Actions

Work Header

The Profiler and the Prosecutor: Book Two

Chapter Text

Previously on Criminal Minds…

"I'm still thinking about the other options we could be doing for the next few weeks as the Bureau faces changes."

"You want to be doing something else?"

"Be there for my family. […] Plus, Élise's maternity leave is ending soon, so…I figure I let her go back to work while I stay home with Séraphine for the time being."

"You want to take a sabbatical?"

"More than anything."

"Aww."

"At least I get to spend my sabbatical with you, Fifi, and Opal."


May 26, 2011

Dr. Spencer Reid and his three-month-old daughter, Séraphine, were in the living room, playing and doing normal father-and-daughter activities while Opal was napping in the corner.

Élise returned to work a few days ago…


May 23, 2011

Reid was in the dining room, feeding Séraphine with the pumped breast milk Élise pumped the night before just as she came into the room.

She grabbed some food for Opal and placed it in her bowl; she was impeccably dressed in a white blouse, black jacket, pants, and low heels with her chin-length black-brown hair permed and straightened and was carrying her bag and briefcase.

N ervously exhaling, Élise asked,  "How do I look?"

Reid beamed up, "You look ready to get back to work."

Élise sighed again, moving a piece of her hair back, "I hope so." Élise walked up to Séraphine and stroked her hair, "I feel like I'm back at school, and it's the first day back."

"Believe me; I know the feeling," Reid smirked.

Élise said, "Well, my twelve weeks are up, and I can either get back to work or confront my separation anxiety."

"How do you think I felt how I was when I went back to work?" Reid reminded her of his first day back after a month of paternity leave.

Élise chuckled and agreed, "Very true." Gently taking Séraphine from Reid's arms once she noticed her eyes widening, signaling that she's full for now. "Are you going to miss Mommy?"

Séraphine responded by licking her lips and releasing soft coos.

Élise tilted her head to the side, "Oh, I'm going to miss you, bunny." Élise kissed Séraphine's babyface. "But I have to go make the world a safer and better place. Well, actually D.C., Virginia, and practically a little bit of this country," Kissing her face again, "I'm still going to miss you, but I'm just a phone call away."

"Don't worry, mama, I can handle her," Reid assured Élise as he took Séraphine back into his arms. "I got the daddy duties."

Élise giggled, "Daddy duties. I'm so glad for your sabbatical for you to be a daddy while I go and bring the unsubs to justice via the law."

"Mmm-hmm."

Élise and Reid shared a passionate liplock kiss.


"Boop," Reid playfully tapped at Séraphine's nose. "Boop-boop." Tapping her nose again, "Boop."

Séraphine responded in giggles, making Reid giggle as well.

"Would you like me to hug again, Fifi?" Reid asked lovingly, "Do you want me to hug you again?"

Séraphine responded in happy coos and vowel sounds.

"Well, of course, I'll give you another hug." Reid fatherly cuddled her close to his chest. "And while I'm at it, I'll give you a boatload of kisses as well." Reid begins kissing the top of her soft curly-haired head. "I just love you so much, Fifi."

Reid turned around and noticed Opal was starting to walk up to Reid and cuddled his leg.

"Hey," Reid began petting Opal with his free hand. "I can't forget about you, Opal."


May 27, 2011...

Élise put down her MontBlanc and groaned in exhaustion. Ever since she got back to work on Monday, what she has been mostly doing is paperwork. And it was giving her hand cramps, not to mention making her bored. At least by tomorrow, she was teaming up with some of her colleagues to help prosecute a man who kidnapped, sexually assaulted, and murdered two children; one of them was a girl.

Suddenly, Élise was having second thoughts about being on the case. Now biting down on her thumb, she's never one to reject a case, no matter how gruesome the crime was, but judging from the crime scene photos of the two children, especially the girl, she's been thinking about being included.

Soon there was a knock on the door; someone opens up, and it was a young woman; her assistant, Anna. She had a peaches and cream complexion, light brown shoulder-length fringed hair, and attired in a white blouse, black skirt, and heels.

Élise closed the file and asked, "Anna? Did something happen?"

She quietly told her, "You have visitors."

"Visitors?" Élise confusingly wondered.

Reid walked into her office with Séraphine in her car seat and a bag of takeout in the other hand, which immediately made Élise smile; Anna excused herself.

"What are you two doing here?" Élise got up from her chair and hugged and kissed the two.

Reid asked, "Remember that conversation we had about your separation anxiety? Well, I thought a visit from two of your favorite people would help it."

Élise chuckled, "Well, I definitely need it." She whispered in his ear, "Especially since I have to help out of a case involving deceased children."

"Remember what you told us," Reid gently placed his hand on her cheek, "You're making our world a safer and better place for you to live in. Even if it is D.C., Virginia, and a little bit of this country."

Élise laughed as she took Séraphine from Reid's arms, "Yeah. This is much better than a phone call. Especially since I get to hold you, little girl."

A minute later, Spencer and Élise were enjoying their lunch.


After enjoying lunch in Élise's office, Reid, who had brought Seraphine home, had been having a blast for the past two hours.


For about thirty minutes during Séraphine's supervised tummy time, Reid was impressed with how well her baby muscles flexed. Her head was lifting, as Reid measured, at a 45-degree angle. With her supposed arms, her chest pumped up. Then for about fifteen minutes, Reid read Séraphine classic baby books with her on his lap; Reid planted kisses whenever he looked down at her. Then he securely flew Séraphine in his arms, watching with joy as she cooed and waved her big and wiggly arms and legs before bringing her down for belly raspberries. Then as Séraphine was on her back and as Reid was changing her diaper, he bicycled her legs, clapped her hands together, and took them on a round of head, shoulders, knees, and toes.

Now, Séraphine was in her swing, accompanied by her brightly colored, soft, and squeezy toys, bead fingers, shaking rattles, spin mobile, and activity bar to bat and pull on. And, of course, Opal was keeping her company. As Reid kept an eye on the two, he decided to call an old someone.

"Hey, Spencer."

It was Aaron Hotchner.

Reid answered, "Hey, Hotch."

"It's been a while." Hotch mentioned before asking him, "So, how are you holding down the fort?"

Reid chuckled as he waved to Séraphine, "Good. Fifi's enjoying herself and her toys; Opal really loves playing with her. By the way, did you get the picture…?"

"Of Opal licking her face?" Hotch broke out in a rare short laugh. "Yeah, I did."

Even though work's the last thing Reid wanted to talk about, he couldn't help but ask, "So…how's everyone at the BAU?"

"We're good," Hotch truthfully answered, "Morgan's Morgan; Garcia is Garcia, Rossi's the same. And…JJ's back."

"She is?" Reid was surprised to hear JJ is now back with the team. The last time he saw her was…he still hates to think about it…

Emily Prentiss' funeral.

"Yes," Hotch replied. "She came back the day you started your sabbatical; she's even taking the classes into being a profiler."

"Oh," Reid shook his head, wondering how she managed to come back to the team after being practically forced to accept a position at the Pentagon? Nevertheless. "Good for her. What about Seaver?"

"She transferred to Andi Swann's Domestic Trafficking Task Force on Thursday."

Reid nodded his head, "Wow, again, good for her."

"Yeah, we're all proud of her."

"Mm-hmm."

Hotch cleared his throat before announcing, "I, uh…I've been seconded to Pakistan, and I leave on Thursday, June 2nd."

Reid's jaw almost dropped; Hotch would be leaving in a few days. "Oh, really?"

"Yeah." Hotch answered before replying, "So, uh…whenever Jessica's at work and needs a break, can you babysit Jack?"

"Absolutely, Hotch." Reid was more than happy to look after Jack every now and then.

Hotch smirked. "I knew I could count on you."

"Anytime," Reid noticed Séraphine began yawning and rubbing her eyes with her little hand. "I'm going to put Séraphine down for a nap now."

"Okay." Hotch understood. "Still, keep sending pictures and enjoy your sabbatical, dad."

Reid chuckled when Hotch called him 'dad.'


The next day, Reid figured she was old enough to go out more, and the weather was warmer, so he decided to take her to an awfully familiar place.

"Here we are, little girl." Reid strolled Séraphine into the BAU bullpen. Squatting down to Séraphine, who was coolly in the stroller with the pink pacifier in her mouth, kicking her legs. "Here is where I work, and…"

"SPENCER!" A familiar voice called out for him.

Reid whispered to her, "And here comes your Aunt Garcia."

Reid rose and saw Garcia running towards him at full speed ahead. "Spencer, it's you! It's really you! Oh, my prayers have been answered. Thank you."

Soon later, Rossi, Morgan, JJ, and Hotch walk out of the roundtable room, "Well-well-well. Look who we see here."

"Pretty boy and his pretty daughter." Morgan grinned.

"Great seeing you again, Spence." JJ patted Reid's shoulder.

Reid greeted her back, "Same here."

Rossi smirked, "What brings you two here?"

"I thought you were on your sabbatical?" Hotch winked at Reid, who knew he was coming.

"What? I can't bring my little girl to see you all again?" Reid looked down to see Séraphine still sucking on her pacifier.

"Exactly." Garcia waved at Séraphine. "It's just so darn wonderful to see you again."

Reid crouched down to Séraphine's size again, "You've already met most of these colorful and unique people, but say hello to another colleague I work with, Jennifer Jareau."

JJ squatted down, "Hi, Séraphine," Waving to her, "You can call me JJ when you're older."

"You want to hold her?" Reid asked.

"Oh, no thanks," JJ declined politely, "Plus, I felt under the weather a couple of days ago, so…" JJ coldly folded her arms and tightened her mouth.

Séraphine turned her attention to JJ, who simply smiled at her, spitted her pacifier out, and blew a raspberry at her before bursting into giggles.


"Okay, honey bunny," Reid whispered in Séraphine's ear just as he was finished up with her bedtime routine, "It's time for you to go to bed now."

Séraphine softly cooed, opening and closing her eyes.

Reid kissed her forehead just as someone burst into Séraphine's room.

It was Élise who sighed in relief at the sight of her baby girl. Having this goofy smile on her face as she walked towards Séraphine and Reid, "Hi, my favorite people in this world." Giving Reid a lip kiss, Élise locked her eyes on Séraphine, "Hi, my pretty petite princess." Kissing her face, "Are you ready to go beddy-bye? Did you miss mommy again?"

Séraphine dreamingly licked her lips as she rubbed her eyes again.

"Oh, yes you did, you little girl."

Reid and Élise kissed her face again before putting Séraphine in her crib and watching her fall asleep. Quietly walking out of her room and closing the door behind them, "Oh, I miss you." Élise gave Reid another lip kiss. "I saw the pictures you sent to me." Sighing, "I feel like I've missed so much today."

Reid assured Élise, taking her hand, "You didn't, and you never will."

Élise smiled, "I know."

Chapter Text

Reid was in the kitchen, smoothly cooking up some breakfast when Élise walked in with Séraphine in her arms; Opal trailed behind them. Élise smiled at the sight of seeing Reid, "Good morning, hubby."

Reid courteously kissed her lips, "Good morning, my wife." Kissing their daughter's face, "Good morning, sweet bundle of joy." Petting down Opal's ears, "Hey there, Opal, girl!"

Opal barked in response just as Élise was observing the spread of food on the table: waffles, pancakes, bacon, oatmeal, orange juice, fresh fruit.

"Oh! Either we have a special occasion that I've must have forgotten about, or do we have a special guest coming by soon." Élise raised an eyebrow as she was getting some of her pumped breast milk and began feeding her.

"Well, we may have a special guest coming by later today, but I'm just getting my practice on again for an extraordinary occasion happening on Sunday, June 5th, 2011."

Élise's mouth opened, "Our wedding anniversary."

"Mm-mmm." Putting on his purple mitts, Reid opened the oven and pulled out a tray containing four cinnamon buns. "And like these rolls, it's going to be a sweet treat."

Élise took a bite, "Mmm. Tasty."

"Just like you," Reid kissed Élise's lips again and looked down at Séraphine before kissing her. "And you, my lovely girl."

Reid noticed Opal purring and cuddling his leg. "I can never forget about you, Opie."

Élise let out a chuckle, "It's crazy how they picked Hotch to go to Pakistan."

"Believe me, I was shocked as well. But then again, Hotch assisted writing the textbook and teaching hostage negotiation classes, so he was both the Director's and the Bureau's best choice," Reid mentioned.

"And Rossi?" Élise thought about it for a moment but made a face, "Yeah, I think Rossi would rather be at a football game for all eternity."

Reid let out a snort, "Yeah."


"Thank you for picking me up from school, Uncle Spencer," Jack said as he, Reid, and Séraphine stepped into the house.

"Anytime, Jack," Reid said as he was petting Séraphine's head. He soon asked him, "Do you have any homework?"

"Just to color." Jack pulled out a notebook from his Captain America bag.

Reid proposed as he rocked Séraphine, "Okay. You go color, and while you do that, I'll order us a pizza. After you finish your homework, we can watch a movie. Okay?"

Jack shook his head excitedly, "Okay." Jack got right on it.


"You know what I like about Alvin and the Chipmunks?" Jack giggled as he, Reid, Séraphine, and Opal gathered on the couch in the living room, with the pizza box and drinks on the coffee table.

"What do you like about this movie?" Reid asked.

Jack squeakily answered, "Simon almost sounds just like you."

Reid laughed. "You really think so?" Reid asked back in the best Simon-impersonation voice that he could.

Jack chuckled, "Yeah."

Reid and Jack heard the front door being open, turning their heads to see who it was.

"Lisey!" Jack jumps off the couch, almost startling Opal, "Auntie Jessie!"

Élise opened her arms out after setting her briefcase aside. "Hi, Apple Jacks!" Hugging him with all her might. "How was your day?"

"Good!" He beamed, showing his tiny teeth.

Jessica smiled at him and ruffled his short hair before asking Reid as he got up from the couch, carrying Séraphine; Opal stood next to him, "How was he?"

"He was great," Reid answered. "He was no trouble at all."

Jessica chuckled before grabbing Jack's backpack, "Well, we better get going."

"Okay." Jack gave Élise another hug before hugging Reid again and petting Opal and Séraphine. Running to his Aunt Jessica and taking her hand, he waved, "Bye!"

"Buh-bye, Jack-Jack!" Élise waved to him.

Reid waved at him and took Séraphine's hand, and flapped it for him. Élise watched Jack get into Jessica's silver Honda Accord and drive off. Élise properly fixes up the curtains, and her mouth drops, and her eyes widen when she sees Séraphine again.

"Hi, my fabulous Fifi," Élise took Séraphine from Reid's arms. Smooching her cheeks, "Oh, I missed you today. But you know me, I need to take down the bad guys like your old man." She whispered in his ears, "But I show them who's boss."

"I heard that," Reid whispered in her ear before kissing Élise's cheek.

"Well, it's true, Spen." Élise raised her eyebrows three times and petted Opal's ears. "It's what we do. And you know how I do it."

Reid giggled like a little schoolboy, "I like how you do it."

Élise tittered and growled flirtatiously before they lip kissed again.


"This little piggy went to the market," Élise sat down on the couch, playing with Séraphine's toes after feeding her. She playfully wiggled her big toe before wiggling her long toe, "This little piggy stayed home." Taking her middle toe, "This little piggy had roast beef." Jiggling her ring toe, "This little piggy had none." Waggling her little toe, "And this little piggy cried 'wee-wee wee' all the way home."

Séraphine began giggling and covered her face. Élise laughed with her and started putting Séraphine in baby-sized yellow Converse sneakers, which went well with her new ruffled dress and bloomer.

Reid came in, carrying a copy of Fyodor Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment. "Hey. How's everyone's doing this morning?"

Élise noticed Reid's attire for the day: yellow trim polo, denim pants, and Converse sneakers. "Oh! Yellow is such a good color on you, Spenie!" Élise felt his muscles, "Plus, your arms look buffed up from those crutches. I rarely get to really see them."

"Thank you," Reid laughed, "Yellow's a good color on you too," Reid admired her yellow floral crepe shift dress and white Converse sneakers. "Makes your skin color look extraordinary."

Élise blushed. "Thanks."

Reid began tickling Séraphine's belly, causing her to giggle. Smiling, "I'm so glad we get to have our 1st wedding anniversary with you."

Stroking Séraphine's hair, Élise said, "Maybe because we…"

Reid protectively covered Séraphine's ears, knowing what Élise was about to say, "Shh! She can hear you."

Élise shrugged her shoulders, "Séraphine can't understand us; she's three months old."

Reid cocked his head, lowered his eyes, and pursed his lips.

"But you have a point there." Élise nodded her head.


"Work it, Séraphine," The photographer at Baby Studio, Luna Nelson, cried as she was taking Séraphine's photos. She was surrounded by a bed of many different colored carnations, pansies, orange blossoms, and yellow roses. "Work it, little cutie. Work those pretty big eyes."

Élise and Reid giggled in the background. Élise began sticking her tongue, and Reid began dancing like a monkey, hoping to get her to laugh, and it worked.

"Great!" Luna smiled as she stopped. "Oh! She's so adorable!"

"We've been told that," Élise agreed as she picked her up. "Thanks."

Luna soon asked them, "Do you plan on having another one?"

Reid answered as he, Élise, and Séraphine gathered together, "Maybe in another year or two."

"I hope so," Luna prattled. "A girl like her should grow up with a sibling or two."


"Wow," Reid, who had Séraphine in his arms, and Élise observed the pictures Luna photographed. "These are amazing."

"I love the black-and-white ones." Élise pointed to the B&W pictures. "Thank you so much, Luna. You'll be paid generously for these."

Luna nodded her head, "It'll take a few days, but yeah, they did come out great, and thank you."


"Oh my God," Élise said as she, Reid, and Séraphine were strolling through the Tysons Galleria and stopped at the food court. They ordered their food from a fast-casual sit-down restaurant, Kay's Place. "I still can't believe we're celebrating our first wedding anniversary tomorrow."

"I can," Reid replied as he began to feed Séraphine some of the pumped breast milk. "I have a few ideas about how we can celebrate."

"Really?"

Reid smiled, "We can go to the Spice Culture."

Élise gasped, "Where we had our first date. We could even order the tandoori chicken, some naan, the delicious rose Kulfi." Whispers, "Maybe go back to my old apartment building where we had our first kiss."

Reid chuckles, "Exactly."

Élise tickled under Séraphine's chin.


Morning of June 5th…

"Mmm," Élise licked her lips and daintily wiped her mouth. Her breakfast consisted of scrambled eggs, two bacon strips and Belgian waffles, fresh fruit, and a cinnamon roll, "That was such a good breakfast, honey. Unbelievably delicious."

"Why, thank you, sweetheart," Reid generously took Élise's plate and utensils before giving her a passionate kiss on the lips. He placed them in the sink and washed his hands for a minute and two seconds. "Especially since today is the day you and I exchanged our vows and became Dr. and Mrs. Spencer Walter Reid." He smiled as he wiped his hands. "One of the best days of my life."

Élise rubbed her hands together and asked Reid, "Would you like to do the exchanging of our 1st wedding anniversary gifts."

"Why, yes, I would." Élise took Reid's hand and followed him into the living room and saw him pull out from paper-wrapped gifts from behind the couch pillows,

"For you." Reid sweetly handed Élise her gifts.

Gushing, Élise neatly pulled off the wrapping paper and saw a clean white box. Opening it, her mouth dropped.

It was a stunning gold jewelry parure, including a gold watch. Élise placed her hand over her mouth before using it to fan her eyes, "Oh, Spencer!"

Reid enjoyed watching the joy of his wife opening one of her presents. "Open your other present."

Élise does. "Yay!" Élise rushed to hug Reid and kissed his lip. "So thoughtful, sweetheart! Thank you so much!" Looking at her other gift, "The first edition of Peter Pan, one of my favorite childhood classics."

Reid sighed heavenly, "Anything for you."

"Stay right here," Élise insisted. "My gifts to you are a bit heavy."

Élise powerwalked to the closet and pulled out two small gift bags. Jumping up and down, "Open it, honey."

At Élise's eager insistent, Reid looked inside the gift bag and smiled. "Élise!" Reid hugged her and smooched her lips and cheeks. "You got me a first edition of the first Babar book."

Élise chuckled, "Well, that wasn't the only gift I got you."

She gave Reid her other gift; he opened it, and it was a small box, and when Reid opened that box, his face lit up, "A yellow gold Patek Phillipe pocket watch," Reid observed the watch. "Wow. They're expensive."

"But like you, they're worth it." Élise beamed. "And I can afford to buy one, so…"

Reid gave her another lip kiss. "You love you."

"And you know I love you, bunny."


Élise finished applying natural airbrushed makeup as Séraphine was in the swing, chilling when Reid walked out of the master bedroom's bathroom; her jaw gaped. He was clothed in a purple long-sleeve button shirt with a tie, dark pants, and Converse and even had his brown leather bag over his shoulder.

Élise immediately knew, "You're wearing the outfit when we had our first date." Élise melted.

Reid noted Élise wearing a sky-blue blouse, gray jacket and pants, and black loafers, "As are you."

"Are you all packed?" Reid asked.

Élise motioned her head to the bed as she put away her makeup, which had an overnight bag. "Mm-mmm." She walked over to Séraphine's swing and gradually pulled her out. "Don't mommy look pretty today?"

KNOCK-KNOCK-KNOCK!

"That must be the sitter," Élise replied as Reid grabbed her overnight bag for her from the bed and followed Reid to the front door. He opened the door.

"Jessica! Jack-Jack!" Élise was overjoyed to see Jack and Jessica as always and led them into the house. "Great to see you again."

"And thank you so much for agreeing to babysit our Fifi." Reid appreciated.

Jessica smiled, "Absolutely, Spencer."

Élise gave her a small paper sheet. "Here's all the emergency numbers, contacts, you already have our cell phone numbers, so if anything, like hospital emergency room…"

"Everything will be fine," Jessica gently touched Élise and Reid's hands, "Don't worry. Enjoy your wedding anniversary."

"May you please bring me back a present?" Jack politely asked with the little twinkles in his eyes.

Jessica lightly scolded, "Jack…"

Élise chuckled, "It's okay." Kissing Séraphine's cheeks and forehead before giving her to Jessica, "Be good to Jessica and Jack, okay, Fifi?"

"We'll be back tomorrow, Fifi," Reid kissed Séraphine's face before ruffling Jack's hair, "We promise, okay?"

Jack and Jessica waved, "Bye!"

"Later, you guys." Reid waved back.

"Lots of love," Élise replied. "Stay safe and keep clean!"


"I told you, Élise," Reid said to Élise as they stepped out of the car in the Spice Culture diner's parking lot. "I told you they'd be fine."

"I know, Spen," Élise put her cell phone in her bag; Reid opened the door for her. "Forgive me if this is our first overnight without him."

"Fifi's in good hands." Reid took hold of Élise's soft hands and smooched her palms, causing her to release light flutters.

A young woman with dark skin and long hair, dressed in a bright pink dress and shoes, greeted the two warmly. "How may I help you two…?" She squinted her eyes and pointed, gasping and wagging her finger, "I think I remember you two."

"And I remember you as well." Reid shook his head. "We're here on our first wedding anniversary." He and Élise showed off their wedding rings. "And we even now have an adorable baby girl."

"Congratulations, you two." The hostess gasped with adoration as she led them to their table. At the same table, Élise and Reid had their date and handed the two their menus.

As Reid quickly abhorred the menu, Élise coyly said, "Remember when I first met you?"

Reid let out a chuckle, "You looked up and asked me if I was Dr. Reid, and then I said, 'I take it you're Élise Bastien?'"

"And I take it your Dr. Reid." Élise recited. "You said 'Pleasure to meet you' as you sat down, and then I said 'Same. I'd shake your hand, but Hotch told me you're not into the whole handshaking. Perfectly understandable. I respect that' And then I rambled about the health blog I saw the Harvard website how it's preferred to fist bump since they spread fewer germs than handshakes."

"Especially since hands carry germs that can spread infections to others, and some of those infections can be serious, including the ones that the everyday standard antibiotics can't kill?" Reid concluded before replying, "Yup. I remember every word."

Élise giggled again as a young waitress approached their table.

"Welcome to Spice Culture. May I take your order?"

"Hello. We'll have the tandoori chicken, please. Along with the Naan for the two of us and some rose Kulfi, please. Along with some coffee and water."

The waitress took her menus and left to get their meals, "Coming right up."

"I hope the tandoori chicken's as good as when we had it."

Reid chuckled before he noticed Élise tapping her fingers on the table. Her eyes looked away, checking the clock, and could even hear her tap her feet under the table. He concernedly asked, "Are you okay, Lise?"

Élise denied, "Oh, I'm fine."

Reid noted, "From the way you're now picking your fingernails, tells me you're worried about Fifi."

"Well, can you blame me?" Élise replied. "As I said, this is our first night away from Séraphine. Doesn't that worry you?"

"It does," Reid said as their meals came. "But at the same time, I figure this is the best way to confront our separation anxieties."

"I know; it's just…" Élise's face twisted, whispering, "She's already growing up so fast. One day she was growing inside me. Next, she was in my arms after she came out, and now…"

"She can suck her fingers, hold her head up, sit with some support, follow and grasp at objects," Reid said before eating some tandoori chicken. "And months later, she'll be able to crawl, teeth, walk, talk."

"I'm already having a headrush," Élise began fanning herself before helping herself to some tandoori chicken. "At least this tandoori chicken is easing my nerves."

"It's even better than the one we had when we had our first date," Reid commented, making Élise laugh.


Grande View Complex

"Let's take a selfie right here," Élise suggested as they visited Élise's old apartment building. "Seems a bit creepy to have it outside my old apartment door."

Reid laughed as he adjusted Élise's phone, "Yeah, it does." Clearing his throat before asking Élise, "Are you ready?"

"Yup."

"Ready? Set…"

They kissed with such ardor and pulled back four seconds after hearing the click. Élise and Reid examined the picture and smiled.

"Perfect."

Élise took her phone back and asked, "Want to do another one?"

"Indeed."


"Wow," Élise was in awe as she and Reid stared at Mount Vernon, the plantation and mansion of the nation's first President George Washington and his wife First Lady Martha. "One of our nation's most iconic and legendary homes from the 18th century."

"Built by George Washington's father in 1734. The Mount Vernon name came from his half-brother Lawrence," Reid added.

"I remember wanting to come here when I first moved to D.C." Élise and Reid wandered around the grounds. "It's even more gorgeous than seeing it in pictures or on TV."

"Wait until you see the four gardens," Reid said. "Washington built a greenhouse for rare and exotic plants, and since 1760, the lower and kitchen garden has been cultivated for the production of their vegetables."

"Mount Vernon's even the final resting place for our First President and Lady," Élise said. "I wouldn't mind living like this. Minus the slave quarters and anything that has to do with slaves."

Reid looked at the brochure, "Let's visit the museums and head to the gift shop before we leave for Baltimore."

"Then I say we get on it." Élise was ready for some more history.


Suite Eighteen at the Ivy Hotel, Baltimore…

"Mmm…" Élise groaned as she and Reid began moving and making out on the couch sometime after the concierge and the bellhops left their suite. And once they started, with Reid kissing the back of her neck, they almost didn't want to stop, "Ohh…oh!"

"Oh, mama…" Reid moaned. "Ohh…"

"Hmm…oh…" Élise gently pulled away from Reid once she realized she needed to call Jessica and see how she's doing with Séraphine. "Crap!" Dialing, she placed the phone to her ear, waiting for Jessica to answer, "Come on. Please pick up already."

Finally, Jessica answered after the second ring, "Hello?"

"Jessica!" Élise cried, putting the phone on speaker. "How are you?"

Jessica answered, "We're fine; I'm just about to put Jack and Séraphine to bed."

Reid walked over to Élise's side, cuddling her, and asked her, "Can we speak to them, please?"

"Of course!" Jessica accepted and gave Jack the phone, allowing Jack to take over the conversation.

"Hi!" Jack happily addressed Élise and Reid.

Élise squealed, "Hi, Jack-Jack!"

Reid asked, "Are you a good boy to our Fifi and your Aunt Jessica?"

"Yes!" Jack giggled before Jessica took the phone back from her and said to him,

"Okay, Jack. It's time for PJs, okay?"

"Okay." Jack replied, "Bye! Nighty-night!"

Élise and Reid simultaneously said, "Sweet dreams, Apple Jacks."

Soon they could hear Séraphine's soft but active coos, making Élise and Reid beam.

"Hi, Fifi." Élise could feel a lump in her throat. "We miss you."

Reid spoke up, "But we'll be back tomorrow, okay?"

Séraphine's coos turned to fussy cries, signaling that she's either tired or misses Élise and Reid. Or both.

"Aw," Jessica comforted, "It's okay, Séraphine."

"We, uh…we'll let you all get going," Élise whispered, hoping she wouldn't break down and cry.

"Night-night!"

Reid and Élise said together, "Good night. Love you."

Élise tossed her cell phone in her bag and placed her hand on her throat, "Oh, God…"

"She's fine, Lise." Reid eased her worries. "Tomorrow, we'll see her."

"I know." Élise gave Reid a lip kiss. "I know. I'm such a worrywart."

In an impulse moment, Reid scooped Élise up and walked her up the stairs, "And I know what'll ease those worries."


"Hubba-hubba," Reid couldn't take his eyes off Élise when she walked out of the bathroom. She looked like an enchanted golden goddess with her long hand-embroidered robe covering her body. He soon felt something tightly in a particular area when she started playing with the belt.

"This is bringing back memories for you?" Élise coquettishly asked Reid, who looked so sexy in his yellow gold boxers.

"Mm-mmm." All Reid could do was nod his head.

As she slowly walked to Reid, removing her robe and letting it fall on the ground, revealing a yellow gold embroidered bra and panties set, and crawled into bed next to him,

"Now…how would you like to…?"

Reid immediately pulled Élise into a kiss before going under the soft covers.

Chapter Text

"Maeve! Bobby!" Elise and Reid acknowledged Maeve and Bobby with BJ as they stepped into the house.

"Hey, you two." Maeve happily greeted the couple as she was bouncing BJ in her arms. "Don't you three look mighty festive for the 4th of July." Maeve admired the Bastien-Reid couple's red, white, and blue attire and Séraphine's flag dress with a tutu and bow headband.

Reid replied, "As do BJ."

"We're making it work." Bobby adjusted BJ's flag-themed tall hat, "God Bless the United States of America."


After a couple of hours of snapshotting pictures of them with their USA flags, painting, watching movies, and eating some barbecue, Reid and Bobby were cooking up one last round of barbecue while Elise and Maeve were chilling in the living room with Séraphine and BJ.

Elise said as she was feeding Séraphine. "Drink up, little girl."

"Drink up, so you can get big and strong, BJ," Maeve said to BJ.

Reid and Bobby walked out of the kitchen with a plate of vegetables.

"We got some more grilled veggies." Bobby set the plate down on the coffee table; Elise helped herself to a piece of asparagus as Maeve helped herself to a carrot.

"Thank you, honey."

"Love you." Maeve and Bobby kissed, and Bobby kissed BJ's face, "I love you, too, little buddy." Bobby's eyes widened when BJ's eyes widened.

Reid sat down next to Elise and picked up Séraphine's red, white, and blue handprint and footprint to celebrate her 1st 4th of July.

Elise looked at the picture as well, "Aw, isn't that cute?" Elise flattered.

Bobby sat down next to Maeve and embraced her as he asked Reid,

"So, Spencer. What are you doing during your sabbatical?"

Reid answered, "I'm just taking a break from work and being a stay-at-home father to Fifi while my wife acts as the sole breadwinner and takes down the unsubs via the law. Especially since she spent three months mothering her."

Bobby chuckled, "Well, that's a good thing; everyone needs a break."

"I know what you mean," Maeve giggled, "I've been thinking about taking some more time off, but to perhaps write a book."

"Ooh," Elise sounded interested. "What kind of book?"

"A kid-friendly book on genetics," Maeve responded. "It's all about genetics; from DNA to genes, traits in people, plants, animals. I got down a few rough drafts, and it's still in process, but I think it could be a good idea. Kids being entertained while learning about genetics."

Elise pouted her lips to think for a moment before saying, "I'd read that."

"I would, too."


"Okay, Fifi." Reid was sitting on the living room floor, playing with Séraphine, who was on her playmat; Opal curiously watching them from the corner. "Can you do this?"

Reid attempted to do his best angry and frowning face, knowing at this stage, Séraphine likes to use her face to make a wide range of emotions. Making a growl, he saw Séraphine crunching her face together. He almost smirked when he pulls out his cell phone and takes a picture of her scrunched face; she just looked so cute doing that.

Crouching down to her size and shaking his head again, "Okay, now. How about this one?"

Reid placed his hands on his cheeks and did his best Home Alone Kevin McCallister surprised face. Reid smiled again when Séraphine made an open-mouth surprised face. Laughing as he picked her up, "Oh, aren't you cute?"

The front door opened, and it was Élise who had just walked in.

"Hi, everyone."

Reid's mouth opened and waved Séraphine's hand, "It's mommy."

Séraphine's eyes lit up like a Christmas tree when she saw Élise and began kicking her legs and wiggling her arms in the air, excitingly cooing. Reid noted, "I guess Fifi wants Mama to hold her."

Élise gently took Séraphine from Reid's arms and smooched her face, "Hi, my little Fifi. I miss you, oh." Smooching her face again, tenderly wiping her lipstick marks from her face. "Oh, sorry if I'm getting my lipstick on your pretty little face, but I can't help it if you're just so kissable." Élise began kissing Séraphine again, making her giggle and coo joyfully.

Reid laughed, "And me?"

Élise gave Reid a sly smile before giving him a lip kiss. "I can never about you."

Opal curled up to Élise's legs; Élise scratches behind her ears, "And you, Opal girly-girl."


Élise looked at the black-and-white anniversary pictures she, Reid, and Séraphine took some time ago and instantly smiled. Élise placed some of the pictures in a big memory book just as Reid snuck up from behind her and comforted her, kissing the top of her head.

"I think you were a male model in a past life," Élise commented.

Reid chuckled in response. "An entire year. And within that year, we have the most precious, wonderful, and delightful oversized vat of delicious bubbliness of a little girl."

"Yeah. Those are some of the best words to describe our Sera-Fifi." Élise giggled; she turned a page and got to the pictures with Séraphine alone. "Look at our little supermodel, working it." She snapped her fingers. "Maybe she could be a baby model."

"She's still in diapers, Lise." Reid cocked his head and gently smiled, "There's plenty of time for her to think about what she wants to be when she grows up. Plus, I don't think you want to be one of the overbearing stage moms who controls everything she does."

"I know," Élise agreed. Her head downturned, and she could feel her eyes getting moist, her chin trembled. "She really is growing up so fast, and I'm going to keep saying that until the day I die." Heavily exhaling, "You know we had this conversation before, but I really do worry. My biggest fear is outliving her. Us having to bury our child."

Reid trembly sighed, "I know. But nothing's going to happen to her. She has two badass feds for parents; one who takes down the unsubs and one who throws the book at them."

Élise lightly laughed, "I like when you say badass."

They engaged in a light, but adoring kiss.


"Ahh!" Séraphine's face was getting red, and she waved her arms in the air as she was fussy about getting her dirty diaper changed.

"I'm almost done, Fifi," Reid exclaimed, trying to match the volume of his voice with her cries. "Almost…there."

Séraphine immediately calmed down once the fresh diaper was on her little waist. "It's not too tight on you, huh?"

Séraphine started smiling when she was in Reid's arms, which made him instantly smile. Talking to her, looking her deep in the eye. "I know you don't like having your diaper changed, but you don't want diaper rash again, do you?"

Séraphine firmly grasped Reid's nose, making him laugh just as Élise walked in. She coyly asked, "I'm not interrupting diaper changing, am I?"

"We're good," Reid answered as he bounced Séraphine in his arms. "She hates having her diaper changed."

"Who doesn't?" Élise tickled Séraphine's tummy, causing her to release babble and coo, even giggling.


"Hello again, Dr. Kelly," Élise walked in with Séraphine in her arms and Reid behind them.

"Hello again." Dr. Pierce waved and smiled at the three when they walked into her office and closed the door behind them. "Here for another checkup and some follow-ups for her vaccinations." She picks up her clipboard on the table as Élise and Reid sat down with Séraphine on Élise's lap. Dr. Pierce happily asked them, "How is everyone today?"

"We're all good, even this little bugger," Élise answered and motioned her head to Séraphine, who began sucking on her fingers before solely on her thumb.

Dr. Pierce grinned at the sight of Séraphine sucking her thumb. "Babies sucking on their thumbs at this stage is a self-soothing sign, and there are reasons why they do that. Boredom, keep their anxiety at bay, environmental coping, even asserting their independence, so you don't have to worry about it."

"However, thumb sucking can potentially interrupt the correct alignment of her teeth, leading to teeth problems later in her life, and it can be a hard habit to kick out," said Reid.

Dr. Kelly agreed, nodding her head, "Absolutely, but most infants grow out of it without any intervention needed, so…just keep that thought in mind." Moving onto the next topic, "Now… still breastfeeding, Élise?"

"Yup." Élise nodded her head.

Dr. Pierce questioned again, "Sleeping on her back."

"Definitely," Reid replied.

"Tummy time?"

Élise snapped her fingers, "Great."

Dr. Pierce questioned, "Sleep patterns?"

"Like clockwork," Élise responded.

"Social and emotional milestones?"

Reid rambled, "She loves to hold, grasp, mimic, smile, laugh, cry, urinate, waste, coo, bond, play, babble wander, watch, see. She can sit up with support, and she just rolled over from her belly to her back."

Dr. Pierce gushed when Reid mentioned the last part. "Oh, I remember the first time Shiloh rolled over from his belly to his back. It was just so cute and adorable."

Élise beamed, "I know."

Chapter Text

Reid was in the bullpen, reorganizing his desk for the third time since he returned to the BAU. He takes a thoroughly good look at his workspace: books neatly stacked, his papers in the drawers categorized, his computer free from any kind of dust or germs after giving it a serious cleaning, even though he rarely uses it and likes to keep it old-school.

He gave himself a single head nod in approval before realizing something was missing.

Something to make it more…

A lightbulb lit up.

Reaching into his leather satchel, he pulled out a black-framed photograph of his and Élise's families after the birth of Séraphine and placed it near his books.

He smiled to himself with pride, "Perfect."

"Aww!" He heard footsteps and voices said behind him. "Would you look at that?"

"Isn't that just sweet?" Morgan gushed and placed his hand on Reid's shoulder, smiling aside with him. "Look at you, pretty daddy. You have a little piece of home with you at work. To remind you of why what you do. And that is to make the world a better and happier place. And, of course, make you smile when things get tough."

Reid shook his head again, "Yup."

Garcia soon stood beside Morgan and spurted with overjoy; her jaw dropped. "Oh, my…I'm so proud of you, Spencer!"

Rossi grabbed ahold of Reid's head and kissed it, "Congratulazioni, papà."

"Congrats, dad." Seaver offered her kudos to Reid.

Reid could almost feel a lump in his throat, swallowing it, "Thank you, everyone."

"So, pretty smart, dad." Morgan patted down Reid's shoulders again, chuckling before asking him, "What do you plan to do for Élise's first Mother's Day?"

Reid shrugged his shoulders, "I don't know."

"Well," Rossi spoke up, fixing up his tie, "I have an idea for you. I remember when I was getting into my teens, I started cooking my Nona's signature dish, spaghetti alla carbonara."

Morgan reminisced a childhood memory, "I remember being in school, making a card in art class for my mother. Her face lit up every time I gave it to her."

"I always remember just hanging out with my mother at the park," Garcia recollected. "We would have a picnic; we'd pick out flowers." She let out a laugh, "We'd even sing. She and my stepfather were such hippies, and I was their little flower child."

Seaver recalled, "My mother and I would spend the day together; shop, get a mani-pedi, talk to each other."

"Point is, as long as Élise has you and Séraphine, that's all that matters, right?" Rossi replied.

Reid broadly smiled, "Thanks."

"Anytime." Morgan pulled him into a manly hug. "Just be lucky we're not charging you for the advice." Morgan eyed Hotch walking out of his office and into the conference roundtable room.

Seaver groaned, "Looks like we have another case."

"Let's get to it," Rossi suggested and replied to Reid, "And don't forget about your own mother. You wouldn't want her to think she doesn't matter to me."

"I have an eidetic memory," Reid reminded Rossi. "I could never forget about her, and she never forgets about me. I'm her only child."

Rossi rolled his eyes in annoyance, even though he's used to Reid's supreme intelligence and abilities.


"Good." Hotch looked down at his watch and nodded his head before grabbing his go-bag. "Let's get to North Carolina."

Reid opened the door for him, and just as he was following Hotch to the elevator, he decided to ask him, "Hey, Hotch?"

Hotch heard him about to ask him a question, "Mmm?"

"What did you do for Haley for her first Mother's Day with Jack?" Reid questioned him as he and Hotch stepped into the elevator.

Hotch heavily sighed, already thinking about what more he could have done to not only save his marriage with her but saved her from meeting her fatal fate with George 'The Reaper' Foyet. "I made it all about her and Jack. I took care of all of Jack's diapers, let her take an afternoon nap, cooked her a nice dinner, had a little home photo section. That day was all about her and Jack, so I wanted her to know she and Jack were being celebrated, that they were special, and they mattered, especially since it was their first Mother's Day. My advice to you: make the day about them." The elevator doors opened, and Hotch mentions before stepping out, "And don't forget about your own mother."

Reid snickered before stepping off.


Sheriff Montell thanked the team for their help in the Robert Bremmer case; everyone packed up their bags and headed out of the station.

"Sheriff Montell was right; the world's better off without Bremmer," Morgan replied.

"Mm-mmm," Rossi agreed. "I will drink to that once I get home and play some Tony Bennett."

"Now I know what to do for Élise's first Mother's Day," Reid commented, thinking of the advice he's been given by everyone.

Rossi wondered, "What do you plan to do?"

"Make them special." Reid winked. "Make the holiday all about them."


The night before Mother's Day…

"It's time for beddy-bye, little girl," Reid whispered to Séraphine after she's been fed and cleaned. "It's time to lay down now." Gently placing Séraphine in her crib, "Oh."

Séraphine yawned and rubbed her eyes with her tiny balled-up fists.

Reid smiled, touching one of her fists with his index finger; caressing it, he said to her, "Try and sleep through the whole night, okay? Because tomorrow's a special day for mommy. And you, of course." Reid kisses her forehead and tiptoes out of her nursery to let her sleep.

And runs into Élise, already clothed in a silk satin pink nightgown. Élise took a quick peek inside Séraphine. She can not smile at the sight of seeing Séraphine asleep.

"Oh." Élise shakingly exhaled, "Tomorrow will be my first Mother's Day with her. I can't wait."

Reid chuckled, "Wait for the surprises I have for you tomorrow." He takes her hand and kisses her palm. "I'm going to treat you and Séraphine like royalty."

Élise growled seductively as she wraps her arms around Reid's waist, "You always do."

"Still…" Reid kissed her lips. "It'll be both your day."


"Good morning, sunshine."

Élise's straight-line lips turned into a small smile when she immediately recognized Reid's soft voice. She let out a groan and blinked her eyes a few times. Wrinkling her nose before getting a whiff of what she was smelling, she looked down. She stared at the tray of food on her lap: consisting of a Belgian waffle, a slice of mixed berry French toast with cinnamon, Eggs Benedict with spinach, a tall glass of water, a mug filled with orange juice, and a small vase filled with carnations.

Élise's mouth opened; she looked up, stared at Reid's joyful face, and carried Séraphine in his arms.

"Happy Mother's Day," Reid said with his eyes sparkling and wide, bouncing Séraphine; Opal dashes into the room and licks Élise's face, causing her to giggle.

Élise could feel the happy tears coming down from her eyes. "Oh. Thank you so much." She opens her arms out, signaling Reid that she wanted to hold Séraphine. "Come to mama, baby." Élise soon began smooching Séraphine's face, causing her to yelp and squeal. "You didn't have to do all this, baby." Élise blushed as she stroked Opal's fur and made her purr.

Reid gave Élise a loving kiss on the lips, "It's your first Mother's Day." Reid kissed Séraphine's face next and tapped her nose. "As I said, this day is about you and Fifi." He points to the white mug, "Look."

Élise turned the mug, and her jaw dropped again.

It was a picture of Élise holding Séraphine and Mom Est. 2011 written in black letters.

"Oh." Élise felt a lump in her throat. Swallowing it before taking a sip of orange juice. "That's so sweet, honey." Élise reminds Reid, "But you better make sure you say Happy Mother's Day to Mama D, or she'll scratch your eyes out." Élise jokingly wagged her finger.

Reid laughed but playfully retorted, "I won't; I have an eidetic memory."

"Your daddy loves to say that," Élise whispered in Séraphine's ears.


"Yeah, Fifi," Reid said to Séraphine as he placed her painted hand on the vibrant crafted card he was making for Élise. "There you go…that's good. Good job, Fifi!" Turning Séraphine around to make her face him. "Do you think mommy will like her present?"

Séraphine yelp and wiggled her painted fingers around, getting it on Reid's face. She cutely blows a raspberry at him, which made him snicker.

"Yeah, I think so, too."


Élise began reading the poem inside the vivid card in the presence of Reid, Séraphine, and Opal.

"M is for the wonderful and joyful memories we're going to have for the rest of our lives. O is for being the most open-hearted person I've ever met. And M is the magic that has come and brought us together as one. Happy Mother's Day."

Élise fanned her eyes, feeling the tear ducts in her eyes, especially when she saw Reid's, Séraphine's signatures, even Opal's little scratch mark in the lower corner. "Oh, you all."

Reid and Élise lovingly kissed before kissing Séraphine. They could never get tired of that.

Not even Opal licking their faces.


Reid hurried to open the front door. He already had an instant smile on his face; just as he answered it,

"Mom."

Diana was clothed in a long dark dress, lightweight cardigan sweater, and her favorite handwoven straw shoulder bag. With her was a petite red-hair woman in blue scrubs.

"Spencer, baby!"

Diana rushed to hug her only child and rained attention on him. "Oh, it's so good to see you."

"Mmm," Reid was always happy to see his mother. Especially since this was a much better idea than Skype, even if he did have Dr. Norman's approval. Plus, Reid's still not much of a techie. And according to Dr. Norman himself, Diana 'didn't want to talk to her son through a video chat and look as if he's been taken by the government.'

Reid thanked Dr. Norman as he was the one who suggested that his mother visit him instead, especially with him raving about Diana's progress, how she's lately been, and believes mothers should be with their children, especially on Mother's Day.

Acknowledging the nurse, "And thank you, Laura."

Laura smiled, "Anytime, Dr. Reid."

"I'll take care of her; you go be with your family," Reid said.

"Thank you, and Happy Mother's Day." She soon left; Reid grabbed his mother's overnight bag and placed it away in the guest bedroom. Diana anxiously rubs her hands together, itching to ask,

"Oh, where are my loving daughter-in-law and granddaughter?"

"Shh," Reid placed his index finger over his lips. "They're napping right now."

"Oh," Diana lowered her voice. "Sorry, baby. Oh. I just still can't get over the fact that you're a father to a beautiful baby girl."

Reid's face glowed and chipperly said, "They are an absolute joy."

"Are you treating them well?"

Reid answered, nodding his head, "Yes, ma'am."

"Well, that's good," She soon whispered in his ear, "Because I still want some more grandchildren."

"Mom," Reid chuckled, "Élise just gave birth 10 weeks ago."

Diana corrected, "In the future. I don't want you to rush it, but I still want some more grandchildren from you, or I'll scratch your eyes out."

Reid tittered again before giving his mother another hug, "I'm just so happy you're here for Mother's Day."

Diana lightly smiled, hugging him back, "I know, baby. And Happy Mother's Day to you as well."

"Happy Mother's Day to you as well." Diana smoothly said before she panicked and began ranting, "Oh, no. Did the government capture you, Élise, and Séraphine? Because I knew it would be a matter of time before…"

"No-no!" Reid reassured her. "No. Remember what Dr. Norman told you. We agreed to Skype, so you and I can have a good Mother's Day."

"Oh," Diana began calming down. "Well, then. Forget what just happened then."

Reid chuckled; he's used to his mother's panics.

"So, what's going on with my lovely daughter-in-law and granddaughter?"

Reid's face glowed and chipperly said, "They are an absolute joy."

"Are you treating them well?" Diana sweetly asked before lowly growling, "I'll scratch your eyes out if you're not."


Reid spent the next hour and a half with his mom. He made her some food and afterward read Margery Kemp together, chatting about childhood memories and memories that made them laugh, cry, and reflect. Then some exceptional guests joined in.

"Hi!"

Élise and Séraphine walked into the living room with Opal following them and cuddled Reid's legs. Seeing them all together made Diana get teary-eyed.

"Oh, my girls." Diana immediately hugged Élise and gushes to Séraphine. "Hello again, sweetie pie. Let me hold her. I need to hold my granddaughter." Diana soothingly embraces Séraphine in her arms. "Oh. What eyes do you have? You have your daddy's eyes. You know that?"

Reid beamed at Élise.

"And you have your mommy's pretty smile." Diana widely smiled.

Élise radiated back at Reid.

For the next few hours, the four of them had a little photo section; Reid and Élise, and even Diana, took turns being the photographers and took pictures of each other. Then, Diana, Reid, Élise, and even Séraphine and Opal danced to Bob Dylan songs and watched old-school movies.


"Okay, pretty little girl," Élise tucked Séraphine into her crib and kisses her. "Time for beddy-bye. I know you can't understand me yet, but, uh…I want to thank you for giving me such a good first Mother's Day."

Séraphine sheepishly yawned and rubbed her eyes, making Élise grin. Caressing her face before kissing it again, "I love you so much."

Walking backward to leave her nursery and blows a kiss. "Sweet dreams."

Closing the door before her, she looked down and sees rose petals and a note by the door. Picking it up and reading the note:

The roses will lead the way to your destination.

Élise followed the path of the roses and noticed all the lights in the house were off. She sensed something, but it was nothing bad. If it were, Opal would be barking nonstop, but Élise noticed she was peacefully sleeping in her pen. Élise stopped where the rose petals ended, and a gasp escaped from her mouth.

It was a candlelit dinner, and Reid was dressed in a tux, holding a bouquet of carnations in his hand.

Élise felt so undressed in her silk lace nightgown, but it was her day.

"Spencer…"

Reid approached her and gave Élise her bouquet and a kiss. "It's still your day. And I wanted to surprise you with a fantastic meal." Reid pulls out her chair and gently pushes her in.

"What's for dinner?" Élise asked as she noticed the silver lids.

Removing his and Élise's lids, "Roasted chicken with fettuccine, colorful vegetable side salad, and carrot cake. And…" Reid opens a small navy-color box with yellow ribboning and pulls out a small gold necklace with Mama engraved on the pendant. Putting the necklace on for her,

"I don't tell you I love you enough." Élise shined.

Reid commented, "I already know."

They passionately kissed.


After checking in on his mother, Reid closed the bedroom door behind him. Élise looked up from her phone after receiving another text from her mother, wishing each other a Happy Mother's Day. She soon asked him, "How's Mama D?"

"She's good," Reid crawled into bed. "Still sleeping."

Élise exhausted, "Well, that's good. Thank you, God she didn't have an episode."

"I was worried about that as well," Reid bitterly admits. "I'll never stop worrying about that."

Élise placed her hand on his shoulder and consoled him, "I know. I know." Exhaling again, and wiped a tear from her eye. "My first Mother's Day went perfectly. Memories to remember."

"And speaking of remembering," Reid opened and closed the beside drawer after pulling out a multicolored handmade photo memory and giving it to her.

"Aw," Élise oozed at the photo book. "Is this a memory book?" Opening it, her mouth opened, and she gasped. "Aw. Séraphine's first photograph." Flipping the page again, "Her first bath. Her first cry. Even her first laugh."

Reid grinned, "Her first diaper changing."

"Why do I keep having these headrushes?" Élise pressed her hand to her head. "Oh, God." Closing the book, shutting and setting it on her bedside table, she looked to Reid and said,

"Thank you for this amazing Mother's Day."

Reid let out a chuckle, "Happy Mother's Day, mama."

Reid and Élise hooked in a wistful kiss.

Chapter Text

"Aw…" Reid gushed at Séraphine being able to sit upright and adequately hold her head. "Look at you." Taking pictures of her with his silver camera. Squatting down in front of her, "What do you plan to do now? Do a push-up for me?" He mimics a deep masculine voice, almost impersonating Morgan, "My little bodybuilder."

Séraphine let out this loud gurgle-filled laughter as she looked at Reid, making him laugh as well. Soon Opal woke up from her nap and immediately walked over to lick Reid's cheek before sniffing Séraphine and licking her, releasing her joyful baby laugh and for Reid to capture it with his camera.

"You just love to lick, don't you?" Reid patted Opal's head just as the front door opened. Reid turned to see,

"Honey!"

Élise exhaled as she entered the house, placing her briefcase aside and moving a piece of her chin-length hair behind her ear. Élise smiles once she saw Reid playing with Séraphine and Opal.

"Hello, darlings."

Reid grinned, "How are you doing?"

"Good." Élise opened the door again, "I have a surprise for you." Gesturing the person to come inside now. "Come on in."

"Hi!"

Jack dashed into the house with Jessica trailing behind, carrying two bags with her. Reid's eyes widen when he saw Jack,

"Hi, little man."

Jack hugged Reid and noticed Séraphine, waving to her, "Hi-hi, Fifi."

Séraphine beamed at the sight of Jack.

Jack stroked down on Opal's fur, "Hi, Opie."

Opal licked Jack's cheek. Placing his hand over it, "Aw. I miss you, too, O-pal."

Élise and Jessica simpered at this beautiful moment. Jessica licked her lips together before telling Élise as she had her Jack's bags, "And thank you two for watching him for me this weekend. I know this upcoming Sunday is Father's Day and with Aaron in Pakistan, but I…"

Élise understood the situation, "Spen and I totally get it."

Jessica smiled again as she gave her a warm hug, "Oh, thank you." Jessica soon hugs Jack, "Mmm. Be good for Élise and Spencer, okay?"

Jack obediently nodded his head, "Okay."

Jessica looked at Jack deep in the eyes, "I promise to call you as much as I can, okay?"

"I'll be back Monday morning." Jessica ruffled his hair before blowing a kiss, "Goodbye-bye."

"Bye." Everyone waved Jessica goodbye and watched her take off in her car. Turning their attention back to Jack,

"So, Apple Jacks..." Élise placed her hands on her knees and asked, "What do you want to do?"

Jack simply asked, "May I play with Fifi, please?"

"Of course, you can," Reid answered before offering, "Maybe we could order a pizza and watch a movie as well?"

Jack excitedly jumped up and down, "Yay!"

"I'll order the pizza," Élise pulled out her cell phone, "And perhaps we could watch…"

Almost dropping her phone, Élise's jaw gaped and gasped before a grin broad on her face, eagerly pointing her finger in the direction where she was pointing to, "Spencer, look!"

Reid gasped as well when he realized, "Fifi! You're…you're…"

Élise completed Reid's sentence for him, "You're crawling."

Reid frantically turned on the video button on his camera, "Actually, she's scooting, which is an almost borderline baby crawling but yeah!" Reid could feel a lump developing in his throat and his eyes getting murky. "You go, Fifi!"

Jack cheered, "Woo-hoo, Fifi!"


"Okay," Reid was getting Jack into bed; Élise had just finished bathing Séraphine just as he set up a little surprise for him. "And…here we go." Giving Jack a tablet,

"Hi, buddy."

Jack's face lit up, and he smiled, "Daddy!"

"How are you?"

"Good."

Hotch noticed Reid in the background as he sat next to Jack, "Hey, Reid."

"Hey." Reid waved to Hotch. "How's it like overseas?"

"Ah, it's hot and dry, but I'm used to it." Hotch replied before asking him, "How's being a stay-at-home dad?"

Reid was delightfully happy, "Everything's going well; Élise loves being Mama Bear."

"And you're Papa Wolf?" Hotch teased, making Reid and Jack laugh.

"Yeah, I'm Papa Wolf." Reid's laughter eased down before showing him a video of Séraphine scooting for the first time. "Look here."

"Aw," Hotch grinned. "And pretty soon, she'll be crawling, then toddling, walking. Well, that's wonderful." Now Hotch's voice became somber. "Jack, I'm sorry I won't be able to be there with you for Father's Day this weekend. I know, but…"

"That's okay," Jack was understanding, shrugging his shoulders before placing his hand on Reid's shoulder, "I have Uncle Spencer with me."

"I'll try as much as I possibly can to communicate with you. Even if I'm 10 hours ahead of you."

Reid replied, "It's almost eight o'clock here, and it's six in the morning over there."

"Thank you for proving my point." Hotch comments before he looked down at his watch, "I have to get going since I have a big meeting, so…good night, buddy."

"I love you, dad." Jack cried, waving to him.

Hotch softly smirked, "I love you, too."

Jack blew a kiss to him before the Skype call ended. Handing the tablet back to Reid,

"Okay, you." Reid tucked the comforters over Jack a little bit more before turning off the main light for the nightlight. "Good night."

"Night!"


"Okay," Élise walked out of the kitchen with a large bowl of freshly popped popcorn and a small walkie-talkie. "Popcorn's ready. And Fifi's taking her nap right now," She joined Reid and Jack on the couch; Opal joined them as well.

"Which movie, Jack?" Reid held up two movie DVDs in his hands, "Toy Story or Up?"

Jack picked, "Up, please!"

"Okay," Reid set up the DVD players while Élise asked Jack,

"So, Jack-Jack," Élise place her arm around him. "What do you want to do for Father's Day?"

Jack shrugged his shoulders, "I don't know. Daddy's not here to celebrate with me."

"Aw," Élise's head downturned, ruffling his hair, "It's alright, little guy. I know it can be hard, but you know your dad loves you more than any time in this entire galaxy."

Jack somberly questioned, "Like mommy, too?"

Both Reid and Élise's eyes widened when Jack mentioned Haley. "Yeah, like mommy too. Your mommy's looking out for you and your dad right now."

Reid had just finished setting up the DVD player and took a seat next to Jack on the couch. "Hey, uh…there are still some fun activities we can do while your dad's overseas."

Jack looked to the two with his big and curious eyes, "Like what?"

Reid moved his shoulders, "What do you and your dad do for Father's Day?"

"Play," Jack said, fiddling with his fingers. "Watch TV and movies. Talk about mommy."

Élise massaged his shoulders, "We can do that for you."

"Really?" Jack's face glowed up and held it high. His eyes flashed, and pupils dilated. "You'd do that for me?"

"Of course." Élise smiled. "We're going to take good care of you."

Jack bounced up and down on the couch, "Oh, thank you!" He hugs them.

"Anytime, buddy."


Reid groaned as he was starting to wake up. He blinked his eyes a few more times and rubbed them. Using his closed fist to cover his mouth, yawning, he soon noticed Élise wasn't in bed with him. Pulling the comforters to the side, he gave his legs a good shake to wake them up before walking into the closet and bathroom, and Élise wasn't there either.

Walking out of the bedroom, he was just about to check in on Jack and Séraphine before his nose caught a whiff of something.

Following that sniff to the kitchen...

"Happy Father's Day!"

Jack took a Polaroid of Reid's surprised face as Élise was carrying Séraphine.

"Oh!" His eyes twinkled, and he flashed a smile. "What a nice surprise!"

Élise giggled, "Well, look at this surprise!"

Reid's jaw cracked open, and his eyes broaden when he saw Séraphine wearing a purple onesie with a picture of him and her from the first time Reid held Séraphine in his arms.

"Oh!" Smooching her face. "Don't you look pretty?"

Jack handed the Polaroid picture he just took of Reid to him, "Here you go."

"Aw, thank you, Jack." Reid hugged him before the two of them sat down with their plates in front of them. He soon asked Élise, who was placing Séraphine in her swing. "Wow. What a meal you cooked here."

Reid's plate contained a Belgian blueberry waffle, a chocolate chip pancake, an Eggs Benedict, mixed fruit, two bacon strips, a slice of coffee cake, and a big chocolate donut with sprinkles. "Thank you very much, lovely." Reid kisses Élise's lips.

"Anytime, sweetness." Élise cheekily smiled.

"Mmm," Jack licked his lips after eating a spoonful of oatmeal. "Thank you for this oatmeal."

"Of course, kid-o!" Élise petted Jack on his head. "I know it's not like how your old man, Auntie Jessica, or mother would make it, but I'll glad you like it."

Jack shook his head; his mouth was full before helping himself to some orange juice. Élise sat down at the table and ate a bacon strip when Reid asked,

"Hey, Jack. Would you like to watch a movie lately after breakfast?"

"Can we do it after I talk to my dad, please?" Jack politely asked.

"Of course." Reid agreed before sipping some orange juice. "There's plenty of things we can do for Father's Day."


After everyone had their breakfast, while Élise gave Séraphine a quick bath and changed her diaper, Reid sets up the Skype videocall for Jack; and now they've been talking the past hour and a half.

Hotch heavily sighed, "I'm so sorry again I can't be with you today."

"I made you a picture for Father's Day." Jack shows his father a colorful drawn picture. "To make you feel better today, so you'll be here with me in spirit." Jack pointed to the people in his drawing. "That's you. And me. and that's mommy right there."

Reid could see Hotch was absolutely touched by the drawing Jack drew. He could even see a tear falling from Hotch's eye and his mouth wobbling, breathlessly telling him, "Aw. It's so beautiful."

"Thank you, daddy." Jack giggled.

Hotch asked Reid, "So, what do you guys have planned today?"

Reid answered, "Watch some movies, maybe go bowling or the park and play."

"Sounds like you guys have a very busy ahead of you, huh?" Hotch chuckled before a yawn escaped him, "I have to get going, buddy. We'll talk more today, and you can tell me how your day went, okay?"

"Okay, daddy." Jack waved. "I love you."

"I love you, too."

After their video call ended, Jack gave Reid back the tablet and sighed, staring blankly at the comforters. Comforting Jack,

"Hey," Reid used his hand to lift Jack's head gently. "I meant what I said. We're going to do some fun things today."

"Can we get started right now?" Jack openly asked.

Reid chuckled, "Let the fun begin."


Reid and Jack took their showers within the next thirty minutes, brushed their teeth, colored, and watched The Lion King movie. Reid and Jack headed out to the backyard for some more Father's Day fun.

"Okay, buddy." Reid and Jack were now working on a little project. They were making a volcano using 10 ml of dish soap, 100 ml of cold water, 400 ml of white vinegar, food coloring, baking soda, and an empty 2-liter soda bottle, "Combine the vinegar."

Jack fiddled with the red goggles, "Added the vinegar."

"Next on the list: add the water." Reid handed Jack the 100 ml bottle of water for him to put in the 2-liter soda bottle.

Jack added the water, "Water in."

"Dish soap."

"Check." Jack poured the dishwater in.

"And food coloring," Reid gently added two drops of red food coloring. "Let's not forget the food coloring."

Jack asked, "Why do we need food coloring? It's not like we're going to drink it."

Giggling, Reid answered, "To give our experiment some color. You don't want it to be bland, do you?"

He soon gave Jack a spoon to mix in the baking soda. "And…we'll stir until it's liquid and…now…"

"What's next?"

"Baking soda!" After Reid quickly poured in the baking soda slurry in the soda bottle, he pulls Jack away and watched for it to erupt.

"It's gonna blow!" Jack cried, clutching his goggles.

And soon, a giant soapy bubble erupted from the soda water.

"Cool!" Jack exclaimed; some of the red 'lava' got on his clothes, jumping up and down. "How did that happen?"

Reid explained, taking off his goggles, "A chemical reaction with the vinegar and the baking soda created carbon dioxide. It's a gas that is used to make carbonated soda."

"Ooh!" With a sparkle in his eyes, "Can we do it again, please?"

Before Reid could answer Jack's question, Élise walked into the backyard and said,

"Come on in, boys." Élise cried, waving her arms for Reid and Jack to come in. "It's lunchtime."

As they walked inside, Reid patted Jack on his shoulder and said to him, "Let's go inside and eat, and maybe we'll do another one, okay."

Jack shook his head, "Okay."

Reid and Jack walked in with a taco bar on the kitchen counters, from mixed vegetables to seasoned ground beef and pulled chicken, soft and hard tortillas, salsa, and cheese. Élise sat at the table, eating a soft veggie taco as she was cradling Séraphine in her baby wrap.

Reid asked Jack, "Would you like me to help you make a taco?"

Jack looked up and answered him, "Yes?"

Élise took another bite of her taco before looking down to Séraphine, softly cooing. Élise giggled and gently tapped her nose and kisses her face. Reid set his plate down and kisses Séraphine's face.

"Aw," Reid chuckled. "Isn't she precious?"

"Yeah," Élise nodded her head and tapped Séraphine's nose again. "And judging by her little yawn, I'm going to put her down for her nap…"

KNOCK-KNOCK-KNOCK!

"Who would that be?" Reid pondered.

Élise gestured her shoulders up-and-down, "Well, I did order something on Amazon, so maybe…"

They opened the door.

Reid's eyes enlarged, and his mouth cracked open and whispered, "Dad…"

William Reid stood in front of them with a small smile and his bags in his hands.

A still surprised Élise asked him, "What are you doing here, Papa Reid?" She correctly guesses, "Are you here for Father's Day?"

Nervously shaking his head, William stammered, "I…thought it would be a nice gesture. So, may I…?"

"Absolutely." Reid signaled him to come inside the house and took his bags for him. "Come in. I'll put your bags away."

As Reid went to put his bags away, "Oh, it's so good to see you all again," William gave Élise a heartfelt hug before his eyes glazed at Séraphine. "Hi, Séraphine. It's grandpa." He strokes her head, "You do remember me?"

Séraphine yawned again, making William wide smile again.

"She needs to take her nap, so…." Élise said, snuggling her.

William agreed, "I get it. Understandable."

Élise smiled at William and gave him another hug, telling him, "It really is great to see you again, William."

"Same here."

Élise left to take Séraphine down for her second nap just as Reid comes back. "I put your bags away, and just so you know, my boss's son, Jack, is staying here for this weekend. His dad's away in Pakistan for work, and his Aunt's on a business trip for the weekend.

"So, you offered to look after him this weekend," William said. "That's very noble of you."

"Thanks." Reid soon asked his father, "Are you hungry? We're having tacos for lunch."

William rubbed his stomach. "As a matter of fact, I am."


"Can you say, grandpa?" William goofily asked Séraphine. "Can you say grandpa, Séraphine? Grand…pa. Papa. Paw-Paw."

Séraphine babyishly giggled and waves her arms in the air; Élise watches this conversation with Séraphine and William as she was taking some Polaroids. Élise sees Reid and Jack walk into the living room with a Captain America-themed kite, "Hey, you two."

"How is everyone?"

William laughed, "Séraphine's such a little angel. I think she's enjoying my company."

"And by the look on her face, Séraphine loves you." Reid stroked Séraphine's head before noticing her yawn. "And now, she needs her third nap."

Élise agreed, "Definitely." Soothingly taking Séraphine back into her arms and suggesting to them, "Why don't you guys head on down to the park and play? I packed you guys some snacks in the kitchen. You can take Opal with you, and while Fifi's napping, I'll make you guys a Father's Day dinner."

Reid liked the idea, "Okay," Reid calls out for Opal, coolly relaxing in the corner, "Come on, Opal."

"Okay," William said as he kisses Séraphine's head and rose from the couch. Waving her, "Bye."

Reid walked around the couch and kissed Élise's lips and Séraphine's forehead, "Love you as well."

Élise joked, "You kids have fun but don't have too much fun, okay?"


It's been almost an hour, and while Jack spent most of the time flying his new Captain America kite with Reid and his father's help with holding the kite and holding the string, Opal was hanging out with some of the other black Labradors. After eating some of the snacks Élise packed for them, Jack was now playing fetch with Opal; Reid and William watched them having fun.

"Look at them," Reid chuckled. "I swear, Opal can play fetch for hours until she gets tired. And believe me, she can." Reid soon asked his dad, "And speaking of pets, how's your cat?"

William sighed, "Haven passed away."

Reid's mouth opened, "I'm sorry to hear that."

"Thanks, but it's okay." William meekly jerked his shoulders, "She's been sick for a long time. At least I know she's over the rainbow bridge."

"Now you got me worrying about Opal," Reid reminisced when Rossi came by the house nearly two years ago with baby Opal in his hands. "Like kids, pets can grow up so fast."

William shakingly let a tear fall from his eye; Reid noticed this when his father wipes his eye down, prompting Reid to ask him, "Are you okay?"

William rapidly blinked his eyes and reached into his pants pocket, and pulled out his wallet. And reaches for a small photo before giving it to Reid.

It was a picture of his father and Reid as a young boy.

"Wow." Reid breathlessly said. Looking to him, "You kept this after all these years."

William pulled out more small photographs, including one of him and a newborn Reid.

"You being born was the best day of my life. To find out you turned out to be an extraordinary child was a bonus. And becoming a grandfather 29 years after I became a father myself…" William choked up. "It's all so much. I'm sorry I wasn't there for you. And I'm going to keep on apologizing to you until the day I die for abandoning you and your mother. Despite your mother's illness and with what happened with Riley Jenkins…" His sigh trembled. "…It was no excuse for leaving you both. And not contacting either one of you. And not seeing you again until seventeen years later."

Reid wiped a tear away, "Yeah. I love you, dad."

"I love you, too."

They share a heartfelt hug.


"Happy Father's Day!"

Élise presented Reid and William Father's Day dinner: tandoori chicken, pasta primavera, coffee, and chocolate-sprinkles donut ice cream sandwiches.

"It wouldn't be Father's Day without some of your favorites, huh, baby?"

Reid rushed to hug and kiss Élise.

"Oh, thank you for this feast we're about to consume."

"Thank you, hubby-wubby." Élise growled, "And Happy First Father's Day to you."


After checking in on his Séraphine, Jack, and his father, Reid walks into his bedroom. Getting into bed, Reid smiled as he looked through the First Father's Day section of the memory book, including the hug Jack took on the Polaroid when Reid and his father weren't looking. Élise left on the bedside.

"Oh…Spencer…"

When he looked up, Reid's eyes flashed, and his pupils dilated. His dropped-and-couldn't-close jaw slowly turned into a broad and dimpled smile.

Élise in a violet floral embroidered tulle push-up bra and matching hipster briefs.

As she walked towards the bed before crawling and cuddling next to Reid,

"I just wanted to give you one last surprise to really make your first Father's Day completion." Élise reached into her bedside table and pulled out a small box. Reid opens it,

"Oh, look at this."

A gold chain with Dada engraved on the pendant.

Élise licked her teeth and whispers to him, "Happy First Father's Day, papa."

Reid whispered back to her, "And thank you for this unforgettable Father's Day, mama."

They embraced in a passionate kiss before pulling the comforters over them.

Chapter Text

"Hi, Jack!" Reid grinned as Jack hugged him as he was holding Séraphine in one arm. He used his other hand to take Séraphine's hand and waved to Jessica, who was in her car and on her way to work. She smiled and waved back at him before driving off. "Are you ready for a fun day?"

Jack happily shook his head. "Uh-huh." Jack wrinkled his nose and asked Reid, "Do I smell something good?"

Élise walked out of the kitchen with a spatula in her hand and a napkin in the other, opening her arms out so Jack could hug her, "Indeed you do, Jack-Jack."

Jack giggled as he hugged Élise, "Hi, Lissy!"

"Hi, little buddy." Élise crouched to his size, "I think you're starting to get taller, huh?" She chuckled as she stroked his short hair, "I made you your favorite breakfast."

Jack gasped and guessed, "Oatmeal and orange juice?"

Élise nodded her head, "Yeah-yeah." Élise gently pushes Jack into the kitchen as she turns her attention to Reid, "Go help yourself to breakfast while I get ready, kay-kay?"

Reid laughed as he taps Séraphine's nose, "I will."

Élise baby-kissed Séraphine's fingers and she and Reid began babbling together as Élise was tickling Séraphine's belly, causing them to giggle. "Keep an eye on Jack-Jack and our growing buggy-bug while I go get ready to bring the law to the bad guy."


After a three-minute shower, skincare routine, and dressed in a black pantsuit and kitten heels, Élise headed back into the kitchen and saw everyone enjoying their breakfast. Including Opal with her meat and potatoes with mixed vegetables breakfast.

"I'm off to work, people," Élise said as she caressed Opal's head. "Yes, I'll miss you, Ops."

Rocking Séraphine in his arms, "Have a good day, my love."

Reid gave Élise a peck on the lips before walking up to Jack, who was still eating his breakfast, "Aw, have a good day."

"Bye!"


While Jack spent the next couple of hours talking to Hotch on the tablet, Reid was in the living room, playing with Séraphine.

"Ahh!" Reid pulled off a funny face: crossing his eyes as he stuck out his tongue.

Séraphine tried her best to pull off a funny face, "Ohh!"

This made Reid giggle anyway.

Jack had just into the living room and joined in, "Hi, everybody."

"Hi, Jack!" Reid smiled.

Jack squatted, "Hi again, Séraphine."

