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The River Bends Us

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“Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one’s weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart.”

Mahatma Gandhi

The woman dragged herself across the grass by her elbows, each handful of blades slipping through her shaking fists. Her dark natural hair was full of debris, her legs trailing behind were bare with the exception of the panties that were stuck on her ankles and pants lodged in her sensible heeled sandals. A dark figure had been following her, she couldn’t see or hear where they were now. She just knew she had to get away.

“Help me!” She pleaded into the swampy night; her voice coming out in rattled whispers. The night creatures moved on, calling in croaks and buzzes to their kind. Suddenly something grabbed her limp ankle and dragged her backwards into the night. She looked up to see the cloudless June sky as the fist connected with her temporal bone one last time.
_________________________________________________________________

David Rossi was burning the midnight oil, he had started another book and he was typing furiously on his laptop. His luxurious study was ablaze, despite the late hour. He had started the evening enjoying a cigar, but inspiration had taken his attention away from his humidor. The surround sound played a swinging big band number and he hummed under his breath. The buzzing of his cell was hidden against the latest crescendo. The voicemail was finally listened to around 2 am when Agent Rossi got up to stretch his legs.

The BAU was ready and waiting on the jet, when Rossi finally joined the team. The older night owl made his apologies and you were all in the air, heading to St Louis. Garcia had filled you in before you boarded: three bodies found in a ten mile radius of the city’s south-side. All victims were in various states of decomposition, but all were found within twenty four hours of each other. The flight was a quick one, but the M.E. wouldn’t be ready for the team right away.

You hide a wide yawn behind your right hand and bunch up your hoodie as a pillow for the short nap the flight allows you. It had been a quiet week of filing reports and parole hearings for you, but it was still too damn late for a flight. You said a quick thank you to the universe as the lights dimmed.
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The huddled man muttered into his clasped hands. His room was stark and he was bent over a simple flannel comforter. The night outside brought sounds of festivities: voices and music were on the air. He cringed at the frivolity and continued his prayers. Meanwhile the woman in the corner struggled against her gag.
________________________________________

A rousing sensation tucks the hair behind your ear. You shrug your shoulder to your ear, pinning Spencer’s hand to your cheek. He bends down and quickly kisses your head before leaving the jet. You smile to yourself for the sweet wake up gesture. You quickly unfurl yourself from your seat and grab your go bag.

The standard black SUVs were waiting for you in the early morning air. The humidity coated your skin, but your waking nerves still shivered in the heat. Since you were the last agent off the tarmac, you filed into the closest vehicle with an open door. You slid in beside Derek, who was keeping his drowsy eyes hidden behind his sunglasses.

You pause when you realize the team has pulled into a diner instead of the local FBI field office.

“Hotch, you’re a gentleman and a scholar!” You exclaim as you pat the back of the unit cheif’s seat. As you exit the backseat, the grease from the restaurant fills your nose, your stomach rumbles in response.

The parking lot is filled with trucks for the overnight stay; you are all eyed like unsubs walking in. Hotch and Rossi nodded their way into the diner and found a corner booth waiting. You purposely sit across from Spencer, to keep yourself from absentmindedly touching him. You had been seeing each other for a few months, but were trying desperately to keep work and personal time separate.

A waitress with huge bangs fills your mugs and takes your orders. As soon as she leaves, Hotch put Garcia on the line, but not on speaker to keep the case confidential.

“Greetings captain, my captain, “ she piped out in a rush, “the local field office has been at the dumpsites all night. They have confirmed that the bodies were all killed in a secondary location and disposed of within hours of each other. They will be waiting for you, not you personally sir, someone at the final site. They have i.d.’ed one of the victims from missing persons, a one Lenny Evans, 28. He went missing after a local June-teenth celebration, his mother reported him missing a week ago. The other victims were females, also African American are awaiting I.D.”

“Alright, thanks Garcia, we will catch up at the office soon.” Hotch hung up and turned back to the team, “We are going to go from here. Morgan I want you to take Y/L/N to the remaining dumpsite and see what you can gather on how the unsub is moving these bodies. Dave, I want you and Reid to head over the the M.E. I doubt they have gotten through more than one autopsy yet, but we need a report to start building this profile. JJ and I will head to the St Louis field office and get the geographic profile started.”

The Bangs had returned with an extra waitress to hand out the abundant breakfast the BAU had ordered. The silent frenzy of overtired agents made you think of a documentary you had Spencer over to watch the week before, on spotted hyenas. You looked up from your biscuits and gravy to catch his eye. His eyes found yours over his coffee mug, and you blush. He slowly blows on his fresh refill; you forced yourself to look away. Now was not the time to get distracted by Spencer’s mouth.
_____________________________________________________

Morgan held up the crime scene tape and you ducked below it. The sun was up and the heat was rising. You continued down the hill to the bank of the river to investigate the last body. You wrinkle your nose in disgust as the smell hits you. The body is bagged as you and Morgan pace the process of the unsub’s ingress.

