seemed more relaxed with his graying goatee and hair framing a craggy face, casually dressed in a suit jacket and jeans.
Laying some files on the table. “You declined to have a lawyer present,” Hotchner said gravely. “Do you know why you’re being detained?”
“I have a fairly good idea.” Spencer said softly. “You think I’m a murderer or if that isn’t the case, you think I have some connection to him.”
Spencer could feel the Sentinel scanning him with his senses, looking for any indication that he was involved in the killings that had been occurring in Washington over the last year. He was so scared. Needing to help the police to stop the killer, to stop The Knowing, to stop the nightmare he had been living with for months now.
Rossi quirked a dark eyebrow, “Well, we have recordings of you telling the MPD where to find the bodies of the last three victims and we just caught you red handed placing another call. Are you going to tell us you aren’t involved?”
“You could say I am more of a witness to the crimes than a willing participant.” Spencer replied. He glanced at Hotchner, but quickly shifted his eyes back to Rossi.
Rossi shot up out of his chair looming over Spencer. “Do you know who is doing this!” he demanded. Hotchner placed a restraining hand on Rossi’s arm as Spencer reared back in his seat away from the older agent. Rossi obviously wasn’t as laid back and nice as he’d initially thought.
“Dr. Reid you need to tell us what you know and how you know it,” Hotchner said gently. The Sentinel was still scanning him and it was making Spencer fidget even more than he usually did in uncomfortable situations. Clutching his hands around his elbows he knew his posture was defensive. But the sensation of Hotchner’s power flowing over and through his body heightened his awareness of the Sentinel to an almost unbearable degree. The tickling at the back of his brain was continuing to increase. If it didn’t stop soon Spencer was anxious he might do something to make things worse for himself. Though being in an interrogation room with two FBI agents–one of which was a powerful Sentinel–was bad enough.
“It started six months ago.” Spencer replied.
Hotchner’s handsome face twitched a bit. “What started?”
Spencer observed the Sentinel for a moment trying to work out what to tell the agents that wouldn’t cause them disbelief. It was going to be the first time Spencer would tell anyone what was happening to him. The frustration and stress of the possible scenarios that could occur were taking a toll mentally and physically. He only hoped they wouldn’t institutionalize him. The fear of being diagnosed as a schizophrenic like his mother had been his constant companion since The Knowing had started.
“I had a car accident six months ago and was in a coma from brain trauma for three-weeks. I witnessed the first killing soon after I was released from the hospital,” Spencer’s look shifted from the Sentinel to the other man. “You’re not going to believe me.”
Rossi took the files from Hotchner as he sat back down and pulled out photographs of the victims placing them in front of Spencer. They were garish in the harsh light of the room. He couldn’t look at them. He already knew what the results of the kills were and didn’t need to inspect them further. “Tell us and convince us what you say is true,” Rossi said.
“I’ve been a sensitive since I was very young. After I came out of the coma, I had a dream about a man killing a prostitute with a zip-tie and a knife,” Spencer looked down at his hands lying on the table, but not before he saw Rossi raise his thick eyebrows incredulity.
Spencer breathed deeply and haltingly continued, “The perspective was from the killer’s point of view at the moments just before she was killed. The dream concluded with the victim’s death. It was so real, I thought it was a nightmare even though I experienced his thoughts, could see the terror on her face, and felt his euphoria at the moment she died.” Spencer thinking back on the experience he now wondered how he could’ve mistaken the telepathic link for a dream.
“It wasn’t a dream. I knew after the second murder and the second ‘dream.’” Spencer lifted his hands to make air quotes. “After I saw the news in the paper–saw her picture–I knew that what I was seeing was Him.”
“You know that telepathic gifts not related to the Sentinel and Guide bond or the empathic abilities of Guides among the normal human population aren’t real,” Hotchner stated. “Don’t you?”
“Of course I do!” Spencer exclaimed, running his fingers through his hair in agitation. “There is no scientific evidence to support ‘psychic’ powers among regular humans beyond some minor empathic sensitivity. I just know what I’ve experienced since the accident can only be explained by the term.” He just knew he was starting to look demented by the way Rossi was eying him warily.
Hotchner’s persona was stiff and neutral, but Spencer could just detect the Sentinel’s internal conflict. It teased his empathic senses–minor as they were–raising the hairs on his neck and making his temples pulse in time with his heartbeat. The Sentinel didn’t actually disbelieve him, as Rossi obviously did.
Spencer looked into Hotchner’s dark eyes pleadingly. “I have seen six murders so far and he will not stop.”
Hotchner’s nostrils flared slightly as he studied Spencer. He knew that a Sentinel’s enhanced senses of sight, smell, touch; taste and hearing were often used during prisoner interrogation. The compilation of these senses particularly sight, smell and sound were often used to read the truthfulness of the people a Sentinel had contact with on a daily basis. Spencer could only hope that any sense impression he was generating for the Sentinel would convince the agents he was being truthful and not crazy.
Rossi started. “Look, you’re a start man.”
“I’m a genius actually,” Spencer chirped, interrupting Rossi and receiving a dark look from the agent. But he soldiered on, “I have three PhD’s and other degrees. I believe in the scientific process. If there was any other way to explain myself I would, but I can’t.
“Ok,” Hotchner replied slowly. “Tell us about the killer.”
“I don’t know who he is or what he looks like, but I can tell you a bit about his motivations,” Spencer answered. “The thought transference is going on longer than it did initially, but only starts at the point just before the death of the victims. What I have been seeing has gotten clearer over time and since the third killing the transference continues throughout the aftermath and dumping of the body.”
Spencer closed his eyes trying not to cry in front of the agents. Wanting to get this part over with quickly, hoping he wouldn’t hyperventilate as he accessed the memories of the most recent murder. His hands fluttered on the tabletop, “If you are able to find him, he’ll have photographs of all of the victims on a USB drive hidden in the wall safe behind a freezer in his garage.”
Opening his eyes, he focused his gaze on the Sentinel. “He targets prostitutes, because he sees them as filthy and disposable; garbage cluttering up his neighborhood.”
“He lives in a house, older with a detached garage, the place he tortures and kills the victims. You won’t find his DNA and he doesn’t have sex with the victims. He is very careful not to leave any trace of himself on their bodies. He desires to have sex with them, but since he sees them as diseased he won’t. He still gets himself off though at the point he kills them.” Spencer stopped for a moment and felt tears start to run down his face.
Hotchner reached out to take his right hand and Spencer sighed as calm washed over him from the touch. He sniffled a bit and gave the agent a hesitant smile as he used is cardigan sleeve to wipe the tears off his cheeks. Hotchner gave Spencer’s hand a squeeze of encouragement, “Please continue Dr. Reid.”
Spencer wanted to continue to cling to the Sentinel’s hand, but Rossi was giving Hotchner a look of perplexed disapproval. The FBI probably didn’t approve of coddling murder suspects, Spencer reflected. He hadn’t touched anyone in such a long time and it had been even longer since he felt so serene and safe. The calm feeling dampened when Hotchner released his hand, but the feeling of safety continued to wash over Spencer. He didn’t know what was happening or how the Sentinel was calming him down, only that it felt so good he never wanted it to stop.