Séraphine instantly smiled when she saw Jack and babbled.

"Blah!" Jack stuck his tongue. "Bah-bah!"

"Baaa…" Séraphine cutely stuck her tongue out, making Jack and Reid laugh and for Reid to capture this moment on a Polaroid.

And caught another moment of Opal licking Séraphine and Jack before nuzzling up to the two and allowing them to play with her fur.


After Élise came home from work and Séraphine had her nap, Jack wanted to teach Séraphine a classic.

"The itsy-bitsy spider went up the waterspout," Jack, in turn, touched the thumb of his left hand to the index finger of his right hand. He's teaching Séraphine the Itsy-Bitsy Spider nursery rhyme. Gasping as he took a breath, holding his hands p and wiggled his fingers down, "Down came the rain, and washed the spider out." Jack swept his hands side-to-side. "Out came the sun and dried up all the rain." Jack elevated his hands to the side to form a semicircle of the sun and wiggled his fingers upwards. "And the itsy-bitsy spider climbed up the spout again." Jack waved his open hands out and cried, "Ta-da! Jazz hands!"

Séraphine blushingly giggled, clapping her hands before she tried mimicking Jazz hands.

Reid smiled throughout as he was recording this; Élise giggled as well. As Jack was playing with Séraphine's hands, still laughing, and letting out these baby babbles,

"Do you know that sing-song games will help Séraphine build up fine motor skills and language development?" Reid explained as he adjusted her pink bow headband.

Jack picked up some colorful blocks, "What about these toys, Uncle Spence?"

"Building and stacking with also help her fine motor skills," Reid clarifies. "As well as her gross motor skills and eye-to-hand coordination; thus, help her learn about spatial relationships."

"Like Opal sleeping in the corner with a blanket over her?" Jack points to Opal napping.

"Smart boy!" Élise gave him a high-five.

Reid replied, "Exactly." He gives Jack another high-five, "Learning's fun, isn't it?"

"Yeah," Jack giggled, "Learning's fun."

"Well, it's a good thing she got so many educational toys." Élise chuckled.


Élise was in Séraphine's nursery, going over everything she needed for Séraphine's 6-12 diaper bag.

"Diapers, wipes, changing pad, a couple of adorable outfits, nursing cover, bottles, burp rag, favorite pacifier, toy, and book, snacks, and sanitizing wipes." Élise placed the list into the bag's side pocket and put it on her shoulder. "Got everything we need."

Élise turned and smiled once she saw Séraphine in her purple and pink infant floor seat, teething to Sophie the Giraffe. She needed to take a quick camera shot of this special moment before scooping Séraphine into her arms.

"Aw," Élise gushed. "I remember like it was yesterday."


Élise was in the kitchen, trying to feed Séraphine but couldn't as Séraphine starting to get even more cranky. Séraphine kept pulling on her ears and cheeks and pulling away from her bottle.

"You're drooling more than a faucet, Fees." Séraphine exhaustingly said to a getting-fussier-by-the-minute Séraphine as she tossed the napkin away after wiping her mouth down. Raising from her seat, Élise thought, "Maybe I should take your temperature or…"

As Séraphine continued to cry, Élise got a closer look into her mouth and saw something.

Gasping,  Élise liberated this loud shriek, causing Reid and Jack to run into the kitchen, only to see her dancing and laughing like a giddy schoolgirl.

"OMG! OMG! OMG!" She jumped in the air.

"Élise…" Reid seemed a bit confused.

"Hallelujah!" Élise cheered. "A to the men!"

An armed Jack had a yellow plastic bat, scratched his head in perplexity, and wondered, "What the…?"

Élise exclaimed, "Take a closer look inside Séraphine's mouth."

Reid and Jack looked inside, and while Jack still seemed confused and a little grossed out, Reid's mouth dropped open, and his eyes amplified when he realized,

"Her tooth is coming in."

Élise keenly shook her head up-and-down, "Uh-huh."

"Huh?" Jack tilted his head, and his brow furrowed.

Reid explained as he takes Séraphine from Élise, who rushes out of the kitchen, "When we were born, we're born with 10 fingers and toes. But we are also born with undeveloped teeth in our jaws called tooth buds, and they're found below our gums."

"Ew." Jack squinted and wrinkled his nose. "But tell me more."

"Tooth buds become our baby teeth, and when they're ready, they push through the gums, allowing us to chew, smile, and speak. Because every baby is different, our teeth can appear between 4-to-6 months in our front mouth."

"Which also explains why she's been fussier than usual," Élise said as she reappeared with some teething toys and a digital camera. "We need to give her lots to chew on." Élise places some teethers in the freezer and pulls out one. "And we start with Sophie with Giraffe! Let me give you her, honey." Giggling, "I had a sense this day would come for a while."

"There's so much to learn about babies," Jack commented.

Reid chuckled, "You have no idea, Jack."


Reid walked into the nursery with Jack beside him and Opal following them. "So, is everybody ready?"

"Mm-mmm." Jack nodded.

"Ready, set, go." Élise pulled some of her hair away.


"Hello again, everyone!"

"Bonjour, doc," Élise and Reid were always happy to see Dr. Kelly, "How are you doing?" It wasn't long before Dr. Kelly noticed Jack. Introducing herself to him, "Oh! Who's this little charmer?"

"Jack." Reid petted Jack's hair, "He's my boss' son. He's away overseas, and his aunt is at work, so we're taking care of him."

Dr. Kelly extended her hand out, and Jack shook it with a firm grip. "Nice to meet you, Jack."

"Hi." Jack gleefully smiled.

Dr. Kelly giggled before asking, "So, how's everyone?"

"We're great," Élise answered with eagerness. "This little one is growing so much."

Dr. Kelly tickled Séraphine's tummy, causing her to titter, "I know. And she has good head control when sitting up with assisting." Dr. Kelly's jaw opened when she took a closer examination inside her mouth, "And her teeth…"

"Uh-huh." Élise bit down on her tongue, unable to contain her pleasure. "And in the next six months, she'll be one year old! Yippee!"

"I know." Dr. Kelly replied. "I'll be showing you new ways to keep her teeth clean." Whispering in Élise's ear, so Jack could not hear,

"I also recommend screening you for postpartum depression since the symptoms…"

"Yeah." Élise shook her head as she didn't need Dr. Kelly to finish that sentence. "We can do that."

Dr. Kelly clutched her clipboard to her chest, "And you also know what six months, right?"

"Baby food!" Élise played along and announced, clapping Séraphine's hands for her, "You get to eat baby food. And soon, you'll be able to eat real food."

"Yes," Dr. Kelly smiled. "I know most people start at 4 months, but the AAP says it is best to start at around 6 months."

"That's exactly what I told Élise," Reid bragged. "Isn't that right?"

Élise joked, "You are such a showoff."


Élise was still wiping her hands and cleaning the baby spoon when Reid came into the kitchen with a camera in his hands. Élise had an instant smile on her face,

"It's time." She said, holding a small pink spoon and some pureed baby food.

Reid got the camera ready, "Mm-mmm." Reid took a quick look outside the backyard and saw Jack and Opal playing. "Jack and Ops are fine."

"And we have our baby food ready." Élise presented a wide variety of pureed and mashed baby food on the counter. "I even used some of the recipes Dr. Kelly gave us."

"Homemade baby food is said to be more nutritious and tastier than processed baby food," Reid said. He adjusted the pink and purple bib Séraphine was wearing. "Not to mention it's cheaper, and we can control the ingredient and flavor freshness quality, even the preservatives, salt, and sugar that is used in processed baby food. And we'll be able to teach Séraphine about healthy eating habits." Reid got in her face, "We want you to grow up big and strong like your mommy and daddy."

Élise chuckled, "Let's just hope that she won't end up a fussy eater."

"Mm-hmm."

Élise randomly picked a small jar of pureed cooked apple. They see Séraphine coolly yet comfortably in her highchair with her head up.

"She looks interested." Reid smirked, "And eagerly ready to try solids for the first time."

"Are you ready yourself?" Élise questions as she and Reid are about to have this milestone moment with their daughter.

"I'm ready like Steven Spielberg and George Lucas creating their masterpiece movies." Reid confidently said. "Ah, memories."

"Here comes the plane, Fifi," Élise made a plane-flying sound and pretended the spoon was an airplane before placing the spoon into her mouth. "Yeah-yeah."

"And she sticks the landing!" Reid cheered when she successfully ate it. "Yeah-yeah."

Séraphine squealed as Élise asked with a smile, "Do you want another helping?"


"Okay, here comes the train," Élise attempted to feed Séraphine spinach with Reid filming. "Choo-choo. Choo-choo." She put the spoon in her mouth. "And…this train…" Her voice tone moved from happy to disappointment. "…Left the station."

"No surprise she doesn't like spinach," Reid said. "Even I don't like spinach. Unless, of course, it's creamed spinach." Reid grimaced when he said, 'creamed spinach.'

Élise replied as Séraphine played with her hanging toys and dabs Séraphine's mouth, "Like D.W. Read from the animated Arthur show. But she grew to like spinach." Élise figures, "Maybe she'll learn to love spinach."

"And since babies' taste buds continue to evolve, we'll have to try a few more times," Reid said. "But at the same time, we have to respect her likes and dislikes."

"Oh, believe me, I don't love every vegetable," Élise said. "Like celery. Unless it has peanut butter. Artichokes, not really. Turnips, yuck." She stuck her tongue out and frowned in disgust.

"I still get nauseous just thinking about chili," Reid pinched his mouth and furrowed his nose; just the thought of the Floyd Feylinn Ferell still gave him the shudders. "And pork. And fish." Reid held his hand over his mouth when he started thinking of the Canadian case and Tobias Hankel. "I cut them out of my diet, but…"

"Well, I don't eat chili anyway," Élise said. "Unless it's salmon and the occasional saltfish when I was growing up, I don't like fish. I rarely eat pork, so...don't worry about that."


Élise was thrilled to see, "Maeve!"

"Hey!" Maeve opened her arms out for Élise to hug her, which she did right away, "Nice to see you again."

"Always, Mae." Élise closed the front door and led Maeve into the living room; Maeve soon asked, "So, where's Spence?"

Élise answered, "Spencer took Jack and Opal to the park; Fifi's napping now."

"Your boss' son." Maeve recalled meeting Jack at the baby shower, "I remember him; he's just the cutest and most well-mannered boy ever."

"I know," Élise agreed as they took a seat on the couch and asked Maeve, "So, where's Bobby and BJ?"

"Oh, I let them have their father-son day at the park," Maeve said. "Plus, I wanted to see you again." Maeve soon rummages through her brown leather satchel and pulls out some papers. "So I could show you and Spence the rough drafts of my new genetics book."

Élise's mouth ajar, "No way!"

"Yes way." Maeve bobbed her head. "I just wanted your opinion on how I'm doing so far."

"We'll do that, and maybe you, Bobby, and BJ can come by tomorrow for a playdate."

"Well, it seems a bit early for playdates." Maeve pursed her lips and raised her eyebrow at Élise. "But it is good for them to have a head start for the social skills development outside the family unit."

"They'll learn how to develop, play, and socialize within their age group." Élise adds, "As well as empathize. Plus, babies like to see new faces. Also, I heard it'll help them develop a stout immune system so their bodies can learn how to fight microorganisms biologically."

Maeve cocked her head and gave Élise a promising smile before replying, "You do make a persuasive case."

"I'm not called the Silent Eliminator for nothing, M," Élise said. "Spen and I will look at the rough draft tonight and tell you what we think, okay?"

"Okay." Maeve smiled and suggested, "And since I'm here and Séraphine's napping, how about a nice 90s movie?"

"Cool!" Élise flipped through the channels and spots, "Oh, Cry-Baby's on. And it has Johnny Depp."

Maeve giggled, "You know me; I can't resist a nineties rom-com."


Élise and Reid were now in their home office, reading the first of Maeve's book draft. After five minutes, Reid said,

"I like it." Reid declared, "Especially the part on Gregor Mendel, the founding father of modern genetics science."

"It's always good to pay tribute to the founding people." Élise said, "Where would we be without them? Where would society be without them?"

"Absolutely."

Élise said, "I set up a playdate for Séraphine with BJ."

"You did?" Reid asked.

"Mm-mmm." Élise nodded her head. "It'll be good for her. Head start on her skills; socially, developmentally, and environmentally, she gets to see and meet new people. Just imagine how our lives would have been had with not met each other."

"I would not have married you, have our living Séraphine."

"Exactly." Élise winked.


"Oh, isn't that cute," Élise, along with Reid, Maeve, and Bobby, gushed at the sight of their children playing together with the colorful homemade baby dough in the backyard. "That's really pretty, Fifi." Élise was behind Séraphine, helping her pull apart some pink playdough.

"Good work, BJ," Bobby was behind his son, helping him pat down on the blue playdough and asked Reid, "How'd you come up with the playdough, Spencer?"

"I came up with a recipe for baby-safe playdough," Reid said as he helped himself to a small strawberry. "My Chemistry Ph.D. came in handy for our children's sake."

Laughter enriched the adults as their children were obvious and more interested in the play clay.

"Maybe you should start selling them," Maeve suggested. "That way, parents wouldn't have to worry about the toxicities and manufactured chemicals that are often used in modeling play clay."

Reid pouted his mouth, stroked his chin, and wrinkled his nose in the thought of Maeve's suggestion before saying, "That could be a good idea."

"Mm-mmm," Élise nodded her head, poking her finger in the yellow playdough. "It's still a good idea."

"Look, Maeve," Bobby laughed when BJ began pounding when combining the blue and green playdough. "Our boy's hard at work here. You go, little artist."

"Ah," Maeve prattled. "Maybe our boy will be a famous sculptor, like Auguste Rodin with The Thinker."

"Or Michelangelo with the David statue," Reid comments, raising his eyebrows three times.

Élise snickered and covered Séraphine's ears, "Spen!"

"Spencer!" Maeve and Bobby covered BJ's ears and stifled a laugh.


"So adorable," Élise looked over the photos of Séraphine and BJ's first playdate. "Oh! Look at this one!"

Reid laughed at the sight of Séraphine and BJ smearing each other with painting. "I have to admit, that's so adorable." Reid sees a photo of him kissing Séraphine as she smudges him with paint and has an immediate smile on his face. "Even if it took three minutes and forty-seven seconds to wash out the paint off Séraphine."

"And look at this one," Élise pointed out another photo, "BJ playing with the rattlers while Séraphine babble."

Reid joked, "Maybe BJ will grow up to be the next Bob Dylan."

"Bob Dylan." Élise giggled and let out a snort, "He could be the next Prince."

"Only time will tell," Reid said.

Chapter Text

"Ehh," Élise grunted as she was organizing and reorganizing her Goyard trunks on the bed. "Okay." She let out one last grunt, "I got you down." Élise sighs in relief as she wipes her forehead. "Finally."

Reid walked out of the bathroom, dressed in a white button shirt, khakis, and Converse sneakers, wiping down his hands with a clean rag.

"I got my luggage ready," Élise announced. "What about you?"

Reid pointed out to his luggage on the side of the bed, "Ready since last night."

Exhaling again, "I just needed to do one last checkup round before we leave," Élise said as she sat down on the edge of the bed

Reid sat next to her and asked, "Are you sure you want to do it?"

Reid retorted, "What do you mean?"

"Going on a cruise."


A few days to a week ago…

Élise sighed as she jolted down her signature on a document needed for a case she is consulting with a colleague.

Her assistant Anna walked in; Élise looked at her,  "Ms. Bastien?"

"Here you go," Élise handed her the signed paper, "And may you please tell Mr. Thomas that I'll call him as soon as possible, by tonight?"

Anna obeyed her order, "Yes, ma'am."

Élise gave her a small smile before she leaves.

And the phone rings, Answering it,  "This is Bastien." Élise heaved a sigh. "Yes, Gloria. I'll have the file cases sent over to you when I finish looking over them. Okay. Have a good day. Goodbye."

Just as she logged out of her emails, Élise removed her heels to give her feet a break for a few minutes; they were cutting off circulation.

And gets another phone call,  "Bastien." Élise rubbed her eyes and said, "Yes, Edward. I could give a consultation tomorrow."

She slipped into some comfortable flats and tasted her coffee when Anna walked in again.

Élise grimaced her face, "What happened now, Anna?"

A tall and hefty middle-aged distinguished gentleman with graying coifed hair, gunmetal eyes, strong nose, jowl beginnings, and fair skin in a tailored suit and polished black brogues walked pasted her.

Élise's jaw gaped, and her eyes widened when she noticed her boss.

"Mr. Wilmington."

He gave her a light smile, "Hello, Élise."

Anna excused herself, and Élise was still in shock to see him. Normally, she rarely saw him unless it was either good news…

Or bad news.

But that hardly happened with her.

"So…" An anxious Élise gave her boss a trembling smile and nervously giggled, "How can I help you today, sir? Oh," She gestured to the glassware and pitchers of waters she had behind him and offers to pour him some,

"Would you like something to drink?" She began rambling like Reid, "Don't worry, I don't even keep a drop of alcohol in here, which should relieve you since I don't even drink, which is a good thing; my baby girl just turned six months. One day, she was in my belly and then in my arms at the hospital after being in labor for twelve hours and now's she's six months. And soon…"

"Whoa-whoa-whoa," Mr. Wilmington motioned Élise, "Take a deep breath, Élise."

Following her boss' suggestion, Élise inhaled and exhaled.

"Thank you," Mr. Wilmington gave his gratitude for the water Élise poured for him. "I need to talk to you about something."

Now Élise had the worst feeling in the worst, "Oh, God, I'm fired, am I?" Before Mr. Wilmington could say another word,  Élise  rambled again,  "I know I can be a bit of a hardass, maybe a complete bitch at times, well, most of the times I can be one," Élise whispers, rubbing the back of her neck and looked away for a few seconds, "But please, sir." Now Élise began to plead shakingly; she felt her voice cracking and could cry in front of her boss, "Please. If there's anything I could do to change your mind, and I swear, no, I promise you, sir, I'll…"

"Élise…" Mr. Wilmington nodded his hand down, "You're not in any trouble, so just relax. Take a deep breath or two."

"Okay. Okay." Élise took a few more deep breaths and sat back down in her chair, "Okay." Élise deeply exhales. "I'm good. I'm sorry you had to see that, sir." Élise pats her chest to ease her heart beating, "I can be such a drama queen. You should have seen me when my husband and I were planning our wedding and when we were preparing for Séraphine."

"I know that feeling." Mr. Wilmington snickered, "I've always liked you, Élise."

Élise joked. "That's one of the reasons why you hired me, right?"

"That as well." Mr. Wilmington replied just as he reached into his suit jacket and handed her a small lively brochure. "Which is why I wanted to give you this."

"The Golden Wattle," Élise read the cover before gently taking the booklet from her boss' hands and took a quick inside and saw tickets before saying, "This is for a cruise."

Mr. Wilmington replied, "It is."

"And you're just giving me this?" Élise's eyebrow curved, her mouth was partially open, astonishingly wondering, "Why? Why me?"

"Well, let's see," Mr. Wilmington began listing his reasons, "My wife and I are not into boats; they make us seasick, actually. And they scare the hell out of me ever since I saw Titanic."

"I love the movie," Élise commented. "It's a classic."

"It is," Mr. Wilmington agrees before continuing, "You're one of my best attorneys. And I've been noticing, as well as a majority of your colleagues here, even Anna has commented, that you've been working more…intensely since you came back to your maternity leave three months ago."

"No, sir," Élise answered, "I-I mean…Just because I had a child doesn't mean I've lost my edge as an attorney. It may come off as intense, but I say it's more… passionate. Fierce. Strongminded. Again, it may come off as intense, if not dominating, but I want to prove to everyone else that I'm still the Silent Eliminating Enforcer. And I'm still determined to make the world a better place and bring the bad ones to justice."

"Inspirational," Mr. Wilmington said. "But they also said—and agreed—that you needed a vacation, and I felt that this cruise is the answer."

"I don't know." Élise was still feeling perplexed, "Should I?"

"I say take it." Mr. Wilmington said. "Go spend some more time with your family." Mr. Wilmington said. "You are still the same Silent Eliminating Enforcer; you just need a vacation."


"It's a good thing that you do," Reid said. "Why do you think I took a sabbatical?"

Élise jested, "So I can be the sole breadwinner?"

Reid chuckled, "So I can spend more time with you and Séraphine. And to not be some cliché workaholic like some of our colleagues."

Reid and Élise turned their hands to see Séraphine in her infant floor seat playing with her toys and babbling. Élise let out a chuckle, "True."

"Plus," Reid got up and cutely walked up to Séraphine and lifts her up and into his arms, "Our girl here looks ready to explore the world."

Élise giggled as she saw Séraphine in Reid's arms, fiddling with her white sunglasses, which went great with her floral poplin dresser and matching bloomer, kicking her legs and shaking her toys.

"Are you ready to get out of DC?"

Séraphine squealed.

"I take it as a yes." Reid full-on grinned, "But first, we're going to see some familiar faces."


"Maeve, Bobby, Spen, and I can't thank you enough for allowing Opal to stay with you while we go on this cruise." Élise expressed her gratitude for her two best friends.

Reid said, carrying Séraphine in his arms, "We'd take her along, but unfortunately, the Golden Wattle doesn't allow animals unless they're for service."

"Oh, that's okay," Maeve coolly understood with BJ in her arms. "We like Opal; she's a good doggy."

"So, where are you guys headed to?" Bobby curiously questioned.

Reid explained, "We're going to Las Vegas for a day to see my family…"

"Then we're heading to Honolulu for a few days, and on September 1st starts the cruise," Élise replied, setting up Opal's playpen in the corner of the living room.

"To Australia!" Reid exclaimed. "It'll be about three weeks, and we'll be staying there for a few days before flying to New Jersey to see Élise's family and go back home to DC."

"Fancy," Maeve moved her eyebrows upwards three times, "Bobby and I have been thinking about going on a cruise, but maybe to Norway or Iceland to see the Northern Lights."

Élise smirked, "I've always wanted to see the Northern Lights."

"Me, too," Reid said. "Maybe during the holiday season one of these days,"

"Hey, BJ," Bobby asked BJ, who was now in his arms and gently rocking him, "Do you want to pet Opal?" BJ carefully allowed BJ to pet Opal, who responded by purring Bobby's legs.

"She likes you, Bobby," Maeve giggled.

Opal soon licked BJ's face, causing everyone in the room to laugh.

"And she really likes BJ." Élise laughed at this moment.


After the long four hours and forty minutes flight from Reagan Airport in Washington D.C. to McCarran—five hours and seven seconds after getting to the gate as Reid calculated, he, Élise, and Séraphine had just gotten their luggage when they heard familiar voices.

"SPENCER!"

Élise playfully said, "I wonder who that could be?"

They saw an ecstatic Ethel running towards them with her arms out; trailing behind her was Spencer's Uncle Gordon, his female cousin and her significant other, Anna and Nathan, his male cousin, wife and toddler daughter John, Melissa, and Sabrina.

"Hey!"

"Hello again, Spencer!"

Ethel squealed, "You're here!"

Reid and Élise were still excited to see them and warmly hugged her, "Nice to see you again."

Ethel hugged them, and with all her might. "Oh!" Her eyes widened and flashed and her grin broadened when she had her eyes set on. "Oh, my…Séraphine!"

Ethel took Séraphine from Élise and bounces the six-month-old in her arms. "Oh, look at you! Look at you!"

Séraphine responded to Ethel with a happy squeal, which made Ethel smile even harder.

"Oh. Pretty soon, she'll be saying Aunite." Ethel giggled. "She's getting so big and so cute and so lovable. Just a big ball of love I have right here." Ethel gives Séraphine a smooch on her forehead.

"Definitely." Gordon gushed at the sight of his great-niece, "Oh, she's so adorable."

"Yup," Nathan agreed, waving to her. "She's growing into a real beautiful love."

Anna cuddled her arm tighter around Nathan's, "I know, right."

"Hey, Sabrina," John and Melissa try to get their young daughter's attention, "May you say hi to your third cousin, please?"

Sabrina just simply waved to Séraphine, "Hi."


"Say…Auntie," Ethel goofily said to Séraphine, who happily babbled to her while touching her face. "Come on, Fifi. Say 'Auntie.' Just this one time for me, please." Ethel pleaded.

Séraphine let out a giggle and a babble.

"Gordo!" Gordon got in Séraphine's face and mimicked his best Donald Duck impersonation, "Say 'Gordo,' Séraphine! Gor-do!"

Séraphine babbled and giggled, even more, covering her face as she did so.

"She will, Auntie Ethel," Élise laughs, taking a camera shot, "She's just beginning to string vowel sounds together, and soon enough, she'll say 'mama.'"

"Or 'dada.'" Reid injected himself into the conversation after leaving the kitchen with a plate filled with fresh fruit and sliced vegetables.

"She was just a tiny baby, and now she's six months." Ethel reminisced.

Gordon agreed, "Time goes by fast when raising children." Gordon wiped a tear in his eye. "Now we have two grown children with significant others, a grandchild…"

Ethel quickly replied, "I hope we can get some more grandchildren and great-children." Ethel questions Élise and Reid, "Are you reading to her so she can be as intelligent as you two?"

"Yes," Élise said. "Even sing to her from time to time."

"Are you feeding my great niece so she can get big and strong?"

"Yes, ma'am." Reid answered, "We're giving her the proper vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids for her development."

"Well, that's good. I want to give you two some of my top-secret recipes," whispered Ethel.


"Spencer! Élise!" A memorable gentleman greeted the family. "It's been far too long."

Reid smiled, "Hello again, Dr. Norman."

"Hey again, Dr. N," Élise said with a smile, gently rocking Séraphine in her stroller. "How've you been?"

"I've been well," Dr. Norman replied. "Thank you for asking." He crutched to Séraphine's size and grinned when he saw Séraphine. "And this must be the famous Séraphine Céleste?"

Élise nodded her head, "Mm-mmm."

"I've seen the photographs your mother has kept of her," Dr. Norman begins tickling Séraphine's chin, causing her to giggle, "She's so much more adorable in person."

"How is my mother doing?" Reid worryingly asked. "We talked last week, and you said she had a few days."

"About a week ago, she had her bad days," Dr. Norman said as he led the three to one of Bennington's living rooms, where they see a few elderly patients; among them was Diana Reid, and she was quietly reading by the window. "Even if her meds stabilize her symptoms. But recently, she had a complete 360, and she's doing well."

"She'll be in an even better mood once she sees her only child, daughter-in-law, and grandchild."

"I'll leave you guys be," Dr. Norman said. "And if you need anything…"

Reid assured him, "Absolutely."

Once Dr. Norman left them be, Reid sighed and slowly walked up to his mother.

"M-mom?"

Immediately recognizing Reid's voice, Diana had an instant smile on her face, "Spencer! How are you?" She closed her book, tossed it aside, and get out of her seat to hug him. "Oh, my baby boy!"

"What about your loving daughter-in-law?" Élise raised her hand, smirking.

Diana laughed, "I could never forget about you, Élise." Diana's mouth opened, and her eyes enlarged. "And my grandbaby girl!" Diana took Séraphine from her arms, "You've gotten so big since the last time I saw you. How are you?"

Séraphine babbled and began touching Diana's face as Élise and Reid giggled.

"She's a joy, huh?"

Diana politely asked, "Might if I show her off to everyone else here?"

"As long as we can supervise you," Élise added, making sure Séraphine won't be hurt in case Diana goes into one of her episodes.


After spending a couple of hours with Mother Diana, Reid and Élise decided to take Séraphine to see another family member.


"Spencer!" William was surprised to see his son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter, especially at his law firm. "What are you guys here?"

"We're here for a quick visit," Élise said. "We've decided to take a cruise from Hawaii to Australia, but we wanted to see you all here in Las Vegas before we head off to The Aloha State."

"Well, I'm glad you all are here," William smiled before coaxing Séraphine into his arms. "Especially since I get to see my granddaughter again."

Two female associates walked by the Bastien-Reid, and their jaws dropped when they saw Séraphine.

"Oh, my goodness," The young associate gushed. "What's a little cutie!" She soon gasped, "Look at those lashes. They're so long!"

Élise and Reid proudly smiled, as did William, "Thank you, Ella."

"Who's she?" The older associate asked with confused hesitation.

William proudly stated, "Adelaide, I'd like you to meet my six-month-old granddaughter, Séraphine Céleste."

"Oh, really?" The older associate doubted. "But her hair and…eye color…and skin…" She pointed out Séraphine's dark soft curly hair, brown eyes, and honey skin tone complexion.

"Uh, excuse me, ma'am," Reid politely injected into the conversation. "I'm William Reid's son, Dr. Spencer Reid, of the Behavioral Analysis Unit." He took out his FBI credentials.

"And I'm Federal Prosecutor for the U.S. Attorneys of the Justice Department Élise Gabrielle Bastien," Élise said with tranquility fury as she pulled out her badge. "William Reid's daughter-in-law. You may have heard of us."

Ms. Adelaide studdered, "I-I have, but, uh…"

"Something wrong, Ms. Adelaide?" Élise snapped, "A black woman and a white man can't have children today?"

Reid agreed, "Yeah. You got a problem with that?" He finished that sentence curving his eyebrows twice, and his nostrils lightly flared, channeling his Hotch signature.

Adelaide nervously cleared her throat, "Not really, no."

"Let's hope not."


Reid, Élise, and Séraphine spent off their five-hour and forty-four-minute flight at Honolulu International Airport, where hotel employees greeted them with smiles on their faces.

"Aloha!" A female employee said they placed fresh Hawaiian leis around their necks.

Élise said, taking Séraphine's hand and having her wave to them after placing one around her neck. "Aloha and mahalo!"

"I guess someone's been learning some Hawaiian sayings," Reid said. "I thought that was my job."

"That and I've been re-watching this show I used to watch, Rocket Power."


"Ah," Élise breathed in and breathed out the fresh Hawaiian air as she was breathlessly staring at Diamond Head and Waikiki Beach on the balcony of one of Halekulani Hotel's suites.

"I finally got Fifi done to sleep," Reid said as he stood beside her and stared at the breathtaking views Honolulu has to offer.

Élise smirked, "Well, that's good. She's going to need it. We still have some time to see a little of Honolulu before the cruise soon."

"I have some places we could see," Reid said. "Like the Pearl Harbor National Memorial, the USS Arizona Memorial, the Battleship Missouri Memorial, and the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific."

"I always wanted to see them." Élise sadly smiled, "As well as pay my respects."

Reid pulled Élise into his arms, "Ready to go to bed?"

"Uh-huh." Élise shook her head and gushed in excitement. "I can't wait for the cruise. Plus, I have the perfect outfit to board the cruise."

Chapter Text

Honolulu Cruise Terminal

"Why am I not surprised?" Reid said as Élise set out of their provided service car with Séraphine in his arms after unbuckling Séraphine out of her car seat.

Élise styled herself in a white twill suit with dark pinstripes and strappy heels. The lapel, cuffs, belt, and buttons were made from fine satin, and the shirt's collar edged with teardrop pearls with a narrow tie. Élise spun around and asked, giving a hand-on-the-hip pose.

"Do you like it?" Élise curved her eyebrows three times.

"You are something else. You do know that, right? Reid chuckled before pointing to her Edwardian-inspired hat with a double striped capeline bow hat. "But I do like the hat."

"Thanks." Élise blushed and looked away. "It plays off the suit and ties the look together. It's my tribute to the Titanic movie. I already feel like Rose DeWitt-Bukater. The best part is that you get to be my Jack Dawson."

Reid playfully shook his head, "I swear, you've watched Titanic too many times when you were pregnant."

"It's a classic movie." Élise laughed as she, Reid, and Séraphine made their way to the cruise ship. "They don't make movies like them anymore."

Reid agrees, "No, they do not." Reid soon asked Séraphine, whose eyes were wandering around, still carried by him. "So, Fifi! Are you ready to board for your first cruise?" He starts tickling her tummy, causing her to giggle.

Élise joined in and tickled her tummy and adjusted her pink and yellow hat, "Of course she's excited. Look at those big eyes."

"She has your eyes." Reid complimented.

"I think she has your eyes," Élise added before she reached into her bag and reapplied a dab of sunscreen on her face. "But she definitely has my lashes." Élise fluttered her eyes; Séraphine soon mimicked her and batted her lashes.

"Aw," Séraphine put her tiny hand on Reid's nose and squeezed it, giggling as she did. "Look at you, being a cute little Southern belle."

"Yeah, it's cute," Reid agreed and mimics a Southern accent, "Maybe she'll speak with a Southern accent."

"She totally has our smile." Élise smiled while impersonating a southerly accent. She snapped her fingers and wagged her index finger, "Oh, I remember something."

Reid asked; Élise already had that worried look in her eyes, "What? What happened?"

"FBI agents are tracked 24/7/365, whether or not they're off-duty, right?" Élise wonders.

"Yeah." Reid nodded his head, already knowing what Élise was trying to say, "Yeah, that's right."

"Well, considering how we're about to go on a cruise from Hawaii to Australia…" Élise was about to voice her concerns when Reid assured her. "I already called them," Reid replied. "I told them that unless it's an emergency, especially a family emergency, I wish not to be disturbed."

"Same here," Élise said. "I do want to check in on Opal, just to see how she is. It'll be the longest we've left her alone since our wedding and..."

"I get it." Reid comprehended. "Let's just hope nothing huge happens while we're here."

"Let's try not to jinx it," Élise replied. "Let's just enjoy these next three weeks."


The loud horn blew as Élise, Reid, and Séraphine. The other passengers waved to the large cheering crowd below as the Golden Wattle cruise departed the Pacific Ocean.

"Say 'buh-bye,' Élise steadily held Séraphine in her arms. "Buh-bye, people."

"Bon voyage!" Reid cried, "We'll be back, people."

"Bah-bah."

Both Élise and Reid cocked their heads down and raised their eyebrows, froze for about ten seconds before Reid—whose mouth was trying to speck something before finally saying,

"Did she…?" Reid softly said.

Élise blinked, "Say…"

Séraphine looked to Élise and Reid, touching their faces with her hands, and babbled,

"Pa…pa. Ma…ma."

Now their mouths dropped, and their eyes widened. Séraphine repeated it, "Ma…ma. Pa…pa."

Élise shrieked, jumping up and down, "She said her first words." Hugging her child with all of her might. "She said her first words! I'm so proud of you, Fifi."

Reid wrapped his index finger around her curly hair before planting a kiss on top of her head, "I'm so proud of you!" He whispered in her ear, "Especially since you pretty much said 'papa' first."

"Actually, O to Smart One, she said 'bah-bah' first." Élise simpered. "And she said 'mama' as well." Séraphine patted her head. Murmuring in her daughter's ear, "Don't give in to your daddy's IQ ego."

"I heard that," Reid said in hush tones. "You owe me a kiss."

Élise snickered before giving him a peck.

Reid whispered again in Séraphine's ear. "Mommy's a card."


Reid, Élise, and Séraphine spent the rest of the day in their one-suite cabin suite, either adjusting to their new place for the next three weeks. They watched television and movies, etc. Their suite decked out in Ralph Lauren Home furnishings, Swarovski crystal lightings, sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean, a balcony, veranda, deck, a Steinway piano worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, a whirlpool jacuzzi tub and shower in their private bathroom, 24-hour butler and concierge services, etc.

Their home away from home, or at least until they arrived in Australia.

After the day cooled down, Reid bathed Séraphine while Élise took a bath and returned to her bedroom to tuck her in.

"Good night, Fifi," Reid whispered, stroking her hair, even curling a piece of her hair with his pinky finger.

"Dream sweetly, bunny." Élise waved to her, quietly exclaiming, "We're going to have a fun-fun-FUN day, so make sure you get plenty of rest, okay?" Élise tapped Séraphine's nose and giggled like a little girl who's been given good news or had their first tooth taken out.

Séraphine rubbed her eyes and screakily yawned, stretching every inch of her body.

"Bah-bah."

She yawns again before her eyes soon drifting off into a dreamy sleep. "Ah…"

"We love you, sweet thing."

Élise and Reid couldn't help but smile with overwhelming joy, their baby girl saying her first word. They gave her a good-bye kiss and told her she loved them before turning off the lights and leaving her to sleep. Élise led back with the back of her body against Séraphine's bedroom door and sighed. Reid even sees a tear falling from Élise's eyes.

"Come here," Reid pulled Élise into his arms and gave her a loving hug, soothing her back in gentle circles.

"Her first word," Élise shakingly sighed again, "Her first word."

"I know." Reid had a tear fall from his eye. "I know."


While Reid was in the bathroom, Élise was rereading the Golden Wattle booklet. The Golden Wattle offers an open option of activities that'll make you feel right at home. Eighteen dining venues, including three grand dining rooms, five gyms, four bars, eight pools, ice-skating rink, three theaters, over 5,000 lifeboats, and over 11,000 works of art….

Élise picked her head up when she heard Reid coming out of the bathroom, casually dressed in a purple cotton long-sleeve pajama shirt and pants.

Slinking into the King-sized bed next to Élise, Reid asked, "Ready for tomorrow?"

"Of course." Élise tossed the pamphlet on the bedside.

Reid rambled, "Did you know that the ship is environmentally friendly as it drives on heating water?"

"Actually, no," Élise answered. "But with you, I learn something new from you every day."

Reid allowed Élise to pull him together to her body as they got under the comforters, "Want me to show you something new right now?"

Élise licked her lips and bit down on her tongue, naughtily sniggering.


"Yeah, do you like that, Fifi?" Élise asked Séraphine as she steadily held her, allowing her to play in the cruise liner's Baby Splash Zone. Séraphine enjoyed splashing her wet hands and feet around in the infant pool. "You like the water?"

"Baah!" Séraphine happily babbled, sticking her tongue out before giggling.

"You're a Pisces, alright." Reid joked and joined in, smoothly splashing around in the water. "Pisces is a water sign."

"That means she's in her element." Élise chuckled as she joined in the fun. "Pisces is a water sign: meaning she's at one with the refreshing water. And mysterious like the water itself."

Reid growled, "I guess that explains why I fell in love with you."

"Mmm-mmm," Élise temptingly growled, still not letting Séraphine go. 'You're an air sign: a thinker. You're all about analysis, logic, language, intelligence, correct information. You're just a breath of fresh air, no pun intended."

Reid chuckled as he gave Élise a lip peck; Séraphine giggled.


"Hey, Séraphine!" Séraphine was getting her attention as the two of them were on the merry-go-round. "Look at daddy!"

Reid sillily waved to them as he was taking photographs of them, "Hi!"

"Hi, daddy!" Élise giggled as she waved back to him and got Séraphine to wave with her. "Say hi to daddy."

"Da…da…" Séraphine babbled.

Reid's mandible cracked open, his eyes extended as Séraphine and Élise were getting off the carousel. He surprisingly asked his daughter, scooping Séraphine from Élise's arms, "Did you just say…"

Séraphine babbled, "Da…da."

"Ohh!" A squealing Élise placed her hands on her cheeks and gushed, "She loves 'dada' to her dada."

Séraphine reached her hand out to Élise and gabbed, "Ma…ma…"

"Aww," Reid's smile glowed like the twinkled in his hazel eyes. "She loves saying 'mama' as well. Because she didn't want to forget her mama as well." Murmuring in her ears, "You love your daddy even more because you're a daddy's girl."

"Ha-ha, girl daddy," Élise sarcastically retorted and took the camera from his hands, "Go ride on the ride before I change my mind." She breathed in his ear, "And maybe you won't get anything from me tonight."

Reid snickered as he bowed to Élise before kissing her cheek, "As you wish, My Queen."

Élise chuckled as he and Séraphine walked towards the roundabout. As she was checking to see if the camera needed any adjustments on the settings, "Oh."

Someone bumps into her. Quickly apologizing, "Oh, sorry…"

When she got a glimpse of the person who possibly bumped into her, Élise's eyes increased, her mouth dropped a little, and she froze until Reid called her out, "Hey, Élise!" Reid flapped his hand in front of her face. "You okay?"

"Yeah." Shaking the nerve off and clearing her throat, Élise plastered a smile on her face and swayed back, "Yeah, I'm good."


"Will you stop looking at your phone, Élise?" Reid chastised Élise as they tried to have a private dinner alone at one of the cruise's restaurants. Reid and Élise admired the restaurant's pendant lightings, a combination of warm and dark coloring, Palladian flooring, thick oriental rugs, modern furnishings.

Élise hissed as she gave her phone to Reid, who soon placed it in his pocket, insisting, "Maybe just one more call…"

"Reid…" He pulled off his best Hotch stare.

Élise meekly put her hands up and twisted her lips, "Okay. I surrender."

Reid face-wide smiled and adoringly gazed at Élise, who lowered her head and pouted her mouth. "You win." She dryly said with a simple smile.

"It's not every day I win against the Silent Eliminating Enforcer." Reid beamed, showing his white teeth.

Élise pursed her lips together when a young short-haired man approached their table.

"Good evening. What would you guys like to have?" The waiter greeted them.

Élise waved to the waiter, "Hello and good evening to you as well. I think I'll have the…" Élise took another look at the menu before choosing, "The Caprese salad, tofu stir-fry rice, and the…halo-halo, please."

"Excellent choices." The waiter said, jolting down Élise's order. "And you, sir?"

Reid cleared his throat, "I'll have tandoori chicken, a leafy green salad, and the halo-halo as well, please."

"It'll be with you in a moment," The waiter took their menus and left. Soon, Élise's cell phone vibrated again. Reaching her hand out, Reid holds his hand up and stops her, only for him to get it for her.

It was a video message.

Reid grinned as he played the video.

It was BJ licked by Opal and him playing with her fur.

This moment made Élise and Reid quietly giggle as they did not want to attract unwanted attention from the restaurant patrons.

Élise let out a snort, "I definitely think Opal really likes BJ."

"I just hope Opal doesn't forget about us," Reid agreed, nodding his head.

"She won't," Élise assured Reid and placed her hand over his hand, patting it down and smoothly comforting him. "Which reminds me…"

Reid knew what Élise was up to and replied, "Fifi is fine. Remember what I said? No calls to her unless it's an emergency."

She exhaled, "Right," Élise suddenly felt a cramp in her hand and immediately rubbed in gentle circles. When she turned her head, she caught a glance at a particular man. Squinting her eyes as he was a few feet away from their table, Élise thought she saw…

"Élise?"

Reid snapped Élise out of her thoughts. Reid turned to see what Élise saw and immediately turned his head around again after feeling that this man with dark blonde hair, blue eyes, and fair skin was staring at him. He felt his body tremble and shook off their tensions.

"Do you know that guy?"

Élise shrugged her shoulders, "Honestly, he almost looks like this guy I knew from law school."

"What was his name?"

Élise grunted, "Griffin Nicholas Richards."

"And judging from the tone of your voice, I take it he is not someone you want to remember?" Reid figured.

"Nope." Élise bluntly said as their meals came. "No, I do not." She took a heavy sigh before admitting, "I had a brief relationship with him."

Reid cocked his head, "Really?"

"Yeah, but we weren't boyfriend/girlfriend. Not at all." Élise began poking at her salad.

"So…" Reid curiously questioned. "What happened?"

Élise groaned, "He had a domineering nature; he always needed to know where I was, who I was with, and finally…I couldn't take it anymore. I told my brother about him, and Arthur said to him that if he ever went near me again, he'd kill him and make it look like an accident." She took a forklod of her salad.

Reid wagged his fork after swallowing some tandoori chicken, "That explains why I was afraid of your brother when I first met him."

Reid's comment made Élise giggle; she sipped some water after letting out a couple of coughs.

Reid smirked, "I promise you, if he's a bother to you, he's going to have to answer to Supervisory Special Agent Dr. Spencer Walter Reid."

Élise snickered, "You sound like a federal superhero."

"Up-up and away." Reid did a quick superhero pose before eating his meal again.


"Ahh," Élise blissfully breathed in the air as she, Reid, and even Séraphine were relaxing by one of the cruise ship's pool decks. After finishing a chapter of Emma, she took a sip of her ice sparkling water drink, raised it in the air, and said, "Just what I needed."

"Be careful, Fifi," Reid was with Séraphine, playing in one of the kid-and-toddler-friendly pools. "Don't splash your little hand too hard, or you might hurt it."

Élise waved to them after having another sip. "Are you two having fun?"

Reid happily replied, "Too much fun."

Séraphine giggled and let out a tooth smile, causing Élise to full-on grin and even titter. After Élise finished her drink, she removed her light-weighted white plaid woven cover-up dress. Revealing a white ruffle-trim V-neck tankini and hipster bikini bottom.

Reid wolf-whistled Élise as she fluffed her hair.

Élise placed her hands on her hips and asked, "Can I join in on your fun?" She begins to reapply her mineral sunscreen spray.

Reid looked down and asked Séraphine, "Can mommy join on the fun?"

Séraphine gleefully shrieked when she looked at her mother, grasping out for her and splashily kicking her legs. Babbling, "Ma. Ma. Ma…ma…"

Élise's heart once she stepped into the turquoise pool water and scooped Séraphine in her arms, "Aw, baby Fi!"


"Whoo…" Élise was exhausted, wiping her sweaty forehead and neck with a clean white towel before placing it around her neck. She and Reid were at the cruise ship's gym and had just finished a Zumba class and spent about, according to Reid, an hour and twenty-one seconds working out from the course, "That was quite a workout. But I needed it."

"I did, too," Reid agreed as he dried himself off with the clean cloth and wrapped it around his neck. "I can feel myself getting stronger."

"I know," Élise surveyed Reid's workout attire: short-sleeve shirt with shorts and his signature Converse sneakers. "Plus, it's not every day I see you in workout shorts. Showing off your hot legs."

Reid blushed.

Élise flexed her arm, "Check it."

Reid squeezed her toned arm's muscle, "Look at you. Look at you."

"Yup." Élise gulped down half a bottle of refreshing ice-cold water. "Hopefully, I'll be back to my post-pregnancy weight goal by the end of the year." Élise pinched her stomach. "And finally, lose this blubber on my stomach."

Reid caressed Élise's cheek and said to her, "You're beautiful just the way you are."

"I love it when you tell me that." Élise blushed.

"Well, it's true." Reid helped himself to some water.

Élise asked before finishing up the rest of her water, "Ready to get Fifi and relax at the spa?"

"Mm-mmm." Reid tossed his empty bottle near the recycling can. "Let me get my bag, and I'll meet you upfront, okay?"

"Yup." They kissed each other before leaving for the locker room.


Reid decided to take a shower later and just focused on getting his gym bag. He made sure he had everything he needed before leaving: his towel, deodorant, a First Aid kit, and his lock. He was using some odor-eliminating spray and drenched it around his body when he overhead a conversation,

"…Totally crazy, Keith." A buff guy exclaimed as he and a slender man came into the locker room. "I still can't believe it happened."

The slender man said, "Oh, it happened alright, Rocky."

"Small FBI branch team going rogue," Keith said to him as he opened his bag. "That's not something you see every day, but it still made the headlines."

Rocky answered, "Mm-mmm."

Keith said to Rocky, "Even though they got suspended for their actions, I can't say I don't blame them."

"Yup," Rocky replied again.

"A team of elite profilers suspended for going rogue." Keith chuckled, "All to help a friend. I hope it was worth it."

Reid tilted his head and wrinkled his nose, realizing that the two gentlemen may be talking about his team. He pulled out his FBI credentials; even going on a cruise, he'd never go anywhere without it. He took a deep breath and approached them, "Uh, excuse me, gentleman." Reid shows them his identifications. "I…couldn't help but overhear about your conversation about this FBI team…"

"Oh, yeah." The slender man said, going into his gym bag and pulling out his FBI badge. "I'm Senior Special Agent Keith Morris." He gestured to Rocky, who showed Reid his ID, "And He's Senior Special Agent Rocco De Luca, and we're from the FBI's National Security Branch."

"I'm Supervisory Special Agent Dr. Spencer Reid for the Behavioral Analysis Unit in Quantico, Virginia." Reid introduced himself.

"The BAU?" Keith recognized that name. "So, it was your team who was suspended?"

Reid was just about to open his mouth and say something when a tall man in a tailored suit entered the locker room and said, "I'm looking for Dr. Spencer Reid."

Reid raised his hand, "I'm Dr. Spencer Reid."

"You've been summoned for a private video chat," The manager said. "It's an emergency from Aaron Hotchner."


While Élise went to get Séraphine from the daycare, the manager has set up a private and secure video chat via Skype and left the room, leaving Reid alone. Reid inhaled and exhaled. He wiggled his fingers to relieve the cramps and counted for Hotch to appear on the giant screen.

And he finally appeared.

"Spencer."

Reid was surprised to see Hotch. "Hey, Hotch."

Especially with a beard and mustache. He tried to ease the awkwardness between the two and said, "Nice look."

Hotch stroked his bushy chin, "This happens when you've been reassigned to Pakistan for two-to-three months." Hotch tiredly sighed before apologizing, "I'm sorry to interrupt you from your time with your family, but I need to tell you something."

Reid awkwardly smiled before finally asking him, "So, what's the emergency?"

Hotch took another deep breath; his arms were still crossed, "Seven months ago, I made a decision that affected the team."

Reid's face saddened when he knew what Hotch was talking about Prentiss.

"As you know, Emily had lost a lot of blood after her fight with Doyle." Hotch took a deep breath before he continued. "But the doctors were able to stabilize her. And she was airlifted from Boston to Bethesda under a covert exfiltration. Her identity was strictly need-to-know. And she stayed there until she was well enough to travel. She was reassigned to Paris, where she was given several identities, none of which we had access to for her security."

Reid's eyes widened; his mouth was partially opened and froze for about thirty seconds.

Prentiss is alive? Reid said in his head. He could barely get the following words out, "But we buried her."

Hotch replied, "As I said, I take full responsibility for the decision. If you have any issues, they should be directed toward me."

"No." Reid frantically shook his head in denial. "No, I don't believe you."

Soon the camera moved.

"Emily..." Reid shockingly said when he first saw Prentiss appear in front of him before his eyes.

Prentiss lightly smirked and meekly waved to him, "Hey, Reid."

All this made Reid pass out suddenly.

Chapter Text

Previously on Criminal Minds…

"They can just take you away…They can't just take you away…"

"It's done…"

"…Lauren Reynolds is dead…"

"Who's Lauren Reynolds?"

"She never made it off the table…"

"…I didn't get a chance to say goodbye…"

"It's just unfair that she's gone. It's like if we can't keep each other safe, then why are we even doing any of this? It's... Sometimes I think maybe... Maybe Gideon was right, you know, maybe... Maybe it's just not worth it..."

"The Bureau is facing a lot of changes, and this unit is no exception. Over the next few weeks, each of you is going to be asked if you'd like to stay with the unit."

"Why wouldn't we?"

"There are other options for you out there."

"I've still thought about the other options we could be doing for the next few weeks as the Bureau faces changes."

"You want to be doing something else?"

"Be there for my family. […] Plus, Élise's maternity leave is ending soon, so…I figure I let her go back to work while I stay home with Séraphine for the time being."

"You want to take a sabbatical?"

"More than anything."

"Aww."

"At least I get to spend my sabbatical with you, Fifi, and Opal."

"You've been summoned for a private video chat…it's an emergency from Aaron Hotchner."

"As you know, Emily had lost a lot of blood after her fight with Doyle…But the doctors were able to stabilize her…"

"But we buried her…Emily..."

"Hey, Reid."


"Spencer…?" A faded tone was calling out for him.

Reid barely tilted his head and tried to open his eyes. "Wha…?"

"Spencer…?" Now this tone was gently tapping him.

Reid grimaced his face and wrinkling his nose. He groggily opened his eyes, and his vision became clearer when he saw Élise standing over him. He quickly detected he was in one of the cruise's all-white infirmary rooms when Reid noticed he was on the examination/medical couch.

Placing his hand on his lightly pounding head, Reid hoarsely asked, trying to clear his throat, "What happened?"

Élise reached into her tote bag and pulled out a folder, opening it up for Reid. She took out the two screenshot photographs and gave them to him before gently rocking a sleepy Séraphine.

"Prentiss is alive." Reid's mouth opened and blinked a couple of times, "Prentiss is alive."

Reid picked up his head when he saw a middle-aged man enter the room with a clipboard in his head. Greeting the family, "Hello, everyone."

Élise politely addressed the doctor, "Hello, Dr. Yates."

"Hello, Dr. Reid," The doctor gave Reid a side smile, trying to lighten the mood in the room, "You gave us quite a scare. And you're not supposed to be doing that; you're supposed to be relaxing."

"Man," Reid squinted his eyes and massaged the back of his head again, "What happened to me?"

"You passed out in one of our secure business rooms." Dr. Yates answered him. "You hit your head, but you don't have a concussion or anything serious. Which I have to say is extremely lucky, so I guess you can thank our safeguarded flooring."

Élise continued for the doctor, still rocking Séraphine, "The manager entered the room, saw you passed out on the floor, and he alerted for medical attention. And…" Élise shook her shoulders, "Here we are now."

"Yeah." Reid continued to feel that head throbbing. Twisting his mouth and creasing his brows, "Yeah, I remember now." He exhaustingly blurted out, "Prentiss is alive."

Dr. Yates angled his head and narrowed his eyes, "Uh, may I ask who is…?"

Élise tranquility yet furiously answered for Reid, "Emily Prentiss is my husband's team member whom we thought was dead and buried. But as it turns out, she's actually been alive this whole time."

Reid mildly nodded his head, "Yeah." He began rubbing his closed eyes. "Yeah."

"Well, my advice for you, Dr. Reid, is to rest for the remainder of the day. If you have any problems tomorrow, feel free to see me anytime."

"Yes, Dr. Yates." Élise smiled at the doctor, shaking his hand, "And thank you again."


Taking Dr. Yates' instruction, Reid immediately headed for the master bedroom. Élise spent the rest of the day with Séraphine, watching classic movies and television shows and making sure she played a bit, even having a little bit of exercise.

After feeding her and bathing her, "Sweet dreams, Fifi," Élise tucked her in and kissed her forehead. "I love you, big girl."

Élise gave Séraphine a blown kiss before exiting her room. Before walking into the master bedroom, Élise went into the kitchenette and got some red Jell-O and small food portions. Élise asked Reid earlier and after they returned from the infirmary if he wanted anything to eat and said no on both occasions. It's been a couple of hours now, and Élise figured Reid must be hungry by now.

Walking in, Élise downturned her head and pouted her lips when she saw Reid slumped in bed. Élise hasn't seen him that depressed in a long time.

Élise exhaustingly sighed as she placed the Jell-O and spoon on the bedside and reached out to touch his shoulder,

"I'm awake." Reid tiredly said before placing his hand over his face and winced. "I just…"

"Oh, baby…" Élise immediately joined him in bed and stroked his head, "I get it."

"Prentiss is alive…" Reid let a tear from his eye; he didn't want to wipe it. "She…"

Élise understood him, "Yeah."

Reid gruntingly sat up; his head was still aching and throbbing, "I still can't wrap my head around this…"

"Oh, believe me, I can't either," Élise comprehended her husband's feelings. "Prentiss has been alive all this time." Élise placed her hand on his shoulder, "I don't know how I'd be either."

"To see Prentiss on the screen was surreal," Reid shook his head again and whispered, "I don't know how I'll be when I see her again in person."


"What the…?"

All of a sudden, a confusingly grimaced Reid stepped out of the elevator. Looking around the lobby,

Where was Élise and Séraphine? Where did they go?

Reid was supposed to be on a cruise with his wife and child the last time he checked, not here…

His attention turned to the FBI portrait of Emily on the wall of deceased agents.

Rubbing his squinting eyes,  "No…" Reid began tugging his head, worriedly shaking his head. "No…"

A shadowy voice calls out for him, "Spencer…"

Reid jolted his head to where the voice was calling for him, and it was,

"Prentiss…"

"In the flesh."

"Whoa!"

Reid rested straight up as he woke up, and it took him a moment—he didn't even bother counting—to realize that he just had a dream-turned-nightmare. But it was more of a nightmare from the beginning. Trying to pace his breath, he could almost feel the sweat on his forehead. Rubbing his eyes again with the palm of his hands, Reid flattered them before covering his mouth, yawning. Smacking his lips, he almost didn't hear someone walking into the bedroom.

It was just Élise rocking Séraphine.

"Let me guess," Élise knew Reid was having another dream/nightmare. "Prentiss?"

Without saying anything, Reid nodded his head and clutched his head with one of his hands.

"Hey," Élise sat down on the edge of the bed. "I know you're still reeling from Prentiss still being alive, but at the same time, you can't let this eat away at you."

Reid agreed, "Believe me, I know. But at the same time, I'm getting this…" Reid began scratching his forearm with goosebumps developing, chin, and neck, and he suddenly felt this nausea in his stomach. "Oh…crap…" He swore; Élise protectively covering Séraphine's ears though she was more interested in this color book Reid and Élise packed in their bags before they left.

"Are you feeling okay?" Élise concerningly asked.

"No. I am not." Reid scowled and grunted, "All these…blasted feelings…" He wiped his nose with his sleeve. "…I can't…"

Élise's brows knitted, and her forehead puckered when she placed her hand on his forehead to feel his temperature. Now he was warm. Thoughts were racing in her head. Since Prentiss' reveal on Saturday, he's spent the rest of the weekend in the bedroom. He didn't want to do anything but lie in bed and/or sleep. Reid's been waking up in the middle of the night; he had body aches, nauseating…

"Oh, God…" She feared the worst. "Are you…?"

"No!" Reid flat-out rebuffed, twitching, and his eyes shifted at the consideration Élise would be thinking, "No way. Don't you even think…"

Élise hissed, "Spencer!" She didn't want to say it.

Reid was about to strongly deny again looked into Élise's fierce moist, tear duct eyes and a tight pressed wobbling mouth. Weightily sighing in disgust, "Yes." He shamingly confesses. "I'm…having the feelings about..." He cried as he buried his face with his hands, "Please don't make me say it before I don't like it." Sobbing, "Please."

Élise allowed the tears to fall from her eyes and embraced Reid, lightly crying as she did.


"Are you sure this is a good idea?" Reid asked Élise for the second time after leaving their suite to go to the cruise's health spa.

Élise confidently said, "Absolutely. Plus, you can never resist a good massage. And a facial is a plus."

Reid chuckled, "You know I'm not into having facials."

"I know," Élise teasingly commented. "But they can help you make you feel better about yourself. And they do wonderful benefits for your skin."

"Too bad I'm not into them," Reid replied, still not sure about Élise's plan. "Still…"

"Yesterday was an emotional day for the both of us," Élise compassionately looked at Reid in his eyes and caressed his cheek. "But I do not want you to have to spend the rest of our cruise in this blue funk over Prentiss." Élise read the spa pamphlet she got and quickly skimmed through it, "But according to this pamphlet, there are plenty of spa treatments to help relieve you of that. Oh!" Élise points to a treatment suggestion, and Reid looks through it and said, "Acupuncture?" Reid spoke with uncertainness.

Élise reads the narrative, "An ancient traditional Chinese medicine using thin needles into your body's pressure points to release your chi's flow; out with the negative and in with the positive."

"I don't know," Reid was unsure. "Especially after yesterday and I…"

"I get it." Élise sympathizes with Reid's opinion. "Okay, we don't have to do it." She points to another suggestion. "This spa package is called the At Ease with Yourself." Élise jokes, "It sounds hippy, I know, but this is exactly what you need." Élise showed him the description. "This comes with this peppermint scape and brain massage. A hydrotherapy bath and aromatherapy. A steaming towel treatment with a lavender and stone body massage. And the massage therapist will use hand and feet reflexology to pressure point your migraines and headaches."

"Does it involve needles?" Reid curiously asked, intrigued by the idea.

Élise answered straightforwardly, "Nope."

Anything to relieve me of this tension about Prentiss, Reid said to himself before indeed said, "I want to try this one."

Élise smiled and gave Reid a lip kiss.


Close your eyes…

…open…

...close…

…Relieve your body of those negatives….

…Don't let it eat away at you….

…consume you…

…twisted…

…destroy…

…toxins…

…wither…

…wilted…

…drown…

…Imagine life without positive…

…life without water…

...a soul…

…heart…

…empty…

…mind…

…without the sun…

…no air…

…dust…

…Positivity…

…Negativity…

…be your own light…

…sun…

…ease…

…ying-yang…

…out of the black and gray and into the yellow and green…

...Let it rain…

…feel…

…rush…

…pour…

…Smell it…

…taste…

…come clean…

…Open…

…Say…


"Ah…"

Sitting back in his bed after being at the spa, Reid felt at more ease than he had ever felt recently. A gentle smile rested on his face. In every inch of his body, there wasn't a twitch, a sweat, a clam, a stutter, a clench, none of that.

It was as if it withered away and began o'er.

Élise had an immediate smile on her face when she walked in after putting Séraphine to bed; she knew she had to ask, "How do you feel now?"

"Calm." Reid hummed. "I am at ease with myself and with my body."

Élise settled herself in the bed with the duvets, keeping her warm and cozy. "What have you learned from the experience?"

"So much." A soothed Reid continued; his body was still relaxed. "I'm learning not to let the news about Prentiss discourage me, especially at a time where I'm supposed to be having a good time on this vacation with my family."

Élise knew she would hate having to ask Reid about this but needed to, "And…when we see Prentiss again when we get back to D.C. on the 23rd for the senate hearing…"

"I will be the better person in this," Reid assured Élise. "But I know for a fact that things won't be the same as they used to be." Reid casually said. "We've changed, and…that's life."

"Yeah," Élise consented with what Reid just said. "Sad but true. But that is life; it may not be what we want it to be, but it happens."

Reid took Élise's hand and asked, "Tomorrow, we get back to vacationing?"

"Indeed."


"Are you sure you want to do this?" An uneased Élise asked Reid for the third time about the activity he wanted to do.

Reid has never been more self-assured in his life, "Totally. After Hankel, I started a list of things I wanted to do. And I'm not going to back down. This is one of those activities."


"WWAAAA-HOOOOO!"

And that activity was indoor skydiving.

"WWWAAAA...!"

Élise waved to him as she was filming this nerve-wracking pursuit. "This man is nutty," She told herself. "But I still love him."


"YEEE-HHHOOOOWWW!" Reid held on to dear life as he ziplined over the ship's covering over the decks above the boardwalk. He made it to his destination.

"You want to do that again, huh?" Élise slyly asked him.

Reid exclaimed, "Yeah!"


"What? No extreme sporting today?" Élise held Séraphine in her arms and asked Reid, who had just finished reading Lord of the Files in the ship's grand two-story library. "We still have a few days left before we land in Australia."

Shrugging his shoulders, Reid answered, "I just thought I relax today."

"Mm-mmm," Élise betted. "But there's still much you want to do, huh?"

Reid closed the book and put it back in its place, "Of course."


"Whoo-hoo!" Reid scored a hole-in-one as he, Élise, and Séraphine were at the nine-hole miniature golf course.

Cheering, "Whoop-whoop!" He began reaching his hands in the air. "Whoop-whoop!" He started to dance; Élise and Séraphine couldn't help but giggle, and Élise knew she had to capture this moment.


"Mmm…" Reid smacked his lips as he tasted the pho he and Élise had just finished making together in their French-Vietnamese cooking class. "So delicious…"

Élise blushed, "Thanks. You should try this bánh flan." She fed Reid a piece as he fed Élise a piece.

Reid licked his lips after tasting, "The coconut milk and coffee's not too overwhelming."

"Personally, I hate coconut," Élise said. "But this is so good."


"The Sound of Music!" Élise applauded and clapped her hands like a little schoolgirl when the cruise ship held a movie night on deck. "I love this musical!" Élise bopped Séraphine's nose, "You'll love this as much as I do, you cuddly little bunny."

Reid whispered in Séraphine's ear, "Mommy really loves this movie."


"Let's smell the fresh sea air one last time," Élise gazed at the swirly orange, blue, and hints of coral pink, gray, and lilac sunset as she, Reid, and stared into the sunset. Élise looked to Séraphine and asked her, "Isn't that so pretty, Fifi?"

Séraphine flapped her hand and used her other hand to rub her tired eye, "Ba-ba…ah…"

"Aw…" Reid kissed Séraphine's cheek and clinched her tightly in his arms. "You're so adorable." Reid began spewing out facts, "Did you know that sunsets get their colors by a phenomenon called Rayleigh scattering? It's the same as what makes the sky blue during the day. Molecules and small elements in the atmosphere change the light rays' directions, making them scatter."

"Is it the same with sunrises?" Élise questioned.

Reid nodded, "Mmm-mmm. They're typically orange, yellow, and red."

"Maybe that explains why I've always been fascinated by sunrises and sunsets," Élise said. "They're like airy sky paintings. The same with stargazing."

"I say we do that after we put the little one to bed," Reid suggested as Séraphine was getting sleepier by the minute.


Élise exclaimed as she presented herself after just stepping off the cruise port, "HELLO, SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA!"

"It's G'day, actually," Reid reminded her as he was strapping Séraphine to her stroller seat. Waving to a passer, "G'day, mate."

"I know. I know." Élise had this sparkle in her eye as she inhaled the Australian air. "I can't wait to see Sydney."

Reid recapped, "But we still do have to get back to D.C. for the Senate Intelligence Committee trial on Friday. The flight from here to D.C. is 20 hours, and we're fourteen hours ahead."

"I took care of that," Élise assured him. "I contacted the FBI legal attaché before we landed, and they know we'll be back for the hearing. But let's not worry about that for now. Let's just see Sydney for a bit before we head to our hotel to rest and fly in the morning."


After settling their bags in their suite at the Sydney Four Seasons, Reid, Élise, Séraphine began their quick tour around Sydney.

They saw the city's world-famous Opera House to the Harbour Bridge, from the Tower and Royal Botanic Garden. After hitting the Taronga Zoo, they all went back to their hotel.


"Out with the negative," Reid pondered as he laid in bed with his fingers folded and his eyes closed, trying to imagine he was in another world. "In with the positive." Repeating, "Out with the negative. In the with positive." Even when he heard the door open and close, he kept going, "Out with the negative. In with the positive."

Élise asked as she got into bed, "Getting your mantra on?"

"Mm-mmm," Reid answered and continued. "Out with the negative. In with the positive."

Élise rested her hand on his shoulder. "Are you ready for when you see Prentiss in D.C.?"

"Mm-mmm." Despite feeling a chill, Reid stayed calm, "Out with the negative. In with the positive."


Reid…

…no…

…wasn't your fault…

…win big…

…listen…

…I'm good…

 I won't tell anyone…

…Just like that…

…like you…

…For being yourself…

 I won't tell anyone…

Reid intensely woke up and looked at the window on the flight.

"I'm back."


"Oh, God," Élise sighed as she took Séraphine out of her car seat after Reid parked their car in front of their house. "Come on, girl," Élise gestured to Opal to get out of the vehicle. "Come on."

Opal sadly growled as she walked to the house. Reid shook his head,

"Oh, Opal misses B.J. already." Élise stroked her fur as she bounced Séraphine in her arms, "It's okay, girl. You'll see B.J. again."

"Not as much as B.J. misses her," Reid recalled picking Opal up from Maeve and Bobby ten minutes ago.

"I could hear him crying when we began driving off," Élise mentioned. "I swear, dogs and babies have this connection; I've seen it on Rugrats."

"I won't lie; they do." Reid agreed before he noticed the two familiar-looking cars parked in their drive. "I see we have some special guests who have already helped themselves into our house."

Élise smirked as Reid opened the door, "I see we do."

When the three walked in,

"Surprise!"

Reid and Élise's faces lit up when they saw Élise's parents, brother, and sister-in-law and tossed confetti in their faces.

"Welcome back home." Mr. Micha gave Élise a fatherly hug before acknowledging his granddaughter, "Hi, Fifi!" Mr. Micha carefully takes Séraphine from Élise and smooches her face. "Can you say, grandpa?"

Séraphine babyishly giggled.

Reid cried, "She said her first word."

Brenda gasped and squealed when she covered her mouth, "What was her first word?"

"Pa-pa," Reid proudly announced.

"It was bah-bah," Élise remarked. "Bah-bah, she said, O to Glory One."

"Actually, did you know that Baba is a nickname for 'father?' So technical, she said father first." Reid took Séraphine from Mr. Micha and snuggled her nose against his, making her laugh. "Because you're a daddy's girl. Yes, you are. Yes, you are."


The Bastien-Reid family were all enjoying a honey lemon chicken dinner. Élise and Reid talked about the rest of their cruise experience, including Reid telling them about what really happened to his team member.

"Wow," Arthur sympathetically looked at Reid. "Harsh, man."

Reid nodded, "Yeah. Now I have to prepare for tomorrow."

"And I'll be coming with," Élise spoke up before wiping some of the baby food from Séraphine's mouth.

Geneva blessed, "Good luck, and may God protect you."

"I think someone else needs some praying as well, mother," Élise commented before taking a small bite.

Brenda tapped the fork on her plate, "Meanwhile…can we see more of those pictures?"

"After dinner, because I'm hungry right now," Élise said before she sipped from her water glass.


It was nighttime, and Élise's family were already in their own respectable rooms. Élise had just kissed and tucked in Séraphine, and she was now skimming through the cruise images and smiled when she saw Reid and Séraphine with their mouths open. Reid walked in, clothed in a black and dark purple pajama set, and snuck next to Élise in their bed.

"Want to go on another cruise adventure?" Reid reminisced.

Élise coyishly looked to Reid, "Maybe in a few years, but right now..." Élise exhaled as she placed the camera on the nightstand. Resting her head against the silk pillow, "Tomorrow's the day."

"Mm-mmm." Reid is trying not to think about it too hard. He didn't want to go back to that place when he practically admitted to Élise about wanting to do something he'd never do again. "Tomorrow is the day I see Emily Prentiss. Live."

Élise prompted Reid, "Remember your mantra."

Reid took a deep breath, "Out with the negative. In with the positive."


"Out with the negative. In with the positive." Reid repeated to himself; he and Élise had just stepped into the elevator. "Out with the negative. In with the positive."

"You're serious about this," Élise said. "I would as well."

The elevator dinged, and the doors opened; the two stepped off, and Reid sighed and shook this gloom off his shoulders.

"Spencer."

Hotch was the first one to notice the couple in the lobby.

Approaching them, Élise single nodded her head, "Hey, Aaron." Lessening the silence, "I see you shave off your caveman look."

Hotch smoothed his face, "Yeah. Neither Jack nor Jessica were a big fan of it."

"Oh, I'm sure they won't." Élise commented before seeing Rossi walking up to them, "Hey, David."

Rossi gave them a small smile, "Nice to see you two again."

"Pretty boy and pretty woman."

They recognized that voice.

Élise jested, "You haven't changed that much, have you, Morgan? Is that why you're still single?"

Before Morgan could respond,

"Oh, snap." Garcia snickered as she was walking towards them. "Hey, you two." She first hugged Reid, "Have you been getting stronger?"

"I've been doing a lot." Reid recapped; still trying to think about what he was going to do when he saw,

"Guys…"

One of the doors swung open, and it was J.J. and Erin Strauss…

And...

"Hey."

Emily Prentiss herself.

Chapter Text

Previously on Criminal Minds…

"She never made it off the table…."

"…I didn't get a chance to say goodbye…."

"It's just unfair that she's gone. It's like if we can't keep each other safe, then why are we even doing any of this? It's... Sometimes I think maybe... Maybe Gideon was right, you know, maybe... Maybe it's just not worth it..."

"As you know, Emily had lost a lot of blood after her fight with Doyle…But the doctors were able to stabilize her…."

"But we buried her…Emily..."

"Reid...Hey."


"Emily..." Reid distantly said. "You're back."

Prentiss tiredly chuckled, "Yeah."

Emily Prentiss.

Alive and well.

And for real.

"Yeah," Prentiss continued to brave a smile, "I really am." She hesitantly tugged on her bottom lip before walking up to hug him. "And I am so sorry. Really, I...You didn't deserve that."

Reid didn't know what to think when Emily began to hug him, especially in front of his wife, Élise. No doubt he was surprised and anxious: his eyebrows raised, and he held his breath. His jaw slacked, and his eyes widened. Reid felt his hands and this prickly, crawling sensation throughout his entire body.

Nevertheless, he exhaled and slightly allowed Prentiss to hug him. She soon pulled back and saw Élise carrying her handbag by her elbow and her lips pressed together. Prentiss cautiously breathed out and cupped her hands together.

"Élise."

Élise opened her arms out and allowed Prentiss to hug her. Élise halted the hug after two seconds when she told Prentiss she was still feeling a bit sore lately when in reality, Élise didn't want Prentiss hugging her any longer. Élise plastered a fake smile on her face, "Nice to see you again, Prentiss."

Prentiss began picking her fingernails before complimenting Reid, "You look great." Prentiss pointed to Reid's Southwestern-inspired cashmere sweater vest. "Unique."

"I picked it out for him," Élise still had a plastered fake smile on her face, "Vintage Ralph Lauren is always a good look on him. I thought it would look great with the purple dress shirt, and it really gives it a punch, you know?" She forcibly chuckled.

Prentiss buttered Élise up with, "You look nice as well."