“There are tire tracks leading to the river, but with the amount of traffic on this patch of beach, and the sand content, we won’t be able to pull up any one set of treads.” Morgan shook his head.

“Nope,” you replied,”The unsub just backed up and dragged the weighted body of victim #3 off into the water. And no one saw it?”

“This area is only busy during the day, anytime after dark the unsub could have been here. Now we just need to find someone who would know when each dumpsite would be abandoned.” Morgan speculated.

You twitch your head across the street, letting Morgan know where you are headed. You walk back across the street to check out the salvage yard, grabbing your cell to check in with Garcia. “ Hiya Pen, hows the magic coming?”

“Slowly, m’dear,” Garcia bubbled, “What are you in need of?”

“I need you to check the areas surrounding the other dumpsites. Look for salvage yards, recycling centers or pawn shops. I am heading to interview the owner of the yard nearest victim #3. What are the chances that there are traffic cams around here?”

“ Negative for your location, but there were some two blocks from the first site. I will hit you back when confirm your spectacular gut is right again.” Garcia click clacked on.

“You rock!”
_________________________________________________

Spencer slipped blue latex gloves onto his large hands as Rossi made the introductions with the M.E. and her assistant.

“Ya’ll are up and at ‘em, “ Dr. Burrows observed. “We now have three bodies that have been in the Mississippi overnight. By saturation level of the clothing and animal life it appears the first body dumped was the one furthest south; our victim #3. The killer then worked up the river dropping off the other two bodies within three hours of each other.”

“Have you established cause of death?” Dr. Reid questioned as he did a cursory exam of the male victim on the table before them.

“I have only completed one autopsy, the victim: last name Evans, first name Lenny. C.O.D. is blunt force trauma to the head. He has defensive wounds on his arms and hands. He was clearly restrained for sometime before being beaten to death.” Burrows points out the ligature marks on his ankles and wrists.

“It takes a lot to take down a guy this size.” Rossi noted, “What is he 6′, 220?”

“235″ Reid corrected.

The M.E. looked at the young doctor in front of her, then back at the senior agent. “Didya pick this kid up at a carnival?”

“No, Cal Tech” Rossi deadpanned.
_______________________________________________

“So Mr. French, you say your lot is cleared of workers by 7pm each night?” You keep your notepad open, but only make general comments on the pages.

“Yes, ma’am, my boys are out as soon as they can be. Some of them out even before I know it. I am the last to leave and that is well before sundown.” The aging man answers earnestly while he is hauling metal tubing from a nearby trailer.

“Do you know of anyone who uses the river access point across the street? Is it ever busy at night?” You continue, the sweat starting to drip down your neck.

“No, ma’am, I don’t think anyone even goes out over there. It belongs to the plant across the way, doubt they give anyone permission neither.”

“Alright, that is good to know. Now, is it possible to get a list of customers or suppliers, especially those that would be making late deliveries or very early pick ups?” You ask, finally getting to the heart of your questioning.

“Let me go talk to Tilly, she does all the phones and such. It will take me a few minutes, ma’am.” The man wiped his hands on a old rag from his back pocket.

“Thank you, sir, that is so helpful.” You flash a smile, solidifying his offer to aid in the case. “May I follow you in to meet her?” He nods you onward.
______________________________________

The praying man is in coveralls, hauling metal tool boxes to the side rack of the old truck. In the light of the day, his balding gray head is visible. He hums to the music from the radio; old choral pieces on a fading AM station. He looks back at the cellar door and checks his watch, nodding to himself.

The girl in the corner, is still held there. She is gagged, chained, and sitting in the dank darkness of the unlit basement. She knows the praying man leaves for hours during the day. “Even evil has a day job,” she thought bitterly. Today she would get free, she told her self. She quietly tried to push her hands through the heavy metal shackles, there was a sudden crunch and she squealed in pain. She had broken her metacarpal bone of her thumb, freeing her left hand. She is dizzied by the outline of her disfigured hand in the faint light and slowly she slumps back on to the floor, unconscious.
___________________________________

After Morgan and you visit each dumpsite, in the order you believe the unsub dropped each one into the river, you are drenched in sweat. You find the other two locations to be even harder to dump a body undetected, but still no witnesses. Garcia is running the street cam footage and a million other requests from the team. It is time to meet back at the precinct and get things ready for the profile, but first the all important coffee run.

You and Morgan roll into the field office’s parking lot behind Reid and Rossi’s SUV. You got extra generic coffees for the local agents, just in case, so you put Morgan to work carrying two trays while you have the BAU’s memorized orders in your two trays. Spencer, always the gentleman, holds the door for you guys and follows you in. As you pass him, you catch the sent of the autopsies he had been observing and hold back a gag. You cough and remind yourself that you smell like sweat and salvage yards at the moment too. Not quite the romantic reunion on this bright summer afternoon, but coffee needed to be drunk and profiles needed to be delivered.