There was a knock on the window that had Rossi rising from his seat to leave the room. Spencer could see a pretty blond woman in the hallway, obviously waiting to share information with the agent.
Hotchner pulled the photographs away from Spencer–to his relief–to place them in the files with a heavy frown on his face. Hotchner was a well put together man, handsome and tall with dark eyes and hair. Spencer figured he was in his late thirties, but his face was weathered and he had more frown lines than laugh lines around his eyes and mouth. Spencer’s sensitive ability was fairly minor, even though he could sense who was Guide or a Sentinel, he only occasionally was able to receive the impression of a person’s emotional state. Though he couldn’t get a read on Hotchner’s emotions, the Sentinel’s abilities just kept washing over him. Almost like the warm blanket in his apartment that he liked to snuggle with on the couch to read while Gottfried nestled down in the nook created by his legs.
Spencer was so focused on the feeling that he startled at Hotchner’s voice. “Dr. Reid, what you have told us is incomprehensible. The possibility that you are telepathic can’t be proven and would definitely not help you in court. How do you expect us to proceed?”
Abruptly, the door opened and Rossi came back into the room. “Dr. Reid, as you know we obtained a warrant to search your apartment,” he started.
“Your agents didn’t let Gottfried out did they?” Spencer demanded.
Rossi just looked at him. “Who’s Gottfried?”
“My cat,” Spencer replied.
“As far as I know, a cat escaping your apartment has not been mentioned. Can we please continue?” Rossi looked as him expectantly.
Spencer could only hope the agents at his apartment were not traumatizing Gottfried too much. “I do know your case is only circumstantial. If you decide to charge me,” he stated.
“That much is true at this point,” says Rossi. “But that can change quickly, and you can’t deny that what we found in your apartment does not cast you in a good light.”
Hotchner looked at Rossi questionably. Spencer rushed to reply, “I know what you found and I know I can help you catch him if you let me.”
It was late in the evening when Hotchner and Rossi followed Spencer up the stairs, passed a uniformed police officer at the top. The door to the apartment was open, but to Spencer’s relief only two agents were still inside. As he entered he glowered at the dark skinned agent who had manhandled him so roughly when he was arrested at the phone booth. Spencer felt that it was obvious that he wasn’t a dangerous fellow with his geek chic and thin build going on. So the maltreatment he’d received from the well-muscled agent had been completely unnecessary in his opinion. To his satisfaction he could see that Gottfried had gotten some licks in to show his displeasure at having strangers in his territory. The agent had scratches on his neck and forearms from the cat’s aggression.
The two agents turned to greet Hotchner and Rossi as they entered. The pretty dark haired female gave Spencer the once over with her gaze as she addressed agent Hotchner.
“You’ve got to see this sir,” she said as she waved her arm to the wall in front of her and the other agent. As the Sentinel and older agent moved toward their comrades to peruse Spencer’s lone wall not covered by bookshelves he was pleased to note that the search hadn’t disturbed his things to badly. Only some of his books were askew on the shelves and the papers of crime statistics he had gathered over the last six months were out of order on his desk. Otherwise everything else seemed to be in its place except Gottfried. The feline was sitting in the middle of the doorway to the bedroom—his whiskers twitching in irritation—as he stared down the intruders.
Agent Hotchner turned toward Spencer who was still standing near the doorway, “Dr. Reid, this is SSA Derek Morgan and SSA Emily Prentiss.” Spencer gave a wave to the agents and to avoid any potential for handshakes moved to pick Gottfried up off the floor. Agent Morgan was giving the cat the side eye as Spencer checked him over and as Gottfried received a kiss of praise on the top of his head, he received a roaring purr in appreciation from the animal.
The hair at the back of Spencer’s neck prickled as he looked objectively at his wall of horrors. The large map of D.C. with the points of the abductions and body dumps along with copies of news clippings of the six murders he had seen, as well as additional clippings of similar murders and missing women predating the last six months looked like a wall of praise to the killer. If he didn’t convince these agents of the truth of his experiences, he was going to end up being charged for the crimes.
Spencer approached the agents, setting Gottfried on the top of the couch and decided that lecture mode may be the best way to present his case. He had to go all in at this point, “Did you know since the implementation of laws for Prostitution-Free-Zones in 2006 in the Washington downtown area, the number of arrests for prostitution and other crimes have gone down ten percent by the end of 2012?”
“And what does that have to do with all of this?” Rossi snorted as he waved a hand at the wall.
Spencer doggedly continued, “In 2012 with the crackdown around the downtown area, the arrests have tripled in the southeast section of the city. Specifically, Ward 7 east of the Anacostia River.”
The human agents were all staring at him uncomprehendingly, much to Spencer’s chagrin. He had been on sick leave from Georgetown for the last six months and this experience was just reinforcing the fact that he was a horrible public speaker. Agent Hotchner however, was studying him with a penetrating gaze that seemed less serious in the low light of Spencer’s apartment. His mouth had softened slightly in amusement at Spencer’s lecture to his agents. The feeling of safety from the interrogation room was still present in the back of Spencer’s mind and allowed him to endure the scrutiny of four pairs of eyes on him. So he persevered not letting the agents get a word in edgewise, “Now, normally if a killer is abducting victims from one area and dumping them in another they would most likely live in between the two areas. But, I believe our killer is actually living where the victims are being abducted from in Ward 7.”
“What makes you think that?” Morgan said.
As Spencer answered, he moved past Prentiss and Morgan to the map, pointing out the abduction and dumping sites. “Well, he is obviously familiar with both northwest and southeast Washington. He’s comfortable abducting victims near Ward 7 neighborhoods undergoing gentrification like Deadwood or Hillcrest and he’s very knowledgeable about Little Falls Park and the Creekridge Trail where he has been dumping the bodies in the open for anyone to see.”
Hotchner interjected, “He’s making a statement. The way he displays them, he wants them found. He’s going for shock value by placing them in a more affluent area.”
“Yes!” Spencer replied hands flailing about in his excitement. “Also, earlier murders and abductions taking place before the last six months show that at the start of his spree he was comfortable killing and dumping bodies throughout the southeastern neighborhoods. Though, I don’t have evidence, beyond similarities between victims and the cause of death to support my conclusions on that point.”
“Hotch, I agree the UnSub is making a statement, but you don’t really believe the psychic professor here who ‘sees dead people,’ do you?” Morgan said sarcastically. The muscled agent crossed his arms over his chest aggressively looming into Spencer’s personal space.
Sidling away from the man hating the fact he was intimidated by the Neanderthal. Spencer said petulantly, “I don’t see dead people! Well, ok correction I do see them because they are dead when the killer finishes with them, but it’s not like they talk to me. I can’t speak to the dead!”
“Dr. Reid, please calm down,” Rossi said waving his hands in supplication. “Morgan look at this geological profile, the comfort zone and anchor points, the doc has lain out. You have to admit it is an intriguing theory regardless of whether we believe in him having any telepathic ability.” Morgan studied the map further conversing quietly with Rossi and Prentiss. Spencer moved to sit down on his couch and offered the other half to Hotchner, as Gottfried settled on his lap.
