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One Week To Fall in Love

Chapter Text

Darcy wasn’t sure what was going on in this tiny rural town, and honestly she didn’t care.  She was EXHAUSTED.  Jane had sent her out here to take some readings while she did a lecture series.  “Science doesn’t stop just because people suddenly want to believe me,” she had told Darcy.  “Besides, there won’t be more talking tours if I don’t keep working.  I don’t trust anyone else.”  She knew Darcy couldn’t say no to that.  There were very few people Jane did trust since, well, everything, so Darcy had packed up the equipment and driven to the ass end of nowhere in Montana.

She took the key from the jumpy desk clerk and wandered up the stairs to her room.  She flung open the door, planning on crashing face first into the bed and not moving for the next 8-10 hours.  However, when she got to the room, the bathroom door was closed, the fan running, and she could head someone moving around in there.

“Hello?” She called.

There was some commotion before the person called out, “Emily?”

“Sorry dude,” she said with a sigh.  “I think there’s been some sort of mix up.”

The bathroom door opened a crack to reveal a lean man.  His chest was bare, his skin still damp.  While she couldn’t get much of a view, she could tell there was a towel wrapped around his waist.  “Who are you?” He asked, looking her over.

“I am the girl that reserved this room like a month ago.  Who are you?”

The man groaned.  “I’m the FBI agent that was assigned this room tonight.”

“FBI?” She asked.  “Is that why everyone that I’ve run into in this town has been freaked out?”

“Haven’t you been watching the news?” He asked, opening the door wider.

“I’ve been driving for the last three days to get here,” she said, dropping her bag on the floor.  “So what’s up?”

“There’s been a string of murders,” he said. “We’re investigating.”

“Well that’s going to make things suck.  Oh well.  Science waits for no woman.”  Darcy looked him over again.  He was pretty cute.  Cute enough to….”We should discuss this room thing.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well I know for a fact this place is booked full.  The night clerk told me so.  And this is the only hotel in town.  We need to talk about what we’re going to do about that.  Because I’m also here for business and not pleasure, and it is also sort of time sensitive.”  She picked up her bag and wandered farther into the room.  “There’s only one bed, but I actually don’t think that will be a problem.”

The man followed her from the bathroom to the main room.  “How is that not a problem?”

“Not that I wouldn’t mind sharing with you,” Darcy said with a wink, “but I actually have to do my work at night, so I’ll be sleeping during the day.”  She flopped down in a chair.  “I figure you’re probably doing most of your work during the day, so we’ll barely overlap.”

“What kind of business is done at night?”

“Not business,” she corrected.  “Science.”

“What data are you collecting at night?”

“Since you’re from the FBI, I’ll tell you.  Pretty much any other branch and I’d seal my lips.  Anyway, have you heard of Dr. Jane Foster?”

“The astro-physicist that did groundbreaking work on the Einstein-Rosen bridge and won a Nobel?  Yes, I’ve heard of her.”

“I’m collecting data for her.  She’s on a speaking tour or she would have been here herself.”

“Her latest publication about the effects of bridge travel on radioactive isotopes was fascinating,” he said, sitting in the other chair.

Darcy laughed.  “We found that by accident.  She didn’t know that there were radioactive materials in the structure across the field from where we were testing.  The scientist working in there was furious when his experiment was ruined.  As soon as he realized he could collaborate with Jane and what they found was even bigger than what he had been working on though, he changed his mind.”

“Dr. Foster doesn’t have a lot of lab techs listed in her notes, and even fewer that are consistent from her earlier publications to now.  You must be Darcy Lewis.”

Darcy looked at him long and hard.  He was cute, but she wasn’t going to let that cloud her judgement here.  “How did you know that?” She finally asked.

“I’ve read all of her major papers and have an eidetic memory,” he said with a shrug that she thought looked uncomfortable.  “My job is literally about my ability to see patterns, specifically in writing, and to use my extensive diverse knowledge to help us solve cases.”

“You kind of sound like Sherlock Holmes.”

“Hopefully with less of an attitude.”

“But still some?”

“Well, sometimes it’s important to remind people that I do know more than them.  I try to keep it to a minimum then.”

Darcy smiled at him as she took in his rapidly drying and frizzing hair.  “Have you had dinner yet?”

“No.”

“Great.  How do you feel about pizza?”

“Generally good.”

“Cool.  I saw a pizza place when I drove in.  I’ll go grab us a pizza while you finish getting dressed.”  He blushed the sweetest pink at her words.  “Then we can talk about making some sort of arrangement that both of us can live with.”

“Right.  Yes,” he said as he stood and rearranged the towel.

“Just so we’re on the same page, tell me what toppings you like.”

“Anything really, but I especially like to try whatever is the local combination whenever we go somewhere.”

“So if there’s elk jerky pizza I should go for that?”

“Definitely.”

“Perfect.  I’ll be back in 20 or so then. That should be enough time for you to get dressed. Don’t feel like you have to be dressed on my account, though,” she said with a wink before waltzing out the door without a backward look.

Chapter Text

Spencer watched her leave, looking at the door for a moment when it finally closed.  He went back to the bathroom and grabbed his phone, putting it on speaker so he could talk while dressing.

“This is the goddess of all things tech.  Appropriate offerings in my honor include amazing shoes and top shelf margaritas.  Speak and be heard mortal.”

“Hey Garcia, can I have you check into something for me?  Not case related?”

“Sure Doc.  What do you need?”

“Can you check to see if the hotel we’re staying in is totally booked?”

“That’s super simple,” she said.  The clicking of her fingernails over the board were clearly audible as he brushed his hair.  It was kind of a mess since he hadn’t touched it before it started to dry.  He decided to throw a little product into it anyway and hope for the best.  “So,” Penelope said a few second later.  “It looks like every room in the place is filled, but their records are super weird, because it looks like they are actually overbooked.  That’s going to be awkward for some poor soul later.”

“Thanks Garcia.”

“Was that it?  That wasn’t even hard.”

“That’s it for now.”

“Make sure to show your appreciation in appropriate offerings.”

“So a favor this size might be best offset by some chocolate covered espresso beans?”

“The ones from the place you refuse to tell me about?”

“The very one,” he smiled.

“Deal.  Solve the case and get home quickly!”

“You’re just saying that because you want your offering.”

Penelope made a scoffing sound.  “And because I like it when the bad guys are caught and you all are home and safe.”

“But it’s both.”

“Totally.”

“Goodnight Garcia.”

“Night Reid.”

Spencer finished dressing and cleaned up the bathroom.  He wandered back out to the room.  He had put his bag on the bed, but that wasn’t going to work if they were sharing.  And he had made up his mind that he was going to share. They would barely overlap, and Spencer would be helping advance important science by making sure Darcy had a place to stay while she collected data.  He was a little weirded out by sharing a space he normally saw as an escape from people and things, but it was for a good cause, and it was based on everything he had read about her.  (Because he had read about her.  Darcy Lewis was in the Shield file leak and he had devoured all of that.)  She was loyal and kind.  It’s not like her file had said she was bad at working with others or not to be trusted.  Plus she had joined Dr. Foster as an intern with a degree in a totally different field and had learned enough to be the good doctor’s right hand woman.  She’d be fascinating to talk with.

It had been a while since Spencer had been adventurous in a way that wasn’t directly related to his job.  This might be fun.

The door clicked open and Darcy came in with a bag hanging off her arm and a giant pizza box in her hands.  He moved to help her, but she was already placing the pizza on the small table and dropping the bag into the chair.

“So I picked up some things at the corner store too.  I can’t function without coffee, especially if I’m staying up all night, so I had to pick up something a little higher quality than what I saw sitting by the pot.  Feel free to help yourself.  I also bought some sugar because coffee is a million times better with, like, a metric ton of sugar, and they had this cool boxed sugar with a pour spout thing that is perfect.  You can use that too.  I mean, that is, if we’re going to share.  Which I hope we are.  I also have a list of reasons why we should.  I came up with the while I was waiting for the pizza.”  She pulled out her phone and started scrolling. “So number one is that I am a heavy sleeper that doesn’t snore.  You won’t wake me up if you come back to the room while I’m sleeping, and I shouldn’t make you feel strange with the noises I make while sleeping because I won’t be making them.  Number two, I am all about sharing the goods.  I have a budget from Jane, and I totes don’t mind sharing whatever I use it on with you.  Case in point, this pizza and coffee.  Number three…”

“Darcy,” he said, “stop.  It’s good.  I’ll share with you.”

“But I didn’t even get to the good stuff.  Like if you’re a fanboy at all, I was ready to bribe you with Thor’s autograph.  Though, you seem to follow Jane, so I can also get you something from her if you prefer.”

“You don’t need to do that.”

“Okay, then onto other stuff.  So, I’m going to go down and cancel my reservation because clearly they double booked us.  I think the FBI can foot this bill, and then I can use some of my hotel money for more pizza if we like this.”

“What if we’re done before you are?”

“When did you get here?”

“Today.”

“Cool.  I’m here for four days.  If you guys leave, I’ll just go down and book immediately for whatever is left in my stay.  However, I’m betting you’ll be here for at least that long unless things go super well for you.”

“That’s probably true,” he conceded.  “Sounds like you figured everything out.”

“The store was literally across the street from the pizza place, so I had a lot of time to think.  However, there’s one thing I wasn’t able to figure out.”

“What’s that?”

“Your name,” she said with a shy smile.

“Spencer.  Dr. Spencer Reid,” he said, holding out his hand.

She shook it with mock seriousness, and he couldn’t help but smile at it.  “So let’s talk actual logistics of sharing this room and bed,” she said.  He was positive this was going to be an interesting case.

Chapter Text

When Spencer woke up the next morning, Darcy wasn’t there.  She had claimed she was exhausted, but that all the excitement with him had woken her back up.  She had made a giant thermos of coffee and wandered out into the dark night to take some preliminary readings.  He had actually expected her to be back before he woke up.

He grabbed his clothes and headed to the bathroom to change.  He heard the door click open, and opened the door to see how Darcy’s night had gone.  He found the coffee maker already brewing again and some disposable paper cups stacked next to it.  Those hadn’t been there last night.  On the table was a white Styrofoam container.  Darcy was already face down on the bed, dead to the world.

Taped on the white container was a paper folded in half with his name on it.  He peeled it off and read it.

Spence,

Hope you like Belgian waffles.  I found a diner that opened at 4AM and thought I’d pick up one for you after I had mine.  I had them put the butter, syrup, and strawberries in little sealed containers since I didn’t know what you like.  If waffles aren’t your thing, let me know so I don’t get them again for you.  Hopefully I’ll be able to get the coffee going for you before I pass out.  If I don’t, know that the thought was there.  If you are so inclined, I wouldn’t say no to you picking up some dinner for when you get back and I wake up.

Have a fun day!  Catch some sickos!

D

He opened the container, and just like she promised, everything was in small tubs for him to add as he saw fit.  He opened the strawberries and syrup, dumping them on top of the waffle before opening the silverware packet and digging in.  He’d have to ask Darcy where this diner was.  The waffle was delicious.  When he finished breakfast, he filled one of the frankly huge cups she had bought with coffee, adding all the sugar he wanted before dropping a lid on top, grabbing his bag, and heading out the door.

“Where did you get that?” JJ asked when he got to the lobby.

“My room,” he said.  Sure, it wasn’t totally true, but it was mostly true.

“All I had in my room were small mugs,” Prentiss said.  “Where did you get that to-go cup?”

Spencer shrugged.  “It was just in my room.  I don’t know.”  Again, not really a lie.  He had no idea where Darcy had gotten them.

“Lucky,” Prentiss sighed.

“We’ll be at the station soon,” Morgan said.  “You can get your coffee fix handled there.”

“But I want some now,” JJ whined just to annoy Derek.

“Then let’s go now and take care of that,” Rossi said, heading toward the door.

The group followed and split up in the two SUVS, making the short trip to the police station.

Nearly ten hours later the same SUVs pulled back into the hotel parking lot.  The day had been long and frustrating.  Nothing had gone wrong per say, but everything they had tried had been a dead end.  It was looking like they would need another murder for there to be new information to help them find another way of looking at the case.  That was never what they wanted, even though it was occasionally what they needed.  The whole thing had been frustrating.

“I need to eat,” Prentiss declared as they walked in.

“I need a shower,” Morgan sighed.

“Ten minutes?” JJ asked.

“Fifteen,” Morgan countered.

“Fifteen then,” Rossi said. “Everyone meet back here in fifteen and we’ll go find dinner.”

“I know we passed some restaurants on Main today when we were driving around,” JJ said. “I’ll ask around for some recommendations.”

Everyone trudged toward the elevator, and then separated ways as they made their way to their rooms.  Spencer opened his door, and was surprised to hear the shower running.  He didn’t expect Darcy to be up yet.  He looked over at the clock and winced.  Of course she was up.  It was after 7.  The sky was getting dark.  It was almost time for her to head out.  He knocked on the bathroom door.  “I’m back,” he called through the door.  He didn’t want to startle her when she came out.  The water shut off while he went over to the coffee maker and started a new pot for Darcy.  Once the coffee was going, he went to his bag to grab a clean sweater.  He had just peeled off his shirt when the bathroom door cracked open, and Darcy poked her head out.

“Hey Spence?” She asked.  “Could you grab my bag for me?  I forgot to get something out of it.”  He walked over and picked up her bag.  It was heavier than it looked.  He took it over to the bathroom door and handed it to her.  She giggled as she grabbed it from him.  “I seem to have a knack for catching you shirtless.”

“it appears you do,” he said.  He tried not to look at her towel covered body, but even just her dark wet hair dripping down her shoulder was a bit distracting.  He watched a stream trail down her shoulder and pool just a bit in her collarbone.  “I, uh, don’t know how long it will be until you head out,” he said as he pulled himself out of staring, “but my team is going to grab some dinner.  I could get you something too.”

“That sounds amazing,” Darcy said with a soft sigh.  “I don’t have to head out for about two more hours.  Do you think you’ll be done before then?”

“Yeah, we should be back by then,” he said, trying very hard to only look at her face.  “I made you some coffee.”

“I love you,” Darcy said.  “Best roomie ever!”

“What should I get you?  For dinner, I mean.”

“Text me the name of where you end up and I’ll let you know,” she said.

“I don’t have your number,” he frowned.

“Yeah you do,” she said.  “I put it in your phone last night.  I thought it might be useful.”

“Right.  I mean, good.  I’ll uh, let you get back to it,” he said with an awkward wave toward the bathroom.

“Cool,” she said before closing the door.

He took a deep breath before going back to his bag and putting away his dirty clothes and putting on his new sweater.  Definitely an adventure, he thought to himself.

Chapter Text

Darcy braced herself against the sink counter once the door was closed.  She had told herself that she just enjoyed the view the first time they met because she hadn’t been expecting a wet, bare chested man in her hotel room.  But that wasn’t really the case.  She had enjoyed the view because it was a good look.  He might be lean, but he wasn’t just skin and bones under his adorable sweaters.  He had some muscle definition, which was to be expected.  He might be a bean pole, but he was an FBI agent. 

She needed to get a grip.  He was just a guy that she was sharing a room with out of necessity.  Someone that was simply helping her out.  He didn’t deserve to be ogled and fantasized about. 

Though….

Could it really hurt?  To think about him.  Sometimes the nights were long and cold.  There were plenty of scenarios she could imagine him in that would make things more interesting and that would help her forget the cold.

But she shouldn’t. He wasn’t interested, and if she let herself play pretend, she would end up with a broken heart over a man she barely knew that hadn’t done anything at all because they weren’t even involved.  She grabbed her bag and started rummaging for the bra she forgot to grab.  She would hide in here until he left.  That was a good plan. She couldn’t cause an awkward exchange if he wasn’t there to talk to.

“Darcy?” He called through the door. “I’m leaving now.”

“Bye Spence,” she called back after she pulled her sweater over her head. She pulled on her pants and opened the door, the rush of cold air chilling the still wet bits of exposed skin.  She looked in the mirror and reminded herself to get a grip.  She threw her hair up on a messy bun and went back out to the room.  She needed to check the weather and do a quick Skype call with Jane to figure out what readings she would be taking tonight and where.

While her computer logged on, she grabbed a cup of coffee and her notebook.  She added sugar and flipped to a clean page.  She shoved several pens into her bun for easy access later and dropped one on top of the notepad.  She curled into the chair, one knee up, the other tucked under, and sipped her coffee.  While she waited, she doodled in the corners.of her paper.  Finally, Jane’s call rang through.

“Hey Janey!” She chirped with a smile.

“Hey D!  How’s Montana?”

“It’s, ya know, desolate and Montana-y.”

Jane studied her for a moment.  “You’re not telling me something.”

“What’s there to say about this place?  What could I possibly be not telling you?  How about this-last night I ate pizza with elk meat on it and it was actually kind of good?”

“No,” Jane hummed.  “This is bigger than pizza.”  Darcy’s phone buzzed.  We’re at Tony’s.  Darcy smiled a bit even though there was literally nothing to smile about except the fact that he texted her.  Which he said he would.  Because he was picking her up dinner.  Which he didn’t have to do.  But he was.  “Earth to Darcy!” Jane was singing on the screen.

“Oh, hey.  Yeah.  Sorry.  I spaced out for a second.”

“That wasn’t normal spacing out.  That was text-from-someone-I-like spacing out.  So spill.  Who is he?”

“What are you talking about?” Darcy asked with a laugh that sounded awkward and fake even to her ears.

“D, I’m not playing.  Deets now!”

“It’s nothing.  Just a cute guy I saw,” she deflected.

“False.  He has your number.  Try again.”

“Okay, so he’s staying in the same hotel as me.  I gave him my leftover waffle when I saw him sitting all dejected in the lobby because their continental breakfast was just stale bagels.”

