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Second Chances

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As Assistant to the Director of the FBI, everything passed through your hands; you knew things that could probably get you killed. Thats a lot of pressure for all that you felt like a glorified secretary. The pay was good and you felt like you were making a difference as a go-between for some of the most important people in the country. But then there were the field agents, those who made change and saved lives in real time, not by proxy. You admired them, especially the Behavior Analysis Unit. Now they were the golden children of the FBI, the ones to live up to, the A team. You admired them, but you knew in more detail than most what they had been through; you had seen the files, read the reports. You admired them, but you didn’t envy them the pain they suffered by doing what they did. Coming face-to-face with the worst the world had to offer stole something from them, and you saw it all. For almost ten years you saw the changes in them, the cases that broke them. But you admired them for that too. They saved people until they could barely save themselves, and then sometimes they came back for more.

No one more than Spencer Reid, in your opinion, took more beatings and came back fighting like he did. He was your hero; a nerdy, unsociable guy, little more than a child became someone who could join the fight against the evils of this world, and he did it his way. But in those ten years, you said maybe a dozen words to him total. One day, you thought for years. One day I’ll introduce myself. And then he was arrested for murder and sent to prison. The director was furious and you wanted to stick up for him, convince the director Reid was innocent, as his teammates were doing, but you couldn’t convince yourself. You didn't know him, how could you be sure he wasn’t capable of murder, drug trafficking, evading arrest, and the whole host of other charges were laid against him? So when a miracle happened and he came back, you didn’t say that anymore. You gave him a little time to adjust to being an agent again, and then you mustered your courage and approached him for your first real conversation. One you had no way of knowing would save your life.

Stepping through the glass doors, you saw him immediately. He was staring off into space, fidgeting with something in his hands. Soft brown curls fell into his eyes, but he didn’t seem to notice.

You approached cautiously, afraid he would startle like a deer and run. “Doctor Spencer Reid?” you asked, hoping to get his attention.

He did startle, but instead of running, he brushed his hair away from his face with an impatient gesture and looked at you, almost as if he was seeing through you.

“Assistant to the director,” He said with a faint note of surprises, “what brings you to the BAU?”

You could imagine the scenarios he was cooking up in that brain of his, likely none of them good. Wanting to assuage his fears, you spoke quickly, “I just wanted to welcome you back, Doctor. I’ve admired your work and have wanted to introduce myself for some time. . .” You trailed off, tucking a chunk of your own curls behind your ear, not quite able to look him in the eye.

His expressive eyebrows flew up into his hairline and his eyes trained on your face with a look that said he saw something, something you probably didn’t want him to know. Color flushed your cheeks, and you half-turned away, fidgeting with the ends of your hair.

When he said nothing for a moment, you started to back away, feeling too warm for the temperature-controlled office. Before you could get too far, he seemed to realize he hadn’t said anything.

“Thank you. I, uh, appreciate you coming to tell me that.”

You smiled brightly, feeling the warmth of success and his attentions in your cheeks. “Of course, Dr. Reid. If you need anything, feel free to call me.”

Oh my god, maybe that was too much, what if—

He smiled, genuinely smiled. “Thanks again. And feel free to call me Spencer. Or just Reid. Most people do.”

“All right. Spencer.” You said, nodding in acknowledgement before turning to the doors and fighting the urge to break out in a run. This was a success, but you didn’t want to push your luck. Any longer and you may have started stuttering. This was a good start. Dina was going to be so proud!

Dina was a fellow civilian employed by the FBI, though she spent her days deep in the bowels of the cyber crime division, phishing for pedophiles. You met her when secretly auditing the division after allegations of sexual harassment filtered to the top. The director took those kinds of reports very seriously and sent you to personally find out what was going on. Turns out the head of the division was a dirtbag and it was only a week of pretending to be a new hire before you built up enough evidence to remove him. The final nail in his coffin was when you caught him cornering an employee in his office, threatening to fire her if she didn’t give him what he wanted. That employee was Dana, and he was lucky you were there or she might have killed him with her perfectly manicured stiletto nails. You’d been inseparable ever since.

“Oh Dina, you’re going to be so proud of me when you hear what I did today!” You say, clutching your wine glass in your hands. It was girls night and you were watching the city from your balcony, drinking, and gossiping.

“Oh shit no you didn’t, you finally spoke to the Doctor Spencer Reid?” She asked, midnight hair spilling over her shoulder as she leaned right into your personal space.

“I did!” You said, beaming. It went better than you could have hoped. No stuttering, no vomiting, no fainting. These were all pluses.

“Well well well, I was beginning to believe you didn’t have it in you, you’ve been talking about it long enough.”

“I know, but I just couldn’t take it any more. I had to exist to him, you know?” Before she answered I knew what she was going to say. Large black eyes and a waterfall of inky hair, she existed to everyone who saw her, but she was extremely selective about who existed to her.