"Thank you." Élise looked down at her black pantsuits and replied, "You sure don't look too pale for someone who faked her death for seven months."

Prentiss smoothed her cheek, "No, I don't." Prentiss opened her mouth and was about to say something when Erin Strauss approached them again after taking another call, "Everyone," Strauss tiresomely said. "Oh, God…"

Rossi guessed, "It's not good, is it?"

Strauss shook her head, "No." She soon turned her attention to Reid and Élise, "Welcome back again, you two."

"Thank you, ma'am," Reid said.

"How is little Séraphine?" Strauss asked, "I'd like to see new photographs of her."

Élise grinned, "Of course."

"Oh, yeah, that's right," Prentiss' eyes enlarged, and her mouth opened, and she gasped after Séraphine was mentioned. "You two had your baby girl."

"Ahem!" Garcia raised her hand with pride, "I thought that was my name." Morgan wrapped his arm around her.

"Sorry," Prentiss snickered, "You had your little girl. Congratulations. How old is she now, like…seven months?"

"Six months and seventy-seven days, to be exact." Reid corrected her. "But yeah, you were so close." Reid breathed before he walked away, his hand cramping, "Excuse me, please."


"Out with the negative, in with the positive." Reid pondered his chant to himself in the bathroom, standing over the running sink when Hotch walked in. Reid splashed some water in his eyes.

After turning off the faucet, he placed both hands at the edge corners of the sink and sighed.

"Reid…"

"I know." Reid knew Hotch was going to say something about Prentiss, judging by his demeanor, "I know."

"I know what you've been through." Hotch compassionately said.

Reid picked up his head and looked to Hotch with this look of almost borderline disgust. Rebuffing, "Do you really?"

"No. No, I don't. I don't know if I can ever understand that you're angry." Hotch heaved a sigh and admitted, "After this happened, Jack...he asked me since Emily came back..." Licking his lips, "That will his mom be coming back as well. I told him no. Mom's not coming back and..." Hotch paused to scratch his eyebrow, "...He wanted to know why I lied to him when I told him lying is never a good thing to do."

"I thought we lost her, and I just…." Reid shook his head in frustration since he didn't want to admit to Hotch that all this made him want to do the unthinkable. "I just…I don't know how to think about this."

"Hopefully, someday, I do want you to understand that this wasn't about you. Or me. This was about saving Emily."

Reid exclaimed, "But you knew. All this time that she was…."

"And…JJ as well," Hotch said in this rare timid tone.

"She knew, too?" Reid didn't need Hotch to answer that. His blank grimace was enough for him. Reid scoffed and curled his upper lip. "At least I know now that she didn't have to grieve as we all did. Isn't that something?"


Élise was waiting patiently on the bench outside the doors. Playing on her Samsung cell phone, she received a text from her brother watching her daughter with the rest of her family. She smiled when she saw a picture of him and Séraphine making silly faces. Élise heard footsteps, and she looked up, and it was Reid, walking towards her. He gave her a lip kiss and sat down next to her. "What a memory this is going to be." Élise heavily said.

Reid agreed, "No doubt."

Élise pinched her nose and closed her eyes, groaning, "You're not going to believe this."


Élise was in the bathroom. She had just finished washing her hands when JJ walked in. JJ slowly stepped in her direction and saw this drained facial expression on Élise's face. JJ folded her arms together and hurled a sigh, "This can't be easy for you and Spence."

"Believe me," Élise remarked. "It hasn't at all."

JJ tensely rubbed her hands together, "Hotch and I…."

Élise snapped her head and snarled, "You knew?"  JJ's hesitated expression was more than enough for Élise, who suddenly felt this vein pulsing in her neck and even in her temple. Frowning, "All this time? All these months…you knew."

"I…" JJ's arms opened, stuttering, "I didn't have a choice."

"Your silence seemed to be a choice." Élise shrugged her shoulders, blankly staring, "You knew this whole time Prentiss was alive."

"It was for her own protection." JJ defensibly excused. "For all our protections."

"Mm-mmm," Élise mocked. "I'm sure it was." She tapped JJ's shoulder—honestly, she wanted to do more to her—before leaving her in the bathroom. "What a good life lesson you're teaching Henry about lying."


"Oh, I know." Reid said after Élise summarized her latest conversation, "Big time."

"Jesus, Mary, and Joseph," Élise now began massaging her temples, "I think I'm starting to lose what religion I got in my body left."

Reid breathed before repeating his mantra, "Out with the negative, in with the positive. Out with the negative, in with the positive."

Soon, Strauss sat down next to Reid on the bench; now Reid was in the middle. She reached inside her pocket and pulled out a can of mints, offering herself one after Reid and Élise respectfully declined. They see Prentiss with a court officer, and Strauss comments,

"At least you got her back."

Reid and Élise doubted that "Did we?"


After Reid was recapped about the team's actions, it was his turn to be questioned by Senator Cramer. He was one of the senators hired to oversee a trial against the team and give his testimony.

"You're the only agent who has not requested reinstatement to the unit." Cramer reviewed.

Reid confidently said, "That's right."

Cramer restated, "Which also means that you were the only agent not to take part in this rogue operation."

"Mm-hmm." Reid nodded his head.

Cramer haughtily commented, "All because you were on a cruise."

"I actually took a sabbatical to be with my wife and daughter." Reid respectfully stated. "And to give my mind some ease from my work."

"Ah, yes," Cramer observed. "Your wife being…federal prosecutor Élise Bastien."

"Eh-leez," Reid corrected. "The É has an accent."

"Yes." Cramer didn't seem to really care at that point. "And your daughter's…Ser-a-feen?"

Now Reid was really starting to get annoyed with the Senator, "Seh-ra-feen. Like Élise, the first e in her name has an accent."

Cramer was dismissive at this point, "So, you didn't know about the actions of your team because you were on a cruise with your family. And coincidentally, there was no reception when the team tried to contact you." Cramer scoffed. "Had you known, would you have jumped on the next flight to help your ne'er-do-well team, leaving your wife and child behind since you're used to that?"

"Forgive me for being brutally blunt," Now Reid's had enough, "I wanted to use that time to be with my family. So, suppose you want to punish me for taking time off to be with my wife and child and taking a cruise vacation when this happened. In that case, I encourage you to do that, but do not bring my family into this because they had no part in what my team was doing."

Cramer barked, "Calm down, Agent."

"This is calm, and it's Doctor." Reid returned.

Cramer stumbled at the doctor's one-liner and was about to say something but just sighed and decided to move on to another question quickly. "Had you'd know, what would you have done? What would you have suggested?"

Reid responded. "Release Ian Doyle."

"Release Ian Doyle?" Cramer derided Reid's proposal, "Release an international criminal? You have three PhDs, two bachelor's degrees…."

"Three, actually," Reid fixed Cramer, "Before the cruise and during my free time, I completed my Philosophy degree."

"My apologies, doctor. Three bachelor's degrees," Cramer said with distaste while mentally rolling his eyes. "A 187 IQ, eidetic memory, and can read 20,000 words per minute, and you say you would release Ian Doyle."

"A young boy's life was at stake. I ran the probability of his survival, and it wasn't good, so yes, I say I would decide to take the risk and release Ian Doyle." Reid reasoned.

Cramer sneered, "The United States government is not in the business of trading captives."

Reid spoke up closer to the microphone, "New York City, July 2010, referred to as the Spy Swap. Igor—"

"That's enough." Cramer stopped him.

"You can't just change the rules, sir," Reid said after leaning back in his seat.

Cramer remarked, "And you just can't break them, doctor."

"I didn't, sir," Reid replied again.

Cramer retorted, "No. But I'm sure you probably would have. Doctor."


After hearing from Reid how his testimony went with Senator Cramer, Élise was more than ready to testify and tell her side of the story.

"Federal Prosecutor Élise Bastien."

Élise amusingly raised her hand, "Present."

Cramer squinted his eyes, hoping to imitate her, and Élise coolly replied with a closed-lip smile, and her body leaned back in her seat.

"Ms. Bastien. You and your husband, Dr. Spencer Reid, along with your daughter, Séraphine, were all on a cruise from Hawaii to Australia."

"That's right." Élise simply answered.

Cramer continued, "During which, on September 10th, Agent Aaron Hotchner contacted him about Agent Prentiss' true status."

Élise dreaded answering that, "Unfortunately yes."

"Unfortunately?" Cramer cocked his head.

"Yes. It was unfortunate that my husband had to find out while we were on vacation." Élise clearly said.

"On an overseas trip," Cramer jeered, "That must have been so hard for you, I'm sure."

Élise stifled a laugh, still projecting a fake smile on her face, "What do you mean, sir?"

"Do you think your husband would have abandoned you and your child to go help his team?"

Élise gritted her teeth, "I'm sure he would have done whatever he could to help his team, but he understands how important our family is."

"Well, I'm sure there's no doubt you would have wanted a piece of the action yourself."

Élise pursed her lips and looked to Cramer with a look that made her want to clock him into next week. "I'm sorry, sir?"

"You're known as the Silent Eliminating Enforcer, whatever. I'm sure you would have wanted to have a part in taking down Ian Doyle and those involved to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Seeing how you missed your chance to do that with The Boston Reaper, George Foyet." Cramer ended that last sentence with a smug smile.

Élise still had a polite smile on her face, "I get more than enough action, sir."

"But you seem to be quite an ambitious woman," Cramer said.

"I am, thank you." Élise retorted. "I don't see anything wrong with having ambition. It makes me what to be the best and reach up to new heights and goals."

"But look what happens when there is too much ambition: increased risk-taking goal-failing, events ironically leading up to this very moment, Ms. Bastien. So…" Cramer shrugged his shoulders and pressed his mouth. "Here we are."


"Is it wrong for me to say that I wanted to tell Cramer to shove it where the sun doesn't shine?" Élise was strolling at her phone as she asked Reid after testifying. "Pretentious…"

Reid tried to console her when she was about to use foul language, "Élise…." He started massaging her shoulders. "Tense."

"And can you blame me?" Élise groaned, placing her hand on her face and pinched between her eyes, "I'm serious, babe. Am I too ambitious?"

Reid reasoned, "I don't see anything wrong with having ambition."

Élise snickered, "Tell that to Cramer." She groaned again before mocking Cramer, "Look what happens when you have too much ambition."

Reid looked at his watch, "I have to get back." He kissed Élise, who waved to him,

Élise patted his cheek, "Good luck."


Strauss gathered everyone—Élise was taking a phone call—in the roundtable room after concluding her meeting with the senators. "The committee made it clear they will not support a rogue team." There was a brief quiet moment before Strauss continued. "Agent Prentiss convinced them you were not that. They will be watching you closely. So, I suggest you play by their rules."

Garcia nervously asked, "So we're ok?"

"Suspension is lifted for everyone," Strauss said.

JJ released her breath, and her hands landed on the table, "Thank you, ma'am."

"There may be more paperwork, considering your...situation," Strauss looked to Prentiss, "But the team is lucky to have you if you're interested."

Prentiss asked, "May I think about it?"

"Of course." Strauss nodded her head. Everyone, including Reid, was waiting for Prentiss' decision.

"I'm in," Prentiss announced.

"And Dr. Reid?" Strauss turned her attention to him. "Since you were the only one who didn't go rogue due to your sabbatical, what about you? Are you back in?"

Reid needed a moment to think about being back to the unit again. With Prentiss. And JJ. Who knew about Prentiss' actual status this whole time. That was much to consider. But then he looked to some of his team, who smiled little-by-little, even Prentiss and JJ, even though they gave him nervous looks.

"Yes," Reid responded. "I'm back."


"I will support and defend the constitution of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic. I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same, that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion. That I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter, so help me God." Élise recited the FBI Oath of Office.

"Mm-mmm." Reid agreed as they walked towards the elevator.

"So, you're actually back in the BAU." Élise chortled, "Either way, I'm still proud that you're back."

"Yes," Reid said. "Surprisingly, yes."

"Even with Prentiss and JJ being back…." Élise uneasily said, fiddling with her fingers.

"I'm still angry," Reid made it clear as they entered the elevator, "Believe me, I'm still…frustrated. But, uh…I'm not going to let them stop me from being here." His cell phone began to vibrate, and Reid answered after the first ring, "Hello?" He cocked his head when he realized who was calling him, "Dad?"

"Father Reid?" Élise was surprised, "Oh! Can you say 'hi' for me?"

Élise's cheerily smile disappeared bit by bit when she saw Reid suddenly having this vacated stare. His hazel eyes looking moisten and his mouth opening and closing. She worryingly asked, "What's wrong, babe?"

"No…" Reid unintentionally ignored Élise and stuttered, "Yeah. I, uh…w-we'll be in Las Vegas as soon as we can. T-t-thanks," He hung up, placed his hand on his throat, and is shaken with sobs. Élise goes to comfort and asks him again,

"What's happened, my love?"

Reid could barely get the words out; a tear fell from his eye, "Something's happening to my mother."

Chapter Text

Previously on Criminal Minds…

"Emily...You're back."

"I really am."

"…I don't know if I can ever understand that you're angry."

"I just…I don't know how to think about this."

"At least you got her back."

Reid and Élise doubted that "Did we?"

"What's happened?"

"Something's happening to my mother."


This was just too much for him. The news of Prentiss and now the news about what was happening with his mother…it was starting again. And the saddest is he knew he needed to admit that. But not just to himself. There was just one place that he needed to go to. A safe haven where people wouldn't judge him and relate to him, especially in his line of work.

The applause died down just as Reid walked up and took center stage. He cleared his throat to get rid of the nervousness he was feeling.

"Hi," He twitchily smiled and let out a chuckle. He cringed and wretched his hands repeatedly to stop the hampering. Finally speaking up after licking his lips,

"My name's Spencer."

The group replied in unison, "Hello, Spencer."

"Sorry," Nervously chuckling, he kept glancing around the random unjudgmental faces staring at him. "It's been two years, five months, and seven days since I've been here and, uh…sorry again…" Wringing his hands again and smiling spastically, "A lot has happened to me. I got engaged and married to the most beautiful woman in the world. We have an equally beautiful child together. Everything's been going well for me and now…."

He gulped before confessing, "My craving for Dilaudid has started again." He shakingly acknowledges to everyone, "Well, actually, it…It started when…a colleague I work with died when actually…this colleague had to fake their death and go into hiding. I admitted this to my wife when she was in labor and about to give birth, and s-…when my child was born, those cravings went away because I didn't want to be that anymore. I didn't even want to think about it. But then…the cravings came when, uh…."

Reid kept trying to say something, but nothing would come out. At least not until his phone vibrated and he had to take it. Apologizing profoundly, "I'm sorry. I have to…." He leaves the building to look at his messages.

ON THE WAY ~ EBR

Reid texts back,

OKAY ~ SR

Reid smiled when he heard someone call out for him,

"Spencer."

Reid turned around, and it was, "John."

Reid was a bit surprised to see John. He almost looked the same, except his gut looked a bit bigger, his thinning bald hair was more grays, and the gentle wrinkles that were on his forehead and around his eyes.

John held his hand out, "It's been a while."

"Yeah, it has." Reid cleared his throat and firmly shook it back, "How've you been?"

John shook his head and answered, "I'm still hanging in there. I heard what happened to your team."

"Yes." Reid resignedly chuckled, "I was on a cruise when it happened, and now…." He moistened his dried lips again and picked his fingernails. "They're happening again. When I admitted to my wife, we…." His chin trembled, and he stared at his Converses. "We hugged, kissed, and cried with our child together. She told me it was going to be okay. She was there for me and…." Sighing. "Here we are." Reciting his mantra, "Out with the negative. In with the positive."

John asked, "You have a mantra."

"I developed one during our vacation," Reid explained to him. "Helps me stay motivated. A reminder to not let any toxicities in my mind, heart, body, soul."

John pushed out his lips and thought, "Well, that's good. Personally, I'm not into that whole spiritual stuff, but if it's working for you, then it's great."

Reid smiled back, "Thanks."

"And I get why you have it." John was empathetic as he knew what Reid meant. "And believe me, I would flush my sobriety right now if that happened to me."

Reid chewed his bottom lip, "I still don't know how to feel about it. Will it?"

"Maybe or maybe not," John said before advising, "But don't let anyone tell you when you should be. That's completely up to you and you only."

Reid smirked, "Thanks, John."


"No. No! No, no, no, no, no! Get away from me, you—no! Stay away! Sta—no! No! Get—no, NOOOOOO!"


"No!" Reid blurted out and flinched in his plane seat with a start, waking up Élise and almost waking up a few bystanders who were now staring at him with weird looks on their faces.

"Hey-hey, bunny," Élise immediately began comforting him, murmurs, "Honey, I'm right now." She held his hand and stroked his fingers with her thumb. "I'm not going anywhere."

Reid patted his heart as he felt it was going to pop out and explode on him. He soon put his hand around his throat, feeling this sharp pain. "Oh, God…" He spoke in a suffocated whisper, and his voice began to crack and tight, "I'm okay."

Élise brushed softening circles on his back, "Oh, sweetie…it's not your fault."

"It is," Reid said, clenching his teeth and having his hand over his teary face, "Had I not spent her that letter about Prentiss…."

Élise replied, "They said it was an accident."

"Bought on by my letter, and it induced a schizophrenic episode." Reid wiped his tears away before running his shaking fingers through his hair. "She cut her hand and…."

Élise embraced his cheek before kissing, "A visit from her only son and favorite daughter-in-law and granddaughter will cheer her up. Breath in and breath out."

"Breath in and breath out," Reid repeatedly what Élise just said.

"Good," Élise sadly smiled, "Good, baby. Now your mantra."

Closing his eyes, Reid took another deep breath. Tilting his head back, trying to relax in his seat, and putting his body at ease, he exhaled, "Out with the negative. In with the positive. Out with the negative. In with the positive."


"Thank you again for picking us up from the airport, Papa Reid," Élise said after she came from the kitchen and into the living room with a plateful of fresh sliced fruit and vegetables.

Reid helped himself to a sliced carrot, "Yeah, thank you again, dad."

"Anytime." William laughed as he played with Séraphine, "Plus, it's nice to get away from Ethel a bit."

"Well, yeah." Élise chuckled as she sat next to Reid and admired the living room's cool color palette. "I kinda like your place, Papa Reid. Reminds us of our house."

"Exactly more of the reason why I wanted you guys to stay," William said as he began tickling Séraphine's tummy. "My house is your house."

Reid wrapped his arm around Élise's body and asked his father, "So, uh…have you talked to the doctors about mom?"

"Yeah," William covered Séraphine's ears. "They said we could go see, but we have to tread lightly." William really dreaded what he was about to say, "They're even putting her on watch for about a week until further examinations."

Reid placed his hand over his face before pinching his eyes with his fingers. He sighed, "Oh, God…." Now he had his hand over his stomach, "Now, I'm feeling nauseous again."

William offered, "Perhaps I can get you some Ginger-Ale?"

"Yes, please." Reid accepted his father's suggestion.

Before heading to the kitchen, William kissed Séraphine's cheek and handed her over to Élise. Élise began bouncing Séraphine on her knee, and she turned her head to Reid, who started scratching his forehead. "Sweetheart…"

"Out with the negative. In with the positive." Reid intoned his mantra. "Out with the negative. In with the positive."

Élise comforted, "That's good."

"I need more than this before I see my mother." Reid was still plagued with guilt and clutched his head in his free hand. "I'm sick over this."

Consoling her husband, Élise said, "This is not your fault, okay? It's not."

Reid could feel his eyes moistening as he stared at his father's white ceiling. Sniffing his nose, "Well, I can't help it. Had I not told her about what happened…" He picked his head up, revealing to her his pale face and the dark circles under his eyes.

"Oh, sweetie," Élise grabbed his hand and wiped his tears away for him, "You love your mother, but you cannot blame yourself for this. Your mother will say the same thing."


"Oh, I can't do this," Reid said to Élise for the third time since arriving at Bennington. "I can't."

Élise encouraged him as she gently pulled his arm, "Yes, you can." She looked down to see Séraphine relaxing in her stroller seat and asked her, "Do you think daddy can do it, Fifi? For Grandma?"

Séraphine stared at Élise with her widened eyes and babbled, "Bah…bah…." She blew a raspberry at Reid and giggled.

At least that little moment of cuteness put a slight smile on Reid's face. But from afar, when he saw his mother staring blankly at the window, caressing her bandaged hand, the overwhelming guilt reentered his body. Now he really didn't want to see her.

"Hello, everyone!" Dr. Norman approached the family with a smile on his face, "How are we doing today?"

Élise chipperly said, "We're good, Dr. Norman. Right?" Élise taps Reid's shoulder, looking at him with obvious eyes. "Right, Spen?"

"Yeah, we're good," Reid replied with indifference and with a slight frown, still staring at his mother.

"Yeah, I know." Dr. Norman stared at Diana and sighed, "Yeah. I gave your mother the letter, and the next thing I knew, she was screaming and hitting her head." Dr. Norman nervously plays with his fingers. "When we walked in, she cut her hand and a little bit of her wrist after smashing the vase that was in her room. Our doctors said that she's lucky she didn't cut any of the arteries."

Reid bit his fist in shame to stop his quivering jaw; now, he really didn't want to see her.

"We're still keeping a closer eye on her, but she's been steady." Dr. Norman said as he picked up some files from the front desk receptionist. "Excuse me; I have to…."

Élise nodded her head, "We can take it from here."

"Thank you." Dr. Norman let the family by themselves.

Reid drummed his fingers together as they walked at a snail's pace towards his mother and timidly hisses, "I can't."

"Yes, you can," Élise pulled his arm and urged him to see her. "And you will." Now they were a couple of feet from Diana's spot. Élise patted Reid's shoulder again, "Say something." Élise encouraged him.

Reid bit his bottom lip and gulped his spit. Here he goes. It was now or never. "M-mom?" He stuttered.

Diana stopped chewing on her fingernails just as she heard her son's voice. She turned away from the window and stared at him, "Spencer." She whispered. Diana got up from her seat and ran her son with all of her might, placing her hands over her mouth. "Oh, my baby." She starts quietly sobbing. "Oh, my baby boy."

"I'm here, mom." Unexpected tears began flowing from Reid's eyes, "I'm not going anywhere."


"Oh, my baby." Diana touched Reid's face and hair before examining it, "Oh, nothing happened to that pretty face of yours, huh?"

Reid said with embarrassment, flushed, "Mom…."

Diana giggled before looking at Élise and Séraphine playing; Élise dangles one of Séraphine's toys in front of her face. "Oh, look at those two."

"Yup," Reid proudly smiled.

"Oh, it's so good to see you all again, Spencer." Diana stokes Reid's legs and heavenly sighs, "It's been far too long."

"I am as well, mother." Reid took his mother's hand, "And to be honest, I didn't want even to come."

Diana maintained her eye contact with Reid and asked, "Why, baby?"

"It's my fault." Reid wiped his nose as he had his head down; a tear fell from his eyes. "It's my fault you got hurt."

"Oh, my baby," Diana wiped his tear away and stroked his hands. "It's not your fault. I would never blame you for this."

Reid's face turned pale, "You don't?"

"No." She calmly patted his face before growling to him, "It's that damn government you work for. Oh!" She clenched her fists in anger and shook them, ranting. "I could…I could…scratch everyone's eyes out!" Yelling, "I could beat the living silliness out of them! I could nick them! I could do every unpleasant thing in the dictionary for doing anything to you and my girls!"

A few nurses came over, ready to calm Diana by any means necessary, "Ms. Diana…."

"It's okay." Reid assured the nurses and shielding his mother away, "I got her; we're fine."

The nurses looked at them and nodded their heads before going back to work.


"What's wrong, penguin?" Élise asked Reid after he set Séraphine down for a nap.

Reid tossed his cellphone on the bedside before getting into the bed next to Élise. He groaned, "JJ sent me another text two hours ago, asking me if I want to have brunch with her."

"Oh, God…" Élise rolled her eyes and wrinkled her nose, "Can't she take a hint that you don't want anything to do with her right now?"

Reid assured Élise, "I already talked to Hotch. He said he's going to talk to her about only he and Garcia would contact me unless it's about a case."

"Good." Élise scoffed and massaged her temples, "Oh, bloody…I'm already getting another headache just thinking about this whole thing with Prentiss."

"I know what you mean," Reid agreed, "What, I'm just supposed to pretend this whole thing didn't happen, and we can all go back and act as if this never happened?" Reid replied cynically. "When I get back to work, am I supposed to be," Now Reid was in sarcastic mode. "'Hi, JJ. Hi, Emily. I forgive you just like that. Maybe we can go back to the way we were before all this…crap…happened?" Reid snapped his fingers and sneered.

"I'm surprised you didn't curse." Élise held back a snicker. "That's okay. If it were me, I swear like a sailor."

"Yeah," Reid said before he continued. "What, I'm just supposed to believe that everything's the same between us? It's not. The problem with that is that this did happen. And when this happened, things change."

"Everything has changed." Élise grabbed ahold of his hand, "You've changed."


"Well, look at you. Look at you, penguin." Élise admired Reid's attire for the day: a light blue dress shirt with a gray cardigan sweater and matching-looking color tie, dark dress pants, and Converse sneakers. His hair was neatly coiffed, and when Élise sniffed him, "Oh, you smell like cinnamon and coffee. It's nice." She whispered the last sentence. "So…oh!"

Reid raised his eyebrows, "Who would have thought cinnamon and coffee go great together?"

"Like you and I?" Élise growled; she was already dressed for the day: a black pantsuit and heels.

He and Élise engaged in a passionate kiss, Pulling back after two seconds. "Ready for today?"

"Oh," Élise placed her hand on her stomach. "I still feel a bit queasy about the nanny interviews we did."


"Well, I'll be damned," Élise said as she observed the number of resumes Hotch had Garcia sent over. "How many are there?"

Reid had already calculated after Élise gave him half of what she had, "Twenty-two resumes."

"Again, damn." Élise gave him a smile and a lip peck, "And that's one of the many reasons I love you. Still…we need a nanny who loves children, knows first aid, maybe a martial art or two…."

Reid snickered, "Martial arts?"

"Why not?" Élise replied. "Plus, the nanny needs to be reliable, patient, flexible, a good communicator, hands-on, understanding."

Reid included, "The nanny definitely needs to be kind and sensitive, adaptable, work under pressure, a clean criminal background."

Élise sternly said, "I definitely do not, in any way, shape, or form, want the nanny to be neither a smoker, a drinker, an addict." Sighing, "But more importantly, I want the nanny to have a nurturing spirit and connect with Séraphine and our future children. Someone who can really make a difference."

"Indeed."


Reid chuckled again as he began packing his leather satchel bag, "Remember the process?"

Élise groaned. "Was that long or what?"


"So, Ms. Mia Wilson, you were formerly a social worker?" Élise questioned her as she observed her resume.

"Why, yes, ma'am and sir," Mia said with a smile. "I even have a degree in education, so I'm currently working as an elementary school teacher." She cleared her throat before asking, "Now…may I ask you something?"

Reid replied, "Anything?"

She leaned closer and asked them, "May I see your knickers?"

Élise's eyebrow raised, her eyes widened, and her mouth opened; Reid was as equally weird out by her rather inappropriate question, "Excuse me?"

She whispered to them, "A person can always know one's intention by their underwear."


"Ugh, Élise shuttered at the memory of that interview, "At least she wasn't as nutty as Dana Foster."


Élise was impressed with her resume, "Wow. A Master's in Nursing. So, you know your First Aid and everything you learned from your training, being a pediatric nurse practitioner for five years."

Dana confidently nodded her head, "Mmm-mmm."

"Uh, excuse me," Reid pointed to something in her large black bag. "But I believe something is sticking out of your bag."

The interviewee blushed, "Oh, that's just one of my knives." She closed the blade and placed it at the bottom of the bag.

Élise's eyes broadened, and she plastered a fake polite smile on her face, trying her hardest not to freak out, "Knives?"

Dana explained in an eerily calm tone, "A few years ago, someone broke into my home, so since then, I carry three knives with me. And sometimes a gun." Dana innocently giggles; Élise and Reid uncomfortably smile.


Élise saw Reid removing his revolver from his safety box, "Believe me, I'm all for guns and safety, but I don't want Séraphine…."

Reid understood what Élise was about to say, "I know. But at least she was better than Scarlet Radcliff."

"The nasal Queens accented itch who kept hitting on you," Élise crossed her arms, tightened her lips, and a sour expression, "I'd rather Lauren Yates."

"But she kept hitting on you." Reid almost laughed, "Remember this candidate?"


"So, Miriam Potters…" Élise uneasily stared at her resume. "You're a double major in theatre and psychology?"

Miriam chipperly said, "And I'm working towards a Ph.D. in psychology."

"Wow," Reid kept twisting his mouth and fidgetted with his fingernails before taking closer note of her attire: a vintage Victorian ruffle button blouse and red bow, ankle-length skirt, low-inch heels, and felt hat. "You're a unique person."

"Thank you," Miriam said with a chipper tone. "My heroine is Mary Poppins."

"I notice," Élise politely moved her head.

Miriam tittered and clapped her hands, "Oh, I can't wait for Séraphine and me to play games and sing songs."

"I bet so."


Élise still had her arms folded and thought for a moment, "I'm not going to lie; I almost wanted to pick her."

"I did, too." Reid agreed. "But at least we came to the perfect one."


"Oh, Lord," Élise helped herself to a glass of ice-cold Ginger Ale that was sitting in the tray on the coffee table as she crashed on the couch next to Reid, who was still reviewing resumes. "This is so long and tiring; I want to give up."

Reid joined Élise on the couch, "I thought the Silent Eliminating Enforcer doesn't give up."

"Oh, she doesn't; she's just drained and annoyed right now." Élise retorted as she was massaging her eyes and took another sip. "Maybe there's no such thing as the perfect nanny. Unless you're Mary Poppins, Fran Fine, Nanny McPhee, Fraulein Maria, or maybe even Mrs. Doubtfire, even if she was Robin Williams in drag." Élise took another sip.

Reid chuckled and licked his lips before coming across another resume. "Or maybe there is."

Élise picked her head up and looked over to see the resume. "Rosetta Wilhelmina Diamond. Forty-nine. Oh!" She sounded intrigued when she continued reading the applicant's resume. "And she's a retired FBI agent with the Crimes Against Children program. Married twenty-five years to Zephaniah Diamond, a CIA agent, until his death from cardiac arrest last year. She looks like a good candidate."

Reid pulled out his phone, "I'll make the call."


Reid and Élise sat across from Ms. Diamond. Élise took note of her attire; Ms. Diamond was nicely clothed in a soft pink sweater set, khaki pants, and comfortable white flats. Her chestnut brown hair was pulled into a neat bun, and her makeup was fresh and natural. Élise concluded that she's someone who took pride in the way they look but still knows how to dress if she were accepted the position.

Reid observed her body language: one ankle was tucked behind the other, and her hands gracefully placed on the knees. Reid insisted she must have had a proper and etiquette background, but the slight smile on her face as she was waiting to be asked shows that she's a confident but kind person.

After enough silence, Élise cleared her throat and began by swiftly looking at her resume and said, "So...tell us something about your background."

"Well, let's see," Ms. Diamond inhaled and cups her hands together, "My older brother and I helped look after our little brother and sister. I'm an okay-average cook, but I love cleaning. When I was in high school and university, I volunteered my time working with children, ranging from abuse to special needs and disabilities. It seemed fitting since my mother worked as a pediatric registered nurse and pediatrician and my father was a child psychologist and psychiatrist."

"Interesting," Reid was intrigued. "And you seem to have a wide range of majors."

Ms. Diamond explained, "I have an Associate's in General Studies, a double major in social work and psychology, a master's, and I completed my Ph.D. about three years ago."

"I even read some of your published work," Reid mentioned.

Ms. Diamond smirked, "Thank you."

"Fascinating indeed," Élise shook her head and pushed out her lips. "Your supervisor from the Crimes Against Children program spoke highly of you and called you one of the best agents he's ever worked with."

Ms. Diamond blushed, "He recruited me to the FBI, but yes."

Élise asked, "And your other skills are…?"

"Martial arts. Hi-yah!" Ms. Diamond did a martial art pose with her hands and chuckled. "I have a black belt in Karate and a green belt in Taekwondo. My parents thought it would be a good idea to learn a language or two, so I'm fluent in Mandarin, Cantonese, Spanish, and Arabic with some French, German, and Italian knowledge from my high school years. And I'm certified in CPR and First Aid."

Now it was time for the upfront questions, "Are you a smoker and/or drinker?"

"Nope and nope." Ms. Diamond answered straightforwardly.

"Do you believe in hitting children?" Reid asked.

Ms. Diamond shuddered at that question, "Absolutely not."

"We have a black lab named Opal, so how are you with dogs?"

"I had a Golden Retriever named Rocket and a lab named Sugar growing up, so yeah, I'm good with dogs." Ms. Diamond answered.

"And now, probably the most important question: why be a nanny?"

Ms. Diamond sighed before explaining, "After I retired from the FBI and when my husband died, I really wanted to get back to working with children. We couldn't have children of our own due to our own reasons. But when I was working with the CAC, I saw the children I was helping as my own. Making a difference in a child's life is all I've ever wanted to do, and I'll keep on doing that until the very moment I die."


"That won me over," Élise replied.

Reid agreed. "Same as me."


KNOCK-KNOCK-KNOCK!

"That's the nanny," Reid said as he placed his satchel on his shoulder.

Élise replied. "You go answer the door, and I'll get our little bundle of joy."

Reid and Élise gave each other a quick peck before they walked out of their bedroom. Reid looked down at his watch, and it was 7:00 on the dot, "Right on time."

He opened the door, and it was the nanny, wearing a black long-sleeve top, brown pants, and black slip-on shoes. She carried her tote bag by her elbow, and her hair pulled into a simple ponytail. Greeting, "Hello, Dr. Reid. I'm right on time, right?"

"Mm-mmm," Reid allowed her into the house. "Now, you have everything, right?"

"Emergency contacts, first aid kit, daily schedule, and notepad."

Reid was impressed, "Great." He pulled his cell phone from his pants pocket just as Élise entered the foyer with Séraphine in her arms. "Oh, I better get going."

"Don't let us keep you waiting." Élise insisted, gently rocking Séraphine.

"Okay," Reid said before giving Élise a lip kiss and Séraphine a forehead kiss before heading out the door. "Good day!"


Reid continued skimming through a file just as he stepped out of the elevator. And his eye quickly spotted JJ and Prentiss, who soon spotted him.

He gave JJ his reason why he couldn't do brunch and asked for Garcia, not stopping before reaching Hotch's office.

Hotch looked over a case file at his desk before Hotch saw him. "Hey, Reid."

Reid helped himself to take a seat in one of the chairs. "Hey."

Hotch noted Reid's almost anxious body language, "Are you okay?"

"I just came back from Las Vegas because my mother accidentally cut herself when I sent her a letter explaining Prentiss' fake death. I still don't know what to think," said Reid with a dry tone in his voice.

Hotch sat on the edge of his desk and sighed, "As I said, hopefully someday, you understand that this wasn't about you or me. This was about saving Emily. I don't know if I can ever understand your anger, but if you're going to be angry, be angry at me. I take full responsibility for the decision."

Yet the thing for Reid that Hotch didn't understand was…on second thought. It doesn't really matter what Reid was feeling right now because he knew some people needed help.

"We have a case, so…."

Hotch nodded his head, "Yes, we do. And as always, I do expect you to be fully professional."

"Of course."


"Hello?"

Reid sweetly said, "Hi."

"Hi, honey." Élise flirtatiously replied. "How was your day?"

Reid sighed since he didn't know where to begin. "Well, let's see, Hotch assigned JJ and me to go to the abduction sites. Of course, I was as professional as ever, even though I couldn't care less about JJ trying to get me to focus on the deception regarding Prentiss' fake death."

"Well, it's good you stayed professional," Élise replied before yawning. "I'm so sorry, but I'm feeling sleepy right now."

Reid sighed again, "I'm sorry. I'll let you get your sleep." Before he hung up, Reid asked, "How is it with the nanny?"

"Rose is wonderful, plus she's helping me for a very special occasion."

Reid smiled. "I wouldn't miss it for the world. I love you."

"I love you times pi."


The next day, another body was found. The team profiled that the unsub was a white man in his 40s, reacting to rejection by a woman when he was a 1980s teenager and punished his victims for their reactions by taking away their sense with sulfuric acid. Because he fixates on this certain woman, it's caused him to develop obsessive love disorder; he thinks she holds the key to his happiness, willing to stalk her in an attempt to win her back and do whatever it takes to be near his love interest. Yet her rejection caused him to go into a depression, leading the unsub to rape and murder the surrogates who represent her. Meaning it's only a matter of time before this rage and anger cause the unsub to go after her directly.

After the profile was delivered, Reid headed back to the conference. JJ wanted to talk to him about Prentiss.

He abruptly dismissed her reasons before bringing up the urge to want to use Dilaudid again.

Something that shocked JJ.

Even when she apologized, Reid didn't want to hear it and declared it was too late.


The case ended on a bittersweet note: while the unsub was caught, his last victim was his brother's niece, and although she comes out alive, some emotional and mental scars could never heal.

Reid was peacefully reading Othello when Prentiss walked up from behind and sat across from him on the plane. Sighing, "So, the surgeon said he believes he can restore feeling to Tammy's hands."

"Good. We got there in time." Reid coolly said before trying to read again.

Prentiss continues to make conversation, "I heard Mr. Bradstone wants to watch the tape."

"People have an innate curiosity to see things in order to confirm them." Reid coolly countered before focusing again on his book.

"Oh, that explains why I'm going to Rossi's tomorrow night," Prentiss said with a smile on her face. "I want to see if he really can cook. You coming?"

Reid candidly answered, "Nope. Élise and I have another commitment, so we can't make it. I already told Rossi and Hotch."

Prentiss leaned forward in her seat, "Look, Reid, I know you're mad at us because we didn't tell you what really happened, and I understand that. But I promise you. We had no choice. You mourned the loss of a friend. I mourned the loss of six."

"What do you want me to do, cry again? Because I can do that." Reid scoffed in disgust when he began to think, "Are you trying to guilt me?"

"N-no." Prentiss felt a bit taken back and startled. "But I understand what you went through."

"Really?" Reid replied. "Sounds to me that you are."

Prentiss sighed again, "This whole thing gave me an ulcer. Please don't give me another one."

Reid closed his book and hissed, "Do you really think I'm supposed to forgive you automatically magically? Pretend this never happened? Because it did happen."

"N-no," Prentiss replied. "But I get it."

"Good." Reid shook his head. "Believe me; I'm still trying to get used to the news. It's going to take time. Even though it…."

Reid stopped himself, but he had to say it, "Even though it made me what to use… Dilaudid." He said with nausea. "And my mother taking the news of this made her hurt herself."

Prentiss' mouth slightly opened, and her eyes widened a bit, "I…guess I…uh, I, uh…." Prentiss stuttered, especially at this new revelation. "Take all the time you need. But I really hope we can get past this."


"Look at you, my love!" Reid exclaimed when he saw Élise. She was in a stunning soft pink stretch crepe strapless dress, Manolo Blahnik heels, amethyst jewelry, her hair pulled back in a low bun, and her makeup fresh.

Élise slicked back her hair a bit before grabbing her Lana Mark clutch, "I look good in Alex Perry."

Reid sighed, "It's a good thing I was able to make it back in time for the charity gala."

"And to think I was about to decline the last-minute invite," Élise chuckled, "Yeah. I wouldn't mind some pasta alla Rossi, but I'm really not in the mood with dealing with JJ and Prentiss right now."

"Who are you telling?" Reid said as he fixed his pink silk tie. "You should have seen the look on their faces when I told them about me wanting to use Dilaudid and my mother."

Élise figured, "I bet they were shocked."

"Oh, they were." Reid shook his head and assured her. "Believe me, they were. On the plane ride home, Prentiss tried to guilt me by telling me she lost six people she left behind, and I lost one."

Élise sighed before admitting, "Look, I get why they did it. But at the same time, you have a right to feel how you feel. No one should tell you how to feel."

"Exactly," Reid replied. "She also told me to take all the time I needed but really hopes we can get past this."

Élise asked, "Do you think we can?"

"Maybe," Reid shrugged his shoulders and answered, "But honestly, I don't know. But for now, let's go raise some money for breast cancer awareness."


Reid and Élise met up with Maeve and Bobby for the charity gala.

Chapter Text

"Oh, I know, M," Élise said as she was on the phone with Maeve, still in her pink striped sleep set, and was trying to pick out an outfit for work in her closet. "Spen is turning the big 3-0 on Sunday. It's so nutty."

"He'll officially be a tricenarian." Maeve chuckled, "You know, I read in Cosmopolitan that turning 30 is when your life is getting serious. And that life gets serious because you turn 30, you're grown up, matured, and you already have an accurate picture of who you really are."

Élise let out a chuckle, "For real? Well, now, I'm worried about getting 30," Élise laughed as she picked out a light blue wrap-style jersey top, skinny black pants, and a cotton blazer. "And my birthday's not for another few months."

Maeve joked, "Maybe we should get together and hang out at the mall, or maybe even watch 13 Going On 30; you know how I love a good cheesy rom-com."

"Yeah, we should." Élise looked into the floor-length mirror and posed. She looked at the time on her phone, "I better get going. Talk to you later?"

Maeve agreed, "Yeah, I have to get going. Mendel students are awaiting to be educated by yours truly."

"And unsubs are crawling under their beds in fear because of me," Élise replied before they laughed together. "Later, Mae."

"Later, Lise."

Élise hung up and tossed the phone on the bed before she went into the bathroom to take a shower, wash her face, apply her makeup, fix her hair up a bit before changing.

As she prepared her briefcase, Reid walked back into the bedroom, "Well, don't you look nice today?" Reid complimented before giving Élise a cheek kiss. "Ready to throw the book at someone."

Élise nodded her head in agreement, "As do you, baby blue." Élise admired Reid's rolled-up long-sleeve blue striped dress shirt, gray waistcoat with a silver chain, pants, graphic-looking tie, and Converse sneakers. "As do you." Élise kissed Reid in a passionate lip kiss. "Guess what else I'm excited about?"

Reid embarrassingly blushed. "My…30th birthday?"

"Why, yes," Élise wrapped her arms around his neck, "Your 30th birthday. You don't have to be so shy. Or embarrassed."

Reid looked away and chuckled, "I'm not."

"Yes, you are," Élise doubted that as she slipped into one of her favorite pair of black pumps, judging by her husband's red ears, and cheeks, and started to laugh, "Yes, you are. I may not be an elite profiler like you, but I know you're blushing. Look in the mirror and go see how red your cheeks are."

Reid swiftly looked at himself, took deep breaths, and fanned himself to rid the red from his cheeks and ears. "Ha-ha." He sarcastically replied before he looked at his cell phone. "Oh, lucky me. I have to go to work."

"Flying today?" Élise interestingly asked, putting on her studded earrings.

"Uh, no," Reid twisted his mouth and raised his right eyebrow, "Otherwise, I would have gotten a text saying so. Still…" He and Élise hooked in another kiss. "I love you."

"I miss you already," Élise was already missing him, blowing a kiss before bidding him adieu. "But I love you, too."


Reid knocked three times on Hotch's door before coming into his office; Reid saw Hotch looking over a case file.

"Oh," Hotch looked up for a quick second before going over the file, "Good morning, Reid."

"Morning, Hotch," Reid said, moving his mouth in nervousness. Still trying to think of the next thing to say, Hotch asked him,

"So, how are things going with Rosetta?" Hotch curiously asked.

"Rose is really great." Reid smiled, "And you can tell she really wants to have a bond with Séraphine."

"Children are her passion," Hotch tossed the file on his desk. "She always said she and her husband wanted kids but had difficulties, and their only regrets were not trying hard enough or at least adopting."

"Yeah."

Hotch sensed Reid wanted to talk or at least mention something else but was too scared/ashamed to do so. "Is there anything else you want to talk about?"

"JJ and Prentiss." Reid sighed, "Sorry if I didn't attend Rossi's dinner party, but I just…."

Hotch understood, "I know."

"I'm still taking it one day at a time," Reid replied, shaking his hand. "I-I'm not just going to…."

Hotch sympathized, "Again, I know." Hotch goes into his jacket pocket for his cell phone and looks at the message he got from Garcia, "Big case in Charlottesville."

"That's in our own backyard," Reid commented before pulling out his cell phone to text Élise.

LOCAL CASE! CALL IF ANYTHING! LOVE YOU! ~ SR

"Let's get to work," Hotch suggested as they left his office together.

Reid got a text back from Élise.

KK! LOVE YOU 2! ~ EBR.


The team headed to the mass murder crime scene at the Synalock office. With the overkill on Adam Werner, Hotch figured it was personal. Especially with his military background and connections.

It wasn't until Garcia confirmed that a man named Luke Dolan called Synalock early the same morning. And his parents were found dead in their bedroom closet, repeatedly shot to death, making him the unsub.


"I'm on a mission to get my hubby-wubby a fantastic present or two for his birthday," Élise said to Maeve. After coming home early for work, they decided to go to the Tysons Corner Center with their children.

"You're going to find him a wonderful gift." Maeve ensured Élise as they hung out at one of the mall's food courts, gently rocking their children in their strollers.

Élise doubted that after taking a bite of her Margherita pizza, "Yeah, I don't know."

"Here you go, my bubbly baby boy." Maeve pulled out a bottle for BJ from her bag and asked before taking a bite of her veggie sandwich, "What do you want to get him?"

Élise shrugged before giving Séraphine her bottle, "Maybe a book."

"Really?" Maeve questioned her again and said, "Well, that's good."

Élise pursed her lips to the side, "Well, for our wedding anniversary, I got Spencer the first editions of Babar."

"The Elephant King?" Maeve gasped and adorably figured, "I remember my parents reading me The Story of Babar. So cute."

"Yeah," Élise chuckled. "I got him Modernist Cuisine by…."

"…Nathan Myhrvold." Maeve immediately knew who he was. "I read some of his published work, and I even saw him speak once at an event when I was visiting an old friend at Princeton."

"Not to mention he's a child prodigy himself." Élise sneered before a light bulb blinked in her head. Snapping her fingers, "Oh! I know what I could get him."

"What could you get him?" Maeve asked as she wiped BJ's mouth.

Élise answered, "I could get him the first editions of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle books; he likes to read his books."

Maeve gasped again, "Oh! I love good old Sir Arthur Conan Doyle." Maeve suggested, "You should get him Sherlock Holmes books."

"Yeah," Élise thought about it for a moment and said, "Yeah, I can do that. Thanks, Maeve!"

Maeve suggested again, "Now let's talk about party themes."

"Again, great idea." Élise agreed as she tickled Séraphine's belly, causing her to giggle. "Because I have a few ideas of what we could do."


The team discovered more about Luke Dolan: a discharged US Navy Lieutenant, a Biotech Vice President, and a former Navy SEAL. A couple of days prior, he got into a car accident after dropping off his daughter at his separated wife's place.

Wondering what caused him to suffer from a psychotic break, they received a call from a General Milgram's house. Reid and Morgan spoke with the wife about her husband before being abducted. Reid eventually realized that Luke must have Capgras syndrome due to the car accident he was recently in.


JJ managed to get her hands on the highly classified mission file Luke Dolan had built the delusion in his head, Dorado Falls. Rossi offered to call him, long enough for Garcia to trace where he and the general are. After pinpointing the location, Hotch and Derek head out while Rossi read off from the Dorado Falls file.

Named after a boat off the coast of Cape Town owned by a South African diplomat who was selling nuclear secrets to Iran. Despite the successful mission, two young children were on the boat, and Dolan was forced to shoot—and kill—them as they were witnesses. Hotch and Morgan managed to find the general still alive, but no Dolan. Dolan would have recognized the FBI prefix on his phone, did his training, and could be on his way to Quantico. Garcia alerted them with the news of an FBI police officer that had been shot to death and realized he was already here at headquarters.

The team is on the phone with several people, trying to get the entire building on lockdown and further precautions with Dolan's expertise in explosives, disabling and building them.


After Reid, Rossi, JJ, Morgan, and other personnel were held hostage by Luke Dolan, Hotch looked at his youngest agent. "Do you want to take some time off?" Hotch asked Reid as they were in his office, recapping what happened thirty minutes ago. Hotch asked him, "How are you feeling?"

"This is not the first hostage situation I've been in." Reid shrugged his shoulders. "Or the first time a gun's been pointed at me." Reid thinks back to some of his most memorable situations where he had a gun pointed at him. From the LDSK to Tobias Hankel' from the Separatarian Sect to Owen Savage.

"You can take some time off," Hotch still offered that to him. "I mean it."

Reid nodded his head, "I'll think about it."

"Okay." Hotch went back to view files. "Good night, Reid."

Reid smiled a bit, "Good night."


"Oh, my sweetheart," Élise cuddled closer to Reid in their bed, stroking her fingers through his hair, "How are you feeling?"

Reid placed his hand over the left side of his face, "Exhausted."

"You know, I feel sorry for the unsub," Élise replied as Reid summed up what happened to him today and earlier tonight. "And to know he'll see them as imposters…." Élise shook her head. "Damn."

"I think that's the word to describe this case." Reid said, massaging between his eyes, "Hotch even said I could take some time off."

Élise asked, "Are you?"

"As I told him, this was not the first time I've been in a hostage situation or had a gun pointed at me." Reid kissed Élise's forehead. "But to be honest, I was scared I was never going to see you again."

Suddenly, they could hear Séraphine over the baby speaker; Élise grabbed the video monitor from the bedside and saw Séraphine awake but crying. Setting it back down, Élise pulled the comforters to the side, "Oh, I'll go take care of her."

"No-no," Reid offered to do so before pulling the comforters to the side, "I'll go. I need to hold her again." Reid rushed out of the bedroom and into her nursery. "Hey-hey-hey," Reid walked over to her crib and consoled her, "Daddy's here, honey. I'm here." Kissing her head, "I love you so much."

Chapter Text

"Okay," Élise was finishing up setting up Reid's birthday breakfast plate. She asked Séraphine, who was in her highchair and drinking her bottle, "Think this will impress daddy?"

Séraphine simply nodded her head as she continued sucking on her bottle.

Élise chuckled and kissed her forehead. "Happy birthday, my love!" Élise threw confetti in the air just as she saw a still-sleepy Reid, who was scratching his messy hair and the back of his neck and yawning.

Even though he was still tired, especially after the case before the weekend, he pulled a small smile on his face. "Aw," Touched, Reid gave Élise a passionate lip kiss before walking over and kissing Séraphine's head, tickling her chin, causing her to tickle. "Even better that I get to spend my…30th…birthday with you."

Élise placed two full cups of freshly squeezed orange juice on the tables, "Still having a problem saying 30th birthday?"

Reid let out a chortle as he sat down. He stared at his breakfast plate of a confetti pancake and waffle cake, a cinnamon roll, two strips of maple bacon, mixed berries, and fresh fruit, and a chocolate donut with sprinkles. "You just love spoiling me, huh?"

"I'm always going to spoil you," Élise helped herself and sat down on Reid's lap. "And I know you'll always spoil me."

Reid smiled with pleasure when Élise started playing with the ends of his hair. Even to the point where it…

"B'abbbdddaa…ddaa…ddaa…"

Séraphine let out this big burp after she stopped drinking and started to laugh.

Smiling, Élise whispered in Reid's ear and asked, "Think she knew?"

"Well, she's smart."

Reid murmured in Élise's ear, "She got it from me."


"Well, don't you look nice," Élise said with Séraphine in her arms as she saw Reid in a purple polo shirt, Converse sneakers and dark denim jeans. "I love to see you in jeans."

"I don't know." Reid looked at himself in the mirror, observing his jeans. "You know jeans are not my style."

"It's something new," Élise stated, "Plus…I enjoy you in jeans on rare occasions." She flirtatiously patted his backside and licked her teeth with her tongue. She soon asked Séraphine, "What do you think, homegirl?"

"Yaaaahhhh…." Séraphine happily babbled and clapped her hands. "Da…da…da…"

Reid tickled his daughter's cheek, making her giggle, "I guess I could wear them this one time."

"And just in case," Élise grabbed a shopping bag with sets of dress pants, "I packed extra."


"Aww, this is so cute," Luna exclaimed as she was taking pictures of the family; silver and purple balloons and streamers surrounded them along with a giant and floating 3 and 0 behind them. "How does it feel being 30, dad?"

Élise laughed, "Yeah, dad. How does it feel?"

"Unusual." Reid truthfully said.


"I like this one," Élise pointed to a B&W photograph of herself and Reid kissing Séraphine's cheek. "You know I can't resist a black-and-white photograph."

Luna commented, "I like it as well; I remember turning 30 five years ago; I felt so black-and-white and in between."

"In between how?" asked Reid after strapping Séraphine in her stroller. "And with what?"

Luna shrugged her shoulders, "Life in general. You wonder what you want in life, but at the same time, you do with all the choices you make in your life. Were they the right choices? Were they the wrong choices? All you have to do is take a closer look at your life."


"All you have to do is take a closer look at your life," Reid recited Luna's words as he, Élise, and Séraphine were at the park.

"Here you go, and thank you," Élise gave the local vendor the money for the snacks she bought for herself and Reid, "You can keep the change."

"All you have to do is take a closer look at your life," Reid recited those words again as he took the coffee Élise bought for him. "Thanks."

Élise asked before giving Séraphine her bottle, "Are you still thinking about those words Luna said?" She takes a bite of her corndog.

"Yeah," Reid said nonchalantly before sipping some of his coffee. "Have you wondered about the choices you made in life?"

"What do you mean?" Élise asked with understanding. "Are you have doubts? About the choices, you made in your life?"

Reid let a tear fall, "Yeah."

"Oh, honey," Élise caressed his cheek. "And yes. Sometimes I do wonder what my life would be if I didn't become a lawyer. What if I choose another career? Another life? Or…anything, really. But then, I would not have met you. Or married you. Or had Séraphine." Élise takes another bite of her corndog.

Reid looked down at Séraphine drinking her bottle and patted her head.

"Life is full of choices; happy, sad, regret, doubt," said Élise. "As a matter of fact, my quote of the day…" After tossing her corndog stick in the nearby garage can, she reached for her phone and disinfected her hands. "Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving. Albert Einstein."

Reid nodded in his head, "I know."

"But at the same time, I wouldn't have it any other way. And you shouldn't either."

"I don't." Reid assured Élise, "But I can't help but wonder."

"Life is full of wonder," Élise said with wisdom. She pointed to a woman who looked like a gypsy. Her long hair was dark and curly with a colorful kerchief; her attire was a long draped top and long skirt, and she was arranging cards in front of her a small table. "Oh! Let's go ask her."

"A gypsy?" Reid was unsure about this as Élise dragged him towards her table. "I don't know."

Élise encouraged him, "Well, I don't know about you, but I've always been interested in tarot card reading. Plus, it could be fun."

"Life's a wonder, right?" Reid recited Élise's words.

Élise smiled, "Exactly." Élise caught the woman's attention, "Excuse me, ma'am?"

"Ahh," The gypsy woman smiled at the sight of the family. Smoothly asking them, "How may I help you today?"

Reid scratched the back of his neck, "I, uh…uh…well, you see…"

"Tempt you with a card reading, my good sir?" She motioned to the cards on the table.

Reid silently shook his head.

"Take a seat." She gestured to him to take a seat in front of her. "Don't worry; I just clean it. I sense you're someone who's a germaphobe, no?"

Élise seemed impressed by the woman, who soon set three cards in front of him before turning one over. It was an image of a revolving wheel and four-winged creatures sitting upon the clouds.

"The Wheel of Fortune card." The woman breathily said. "Big changes have happened to you, I see." Her hand trembled as she picked up the card and motioned it towards Élise. "As well as you, my fair lady and young child." Setting it back down, "But at the same time, I sense unexpected events have also happened to you."

She gasped when she turned over a card with a person in black who was more focused on the three fallen gold cups than the two cups still standing behind him.

"The Five of Cups card. There was a loss that has happened to you. Deeply affecting you and struck you with grief and sadness, as well as mourning and…disappointment." She looked to him and senses, "You have wondered about accepting it and moving on. But you are trying to find peace and seek out the positives in life. I find that good."

She turned the final card, and it was the image of a child, a white horse, sunflowers, and a large sun.

"Like the Beatles song: Here Comes the Sun. Even when you are still having moments of uncertainty, there's hope in the future. Good things and positive outcomes are coming from the struggles you are having and facing." She picks up the card again and motions it towards Élise again. "As well as for you, my fair lady and child."

As Reid was surprisingly speechless throughout the reading, Élise showed her gratitude towards the woman and tips her, "Why, thank you…" She picked up her business card, "Giselle Ar-de-lean."

"Of course," Ms. Giselle beamed.

Élise helped him up from his seat and continued pushing Séraphine, who babbled and observed the rest of the park.


"Maeve! Bobby! And little BJ!" Élise exclaimed as she saw the Donovan-Putnam family on the front lawn of their house. "Are you here for the celebration?"

"Yup," Bobby eagerly said as he presented the cake Maeve and Élise picked out. "I hope you guys are ready because I'm ready to eat some cake."

Reid unlocked the front door, and everyone entered the house. "Well, let's get the celebration." Just as he was about to close and lock the door,

"Spencer!" She squealed at the sight of her son, running towards him with open arms.

"Mom!" Reid was amazed to see his mother. And his father as well as he stepped out of the Toyota Prius hybrid rental. "Dad!"

"Oh, my baby!" Diana almost knocked Reid off his feet as she hugged him with all her might. "Oh, my wonderful, sweet, and big baby boy!" She holds his head with her hands and kisses his head and forehead numerous times.

Élise couldn't help but take pictures on her cell phone. "Aww." Hugging her father-in-law, "It's great to see you guys again."

"We wouldn't miss it for the world." William smiled. "My son's 30 years old."

"Oh, I just can't believe it!" Diana had just stopped kissing her son and immediately took Séraphine from Élise and started kissing her. "My little boy is 30 years old!"

Reid blushed embarrassingly, "Mom…"

"Come on, Spencer," Bobby lightly taps Reid's shoulder, "You're thirty. Just say it. Thir-ty. Thir-ty."

"Thir-" Reid tightly pressed his lips but couldn't say it. "Thir-thir-" Élise gave him a pat on the back. "Thirty!" Reid blurted it out.

Élise smirked, "Now, was that so hard?"


"Mmm…" Reid took another bite of his chocolate birthday cake; he, Élise, and Maeve were hanging out in the kitchen, getting their cake slices. "This cake is delicious," Reid observed the two-tier antique book cake. "Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Edgar Allan Poe."

Élise helped herself to a slice, "Maeve helped me."

"Yup," Maeve said after swallowing her piece. "He's my favorite author."

"I have a wide range of authors that I love: Jane Austen, William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, Edgar Allan Poe—the inventor of detective fiction. As a matter of fact, it was Sir Doyle who wrote," Élise tries her best to imitate a Scottish-British accent, "Where was the detective story until Poe breathed the breath of life into it?"" She eats another bite of cake.

Maeve chuckled and had just placed her plate in the sink when,

"Ahhh!"

They dashed out of the kitchen when Diana screamed from the living room.

"Mom!" Reid cried with worry.

Bobby called, "Maeve, get in here!"

"Look, baby!" Diana frantically pointed to Séraphine and BJ crawling on the carpeted living room floor. "Look! Look!"

"OMG!" Élise had her hands on her cheeks, squealing, "Oh, my God!"

"Fifi!" Reid squashed when he saw Séraphine crawling towards him and Élise. "Come here, Fifi!"

Séraphine babbled as Reid picked her up, "Da-da. Da-da."

"Aw," Maeve gushed what she was witnessing as she scooped BJ into her arms when he crawled to her. "She just gave you the best birthday present ever!"

"I guess turning 30 hasn't been so bad after all," Reid commented.


Élise gushed at the video of Séraphine crawling; Reid had just walked into the bedroom after tucking Séraphine to bed, "What a day."

"I can't stop watching this video of our Fifi crawling." Élise oozed. "I'll admit: I'm jealous she crawled to you instead of me."

"Séraphine loves her mommy just as much as she loves her dada," Reid assured Élise before pointing to himself. "But there's no doubt she's a daddy girl."

Élise playfully crossed her arms, "Yeah, I can tell."


"Aw, sweetie. It's okay." Élise continued wiping fussy Séraphine's runny nose in the living room when Reid came in but stood between three-to-six feet away. "I got you." Élise took note of Reid's attire for the day: a navy cardigan sweater over a blue button dress shirt, a tie, gray pants, and his signature Converse sneakers. "You look nice, honey."

"Thank you," said Reid before he correctly guessed. "She still has a fever?"

"Yup." Élise answered, "She's still not eating much, and her nose is runnier than a poached egg. But don't worry; I already made an appointment with Dr. Kelly this morning."

"Maybe I should stay home," Reid suggested. "We have a case in Boise, Idaho, and I could..."

"I got her," Élise rocked a fussy Séraphine. "You head to Boise; if anything, I'll call you, okay."

"Okay," Reid sighed; he really didn't want to leave Élise and Séraphine. He looked at his silver watch, "I better get going." He blew a kiss at Élise and Séraphine. "I love you."

Élise waved as Reid was leaving, "We love you, too."


After the plane landed in Boise, while the rest of the team headed to the Boise Police Department and the Slade household, Hotch had Reid and JJ go to Principal Givens' house.

Reid and JJ talked about their social standings in high school before JJ brought up Reid hustling Morgan last week.

"You know he said he's going to get back to you; you just won't see it coming," JJ warned him.

Reid scoffed, "I'd liked to see that."


A scary incident happened in D.C.


Just as most of the team was at the house of the North Valley High School massacrer and came across a kill list.

Which had Principal Givens' name on it just as they got the news of another alumni victim, Chelsea Grant, at her motel room…

Who's also on the kill list.


With the upcoming anniversary service and the chances of a potential hidden partner, the team delivered the profile to the Boise Police Department.

The unsub grew up in an abusive home, keeping him from forming normal high school social bonds. While outcasts eventually form friendships, the unsub was someone even the outcasts rejected and wouldn't even remember graduating with him. For the unsub this upcoming weekend, it's a high school reunion than a memorial service.


While Prentiss conducts cognitive interviews with the North Valley survivors, Reid was in one of the meeting rooms with Hotch and JJ.

They went over the kill list-Reid's phone kept vibrating, prompting him to turn it off-before Garcia managed to get a name.


"Oh, Spencer Walter Reid..." Élise hissed to herself as she redialed his phone number for the umpteenth time again. "Pick up the damn phone."

"You have reached Dr. Spencer Reid. Please leave me a detailed message..."

Élise growled, "If I have to leave you another detailed message, I'm gonna..."

Before she could finish that sentence, someone called out for her.


The team gets news of another North Valley alumni murder victim, Jerry Holtz, the one who looked Randy Slade in the eye before killing himself and other victims. Reid deducted that after inspecting the trophy case, the unsub smashed his arm through. And thinking about how the unsub would have broken his hands after beating Chelsea to death, the unsub doesn't feel any pain.


Now the team was back at the Boise Police Department. While Prentiss and JJ were looking through yearbooks, Reid, Rossi, Hotch, and Morgan were with each other as Reid explained the unsub's medical condition.

Reid finally snapped at the caller as his phone rang one too many times. Reid quickly realized Morgan leaked his number to the press to get back at him for the pool betting.

Reid vowed to get back at Morgan for this. He began to walk away when he got another call. Now he was seriously reaching his limit when he got another call and angrily answered, "Listen up, you idiotic…maternal-of-pearl scratcher. If you ever call my phone again…"

"I KNOW FOR A FACT YOU BETTER NOT BE TALKING TO ME, DR. SPENCER WALTER REID!"

Reid pulled the phone away from his ear when he realized he was talking to Élise. "I'm so sorry, my love," Reid profoundly apologizes to her. "It just…"

"It just what, fool!?" Élise snarled. "Is that how you greet your wife and the mother of your child?! What, you don't pick up your phone anymore!? You better have a hella of a good reason why. Because I had to take Séraphine to the hospital, she was diagnosed with RSV!"

Reid could feel his body collapse and almost passed out in the nearby chair. Clutching his hand to his heart, he barely whispered, "What?"

Élise sighed and calmed down, "I was just about to call Hotch before I finally got ahold of you. She started wheezing, and she was looking blue. We're home now, and I will ask you again why I had to keep on calling you like I lost my damn mind?"

Reid calmed Élise down, "I'm sorry, bunny. Morgan gave my phone number to the press to get back at me for the pool bet."

"Oh. Oh, okay," Now Élise the Silent Eliminating Enforcer resurfaced. "Don't tell him anything. I got a big surprise waiting for him when you guys come home."

"Well, I have a surprise for him as well." Reid knew how to get back at Morgan.

Élise commanded, "Do it. Love you."

"I love you, too."


While the case ended on a somewhat bittersweet note, the team was on the plane ride home. While JJ was in the kitchenette and Hotch was on the other rode, sitting by himself, Reid, Morgan, Rossi, and Prentiss all sat together. Prentiss was reading a newspaper, Rossi was looking at the window. Reid was 'asleep' just as Morgan put on his headphones and turned on some music from his iPod.

Reid hacked into Morgan's iPod and left him a message on why to never wage a prank war at an M.I.T. grad before leaving a recording of him screaming.

And again, when Morgan answered, thinking it was Garcia.

Rossi waved a white flag to Rossi. Morgan turned his phone off and promised Reid, "Uh-uh. All right, Reid, it's on. Just know that paybacks are a bitch."

Reid faked a snore again, but he knew Morgan was in for a bigger surprise when Élise got her hands on him.


"Ah, I so do not miss the days of high school," Prentiss said as she was in the elevator with everyone else.

"Mm-mmm," JJ agreed with Prentiss, despite Reid's earlier and suppositions that she was a mean girl. "I was so ready to leave for college."

Hotch spoke up, "Nobody messed with me in high school."

"Now that I believe," Rossi commented before seeing Reid's smirk on his face. He asked just as Morgan's phone rang again. "Why are you so happy?"

Reid said as Morgan answered, "Wait for it."

"Hello?"

"Derek Morgan, you are in trouble…" Garcia whispered. "And you about to get hurt…"

"Trouble?" Morgan cocked his head and grimaced his face, "Wha…?" Just as the elevator doors opened, Morgan asked, "Get hurt by who?"

"By me."

They were greeted by a frightened Garcia and Élise. Her arms were crossed, her stare was icy, her jaw clenched, her foot was tapping, a twitch in her eye and the glare she had on her face and judging from the tone in her voice grinding her teeth…

Everyone knew she was pissed.

"Oh," Rossi whispered in Morgan's ear. "You in trouble."

Élise slowly approached him; everyone moved away from Morgan, who was now standing in the middle. Silence endured for the next few seconds before Morgan cleared his throat. "Élise…"

By the way Élise's nostrils flared and her eyes bulged, she was not in the mood for Morgan and began pulling him out of the elevator by his ear.

"Ow! Ow!" Morgan cried in pain. "I'm sorry…ow!"

Garcia opened the door for Élise. Everyone else was silent; some grimaced their face, tightly pressed their mouths, either trying to desperately not laugh or say anything.

"Ow-ow-ow-owwwww!" Morgan continued crying out in pain until Élise hurled him in a chair and released his ears. Massaging his mistreated ears, it was a miracle they were still attached to his head. Élise now had one of her hands on her hip and the other on the desk, tapping and still pissed off.

"What's the matter?"

A surprisingly composed Élise snarled with a smile on her face, "What's the matter? What's the matter!?" She squealed when she repeated the question. "You hopelessly staring at me with your bare face hanging out, and you have the balls to ask me what's the matter!?" Élise did a Carl Winslow.

Morgan answered hesitantly, "Yes..."

Élise raised her hand palm in the air, scaring Morgan and almost the team before she lowered her hand, cupped them together, deeply inhaled, and exhaled. She still had a smile on her face. "Oh, boy, you should consider yourself to be the luckiest person there are people around; otherwise, you'd be in serious trouble."

Morgan stuttered, "I-I-I can explain…"

"I-I-I can explain..." Élise mocked him, smacked her lips, and twitched her eye. "Okay. Can you explain why you gave Spencer's number to the press? Can you explain why I couldn't get a hold of him? Especially when I had to take our seven-month-old daughter to the hospital for RSV? Explain all that to me, Muscle Man." Élise rolled her head and pursed her mouth, and tapped her temples. "Do you have any good head at all?"

Morgan felt chills when Élise told him about Séraphine. "I-I..."

"I NOTHING!" Élise exclaimed. "WHAT YOU DID WAS DUMB, CHILDISH, STUPID, REPREHENSIBLE, AND JUST STRAIGHT-UP PLAIN WRONG!"

Morgan muttered, "It was, yes."

"You don't say." Élise replied with sarcasm before finally calming down again. She folded her arms again. "Well…Dr. Spencer Reid, you should be happy to know that I told my fellow associates not to have them use you as a witness since you misrepresented you to the public because of some childish prank." When Morgan could reply, Élise stopped him and continued, "Ho-ho! That's not all. We'll be docking $200 for rent, you're going to pay for a new security system, get Spencer a new phone, and you make damn sure the number's private, a cleaning service for the rest of the year. And…one last time…" Getting in his face, "If something like this ever happens again, especially to Fifi and our potential future children..." She whispered in his ear. Pulling away to see his shocked and somewhat scared face, "You get it? You got it?"

A silence Morgan nodded his head in agreement.

"Good." Élise patted his cheek, smiled, and strolled away.


"What exactly did you say to Morgan?" Hotch asked Élise as they, along with Reid, were now in Hotch's office.

Élise chuckled, "I rather you not know."

Hotch snickered before his face turned serious again, "Well, as of today, Morgan will be suspended for a week for his actions, along with Prentiss and JJ."

Reid asked with confusion, "What happened?"

Sighing, Hotch said, "Well, as it turns out, while Prentiss was still hiding from Doyle in Paris, JJ played online Scrabble with her under the name 'Cheeto Breath.'"

"Since it could have compromised Emily's location," Reid figured. "And Doyle would have founded her and the rest of us."

"Exactly." Hotch proved his point.

"Bloody hell," Élise placed her two fingers on her temple. "I'm not in the mood to deal with them right now. I'll deal with them the next time I see them because I'm low on energy right now, and I just want to go to my little girl."


"There you go, my angel," Reid was finished injecting saline drops into Séraphine's nose. He rose from the rocking chair and gently shook a sleepy yet still fussy Séraphine in his arms. "You pretty little princess."

Just as he placed Séraphine in her crib, Élise walked in, already in her sleepwear. "Hey," Élise was happy to see Reid and Séraphine. "How is she now?"

"She's resting right now." Reid petted Séraphine's head; Élise turned on the small white cool mist vaporizer machine. Blowing a kiss to Séraphine, Élise hated the fact that she couldn't kiss her, "Dream sweetly, little girl."

Reid waved goodnight, "Sweet dreams, love." He and Élise left with sad smiles on their faces. After Reid closed the door, Élise collapsed her body onto Reid, and he caught her,

"There-there." Reid comforted Élise with soothing rubs to her back. "It's okay."

"You should have seen her," Élise shakingly sighs, "My God…it was just so scary; taking her to the hospital."

"She's going to be alright." Reid continued solacing her as he led her to the bedroom, "She's home safe and sound and with us."

"I know," Élise patted her hand on her chest and sniffed once. "I know." Sighing, "What a day we both had."

Reid chuckled as he and Élise crawled into bed, "For a second there, I thought you were going to hurt Morgan."

"I wanted to kick him in the no-nos and so much more, but even I have standards." Élise shook her head. "Just wait until I see JJ and Prentiss again. Staying in contact with each other; I mean, I get it, but something could have happened to you, me, all of us."

"I agree," Reid shook his head. "At least I got Morgan back good with that prank."

Élise laughed, "I heard from Rossi that he offered Morgan a white flag to surrender; I hope he takes it."

"Mmm-mmm," said Reid before resting his head against the pillow, "The case we had to deal with was the reason I do not miss high school."

"I know I don't," Élise laid her head on the pillow. "I had to deal with some unpleasant people, including bullies. People didn't think I'd make something of myself but look where I am now."

Reid turned his head, "I love you."

"I love you."

They connected in a loving kiss.

Chapter Text

"Okay, here comes the plane," Élise made plane noises while attempting to feed Séraphine mashed hard-boiled eggs. "And the sky is high, people on the fly!" She cheered just as Reid walked into the kitchen; Opal followed him from behind.

"Good morning again, my love," Reid kissed Élise's lips. "And good morning to you, my Fifi." He kissed his daughter's head.

"Ahh da da," Séraphine babbled before burping. "Aappp."

"Look at you, big girl," Élise laughed in amusement as she wiped down her mouth, "You're getting back to your already-adorable self, huh?"

Séraphine jabbered, "Yaahh,"

"Aw, you cute little girl," Reid finished pouring a cup of coffee for himself before he kissed Séraphine's forehead. Patting it down, "You had us worried about you last week."

"Oh, my girl." Élise shuttered at the thought of Séraphine with RSV and cuddled her, "Don't scare us like that again. Please."