“And the part where he has your number?”

Jane wasn’t about to let this go, Darcy realized.  She had hoped a few details would throw Jane off the scent.  “I told him he could repay me by picking me up some dinner tonight.”

“Now was that so hard?” Jane asked.  “So what’s his name.  Why’s he there?”

“Spencer and he’s an FBI agent investigating something.”

“Huh.  I wonder what the FBI could be investigating there.”

“Who knows,” Darcy said, hoping Jane wouldn’t catch her lie.  “I doubt he could tell me anyway.”

“Is he your type?”

“So my type,” Darcy sighed.  She picked up her phone and replied to Spencer.  Whatever the special is tonight and a slice of pie please and thank you!  “So we need to talk data before he brings me dinner and I head out.”

“Fine,” Jane said, “But you owe me dinner details tomorrow night!”

“Deal,” Darcy said, already adding making up that story to her to-do list.  “So here’s the weather forecast…”

Half an hour later Darcy had a page of notes and knew exactly where she needed to head to for her readings.

Be there in 10.  Darcy smiled. She was in so much trouble.

Chapter Text

“So what’s with the extra order?” Morgan asked as Spencer collected the bag the waitress had brought over.

“I’m planning to look over some things tonight and I thought I might get hungry.  Also, that breakfast was terrible this morning, so it’s probably good to have a back up.”

“You didn’t come down to breakfast this morning.”

“Yeah I did,” Spencer said, very aware that Morgan was about to catch him in a lie.

“Then what was it?”

“Stale bagels,” Spencer said, relieved that he had herd JJ complaining about it on the ride to the station.

Morgan narrowed his eyes but didn’t say anything.  They walked back to the vehicles, and luckily Morgan was getting into the other one.  He let himself relax as he climbed into the back.

“So who were you texting at dinner?”  JJ asked as they pulled away from the restaurant. 

Spencer thumped his head against the seat.  So much for avoiding an interrogation.  “It was one text, and it was just to a friend.”

“You have to admit you don’t often text friends on cases, and certainly not when we’re around,” Rossi said.

“Is this friend a girl?” JJ asked, looking at him in the rearview mirror.

“Why did that just feel like my mother?” Spencer asked.

“You’re avoiding the question,” Rossi said.

“Which means it was,” JJ added.  Spencer remained silent.  It was only few more minutes to the hotel, and the he could go spend some time with Darcy before she took off into the night to work.  The thought of bringing her dinner and chatting while she ate was an oddly calming one.  “Sorry,” JJ said, breaking his daydream.  “I was just teasing.”

“I don’t know why it’s surprising I would have a friend that’s a girl,” Spencer said.  “I’m friends with you, and Prentiss, and Garcia.”

“But we work with you,” JJ said as she pulled into a parking space.

“So?”

“So it’s different.”

“I don’t see how,” Spencer said before climbing out of the car.  “You guys have a good night,” he added before practically stomping away.  It wasn’t different.  He could be attracted to a coworker just as easily as he could be to someone else.  And he could be friends with a girl just as easily as he was friends with a guy.  And that’s what Darcy was.  His friend.  She might be brand new, and she might be very pretty, but that didn’t change anything.  And even if he was interested in her, what did that matter?

Wait.  Was he?

As he rode the elevator up, he thought about it.  She was pretty; beautiful even.  He remembered the way she looked when he handed her the bag, flushed with the heat from her shower, hair dripping.  She had been breathtaking, even though she hadn’t been trying to be.

She was kind.  She had bought him dinner and breakfast, and had shared her coffee with him.  She had been practical about their arrangements when they hammered out the details the night before, and had been totally understanding of a few of his quirks in regards to sharing the room.

So…maybe?  He was interested in learning more about her, and that’s where he was going to leave it.  And if he found her as fascinating as he thought he would…

No. He wasn’t going to let himself get caught up in a fantasy that would lead to a broken heart.

He opened the door to their room.  Darcy was sitting at the table, her computer in front of her.  A spreadsheet was open, and the TV was on, though the volume low.  She had turned when she heard the door open, and her bright eyes stared back at him through her glasses, a pen between her teeth, which she pulled out to smile and say, “Spencer!”

He shut the door and walked over to her, bag of food held out like an offering.  “The special tonight was meatloaf and mashed potatoes.  I had them put the gravy in a container since I didn’t want it to get everywhere.”

“Best roomie!” She said, jumping up to grab the bag from him.  “Pie?”

“Apple.”

She gave a happy little groan that made Spencer want to make her that happy again.  She went back to the table and saved her work before putting her laptop away in her bag.  Spencer sat down across from her.

“So how’d things go today?” She asked as she opened the container.

“We pursued some new avenues, but they didn’t lead anywhere.”

“But now you know a bunch of things that aren’t right.  It helps narrow things down, even if it doesn’t feel like it was much of a help.”

“True,” Spencer agreed.  “But the longer it takes us to figure this out, the more likely it is that someone else is going to die.”

Darcy gave a small shudder.  “But that’s not on you.  That’s what you’re worried about, right?”

“It’s my job to catch him, though.”

“Maybe,” Darcy agreed, “but that still doesn’t mean every new death is your fault.  You’re not the killer.”  She took a bite of her meatloaf before adding.  “Look, I was there when the whole Destroyer thing happened.  And London for that matter.  Thor could have blamed himself for the Destroyer and the people that died because of it, but he doesn’t.  Because he understands that even though he has the burden of stopping terrible things, he is not to blame for said terrible things.  You’re in the same boat.  Your job is to stop terrible things, but you’re not the reason they happen. If a literal god doesn’t blame himself, neither should you.”

“It’s hard not to,” Spencer confessed.  “I’m smart.  Very smart.  It feels like a personal failure when I can’t outsmart these people.”

“You’re more than really smart,” Darcy said.  “I read up on you last night between readings.  You’re absolutely amazing smart.  You’re like Jane smart, but about everything and not just the stars.  But even if you knew literally every piece of knowledge in the world, you still wouldn’t be privy to the twisted workings of someone else’s mind.  You can’t beat yourself up over that.”

“You read about me?” Spencer asked before he could think better of it.

“Of course I did.  I wanted to know who I was sharing a room with.  And let me tell you, at first I was all ‘damn, he’s hot,’ but then I-“ Darcy cut herself off, covering her mouth with her hand.  “Can we pretend I didn’t just say that?” She squeaked.

“Sure.  Yes.  Of course,” Spencer said.  But he wasn’t going to forget it.  She thought he was attractive, and that was definitely something he needed to think about.

Darcy cleared her throat. “So, yeah.  Just, don’t blame yourself for doing the best you can,” she said while staring at her dinner. 

Spencer wasn’t sure what to say to ease the tension.  “Thanks,” he said softly. “I don’t get told that often.”

Darcy looked up at him, cheeks still slightly pink with embarrassment.  “I meant every word,” she whispered.

Chapter Text

Darcy wondered if it was possible to hide inside her mashed potatoes.  How could she just say that?  It was one thing to tell Thor he was attractive.  He was completely out of her league and it wouldn’t ruin their friendship.  It was just another fact in their lives.  But Spencer….  Did she have a chance with him?  Maybe.  She wasn’t even sure if he was single.  But he was a much more realistic boyfriend than someone like Thor, and that made her goof extra terrible.  Hopefully it wouldn’t ruin things for the next few days.

They sat in silence while she finished her dinner.  It was awkward and Darcy felt terrible.  It was all her fault.  She needed to fix this.

“So when you’re not FBI-ing, what do you do?” She asked, her voice only a little shaky as her embarrassment clouded her words.

“Read mostly,” Spencer said, his voice a little more confident than it had been a moment ago.  “This job means I travel a lot, so I don’t have time for other hobbies.”

“I get that,” Darcy said as she pushed the remains of her mashed potatoes around.  “I travel a lot too.  Usually Jane is with me, but not always.  I get the feeling I’ll be on my own a lot more now.”

“Does that bother you?  Being alone, I mean.”

“Sometimes?” Darcy said, not totally sure how to articulate what she meant.  “I don’t mind being alone, but sometimes, in places like this, it can be lonely.”

“I understand,” Spencer said, his voice soft again.  “It’s the same way it can be lonely living in a city.  It’s a feeling of being cut off somehow, of not belonging.”

“Exactly,” Darcy said, relieved he got it.  “Sometimes in towns like this, they feel so insular and closed off.  They have zero interest in a person like me.  I can’t imagine how hard the adjustment must be for people that move here.”

“If you ever feel lonely,” Spencer said slowly, “you could always call me.  I could be your friend when there’s no one else.”  She could tell he was nervous about what he had just said by the way his words had started to rush together at the end.  And it made sense.  They had known each other for only 24 hours. 

“I’d like that,” she said with a shy smile, looking up at him through her eye lashes.  “But only if you did the same.”  Was she flirting?  She was pretty sure she was flirting.  That hadn’t been her intention.

“I can do that,” he said, his smile mirroring hers.  They sat like that for a moment; idiots smiling at each other.  The spell was broken by Spencer’s phone ringing. He looked down at it.  “I have to take this,” he said as he stood up and answered it while walking toward the window.  There weren’t a lot of places he could hide in the small room.  Darcy busied herself with cleaning up from her dinner, trying to give him some privacy while he talked.  She placed the pie slice into her bag for later, and started putting her things together.  She would need to be leaving soon anyway.  She felt a tightness in her chest when she looked over at Spencer.  Why did she feel sad to be leaving him?

Spencer’s face had gone a bit pale, and before she realized it, she had stepped over to him, her eyes filled with concern.  She lightly placed a hand on his arm.  His eyes shot to her hand, and suddenly she was worried she had crossed some line and offended him.

“I can’t talk to you about this right now Garcia,” he said as his eyes traced up her arm and to her face.  “I’m kind of busy.”  He listened for a moment.  “Not that kind of busy, and yes, I promise to call back.  Just, later, okay?”  He waited a moment more and then hung up.

“Are you okay?” Darcy asked, pulling her hand from his arm and letting it hang awkwardly at her side.  “I’m sorry.  You just had gone pale.  I hope it wasn’t bad news.”

“I maybe didn’t tell anyone I was sharing my room,” he confessed.  She waited, unsure which way this was going to go.  “But I had called my tech person yesterday to check that the hotel was actually fully booked.  I didn’t realize she would have dug any deeper than that.”  Darcy stayed quiet, waiting for him to say what he needed to.  “She, uh, realized there was a double booked room.  My room.  And that you were the one booked with me.  I guess one of my team members told her about me buying a second dinner, and she put two and two together…”

“Are you going to be in trouble?” Darcy whispered.  She had never meant for it to be a problem for him.  She could sleep in the car for the rest of her trip.

“Not in trouble per say, but it would be better if she didn’t tell anyone else.  At least not while we’re still here.”

“I, uh, maybe didn’t tell anyone either,” she said.  “Though Jane caught me checking my phone when you sent me the text about dinner.  She knows there’s a guy that was bringing me dinner, but she doesn’t know we’re sharing a room.”  She paused for a moment, thinking.  “Why didn’t you tell anyone you were sharing?”

“Why didn’t you?”

“I asked first.”

Spencer sighed a bit.  “My team would have been weird about it.  Their minds would have immediately jumped to vetting you and us dating.  It would have been a distraction from the case.”

“Merciless teasing?” Darcy asked.

“You’re beautiful Darcy.  Of course they would have been teasing me.”  She blushed at his words.  He thought she was beautiful.  Not “pretty” or “hot”; beautiful.  His ears were a little pink too.  “Maybe you could forget I said that?”

“Did you actually forget I said you were hot?” She forced herself to ask.

“No,” he whispered, eyes at his feet.

Chapter Text

He couldn’t look up at her after all that he had said, all he had admitted.

“Please don’t hide from me,” Darcy said so quietly he almost missed it.  He forced himself to look up at her, certain his face was beet red.  “I have to go soon, and I don’t like leaving on bad terms.”

“Are we?  On bad terms?”

“I don’t know,” she said.  “But it kind of feels like you’re upset with me.”

“No!  Of course not!” He said quickly.  “I’m just embarrassed.”  She looked surprised by this.

“Embarrassed by me and what I said?” She asked, each word a struggle to get out.

“Embarrassed by what I said,” he clarified.

“Because you didn’t mean it?”

“Because I did.”

She stared at him, eyes searching his face.  The quiet; disconcerting.  Finally she said, “We should talk about that.  Later.  I need to get out there and get to work.”  She looked at him again before adding, “Can I hug you?”

“Yes?” He said, more like a question.  She took a small step toward him and wrapped her arms around him.  His arms hovered awkwardly in the air momentarily before his arms wrapped around her as well.  Her hair smelled like lavender and mint, and he found himself breathing in deeply, trying to memorize the smell and feel before she pulled away.  He might never be this lose to her again.

Several long seconds later she pulled away and grabbed her bag.  “I should be back before you leave in the morning,” she said.  “Is another waffle okay?”

“You don’t have to…,” he started to say.

“Hush.  I know I don’t have to.  I want to.  Unless you don’t want…”

“I do,” he said quickly.

She smiled.  “Then I’ll see you in the morning Spencer.”  She walked to the door, turning around just before leaving.  “Have a good night,” she called before slipping into the hallway.

Spencer sat down on the edge of the bed and closed his eyes, allowing himself to replay their conversation.  She thought he was attractive.  She wanted to be friends with him.  She had instantly understood so many things about him that others didn’t.  And then there was the way she had looked up at him through her eye lashes; the way she had blushed; her own fear that he was about to reject her for what she had said. 

This was very bad.

He liked her, and he was starting to realize that she very well might like him too.  His phone buzzed next to him.  He picked it up and saw it was a text from Darcy.  She had sent him a picture of her making a face.  I thought you might be moping in the room, so here’s something to make you smile.  He quickly replied If I was moping, I’m not any more.  Thank you.  He stared at his phone for a long minute, hoping and dreading her reply.  When nothing came, he flipped through his contacts before placing a call he was dreading.

“Well if it isn’t Mr. Secret Keeper,” Garcia answered.  “Was she there when I called?  Is that why you hurried me off the phone?”

“You’re making a lot of assumptions.”

“Oh, honey, if you think I haven’t picked up something from working with all of you for the past several years you are very wrong.  You didn’t deny that she was there when we talked earlier, and you were in quite a hurry to get off the phone.  So spill.”

Spencer sighed.  “Why don’t you start with what you think you know, and I’ll go from there.”

“Fine,” Garcia pouted.  “I know your room was double booked with one Darcy Lewis who did, in fact, check in.  About an hour later she checked back out, but there are no other hotels in that town.  And I checked for her in every hotel within a 100-mile radius, and she’s not in any of them either.  How’m I doing so far?”

“Everything you’ve said is true.”

“Of course it is.  I am like a benevolent overlord that sees all.  Anyway,” she pressed on, “My guess is that pretty girl is staying with you.  I did a little research on her as well, and it’s pretty clear she’s out there to do night time research.  Not too much of a stretch to think you saw that as a safe room-share since you’d barely overlap.”  Spencer didn’t say anything because he wasn’t sure what to say.  The pause grew, becoming awkward.  “Earth to Dr. Reid,” Penelope said.  “Was I right?”

“You’re right,” he said.  “But please don’t tell the others.”

“You do realize that they’re sort of on to you already, right?  I mean, you did bring back an entire second dinner.  That didn’t go unnoticed.  Morgan isn’t the only one that commented on that to me.”

Spencer sighed.  “What should I do?”

“To help, I’ll need the answer to a few basic questions.”

“Okay.”

“Number one.  Is she cute?  Because she looks cute in the pictures I found.”  Spencer groaned.  He was suddenly very sure confiding in Garcia had been a mistake.

“Sounds like you already know the answer to that,” he said.

“I know I think she’s cute.  I’m asking if you think she’s cute.”

“She’s beautiful,” he said before he could stop himself.  He clapped a hand over his mouth, hoping to prevent anything else embarrassing from coming out.

“And smart,” Penelope said as though he hadn’t just admitted something very personal.  “Did you know she went back to school to get a degree in astrophysics after her internship with Dr. Foster so she could be a better assistant?  She’s not done with it yet, but she’s close.”  He had known that.  It was in her Shield file.  “So pretty and smart,” Penelope chattered on.  “Does she like you?”

“She likes me enough to share a room with me,” Spencer said slowly.

“But does she, like, seem into you?”

“In what way?” He asked, purposefully being dense.

“Like does she think you’re pretty and smart and wonderful too?”

“I haven’t asked,” he said.  Not actually a lie.  He hadn’t asked, but she had volunteered some of that information.

Penelope groaned.  “Don’t worry.  I’ll figure it out.”

“Wait, what?” He said.  But it was too late.  The line was already dead.

Chapter Text

Darcy sat on the hood of her car, the warmth radiating off the engine a nice change from crisp night air.  Her equipment was set up, and she was watching the data appear on her screen, a tidy bit of code highlighting the boxes that appeared within the range Jane had set. This part was actually pretty easy once she had the machines all placed properly.  She would take readings for the next 8 hours, and then she would sit in the diner and have breakfast while she started crunching numbers.  The hard part was staying awake while she collected the data.  Being on a nocturnal schedule made things easier, but sometimes her body just wanted to be asleep when it as dark. Tonight, though, she was fairly certain it wouldn’t be hard to stay awake. She had some things (okay, some one) to keep her mind occupied.

Her eyes were pulled from the screen when she saw a text light up her phone.  It was from an unknown number.  She paused for just a moment before opening it.

Quick question:  Do you think Spencer is cute?

