“Reid!” Spencer’s brows furrow as he stops, almost tripping over his feet as he grabs the doorframe to peak into Hotch’s office.
“What’s wrong?” There’s something about the way Hotch is looking at him that tells him there’s something incredibly dangerous about whatever he’s about to say.
The concern in Hotch’s eyes is evident, the same kind reserved for the safety of his friends and child.
“I think it’s better if we go over it with everyone,” Hotch rises to his feet, case file held in a white knuckled grip. Hotch swiftly makes his way to the briefing room.
Once everyone is seated and he’d passed out the reports, he clenches and unclenches his jaw.
“This is twenty-six year old, Bruce Wilde, Walker Childs, eighteen year old, Christopher Smith, twenty year old, Cody McClain,” Penelope states, eyes trained on the floor as she clicks along the pictures, “and this is thirty four year old, Cyrus Crass, they’re all male prostitutes that have been going missing in DC, and turning up near the coast of Virginia.”
“Shit,” Morgan blurts and everyone looks at the screen with wide eyes. “Reid, they all look like you.”
Spencer looks for words, but seems to notice something that no one else has, “Is he leaving those flowers on all of them?”
Garcia swallows thickly, pulling up the full view of the picture to find that, these victims aren’t just covered in them, they’re surrounded by them, “What is it?”
“Someone wants me dead,” He states, thoughts unwavering, “those are the Bird’s-Foot Trefoil. They mean revenge.”
And within and instant, the air leaves the building.
“Should you be on this case?” Emily asks, looking around the room. “It’s clear you’re the final target.”
“I could be a bargaining chip,” Reid decides after a long moment. “I might be our best bet.”
“There no way in hell I’m letting you sacrifice yourself,” Morgan hisses, turning his attention to Reid, “I refuse to lose you.”
“I’m not worried,” Reid shrugs, lips quirked into a half-smile that doesn’t come anywhere near meeting his eyes, “There’s already been five murders, I don’t want there to be a sixth.”
And it’s this statement that leads to Reid sitting in the front of the SUV, staring out the window. They’re all watching him, but they know he’s too far gone in his thoughts to notice.
“Do you remember Nathan Harris?” Reid asks suddenly, turning to look at Hotch. They all look at him, realisation in their features.
Emily looks around, confused, “Who is Nathan Harris?”
“He’s a kid from about five years ago—“ Hotch starts, only to be cut off by Reid.
“Five years, four months, and sixteen days ago.” Spencer jerks his head back out the window as Hotch nods in agreement.
“Right. He came to Reid and he told us he was having sadistic urges, and he started acting on them. Then he told us he wanted to kill some prostitutes, and for a while we thought he was our unsub,” Reid in gnawing on his inner cheek, eyes unfocused, “he didn’t like that he was becoming sadistic and he tried to kill himself. Reid and Garcia found him though, he’s been institutionalised since.”
“So it can’t be him,” Emily states, throwing a glance at Reid, “Different gender MO, and this is Reid specific— I doubt he’d want you dead if you saved him.”
“Yeah,” Reid sighs, sending her another right smile. “I just... I just haven’t thought about him in while. I used to every day.”
“Something doesn’t feel right,” Reid mutters, looking at the girl who sits on the other side of the glass. “I think she’s hiding something but I’ve never seen her before.”
“Go in there,” JJ says, and Hotch nods her on agreeing, “Her reaction will tell us everything we need to know.”
Reid just nods, taking a deep breath before he pulls open the door and steps inside. She very clearly interested, but not in the way they’d expect a sadistic killer out for revenge to be.
“Hi Crystal,” Spencer greets, sitting down across from her as he drops the case file in front of her. “Can I get you anything?”
She just grins, hot pinks lips pouted as she leans forward, resting he chin on her opened palm.
Her voice is raspy when she speaks, tongue running across her bottom as she looks Spencer up and down, “no, no. I think the question is can I do anything for you?”
“I’m alright, Crystal.” Spencer leans forward, and the team watches him, somewhere between confused, impressed, and mortified. Morgan is somehow all three. “Why don’t we talk about you?”
She simpers, reaching out and taking his tie between her fingers, and toying with it as she looks at him coyly.
“What do you wanna know, Daddy?” Reid has to bite back a cough.
Feed into the character, into the fantasy.
“Tell me about you,” He murmurs back, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear.
The team watches from behind the glass, jaws slacked and eyes wide open.
“I could’ve gone my whole life without seeing this,” Prentiss breathes, “is it wrong that I’m kind of glad I didn’t.”
“Why does he kind of look like he’s enjoying it?” Morgan mutters, face screwed up in disgust, “I hate my life.”
“If this goes any— oh good God!” JJ blurts, covering her eyes.
“Was anyone going to tell me that Reid has an alter ego?” Rossi groans, shuddering, “and that he has a dad— I can’t even say it.”
On the other side of the glass, Reid leans a little closer, and the smell of cheap perfume infiltrates his senses.