Hotch and JJ had been busy filling in the gaps of the case. The last two victims had been identified by doing a missing persons search including nearby Illinois residents. Sharriel Smith, 24 and Janette Higgins, 30 from East St. Louis. According to Spencer, the bodies had all been bludgeoned to death and showed signs of heavy restraints. Though the bodies had been dumped within hours of each other, the deaths were all 48 to 72 hours apart.

“Unlike Lenny Evans, the female victims did have very clear evidence of sexual assault. That coupled with the restraints and the amount of time spent with the victims alive, we are looking at a sexual sadist. “

“Any DNA found?” JJ asked Spencer.

“None, this unsub is too organized.” He responded.

“What I don’t get is, why Lenny Evans? Clearly there is a racial connection between the victims, but this dude was solid. It would take a lot of work to subdue and transport him.” Derek tapped on the DMV picture of the male victim.

“Blitz attack?” You asked the group, “He was last seen at a festival, chances are he was drunk?”

“Even if that is the case, this guys would have to be strong, mobile and ready for anything.” Rossi interjected.

“We are looking at a team.” Hotch concluded. “Two unsubs could have handled Evans, one wouldn’t be able to. No matter how organized he was.”
________________________________________

You had to get out of this outfit, it was stiff and itchy from the dried sweat. In order to make a professional and intimidating impression on the scrap men the locals were bringing in for questioning; you just had to change. Luckily Hotch gave you the okay to head back to the hotel before breaking off into teams for interviews. You didn’t ask anyone to tag along, but Rossi made a point about driving you, citing a desire to check out the gift shop for his grandson, Kai.

“You know, Rossi, I can go with Y/N, if you would like.” Spencer’s soft voice suggested as you were grabbing your bag. “I was hoping to grab something I had sent with the go bags.”

“Something?” Rossi mused. He smirked at Spencer’s earnest eyes and nodded. “Okay, kid, but find something for me to get Kai, while you’re there?” Rossi handed Reid some cash and strolled off. Leaving you in an unexpected break in your day, with your less than subtle boyfriend.
________________________________________

“But, I really need a shower!, “ You pleaded into his shirt collar. Spencer’s mouth was on your neck, he had one hand on your waist and the other cupping your jawline.

“I could use a shower,” he muttered in a low voice,”the humidity here is stifling.”

You hadn’t even made into a hotel room yet, there you were like a couple of kids making out in the hallway. His large frame boxing you against the door to the room you and JJ shared. After a few more moments of stolen kisses, you sigh.

“Hmmmm,” You hum in exasperation, as Spencer continues to distract you, “Alright, you go to your room, sir. Go shower, get all that death off of you.” You make a circling motion with your opened hand indicating all of him.

He smirks down at your authoritative streak. “Why do I have to go to my room? When there is a perfectly good shower right through there?” He drums the tips of his long fingers against the door next to your ear.

There was not time for this; you grab his face in both of your hands and plant a firm kiss on his now pouting lips. “Because we do not have time to explain to Hotch why you broke my collarbone falling out of a shower.” You raise your eyebrows in mock seriousness. “We will get to shower-fun when we have more than a minute in a tiny hotel bathtub to start.” You promise.

“What scenario would result in you breaking your collarbone, Y/N?” Spencer was clearly visualizing the physics of the two of you in different positions until one became the clear possibility. He was so hot when he did calculations in his head. “You don’t have any past shower related injuries, that could have formed that argument, do you?” He was baiting you, with his chess face on.

“It was on a case, suspected domestic violence turned out to be nothing of the sort.” You clarified, grinning and pushing your Doctor down the hall towards his room. He backed away, kissing the back of your hand as he went; melting you with those crafty brown eyes.
______________________________________________

“Sir?” Agent Bald-guy approached the group and addressed Hotch, “There has been a hit on a new missing persons case. A one Amile Turner, African American female, mid-twenties has not reported to work as a CNA for the past two days. The nursing home she works at contacted her mother, who has since filed a report.”

“Thank you, agent.” Hotch responded, alarmed, “ Can you have your team bring the mother in for questioning as soon as possible?”

“I already have a car out.” Agent Bald-guy nodded and headed back to his cluttered desk.

Hotch turned to Morgan, “Take Reid and check out the missing woman’s apartment, see if we can establish a timeline.” He turned to you, “Y/L/N I want you and Rossi to speak with the mother when she arrives. JJ and I will go to back to the festival site where Lenny Evans was abducted. Garcia?”

“Present! Well, digitally, “ chirped Penelope’s eager voice.

“Keep working on the street footage near the first and second dumpsites, cross reference it with any grounds crew or registered vendors from the festival grounds.”

“Consider it searched,” Garcia clicked away.

“One more thing,” Hotch continued, “see if you can ping the phone of Amile Turner, keep us posted.”