She looked at her phone.  She wasn’t sure what she had been expecting, but it wasn’t this.  It was starting to feel like the world was conspiring to make sure she was only thinking about him.  Here she was, in the middle of a field far from him, gathering research.  And yeah, sure, she knew she would probably be spending some time tonight thinking about him, but she had actually been focused on work.  And then here comes a text from someone she doesn’t know to draw her right back to him.

Who is this? She replied, wondering if she should have just ignored it.

Penelope.  I work with Dr. Reid.  Darcy wasn’t sure what to do.  She knew his tech person knew about her, but he had called that woman Garcia.  It was possible this was the same person, but she didn’t want to make a wrong assumption.  But it wasn’t like a stranger knowing she thought he was attractive was somehow going to turn into something completely embarrassing.  She wasn’t in middle school anymore.  She must have taken too long to answer, because her phone started to ring.

“Hello?”

“Hi Darcy!  It’s Penelope.  I figured you were probably having a minor freak out or something, and probably had a lot of questions, so it was just easier if I called.”  Darcy wasn’t sure what to say, so she said nothing.  Apparently, that was just fine, as Penelope pushed on.  “Anyway, I’m Penelope Garcia.  I work with Reid.  I’m pretty sure you were in the room when I called earlier.  I just got off the phone with him.  It was a good chat, but I wanted to talk to you.  I know you’re probably busy since you work at night, but do you have a moment?”

“Umm, sure?” She said with a glance over at her data.

“Great!  So I know that you two are sharing a room, and Reid, for whatever reason, doesn’t want the team to know.”

“Teasing,” Darcy said, latching onto the conversation.  “He was worried they would tease him.”

“He’s probably not wrong,” Penelope said thoughtfully.  “Okay, I can get behind the secrecy if that’s the reason.  But I know, so you two are kind of at my mercy.”  Darcy sincerely hoped she wasn’t about to be blackmailed.  “So, do you think he’s cute?  Inquiring minds want to know.  I mean, I already know him and I’ve looked you up, but it’ll be much harder to ship you if you aren’t into him too.”

“Too?” She squeaked.

“Don’t tell me he hadn’t been obvious about it,” Garcia said.  “Who am I kidding, of course he hasn’t been.  Look, he told me you were beautiful and smart, so it’s an easy leap to think he’s into you.  So that makes the question are you into him?”

“I’ve known him 24 hours,” she said, trying to evade the question.

“Yeah, and he already likes you.  And, honey, you are totally wrong if you think it’s not possible to see someone and just fall in like immediately.  Trust me.  I’ve been there.”

“I’m…interested in knowing him better?” She hedged, unwilling to show her cards to a stranger.  She hadn’t worked out any of this on her own yet, and there was no way she was going to hash it out with someone she had never met.

“Which means you totally like him.  You would have just said no if you didn’t.”  Darcy sighed.  She wasn’t wrong.  “I’m getting the feeling both of you are nervous nellies and unlikely to do something on your own, so here’s a little pep talk from me to you:  you’re pretty and smart and probably funny too if your Instagram is anything to go by.  Instead of asking yourself why he would like you, ask why he wouldn’t.  Hopefully you’ll see you’re a catch and there’s plenty for him to love.  Besides, you’re only there for a few days.  If it’s a swing and a miss, whatever.  You don’t have to ever see him again.”  Darcy opened her mouth to say something, but Penelope was just taking a breath and wasn’t actually done.  “You have my number.  Feel free to use it.  I’ll let you get back to work now.”  The line went dead before Darcy could even say goodbye.

Darcy stared at the phone in her hand before deciding what to do.  Penelope sure can talk she sent Spencer.  Also, I hope I didn’t wake you up. She sent, realizing what time it was.

Yes she can, and you didn’t wake me up. He replied.  Do I even want to know what she said?

Feeling emboldened by the safety of a screen, she decided to tease him.  She said you think I’m pretty.

You already knew that. He replied quickly. And the word I used was beautiful.

Darcy grinned at her phone before looking back at her computer to check the data that was still slowly coming in.  Shouldn’t you be asleep Dr. Reid?

Shouldn’t you be working?

I can text and work, but I don’t think texting and sleeping works quite as well. 

It’s only 10.

That was a valid point.  So what I’m reading is you have some time to waste before bed.

Chapter Text

I don’t think I would consider the time wasted.

Oh really?

I get to learn valuable information about the woman I’m sharing a room with.

Seems like time well spent to me.

“Valuable information”?

Since we share a living space, I’d contend that any information is valuable.

Fair enough.

I’d argue some information is more valuable than other information.

True

But I am already sharing a room with you

So hopefully none of the information I learn tonight changes how I feel about that choice.

And how do you feel about that decision?

You shared coffee with me and bought me breakfast.

I don’t see much reason to complain.

Someone’s easy to please.

I don’t know about that.

I think you’re underestimating how much I love coffee.

As someone whose very existence depends upon coffee, I doubt that I underestimate its importance.

That almost sounded like a poem.

Which one were you thinking?

The Red Wheelbarrow

So much depends

Upon

A cup of

Coffee

Sweetened with much

Sugar

Beside the hotel

Bed

Eh?  Like that?

That was…exceedingly accurate.

What about you?

How do I feel about coffee?

Because I think I made it fairly clear that coffee is my lifeblood.

No, about sharing the room.

I see no reason to complain. ;)

You’re a pretty okay guy and it beats sleeping in my car.

Is that what you would have done?

If I said no?

Well yeah.

Science doesn’t stop just because I don’t have a hotel room.

That’s commitment.

I guess?

It’s just how I spend nights on the road.

It wouldn’t be the first time I slept in the car.

Besides, I’d be sleeping mostly during the day.

Way less creepy things happen when you sleep during the day.

But the light has to be difficult to deal with.

Eh.  It’s not ideal, but it’s not terrible.

But enough about my days and nights.

Tell me how you would normally spend the night while on a case.

Normally?  I’d read over the files and go to bed.

So no reading over files tonight?

I’m already done with that.

Fast reader?

That and the fact that I already spent all day reading over the files trying to find anything we had missed.

I’m guessing what you missed was nothing considering you’re a total boss at your job.

I didn’t notice anything new….

Don’t you dare try to get all “but I should have” on me.

You text very quickly. 

And also, possibly, read my mind.

Or I just remember that you’re hard on yourself.

Which you shouldn’t be.

Remember what I said:  burden not blame.

I’ll try to remember that.

Don’t you have an insane memory?

Shouldn’t be too hard to remember.

Remembering and believing are two different things.

Fair.

But I totally speak the truth and will remind you of it as often as necessary.

New roomie rule:

Anytime you start to think you should have done more, you text me and I set you straight.

“Set me straight”?

Absolutely. 

What about you?

What about me?

What do you normally do during a night in the field?

Once the equipment is set up, pretty much nothing.

I watch the data stream in until it’s time to pack up.

Make sure nothing is going wrong with the data.

And do whatever it takes to stay awake.

How do you normally stay awake?

Reading, the internet (when I have it), coffee.

Homework

The hours are really good for focusing on homework.

I’ll probably just keep getting degrees if Jane’s going to keep sending me into the field.

An education is never a bad thing.

At this point I’m basically a professional student.

What does your boyfriend think of that?

HAHAHA

Might as well ask what you think of it.

I think it’s a great use of time.

Am I meant to understand there is no boyfriend or that he cares so little?

No boyfriend.

How would your girlfriend feel about you sharing a room?

Shall I respond in kind?

HAHAHA

Might as well ask what you think of it.

I think it’s a great use of time.

Am I meant to understand there is no girlfriend or that she cares so little?

;)

Did you wink at me?

(Also, no girlfriend.  Kind of hard with this job.)

I did wink

And I understand how jobs get in the way of relationships.

I find it hard to believe that someone like you would have a hard time finding a boyfriend.

The quality of character I attract isn’t always good, and even when it is, I always seem to end up cancelling or being out of cell phone range.

Not exactly good girlfriend material.

At least, according to the guys I’ve date.

I “don’t make them a priority”

Or something

Or the guys you’ve encountered just aren’t understanding enough.

And you?

And me what?

Are you understanding?

I went in to work yesterday and ended up in Montana a few hours later.  What do you think?

I think I understand.

Work is work and it comes first.

Exactly.

Sounds like we both understand.

Sounds like we could work.

We could work?

…Let’s pretend I didn’t take it too far?

How could that be…

Oh

Sorry

Are we going to pretend?

Because I’m feeling kind of ridiculous here.

Why should we pretend the facts aren’t true?

That’s really not either of us.

Because I maybe was heading down a road you weren’t prepared to follow?

In which case the facts are true, but not relevant?

But they are

Relevant I mean.

How so?

Because I think you’re right.

I'm right?

That we could work

But I’m not sure either of us have enough data for that yet.

To be sure, I mean.

We’d need more to have a better knowledge base to make conclusions from.

Now you’re speaking scientist

Which, luckily, I’m fluent in.

So tell me your hypothesis.

I think gathering more data is always a good thing.

And that we might be happily surprised where that data leads us

That sounds like a good plan.

Well, I am a researcher. 

Let’s gather some data.

Chapter Text

Spencer was smiling at his phone.  He was lucky he was alone in his room; otherwise there would be no way he could talk his way out of explaining who he was texting.  He knew the science of why it was easier to say something through the written word than face to face, but at the moment he didn’t care.  Talking to Darcy was so easy.  She never made him feel like he needed to prove his worth (like some members of the FBI), nor did she make him feel like his intelligence was a problem (like some members of his team whenever he would share something that wasn’t related to the case that they found strange to be something he just knew).  And she was attracted to him (and, if he was having a little honesty hour in his brain, he was also attracted to her) but he didn’t feel like there was any pressure related to that.  He didn’t feel like he needed to put on a show or worry about how being himself might make her change her mind. Maybe it was because she was sharing his room.

Whatever the reason, he was having fun, and he was having it while being himself.  He didn’t have a lot of experience with women, but this was definitely special.  He had texted Darcy until it was nearly one in the morning talking about simple nothings and their lives.  He felt like he had learned so much about her that it was like he had known her for years instead of barely two days.  Finally, she had declared it too late for him to still be up and cited her “excellent understanding of geniuses” as the reason she was refusing to speak to him again until she was back in the room.  She was right, of course. He should go to sleep so he would be rested enough to function properly the next day.  (He had tried to argue that even subpar Spencer was still way better than most people, but she had just laughed at him and reminded him that he would feel guilty if he didn’t get enough sleep.  She was right.)

But he was still a little too excited to go to sleep.  Instead, he was lying in bed re-reading the texts they had sent, even though he already had them memorized.  He eventually drifted off to sleep with his phone in his hand and a smile on his face.

His alarm startled him awake, and he felt the achy pull of too little sleep in the base of his skull.  Then he remembered that he would get a few minutes with Darcy before he went out for the day, and he instantly felt more awake.  He stretched and moved over to the shower.  She should be back in the room by the time he got out.  He was in such a good mood that he found himself humming as he washed his hair.  He turned off the spray of the water that was already starting to cool and stepped into the steam covered room. 

He was bushing his hair when he realized he hadn’t heard Darcy knock to say she was back.  Maybe she had done it while he was still in the shower, but deep down he knew she wasn’t there.  He stepped into the room, and sure enough, it was empty.  He picked up his phone and there were no new messages.

Darcy?

Are you running late?

Where are you?

Please answer.

I’m worried.

He looked up at the clock.  He had to be ready to leave in ten minutes.  He started brewing the coffee, hoping busy hands would help calm his mind.  His fingers shook a bit when he added the grounds, and he sloshed some water, but the coffee was finally brewing.  He cleaned up the small mess he had made, but one of that kept his mind occupied. There was just one minute left in the brew when he decided to try calling. 

Darcy’s phone rang through to voicemail.  He was definitely worried now.  He dialed a different number.

“It’s a bit early in the morning for a booty call,” Garcia answered, “but I might make an exception if you make it worth my time.”

“I need you to track Darcy’s phone,” he said without any preamble.  “She hasn’t returned from the field and she’s not answering my texts or calls.”

“Yes.  I can do that. Right now,” Penelope babbled as she started typing.  “I’m sure she’s fine.  She’s got to be fine, right?  I talked to her just last night.”  Penelope stopped talking with a quick snap to her jaw that Spencer guessed was her realizing her words weren’t helping. As he waited, Spencer poured himself some of the finished coffee.  He felt a nervous tightness in his chest as he used one of the cups she had generously shared with him.  “Okay,” Penelope said as he took a sip.  “Her phone is on and in a field in the middle of nowhere about three miles outside of town.  I’m sending you the coordinates now. Do you think she’s in trouble?”

“I don’t know, but I’m going to find out.”

“Hit me up when you know she’s safe,” Garcia said, her own words tinged with worry.

“Will do,” Spencer said as he hung up.  He checked the information Garcia had sent, and wasn’t sure if he should be relieved or concerned that it was pinging in the same place she had been taking readings last night. The phone was still on, and he was going to assume that was a good thing.  He looked over at the clock.  He was about to be late.

Spencer raced to the elevator, trying Darcy’s cell again.  It clicked over to voicemail, and this time he left a message.  “Darcy, you’re not back and you’re not answering.  I need to know you’re okay.”  He hung up as he stepped out to the lobby.

“You look like hell,” Morgan said as he approached the waiting group.  “Something wrong?”

Spencer pursed his lips.  “Maybe,” he said.

“Something related to the case?” JJ asked.

Suddenly the world fell out beneath Spencer.  Darcy was definitely the unsub’s type.

Chapter Text

Darcy awoke to an insistent buzzing next to her head.  Her neck was sore, and everything ached when she stretched.  She was cold and wet.  She looked around and felt herself start to feel sick.  She scrambled to her feet as she realized she had fallen asleep in the field.  The night started to come back to her as the haze of sleep washed away. Her equipment was still set up, and the buzzing that had awoken her was her phone.  She didn’t have time for that at the moment, though.  The equipment was covered in a thin layer of dew, and she needed to clean it up before it ruined everything.  She jumped to her feet, her body groaning in protest after hours spent in such odd positions, put her phone in her pocket, and got to work wiping everything down and stowing it away.

She closed the laptop and dropped it into the bag, finally fishing her phone out of her pocket.  It was 8:30. Spencer was already gone for the day.  She had missed him.  She was surprised how sad that made her. She got into the car and started flicking through her messages.  There were several increasingly worried messages from Spencer, then a few from Penelope as well.

I’m fine She shot off quickly.  I fell asleep in the literal field I’m taking data in.  Once that was done, she checked her voicemails.  The distress in Spencer’s voice formed a lump in her throat.  He had clearly been distraught that she hadn’t returned like he expected.  She should call him.

Her fingers hovered over the call button when she rethought her choice.  He’d be out with his team right now.  She had sent him the text, but a call might make problems for him.  She didn’t want to do something that might cause the teasing he was so worried about. She cancelled the call and dialed a different number.

“I’ve got the goods and the goods,” Penelope answered.  “Which were you hoping for?”

“Penelope?”

“Darcy?!  Oh my god!  Are you okay?  Reid is worried sick!”

“I’m fine.  I just fell asleep.”

“Oh thank goodness,” Penelope sighed.  “What can I do for you?”

“I sent Spencer a text letting him know I’m okay, but I wasn’t sure if it would cause more problems if I tried to call him.  I know he didn’t really want to tell anyone about me, but he sounded really worried and I want him to know I’m fine.”

“How about I call him for you and tell him to give you a call?  Me calling him won’t cause any problems, and he can find the time to slip away and call you.  I’m sure the text was fine, but he’ll probably want to hear your voice.”

“That could work,” Darcy said thoughtfully.  “I’m going to grab breakfast and then probably head to bed.  I still have to work tonight and I don’t want to mess up my routine too much,” Though Spencer might be worth it, she added to herself.  The thought didn’t surprise her as much as she thought it should.  Usually sleep was sacred to her.

“How about I tell him to call you in the next hour or not at all?”  Penelope suggested.  “That way you don’t stay up worrying about missing a call and he doesn’t worry about waking you up with a call.”

“Perfect,” Darcy said, starting up her car.  “Thanks for everything.”

“Look, Reid doesn’t really ‘get the girl’ all that often, though he deserves to.  You both deserve some happiness, and I enjoy that I can help with that.  It makes me happy.  So if the others knowing is going to ruin that, I’ll make sure to do what I can to keep them uninformed.”

“We totally need to meet up sometime.  You’re good people Penelope.”

“I know I am,” Penelope said with a smile in her voice.  “Now go do your thing so I can call Reid.”

“Thanks again.”

“Anytime sugar,” Penelope said before the line went dead.

Darcy let the car warm up a little more before heading back to town.  On the short drive she thought about Spencer.  No one had ever wormed their way into her heart as quickly and effectively as he had.  He was attractive, but that wasn’t it.  She had been with enough attractive guys to know that good looks weren’t enough to keep her attention. The more she thought about it, the more she thought it was that he was always himself.  He was never putting on a show for her, so she wasn’t worried there was some nasty surprise about who he really was that she needed to safeguard herself against.  And, for her part, she didn’t feel like she needed to put on a show for him either.  She was comfortable in his presence from the moment she wandered into his room expecting to be alone.  He had seen her fall asleep after too many hours awake on the road, and he had never tried anything or made her feel unsafe. She was halfway in love with him, and for once that didn’t scare her.  It should.  She had known him about 36 hours, and she was about one more smile caused by him from doodling his name in the margins of her notebook.

She pulled into the parking lot of the diner, a smile on her face.  They had spent hours last night on the phone texting about the most mundane things, but every time her screen lit up with a message from him, she felt a warm little pull in her belly.  She was totally smitten.

There was no way she was going to be able to hide this from Jane.  She had never made up a story to tell Jane about dinner, and now she was certain she wouldn’t be able to lie if she tried.  Jane would know.  Jane always knew. She’d have to decide how much of the truth to tell Jane before their Skype session tonight.  While Jane might know a lie, half-truths were another matter.