“Alright sweetheart,” He says gruffly, “What do you know about the missing guys?”
She just pops her gum, grin devilish, “You mean the ones that look like you?”
“Dunno, Princess, you tell me,” He says, lowering his voice and octave as she takes his hand, running over his palm with her ruby red acrylics.
“I might’ve slept with a few of them, I kinda have a type,” she moans gutturally, grabbing his hand, and sucking on his index finger as he watches her.
JJ gets up to pull the plug but Morgan stops her, “no wait, he knows what he’s doing.”
Spencer has never been more thankful in his life that his thoughts are silent, because all that’s running through his head is a mix between the looping of ‘ew germs, ew germs, ew germs’, ‘this is God’s way of saying I should start shaking hands, isn’t it?’, and finally, ‘the amount of pathogens being transferred from my hand straight into her mouth is staggering. I hate this enough for both of us’.
“Thanks for your help, Baby Girl,” he says pulling away, snatching up the papers as he turns to exit.
“Wait!” She calls popping her gum, “I’ll spill.”
“Good, I’ll send one of my other agents in here. It’ll be like gossiping with your friends, hm?” She sighs, picking at her nails.
Once the door closes behind him he gags, and Morgan guffaws.
“There he is,” Rossi breathes out, pretending to wipe sweat from his forehead as Reid pumps soap into his hands and vehemently scrubs under nails, “I was almost worried you and Morgan swapped bodies, kid.”
“I’m not going back in there, unless I’m dead.”
Emily just grins, rising to her feet, “Guess it’s my turn, Daddy.”
“I’ll murder you!” He calls, and she just winks before walking in. He turns to the others, eyes wide, “I’ll murder her.”
“Somehow, I doubt that,” Hotch sighs.
They’ve pulled some leads, and even have Spencer and another cop questioning those suspects. They’ve been in Virginia for almost a full day at this point and they’re no closer to finding out what the motives are for whoever this guy is— besides the obvious.
“He’s gone,” A detective says, stumbling in the room with a bloody nose.
“The suspect?” Hotch asks, rising to his feet and walking around to hand him some tissues.
“No,” He wheezes, “Reid.”
“What happened?” Morgan growls, rising to his feet. “How did you possibly lose him? He’s like a giraffe!”
“We split up!” JJ’s eyes fall to the table as he goes onto explain the the suspect they had detained was still behind the glass.
And just like that, the air get sucked out of the room, and they all come to the startling realisation that history seems to repeat itself at the worst of times.
Miles away and a few hours later, Reid wakes up, quickly realising he’s cold. He does a quick once over, realising he sitting some type of meat ridden, industrial refrigerator. He quickly surveys the walls— there’s no cameras and worse than that, there’s not a single way to escape.
“Hi Doctor Reid,” And a face peaks out from behind some shipping containers, “Do you remember me?”
“Nathan,” Reid breathes, “What are you doing?”
Nathan just cackles, sitting on a chair across from where he’s pinned Reid with hand cuffs, locks, and chains. He slings one leg over the other, smiling at Spencer as if they’re having lunch together as old friends.
“Well, you see, Doctor Reid,” He says dazedly, looking Reid up and down, “All that time in the psych ward gave me a lot of time to think, and I realised that the only way to satiate my sadistic tendencies is to tend the person who wouldn’t let me end myself when I had the chance.”
“You kept your MO, huh?” Spencer asks, trying to wrap his head around the situation.
“Oh, Spencer,” He tuts, “you know me too well. Prostitutes, but recently I’ve found that ones that look like you? Having a type? Oh, I knew from your little retired ring leader’s books that that would be exactly how I get you to come to me.”
“What happened to not wanting to be a killer? To being self aware?” Within and instant, Nathan is hovering above Reid, tracing a blade down his face idly.
“Careful,” Nathan says lowly, “I ask the questions around here.”
“Alright,” Reid murmurs, “Ask away.”
A heat burns in his cheek, and his field vision flies to the side along with his glasses. He returns his face to meet Nathan’s eyes, careful to bury his emotions.
“Oh,” Nathan whispers, “You gotta do better than that. I want to hear you scream.”
“That sucks,” Reid replies, sending Nathan a sharp smile, “because I’ve seen so much worse.”
“There’s no way the Kid didn’t leave anything, right?” Morgan inquires, running his hands over his face as he looks around.
“There’s no sign of struggle,” JJ replies, “whoever took him knocked him right out, probably with the same tranquilliser they found in the other victims.”
“We led the unsub right to Reid,” Morgan blurts, voice cracking with the conclusion. “We’re supposed to keep him safe.”
“Wait, was this opened before?” On the table lies an open copy of a book of serial killer MOs. “Detective! Was this book here before?”
“No,” he says, running his fingers over it, “Does the author Patricia Cornwell mean something to you?”
“No,” JJ mutters, but the name of the book does, “He opened it so we’d notice.”