“Over and out!” Garcia ended the call.
________________________________________

Amile Turner awoke much later that afternoon. The basement was still and quiet, her hand throbbed from the self-inflicted break. She slowly sat up, allowing her eyes time to adjust to the consuming darkness. With her uninjured fingers, she was able to slip her gag down to her neck. Her jaw was stiff and her mouth was cracked from dehydration. The heavy chain that had held her wrists to the wall was linked to a metal loop in the wall; her newly freed hand allowed two extra feet of motion with her right arm. Carefully she tried to stand, though her legs were bound with similar chained cuffs, these were not secured to the wall or floor.

Once she stood, she realized what she must do. She took the empty cuff in her good hand and slung it over her shoulder. Carefully she started to pull over her shoulder. She strode forward in a lunge, using her body weight against the bolt in the wall. She moaned with the effort, but slowly the metal began to come loose. She stumbled, but she persisted. She turned to face the wall and spun her still cuffed right hand like she was playing double dutch, willing the motion to continue to loosen the bolt further.

Suddenly a large thud sounded overhead. Amile gasped and fell on her back, she was free. She held her breath, not knowing what or who was in the house above her. There was only silence stretching before her again. Amile hobbled towards the door, the only light source beckoning her onward. She didn’t have time to waste, she had to get out of here. She had no idea what the praying man was keeping her for, she also didn’t want to find out.
____________________________________________

“No, Penny, I did not!” You were getting hounded about slipping away for a quicky while on a case. Of course, everyone assumed it was your idea to sneak off, since no one would suspect Spencer to be the instigator.

“Uh-huh, sure you didn’t. I mean, there was a lull in the case, Spencer drove you back to the hotel, alone.” Garcia was smirking at you, you could hear it through her inflection.

“And I sent him to his room to shower, because he smelled like autopsies and I smelled liked scrappers.” You glanced around to see if any was listening to your unprofessional conversation.

“Eww, okay, yeah that’s a no go for me too.” Garcia finally accepted reality. “But seriously, if you guys, like ever do it on a case, I totally want details.”

“Um, no, I am not going to even entertain the idea. I have a job to do here. Now what have you got for me?”

“Fine, Amile Turner’s cell phone was found in a park about a mile from her apartment. Other personal items also retrieved there, she had been walking back from a monthly jazz show they hold. Is it me or is it weird how this guy, guys, whoever, are grabbing people in super crowded places?”

“That, your tech-nificence, is a very good question.”
__________________________________________________

“Dude, are you hearing me?” Morgan raised his voice, finally getting Spencer’s attention. Spencer turned and regarded his friend, squinting his eyes in distracted surprise. “Man, where were you? No, let me guess, your mind took you back to Y/N’s hotel room?” Morgan chuckled.

“Not funny, Morgan” Spencer blushed. “Just to clarify, nothing happened.” He cleared his throat. “Y/N is very professional.”

“Oh? And you’re not?” Morgan raised his intense eyebrows. Morgan laughed, “I have seen you in some tough spots, man, but never like this.”

“I have never felt like this,” Spencer quietly conceded, “Morgan, does this get easier?” He couldn’t make eye contact, he just looked at his hands.

“How so?” Derek turned the corner, returning to the local FBI office.

“Does it get easier being around her?” Spencer wondered while staring out the window, “I feel out of myself. As if something else is controlling my body and suddenly I am touching her. I have never felt myself so distracted by the sheer presence of another human being, it is almost infuriating.”

Derek let the younger man talk, knowing there was no easy answer. His friend had been so advanced in so many arenas of life, that this one lagging piece weighed on him. Now that he could move forward with his life, Derek wondered if Spencer would be able to keep up after all. He reached across the seat and patted Spencer on the leg. “Yeah, man, it gets easier.”
______________________________________

Amile had made her way to the top of the stairs, but the cellar door was locked from the outside. She had screamed until she had no voice, she had pushed herself beyond exhaustion. She now slid back down the stairs, defeated. She knew the praying man would return soon, she had to prepare for when he did. She began searching the dim basement for any sort of weapon.

The truck’s roaring engine and squealing belts made its way back outside the house. Times up.

Amile shuffled around the table in the center of the room to hide behind the praying man’s bed. She waited. The undisguised opening of the double door to freedom pierced the silence. The man stomped down the aged steps, glancing to the corner of her former confinement. He dropped the bags he had been carrying in shock. The praying man screamed, “Not again!”

Amile shook with fear in her hiding spot. The contents of the bags now toppling down the stairs in odd rhythmic clanks. But the praying man did not continue into his basement dwelling, he stormed back up into the world. Amile exhaled, but still waited.
_______________________________________

“I found it!” Garcia bellowed over the speakerphone on Morgan’s cell. “The same truck was seen outside the jazz concert, the second dumpsite and the June-teenth celebration. Sending info to your tablets.”