Darcy placed her breakfast order and thought about her options.  Penelope already knew.  How much worse would it be if someone else knew too? 

Chapter Text

“Spence?” JJ was asking, her hands on his shoulder, eyes trained on his.  “What’s going on?”

Spencer shook himself and looked at her, mind racing over the facts of the case, trying to determine if Darcy was in trouble.  All of the other women had been abducted from parking lots.  Their phones had been on, but in their cars.  Darcy had been in a field.  While her phone was still on, it wasn’t like the other abduction sites.  It was in the middle of nowhere.  He would have had to follow her there, and she would have been aware of his approach.  He felt his body relax a little, though he was still worried.  “I just had some news this morning,” he said, looking at JJ and trying to sell this half-truth.  “I’m fine.”

“You didn’t look fine,” Morgan said.  “You look like you haven’t slept at all.”

“Star Trek marathon on TV,” Spencer said.  “I must have got caught up in it and lost track of time last night.  It was still on when I woke up.” 

Morgan didn’t say anything, but it was clear he wasn’t fully buying what Spencer had said.  He'd probably have to answer to Morgan again later. “Was the news bad?” JJ asked, shooting a look to Morgan.

“Maybe.  It’s too early to tell,” he said.  That was true.  He was worried, but he hadn’t allowed himself to be rational about what could have been happening.  Emotion had simply taken over.  It was a weird feeling to not be completely rational about something. “It could be, and I freaked out a bit, but it’s too soon to know,” he said.  It was the truth.  He needed to just think.

This seemed to placate JJ.  she let her hands drop, but there was still a worry line on her forehead.  “Let’s head out,” Hotchner said, drawing everyone's attention.  He always sounded annoyed, and Spencer couldn’t tell if he actually was right now.  As they walked out the door, Prentiss placed a hand on his shoulder, stopping him.

“If you need to talk,” she said, eyes roaming over him, “I’m here.  Especially if that talk involves where you’re getting the good coffee,” she teased.  “I’m seriously jealous of whatever is going on with you and your ability to get the good stuff.”

“It’s just..”

“Don’t lie,” Emily said, though it wasn’t harsh.  “I can smell it.  It’s not the stuff in the room.  The others don’t know coffee as well as I do, so your secret is safe with me.”

“Thanks,” he said as they started walking to join the others.  How had so many people latched on to the fact that he was hiding something?

“I’m not going to push Reid,” she said quietly, “but I’m also not going to judge.  I hope you know that.”  Spencer didn’t say anything, but he knew the grateful look he shot to her spoke enough.

More than an hour later he was pouring over a map when his phone buzzed.  He pulled it out, and saw it was Darcy.  He felt himself finally relax as he read that she was okay.  Of course she had just fallen asleep.  That was the most logical situation.  She worked long hours alone in the middle of the night.  This probably wasn’t the first time this had happened to her.  (Was it the first time someone had been worried? His traitorous mind wondered.)  He had maybe overreacted a bit, and he wasn’t ready to explore what that meant just yet.  She was fine, and that was what mattered. 

Not long after the texts, his phone rang. “Hey Garcia.  Got something for us?”

“Not ‘us’- you.”

“Oh?” Spencer asked, looking around the room.  Only Prentiss was with him.

“Darcy is fine.  Apparently she fell asleep while working and just woke up.  She was going to call you but was worried that would cause problems, so I volunteered to call for her.”

“Anything I should do?”

“If you want to catch her before she goes to bed, you gotta call in the next hour.  Otherwise, just wait until you see her tonight.”

“Will do.  Thanks Garcia.”

“Anytime nerd.  And don’t drag your feet.  She’ll definitely sleep better if you call.”

Spencer smiled as he hung up the phone.  “Good news?” Prentiss asked.

“Yeah.”

“Wanna talk about it?”

Spencer looked around.  “No.  Not yet.”

“Soon?”

“Maybe,” he smiled.

Emily shrugged and went back to the files she was reading.  About fifteen minutes later, a delivery boy walked in to the room.  “You guys the FBI?” He asked.

“Err, yes,” Prentiss said, shooting a look at Spencer.

“These are for you,” he said, dropping the bags on the table. 

“What are they?” She asked as she started poking through the bags.

“Breakfast,” the man shrugged.

Emily pulled a note off the top of a box with her name.  “Huh, looks like Garcia wanted to make sure we were eating.  Apparently one too many of us complained about the hotel food.”

Spencer smiled as he grabbed the box with his name on it.  Taped to the inside of the top of the container was a paper.  Prentiss wasn’t watching, so he pulled it off and flipped it open, sliding it under the box to hide it.

S,

I’m sorry I made you worry.  Hopefully waffles is a good apology since I didn’t bring you them this morning.

Look forward to seeing you tonight,

D

He smiled as he slid the note into his pocket.  “I’ll be right back,” he said before walking outside.  Once he was on the side of the building he pulled out his phone.  It rang twice before she picked up.

“Hey Spence!” She said brightly.

“Thank you,” he said.  “I’m sure the entire team will love their breakfast.”

“Well, I didn’t get to bring you yours, and that probably meant you didn’t eat this morning.  I just wanted to make sure you were at your best while you saved the world.”

“I’m not really saving the world.”

“Don’t sell yourself short,” she commanded.  “I’m sure you’re busy, but I’m really glad you called.”

“Me too.”

“Wake me up if I’m still asleep when you get back tonight?  I don’t want to miss you again.”

Spencer felt himself blush.  “Yeah. Okay.  I can do that.”

“Thanks Spence.  See you tonight!”

“Bye Darce.”

“Sooooo,” a voice said next to him, making him jump.  “Who’s Darce?”

Chapter Text

Darcy sat at a booth in the diner, breakfast sitting in front of her.  As she started to dig in, she thought about how she had promised Spencer breakfast.  Her goof probably meant he hadn’t eaten at all, or, if he had, it was the super lame (and apparently often stale) offerings in the hotel lobby.  She should send him breakfast, but there wasn’t a good way of doing that without drawing attention to him.  Unless…  She pulled out her phone, sudden inspiration sparking an idea.

Hey Penelope, mind if I give you credit for something I’m about to do? Darcy texted as she looked over the menu.

Depends.  Whatcha doing? 

Is it Reid related?

Darcy smiled as she took a picture of the menu before responding.  Kind of? 

I want to buy everyone breakfast.

 I was supposed to bring Spencer breakfast, but you know how this morning went.

She sent the picture of the menu.  What do you think I should get everyone?

You were going to bring him breakfast?!  

She could practically feel the squee-ing through her phone.  Yes.

Is that weird?  She asked, suddenly worried it somehow was.

Because I did it yesterday as a thank you.

But maybe it’s strange to do it today?

But I told him I would?

As a thank you for letting you stay in the room you booked?

That the hotel screwed up?

Darcy gave her phone an amused look.  Well yeah.  He could have made me stay in my car.

Or he could have offered to bunk with one of the male team members.

But he didn’t.

Because you’re cute

And nice

And (I’m assuming here) so easy to room with.

And he liiiiikes you.

You know what, I think he does.

OMG.  STORY!

First tell me what to order.

She expected her confession to send her new friend into excited fits.  She wasn’t disappointed.  Darcy laughed as Penelope’s enthusiastic responses came tumbling in, orders peppered with demands for information.  She placed the order, asking that each be already packaged to go before she ripped a page out of her notebook.  In careful print, she wrote out a message giving credit to Garcia.  (“It’s important you sign it Garcia,” she had been told.  “Otherwise no one will believe it’s from me.”)

As she waited on the orders, she kept up a lively conversation with Penelope about how she and Spencer had been texting well into the night.  She thought back to all the perfectly normal but somehow supremely lovely things he had said.  When he had agreed to “collecting more data” to see if they might be compatible as more than just random roomies, she thought that she must be glowing from how delighted she had been.  She had even checked the readings to make sure her glee hadn’t somehow messed with the data.  (It felt like a thing. Jane would totally know if it was a thing.)

Chatting with Penelope made her think about Jane.  She missed Jane, even though she would be seeing her again in just a few days.  She needed Jane to jump around excitedly with; to drink blender margaritas and imagine a cheery future with her.  She was decided.  She would come totally clean with Jane tonight because while Penelope was awesome, she wasn’t Jane. (At least not yet.)

Once the food was done, she debated putting a special note on Spencer’s.  She knew he would put together that it was from her and not Garcia, but she still felt like a note was necessary.  Eventually she decided on short but sweet.  As soon as the orders were done, she pulled black sharpie out of her bag and labeled everything.  She taped the general note to the top of one container and Spencer’s to the inside of his (which she hoped would keep it hidden from the others).  She grabbed a bus boy and paid him $20 to deliver the whole lot for her, a task he gladly took on considering the station was just down the block.  She probably overpaid for the task, but it was worth it to convince him to do something that wasn’t really his job.

As her delivery boy re-entered the diner, her phone rang.

Spencer. 

Her stomach gave a little flip, and she answered the call. Texting the night before had been fun (insightful even), but talking to him was even better.  There was something about his voice that made her skin tingle.  While she wouldn’t mind being in the same place as him right now, she thanked her lucky stars they were just on the phone.  She was certain she would have spent their entire conversation staring at his lips and totally losing the thread of the conversation if he was standing in front of her.  She would blame it on how tired she was, but that wouldn’t really be true.  Even though it was just a quick conversation, she felt like she was floating when she finally left the diner.

While she might have been daydreaming when she left the diner, when she finally got back to the room, all she wanted to do was pass out.  She had probably gotten about two hours of sleep earlier, but it had been poor quality, and the adrenaline rush of realizing what happened was finally gone as was her high from talking to Spencer. She was ready to crash. 

But she couldn’t crash quite yet.  She felt disgusting, so a shower was in order.  She peeled off her clothes, still slightly damp from the dewy morning, leaving a trail of clothing as she moved from the bed to the bathroom.  She turned on the water, barely waiting for it to heat up before ducking under the spray. The shower was both short and lazy, the warm water trying to pull her even closer to sleep.  She turned off the water and ran a brush though her hair before throwing on a t-shirt and underwear and collapsing into the bed, sleep taking her before her head even hit the pillow.

Chapter Text

“What?” Spencer yelped.

“It’s just, double dinner, freak outs you won’t explain, secret phone calls after secret notes in your breakfast.” Prentiss leveled a look at him.  “I said I wasn’t going to push, but I have to know if you’re in trouble.”

“All those things make you think I’m in trouble?”

“No.  I think you’re in love.”

“I’m what?”

“In love.  Sometimes it looks the same as trouble.  Sometimes it’s its own type of trouble.”

“Oh I don’t...,” Spencer started, but Prentiss cut him off.

“You bought the second dinner after receiving a text that made you smile.  You were worried this morning after having been up late last night.  You had coffee that wasn’t the basic room stuff in a cup that wasn’t from the hotel.  You were visibly relieved after a non-case call from Garcia. And now you’re out here smiling like a fool after hanging up with someone named Darce, which sounds like a sweet diminutive of her actual name.  If you’re not in love, Reid, you’re on your way to it.”

Spencer said nothing as he let Prentiss’s words wash over him.  “I….but….,” he tried, but couldn’t find the right words.

“She’s here isn’t she?” Emily asked, softer.

“Yeah,” he said because it was clear that she knew that and was just looking for him to verify it.

“How’d she get out here so quickly?  We had, what, an hour after briefing before we left?”  Spencer didn’t look at her.  He knew that if he did, she would see the truth on his face.  “Oh my god,” Emily breathed, “you met her here.”

“I didn’t say that.”

“You didn’t have to.  You can’t look at me.  How did you even meet her?”

“Do we have to talk about this?” He asked, shifting his weight from one foot to the other.

“I think we do,” she said harshly but not unkindly. “Do you know anything at all about her?”

“It’s surprising what you can learn online.,” which was true, but also just him being a bit snide.

“You what?  Checked her Facebook?” She responded in kind.

“Actually I read about her over a year ago.”

“So she’s from here?”

“No.  Why would you think that?”

“Because you bought her dinner last night?”  Spencer kept his mouth shut.  “Okay,” Prentiss sighed.  “I think you need to start at the beginning and tell me everything.”

“Why?”

“Because if you don’t, I’m going to tell the rest of the team about your girlfriend,” she said with a perfectly cocked eyebrow.

“You fight dirty.”  Not that he expected anything less.  She was always a formidable opponent when they played poker.

“And that’s not a ‘how we met’ story.”

“She’s not my girlfriend.”

“Doubtful.  Also still not a story.  If the next words out of your mouth aren’t ‘once upon a time,’ I’m going to call Morgan.”  She pulled her phone out of her pocket and stared him down.

Spencer sighed.  “Once upon a time the FBI came to Montana for a case and was put up in a hotel that was overbooked.  One specific room was double booked, and the hotel staff gave two different people keys to the room.”

“Are you serious?” Prentiss asked.  “Is that really how you met?”

“You can ask Garcia.”

Prentiss looked at him, stunned.  “Go ahead.  Go on.”  She wasn’t playing games anymore.  He could tell she was invested in the story.  Possibly because it was so ludicrous. 

“You wanted to know how we met.  That’s how we met.”

“You can’t just stop there!  What happened when you both were in the room?”  Before Spencer could answer, her eyes went wide.  “Oh my god.  You’re sharing the room.” Spencer quirked an eyebrow.  “How do you know she’s safe?”  He could hear the concern in her voice.

“I told you.  I read all about her about a year ago.”

“How is that possible?  Wait a second.  A year ago?”

“Yes?”

“She’s with Shield?”  He was impressed with her ability to make the leap so quickly.  He had thought it would take her a bit longer to put it together.

“Not with.  Actually, I get the impression that she probably wouldn’t like them very much.”

“But she had a file.  That’s how you read about her.”

“Yes.”

“Is she someone we need to arrest?”

“Yes.  I’m sharing my room with a fugitive.  Of course not.”

“Well I don’t know.  That’s one of the main reasons Shield would have a file on her.”  It was fair reasoning, but a bit unfair to him.

He decided to explain before she came to another unfair conclusion. “She works for a person of interest and became a person of interest herself.  They were considering recruiting her, but it’s pretty clear she would have laughed at them.”

“We’re getting sidetracked again.  So you met a girl when the hotel double booked the room and you two decided to share?  Am I right so far?”

“Yes.”

“And you knew of her before this, so you weren’t concerned about sharing with her, but there’s something more.  There’s something else that makes her safe to share with…” Emily paused, but Spencer didn’t volunteer any information, instead enjoying watching her figure it out.  “There has to be something…with the night….  She works at night!  You never have to share a bed!”

“You know Emily; I will always be in awe of your ability to put pieces together.”

“I’m no Dr. Spencer Reid, but I do okay for myself. So what does she do?”

“She works for an astrophysicist.  She’s out here taking readings for her.”

“And she didn’t come back this morning, and you freaked.”

“We’re not exactly here for a party.”

“And she fits the unsub’s type.  But obviously she’s okay.”

“She fell asleep.”

Prentiss visibly relaxed now that she had all the pieces she needed.  “All right, now that you’re not worried anymore, maybe we can get some work done?  Besides, I’d hate for the waffles she bought us to get cold.”

Spencer smiled and followed Prentiss back into the station.

Chapter Text

They had gotten a break in the case, but unfortunately it was in the worst way possible.  Another body had been found not long after they had eaten breakfast.  The dump site was a field, though not the one that Darcy had been in.  Spencer had joined the others in their trip to the site and tried to learn something new about the killer from what the body told him.  While the location of both abduction and disposal would make his geographic profile more accurate, he wasn’t learning much from the body.

Or, he hadn’t been until the body was moved to be sent to the coroner.  As the body was lifted, he noticed something odd underneath it.  He knelt down next to the crushed grass.

“Is that a flower?” Morgan asked.

“It’s an asphodel,” Spencer said, rummaging in his pockets for gloves and a bag.  “In Victorian flower language it means ‘my regrets follow you to the grave.’  This meaning comes from its Homeric connection to the underworld.  In the Odyssey Odysseus travels past the dawn and ends up in a field of asphodels where the spirits of the dead are.  While we mostly cite Homer as the author of the fields as the gateway to the underworld, he actually was probably predated by the Minoans and Egyptians.  Both cultures also believed in a bright and fertile afterlife, and the asphodel is native to the Mediterranean area of southern Europe and North Africa.”

“And what does this mean about our unsub?” Morgan asked.

“I’m not sure yet, but at the very least it seems like a sign of remorse, which isn’t something we’ve seen before.  I wonder if there were flowers at the other sites or if this was a first.  We should check.  If this was the first time he’s shown remorse, then this victim was probably not intentional or possibly someone that he thought was going to make it through some test he set and that she then failed at the last minute.”

“Sounds like it isn’t native to this area,” Prentiss said.

“it’s not,” Spencer confirmed.

“Then maybe we ought to check if it’s been purchased around here recently or if anyone is growing it,” she replied, pulling out her phone to call Garcia.

An hour later they were standing in a flower shop.

“I’m sorry,” the employee said, “we keep an inventory, but not a record of who purchased what.”

“Can you tell us if there was a recent change in the inventory?”

“We just track in this little book here,” she said, gesturing to the binder next to the register, “but the manager is the one that keeps the official records.  We mark it on here, but it’s a wet erase, so once everything is tallied, it gets wiped.  This is just today’s orders.”

“Do you mind if we look around?” Emily asked.

“Not at all.”

They wandered around the shop, looking at the different offerings.  “It’s the only place in town,” Prentiss said as they wandered.  “It’s likely the flower came from here unless the unsub grows it himself.”