Reid tossed his coffee cup in the nearby trashcan after stepping out of the elevator and walked into the BAU bullpen. After setting his satchel down, he gazed at the picture of him, Élise, and Séraphine before caressing it. Hearing footsteps, Reid looked up and saw Morgan slowly approaching him.

"Hey," Morgan quietly greeted him.

Reid waved back to him, "Hey."

"I'm sorry, Spencer." Morgan sighed again, "I'm sorry that I gave your number to the press and for unintentionally getting Élise and Séraphine in the middle of it. With Élise repeatedly calling you. And for making you miss the fact that Séraphine ended up in the hospital with RSV."

"Yeah," Reid nodded his head. Judging by how Morgan has his hands in his pockets, his head slightly down, the tone in his voice, and his mouth cocked to the side, Reid knew Morgan was truly remorseful for his prank. "Apology accepted."

Morgan asked with concern, "How is Séraphine?"

"She's good. And back to her old self again," Reid quietly answered. "I hope you learn something from this."

"Oh, I did, alright," Morgan knowingly assured him. "Never involve Élise and Séraphine in a prank war."

"Oh, yeah," Reid started to laugh. "By the way, how are your ears?"

Morgan massaged them. "I'm still surprised they're still attached to my head." Morgan started laughing himself before seeing Garcia huddled in the roundtable room. "Looks like we got a case."

"Mmm-hmm."


After the jet landed in St. Louis, Reid and Morgan head to Bobby Smith's house while Hotch and JJ talk to the mother at the St. Louis Police Department. Prentiss and Rossi assess the site where his mother, Marlene, claims to have dropped him off.

Morgan and Reid took a look around the house, from the mother's rather depressing bedroom to Bobby's bright and cheerful bedroom and the kitchen.

They profiled the mother; while suffering from depression, she sacrificed her needs for Bobby's needs and taught him to be self-sufficient.


"Aw," Reid adored the picture of Séraphine and Opal sleeping in the living room. "Just what I needed."

Élise giggled, "Yeah. It's never easy when you're gone. But at least you're making the world a safer place."

"Mmm-mmm." Reid nodded his head before yawning his head. "I better get going. Sleep you in my dreams?"

Élise chuckled, "As always. Much love, brain baby."


The next day, the team found the body of Bobby's mother, Marlene, and judged her corpse. By how her wrists were slashed, they concluded that she was murdered instead of another suicide attempt.

Soon the team gets news of another child abduction of a four-year-old boy taken from a park about half an hour ago, prompting Hotch to tell Morgan and Reid to head over there.

Judging from her jumpy and shaky behavior when speaking to her, Reid deduced that the mother's a drug addict going through withdrawal.

She admitted to them that she drove an hour from her neighborhood to buy Oxy and was distracted.


The team soon delivered the profile to the St. Louis Police Department about the unsub who sees themselves as a "savior" and is probably familiar with the children that he has abducted.


The team managed to find the unsub, Bobby, and his newly abducted victims, Shannon and Connie Barton, alive.

After flying back to DC, Rossi and Hotch were on their way out. Reid, Morgan, Prentiss, JJ, and Garcia began walking down the hallway. He discussed how many shoes should a woman have in her closet before discussing a man's wardrobe.

"Lisey!" Reid rushed to kiss Élise and waved to a sleeping Séraphine, resting with the pink and yellow cover in the stroller. "Hi, Fifi."

"What are you doing here?" Prentiss asked before jokingly asking her, "Are you here to give Morgan another ear-pulling?"

JJ teased, "Or give him another tongue lashing?"

Garcia pulled Morgan closer to her, "Uh-uh. You're not hurting my chocolate thunder, not this time."

"No, I'm just picking up my hubby," Élise still had a polite smile on her face. "And as much as I love to ear-pull Morgan again, I'd like to have a word with you and Cheeto Breath." Élise gestured her head to JJ. "Whom I heard was playing online Scrabble while you were in Paris hiding from Doyle. When you were supposed to be dead."

Prentiss and JJ looked at each other with guilty looks on their faces.

"Did you even realize that Doyle could have gotten a hacker and gone through our computers? He would have found you, us, Will, Henry, and Séraphine?" Élise finished that sentence with a tranquility furious pouted mouth.

"It was stupid." JJ admitted, "Even Will said it was stupid."

"Geez, ya think?" Élise sarcastically remarked. "You two better have learned something from this."

"We have," Prentiss assured Élise before protectively covering her ears. "Please don't pull our ears."

"Mmm-hmm." Élise doubted that she and everyone else gathered into the elevator. "Don't worry, I won't pull your ears." She whispered to herself, "At least not this time around."

Garcia spoke up, "BTW, Élise, how many pairs of shoes do you have?"

"About…12-15," Élise answered. "And quite a number of belts. And handbags. And outfits. Seriously, you should see the amount of money I spend on my wardrobe."

"See what I mean?" Garcia smiled. "Thank you. Exactly."

"Investing in your wardrobe is a must," Élise preached, "When you look good, you feel good, you do good, and you play good."

"A-men to that, sister." Garcia cheered.

Élise smirked.


"You like my new nightshirt?" Élise showed off Reid's Doctor Who shirt as he returned to the living room with the popcorn bowl.

Reid chuckled and gave Élise a lip kiss. "You look so…sexy."

"Me-ow," Élise purred like a cat as Red joined her on the couch. Cuddling him, "You had a rough case?"

Reid sighed, "Yeah." He couldn't help but think about how the unsub's mother was trying to commit suicide before he killed her himself. Men would instead shoot themselves or jump off buildings onto the pavement. At the same time, women are less messy, and they take pills and drown themselves.

"A mother who wants to kill herself," Élise sadly shook her head before eating a popcorn curl. "Crazy. No matter what people say about depression and suicide, it's an absolute hell to suffer from." Élise took Reid's hand and told him, "Promise me that if that ever happens, we have each other's back."

"I promise," Reid vowed before leaning in for a loving kiss.

Chapter Text

Élise was all dressed up for the day: navy blue pinstripe linen jacket with matching pants, white ruffled crepe blouse, and block-heel pumps. Her hair was neat and straight; her makeup was perfectly fresh. She had a breakfast of Greek yogurt and berries and coffee and just had one last thing to do before work.

"Come and get the keys, Fifi!" Élise waved a set of colorful play keys in front of Séraphine and smiled with glee as she watched her crawl around the living room, following Élise. "Come and get the keys. Come and get them. Get them, Séraphine. Oopsie," Élise purposely dropped the keys in the middle of the living room and observed Séraphine playing with them for a moment before crawling to Élise, which spread her arms open, gurgling.

"Aaup…aaup." babbled Séraphine as she continued playing with the keys just as Reid walked in and immediately smiled. He was dressed in a navy blue cardigan sweater over a paisley-print blue dress shirt, matching trousers, and Converse. He took a sip from his coffee mug.

Reid gushed as he kissed her head, "Good morning again, my fabulous Fifi." He kissed Élise's lips. "And good morning again, love."

"Morning, love," said Élise before asking. "Have you given it any thought about going to the Halloween Festival at Mendel? Maeve has been asked to pick a cause for donations."

Reid thrillingly answered, "Absolutely. I just love the day where all order is suspended, and the barriers between the natural and the supernatural are temporarily remooooved." Reid tickled Séraphine's tummy when he ghostly howls and giggled along with her.

Chuckling, "Still…this is going to be her first time doing something like this, and she…" Élise gasped and began to jump and up, squealing in the direction she was pointing to. "Oh my…Spencer!"

Reid gasped at the sight of eight-month-old Séraphine pulling herself up on the couch.

"Fifi, you're cruising," said Reid was amazement.

Élise was filming Séraphine taking little steps while holding onto the couch. Her big eyes had her sighted on Reid, and she tried to walk towards him, only to take a fall.

"Oh, sweetie. It's okay." Reid rushed over to her side and helped her up, and got her cruising again. He encouraged Séraphine, "Keep on trying, and you'll be able to walk in no time."


Reid, JJ, and Prentiss looked at Garcia in Hotch's office and immediately knew they had another case coming.

Reid, however, was more focused on Rossi.

Morgan joined in and profiled Rossi had something on his mind but was being modest.

Hotch announced with Garcia next to him, telling the team it's time for work.


After discussing more on the case, the team got right to work after landing from the unsub to the MO.

From visiting the crime and dump scenes and medical examiner's office to talking to the friends and families of the victims.


Now that a woman was killed after a string of men, the unsub went from serial killer to spree killer.

And after a visit from the ME's office, the team was ready to give a profile that the unsub was a sadist with a God complex and gets off killing the victims repeatedly.


"Hello, my love."

Reid smiled at the sound of Élise's voice, taking his call in a quiet area away from everyone. "Hello."

"Did you get the video I got from Rose?" asked Élise.

Reid went into his messages and clicked on the video of Séraphine cruising against the living room wall. Instantly beaming, "Look at her. She loves moving than sitting."

"Doesn't any eight-month-old?" replied Élise before asking him, "Have you given any thought about Halloween costumes?"

Reid thought about it for a moment and said, "Not yet. Maybe after this case, we can talk more."

"Of course. I love you." Élise gushed.

Reid smiled, "I love you too."


After his quick chat with Élise, Reid got a call from the ME, came back into the room, and announced to the team that the unsub was dying from a form of blood cancer.

One of the victims, Jake Shepard, joined the church after a near-death ATV accident where he coded for four minutes but was revived.

The team thinks that the unsub is trying to come to terms with his own death; therefore, he is bringing victims back to life to talk to them.


The team gathered around after Prentiss and Rossi had just finished talking to Jake Shepard's mother about her son, a former hoodlum who turned his life to religion after an ATV accident six months prior.

During the conversation, Reid brought up his experience with Tobias Hankel while Prentiss mentioned her encounter with Doyle, and everyone felt chills when she stated that she actually died.

The team figured that the unsub was keeping his victims longer so he could ask them about the experience.


The team headed to Ridge Canyon Lake after hearing news of a possible abduction of a mother-and-son, Samantha, and Evan Braun.

And to the coldest part of the lake.


Finally, Reid, Hotch, Prentiss, and JJ found the unsub, Chase Whitaker, holding the son hostage at knifepoint.

He let the boy go before trying to drown himself.

While Hotch and JJ help Evan as he swam forward, Reid and Prentiss dived down after him, resurrected him, and told Chase it was not his time before arresting him.

Soon everyone had a small smile on their faces when they saw Evan reunited with his mother as Chase was taken away by deputies for his crimes, though they doubt Chase would be dead before that.


"It's not every day I get to see you looking like a wet rat," Morgan chuckled as he saw Reid drying off his hair after changing into a fresh set of clothes before they took off in the jet.

Reid deadpanned, wrapping the purple towel in the back of his neck, "Ha-ha."

"I bet it bought back some memories for you, huh?" Morgan reminded Reid of a certain case. Reid responded by thumping Morgan's shoulder and walking away, causing Morgan to laugh again.


Reid sighed as he locked in the security password after walking inside his home. He waved to Opal, sleeping in the corner before making his way to Séraphine's nursery. He gave her a quick kiss on her head before wishing her good night and sweet dreams.

He walked into his bedroom.

"I've been waiting for you," said Élise with her head on one side and her legs curled, smiling.

Reid crawled into the bed and kissed Élise's lips before changing into his favorite purple pajamas and talking about his experiences with Tobias Hankel before drifting off into a deep sleep.


Élise was humming to Stevie Wonder's Superstition on her phone as she was fixing up breakfast for herself, Reid, and Séraphine, who was enjoying small pieces of dry cereal.

"There you go, my love," Élise presented to Séraphine her breakfast of soft and mashed fruit and scrambled eggs. "Enjoy."

Élise giggled when she saw Séraphine eating her breakfast just as Reid walked in. Pulling Reid by his arm, "Is it not adorable watching Séraphine go through the pincer grasp? Using her cute little thumb and pointer finger to pick up her food and feed her adorable self? I mean…"

Élise's smile slowly vanished once she saw Reid's vacant stare. "Spencer?"

And he was still in his pajamas when he should be all dressed up and ready for work.

"Did you have a nightmare or…?" Élise looked at his phone and saw a message,

No work until Monday—we'll do paperwork; Rossi's 1st ex-wife Carolyn passed away last night after we came back from California ~ AH

"Oh, Rossi," Élise shook her head.


"Wow," Élise and Reid pulled up in front of Rossi's white Colonial-style place. "What a nice house Rossi has."

Reid joked, "Rossi prefers to call his house his 'mansion.' Which it technically is."

Élise let out a chuckle as she knocked on the front door a couple of times. When the door opened, there was Rossi, staring blankly into a cup of coffee, wearing a black robe over Italian silk pajamas and slippers.

Rossi tonelessly said, "Hey, you two." He cocked his head to the side, gesturing them to come inside. "Come in."

Élise and Reid entered Rossi's house and followed him into the living room. They sat down across from him and saw Rossi crash on the couch, almost spilling his coffee on his expensive couch.

"Hey, David," said Élise with compassion before giving her condolences. "I'm so sorry for your loss." Élise presented to Rossi a big weave basket. "I got you some of your favorite chocolates, cheeses, and Scotch."

Reid offered his sympathies and gifts, Rossi, a bouquet of white roses. "I'm sorry as well, Rossi." Reid didn't need to profile that he was no doubt taking Carolyn's death hard.

"Thanks, you two." said Rossi before he took another sip and sighed, "Carolyn was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease eighteen months ago."

"Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis," Reid straightaway knew what that was. "A nervous system disease that weakens the muscles and impacts the physical function. Stephen Hawking has been battling with ALS since 1963."

"Yeah." Rossi softly said and didn't mind his usual babble. "The disease attacked quickly, and she…" Rossi almost choked. "She wanted me to help her…end her life on her terms. And so, when I went to her hotel room…she knew I wouldn't help her end her life…so she took a fatal dosage of pills. I offered to call an ambulance, but she protested. So, I stayed with her."

"Oh, David…" Élise and Reid got up from the couch and immediately started comforting Rossi as he began to weep.


Thursday night and Friday, after Élise would come home from work, after dinner, they spent the rest of the night watching classic Halloween movies and specials such as Hocus Pocus, It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, The Witches, etc.


On Saturday, Élise and Reid continued to film and watch Séraphine cruise around the living room and decorate before deciding to take her pick fresh apples and visit a pumpkin patch at a local farm and orchard after her nap. They read classic Halloween books and watch more Halloween movies and specials.


After breakfast, Élise and Reid took Séraphine to Sunday service and listened to the Reverend talk about grief, healing, moving on, and letting go. The Halloween celebration still continued.


On Monday morning, before starting on the paperwork, Hotch talked to Reid, Hotch, JJ, Morgan, and Prentiss about what they have done to support ALS.


"How do I look?" asked Élise as she was costumed in a white lacy dress with a red corset and tulle skirt, red boot covers and heels, a white sun hat and tights and gloves after she came into Séraphine's nursery.

Reid answered as he was getting into Séraphine into her costume, "You look Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. As does this little charmer."

Élise gasped and placed her hands on her cheek at the sight of Séraphine in her costume as a penguin. Gushing, "Aw! You look so cute in your first Halloween costume!" Élise had to take a couple of pictures before she eyed Reid in his costume: a red-and-yellow striped beige blazer jacket, white slacks, gloves, dress shirt and shoes, a turquoise hat bow tie, mismatch socks, and straw hat. "And you look so handsome, Mr. Bert."

"Ready to go to get our Halloween on, Ms. Mary Poppins?" asked Reid as he extended his flexed elbow out.

Élise wrapped her arm around his, "Absolutely." Soon asking Séraphine, "Ready for your first Halloween, Fifi?"

"Ah…" Séraphine happily babbled before giggling.

Reid said, "I take it as a yes."


"Lise! Spencer!" Maeve waved to the family as she, Bobby, and BJ were in their arms waiting outside on the large brick-and-limestone Thomas Hunt Morgan Center for them.

Élise waved back to them, "Hey, people!" Oodles of costumed people were walking and hurdling inside, itching to get their Halloween celebration on. "Ooh. Look at you all. Look at you all."

Maeve was clothed in a white lab jacket over a messy-and-slightly-disheveled white shirtdress, a wild purple hair wig, black lab goggles, and rubber gloves; Bobby in a similar outfit except in a white dress shirt, dirty black pants; and BJ as a baby plant.

"Oh, BJ." Élise gushed at the son's costume. "You such are blooming, huh?"

Everyone laughed at Élise's joke.

"Well, plants and genetics go hand-to-hand," said Maeve. "Still, I'm glad you guys made it."

Reid said, "Same. I can never miss out on Halloween. Plus, we just did paperwork today, and my boss wanted to take his son trick-or-treating, so…"

Élise replied, "Anything for you guys. And Halloween. And especially for the cause."


Once they stepped inside, Reid, Élise, Maeve, Bobby, and the children all played fun festival games, such as Pumpkin Golf, created their own mini pumpkin, bingo, ate caramel apples, candy corn, s'mores, etc. and danced to classic Halloween songs.

After about an hour-and-a-half later, Maeve appeared on the mini stage, standing between a woman costumed as a cowgirl and a middle-aged gentleman costumed as a robot. Tapping on the microphone a couple of times before clearing her throat and speaking into it, "Hello, everyone. And Happy Halloween!" Maeve addresses the crowd. "Again, I would not only like to thank you all for coming to the Halloween Festival at Mendel University but also for your generous donations to ALS. If you would still like to donate, please, any donation is most appreciated, no matter how small. Thank you, and let's keep on celebrating. Or at least until midnight."

That last comment made a few people laugh, including Maeve, as she stepped down and rejoined her Bobby, Élise, Reid, and the children, who were still squealing with excitement. "Are you enjoying yourself, BJ?" Maeve ended that question with a kiss on Bobby's head.

"He doesn't want to stop celebrating," said Bobby, who tickled his chin. "I know you don't, Spencer."

Reid bopped his head to the music and said, "Who won't be? It's Halloween. People have the same excitement with Christmas or any other holiday."

Élise was about to say something when a classic Halloween song began to play.

"Thriller!" shrieked Élise and gestured to join her on the dance floor. "Let's dance, people!"

Soon, everyone came onto the dance floor and began dancing to Thriller.

Chapter Text

"Where are you going, Séraphine?" Élise playfully followed Séraphine around the living room as she was cruising around using the pink walker. "Where are you going?"

Reid walked into the house and set his bags down, and locked in the security alarm, "Hi, everyone. I'm home."

Séraphine saw her father walking in and waved to him, "Dada!"

"Hi, my princess." Reid melted and immediately began hugging her. Smooching her forehead and cheeks, "How was your day?"

Séraphine giggled as Élise walked up to him and gave him a peck. "How was your day, bunny?"

"It was okay; we mostly did paperwork," Reid answered. "Rossi didn't show up, so…"

Élise patted his shoulders, "Aw. Well, he'll be happy to know that the Halloween Festival at Mendel has raised about $20,000 for ALS."

"Really?" Reid's mouth dropped.

Élise answered, "Yup. While I was at work, Maeve told me that they want her to plan the next fundraiser event."

"That's great," said Reid before turning his attention to Séraphine again. "I love you so much."

Séraphine babbled, "Dada. Mama."


After cooking and eating a healthy dinner of vegetable pasta, a leafy salad, and sugar-free fruit pudding, Reid offered to give Séraphine her bath and tuck her in.


"Are you ready, little girl?" Reid asked Séraphine after he had just finished reading Goodnight Moon to her. "Are you ready to go beddy-bye right now?"

Séraphine squealy yawned, "Ah…"

"Oh," Reid placed Séraphine in her crib and watched her drift into a deep sleep. Giving her a forehead kiss, "Goodnight, my Séraphine." He signed goodnight to her before leaving her nursery before walking into his bedroom, but not before his phone vibrated.

"Hey," said Élise, who had just gotten into bed just as Reid read a text from Garcia.

Hotch wants everyone in. 2 missing kids found dead. ~ Garcia

Reid sighed as he began to walk into the bathroom.

Élise knew, "Let me guess, case?"

"Missing kids, so yeah," said Reid before picking out some clothes from his clothes and going into the bathroom.

After taking a quick shower, Reid changed into a dark blue plaid dress shirt, cardigan sweater, tie, dress pants, and Converses. Reid placed his dress clothes into the hamper before leaving the bathroom and gave Élise a lip kiss.


After a quick brief in the roundtable about a case in Kansas, Reid quickly texted Élise.

FLYING TO KANSAS ~ SR

A few seconds later, Élise texted Reid right back.

BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR DOROTHY AND TOTO! ~ EBR

Reid chuckled.


The team was trying to keep themselves steady; even Reid, Hotch, JJ, and Rossi attempted to keep the water glasses on the mini table at ease due to the jet shaking from the turbulence.

After discussing more on the case, the jet shook again from the turbulence.


Rossi left the ME's office with Reid, shaking his head in disbelief, surprisingly amazed that he was idly eating a sandwich and was clearly unfazed by the gruesome sight of the bodies, "I'll never understand how someone can eat while looking at something like that,"

"If you let something like that get to you, you wouldn't make it past breakfast." Reid suggested, "I remember my high school science teacher sometimes keeping his lunch in the lab fridge where the frogs, rats, and other animals were used for dissection."

Rossi grimaced, "O…kay." He soon changed the topic; he and Reid stopped walking in the middle of the hallway, "Hey, uh…Spencer. I want to thank you, Élise, and your friends for raising all that money at Mendel for ALS research."

"Of course, Rossi," Reid appreciated Rossi's thanks before giving his condolences to him, "And again, I'm so sorry for your loss."

Rossi meekly shrugged his shoulders, "It's funny, though. We were divorced 20 years. And I never missed her as much as I do right now. My advice to you is never take anything for granted; not your marriage, not your child, not your relationships with your loved ones, not anything for the rest of your life."

"Promise," Reid vowed.


After a long day, Reid headed back to his hotel room and made a much-needed phone call. After the first ring, he sweetly answers, "Hello."

"Hello, my love," Élise replied. "How was your day?"

Reid answered, "Exhausting. Tornadoes, missing kids, and the unsub…"

"Oh, my…" Élise joked, making a Wizard of Oz reference, which made Reid laugh. "Sorry, love, I just put Séraphine down for bed."

Reid sighed. "Ah."

"But on the flip side, I'll send you more videos of Séraphine cruising in her little walker." Élise offered.

Reid sat down on the edge of the bed, "Please and thank you."

After a few seconds, "Sent to your phone." said Élise before she yawned. "I better get going. I love you, honey."

"I love you times pi," said Reid before hanging up and looking at his messages for the video of Séraphine cruising around in the living room as she was using the walker. He laughs as she waves to the camera. He turns his head when he sees Hotch walking into the hotel room.

Greeting Reid before setting his bag, "Hey, Hotch."

"Hi." Reid greeted him back before re-watching Séraphine cruising.

Hotch took off his jacket and looked over Reid's shoulder, chuckling at the video. "Aw."

"Yeah." Reid almost felt a lump in his throat. "She's growing up so fast."


The following day, after the latest victim's body was found, they concluded that the unsub was not taking body parts apart. He's putting a body together, prompting them to give the profile to the Wichita PD.

After so, Reid had a moment and found Hotch in the hallway after a short conversation with JJ.

Reid figured out that the unsub is looking for the perfect head.


Now, the team got news of another abduction by the unsub but left the younger brother as a witness just as Prentiss and Rossi go to a local university to talk to storm chasers. After figuring out that the unsub was trying to recreate someone he loves, Garcia manages to get a name.

22-year-old Travis James, who lost his seventeen-year-old big brother and his mom when a tornado hit their trailer park home and eventually ran away from the foster care system.

They concluded that Travis is trying to piece him back together and then bring him back to life.


The team split up; Reid, Morgan, JJ, and Lieutenant Beasley managed to find the unsub and rescue his latest victim.

Soon everyone took shelter, and by the sound of the tornado, Travis James did not make it.


Reid watched Shaun reunite with his younger brother Billy at the police station as he needed to make a much-needed call.

"Hey." Reid warmly greeted Élise over the phone.

Élise answered, "Hi, you. How was the case?"

"Strangely weird." Reid truthfully replied. "So the weather's supposed to break tomorrow. I should be home sometime in the afternoon. I'll call and let you know for sure."

Élise asked again, "Did you at least catch the guy?"

"Yeah." Reid rubbed between his eyes and scratched his eyelashes. "Sort of. It's kind of weird. You alright?"

Élise responded, "I'm—I'm fine. Opal's asleep, and I'm putting down this litter energizer."

"Can I speak to her?" Reid desperately needed to hear Séraphine.

Élise said, "Absolutely." After about two seconds, "Phone's on speaker. Hi, sweetie. It's daddy on the phone. He wants to…"

"Da…da. Dada…"

Reid melted at the voice of his little baby. "Hi, little lady. Sorry I can't be with you tonight."


"Hey!" Reid dashed into the living room to see Élise, Séraphine, and Opal playing together in the living room.

Élise greeted him with a lip kiss, "Just in time for the party."

Reid smiled at the sight of Séraphine giggling as she was using her walker and Opal following her. Wrapping his arm around Élise's body and pulling her closer to him, "I'm never going to take any of this for granted," Reid remembered what Rossi said to him during the case. "I love you all so much."

Chapter Text


"OMG, Maeve," Élise spotted and showed Maeve at BABY'S 1ST THANKSGIVING baby tee with a turkey on it. "Isn't that adorable?"

Maeve chuckled, "I know." Maeve reached into her purse and pulled out her phone when she heard it rang. Her mouth dropped when she opened up her messages. "Take a look at this."

Élise giggled at the picture of a smiling BJ and Bobby, whose face was coated with BJ's orange handprints.

"He almost looks like a caveman." Élise joked. "It's nice that we got to have a Girl's Day Out while our husbands watch the kids."

Maeve agreed, "Yeah. What are you going to do for Thanksgiving?"

"Spencer and I are going to take Séraphine to see my parents, older brother, and sister-in-law in New Jersey." Élise picked up a girl's outfit with a ruffled yellow, orange, and brown tutu diaper bloomer with matching headbands and leggings and thought about getting this for Séraphine. "What are you and Bobby?"

Maeve answered, "We're going to spend Thanksgiving with Bobby's parents in Vermont."

"Ah, Vermont. Home of Ben and Jerry's, their state cheddar cheese and maple syrup," said Élise. "Make sure you pick some for us, okay?"

Maeve let out a chuckle and planned to get BJ a Thanksgiving romper top, turkey pants, and hat set, "Yeah."

They visited a few more stores before they grabbed a bite to eat and left the Tyson Corner Center.


On Sunday morning, Reid, Élise, Maeve, and Bobby took their children to church and listened to their pastor give a sermon on being thankful and charitable for the Thanksgiving holiday that will be coming soon.

Reid and Élise spent the rest of the day playing with Séraphine before having dinner, and they got ready for bed.


"Shhh…" Élise whispered in Séraphine's ears as she rocked Séraphine in the white rocking chair. "I got you, I love you," Élise softly sang to Séraphine, who yawned in response.

Reid knocked on the nursery door three times before popping his head in, asking while whispering, "May I come in?"

"Of course," Élise gestured him to come in. And saw him dressed in a dark navy cardigan and sweater vest over a dress shirt, dark pants, and Converse sneakers. "Let me guess, case?"

Reid showed off the emergency text messages from Morgan.

GARCIA NEEDS US; PERSONAL CASE FOR HER

MISSING PERSON FROM HER SUPPORT GROUP

"Oh," Élise shook her head, and she rose from the rocking chair. "You go right ahead."

Reid kissed Élise's lips before kissing a sleepy Séraphine's head. "I love you two."

"We love you, too." Élise brightly smiled.


The team began briefing about Monica Kingston, the mother of Hope Kingston, an eight-year-old girl abducted seven years ago, who went missing after attending Garcia's support group on her anniversary abduction before getting right to work.

Reid was in the bullpen, observing the picture of him, Élise, and Séraphine on his desk while Hotch was reading Hope's case file with Rossi after he and Prentiss came back from visiting Hope and Monica's old house. At the same time, JJ and Morgan went to the gas station Monica was last seen with the unsub.

They reviewed the letter Monica and figured it wasn't a coincidence that the unsub took Monica to the same gas station before Hope's disappearance and that Monica was taken because she was reminded of Hope.

Hotch didn't want another moment wasted as an agent brought them another box containing everything about Hope's investigation.


Working through the night and on his second cup of coffee, Reid yawned as he stepped out of the bullpen. He dialed his phone to make an important call.

"Good morning, my love."

Reid pleasantly responded, "Good morning, my love."

"Dada!" Séraphine babbled. "Dada!"

Reid sighs, "Just what I needed."

"Are you okay?" Élise asked with concern.

Reid replied with disgust, "This unsub…"

"Ah." Élise understood, "Well, you find this unsub, and I'll look forward to prosecuting him to the fullest extent to the law because he's going to have to deal with me."

Reid chuckled, "I love it when you do that."

"Spencer," Rossi caught Reid's attention. "We're ready to deliver the profile."

Reid sighed, "I got to go. Love you."

"We love you, too." Élise kindly replied.

Séraphine babbled, "Bye, dada."


After delivering the profile and JJ had a private conversation with Garcia about the members of her support group, Reid was looking at the clear board while Rossi was standing and reading a file, and Prentiss was at her desk.

JJ got a name from Garcia.

William Rogers, who joined Garcia's support group two months prior.

From the story he told to get into the support group, they came to the heartbreaking realization that Hope killed herself because she got pregnant by him. He abducted Monica because he thinks she can create another Hope.


Reid was with JJ in the garage, ensuring he secured his Kevlar vest around his chest, and his revolver had rounds when he saw Garcia hurdle towards the SVU with Morgan behind her.

"Uh, Garcia…" Reid asked with confusion as Garcia opened the driver-side backseat door before entering the front seat passenger side.

Garcia barked, "I told Derek either you guys let me go with you, or you're going to have to forcibly remove me from the SUV. Your choice." Garcia ended that sentence with folded arms and a look of determination on her face.

Reid turned to Morgan, who silently nodded his head before turning to JJ, who gave Reid an I-don't-think-I'd-want-to-know-but-we-have-to-get-going look as she entered the passenger backseat.


While Hotch, Prentiss, and Rossi went to one location, Reid, Morgan, JJ, and Garcia headed to the location while he kept Hope and presumably Monica. Reid went with Morgan and two officers to check the perimeter to find another entry point while JJ was with Garcia. Going around the house, Morgan motioned Reid and one of the officers to go as he spotted a basement window. After Morgan kicks it open, they climb through it and make their way to the living room, where they see Bill holding Monica and briefly Garcia at gunpoint with his black revolver.

Bill dropped the gun and stepped away from Monica...

Only...

Monica grabbed the revolver and aimed it under Bill's chin before shooting him; Morgan shielded Garcia, so she wouldn't watch Monica kill Bill.


Reid packed pictures from the clear board into cardboard boxes before turning his head to see Garcia and Monica comforting each other through the blinds. He could hear Morgan approaching him and said, "At least Bill is on the opposite side of heaven."

Morgan shook his head in agreement, "Amen to that, pretty boy."

"Outliving your child is every parent's worst fear." Reid sadly said. "I don't know how I would be if anything happened to Séraphine."

Morgan placed his hand on Reid's shoulder, "I know. But as I told you before, I'd be happy to teach your girl some of my martial arts moves when she's older."

"Yeah. And you'll need to worry about her." Reid gave Morgan a cardboard box after he finished packing up.

Morgan asked, "Why?"

"I think she'll have such fun beating the stuffing out of you." Reid joked, causing Morgan to chuckle as they planned to put the boxes away in the evidence garage.


"So, how's Garcia?" Élise asked Reid just as he joined her on the couch and watched Séraphine play with Opal; Reid recapped her about the case before he left work.

Reid merely shrugged his shoulders, "She's hanging in there. The mother will be having a memorial service for her daughter."

"To outlive your child is every parent's worst fear," Élise shook her head. "Too bad the unsub's dead. I'd love to prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law. But in all honesty, I don't blame the mother for killing him."

Reid agreed, "I don't either."

Soon Séraphine started cruising around the coffee table before falling on her bottom. Reid and Élise were about to rush over when Séraphine climbed to her feet and waved to her parents before…

"Sh-she's taking her first steps…SHE'S TAKING HER FIRST STEPS!" Élise shrieked, pulling out her phone.

A grinning Reid crouched and opened his arms out when Séraphine began walking towards him, "You did it, Séraphine!" He started smooching her head, cheeks, and forehead. "You did it!"

Chapter Text


"Oh, look at this one," Élise burst with excitement and adoration at the Thanksgiving-themed photographs she was showing Maeve and Bobby. "Ain't she a little doll?"

Maeve looked at a photograph of Séraphine in a big silver pot dressed as a turkey and fall fruits and vegetables surrounding her and smiled. "Aw, that's so cute. Wait until you see the pictures of BJ we got." Maeve got up for a few seconds to get the pictures she got of BJ.

Élise smiled at this photograph of BJ in the cornucopia basket, "Oh my God. That is just so adorable."

"Oh-ho, BJ!" Bobby cheered as his son was helping Séraphine up as she fell on her bottom walking around their family room. "Look at you, being a little gentleman."

Reid chuckled and opened his arms when he saw Séraphine wobbling towards her and hugging her with all his might. "Come here, my pretty little girl. Oh."

"Dow." Séraphine pointed her index finger down rapidly and babbled, "Dow. Dow."

Reid gasped, "Okay. I'll put you down." Reid grinned when he put Séraphine down, and toothy smiled when he saw her walking around again.

"I swear this girl loves walking," Élise smirked.

Maeve smiled when she saw BJ walking towards her, "So does this little energizer." She scooped up BJ and tickled his tummy, causing her to giggle before she let him go on walking, "It's a good thing we got a new car seat. In just three months, they'll be a year old."

"But that also means that we have to babyproof our house again," Reid mentioned before helping himself to a crudité on the coffee table. "Something I don't mind. Anything to protect our little angel."

Élise snickers, "Look at our little angel now." She points to Séraphine and BJ scooching their bottoms on the clean dark hardwood floor, making the parents laugh and video this funny moment.


After Reid had given Séraphine her bath and read a Thanksgiving-themed story to her, he tucked her into bed and kissed her goodnight. He checked on Opal again and smiled when he saw her sleeping in her pen.

He walked back into the master bedroom and saw Élise in bed reading Oliver Twist. She saw Reid and put her book down at the bedside.

"Hey, sweet thing," Élise said before kissing Reid's lips when he crawled into bed next to her and asked him, "How's Fifi and Opal?"

Reid smiled, "Sleeping like the little angels they are."

"Ready for Thanksgiving this week?" Élise smoothly asked as she leaned in closer for another kiss before bedtime.

Reid shook his head, bit down on his bottom lip before answering, "Absolutely."


"Bags packed and ready?" Élise asked as she went over the checklist on her phone; it was 7:45 in the morning.

Reid nodded his head, "In the car."

"Security system?" Élise asked again.

Reid checked the status on the white security alarm on the wall, "Armed."

"Rossi picked up Opal thirty minutes ago, so are we ready?" asked Élise, wanting to be absolutely sure that everything was taken care of and nothing was forgotten since there was no going back now.

Reid perked up, singly nodded his head, and said, "We're ready to go."

"I think someone else is ready to go and see her maternal side of the family," Élise pointed to Séraphine, walking towards the door and trying to open it but instead just kept pushing, making her chuckle.


"I told you it was a good idea to stop every hour," said Reid after he stepped out of the bathroom just as Élise came back out of the women's restroom with Séraphine in her arms.

Élise nodded her head in agreement and figured, "Well, we're in Baltimore. Want to see some sights?"

"Considering I haven't seen Baltimore since an organized crime case, sure." said Reid before petting Séraphine's head and asking her, "Do you want to see Baltimore?"

Séraphine babbled, "Yea."


Reid, Élise, and Séraphine saw the sights of Baltimore for about an hour; visited John Hopkins University, an aquarium, an art museum, a science center, the Washington Monument, the gravesite, and memorial of Edgar Allan Poe, and got a quick bite to eat before leaving.


After another hour, Reid, Élise, and Séraphine stopped in Wilmington, Delaware, and stayed there for an hour and visited the Nemours Estate, the Hagley Museum, and Library, Grand Opera House, Delaware Children's Museum.


Reaching Philadelphia after thirty-three minutes, Reid, Élise, and Séraphine decided to tour the city for an hour and visit the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, and City Hall.


It was still afternoon time when they finally made it to New Jersey. Reid was getting their luggage out of their car just as Élise was getting Séraphine out of her car seat.

As she approached the house, "Hey, dad!" Élise cried and waved to her dad, comfortably sitting on the bench under the covered front porch.

Mr. Micha's eyes widened, and his mouth dropped when he saw Élise and Séraphine walking up the stairs. Steadily getting up to hug them, "Hey-hey-hey!" He bear-hugged them. "How are you two?"

Séraphine moved her right hand in a downward arc to her flat and open left hand, "Gad."

Élise and Mr. Micha chuckled; as Mr. Micha opened the door, Élise stroked her hair and said, "Spencer and I have been teaching her sign language."

"Hey." Reid reached the porch and said to his father-in-law, "How are you? And Happy Thanksgiving."

Élise grabbed some luggage from Reid before stepping inside the house while they saw Ms. Geneva wiping her hands with a napkin.

"Hey-hey!" Élise and Reid made their presence known. "We're here."

Ms. Geneva soon hugged Élise after she set their luggage down for a moment before turning her attention to Séraphine, who wobbled into the living room after Élise set her down.

"Did she just start to walk?" Ms. Geneva asked, pointing as Séraphine made her way to the coffee table.

Reid proudly answered, "Mm-hmm."


"Look at her," Élise stood next to Reid as they watched Séraphine drift into a deep sleep. "You know we're going wake up late if we keep watching her." She ends that sentence, tapping his shoulder.

Reid chuckled as he agreed with Élise, and she pulled him on the guest bed and kissed each other good night.


Reid, Élise, Mr. Micha, and Ms. Geneva took turns preparing the Thanksgiving meals and watching Séraphine before a short morning nap. Reid and Élise played and looked after Séraphine while Mr. Micha and Ms. Geneva prepared the stuffing, cleaned the turkey, and prepped the appetizers and sides.


Mr. Micha took a nap, Ms. Geneva took a break and offered to watch Séraphine before putting her down for a second nap while Reid and Élise helped prep and clean the rest of the vegetables, peel, and cook the potatoes.


Reid and Élise set up the rectangular table while Mr. Micha and Ms. Geneva relaxed before getting ready for dinner.


Reid was getting Séraphine in the outfit Élise got during her day with Maeve. Élise walked out of the bathroom, dressed in a black jersey jumpsuit and black Uggs, and immediately smiled.

"Oh, she looks so adorable," Élise gushed at the sight of Séraphine in her first Thanksgiving outfit. Élise observed Reid's casual long-sleeve dark purple, black chinos, and slip-on slippers. "As do you."

Reid asked Élise, "Ready to go eat?"

"Am I ever," said Élise before asking Séraphine as they left the bedroom and made their way to the dining room. "Are you ready for your first Thanksgiving dinner, Fifi?"

Séraphine babblingly cheered, "Yah!"

Reid and Élise giggled before their mouths dropped in amazement when they saw the table spread with appetizers, sides, sauces, vegetables, buttermilk biscuits, desserts, and the glistening nine-and-a-half-pound turkey in the center along with pureed food for Séraphine.

"Wow!" Élise exclaimed and took her seat.

Reid said as he placed Séraphine in the white chair, "Amazing. Don't you think this looks good, Fi?"

"Yea!" Séraphine cried.

They overheard a familiar voice,

"Yello!"

Arthur and Brenda walked in with a pie and a crystal bowl in their hands. They placed the dishes on the table and said,

"Hello," Brenda hugged Élise. "So glad you guys could make it."

Élise agreed, "Same here."

Arthur patted Séraphine's head and held his hand up, "How are you doing, kid?"

"Gad." Séraphine babbled before giving him a high five, causing Arthur to smile before he and Brenda took their seats. Soon Mr. Micha and Ms. Geneva walked into the dining room and took their seat.

"Time to say grace," said Ms. Geneva, and everyone held hands and/or shoulders around the table. "Heavenly Father. We want to thank you for blessing us with this food that we are about to eat—a roof over our heads for shelter. And the power for all of us to be together on this very day. We ask that you continue to guide us and protect us from the dangers and evils among us, and we want to thank you for all that you have done for us and in Jesus' name. Amen."

"Amen." Everyone minus Séraphine unanimously said before digging into the delicious family meal while talking about their plans for the next year and in the future.

Chapter Text

"Thanksgiving was over a while ago, and people are already excited about Christmas," Élise said to Maeve as they were hanging out at Bloomingdale's in the Tyson Corner Center. She pulls out a black silk top against her chest. "Why do they always put out Christmas in October when Thanksgiving has yet to come?"

Maeve shrugged as she pulled out a dress from the rack and said, "I once read that Christmas sales are to support resellers and that the Halloween and Thanksgiving holidays don't have enough materials, so they put out Christmas items early."

"I swear if it was Christmas every day…" Élise didn't want to think about it. "People think Christmas exists just to sell."

Maeve agreed, "Instead of being together for the holidays." Maeve pulled out a white midi dress and held it against her body. She posed and asked Élise as she was standing in front of a mirror, "What do you think of this dress?"

"I like it," Élise complimented as she pulled out a black ruffled Georgette dress and posed in front of the mirror and asked Maeve. "What do you think of this dress?"

"Oh," Maeve raised her eyebrows and oozed, "Pretty."

Élise cocked her head and wrinkled her nose, "Nah." She put it back and pulled out a silver top and black pants. Holding them against her body, "You know, before I got with Séraphine, I hated dresses with a passion. And skirts. Hell, before my own wedding and during my pregnancy, I haven't worn them since elementary school."

"I know how you feel," Maeve said, strolling through a rack of clothes. "My go-to outfit was a simple top, nice trousers; maybe I'll throw in a cardigan sweater and some sensible shoes. Sometimes it still is."

Élise sighed as she started to look at the clothes sizes on the tag, "It's nutty how they are clothes in size zero, double zero."

"I know," said Maeve as she seemed interesting in a gray sweater dress. "It's crazy how people can be that skinny. And what some people would do to be that skinny."

"Even I wanted to be that size zero when I was younger," Élise sadly admits before looking at herself in the mirror.

After Bloomingdale's, Élise and Maeve wandered around and stocked up on new Christmas decorations before grabbing a bite and leaving.


Reid, Élise, Maeve, and Bobby took their children to Sunday church service and listened to their pastor's sermon on being charitable during the holiday season.


Reid and Élise decided to work out after coming home from church and had lunch while Séraphine takes her nap. Reid finished after thirty-five minutes and fifty-three seconds as he calculated; Élise decided to continue working out.

"Oh, God," Élise wiped the sweat from her forehead as she walked into the kitchen and helped herself to some nice ice-cold water. She had just finished gulping down her second cup when the kitchen door swung open.

"Hi, love." Reid gave Élise a peck on the head as he and Séraphine walked into the kitchen.

"Hey," Élise waved to them before collapsing in the nearest chair; a panting Élise said, "I am so tired." She gulped down another cup before pouring another cup.

"Remember what we said about working out too much and for too long," Reid reminded Élise of their previous conversations about body weight. "You don't want to overextend yourself."

Séraphine made her way and hugged her mother's legs, "Oh, I so needed that."


Reid and Élise had chicken with a side salad for dinner and fruit sorbet for dessert and gave Séraphine the puree version. Within the next hour, Élise offered to give Séraphine her bath and read her a couple of holiday storybooks before realizing Séraphine getting tired.

"Good night," Élise softly singsonged to a sleepy Séraphine as Élise put Séraphine in her crib. "Sleep tight. Go to sleep, my sweet Séraphine."

Reid joined in, "Séraphine, go to sleep. Go to sleep, my sweet Séraphine."

Séraphine squealy babbled, kicking her little legs as she did so before drifting off into a deep sleep. Élise blew a kiss to her as Reid led her out of the nursery.

"Good night-night." Reid waved to Séraphine before closing the door and headed to the bedroom with Élise.

As they cuddled into bed together, "I'm so tired," said Élise as she rests her head against the pillow.

Reid turned his head and gave her a simple sweet smile. "Want me to fix that for you?"

Élise giggled as they went under the covers.


Reid was finishing up David Copperfield when Prentiss struck up a conversation and asked JJ, "So, what do you guys plan on doing for the holiday season?"

JJ took a moment to think before answering, "Will and I are probably going to either my mom's place in Pennsylvania or down to New Orleans."

"Oh!" Garcia dashed over to their cubicle, excitingly asking them, "Are we talking about the holiday season? I love me the holiday season. Plus, it's never too easy to start spreading the Christmas love and cheer to the ones I love most in my oversize heart."

Morgan chuckled and joined in, "I'm heading to Chicago to visit the family; it's always nice to see them."

"Well, I'm going to love you all from afar," said Rossi with deadpan and with a smirk.

Reid sighed as he placed his book on his desk, "Élise and I are taking Séraphine to Las Vegas, so…"

"Hey," Rossi cut the conversation short when he saw Hotch and Erin Strauss walking into the roundtable room.

Hotch sees them and said, "Everyone," Hotch motioned them that they have another case.

Rossi sighs, "Let's get to work."


After the briefing, Reid pulled out his cell phone and text Élise.

Heading to Oceanside, Florida, for a case, Strauss will be joining us. ~ SR

After about twelve seconds later, Reid gets a text back.

Okay. Be careful. Lots of love. ~ EBR

Reid smirked and decided to text her again.

Love you. ~ SR

After about fifteen more seconds, Reid got another text.

Love you too. ~ EBR

Reid put his cell phone away just as Strauss approached him.

"Dr. Reid." Strauss politely greeted him.

Reid greeted her back, "Ma'am."

"How is the family?" asked Strauss.

"They're doing okay, thank you for asking," said Reid.

Strauss nodded her head and said, "That's always good to hear." She gave him a small smile before walking away. Reid didn't want to be impolite, but he couldn't help but sniff his nose and sensed something was up with Strauss. He decided to put that aside and focus on the case.


After the team landed in Florida and are greeted by the students and staff of Somerville Academy, including leader Colonel Ron Massey and Lieutenant Shockley Tawes, they got to work.

Reid had just finished surveying the campus and decided to meet up with Garcia, who set up the equipment. Reid creeps in and taps his fingers on a map globe and managed to scare Garcia. After talking about ghosts, they talked about the location of the laundry room until the rest of the team started showing up to talk about what they found out.


Reid got settled in one of the academy's cots when he decides to make a call.

"Lovey." The caller said after the first ring.

Reid smiled, "Hi, there. I hope I didn't wake you up."

"You didn't," Élise assured him. "I just put Fifi down to bed, and Opal is asleep."

Reid chuckled and said, "How are you feeling?"

"I'm good, but tired, though. I can't wait for the holiday seasons to come." said Élise before she asked, "How's the case?"

"The case makes me not want to send Séraphine and our future children to military school."

Élise let out a peal of laughter and asked, "How's Strauss?"

"On her best behavior. She's under a lot of pressure from the director since he graduated from the military academy. Plus, there's just something about her that seems off; I can't put my finger on it, though." said Reid.

"Mmm. Well, be careful, okay? Love you." said Élise.

Reid smiled and replied, "I love you, too."

He and Élise have hung up just as Hotch walked in.

Hotch turned his attention to him and said, "Hey, Reid."

Reid waved to Hotch as he settled himself into bed, "Hey."

"Any new pictures of Séraphine?" Hotch asked with a slight grin.

"Not yet." Reid answered before asking, "What's up with Strauss?"

Hotch sat on the edge of the cot side and said, "She has pressure from above, and she doesn't like being in the field."

Reid recalled a time she joined the team on the Joe Smith case. She practically offended the head of the case in the first sixty seconds into the case and she freaked when she stepped on a deceased victim's hair, "Yeah, I get that. But have you noticed something off about her?"

Hotch looked to Reid and said, "As I said, she has pressure from above."

Reid settled for that, but even he knew there was just something off about Strauss.


The next morning, the team deduced that Bailey was badly bullied by the teenage boys who were hung in the woods while Josh who is currently on the run was set up.


The case finished up, and the team heads back to headquarters. JJ, Prentiss, and Garcia have already left as well as Rossi. Reid had just finished gathering some of his books from his desk when a familiar voice called out for him.

"Hey, Spen."

Reid turned and immediately smiled at the sight of Élise and Séraphine.

"Hi." Reid soon kissed Élise on the lips before crouching down to a sleeping Séraphine. Kissing her forehead, he asked her, "Hi, pretty girl. How are you?"

"We're good, thanks for asking," Élise answered before she saw Hotch walking into his office. "What's up with Hotch?"

Reid turned his head to aw Hotch before turning again to face Élise and said, "He and Morgan went to go talk to Strauss about something."

Élise nodded her head and began to have a thought, "Mmm…"

Reid saw Élise's thinking face and asked, "What happened?"

"I think I might know what's up with Strauss," said Élise.


Reid and Élise were now in Hotch's office.

"Huh," Hotch had just finished reading the file Élise gave Hotch. He closed it and said to Élise, "You knew about what Strauss was doing when Prentiss first came to the team. And that she had this problem."

Élise heavily sighed as she played with her fingernails. "I heard rumors, and some of my sources checked it out for me and…" Sighing again, "Look. I didn't want to upset you, Hotch. This was right after Haley's murder. Plus, I heard she was getting help, so…" Élise shrugged her shoulders with folded arms.

Hotch looked at the file again, sighed, and asked, "Should I be worried about my job?"

Élise shook her head and assured Hotch, "Not even for a yoctosecond, Hotch. I got your back. Then, now, always, forever."

Hotch safely tucked the file away in a locked drawer. "Well, thanks for being honest with me."

"Of course," said Élise as she and Reid left with Séraphine.


After arriving, Reid, Élise, Séraphine, and Opal had their dinner before giving Séraphine her bath and tucked her into bed, and Opal got herself to sleep.


Élise was just finishing up some last-minute stretching just as Reid looked over photos to choose from for a Christmas card.

"Oh," A relieved Élise exhaled after finishing the final stretch before joining Reid in bed and picking a recent photo of Séraphine. "I like this one since she just started walking."

"Well, I do like this one," said Reid as he looks at a recent family photo of himself, Élise, and Séraphine.

Élise sighed and said, "I wish we can use all of them."

"Yeah." Reid meticulously organized them and places them on the bedside. "I can't believe Christmas is 18 days away."

Reid cuddled closer to Élise, "An even better Christmas now that Séraphine's here to celebrate with us."

"Oh," Élise heavenly sighed. "It's going to be a magical Christmas. I can feel it in my bones."

Reid joked, "Are you sure that's not your stomach rumbling?"

"Ha-ha," said Élise before they embraced in a kiss.

Chapter Text

"Are you sure a walk was the right idea for me?" Élise asked as Reid decided to take her, Séraphine, and Opal on an early walk in the park. She placed her hand over her stomach, "I'm still not feeling great."

Reid placed his hand on her forehead to feel her temperature and his free hand still on the stroller-pushing Séraphine. He figured, "Could be that flu that's been going on at work. It's a good thing I got vaccinated for it."

Élise shook her head and doubted that assumption, "I'm not sure." Soothing her stomach with gentle circles, "I probably should have gotten vaccinated for the flu this time, but usually, especially when I was a kid, I rarely got sick during flu season." She placed her hand over her mouth and waited for the woozy feeling to pass. "Oh, God."

"Want to pack it in?" asked Reid with concern.

Élise nodded her head, "Yeah. I'll ask to work from home again."

Reid and Élise halted at the local vendor and asked for a cup of coffee for Reid and a can of sugar-free Ginger-Ale for Élise.

"Here you go." The vendor gave them their drinks and waved to Séraphine and Opal, who waved and barked back.

"Thank you," Reid gave the local vendor the money for the snacks she bought for herself and Reid. "You can keep the change."

Élise gave Reid a cheek kiss and took a sip while she petted Opal. Reid went into the baby bag, pulled out some mixed fruit snacks for Séraphine, and squatted down to give them to her. "Here you go, my sweet love."

"Oh," Élise steadily squatted to make sure Séraphine didn't drop her snacks as she was eating. "Careful." She placed her free hand on her back as she rose and suggested, "Let's take a seat on the bench." Élise pointed to the nearby bench and sat down, and finished the rest of her drink before tossing it in the nearby trash can and continued stroking Opal.

Reid wiped Séraphine's mouth. "There we go." He chuckled and turned his attention to a familiar-looking man in his mid-late forties with dark hair and dressed in a black T-shirt and shorts, running before stopping to take a breath.

"Is that Hotch?" Reid wondered.

Élise made a slight grimace and squinted her eyes. Stunned, she said, "I think it is." Élise let out a chuckle and joked, "It's not every day you see your boss and the godfather of your child in workout gear, especially shorts." Élise pulled out her cell phone and took a picture.

She even took another shot when a brunette woman in a gray knitted beanie approached Hotch and conversed with him.

"Well, would you look at that?" A remarked Élise said.

Reid nodded his head in agreement, "Yeah."


"Oh, God," Élise laid in bed with her paperwork spread all over the bed as Reid got finished getting ready for work. Élise liked his usual attire: cardigan over a dress shirt, tie, dress pants with belt, and Converse sneakers. "You look good."

Reid smiled and kissed Élise's forehead, "Thank you." As Reid grabs his go bag and satchel, he tells Élise, "Rose will help out with Séraphine, so you get your work done and rest for the time being, okay?"

"Mm-hmm…" Élise sniffed and said before taking a sip of her sugar-and-caffeine-free Ginger Ale. She gave Reid another kiss. "I love you."

Reid kissed her again. "I love you, too."

Suddenly Opal dashed into the room, jumped on the bed, and snuggled Élise, who chuckled and made Reid chuckle as well.


After briefing about a case in Philadelphia, Reid immediately texted Élise.

Heading back to Philly for a case. Love you. ~ SR

About a minute later, he approached Hotch's office door.

Okay. Please bring me some Philly food; I'll send you a list later. Love you back. ~ EBR

Reid knocked on the door three times.

"Come in," said Hotch. Reid saw Hotch gathering files and organizing his go-bag. He looked up and saw Reid as he closed the door, "Hey, Reid."

"Hey, Hotch." Reid greeted him in the privacy of his office. Sighing, Reid stammered, "Uh…."

Hotch looked at him and asked, "What happened?"

"Élise and I saw you at the park talking to someone earlier this morning," Reid spoke up.

Hotch nodded his head; he was surprised that Reid and Élise saw him, but he didn't see them. "Yeah."

"How are you holding up?" asked Reid with concern as it's been about two years since Haley's murder at the hands of George 'The Reaper' Foyet.

Hotch zipped his go bag and said, "I'm okay, but I rather focus on my training. And Jack, of course. But for now, I'd rather focus on the case since people need our help in Philadelphia." Hotch reminded him of the case.

"Certainly, yeah. But just so you know, it'll be discussed on the plane, so I just thought I tell you first since I respect your privacy," said Reid.

Hotch gave him a small smile, "Yeah. And thank you."


On the plane ride to Philadelphia, everyone was coolly relaxed in their seats when Garcia appeared on the screen.

"Ok, Rossi, out with it. Is Hotch dating?" asked Garcia with prying and intrigued eagerness.

Rossi leaned in closer and answered with a slight smirk, "I don't know."

"You know, statistically, widowed men start dating much faster than females, but Hotch is refuting the data. It's been two years and 19 days," said Reid; he decided to keep the part of seeing Hotch in the park with this mysterious woman to himself, Élise, and Hotch.

"Venus has aligned with Mars," said Garcia; Reid looked over his shoulder to see Hotch walking out of the bathroom and with everyone else, and they were hushed. "Which means love is in the air, and maybe we will get weekends off."

"Ahem." Morgan cleared his throat, signaling Garcia that Hotch was in visible sight. Everyone was silent; notably, Prentiss had a smirk on her face and Rossi's eyes Hotch standing behind Reid.

Garcia simply asked, "What?" She soon realized. "Is he standing there? He's standing there, isn't he?" Now she was nervous hence her signature nervous tone.

"Hello, Garcia." Hotch greets her.

"Hello. Someone talk about the case." Garcia pleaded as she was mortified with embarrassment.

Hotch sat next to JJ on the couch, gave her a smirk on his face before focusing on the case.


Reid had just taken a shower and was already in his sleepwear when he decided to check in on Élise, see how everything's going and how is she. She answered after the first ring,

"Hey," Élise hoarsely said.

Reid smoothly answered, "How are you, my love?"

"Oh, I still feel like crap," Élise replied. "But on the flip side, Séraphine repeatedly said mama and dada and Opal's still in bed with me."

Reid chuckled at the picture Élise sent him earlier, "Yeah. I'll let you rest."

"Okay. See you in my dream?" Élise musically asked.

Reid giggled, "Absolutely. I love you."

"I love you more."


Now two more victims were found beaten to death in a parking lot; the team delivered the profile about the unsub.

This was easier said than done when more of the unsub's victims were beaten to death, including a bookie, robbed as well, and his bodyguard within the next few days.


Even though the doctor said that cell phones weren't allowed to be used, Reid couldn't help himself but take a quick look at his phone while Hotch was with Jimmy Hall, who was saying goodbye to his son.

He smiled at a picture of Séraphine smiling as she was petting Opal.

Hearing the swinging doors, Reid turns to see Hotch walking out. And his eyes were freshly moist and red.

Reid didn't need to guess or even think about it. At that moment, Reid knew that Jimmy Hall's son, Ryan, had passed away from leukemia.

Finally, Hotch spoke up and sniffed, "I, uh…I decided that, uh…when we get back to D.C., we don't work until the new year." He sniffed again, wiping his nose with his sleeve, and exhaled, "Spend time with our families and…yeah."

Reid reasonably nodded his head. "Okay."


Reid looked out the window and stared at the clouds when he got a text message from Élise.

I miss you ~ EBR

Reid texted back.

I miss you as well. And I got your food. ~ SR

About twenty seconds later, he gets another text from her.

I love you ~ EBR

Reid smiles and texts back.

I love you too. ~ SR


Reid made it back home at the exact time he hoped to arrive. Locking in the security alarm, he walks into the kitchen and places the food Élise wanted to get him while he was in Philadelphia in the fridge. Reid crept past a sleeping Opal and waved to her. He strolls into Séraphine's nursery and smiles when he sees her sound asleep. He moves a piece of her hair and curls it with his index finger before letting it out. Kissing her forehead,

"I love you, Fifi." He whispered before leaving. Finally getting to his bedroom, he saw Élise still awake and sat on the edge of the bed with her hands between her closed legs. Sitting next to her, Reid gave her a cheek peck before asking, caressing her cheek, "How are you?"

"I'm okay." Élise quietly answered with a smile. "Great, actually." Sighing and allowing a tear to fall from her eyes, she looked at him and announced, "I'm pregnant."

Chapter Text

Previously on Criminal Minds…

"I'm still not feeling great."

"Could be that flu that's been going on at work."

"I'm not sure."

"How are you?"

"I'm pregnant."


"Say what now?" Reid would only say those words as he repeated what Élise had just told him. "You're pregnant?"

Élise simply and silently nodded her head.

"Pregnant? Huh?" Reid stroked his chin and had his bewilderment look on his face. Like how he could not even notice that Élise was pregnant? But more important, how could Élise not know she was pregnant? Surprisingly not stuttering, he exclaimed, "How did that happen?"

Élise chuckled, "Believe me, I'm shocked, too. It all started when I when decided to make an appointment this morning…"


"Say what now?" A flabbergasted Élise asked Dr. Isabel Patterson as she was in her office. "I'm pregnant?"

Dr. Patterson nodded her head and said, "Mm-hmm. Yeah," She looked down at the results of the physical exam, blood test, and ultrasound scans. "The prenatal screening shows the baby's healthy. All the parts are in the right place. Take a look."

Élise is given an ultrasound of her unborn child. Her mouth dropped open and froze in shock for a few seconds before she finally gulped the spit in her mouth and quietly whispered, "Wow."

"You're about…twelve weeks," said Dr. Patterson as she looked at the charts in her file.

"Wow," Élise was still dumbfounded by this news. "Just…oh…"

Dr. Patterson asked Élise with concern, "Did you notice you were missing your periods?"

Élise stroked her head in circles, trying to think about when the last time she had her period was. Her jaw dropped again when she realized, "Oh…!" She went through her bag and found her cell phone. Clicking on the calendar app, she counted back to twelve weeks and realized the date.

It was when she and Spencer flew from Australia for the congressional hearing.

"Oh, Spencer…"

"…Élise…?"

"…Do you want to…?"

"…Élise…?"

"Huh?"

Élise snapped out when Dr. Patterson noticed the paling shock look on Élise's face as she was having flashbacks, "What happened?"

"Uh…well…Spencer and I…we, uh…" Élise tried to say with hesitation but yet is still wondering. "But how could…?"

A nonjudgmental Dr. Patterson understood what Élise was trying to tell her and said, "What you are having is a denial pregnancy."

"What's that?" asked Élise.

Dr. Patterson explained to Élise, "A denial pregnancy is a conditional term for which a woman denies that she's pregnant."

"W-what?" Élise was starting to feel a bit ashamed for not realizing she was pregnant. Nevertheless, she asked. "What causes this?"

Dr. Patterson clarified, "Several things can keep a woman from noticing she's pregnant. There could be no symptoms such as the usual weight gain, morning sickness, and nausea."

"Well, I have been feeling tired lately." Élise looked down at her stomach. "And I have been trying to tone my body a bit."

"There's also period problems, weight changes, stress, and fear," Dr. Patterson described before asking Élise, "Have you been stressful?"

Élise sighed. Scratching her head, she said, "Well, uh…Spencer and I...something happened during that time and, uh…yeah. Yeah." She took another look at her ultrasound and whispered. "I still can't believe it."


"I still can't believe it either," said Reid, staring at the twelve-week ultrasound of his unborn child before staring at Élise's stomach and placing his hand over it. "You have a baby inside you."

Élise placed her hand over his and replied, "Yeah." Shaking her head, "I just…how could I've missed something like this? I mean…I thought I took the morning-after pill, but…I guess I must have forgotten with the stress of..."

"Yeah." Reid tapped her palm. "Yeah. I still can't believe we're having a baby. Again."

Élise replied, "And to think we were going to wait another year or two." She looked to Reid; tears flew from her eyes. "But…yeah. This is happening again."

"We're having another baby." Reid chuckled as he became overwhelmed with emotion and hugged Élise with all his might, "We're having another baby."


Getting some sleep, Reid decided to let Élise sleep through the morning while he took care of Séraphine.

After lunch, Reid and Élise decided to take Séraphine to a local Christmas tree farm, strolled the DC area looking at the Christmas lights and decorations before coming home. After dinner, while Élise was giving Séraphine her bath and getting her ready for bed, Reid added a couple of Christmas lights in her nursery.


After breakfast, Reid and Élise took Séraphine for Sunday church services; Maeve, Bobby, and BJ were out of town for the holiday seasons and listened to their pastor's sermon about the holiday seasons and the New Year.

They soon spent the rest of the day writing, signing, sending Christmas cards and gifts to the team and colleagues, donating old belongings to those in need, and doing a homemade photoshoot for their holiday card.


Now it was Monday morning; Reid and Élise were currently finishing up some last-minute Christmas shopping.

"Aw, look at this," Élise picked up a blue and white striped onesie and showed it to Reid. "Isn't this cute?"

Reid smiled and said, "It's nice, but I do like this one." Reid picked up a green onesie with 'Baby Love' in green letters. He squatted and asked Séraphine, who was chilling in her stroller seat. "What do you think, Fifi?"

"Yea!" Séraphine exclaimed, clapping her hands before giggling.

Reid gave her a forehead kiss and rose before whispering in Élise's ear, "You don't think Séraphine knows what's going on, right?"

"Spen, she's almost ten months," Élise said as she saw Séraphine jamming to the Christmas music through the speakers. "I don't think she's worried about that. Don't worry; we won't discuss where babies come from until she's much older."

"Or she'll read about it when she's much older," Reid joked, making Élise laugh.

"Perhaps we should hide some books from her and limit her internet time when she gets older," Élise suggested, with Reid nodding his head in agreement.

Before slipping into a few more stores, Reid and Élise took Séraphine for her first visit to see Santa. They bought more last-minute gifts before leaving the Tysons Corner Center.


"Oh, wait until Aunt Ethel sees this onesie," Élise commented on the white onesie that says, "Guess Who's Going To Be An Auntie Again." She properly folded it and placed it back in the bag of presents they planned to give when they reached Las Vegas.

Reid massaged his ears as he was reading Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species and replied, "Wait until we tell her we're expecting another baby. I'm still trying to prepare my eardrums."

Élise chuckled as she crawled in bed next to him, "Oh, I can imagine it already."

"Did you ask about the gender?" Reid asked as he placed the book on the bedside.

Élise answered, "I think we should wait until I'm about twenty weeks."

"I think that's a good idea," said Reid as he wrapped his arms around Élise.

Élise sighed, "We're expecting another baby. I guess it was a good thing that I didn't take the morning after pill, huh?"

"Yeah." Reid chuckled before they shared a lip kiss.


Reid danced with Séraphine to Bobby Helms' Jingle Bell Rock just as Élise came back into the living room with a brown box of old Christmas decorations, "I found them." She placed the box on the coffee table and took a quick snapshot of Reid and Séraphine dancing before hanging the stockings on the mantle. "Aw, don't you two look cute?"

"Just getting our little helper into the Christmas spirit." Reid tickled Séraphine's tummy and made her laugh. "Yes, I am because this is your first Christmas."

"Look what we got you," Élise presented to Séraphine her very own stocking with her name in sparkling Christmas-themed glitter. "Your very own Christmas stocking."

Séraphine clapped her hands, "Yay!"

Reid smiled as well and asked her, "Do you like it?"

"Yea!" Séraphine cheered before giggling from Opal licking her bare baby feet.

"Of course, we can never forget about you, Opal." Reid and Élise stroked Opal's fur as Élise presented to Opal her stocking before hanging it on the mantle. "No, we can't."

Reid allowed Séraphine to pick up an ornament, and it was her first Christmas ornament, made with painted salt dough with her first handprint and hung on the Christmas tree.

"Do you like it?" Reid asked Séraphine as he helped her hang her ornament.

"Yea!" Séraphine happily cheered again.

Chapter Text

By the time Reid and Élise got to Reagan after dropping Opal at Rossi's place, it was already ten till eight. Before leaving and securing their home, they made sure everything was set, packed, and ready to go.


Now it was twenty till one afternoon time. Arriving at the main terminal at McCarran International and reaching the baggage claim area, they heard a familiar voice from the crowd.

"Spencer!" Ethel exclaimed; there was Gordon, John, Melissa, Sabrina, Anna, and Nathan. Her eyes lit up like a Christmas tree, and she started jumping up and down and clapping her hands at the moment they saw Reid, Élise, and Séraphine. Rushing to hug Reid first, "Oh! Hello, my love!"

"Hi, uh…" Reid chuckled and grunted when she hugged him a little too tight. Clearing his throat after she pulled away, "Hi, Ethel." He patted on his chest.

Ethel placed her hands over her mouth and profoundly apologized, "Oh, I'm sorry!" She hugs him again but gentler this time. "Oh, I'm just so excited to see you again."

"Same here with you, Ethel," Élise said before pulling Gordon into a hug. "I like the new haircut."

Ethel ran her fingers through her now-blunt cut bob ash-blonde hair, "Thank you. I need a new change."

After Élise hugged Gordon, pulled Anna into a hug, and asked, "How's everyone doing?"

"We're good, thank you," Anna answered with cheer just as she pulled away from Élise.

Nathan wrapped his arm around Anna, softly pulled her closer to his body, and said, "And happy holidays, everyone."

"Hi!" A three-year-old Sabrina waved to Reid, Élise, and Séraphine, greeting them.

Élise squashed to Sabrina's size and asked, "How are you doing, big girl?"

Sabrina said, "Good, tank yoo."

Ethel squashed and asked Séraphine, who was just placed in her stroller, "How are you, Fifi?"

"Gad!" Séraphine cried, shaking her head, and giggled.

Melissa squashed to Séraphine's height, and after asking Reid and Élise, she took a piece of her hair and curled it with her finger before letting go, "Oh my…look at these curls. There's so long and pretty! Oh."

"Thank you," Élise stroked her fingers through Séraphine's curls.

John playfully joked, "Wait until she's a teenager. With those curly locks, she's going to be getting attention. Including the boys."

Polite laughter ensured between everyone, though Reid looked to Élise with a wide-eye-and-slight-panic look in his face and had more of a nervous chuckle just already thinking about Séraphine as a teenager.

"Well," Ethel clapped her hands together and said, "We're not to celebrate the holidays like this standing around like scarecrows, so let's get going."


After Reid, Élise, and Séraphine rested, they gathered around the dinner table with the rest of the family.

"Mmm," Élise took a bite of the roasted chicken Ethel made. "This is so delicious." She soon ate a forklod of seasoned vegetables before helping herself to a second round.

"Why, thank you," Ethel said before cautiously taking a sip of her sparkling water. Lifting her eyebrow, and tightened her lips. Sensing something, she had to ask, "Is there something going on?"

Reid, who was wiping mashed potatoes from Séraphine's mouth, glanced to Élise, who had just finished dabbing her mouth with a white napkin. He looked back to Ethel and cleared his throat, "Uh…we, uh…have an announcement to make."

Reid looked to Élise again, who nodded her head before excusing herself from the dinner table and giving everyone small colorful gift bags. After retaking her seat, Élise replied to everyone, "Open them."

Reid and Élise glimpsed at each other as everyone rummaged through their gifts. When they finally opened them, there were mixed reactions of enthusiasm, happiness, surprise, shock.

"AHH!" Ethel shrieked to the highest heavens before she ended up giggling like a little schoolgirl. Clutching onto the onesie that says I'm an Auntie as if her life depended on it, and jumping up and down in her seat, "Oh Mylanta! Oh Mylanta-oh Mylanta-oh Mylanta! I'm going to be a Great-Aunt again."

John blurted as he held Melissa and Sabrina's hand, "And a grandmother again."

Now everyone looked to John and Melissa with widening eyes with the whites showing, dropped mouths, extended eyebrows, and it was so silent that one could hear a pin drop or perhaps distant Christmas singing from the house next door until Séraphine made a burp noise and laughed.

"Oh, my…congrats, bro!" Anna exclaimed, clapping her hands.

"Oh, my…" A stunned Élise asked, "How many weeks?"

"About eight weeks." Melissa blushed before looking to her belly. "We found out this morning, so…" She shook her shoulders and smiled. "Yeah. How about you?"

Élise answered before taking a sip of her water and licking her lips, "About 12-13 weeks. It's still a surprise."

"I can't believe it," Gordon crinkled his eyes and nose. "I'm going to be a Great-uncle and a grandfather again." Gordon wiped a tear away from his eye. "Oh, what a world we are living in. What about you, Ethel?"

Ethel sat back in her seat, frozen. Her eyes broadened, and her jaw was still partially open.

Gordon waved his hand in front of her, snapping his fingers twice, "Ethel?"


"Wow," Reid said after walking out of the guest bathroom when he was finished brushing his teeth, taking a shower, and drying off his hair. Now in a purple cotton long-sleeve and checker pants, he said to Élise, who was rocking Séraphine in her arms. "What a dinner."

Élise amusingly asked, "How are your eardrums?"

"I'm surprised I haven't lost her hearing." Reid jokily answered and shook his head. "Wow."

Élise chuckled, "It reminded me of Home Alone 2: Lost in New York; the airport scene where Kevin McCallister's mom, Kate, finds out that Kevin was missing; she laughed for a few seconds before she shouted 'KEVIN!" and fainted."

Reid began laughing, "Yeah, it was like that moment. I thought she was going to bring the house down."

"Oh, God." Élise kissed Séraphine—as did Reid—before gently placing her on her back on the pink and white travel crib in the middle of the room. Chuckling as they watch Séraphine glide into a deep sleep.

"Aw, look at her." Élise sighed. "She's such a doll."

Reid agreed, wrapping his arm around Élise, "I know." Now taking Élise's hand before they crawled into bed together, "This is going to be one memorable Christmas season."

"You can say that again," Élise replied.

"This is going to be one memorable Christmas season," Reid repeated before bursting into snickers.

Élise tapped his nose and said, "Cute." She gave him a lip peck before going to sleep.


The next day—Wednesday morning, the Bastien-Reid family gathered around the breakfast table and enjoyed their breakfasts.

"Mmm, Ethel," Élise politely said to Ethel, who plated another helping of porridge and fruit in her bowl. "I think I'm all full up." Élise patted her belly as she already had scrambled eggs, yogurt, mixed fruit, and vegetables.

Ethel waved her spoon, "You are carrying my second great-niece and/or great-nephew; you need to be in tip-top shape. The same with Melissa, who." She refills her tall glasses of orange juice and milk. "You're going to eat another helping, and you better like it, missy."

Élise shook her head obediently and gulped, "Yes, ma'am." She gulped down on half her orange juice and milk and took a few more bites of her porridge when Reid walked into the dining room with Séraphine, dressed in a Christmas-themed dress and stockings.