“Truck belongs to a handyman, Vincent Givens, 42.” Spencer read over JJ’s shoulder. “His address is right in the comfort zone.”

“All right, let’s roll,” Hotch nodded the team back to the parking lot.
______________________________________

The ride in the SUVs was a quiet and tense one. There were two BAU agents in each, paired with the local agents, you were in the backseat while Rossi sat in the front seat. You ran over the details Garcia had sent you all in your head. Givens, white male, 42, had some minor offenses in his early twenties, but nothing violent. His residence is the basement of a 100 year old house, located on about a half acre of land. Only one entrance to the basement, which means you could be walking into an ambush.

“Y/L/N and Rossi, copy?” Hotch’s voice came over the coms.

“We hear ya, Hotch.” You replied.

“I need you to go to the upstairs neighbors, check that the unsub isn’t leaving any surprises with them. Remember we still don’t have a name for the partner, after you secure the top floors, get some answers.”

“Hotch, what does Garcia have on the main house’s residents?” Rossi inquired.

“Retired parochial school teacher, Doris Bridgeport, 73, never married” Garcia responded herself. “Oh, man, is she scary looking.”

“Guessing a ruler to the knuckles won’t be enough for Mr. Givens’ infractions.” You mutter underneath your breath. After a sweaty car ride, you finally pull up to the Bridgeport/ Givens’ residence.

Immediately, you can tell something is amiss. The gate to the backyard is swinging unsecured, the sprawling front porch has weeks worth of papers collected upon it. You turn to glance at your teammates, Hotch takes point towards the back of the house. You hold back, watching as one by one they pass you and Rossi in the front yard. As you catch Spencer’s eyes, they dilate ever so slightly. You shake your head slightly and wink. His bottom lip curls up, just enough to show he is focused. Then he is gone, flanking the opposite side of the house as Hotch and Morgan.

You wait to kick in the front door, wanting the surprise meant for Givens, to hit its mark. As you wait, there is shouting.

“Vincent Givens, FBI” Morgan calls out.

“Mr. Givens, hands up!” JJ follows up.

You make eye contact with Rossi, he nods you onward. You knock on the front door, as expected, no answer. You try the door, it opens with a creak that would run chills up the crypt keeper’s spine. You enter the old house first, secure the first room, the parlor as it was once called, and move around the house. After Rossi gives the okay to the kitchen, finishing the first floor, you hear Spencer on the coms.

“We need medics to the basement, unconscious female, seems to be dehydrated and suffering a broken hand. Pulse is slow.” You head out the side door of the kitchen.

Morgan rounded the house with a sputtering Givens in handcuffs, “Where was she?! I didn’t lose her? I didn’t lose her!” He was twisting to look behind him, almost giddy that the victim wasn’t gone. Morgan got him into the backseat of a cruiser, but the (now known) subject watched the scene unfold through the reinforced glass.

Amile Turner was alive, the paramedics had her on a gurney. Spencer and JJ followed her to the ambulance. Your tenderhearted boyfriend, squeezed her hand as they loaded her upwards.

“Nice job, Doc.” You teased and bumped into him with your shoulder, allowing yourself to rest on him for two beats.

“Thanks, Agent Y/L/N” Spencer returned. “Anyone inside the upstairs?”

You shake your head, but realize, you never finished searching the house. You look at Spencer and JJ in horror; Rossi never came back outside. You scramble back toward the rotting porch, your gun aimed and reenter the house. Spencer followed you with JJ on his heels.

“Rossi!” You bark. “You upstairs, yet?”

No answer.

“What’s happening in there?” Hotch chimes in on the coms.

“I didn’t finish sweeping the second floor, I went to check on the victim. Oh, Christ, Hotch, I left Rossi without backup.”

“Y/L/N, do you have visual on Rossi?”

“Negative, first floor secure.” Morgan had come in the kitchen door and met the three of you. You head up the stairs, knowing that you were to blame for where ever or however you find Rossi. The stairway cuts back onto a sliver of a landing and sharply ascends again. You pivot, watching each of the three doors as you climb. You slide into the first room, as Morgan, JJ and Spencer file past you. An old desk covered in boxes sits in the corner, no one is here.

You call out, “Clear!” Just as you hear JJ yell, “Hands up!”

Morgan and Spencer run from the middle room of the second floor towards JJ’s voice. You are the last there, Rossi is on the floor, unconscious. A hulking woman is standing behind his crumpled form. She is holding a cane like a baseball bat.

“Doris Bridgeport?” Morgan ventures.

“Ms. Bridgeport, we don’t want to hurt you. Can you put the cane down?” You ask calmly, as you holster your weapon. You catch a look from Spencer, he keeps his weapon ready.

“He attacked me!” Doris boomed, “What was I supposed to do?!”

“It was a mistake,” You placated the old woman, hands raised in surrender. “Let’s help you outside, we have paramedics who can check you out.” You smile encouragingly up at her, she was tall for a septuagenarian.