The Sentinel turned his body towards Spencer’s, “Your geographical profile is very thorough. You’ve obviously been working on it for quite awhile.”
He’d been working on it since the second transference when he figured out what he was seeing wasn’t a dream. Spencer knew a lot more about the killer than he could realistically tell the agents at this point. Convincing the agents he was telling the truth was becoming more of an uphill battle than he had anticipated. The whole experience was exhausting and Spencer wanted nothing more than to get these people out of his apartment so he could rest.
“As a Sentinel, have you ever experienced a telepathic connection to anyone?” Spencer asked softly
Hotchner hesitated a moment before saying, “Only with my parents, they were a Sentinel and Guide pair.”
Spencer looked away from the Sentinel and concentrated on stroking Gottfried, “Can you tell me what you saw?”
“It only happened occasionally after I first came online as a Sentinel in my teens. My experience was very different from what you’ve described, except that it only occurred during times of great distress. I could only hear their thoughts, though it was muffled like someone talking underwater. I couldn’t see or feel what they were experiencing,” Hotchner said, as the other agents gathered around them to listen.
Spencer saw the bewilderment on their faces; it was obvious that Hotchner had not shared this personal detail with them. The Sentinel definitely had a strong personality, but kept it under tight control and Spencer wasn’t really surprised the agent had kept this personal aspect of his life private. It was a relief to know that someone else had experienced a telepathic link to another person. He smiled softly at the agent, “Thank you for sharing that with me.”
Prentiss reached down to pet Gottfried–which he allowed–and asked, “If you can hear the UnSub’s thoughts, why don’t you know his name?” Spencer sighed and rose from the couch, placing Gottfried gently on the cushion. The cat headed over to the Sentinel’s lap and settled down like he owned it. Hotchner’s lips curled into a small grin as he petted the feline. Agent Morgan was still keeping his distance from the cat and Spencer had to move around him as he headed over to this wall of horrors. Placing his hands on his hips as he studied it, the information was already stark in his mind. But, he needed to focus on something to gather his thoughts together. “When you think of yourself, do you often think of your name?” He asked.
It was a comfort to see that they knew what he was getting at. People just didn’t think in that manner. They ruminated on their day and bitched about shit that bothered them in their heads. Made to do lists for work and home; noticed attractive people they encountered. And a hundred other things, but they didn’t often think of their name to themselves.
Spencer suddenly experienced a rush of excitement stream over his awareness as the killer’s mind connected to his. He had never been awake at the start of the link before and as the images and feelings slammed into his brain, he swayed on his feet for a moment before feeling his body start to crumple to the ground. He could hear shouts of surprise in the background and the thump and skitter of Gottfied across the floor as Hotchner sprung up from the couch. Hands grabbed to catch him and the world tilted for a moment as someone picked him up in their arms. The universe narrowed to a point, blackening in the periphery of his consciousness until he could no longer feel, see, or hear anything else except the killer.
It was a bright jewel amongst its comrades. Shinny black hair, delicate build in a bright red sheath covered in a faux fur black coat that came down to the tops of its thighs. It would do nicely for tonight’s activities. The air was heavy with the smell of garbage, urine a sharp scent in his nose as he crossed the wet street toward the herd. It looked at him with dark brown eyes as he approached, a glimmer of calculation in its gaze. Arousal started to pool in his in his belly and spread down to his core as the anticipation built. The herd dispersed a bit as his focus was obviously on the bright bauble in their midst.
Price was agreed upon and it followed him back to his car a few blocks down the street. He made small talk with it to keep it at ease. His groin started to ache as his desire grew. Not long now, he would soon play with its body and blood. He opened the passenger side door and the low light of the street lamp reflected off the car window as it got in. The compulsion to study himself in the reflection was sudden…
Spencer was pulled abruptly from the connection. He was dazed; the world was tilting to and fro behind the darkness of his eyelids, like lying down after too much to drink. As he opened his eyes, he found he couldn’t focus; there were blobs of colors swirling around him and sounds of a multitude of voices murmuring in his ears. Once Spencer got some air back into his lungs, the closest blob started to slowly come into focus presenting Aaron Hotchner’s concerned face close above his own. Spencer had a death grip on the agent’s shirt. The Sentinel was saying something to him, but Spencer couldn’t decipher what the words were. As the room’s spinning slowed, Spencer felt warmth moving on and around his face and forehead, through his hair. It took a few seconds for him to realize that it was the Sentinel’s hands and that calming emotion he had felt the first time they touched had increased tenfold.
The rest of the room came back into sharp focus for a moment, the agents all around him, as Spencer finally heard what Hotchner’s voice was saying. The Sentinel was calling his name.
Spencer scrunched up his face in displeasure as late morning light radiated through his closed eyelids. He turned his face into his bed partner’s armpit to avoid the call of the dawn, to retain the feeling of contentment he was experiencing. His movements stilled as the thought that he was sharing his normally lonely bed with someone flitted through his mind. Taking stock of the situation, Spencer realized he was lying partially on his stomach and partially atop a large warm body. His right arm was draped across the chest of his bed partner–obviously a man if the lack of breasts were any indication–and his right leg and hip were thrown over powerfully muscled thighs. He also registered that the man’s arm was a band of heat around his shoulders while the slight weight of a warm bundle sprawled across the top of his hip and buttock had to be Gottfried.
Spencer drifted in the space between sleeping and waking for a moment, enjoying the heat and scent of his companion. Spicy aftershave with a hit of male musk teased his nose, before he realized he was hard with arousal against the solid flank of his bedmate. Mortified and hoping the deep steady breaths of his companion still indicated sleep, he unglued his eyes lids and lifted his head to peak up at the face of the body he was clutching.
It was the Sentinel, Aaron in bed with him. Spencer wasn’t sure if the agent was still asleep, so he stilled himself as he perused the man he was clinging to like a limpet. They were both still dressed, though their shoes had been discarded and to add to Spencer’s embarrassment his socks were as usual mismatched with his right in garish stripes and the left in a solid pea green color. As he looked down the agent’s body, Gottfried stirred noticing Spencer was awake and began massaging the buttock under him preparing to bug for his morning repast.
“Morning,” Aaron said in a voice gruff with sleep. Spencer felt his cheeks burn with heat as a blush rose from his chest up to the top of his head. He really should have at least gotten around to removing his hard-on from the agent’s person by now. He slowly eased his body away from the Sentinel providing much needed space between them. Gottfried provided an additional purring buffer as he moved up Spencer’s body for a morning cuddle.
Spencer decided the best course of action was to ignore the whole hard-on situation, “Did the others leave?” he asked.
“After your episode,” was Aaron’s reply. His face was soft with sleep the lines of stress smoothed out. The Sentinel didn’t seem anxious to get out of bed yet, so Spencer relaxed against his pillow, stroking Gottfried–who ratcheted up his purring–to take his mind back to The Knowing of the night before.