Ethel melted at sight, "Aw, you look so adorable."

"We're committed to making Séraphine's first Christmas absolutely special," Reid replied as he bounced Séraphine in his arms.

Élise had finished her meal before pulling out her cell phone, asking, "What are we going to do first?"

"We have a week's worth of Christmas activities to do," said Reid.


"Waah!" Séraphine's eyes beamed out of her head, and she stared at amazement when she saw the Bellagio Fountains' gushing waters. "Oh!"

Élise laughed, "Ah, you like that, huh, Fifi!"

"Yea!" Séraphine babbled.

Reid gave Séraphine a fact, even though she wouldn't understand, "The water soars as high as 460 feet into the air."

Séraphine blew a kiss to her daddy, making Reid blow a kiss back to her before kissing her forehead. Pushing her stroller, Reid said to her, "Wait until you see what's happening next."


That was the Bellagio's Conservatory & Botanical Gardens, which was now as the Winter Wonderland one would love to be walking in.

"Oh, my…" Élise was in awe upon walking into the Conservatory, and the first thing they saw was the 42-foot white fir, decorated with thousands of lights and ornaments. The silver and yellow Christmas bells, white snowflakes, and the custom-sculped rocking horse in the midst hung upon the ceilings.

Reid gasped and lightly tapped Séraphine's shoulder, getting her attention and pointing her to the whimsical toy train of five cars with a live camera, whirling around the tree foot. "Look at that!"

"Look!" Séraphine was now pointing to the stunning Amazonian woman in a couture-inspired gown made with preserved flowers, holding a glittery wand and wearing an extravagant headpiece.

"That's the Ice Queen and is where she lives," said Élise before pointing to a lavish almost-30-foot Gothic castle with toy soldier guards. "And look at those penguins."

Séraphine soon started mimicking some of the penguins before joining everyone else for the live holiday performances and went around Las Vegas to see more fun events and displays.


The Bastien-Reid family gathered for dinner and went to their respective rooms to either relax or rest.


"Thanks again for joining us for the day, dad," Reid said to his father as he, Élise, and Séraphine approached Viva la Vegas, a popular and local restaurant for breakfast the next day.

William smiled and replied, "Absolutely. You know I always love when you guys visit here at whatever chance you get."

"Yeah-yeah," Élise agreed as she was pushing Séraphine. "And I'm sure Fifi loves hanging out with one of her grandpas, huh, girly?"

Séraphine jabbered as she lifted her head and looked to her daddy and paternal grandpa, "Yea-yea!" She excitedly kicks her little legs and giggles, making Reid and William laugh.

William deeply inhaled before exhaling, "I just can't believe I'm going to be a grandfather again." He felt this glowing in his cheeks and adoringly gazed at Reid and said, "I just…" Sniffing and wipes his moist eyes. "I can't believe it."

Soon the family gathered at one of the tables and enjoyed their breakfast; afterward, Reid, Élise, and William took photos of Séraphine with Santa.


Dr. Norman had an instantaneous smile on his face from the moment he saw Reid, Élise, and Séraphine approach the front desk after William Reid dropped them off; he had a few last-minute arrangements to take care of. "Hello again, you guys."

"Hi, Dr. Norman," Reid greeted Dr. Norman before looking down to Séraphine, "Say 'hi' to the nice man, Fifi."

Séraphine cutesy flapped her hands and babbled, "Hi."

Dr. Norman and Élise chortled; Élise moved her bobbed hair behind her ears and helped herself to some bottled water and asked the doctor, "So, doc. How's Mama D?"

Reid and Élise, and Séraphine followed Dr. Norman into the living room. They saw Diana by herself near a window, reading Margery Kempe with her right elbow on the couch arm, her index finger on her temple, and her thumb on her chin. "She's been doing great despite her moments, though nothing severe nor alarming."

Despite seeing her when she traveled to DC for his birthday, Reid dreaded asking Dr. Norman about the time she cut herself, but he had to know, "How has she been since…the incident?"

"She's been doing good; she's occasionally reading to the other patients. They seemed fascinated by her."

"Well, that's good." Reid smiled a bit; he could never forgive himself if anything happened to her because of him.

Dr. Norman looked at his brown leather watch and said, "Oh, I better get going. And Happy Holidays."

"Same here," Élise said to Dr. Norman before he excused himself to go perform his administrative duties. Taking each other's hands, they slowly walked up to Diana. Reid nervously clears his throat before licking his dry lips. Swallowing the gulp in his throat,

"M-mom?" Reid's voice slightly cracked.

Hearing her son's voice, Diana looked up and smiled at the sight of seeing him. "Oh, hi, baby."

"Hi, mom." Reid hugged his mother when she slowly rose from the couch. "Oh, I miss you."

Diana tenderly consoles him with soothing circles for about ten seconds—Reid counted—before pulling away from him to cup his face. Suddenly she squinted her eyes. Her eyebrow rose, and her lips constricted. Sensing something, she asked Reid, "Is there something I should know?"

Reid looked to Élise so that his mother wouldn't see the red cheeks on his face. Giggling, "Mom…"

"Don't lie to your mother, Spencer…" Diana's mouth now had a slight close-lipped smile and motherly warning him, "Now what's going on?"

Reid glimpsed to Élise, who warmly smiled and winked to him in return. His cheeky smile turned into a broad and dimpled smile. He announced to his mother, "You're going to be a grandmother again.

Diana gasped and was utterly speechless. Her face glowed, and she covered her gaped mouth before about five seconds; her eyes misted. "Oh, baby." She pulls him into her arms again for a hug and happily whimpers, allowing her tears to flow from her puffy eyes. "Oh, my baby."

They soon spent the next couple of hours with Diana; Diana asked them if she could show off Séraphine carefully.


For the next couple of days until the night of Christmas Eve, Reid, Élise, and Séraphine visited the Ethel M Chocolate Factory's Cactus Garden, the Magical Forest at the Opportunity Village, the Glittering Lights at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.


Reid and Élise looked at Séraphine as she was being to wake up.

"Good morning, angel," Reid whispered as she was awakening. "It's your first Christmas."

After clapping her hands, Élise eagerly picked up Séraphine and kissed her. Their bedroom door knocked a few times.

Reid said, "Come in."

"Ho-ho-ho!" Reid and Élise were winked by Uncle Gordon disguised as Santa Clause carrying a red stack. "Meerry Christmas!"

A pretended surprised Reid dropped his jaw and introduced Séraphine to Santa, "Look, Fifi! It's Santa."

Séraphine waved, "Hi!"

Gordon pats Séraphine, "Merry Christmas, Séraphine. And here's for being a good girl this year." He presents a wrapped gift to Séraphine and hands it to her.

"Yea!" Séraphine applauded. "Tank yoo Sana! Luv you!"


While Séraphine had her nap, Reid and Élise decided to spend at least an hour at a homeless shelter and volunteer.


After they came home, John, Melissa, Sabrina, Anna, and Nathan; even William and Diana joined in on the celebration, and they spent the Christmas afternoon watching classic Christmas specials, reading books, opening presents, and singing carols.


Now it was dinnertime, and everyone gathered the dinner table spreading with dressings, seasoned vegetables, rolls, and a fifteen-pound turkey in the center of the table.

Gordon stood up, tapped his water glass a couple of times to get everyone's attention, and cleared his throat, "Everyone, I would like to say Merry Christmas to you all. I love you all, and God bless you all for 2012."

"Amen." Ethel saluted to that.

Everyone said in unison, "Amen."

Chapter Text

"Hey, family!" Élise waved to her parents, brother, and sister-in-law when she, Reid, and Séraphine grabbed their bags from the baggage claim area.

Brenda opened her arms out and cried, "Hey, E!" She chuckles as she gives her a sisterly hug. "How have you been?"

Reid answered as he hugged Arthur, "We're good, thank you, bro."

Arthur asked, "How was your Christmas in Las Vegas?"

"It was good," Élise replied as she hugged him. "Surprises happened."

"Want to talk about those surprises over dinner?" Ms. Geneva suggested after looking at her cell phone and seeing it was four o'clock. "You guys must be hungry."

Séraphine babbled, "Yea!"

"What she says," Élise giggled when Séraphine said that as she rubbed her stomach.


Everyone gathered around the rectangular dinner table at Mr. Micha and Ms. Geneva's house with a spread of pasta, garlic bread, and seasoned vegetables.

"This is delicious, Ms. G," Reid dabs his mouth after eating a forklod of vegetables.

Ms. Geneva smirked, "Well, thank you, Spencer."

Élise asked as she wiped the pasta sauce off Séraphine's mouth, "So, how was your Christmas? Anything good happened?"

"Same old-same old," said Arthur after he took a bite of garlic bread and swallowed after chewing thirty times. "We got together and hung out. What about your guys?"

"As I said, big surprises have been happening," Élise replied before eating a forklod of vegetables. "And are still happening."

Mr. Micha took a big gulp of his water and asked, "What do you mean by that?"

Élise glanced to Reid, who gave her a confident smirk. Sighing, she announced, "I'm pregnant. Again." She ended that sentence with a nervous chuckle.

Suddenly, the only sounds in the dining room were Arthur almost choking on his drink and a couple of coughs, the clink of the fork hitting the ceramic plate and from the glassware.

"Say what now?" Ms. Geneva raised an eyebrow and blinked.

"Those were my exact words when I found out. Twelve-thirteen weeks ago." Élise whispered the last sentence while looking away and scratching the back of her neck.

Brenda's jaw dropped, "You're 12-13 pregnant?" She made a face and wondered, "You don't even look pregnant."

Élise explained, "When I went to the doctor's, she, uh...she said that what I'm going through is a denial pregnancy; where a woman denies that she's pregnant."

Ms. Geneva slightly raised her voice, "How could you have not known you were pregnant for 12-13 weeks?"

Élise replied and started picking her fingernails, "I haven't had the usual symptoms like weight gain, morning sickness, nausea. Plus, there are also irregular periods, health problems, weight changes, fear, stress." Élise begins playing with a piece of her hair and twists it, "I…rather not talk about it."

"Well, either way, I'm getting another grandchild." Mr. Micha grinned, "Congrats, you two."

"Aapp," Séraphine burped and laughed, making everyone at the table laugh as well.


Élise began massaging her temples as she, Reid, and Séraphine took a bath and got in their beds—or Séraphine's case, her travel crib, and she were already sound asleep. "I knew my mother would freak out about it."

Reid shrugged his shoulders and retorted, "She didn't seem that freaked out. I would say she's more surprised."

"I'm still surprised, alright." Élise looked down at her stomach. "Aren't you?"

Reid shook his shoulders again and answered, "I am, but at the same time, I wouldn't have it any other way."

Élise smirked to herself and said, "I know. But at least we're giving Séraphine a sibling."


"Whoa-whoa-whoa," Élise said to Séraphine as she wobbled to a safety-covered electrical outlet. "Don't touch that." She guided to her toys that were laid out in the middle of the great room. "Get away from that and go play with your toys, bunny."

Séraphine began playing with her stack and roll cups just as her mother walked in.

"Hey, Élise."

Élise greeted her mother back. "Hey, mom."

Ms. Geneva joined Élise on the couch and watched Séraphine play with her toys. "So, how have you've been?"

"I'm good," Élise replied as she merely shrugged her shoulders.

Ms. Geneva sighed and said, "I'm surprised you're having another baby so soon."

Élise laughed quietly, "I'm still surprised myself. This is about the fifth time I've said that since I found out. I know with Arthur and me, you waited…four-five years?"

"It was a surprise to us as well, but I wouldn't have it any other way." Ms. Geneva smirks. "Just promise me that Séraphine and her sibling won't fight."

Élise pointed out, "Arthur and I never fought. I mean, we have our disagreement, but…"

Ms. Geneva replied. "I know."

"Careful, Fifi," Élise rushed to Séraphine's side when she saw Séraphine biting on the soft gray silicone baby block. "Careful, Fifi."


"Thanks for agreeing to help me out with reorganizing the basement," Arthur said to Reid as they walked down to the basement of Arthur and Brenda's house.

"Of course." Reid went over to a shelf and placed a plastic container aside, and said to Arthur. "What do you want to do with anything you don't want?"

Arthur replied, exhaling exhaustingly, "Throw it away. Brenda and I are thinking about remodeling the basement sometime next year, so we're getting rid ready of anything unnecessary."

"Well, it's a good thing my colleague finished our basement when Élise and I moved into our house; we're thinking about moving into a new house next year," said Reid.

"Cool." Arthur struck up a conversation as he picked up another container. "So, you and Élise are having another kid. Ain't that something?"

"It is," Reid agreed as he sets another container aside. "Surprise?"

Arthur picked up a container, opened it, and observed the context, and answered Reid, "Actually, yeah. I thought you guys said you would probably wait a year or two."

"We did. But you know the old saying, everything happens for a reason." Reid chuckles.

Arthur shook his head and tightly pressed his lips together, "Mmm-hmm. Either way, congrats to you both."

Reid smirked, "Thanks." He wondered, "My apologies if this is none of my business, but how come you and Brenda don't have children?"

"Well, it's not everyone's dream to have children," Arthur answered and wents through another plastic box.

Reid understood and said, "I get it. My father wanted more children, but my mother was satisfied with just me because I'm perfection to her and didn't want to mess that up."

"Yeah, I can see why," Arthur replied, eyeing Reid up and down. "I mean people don't have children for various reasons: lifestyles, financial, ambitions, or maybe they just don't want them. And seeing how children can be these days, I'm just unsure. I mean, if it happens, it happens. If it doesn't happen, I guess it was meant to be."

Reid said, "Well, at least you get to be an uncle again, right?"

Arthur smirked, "Yeah."


Throughout most of the stay in New Jersey, Reid, Élise, and Séraphine has pretty much been hanging out at either Élise's parents or Arthur and Brenda's house, going to the park, the bookstores, shopping centers, and helping the family in whatever way they could.


"I would like to propose a toast to a brighter New Year in 2012. May we be blessed with good luck, good fortune, love. And look forward to a new journey. To 2012."

"2012!"

Chapter Text

"Hey, Bobby!" Reid exclaimed and raised his hand when he saw Bobby standing at the front door of the traditional single-story house. He and Élise, steadily taking Séraphine out of her car seat, and Opal dashes out to cuddle Bobby.

"Hey, you guys," Bobby cuddles Opal's fur. "How you doin', Opal? You didn't forget about me, huh?"

Opal barked in response before Bobby allowed her in, but not before she wiped her feet on the blue mat. Bobby let out a chuckle as he watched Opal enter the living room and turned his head again when he saw Reid, Élise, and Séraphine walking up the stone path.

"How have you been?" Bobby asked, shoving his hands into his jeans pockets.

Reid crooked smile, "We've been good."

Bobby looked down, and cheesy grinned, "Hi, Séraphine."

Séraphine open-and-shut waved as she stared at Bobby, "Hi!"

Bobby gestured her inside, "BJ's inside if you want to see him."

"Yay." Séraphine cheered and wobbled as Bobby helped her get into the house. The three of them joyfully smiled with amusement. Then, Bobby gestured for Reid and Élise to come in.

Élise giggled and bounced when she and Reid stepped in, "We have some exciting news to tell you guys."

"Really? What do you…?" Now Bobby raised his eyebrows and glanced back-and-forth to Reid and Élise as they made their way to the living room. He began smirking when he noticed Élise's cheeky smile, "Something's going on with you two."

Élise blushed as she sat down next to Maeve on the soft mint green couch, who was cheerfully watching Opal play with BJ and Séraphine, "Oh, you're good at this guessing game, Bobby." She whispered to Maeve, "We have a surprise to tell you all."

"As do we," Maeve singsonged with her hands on her knees.

Opal barked as she made her way to Maeve and began to cuddle her, specifically…

Élise's jaw and breathed, "No way."

"For real?" Reid blinked. He snapped his head to Bobby, who silently nodded his head.

"You're pregnant?" Élise blurted, almost startling BJ, Séraphine, and Opal, who lowly growled.

Maeve bit down on her tongue and wiggled her eyebrows.

"OMG," Élise hugged her. "Kudos, my girl. How many weeks?"

"10 weeks," Maeve's eyes twinkled, and she fidgeted in her seat. "We found out during Christmas."

Reid smiled, "Well, congrats, Maeve. This definitely matches our news."

Élise exclaimed, "We're expecting as well!"

Maeve gasped before covering her mouth and squealing, "Congrats, how many weeks?" Maeve couldn't believe it; Élise barely looked pregnant, even though Maeve herself had a bit of a bump.

"About 15 weeks," Élise answered before looking down her small bump.

Maeve rapidly blinked, "15 weeks?"

Élise bit on her bottom lip and shook her head, "Mm-hmm."

Maeve excitingly flapped her hands before gently taking Élise's, "Oh, my…we need to go maternity shopping."

"Well, now that you mentioned, you know some great places where we can go maternity shopping." Élise beamed.

Reid and Bobby watched Élise and Maeve talk and giggled like schoolgirls as they stroked Opal and looked after the children.

"Congrats, Spence," Bobby patted Reid's shoulders.

Reid sneered, "Same with you, Bobby."

The four of them and Opal spent the rest of the morning talking and discussing their time with the families during the holiday season before Bobby and Maeve—mostly Bobby—cooked an extremely healthy lunch of grilled lemon chicken and arugula, tomato, and cucumber salad.


After coming home from work and taking a shower, Élise was fixing Reid's dinner plate of chicken Parmesan, a green salad, and a berry sorbet for desserts.

"Here you go, my favorite girl," Élise gave Séraphine her dinner in the form of meatballs before giving Opal her dinner, "And my favorite doggy."

Opal snuggled Élise before eating her dinner.

"Hi, honey. I'm home," Reid cheerily greeted Élise with a lip kiss. "How are some of my favorite people in the world?"

Élise placed his dinner plate on the table, "We're good, thank you."

Reid kissed Séraphine's head and crouched to Opal's size to pet her fur before taking his seat at the dining table, and Élise took her seat and dinner plate next to him. Reid placed a white napkin on his lap and asked before cutting a piece of his chicken before taking a bite, "So, how was your day?"

"It went well," Élise answered. "I told my colleagues and my boss about the pregnancy, and they were surprised and ecstatic for me. What about you?"

Reid swallowed, "I didn't tell them yet."

Élise tilted her head, "How come?"

"I thought about telling them, but I think they can wait." Reid sipped his water glass. "Plus, I think of not telling them about the pregnancy right away as payback for forgetting my birthday."

Élise stifled a laugh, "A bit harsh and a tad petty." She opened her mouth and almost said something else but pouted her lips and thought while placing her knuckle below her bottom lip, "But reasonable true."

"I have some news to share with you," Reid announced.

Élise asked before taking another nibble of her salad, "What?"

Reid states, "Prentiss and I are to represent the BAU at the Violent Crimes Seminar in Chicago."

"Really? Cool." Élise nodded her head.

Reid sighs, "We leave Friday. I just thought I give you a heads-up."

"You better bring back some souvenirs for us. And that includes Chicago cuisine." Élise warily joked, wagging her fork at him.

Reid snorted, "I can never forget you."


A couple of days had already passed, and Reid was in the master bedroom, checking his duffel bag one last time to ensure he had everything he needed. Of course, he had the necessities: clothes, a toiletry bag, some books, business cards, snacks, camera.

"Perfect!" Reid zipped up his bags just as he heard the door opening. Then, snapping his head, he smiled when he saw Élise opening the door for Séraphine and Opal, who dash to cuddle his legs.

"Ba ba, dada." Séraphine teetered to get to Reid and hugged his legs.

Reid petted her hair, "Oh, I'm going to miss you all. But, I'll try not to be gone for long."

"I know you will," Élise joined in and hugged Reid before whispering in his ear, "Want to give me some last-minute 16-week baby development as you did?"

Reid chuckled, "Our little one is starting to develop taste buds as well as their ear bones." Then, mutters to Élise, "They can hear us."

Élise tittered, and she tingled her body, "Oh! Tell me more."

"Toenails will start sprouting until the 34th week. After that, their head can hold upright and are pumping 25 quarts of blood in their heart."

Élise played with the collar of Reid's dark long-sleeve shirt, "Oh, I'm going to miss you giving me facts."

Reid reminded her, "I'm always a phone call away, even a video call away." Then, kissing her lips again after looking at his silver watch, "Oh! I better get going. I love you, all." He stroked Opal, scooped Séraphine to embrace her and kiss her forehead, and gave her to Élise before grabbing his bags and was out the door, "I love you all."

Opal barked in response.

Élise waved goodbye, "Love you."

"Luv, da da." Séraphine babbled.


Reid and Prentiss were now in Chicago after their hour and thirty-three-minute flight—Reid calculated the gate-to-gate time to be an hour and fifty-six minutes.

Getting into their FBI SUVs, they headed to their hotel rooms at The Peninsula Chicago, one of the best hotels in the city.


Reid was reorganizing his duffel bags when his cell phone began vibrating. Looking at the caller ID, he instantly smiled before he answered and put the phone on speaker.

"Hello?"

"Waaaahhh…!"

"Oh, Fifi," Reid sighed at hearing Séraphine cry for him. Then, thinking of ways to cheer her up, "Hey, Fifi, do you want me…to get you a tricycle?"

"Whhhaaaa…!"

Reid bit on his lip before coming up with something, "How about a book? Want me to get you a book?"

"Wahh-hah-hah…"

Reid exhaled again when Élise came to the phone.

"Sorry, babe. She's a little cranky. She doesn't want to take her nap."

Reid offered, "Want me to sing to her to help her nap?"

"Please?" Élise pleaded.

Reid helped himself to the complimentary bottled water that was sitting on his bedside table. He took a big gulp and cleared his throat, "Go nap-nap, Fifi. It's nap time, Fifi. Please go nap-nap, Fifi. Nap-nap, Fifi. Please go to nap-nap, Fifi." He prayed to himself that it worked.

"She's yawning," Élise stated.

Reid smiled to himself and held his head high, "Works every time."

"Just make sure you take some pretty photographs and a souvenir or two." Élise jokily warned him. "And you better get me some food before you leave. I am pregnant with your second child."

Reid assured, "And I can't forget that."


Reid and Prentiss decided to stroll around Chicago during their free time and visited some museums, parks, and some landmarks, such as Buckingham Fountain, Beeson House, Coach House, Adams House, Columbus Drive.


Reid was looking at his phone since no one approached him about some of the cases he and Prentiss worked on as she had a crowd of people listening to her.

Looking at his messages, he smiles at a picture of Élise in bed with Séraphine and Opal. Then, putting his phone away in his satchel and knowing no one was going to talk to him, he started to leave; he was approached by a college student who is the founder of Nanovex and spoke to him and then Emily until their phones went off.

CASE IN SAN FRANCISCO!

"Guess we're not heading home." Prentiss groaned. "We have a case in San Francisco."

"Yeah." Reid began to walk away, and his phone began to vibrate. Answering it, he unnotably sounded defeated, "Hey."

"Hello, my love!" Élise was in an absolute joyful mood. "How's the seminar?"

Reid muttered, "It was good. But, unfortunately, I have to get to San Francisco; I just got told of a case, so I guess your food will have to wait for another time."

"That's okay." Élise could care less about that at the moment." Anyway, I have some exciting news!" She shrieked. "Well, actually, I got the news yesterday, but as you said, my pregnancy brain is making me so forgetful."

Reid politely asked, "What happened?"

"I got a call…from the President of our country!" She yelped. "And…he's nominated me, Élise Gabrielle Bastien, to...a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, following the passing of Judge Randal McKnight."

Reid tried to sound upbeat, "Really? T-that's g-great."

"I know, right," Élise could barely contain her excitement, "Of course, I'll have to be confirmed by the Senate, but if I'm confirmed, I'll be the youngest federal judge. Plus, the DC Cir is one of the most prominent and prestigious courts in the county; second  and  a stepping point to the Supreme Court."

"Yeah."

Now Élise was worried. She knew Reid would be excited about news like this, "Are you okay?"

"Yeah," Reid lied. "I, uh…I just hate that I have to go to San Francisco instead of coming home."

Élise insisted, "As I said, that's okay. People need your help. We can celebrate when you get home. We love you."

"I love you all, too." Reid hung up.


Reid, Hotch, and Agent Rebecca Lin got out of their SUV after meeting the team at Marin County.

Just as they slammed their car doors, Agent Lin asked, "How can you read a physical copy of The Chronicle's website with all the comments?" She wondered.

Reid explained, "I have an eidetic memory, and I can read 20,000 words a minute."

"I take it you're a genius." Agent Lin guessed.

Reid bluntly answered, "Yeah."

A minute later, Spencer was bringing down an attention-seeking local who was speaking to the press on live TV.


Finally settled in his hotel room, Reid pressed the phone to his ear after dialing. Getting an answer after the third ring,

"Hello?"

Reid apologized, "Sorry if I keep doing this to you, but I really needed to hear your voice."

Élise groaned into the phone, "That's okay. So, an associate in San Francisco sent me a video of you laying it into that attention whore." Élise started to laugh. "I swear, I could watch it over and over again and laugh every time."

"At least I made you laugh today." Reid gloomed at what the unsub did.

Élise noticed Reid's sad tone, "Are you okay?"

"The unsub played us, and now I'm worried about what this unsub might do." Reid exhaled.

"Oh," Élise gave him a little pep talk, "Remember, tomorrow's a new day."

"I know," Reid agreed as he yawned. "I better get some sleep. As do you and our little avocado in your belly."

"I will. I love you." Élise kissed.

Reid smooched back, "I love you, too."


The following morning, after the unsub kills another couple and another clue was left at the scene, the team sans Reid delivered the San Francisco Field Office profile.


Reid continued to go through the physical copy of The Chronicle with all the comments at a local coffee shop. He picked up his head when he saw Prentiss walk past him. She sat down across from him, causing him and Prentiss to talk about life expectations before he brought up that the team missed his 30th birthday. Prentiss helped him figure out the cipher.


After arresting the unsub, the team headed back to the San Francisco Field Office and cleaned out the whiteboard.

Agent Lin sighed, "Police found the buried bones of Bobby Shaw in Harvey Morell's backyard, just like Caleb said."

"Have you contacted the family yet?" Hotch asked the agent.

Agent Lin exhaled, "I can handle it. Anyway, thank you all for your help."

"Of course," Reid nodded his head.


The team decided to spend the night in San Francisco before heading back home to DC.

"Look what I got for you, Fifi," Reid presents to Séraphine a kids' book about San Francisco.

"Yay!" Séraphine clapped her hands and wobbled to Reid for a hug. "Tank yoo, dada."

Reid accepted a hug from Séraphine and kissed her head. "Aw, thank you, my love." He let her play with her toys again.

Élise chuckled as she pointed to Opal enjoying her olive-oil-bottle-shaped chew toy. "Opal loves her gift as well as do I." She held a small basket filled with sourdough bread, coffee bags, and various chocolates.

"I told you I would never forget about you all." Reid kissed her lips. "I know I've been having doubts about what more I can do with my abilities since Prentiss and I went to Chicago, and I met the founder of Nanovex."

Élise scratched her head before wagging her finger, "I think I saw an article about that, and their purpose is making, what, nanoparticles tumor cells or something like that?"

Reid shook his head, "Yeah. Well, he's a senior at Michigan and Landis Pharmaceuticals investing 100 million dollars into his company."

Élise reminded him, "You graduated from high school at 12, have three BAs and three PhDs. Plus, you make more money than your teammates."

"I know, but don't you think I should be doing more with my abilities?" Reid sighed. "I mean, Rossi writes books."

"You yourself write and publish articles." Élise exhaled, "You guest lecture every now and then. Not to mention, you help save lives and make this world better every day. You can't and shouldn't be comparing yourself to anyone else. You're you no matter what. And that's worth more than 100 million. It's priceless."

Reid grinned and kissed her chin, "I love you."

"I know." Élise tapped his nose.

Reid and Élise spent the rest of the day doing work from home, having lunch, playing with Séraphine and Opal, dinner, and being off to bed.


The next day, Reid had just stepped out of the elevator with a cup in his hand. He nodded in greeting to a fellow acquaintance and caught sight of Prentiss, causing him to explain that he belongs in the BAU as they walked to the conference room.

Prentiss sighs, "Well, I'm glad to hear that." She led him to the roundtable room. "Otherwise, this would have been really awkward."

Reid questioned, "What would have been really awkward?"

With a smirk on her face, Prentiss opens the door...

"Surprise!"

Reid burst into this cheesy and big grin when he realized the team threw him a belated birthday party. Garcia excitedly cried, and JJ, Hotch, Rossi, Morgan, and Prentiss showered him with presents, kisses, and hugs. "Happy Birthday!"

Reid appreciated the gesture, "Thank you."

"Do you feel like 30?" Hotch joked.

Morgan pulled Reid into a hug, "Happy birthday, old man. Happy birthday. Almost 40 now." Morgan jested about Reid's age.

"I'm getting close." Reid retorted, "And you're older than me, older man."

Garcia picked up a chocolate cake with the flamed 3 and 0 candles, which Reid blew in one take.

"Yay!" Everyone cheered.

"Oh, are we missing the party?"

Élise entered the roundtable room with Séraphine in her stroller.

"Hi, there, you adorable growing baby." Garcia waved to Séraphine.

Séraphine babbled and flapped to everyone as Élise took her out of her stroller, "Hi!"

"Oh, how's my goddaughter?" Hotch smiled when Élise handed her to him.

"Gaah!"

Morgan grinned, "Ooh! She's starting to talk. Can you say 'Morgan?'" He got in her face and baby-talked her.

Séraphine blew a raspberry at Morgan's face, making everyone laugh.

"Oh, I love this child!" Rossi chuckled and wondered, "What brings you two in?"

Élise shrugged her shoulders and cuddled closer to Reid, "What? So I can't visit my man while he's at work?"

Now JJ, Garcia, and Prentiss either cocked their heads, raised their eyebrows, and focused on Élise.

"Mmm-hmm…" JJ pouted her lips. "Are you sure about that?"

"Yeah," Prentiss crossed her arms. "You're glowing. Even more so than usual."

Garcia joined in on the suspense, "Now that you mentioned it, you are glowing more than a ray of sunshine."

Morgan wrinkled his nose and grimaced a tad before realizing something up with Élise, "Yeah. What's up with you?"

Élise mockingly raised her hands, "Okay-okay." Exhaling, "Our President has nominated me for a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, following the passing of Judge Randal McKnight. If I'm confirmed, I'll be the youngest federal judge in the country."

Hotch smiled, "Congrats, Élise."

Élise announced, "And I'm pregnant again."

Gasps filled the room.

"For real?" Morgan's jaw dropped after doing a spit-take.

Rossi curved his eyebrows, "Seriously?"

Élise pointed to her still small baby bump, "Now I'm at 17 weeks."

"17 weeks?" Prentiss let out a huff, folded her arms, and tapped her fingers on her forearms. "How long have you've known?"

"Since we got back from Philadelphia," Reid nonchalantly answered and helped himself to a big slice of chocolate cake. "Think of it as payback for forgetting my birthday."

Garcia cut herself a small slice, "Well, I'll never forget your birthday ever again because I never want to miss news like this again." She hustled to give Reid and Élise another hug. "Oh, you two." Whispering their ears, "Is it a boy or a girl?"

"Penelope…"

Garcia prayer pleaded, "Please. I need to know. Pretty please on everything good and sparkly?"

"Garcia…" Hotch cleared his throat, judging by his cocked eyebrow and curling his mouth; he signals her to stop.

Garcia obediently backed off, "Yes, sir."

Reid and Élise assured everyone, "We'll tell you when the time's right."

Chapter Text


"Élise?" Reid knocked on the door of the master bathroom before creaking the door. He saw Élise in the largely white cast iron bathtub surrounded by bubbles, white scented candles, and had a white silk mask over her eyes.

Élise sighed, "Hey, babe."

Reid closed the door behind him, placed one foot over the other, and casually pockets his hands. He guessed, "Pregnancy symptoms?"

"Ding-ding-ding-ding-ding," Élise imitated a game show buzzer. "Along with the workout I had thirty minutes ago, my backaches, I'm swollen everywhere, and I don't think there's enough Epsom salt in the world to soothe it all out." Exhaling, "And they say it's easier the second time around."

"It'll be fine," Reid reminded Élise. "Well, I have something that'll help cheer you up."

Élise lifted the eye mask from her eyes and tossed it beside it. Reid pulled out his cell phone and showed her a recent video of Séraphine playing with the pink-and-white stroller Mr. Micha got her for Christmas and trolled around the baby toy dollies Ethel gave her for Christmas as well.

Élise giggled, "That makes me a little better. That's so adorable."

Reid let out a laugh and looked at his silver watch, "Oh! We better get going. We have our appointment with Dr. Patterson.

"Oh, yeah. I almost forgot." Élise groaned as she started to stretch her arms. "I better get changed. Thank you, love, for reminding me."

"What would you do without me?" Reid helped blow out the candles around the tub, handed Élise her white towel before giving her a lip kiss to change in private.


"Hello again, everyone," Dr. Patterson beamed at the sight of the Bastien-Reid family. "How is everyone?"

Séraphine gabbled as she coolly sat on Reid's lap and clapped her hands, "Gah!"

Dr. Patterson gasped, "Oh, my, Séraphine. Look at you talking."

"Yea." Séraphine cheered with spring.

"'Good' and 'yeah' are her favorite words," Élise laughed as she steadily placed her hands over her blooming stomach.

"Yeah, it's so good to see you all again." Dr. Patterson licked her lips as she went over her chart on her pink clipboard. Clicking her pen, "Everything's going well for you, Élise?"

Élise nodded, "Mmm-hmmm, despite my occasional body aching. And they say it's getting easier the second time around."

"Believe me, I know how you feel," Dr. Patterson sympathized with Élise. "Just do what you're supposed to be doing, and you'll be just fine, but if anything, you let me know right away, okay?"

Élise took the doctor's advice, "You got it, doc."

Dr. Patterson continued going through her clipboard, "How's your diet and prenatal vitamin usage?"

"They're both good," answered Élise. "I still crave for the sweet and salty, the occasional savory and sour, but my food choices have been mostly healthy. My sleep patterns are alright."

"You guys ready to know the gender?" Dr. Patterson held her head high, clutching to her clipboard.

"At week 20," Reid replied, using his knee to bounce Séraphine.

"Great. And…I got the latest ultrasound pictures." Dr. Patterson glowed as she gave Reid and Élise the latest ultrasounds.

Élise gasped, "Oh, look, babe."


After Sunday church services, Élise and Maeve have decided to do some shopping.

"Oh," Maeve pulled a polka dot dress from the rack and showed it to Élise. "This will look so cute on you."

Élise observed the dress, "Typically, polka dots are not me, but this one is totes cute." Her eyes caught on this midi-length navy floral kimono knot front dress, "Ooh! This will look so fab on you, Maeve."

Maeve took the dress and flashed a couple of poses in front of the three-way mirror. "This is cute."

Élise took a sip of her bottled water from her bag, exhaled after she took a few gulps, and asked Maeve, "So, what do you and Bobby plan to do for BJ's first birthday?"

"Maybe do something simple," answered Maeve. "Like get the family together watch movies."

Élise wondered, "Why not go big and grand, spectacular even? I mean, this is our babies' first birthdays. Maybe a bouncy house, pony rides, a circus even with a petting zoo." Élise envisioned how to celebrate Séraphine's first birthday as well as BJ's.

"I don't think that would be a good idea," Maeve shook her head.

Élise pouted her face. "Why not?"

"You certainly don't need the stress. Plus, you don't need a petting zoo, or a circus, or any of those unnecessary extravagances to have a good birthday party." Maeve replied as she posed in front of the mirror again with a soft mint dress.

"I never had those kinds of parties going up," Élise sadly admitted. "I often wanted the big and extravagant parties you see on TV. Or even the Sweet 16 when you get a new car, even though I didn't pass my driver's ed test."

Maeve replied, "I never got a car for my Sweet 16; I did, however, get a new microscope."

Élise sighed. "I just want Séraphine to have what I didn't have growing up."

Maeve reasoned, "Sometimes it's not about what you don't have but rather of what you do have. And like I said, you don't need the bouncy houses or the circuses to give Séraphine a great first birthday. Plus, she won't even remember it, so you don't go through all that trouble during the second trimester, so…." Maeve shrugged her shoulders and flapped her hands.

Élise took a moment to think about what Maeve said. "Yeah, true. Guess it's better to plan something simple."

"Exactly." Maeve winked. "Plus, I know some places that if you buy a sheet cake for the first birthday, you get a free smash cake."

"Ooh! Tell me more!" Élise insisted as she and Maeve continued looking through racks of clothes—bought some—before grabbing a quick snack and headed home.


"Ah," Reid closed the door behind him and got into bed with Élise. "I finally got Séraphine to bed."

Élise laughed as she flipped through another page on Parents magazine, "Ooh! Check this out." Reid leaned over to see what Élise wanted to show him. "A ball pit. Won't that look like fun?"

Reid nodded his head and pushed out his lips, "I'm not going to lie, that does look like fun."

"It does," Élise agreed and chuckled. "At first, I wanted it all for her: ponies, circuses, a petting zoo, maybe an aquarium." She mutters aquarium.

Reid twitched his mouth to the side, "Huh?"

Élise closed the magazine and tossed it on the bedside. "I wanted to give her a super extravagant first birthday, but Maeve talked me down into giving her something simpler."

"You do know Séraphine won't remember her first birthday, huh?" Reid reminded her.

Élise sighed, "I know. I never had the big and lavish birthdays growing up, mostly because I've seen them on TV, and I guess you can say I want to give Séraphine what I didn't have."

"As long as you give her love, that's all that matters."

"Yeah," Élise took his chin and pulled him into a kiss. "Plus, Maeve sent me some videos of those parents going all out for their children and…no. That completely changed my mind."

Reid laughed and pulled Élise into another kiss before heading off to bed.


Reid was rereading through a book of baby names and was just reaching the H names after finishing up on the G columns as the elevator doors opened on him. After walking into the bullpen, he got to his desk and placed his satchel to the side before taking a seat. He was already halfway through the H names when he saw Prentiss walking in and sitting at her desk.

Closing the book, Reid observed Prentiss and saw her picking her fingers.

He remembered her doing that when she was waiting for him and Élise to come out to testify about the team's actions regarding Foyet.

But more notably, her drama involving Doyle.

Reid flashed back to that time…

"You've been picking your fingernails again." Reid looked down at her fingers.

"Yeah."

Reid noted, "You only do that when you're stressed."

"It's just a bad habit." Prentiss excused.

Reid knew there was no doubt that Doyle was still on Prentiss' mind.

This almost was reminding him about Tobias Hankel and his addiction to Dilaudid.


"Hotch."

Hotch looked up before looking down to focus on what he was writing, "Reid."

Reid huddled himself into the front seat, almost knocking it down before surprisingly managed to catch it. Hotch's eyes averted, and he would already sense Reid's nervousness. He was unable to sit still. He kept twiddling with his fingernails and tapping his foot. He even observes Reid flinching out when gently setting his pen down.

"Are you okay?" Hotch asked with concern.

Reid exhaled, "No." Admitting, "No, I'm not." Looking at his drumming fingers, "I just…." Reid wipes his nose and sniffs, "I'm feeling the cravings."

"Dilaudid." Hotch knew what he was trying to say but even knew Reid was still too ashamed to say it.

Reid silently nodded his downturn head; the tense muscles around his closed mouth made it too hard for him to talk right now.

Hotch sighed; sometimes, he wished he could have done more or helped him when he first knew about his problem. "Have you been going to meetings?"

Reid rapidly replied, "Yes."

"It's okay if you're feeling this way." Hotch sympathized. "I get it..."

"No, it's not." Reid blurted before whispering, "It's not. I…" Reid winced through his teeth and began scratching his nails. "I don't want to feel like a failure."

Hotch narrowed his eyes, "You're not going to let your behavior affect your job, right?"

"No, sir," Reid answered.

"I'll make you a deal: You're gonna go weeks, months even, feeling fine. And then you're gonna have a bad day. Just let me know when you do." said Hotch.

Reid moves his shoulders again, "And that's it?"

"That's it." Hotch simply said.


Reid hoped that Hotch had that same talk with Prentiss, even though she was the reason he nearly broke his sobriety.


Élise rested her hand on her cheek and under her chin. She reviewed her old, copied questionnaire of possible nominees for the D.C. Cir. from a couple of years ago when someone knocked on her office door.

"Come in," she said as she put her form in his desk drawer. It was her distinguished boss, "Mr. Wilmington." She calmly folds her fingers together and relaxes them on her desk. "What can I do for you?"

"Nothing much; just wanted to drop this case file for you," Mr. Wilmington hands Élise a plain folder for her.

Élise took a quick look inside, "I'll get right on it."

Mr. Wilmington sat across from Élise, "So. I just wanted to congratulate you again for being nominated by the President himself for a seat on the D.C. Cir."

Élise chuckled and smirked to herself, "Thank you again, sir. Sometimes I wonder how I got this far myself."

"You do know that potential nominees are often recommended by senators or even the House members of the President's political party, and the Senate Judiciary Committee conducts each nominee's hearing."

Élise agreed, "Well, yeah. I'm still nervous, though." Hearing the word senator made her think back to testifying in front of Senator Cramer.

"Don't be," Mr. Wilmington advised. "You've come this far, haven't you?"

"Even the Silent Eliminating Enforcer can get nervous," sighed Élise. "You should have seen me during my school years. Or at least until I got to high school. I was such a painfully shy and awkward wallflower."

"As I said, you made it this far," Mr. Wilmington replied before looking at his watch. "My apologies, Élise, but I have to get to a meeting with the Virginia Attorney General." He fixed his lapels and cuff links.

"Anytime, and I'll work on the case," Élise picked up the files and started rereading them as Mr. Wilmington left, and Élise got a message on her phone.

It was from Reid.

Heading to Houston to investigate a serial rapist attacking his old victims.  ~ SR

Élise shivered in disgust and replied.

Go get them, tiger. And please bring me some Texas barbecue, or I'll do something bad to you.  ~ EBR

Élise chuckled to herself before getting another text from him again.

Yes, Élise.  ~ SR


The following day, after news reached that the fifth victim of the Piano Man had been killed, the team immediately got back to work. After looking over Vanessa Campbell's body, Reid and Hotch could deduce that the Piano Man has a latex allergy after a piece from a neoprene glove was found in Vanessa's throat.


Now Reid, Morgan, and JJ were at a suspect's house going through the suspect's CDs, causing them to deduce the age of The Piano Man.


The team was now on the flight back home after finishing the case. Reid's phone vibrates when he fixes up the bags of food he'd promised he get her in the kitchenette. Clicking on the video messages, he smiles at the video of Séraphine banging pots and pans with wooden spoons. He texts to Élise,

Thanks for the video. I needed that. PS: I got your food, so please don't hurt me when I get home.  ~ SR

After thirty-four seconds, he finally fixed it and wiped his hands after washing them for a minute and three seconds. Throwing the white napkin in the nearby trash can, his phone vibrated again.

You're welcome; I love sending you videos of Fifi. PS: You have better!  ~ EBR

Reid chuckled and put his phone away. Reid saw Hotch doing the after-action report from afar, Rossi looking out the window, Morgan having his headphones on, and JJ munching on Cheetos and staring at her phone. But then he sees Prentiss by herself with this empty stare on her face.

Exhaling, Reid made his way and sat across with Prentiss.

Prentiss noticed Reid simply waving to her before finally saying, "Hey."

"Hey."

Prentiss licked her lips and gulped, "I'm…having a bad day."

Soon she and Reid became chatting about her bad day.


"Mmm…" Élise munched on the beef rib Reid got her from The Salt Lick. "I love me the Texas barbeque."

"Glad you like it," Reid chuckled and reminded her, "No pork." Just the thought of pork or even saying pork still gave him the shudder. "It's good, huh?"

"Mmm-hmm," Élise cleaned her mouth. "It's so delicious." She takes the lid off the coleslaw container and pours some for Reid before eating a spoonful, "Mmm. So good."

Reid sighed, "Hey, Élise. You'd tell me if you were having a bad day, right?"

Élise nodded, "Of course." She shakingly exhaled, "Are you okay, babe? What's wrong?"

"Oh, it's not me," Reid pointed to himself. "It's, uh…it's Prentiss."

Élise shook her shoulders, "What about Prentiss?"

"Ian Doyle."

"It's hitting back at her, huh?" Élise heaved a sigh even though she was still a bit upset that Prentiss didn't tell the team about him in the first place. That resulted in what Reid wanted to do when he found out Prentiss was still alive and was in hiding. But the strange thing was that Élise still understood why Prentiss did what she did. Prentiss was trying to protect everyone because they were her family more so than her own family; even more than her own mother.

"Yeah," Reid scratched his thumb. "I get it. Despite…what almost happened with…."

Élise rested her hand over Reid's. "I know. And regardless of those events, a part of us dies, and we'll never be the same as we were before. We change every day."

"Scars remind us where we've been. They don't have to dictate where we're going," Reid recited Rossi.

Élise sighed again as she grabbed some plates from the cabinet. "I just love that quote." She swiftly cleaned a sharp knife with a washcloth and napkin before asking Reid, "Want some blackberry cobbler?"

"With a big scoop of dairy-free ice cream, please?" Reid politely asked.

Élise cut him a big slice and two scoops of dairy-free ice cream; same for herself and began discussing plans for Séraphine's birthday.

Chapter Text


"Gotcha!" Reid caught Séraphine trying to wobble out of the nursery. "I got you, you sneaky little girl." Smooching her face, "Let me take one last look at you before we head to church today."

After making sure her diaper was changed and getting her dressed for church, Reid smoothed out the wrinkles on her floral rosette dress before grabbing a pair of matching color slippers, "And now…." Placing one slipper at a time. "There you go, my little Cinderella."

Séraphine blushed, "Tank yoo dada."

Reid smiled before he planted a kiss on her forehead and started tickling her tummy, making her laugh.

"Knock-knock," Élise said as she entered, already dressed in a blush and ivory sunray geometric lace top pleated dress with low inch heels. Putting on her gold stunned earrings, "Is everyone decent?"

Reid fixed his tie, "Mmm-hmm." Soon his phone started vibrating. He got it, and there was a text message from Hotch.

Sorry to interrupt your weekend. We have a case.

Reid groaned in response.

"Let me guess. You got a case?" Élise correctly guessed as she lifted Séraphine, who now had a cuddly pink bear.

Reid nodded. "Yup. Atlantic City."

"That's okay. People need your help." Élise sighed before he whispered in his ear, "We'll pray for you."

Reid smiled before kissing Élise's lips and Séraphine's head, "I love you." Soon he was already on his way out.

Séraphine waved, "Luv yoo, dada."


Reid finished the last drop of his coffee and tossed the cup into the nearby trash can. He held the door for some colleagues before he walked in.

"Good morning, Reid," Hotch greeted him at first sight.

Reid acknowledged him back, "Good morning, Hotch."

"Sorry to interrupt your plans to go to Sunday services, but we have a big case." Hotch apologized for the inconvenience.

Reid replied, "I know."

Soon the team—and a late Garcia—briefed about the case in Atlantic City before they wheeled up.


While the team continued to brief about the case on the plane, Élise still headed to Sunday services with Séraphine. Meeting up with Maeve, Bobby, and BJ, they listened to the pastor's sermons on peace and faith.


After arriving home from church, Élise gave Séraphine a bath and lunch before tucking her in for a nap. After her nap, Élise got Séraphine settled in the living room and began playing with her.

"Hey. Where does this square go?" Élise babbles and points to the hollow shape holes. "Where does the square go, Fifi?"

Séraphine steadily had the blue square block in her hand before dropping in the square-shaped hole.

Élise gasped. She starts cheering and clapping her hands, "Yay!"

Séraphine clapped her hands and reached out to Élise for a hug.

"Oh, come here, my big girl." Élise cuddled and smooched her head. "You smart big girl."

Séraphine steadily placed her stubby hands over Élise's 19-nearing 20-week-old belly and started finger patting it.

Élise chuckled, "You're so cute, but be careful, okay?" Coaxing Séraphine's hands off her belly, Élise set Séraphine beside her as she took a book off from the coffee table and showed it to Séraphine. "We're going to read 'Mommy's Having a Baby.'"

Élise showed her the book just as Séraphine set her head on Élise's belly as she continued. "I know you're still young, and you probably don't know what's going on, but mommy's having a baby. And daddy and I figure that this book will help you understand that."

Séraphine steadily opened the book, "I guess someone's either exciting about her new sibling or you must really want to read this."


The team has been in Atlantic City for two days, and it wasn't until his fourth and fifth victims that the case was really coming together.


Reid was now in a room, looking at the evidence board while Prentiss, JJ, and Rossi were sitting together at a table.

Agent Carol Goslin walked in, "Forensics got a fingerprint match on the last victim. Eddie Langdon. We're looking into him." She sat down as Hotch was on his phone.

"Hey, any luck?" JJ asked Hotch, who was still trying to get permission for the $50,000 buy-in for a monthly high-stakes poker tournament.

"No, they don't want to allocate agency funds for the buy-in. I'm still working on it." Hotch answered before walking out.

"Well, I can't imagine why not. We're only asking for 50,000 bucks of taxpayer money so that FBI agents can play Texas hold 'em." Rossi deadpanned.

Prentiss had an idea, "Hey, what about you?"

"What about me what?" Rossi wondered what Prentiss was going to ask him.

"You could stake us the buy-in." Prentiss reminded Rossi that he was rich and could easily afford the buy-in.

Reid sat down at the table, "Yeah, you're a best-selling author."

"No." Rossi firmly said.

Prentiss questioned, "Why not?"

"One, it's against regulations, and I'd like to hold on to this job for a little while longer." Rossi gave a reason.

JJ replied, "It's a minor administrative violation."

"And two, I prefer to spend my money on actual things, like single-malt scotch, a fine cigar, beautiful artwork." Rossi list another reason.

"Poker chips are things," Prentiss responded, causing Rossi to scoff.

Reid spoke up, "Maybe just think of it as like a new experience. I mean, at your age, how often does that happen?" Reid recapped to Rossi that he's fifty-six years old and probably doesn't get out much.

"At my what?" Rossi glared at Reid, who silently nodded his head back.

JJ gives Rossi a motive to provide the $50,000, "Rossi, this may be our only chance to get this guy."

"Or maybe I can ask Élise for the $50,000." Reid thought, remembering Élise won millions of dollars years ago and still has those millions. "I can give her a call right now, and…."

"Yeah, I don't think so, especially since Élise is 19 weeks pregnant," Rossi dismissed that idea before he sighed after taking some time to think about it, "All right. Fine. I'm a decent poker player. But I can't promise that I can stay in the game long enough to—"

Prentiss interrupted him, "You know what? I bet you're a great poker player, but what if we sent in Reid?"

Reid bragged, "I am banned from casinos in Las Vegas, Laughlin, and Parump because of my card-counting ability."

Rossi leaned a bit forward on the table. "Look, I know I'm not a genius like the boy wonder here, but poker is not Blackjack. It's about bluffing, reading human nature, head games. It's not math."

"That's not entirely accurate." Reid countered as he got up and started drawing an equation with a black marker on the transparent board. He began rambling to the point where he didn't see JJ and Prentiss' amused faces and Rossi's annoyed facial expressions. "There actually is a mathematical equation for knowing when to raise and when to fold. If P represents the size of the pot at the time of play, then P times N minus one, with N representing the estimated number of players in the final round of betting—"

"Okay, fine." Rossi was finally convinced and had enough of Reid's rambling. "I surrender. Just try not to lose all of my money."

With a tightly pressed mouth, Reid snapped his fingers into a thumb's up.

Rossi rolled his eyes, "Sometimes I just wonder why with you."

"Why what with me?" Reid innocently asked.

Rossi exhaled, "Never mind."


"Okay, now," Élise began going over her list on her phone as she closed the car trunk. "Bags checked." She clicked on the security app on her phone. "Security system on." Élise got into the driver's seat of her car. "Girl and doggy in the bag seat."

Élise turned and took a picture of Séraphine coolly relaxed in her car seat in the middle and Opal bopping her head, safely strapped.

"Ready to head to the AC and meet up with daddy?"

Séraphine shouted, "Yea!"

Opal barked in response.

"Off to the AC to go," Élise exclaimed as she pulled out and started driving.


Reid went undercover as John Smith and got checked out by security and was quickly alerted by his emergency beacon disguised as a breath spray for his halitosis condition. He ordered himself an Arnold Palmer drink and observed some of the poker players before joining in to play.


Finally, from a few tables, his eyes caught on a magic eight-ball key chain. Deducing that he could be the potential unsub, he asked one of the female attendants, "You know, would it be all right if I sat at table two instead of four? I have a pre-glaucoma condition and the light's kind of bothering my eyes. Thanks."

The attendant smiled and nodded before jolting it down as Reid took his chips with him to table two, where he played a few rounds until he caused a scene to get the unsub out of the room.


Agent Goslin walked in as the team began packing up, "Can't believe Banks committed suicide in front of his wife."

"Yeah," Rossi agreed. "Any addiction like compulsive gambling can make people change for the worst."

Agent Goslin agreed with what Rossi said as Morgan's eyes are set in the direction where he's now pointing, "Oh, Dr. Pretty Boy…."

Reid turned, and his mouth dropped when he saw Élise and a sleepy Séraphine in her arms. Rushing over to them, "Hey, you two."

Élise kisses his cheek, "Hello, love." She begins rocking Séraphine, whispers, "She just fell asleep; Opal's in the car, waiting for you."

Reid stroked Séraphine's head before kissing. "Hi, pretty girl."

Hotch walked up to the family with his arms crossed. "What brings you all here to Atlantic City?"

"What, I can't see my man?" Élise pulled Reid closer to her. "Plus, I figure I could visit my family here while I help out some associates here."

"We just finished the case, so Reid, you can take a few days off," said Hotch as he gave Reid his go-bag.

Reid exhaled, "Thank you, Hotch." Reid placed his satchel strap on his shoulder and began walking away with Élise and Séraphine. Soon, they run into Agent Goslin,

"Thank you very much for your help, Dr. Reid." Agent Goslin smirked.

Reid nodded his head., "You're welcome."

Agent Goslin acknowledged Élise and Séraphine's presence. "Oh, who are these lovely ladies?"

"Federal prosecutor Élise Bastien and Séraphine." Élise presented themselves to Agent Goslin.

"Oh, she's so cute." Agent Goslin gushed. "You're a lucky man, Dr. Reid."

Reid smiled, "I know."


Finally, Reid, Élise, Séraphine, and Opal made it to Arthur and Brenda's place and were now in the guest bedroom.

"So glad you're here," Reid kissed Élise's lips as they snuggled in bed together. "So glad you're all here."

"Mmm-hmm…" Élise kissed Reid's lips again. "Did anything else happen during the case?"

"Well…" Reid pulled Élise closer to him and whispered something in her ear, causing her mouth to drop and her eyes to broaden.

"For real?" She breathed.

Reid shook his head. "Mmm-hmm."

"What are you going to do with all that money?" asked Élise.

Reid answers, "Subtracting that from the $50,000 I borrowed from Rossi; I say we use that for our children's education."

"Knowing they'll inherit your brains, I don't think we'll ever need to worry about the cost of their education." Élise chuckled. "But now I think you'll be banned from casinos here in the AC."

"That's exactly what some of the security guards said to me," Reid replied. "Just like in my hometown and two other places."


During their time in New Jersey, Reid, Élise, Séraphine, and Opal hung out at her parents' place until they returned to D.C. by Thursday night. They also had dinner with them, visited Rutgers University and Élise's old neighborhood.


Now it's Friday morning, and Reid, Élise, and Séraphine are now at Dr. Patterson's office.

"Okay," After washing her hands, Dr. Patterson pulled on her blue gloves and wiggled her fingers before reaching to the cabinet, getting out some warm gel. "Élise, are you ready?"

"It's not my first rodeo, doc." Élise sighed, trying to relax in the cream-color chair,

Dr. Patterson chuckled, "I know." She soon asked as she applied the gel to Élise's stomach. "Dr. Reid, Séraphine, are you ready?"

Reid was sitting next to Élise with Séraphine in his lap, "Yup." Stroking Séraphine's hair, he asks her, "How about you, Fifi? Ready to see your new sibling?"

"Yea!" Séraphine cheered.

Dr. Patterson giggled as she witnessed the exchange. Focusing again, she takes her round probe and moves it around Élise's belly. Gasping, "Look at that."

Élise covered her mouth once the week 20 baby appeared on the screen, "Look, Spenie." Élise began fanning herself. "Look at our baby."

Reid pointed to the screen while steadily holding Séraphine in his other arm, "Look at the hand."

"You can see the fingers," Dr. Patterson gazed. "Hi, little one!"

Élise waved, "Hi, it's mommy. Daddy and your soon-to-be big sister, Séraphine, are here with me."

Reid's mouth dropped, "Look at the heart beating like that."

"Yeah," Dr. Patterson started and got a heart tracing on the fetus; the charts and measurements pulled up on the screen, "Heart rate is normal." She then moved to the baby's head, "Lots of brain activity there."

"You're definitely going to have my intelligence," Reid bragged before snuggling Séraphine, "Just like you, my fluffy little Fifi."

"Everything is great," Dr. Patterson replied as the ultrasound continued. "Limbs are good. The same with the neck, spine. Oh! And you can see their cute little face."

Élise gushed at the sight of seeing the fetus' face, "So adorable."

Dr. Patterson presented, "And now we get to the…."

Reid's jaw dropped. "I think I know what we're having."

Élise turned her head and squealed. "I think I do, too."

"We're having…."

Chapter Text


"Yay!" Élise cried as she and Reid took Séraphine and Opal on an early walk in the park. She placed her hand over her stomach, "We know the gender of our baby! We know the gender of our baby!"

Reid placed his hand over her hand. "I know. It's so exciting." He looked down to see Séraphine playing with her doll. "Ready to see your soon-to-be sibling in the next few months?"

Séraphine cheered, "Yea!"

"How about your birthday in the next couple of weeks, huh?" Élise hoped she's getting Séraphine rattled up for her first birthday.

Séraphine clapped her hands, "Yea!" She soon burst into giggles.

Opal let out some barks and started panting with her tongue out.

Reid noticed this. "Hey, Opie," He stroked her fur and asked her, "Are you okay?"

Opal barked again and nodded her head in the direction she was trying to show the family. When they did, Reid and Élise saw Hotch running with the same brunette woman they saw earlier before they stopped at Hotch's SUV in the parking lot and began talking.

"Would you look at that?" Élise amusingly crossed her arms. "He must really like this woman."

Reid chuckled, "Judging by his body language and how he looks happy with engaging conversation with her, I definitely agree."

"Not to mention, she seems like a good person you want to have around," said Élise and wondered, "Think it'll get really close between them?"

"I think so," Reid answered as he petted Opal's fur again. "Who knows? Maybe he'll introduce her to us someday."

"Yeah, I hope so," said Élise. "At least we're giving him space. Plus, I think it's a good thing Garcia doesn't know who she is. I think she would have learned every little aspect about her: background, job, family, records." Élise lifted her eyebrow and smirked.

Reid replied, "Yeah, I don't think so unless she wants to get fired."

"Well, yeah." Élise laughed before they decided to pack it in and head home and get ready for the day.


"Mmm," Reid dabbed his mouth after enjoying the breakfast of whole-grain blueberry pancakes, two turkey bacon strips, scrambled eggs, mixed berries, and a tall glass of orange juice. He began washing his plate just as Élise walked in with Séraphine and settled her in her chair. "Breakfast was delicious," said Reid as he kissed Élise's lips and Séraphine's head.

Élise smiled, "Thanks love." She was dressed in a black knee-length-and-three-quarters-sleeves dress with gold zipper detailing and low black heels. She tapped Séraphine's nose, "You need the energy to take on the day."

Reid wiped off his suit jacket. "Ready to take on the day as well?"

"Absolutely," Élise answered as she got Séraphine's breakfast of Greek yogurt and mixed berries and soothed her belly. "Think we should tell your team about the baby's gender?"

Reid shook his head and pouted his mouth. "Nah. I figure to let them fuss over it for the next few days."

Élise chuckled, "That sounds like fun."

Reid looked at his silver watch, "I better get going." He kissed Élise and Séraphine, "Love you all."

"Lots of love!" exclaimed Élise.

"Bah, dada!" Séraphine waved him goodbye.


Reid closed his 1984 book and placed it back in his desk drawer. Morgan, Garcia, JJ, and Prentiss surrounded him with serious and curious facial and body expressions when he picked up his head. His tightly pressed mouth was in a straight line, and he twisted it to the sides a couple of times before finally saying, "Hello."

Garcia demanded in a squealing tone, "We need to know."

Reid pretended to act oblivious, "Know what?"

"The gender of Baby Élispencer," Prentiss dryly answered as she folded her arms. "Doesn't take a profiler to know the obvious."

Reid shook his shoulders, "Yeah. Élise and I did find out about the gender. So what?"

Morgan smirked, "What's the gender of Baby Élispencer?"

"Please?" Garcia folded her palms together with her tablet in between and pleaded. "Pretty please with everything magical and sparkling and colorful on top?"

"You will soon." Reid firmly assured her.

Garcia pouted, "Forget soon; I need to know now."

"Everyone."

Their heads turned when they saw Hotch standing.

"We have a new case." He waved a case file in his hand before heading to the roundtable room with Rossi coming out of his office.

A ping-sound came from Garcia's tablet. "Oh!" She clicked on the case file and took a quick look. "Yes, we do." She turned her tablet off for now and waved her alien-like figure pen in Reid's face. "This isn't over." She huddled to the roundtable with Morgan, JJ, and Prentiss trailing behind her.

Reid pleasantly sighed and smiled to himself. Just before he walked in, Rossi stopped him.

"What is the gender of Baby Élispencer?" Rossi wittily smirked.

Reid rolled his eyes before walking in to discuss the case.


Still working on some documents, Élise set her MontBlanc pen down when she noticed her phone vibrate on her desk. She took a look at it, and it was a text message from Reid.

Heading to Playa del Rey, Los Angeles, CA! Hope to see you by Valentine's Day!

Élise smiled and texted back to him.

KK! Love you!

She set her phone down again and finished a document just as her phone vibrated again. She looked at it again.

Love you!


Reid and JJ headed to a local gym where one of the victims was seen before meeting back at the police station with Hotch, Prentiss, Morgan, and Rossi after the two returned from the beach and concluded that the unsub had suffered a loss.


"Hello, my love."

Élise groaned into the phone, "Hey, baby."

"How was your day?" asked Reid.

Élise groaned again, "It went decent. You?"

"I'm hanging in there, but still, I'm so sorry if I woke up, and I always will be, but I really needed to hear your voice," said Reid.

Élise tiredly chuckled, "I'm pretty much used to it." She yawned again.

"I'll let you sleep," Reid whispered. "I love you."

Élise yawned again, "I love you too."


The following morning, after news of another murder victim with the unsub's MO, the team delivered the profile.


"Oh," Élise had her eyes set on a white romper with a sparkly red heart before picking up a white long-sleeve one-piece with a big red heart and a red chiffon diaper cover and a headband made with tiny red flowers and rhinestone and sparkly heart and matching leg warmers. She showed them off to Séraphine, coolly chilling in her stroller seat. "These will look so cute on you, won't they, Fifi?"

Sucking her thumb and kicking her legs, Séraphine's eyes were more focused on Valentine's Day props than what Élise was showing her.

"I take it you want to be surprised," Élise decided to get both. "I respect that." She soon whispered to herself, "I have my own surprises for when daddy comes home." She raises her eyebrows as she strolled Séraphine out of the department store.

Élise visited a few more stores before grabbing a quick snack and headed home.


The team continued working on the case, especially when there was another victim, but a female victim this time and completely different from the unsub's usual MO. Despite this, they managed to find the unsub and rescue his victim.


Reid looked at his phone to check the messages he had gotten from Élise.

I can't wait to see you; I'm going to show you how happy I am to see you, my love.

Reid couldn't help but break out into this dorky and sheepish grin. Morgan soon noticed this. "Looks like someone's going to have a good Valentine's Day."

"Oh, don't be sad for me." Reid pinched Morgan's cheeks and playfully mocked him. "I'm going to have a wonderful time with my girls while you drink your sorrows on why you're still single to boot."

Morgan slapped Reid's hand away. "Ha-ha." He deadpanned before he let out a chuckle. "Make sure you give your girls kisses for me."

Reid placed his satchel strap on his shoulder, "Yeah, I think Élise would hustler-witch slap you, and Séraphine would blow raspberries at you."

Morgan chuckled again before seeing Reid dash out of the bullpen and heading to the florist to get Élise the flowers he had pre-ordered with Garcia's help.


"Dada!" Séraphine's eyes twinkled at the sight of Reid entering the house and headed in her direction. "Dada! Dada!"

Reid smiled at seeing Séraphine with Rose. "Hello, my love!" Crouching, he kissed her forehead before admiring her Valentine's Day attire. "Don't you look so cute, my little Valentine?" Acknowledging Rose as he got up, "Hello, Rose."

"Hello, Dr. Reid," Rose waved before she scooped Séraphine into her arms. "How was the case?"

Reid placed his hands in his pockets. "It was…something else."

Élise entered the great room after coming from the dining room, wearing a black coat and heels, warmly greeted everyone before setting her bags down on the couch, "Hello, people."

Reid kissed her lips and presented Élise a flower bouquet, "Valentine's Day, my love."

"Ah, thank you, my sweet king," Élise sniffs the flowers. "So beautiful."

Rose giggled before gently rocking Séraphine, "Well, I better be on my way." She grabbed her bags. "Don't worry about Séraphine. I'll be back with her in one piece tomorrow morning."

"It's not too much trouble for you to watch Séraphine for the night," A nervous Élise began picking her fingernails. "Seriously, Rose…"

"It's okay, Ms. Élise," Rose assured them. "Really. She can spend the night at my apartment, and I will bring her back in one piece tomorrow morning."

Reid stroked Élise's hand, saying for her, "Thank you, Rose."

"Okay," Élise sighed before she and Reid kissed Séraphine, but there was something Élise needed to do before Rose left with Séraphine. "Oh! One last thing." Élise sashays to the coffee table and hands Reid a red heart-shaped wrapped present. "Séraphine, Opal, and I wanted to give you something."

"Oh!" Reid unwrapped his gift, and his mouth dropped at the Valentine's Day theme photoshoots. "You all look like natural models."

Séraphine blabbed, "Mama. Dada."

Reid stroked Opal's fur, "Thank you all."

Séraphine let out a yawn before rubbing her eye with her half-closed fist and began smacking and licking her lips.

"Oh, I better get going," Rose began whispering.

Reid and Élise nodded their heads in agreement before giving Séraphine one last kiss and bid them adieu for the night. While Opal headed to her pen, Élise pouted her mouth and continued playing with her fingernails.

"Oh," Reid kissed Élise's forehead. "Séraphine's going to be fine."

Élise exhaled and began smiling. "Yeah." She began pulling Reid into the dining room, showed him the candlelit dinner, and lowered the lights.

"Oh, what's for Valentine's Day dinner?" Reid pointed to the silver lids.

One by one, Élise revealed what was under them. "Pomegranate and butternut squash winter salad. Homemade bucatini with winter pesto and sweet potatoes. And not yet the last but definitely not the least, heart-shaped angel food cake."

"Oh, we're going to have a night, aren't we?" Reid knew where Élise would go through this Valentine's Day.

Élise batted her eyelashes as she coyly removed her coat, revealing a rose-red slip dress, "Mmm-hmm."


After Reid and Élise had their dinner, Reid begins massaging Élise while enjoying a nice—and safe—bubble bath together in their private bathroom.

Chapter Text

"So, what do you want to do for your birthday this week?" asked Reid as he pulled out a pan of freshly baked muffins from the oven and set them on the white countertops.

Élise thought about the question for a moment as she helped herself to a muffin, "Mmm." After chewing and swallowing, she answered as she got Séraphine's breakfast, "I don't know. But I don't think we should worry about me this week; we should be worrying about Fifi."

Reid chuckled as he helped himself to a muffin and helped Élise get Séraphine's breakfast, "Mmm. Delicious. What flavor?"

"Whole grain mixed berries." Élise began stirring the berries in the Greek yogurt. "Thought I try something new."

Reid had another bite, "Delicious."

"Okay," Élise had just finished putting Séraphine's breakfast together. Giving it to Séraphine, "Here you go, Fifi."

Séraphine babbled, "Tanks, mama."

Reid beamed with excitement and kissed her forehead, "Ah." Getting back to the topic about Élise's upcoming birthday, "Come on, now, Lise. You only turn thirty once."

"Thanks for reminding me how old I am, brains," Élise replied. "And in front of our soon-to-be one-year-old daughter and 21-borderline-22-week-old…."

Reid chuckled again as he placed his hand on Élise's belly. "I know. I know. You want me to talk facts to you about thee 22 weeks?"

"I love it when you do." Élise smiled.

Reid rambled, "At 22 weeks, our baby's hair is growing, as well as their nails. Their limbs are stronger and now hear us. Watch what you say." Reid whispered the last sentence.

Élise giggled. "Want to shine the light on my belly?"

Reid finds a flashlight in one of the cabinets as Élise wipes the Greek yogurt from Séraphine's mouth with a napkin.

Soon Reid gently shined the flashlight on Élise's budding belly and gasped when Élise felt the baby move.


"Oh! We should get some of these apples," said Élise as she, Reid, and Séraphine were at a local farmers' market. "Maybe I can look up some nice recipes for applesauce."

Reid began pointing out a fact, "Did you know that Granny Smith apples originated in Australia in 1868 and named after Mara Ann "Granny" Smith?"

Élise chuckled as she picked out some from the back—a trick she learned from her mother was always to get the ones from the back as they were the freshest and not touched by a lot of people. "I did not know that."

Secured in her cart seat, Séraphine tried to reach out for wrapped candy and caramel apples.

"Hold it right there," Reid moved her arm away. "You can't have those yet, Fifi." He stroked her palm. "One, not all your teeth have come in yet. Two, it's not good for you to have sweets with lots of sugar."

Séraphine's mouth quivered and began letting out a soft cry.

"Oh, sweetie," Élise planted a kiss on her forehead. "I know you want it, but you can't, okay." She whispered in Séraphine's ear, "At least not until next week on your birthday."

Reid wiped Séraphine's tears as Élise began picking out some bananas.

"You already know that on my dad's side, there are health problems, including diabetes," Élise remarked.

Reid sighed, "Yup."

"Sometimes I wonder about food choices for Séraphine and our baby," Élise looked at some of the kale and collard greens before bagging some. "I admit, I have a serious sweet tooth since I was a kid, though I'm trying to ease it down. Even being pregnant with Fifi and now, I worry about ending up with diabetes. Heck, that's one of my worst fears." She ties the plastic bag in a knot before placing it in the cart.

"I say we're making good food choices, even though I, too, have a sweet tooth." Reid thought about his usual sugar cravings, especially when he's working the case while keeping Séraphine occupied, and helped pick out some potatoes.

Élise observed some oranges, lemons, and limes before picking them. "I know." Exhaling again, "I guess we could give Séraphine sweets and junk food, but definitely not all the time." She wagged her finger as she sets small bags of berries down. "No way ever will I ever let her end up like Angelica from Rugrats or one of those kids on a major sugar rush or eats junk food 24/7."

Reid laughed. "What's Rugrats?"

Élise tittered. "I'll show you the series when we get home."

"And on the bright side, we'll be able to show her that healthy fruits and vegetables are tasty, too, huh, Fifi?" Reid tickled her tummy, making her giggle. They finished picking out the rest of the fruits and vegetables before checking out and leaving to head home.


"Oh! I like this one!" Élise pointed to a pink and purple cake design in a cake book of the supermarket's bakery section. "What do you think?" She spotted another cake design: a two-tier flamboyantly pink cake.

"A little too over-the-top," Reid said before he spotted a pink and white cake design, "Well, I do like this one."

Élise pursed her mouth to the side a few times, "Looks too simple." She asked Séraphine, who was casually chilling in her cart seat, "What do you think?"

Séraphine responded by staring blankly at Élise and Reid, back and forth.

"Yeah, I think she could care less." Reid figured.

Élise shrugged her shoulders, "Well, yeah." Turning the page again, she gasped at the sight of a pink Winter Wonderland theme sheet cake decorated with white snowflakes, icicles, and mini snowballs with touches of gold. "Oh!" She frantically tapped the cake design. "I love this one!" She jumped on the spot and squeaked, "Can we get it, please? Can we get it, please?"

Reid laughed in amusement and got Séraphine's attention, "Do you like this one?"

Séraphine squealed and began patting the pages with both hands.

Reid laughed and asked the auburn-haired woman behind the counter, "Can we have this design, please?"

"Absolutely." She took the book from them and asked, "Do you have her birth certificate for a free smash cake?"

Élise reached into her bag and handed the woman Séraphine's birth certificate.

"Excellent," The woman smiled. "What flavor would you like?"

"Vanilla."

The woman nodded her head, "Let's make it happen."


Reid knocked three times on Hotch's office door.

"Come in," said Hotch.