“If he’s going to leave any more flowers, they will probably come from here as well,” Spencer said.  “It’s probably best that we are familiar with the more exotic and non-native options available here.”

As they looked around, Spencer wondered if Darcy liked flowers.  Maybe he should get her some.  Nothing big, but maybe something small?  He stopped in front of a group of absolutely gorgeous gardenias.

“Thinking of buying them for your roommate?” Prentiss asked with a smirk.

“Yes, actually.”

“What do they mean?”

“It mean’s ‘you’re lovely.’” It could also mean “secret love,” but he kept that part to himself.

“That’s really sweet,”

Spencer stood a moment longer before grabbing three and heading up to the register.  He asked for them to be delivered to the hotel and paid.

“Why not deliver them yourself?” Prentiss asked as they got back in the SUV.

“Because I would have to take them back to the station with me.”

“Good point,” Emily agreed.

“Are you really going to keep my secret?” Spencer asked.

“I don’t see a reason not to,” she shrugged.  “But you tell me the minute you’re worried that something is wrong.”

“That’s fair.”

“it’s also my condition for keeping my mouth shut.”

Spencer smiled.  She meant it, but only because she was worried about him, not because she was being mean.  She was definitely the best person to have figured out his secret.

***

The team had gone straight to dinner from the station, and Spencer wasn’t going to potentially wake Darcy up to find out what she wanted.  They were at the same diner again, so he’d just do the special and pie once more.

“Hey Reid, I’m thinking about staying up tonight to work.  How was the meatloaf last night?”

“Fine,” he answered, a bit suspicious.

“The special tonight is baked mac and cheese.  Think you’re going to do the same?  We could split it,” She said, this time, being careful to not look at him while she asked.  Finally, he caught on.

“That sounds good.  Want to split a piece of pecan pie too?”

“God yes,” she said.  “Actually, no.  I need my own piece.”  Emily placed the to-go order and Spencer handed her some cash for the full amount, including her slice of pie.  If she was going to cover up that he was getting another extra meal, he could pay for her pie.  She smiled at him when she took the bag from the waiter before they all got up to leave, giving a little wink when no one was looking.

Emily walked him to his hotel room door, handing him the bag.  “You know, I want to meet her before she, or we, leave if this is going somewhere.”

Spencer tilted his head thoughtfully.  “Maybe,” he said.  “I’m not going to decide something that should be her choice too.”

Prentiss grinned.  “You’re going to make her very happy,” she said before making her way down the hall to her own room.

Spencer opened the door and walked in.  He blushed a hot red when he saw Darcy’s clothes strewn like a trail to the bathroom, her lacy bra lying next to her shirt.  He stepped toward the bed and gulped.  She was still asleep, and she wasn’t wearing any pants.

Chapter Text

Darcy gradually awoke to a hand rubbing circles on her back and a gentle calling of her name.  She stretched, arching like a cat, and the hand pulled away from her.  Spencer was sitting on the bed next to her, his cheeks pink.

“Good evening,” she said as she sat up.

“You’re, uh, not wearing pants,” Spencer stuttered.

Darcy looked down, her cheeks matching his when she realized he was right.  “Sorry!” She squeaked, hands covering herself.

“I’ll just go look out the window,” he said, hurrying to get up.

Once he was staring at the window, she scrambled out of the bed, grabbing her bag and all the clothes she had discarded earlier before closing herself in the bathroom.  She washed her face both because she needed to and to help calm herself before getting dressed.  She hadn’t checked the weather yet, so she wasn’t sure how cool it would be tonight, so she stuck with a t-shirt that she could add layers to later. She threw her hair up and gave herself a little pep talk in the mirror before heading back out to the room.

“Thanks for waking me up,” she said, moving over to the table to grab her laptop.

“I also brought you dinner.”

“Oh!  What is it?” She asked, poking around the bag.

“Baked mac and cheese and pecan pie.  My teammate helped with it.”

“Garcia?”

“No, Prentiss.”

“Oh?” She said, surprised that someone else knew.

“She, uh, caught me on the phone with you this morning.  That’s okay, right?”

“Of course,” she said immediately.  “I was thinking about telling Jane.  She’s already pretty suspicious.  Are you okay with that?”

“Sure.”

“In fact,” Darcy said as she looked at the clock, “I need to get on Skype very soon.”

“Before you go out in the field, there’s something we should talk about.”

“What’s that?”

“The reason I’m here.  We found another body this morning and I think you should be informed.”

“I sort of forgot that was why you’re here,” Darcy said with a shudder. 

“I just…want you to be aware so you can be safe,” he said.

“Absolutely,” Darcy said.  “We can talk after I talk with Jane?”

“That sounds good.”

Darcy busied herself with setting up the computer and looking up the weather.

“Do you mind if I go take a shower?” Spencer asked.

“Not at all,” Darcy said.  “It’s your room too.”

Spencer grabbed his bag, and Darcy watched his retreating form, but her attention was pulled away by Jane calling.

“Hey Jane!”

“I’ve blocked off plenty of time for you tonight Darce, so before we talk work, I gotta know about dinner and the guy.”

“About that…..”

“Are you about to tell me the truth without me having to pry it out of you?”

“What are you talking about?”  Darcy asked, shocked.

“I mean, it was clear you weren’t telling me the whole story last night, but I didn’t have time to fight you.  I planned lots of time tonight to get the real story.  So spill.”

“Where should I start?”

“How about his name?”

“Spencer Reid.  He works for the FBI.”

“You told me that last night, so I did some digging.  Apparently there have been several murders.  Are you being safe out there?”

“Of course.  I always have my taser.”

“So how did you meet?  For real this time.”  To others it might sound like conversational whiplash, but she knew that Jane believed in her ability to take care of herself and was satisfied.

“The hotel double booked the room.”

Jane just stared at her for a moment.  Darcy could tell her mind was moving a mile a minute.  “You’re sharing with him,” she finally said.

“I am.  We don’t really overlap, so no need for us to share the bed.”

“Are you sure he’s safe?”

“He works with the FBI.”

“That doesn’t mean that he isn’t going to assault you.”

“I really doubt it.  He’s…he’s not like that.  Plus, I think he really likes me.”

“Oh Darce,” Jane sighed.  “I just don’t want you to get hurt.”

“I know.  He doesn’t seem like the hurting type, though.”

“Where is he now?”

“In the shower.”

A devious smile played at Jane’s lips.  “I do believe the bathroom is behind you.  I think I’ll just chat with you until he comes out.”

“You could have just asked me to introduce you.”

“But that gives you the chance to say no.”

“I could still hang up on you.”

“You do that and I’m sending Thor to check on you.”

“You fight dirty.”

“You’d do the same to me.”

“True.”

“God I miss you,” Jane sighed.  “I can’t believe I sent you away for a whole week.”

“Science doesn’t stop because you have things to do.”

“True,” Jane agreed.  “But the guys here don’t know how to make the good coffee.”

“That’s because I’ll never share my secret recipe.”

“Okay, before he comes out, tell me all about this mysterious Mr. Reid.”

“Dr. Reid, actually.”

“Not bad.”

“I know.”

“You always did like ‘em smart.  What’s he look like?”

“Tall.  Skinny.  The cutest cardigans you’ve ever seen.”

“So your type.”

“I know.”

“So what has he done that makes you think he likes you?”

“Well, he agreed to share, but that could have been him just being nice.  He brought me dinner last night and tonight.  He said I was beautiful.”

“Which you are.  Glad he realized it.”

“I also bought you flowers,” Spencer called from the bathroom door. “They’re waiting at the hotel desk for you.”

Jane gave a delighted squeal and Darcy turned pink.

“What kind?” Jane asked,

“Gardenias.”

Jane nodded approvingly.  “Those are Darcy’s favorite.”

“They mean ‘you’re lovely,’” Spencer added.

Jane cooed.  “I totally ship this.”

“Join the crowd,” Darcy laughed.

“Come meet me properly,” Jane called.  “I demand to meet the man sharing a room with my most favorite intern.”

Spencer came closer, and Darcy could smell his soap.   “Favorite intern?” He asked.

“Only.  Favorite.  Whatever,” Jane said with a wave of her hand.  “Best friend.  Is that better?”

“Best friend?” He said with a raised eyebrow, “She does seem to have that effect on people.”

“You haven’t even had a margarita night with her yet.”

“That sounds like a story,” Spencer said as he pulled the other chair over to join Darcy and Jane’s conversation.

Chapter Text

After a nearly hour long chat, Darcy and Jane had hung up.  Spencer had stuck around for the technical part of the conversation, very interested in just what Darcy was doing.  When he told Jane he simply liked to learn, she had allowed him to stay as long as he promised not to steal her ideas or work, which he was absolutely aghast at the thought of, winning him more points with Jane.  He had really enjoyed getting to know the scientist and seeing Darcy interact with her.  Seeing people with their friends was always such an interesting window into who they were, and it made him like Darcy even more.

“So you wanted to talk about your case?” She asked while she packed up her bag for the night.

“Yes,” Spencer said.  “Our unsub is going after women with long brunette hair in their late 20s to early 30s.  You fit that profile.”

“Where is he abducting them from?”

“Usually parking lots at night.”

“So I won’t stop anywhere tonight.  I’ll just go straight to the field.”

“Which is where he’s dumping the bodies.”

“He’s dumping them in my field?” She asked horrified.

“He hasn’t dumped in the area you are yet, but he also hasn’t stayed in just one field.”

She gave a small shudder and asked, “What should I do if I think I’m in trouble?”

“Call me right away.  I know where you are since I listened to you and Jane talk.  I’ll keep my phone volume on so it will wake me up.”

“But if he’s in my field, he’s already got a victim, right?”

“Yes,” Spence agreed, not sure where she was going with this.

“Does he kill the women in the field or are they already dead?”

“They’re already dead,” he told her.  “So far there’s been no evidence of the murder taking place where he dumps them.”

“But you found a body today, right?  How likely is it that he’ll be disposing of a body again tonight?”

“We think he’s unraveling.  His time frame has been accelerating the entire time, and today’s body had signs of remorse that we haven’t seen before.  He’s probably pretty unstable right now.”

Darcy nodded her understanding, but he could tell she was thinking about something she wasn’t telling him.  “Promise you’ll call me right away and stay safe,” he said to her.

“I’ll call right away,” she agreed.

“And stay safe,” he prompted.

“And do my best to stay safe.  I can’t promise to actually stay safe, Spencer.  You know what I’ve been through.  Sometimes safe isn’t possible.”  He didn’t like it, but she was right.  “Is there anything else I need to know?” she asked as she shoved a sweater into her bag.

“I don’t think so.”

“Okay, I have to get going so I can be set up in time.”  She shouldered her bag, and he stood up, planning on seeing her to the door.

“Don’t forget to stop at the desk,” he said.

“I won’t,” she promised with a smile.  She went up on her toes and kissed his cheek.  “Thank you,” she whispered before darting out of the room.

Spencer stared at the door she had just walked through, his cheek still burning with her kiss.  He wasn’t sure how long he stood there, staring and letting the memory sear into his mind.  He was pulled out of it by a text.  He fished his phone out of his pocket, turning up the volume so it would be loud enough to wake him tonight if she called.  The text was actually a picture of Darcy peering over the top of her flowers with the message I think you’re lovely too.  He replied Lovely and so much more before saving the photo as her contact picture.

He felt a bit restless and knew he wouldn’t be able to sleep any time soon.  He flicked on the TV, amused to find there was actually a Star Trek marathon on tonight.  His phone chimed.

Heard you bought some flowers today.

Did Prentiss tell you or were you tracking my purchases because you have nothing better to do?

Prentiss came the quick reply.  He should have known.  She and Garcia were very close.  But she knew I already knew about Darcy, so it’s not like she was spilling your secret.

True.

So what kind were they?

Did she like them?

Gardenias. 

She said they were her favorite, and I think she liked them.

Good job.

It’s been forever since a guy bought me flowers.

And you’ve known her two days and already done that.

Well, we were in a flower shop today. 

And you still thought to send them.

She better appreciate how sweet you are.

I think she does he replied with a smile.

Garcia didn’t send him any more messages, and aside from an “I’m here” message from Darcy, his phone stayed quiet.  He knew Darcy was planning on doing homework tonight, so her lack of texts didn’t bother him. An hour later he was finally feeling tired, so he set an alarm and turned off the lights.

He was awoken by his phone ringing.  He blearily looked at the red numbers on the clock.  It was just after three.  He answered the phone with a tired, “Hello?” that was more yawn than word.

“Spencer!” Darcy whispered urgently. “I’m not alone out here anymore.  Another car just rolled up.  I don’t know if he saw me, but I don’t know why he would stop here if he had.”

“Darcy?” He asked, mind catching up with what was going on.  “Are you still where Jane told you to be?”

“Of course.  I’m still collecting data.”

“Stay put.  I’m on my way.”

“Oh god,” Darcy cried.  “Someone is screaming.  She’s not dead Spencer!”

“Stay put!”  He commanded.

“I can’t!  I have to help her!”  The line went dead.

Spencer jumped out of bed and dialed Emily, putting the phone on speaker while he threw on clothes.

“This better be good,” she answered.

“The unsub is in the same field as the Darcy and the woman wasn't dead yet,” he said in one breath.  “And Darcy went to help her.”

“Meet me in the lobby in five.  Call Garcia and get her to rouse the others.”

Spencer hung up and placed the new call, grabbing his gun and darting out the door as it rang. 

Chapter Text

Darcy hid behind her car, poking her head around to check out the situation.  The woman wasn’t making it easy for the man, but it was clear that she had been wounded in some way before being brought to the field and was too weak to completely fight him off.  She was also screaming her head off, which wasn’t going to really help her because there was no one else for miles.  It would probably cover Darcy’s approach, though.

The approach was actually a pretty scary prospect.  There wasn’t really any cover beyond her car, and the entire trip there she would be exposed.  She was probably a solid quarter mile from the other car, so it would be a long enough trip that detection was a distinct possibility. She really needed the element of surprise if her plan was going to work.  Though calling it a plan was a bit of an exaggeration.  It was basically surprise him and knock him out and then tie him up with the power cord to her laptop.  It wasn’t much, but she didn’t have a whole lot with her that wasn’t explicitly for research.  Sure, she had a few textbooks, but those weren’t really useful.

There wasn’t a reason to delay.  The woman wasn’t going to last much longer, and Darcy would never forgive herself for not working faster to save her.  She shoved the cord in her pocket and made sure her taser was charged.  It was now or never.  Once she took the first step, she would be good, but taking it was a completely terrifying.

Darcy stepped out from behind the car and started creeping forward, trying to be swift but not run.  It was dark, and she didn’t want to trip over anything. She knew the exact moment the woman saw her.  She was only about fifteen feet away and suddenly the woman’s screams were louder and more frantic.  The man was shaking her by her hair, telling her to shut up.  Darcy sent up a silent prayer to Asgard that the man didn’t notice the reason his victim had started to struggle more.  She wasn’t that lucky.

She must have stepped on a twig because there was a loud snapping sound. The man whirled around, pulling out a fist of hair, his victim howling in pain.

“Who the fuck are you?” he demanded as he took a menacing step toward her.

Darcy ignored him.  She wasn’t close enough to use her taser yet, but she wasn’t sure the safest way to get close enough.  The man savagely hit the woman on the head near her temple, and she crumpled to the ground, passed out.  Now that he had one less person to be worried about, he started to advance on Darcy.

“Listen here you little bitch,” he said as he came closer, though still not close enough.  “You’re going to die for your troubles tonight.”

“Yeah?  Well you’re the asshole that came into a field I was already in,” she taunted.  “Sounds like you’re kinda stupid.”

“Don’t call me stupid!” he roared.  He barreled forward.  Darcy let loose her taser, but not before he landed a solid punch to her jaw.  They both hit the ground hard, him landing partially on top of her and knocking the wind out of her.  She blacked out momentarily.  She was fairly certain the fall had messed up her leg as searing pain shot through it when she tried to move to push the man off her.  In the distance she could hear sirens, but the man was starting to move again.  She must have blacked out for longer than she thought. 

They weren’t going to get here fast enough.  She couldn’t even see the lights yet.  She had to do something to make sure she made it until they got there.  Until Spencer got there.  She had dropped her taser when she fell, and it was out of reach, so that wasn’t an option.  Both her hands were free, but she wasn’t going to have enough room to really take a swing at him.  Her legs were neatly trapped, so they were useless.  Maybe if she played dead, he would get off of her and give he a chance to spring up.  She tried to calm her racing heart and level out her breathing, but her body was making it difficult.

She felt him lift his weight off of her, and almost immediately her body responded by calming down now that she didn’t feel so constricted.  She tried to keep her eyes unfocused so she wasn’t staring at him to give it all away.  He was looming over her when suddenly he convulsed and feel back down next to her.  The woman was standing over him with the taser.  She immediately broke down crying, and Darcy sat up, grabbing the cord out of her pocket and tying it around the man’s thick wrists.   The second charge wouldn't be a strong, so she needed to work quickly. Her leg screamed in pain as she stood up.

“Did he have a gun?” She asked the woman.  She nodded and jerked her head back toward the car.  Darcy pulled the woman with her, back toward the car and away from the man.  The pain in her leg was blinding, but she wouldn’t let that stop her from getting to the safety of the gun.   When they got to the car, the gun was sitting on the driver’s seat.  Darcy picked it up and held onto it, leaning on the car for support.  She could see the flashing lights and make out the shape of the cars now, but she wasn’t taking any chances.  The man was clearly feeling the effects of the second tasing, but he was awake and that meant he was still dangerous.  He growled when he realized his hands were tied and started trying to break the cord.  Darcy lifted the gun and aimed it at him.