The old woman looked around at all of the guns still pointed at her and she dropped the cane. Morgan was checking Rossi’s pulse, before you could even bend over.

“Hotch, we need medics upstairs, Rossi is down. Head wound.” He relayed to the unit chief.

JJ and Spencer helped Ms. Bridgeport over Rossi’s limp body. You suck in a ragged breath, pulling yourself back to composure. Something was bothering you, and not just torrential guilt over Rossi. Your gut knew this wasn’t over.

“Morgan, if she was so scared of Rossi, why didn’t we hear her scream?”
____________________________________________

You hovered around Rossi as the paramedics got him onto a board and maneuvered him down the steep stairway. You climbed into the back of the ambulance with him; leaving the team to regroup after the bizarre turn of events. JJ was meeting you at the hospital, she was going to stay with Amile for protection and eventually questioning. You remained quiet on the ride, letting the EMTs take care of your mentor. Rossi was conscious, but not yet talking. Your stomach was in knots with guilt, anger and worry.

Once you got to the E.R., you were asked to stay in the waiting area, a nonthreatening corner in an overly bright space. You watched the families around you, profiling them as they filled out their forms and squabbled over if they should have come at all. You were eavesdropping on a Puerto Rican couple worried about their toddler’s fever when your phone buzzed. You stared at the screen, hesitating, on the fourth buzz you slid open the call.

“Y/L/N” you answered, overly professionally.

“It’s Hotch. How is he?” Your boss clipped.

“Stable, no word since we arrived though.” You answered succinctly. “JJ says it will be awhile until we can get to question the victim, sir.”

“Y/N?,” Hotch never used your first name.

“Sir?” You felt the phone become slick with the sweat on your palm.

“Are you alright?” Hotch asked softly. You pause, but power through the surprise.

“I’m fine, thank you.” You try not to over sell it. “I just want you to know, that I messed up and I am sorry. I broke protocol and I accept whatever consequences I will need to.”

“I am not seeking disciplinary action at this time, but we will talk about this when we return to Quantico.” Hotch added calmly. “What we need now is intel, once Rossi is awake, get him talking. This Bridgeport woman knows something, but we haven’t gotten to speak with her yet. We need anything we can use on her.”

“Of course, of course.” You agree, nodding your head dutifully. “Thank you, sir.” He hung up. You fell back into the chair you had been pacing around. After a few moments of quiet, you decided to meditate to get centered before Rossi was ready to see you. There was no way you were taking your shoes off in a hospital waiting room, but you got as comfortable as possible.

The room disappeared around you, you were on a pier at a lake and the sun was behind you. The light lapping of the waves against the wooden posts calmed you and you were at peace. A blue heron was foraging in the tall grass around the bend, it watched you from time to time. The sun was warm on your shoulders. A river otter had found its way into your lake, it floated by enjoying the sun’s rays as you did. You glanced down at the otter, you realized it was a water moccasin, heading directly towards you. The blue heron flapped its wings in alarm and took flight. Suddenly you return to the waiting room.

“Agent Y/L/N?” A concerned nurse had been talking to you.

“Um, yes?” You focus your eyes up at her bespectacled face.

“Agent Rossi is ready to see you, he has a slight concussion with some contusions. He will be fine in a few days.” Nurse Glasses reassured you. “We can get him discharged in a few hours.”

“Wow, thank you,” You directed her with your hands like Vanna White, finally standing to follow her back to Rossi and towards some answers.
_____________________________________________

Spencer knew he had his choice of interrogations; Y/N and Rossi were still at the hospital and JJ had only stopped in briefly before returning to the surviving victim’s bedside. Did he want to speak with the man who had shackled at least four separate African Americans in his basement or did he want to speak with the upstairs neighbor, who had struck Rossi down flat, despite her age. If curiosity was a resource, Spencer Reid ran the market.

He stood behind the faux mirror in the annex to the second interrogation room. He was absently, yet consistently checking his phone. He was concerned about Y/N. She had made a mistake in the field and Rossi had been the consequence. He knew she was beating herself up over it. All Spencer wanted was for her to call him, to let him know she was alright, and let him help her feel better. He sighed and squinted his eyes back through the glass, landing them upon Doris Bridgeport.

She was a large person who had sat quietly in the room alone for ten minutes. Most people would have been annoyed at being ignored or left alone for so long. Doris just sat there with her hands on the table, fingers intertwined. Her eyes were closed as if she had dozed off, but her mouth would twitch every so often. She’s praying, Spencer realized.
_____________________________________________

“Mr. Givens, this is SSA Morgan, I am SSA Hotchner.” Hotch entered the first interrogation room and sat down in front of the cuffed suspect. “Can you tell me why you had Amile Turner chained in your apartment?” Hotch’s no nonsense approach was legendary, the fact that Derek was sitting in on this interview was intentional.