Reid walked in and saw Hotch getting everything to help Garcia present the team's case to assist in. "I've meant to ask you, how was your Valentine's Day?"

"Élise and I had the whole house to ourselves," Reid grinned. "Fifi was with Rose for the night, and Opal was quiet throughout the night, so yeah." Reid exhaled as he placed his hands in his pocket and asked Hotch, "So…how was your Valentine's Day?"

Hotch smirked, "I, uh, went on my first date."

"With the woman from the park?" Reid correctly guessed.

Hotch nodded his head, "Yeah. It's been a long time since I went on a first date."

"I know Haley would want you to be happy," said Reid, knowing how Hotch can never forget about Haley, his first love and the mother of their only child.

Hotch sighed, "I know."

"Have you told Jack about her yet?" Reid doesn't mean to pry into his boss' private life, but he's only acting in good conscience.

Hotch had finished getting the case files organized, "If it gets any more serious, hopefully. I don't want him ever to think I'll be replacing his mother, but, uh…I really like this other person."

Reid smiled, "I'm proud of you."

"Thank you," Hotch smiled back as he saw Garcia walking into the bullpen with case files; Morgan and Prentiss followed her. "Let's get to work."

Reid didn't need Hotch to tell him that twice and gathered with the rest of the team in the roundtable room to discuss the case involving a series of home invasions and murders.


After the briefing was over, Reid was at his desk, getting his go bag ready. After zipping his go bag, he stopped and stared at a recent framed picture of him, Élise, Séraphine, and Opal.

Rossi looked beside Reid as he glanced at his picture. "It never gets any easier."

"Yeah," Reid agreed before setting the picture in its proper place. Sighing in disgust, "This unsub killed a little girl, and it wasn't even a year old."

"You're thinking of Séraphine and your unborn child?" Rossi knew what was going on in Reid's mind right now.

Reid shook his head, "Mmm-hmm. Mind if I call Élise?"

"Of course," Rossi doesn't stop him before walking away into his office for a few minutes before they head to California. Reid took a seat and pressed his cell to his ear, waiting for Élise to answer.

Élise answered after the third ring, "Hello?"

"Hi, love," Reid beamed. "I needed to hear your voice before we head to San Bernardino in California."

Élise laughed. "Going back to California again?"

"Yup. And we got to deal with a family annihilator." exhaled Reid. "Whose killed two sons and two daughters; one of the girls was not even a year old."

Élise scoffed in disgust. "When you find this piece of crap, please give him a special kick in the nuts for me."

Reid asked, "As long as you promise to send me pics and videos of Fifi and our unborn…."

Élise assured him, "Oh, believe me, I will. And may you bring some food and souvenirs, please? And be careful, too." She sweetly asked him before snarling, "Because if you don't, I'll tell your mother to cut your eyes out."

Reid vowed, "I promise. I love you."

"I love you times pi."


Reid gaped at Mackenzie's Lewis bloody bed, rug, pillows, and sheets with his hands in his pocket as he replayed the 911 call recording in his head.

He kept listening to the 911 call recording Mackenzie made as she was forced to live out her last moments in fear. It made him start to worry about Élise, Séraphine, and their unborn child, even though they are in D.C. safe and sound.

He calmly left her bedroom and met with Morgan and Rossi downstairs in the equally bloodied living room to talk about the Lewis family.


After gathering again at the police station and discussing the victims and suspects, Hotch decided to call it for today.


"Hello, my love," Élise answered after the first ring. She yawned, "I'm just put Séraphine down to bed, and I'm about to go beddy-bye myself."

Reid sighed, "Aw. Thank you again for sending me pics of Séraphine. I really needed that. This unsub killed a six-month-old baby, and the mother tried to shield her."

Élise loathed, "Ugh. When you find the unsub, go beat the crap out of them."

"I'll discuss that with the team," Reid chuckled. "I'll let you go to sleep."

"Love you."

Reid said, "I love you, too."


"My love!" Élise cheerily said. "How are you?"

Reid shakingly sighed. "Oh, God."

Élise's voice lowered, "What happened?"

"Another family was murdered last night," Reid could barely get the words he wanted to say out. "This unsub shot a pregnant woman who was due next month," Reid growled.

"It's official," Élise was now the Silent Eliminating Enforcer. "Send this bastard—or bitch—to the deepest abysses of hell, and if there's anyone else, do the same for them. And I'll be sure to send you cute photographs and pictures of Séraphine."

Reid let out a chuckle, "I will." Reid turned his head to see his team preparing to give out the profile. "I have to get going."

"Love you."

Reid smiled, "I love you, too."

Reid joined his team as they gave out the profile of the unsub to the police officers.


Mr. Wilmington allowed Élise to take on a lighter workload from home today. So far, Élise was three-quarters done with her work, had breakfast, and was already on her second raspberry leaf tea when she heard a knock on the door. She opened it,

"What the…?"

"Surprise!"

It was her parents, brother, and sister-in-law; her father and brother held giant flower bouquets in their hands.

Élise showered them with hugs, "Hi! Hello!" She allowed them in the house, and they stepped into the foyer before heading into the great room to see Séraphine playing with her toys. Élise placed the flower bouquets and got Séraphine's attention, "Hey, Fees! Guess who's here?"

"Artie!" Séraphine beamed as she steadily got up and hugged her maternal uncle.

Arthur decided her hug, "Hey, kid. How are you doing?"

"So, what brings you guys here to D.C.?" asked Élise and sniffed the flowers and looked at the card Reid got her. Reading it,

So sorry I couldn't be there for you for your birthday. These flowers represent my love for you!

Brenda answered, "We decided to visit you while staying until Séraphine's birthday, which is soon, right?"

"Oh," Élise chuckled. "Okay. I still got some work to do; it's not much, though," She waved the files in her hands. "I did schedule for a pregnancy spa day later today."

Brenda pushed her lips out, "Cool. We can keep Séraphine company."

"Thank you," said Élise before Opal dashed in and cuddled Arthur's legs. "And Opal can help."


Still working the case, the team began focusing on a potential unsub: Clark Preston.


After Élise finished her work, she headed to the spa. After coming home, she showered and had dinner and a strawberry shortcake dessert with the family.


"Lisey, my love." Reid perked after the first ring.

Élise laughed, "Hi there. Did you get the videos I sent you of Séraphine taking a bubble bath?"

"I really needed that," Reid breathed. "Now my team is focusing in on a shady racist who could potentially be a part of what the unsub's doing."

"Ugh," Élise felt disgusted when Reid mentioned a shady racist. "Racism is so decades ago."

"I know." Reid agreed and sighed again, "I'm so sorry I couldn't be there for you on your birthday."

Élise was understanding, "It's okay. You're making the world a safer and better place for everyone, so…that makes me very happy."

"I love you so much."

Élise smooched over the phone, "I love you so much, too."


By the following evening, Reid was in the backseat while Hotch was driving, and Rossi was in the passenger's seat, heading to the unsub's house. They ended up learning about what happened to Trevor Mill's family a decade prior before going to Trevor's house to find Pamela and a goodbye note before going to secure Mayor Wellington.


Reid returned home at the exact time he wanted to arrive and locked in the security alarm. Creaking into the great room, he sees Opal resting. He stroked her fur, causing her to snore drowsily. Reid let out a chuckled before heading to Séraphine's room and seeing her sound asleep. He caressed her before giving her a peck on the forehead.

"I love you, Fifi." He whispered before going to his bedroom and saw Élise comfortably relaxing in bed.

"My love," Élise opened her arms out and smiled. "I'm so glad you're home."

Reid grinned and kissed her lips before departing to the bathroom for a quick shower and changed into a Doctor's Who shirt and plaid pajama pants. Crawling next to Élise, "Oh, I'm so glad to be home."

"You get the unsub?" Élise eagerly asked.

Reid smirked, "Morgan took care of him by shooting him dead while Hotch and Rossi took care of the repulsive racist."

Élise stuck her tongue out in disgust, "I'll have my associates take very special care of the racist. I swear racism is something that you learn, not something you inherit. It's revolting."

"I'll never understand why people are still prejudiced." Reid sneered. "It's sad but true."

"Yeah," Élise cuddled closer to Reid. "I'm so glad you're home."

Reid kissed her forehead and wrapped his arm around her. "So sorry I missed your birthday."

Élise kissed his cheek. "It's okay. But at least you'll be here for Séraphine's first birthday."

"Our little girl is turning one year old." Reid felt a tear.

Chapter Text

Élise blinked her eyes a few times and rubbed before looking at the time on her Samsung phone; it was now 6:35. She smiled to herself before placing her phone on the bedside. Steadily getting out of bed, she witnessed Reid opening the door.

"My love!" he exclaimed as he carried a breakfast tray filled with whole wheat blueberry pancakes, berry muffins, omelets with cheese and broccoli, Greek yogurt with fresh fruit, granola, and nuts, and freshly squeezed orange juice and set it on the bed. "I made us breakfast. Your parents, Arthur, and Brenda got up super early to help with this breakfast. They're in the nook."

Élise strolled over to Reid's side and kissed his lips. Clapping her hands before helping herself to a plate, "Oh, I'm so excited for today! Our little girl's turning a whole-year-old today."

"I know," Reid took a big bite of the pancake. After swallowing, Reid continued. "Those twelve hours of labor was worth it, even though she came three weeks earlier than we anticipated, but I wouldn't have it any other way."

Élise gulped some orange juice. "Same here." She picked up her phone again and looked at the planner. "Let's see…you, my dad, and Arthur can go get the cakes and toppers."

"Mmm-hmm," Reid nodded his head as he drank some orange juice.

"My mom, Brenda, and I will clean the place up a bit, then decorate, set up the food," Élise continued reading from the list. "And our guest should be here at eleven, hopefully. And Séraphine can just be her adorable self today."

Reid joked before finishing up his pancake, "When isn't she?"

Élise chuckled before she and Reid finished their breakfast and took a shower together.


Élise looked at her reflection in the floor-length mirror, fluffed her hair a bit, and placed her hands on her hips. Reid walked out of the bathroom and complimented Élise.

"Don't you look pretty?"

Élise wore an animal-printed woven shirt dress with buttoned cuffed on the long sleeves and a soft knitted cropped sweater, black stockings, and Converse sneakers.

"Thanks, babe," Élise blushed. "You look good yourself."

Reid was dressed in a washed soft purple oxford shirt, stretch denim jeans, and favorite Converses. He blushed as he rolled up the sleeves, walked over to Élise, and kissed her passionately.

"This is going to be a great day."

Élise jumped and squealed. "I know." She looked at the time again, and it was almost 6:58. "Oh! We better go wake up the birthday girl."


Reid and Élise loved watching Séraphine wake up more than anything else in the world just as much as they loved watching her drift off to sleep, whether it was to bed or for a nap.

Finally, Séraphine's eyes started to flicker as she was being to wake up.

"Good morning, Fifi."

They hung a pink-letter HAPPY BIRTHDAY banner in the crib.

"Happy Birthday, Séraphine!"

Reid blew a noisemaker, and Élise threw pink-purple-and-white colored confetti that landed on Séraphine, and she saw giggling.

Reid cried. "You're a whole-year-old today."

Séraphine bouncily bopped Séraphine's nose. "And do we have a day planned for you, little girl."

Séraphine giggled again as Reid picked up and kissed her forehead. Élise smooched Séraphine's cheek and laughed.

"Oh, she's so excited she just can't hide it." Élise tittered her fingers close to her mouth and bounced. "I don't blame you since it's your first birthday."

Reid rocked Séraphine for a few seconds before handing her to Élise and suggested, "Let's go get you some breakfast."

Élise gave Reid a thumb's up. "You got it, daddy-o!"

Reid smooched Séraphine's face again. "Daddy loves you."

"Dada!" Séraphine babbled. "Mama!" She giggled.


"Here you go, Fifi," Reid presented to Séraphine a special birthday breakfast: breakfast balls made from oats, ground almonds, coconuts and berries, scrambled eggs, a mini muffin, Greek yogurt, and a green smoothie. He kissed her forehead. "You're a whole-year-old today."

Mr. Micha joyfully gasped and stroked her curly hair. "Aren't you excited?"

"I want this party to be absolutely perfect," Élise demanded as she strolled on her phone planner. "Absolutely perfect. No flaws, nothing out of place, none of that."

Brenda assured her, "This day is going to be a great day."

"Exactly," Élise snapped her head to face Brenda. "It's going to be a perfect day." Élise hurried over to Séraphine's highchair and kissed her head. "Mama's going to make this a perfect day for you, Fifi." She kissed Séraphine's head again. "I love you so much."

Reid kissed her head and her cheek. "I love you so much, too."


"Here you go, gentleman," The baker handed Arthur a large white box. He set the box down for a moment, and he, Reid, and Mr. Micha took a look inside. Reid noticed how the bakery got the detailing right and got the first e accent in Séraphine's name.

Reid closed the box and pinched his fingers together. "Everything's perfection. And thank you so much."

The baker smiled as she handed Reid a small white box, "You're welcome, sir. And happy birthday to her."


Élise played with Séraphine after breakfast before settling down for a nap; Opal was napping herself. Now, Élise, her mother, and Brenda were almost done setting up the foyer and great room with pink-white-and-gold-colored decorations ranging from heart, star, confetti, and one-shaped balloons to streamers; from hanging swirls to paper garlands.

"A little bit up, mom," Élise directed her mother and Brenda on hanging the HAPPY BIRTHDAY sign. "A little bit down, B. And…perfect!" Élise smiled and gave her seal her approval.

Brenda and Ms. Geneva hung the banner with thumbtacks and placed the small ladders back in the pantry in the breakfast nook.

Élise looked at her planner again and pointed to the snacks table, "Food, check." She pointed to the refreshment table, "Drinks, check." Élise glanced at the ball pit set up in the middle of the great room. "Playtime activities, check." She pointed to the table for the gift bags, "Party favors, yes." She sighed as she put her phone away, "Everything's perfect." She forced a peal of laughter and began pacing back and forth and picking her fingernails. "Unless something could go horribly wrong. Like…a big last-minute blizzard that causes no one to show up and gets the cake ruined. Or a sudden ice storm or freezing rain causes everyone to get soaking wet. And miserable." Her forced chuckles turned into whimpers and covered her eyes with her hands. "I want my little girl's day to be perfect."

The front door swung open, and Reid announced, with Arthur and Mr. Micha behind her, "Honey, I'm home!"

"And we got the cakes!" Arthur cried, carrying the large cake box in his hands.

Élise quickly pulled herself together when she followed the men to the dining room, and she watched them gently set the cakes boxes down on the dark wood tables.

"Okay," Élise opened the box and thoroughly observed the giant cake. "Perfect." Élise breathed and closed the box for a moment before opening it again. After a few seconds, "Okay." Élise shook her head and smiled. "Perfect again." Élise let out a giddy laugh. "That's good, right?" She opened the small cake box and closed it, "Same as this one." She took another look and closed it, gave the men a nervy chuckle, and winced her hands.

"Will you relax?" Arthur suggested; he hasn't seen her this strung-out in a long time as he helped himself into the refrigerator, picked out a red apple, washed it, and took a bite.

"Oh, I'm so sorry, bro, if I want my little girl's day to be perfect!" Élise blurted; she still had a fake smile plastered on her face, and her eye twitched before she forced a laugh again. "You guys got the candles, right?"

Arthur answered, "Nope."

Élise collapsed in her seat; her toothy smile turned into whimpering and covered half her face again.

"Oh, Lise!" Reid immediately stood by her side to comfort her. "Arthur!"

"Oh, I'm just joking." Arthur burst into a quick laugh after finishing his apple and tossing it into the trash.

Ms. Geneva slapped his shoulder, "That's not funny."

"Don't joke about something like this, especially since she wants this day to be absolutely perfect." Brenda comforted Élise and had her hand on her shoulder.'

"Sorry," Arthur casually apologized. "Sheesh, you're such a drama queen."


Élise stared at the time again, and it was now minutes to eleven. Biting her manicured fingernails, Élise's nerves eased when she saw Reid enter the foyer with Séraphine in her 1st birthday outfit: a short sleeve pink-and-gold detailed jacquard brocade float dress with a gold satin and taffeta bow front sash, bloomers, headband, and adorable shoes.

"Oh," Élise beamed. "You look so pretty in your little outfit."

Séraphine babbled, "Tanks, mama."

Reid and Élise simultaneously kissed Séraphine's cheek just as they heard a knock on the door. Rushing to open it, their mouths dropped.

"You guys made it!"

Aunt Ethel, Uncle Gordon, John, Melissa, Sabrina, Anna, and Nathan; all had smiles on their faces, and some had present bags in their hands.

"We got two surprises for you!" They moved out of the way to make room for,

Reid's face glowed, "Mom! Dad!"

William said, "Hello."

Diana pushed everyone out of the way to hug her son, "Oh, my baby!" She smooched his head numerous times on his head. "I wouldn't miss this. My grandbaby's first birthday." She turned her attention to Séraphine and began kissing her. "Oh, look at you! You're so grown and so cute and so fluffy and so cuddly."

"Well, come on in," Élise gestured them into the house and directed them to the great room, "Help yourselves to a quick snack."

Knock-knock, kn-knock-knock, knock-knock

Élise opened the door again, and it was the team and their families.

"Hey, people!" Élise allowed them in.

Garcia dashed in, "Oh! I've been waiting weeks for this party to happen." She snapped her fingers, "Kevin! Derek!"

Kevin and Morgan walked in with two bags each and asked Garcia to set them down to the presents table.

"Are you for real, Garcia?" Élise had her hands on her hips.

Garcia opened her arms out, bobbed her shoulders, and smirked, "You know I can't help herself."

Soon, some more people have arrived, and for nearly an hour, all the kids either played in the ball pit, pin the tail on the donkey, played with Opal, or played arts and crafts games with their parents.


"Hey-hey, Fifi," Élise helped Séraphine unwrap one of her presents. "You got an abacus!" Élise set Séraphine down and she wobbled to Hotch.

"Tanks yoo!" Séraphine babbled as she hugged him.

Reid couldn't help but smile when he took a picture of Séraphine hugging Hotch.

"Anything for you, goddaughter."

So far, Séraphine has received a range of gifts. A bunch of books from Mr. Micha, Ms. Geneva, Arthur, Brenda, Élise's associates, a big check from Mr. Wilmington, learning tablets from Garcia and Kevin, custom-made shoes from Rossi, and a drum set from Will, JJ, and Henry.

"Now, it's my turn to present my gift," Morgan approached Séraphine, who was now sitting on Hotch's lap. Kneeling to her size and clearing his throat, "Uh, Séraphine. I'm sorry for getting you—and your mother—in the middle of the prank war between your daddy and me."

Élise smirked, still remembered what she said to Morgan if his and Reid's prank wars ever included either her or Séraphine again.

"Still, I want to make it up to you even more."

Morgan walked out of the great room for a moment to present a decked-out pink ride-on car.

"Yay!" Séraphine's eyes flashed, and she clapped her hands before she started laughing as Morgan picked her up and placed her in the car. "Tanks!"

The scene made everyone melt.

The present exchange continued. Séraphine received knitted clothes from Aunt Ethel, horse coloring books from Uncle Gordon, play kits from John, Melissa, and Sabrina, a classic Paddington Bear, and a janggu from Anna and Nathan, a medieval-themed book from Diana, and flashcards from William.

Soon everyone tuned in for a memory video in honor of Séraphine.


"Happy Birthday to you," Reid and Élise sang as they brought out the smash cake for Séraphine, who was now coolly in the no-sew tutu highchair.

Everyone joined in, "Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday, Séraphine. Haaapppy Biiirrrtthhhday to yoouuu!"

Élise clapped her hands, "Blow out the candle, Fifi!"

Séraphine raspberried to blow out her candle, making everyone giggle and applauded when she finally did.

"Yay!" Reid cheered, and Séraphine began grubbing on her smash cake. "You want to give daddy a piece?"

Séraphine babbled; her mouth and fingers were now covered in cake. "Mine!" She continued eating her cake.


An hour has passed, and the party was nearing.

"Okay, people!" Reid and Élise began passing out little white boxes. "Before we end this party, we have one last surprise for you all: the gender of our second Baby Élispencer."

Garcia shouted, "Hallelujah! Took you long enough."

"Open them."

Reid and Élise stared and laughed with hearty smiles as everyone opened their boxes, and out came confetti. Facial expressions ranged from happy to excitement, from shock to surprise.

"You guys…"

"…IT'S A BOY!" Garcia shrieked, "A BOUNCY BABY BOY!"

Morgan pulled Reid into a manly hug, "Aw, bring it in here, pretty boy. Can I name him Pretty Boy, Jr?"

"Just as long as you don't get him in the middle of a prank war," joked Reid.


The party ended, and Reid, Élise, and their family cleaned the place while Séraphine took her second nap.


Now, the family gathered at the dinner table, having spaghetti Bolognese, green and vegetable salad, and garlic bread.

Reid stood up and tapped his water glass a couple of times, getting everyone's attention. Clearing his throat, "I would like to propose a toast to Séraphine Céleste Reid, who, as of 8:11 a.m. this morning, turned a whole-year-old today."

Élise raised her glass and toasted, "To Séraphine!"

"Séraphine!" Everyone else said in unison.

"AABBBPP!" Séraphine burped, her mouth coated with sauce before she giggled.

Everyone broke out in laughter.


"Are you ready, Fifi?" Reid whispered to a sleepy Séraphine. "Are you ready for beddy-bye?"

Reid just placed Séraphine in her crib just as Élise entered the room, already in her sleepwear. "Hey." She slide-walked to Reid's side and caressed Séraphine's curly baby hairs. "It's time for beddy-bye, Fifi."

Séraphine let out a yawn that had Reid and Élise melt. They kissed her.

"Sweet dreams, our little one-year-old." Élise smiled as she and Reid left her nursery. Élise soon wiped a tear from her eye. "Our little girl is actually one year old."

Reid sighed, "I know." Reid opened the door, closed it, and crawled into bed. "She's one year old. And I got to see it."

"We all did." They embraced into a passionate kiss.

Chapter Text

"Alright, Fifi," Élise set Séraphine's dinner plate in the dishwater and pressed the clean button on the dishwater machine. Élise smiled as she wiped Séraphine's mouth. She asked, "Was din-din good?"

Séraphine babbled, "Yah!"

Élise laughed before she noticed Reid walking into the dining room. "Hey, hubby." She pecked a kiss on his lips.

Séraphine squealed, "Dada! Dada!"

"Hi, Fifi," Reid picked Séraphine from the highchair and kissed her cheek. He licked his lips and smacked his lips. "Let me guess; you had spaghetti for dinner."

Élise answered for her, "Yeah."

"You have leftovers?" Reid asked as he rocked Séraphine. "We have a visitor coming by later today."

Élise opened the fridge again, grabbed the leftover pasta, dumped the rest onto a plate, and reheated it in the microwave. "Who's the visitor?"

Reid answered, "Henry."

"Really?" Élise looked at her reflection in the window and fluffed her head.

"I offered to," Reid explained. "Will's away, and her usual babysitter was unavailable for tonight."

Élise smiled, "Well, that's nice. When are they coming?"

"Hopefully soon," Reid looked at his watch. "JJ wanted to go home to get Henry, feed him, and change."


"Uncle Spencer!" Henry dashed out of the car at first sight when he saw Reid at the door. "How are you?" Henry hugged Reid with all his might as JJ walked up the stone path.

Reid lovingly hugged him back, "I'm good." He allowed Henry inside the house as JJ approached him. JJ sighed with her folded hands, "Thank you so much for doing this for me, Spence. You're a good friend."

"You're welcome," Reid smirked. "And remember, ten-thirty sharp." He reminded JJ of the time she needed to come and get Henry.

JJ flapped her hand, "Yeah-yeah, ten-thirty o'clock." She rushed back to the car and gave Reid and Henry one last wave before driving off.

Reid closed the front door, locked in the security system, and made his way to the great room and saw Henry on the couch. Joining next to him, Reid asked, "You do want to watch a little television before you go to sleep?"

"Yes, please," Henry's eyes twinkled.


Reid and Henry spent the next hour watching Alvin and the Chipmunks before getting him settled for bed in the guest bedroom and called Will to get him to say good night to him.


"You've reached Jennifer Jareau. Please leave me a detailed message."

Reid groaned, "Hey, JJ. It's me, Spencer. Now, I don't know if you noticed, but you missed your curfew by four hours and twenty-three minutes. And this is the 21st time I've been calling you." He hung up and murmured in annoyance.

Élise groaned as she woke up to the sound of Reid's voice. Turning her body around in bed to face Reid and rubbing her eyes, she yawned, "What time is it?"

Reid looked at the bedside clock, "Almost three."

"Bloody hell," Élise tugged her head against the pillow and closed her eyes to try and fall asleep again. "This better be the first and last time you agree to do something like this. Other than you, Séraphine, our unborn boy, any one of our families, and work-related, I need my beauty sleep." Élise pointed to her face. "This face gets pissed off without good beauty sleep. And I can't function nor look good without my beauty sleep."

Reid laughed and kissed Élise's forehead. "You're beautiful just the way you are."

Élise opened one eye and snarled, "Shut up." She smirked, knowing it was the pregnancy symptoms.


"Huh...?" Reid jumped, snorted, and shook his head when he heard someone pounding on the front door. "W-wha...?"

"If that's JJ, someone's going to get a serious pounding from me," A sleepy Élise grumbled. "And I'm so ready to pound someone."

Reid moaned as he steadily got out of bed and blinked his eyes a few times to see it was three-thirty in the morning. He took a moment to stretch his back and made his way to the front door.

"Hey, Spencer."

Reid yawned, "Will?" He massaged his eyes and licked the sides of his mouth. "What are you doing here?"

Will explained as Reid let him inside the house, "My trip ended early, so I figure I come back to D.C. I couldn't get ahold of JJ, and I've been calling her since eleven."

"Humph, who are you telling?" Reid yawned again.

Will shook his head as Reid sluggishly guided him to the guest room where Henry was sleeping, "JJ's usually not like this. I'm worried something happened to her."

Reid dryly replied, "She's probably having too much fun with Emily and Penelope."

"Yeah, I'm thinking the same thing." Will presumed as he gently lifted Henry and carried him securely in his arms. "I'm going to have a serious talk with JJ about this."

"At least it's better than the pounding Élise was planning to give her had it been her instead of you." Reid joked about Élise's earlier threat.

Will smirked. "Thank you so much, Spencer."

"I know, but after tonight, I don't think I'll agree to do something like this for a while. Or a long time. Or ever again." Reid said as he opened the front door for Will.

Will agreed. "I kinda don't blame you. See you soon."

Reid waved goodbye to Will and Henry, closed the door, secured in the security alarm, and made his way to his bedroom to get whatever sleep he could.


Reid was on his second cup of coffee when his cell phone rang. He answered after the second ring. "Hello?"

"S-spence?"

Reid wryly replied, "Jennifer."

JJ grumbled, "Spence, uh, morning."

Reid was in sarcasm mode. "It's morning already? Why, geez, I did not know that."

"Yeah. Uh…" She grunted again, "I'll pick up Henry soon. I'm at Garcia's place with Prentiss and, I just, uh, uh..."

"Will came and picked up Henry at 3:30 this morning because he couldn't get ahold of you after he said good night to Henry," Reid said with brutal honesty. "By the way, it's 6:34."

"Oh, crap…" JJ gasped before she mumbled. "Sorry. I think I had a little too much fun last night with them."

Reid blandly responded before taking another sip of his coffee. "I'm sure you did. I offered to babysit Henry for a couple of hours, and this is what you do? For future references, I don't plan to offer nor agree to babysit again."

JJ muttered, "Sorry."

"You should be. Because Will said, he's going to have a word with you about this." Reid warned her.

"Yeah. I, uh, better get ready for the triathlon." JJ mumbled.

Reid was indifferent at this point. "Yeah, get sobered up." He hung up and fixed himself another cup of coffee. He said to himself, "You're definitely going to need it."


About an hour later, Reid gathered at the breakfast table with Séraphine.

"Here you go, my love," Élise placed his breakfast plate of cinnamon toast, a cinnamon roll with cream cheese frosting, an omelet filled with bacon, cheese, and vegetables, and a coffee cup in front of him. "Here you go, my love." She set Séraphine's bowl of Greek yogurt with chia seeds and fruit. "And here you go, my love," Élise filled Opal's bowl.

Reid exhaled, "Thank you so much."

Élise sat down and began eating her breakfast plate, "So she called you this morning?"

"Mmm-hmm," Reid nodded his head after taking a bite of his cinnamon toast. "And she sounded groggy; I take it the effects of intoxication are wearing off."

"Really?" Élise figured JJ, Prentiss, and Garcia were hungover and asked again, "Did you mention I wanted to pound her?"

"No," Reid stiffed as he sipped his coffee. "I'm going to need all the coffee I can get."

"Normally, I would say no, but I think you deserve to have as much coffee, sugar, and caffeine as you can have this morning, considering last night," said Élise as she finished her omelet and slurped her orange juice.

Reid shook his head again. "Mmm-hmm."

Élise mischievously smirked and narrowed her eyes. "Plus, I have something in store for them, considering their current situation."


Hours later, an overly energetic, caffeinated, and sugared Reid, who had Séraphine in a baby carrier strapped to his chest with noise-canceling headphones over her ears, shouted as he waved a small American flag, "WHOO! WHOO! WHOO! A COUPLE HOURS. A COUPLE HOURS. YOU GUYS DIDN'T COME HOME TILL SUNRISE!"

"YEAH!" Élise screamed into the mini bullhorn. "WHOO-HOO! GOD BLESS THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!"

"Why are you yelling?" A sunglasses-clad JJ mumbled.

"TODAY'S A GOOD DAY!" Élise loudly answered, "AND BECAUSE I WANT TO!"

A shades-covered Prentiss begged, "Can you please stop yelling?"

"I could," Élise breathed before shouting into the bullhorn again, "BUT THIS IS YOUR PUNISHMENT FOR STAYING OUT ALL NIGHT! AND THIS IS TOO MUCH FUN!" Élise cackled.

"Ok, hey, Jack, Jack," Morgan looked up to Jack, who was on his shoulders, "Earmuffs for a minute. Earmuffs." After Jack covered his ears, Morgan asked Garcia, JJ, and Prentiss, "What did you guys drink last night?"

"The Green Fairy," Garcia groused. "You're in the FBI. Could you get the entire crowd to stop cheering?" Garcia thumb-pointed to the crowd.

Élise sympathetically placed her hand on Garcia's shoulder and whispered, "I'll do that, Lady PG."

Garcia sighed, "Oh, God bless you."

Élise naughtily smiled before yelling into the bullhorn, "COME ON, CROWD! CHEER! CHEER! CHEER!" Élise encouraged the crowd, making them applaud even louder. "CHEER TO THE HIGHEST HEAVENS!"

"Oh, why?" Garcia now regretted it. "Why?"

"OH, THIS IS SO MUCH FUN!" Élise couldn't help herself. "RESPECT THE BULLHORN!"

Reid stared at his watch and said, "By my estimates, Hotch will be finishing any minute."

"Do you see him, Uncle Dave?" Jack asked Rossi.

"I think I do, kiddo," Rossi answered before he stopped him. "Right there! There he is!"

The team, Élise, and Séraphine cheered when they saw Hotch cross the finish line, and they soon made their way towards him.

"WAHHH-HOOO!" Élise cried and danced, moving her shoulders side-to-side, gyrating. "YEAH-YEAH! BREAK IT DOWN! GO, AARON HOTCHNER! GO, AARON HOTCHNER! IT'S YOUR BIRTHDAY! IT'S YOUR BIRTHDAY! OOWW! GO, AARON HOTCHNER! GO, AARON HOTCHNER! IT'S YOUR BIRTHDAY! IT'S YOUR BIRTHDAY!"

Prentiss pleaded, massaging her ears, "Please, Élise."

"That's enough," JJ pled; she had her hand on her head.

Garcia whined and folded her hands, "I'll get on my knees; just stop, please, with the bullhorn."

Élise smirked and whispered in Reid's ear, "Think they had enough?"

Reid thought for a moment, "Maybe."

An excited Jack ran to his father and gave him a high five. "You did it!"

"I did, buddy, I did." Hotch matched Jack's excitement. "Can you believe it?"

Jack bounced. "Did you see my sign?"

"I did." Hotch smiled before placing a blue-ribbon metal around Jack's neck. "That's for you, buddy. Your sign's fantastic."

After talking about

"Look at you." Rossi had his hands on his hips before asking him, "How do you feel?"

"I think I'm gonna live." Hotch paced before sipping his water.

Prentiss pulled her bag up to her shoulder a bit. "That's pretty impressive. I had money on the swim killing you."

Hotch winded, "I practiced."

Morgan wrapped an arm around Garcia and praised Hotch, "And it paid off. Good job."

"Thank you." Hotch expressed his gratitude again.

"Hey, you guys want something to eat?" Reid asked as he, Élise, and Séraphine skipped church services to attend the triathlon.

"Yeah, something greasy," JJ pushed up her sunglasses, thinking about what Will's going to say to her regarding her all-nighter.

Prentiss nodded her head, "Oh, yeah."

Élise shouted, "Heck yes!"

"Élise!" JJ, Garcia, and Prentiss cried.

Élise smirked, "Be thankful I didn't use my bullhorn this time. But yeah."

"Hotchner!"

They turned around to see the same brunette woman Reid and Élise saw a couple of times previously before today, causing Reid, Élise, and the rest of the team to watch Hotch introduce Jack to Beth before introducing themselves.

After Reid introduced himself, Élise spoke, "Élise Bastien.." Élise smiled; she admitted to herself that Beth was so pretty up close and had a good vibe about her.

"And this little charmer is Séraphine." Reid pointed to Séraphine stretching and kicking while jamming to the low-volume music in her ears.

Beth chuckled, "Nice to meet you all. Aaron has told me so much about you." She saw Élise's bump, "And congrats on the pregnancy. How many weeks are you now?"

"Thanks," Élise clutched to her blooming belly before wrapping an arm around Reid's elbow, "And we're 23 weeks pregnant with a boy."

Hotch asked Beth, "We were gonna go get something to eat. You want to come?"

"Sure," Beth answered happily.

Hotch smirked, "Ok. Great. Come on, buddy." Hotch retook Jack's hand, and they walked away with Beth.

"He's in love," Morgan concluded.

Rossi smirked, proud Hotch was taking the step with Beth meeting Jack. "I know."

"It's so cute, yeah," Élise oozed with enthusiasm. "Come on, people. I'm hungry. And you should never keep a pregnant woman hungry."

"Or pissed off," Reid joked.

Élise giggled, "That, too."

They grabbed a bite to eat—Rossi, of course, paid—and discussed how far Hotch has come since Haley's death and their feelings on Beth.


After dinnertime, Reid and Élise read Séraphine before tucking her into bed. Now in their bedroom, Élise was coolly reading a baby names book when she looked up and saw Reid in a Doctor Who shirt and pajama plaid pants.

"Oh, what a day," Reid said as he gathered under the comforters.

Élise agreed. "Yeah. We had a fun day. We got to meet Beth. And...I got Garcia, JJ, and Prentiss real good with that bullhorn."

Reid laughed, "Yeah, I have to admit that was good. A bit over-the-top, though."

Élise chuckled, "Oh!" She pressed down on a potential boy's name and showed Reid, "How about Günther? It's German and means warrior."

Reid cocked his mouth and thought, "I like the name, but I'm not sure about it." He directed his index finger to another name. "How about Edward? Rich guardian."

"I like Edward, but it can be too common," Élise guessed. "And with the whole Twilight saga, no. Never will I ever read the books nor watch the movies. Plus, I want our boy's name to be different and special."

"We're all special in our own way," Reid pulled Élise closed for a lip kiss.

Élise growled.

Chapter Text

"Oh, my God." Élise moaned as she stepped into the car's front passenger seat with Reid patiently waiting for her.

Reid turned his head and kissed Élise's cheek and asked as he began to drive again, "So, how was the hearing?"

Élise groaned and rubbed her temples, "So many questions." Élise took a sip from her water bottle and swallowed before answering again, "They asked me about my judicial philosophy, past sentencing recommendations, opinions on hot-topic issues, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera."

"What happens after the hearing?" asked Reid.

Élise explained, "After the hearing, the Senate Judiciary Committee with vote to either approve me, or the President will have to re-nominate me." She placed her hand over her mouth and soothed her belly.

Reid asked again, "And if Senate approves you?"

"If Senate confirms me, then I'll be a judge. If not, then I won't be a judge." Élise sighed.

Reid tapped Élise's hands. "Whatever the outcome is, to be nominated at a young age is an honor."

"Yeah," Élise felt nervous, and it wasn't just the pregnancy symptoms. "I'm hungry."

"For dinner, I'll cook some chicken parmesan with a leafy green salad and whole-grain mini rolls."

Élise licked her lips and could already taste it, "Now that sounds good."


Reid prepared dinner while Élise played with Séraphine.


After dinner, Élise gave Séraphine her bath and tucked her in for bedtime.


"Oh, Lord, have mercy," Élise kicked off her Chanel flats for a moment and stretched her swollen feet. "Lord, have mercy."

Reid assured Élise as he had Séraphine on his lap, "It'll be fine, honey." Reid bounced Séraphine with his knee, "Hey, Fifi. Tell mommy it'll be alright."

"It bee kay, mama." Séraphine babbled.

Élise smiled and stroked Séraphine's head when Dr. Patterson walked in and had a warm smile on her face. "Hi-hi, everybody."

"Hello, doc," Élise breathed.

Reid greeted, "Nice to see you again, doctor."

Dr. Patterson giggled and asked Séraphine, "How does it feel, Séraphine, to be one year old?"

"It gah!" Séraphine gibbered.

Dr. Patterson laughed before turning her attention to Élise again. "How are you feeling, Élise?"

"I'm feeling good, except for the typical 24-week pregnancy symptoms," Élise scratched her belly. "I'm swollen in many places; I itch badly, cramps, backaches. I had trouble sleeping last night. Plus, I feel stressed about potential being a federal judge."

Dr. Patterson rested her hand on Élise's shoulder and assured her, "It'll get better, especially after you see your son."

"I want to see him right now," Élise looked at her 24-week belly.

"Actually, did you know that at 24 weeks…?" Reid would have given a fact about babies born at 24 weeks had Élise not given him a snarly stare.

"Spencer…" Élise singsong gritted her teeth and lowered her eyes.

Reid nodded his head and pressed his mouth tightly.

"Anything else that has been going on?" Dr. Patterson wondered.

Élise answered, "I've been eating well 75-85 percent at the time, definitely taking my prenatal vitamins. I hydrate at every chance I get. I get my exercise on how much as I can, including my Kegel exercises, and I'm finding ways to de-stress myself."

"How about heartburn? Have you experienced any kind of indigestion?" Dr. Patterson questioned Élise about that.

"Not that I know of, but I don't think so," answered Élise honestly.

Dr. Patterson advised, "Make sure you take your time, eat and chew your food slowly. Instead of three big meals a day, aim for five-to-six small meals. Avoid spicy, greasy, acidic, and fatty foods. And don't go to bed after eating."

"No problem. Plus, I don't like spicy food anyway." Élise replied.

Dr. Patterson whispered, "Before you leave, you'll need to provide a urine sample."

"Okay."

Dr. Patterson looked at Élise's charts, "Everything's good well. You're taking such great care of yourself. I got the results of the glucose test, and your blood sugar levels are normal, so you don't have to worry about gestational diabetes again."

Élise sighed in relief, "Great news about that."

Soon Dr. Patterson prepared the ultrasound machine and showed the Bastien-Reid family screenshots of their unborn baby boy.


Reid punched in the security code, closed the locked door behind him, walked down the pathway and into the driver's seat. He said to Élise, who was tapping away on her cell phone, "House is locked and safeguarded."

They turned their heads to see Séraphine and Opal in their safely secured seats. Reid looked at the time on his watch, and it was seven minutes to eight. "Okay. We should be in New Jersey within the afternoon."

Élise asked, "Ready to go see your uncle Arthur for his birthday?"

"Yea!" Séraphine blathered.

Opal barked in response.

"Let's head to New Jersey."


Reaching Baltimore after nearly an hour, Reid and Élise took Séraphine and Opal to play at a local dog park before they left after about an hour and drove for the next hour.


The family stopped in Wilmington, Delaware, and stayed there for an hour as well before getting Séraphine settled down for a nap, which went smoothly.


Staying in Philadelphia for forty-five minutes, the family visited some dog-friendly places.


Just as Reid predicted, it was still afternoon time when they finally made it to New Jersey. But they decided to make a stop or two.

Élise opened the door for Opal to get out, closed the driver passenger backseat door, and made her way to the other side to carry Séraphine out of her car seat while Reid took their luggage out of the backseat.

Opal ran up to the front door of Arthur and Brenda's house and began barking. Soon, the door opened.

"Élise!" Arthur was happy to see his little sister.

Séraphine flapped her tiny hand at him, "Artie!"

Arthur smiled at the sight of Séraphine, "Hey, Fifi! How are you?"

"Gah!" Séraphine exclaimed.

Reid came up the pathway with luggage bags in his hands, "Hey, Arthur."

"Arthur?" Brenda asked as she noticed the front door open before her eyes widened when she saw Reid, Élise, and Séraphine standing. "Hey!" She squealed and hugged Élise. "How are you guys?" Pulling back from the hug, "Ooh! I love the dress!" She liked Élise's light blue knitted dress, which showed off her 24-week bump.

Élise placed her free hand on her belly, "Oh, thanks!"

"What are you all doing here?" Brenda wondered and placed her hand on her hip.

"We'd figured we surprise you, bro." Élise showed the bag she was carrying by her elbow. "Happy Birthday."


Mr. Micha and Ms. Geneva arrived at the house for Arthur's birthday celebration.


"Oh, what a day," Reid returned to the guest bedroom after checking in on Opal, who slept in the corner in the living room. He looked down to take a quick peek at Séraphine sleeping in her travel crib. He whispered, "Hi, Fifi. You're so cute and adorable when you're sleeping."

Élise relaxed in the Full XL-size bed with her hand on her belly. "I know." She cuddled when Reid joined her and got under the comforters. "Oh, baby. When do you want to work on the nursery?"

"We can think of some designs when we get back to D.C.," Reid guessed.

Élise asked, "Have you ever thought about moving?"

"Moving?" Reid pursed his lips and raised an eyebrow. "Where?"

"In the D.C. area, silly," Élise playfully tapped his shoulder. "Move to a bigger place in D.C."

Reid scratched his chin and gave the idea some thought, "When do you want to plan the move?"

"According to House Hunting magazine, the best time to start looking is about five-to-six months before you actually want to move," Élise remembered. "Of course, there's having to deal with the mortgage, what we want in the new house, but yeah. Maybe we should look after our boy's born." Élise suggested.

Reid cocked his head and wrinkled his nose, "Yeah, I think that would be a good idea." Reid rested his hand on her belly and talked to his unborn son. "Hey, little guy. It's daddy. How are you doing in mommy's belly?"

Élise laughed until a gasp came out of her mouth, "He's kicked. Our boy kicked."


"Aw, look at this," Élise showed Brenda a bear-print cotton footed coverall. "This is kinda cute."

Brenda chuckled and had her eyes set on a light blue striped cotton top & pant set. "Oh, I like this one, too."

"I don't know if I want to buy much since I know Spencer's Aunt Ethel will be knitting a store's worth of baby boy clothes." Élise guessed.

"She's a card," Brenda commented and asked, "Are you thinking about having more?"

"Perhaps," answered Élise as she wandered around the box set table displays. "Spencer's an only child, so he never got a chance to have siblings, even though one of his colleagues thinks of Spencer as his little brother; he got sisters."

Brenda shook her shoulders, "Personally, Arthur and I are half-and-half for having children. I mean, if it happens, it happens. If not, then I guess it was meant to be. Plus, it's not everyone's dream to have children."

"I know, and I get it," Élise admitted, "I felt that way when I was growing up, but after Reid and I talked about it, I felt a bigger desire to have children."

"If we do, we only want two: a boy and a girl." Brenda picked up a polo bear cotton bodysuit. "Oh, this one's cute."

Élise looked at a gift set box containing 15-pieces, "Ooh, I think I'll get this one."

Élise and Brenda got a couple of items before leaving and grabbed some lunch before leaving.


"Can you say, grandpa?" Mr. Micha asked Séraphine in a goofy tone. "Can you say grandpa, Séraphine? Grand…pa. Grand…pa."

"Or Grandma?" Ms. Geneva smirked.

Séraphine babbled, "Bop…bop. Gah…ma."

Reid's jaw dropped, and his eyes widened, "Aw. That's close for grandma and grandpa."

Ms. Geneva and Mr. Micha laughed heartily before setting her down, allowing her to wobble towards Reid. The latter scooped her up and cuddled her in his arms.

"Oh, Spencer," Ms. Geneva grabbed a blue-covered book and gave it to Spencer. "An early baby shower gift for our grandson."

Reid was flattered by his mother-in-law's gift, "Oh, thank you."

"And you and Élise came up with a name?" asked Mr. Micha.

Reid sighed, "We're still trying to think of one. We decided not to name our son after me due to the expectations he might have to live up to."

"Anything is better than what people name their children these days," Ms. Geneva massaged her temples. "Honestly, I don't know what's wrong with people today."


The family spent time together, including Sunday dinner, before Reid and Élise took Séraphine and Opal back home to D.C.


Reid and Élise got dressed for the name and are now having their meals in the breakfast room; the same with Séraphine and Opal.

"Okay," Élise strolled around a list of names starting with H on her tablet as she helped herself to a spoonful of oatmeal with mixed fruit. "Mmm. How about Herman? It means 'army man.'"

Reid looked over her tablet and saw another name, "How about Herbert? It means 'bright army.'"

Élise shook her head, "Yeah, not a fan of that name. Almost sounds like a name for an herb."

"There's Harvey," Reid spotted another one. "Battle worthy is the name's meaning."

Élise grimaced, "Mmm, nah." She finished the last of her oatmeal before gulping the rest of her orange juice.


Gathering in the great room, Reid looked at another list of names on the tablet as Élise paced back-and-forth, and Séraphine was playing with Opal.

Reid blurted, "How about Peter?"

"Nah," Élise gave that name a thumbs down.

"Puck?" Reid suggested another name.

Élise stuck her tongue out and grimaced her face, "Yuck."

"Prince?" Reid's suggestion made Élise give him an Are-you-for-real look before he meekly suggested, "Princeton? No? Or maybe Prime, like the…?"

Élise rolled her eyes and exhaustingly groaned, "Just…choose another name. Please."

"Oh, okay," Reid sighed and continued, "Ooh! How about Priestly?"

Élise placed one hand to smooth her belly and the other on her back, "As much I love The Devil Wears Prada, no."

"Pepe?" Reid thought of this baby name.

"Sacre bleu!" Élise wrinkled her nose and gagged as the name already had a bad taste in her mouth.

"How about Presley, like Elvis?" Reid's face perked up a bit before seeing Élise with her hands on the backrest of the couch, tilted head, lowered eyes, and her mouth curled tight. "I take it as a no."

Élise remarked dryly, "You're so smart, brainy babe."

Reid turned off the tablet, set it gently on the coffee table, and bundled Séraphine from the floor, "Okay, I think we're done with the Ps." Reid turned his head again and saw Élise walking out. "Where are you going?"

Élise spun her body around and answered, "Now I have to pee."

Reid bounced Séraphine in his arms, "That wasn't my fault." He sniffed his nose when he smelled something. He sniffed Séraphine, "Whoa! And you, little missy, need a diaper change."

Séraphine giggled as Reid headed to the nursery and changed her diaper before heading to work.


Reid threw his coffee cup in the nearest trash can, reached into his pants pocket for his small spray sanitizer, and applied some on his hands before opening the doors to the bullpen. After walking in, he made his way towards Hotch's office door and knocked three times.

"Come in," Hotch said.

Reid opened the door and saw Hotch sitting at his desk, reviewing the case files.

"Good morning, Reid." Hotch acknowledged him.

Reid waved to his boss, "Good morning, Hotch."

Hotch sensed something and asked him, "Are you okay?"

"Élise and I are still coming up with baby boy names," Reid admitted. "We decided not to name him after me due to the expectations he might have to face. Plus, I read a bunch of studies about those who named their sons after the father and…they were…" He stuttered. "Is that wrong?"

"Haley and I thought about naming Jack after me as well," Hotch confessed. "But, I, too, was worried about expectations, him having his own identity."

Reid would have continued, but someone else knocked on the door.

"Come in," Hotch said.

Garcia opened the door, "Sir."

"I'll be right out," Hotch assured her before she closed the door again. Hotch sighed. "We can talk about this another time, but whatever name you and Élise pick, I'll be happy for you both. Just as long as it's not something weird and random."

Reid joked, "Élise's mother said the exact same thing."

Hotch smirked before he and Reid left his office for the roundtable room. Rossi, JJ, Prentiss, Garcia, and finally Morgan joined in and discussed the case in Seattle.


The team talked about the victims' lives on the plane ride before Garcia alerted them of another double homicide.


After landing, Reid and Morgan headed to the latest victim couple's house and met Detective Paul Clarkson at the scene. Observing their home, they noted that their home was childproof and was caught off-guarded by the unsub, who waited for them in the dark.


Now Hotch had Reid and Rossi got to the church after hearing the familiar places connecting to the victims were religious places…

Only to hear that the victims participated in a foster program…

And also had a baby in their care.

And given that the small gun bullet size, they deduced that the unsub's a woman, especially one with a maternal desire who will not stop killing until she gets one.

As they got back into the SUV, Reid texted another name idea.

Rossi pecked his eyes and asked, "Baby names?"

"Yup," Reid answered before his phone vibrated again, and he looked at the text Élise sent back. "Oh, no."

Rossi wondered, "What?"

Reid showed Rossi the text.

OLAF + A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS = HELL TO THE NO!

Rossi snickered to himself as he started driving, "You two still haven't decided on a boy's name?"

Reid exhaled again, smacking his hand against his face, and closed his eyes, "Nope. You should have seen Élise's reaction to when I suggested to Humbert."

"And…?" Rossi sounded intrigued.

Reid shook his head, "I…rather not." He rubbed his ear as he immediately flashback to when Élise thought of the name.


Élise was busy at her desk, typing on her computer as Anna knocked on her door and pecked her head in.

"Ms. Bastien?"

Élise sighed, "You can come in, Anna."

Anna closed the door behind her and handed Élise some paperwork.

"Ah, thank you, Anna. Paperwork is easing my mind about baby boy names." Élise groaned. "Spencer texted me the name Olaf, and I definitely said no for that name."

Anna replied, "I hope it'll be better than my brother's name."

Élise set the paperwork aside and grabbed another file from her set, "What do you mean?"

Anna explained, fiddling with her fingernails, "My brother prefers to be called Charles than Charlie."

"Why?" Élise shrugged her shoulders and asked.

"Because of our last name," Anna explained further.

"Your last name is Brown, so how could...?" She gasped in realization. "For real?"

"Yup." Anna half-bowed to Élise before excusing her.

Now Élise suddenly felt the shivers, causing her to try and shake them off. She and Spencer had to think of a baby boy's name. And fast.

But later, since she's at work.

When he returns home.


After hearing about another female victim who was shot five times, stripped down to her underwear, and was a foster mother, the team delivered the profile ended with many wanting to ask questions.


The team continued to talk about the unsub's instability before figuring out that the unsub was previously released from a mental institution.


Élise decided to join in and have lunch with a few of her associates at Vine, a local fast-casual bakery-café in D.C.

"Mmm…" Élise licked her lips after having another bite of her Caprese panini. "I love me a good Caprese."

Thea Collins poked her fork around in her chicken salad before taking a bite, "Mmm." After swallowing and drinking her unsweetened iced tea through a straw, she asked, "So you still haven't come up with a boy's name?"

"We decided not to name the baby after him or use Gabriel since it's my middle name. We fear he'll have to live up to our expectations," Élise explained before eating another bite.

Alistair Lexington III sipped his coffee. "Sometimes I worry if I'm living up to the expectations of my father and my grandfather, may he rest in peace," Alistair did a Catholic cross. "So, I know what you mean, Élise."

Élise breathed, "I mean, there are so many names to pick from, but yet, we just can't seem to think of one."

"If you can come up with a name for Séraphine, you can definitely come up with a name for your baby boy," Toni waved her chicken salad-filled fork before she placed it in her mouth.

"Mmm-hmm," Alistair agreed. "Just as long as it's not something stupid and weird people are doing these days."

Élise snorted, "What does everyone keep saying that?" She broke off a piece of her oatmeal raisin cookie before she ate it.

Alister and Thea said simultaneously, "Because it's true."

The three laughed heartily before switching the conversation to another topic.


The team finished the case, which concluded the unsub, Margaret Hallman, abducting the baby boy she had with one of her students, Tommy Brown, and was non-fatally shot by Hotch.

They decided to stay in Seattle for the night and go back home by morning time.


Reid, JJ, Rossi, and Garcia talked about the double standards on student-teacher relationships before Reid brought up the hierarchy of sex offenders. Garcia had other matters to tend to before JJ suggested that they get breakfast.

The elevator doors opened.

"Élise!" Reid was surprised to see his wife and daughter. He rushed to give Élise a lip peck before squatting to Séraphine's size in her stroller. "Hey, Fifi."

"Dada!" Séraphine grabbed ahold of Reid's nose and squeezed it; she giggled when he kissed her head.

Rossi was always happy to see Élise, "How are you two doing?"

"To pick up my man," Élise wrapped her arm around his arm. "And I figured you'd be here right now, so…" Élise shrugged her shoulders when she finished the sentence.

JJ and Rossi stepped into the elevator; JJ asked Élise, "So do you want to join us for breakfast?"

"I'd like that," Élise replied, accepting the offer.

"And maybe during breakfast, you can tell me about the Humbert name story?" Rossi smirked smugly.

"It's a short story, Rossi," Élise turned to face Reid with a creepy toothy smile and enlarged eyes, gritting, "I'd love the name too, but then I think about Lolita." She tweaked an eye and forced a chuckle, which made Reid laugh nervously.

Soon the five of them enjoyed breakfast.


"We need a baby name and fast," Élise groaned as she laid on her back on the plush bed. "And it better be a hell of a lot better than Humbert." She growled when she said, Humbert. Élise lovingly looked to Reid and politely asked him, "Will you massage my feet for me, please?"

Reid immediately got on it. He went into the closet and grabbed the small supplies basket containing small bottles of essential oils, rubbed some against his palms, and began massaging her feet.

"Aww," Élise breathed when Reid massaged her feet. "I love a good foot massage."

Reid loosened her ankle, "Mmm-mmm. Anything for you and our precious boy in your beautiful belly."

Élise laughed and cleared her throat, "But still, what are we going to do with our baby boy naming crisis?"

"Well, according to the Parents magazine article I read during the flight home. To pick a baby name, the tips to choosing the right baby name include avoiding the passing trends."

"Translation: Don't do what people, especially celebrities, are doing and pick a stupid name." Élise interpreted what Reid just said.

Reid chuckled, "Right. Look up meanings for the names that we do like and say them out loud. What names do you like?"

Élise cocked her head up, "Well, I do like Michael because of Michael Jackson. But I know we both know we can't do Michael because of Gary Michaels. Nor Gary." She exhaled and scratched her eyelashes. "The names I also like are Joseph, Otto, Matthew, Ralph, John, Xander, Dylan, Ivan, Ryan, Karl. We can't do Karl or Arnold, Gianni, Leonardo, Alexei, Roberto, Daniel, and Ulrich. Those are the ones I can think for right now."

Reid continued to do the lymphatic drainage technique. He said some of his favorite baby boy names. "I like Stephen, Albert, Wolfgang, Siegfried, Zane, Isaac, Conan, Nikola, Carl—with a C, not K, Darwin, Ludwig, Magnus, Newton, Pierre, Anders, Louis, Alfred, Joseph, Auguste. I have more if you're up to it."

Élise groaned again, "Maybe a little later, babe. I need to lay down a little bit more."

"Okay." Reid finished massaging her feet and walked to her bedside, "Anything I should cook for lunch? Maybe for dinner as well?"

"Something with chicken." Élise sluggishly suggested with her eyes closed, trying to take a nap.

Reid kissed her forehead, "How about Linus?"

"Yeah, that name's a minus."

Chapter Text


Reid was in the kitchen, fixing up breakfast, when Élise walked in, yawning. Élise opened her mouth and raised her finger when she tiled her head and tugged on her earlobe. Reid noticed this, walked up to Élise, and kissed her cheek, nearly starling her.

"Whoa!" She jumped but sighed when she noticed it was just Reid. "Oh, it's just you, brains."

Reid kissed her cheek again, "I'm so sorry, my love."

Élise scratched her head and cocked her head again as she sat down at the table, "That's okay, baby love," She patted his chest and licked her lips.

"Are you okay?" Reid placed his hands on her shoulders and kissed the top of her head.

"I think I forgot," Élise said dazedly. "I don't really…"

Reid placed her breakfast plate of an omelet with tomatoes and mushrooms, berries, sliced apple and banana, and a tall glass of orange juice. "Pregnancy brain."

Élise threw her head back against the chair and planted her hand on her face, "Oh, God. Not this again." She picked her head up again. "Remember the time I walked into the bathroom, and I almost forgot to urinate?"

"Or when you walked into the kitchen, and you almost ate raw cookie dough?" Reid reminded her of that moment and how he slapped the spoonful away from her.

Élise whined, "I so don't want to have to do with this again."

"Remember when I told you about the hormone fluctuations, such as estrogen, progesterone, that can change and influence your brain, especially during the pregnancy?" Reid recapped. "Your brain is growing and adjusting to help you bond with our boy."

Élise sighed exhaustingly, "I know." She cut a forklod of omelet and was about to eat it when she noticed Séraphine wasn't in her highchair. "Where's Fifi?"

Reid swallowed before answering, "I'll go wake up Fifi," He got up from his seat, kissed the top of her head, and assured her, "You enjoy your breakfast."


"Hey, Maeve!" Élise opened her arms out before hugging her after Maeve opened the front door. "How are you doing?"

Maeve squealed before pulling away, "I'm good." She waved to Reid, who was walking up the pathway, holding Séraphine's hand and Opal behind them. "Hey, Spence." She gasped, "Hey, Séraphine. How are you doing?"

"Gad!" Séraphine gabbled.

Maeve asked again, "Are you ready to go see BJ again?"

Séraphine clapped her hands, "Yea!"

Élise smiled at the sight of her daughter talking. Soon she'll be saying complete sentences and speaking more eloquently. She turned her attention back to Maeve as she, Reid, Séraphine, and Opal entered their home, "Look at you, Maeve. I cannot get over how good you look, girl. I mean, look at you."

Maeve spun around after closing the door, locking the bottom half, and wobbled towards the plush couch. "I do look good, don't I?"

"Indeed, you do, my love," Bobby said as he came back from the kitchen with a plate of unsalted nuts and seeds, thoroughly washed fruits and vegetables, and set them down on the coffee table. "How are you guys?"

Reid wrapped her arm around Élise, "We're good. Work is work."

"Same here, even though I have to deal with these pregnancy symptoms." Élise looked down at her belly.

Bobby joined Maeve next to her on the couch, "Tell them, Maeve."

Élise lifted her eyebrow, "Tell us what?"

Maeve bit down on her tongue and cried, "We're having a girl!"

Reid and Élise's eyes widened, and their mouths dropped, "Congrats! Have you thought of any baby girl names?"

Maeve cupped her hands and rubbed them together, "Maybe Barbara after Barbara McClintock or Rosalind after Rosalind Franklin, known for her work on X-rays. Or maybe something unique, like Orla, which means Golden Princess in Irish mythology, or Bridget. Oh! Maybe Saoirse?"

"Ooh, those sound like beautifully unique names," Élise cuddled closer to Reid as Séraphine shuffled her way to them. Reid scooped her up as Élise continued. "We already have a bunch of names for our boy."

"What kind of names are you thinking for your boy?" Maeve asked intriguingly.

From memory, Reid recited, "Joseph, Otto, Matthew, Ralph, John, Xander, Dylan, Ivan, Ryan, Gianni, Leonardo, Alexei, Roberto, Daniel, Ulrich, Alexander, Stephen, Albert, Wolfgang, Siegfried, Zane, Isaac, Conan, Nikola, Carl—with a C, not K, Darwin, Ludwig, Magnus, Newton, Pierre, Anders, Louis, Alfred, Auguste, Eugene, Dimitri, Franklin, Johannes, Louis, Jethro, Samuel, and Sheldon."

"Wow," An amazed Bobby said. "Lots of names to consider."

"We vetoed a few so far," Élise replied, tickling Séraphine's belly. "But yeah, we still have plenty of time to pick out a baby name for our boy."

Bobby bundled BJ and placed him on his knee, "Just promise me that you're not going to give your boy a silly name."

Élise humorously chuckled, "I swear everyone keeps saying that."

"It's true." Maeve and Bobby said together.

BJ babbled, "It tru."

Opal barked

Everyone laughed merrily and continued spending the afternoon together.


After returning home, the family had some chicken stir-fry with vegetables, small apples, kiwifruit, and pineapple slices for dinner.


2:53 A.M.

Élise walked out of the bathroom, dressed in her favorite navy-blue lace detailed nightie, after needing to use the toilet when she saw Reid dressed in a sweater vest over a purple button dress shirt, tie, dark pants, and Converses.

"Ooh," Élise liked where this was going and crawled into bed again. "I know it's late, but do you want me to undress you tonight?" She started caressing her arms, batted her eyes, and lowered her voice.

Reid sighed, "Unfortunately, I got an urgent text from Garcia. Like let-your-derriere-on-the-jet-pronto."

Élise pouted her mouth. "I take it missing children."

"Mmm-hmm," Reid fixed up his tie again and kissed Élise's forehead. "I love you."

"I love you, my love," Élise stroked his cheek.

Reid grabbed his satchel and go bag, waved her goodbye again before turning off the light. He made his way to Séraphine's nursery and kissed her forehead, touched her cheek, whispering, "I have to go, Fifi. I love you so much."

Séraphine briefly opened her eyes before closing her, "Da…"

Reid smiled and tickled her cheek before leaving her nursery. He waved goodbye to a sleepy Opal and locked in the security alarm before leaving.


The team met up on the jet, and Garcia briefed them about a frightened and macerated young boy found in the Arizonan desert by a family and alerted them of the abduction of another boy named Billy Henderson.

Judging by the terrified boy's scars, cuts, and bruises—even though some were unseen, especially his eyes, no doubt this young boy was held captive for a long time.

Nevertheless, the unsub got a head start abducting this missing boy, but there's fear of what this unsub will do to him now that the captive escaped him.


After landing, JJ and Morgan went to the hospital to try and talk to the captive. Prentiss and Rossi tried to speak to a woman named Samantha Allen, who was at the police station to talk about a boy she saw in chains decades ago before but got spooked and left.

At the police station, Reid and Hotch met the head of the case, Detective Perez. While Hotch talked to Billy Henderson's parents, Reid went with Perez and looked at a small glass picture array.

Samantha Allen was looking at that before she got spooked and left.

Pictures of police officers and her father, J.B. Allen, a well-known real-estate developer.


Élise was in bed on her lap desk, trying to focus on her work, and typed away when she got a call. Answering it, and spoke into the mini microphone, "Hello?"

"Hey, Élise."

Élise gasped, "Hey, Anna. How are you?"

Anna answered, "I'm good. Thanks for asking. And yourself?"

Élise laid her head back against the pillow, "Pregnancy with a second child is something, alright."

Anna laughed, "It'll be okay. Anyway, want to come down to Las Vegas for the Easter weekend?"

"Let me check real quick," Élise clicked on the calendar app on her laptop before rechecking her phone. "According to my pregnancy tracker, I'll be at 28 weeks, so yeah, I think we can make it. I'll let Spencer know; he's on a case in Arizona."

"Okay," Anna replied coolly. "I better get going; I have an appointment with a major client."

"Good luck," said Élise before she hung up.


Hotch got off the phone with JJ, who was still at the hospital with Morgan, and told him that the traumatized victim's name was Angel. While Prentiss tried to talk to Samantha Allen again about seeing a boy in chains, Garcia sent over a list of missing-runaway southwestern kids from the 1980s.

Reid and Hotch concluded that the unsub transferred Angel, logical, and Billy Henderson was a target. At the same time, Perez thought they should just confront J.B. Allen, a possible suspect, and Samantha's father.


Reid found a private spot to make a private phone call.

"Hello?"

Reid will never get enough of hearing Élise's voice, "Hey, belle." Reid scratched his head, "So, how are you doing?"

"I took a little break from my work; Rose helped me with lunch, and Fees is napping right now. Oh!" Before Élise could forget, "Anna called and asked if we could come to Las Vegas for the Easter weekend."

"Well, considering how you'll be 28 weeks pregnant and you're not at risk for preterm delivery, we can go to Las Vegas. Might as well since it's best not to travel after the end of the 37th week," said Reid before he sighed. "I swear, I needed to hear from you; the boy who escaped captivity is so traumatized, he can't even speak, and who knows what this unsub will do to his latest victim."

"Aw, poor kid," Élise's heart went out to the boy, "When you find the monstrous bag of crap, give him a special kick in the nuts for me, beat the crud of him, and then shove him down a hole in the deepest abysses of hell."

Reid couldn't help but giggled, "You know the baby can hear your voice."

Élise whispered, "Sorry. I love you."

"I love you, too."


Reid went with a few undercover police officers and discreetly followed J.B. to the market, his daughter's plant nursery, and is now at his isolated house from afar. He told Hotch of J.B.'s background and thought he customized the house he built and stayed with his late wife to hide his victims.


Reid was now with Prentiss and Rossi in the disguised van, urging Sam to talk to her father and see if they could find some evidence.

Unfortunately, Samantha claimed she saw nothing.


Finally, Samantha started to open up more about her father as JJ and Morgan got to Angel and more information from his mother.


Reid smiled a little bit when he watched Billy Henderson reunite with his parents but felt bad for Samantha as she was forced to see who her father really was.


Reid had just left the kitchenette when he rechecked his phone and saw it was a picture of Séraphine and Opal Élise just sent him. He smiled before he looked up, and Morgan distantly looked out the window.

Reid knew this case affected him in more ways than once.


Reid was always happy to be home, especially dealing with cases involving children. Punching in the security alarm, he waved to Opal, who was sleeping in her pen. He made his way towards Séraphine's nursery. Creaking towards her crib, he tickled her cheek.

"Da…" Séraphine jabbered dreamily.

Reid smiled and kissed her temple. "Goodnight, Fifi."

He left her nursery for his bedroom and noticed Élise sleeping.

And loud snoring.

Reid chuckled to himself and kissed Élise's forehead.

"Mmm…" Élise groaned, licked, and smacked her lips. Trying to open her eyes, she managed to get a squint of Reid standing over her. Closing her eyes again, "Hi, love."

"Were you trying to wait up for me?" Reid stroked his fingers through her hair.

"A little bit, yeah," Élise planted her hand over her face. "Oh, those pregnancy symptoms…"

Reid was in the bathroom; he took a shower and changed into a dark purple sleepwear set, and crawled into bed next to Élise. "It'll all be worth it when we see our boy."

"Yeah, I know," Élise turned to face Reid, and he looked so drained. "Tough case, huh?"

Reid sighed and agreed, "Let's just say these kids are on the long road to recovery. And…Morgan really gave the unsub a serious beating before Rossi stopped him."

Élise chuckled. "That's Morgan, alright. I do admire him for his dedication and passion for helping children, but I swear if he ever puts our children in the middle of one of those prank wars…"

Reid finished the sentence for him, "Oh, I think he learned his lesson about that. And well."

Élise giggled before she and Reid embraced in a passionate kiss.

Chapter Text


About two-three weeks ago….

Reid and Élise were in the great room, looking through images of a nursery on the tablet while watching Séraphine and Opal.

"Oh!" Élise fingered a deep navy-blue nursery decorated with sophisticated furniture. "I love this one. It'll make him feel like royalty."

Reid looked at the nursery picture, cocked his head, and pursed his mouth, "Yeah, a little too mature, don't you think?" He saw one nursery that piqued him. "How about this one?"

It was a Star Wars-themed nursery.

"Yeah, I don't think so." Élise twisted her lips shook her head. She gasped when she saw another one. "Ooh! This one looks like fun."

It was a Dr. Seuss-themed nursery.

"Too over-the-top." Reid lowered his eyes. "And you didn't like the Star Wars nursery."

Élise burst into giggles.

Suddenly Séraphine rose and started waddling towards Reid and Élise, causing Reid to hoist her up and onto his lap. Grunting, Reid playfully groaned, "Hello, my love. Want to help us pick out a nursery for your little bro?"

"Yea!" Séraphine started to play with the tablet and used her hand to go up and down the screen.

"Hold on, my love, really quick," Élise went into the settings and adjusted the brightness on the screen. "Here we go again." Élise whispered in his ear and as she strolled down the screen, "Let's hope that when she doesn't get to attached to the computer when she gets older."

Reid sighed, "This is why I'm glad to be old-school. Most of the time."

Élise laughed before Séraphine began tapping on the screen. "Hey-hey-hey, careful, Fee. You don't want to break the tablet. What do you see?"

Séraphine baby-pointed to an astronomical-themed nursery.

Reid bounced Séraphine on his knee as he and Élise zoomed in on the image. "Mmm. The stars in the skies look so realistic."

"And it does add a level of sophistication," Élise replied. "And you can have a little bookshelf in the corner."

Reid smiled. "Want to do this nursery?"

"Mmm-hmm," Élise nodded her head before scooping Séraphine and cuddling her. "Do you want to do this nursery for your little brother?"

"Yea!" Séraphine giggled.


Present-day…

"Okay," Élise supervised Reid and Rossi putting up the stars in the skies poster in the new nursery, and she gulped down the rest of her ice-cold liter bottled water. Tossing that to the side, "That's a little too low." She stretched for a moment and groaned. "A little too higher." She used her hands to help visual the angles of the poster. "And…perfect!" She gave them the thumbs up before they hammered it in.

"It looks good," Reid admired the poster he and Élise picked out.

And to think, they almost didn't know what to do for their son's nursery.

Morgan cried, "We're coming in!" He and Hotch carried in the white 5-in-1 convertible crib and placed it against the poster.

"Let's adjust it a little bit more," Reid suggested before Hotch and Morgan lifted it again to the left. "Take it back an inch more to the right." Hotch and Morgan raised the crib again. "And…perfect."

"Whoo!" Morgan wiped his forehead with his hand before placing both hands on his waist. "I hardly broke a sweat the second time around."

"Yeah-yeah-yeah, everyone back up really quick, please," Élise ordered the men as she was still trying to visualize the nursery; her eyes were closed. She took a few steps forward and held her arms out before opening her eyes. The solar system-themed crib mobile to the gray rocking chair from the white bookshelf to the crib.

"It's perfect," Élise declared, inhaled, and exhaled before cupping her hands together. "Perfect. Absolutely perfect."

Reid kissed her lips, "Anything for our boy."

Reid, Morgan, and Hotch smiled at the little moment before they heard the front door being opened and closed.

"We're here!" A voice cried.

Reid replied loudly, "We're in the new nursery!"

"Mama! Dada!" Séraphine ran over to Reid and Élise.

Reid scooped her up, "Hi, Seri." He smooched her cheek, making her giggle. "Do you like the nursery we design for your little bro?"

"Yay!" Séraphine cheered, clapping her hands.

Opal dashed into the room, barked, and started cuddling Élise's belly.

Rose rushed into the room with giant white bags in her arms. "Hello." Her eyes widened, and her mouth dropped when she first saw the nursery. "Oh, my God. It's so stunning. So clear and organized." She took a quick wander around the room. "The electrical outlets are covered, no stray cords, and medicine out of reach. I give you an A-plus."

Reid grinned and blushed, "Thank you. I never received anything less than an A-plus."

"Except for your firearms qualification exam seven years ago," Morgan muttered under his breath, causing Hotch to stare at him with folded arms.

"I, uh, brought some food from Natural Taste," Rose pulled out some recyclable food containers. "They do organic food, so I thought…"

Élise replied casually, "That's okay. Plus, I ate there a few times, and they had these ah-ma-zing organic cupcakes."

"Oh," Rose pulled out a small green container with a red velvet cupcake. "Lucky I bought one."

"Yippee!" Élise exclaimed and clapped her hands. "Let's eat!"

Soon everyone gathered at the dining room and ate lunch.


Reid sighed as he shut the bedroom door and made his way to the bed. "I finally got Séraphine down to bed."

"That's good, babe," Élise said without looking from the birth plan she and Reid were filling out. "Mmm…" She tapped her MontBlanc pen against the clipboard and wondered, "Since we're going to have a boy, can I ask you a tricky question?"

Reid got into the bed and asked, "Should we do a circumcision on him?"

"I think we should. Why?" Reid saw Élise's worried facial expressions. Élise showed him an article on her tablet. Reid sighed, "Lise, this was the 1960s."

"Yeah, but still…" Élise hissed.

Reid explained the reasons to go for one. "From what I read about them, it helps with…cleaning their area."