“It’s over,” she said through a sluggish mouth, sore from the punch she had taken.  She could taste the blood in her mouth now that she was starting to come down from her adrenaline high.  The cars were pulling up near them, and the agents were jumping out of the cars.  She put her hands in the air, still holding the gun as relief flooded her.  She had made it and they were all still alive.

Chapter Text

Prentiss had gotten to the lobby almost as quickly as he had.  “You call Garcia?” she asked as they moved quickly out the door.

“Yes.  She’s calling everyone and sending them the coordinates.”

“Then let’s go,” she said, pressing the unlock button on the key fob.  They both clambered into the SUV and an eerie quiet settled over them.  Finally, Emily broke the silence.  “She’s going to be okay you know.”

“I don’t know that.  I know she’s scrappy and tough, but I don’t know that she’s going to be okay.”

“Tell me about her.”

“She’s incredible.  She works for Dr. Foster, the one that just won a Nobel.  She was there when Thor made first contact and again in London with the whole dark elves event.  She didn’t just survive them either.  She actively worked toward helping resolve them.”

“She sounds like a fighter.”

“She is, but those fights weren’t with guns or knives.  They were dangerous, but in a different way.”

“And she survived,” Prentiss reminded him.  “She survived fighting beings that she couldn’t know what to expect from them.”

“She likes me for me, Emily,” he said quietly.  “And not just as a friend.”

“We’re going to get there in time,” she repeated as she stepped on the gas.

Spencer’s phone rang.  He put it on speaker and answered.

“Reid, what is this tip you got about the unsub?” Hotchner demanded.  He could hear the sirens of the car in the background.

Spencer looked to Emily for guidance, but she just shrugged, not willing to tell him how to play it.  “My roommate called.”

“What do you mean roommate?”

“The hotel double booked my room.  I’ve been sharing since we got here.”

“I knew it!” Morgan interjected.

“We’ll be talking about that later,” he said in a voice that sounded very much like an angry dad.  “What did this roommate tell you?”

“She works outside at night, taking celestial readings.”  He heard JJ sputter, “she?” but ignored it and kept going.  “I warned her tonight about the unsub because she fits the victimology.  She called me when a car pulled into the field near her. While we were on the phone, she heard yelling.  Apparently, this time the victim wasn’t dead yet.  I’m pretty sure she hung up to go and try to save the woman.”

“She’s civilian?”

“Yes.”

“Kind of,” Prentiss cut in.  “She’s a person of interest to Shield.  She’s been through some intense situations.”

“You knew?”

“He filled me in,” she deflected.  “She’s a fighter, but probably not very experienced.”

“She has a taser,” Spencer supplied.  “It’s one way she keeps herself safe when she’s working.”

They had pulled into the field now, the two cars visible before them.  “We have visual,” Emily said.

“We’re right behind you,” Hotchner said.  “Proceed with caution.  The unsub is likely to be incredibly unstable and dangerous.” 

The car came to an abrupt stop, headlights shining on the scene before them.  There was a man on the ground about 10 feet from two women.  One was clearly Darcy.  They both looked pretty roughed up, and Darcy was holding a gun.  The man was struggling on the ground, his hands tightly tied behind his back.  Prentiss immediately took point, her own gun trained on the man.  “Put your hands up!” she yelled.  Spencer backed her up as Darcy and the woman raised their hands.  “Drop the weapon ma’am,” Prentiss commanded.  Darcy lowered just that hand, letting the gun slide from her fingers to the ground before slumping back against the car.  She was clearly hurting.

Prentiss pushed the man on the ground onto his face, slapping handcuffs on him before removing some sort of electrical cord that had been wrapped around them.  By then the rest of the team was on the scene.  JJ had immediately gone to the women, radioing for an ambulance.  Emily looked over at Spencer.  “Go,” she said.  “We’ve got this.”

Spencer took off, quickly closing the gap between him and Darcy.  Now that he was close to her, he could see all her injuries.  She had a black eye that spread into a bruise that went down her face and wrapped around her jaw.  Her lip was cut and still oozing.  He carefully cupped her jaw, his thumb running over her lip.  “What happened?” he whispered.

“He landed a hit before I was able to tase him,” she said, voice trembling.  “I think he fucked up my leg too when he fell on me.”  He pulled his hand from her face and looked at her again.  He saw how she was leaning heavily against the car, nearly none of her weight on her left leg.

“Do you want me to help you sit?”

“I don’t want to sit unless it’s in an ambulance.  I don’t want to jostle it again trying to get back up.”

He nodded and brushed some stray hairs out of her face, tucking them behind her ears.  The other woman had stepped up next to them and flung her arms around Darcy.

“You saved my life,” she sobbed into her shoulder.  “I don’t even know you and you saved me.”

“You saved me too,” Darcy replied with a teary smile.  Spencer couldn’t tell if they were tears of relief or pain.  The ambulances had arrived, and JJ gently pulled the woman away, leading her to an ambulance.  One of the paramedics came over to Darcy and started collecting vitals.

“I don’t know if I can walk,” she admitted, screwing he eyes shut.  The paramedic waved over another who brought a stretcher.  “Oh my god,” she cried as her eyes flew back open.  “I can’t leave yet!”

“You need medical attention Darcy.  Why do you need to stay here?” Spencer asked.

“Jane’s research.  Everything’s still set up and I’m supposed to collect data until five.”

Spencer looked at his watch.  “It’s almost four now.  Will Jane be able to talk me through taking down the equipment?”

“Yeah, but she’ll want to know why and freak out.”

“I’ll take care of it,” Spencer soothed.  “I’ll meet up with you at the hospital.”

Darcy nodded before letting herself be lifted onto the stretcher.  He watched her strain not to cry out as they moved her.  “I’ll text you her number.”

Spencer grabbed her hand and squeezed it before they pushed her away.

“So,” Prentiss said next to him, “I guess it’s time to learn how to do astrophysics.”

Chapter Text

Spencer led Prentiss to Darcy’s car and set-up.  “So how much trouble am I in?”

“With who?  Hotch?  Not as much as you would think.”

“You sure?”

“Look,” she said, stopping their progress across the field, “he’s going to be mad you didn’t tell him about the room thing, but in the end, it probably saved at least two lives, probably more.  No matter what, the unsub was bringing his victim here and Darcy was going to be here.  But she was aware of what was happening and able to call you, and we got here much faster than if she had called 911.  I don’t know her, but she didn’t look like a woman who was ready to pull the trigger when we pulled up.  Maybe that was because she knew she wasn’t going to have to, but maybe she wouldn’t be able to bring herself to do it.  People are alive because you knew Darcy, and Hotch can’t stay mad at that.”

“I hope you’re right.”

“I know I am.  Besides, I’ll fight Hotch with you if it comes down to it.”

Spencer smiled and his phone vibrated in his pocket.  “It’s Darcy sending me Jane’s number.”

“She’s going to be fine Reid.”

“I know.  I’m just worried about how Dr. Foster is going to take it.”

“Good luck kid,” Emily said with clear sympathy as he dialed Jane’s number.

“Hello?” A cautious voice answered.

“Dr. Foster?  It’s Spencer.  Darcy gave me your number.”

“What happened?  Is she okay?!”

“She’s on her way to the hospital.  She’s pretty banged up, but she’s going to be fine.  She saved someone’s life tonight.”  He could hear her start to hyperventilate.  “Breathe!  Breathe, Dr. Foster.  You can call her in a moment.  But right now I need your help.  Darcy is worried sick about your equipment and data, and I told her I would call you and take care of it.  Help me help Darcy.”

Jane gave a weak, watery laugh.  “Of course she’s worried about the data.”

“She said she was supposed to collect until 5.  Do I need to sit here until then?”

“No,” Jane said, starting to slip back into work mode.  “We collect for an extra half hour on either end as a precaution.  At this point it’s fine to wrap up.”

Jane talked him through properly shutting down and stowing all the equipment.  As they worked, all the team members wandered over at one point or another.  Some Prentiss put to work, Hotch and Rossi though were sent back to the crime scene to help with evidence processing.  One hard glare from Emily made Hotch stop whatever trail of questions he was about to go down, though his body language promised this wasn’t done.  Rossi was sent away simply to keep Hotch from storming back over before they were done.  With the combined efforts of Prentiss, JJ, and Morgan, the area was cleaned up in just over twenty minutes.

“Darcy does this every night on her own?” JJ asked, impressed.

“I’m sure it doesn’t take her quite as long,” Spencer said.  “She already knows what all the equipment is and how to take care of it.”

“But some of it is seriously heavy.”

Spencer shrugged.  “Didn’t you see the guns on her?” Morgan said with a laugh.

“It was hard to get a good look with Spencer being all crowded in her space,” JJ teased.

“Yeah, loverboy, don’t think that won’t be discussed.  It’s a long trip back to Quantico. You can’t hide forever.”

“You know what we don’t have?” Emily said.  Spencer threw her a grateful look.

“What?” Derek asked.

“Car keys.”

Spencer stared at her for a moment.  She was right.  He hadn’t gotten the keys from Darcy.  “I can’t leave this all here.  It’s really expensive, sensitive equipment.”

“We’ll put it in the SUV,” Morgan said.  “Though I’m not sure she’ll be able to drive for a while after tonight.”

“Is she from around here?” JJ asked.

“She drove here from New York.”

“By herself?  That’s a long, boring drive.”

“You should probably call Dr. Foster again,” Emily said.  “Maybe someone can fly out here to drive back with her.”

“Wait, Dr. Foster?” JJ asked.  “As in Dr. Jane Foster?”

“Yes?” Spencer said.

“The Nobel winner that’s dating Thor?”

“Nobel yes.  Thor?  I don’t know.  I know they know each other, but I don’t keep up with celebrity dating.”

“You’ve been sharing a room with someone that’s best friends with Thor?  That’s gonna be one helluva shovel talk.”

Spencer gulped.  “Why would I be getting a shovel talk?”

“Because you’re clearly dating her and Thor is her friend.” Morgan said.

“I’m not…”

“Yeah, you are,” Prentiss cut in.

“But I’ve known her less than a week.”

“I know I’ve fallen that fast before,” JJ said with a wry twist to her lips.

“Don’t try and deny it pretty boy.  There’s nothing to be ashamed of.”

“It’s just, we haven’t had a discussion defining things.”

“It doesn’t look like you needed to,” Morgan said as they started hauling the equipment to their vehicles.

“What’s all this?” Hotch asked as they started loading cases into the trunks.

“The scientist’s equipment,” Morgan said.  “We can’t just leave it here.”

“We don’t have the authority to do that.”

“I told her I would take care of it and then talked to the woman that owns all of it.  This is easily a million dollars worth of equipment.  It can’t just sit in a field.”

“We can’t be liable for what happens to it, though.”

“Fine.  I’ll be liable,” Spencer said, ready for a fight.  It had been a long night and he wasn’t interested in whatever argument Hotchner wanted to have.  “We’ll put it in my hotel room.”

“Which is something else we need to talk about.”

“Can that wait?” JJ sighed.  “It’s been a long night and we still have a lot to do before we can actually leave.”

“And someone still needs to go to the hospital to follow up with the victims,” Prentiss added.  “It’s better to get them now, before they're discharged.”

“But,”

“Come on Aaron,” Rossi said.  “Let’s go talk to the sheriff about how to wrap up the investigation and next steps for prosecution.”

Rossi lead him away to a car, Morgan following.  “You owe me a story,” he called as he joined the other two.

“I guess that leaves the three of us to head over to the hospital,” JJ said as she opened the driver door. 

“Did anyone call Garcia?” Spencer asked

“I don’t know,” Prentiss said while JJ just shook her head no.

“I’m in so much trouble.”

Chapter Text

The jostling of the gurney as it was pushed into the hospital made her hiss in pain. “Almost there dearie,” the female paramedic said to her as she was wheeled down the hallway.  They finally came to a stop and a doctor quickly bustled in behind them.

“You look like you’ve had an eventful evening,” he said as he looked over her chart.  “Fight with a boyfriend?”

Darcy instantly hated him.  That was absolutely the wrong way to go about asking if she had been abused, but also he said it with disinterest that she was willing to bust up her leg further by jumping up to fight him.  “No,” she said as coolly as she could with the rage running through her.  “I got in a fight with the serial killer that has been plaguing your town.”

The doctor looked down at her and sighed.  “If you say so.”  Darcy looked around the small room, positive that someone must be filming this because how could someone be that callous and clueless.  But no, he really was.  Huh.  “Tell me about your injuries.”

“I got punched in the jaw by a 200 plus pound man who then fell on me when I tased him.”  The doctor looked up from his folder, eyebrows high on his forehead.  “I assume you thought I’d say I fell down the stairs.  I didn’t.  I literally fought a serial killer.” 

The doctor closed his folder and looked at her.  “Fair enough,” he finally said.  “Tell me what hurts and where.”

“My jaw feels swollen.  It kinda hurts to talk. It’s like a throbbing pain, but there are sharp pains when I speak.  I don’t know what’s up with my left leg, but it’s a sharp pain any time I try to move it.”

“Where is that pain?”

“Mostly near my knee, but a little bit below it too.”

“Did you pass out at all?”

“Yes.”

He nodded.  “Okay, we’re going to need to x-ray your leg and jaw and do a concussion test.  I’ll be right back.”  He left the room and Darcy slumped back into the bed. She hadn’t even talked that much, but the experience had been exhausting.  It wasn’t long before a nurse bustled into the room. She looked to be in her mid to late fifties.  Her hair had streaks of gray in it, but her face was warm and friendly.

“All right Miss.  I’m Becky and I’m here to administer your concussion test.  I’m going to do some things to test your hearing and vision.  Normally I’d do a balance test, but with your leg I’m going to skip that.  We’ll check your reflexes and memory and go from there.  Sound good?”

“Sure,” Darcy said.

“I’ve already got you scheduled for x-ray and MRI, but there’s a bit of a line.  Hopefully once we’re done they’ll be ready for you.”  Becky ran her through the tests, making little notes after each one.  They were just finished as a radiology tech came in to take Darcy off for her x-rays.

“Okay Miss Lewis, I’m going to go tell the doctor how you did on your tests, and then he’ll take a look at the x-rays and we can figure out how to make you feel better!  See you soon.”

The tech looked at her, before stepping back into the hall to call Becky.

“Sorry about that.  You’re going to need to have your pants off for the x-ray, and it might be easier if Becky helps you get into a gown before we go,” he said.  “I’m not sure how bad your leg is, but it’s better to get someone before you need someone.”  He was talking to her, but his eyes were fixed on the bruise on her face.  “Are you really the girl that fought the killer?” He asked in a rush.

“I am.”

He looked at her with awe.  “Are you seeing anyone?”

“I am,” she said with a small smile.  At least, she thought she was. She and Spencer were certainly more than roommates after this, right?  The way he had softly caressed her face and brushed back her hair at the crime scene definitely felt like a more than friends gesture, but she also possibly had a concussion so….

“I thought you must be.  You’re too pretty and awesome not to be.  Where is he?  Shouldn’t he be here with you?”

“He’s at the crime scene taking care of my things.”

“Right.  Sorry if that was weird.”

Becky came back in then, and the tech stepped out while they got her into a gown.  In the end, they had to cut her pants in order to get them off.  The action made Darcy surprisingly emotional.  They weren’t even her good jeans, but it felt like a stark reminder of how close she had been to something much worse happening.  She felt like a fool crying over some ruined jeans, but she couldn’t make it stop.  Becky simply stood next to her rubbing her shoulder.

“Thank you,” Darcy gulped when the tears finally stopped.

“Honey, it’s fine.  You deserve to let it all out.  If what Elaine is saying is true, you saved her life and held it all together like a boss ass bitch.  You cry now if you need to.  Lord knows I would have been crying at my car while she got murdered instead of doing something.  I ain’t half as brave as you were.  And I’m not going to tell anyone that you cried in here because that’s none of their damn business.”

Becky’s surprisingly frank little speech made Darcy laugh a bit.  “Thanks Becky.”

“You good now dear?  You really do need to get those x-rays and Jude isn’t going to wait forever.”

“I’m good.”

Becky nodded and then left to fetch Jude.  He came back in the room, unlocked the wheels on her bed, and wheeled her away.  Her phone vibrated in her pocket.  She knew it was Jane, but she would have to get back to her.  Besides, she’d rather have all the details before she talked to Jane.  Jane worked better with facts, so that’s what she would have for her.

Chapter Text

Emily, JJ, and Spencer piled out of the SUV and into the ER lobby.  It was a fairly quiet night at the tiny hospital.  JJ went to reception desk and flashed her badge, stating they needed to talk to Elaine and Darcy about what had happened once they had been checked by the doctor.  The nurse had asked them to take a seat while she found the doctor to see if the patients were currently available.  She returned a few minutes later.

“Miss Carson is waiting her turn for the x-ray.  You can go back and see her.  Miss Lewis is currently in x-ray, so it will be a few minutes before you can talk to her.”

The trio followed the nurse back to Miss Carson’s room.  Elaine was sitting up in the bed.  Her face was pale and bruised, but her eyes were bright.

“Miss Carson, we spoke earlier.  I’m Jennifer and I’m with the FBI.  We just need to get your official statement about what happened, and then we’ll speak with you about the next steps.  Are you feeling up to talking right now?”

“Yes, of course.  Whatever you need to put that bastard away for good.”

“I’m going to need you to tell us what happened, starting at the beginning,” JJ said, pulling out her phone to record.

“I was at the grocery store last night.  I had just closed and locked the store and was getting into my car to head home. The lot is small, but employees park at the farthest spots which are under the broken street lamp. It isn’t super dark, but it’s not well lit. I had unlocked my car and thrown my purse in the passenger street when he hit me.  I don’t know what he used or how long I was out, but I came to in his trunk.  It was really bumpy, so we must have already been in the field.  All the bumping made my head hurt more, and it was all I could do not to throw up and pass out again.”  She stopped for a moment, her voice choking on a small sob.