The transference had occurred earlier this time and Spencer’s eyes widened as he realized the experience had been significantly different; less jarring, more objective, like looking through a video camera to capture only sounds and actions. He had only initially experienced the excitement of the killer and then the emotional transmission had been cut off.
“What did you do?” Spencer says.
Hotchner rolled on his side toward him, placing a hand softly on his cheek, “What do you mean Spencer?”
He leaned briefly into the caress, his previous embarrassment forgotten, “The transference was different; it started and ended earlier. I didn’t feel his emotions this time.” Spencer replied, looking at the Sentinel in wonderment.
Aaron raised a dark eyebrow as he answered, “When you collapsed, Morgan carried you over to the couch and once I touched you, I guess I became part of the telepathic link. I could hear the UnSub’s thoughts and feel your terror, but I couldn’t see or feel what was happening from his point of view. Like a chain in a link fence, straddling two minds; but, partially broken. I didn’t get the brunt of the experience like you did,” he paused for a moment. Then stated, “You scared us, Spencer.”
“I’m sorry,” he replied. Spencer relaxed further eyes half closed listening to the soothing tone of Gottfried purring and Aaron’s slow breaths. Enjoying the soft touches to his face and brow, he was peaceful for the first time in six months even with arousal still lingering within his center. The emotions of the kill that usually overwhelmed him were in a distant place within his mind. The images of the pretty Latino woman the killer had chosen were clear though. She couldn’t have been much older than twenty with long black hair and heavy makeup on her face. Her looks had been exotic and he recalled the killer had seen her as a shining conquest amongst the group of women congregated on the street. He had chosen her, because she was unique.
“I saw his face,” Spencer whispered.
Aaron’s hand stilled its stroking and he slowly raised himself up on an elbow to peer down at Spencer. “What?”
Spencer reached up to clutch the Sentinel’s hand in his own as he recalled, “He put the woman into his car and there was light reflecting off the window. I needed to see his face and he looked at himself in the reflection. I think I made him do it some how. After that, you pulled me out of it.”
Aaron resumed his stroking absentmindedly, running his fingers through Spencer’s hair disheveling the locks further. It was so nice to not be alone after having experienced The Knowing again. Not having to see another woman killed was a relief. Not having the killer in his head even more so. Guilt suddenly overwhelmed him. He knew she was dead. The pretty young girl with a life just barely lived. Only he was glad to have a reprieve from seeing the light leave her eyes. Tears burned at the corner of his eyes as Spencer could no longer contain the grief he felt for her, the other victims and himself. He took a gasping breath, body shivering and allowed himself to cry.
“Spencer,” Aaron said faintly and gathered Spencer into his arms dislodging Gottfried from his nest between them. Spencer wrapped his arms tightly around the Sentinel and granted himself permission to take comfort in the companionship. Great wrenching sobs burst from him as Aaron ran his hands up and down Spencer’s back and shoulders.
As Spencer felt one of the Sentinel’s hands gently palmed the back of his neck a whisper of a presence started to fill his mind with resonating waves of tranquility and peace. He focused on those feelings as the presence worked to assuage Spencer’s guilt and grief though he resisted letting them go for a few moments. But, the presence was insistent that the wounds that marred his psyche were not disserved. It took awhile for Spencer to calm down, his breaths slowly continuing to hitch as his clenched muscles relaxed by degrees. He was basking in the soft presence of Aaron in the back of his mind and realized he had felt the presence last night during the transference.
Spencer, like most regular humans, had never really thought much about Sentinel and Guide abilities. He wondered if bonded pairs could always sense each other in their minds. If that was the case, he could now understand why bonding was such an important concept for them. He felt Aaron’s presence gently pulse a soft ripple of green light in his mind answering his unspoken question.
They lay quietly for awhile more, enjoying the stillness of the room as the sun’s rays slowly enveloped them in soft light. The quiet was finally disturbed by Gottfried bounding back up on the bed, paws poking them as he made his way up their bodies. He had obviously gotten tired of waiting for his breakfast, so settled on Aaron’s chest with a soft meow and his paw’s playfully caressing Spencer’s nose. Spencer smiled at his cat’s antics and reluctantly moved out of Aaron’s embrace disengaging from the mental connection.
“We should get up,” he said voice hoarse from crying before he noticed the wet patch of tears soaking the side of Aaron’s button down shirt. Dismayed by the mess he’d made, “Oh God, I’m so sorry.” He tried to soak up some of the moisture with the sleeves of his cardigan.
“It’s not a problem,” Aaron replied soothingly giving Spencer a little pat on the back. “I want you to bring your geographical profile to Quantico to discuss further with the team.”
Spencer slowly sat up with Gottfried in his arms, butterflies fluttering in his belly. The FBI’s top profiling unit was going to actually work with him, Dr. Spencer Reid–Genius, Sensitive, Telepath, Introvert and Geek–to catch a killer.
Spencer fiddled with his messenger bag and the rolled map he was carrying as he rode the elevator up to the BAU offices at FBI headquarters. He was nervous about meeting with the team after last night. He now knew that Aaron had experienced some of the transference, so he wasn’t worried about convincing the Sentinel he wasn’t nuts. The others had witnessed it, but he didn’t know if they were still skeptical of his telepathic capabilities. He could still end up institutionalized or in jail if he couldn’t persuade them of the truth of his reality.
It was mid-afternoon, most of the day gone after having slept so late. Aaron had stayed for a quiet cup of coffee before he’d departed for home to get changed and into the office. The elevator doors opened to reveal the pretty blond agent he had seen outside the MPD interrogation room.
“Dr. Reid, I’m Special Agent Jennifer Jareau, the BAU’s liaison,” she said holding out her hand.
Spencer accommodated her with a handshake, “Oh, Hello.”
“I’ll be escorting you to the roundtable room to meet with the rest of the team,” she announced as they continued through clear double glass doors emblazoned with the FBI’s seal into the unit’s main room. Spencer saw both Prentiss and Morgan at their desks, with multitudes of agents and staff buzzing with work around them. They both stood up as they saw him enter and Spencer gave them a little hand wave in greeting as he followed the liaison through the bullpen. Spencer gave Aaron a small smile when he looked up from his desk in a large office overlooking the room to observe Spencer’s progress across the floor. They continued up some stairs, entering a conference room housed along the edge of the office’s mezzanine.
Spencer stopped abruptly in the doorway the effect of the presentation boards along the walls to the room jarring. The boards displayed images of the bodies of the last six victims, plus three other victims, as well as women still unaccounted for dating back eighteen months according to the timeline shown on a separate board. He had thought his own wall of horrors at home was alarming, but nothing had prepared him for the full reality of what the killer had done. Women, all young, all strangled and stabbed multiple times, left naked and splayed as if they were garbage for the world to see. A tide of anger surged within him at the display of the carnage. The beast needed to be stopped and whether or not the BAU could help him stop it no longer mattered. Either way, Spencer was going to find this man and inflict justice on him. He’d go rouge and kill the bastard himself if he had to.