Vincent Givens, was hunched over in his seat, he was wringing his hands below the table. “Well, uh, sir, I was trying to save her.”

“Save her?” Derek chimed in, honestly surprised by the response, more specifically its genuineness.

“Yes, I found her on my truck, like the others. So I bring them in, and pray for them. If I can get the demons gone; Ms. Bridgeport will take them upstairs and feed them and get them all cleaned up.”

“Has Ms. Bridgeport taken anyone upstairs lately?” Hotch asked, understanding the dominant/ submissive partnership in action.

“Um, no, sir. You see, I have been losing folks. The Lord has trusted me with his lost sheep, and I have been weak.” Vincent was truly ashamed. He was tearing up.

“How have you been weak, Vincent?” Morgan asked.

“I get angry at the sinners, the temptations around at night. So I leave my prayers, those I am supposed to protect and walk around at night.”

“And when you get home, they are gone?” Hotch concluded.

Vincent nodded, crying openly now. Hotch glanced at Morgan, they both knew this man was not lying.
____________________________________

Rossi was shaking his bandaged head at you as you sheepishly made your way to the lone taupe chair by his bedside.

“I am not going to let this one go for awhile, ya know.” Rossi teased, you welcomed its reassurance. “An old lady took me down with her cane? Yeah, just because my partner left me high and dry. Oh, Christ, who is going to believe that?”

“Dave, you know I would have not done that intentionally. I was just caught up in finding a victim alive after all these bodies.” You pleaded. “I really messed up today and I am sorry.”

He smiled over at you, “I know, kid. Now, what do we know about this Bridgeport broad? Do you want to do a cognitive?”

You sit up, resting your elbows on your knees. “Alright, I want you to close your eyes…”
_____________________________________

Spencer had not gone in to question the landlady yet. Instead he was now outside Hotch’s and Morgan’s interrogation room, certain he had made the right choice in waiting. He stood with one arm a crossed his chest while his hair slipped into his eyes. He clutched at his pocket, his phone was actually buzzing this time. Relief flooded through him as he saw it was your picture on the incoming call screen.
“Hey, Spence.” You began cautiously.

“Y/N? How are you, darling?” He asked, so casually, so sweetly.

“I’m alright, just got through a cognitive with Rossi.” You share, pleased with yourself. You could hear the anticipation over the line. “He was blinded sided by Bridgeport, Doc. She didn’t hit him out of self-defense, it was a trap.”

Spencer smiled into the phone, you could hear the “eureka” in his voice,”Of course, Doris must have seen us pull up. She had been hiding out from the outside world. But to Givens, their world was pure and safe. She just used him for a scapegoat.”

Hotch and Morgan had finally left the room with Givens in it. They both approached Spencer while he was on the phone, sensing his incoming revelation. He caught their eye, but he spoke to you. “Doris Bridgeport is a man.”
__________________________________________

You texted Garcia while you paced the hallways, awaiting Rossi’s discharge to go through. She had figured out that Doris Bridgeport was actually her brother, Dennis. Who had a record for sexual assault, theft, B&E and mail fraud. It was unclear exactly when Dennis had taken over Doris’ identity, but it had been before the very devout and very impressionable Vincent Givens had become a tenant six months earlier.

The locals were searching the Bridgeport property for Doris’ remains. Spencer and Morgan had gone in to interrogate Dennis together. The racist, sexual sadist couldn’t have seen what was coming. They praised “her” on taking care of Vincent, on being so devote and of course reassured her that she was not at fault for what happened to Agent Rossi. Then they dropped the ‘ma’am’s and the ‘Ms’s.

Derek looked the suspect in the eye and asked, “Now, Dennis, do you want to tell me why you have been beating down a brother and doing a whole lot worse to sisters?”

The man being questioned froze.

“Or perhaps you would like to tell us why you let Vincent babysit them so long before you killed them?” Spencer prodded.

The man’s nose was flaring. He was trying to keep from exploding at the agents across the table.

“Did you need to dress up like your sister to feel in control, Dennis?” Morgan asked in a suggestive whisper, “Maybe, a guy like you, you need a beaten up, helpless black girl waiting, just for those two minutes you can keep it up.”

Dennis Bridgeport dove at Morgan, his meaty hands still in cuffs. “ I will show you control, boy!” He bellowed.

Spencer stood, projecting himself between Bridgeport and Morgan. “That’s enough!” He nodded Derek out of the room. He calmly sat back down at the table. Bridgeport finally sat back down, eying the two way mirror behind Dr. Reid’s head.

“Mr. Bridgeport, here is what is going to happen. You are going to start writing your confession, that way I can tell the DA that you have cooperated. Otherwise, we will guarantee you will be standing trial in Missouri AND Illinois, not to mention be charged with hate crimes. Something that is not forgotten when you get to prison, especially for a man your age.”