Élise had her hand on her belly, "I feel squeamish just thinking about it."

"Also, reduces the risk of some sexually transmitted diseases in men. It'll protect against penile cancer, a lower risk of cervical cancer in female sex partners as well as a lower chance of urinary tract infections. Doing this will help with the prevention of balanitis, the inflammation of the glans and balanoposthitis, the inflammation of the glans and foreskin."

"Jesus, Mary, and Joseph." Élise had her hand on her head. "I'm so scared."

Reid took her hand and comfortably patted. "Nothing's going to happen. I promise."

"Okay, we'll do the surgery, but nothing better happen to him."


"Congratulations, my love," Reid whispered as he brought a cupcake with a lit candle to Élise, who was just waking up from her nap. "You're at the end of the second trimester."

Élise sluggishly sat up. "Yay!" After Élise blew out the candle, she set the cupcake down on the bedside table and gave Reid a loving lip kiss. "Thank you, my darling." She placed her hand on her belly when she felt something and groaned, "Oh."

"Our boy's pushing your stomach," Reid explained and placed his hand on her belly. "How many movements have you felt so far within the last hour?"

"About five, maybe six," Élise recalled before she placed the cupcake liner on the plate and took a bite. "Mmm…" She licked her lips. "I so needed something sweet."

Reid helped himself to a bite, "That's good, ain't it?"

Élise set the half-eaten cupcake on the bedside table again and laid on her side, "Oh, this pregnancy, babe…"

"Are you feeling constipated right now?" Reid asked with concern.

"Maybe," Élise guessed. "And my restless legs?"

Reid kissed her forehead again, "Okay. How about I refill your water bottle again, and I'll get you some berries? You finish up the rest of this delicious cupcake that I just took two bites out of, and I'll go do that for you."


For the next few days, Reid and Élise took a beginner barre and Tai Chi classes, took a couple of parent and me classes, and did some exercises together, from swimming to walking.


"Hey, family," Dr. Patterson's face brightened when she saw the Bastien-Reid family; Élise lay on the sheeted table. "How are we doing?"

Élise sighed; her lips flapped, groaned, and smoothed her belly, "A lot happening. I want to see my little boy right now."

"It'll be okay, Élise," Dr. Patterson comforted her and patted her hand. Dr. Patterson faced Reid, who had Séraphine on his lap and clutched her dolly. "Oh, what a pretty dolly, Séraphine. What's her name?"

"Dolly." Séraphine babbled as she stroked her doll's hair.

Dr. Patterson giggled. "That's a cute name. I like it."

"Tank yoo." Séraphine babbled, and Reid kissed the top of her head, making her giggle.

Dr. Patterson walked over to Élise's side, looking at her clipboard, "Well, congratulations, everyone, you're at the 28th week. That means you're at month seven and near the end of the second trimester and onto the third and final trimester."

"Oh, if only we could fast forward to my due date because I want to see this boy right now." Élise gently tapped on her belly with her index finger. "Come on, boy, I want to see you."

"Actually, did you know that only 4% of babies are born on their predicted due date, but about 90% are born within two before or after?" Reid gave them a fact.

Élise curled her lips, "Mmm…I guess that explains why Fifi came earlier."

"That happened to me as well," Dr. Patterson raised her hand as she continued looking at the charts. "According to your results, everything's copacetic, and nothing is out of range, not even your weight and blood pressure. Your iron levels are good. Are you still taking your prenatal vitamins?"

Élise answered, "Yup."

"Are you drinking eight to twelve glasses of water every day?"

Élise pulled out a liter of bottled water. "You know it." She untwisted the cap and drank the same before twisting the lid back on.

"How's the swelling?"

Élise untucked her necklace and showed the doctor her wedding ring being used as a pendant. "This is not my first rodeo, doctor." She showed the doctor her spread-out fingers. "I feel as if I have sausage fingers."

Dr. Patterson set the clipboard on her desk and put on her stethoscope, "Now, we're going to listen to your boy's heartbeat."

Reid and Séraphine watched as Dr. Patterson examined Élise before showing them more sonograms.


After Reid gave Élise her breakfast in bed, she returned and started using her lap desk to work on her laptop. After sending an email to a colleague, Élise looked up from her work and saw Reid handsomely dressed. Reid had just put on a brown blazer over a navy-blue gingham dress shirt, matching sweater vest and tie, ironed dress pants, and Converses.

"Oh, I swear you were a Burberry and Ralph Lauren model in the past life." Élise was smitten by his attire.

"Actually, did you know that Egyptians believe in the afterlife?" asked Reid as he was fixing his belt.

Élise answered as she continued typing, "Actually, I did. Thank you, The Mummy movies."

"Plans for today?" asked Reid again as he put on his silver watch.

"Finish up this work, update the retirement beneficiaries, get as much bed rest as I need," said Élise. "Rose is going to help out with Fee, so no need to worry."

Reid stroked Élise's hair after walking to her bedside, "It's my job to worry about you; you're carrying my son."

Élise took Reid's hand and kissed it, "I'll be fine, and if anything, I'll let you know."

Reid lifted Élise's head with his index finger and passionately kissed her lips. "I love you."

"I love you times pi." Élise patted his cheek and watched him depart their bedroom.


After the team talked about the case involving a series of Gothic and ritualistic murders, Reid texted Élise.

GOING TO PORTLAND, OREGON!

Just as he left the roundtable room and went to his desk in the bullpen, he got a text back from her.

BE CAREFUL! AND IF YOU DON'T BRING ME SOME FOOD FROM PORTLAND, ESPECIALLY MARIONBERRIES, I'M GOING TO BEAT YOUR ASS!

Reid chuckled since he knew it was the pregnancy mood swings.


On the plane ride to Portland, the team discussed the life of the recent victim: a divorced and lover of all things Gothic math teacher. They turned the conversation about the Renaissance as the victim was found in a Renaissance costume.


Reid and JJ went to a manufacturer while Hotch and Rossi met Detective Gassner at the crime scene where the victim was found. Morgan and Prentiss visited the M.E.'s office.

The gentlemen told them that the victim's fabric was custom-made, and the seams on the dress were uneven.

Reid and JJ deduced this could be part of a team; the seamstress may be a teenager and a potential compelled accomplice.


"Mmmm…" Élise moaned when her head started buzzing before realizing her phone was vibrating under her pillow. She fumbled behind the pillow to try and get her phone. Her eyes squinted, and she wrinkled her nose when she finally got it and answered into the speaker. "Hello?"

"Hi, my love."

Élise chuckled tiredly. "Oh, bunny…"

"I take it I woke you up?" Reid correctly guessed.

Élise rubbed her eyes and tried to say something. "Aaauupppp." She accidentally burped into the phone and covered her mouth in embarrassment before whispering, "Sorry about that."

Reid chuckled. "That's okay, honey. How was your day?"

Élise scratched between her nose, sniffed, and yawned, "Other than to brush my teeth, urinate, poop, and to try to care for Séraphine, I feel like the laziest person in the world."

"Awww." Reid felt for Élise. "I know the phrase has been said over and over, but it will be worth it when we hold our boy in our arms."

"Yeah," Élise quietly agreed before she yawned again. "I need my sleep, babe, so nighty-night."

"See you in my dreams?"

Élise giggled; Reid was so adorably cute when he said that.


Now the team got news of another victim; while Rossi and Prentiss checked out the scene, Reid was at the police station with JJ, Morgan, and Hotch. They got new information about the current victim and a new victim who went missing a month prior.

Reid cross-referenced the dates of when the victims went missing to Satanic sacrifice holidays.

Another important holiday would be coming soon, meaning that the unsub could be hunting for his next victim today.


After Rossi and Prentiss returned, the team gave the profile to the Portland police station.


Élise gently closed her laptop after it shut off, placed it back in the case before tucking it away in a safe place. She looked at the time on her cell phone, and it had just past eleven o'clock. Exhaling back, she walked out of the bedroom and made her way towards Séraphine's nursey—knowing she was done with her first nap—when she ran into Rose.

Élise groaned and stretched, "Hey, Rose."

"Hello again, Élise," Rose smiled, adjusting the rolled-up sleeve on her pink button shirt and slicking back her ponytail. "Were you going to wake up Séraphine?"

"I'll go wake her up," Élise said before politely suggesting. "Why don't you go fix us some lunch, please?"

Rose wondered, "What would you like?"

"Whoo!" Élise stretched again, "In all honestly, I'm craving for a Swiss turkey wrap and Séraphine, a peanut butter sandwich please with some cut-up fruit."

"I'll go do that." Rose placed her hands together, half-bowed, turned around, and walked in the opposite direction to prepare lunch.

Élise knocked on Séraphine's nursery door three times before creeping towards her nursery. She'll never get tired of seeing Séraphine waking up. And when she did, sometimes, she would like out this precious little squeal, which reminded Élise of her being born.

Like what she was doing right now, making Élise burst into this grin.

"Oh, did mommy's girl have a good first nap?" Élise asked Séraphine, who started rubbing her eyes, smacked, and licked her lips in a cutesy voice.

Séraphine blinked her eyes a few more times, "Mama…"

"Ah, you cute little girl," Élise beamed brighter than the sun, cuddled her, and kissed her forehead. "Rose is making us some lunch, so it's time to go eat, and maybe after that hour we eat, we can watch a good old-fashion Disney movie?"

"Yea!" Séraphine smiled.

Élise took Séraphine down to the dining room and ate lunch with Rose and Opal.


The team talked about the unsub using costume gowns from one of William Shakespeare's rare plays about the middle-class, The Merry Wives of Windsor, and the white face makeup during that time for only the upper-class women as a symbol of purity and virginity.

They concluded that the unsub sees himself as a vigilant against some evil. He's testing the victims via the Salem Witch trials; by drowning them, they were innocent, but if they lived, they were guilty before also concluding he's fighting the devil.


Reid excused himself as he needed to make another call.

"Hello?"

Reid grinned, "Hello, my love."

"Spenny!" Élise squealed. "How are you?"

"Still working on the case," Reid shoved his free hand in his pocket. "Hopefully, we can finish the case soon so that we can start the Easter weekend."

Élise insisted, "Do what you have to do, honey bunny." Her voice lowered. "But if you don't get me some Portland food and marionberries, I'm going to hurt you."

Reid laughed, "I already have someone getting you some food and some of those delicious and juicy marionberries."

"I love you," Élise said sweetly.

Reid replied. "I love you, too."


The team finally managed to get the unsub's name.

James Heathridge, the twenty-six-year-old son of Catherine Heathridge, a textile heiress. His father died when his mother was pregnant with his now sixteen-year-old sister Lara. Their grandfather raised them after his mother was committed, who died the year prior, making that his stressor.


The team managed to save Lara, but James accidentally fell to his death in a well during a struggle with Hotch, despite trying to save him.


Most of the team was asleep on the plane ride home while Reid looked at his phone again and saw a text from Élise after Reid sent her a text earlier that they were coming home.

GREAT! AND I BETTER BE A HELL OF LUCKY YOU GOT MY MARIONBERRIES. OTHERWISE, I WOULD HAVE KICKED YOUR ASS! AND THEN YOU WOULD HAVE BEEN SLEEPING ON THE COUCH TONIGHT!

Reid smirked.


Reid arrived home in the earlier hours. He checked on Opal and Séraphine before making his way to his bedroom, kissed a half-sleepy Élise's cheek, took a shower, changed into his sleepwear, and cuddled next to Élise.


"Here you go, my angel," Élise presented Séraphine her breakfast: organic and whole grains oats and quinoa with cinnamon, raisins, and cut-up marionberries.

Séraphine prattled, "Tank yoo, mama."

Élise beamed before she noticed Reid walking into the breakfast nook. "Good morning, my love."

Séraphine already had her mouth covered in oatmeal, "Dada!"

Reid stroked his fingers through Séraphine's hair before kissing her head, "Good morning, my precious one."

Opal dashed into the nook and cuddled Reid's leg, growling with affection.

"Hi, Opal." Reid scratched behind her ears and filled her bowl. He sighed as he took a seat at the table, "Oh, what a case we had yesterday."

Élise already had a bite of her organic cinnamon roll and asked after she swallowed, "Want to talk to me about it?"

Reid whispered in Élise's ear about the unsub's doings, and his mother cut off the left arm of her infant daughter, leaving her with broadened eyes and a gaped jaw.

"For real?"

Reid nodded his head to confirm what he had just told her. "Oh, yeah."

Élise shook off the chills she felt and took another bite of her roll. "Wow." She swallowed and took a sip of her freshly squeezed orange juice. "At least we can forget about that and focus on our Easter weekend tomorrow. I can't wait to see the family again, especially dear Aunt Ethel and Mama Diana."

"I can't wait to see them again," Reid replied. "Are you ready to see Grandma Diana and Grandpa William again, Fifi?"

"Yea!" Séraphine babbled with a mouthful.

Reid and Élise enjoyed their breakfast, spent the day working from home, and packed for their weekend trip.

Chapter Text


"Hey, Rose!" Élise smiled and allowed Rose into the house. "Thank you for looking after Opal while we go to Las Vegas for the Easter weekend." Élise scratched behind Opal's ears when she approached between the two.

Rose smirked and stroked Opal's fur, "Anything. I hope you all have a great Easter weekend." Rose saw Reid and Séraphine being carried by him, "Hello again, you two."

Reid waved to Rose, "Hello, Rose."

"Hi. Ro." Séraphine babbled and waved her little hand to her.

Rose giggled just as Opal barked and started panting. Rose opened the front door for Opal, allowing her to run to her silver Honda. "We better get going." She stared at her Android smartphone.

Reid triple-checked the house to make sure everywhere was locked and secured. Reid doubled checked their luggage in the trunk. The same with Élise and made sure the documents needed were in her bag. He sat in the front passenger seat, "Let's get going."


Eleven minutes after leaving the house, as Reid estimated, Rose stopped her silver Honda at the passenger drop-off outside the terminal of Reagan. Reid and Élise got out of the vehicle. Élise unbuckled Séraphine's car seat, grabbed her handbag, and steadily got out of the back seat while Reid got their luggage out from the trunk. Rose took Séraphine out of her car seat.

"Ah, thanks, Rose," Élise was grateful as Rose gave Séraphine to her, "Be a good girl for Rose, Opie," Élise pouted and caressed her fur with her free hand. "We promise we'll give you a gift or two from our trip to Las Vegas.

Séraphine grabbed ahold of Opal's nose, "Buh-bye, Opie."

Once Séraphine let go, Opal licked her face in response, making her giggle.

Reid smiled, "We'll miss you, Opie."

Rose waved to the family again and as she got back into the driver's seat, "See you all on Monday."

"Bye! Be good, Opal." The family watched and waved her and Opal goodbye as they drove off.

Once inside, they made their way to the check-in for their boarding passes and luggage, went through the security checkpoint, found their gate, and were on their way to Las Vegas.


During their Boeing 737 jet flight to Las Vegas, Reid and Élise kept Séraphine on her schedule. They ensured she had her nap and snack and kept her occupied with her coloring books. Reid even read to her before her nap, kept himself busy reading James Joyce's Ulysses, and took a quick catnap. Élise took a nap herself, had some packed snacks, and read ideas for potential new baby boy names.


The long five-hour and five-minute flight ended, and the Bastien-Reid family made their way to the main terminal.

"Hey!" A familiar voice called out for them in the crowd and waved to them.

Élise scouted to the direction of who was calling them, and her mouth dropped and formed a smile. "Hey, Papa!"

William Reid was casually dressed in a blue oxford shirt, khaki tan chino pants with a brown leather belt, and penny loafers. He waved to them again, "Hey!"

Reid let Séraphine down and allowed Séraphine to wobble to William. "Hey, go say hi to grandpa."

"Papa!" Séraphine exclaimed.

"Oh!" William squatted, hugged Séraphine with all his might before picking her up. "There's my pretty granddaughter." He laughed. "How are you?"

Séraphine babbled, "I gah!"

William giggled, kissed the top of Séraphine's head, and cuddled her closer to his chest as Reid and Élise approached him. "Oh, how are you guys?" He pulled Reid into a hug.

"Mmm. I'm good, dad." Reid pulled back from his father's hug.

"Élise!" William lovingly hugged Élise. "How are you and my soon-to-be grandson?"

Élise sighed as she placed her hands on her belly. "A long journey. I'm so ready to see him."

William chuckled again, handed Séraphine back to her. He helped Reid get the luggage from the baggage claim before leaving the airport and to William's house in Summerlin.


Reid sighed as he walked back into the living room, and his father strolled through the television channels. William looked up as Reid sat down and asked, "How are the girls?"

"They're napping," Reid scratched his head. "Thank you, dad, for allowing us to stay here for the Easter weekend."

William's mouth curled into a shy smile, "Anytime, son. Plus, it's always good to take a break from Ethel, huh?" He started to laugh when Reid recapped what happened when Ethel found out she would be a great-aunt and grandmother again during the holiday season.

"Oh, yeah." Reid laughed and watched his dad continue to stroll through the channels. "Élise and I are having some problems picking out a baby name."

"Really?" For a moment, William was worried when Reid said he and Élise were having problems and thought the worst, but his tensions eased after Reid said it was about boy names. "What names are you thinking?"

Reid reached into his pocket, took out a folded paper, and gave it to his father. William unfolded it, and it was baby boy names Spencer and Élise were considering.

"Wow," William was amazed by the names his son and daughter-in-law were considering. "Lots of names."

Reid nodded his head and rubbed his palms together. "Yup." Reid angled his head to the right a bit, raised an eyebrow, and wondered, "What did you want to name me?"

"I wanted to name you after me, but your mother got the final pick," William admitted. But there were so many names I considered. Elijah, Alfred, Lawrence, Andrew, Gerald, Lathan, but like I said, your mother got the final pick." William placed his hand on his son's shoulder, "Whatever you name your boy, I'll be happy for you."

Reid beamed with joy and hugged his father.


After Élise and Séraphine woke up from their naps, they decided to make a surprise visit.

"Hello, everyone!" Dr. Norman immediately smiled when he saw the family approach the receptionist's desk. "How are you?"

Reid acknowledged the good doctor. "We're great. Thank you for asking."

"Hi, dack." Séraphine swayed her hand back and forth.

Dr. Norman giggled and waved back to her. "Hey, Séraphine." Dr. Norman looked up and recognized Élise, "How are you, Élise?"

"I'm so ready to see my boy, and despite the aching symptoms, I'm feeling great as well, Dr. Norman." Élise smiled as she smoothed her belly.

Dr. Norman still had a gleeful smile on his face when he had Reid, Élise, and Séraphine trailing him into the living room. They saw Diana by herself near a window, reading a book with her left elbow on the couch arm, her index and middle fingers on her temple, and her thumb on her chin, tapping it. "She's still doing great despite her moments but still, nothing severe nor alarming."

"Otherwise, you would have called me, and I would have been on the flight next beside her," Reid agreed and shook his head.

"Exactly," Dr. Norman gave him a smirk. "You're an amazing son, Dr. Reid. And don't you forget that."

Dr. Reid couldn't help but blush. "Thank you, sir."

A petite woman in a skirt suit gave Dr. Norman some files, "Excuse me, sir."

Dr. Norman took a quick peck inside, "I have to get going. Hopefully, I can catch up with you before you leave?"

"Of course. And happy Easter, doctor," said Reid.

Dr. Norman gave the family another nod before walking away with the women, discussing what was in the files, and serving his managerial responsibilities.

Reid exhaled, pumped his chest out, confidently walked towards his mother, and quietly called out. "M-m-mom?"

Diana heard her son's voice. She took off her eyeglasses, turned her head around, and twinkled with joy at the sight of seeing her son. "Oh, my baby boy." She closed her book, placed it on the couch seat next to her, and started to hug him with all her might.

"Hi, mom." Reid hugged his mother for fifteen seconds—he counted—before pulling away, cupping his face, and kissing his forehead. She soon caught sight of Élise and Séraphine and placed her hands on her face. "Oh, my girls are looking so beautiful today."

"Na…na!" Séraphine waddled towards Diana.

Diana squatted to hug Séraphine before pulling herself up, "Oh, there's grandma's little angel." Diana took Élise's hand and mildly twirled her around. She looked absolutely pretty in her floral silk maternity maxi dress and comfortable flats. "Oh, how are my daughter-in-law and soon-to-be grandson doing?"

"Good but itching to meet each other." Élise giggled.

Soon Diana, Reid, Élise, and Séraphine all caught up within the next hour to two; Diana even read Séraphine a medieval-themed story.


After visiting Diana at Bennington, while Reid and his father cooked dinner, Élise dyed and painted Easter eggs with Séraphine.


Good Friday prayers were said, and the family began eating their dinner: vegetable Shepard's pie with hot cross buns.


Reid ran his fingers through Séraphine's hair as he watched her fall asleep. If only he could watch her for hours, if not all the time, and not get tired nor sleepy.

Élise had just come out of the bathroom, stood beside him, and smiled when she saw Séraphine sleeping. She placed her hand on his shoulder and said, "We're not going to get a good night's sleep if we keep staring at her."

Reid sighed as he and Élise crawled into opposite sides of the bed. "She just looks so precious."

Élise squealed and cuddled next to him, "I know. We have big days coming this weekend. I can feel it."

"Are you sure it's not gas?" Reid joked.

Élise giggled before embracing a passionate kiss.


After breakfast, Reid, Élise, and Séraphine drove to John and Melissa's place in Henderson. Reid parked the car away from the driveway on the cul-de-sac street. Reid and Élise got out of the car and took Séraphine out of her car seat. They took Séraphine by her hand and led her up the beige stucco exterior and tiled roof house.

"Wow," Élise adored John and Melissa's house. "I can't believe that in all the time we've been in Las Vegas in the past three years, we have never been to their place?"

Reid shook his shoulders and figured, "Maybe because we're always at Aunt Ethel and Uncle Gordon's place?"

"True," Élise agreed as they knocked on the front door three times. 'Still, it's a nice house."

The front door opened, and John immediately had a grin on his face. "Hey-hey-hey!" He allowed them to enter the house.

The living room was a cream shade wall color, porcelain tile flooring, modest and minimum wall, and floral decorations, a light color striped rug, different shades of brown and cream furniture, a rectangular mirror above a small dark wooden piano, a ceiling fan—and more through the first floor, and an old-fashion light blue bookshelf.

Up the two-three steps led to an eating area across the L-shaped staircase that overlooked there and the living room. A mini-chandelier was above the circular wooden table with six chairs, an arched tinted window with gray curtains, a rug, and a wooden sideboard cabinet.

The kitchen had brown wood cabinets and granite countertops, stainless appliances, teardrop-shaped chandeliers above the mini-island, and a breakfast nook to the side. Across from the kitchen were the hardwood floored and silver color furniture and rug family room with the custom-built entertainment center and a large fireplace.

"Such a nice place you got here, John," Élise said as they came back to the living room.

John placed his hands in his pocket, "Well, thank you. I helped give the house a little fixing after we bought it."

"Uncle Spen!" Sabrina made her way down the carpeted stairs and ran to hug him.

Reid squatted and opened his arms out before he hugged her. "Brina!" He pulled back and observed his second cousin, "Have you been growing?"

Sabrina giggled as she hugged Élise and Séraphine before running into her father.

"Hey, you guys!" Melissa carefully descended the stairs and waved to everyone, holding onto the railing.

Élise's jaw dropped, "Oh my…Melissa" Squealing, she hugged her. Pulling back, Élise took note of her outfit. An embroidered sage dress with white slippers, her red-gold hair pulled back from her face and in a loose ponytail, natural makeup and made her emerald green eyes pop out. "You're glowing."

Melissa colored to a light red. "Oh, thanks, Élise."

"So, how's the pregnancy?"

Melissa looked down at her belly, "It's not my first rodeo being at 24 weeks. I swear, our boy was kicking up a storm yesterday."

Élise and Reid gasped, "You're having a boy?"

"Mmm-hmm." Melissa bit her tongue and shook her head ecstatically.

Élise hugged her again, "No way. We're expecting a boy as well."

John chuckled, "Congrats, you two. We gotta keep the Carney name alive." John flexed his muscle and winked, making Melissa and Sabrina giggle.


Reid and John played with Séraphine and Sabrina in the family room while Élise and Melissa baked in the kitchen.

Melissa explained that the cupcakes she offered to bake were for a major joint fundraising event for Easter Sunday involving all the churches in the Las Vegas area. Melissa's on the team that offered to do cupcakes, and she's doing carrot cake, vanilla, and chocolate cupcakes; Melissa already got the carrot cake cupcakes down.

"I think it's an amazing idea for all the churches in the Las Vegas area to come together for this." Élise began stirring the big batter for vanilla cupcakes.

"It's always noble to help out, yeah," Melissa agreed as she stirred the batter for chocolate cupcakes. "Some are even making big dinners for those in need, from the homeless to those with financial difficulties. I'm grateful every day."

Élise shook her head, "Yeah, I know the feeling." She sympathized with the homeless and financially difficult families. She and her family grew up not having much and strived to get out from that and build a bigger life for herself and her family.

Reid and John looked up from the work the ladies were doing and asked, "Need any help?"

"Taste the batter since we can't?" Élise pouted her mouth and batted her eyes, same with Melissa. The men took the girls into the kitchen, were given tasting spoons, and tasted the batters.

Reid smacked his lips, "Good."

"Mmm," John licked the corner of his mouth for any leftover vanilla residue and tried to take another spoonful.

"No-no-no," Melissa used her manicured hand to slap John's hand playfully. "Only once."

Within the next hour, Reid, John, Séraphine, and Sabrina helped line the cupcake pans with Easter-themed liners, gently poured the batter into them, and baked to perfection. They each had one before putting them in giant white boxes.

Pizza was ordered for lunch before Reid, Élise, and Séraphine bid farewell to John, Melissa, and Sabrina.


"Spencer!" Ethel's eyes widened, and her gaped jaw turned into a smile at first sight of them stepping out of their car and up the pathway. She breathed as she embraced him. Tugging back and petting his face, "Oh, thank you, Lord, for having Spencer keeping his hair short."

Reid chuckled to himself.

Ethel turned her attention to Élise and Séraphine. "Hi, girls!"

"Hi, Ethie!" Séraphine gabbed.

Ethel couldn't help but squeal and jumped up and down. "She called me Auntie!"

"Actually, she said…" Reid tried to correct Ethel, but the lower eye glare was enough for him not to correct her. "Auntie!" He plastered a smile on his face when he entered the house last after allowing Élise and Séraphine to go first.

"Mmm-hmm." Ethel pursed his mouth and closed the door behind her.

Élise sniffed the air and declared, "Are you making?" She asked as they walked into the kitchen; she saw Anna and Nathan there.

"Heeey!" Anna wiped her hands with a clean white cloth before giving each of them a hug. "How are you doing?"

"We're good," Reid answered before asking, "Are you guys making something?"

"We're making cookies for Easter Sunday," Anna answered as she carefully pulled out a large batch of Easter symbol-shaped cookies.

Élise remembered what Melissa had told her. "The major joint fundraising event for Easter Sunday involving all the churches in the Las Vegas area?"

"Yeah," Nathan pulled out a large batch of oatmeal raisin cookies. "I offered to do oatmeal raisin, shortbread, and Shrewsbury cake; I'm using my family's recipes."

"And I'm making sugar, lemon, and chocolate using our Easter-shaped cookie cutters." Anna continued before she kissed Nathan's cheek.

Reid and Élise offered their assistance, "Can we help?"

"Absolutely." Anna and Nathan simultaneously said.

Reid and Élise spent the next hour helping Anna and Nathan with the cookies while Ethel and Gordon looked after Séraphine and made sure she had her nap.


They stayed for dinner before heading back to William's place and got a good night's rest for Easter Sunday.


After the family devoured cinnamon buns, hashbrowns, waffles, and pancakes for brunch, they got ready for Easter Sunday church services.

Reid looked at himself in the floor-length mirror, trying to adjust his tie. He turned when he heard the guest bathroom open and close.

Élise was dressed in a pastel floral wrap dress and slingback flats. Her hair was a bit fluffed and away from her face, allowing her to show off her new gold studded earrings.

"Oh, you look so good, my love."

Élise smiled cheekily before kissing Reid's lips. "And you look good yourself, sweet brain."

Reid was in a soft lavender button-down shirt, linen pants and sport coat, and wingtips.

Someone knocked on their guest bedroom door three times.

"Is everyone decent?" William asked.

Reid and Élise broke out into giggled, "Yes."

He opened the door—he was dressed in a seersucker suit—and carried Séraphine, who wore a pink dress and bloomer with flats and pretty little bows in her curly hair.

"Oh, don't you look so adorable!" Élise smiled.

"Tank yoo." Séraphine blushed.


Reid, Élise, Séraphine, and William met with Ethel, Gordon, Great Uncle Roger, John, Melissa, Sabrina, Anna, and Nathan outside the church. Soon, they met Nathan's parents, Doctors Nigel and Jee-Yoon McGee, his younger brother Oliver, twin sister Amelia and fiancé Noah Pham, and younger sister Grace for the special Easter church services and music candlelight, flowers, and the ringing of the church bells. They helped out by giving away their decorated baked goods and hot foods to the homeless, financially difficult families.


After the three-hour services, everyone retreated to the ranch; Élise, Séraphine, Melissa, and Sabrina had just woken up from their hour naps when Ethel grabbed everyone's attention.

"Hello again, everyone!" Ethel yelled. "And welcome back to the annual Easter Egg Hunt Extravaganza! Now, before we get started, does everyone have their baskets?"

Everyone held their wicker baskets in the air.

Ethel gave them the thumbs up. "Great! I know this month starts the snake season when they're active, but don't you worry. I took care of those sneaky creatures and snake-proofed everywhere. So you can all take a breath."

Everyone, especially the parents, sighed in relief.

"Good! Now, a few ground rules: don't play dirty, don't cheat, and make sure you stay in your groups. Remember, I have my eyes on you." Ethel squinted when she leaned forward and pointed her beasty eyes. "But more importantly…HAVE FUN!" Ethel pumped her fist in the air and cheered with the crowd. "Are you ready?"

"Yes!" The crowd said in unison.

"On your mark…get set…GO!"

Once Gordon blew the silver whistle, everyone got Easter egg hunting for the next hour, with a brief appearance from the Easter Bunny with Roger in the group.


Everyone gathered in the living room. One by one, groups have presented their various findings from coins to dollar bills, from different candies to mini snack bags, from toys to tiny accessories.

Anna and Nathan were the last to present and crack open their eggs. One by one, dollar bills, jellybeans, coins, confetti.

"Okay," Anna began cleaning up the fillers on the coffee tables. "I think that was it."

"Well, actually…" Nathan dug into his sport coat pocket and pulled out a green Easter egg with gold color embroidery.

"Yay! Another egg!" Anna opened the egg, and a ring landed on the table.

While the room was utterly silenced, everyone's facial expressions ranged from already enlarged eyes, opened mouths, raised eyebrows. And so many thoughts and questions were running through their minds.

Nathan broke the silence by nervously clearing his throat, jugging the rest of his water glass, and gulping. He licked his lips and cleared his throat again, "I, uh," He chuckled nervously. "Uh…" He didn't know what to say, so instead…

Nathan picked up the ring, took Anna's hand, and got down on one knee.

"Oh my God," Ethel had her hands over her mouth.

Élise whispered in Reid's ear, "Is he…"

Nathan flashed the ring and sighed, "Anna Delilah Carney. I've never met a woman so ambitious, amazing, beautiful, and wonderful as you in my years of living on the Earth. And now, I want you to be mine forever."

He slipped the ring onto her finger and placed his other hand over hers.

"Will you marry me?"

Anna kept opening and closing her mouth before she suddenly burst into tears, covered her face with her. She sniffed and giggled.

"Yes." She immediately began kissing Nathan. "Yes! Dr. Nathan Ji-Hun McGee, I want to be your wife!"

The room exploded in cheers; now, everyone began offering their congratulations to Anna and Nathan and wanted to see the engagement.


Now, everyone gathered for Easter Sunday dinner.

Soon, Dr. Nigel rose and used a small silver spoon to tap his water glass, getting everyone's attention.

"I shall like to propose a toast," Dr. Nigel waved his glass to Anna and Nathan, who were holding their hands and smiled. "To my son, Nathan, and my soon-to-be daughter-in-law, Anna."

"Anna and Nathan." Everyone toasted in unison.

Ethel took a sip and asked, "If I may ask, Nathan, what kind of ring is that?"

"It's a Claddagh ring," Nathan explained. "Originated in Ireland and going back to the 17th century, it's a representation of the heart meaning love, the crown meaning loyalty, and the hands meaning friendship. And it's made from Irish gold, which is quite rare and prized. I pointed the heart of the ring towards Anna's fingertips, meaning we are now engaged."

"I'm so happy for you," Dr. Jee-Yoon smiled and held onto her husband's hand. "Your father gave me a Claddagh ring when we first got engaged, and look where we are now."

Dr. Nigel smiled, kissing his wife's soft palm. "And we're still going on strong. We're here with our four amazing adult children and two more we are looking forward to joining the family."

"Well," Gordon fixed his tie and stood. "I would like to say thank you, Nathan, for asking for our permission."

Ethel rose, "Lord knows what would have happened if you didn't. But other than that, congrats to the happy couple!" Ethel ended the sentence with a smile.

Reid and Élise toasted to Anna and Nathan's engagement. "Amen."

"Amen!"

Chapter Text


Élise began waking up; she blinked her eyes a few times before she widened them open. She yawned as she rose and began to stretch, especially her back. She took out her black silk wrap and slightly took her hair out.

Someone knocked on the bedroom door a few times before they opened it.

"Good morning, my love."

Reid walked in happily with a breakfast tray and gently set it down on Élise's lap.

"Good morning, penguin." Élise puckered up for Reid to kiss her and smiled when he left a peck. She looked down at her breakfast tray. "Ooh! What do we have here?"

One by one, Reid lifted a steel silver cover. "A leafy green and cruciferous vegetable salad with quinoa, seeds, sugar-free Greek yogurt with chia seeds and berries, and a 17 ounces glass of fortified orange juice. A high-fiber, Vitamin K and C, Iron, and Calcium-rich breakfast."

"Yummy." Élise rubbed her hands before looking down at her almost 29 weeks belly. "You're always in for a meal fit for a King, my son."

Reid adjusted the plates for her and said, "You slept on your left side?" Reid ran his fingers through her hair.

"Absolutely," Élise answered. "I still remember that sleeping on the left side is the best position to sleep during the third trimester."

"Mama!" Séraphine dashed into the room with Opal behind her.

Élise giggled as Reid lifted Séraphine and placed beside Élise on the bed. "How are you this morning, my good girl?"

"Gah!" Séraphine prattled.

Élise placed her arm around her and asked, "Did you help daddy make this breakfast for me?"

"Yea!" Séraphine giggled.

"Oh," Élise was touched by the gesture and kissed Séraphine's head. "Mommy loves you so much." She lightly patted her belly. "And so does your little brother."

"Lav ya, bro." Séraphine gabbed as she talked to her mother's belly.

Reid chuckled as he walked over to the other bedside and picked up Séraphine. "Come on, you. Let's have mommy have her breakfast."

"By, mama!" Séraphine flapped to Élise.

Élise waved back to her and began enjoying her breakfast while researching what to wear for Anna and Nathan's upcoming wedding.


Élise spent the rest of the morning and half of the afternoon in bed catching up on some paperwork.

The same with Reid. He spent some time catching up on his work in his office while researching the potential baby names he and Élise want to name their unborn son.


Now, they were getting ready for the upcoming baby shower in the next few minutes.

Élise walked out of the bedroom bathroom, dressed in a scarlet red floral wrap dress and her favorite white Chanel flats.

Reid was casually dressed in a short-sleeve polo shirt, khakis, and Converses.

"Oh," Élise could feel her knees getting weak, and she knew for a fact that it wasn't her pregnancy symptoms and blushed like a fresh flower blooming. "I love seeing you in short sleeves." Élise pitched Reid's toned biceps. "Oh. Those exercises you're doing with me…ooh-la-la."

Reid flexed his biceps. "Why, thank you. Of course, I had some help from you."

Élise licked her teeth and giggled before pecking his lips. She looked at her phone. "Oh! We better get going." Élise grabbed Reid by his waist and pulled him out of the bedroom to the great room, where they saw Séraphine playing with Opal and Rose set up the room with snacks and games for the baby shower.

"Ooh, I can't wait for this baby shower," Élise helped herself to a small and rectangular-shaped cream cheese and cucumber tea sandwich. "Even though this is not our first rodeo having a baby shower."

Rose placed the two diaper cakes, the edible and nonedible cakes, in the center of the room. "I love baby showers."


The guests: from the team and their family members to Élise's associates, Bobby, Maeve, and BJ, arrived for the baby shower.

An hour passed, and they had snacks, chatted, and played games such as baby food taste test, do-it-yourself baby onesies, name the song Élise was playing on her belly.


Now it was time for the gifts, and so far, from their families in Las Vegas and New Jersey, Reid and Élise received blankets, books, toys including Sophie the Giraffe, an instant pot bundle, gift cards.

"Oh, what a big gift!" Reid and Élise are handed a giant gift basket containing baby care products.

"Certified organic and natural ingredients," Garcia explained her gift cheerfully. "Not to mention it's non-toxic-and-GMO, cruelty-, gluten-, dairy-, and soy-free, vegan-and-eco-friendly, including the materials and recyclable plastic-free packaging."

Élise laughed, "You're such an angel, Lady G."

Garcia made a halo with her hands and smiled to herself.

"That's my baby girl," Morgan gave Garcia a peck before presenting his gift.

Reid nodded his head in gratitude and took a look at the blue wicker basket Morgan had just given him. "Mmm. Personalized sleeping masks. Exfoliation scrubs. Healing boxes. And…" Reid grimaced his face when he picked a large bottle. "Non-alcoholic wine."

Morgan lifted his shoulders and smirked. "It's the thought that counts."

Élise coxed the bottle from Reid's hand and said, "Aw. Well, that's so sweet, Derek."

"You can use it tonight," Morgan began laughing.


After the baby shower, the Bastien-Reid family cooked and ate whole-grain pasta with a leafy salad, nuts and seeds, and gelato for dinner.

Everyone got ready for bed.


Reid looked at his cell phone, only to see a text message alert from Hotch. He clicked on the text message.

WE NEED TO GET TO CHICAGO TO HELP MORGAN; HE HAS A CASE FOR US THERE INVOLVING HIS FAMILY. MORE WILL BE EXPLAINED ON THE WAY.

Reid put his cell phone away in his pants pocket. He saw Élise walking out of the bedroom. She was dressed in her favorite black turtleneck maternity dress and boots. Élise rolled out her Goyard luggage and had her phone in her other hand. "Going somewhere?" Reid asked.

"An associate in Chicago asked for my help," Élise explained before flirtatiously asking him. "Might if Séraphine and I join you guys on the plane?"

Reid snickered and pecked Élise's lips, "Of course."

Élise looked at her phone and suggested, "Want to get Séraphine ready?"

"Let's go do that."


After Reid and Élise woke up Séraphine, they made her breakfast, got her dressed and her bag packed.


Locking the house up, they dropped off Opal at Rose's place and drove to the airport where they met up with the team and boarded onto the jet to Chicago.


On the way to Chicago, while Élise and Séraphine sat away from everyone else, the team discussed a personal case for Morgan.

His cousin, Cindi, was forced to flee Chicago eight years ago due to a stalker, John Hitchens. She was never heard again after contacting her family from Charleston. Two weeks later, Hitchens committed suicide, but his body was never found.

His sister, Desiree, was in a car accident after seeing her with an unidentified driver.

Now the team has to look deeper into Hitchens' suicide and Cindi's disappearance.


After flying, Reid and Élise made a quick stop. They knocked on the front door a few times and waited for someone to open it. They finally did.

"Dr. Reid?"

Reid waved. "Hello again, Sarah."

"Sarah?" Sarah was a bit taken aback by Reid's arrival that she barely overheard someone calling for her. "Who's at the door?" Her jaw dropped, and her eyes broadened. "Dr. Reid?"

Reid waved again. "Hello again, Mrs. Morgan."

Mrs. Morgan nodded her head, and her mouth was still opening, trying to get the words out. "Wow." She barely got that word out but still kept on trying to talk. "It's been five years."

"Mmm. May we come in, please?" Reid asked politely.

Mrs. Morgan and Sarah made room and allowed them inside the apartment; Reid presented small flower bouquets to the ladies. "These are you. And sorry to hear about Desiree."

Mrs. Morgan melted, "Oh, thank you so much." Her eyes immediately darted Séraphine holding Élise's hand. "Oh! And who is this little cutie? And this pretty lady?"

"This little charmer is Séraphine." Reid patted her head. "Say hi to these nice ladies, Séraphine."

Séraphine flapped her hand, "Hi."

Reid chuckled before introducing Élise to Mrs. Morgan and Sarah. "And this is my wife, Élise Bastien."

Élise shook their hands. "Nice to meet you, ladies."

"Pleasure to meet you as well. And congrats on the pregnancy." Sarah smiled. "Boy or girl?"

"Boy."

"I remember when we met you the first time," Sarah had a flashback of a young mid-twenties Reid wearing browline glasses and eating a big slice of her mother's birthday cake. He even blushed when she told him Morgan talked about him to them. "And look at you now."

"I bet he was a real cutie," Élise squealed and pinched his cheeks, making his giggle. She cleared her throat, and her tone became serious. "We came back to help out Derek, and I have to help out an associate here."

"Oh," Mrs. Morgan fiddled with her fingers. "Well…I guess you'll need someone to watch this cute little girl while you two have to work, huh?"

Reid and Élise knew Mrs. Morgan was being coy and wanted to watch Séraphine. "May you?"

Mrs. Morgan looked away and blushed. "I'd be delighted."

Élise cupped her hands together and rushed to hug Mrs. Morgan and Sarah. "Oh, thank you so much, Mrs. Morgan."


While Élise headed to the Chicago FBI office, Reid headed to the Chicago P.D. and helped the team.

Hotch had Reid and Prentiss look at Hitchens' photographic background while JJ and Rossi went to the gun dealer who sold the gun Hitchens used to kill himself.


The team got a name.

Malcolm Ford.

They figured out Malcolm was Cindi's real stalker, especially with the evidence of assault and harassment charges and credit card purchases for black and photographic equipment to back it up.

They also concluded Malcolm killed Hitchens and set up his death as suicide.


Garcia set the team his address, and Morgan, Reid, JJ, and Detective Palmer made their way to his house.

Only he wasn't there.

But a woman also lived here, thinking it was Cindi.

And found burnt documents.


"Thank you again for helping me with this case," Donna Wilson expressed her gratitude. "I knew he crossed stateliness from Illinois to Virginia; I had to call you." She began organizing the files Élise gave her a criminal crossing stateliness.

Élise replied, pulling out her cell phone. "You know I'm always eager to help, especially when a criminal crosses stateliness. Plus, I always wanted to see Chicago, so…" Sighing. "I better make use of my time flying before the end of my pregnancy."

"You have a phone call to make?" Donna packed her briefcase.

Élise nodded her head, "Yeah. Sorry, excuse me." She walked out of Donna's office and quickly found a bathroom. Locking herself in one of the clean stalls, she pressed the phone to her ear.

The caller answered after the second ring. "Hello?"

"Hi, Mrs. Morgan," replied Élise with a smile. "How's everything?"

Mrs. Morgan giggled. "Séraphine's taking my mind off of what's happening with Desiree. She's a wonderful joy. She's napping right now."

"Is she behaving herself?" Élise asked.

Mrs. Morgan assured Élise. "Oh, she's an absolute angel."

"Well, okay. I just wanted to see how everything was." Élise reassured Mrs. Morgan back.


They were still at the house. Reid immediately knew Morgan was containing his rage and anger he would give Malcolm when he saw him for the first time, especially when Detective Palmer found a headbox.

But Reid knew they needed to deliver the profile after finding chilling but vital evidence of what Malcolm was doing to Cindi.


While Morgan talked to his Aunt Yvonne, the team delivered the profile to the Chicago P.D. about Malcolm Ford, Cindi possibly being a Stockholm Syndrome victim, and The Company ring.

And the burnt documentation that they found was a slave contract.


"Hello?"

Reid whispered happily, "Hello, my love." He needed to hear from her. "How are you?"

"I'm good, love." Élise giggled, "How's the case?"

"Let's just say I definitely do not want to be this unsub when Morgan finally gets his hands on him," said Reid with amusement. "According to Rossi, the unsub, Malcolm Ford, grinned like a Cheshire cat, and Morgan would have killed him and blow his brains out right on the spot and not give a damn." Reid covered his mouth when he realized he swore. "Sorry."

"Oh, you're so cute." Élise giggled again. "And as much as I love to watch that beatdown and give this unsub a piece of my mind, I'm going to go pick up Fifi from Mama Morgan's place after I finish up and head to our hotel. I booked us a luxury residence at the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago. Did you know they filmed the pool scene there in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York?"

Reid giggled and fanned himself to get rid of the light red blush on his face. "Maybe we can stay in Chicago for a couple of days after this case?"

"I think that would be a great idea."

Reid agreed before he looked over his shoulder. "I better get back. I love you and Fifi."

"We love you, too."


Reid and Prentiss tried to question Cindi—who really is alive—with her attorney she retained on Malcolm Ford's behalf, Larry Stiles, but to no avail.


After that, Reid, Prentiss, and JJ stared—and profiled—Malcolm and Cindi; how they hugged and even kissed.

Morgan continued thinking back to how Cindi stole a microwavable cup of Chef Boyardee and cooked dinner for "him."

They concluded that "him" was actually the child Malcolm and Cindi have together, but Malcolm uses the child to keep Cindi in line.


"Mama!" Séraphine's eyes beamed Élise when she first saw Élise enter the apartment.

Élise's mouth formed a grin, and she waved back, making her way to the small dining table in the corner. "Hey. How was mommy's little angel?"

"She was a good girl." Mrs. Morgan answered for her with a smile. "And you're just in time for dessert." She steadily placed the silver tray on the table. "Peace cobbler."

Élise took a seat, "Ooh. I love me some peach cobbler."

The three sat down and enjoyed the peach cobbler; Élise talked about how Morgan's doing back in D.C. while Fran told some childhood stories about him.


"And…ta-da!" Reid performed some magic card tricks to the children Morgan and Prentiss found when they raided the cabin. The children applauded just before some social workers came and entered the room, hoping to help however they could.

Reid excused himself and left the room before he ran into Hotch.

"Hotch." Reid was startled a bit.

Hotch shook his head. "Hey, Reid."

Reid scratched the back of his head. "Would you mind if I stay behind in Chicago? Élise insisted on staying a few days."

"Okay." Hotch accepted the offer before looking at Morgan and Garcia comforting each other after watching Cindi reunite with her family.


Arriving at the cool-color luxury residence, Reid closed the door behind him. He sprayed himself with a mini-can of Lysol and made his way to where Séraphine was sleeping in the hotel crib.

Reid watched her for twenty-seven seconds, caressing her cheeks and hair before leaving a kiss on her forehead. "Daddy loves you."

Reid walked to the bedroom suite, and Élise gently slept on her side. He wandered to her bedside and left a kiss on her forehead. Reid took a shower, changed into a purple pajama set, and crawled into bed, cuddling Élise and her belly from behind her.


"Dada!"

"Oh, my pretty princess." Reid squatted and spread his arms out when he saw Séraphine wobbled her way toward him. Hugging her with all his might. "Were you a good girl for Mrs. Morgan yesterday?"

Élise answered, taking a silver-covered foil tray out of the stainless refrigerator, placing it on the wooden four-seated rectangular table, and cutting a piece for Reid. "Oh, she was an angel."

Reid sniffed and asked, "What's that?"

"Mama Morgan's peach cobbler." Élise gave Reid a piece. "So…I missed quite a show yesterday, huh? And a loving reunion."

"Prentiss and JJ gave the unsub a little taste of his own medicine," said Reid as he picked up his fork. "And Morgan reunited his cousin Cindi with her family."

Élise giggled as she cut herself a piece, "Well, considering how Malcolm Ford crossed state lines to kidnap Cindi, committed federal stalking, and child endangerment. I'll make sure my associates here will prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law."

"You can do the same for the lawyer who knew where the children were kept?" Reid asked.

"Don't insult me, my love," Élise pecked his lips before she cut a tiny piece for Séraphine.

Reid kissed her back. "I can never insult you. Plus, I asked Hotch if I could stay behind, and he said yes."

"It's always good to take your mind off work," Élise reminded him. "Especially after what happened."

"When our boy is born, I want to take time off." Reid proposed.

Élise caressed his cheek, "Of course, penguin. I love you so much."

Séraphine babbled with a mouthful of peach cobbler, "I lav yoo to, mama n dada."

Reid and Élise kissed Séraphine's cheek before helping themselves to some of Mrs. Morgan's peach cobbler.


After Séraphine had her nap, the family strolled around Chicago, visiting museums and landmarks, shopped around The Magnificent Mile, and ate at a couple of well-known restaurants.

Chapter Text


After having breakfast, Reid walked into the room while he was carrying Séraphine in his arms. Élise just finished packing the last of her luggage, and Reid asked, "Ready to go back home?"

"Am I ever," Élise rubbed her belly before she shuffled her way, tickled Séraphine's cheeks, and asked her, "Are you ready to go home, Fifi?"

"Yea!" Séraphine babbled.

"Oh! Chicago is such a wonderful city to explore." Élise said, zipping her luggage. "Hope we get to come back someday."

Reid asked with a smirk, "And have more of Mrs. Morgan's peach cobbler?"

Élise smoothed her belly, and her mouth was already watering by its taste, "Oh, that was so good. I wish I could have more, but I don't want to be greedy."

Reid chuckled before he looked at his watch, "Ooh! We don't want to miss our flight."

Reid gave Séraphine to Élise and had some of the bellhops carry their luggage to the service car to Midway Airport.


The family landed in the afternoon and arrived at Reagans after their nearly hour and a half flight back to D.C.

"Rose!"

Rose's eyes lit and allowed the family inside her apartment. "It's so fresh in here." The family took quick notice of the cool color palette apartment. It was spotless, from the stainless kitchen to the small living room.

Rose closed the door behind her and said, "Just got a fresh paint job."

Élise saw Opal making her way those the family and began petting Élise's belly. Élise stroked her fingers through her fur, "Oh, Opie. You missed us terribly while we were gone again, huh?"

Opal growled again.

Reid asked Rose, "Was Opal a good girl?"

"She was an angel," Rose praised.

"That's good because we got her a new toy." Reid rummaged through his satchel and pulled a Chicago Cubs hotdog-shaped toy. Opal grabbed the toy from Reid's open hand with her teeth and immediately began squeaking it.

"Oh, she's enjoying herself." Élise smiled. "And we even got more for you at home, okay?"


After arriving home and having a quick lunch, Reid and Élise settled Séraphine down for her nap.


"We have everything needed for the hospital?" Élise asked as she got back into bed, massaging her belly and going over the list needed for the hospital bag. "This is not our first rodeo, but I want to be absolutely sure."

From memory—as usual, Reid recited, "Documents from the birth plan, IDs, health insurance and registration forms. Backup cash and change. Smartphone and charger. Books, toys, toiletries, clothes, and soft pillows. And snacks and fat-and-sugar free candy."

"And the car seat my mom gave us?" Élise questioned him about the baby's car seat.

Reid politely corrected her, "Aunt Ethel gave us the car seat."

"Oh, yeah, she did." Élise nodded her head and wrinkled her nose, now remembering Ethel did give them the car seat. "Oh, my head."

Reid cuddled closer to Élise. "A good night's sleep is what you need for tomorrow."

"Oh, the things I would like to do to you if our boy wasn't listening in," Élise whispered.


"Mama!" Séraphine raised her arms and giggled breathy at the sight of seeing Élise walk in.

Élise covered her mouth as she yawned with her closed fist and patted Séraphine's hair. "How are you, my fiery Fifi?"

"My 30 weeks Wonder Woman," Reid had just finished cooking up some eggs before settling them on a clean white plate. A dark green vegetable salad with grilled chicken and eggs, sugar-free Greek yogurt with seeds, nuts, and berries, and two 8 ounces glasses of fortified orange juice and water were on the plate. "Here's your breakfast."

Élise kissed his lips as he set her breakfast plate down. "You're so good to me."

"Need your strength," Reid set up his breakfast plate.

Élise joked after she took two bites of her yogurt, "You sound like Aunt Ethel."

"Yeah," Reid cleared his throat. He waved his spatula in Élise's face and pulled off his best Aunt Ethel impersonation. "You need your strength since you're carrying my great-nephew. You're going to eat, and you're going to like it, little missy. And you don't want to see me when I get mad."

Everyone broke out into laughs before Reid's cell phone began ringing. He answered it, "Good morning."

"Are you sassing me, young man?"

Reid pulled his phone away from his ear when he realized Aunt Ethel called him, making Élise and Séraphine giggle.

"It's early in the morning in Las Vegas." Reid reminded her.

"I'm not one to be sassed about, young man," Ethel warned him. "And please, try and keep your hippie-looking hair of yours short."

Reid apologized profoundly, "Yes, ma'am. I understand."

"Good. Good day."

Reid hung up, and Élise began cracking up, clapping her hands. "You didn't tell me Ethel can sense people are sassing her."

"I didn't know that either," Reid was surprised himself before everyone went back and enjoyed their breakfast. Élise offered to tell Reid a funny story about Morgan she heard from his mother.


"Hey, doc," Élise greeted the doctor when she entered the office; Élise was sitting on the sheeted examination table while Reid and Séraphine sat in the nearby chairs. "How's it going?"

"It's always a pleasure seeing you all," Dr. Patterson said with a broad smile. "How are you feeling, Élise?"

Élise pointed to her belly, "I want to see my boy yesterday, doc."

Reid cocked his head and wrinkled his nose, "That is chronically and spatially impossible that you want to see our boy yesterday…"

"I want to see our boy now," Élise explained.

"Oh," Reid got it.

Dr. Patterson tapped Élise's shoulders and sympathized, "You have ten more weeks until you see your boy."

Reid presented them a fact, "Actually, did you know that in four million babies are born in the US? And in Vietnam, potty training starts at birth, and by the time they're nine months, they're mostly potty-trained?"

"I did not know that," said Dr. Patterson with surprisingly amazed. Getting down to business as usual, she asked Élise again, "Have you been counting your fetal kicks?"

Élise answered, "Twice a day—once in the morning and once in the evening. And let me tell you, I swear this boy's going to be a martial artist."

Dr. Patterson chuckled at Élise's comment. "Which is a good thing, meaning he's a healthy boy." Clearing her throat before asking her, "Have you been feeling any heartburn?"

"A little bit yesterday, but other than that, nothing serious," said Élise. "Eating small meals and lie down after an hour, though I have been craving for greasy foods."

"And your exercises?" Dr. Patterson wrote on her clipboard.

Élise listed some of the exercises she's been doing, "From walking to swimming, a little bit of yoga and Pilates, including the butterfly stretch, pelvic tilt, squats, and Kegel exercises.

"Fifi and I have been doing these exercises," Reid bounced Séraphine on his knees as he smoothed her hair and asked her, "Haven't we?"

"Yea!" Séraphine gabbled.

Dr. Patterson giggled when she placed her clipboard on her leather stool and put on her stethoscope. "Time for us to listen to your boy's heartbeat."

Élise lifted her striped cotton top and let Dr. Patterson listen to her unborn son's heartbeat. "Oh. You're right; he is a martial artist."

Polite giggled enlightened the small room. Soon Élise relaxed comfortably on her back as Dr. Patterson continued. Soon, Dr. Patterson finished and unplugged her ears. "Fetal heart rate's normal." Dr. Patterson jolted what she needed on her clipboard again. Afterward, she took Élise's weight and blood pressure, examined her for swelling, and measured her fundal height.

Soon Élise provided Dr. Patterson with a urine sample before she set up the ultrasound machines.


"Oh!" Élise could barely contain her excitement for the new sonogram photographs. "Look at our boy! He's getting so big and so strong and so…eep!"

"I think I see a hint of a smile," Reid pointed to his unborn son's face. "And look at his pouty lips and tiny nose. He's going to look very much like this when's born."

Dr. Patterson asked, "Don't he look cute, Séraphine?"

Séraphine scowled, "Yack."

The adults laughed as Élise safely put the sonogram pictures away in her handbags.

Dr. Patterson advised everyone, "Stay safe, and I'll see you again in two weeks." Now focusing on Élise. "And Élise. Make sure you catch up on your sleep, relax and, and take it easy."

"As I said, doc, this is not my first rodeo," replied Élise. "I'll be as the calm before the storm."


"Okay, Fifi," Reid took from the carpeted floor and walked over to her crib. "It's time to go nappy-nap time."

Séraphine yawned and smacked her lips.

"I love it when you yawn," Reid can never get enough of Séraphine yawning and licking her lips. Kissing her forehead. "I'll see you in an hour and thirty minutes, okay?"

Reid blew her a kiss when he closed her door.

"SPENCER!"

Reid jumped when he heard Élise yell for him, sprinting to get to her. Closing the bedroom behind him, he turned around to see Élise with her mouth pouted and her eyes lowered with her hands crossed across her chest.

Before Élise could say anything, "I just put Fifi down for her morning nap." Reid said before using his index finger and placing it over his lips.

Élise's face softened, and her eyes began to moisten. "Oh, I'm sorry, my love."

"Oh, it's okay, Lise." Reid rushed to her bedside, comforted her, and showered her with kisses and hugs. "It's okay; it's just your mood swings, the hormones…"

"I feel awful for yelling at you like that. I didn't…" She cried.

"It's okay," Holding up her face, he smooched her forehead numerous times and pressed his forehead against her. "It's okay."


"Mmm…" Élise was at ease as she and Maeve were at Perfect Harmony Salon and Spa, having their own girl's day out. Right now, they were getting prenatal massages. "I love going to a spa. So much has been happening during this second pregnancy, and being here really helps detoxes it."

"Personally, I was never a person who went to a salon and spa same here," said Maeve as she was getting her massage done. "It just wasn't my style, but now I like coming here."

"Same here," Élise sighed. "Plus, there are many benefits to coming to a spa: they improve circulation, blood pressure, mood, self-esteem, and confidence. Plus, it's never wrong to take care of yourself."

"Oh, absolutely." Maeve agreed before asking the spa workers. "Do you ladies agree?"

The ladies agreed as they tended to Élise and Maeve.

"I once read that getting a massage allows the body to detox, gives you energy, and release Serotonin at the same time," said Élise.

Maeve replied, "Yeah, I know. They can take you to another place."

After another ten minutes, their massages were done, and they were now on their way to get facials.

"I wonder how Spencer and Bobby are handling Fifi and BJ?" Élise wondered.

Maeve guessed, "I'm sure they're doing something safe and clean."


"That's good, Fifi!" Reid helped Séraphine place some of the white rice halfway in one of Reid's old socks. "Now, let's tie this up." Reid tied the sock for her,

Bobby helped BJ fill some of his old socks with brown rice and knot. "Here we go, boy-o! You like it?"

BJ cried, "Yea!"

Reid kissed Séraphine after he finished tying the last of his sock and asked her, "Do you like it? Think you did good?"

"Yea!" Séraphine clapped her hands.

"Are you ready for the big bean bag toss?" Bobby placed his hands around his mouth, imitating a loudspeaker.

Reid mimicked a megaphone with his hands, "Indeed we are."

Reid and Bobby gathered their children together and stood a few feet away from the old cardboard box the two men made when the children napped. They used clear tape and old leftover paper wrap.

"Here we go," Bobby helped BJ toss the bean bag, and it almost landed in the square-cut hole. "Ooh!"

"So close." Reid snapped his fingers and placed his hands on his hip before helping Séraphine toss her bean bag. "Yea!" He picked her up and smooched her face. "We did it! We did it!" He did a little dance with her, and they started giggling.

"Oh, stop," A jealous Bobby said. "It's only the first round."

"We'll see about that," Reid replied with a bit of cockiness.

They played for the next hour until they went back inside the Putman house and made drinks and snacks for the kids.


"Here you go, sweetheart," Reid gave Séraphine her small plate of berries and orange juice.

Séraphine babbled, "Tank yoo, dada."

"At least we ended in a tie," Bobby said as he gave BJ his snack, carrot sticks, and cottage cheese. "Enjoy, B."

"Tanks, da." BJ began snacking.

Bobby had just finished pouring Reid a cup of coffee for him and asked him, "So how are you and Élise?"

"We're good," Reid answered coolly as he took a sip. He questioned Bobby back, "And you and Maeve?"

"She hasn't killed me yet, right?" The two guys laughed before Bobby had another sip. "But we're great. We got some great girl outfits from our families." He whispered in Reid's ear. "Maeve and I are thinking about going on a babymoon before our girl's born."

Reid chuckled when he sipped more coffee before everyone heard the front open and close.

"We're home!" Élise cried as she and Maeve had shopping bags in their hands.

Séraphine and BJ jumped out of their seats and ran to hug their mother's legs. "Mama!"

"Hi, darlings!" Maeve petted BJ's hair.

Élise cupped her hands around Séraphine's face and asked her, "Are you having a good time with your daddy and BJ?"

"Yea!" Séraphine babbled.

Reid walked over to Élise's side and kissed her cheek. "We had a great time."

Soon the four of them sat around and chatted for the next thirty minutes before Reid, Élise, and Séraphine headed home.


The family had chicken on a bed of vegetables and whole-grain rice.


"Whoa-whoa-whoa!" Reid rushed to Élise's side when he noticed she almost tripped when trying to get into bed. "I got you. I got you."

Élise began wincing in pain and clutched to her belly as she felt it tighten, "Oh…"

"Is it Braxton Hicks?" Reid predicted.

Élise silently nodded her head yes. "And the clumsiness is back."

Reid rubbed her shoulders and assured Élise, "It's going to be fine. After all…"

Élise finished the sentence for him. "It'll all be worth it when I see my baby boy." She caressed her hands, and he let out of her shoulders as she waddled to the bathroom. "Just promise me something."

"What?"

Élise stood between the doorway and placed her crossed hands over her belly. "If you get me pregnant again within the next year, I'm gonna kick your backside." She smiled. "I love you."


"Oh, I itch so badly." Élise groaned as she moisturized her belly with lotion. "I hate itching so bad."

Reid turned Séraphine away and gave her a stuffed teddy bear and replied, "You're only itching because your skin is stretching; it's completely normal. Unless you're itching on your hand palms and foot soles."

Élise exhaled exhaustingly, "I feel so tired, you know." She let out a moan just as Dr. Patterson walked in.

"Hi, dac," Séraphine fluttered her hand when she said 'hello' to Dr. Patterson.

Dr. Patterson waved back, "Hello, everyone." She turned her hand and recognized Élise when she sat on the sheeted examination table. Her body slumped back, her belly exposed, and she looked defeated.

"Hey, doc," Élise grumbled, massaged her temples with her index and middle fingers. "Oh, doc, this second pregnancy…"

Dr. Patterson acknowledged Élise's new French bob hairstyle. "I love the new hairstyle."

Élise smirked. "Thanks, doc. Love the lob."

"Lob?" Reid cocked his head and crinkled his nose.

Élise explained; she sighed again, her eyes were now closed, and she had her head back, "Long hair in a bob cut."

Dr. Patterson pulled back some of her hair, "You can never go wrong with a new hairstyle." She cleared her throat with some of the bottled water she kept in her cabinet; she offered one to Reid and Élise and asked, "So, how have you been feeling, Élise?"

"Heartburn third times this week, vaginal discharge, leg cramps, swelling all over my body, leaky and darker nipples, nesting instinct." Élise listed the symptoms before using her finger for Dr. Patterson to come closer, and when she did, Élise whispered. "And some seriously weird dreams." She stuttered at the thought of some of those dreams. "But I have been writing them down."

Dr. Patterson explained some of her symptoms, "You already know that vaginal discharge is preparing you to see your son and stops the infection down there. The same with your leaky breasts and darker nipples." She spoke softly in her ear and asked. "Do you take an antacid for the heartburns?"

"No thanks," Élise quickly denied; she thought about Reid's drug addiction. "I just…rather not. I have just been limiting certain foods and eating smaller meals, not slouching, bending, and/or laying after eating, drinking lots of water, relaxing."

Dr. Patterson patted her knees. "Well, just keep on doing that, okay?"

Élise nodded her head before Dr. Patterson set up for a blood pressure checker; Dr. Patterson asked Élise, "Are you keeping track of your baby's movements?"

"Mostly wiggling, squirming, knocks, and nudges," responded Élise.

Reid continued, "The baby kicks are the same as before but at a steady pace."

"Okay." Dr. Patterson began taking Élise's blood pressure. After finishing, she wrote it down, "As always, blood pressure is good. Still exercising?"

"Mostly walking to reduce the leg cramps, back pain, and swelling; the same with some swimming, Pilates, yoga to relax, and pelvic floor exercises," Élise replied.

"Great." Soon, Dr. Patterson did a few tests on Élise before providing a urine sample and relaxed during the ultrasound.


Élise asked Rose if she could come a little earlier than usual to help out, from breakfast to help her look after Séraphine and Opal.

"Oh, God bless you, Rose," Élise sighed in relief when she placed her breakfast of fat-and-sugar-free Greek yogurt with berries and wheat germ, spinach salad with eggs, and orange juice.

"Mmm…" Élise licked her mouth. "I love the fat-and-sugar-free Greek yogurt." She had a bite of the eggs Rose cooked. "This is so good, Rose."

Rose appreciated Élise's gratitude when she set Séraphine's oatmeal bowl in front of her, "Of course, Élise. I used to feed my little sister when she was pregnant with my niece and nephew."

Reid walked into the nook, fixing his tie, "Good morning, everyone."

"Dada!" Séraphine babbled.

Reid kissed the top of Séraphine's head, "Good morning, my snuggle bear." Walking over to the other side and kissed Élise's lips

"Good morning, Dr. Reid," Rose began pouring a coffee cup for him.

Reid took the coffee cup and replied, "Good morning to you, Rose, and thank you." He took a sip. "Mmm. What kind of coffee did you brew?"

Rose answered as she helped herself to a cup, "It's from Ethiopia."

"It's delicious," Reid commented. "Actually, did you know that even though coffee originated from Yemen, Ethiopia is said to be the birthplace for coffee? And that Ethiopians consume the beverage more than any other nationality in Africa?"

"I know, and it's so good." Rose sat between Élise and Séraphine and took another sip. "It's one of my top ten favorite coffee countries."

Reid had another taste and looked at his silver watch, "Oh. I better get going."

Rose filled his mug and gave it to him, "Here you go, sir."

After he thanked Rose, Élise kissed Reid's lips again. She licked her mouth, "Mmm…now I want some Ethiopian coffee."

Reid chuckled before he kissed Séraphine's cheek and was on his way to work.


The team was hanging out in the bullpen; Reid was going through the current case file. Prentiss announced that she might be purchasing a row house in Dupont Circle, making her hesitate.

Soon they headed to the roundtable conference room and discussed Rodney Garrett, a prolific serial killer. He killed twenty-five women before he was caught and incarcerated before his execution.

Now with the news of another murdered woman after Garrett's execution and his M.O. of stabbing a young blonde woman in the heart, the team concluded that the unsub could be a copycat.


Now they were on their way to Enid, Oklahoma, and deliberated on Garrett's background and execution by firing squad instead of lethal injection, the weapon of choice being an icepick, and his last words from A Thousand and One Nights.


Hotch had Reid and JJ go to the latest crime scene while Rossi and Prentiss walked to Garret's widow and he and Morgan to the prison.

They met Detective Childers at the scene of the latest victim, Jodie Armstrong, who led them into her bedroom. Reid was looking through her bedroom with the other police officers when JJ, who closely examined Jodie's bound body, had him come over and looked at her hair before looking through her iPhone.

JJ deduced that given the time the photo was taken, the unsub cut her hair.


After completing her work, Élise rested her head against her pillow for about a few minutes before she heard her bedroom door swing open.

"Mama!" Séraphine babbled as she approached Élise by her bedside. "Mama!"

Rose chuckled as she lifted Séraphine and placed her beside Élise on the bed. "Here you go."

"Did Fifi have a good nap today?" Still feeling a bit sleepy but trying to perk up her voice, Élise asked dazedly as she stroked Séraphine's cheek.

Séraphine cheered, "Yea." She began tapping on Élise's belly and cried, "Hi, brah!"

Élise laughed in amusement, "Hi, little boy." She told Séraphine, "He said 'hi, sis.'" Élise covered her mouth with her palm and reached for some hand sanitizer.

"Wha wong, mama?" Séraphine placed her tiny hand on her cheek.

Élise smacked her mouth, "Mama's tired."

"Come on, Fifi." Rose scooped Séraphine off the bed. "Mama needs her rest."

Élise supposed, "Maybe we can play a little later, okay?"

"KK," Séraphine waved back.

Resting her head again, Élise immediately fell asleep.


The team gathered back to the Oklahoma Police Department and went over the copycat unsub and Garrett's letters to him.

Garcia rang them and concluded that JJ was right about the unsub taking his victim's hair as a trophy and discussed what it could possibly mean since Garrett didn't take trophies and the difference between Garrett and the copycat unsub.


Now the team got word of another victim. Hotch and Reid were now at the scene; the same M.O. only her hair was shaved this time and left no evidence.

They realized the unsub was killing his victim within six hours.


After Prentiss and Rossi talked to Garrett's widow about the letters he got containing his last words, they delivered the profile to the Oklahoma P.D. before advising them on what to do to keep the public, especially the single women, safe and sound.


Reid scratched between his eyes and found a quiet spot in the corner. He reached for his pants pocket and pulled out his cell phone. Placing the phone to his ear and waited for the caller to answer.

After the third ring, the caller answered in a drowsy tone, "Hello?"

"Hi, Lisey," He whispered. "I'm so sorry for having to call you this late on the East Coast."

Élise groaned, "You know I'm used to it." She yawned into the phone. "I'm sorry, babe. I'm just so tired."

"I'll let you get back to sleep," Reid understood. "I just needed to call you and see how everyone's doing."

"Okay. We love you."

"Love you, too."


The police issued a warning curfew, and Enid was a ghost town for the night. Despite this, there was still another victim, Emily Sisk. Not only was she repeatedly stabbed in the torso, but her entire scalp was removed.


Though it was nearly four hours past the copycat unsub's usual killing time, the team figured that he could be giving himself a break or even finished.

But Hotch noted how the first three victims were killed in their homes while the latest victim wasn't. Then Reid made a drawing connected the victims' homes.

But it wasn't until JJ made curves with the three victims' homes.

Now the drawing on the map was in the form of a heart.

Then Hotch placed another made over the current map and founded the connection.

Garrett's widow, Helen.


The team found the unsub, Dylan Kohler, and rescued Helen Garrett.

On the plane ride home, Garcia appeared on the screen and announced to everyone that Prentiss was now the new owner of the Dupont house.

Soon the conversation turned to dreams and serial killer groupies before wondering about Helen and Dylan.


Reid felt so exhausted as he entered the house and locked in the security alarm. Placing his bags to the side, he took the smell of something and walked into the kitchen, and saw Rose cooking.

"Dr. Reid!" Rose jumped when she turned around and saw Reid standing there. She had her hand on her heart, patting to calm it down. "You almost scared me."

Reid took a few steps back, "My apologies, Rose." He noticed the array of vegetables, cheese, protein, and whole-grain wraps and asked her, "What are you making?"

"Wraps," Rose placed some of the servings and folded it into a tortilla flat. "Élise is craving some."

Reid used a fork to take a small chicken piece and ate it, "Mmm. Good." After washing the silverware and wiping his hands, he placed his hands on his back and stretched.

"How was the case?" Rose asked as she fixed Séraphine's lunch.

"Interesting." It was the only word Reid could think of at the moment.


Reid made his way to Séraphine's nursery and didn't see her there. Already feeling a rush, he burst into his bedroom and immediately calmed down when he saw Élise and Séraphine resting in bed and Opal napping on the floor. He walked over to their bedside and kissed their foreheads.

"Mmm…" Élise groaned. Starting to wake up, she blinked her eyes a few times before her eyes widened. "Hey, babe."

"Hi, my loves," Reid tickled under Élise's chin, making her giggle. "I got some of the staples of Oklahoma."

Élise rubbed her eyes and yawned, "What kind of staples?"

"Corn, squash, chicken fried steak, black-eyed peas, cornbread, pecan pie, and strawberries." Reid listed what he bought.

Élise massaged her belly; her mouth was already watering, "I do like a good pecan pie."


After Séraphine woke up from her nap, everyone gathered for dinner, including Rose and Opal.

"Mmm…" Élise finished a second lettuce wrap and began snacking on some strawberries. "Rose, this lettuce wrap is so good."

Rose had just finished swallowing a small strawberry. "Thank you. How are you feeling?" She sighed some milk.

Élise helped herself to another strawberry. "I'm good."

Soon Élise's cell phone started vibrating on the table. She looked at the caller ID, and it was a blocked number. Élise answered after she sipped some water. "Hello?"