“Dr. Reid?” Agent Jareau inquired. Her large blue eyes kind as she waved him into the room. As Spencer slowly entered, he studied the boards in more detail, taking his time moving from one to another around the space. He was satisfied that the profilers had done a good job of linking the earlier victims Spencer had found to the latest murders. The body of the woman he had seen had been found as well. Maria Grace Morales, nineteen years old had been the killer’s choice last night. Her face was ghoulish in death, a parody of the lovely girl that had once existed.
Agent Jareau approached him as he stilled in front of Maria’s panel. “Dr. Reid? Agent Hotchner said you would bring in your geographical profile. There’s space over here,” she said pointing to a board to the right of the computer screen mounted in the center of the opposite wall. “Do you want some help mounting it?”
“You can just call me Spencer,” he replied softly moving to the space starting to unroll the map in his hand.
“Please call me J.J. then, Spencer,” she answered with a smile. Together they tacked the map on the board as the rest of the team, Rossi, Morgan, and Prentiss, came into the room greeting Spencer as they took their seats around the table. Aaron brought up the rear to join Spencer in front of the board.
“Thank you for coming in Dr. Reid,” he said. The Sentinel was in another of his starched suits looking well put together for having been up so late the night before. The rest of the team also looked rested, but Spencer knew they probably hadn’t gotten much sleep the night before either.
“I’m glad to see you looking better kid,” Morgan stated from his place at the table. “You had us worried there for awhile.” Spencer wasn’t crazy about the kid reference, but decided to ignore it since Morgan looked so concerned for him. Perhaps the man was only a Neanderthal when he was dealing with suspects, Spencer considered. The Knowing must have scared him. Spencer wasn’t sure what happened to his body when The Knowing happened, but he figured it was like a seizure or fit of some kind. The experience had probably been disconcerting to the agents who had witnessed it.
Aaron placed a gentle hand on Spencer’s shoulder. “We need to get started if you would like to take a seat,” he indicated a seat open between Rossi and Prentiss before taking his own next to Morgan and J.J. Spencer was awkwardly trying to get his messenger bag over his head to sit when a whirlwind of blond curls, bright green glasses and red stiletto heals covered in a pink frock with blazing teal colored flowers clicked in the room. She had glitter in her hair and on her nails and carried a pen with some sort of bright pink fuzz on the end of it. Spencer had never seen a person quite like her before. She was a point of brightness in an otherwise somber space.
“Oh My God! You are just adorable,” she announced. Spencer’s bag hit the side of the table with a thwack as he finally got the strap over his head. His eyes widened as she continued, “Derek you didn’t tell me how cute he is.”
“Settled down, Baby Girl,” Morgan smiled brightly while the rest of the team looked on with variations of amusement on their faces.
“Garcia,” Aaron spoke firmly.
“Oh sorry sir,” she acknowledged the small reprimand with aplomb and continued to bustle her way over to the screen picking up a remote on her way.
“Dr. Reid, this is Penelope Garcia our technical analyst. Garcia this is Dr. Spencer Reid and Derek has obviously brought you up to speed on who he is and why he is here.” The Sentinel didn’t seem annoyed by Garcia’s antics; he was radiating mild amusement according to the slight curl to his lips much to Spencer’s chagrin. He could feel his ears get hot as he finally got his things sorted to sit down, giving Garcia a small nod of greeting and a soft hello as he did so.
“We all know why we are here, so we’d best get started, Garcia?” Aaron said.
“Alright here we go my sweet profiling posse. The ninth victim, Maria Grace Morales’ body, a nineteen year old prostitute was found this afternoon in Rock Creek Park near the Piney Branch Parkway. She’d been stabbed and strangled like the other victims and left nude in the open. The coroner has put the TOD at sometime between one and three a.m. this morning. This guy is such a sicko,” she stated frowning as she took the last open seat at the table. She turned in her seat to use the remote to put all nine known victims ID images on the screen.
Spencer observed that all of the victims where young between eighteen and twenty-five years old. Other than their ages and profession it didn’t seem as if the killer had a preference to a certain race, facial features or hair color. Though, they were all very attractive women.
“Let’s go over the profile, what do we know about him?” Aaron brought everyone’s attention back to him.
Morgan started, “He’s a preferential sexual sadist, white between the ages of thirty-five and forty-five.”
“He’s probably unfulfilled in his job, most likely in a low-level white collar position and feels impotent professionally. He’s a cog in the wheels of a larger organization or corporation. He feels unappreciated, unnoticed and probably underpaid.” Rossi suggested.
Prentiss interjected, “He lacks social skills and this translates to impotence in his personal life. Our UnSub is unlikely to be able to have normal relationships with women, so his need to kill and degrade these prostitutes is his release.”
Spencer was amazed as the team continued to bounce ideas back and forth working in unison with ease. Merging together their theories to create the profile that would hopefully help them to catch the killer. What they were saying was very accurate based on Spencer’s experiences during The Knowing.
“He must have experienced some form of trauma during his childhood that is linked to prostitution in someway,” Aaron added. “Yes, prostitutes are easier to exploit, but look at the rage he expresses during the kill and the disrespect he shows in the way he displays their bodies. He absolutely loathes these women.”
“Now all of you, except J.J. and Garcia saw what happened last night at Dr. Reid’s apartment,” Aaron recounted. “When we find the UnSub we have to have probable cause in order to get a warrant to search his home, work and any other properties he may be in possession of. Last night when Dr. Reid collapsed, the moment I touch him I could hear the UnSub’s thoughts.”
He paused to let his statement sink in, “It’s common knowledge that Guides and Sentinel’s can have some forms of telepathic contact with their bond mates and in particular Guides are able to sense the emotional states of most people. As you all know, Sentinel and Guide testimony related to their abilities is admissible in court; however, Dr. Reid is not a Guide and there is no way we can positively prove his telepathic experiences are real in order to have probable cause to catch our UnSub.” When he finished he assessed his team with his gaze.
Five pairs of eyes looked to Spencer. They all seemed to believe their boss’ assertion, as there was no protest voiced by anyone in the room. Their faces were serene, it seemed the Sentinel had convinced them of the truth of Spencer’s experiences. Spencer didn’t know how long the team had been together or how long Aaron had been their leader. But there was trust in Aaron displayed on their expressions. The Sentinel turned to him, his face troubled and considering.
“Dr. Reid, do you agree that your telepathic contact with the UnSub must remain secret?” he asked. Spencer felt a rush of relief at the words. They were going to keep the transference quiet, he wasn’t going to be labeled as a psychic or charlatan or have a three-day psych evaluation put on him. He nodded vigorously in response his tips of his curls tickling his ears as he did so.
“Anything we discuss related to Dr. Reid’s telepathic or empathic experiences must not and will not leave this room. Are we in agreement?” Aaron said gravely. The rest of the agents voiced their compliance to the Sentinel’s directive.
Aaron turned his head to addressed Spencer, “So with keeping that in mind, Dr. Reid will you take us through your geographical profile? Just give us the data you have compiled and your conclusions based on your objective analysis.”