“Not really.” She said, dark brows converting, as if she was really trying to imagine where I was coming from. It was endearing, but also a little annoying.

You sigh, being annoyed at her wouldn’t change anything. She had different experiences and, well, of course she was also gorgeous and “unrequited” wasn’t in her vocabulary. You laugh at the thought.

“What?”

“Nothing. So now you have to help me. How do I keep this going? I’ve said what I wanted to say and don’t know where to go from here. That was all my material!”

Now it was her turn to laugh. “Well now you have to find common ground. Go to him with a problem to solve, or ask him for a book recommendation. That should get his nerd boner going.”

“Eew, Dina, that’s just not right. Nerd boner?”

She just shrugged, downing the last of her wine and pulling her blanket closer around her shoulders before standing. “I’m sure you’ll think of something. You always do.”

She pants you on the head as she heads inside. You stay on the balcony for another hour, wine long forgotten, thinking of ways you could possibly get the attention of the smartest, kindest people you’ve ever known. You couldn’t match him intellectually, but you were eager and willing to learn. That had to count for something, right?

It was a week before you thought of a good enough excuse to talk to him again. And even then, you couldn’t think of anything better than asking for book recommendations. Not that it was bad, you loved reading and you knew he had read more books than anyone at the bureau so it’s not like it wasn’t an acceptable excuse. That is, until you found an advertisement for a screening of classic Japanese samurai movies without subtitles, which seemed perfect. You didn’t know if he knew Japanese, but if he didn’t (and you were secretly hoping he couldn’t) you could offer to do whisper translations. You wouldn’t be surprised if he could, though.

So you had it all planned out and you practiced what you were going to say to him for two days straight while he and the team were out on a case. You were going to break the ice by asking for book recommendations and when you got him talking you’d somehow throw in that you heard about the screening and ask if he wanted to go. The key was to be casual and not to raise his profiler hackles. You’d die of embarrassment if he knew you were into him before you knew if he was into you.

When you saw him in the Bull Pen with JJ you hesitated. Two profilers meant double the insight and you knew you were an open book. But if you were going to get what you wanted you had to take the risks associated with it. So you walked briskly through the doors and up to the duo as if you belonged.

They looked up as you approached. “Hi Spencer, nice to see you again.” You liked at JJ and held out your hand. “You must be Agent Jeniffer Jereau. It’s an honor. I’m Assistant to the Director.”

She shook your hand with a smile. “Nice to meet you too. What does the Assistant to the Director have to do with our Reid?”

You could understand her suspicion, just as you understood Spencer’s. “Oh I just recently introduced myself. I’ve been a fan of the BAU and Dr. Spencer Reid for some time and finally worked up the nerve to say hi. I’ve returned to ask for some book recommendations. Dr. Reid is famous for his reading abilities and I’ve come to take advantage of him.”

JJ’s smile widened perceptibly, eyes flitting from you to Spencer several times. Your cheeks, and probably the rest of you, flushed red. You didn’t have the nerve to see how your unintended innuendo affected Spencer, if at all.

“I see. Well I’ll have to excuse myself, so I’ll leave you to it. Again, it was lovely meeting you.”

“And you.” I managed before she disappeared out the glass doors. She didn’t have any of her things with her, you wondered where she was headed in such a hurry.

Spencer cleared his throat behind you and you realize you were spacing. You turned around with an embarrassed smile. Were his ears red? No, it wasn’t the time. You could over-analyze it later.

“So, book recommendations?” He asked with a lopsided smile.

You couldn’t hold in the laughter, one short note that sounded disturbingly like a dog’s bark. “Yes, I’ve recently found myself bored in the evenings and I’m not sure what to do to fill the time. I’ve always liked to read, but don’t know what to start.”

“What genre are you interested in?”

“Uh, fantasy, mostly. But also historical fiction and mystery.”

He thought for a moment, fidgeting with his tie before stuffing his hands in his pants’ pocket. He began to rattle off a series of names, which you tried to pay attention to, but mostly you thought about how to smoothly invite him to the movie.

“ . . . and then there’s “Confessions” by Kanae Minato, which is interesting because—“

That was your chance! “Oh, Japanese mystery? I’ll bet that’s interesting considering both Japan’s fascination with the psychological and overall lack of violent crime. Well, I mean, there’s violent crime of course, but not like here.”

Spencer leaned back, sitting on his desk, clearly surprised by your analysis. “Yeah, I thought so too.”

“You know,” you added, “that reminds me, theres this Japanese movie festival this weekend. They’re playing old samurai movies. If you’re interested I’d love the company.”

You wait, holding your breath. His face is blank at first, and then he smiles. He pulled his long fingers through his hair and leaned forward. Brown curls immediately fall back into his eyes as he speaks.

“I think,” he says, “that sounds great.”