“It’s okay Miss Carson,” Prentiss soothed.  “Take all the time you need.”

Elaine took a deep breath.  “He pulled me out of the trunk by my hair.  I don’t think he expected me to be alive.  I think he was expecting a dead weight, but I just started screaming.  I was screaming for help, I was screaming because it hurt, I was just screaming.  It surprised him at first, but then there was this almost happy look on his face, like he was pleasantly surprised by a new toy or something.  It was incredibly scary. I was trying to punch or kick him.  Anything to get him to loosen his grip on my hair, but nothing worked.  Then I saw her.  There was a girl behind him, and I just knew she was there to help me.  I started fighting harder, but he somehow knew she was there.  He turned and yanked out a clump of my hair, and then he hit me on my head and I passed out again.  When I came to, I saw him on top of the girl.  She wasn’t moving, but I saw her taser on the ground, so I picked it up and flicked it on to charge.  I knew he was going to get back up.  You could just tell, ya know?  So when he stood up, I took him out.  That’s when the girl got back up and tied him up with a cord she had in her pocket.  She must have been saving her strength to go after him again when he got up. She asked me if there was a gun, and then she pulled me back to the car to get it.  She aimed the gun at him and we just stayed there, waiting.  That’s when I saw the lights and cars and knew we were okay.  I wouldn’t have been able to fight him off if she hadn’t been there.  She saved my life.”

“I think she’d say you also saved hers,” JJ said.  “You took him out the second time.”

“What’s her name?  I never got to ask.”

“Darcy,” JJ said.  “Darcy Lewis.”

“Darcy’s a pretty name.  It’ll be a good name some day when I have a little girl.”

The trio smiled at her as a man poked his head into the room.  “I’m here to take Miss Carson for her x-rays,” he said.  “You ready to go Elaine?”

“I’m ready Jude,” she said. “You’ll tell her thank you for me, won’t you?”

“I’m sure you’ll be able to tell her yourself,” Prentiss said and then they excused themselves from her room.

“Darcy’s just next door,” Jude said to them. “I just brought her back from x-ray.”

They moved over to the next room.  Darcy’s bed had been put into a sitting position, but she was leaning deeply into the pillows, her eyes closed.  She looked so fragile in the bed.  She must have heard them enter because her eyes flicked open and she smiled when she saw Spencer.

“Spencer!” she cried in a soft voice.  “I don’t think we can be secret roommates anymore.  I think they know.”

“We do,” Prentiss said as she came forward.  “I’m Emily, it’s very nice to finally meet you.”

“You’re the one that got me dinner,” she smiled.

“I am.”

“And I’m JJ.”

“It’s nice to meet you JJ.  I’m Darcy.”

“So I gathered.  We’re going to need to talk to you about what happened tonight.”

“That will have to wait until I speak with her,” a man said from the doorway.  “I need to talk to her about her test results.”

“Of course,” Emily said.  “We’ll be right back.”

“Wait,” Darcy said as they started to leave.  “Spencer, will you stay?”

“Do you want me to?”

“I wouldn’t have asked if I didn’t,” she said.

“Okay.  I’ll stay,” he said as he moved over to the side of her bed.

Chapter Text

“Are you sure you want this person to hear your confidential medical information?” the doctor asked, eying Spencer still in his FBI vest.

“I wouldn’t have asked him to stay if I wasn’t,” she said, still annoyed by him and his general attitude.

The doctor sighed and then got started.  “You have a concussion, though it’s fairly mild.  I’ll give you some paperwork explaining what to look out for, but should you have any sudden headaches, vomiting, or dizziness, you need to immediately return to the hospital.  You should be especially vigilant for the next 24 hours.”  He walked over to the light box on the wall and put up the x-ray of her jaw.  “Your jaw isn’t broken, which is good news.  It is, however, severely bruised. You’ll need to not overwork it.  You might want to stick to soft foods for a few days and apply ice. Ice will also help your eye.”  He switched to the x-ray of her leg.  “Your leg is not such good news.  You tore your ACL and fractured your fibula. You’re going to need surgery and then a cast and physical therapy.  This is a messy situation, and the physical therapy for the ACL will be both longer and harder because of the cast.”

“Which means I can’t drive,” Darcy sighed.

“Correct.  You won’t be driving for several months, Miss Lewis.”

Darcy looked over to Spencer.  “I’m not sure how I’m going to get home,” she said.  Her voice cracked a little.  “I still need to get all of Jane’s equipment home, and I can’t fly it.  There’s a reason I drove out here.”

“We’ll talk to Jane and figure it out.  You don’t need to worry about that.”

“We’d like to schedule your surgery for as soon as possible,” the doctor said before Spencer or Darcy could say any more. “The sooner we get this going, the better.  Also, our surgeon will be here today, but then he doesn’t come back for a week.”

Spencer ran his hand over Darcy’s head before leaning down and kissing her hair.  It felt so very intimate but also so right.  If her face hadn’t been covered in bruises, you could have probably seen her blush.  “I’ll be right back,” he said before quickly exiting the room.

“I need to ask again Miss Lewis, are you being abused?”

“Are you serious?” she asked, dumbfounded.  “Those people are from the FBI.  You’ve seen Elaine.  Seriously, dude.  What the hell?”

“I’ll mark that as a no.”

“You do that.”

“I’ll have the nurse bring in the surgery paperwork,” he said before bustling out of the room.

Spencer came back in a moment later.  “My team is leaving in a few hours,” he said slowly, “but I have a ton of vacation days I never take, so, if you want, I can stay here with you while you figure out everything.”

“You’d stay with me?” she asked softly

“If you asked me to.”

“Stay?  Please?”

“Of course.”

Spencer settled into the chair next to the bed, a happy little smile on his face.  “JJ and Prentiss are going to come back in soon to ask you about what happened.  They want to speak with you before the medications and surgery.  You feel up to that?”

“Whatever it takes to put this asshole away.  I just…I know you saw Elaine after, but before?  When he had her by the hair?”  Darcy shuddered and Spencer put his hand on top of hers.

“You don’t have to think about it just yet if you don’t want to.”

“Oh shit!” Darcy said suddenly.  “Where’s my phone? I had them put it in my clothes bag when I got to the x-ray and realized I couldn’t keep it in my pocket.”  Spencer looked around the room until he found the bag with her clothes in it.  He reached in and fished around for her phone, handing it to her as he closed the bag.  “I have to call Jane.”

“I talked to her earlier to get help putting the equipment away.  She knows that you got hurt and went to the hospital, but I didn’t tell her anything else.”

Darcy nodded.  She flicked open her phone.  She had three missed calls and fifteen texts.  She turned her phone to Spencer so he could see.  “She might know, but she’s definitely worried.”

“Do you want me to leave while you call her?”

“No, stay.  You might be able to answer questions I can’t.”  She pressed Jane’s contact in her phone and hit send. It only rang once before Jane was breathlessly answering.

“Darcy?!”

“Hi Jane.”

“Oh my god!  What the hell happened?  Are you okay?”

“I fought a serial killer and won.”

“What were you thinking?”

“I was thinking a woman might die if I did nothing.”

“You’re always off saving some one or some thing, aren’t you?”

“I can’t help it, Janey.”

“I know.  And I love you for it.  But seriously, are you okay?”

“Yes and no.  I’m alive, but I’m going into surgery soon.”

Jane blew out a breath.  “I’m never sending you anywhere alone again.”

“You won’t be able to for a while.  According to the doctor I won’t be able to drive for several months.  I’m not even sure how I’m going to get home.”

“Don’t worry about anything.  I’ll take care of it all.  You just get better.”

“Thanks Jane.”

“By any chance is the adorable Dr. Reid with you?  I need to ask him about the equipment.”

“Yeah, just a sec.”  She handed the phone over to Spencer.  “Jane wants to talk to you.”

He looked surprised but took the phone from her.  He said a lot of yes and no, but not much else before handing the phone back over to Darcy.

“Hang in there Darcy.  I love you.”

“Love you too Janey.”  She turned to Spencer once she hung up.  “I can’t thank you enough for everything you’ve done for me.”

“You don’t need to thank me.”

“But you let me stay in your room, and then you bought me food, and now you’ve taken care of a murderer and are staying with me while I have surgery.  I’ve been an awful lot of trouble.”

Spencer smiled.  “As Emily once told me, love is its own type of trouble.”

Darcy's response was a deep blush and bashful smile.

Chapter Text

Too soon it was time for Darcy to be wheeled into surgery.  (It had actually been closer to two hours, but it felt quick.)  Emily and JJ had come back for Darcy’s statement and left with his hotel key, promising to deposit all the equipment into the room.  Becky had come back in with the paperwork, and then she had been followed by the surgeon and anesthetist who talked with Darcy about what was going to happen.  Spencer stayed next to her, listening carefully, and explaining a few medical terms when she turned to him with questioning eyes.

“You’re going to still be here when I wake up, right?” she asked.  Her eyes were soft and tired.

“Of course,” he said squeezing the hand he had been holding on to almost since the moment he had come back into the room. He had taken it to remind himself she was there and safe, and hadn’t found a reason to pull away.

“Thank you,” she whispered.  Honestly he was surprised she wasn’t asleep already.  She had been up all night, been in a highly stressful situation, sat through a police interview, and now was being prepped for surgery. 

Becky reentered and told him it was time. He promised her again that he would see her when she got out and left for the waiting room.  He didn’t miss the small smile Becky aimed his way as he left.  When he got to the nondescript room, the entire team was there waiting for him.

“I think you have a lot to explain,” Rossi said in that way that he had that made Spencer feel safe. Like whatever was about to happen, Rossi would still be there for him. He looked around at the group and nodded, sliding into an open chair.

“What do you want to know?” He asked once he was as comfortable as he was going to get.  He caught Prentiss’s eye and she smirked at him.

“How did you meet Miss Lewis?” Hotchner asked.

“As I said earlier, the hotel double booked the room.  They gave us both keys.” Hotchner frowned.

“And the logical choice was to share?” Morgan asked.  He sounded actually curious, not judgmental.

Spencer shrugged.  “There are no other hotels, ours was completely booked.  I checked. She works at night and I work mostly during the day.  We spent very little time together.  Plus I knew who she was.  I read all of the leaked Shield files.”  If he was being honest, he had been somewhat intrigued by her ever since he read them, but they didn’t need to know that.

“You seem awfully close for people that have spent so little time together,” Rossi said.  It wasn’t a question per say, but Spencer knew better than to not answer.

“We hit it off and spent some time texting.”  That was putting it mildly, but it was also true.

“Why was she out in the field in the first place?” Hotch asked, shooting Rossi a look for not sticking to whatever agenda he had set.

“She collects astrological data for an astrophysicist.  The scientist determines where she needs to go to collect data.”

“Did you buy her dinner that night at the diner?” JJ asked earning herself a glare from Hotch.  It seemed like Hotch had one idea what they should be talking about and the rest of the team had another.

“Yes.  And again the following night with Prentiss’s help.  She bought me coffee and breakfast.  Actually, she bought all of you breakfast.”

“I thought that was Garcia,” Morgan said.

“No, Darcy.  She just signed Garcia’s name so it wouldn’t be strange.”

“Just what is going on between the two of you?” Morgan asked, finally getting to what everyone seemed to want to know.  Spencer was surprised he had waited this long.  “You looked pretty close out there in the field when you found her.”

“It certainly looked like the paramedics interrupted a moment,” JJ added.

“I don’t know what’s going on between us.  I think it’s something good and exciting, and I’m committed to finding out.”  And it was true.  He knew that they were certainly something more, but what that more was? He wasn’t entirely sure yet.  He was pretty sure it was a more he and Darcy would gladly spend plenty of time exploring.  He looked expectantly at the group for the next question.

“But you like her?” JJ prodded.

“Yes.”

“In love with her?”

“Maybe.”

“Spencer?” A voice called from the door, stopping any other questions that might have been asked.  Everyone looked up to the newcomer.

“Jane?”

“How is she?  The nurse said she was in surgery already,” she said coming over to Spencer who had stood to greet her.

“She was in good spirits going into the surgery, but it sounds like it’s going to be a several month recovery.”

Jane pulled him into a hug he wasn’t expecting.  “Thank you for being here for her.”

“You going to introduce us or what Foster?” A voice said behind Jane.

Jane released Spencer and rolled her eyes.  “Everyone already knows who you are Tony.”

“But I don’t know them,” he pouted.  “And you’re hugging a guy that isn’t Thor.  What’s with that?”

“Ay Friend Stark,” Thor called, absolutely filling the doorway, “Lady Jane is just showing her gratitude to those who helped save Lady Darcy.  Lady Darcy has assured me that such shows of affection are not necessarily romantic in nature.  I find it doubtful my Lady Jane would make such overtures to a man clearly besotted with my sister in arms.”

Tony made a little gagging noise at Thor’s speech.  “Fine, but I still want to know who everyone is.”

Hotchner stood up.  “I’m SSA Aaron Hotchner of the BAU and this is my team.”  He started gesturing to everyone as he introduced them, “SSA Dave Rossi, SSA Jennifer Jareau, SSA Emily Prentiss, SSA Derek Morgan, and Dr. Spencer Reid.”

Tony looked all of them over in turn, leaving Spencer for last.  “You’re the one D’s been sharing a room with?” He asked, taking his time looking him head to toe.

“Yes,” Spencer said, a bit unsure what would happen next.

“Let’s take a walk,” he said, throwing an arm around Spencer’s shoulder and leading him out of the room.  Spencer shot a look over his shoulder, but all he got were shrugs in response, so he let Tony Stark lead him out of the waiting room, down the hall, and out the door.

Chapter Text

“Spencer, can I call you Spencer? Anyway, Spence, I think you should know I knew who you were before Jane called me about her assistant.”

“Okay…” Spencer said, waiting to see where this was going.

“Here’s the thing, I keep track of all the child prodigies out there to see if there’s anyone I should recruit.  And trust me, I absolutely would have recruited you if you didn’t seem so happy with the FBI.  Though, if that changes, the offer always stands.”

“You wanted to talk to me to offer me a job?”

“No, that’s just small talk.  I really wanted to talk to you because Jane says D’s halfway gone on you, and I wanted you to understand that she has friends in high places that would end you, even if they wanted to hire you, if you hurt her.  Luckily for you, that doesn’t seem to be your sort of thing.  You seem to be all sorts of devoted to her too even if it’s only been a few days.  I get it.  I understand.  I’ve been there before too.”

“So this was a shovel talk?”

“Ehhh.  It wasn’t as strong as that.  More of a rake talk?  A garden hoe talk?  I’m not really sure, but nothing so strong as a shovel.  Also, still not my main point.”

Spencer was starting to wonder just what his point was.

“Anyway, it sounds like D is going to be out of commission for a while.  Of course I’ll make sure she has the best care possible once we get her back to New York, but even the best can’t replace time.  So here’s the thing, according to your hacker friend-who I love by the way, absolutely going to try and steal her from the FBI too-you have a lot of vacation time saved up.  Would you be interested in spending some of that in NYC with D?  All expenses covered, of course, since you’ll be staying in the tower.  You two see pretty adept at the room sharing thing already, so you can just stay in hers.”  He paused and made a hand gesture.  “Well, kinda hers.  She doesn’t know about it yet.  Jane was going to surprise her or something when the data collection was done and she came back.”  He led Spencer over to a rickety picnic table and sat on top of it, motioning Spencer to join him. “I know you don’t have the months off that it sounds like D is going to need, so I can also make my jet available to you whenever you’d like to come visit.”

“Why are you doing this?” Spencer asked, finally asking the question that had been bugging him since Tony had started.

“Look, the kid is all right.  She works hard and is loyal.  Don’ tell anyone this, but I haven’t known her long and she already doesn’t take my shit, which is refreshing.  But if you tell anyone that, I will deny it.  I have more money than I could ever spend in a lifetime, and I make more of it every day.  I like to use it to buy friends.”  Spencer didn’t believe that last part for one second.  Tony didn’t use money to buy friends; he used it to show people he cared.  “Besides,” Tony continued, “maybe being in the tower and seeing our research areas will woo you away from the feds.  Really it’s win win for me.  And maybe you.  If you let it be anyway.”

“I…” Spencer started, unsure how to respond.

Tony waved off his words.  “Don’t decide now.  Talk to Lewis.  Ladies love it when you consult them on things.  It took me much longer than I’d like to admit to learn that one.”  Tony stood up and awkwardly smacked Spencer on the shoulder.  “All right.  Good talk.  We should do it again sometime.  Preferably once you’ve given into my manly, intellectual wiles and are signing a contract with me.”  Tony started walking back toward the hospital entrance, so Spencer got up and quickly followed him.  Just before they got inside, though, Tony turned to him once more.  “Keep the mushy bits I said to yourself, capiche?”

Spencer nodded, but smiled once the billionaire had turned back around. Tony Stark was way more of a softie than his public appearances would have you believe.  He’d have to call Garcia and get her take on talking to the genius. 

He entered the waiting room behind Tony to Thor finishing a story. “And that is how the Lady Darcy bested me with my own power.  Though she be but little she is fierce.  She taught me that statement and it feels most fitting.”

“I’ll say,” JJ said.  “She jumped into a fight against a much larger man to save someone today.”

“Will she need to come back for a trial?” Jane asked.

“Most likely,” Hotchner said.  “It will probably strengthen the case against him to have both Darcy and Elaine testify as to what happened this morning.  They can speak directly to his brutality in a way just images of bodies cannot.  The court process is long, though, so it will probably be months or possibly even more than a year before she gets called.”