Spencer had been quiet until now, letting the team do their jobs without his influence. He rose from his seat to move over to his map indicating the abduction and the earliest dump sites, “As you can see, he initially dumped the first two bodies on the periphery of the Deadwood neighborhood and then the third outside of Hillcrest, which are both in the process of being gentrified. The bulk of the abductions have taken place in the area with the highest level of prostitution in the Ward, on and around Eastern Avenue near Deadwood. His comfort zone is these two neighborhoods, so he probably lives in one or the other.” He was pleased when his voice started to project more confidence than he was feeling as he embraced the statistics he had laid out in his profile. This was what he was good at, this was what he knew was right.
“If you look at the last six dump sites, it is obvious he is very knowledgeable about the terrain of the many parks and public spaces in northwest D.C. He is able to move about without issue and he blends in to these affluent neighborhoods as he passes through to discard the bodies,” Spencer continued. “This indicates that at some point in his life, he probably lived in one of these areas.”
The team was in agreement if the nodding going on around the table was any indication. Spencer focused on Aaron when he finished. The Sentinel’s gaze was approving and Spencer was satisfied he had given the team a good tool to use to help catch the killer.
“Looking at the timeline, the UnSub’s cooling off period is decreasing,” Aaron stated. “The last two victims where killed within a week of each other, so he is escalating and we don’t have a lot of time before he moves on to the next one.” Spencer actually believed the killer would be hunting tonight or tomorrow at the latest, but he couldn’t really express that opinion to the team.
Instead he asked, “How are you going to proceed?”
“We need to get a viable suspect. Garcia, I want you to do a search on white males thirty-five to forty-five who may have been picked up for soliciting a prostitute. To be thorough expand your search for single men living in the neighborhoods of not only Deadwood and Hillcrest, but Lilly Ponds, Marshall Heights, and Fort DuPont in Ward 7. These areas are currently undergoing gentrification and even though the comfort zone indicates he is living in either Deadwood or Hillcrest, we don’t want to limit the search to just those two neighborhood to start.”
Garcia was furiously writing on her note pad her pink fuzzy pen vibrating with her movements. Rossi piped up, “Also go back twenty-five to thirty-five years to see if you can connect a family tragedy to an instance of prostitution. It is likely a father or uncle was involved in some way that affected the UnSub or his mother during childhood.”
“Once we have a list of suspects identified we’ll give the profile to the MPD to canvas the main areas of prostitution throughout the Ward. See if they can find any witnesses to connect the UnSub to Maria Morales. Someone should have seen him pick her up or discuss payment with her last night.” Aaron added.
Garcia rose in a flurry of colors and said, “Will do my captain!”
“Miss Garcia, if you could wait for a moment,” Spencer asked. Garcia halted her movements as Spencer pulled out some papers from his messenger bag. He breathed deeply for a moment then reluctantly handed them to Aaron. The Sentinel perused the image on the page for a moment before handing the extra copies to the team.
“What’s this?” Prentiss exclaimed when she saw the picture.
He fidgeted for a moment as all eyes were on him. “It’s a composite sketch I did this morning of the killer,” he uttered looking away from all of the agents to focus only on Aaron. “I know you can’t really use it right now, but perhaps if you can match it to one of the suspects Miss Garcia finds you can use that ID first when you canvas.”
Spencer bit his lip as Aaron set the sketch aside and addressed him, “I think this will be helpful Spencer.” The rest of the team didn’t look as confident in the idea as their boss, but no one protested it.
“If there aren’t any other questions or comments, I think were done for now.” Aaron announced.
Seats were pushed back as everyone got to their feet, but Spencer wasn’t quite done. He touched the Sentinel’s arm as he rose and his question came out as more of a demand than a request, “I would like to help you canvas.” Aaron waved the rest of the team out of the room before he turned back to Spencer. There was concern in the Sentinel’s eyes as he leaned on the table to scrutinize Spencer’s face. Spencer only hoped Aaron wouldn’t start scanning him with his senses as he had during interrogation. Otherwise what he was planning to do would be stopped.
“Spencer you know as a civilian, I can’t have you canvassing with our officers. Also, the areas we are going to be spending time in are dangerous and our UnSub is dangerous. I can’t risk having anything happen to you.” Aaron told him.
“I understand,” he replied looking down at his hands. “Will you let me know when Miss Garcia has a list of suspects?”
“Yes, you’ll be one of the first to know,” Aaron asserted. “I’ll want you to take a look at the pictures and see if you can pick him out.”
“Ok, thank you for believing in me,” Spencer said as he held out his hand to the Sentinel. Aaron smiled and shook his hand caressing Spencer’s long fingers as he let go. The heat from the Sentinel’s hand lingered on his skin for a few moments as he worked to gather his things to leave.
“I’ll escort you out,” Aaron replied placing his left hand low on Spencer’s back guiding him out the door and down the stairs. As he left Spencer at the elevator he spoke softly into his ear, “Just call me if you need to talk, about anything. Ok?”
“I will, thanks,” Spencer assured. He watched Aaron walk back into the office and reflected that his next move was going make the Sentinel think that he was either very brave or very stupid. Spencer just knew that He was going hunting tonight. There was no time to wait for Garcia to narrow down some suspects. Spencer had to take action and the only tools he had were his sketch and his mind. He’d need to use both to stop another killing.
Spencer woke abruptly as Gottfried landed on his chest. The cat was emitting low growling tones from deep within his throat. It was late and very dark in his bedroom. He’d collapsed into bed fully dressed except for his shoes and tie when he got home from canvassing around midnight. Unfortunately, he’d not had much luck in finding a witness who could link Maria Morales to the killer. Spencer had been propositioned more times than he could count on both hands last night; but, he’d been able to make many of the women on the streets aware to avoid going with any man that match the killer’s description. He’d headed home exhausted and a bit frustrated with only minor satisfaction that some of the potential victims were informed.
As he slowly sat up with a still growling Gottfried in his arms Spencer suddenly felt a sick rush of excitement wash over his mind. The killer was in his apartment. Fear spiked at the realization that he was in true danger. He quietly got out of bed setting Gottfried down on the blankets and tried to adjust his vision to the darkness. He needed to get out now.
His apartment didn’t have a fire escape the only way out was to go through his small living room to the front door. He had no weapons and no training to defend himself. Even his empathic senses weren’t helping him at the moment. The killer’s presence in his mind was building gradually and Spencer had no empathic shields to protect him. The transference was slower this time though, not the blitz of sights, sounds and feelings that had become normal in the past.
The killer was at his bedroom door a hand reaching out to the knob to open it. Spencer hadn’t made it a foot beyond his bed when the door opened. He was seeing in double, watching the killer enter the room his features in shadow backlit by the street light coming in from the living room windows and seeing himself standing by the bed. The killer paused in surprise when he noticed Spencer waiting for him. It only lasted a second before he rushed in tackling Spencer to the bed.
Spencer felt hands close around his throat squeezing harshly. He couldn’t even scream for help as the killer’s heavy body straddled him pinning him down onto the bedclothes. Colors and sounds were swirling around him and in his mind was the killer’s pleasure at the feel of his throat in hands. The killer’s panting breaths were cresting over Spencer’s face. The smell of his skin sour as if the killer’s internal sickens was emanating from his pours. He couldn’t get any air. His hands were unsuccessful in trying to dislodge the killer’s from around his neck. Blackness was starting on the edges of his vision. He was going to pass out.