Spencer dropped the legal pad on the table and left the suspect to his writing.
_____________________________________________

Rossi was sitting in a wheelchair when you got back to his room. You hid your excitement in being the one to whisk him away from the awful decorating job. “Dr. Reid got a full confession out of Bridgeport.”

“Of course he did.” Rossi mused. “Morgan play the belligerent black man?”

“It was more emasculating than belligerent.” You admitted, stepping through the double automatic doors and out into the muggy night.

“Emasculating?” Rossi chuckled, “Man they are good.”

“So?” You pause, “Whats the new book about?”

Rossi, turns to look back at you. “How’d you know?”

“You never miss your phone, unless those expensive speakers are on full blast at your “estate”. You use air quotes and a snobby voice. You lean down and offer the best selling author your arm. He takes it, patting your hand in both of his.

“Team building.” Rossi admitted, as the convoy of two black SUVs pull up to drive you both off to the hotel. You laugh at your mentor, knowing his veiled jokes better than most.
______________________________________

Back at the hotel, you find JJ already showered and talking to Will on the phone. You slide the door gently closed and wave at her. She gives you an appreciative smile. You don’t want to eavesdrop, so you get out of your gear and into your hoodie and some sleep pants. You know the guys aren’t asleep yet, so you walk barefoot down the hushed corridor and knock on Spencer and Rossi’s room. You wait, knowing that Spencer is checking the peep hole. You hear the chain drop and swiftly the door opens in to reveal the best part about your day, “Hiya, Y/N” He whispers.

He is out of his shirt and tie, in just a plain white tee and his loose fitting dress pants, that hang low on his narrow hips. Spencer stands in his mix matched stocking feet, looking down at you with such care. “Would you accompany me on a midnight stroll, Doctor?”

“Yes, yes, I would.” Spencer smiles. He checks in with Rossi before heading out the door with you.

The ice machine closet is not a romantic rendezvous spot, it is however a good place to mask noises from a romantic rendezvous. You had slipped into the space between the wall and the hulking ice maker and Spencer had followed. You had stood on your tip toes and closed your eyes, waiting for his mouth to crash into yours. It had been twelve hours since you were alone together and you needed him tonight.

He obliged and bent down to match your kiss, caressing your face in his outstretched hands. His hands moved into your hair, your back, he pulled you up, so he was bracing you against the wall. There was a decorative edging to the middle of the wall that dug into your back, but you did nothing, but kiss him back, hungrily.

His skillful hands found your bare skin below your hoodie, he gently outlined just below your breast with his right thumb. Your back arched in pleasure, you wrapped your legs around his sure hips, needing to feel him against you. He was agonizingly wanting, you purred at the base of his neck and nibbled up to his ear. He froze. You realize you had been grinding against him, your wetness on his pants and shirt front. Slowly you peer over his shoulder, knowing some external force would only get him to freeze now.

Glancing over the door to the ice machine, you see Derek Morgan, with his ear buds in. You whisper into your Doctor’s ear, “Its Derek, but he hasn’t seen us yet. He must have been at the gym, he’s listening to music.” Spencer drops his forehead to the wall behind you, in defeated embarrassment. This simply will not stand. You get an idea.

Keeping your voice as a whisper, “Spencer, let’s show him how its done.” He pulls back to see your face, perplexed. You grind back into him, slipping your hand between your thighs and into his pants. You feel his desire in your hand and your own against your arm. He moans at your touch, you kiss him to keep him quiet.

The crash of the ice machine lid is lost in the distance as you keep pumping Spencer. You know you are in an impossible position, your pants are a barrier that must be dealt with. Carefully you push off the wall, sliding down the length of his lean body. As you untie the drawstring to your sleep pants, both your phones buzz.

“Are you fucking kidding me?” You stage whisper in defeat. You grab your phone from your pouch and check the text. And recheck it. It’s from Hotch, stating that Rossi would be staying with he and Morgan, since they needed to wake him up every two hours due to his concussion. You glance up at your boyfriend, biting your lip. “I am guessing you got the same message I did?”

“Yes, Y/N, I received the message.” He answered all breathy, grinning down at you. You, pull down his tee shirt, rubbing your hand over your remnants. He adjusts himself, so his pants stay on for the hall length walk to his hotel room.
___________________________________________________

The jet leaves the air strip at 0900, you smile lazily out the window. JJ and Hotch are going over reports. Rossi and Reid are playing chess. Derek strolls up to sit opposite you, kicking the toe of your boot, teasingly. “Well, doesn’t someone look all tired and content this morning.”

You roll your eyes at the comedian before you. “I suppose I owe you a thank you?” You ask Morgan.

“I have no idea what you are talking about, Y/L/N” Derek smirked at you. “I got to give you mad props though, never thought my boy would be into public indecency.”

You smirk back. You arch your back because it was sore, where a bruise had formed from a certain piece of decorative edging. “I guess you never know what can be drawn out of a person, until they meet their match.”
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“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” - Heraclitus