Jane looked distressed, so Spencer went to sit next to her.  “It will be fine. She’ll be coached in what to expect from questioning and how to answer.  She seemed very adamant about doing whatever was necessary to put him away.”  Jane nodded but didn’t say anything.  “So what’s your plan for the equipment and car?” He mostly was trying to distract Jane by getting her to focus on things she could control.

“I brought a driver,” Tony said, butting in.  “He’ll take the car back to New York, but we’ll load the equipment onto my plane.”

“Darcy said you couldn’t fly with it though.”

“She meant commercial,” Jane said.  “There’s no way to ensure the safety of the equipment.”

“But when you come with your own plane, things are different,” Tony said.  “Jane can load all her equipment so she’s satisfied that it’s safe.”

“Who is here for Darcy Lewis?” a voice called from the door.  Spencer and Jane both stood.  “Excellent, the man said walking to them.  “She’s out of surgery.”

Chapter Text

Darcy knew she was on the good drugs because all her thoughts felt a little floaty.  They were like wispy clouds that dissipated if she stared at them too long.  She giggled a bit.  Staring at thoughts wasn’t right at all, and she wasn’t sure what was right. Surgery.  That’s right.  There had been surgery and now it was done.  She looked at the walls around her. They were textured, and it almost looked like they were moving, like they were flowing up into the ceiling.  Maybe the walls were like the sandpaper on a drum sander, spinning around to the other side.  The next room must look like the sand was going down into the floor instead of the ceiling, though. Huh.

“Darcy?”

Darcy looked away from the wall to see Jane standing in the doorway.  “Jane!” she called out happily.  “I was just watching the walls melting up.”

Jane gave her a funny look before coming the rest of the way in and sitting in the chair next to the bed.  “You really scared me there, Darce.”

“I’m sorry Janey. I didn’t mean to.  I just needed to help someone and it was more dangerous than I thought it would be.  It’s not our faults, though.  It’s the bad guy’s fault.  Is he a villain?  I’m gonna call him a villain.”  Darcy shuddered a bit when she remembered the man from the field.

“I see they have you on the good painkillers,” Jane said with a smile.  She got up and hugged Darcy tightly.  “I was so worried when Spencer called and told me you were in the hospital.”

“You’re hugging too tight,” Darcy protested.  Jane loosened her grip, but didn’t let go.  “Spencer called you?”

“He did.”  She could hear the smile in Jane’s voice against her shoulder. “I was so scared I was going to lose you.”

“You can’t lose me.  That’s not how it works.  It works like this: you send me to the place, I do the thing in the place you told me to, and then we live happily ever after.”  She and Jane deserved happily ever.  She couldn’t remember why, but she was sure of it. She was certain Jane had already found a prince, so she was most of the way there.

Jane laughed and released Darcy, sinking back into the chair.  “Since you’re on the good stuff, I have some questions to ask you.”

“You know painkillers are a truth serum,” Darcy pouted. She was pretty sure the government was in on it.  She should ask Spencer.  He would know.

“Exactly,” Jane said with a smile.  “So do you like Spencer?”

“Spencer’s so nice.  He’s dreamy.  His hair looks like a cloud kind of, like the wispy kind my thoughts are.  A thought cloud. He thinks a lot. He’s really smart.”  Darcy really liked that he was smart, but didn’t mind that she wasn’t as smart as him. Ian had said it was bad that she wasn’t as smart as him and made her feel bad.  Spencer didn’t do that.

“So you think he’s cute?”

So cute, Jane. You met him. He’s all the cute.  He might be a stack of kittens in a trench coat.” This was probably unlikely.  She would probably stop wanting to kiss him if he was.

“Are you dating him?”

“I don’t know what we are, but I want to kiss him. Do you think I can kiss him? Imma ask him when he comes in here.” Her mom had always said the easiest way to get something was to ask.

“I definitely think you should tell him that, D.” Darcy narrowed her eyes.  Something in Jane’s voice made her think maybe it wasn’t a good idea to tell him.  She couldn’t think why, though.

“Does that mean you approve? ‘Cause you didn’t ‘prove of Ian and you were right. He was a jerk wad.” All the wads of jerk, that dude. She kind of hated him.

“I approve Darce.  I think he seems really great. Plus I think he’s into you too.”

“What did he say?  Did he tell you?” Jane was a scientist, so there must be proof if she thought he liked her

“He told me with the way he looks at you, hon. He’s clearly enthralled.”

Darcy wrinkled her nose. “That sounds like I’m a witch.”

“So?”

“I don’t want to use magic to get him. I want to use me.” Something about the way she said that was off, but she couldn’t quite place it.

“Maybe just being you is a kind of magic.”

“Maybe. Hey, have you seen my flowers? He got me flowers and I left them in the car. They were so pretty. Did you see them?”

“You sent me a picture of them, remember?”

“Oh yeah.  They were so pretty.  And they were my favorite. He didn’t even know that and he picked right.  It’s probably fate.”  How else would he have picked the perfect flower?  It was probably the Norns. Thor would know.

“Probably,” Jane said, nodding sagely.

“Jane I might be in love with him,” Darcy said before mashing her face into the pillow, embarrassed.

“Are you worried about that?”

“What if he doesn’t love me too?” And there it was.  Her big fear.  She had been meaning to talk to Jane about this for at least four hours.  It had been the main issue with Ian.  She had loved him, and while they had been together briefly, he had never loved her in return.  She always fell hard and fast, and she wasn’t sure she was ready for another heartbreak.

“Then we deal with it. But for now you just be yourself and see what happens.”

Darcy thought about it.  She wasn’t sure how to be anyone else. “I can do that.”

“Good,” Jane said patting her hand.  “I should go now.  I think you’re about to fall back asleep.”

“And you’ll tell Spencer I love him and want to see him please?”

“In those exact words?”

“Yes please.”

“Are you sure?”

“Uh huh.”

“Okay Darcy.  I’ll tell him.” Jane got up and hugged her again.  “I’ll be here when you wake up.  I’m going to take you home, so don’t worry about any of that, okay?”

“You got it dude.”

Jane laughed and Darcy was asleep before she even cleared the door.

Chapter Text

“Healer Reid!  I am most joyed to make your acquaintance,” Thor said as Jane disappeared with the doctor.

“Oh, I’m not a medical doctor.”

“No? But is your title not Doctor?”

“People get called doctor for advanced degrees here,” Tony said. “Not all doctors are of the medical variety.  Kind of like Jane.”

“Ah yes.  I do recall that now.” He slapped Spencer so hard on the back that he almost fell out of his chair.  “Tell me, Spencer, how have you wooed my sister in arms?”

“Oh, yeah Doc, tell us that!” Tony snickered.  The whole team leaned forward in anticipation of an answer, even Hotch.

“Oh, uhm, well, I’m not exactly sure how it all started.”

“Then weave us a tale!” Thor said good naturedly.  “Start with a chance meeting and end with a daring rescue!”

“Err, okay,” Spencer said, thinking.  “Once upon a time,” several people snickered, “I was in Montana on a case.  We had just checked into the hotel, and I had decided to take a shower. I was just getting out of it when I heard a voice inside the room calling to me.”

“Wait,” Morgan interrupted “the first time you met her you were in a towel?”

“Yes.”

“Well done.”

Spencer shot a look at Derek before continuing. “Darcy stood in the room, a clerical error at the desk having put us in the same room at the same time.”

“Fate,” Thor said nodding.

“She was exhausted but practical.  She suggested sharing the room, and asked me to think on it while she grabbed us dinner.  I checked with a friend that there were no more rooms, and there weren’t.  If I didn’t say yes, she would have nowhere to stay.  When she returned, she had an entire list of reasons why I should say yes to sharing, even willing to bribe me with autographs from Dr. Foster if that’s what it took.”

“Not me?” Tony said, unhappy.

“She already knew me well enough to know which would be most enticing.  But I already knew her too.  I had read about her when the Shield files had been leaked.”

“You read those?” Tony interrupted again.

“Yes?”

“All of them?”

“Reid can read so fast you think it’s a joke.  I bet it only took him a day to read all those files,” Prentiss said.

Spencer simply nodded to the truth of this statement and went on.  “I already knew Darcy to be kind and caring, determined and hardworking.  I knew that it would be safe to share with her.  And I wanted to.  Ever since I had read about what she and Dr. Foster had been through, I had wanted to meet both of them.”  JJ made an aww sound, but Spencer pressed on.  He was pretty sure telling this story was kind of like a test from Thor, to determine if he thought Spencer was worthy.  “So I said yes, and not long after she disappeared into the night to do a set of preliminary readings.  In the morning, she made me coffee and brought me breakfast, falling asleep almost immediately.  I took my coffee and spent the day working.  That night I bought her dinner, and once she was out in the field, we spent the night texting each other, getting to know each other.”

“What did you discuss?” Thor asked.

“It’s hard to remember,” Spencer said.  While that wasn’t exactly true (he could remember every last word), he wanted to impress upon everyone a very specific point. “It felt like we discussed nothing and everything all at once.  That every answer she gave me was something I somehow already knew. I could show you, or even recite them from memory, but that wouldn’t tell you anything at all. It was more than words, it was feelings too.”

Thor nodded, “I understand this.”

Tony snorted. “I don’t.”

“I think Lady Pepper would tell a different story,” Thor softly chided.  “Continue your tale,” he said to Spencer.

“The next morning Darcy wasn’t back like she should have been.  Even though I knew she had made it safely to the field, which made it unlikely our killer had grabbed her, I was still very worried.”

“That explains yesterday morning,” Rossi mused.

“She had just fallen asleep in the field and was fine. She bought everyone breakfast, pretending it was from Garcia, our tech back in DC. I stepped out to call her and thank her.  We said essentially nothing beyond thank you and you’re welcome, but like everything else, it felt like more. When I got back to the room last night, we talked with Jane over Skype and I told her I had flowers waiting for her at the lobby desk.  Gardenias.  She said they were her favorite.”

“What do they mean?” Prentiss asked with a sly smile.

“You’re lovely, they mean that the recipient is lovely.”  Spencer took a breath.  He was certain that through all of this his face had gone increasingly red.  He wasn’t usually the most public of people, but he would do this if it meant Thor would approve of him.  He wanted to make sure there were as few impediments as possible.  “She went to work soon after, and then just after three this morning she called to tell me there was a man in the field with her.  He was the killer we had been looking for, and he had a woman with him that he planned to kill.  While I got everyone together, Darcy was bravely fighting the man to save the woman’s life.  She was successful, and when we arrived, all we had to do was arrest him and get Darcy and the woman the medical attention they needed.  And now we are here.  The end.”

“You forgot ‘happily ever after,’” JJ said.

“I’m still waiting to see if it will be.”

Thor studied him long and hard.  “I believe it shall be so,” he finally decreed.  “You have passed my test.  You have spoken highly of Lady Darcy and laid bare your affections at potential great embarrassment to yourself. You are worthy.”  Spencer let out the breath he had been holding.  “Though,” Thor added as almost an afterthought, “I find it prudent to remind you that Lady Darcy is not without the protection of her friends, and they are not the forgiving sort.”

“Told you so,” Morgan muttered under his breath.

“That was adorable,” Jane said, startling Spencer.  She waved her phone at him.  “Don’t worry I got it all on video so I can show Darcy later.  She’s all high on pain killers right now, but she asked me to tell you, and these are exactly the words she asked me to use, she loves you and would like to see you please.”

Everyone was polite enough to keep their laughter to themselves as Spencer stood.  “I better go see her then.”

“Say goodbye to us first,” JJ commanded.  “We have to go.”

Everyone said their goodbyes, but Prentiss slipped a paper into his hand which he slid into his pocket to read later.  It was time to go see Darcy.

Chapter Text

Spencer walked into the hospital room.  Darcy was asleep.  He sat down in the chair next to the bed and looked at her.  Her face was still bruised, but now that it had been a few hours, the colors were more pronounced. Some had started to yellow while others were purple and blue. How had someone that he had known for so little time come to mean so much to him?  It didn’t make any sort of logical sense.  His mother had once told him that literature was felt.  It could be analyzed and scrutinized, but at the end of the day, all discussion about it had more to do with emotion than technique.  Love was much the same. You could try to think through it, but it always came down to an intangible you couldn’t quantify.  His mom had always been very smart, and in this instance he would have to defer to her. He couldn’t explain it; it just was.

He looked at Darcy a moment longer.  He knew that the painkillers had made her say things she wouldn’t have normally said, but Jane was not a spiteful person as far as he could tell, and certainly not so where Darcy was concerned.  If she had delivered Darcy’s message with her exact words, it was because Jane thought Darcy would want him to know them.  Besides, hadn't he just said love was a type of trouble?  He didn’t even have pain killers to blame for a loose tongue.

He pulled Prentiss’s note out of his pocket. Darcy was likely sleep a while longer, so it wouldn’t hurt to see what Emily had said.

Spencer,

Don’t overthink it.  Don’t let the team’s reactions weigh on your mind.  If you want her, then jump in with all you have. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

-E

P.S. Emily is a particularly nice name if you need one for your first daughter.

Spencer huffed a small laugh and put the paper back in his pocket.

“Spencer?” Darcy said dreamily next to him, her eyes fluttering open.

“Hey Darcy,” he said softly.

She smiled. “You said you’d be here and you are.”

“I am,” he said with a small smile.

“The painkillers are starting to wear off,” she said as she tried to push herself into a sitting position.  “But I don’t want more yet.  They make my head fuzzy and I don’t want to be fuzzy when I talk to you.”

“I don’t want you to be in pain though.”

“I’m sure it’s too early for more pills anyway.”  He thought about how long she had been out of surgery.  She was right, but it was also a little worrisome that they were already wearing off.  “We should talk,” she said, pulling him out of his thoughts.

“What do you want to talk about?”

“Us.”

“Us?”

“Yes, as in, is there an us?”

Spencer took in a breath and slowly let it out before answering.  It was time to be brave with Darcy.  He had done it with his team and her friends, but it was time to be frank with Darcy.  “I want there to be an us. I feel like there already is, but if that’s not what you want, I understand.”

“No, that’s what I want,” she rushed to say.  “I want there to be an us too. I wanted it when I first saw you, and that only grew the more I got to know you.  And this isn’t the drugs talking.  I swear.”

“I believe you.  Jane did say that you asked her to tell me to come see you and that you love me so…” he couldn’t help teasing her just a little.

“I see how it’s going to be,” she smiled. “But just know that I will give as good as I get, so watch yourself.”

“Good to see you awake Darcy,” Becky said as she bustled into the room. “I’m just here to check your vitals.”

“Hey Becky.  Have you met my boyfriend Spencer?”

“Honey, I knew he was your boyfriend but we haven’t been formally introduced.”  She turned to Spencer.  “Nice to meet you officially.”

Spencer turned wide eyes on Darcy who just laughed.  “We only just decided there was an us, Becky.”

“Maybe you just decided to say it out loud to each other, but you had already decided in your hearts,” she said as she took Darcy’s blood pressure.  She wrote the results on her little pad and wound up the cuff.  “You two be good to each other and you’ll be together a long time,” she said before leaving the room.

Darcy’s mirth at Becky’s words spilled out of her once she was out of the room.  Looks like everyone ships us Doc,” she laughed.  “I think we can live up to the hype.”

“I think we can surpass expectations,” he challenged, leaning forward to take her hand in his.

“What happens next?”

“What do you mean?”

“When do you have to leave?  What happens when we’re no longer in the middle of Montana?”

“Jane didn’t come here alone.  Thor and Tony Stark are with her.”

“I should have known,” Darcy said with a shake of her head.  “She got here too fast for it to have been anyone but Tony.”

“Tony’s going to fly you, Jane, and Thor back to New York.  He has a driver for your car, so you don’t need to worry about that.”

“What about you?  How do you get home?”

“That’s up to you.”

“Me?” she asked.

“You,” he confirmed.  “I can fly back to DC on my own one I book a flight.  My team’s already gone, so I can’t go with them.”

“Give me another option.”

“Another option is that I fly back with you, to New York, and then catch the train back to DC.”

“Mmmm, better, but I want to hear another choice.”

“I could stay with you for a few days instead of taking the train back to DC right away.”

“Can you really?”

“I already asked for the time off.”

“I like that one, then.  Option C.”

“Tony has some other options for us, for the less immediate future that we should talk about too.”

“And I’m all for that talking, but right now, I’d rather kiss you.”

Spencer turned red.  “I think we can do that,” he said as he scooted closer to her bed.  She tugged on his hand, pulling him out of the chair.  She had moved the bed when Becky had come in, so she was fully sitting up now, and she had pulled him so his hand was on her waist and his face inches from hers.  She looked into his eyes, and then down to his lips before he closed the remaining distance.  The kiss was soft and chaste at first, but she soon intensified it, opening her mouth to tentatively explore his.  He returned in kind, his hands moving to carefully cup her face, mindful of the bruises.  Her hands sought his jaw, but soon were lightly running through his hair.  He wasn’t sure how long they kissed, but he felt light headed when she finally ended the kiss, resting her head back on the pillow, her hands slowly detangling themselves from his hair.  His hands were the last to move, thumbs slowly tracing her lips before letting them fall and sitting back in the chair.

“Where are you staying while you visit me in New York,” Darcy asked.

“That’s also up to you.  Apparently Tony has a room for you at his tower.  Jane wanted to surprise you.  In Tony’s words, we ‘already know how to share,’ so I can stay with you.  But if you don’t want that, I can stay somewhere else.”

Darcy looked down at herself and ran a hand over her hair.  “Well, you’ve already seen me at my worst, so, if you want, we can be roommates again.”

“But not secret this time.”

“Never secret again.”