A high-pitched hissing roar pierced through the blackness as Gottfried attack the killer’s face. Spencer got a face full of fluffy tail as his cat aggressively scratched the intruder’s face and neck. The hands around Spencer’s throat were dislodged for a moment as Gottfried was thrown across the room. The blackness receded as Spencer was able to gulp much needed air into his lungs. In that moment, the transference withdrew and Spencer felt an echo of Aaron’s being in his mind again. As he struggled to keep the killer’s fingers off his throat he pushed all of his panic, fear and sorrow at the echo of the Sentinel in his mind. Spencer was no match for the larger man and the life was being squeezed out of him once more. Before the darkness closed over him, Spencer felt a questioning pulse from Aaron in his head.
There was light beyond Spencer’s eyelids as his awareness trickled into being. He hurt all over particularly his throat and shoulders as he tried to determine what had happened to make them so sore. There was a heavy weight across his hips and his eyes flew open as the memories of the preceding altercation came back to him in a rush of panic. The harsh ropes tying his wrists and ankles to the bed aborted the clench of his muscles’ fight and flight response. The killer was sitting on his flanks as if he was a lover. A farce of a sexual position, knife in hand examining Spencer with a small smile as he played with the blade.
“You’re normally not my type, but you’ll do for tonight,” he said. Spencer finally got the full picture of the creature that had been haunting his conscience for the last six months. He was just a large man dressed in black jeans and a tee shirt; a ginger with freckles across his nose and a small gut overlapping his belt with bright red furrows across his cheeks and neck from Gottfried’s claws.
The link to Aaron was gone in Spencer’s mind and he knew he was now on his own. He was also no longer experiencing the thought transference. For the first time since he’d been awakened his mind was his own.
The man had turned on the bedside lamps casting soft light throughout the room. Spencer opened his mouth to scream, hoping his neighbor Mrs. Cavanaugh would hear and call the police, when the killer suddenly reached down with his left hand to tighten the zip-tie Spencer hadn’t noticed was around his throat choking off his scream.
The tie loosened a bit as the killer asked, “How did you find me?” He placed the blade of his knife against the left side of Spencer’s neck. “You’ll keep quiet and answer my questions or I’ll gut you while you’re still awake. It’s up to you.” he said matter of factually. Spencer nodded his compliance to stave off the threat, hoping it would give him a chance to figure out how he was going to get out of the situation.
“Now how did you find me?” he repeated.
Spencer answered truthfully, “I’m telepathic. My mind was linked to yours during your last six murders.” His voice was hoarse the answer barely above a whisper.
“Stop bullshitting me!” he demanded.
The knife dug into Spencer’s collarbone and his breath hitched in pain around the high-pitched whine that left his throat. “I’m telling you the truth, please stop!” he said in alarm. The killer’s green eyes were narrowed in fury at Spencer’s answer and the knife eased deeper into his flesh. Tears of pain and fear were running down his cheeks as the tie around his throat was tightened. He couldn’t move, couldn’t speak or do anything to save himself. He was helpless to this pathetic excuse of a human being. A tide of anger burst over and out of him and the killer suddenly reared back away from Spencer’s face his eyes wide in surprise.
The loud bang of the apartment door bursting open startled the killer further as shouts from FBI agents streaming into the outer room announced their presence. The killer turned back to Spencer with the knife raised above his head a vicious look of triumph on his face as he brought the knife down to plunge into his captives’ chest. Spencer closed his eyes not wanting to see the face of the man as he was killed.
The deathblow never descended as the weight of the killer was pulled abruptly off his body. Spencer’s eyes popped back open in time to see Aaron holding the killer up against the wall choking the life out of him as furious growls were emitted from the Sentinel’s throat. The killer was banging his feet against the wall and Aaron’s sides, eyes bugging out of his face his mouth open in a grotesque display.
“Hotch! Hotch!” Agent Morgan shouted from the middle of the room with Prentiss just behind him. The agents didn’t approach the Sentinel, but continued to attempt to get him to stop the violent act. Their shouts didn’t seem to register as the Sentinel continued his assault.
“Aaron,” Spencer called, the word no more than a sigh from his lips. Suddenly the Sentinel released his hold on the killer’s throat allowing the body to crumple to the ground as he immediately turned to go to Spencer. Aaron ran his fingers over Spencer’s face and through his curls as he leaned down to nuzzle the damp forehead under his hands. Spencer felt Aaron’s mental touch soft in the back of his mind, safety washed over his psyche. He was crying still having difficulty breathing with the tie around his throat. “Untie me, untie me,” he gasp as he leaned into Aaron’s caresses as best he could accepting of the link between their minds.
“Morgan, a knife,” he demanded holding out a hand to receive the agent’s small blade. He released Spencer’s right arm first, which instantly clutched at the Sentinel’s shoulder. Once the left was released, Spencer surged up from the bedclothes gripping Aaron to him and buried his face in the Sentinel’s neck. His ankles were released and the Sentinel then pulled Spencer onto his lap whispering words of comfort while rubbing his shoulders and running fingers though the disheveled locks next to his cheek.
“Emily find me a pair of scissors please,” the request softly spoken and barely registered in Spencer’s ears as he tried to get a hold of his emotions allowing himself to take solace in Aaron’s warmth, strong arms and mental caress. He briefly felt cold metal against his neck, but it was gone in an instant. The tie suddenly released so he could gather a deep breath.
It took awhile for Spencer to calm. He was aware of movement and sounds around the room, but it was to soothing to remain in Aaron’s embrace and basked in his mental and physical presence. Reluctantly, Aaron pulled Spencer’s face from its warm nook and pulled the curls lying across his forehead gently out of the way.
“Are you back with us, Spencer?” he asked. Spencer opened his eyes to hazily see the Sentinel’s concerned face above his own. His muscles slowly unclench from the desperate grip he still had around the solid shoulders under his palms. Aaron was wiping the tears from his cheeks as Spencer’s awareness fully returned. Gazing about the room it seemed the killer had been removed leaving a pair of paramedics patiently waiting to attend him while Morgan and Prentiss stood off to the side of the bedroom doorway.
Aaron gave him a soft smile and scolded his gently. “We’re going to have a talk when you’re recovered about doing dangerous things on your own,” he said. Spencer burst out with a watery chuckle in response. He probably deserved to get a lecture after tonight’s debacle, he reflected.
“Thank you,” he stated to Aaron and pulled slowly away from the embrace. He looked to Morgan and Prentiss to express his thanks to them, but caught site of Gottfried cradled in Morgan’s arms before he could say anything. The feline was looking regal perched high in Morgan’s arms radiated satisfaction with blood still staining his paws.
Spencer gave a hoarse cry, “Gottfried! Is he alright?” He made grabby hands at Morgan for his cat.
Morgan moved passed the paramedics smiling as he handed Spencer the ball of gray fluff. “He seems ok, but we do need the crime scene guys to process that blood on his claws.” Gottfried had obviously worked out an accord with the agent. “I found him hiding up on the top of the book shelves. I see he’s basically a guard cat, any intruder is attacked huh?”