The title reads, Portrait of a Killer — Jack the Ripper: Case Closed.
It hits Morgan and Hotch at the exact same time, both blurting out at once “Nathan Harris.”
“How did Reid know?” Emily breathes, but the team just shakes their head, walking out the door and into the briefing room to call Garcia.
“PG, definitely not thirteen at your service, oh great and noble—“
“Penelope, I need you to pull up everything you have on Nathan Harris,” Morgan says, and Penelope goes dead silent, “Baby Girl, I need you to work fast.”
“What’s wrong?” Her fingers are clacking on the computer, and the team shares a look, “Tell me now, or so help me, God—“
“We think he has Reid, and we think he’s the Unsub,” JJ croaks, and everyone looks at her with similar looks of pain in their eyes. “Please hurry.”
It turns out, that when psychopathic sadists with vendettas who have throughly read about the BAU and it’s cases— still somehow suck at learning how to chain up the people they abduct.
Spencer breaks out of the chains the second that Nathan leaves the room, cleaning up his bloody nose from when Reid head butted him. It takes Reid less than a second to figure out that his best bet is the window.
He hears the sirens in the distance and he can’t help but smirk to himself. Unfortunately, the sound of the sirens blocks out the sound or Nathan walking into the room, and before he can get down— Nathan grabs the back of his sweater yanking him down onto the concrete.
Nathan’s just about ready to start stabbing Reid, straddling him when he hears the sirens. The next few moments are a blur, and when the cops storm in they find Nathan Harris sitting on the ground, a knife to his own neck.
His last words are, “you’ll never get to him in time.”
And that’s what sends the team into a tizzy. They start tearing the place apart until Morgan and JJ stop, finally seeing blood dripping out from the bottom of a meat locker no bigger than a storage freezer.
JJ falls to her knees, and it’s on his own shaky ones that he breaks the lock with the butt of his gun, stumbling back to land on the floor when he sees Reid crunched up inside.
She pushes herself up, keeping the vomit at bay as she peers in. It only takes her a matter of second to realise that slight puffs of white air are coming out from Spencer’s blue tinted lips.
He has a pulse, and it’s a little fast for comfort but it’s strong.
“Morgan!” She cries, tugging at his shirt before seeing the blood matting the back of his head, “I’m not strong enough, you need to help me! He’s breathing!”
Morgans next to her in an instant, lifting his Reid as JJ pulls off her over shirt, leaving her in a tank top and with fabrics to press to Spencer’s bleeding head. She runs with Morgan, calling for an ambulance, transferring him onto a gurney.
They slip into the back of the ambulance as Prentiss goes to tell Hotch, and within moments everything goes silent with worry.
When Spencer wakes up in the hospital, two men are standing above him. They’re both clad in crisp suits, arms crossed as they watch him.
He’s overwhelmed by panic.
Between the two men and the pain in his head he can’t help but feel like a science experiment gone wrong.
“Reid,” The older one says, soothing tone enough to let Spencer know he’s not in immediate danger, “Kid, you need to breathe for me.”
The man rests a hand against Reid’s shoulder, and Reid jolts away, backing himself against the bed into a tight ball— head hitting the wall. It’s just a tap, but it brings ears to his eyes immediately
He can’t catch his breath, “Where’s my mom?”
The two men share a look, before the taller one looks at him warily, “In Las Vegas. Reid, how old are you?”
“S-sixteen,” He chokes, tears falling over, “Who are you? Why am I here?”
He’s never liked hospitals all that much, it’s too loud and too bright.
The men take seats on either side of him, and the older one hold up and unopened bottle of water, “Here. Catch your breath, drink some water, and we’ll explain, okay?”
Reid eyes the bottle before nodding, taking the plastic and slowly draining its contents.
“My name is SSA Aaron Hotchner, this is SSA David Rossi,” the taller agent says softly, eyeing Reid.
“You’re profilers— like the ones in the Behavioral Analysis Unit.”
“Yes,” Rossi confirms, nodding along with the statement, “We’re your colleagues. You were injured on the case, and you had a minor TBI. You’ve been out for a while.”
“I’m in the BAU?” Spencer questions, taking another slow sip of water, murmuring under his breath, “I did it.”
“Yes, you did. You’re one of our best.”
Spencer looks between them, “How old am I really?”
“Twenty nine,” Hotch responds, voice somber, “You’ve been with us for almost eight years.”
“I have retrograde amnesia?” Spencer asks, and they’re silent for a long time. “Is it permanent?”
Rossi shrugs, discretely calling the nurse in with the button, “We didn’t know you had memory loss until you woke up.”
“Is my mom actually okay?” He asks, looking between the two of them, despair apparent in his eyes.
“Yes,” Hotch responds, watching as Reid’s shoulders slump in relief, “and you’ll be okay too.”
Spencer seems to believe him, nodding as he manages to hoarsely get out, “okay. I trust you.”