Spencer smiled in response as he ran his hands over Gottfried looking for injuries. The feline seemed just fine–to his relief–he must have landed on his feet, as cat’s tended to do. Gottfried was preening at the attention paws gently batting Spencer’s nose in greeting as he was checked over.
Aaron cleared his throat, “Spencer we need to get you to the hospital. That cut is going to need stitches.” Spencer looked down at himself, the left side of his chest was bloodied and at the reminder, his injury started to throb. He had bruising on his wrists and his neck and throat felt swollen. Aaron moved away to allow the paramedics in to start treatment much to Gottfried’s displeasure as their hands bodily set him aside to get to Spencer.
“Will you come with me?” he asked the Sentinel as they started to move him to the gurney that had been brought in. Aaron nodded and took Spencer’s hand in his as he was settled and their mental connection opened once more. Ribbons of closeness and affection rippled between them.
“Hey Pretty Boy,” Morgan called to Spencer as he entered the bullpen of the BAU for the third time. Spencer glowered at the agent not happy at all with the moniker from one of his new co-workers. He decided to take the high road and ignore the Neanderthal’s teasing. It was his first day as the newest member of the BAU and he wasn’t quite sure how to take Morgan’s joking yet. The dark skinned man seemed pleased to see him, but Spencer was often not very good at reading people’s intentions unless he could get a read on their emotions with his empathy.
“Agent Morgan, good morning,” he replied primly setting his bag on his shiny new desk to begin unpacking his things. The agent’s smile at Spencer widened as he continued to lean on his desk with a coffee in his hand. Spencer’s frown smoothed out as he received a wave of happy satisfaction radiating from the agent. It seemed as if Morgan was pleased he was here, Spencer mused as the emotions he was receiving gently dispelled.
It had been eight months since Vincent Taylor Gaylord had invaded his apartment and tried to kill him. After a twenty-four hour hospital stay, Aaron had brought him back to the BAU for his statement. Gaylord had followed Spencer home that night after seeing him canvassing the women on the streets with his sketch. It was a stupid thing to have done, but Spencer couldn’t regret anything. They had caught the killer, had probable cause to search his home and the agents had found the USB drive with photographs of all of his victims, as well as the knives used to torture and kill them. There had been sixteen in all, the number horrific. The BAU had all the evidence they needed to put him away for life.
The profile had been accurate as well. Gaylord had been a low level auditor with the IRS and had grown up in an affluent family in Cathedral Heights. His father had been a prominent doctor and surgeon who had a proclivity for prostitutes unbeknownst to his wife. She had contracted syphilis from her husband and it had gone untreated until the dementia she had developed had become irreversible. Gaylord had been fourteen at that time. Aaron had speculated that Gaylord’s move to Deadwood and the proximity of prostitution in the neighborhood had allowed him to act on his homicidal desires.
Spencer had been relieved when Gaylord had pled guilty to avoid the death penalty. He’d only had to recount the attack during Gaylord’s sentencing and his telepathy had stayed under wraps with only the profiling team knowing about his gift. He’d also not had another incident of The Knowing since that night. Spencer was hopeful that the telepathy was truly gone.
“It’s our new Junior G-Man!” Garcia greeted as she bustled into the bullpen in a dizzying electric bright green frock and orange heals. “Is Derek being nice to you?” she asked coming forward to pull Spencer into a crushing hug. Spencer’s breath left him in a rush as he was squished to her ample bosom for a moment.
Spencer gave her a pat on the shoulder smiling as he was released from her embrace. “It’s nice to see you to, Garcia,” he replied. They had become good friends over the months, meeting for coffee, discussing Doctor Who and the many variations of the Star Trek franchise, and even attending D.C. ComicCon together. Spencer was still resisting Garcia’s push to get a computer and an email account; but, she was slowly whittling down his resolve.
“So you’ve officially left academia, Spencer?” J.J. asked as she approached with files in her arms and Prentiss not far behind her.
Spencer turned to her returning her smile to say, “Hello J.J., yes I am no longer teaching at Georgetown, but I’ll still continue to publish. I was a complete hack at teaching really, so needed a change.”
“Did you pass all of your tests Kid?” Morgan asked.
“Yes, I did exceedingly well in everything,” he lied. Spencer had excelled at the bookwork required at the Academy, but just barely squeaked by with passing the firearms and physical training. He was in the best shape of his life and determined to keep up with staying in shape, even though he hated it like Hell on fire. Morgan gave him a cat got the cream smirk in reply. Spencer had little expectation that his results were private, but Morgan didn’t call him out on the lie.
“How’s my sweet kitty,” Garcia asked.
Morgan just rolled his eyes and muttered under his breath, “Sweet kitty my ass.”
“He’s just fine, but I think he is missing you,” Spencer replied.
Spencer still felt smug that the large man was so intimidated by a sixteen-pound ball of fluff. It had been difficult being away from Gottfried for such a long amount of time, but he’d been able to visit with him on the occasional weekend furlong. Gottfried adored Garcia and had pouted about not seeing her as much since for the first week he came back home with Spencer. He wasn’t sure how Garcia got his cat to love her so much, but he now sometimes felt like he more a manservant to the feline than owner. Spencer knew Gottfried still loved him, but he seemed to be more demanding than ever for affection and treats. It could be that Gottfried wasn’t happy with his new diet, since he came home from Garcia’s with an added three pounds extra plump hanging from his belly.
“OK everyone we have a case,” Aaron called from the mezzanine with Rossi standing beside him. Everyone started to make their way to the roundtable room. The Sentinel looked good, handsome and strong and Spencer was contented to see him again. He had only been in touch with him over the phone during his twenty week training at the Academy. Following his hospital stay the Sentinel had hovered a bit over Spencer. Checking on him regularly the first few months and had become somewhat of a fixture in Spencer’s life. Spencer was happy to see him in person again, their affection and friendship had grown over the months after the case.
As his sick leave at Georgetown was ending, Spencer had felt at loose ends in deciding whether to return to teaching or not. Garcia’s coffee counsel was helpful in talking about other options; but, it was Aaron who had encouraged him in the direction of using his intellect for the FBI and profiling. Informal talks over dinners had turned into serious discussions during many evenings spent visiting with each other. Spencer had found excitement and challenge in the use of his mind as Aaron brought over cold case files temp him.
It was also tempting to continue to be near the Sentinel as emotions of affection, contentment, and humor often washed over Spencer when he spent time with the man. He tried not to let those feeling affect his final decision to join the FBI, but in the back of his mind he knew it was inevitable that what had happened and his growing feelings for the Sentinel did factor into his life’s trajectory.
The team took their seats at the table, Garcia at the ready with her remote. Spencer returned Aaron’s smile as he sat down to open the file in front of him. The Sentinel glanced around the table at his team before saying, “Good morning everyone, I like welcome our newest team member, Dr. Spencer Reid to the BAU.” Spencer gave everyone a little wave in return for their words of welcome and felt at home among the people who had helped to save him.
Part Two: Convergence
Part Three: Divergence