Reid walked into the dining room with Séraphine and saw her on the phone. He observed her body language. She kept nodding her head, her lips tightened, and her eyebrows raised before her eyes widened and her mouth dropped.

"Y-y-yes. Yes. Yes! Absolutely! Thank you very much." When she hung up, her dropped mouth turned into a toothy grin. "Senate has confirmed me." Gasping. "Senate confirmed me for a seat on the D.C. Cir.!"

Reid's jaw opened, and they hugged her. "I'm so proud of you!" He kissed the top of her head. "So proud!"

Chapter Text


Previously on Criminal Minds…

"I got a call…from the President…!"

"…he's nominated me to...a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit..."

"…if I'm confirmed, I'll be the youngest federal judge…."

"Sometimes I wonder how I got this far myself…"

"Don't be…You've come this far, haven't you…"

"Senate confirmed me for a seat on the D.C. Cir.!"


Élise is in a meeting with the President after Senate confirmed her to be a judge on the D.C. Cir.


"I, Élise Bastien, do solemnly swear that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge perform all the duties incumbent upon me as office under the Constitution and laws of the United States. So help me, God."


While Reid watched Séraphine play with Opal in the great room, he was on the couch, coolly having one leg over the other and knitting himself a scarf. Balls of between six-to-a-dozen double knitting wool were spread on the coffee table, as well as a printed sheet of instructions of how to knit this scarf, but he already had it memorized.

Reid heard the front door open and a man's voice,

"Everything's been clear, Mrs. Bastien."

Reid overheard Élise as she replied, "Thank you, Marshall Johnson."

Reid set his knitting needles beside him and made his way to Élise's side, who had just closed the door before setting in the security alarm. Reid came from behind her, enfolded his arms around her body, and kissed her head. "Hello, wifey."

"Hey, hubby," Élise patted his soft and moisturized hands. "How was your day?"

Reid exhaled as they hug-walked into the great room and smiled at the sight of Séraphine in her nearly completed costume. It was a long white dress with short puffy sleeves with black sparkly ribbon and a white plastic bowl on her head.

"Aw, she looks like a cute little Dalek." Élise gushed. "But it's a shame we can't take Opal to the D.C. Sci-Fi convention since they only service dogs."

Reid replied, "At least Rose has agreed to cheer Opal up and take her to the dog park."

Séraphine giggled as Opal licked her feet before she looked up and saw her parents. "Mama! Dada!" She steadily got up and waddled her way towards them.

"Hey, my little Dalek," Élise opened her arms out before a groan left her mouth, causing her to clutch her hand on her almost 33-week-old belly and her other hand on her back.

"I got you, you cute little mutant," Reid scooped Séraphine, made his way to the couch, and picked up the scarf he was trying to knit. Reid let it flow as he showed Élise how far he's come. "I still have about twenty-two rows to do."

Élise was definitely impressed. "Wow! This is amazing. You give seniors a run for their money for a beginner."

"I found it therapeutic," Reid wiggled his fingers. "Actually, I just read that knitting can help those with arthritis, improve hand-eye coordination, reduce stress and memory concerns."

"Wow," Élise pouted her mouth. "Maybe I should start knitting. I always wanted to have a one-of-a-kind sweater."

"Knitting is also used as a medication and even…overcome addiction." He covered Séraphine's ear, so she wouldn't hear him when he whispered addiction.

Élise knew where this was going; his past Dilaudid habit. "Hey…" She toddled her way towards Reid and placed her hand on his cheek. "You don't ever have to worry about that nasty habit because you're doing great. So don't, okay?"

"Okay," Reid knew Élise was right; why start thinking about it now when he's hasn't been thinking about it? Reid assured his promise by planting a kiss on Élise's lips. "I love you."

"I love you, too."

Séraphine jabbered, planting her tiny hand on their faces, "I lav yoo three."

Reid and Élise simultaneously kissed Séraphine's cheeks, and then Opal came and cuddled their legs.


Élise made her way to the kitchen and saw Rose fixing lunch. Seeing an array of ingredients on the kitchen counters, from fruits and vegetables; to tofu to nuts and seeds, Élise asked Rose, "So, what's for lunch?"

"How do you feel about a hearty salad with quinoa, tofu, and eggs for you and a grilled cheese sandwich with small cut-up vegetables and fruit slices for Séraphine after her nap?"

Élise smoothed her belly and licked her inner cheeks to think before she answered, "Well, I have been craving tofu lately." She smiled to herself and dazed off. "And Chinese fried rice. And shrimp. And egg rolls. cookie dough…"

"You can't have cookie dough while you're pregnant, Élise," Rose reminded her as she plated her lunch. "The same with undercooked shrimp."

Élise's head downturned, and she pouted her mouth as she sat down. "Oh, yeah. Sorry"

"But I can make brown rice with vegetables and egg rolls for dinner."

"Yay!"


Reid was in the great room, sitting with his legs crossed and on top of a pillow cushion. He carefully placed a final half-cut black plastic ball pit ball. Stepping away, he moved away and used the hot glue gun to stick the two mini transcalent plastic shot glasses over the LED candles before pasting the mini black plastic shot glass in front.

Reid set it down on the coffee table just as he looked up and saw Élise toddled to the great room, collapse on the couch, and exhale. Fanning herself, "Oh, God, I'm so hot and not in a good way."

"Your metabolic rate is increasing," Reid explained. "You know it was going to happen."

Élise wiped the sweat from her forehead. "Unfortunately, yeah. May you please get me some ice-cold water, please?"

Reid placed his arm around Élise's shoulder, pulled her closer to him, and kissed her temple. "Anything for you, my Queen." He stroked her knees and made his way to the kitchen to get Élise her ice-cold water glass.


Reid looked at himself in the mirror bathroom, fixing the knot of his navy-blue tie. After letting out a sigh, he left and closed the door behind him. He noticed the bed comforters were half tossed and wondered where Élise was.

The bedroom closet opened, and Élise appeared in a hot red silk slip with embroidered tulle and lace detailing.

Reid was breathless.

"You know what I'm in the mood for?" Élise bounced her hips a bit as she coyishly asked Reid.

Reid sheepishly giggled, but he cleared his throat, and his tone was now serious. Or at least he tried to be serious. "As much as I would love to be with you today, you know I have to be with the team at Talbot University to speak with an undergraduate criminology class at the Cesare and Edwin Auditorium."

"At least you'll be gone for an hour." Élise stroked his chest and pouted her lips, hoping he would not leave her.

Reid shook his head and kissed her forehead before guiding her back into bed. "Get some rest. You need it."

Élise scoffed to herself and got into bed. "Only because you said so," Élise playfully crossed her arms and pushed her lips out.

They lip kissed together before bidding each other adieu.


The team joined Rossi as they presented a lecture to Talbot University's undergraduate class on one of the longest-tenured and most prolific serial killers in the BAU's history: Thomas "The Womb Raider" Yates. They talked about his early abusive background to the makings of being and becoming one, including how he became one.

They also talked about his victims, going back to Seattle in 1992, San Francisco in 1997, Los Angeles in 2005, 2009, even going back to Seattle. They eventually caught Yates and managed to save a victim, but not before managing a deal with him.


"ROSE!" Élise rang the dainty yellow gold bell, calling out for Rose.

Rose knocked on the door before she came in. "Yes, Élise?"

"May you please make me a burrito, Rose?" Élise groaned.

Rose cocked her head to the side and twisted her mouth in confusion. "You made a veggie burrito thirty minutes ago."

Élise opened her mouth before she thought, "Oh, yeah. It was delicious." She smiled.

Rose closed the door again. Élise laughed to herself before her eyes broadened, ringing again for Rose. "ROSE!"

Rose dashed into the room again, "Yes, Élise?"

"Where's Spencer?" Élise grew worried. "Did something happen to him?"

"He's at Talbot University, giving a lecture with the rest of the team." Rose calmly explained.

Élise let out a huge sigh of relief. "Oh, yeah. I forgot." Élise pointed to her head. "Pregnancy brain." God, I feel like a paranoid idiot, Élise said in her head.

Rose giggled when she closed the door again.


After the lecture ended, everyone offered to take Rossi to the prison to talk to Yates and go to dinner afterward, but he firmly insisted on going alone and could only look as he drove off.


"Hello, I'm home!" Reid cried as he stepped into the house.

"Dr. Reid?" Rose's voice came from the great room.

Reid activated the security alarm and made his way there, finding Rose watching television with Opal. Rose swallowed a mouthful of nuts and seeds. "Oh, hello."

"What are you watching?" Reid pointed to the television movie Rose and Opal were watching together.

"101 Dalmatians." Rose got up from the couch and cleaned up the small bowl and color cup. "How was the lecture."

Reid truly answered, "Informative. It's always good to lecture young minds."

Rose chuckled, "I remember lecturing undergrads about the CAC programs. Perhaps I should give a lecture or two every now and then."

"You should do that." Reid exited the great room, walked down the hall, made a right, and then left to his master bedroom, where he found Séraphine wide awake and playing with Élise's face as she slept.

"Dada!" Séraphine was ecstatic to see her daddy.

Reid walked over to the other side, scooped Séraphine off the bed, and kissed her head. "Hi, love. How are you doing?"

"Gah!" Séraphine babbled before pointing to Élise sleeping. "Mama laud."

Reid giggled, "Yeah, she snores like an elephant crushing daddy's car."

"I heard that," Élise opened one eye and smirked.


The next day, Reid read Cosmos by Carl Sagan when he saw Rossi walking into the bullpen. Reid finished in the nix of time, placed his book in his desk drawer, and approached Rossi when he was about to open his office door.

"Hey, Rossi." Reid greeted him.

"Hey," Rossi nodded his head, opening his office door and walking in; Reid dashed in and closed it behind him. "Yeah, just come on into my office." Rossi sarcastically said as he placed his briefcase on his desk.

Reid wondered, considering what happened after the lecture yesterday, "So, how are you feeling?"

Rossi sighed. "Decent." Tapping on the edge of his desk, "I'll admit, this job is a lot, and it can take a lot out of you. But to even save one life is still worth it in the end."

"Exactly." Reid agreed. "That's why we do what we do to make this world a better place to live in, even for our loved ones."

Rossi smirked a bit, "Yeah. Are you and Élise still thinking of baby boy names?"

"Yeah."

Rossi pledged, "Just promise me you'll never name him Thomas, Tommy…"

"Oh, believe me, we won't," Reid quickly assured him. "We even vetoed certain names: Gary and Michael because of Gary Michaels. Karl with a K and Arnold because of Karl Arnold. We definitely vetoed George, Frank, Tobias, any names involving Frank. We're still rethinking about Dylan, but still…" Reid waved his hand. "You'll never have to worry about our boy being named Thomas."

"Grazie, Dio."

Chapter Text

1:43 A.M.

"Oh, God…" Élise grumbled as she pushed the comforters beside her and steadily got out of bed. "Third time this night. Oh, bloody hell..."

Reid's eyes blinked before he opened his eyes little by little and saw Élise making her way to the bathroom and heard her mumble under her breath. Reid yawned, "You have to urine again?"

Élise turned around and snarled, "You get me pregnant again, and I'm gonna kick your butt."


While Élise was getting her Group B strep with Dr. Patterson for a quick moment, Reid was keeping Séraphine occupied with a play game.

"Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake baker's man." Reid and Séraphine clapped their hands as Reid sang the lyrics. "Bake me a cake as fast as you can! Roll it. Pat it." Reid made his fists circle before using his hand to make patting motions. Reid drew an invisible B in the air. "And mark it with a "B" for baby and me!"

Séraphine giggled when Reid tapped her nose. Reid laughed with her, cuddling closer to her in his arms just as Élise and Dr. Patterson walked in.

"Did I miss something?" Dr. Patterson asked as she helped Élise on the sheeted examination table.

"Pat ta ake!" Séraphine babbled.

Élise giggled as she tried to relax her body. Already feeling this itch on her belly, she started to cream her belly. "Oh, again with this itching, doctor."

"As long as you don't have any red bumps or welts on your belly, and possibly your thighs and backside, you'll be fine." Dr. Patterson assured Élise. "You'll get the results for the GBS in a day or two."

"Okay," Élise shook her head before she felt something. "Oh, I think I feel a leak coming." No, wait…" Élise sighed in relief. "I'm good."

Dr. Patterson advised. "Make sure you rest as much as possible, hydrate but limit nighttime fluids, limit your caffeine usage, keep your weight in check, and when you need to use the toilet, lean forward. But as always, everything's good," said Dr. Patterson.

Élise said with a smile. "That's how I like it."

Soon Dr. Patterson and tech got the ultrasound machines set up and observed Baby Boy Reid.


Reid laughed as he was filming Séraphine acting like a Dalek.

"Ah ta nah nat! Ah ta nah nat!" Séraphine babbled as she marched around the great room while playing with her toy plunger and whisk. "Ah ta nah nat! Ah ta nah nat!"

Knock-knock-knock!

Someone knocked on the door, and Reid rushed to see who it was.

"Hey, you're early!" Reid was happy to see Garcia, all dressed up in a matching blue plaid dress and blazer and heels with a green with white polka dots necklace and a fez. Garcia said it was her tribute to the latest doctor, Matt Smith, the Eleventh Doctor.

Garcia invited herself into the house, geeing with excitement. "I know! I've been looking forward to this convention for weeks!" Garcia walked in on Séraphine, mimicking a Dalek. "Aw! This is like the most adorable thing I've ever seen!" Garcia rummaged through her turquoise blue quilted tote and took a quick pic on her phone.

Knock-knock-knock-knock-knock!

Reid opened the door, and it was Rose.

"Hey, Rose!"

Rose nodded her head as she stepped into the house; her Adidas sneakers barely made a squeaking noise, "Good morning, Dr. Reid. I'm here to pick up Opal for the day."

"Opal!" Reid called for her.

Opal responded by mopingly walking over to Rose, who stroked her fur, "I take it she's still upset about not being able to go to the D.C. convention" Rose's voice perked up. "But we're going to have fun at the doggy park, okay, girl."

Opal let out a small purr.

"I'm coming, people!" Élise's voice echoed the hall before strolling in the great room, attired in a brown and black striped jersey dress with maroon wool tights, a loose cerise pink cardigan, and flat brown boots. "Hello!"

Garcia coyly guessed, "I take it you're Sarah Jane Smith, the 4th Doctor's best-known companion?" Garcia then motioned her hand up and down. She pointed to Reid's classic single-breasted coat, plaid dress vest and bow tie, solid burgundy cravat necktie, flat front dress pants, white dress shirt, black lace-up ankle boots.

Élise scratched the brunette-layered and fringed shoulder-length wig and cheered. "Yeah-yeah!" She took off Reid's suede brown fedora and fixed his curly hair wig. "Oh! Thank you, God, Aunt Ethel isn't here to see you with the wig." She started laughing when she fantasized about Aunt Ethel's reaction as she placed the hat back on.

Reid snickered. "I would never hear the end of it."


While Rose took Opal to the park for her to play with the other dogs, Reid, Élise, Séraphine, and Garcia headed to the D.C. Sci-Fi Convention.

Garcia suggested seeing the classic science-fiction movie, Alien, at nine. They agreed just as long as Reid really wanted to see, they made it in time for the Captains of the Enterprise panel at eleven.

After seeing her ex Kevin with CSU Tech Agent Gina Sharp, Garcia started to get second thoughts and wanted to leave.

"Come on, Lady G, don't let it get you down," said Élise as she was pushing Séraphine in her stroller.

Garcia sighed, "I know, but I feel like the third wheel, especially with someone I couldn't possibly be…" Garcia couldn't say, so instead, she pointed to Reid. "You know."

Élise wondered what she meant by that before her eyes beamed. "Okay…" Élise crinkled her nose, causing Reid to feel a bit taken back, and wrinkled his nose as well.

Soon their eyes caught Rossi standing at the valet parking lot and made conversation, politely declining Garcia's offer to plot revenge against Kevin and Gina.

Élise chuckled to herself before she tapped Reid and Garcia's shoulders and cocked her head to the direction she was pointed to.

They couldn't believe it.

Chief Section Strauss walked out of the hotel, looking polished and disheveled.

Looking back and forth, they all came to the same conclusion.

Garcia decided to take off and leave, allowing Reid, Élise, and Séraphine to head inside the convention.


"Whoa!" Élise walked through the door, carrying a sleeping Séraphine. "Two shows in one day."

Reid kept shaking his head in disbelief. "Yeah, I know. At least we got to see a couple of panels today."

"Well, that, and what we just saw considering…" Élise bit her lip and wanted Reid to fill in the blank.

Reid nodded his head, "Ah…" His mouth opened again before he heard his cell phone vibrate. Reaching for it, he saw a text message.

ALL HANDS ON DECK!

BANK ROBBERY HEIST GONE WRONG IN DC!

Reid looked up and saw Élise rocking Séraphine; Élise knew, "You have work?"

"All hands on deck." Reid showed her the text message.

Élise stroked his shoulder and tenderly kissed his lips before letting him get ready for work while she tended to Séraphine.


Reid met up with the rest of the team, including JJ's boyfriend, Will LaMontagne, outside Colonial Liberty Bank.

This was such a big deal that the FBI's Mobile Command Center came in and various SWAT trunks and helicopters, from the bureau to the major broadcasting networks. The media's now called them the Face Cards.

According to Will, he shot the Jack of Clubs, and the King of Hearts and Queen of Diamonds are inside with the rest of the hostages.

The Face Cards have done seven robberies within seven months while killing one in that time period, and up until today, two minutes for each robbery.

Now all they got is surveillance footage.


After being ordered by Hotch to go through the Face Cards' past robbery history, Reid, JJ, and Prentiss made their way back to headquarters.

They had just stepped off the elevator and walked through the bullpen when Reid's phone became vibrating. He looked at the caller ID, and it was Élise.

"Excuse me," said Reid to JJ and Prentiss as he pardoned himself to take the call. "Hello, wifey?"

"Love! How are you?"

Reid sighed heavily. "I'm okay. I'm back at headquarters with JJ and Prentiss since we're dealing with narcissistic bank robberies."

"Yeah, I'm watching the live stream on my laptop," said Élise. "Show those narcists no mercy."

Reid agreed, "Yeah." He turned his head and saw JJ and Prentiss getting everything set up. "I have to get going. I love you. Tell Fifi, Opal, and our little melon, my love."

Élise giggled, "Of course."

They hung up; Reid joined the ladies to examine the Face Cards bank-robbing history—and Kevin joined in—to give them the schematics of the banks they robbed. JJ found a common denominator.

The Queen pulled the trigger shot.


Finding out more about the Face Cards, the King leads the robbery while the Queen tracks the time.

And think turning them against each other could be key…

Only if the Jack doesn't die, otherwise hell breaks loose.


Élise was busy on her laptop when she noticed her cell phone vibrating in the phone holder. Answering it after the third vibrating, "Hello?"

"Hey, Lise!"

Élise's eyes widened, "Maeve! How are you?"

"I'm good, and you yourself?"

Élise sighed as she gently placed her hand over her belly, "I'm sooo ready to see our boy."

"I want to see my little girl, too," Maeve agreed. "And are you watching the news about the Central Liberty Bank heist?"

"Oh-ho, yeah," Élise calmed her and took a sip of water. "At least Spencer's not down there."

"And surprisingly enough, Bobby and I were planning to go there today, but we changed our minds," Maeve admitted.

Élise almost choked on her water. "Say what now?" She placed her hand on her heart. "Whoo! Thank God you changed your mind because I would have gone nutty and beaten the crap out of the bank robbers myself even if I'm 34 weeks."

Maeve snickered. "Yeah, I know you would have. Anyway, just called to see how you're doing. And sorry again if we couldn't make it to the D.C. Sci-Fi Convention."

"Cool. Later."


Reid, JJ, and Prentiss were still watching the Face Cards standoff on the television screen when Agent Anderson walked in. He told Prentiss had gotten a call from Clyde Easter, her old Interpol unit chief, with information about the Queen, allowing her to take the call in private.

After which, Prentiss brought Reid and JJ the information she got from Easter.

The Queen worked alone and wore disguises.


With the information they got from Hotch, Rossi, and Morgan back at the scene, the Queen's enjoying the attention since she's so narcissistic and wants to look good for the camera.

And now, as part of their demands, they want a plane to fly themselves to Chad, despite the current civil war there.

Prentiss dialed Easter for more material on their destination demand…

And Reid and JJ overhear Prentiss being offered to work for Interpol, causing them to have concerned facial expressions, thinking she will leave the team again.


After hearing that a 9-1-1 text was sent before the robbery, the team came to the conclusion that one of the "hostages" was actually one of the robbers playing as a hostage.

JJ and Prentiss left to be with the team at Central Liberty Bank, and Reid stayed behind.


Reid was now in Garcia's room with Kevin and stood in disbelieving shock that the King shot Will. He thought he should be there, but Kevin knew better.

Reid asked Kevin to pull up the surveillance footage before Will was shot and noticed the Queen disappeared once. Going back to the schematics, Reid immediately began to fear the worst.

And he was right.

An explosion.


Reid was in the SUV with Kevin while driving to the bank. His pants pocket began ringing. Reaching to get it, he answered after the first ring, "Hello?"

Élise released a sigh of relief. "Oh, thank you, God. I saw the explosion on television and I-I-I-I…" She stammered until she paused. "You're okay. But what about everyone else?"

"Yeah. I couldn't get a hold of the rest of the team, so I'm heading down there."

Élise inhaled sharply, "Oh, Spencer…"

"No one, not even God, is taking me today or any day now," Reid promised.

Élise let out a tear, wiped it, and sniffed her nose, resting her hand on her belly. "Please be careful, and please be alright. I love you."

"Of course," Reid vowed. "I love you, too."

Hanging up, they made it to the sight. While Kevin went to Garcia's side, Reid headed towards Hotch, and they began going through the bank's schematics and figured out how the robbers made it out using C-4 and Semtex.


The team and Strauss met up again at the mobile command center. They confirmed from the security footage that it was the bank robbers, and Will was in the back seat with them, using him as leverage.


Prentiss received her information from Easter. They found out from her that the Queen could potentially be a trained assassin named Lady X.

And that the explosives and the red, blue, and yellow wires used were last seen in Chad ten years prior.

And going through the surveillance images, the Queen's true partner was Matthew Downs, a discharged Marine.


Rose held Séraphine's hand as she walked her to her parents' bedroom.

Only to find Élise snoring away.

"Mama laud..." Séraphine babbled.

Rose giggled before closing the door. "Mama's just tired. Let's leave her alone and play before your nap, okay?"

"KK."


Reid, Prentiss, and Morgan went back to the charred bank and wondered why the robbers didn't take the moment just to take the money and run. Thinking back to where they wanted to go, Chris wanted to go to Switzerland, but Lady X wanted to go to Chad on a private plane without a pilot instead.

Prentiss figured it was their own destructive story. Matthew Downs turned on his country; he met Lady X in Chad back in 2008.

Going back to the timeline of the date, the most explosive casualties in Chad took place at a train.


It was finally all over.

Prentiss saved Will.

JJ and Rossi went to the hospital after Will was saved.

And now three of the four Face Cards were deceased

The Queen—Izzy Rogers—was arrested and, according to Strauss, will be charged both domestically and internationally for her crimes.

Prentiss announced that she would not be going through with the Dupont House. She claimed it was because of foundation cracks, but Reid knew it was more than that and stayed silent.

Strauss pulled Morgan for a private conversation before Hotch walked in and was on the phone with Rossi and asked them if everyone was free tomorrow night.


Reid was so more than happy to have finally arrived home.

He got a text message from Rose, saying that everyone was calm today.

Locking in the house alarm and making his way to the bedroom, he saw Élise and Séraphine reading in bed.

"Dada!" Séraphine's eyes broadened when she saw her father and reached for him. "Dada!"

Reid chuckled, walked over to his bedside, and scooped up Séraphine to kiss her head. "Hi, duckie!"

"Hey, love," Élise massaged her temples before she tried to lean up to kiss Reid's lips.

Reid pecked her lips. "I told you no one, not even God, was taking me today or any day now."

Élise chuckled. "Yeah. Want to go back to the convention tomorrow? Seeing how no one, not even God, was taking you today or any day now?"

Reid collapsed on the bed; Séraphine was still in his arms and sighed, "Why not? Garcia won't be joining us. In her words, "'That whole city on the brink of destruction thing kind of took the wind out of my sails, you know?'" He sighed again. "I can't say I disagree."

"Mmm." Élise pouted her mouth before looking at her belly. "What a world."

Reid rested his free hand on her belly, "Rossi has something in store for us tomorrow night. And it involves dressing up."


The Bastien-Reid family met up with the Donovan-Putman family at the D.C. Sci-Fi Convention.


"I don't believe it," Élise said as she, Reid, and Séraphine stepped outside Rossi's backyard.

From the white-shirt manservants to the decorated table; from the floating lights to the flowers on the ground and the…

"A backyard wedding," Reid said as he carried Séraphine in his arms. "Never been to one."

Élise smiled, "Well, it's so much more beautiful at night." She helped herself to a glass of ice water offered to her.

"I have to agree, yeah."

"Hey-hey!" Garcia was the first one to spot the family. "What is up, family?" She gave them hugs. "How are you doing, Fifi?"

"Gah!" babbled Séraphine.

Rossi was the next to greet them, "Hey, family!"

"Rossi!" Élise accepted his hug and asked, "Who's getting married?"

Ross politely excused himself before he made his way to…

"JJ and Will?" Reid was indeed surprised as they watched Rossi talk to them and an older blonde woman next to him. "About time."

Élise nodded her head, "Who knows how long one of them has been waiting? But I do get it that not everyone wants to get married right away."

"Yeah, I guess," replied Reid.


Reid kept Henry occupied and played with the wedding rings, and Jack played with Séraphine.


Soon, everyone stood as JJ, dressed in her mother's white off-the-shoulder gown, walked down the flowered alley with Sandy beside her mother.

Everyone smiled at the pastor as he officiated their wedding. Henry gave his parents their rings and clapped as JJ and Will kissed.


At the wedding table, Rossi stood and raised his glass as he prepared to make a toast, "They say that good things happen to good people. Today is one of those days, and these are two of those people. We love you."

"Cheers!"


Soon everyone gathered around the dance floor after allowing JJ and Will to have their first dance together.

Reid and Élise giggled as they watched Séraphine try and dance with Jack, then Henry, and the first dance together.

Élise whispered in Reid's ear. "Every ending is a new beginning."

"And every beginning has a new ending," Reid whispered back.

They locked into each other's eyes and kissed.

Chapter Text


"Mmm…" Reid always loved a good cup of coffee in the morning. Licking his lips, and sighed. "Exactly what I needed."

Reid's eyes alerted when he saw Élise sluggishly carrying Séraphine into the breakfast nook.

"Hi, loves." He tried cheering Élise up with a lip peck and kissed Séraphine's head. "How are we this morning?"

Séraphine babbled, "Gah!"

"Ugh," Élise stuck her tongue out when she placed Séraphine in her highchair and sat down. "I feel like yuck."

"It'll get better," Reid assured as he set Élise's breakfast plate of two whole-wheat Belgian waffles with berries, protein-packed-fat-and-sugar-free Greek yogurt, and a tall glass of orange juice on the table before preparing Séraphine's breakfast.

Élise rubbed her eyes again and leaned back in her chair before she noticed Reid's button shirt with rolled sleeves, dressed pants, and Converses. "Going somewhere?"

Reid set Séraphine's breakfast of overnight oats with fruit a

Élise cut a small slice for her and fed it to her. "Here you go, pumpkin. And what do we say?"nd a sippy cup filled with orange juice. "Hotch wants the team to come in early for today. A big announcement."

"Mmm," Élise had a small bite of her waffles. "These are good."

Séraphine pointed to the waffles. "I wat."

Élise chuckled. "I wat, what?"

"I wat pease?" Séraphine smiled.

"Tank yoo."

Reid kissed her head again, "Good girl. You're growing up so far."

"Which reminds me. I made an appointment to see Dr. Kelly Pierce on the 27th in the morning time," said Élise before she had another morsel of her breakfast.

"Nine o'clock, to be exact," Reid replied as he poured himself another cup. He stared at his silver watch. "I better get going." He pecked Élise on the lips. "Rose should be here soon." He peaked Séraphine's temple. "I hopefully won't be gone for too long. I love you."

Élise blew kisses, "Love you."

"Luv, dada!" Séraphine blew a kiss to him as well.


Reid was in the bullpen room, reading a baby name book as Garcia was on her laptop. Morgan sat next to her, twirling his pen and leaning back in his seat, and Rossi was next to Reid.

Breaking the room silence, Morgan wanted to know, "I wondered why Hotch called us in this morning."

"At least he gave us yesterday off," Reid replied, not looking up from his book.

Rossi stifled a laugh. "Yeah. Can I throw a mean party or what?"

"Indeed, you can, Italian man," Garcia said as she began staring at her cell phone.

"Hey, everyone."

JJ unexpectedly walked in, leaving almost everyone in the room confused.

"Hey?" Morgan wondered, scratching the back of his head. "I thought…"

JJ explained as she took her seat, "We decided to go to Portland this weekend for the honeymoon; my mother will be watching Henry, so…"

"Ah," Garcia was disappointed. "I wanted to watch little Henry while you two…"

"Everyone."

The team's attention clicked in when Hotch and Prentiss walked into the roundtable room; one of them had an empty stare while trying to look away. "Prentiss has an announcement to make."

Prentiss cleared her throat, "As you all know, Clyde Easter offered me the position of the London chief office during our Face Cards case and, uh…" Prentiss looked at the team for a moment before admitting, "I've decided to take it."

Garcia's eyes widened, and her mouth opened. Rossi's eyes lowered, and he was silent. As well as Morgan, JJ, and Reid himself. Given Prentiss' body language when she was offered to work for Interpol again, Reid knew she was considering the offer.

Prentiss continued, fiddling with her fingernails. "After what happened with Doyle and returning here, I…" Sighed. "I just…can't pretend what happened didn't happen. I can't go back to that life again."

"Will you ever come back?" Garcia distantly asked her as she could feel her eyes fogging.

Prentiss shrugged her shoulders. "I…don't know."

"Well…we're going to miss you." Rossi sadly admitted.

Prentiss nodded her head. "Yeah." She chuckled tiredly.

Garcia was the first to get up and hug Prentiss, "Oh, I miss you already."

Prentiss sighed as she accepted it, "I've always heard every ending is also a beginning, and we just don't know it at the time. I'd like to believe that's true."

Prentiss accepted a few more hugs, even accepting one from Hotch before everyone discreetly watched Prentiss pack up her items on her desk through the blinds.

After she was done, Prentiss looked up and saw the team looking away. Deeply inhaling, she braved a sad smile before she made her way to the elevators.


After their meeting, everyone left. Reid saw Hotch make his way towards his office and caught up to him. "Hey, Hotch."

Hotch noticed Reid, "Hey, Reid." He opened his office door and allowed Reid in, closing the door behind him. Hotch walked up to his desk and placed a pile of files on top before he lifted his head and saw Reid standing and rubbed the palm of his hands. "Are you okay?"

"I want to take a month of paternity leave."

"Okay." Hotch understandable nodded his head. "Is there anything else you want to talk about?"

Reid replied. "Prentiss…do you get why she left?"

Hotch had a seat behind his desk, "I can, yeah. And I know how much of a toll it took on you and Élise, especially with…"

Reid shook his head, "I don't, nor do I ever want to go back to that place where I crave Dilaudid."

"I know." Hotch agreed quietly.


Élise gulped down the rest of the bottled water when Reid walked into the bedroom and smiled when he saw Élise in bed.

"Hello, sweetheart," Reid kissed her lips. Gently patting her belly, "Hello, my boy."

Élise tried smiling, "Yeah." Her smile fainted when he saw Reid's head downturn and pouting mouth. "You okay, babe?"

"Prentiss is leaving the team," Reid announced before he went into the bathroom.

Élise's jaw gaped, and her eyes broadened a bit, "For real?"

Reid continued as he came out and changed into one of his favorite Doctor Who shirts and plaid sweatpants. "Yup. Hiding from Doyle and returning here, she admitted that things weren't the same as before and couldn't keep pretending it didn't happen. JJ and I even…overheard her considering leaving."

Élise pushed her mouth to the side, "Yeah. I admit everything changes every day; even we change every day. We're never the same as before. So, I get Prentiss' side to this. And I know it took effect to the point where you wanted to go to that dark place again. But you didn't, and I'm so proud of you."

"Yeah," Reid agreed as he joined Élise in bed. "At least we don't have to worry about anyone stalking us."

Élise shook her head as she looked down at her belly. "Yeah. I'm so glad you're home." She passionately kissed his lips.

"I'm always glad to be home." Reid kissed her lips again before he admitted, placing his hand on Élise's belly again. "I want to take a month of paternity leave when our boy's born.

"You talked to Hotch about it?" Élise looked at Reid with concern.

Reid answered, "Mm-hmm."

"I think that's a good idea," Élise stroked his chin before tickling under it, making him giggle.


"Ah, don't you look so cute?" Élise gushed at the floral polo dress she styled Séraphine in, as well as putting the matching headband on and sliding the slippers on Séraphine's tiny feet. "Yes, you do. Yes, you do, Fifi."

Reid opened the nursery door, and he walked in with Opal trailing behind, carrying Séraphine's diaper bag by the shoulder. "Is everyone ready?"

Élise steadily picked up Séraphine, "Yup. You got everything organized in the diaper bag?"

Reid listed, "Pull up diapers, wipes, changing pad and bags, a set of clothes, hand sanitizer, cream, sippy cup, bib, snacks, burp cloth, sunscreen, and toys."

"So, we're good?" Élise asked as she scratched Opal behind the ears.

"Off to Dr. Pierce's office we go."


"Hey-hey, family!" Dr. Pierce's eyes widened when she saw Reid, Élise, and Séraphine in her office. "How are we doing?" She closed the office door behind her.

Élise answered, "We're good. I want this boy to come out already." She pointed her index fingers to her belly. "I look as if I'm ready."

Dr. Pierce chuckled before she gasped when she saw Séraphine sitting on Reid's lap, "Hi, Séraphine. May you got so big since the last time I saw you."

Séraphine blushed, "Tank yoo."

Dr. Pierce giggled when she got her clipboard ready and began asking questions. "So. How's her appetite?"

"It's good," Élise answered.

Dr. Pierce asked another question, "Is she eating a variety of food?"

"Six-grain servings, two-to-three vegetable, fruit, and dairy servings, and two protein and legumes servings," answered Reid. "We're using creative ways to try different foods.

"Good," Dr. Pierce jolted that down. "Is she feeding herself and using her bottle or sippy cup?"

Élise helped herself to a nut snack she packed for herself. "She feeds herself with her hands and utensils, yes, and she likes using the sippy cup."

"And her sleep schedule?"

Reid explained, "Thirteen-and-a-half hours; eleven-and-a-half at night and a two-hour day nap."

"Great." Dr. Pierce set her clipboard on her desk. "Now onto the examination."


Dr. Pierce exanimated Séraphine's eyes and teeth, took her height, weight, and immunizations, listened to her heart and lungs, and paid attention to her motor skills and behaviors.


"Well done, Séraphine!" Dr. Pierce exclaimed as she walked over to her drawer, took a small clear bowl, and pulled out some plastic-covered lollipops. "A reward for being such a trooper."

Reid took the lollipop from Dr. Pierce's hand and asked her, "What do we say?"

Séraphine prattled, playing with her hands, "Tank yoo."

"Good girl." Reid kissed her head before unwrapping the plastic, tossing it into the trash can, and putting the pink-color-strawberry-flavored sucker into her mouth. Reid helped himself to the purple-color-grape-flavored one. "Mmm. These are quite good."

Dr. Pierce explained. "They're Sweetie Pops. They are sugar-free, gluten-dairy-nut-and-allergy free, vegan, non-GMO, and natural flavors and colors and no dyes. My little brother, Rocky, made them when he was thirteen and now owes a candy company, Sweet Candy."

"Oh!" Élise was impressed and had one. "Mmm. There are good."


Élise packed the last of what she will need in her favorite Goyard duffle bag. She looked at the checklist on her phone: clothes, charger, books, toiletries, ID and wallet, insurance card, and birth plan.

She zipped up the bag, "Yup, I got everything I need."

Knock-knock-knock!

"I got a surprise for you." Reid singsonged as he opened the door and let Séraphine and Opal in before he walked in last. "I bought you your lunch." He presented her lunch to her.

"Oh!" Élise observed. "Is that a kale and spinach salad with berries, chia seeds, and grilled chicken?"

Reid nodded his head and smiled. "Mmm-hmm."

"Oh, thank you so much," Élise kissed Reid's lips before he set her hospital bag aside in the corner. Élise noticed Séraphine and her eyes beamed. "Hey, my little clone of myself and daddy. How are you feeling this morning?"

Séraphine babbled, "Gad, mommy."

Élise tried lifting Séraphine but felt a sharp pain in her back. "Oh. Ooohh."

"Hey-hey-hey," Reid comforted Élise and stood behind her, leading her to the bed. "Careful. Careful, big mama."

Élise got under the comforters. "Thanks…oh." She inhaled and exhaled about three times. "Stinkin' Braxton Hicks."

"At least they're not the real contractions," Reid replied as he picked up Séraphine. "Anyway, the car seat is installed, and I'll wash the baby clothes."

"Whoo," Élise sighed as she began eating her lunch. "I'll be eating my lunch while you go do that."


Reid and Élise were in the great room, deciding to go through one last suggestion to boy names while Séraphine was playing with Opal.

Reid blurted, "How about Upton?"

"Nah," Élise gave that name a thumbs down.

Reid suggested another name, "Ulysses?"

Élise wasn't feeling that name either. "As much as I love the book, nope."

Reid excitingly pointed to a name, "Oh, how about Uranus?"

Élise slowly turned her head with her eyes popped out of her head and glared; her teeth gritted, "Huh?"

"Uranus," Reid repeated. "In Greek mythology, Uranus is the husband of Gaia, the goddess mother who presided over the Earth and the father of the Titans, Cyclopes, and Giants. He's even the great-grandfather of Ares, Mars, the grandfather of Zeus, Jupiter, and also the father of Cronus, Saturn, and…" Reid began noticing Élise's disapproving look. "What?"

"Uranus?" Élise pouted her mouth.

Reid didn't seem a problem with the name until he realized the name's pronunciation. "Oh."

"Oh." Élise sarcastically replied, "Yeah. See my point?"

Reid pressed his lips tightly in a straight line, understandable nodding his head, "Okay, I'll cross that name off." Reid set the tablet down when Élise got up and began walking. "Where are you going?" He asked as he picked up Séraphine.

"To the bathroom." Élise dryly answered without looking back.

Reid twisted his mouth. "Sorry about that." Inhaling something rotten, Reid sniffed Séraphine, "Whoa! Mommy and I have to stop feeding you whatever it is we're feeding you."

Séraphine giggled as Reid headed to the nursery and changed her diaper.


"Hello again, you family," said Dr. Patterson with widened eyes as she entered her office with everyone waiting for her. "My-my-my, Élise, you are really growing!"

Élise sighed as she stroked her belly. "Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, doctor. I…oh…!" She felt a Braxton Hicks contraction. "Oh…!"

"Mommy?" A worried Séraphine tried reaching out to Élise on the cold sheeted table.

Reid caressed and whirled Séraphine's baby curls. "Mommy's fine. Mommy's fine, honey."

Élise exhaled, "Oh, I want to see my boy right now."

Dr. Patterson tapped her hands. "It's okay, Élise. On the plus side, you're officially nine months pregnant. Just four more weeks to go."

"Unless he comes three weeks earlier like this little charmer." Reid pointed to Séraphine playing with her stuffed doll.

Dr. Patterson chuckled before pulling out her pen and writing on her clipboard. The first question she asked was, "So, how's your diet?"

"Grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy, protein, and healthy fats with the occasional sweets."

"And the symptoms?"

Élise exhaled again, "Of course the Braxton Hicks…eeehhh!" She took a breath. "Just one heartburn this week. My ankles and feet swell, but I've been soaking them in warm saltwater."

"Great that you're doing that, and make sure you elevate them." Dr. Patterson praised Élise. "Are you sleeping well?"

"Yeah, but I keep on having to go to the bathroom almost every two hours." Élise massaged her temples.

Dr. Patterson repeated, "Just four more weeks until you all see him. Or earlier."

Élise tried to look on the bright side. "Yeah."

Soon, while tech got the ultrasound machines set up, Dr. Patterson checked Élise's weight, blood pressure, and swelling before observing the screenshots.


"Are you sure you don't mind, Rose?" Élise asked with caution as she gave Rose a bag with everything she'd need for the night; they were standing in the middle of the foyer.

Rose placed the bag on her shoulder and insisted, "Of course I'll look after Séraphine for the night. You two deserve at least one last pre-baby date night before the baby's born.

"Here we come," said Reid as he carried a rather sleepy Séraphine in his arms before giving her to Rose. "Take such good care of our girls as you always do."

Élise kissed Séraphine's forehead and patted her head, "Oh. Daddy and I love you, princess."

Reid scratched behind Opal's ears, "Be good for Rose."

"Bah, mama and dada." Séraphine waved as Reid opened the door for Rose.

Reid and Élise watched Rose strap Séraphine and Opal in the back seat before driving off. Reid closed the door and logged in to the security alarm.

Élise had one hand over her mouth and the other on the belly. "Oh…"

"They'll be fine," Reid cuddled behind Élise and kissed her head. "It's okay."

Élise sniffed, "I know. You know I emotionally I can get."

"I'll go fix us some dinner while you relax," Reid suggested before he led Élise back to their bedroom. He whispered in her ear, "And get ready for the night of your life."


Élise took Reid's suggestion to heart and slept for a little bit over an hour while he cooked dinner. Élise took it to the next level, got out of bed, took a lukewarm shower, styled her hair a tad, and dressed herself in a scarlet red dress with black embroidery and matching flats.

She waddled to the dining room and saw Reid, clad in a black button shirt and pants, lighting the candles and blowing out the match.

"Ooh!" Élise was impressed. "Me likely."

Reid walked over, planted a kiss on Élise's lips, and sat her down in her chair. "We're having almond encrusted chicken, a leafy dark green salad with a touch of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and angel food cake."

"Yay!" Élise cheered.


Reid and Élise had a nice and quiet dinner before enjoying a classic romantic movie and finishing the night with a relaxing—and sexual—bath together.


Reid was at his desk in the bullpen, mumbling to himself and crisscrossing the different names he and Élise were suggesting for their unnamed son.

"Whatcha up to?" asked Morgan as he looked down to try and see what Reid was up to.

Reid answered without looking up from his list, "Working on the baby names to give my son."

Reid leaned back in his seat, causing Morgan to take the list and look over the names himself swiftly.

"Joseph. Otto. Matthew. Ralph. Ivan. Wolfgang. Leonardo. Nikola?" Morgan almost laughed at some of the names Reid and Élise were thinking of naming their son. "You want to name your son Nikola?"

Reid defended that name, "Nikola Tesla invented the first alternating current moto and developed the AC generation and transmission technology. A highly-respected man in the science and engineering world."

"Oh," Morgan sarcastically mocked. "Okay." He chuckled. "You two still haven't thought of a name?"

Reid shook his head. "Nope."

"You can always name your son after me," Morgan pointed to himself and face-wide smiled.

Reid rolled his eyes in disbelief before taking back the list and walking away, making Morgan laugh.


After the 37th week prenatal visit, the family decided to go to the grocery store to stock up on some extra food before going to a farmer's market.

"Ooh, these strawberries are on sale," Élise couldn't help it, but she ate one. "Mmm!" She licked her lips in salvation. "I love a good strawberry."

Reid tried one, "Mmm. These are good." He fed one to Séraphine. "Is that good?"

Séraphine stuck her tongue out, "Yea!"

"Chew with your mouth close, Fifi," Élise cautioned Séraphine as she bagged some lemons and limes into a clear bag. She pointed to the orange carrots. "Oh! Definitely need some of these carrots."

Reid kept Séraphine occupied by pulling out one of her favorite stuffed dolls before he placed some apples in a bag, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away." He playfully bopped Séraphine's nose, making her giggle.

"You know, I read that eating an apple in the morning is more energy-effective than coffee," said Élise as she took some garlic.

Reid joked, "Maybe I should put some apple slices in my coffee."

"Yeah, that be a good idea," Élise giggled.


Reid got the groceries while Élise placed Séraphine down for her nap. Élise sat down at the table while she watched Reid organize the refrigerator and put the groceries away.

Élise politely asked, "May I have some milk, please?"

Reid went into the fridge again, poured some whole milk into a glass, and gave it to Élise. "Here you go, my love."

Élise took it and gulped it down. "Ahh. At least I'm getting all the calcium I need."

"You need at least 1,000mg of calcium," Reid poured another glass for Élise and watched her gulp that down. "Calcium is important for building strong bones and teeth, muscle, blood clots, and nerve function." Reid helped himself to a glass.

Élise smirked. "I swear, you should write a book on nutrition."

Reid chuckled before having another sip and licked his lips. He sighed, "So…considering how your mother helped us with Séraphine, maybe my mother can visit for a few days."

"Really?" Élise felt a bit apprehensive about that and began biting down on her thumbnail. "I don't know. I mean…" Her mind started racing through so many thoughts. She wondered what would have if Mama Diana had had one of her episodes?

Reid silently nodded his head and began getting Élise's point. "Yeah, I see what you mean." He had another suggestion in mind. "Maybe have Aunt Ethel help out instead?"

Élise drummed her fingers against the table and took a few seconds to think. "I do see Aunt Ethel helping us. You know what they say about two kids; it's a complete game-changer."

Reid pushed his mouth up. "No doubt about that. Maybe I can give her a call…" His cell phone began vibrating. He answered it, "Hello?"

"Spencer! How's my dashing nephew doing?"

"I'm fine, thank you," answered Reid before he asked her, "Aunt Ethel, uh…how would you feel if you came and helped out with our son after he's born?"

Reid pulled the phone away from his ear when she started screaming. Élise took the phone from him when Ethel calmed down.

"I'd love to help out with your little boy for at least a week."

Élise expressed her gratitude. "Thank you so much, Ethel."

"Have you thought of a name yet?"

Élise responded, "We're almost there."

Ethel advised the two, "Please don't give him a stupid or ridiculous name people are doing today."

Élise laughed, "We won't. Buh-bye." Hanging up. "I swear, that lady has some kind of sense that would put Spider-Man to shame."


Élise blew her nose and tossed the mucus-covered tissue in the nearby trashcan. She began sanitizing her hands when she saw Reid walk in.

"How are you feeling?" He asked.

Élise sniffed, "Icky."

"You know, when you start feeling sick to your stomach just before labor begins, it means our boy is coming soon," Reid grinned.

Élise smirked, "Well, this boy needs to come. And we need to pick a name now."

Reid pulled out the list he and Élise thought would make great boy names. He flapped his lips, sighing, "It wasn't this hard with Séraphine."

"It's just hard in general," Élise replied. Inhaling and exhaling, "I say we just pick a name we like and say why we should give him that name."

Reid shrugged his shoulders. "That sounds reasonable."


Reid can never get enough of Séraphine waking up from her nap. When he was a little kid, Reid once watched in the fascination of a baby bird being hatched, and everyone cuddled and cooed over it. Reid never understood the feeling until Séraphine was born.

Séraphine squealed and stretched every little bone in her body. Licking her lips, she rubbed her eyes with her tiny palm. Flicking her eyes, Séraphine smiled coyishly when her daddy stared her down lovingly.

"Did you have a good nap, Fifi?" Reid asked her sweetly.

Séraphine babbled, "Yea!"

Reid chuckled as he picked up Séraphine and kissed her cheeks. "Let's go see what Mommy's up to." Reid walked out of the nursery with Séraphine in his arms and opened his bedroom door, only to find no one there.

Reid angled his head and slanted his mouth. "Mmm. I guess mommy's not here." He closed the door. Reid immediately took a whiff of something when he walked down the hallway. Protectively covering Séraphine's lower face, he saw Élise spraying with Lysol before going into the great room and vigorously cleaning the coffee table.

Walking in, "Hey."

Élise turned and saw Reid with Séraphine. "Hello, love." She kissed his lips before kissing Séraphine's head. "Did mama's girl have a good nap?"

"Yah!" babbled Séraphine.

Élise set the Lysol and wipes down before waddling towards the broom and pan she placed by the fireplace and began sweeping. "I don't know why, but I just felt this sudden burst of cleaning."

Reid set Séraphine down and joked, taking the broom from Élise and swept the dirt into the pan. "I thought that was my job while you take it easy."

"I know." Élise brushed the chill she felt from her shoulders and sat down on the couch. Picking up her feet, "Ooh! When you come back, may you grab a pillow and place it under my feet for me, please?"

Reid bowed, "Of course."


The family went to Dr. Patterson for a paternal visit.


Reid and Élise were in the great room, laying on the floor and looking on their tablets while Séraphine was playing with Opal.

"Ooh, this could be a good recipe." Élise showed Reid a lasagna recipe.

Reid kidded, "I don't think we'll have to worry with cooking, seeing how Aunt Ethel will be stuffing our faces.

Élise chuckled, "Yeah, you're right."

"Mama! Dada!" Séraphine made her way towards Reid and Élise.

They made some space as Reid placed Séraphine before them. "Here you go, bunny."

"Watcha dooin?" asked Séraphine.

Élise played with Séraphine's curls as she answered her question, "We're getting ready for your little brother's arrival."

"Wen he camin?"

Reid twirled a small hairpiece, "Soon."

"Ann me?" Séraphine pointed to herself and looked at her parents with innocent eyes. "Wha abat me?"

Reid and Élise wrapped their arms around her. Élise rested her head on Séraphine's for a moment, "Just because we have a new family member coming doesn't mean you won't be any less loved."

Reid added, "Our love for you gets stronger every yoctosecond of the day every day since the moment you were born."

"I luv ya, mama and dada," babbled Séraphine sweetly.

Reid and Élise kissed and cuddled Séraphine with all their might, "And we love you, too."


"Oh, God…" Élise groaned as she moved again in bed. Lifting the sheets and looking under, her head lowered and planted her hand across her face. "Oh, come on!"

Reid walked out of the bathroom and noticed Élise's upset face. "What happened?"

Élise tossed the sheets aside and showed Reid the water stains on the bed. "I wet myself." Suddenly, she released a groan, causing her to clutch to her belly, wincing. "Oh…oh!"

"You're in labor," Reid realized as he rushed over to her side and steadily tried to get her up. "Careful, now."

Élise rested her hands on the bedside table and reached for her phone. "Oh. I have to call my parents, Rose…oohh!"

Reid put on his favorite Converses and scruffily put on a jacket. "You go do that. I'll get Séraphine, and we'll be on our way."

Élise shuffled out of the bedroom, cried out, "Make sure you have my bag!" Sighing, "Can't believe this is happening again."

Chapter Text


"Okay, mmph…" Élise sighed as she felt another contraction coming and was on her phone. "Thanks. Love. Bye…ahhh!" Another contraction came, causing Élise to make another groan.

In the driver's seat, Reid tried to assure Élise as they were on their way to the hospital. "We're under three minutes and…"

"Ahh…!" Élise cried from another contraction. Leaning her head back against the front car seat, she panted for a few moments before deciding to do her breathing exercises. "Hee-hee-hoo. Hee-hee-hoo. Hee-hee-hoo. Hee-hee-hoo. Hee-hee-hoo…"

Reid praised, "You're doing good. You're doing good, honey…"

"Quiet!" Élise snapped before she continued her breathing techniques.

Reid pressed his lips in a straight line and kept on driving.


Finally, they made it to Georgetown University Hospital. Reid pulled the car neared the hospital entrance. With assistance from Reid and a parking attendant, Élise slowly got out of the car and sat down in a wheelchair. Élise continued her breathing as she was wheeled inside the hospital.

A familiar-looking nurse with warm blonde hair caught their attention as they arrived at the reception desk.

"Ms. Bastien!" Her hazel eyes broadened. "Dr. Reid! It's been far too long."

A mentally tired Élise waved at Nurse Taylor and clutched to her belly. "Hey…ahh!"

Nurse Taylor came from behind the desk and placed her hand on Élise's belly. "Ooh. Let's get you two set up."

Nurse Taylor went around the desk again as they heard a familiar voice.

"Élise! Dr. Reid!" It was Dr. Patterson stepping off the elevator, and she had a sincere smile on her face. "How are you doing?"

Élise panted, trying to joke, "He was supposed to be due next week, but I guess our boy couldn't wait to see me…eeh!"

"Mmmm!"

Dr. Patterson chuckled, "You must be excited that your son wants to see you, dad."

Reid waved his restricted hand back and forth after Élise squeezed it too tightly. "That reason as well, too."

"Let's get you two settled in," Dr. Patterson had the couple follow her to their hospital suite.

Élise sighed and tried to relax her mind and body. "Let's just try and have a nice relaxing experience like we did last year."


Reid and Élise settled in their private suite and set up a private waiting room.

"OOOH!" Élise bellowed as she was in her bed; she felt the sweat in her forehead, hungry and grumpy. "HOW LONG HAVE I BEEN IN LABOR?"

Reid calculated, "Four hours, fifty-seven minutes, and six seconds and counting. Nine seconds…ten seconds…"

"STOP COUNTING!" Élise screamed and slammed her balled-up fists against the bed. "Oh!"

Reid backed up a bit and tightened his mouth.

Dr. Patterson entered the suite and asked, "So, how are we doing?"

"I want this boy out of me!" Élise whined loudly and wiped her eyes. Sniffing, "I CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE!"

Reid kissed the top of her head, "It's going to be okay…"

Élise grabbed Reid by his neck; Reid yelped in fear. She snared; he didn't blink, "If you get me pregnant again, I'm going to have your mother scratch your eyes out. And then I'm going to take care of you."

Élise released him, and Reid nervously fixed himself up. "We're doing good, doctor."

Dr. Patterson giggled before clearing her throat and prepping Élise's legs up before starting the examination. "For second pregnancies, your labor might go faster this time."

"When do I get to see him?" An impatient Élise asked the doctor.

"Okay." Dr. Patterson finished the examination. "Your dilation had just reached seven centimeters, so there's a chance you'll be seeing him at the stroke of midnight."

"Yay!" Élise cheered and clapped her hands; Dr. Patterson had just left the room. She was talking to her belly. "You here that, little guy? We better see you at midnight."

Reid stroked circles on Élise's palm. "So, is there anything I can do for you, love?"

"Actually, there is," With a loving smile, Élise pulled Reid closer to him. "Get out." She snarled and lowered her eyes.

Reid nervously tugged against his collar and fanned himself, "Did I do something…"

"Please get out and go see if any family members came." Élise politely ordered him, pointing him to the door.

Reid took Élise's hand and kissed it before puckering his lips for her to kiss them back.

With a toothy grin on her face, Élise grabbed his lips, "Now or I'll..."

Reid dashed out of the room to escape Élise's wrath, only to face familiar faces.

"Hey-hey-hey!"

It was Élise's family.

"Hey!"

Arthur and Brenda walked up to him; Brenda gave him a quick hug, "Oh, how are you?"

"I'm still alive, right?" Reid joked; he got a few chuckles.

"That's my little sister," Arthur smiled to himself before gifting Reid with a giant stuffed elephant. "For my nephew."

Reid appreciated his brother-in-law's present for his son. "Aww. Thanks, man." Reid walked up to his parents-in-law. "Hey."

Mr. Micha pulled Reid in for a manly hug. "Spencer! How's my little girl?"

"She's…"

"SPENCER!" Reid closed his eyes tightly and grimaced his face when Élise screamed for him. "GET IN HERE RIGHT NOW, PLEASE!"

Reid pouted his mouth, "She's Élise." He leads the Bastien family to the suite, where they find Élise crying, causing him to rush to her side and comfort her immediately. "Oh, what's wrong?"

Élise wept, "Oh, Spencer. I'm just so tired and so cranky and so miserable."

Reid kissed her head, "It'll be okay. It'll all be over once we see our little boy, okay?"

Élise wiped her red eyes and sniffed. "I know. But I'm so hungry." Her head against the soft pillow. "I want a s'more cracker."

"You can't have anything except ice chips," Reid fed Élise an ice chip and smiled while she grumpily sucked on it. "When this is all over, and when we get home, I'll make you all the s'more graham crackers you want."

Élise darted her eyes at him. "You better. I'm holding you accountable for that."


"Mmm…" Élise had another ice chip fed to her. "How long has it been now?"

Reid estimated in his head, "Six hours, two minutes, and fifteen seconds and counting."

Élise groaned loudly, "Ooh, I swear, this little boy can't come fast enough."

"It'll be fine, Lise," Reid assured her by kissing her head and resting against it. "No matter what…"

Their conversation was unexpectedly interrupted when someone opened the door and burst into the room.

"SPENCER!"

It was Mama Diana Reid, who had a broad smile on her face, and her eyes sparkled.

"Oh, my baby boy…" Her arms spread out when she ran to hug him. "My baby boy…!"

Reid warmly hugged her back. "Mmm. Hi, mom." Their attention turned to William Reid, who meekly entered the room. "Hi, dad."

William smiled sighingly, "Hi, son." They hugged before pulling away, and William asked, "So, how are you feeling?"

Reid exhaled sharply, "Nervous, though this was supposed to be easier the second time around."

William patted his shoulder, assuring, "It's going to be fine, son."

"I know, bu…"

The door swung open.

"SPENCER!" Ethel presented herself when she came into the room before walking to Reid and hugging him. "Hi, nephew." Pulling back, she stroked her fingers through his wavy hair. "Why does this hair of yours have to grow back so quickly?"

Reid chuckled to himself before noticing Gordon walking in. "Uncle Gordon!" Reid quickly approached him and hugged him. "How are you doing?"

"I'm good," answered Gordon as he closed the door behind him.

"Élise asked as she ate another ice chip, "So, where's everyone else?"

Ethel explained, "John stayed behind since Melissa is near the end of her pregnancy and Sabrina wasn't feeling too well. Anna and Nathan couldn't make it since they're in the UK right now before they go to South Korea."

Élise smiled dreamily and reminisced, "Remember when we went to London and South Korea?"

"Yup," Reid remembered. "They were some of the best vacations I ever took. Maybe we can go back in a year or two?"

Élise thought, "That's a good idea."


Élise looked through the sonograms throughout her pregnancy in one section of her unborn son's memory book. Reid walked in and saw Élise looking at the sonograms. They smiled at the first sonogram of their son when he was twelve weeks.

Élise shook her head in disbelief, "I still couldn't believe I was twelve weeks when I found out this little guy was growing inside me."

"Have you ever seen I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant?" asked Reid.

Élise answered, "I've heard of it, but I never watched it."

"See? Those women didn't know they were pregnant until they went into labor. Even Queen Mary I of England were said to have experienced a cryptic pregnancy."

Élise shrugged her shoulders, "True. But still…" She closed the book and gave it to Reid, prompting him to place it on the bedside. Élise began massaging between her nose with her index finger and thumb. "I can't believe we're going through this again."

"Same here," agreed Reid.

Élise caressed his cheeks. "And if you make me have to push out a watermelon again within the next year, I'm gonna kick your derriere in plain French." Élise's joyful smile turned into a snarl, and her eyes flashed.

"Actually, our boy is the size of…" Élise growled; Reid whispered. "I'll just stop talking."

"There we go." Élise nodded her head and had another ice chip.


Now, the big moment was happening. Reid and Élise stripped down to medical scrubs in an operating room with a couple of other doctors and nurses, including Dr. Patterson and Nurse Taylor.

"Ahhh!" Élise screamed as she was pushing for the past five minutes. "No more! Please, no more, doc!"

Reid kissed Élise's temple, "You can do it, Lise."

"You're almost there, Élise," Dr. Patterson encouraged her. "I see his hair. And it's brown. Just one big push."

Élise glared, "When this is all over, I better get a s'more." Huffing and puffing, Élise continued pushing, gripping Reid's hand and wrist, screaming.

Dr. Patterson cheered. "Come on. Just a little bit more…"

"Ahhh!"

Dr. Patterson gasped. "It's your boy!" When Dr. Patterson presented Reid and Élise their newborn son,

Reid and Élise couldn't believe it. "Aw, look at him." Élise was all teary-eyed and fanned herself with her hand before putting it over her mouth. "So handsome."

"He got that from me," joked Reid before kissing Élise's forehead.

Soon, Dr. Patterson held a pair of scissors for the two of them, knowing they would cut their newborn son's umbilical cord. Reid and Élise took the scissors from the doctor, and they cut the cord together.


Reid smiled and cried with tears of joy as their son was being dried and placed on Élise's chest for skin-to-skin contact. He couldn't help but get a picture of it.


Élise closed her eyes for a few moments while Reid watched as the doctors and nurses examined him.


A few more hours have passed; Élise had just finished breastfeeding him and continued skin-to-skin contact with Reid beside her.

"Hello, little buddy," Élise whispered, kissing his little hand. "It's mommy."

"And I'm your daddy," Reid waved. "Mommy and I have been waiting so long for you, little guy." He playfully bopped his nose, making his son coo. "We love you so much."

Mama Diana peaked her head in after knocking on the door three times. "Can we come in?"

"Of course, mom," answered Reid, gesturing her to come in.

Diana ran to her son's side, followed by his father, Ethel, Gordon, and the Bastien family entering the room.

Diana squealed when she got a closer look at her newborn grandson. "Ooh, look at him! He's so precious."

"Hey, little guy," William sniffed.

Ethel walked over to Diana's side and began playing with her newborn grandnephew's short dark locks. "I know." Gasping. "Look at his pretty little brown hair."

Élise tugged Reid closer to him and whispered in his ear, "Get him away from Aunt Ethel."

Reid gently coaxed his son away to Élise's relatives for a few moments. "Let us see this guy." They gathered around him and fussed over him. "Look at you, big guy."

Reid and Élise got their son back just as the door rhythmically knocked on the door. Someone poked their head, and it was Rose.

"Hey!"

Élise tried to perk up. "Hey, Rose."

"May we come in?" asked Rose.

"Of course."

Rose walked in; everyone melted when Séraphine was dressed in pink and blue scrubs.

"Hey-hey, my little nurse," Reid's eyes beamed, scooping her up. "How are we doing?"

"Gad!" babbled Séraphine before she placed next to Élise on the bed, and Reid sat down next to them. Her mouth dropped when her newborn brother was placed in front of her. "Tis 'im?"

Reid chuckled, petting her head, "Yes. This is your little brother."

Séraphine giggled, "Hi, bah!"

Everyone oozed with adoration.

"So, what are you naming this little guy?"

Reid exhaustingly sighed, "We've decided, after some seriously long deliberation, to name this little guy Isaac Dylan."

Diana squealed, "I love that name."

"Awww, I love it, too," William wiped another tear.

Nurse Taylor knocked on the door before coming in. "Hi. How's everyone doing?"

"We're good." Ethel reached into her bag and took out a camera, giving it to Nurse Taylor. "If you may, may you take a few pictures for us, please?"

"Absolutely." Nurse Taylor took the camera; the family stood beside Reid and Élise and adjusted them before she asked them, "Say 'Family'!"

"Family!"

Chapter Text


Élise was finished applying the last bit of her airbrush makeup. She gave the mini airbrush a quick cleaning in the hospital bathroom before safely putting it away back in the kit bag. After washing and drying off her hands, Élise pulled her hair back when she walked out and saw Aunt Ethel holding Isaac close to her.

"Whose great-nephew are you?" Ethel swaddled and cutely asked him. "Mmm. Whose great-nephew are you? That's right. Mine." Ethel humorously asked before pointing to herself. "You're my great-nephew, you adorable little guy."

Élise chuckled. "Okay. Give me my baby boy." She coaxed Isaac from Ethel's arms and began cuddling him since Ethel spent the last five minutes doing so. And ten minutes before that. "Give me my little Ziggy. He still needs his mama. Yes, he does. Yes, my little Zig-Zag does."

Reid walked back into the hospital room with a wheelchair and wondered, "So, how are we doing this morning?"

Élise sighed and patted her hair back. "I'm so ready to head home." She lovingly looked down at Isaac and tapped his nose, making him coo.

"And I can't wait to start spoiling this little movie star." Ethel placed her hands together and bounced when she squealed. "Ooh! I'm so excited to have another great-nephew." She unintentionally snatched baby Isaac from Élise's arms again and waddled him. "Yes, you are. Yes, you are!"

Élise took Isaac from Ethel again when Mr. Micha, William, Ms. Geneva, Diana, Arthur, and Brenda walked back in and gushed at Isaac.

"Oh, let me see my grandson," Diana prattled when she strolled up to Ethel and gently took Isaac from Ethel's arms. Her eyes beamed. "You have such pretty blue eyes!"

"He got them from me via you, mom," Reid encircled his arms around Élise's body and snuggled her. "Actually, did you know that…?"

Arthur politely interrupted Reid, held his hand out, and replied, "As much as I love to repeat high school science on genetics, we have to get going."

Brenda shrugged meekly. "Yeah, we have to get back to the Garden State; big meeting tomorrow." Brenda approached Reid and Élise and embraced the two.


The families said their goodbyes, and now, Élise was holding Isaac in her arms when Reid rolled her out of the hospital room. Ethel was behind them, carrying Élise's bags for her.

"Oh, I can't wait to go home and show you your new room, little guy," Élise waved her index finger around Isaac. "You get to see your big sister again. And you get to meet Opal."

Reid leaned forward and replied to his son, "She's going to love you the moment we step foot at home."

Élise tickled his cheek and giggled. Reid postured back up when Élise noticed someone. "Dr. Patterson!" She waved out to the doctor.

The couple caught Dr. Patterson's attention. "Hey, you two." Her mouth dropped, and she gasped when she looked down and saw a swaddled Isaac. "Hey, Isaac. How are you doing?"

Baby Isaac cooed, making everyone gaga over him.

"Aw." Dr. Patterson blushed. "I think he's trying to say 'hi' to me." She leaned in and whispered, "I know you're too young; you're just a few days old, but I'm your doctor."

Isaac cooed again; Dr. Patterson flushed. "You're welcome, little guy."


After Reid parked the car, Élise reached for little Isaac and lifted him out from his car seat in the back. Reid opened the door for her and Ethel, who then went for Élise's bags.

Walking to the house, the front door was already open. Reid always knew that an open door is never a good sign. Still, luckily for them, they called Rose earlier and told her they would be home at the exact time as he anticipated.

He gently pushed the door open.

"Taprise!"

Séraphine cheered; she and Rose tossed blue paper confetti in the air and jumped.

Reid laughed; Élise was behind him, following Ethel. Élise asked, "Ooh, are we having a party?"

"Baba!" Séraphine jumped up and down when Élise pushed forward with Isaac in her arms. "Baba! Baba!"

Élise placed her index finger to her lips and politely quieted her. "Shh! He's sleeping."

Opal walked over to the family and began purring Élise's legs. "Oh, I missed you, Opie." Élise scratched behind her ears.

"I made some oatmeal," Rose thumb-pointed to the kitchen. "In case you were hungry. I also did a little grocery shopping yesterday, cleaned up in here a bit..."

Ethel gave Reid the bags, approached Rose, and said, "Wonderful that you did that, but have no fear. Ethel Gloria Carney is here." Ethel placed her hands on her hips, struck an elegant pose, and smiled, showing off her perfectly straight and white teeth. "At least until I have to get back to Las Vegas for John and Melissa expecting my second grandchild." Ethel dashed into the kitchen, leaving Reid, Élise, Séraphine, and Rose in the foyer.

"This is going to be an interesting week," said Élise as she gently bounced Isaac in her arms.

Reid nodded his head in agreeance. "You got that right."


After Rose left—Reid and Élise gave her time off while Ethel was here with them—they took turns looking after Séraphine and Isaac. At the same time, Ethel helped out and tended to their every need.


Now, it was nighttime, and Élise was getting Isaac to sleep.

"Go to sleep," Élise tried singing him an improv lullaby. "Go to sleep. You need your sleep, O, little Ziggy." She rose from the rocking chair and whispered as she walked over to his bassinet and softly placed him on his back. "Those littles Zs, they need some sleep. So, please, go to sleep."

Isaac stretched when he yawned and rubbed his eyes.

Reid walked into the room and stood next to Élise; melted when he saw Isaac trying to sleep. "Yeah, I bet he's getting used to his new nursery," joked Reid as he grabbed ahold of his tiny hand.

"The stars are looking down on him," Élise played with his hair.

Isaac stretched again before drifting off into glazing sleep, allowing Reid and Élise to kiss his face. Unfortunately, they left him be as they made their way to their bed. Reid got into bed just as Élise began fanning herself, already getting emotional.

Élise sniffed, "Oh. We're actually doing this again, huh?"

Reid pecked Élise's head, "Mmm-hmm."


3:43 A.M.

Reid and Élise groggily woke up and flicked their eyes to the sound of Isaac crying. Élise moaned when she tiredly turned her body and saw Isaac crying.

Again.

Gently put it back on the bedside table, Élise was seconds away from pulling the comforters aside when Reid stopped her. "You go back to sleep. You did the first shift at 12:23 this morning."

"Spen…" Élise groaned and placed her hand on her head.

"Lise," Reid stopped her from getting out of bed, walked over to her bedside, and kissed her forehead. "I got it." Reid slowly tempted her back into bed and made his way to Isaac's bassinet, still crying. "Hey-hey, little man," Reid whispered when he took out Isaac from the bassinet and started swaddling him. "I got you."


Reid needed to catch a few more minutes of sleep. "Mmm…" A few short minutes wouldn't hurt him. "Mmm…"

"SPENCER WALTER REID!" Someone banged against the breakfast table in the nook.

Reid nearly jumped out of his seat and snorted, "Huh…wha…?" He shook his head and noticed Aunt Ethel with a breakfast plate in one hand and the other on her hip holding a spatula and with her mouth pouted to the side.

"This is the breakfast table, not the great room," Ethel set his plate down in front of him and waved her spatula at him. His breakfast plate consisted of toasted whole-grain bread with nut butter and eggs and oatmeal. "Now, eat."

Reid obeyed her, "Yes, ma'am." He took a bite of his oatmeal and gulped. "Mmm. This is good, Aunt Ethel."

Ethel blushed as she began preparing Élise and Séraphine's breakfast plate. "Aww. Thank you, dear nephew."

Élise walked in with Séraphine by her side, still in their pajamas, and carried Isaac in her arms. With a tired smile on her face, "Hey, everyone." She kissed Reid's lips.

"Hello, my loves," Reid kissed Séraphine's head next as he placed her in her high chair and helped Élise sit down. "How are we feeling this morning?"

"Gad!" Séraphine babbled.

Élise yawned loudly. "I'm still feeling a bit tired from this little ninja last night." She nodded her head to Isaac.

Ethel placed the girls' breakfast in front of them and walked over to Élise's side; she looked at Isaac from behind her. "Ah, look at this little movie star."

Élise tickled his mouth, making him coo.

"Bah." Séraphine stuck her tongue out while eating her parfait, which went unnoticed by the adults.


"Come on, little guy," After his first nap, Élise tried to get Isaac to breastfeed but was still feeling sleepy. "Come on." She got a wet wipe from the coffee table and began daintily wiping his forehead, neck, and face to try and keep him awake long enough to latch.

"You can do it, little man," Élise encouraged Isaac just as she heard footsteps behind her. She turned to see who it was, and it was just Reid and Séraphine, holding each other's hand. "Hey, you two." It was a good thing Élise was wearing her nursery cover shawl; there were just some things Séraphine doesn't need to see.

Reid kissed her head before paying attention to Isaac, "Hey, Ziggy. How are you doing?" He tickled his mouth, making him open it.

"Ooh, look at him," Élise gushed, almost successful at getting him to latch onto her breast and began feeding him. "He's about to have a good feed; yes, he is. Yes, he is."

Reid chuckled before seeing Séraphine waddled to Opal. "Hey, Fee. Do you want to say hi to your little brother again?"

"Nah," Séraphine preferred playing with Opal.


Isaac just had his third nap when Élise carried him into the great room with a book in her hand. Taking a seat, she saw Séraphine playing with Opal.

Élise tried to get Séraphine's attention, "Hey, Fifi. You want to join me as I read Isaac a story?"

"Nah," babbled Séraphine, still more interested in playing with Opal.

Élise was about to say something when she noticed the open and closed front door.

And then a voice cried out, "We're home!"

Even Opal left the great room for the foyer, where they saw Reid and Ethel carrying bags of groceries either in their hands and/or by their elbows.

Opal immediately began cuddling Reid's leg. "Hey, Opie. How are you doing?"

"So, how was your time at the market?" asked Élise as she rocked Isaac.

"Great!" Ethel perkily answered. "I got everything I need to make my special low-carb lasagna with zucchini noodles."

Élise's mouth watered. "Oh, I've been craving for something meaty and cheesy."

"Well, today's your lucky day," Ethel snagged the rest of the other bags from Reid's hands before looking at her Anne Klein two-tone bracelet watch. "I'll have dinner ready and in completion by five-thirty. So relax, catch up on a little rest, and take such good care of this handsome little man," Ethel pressed her nose tip against his nose and rubbed it before heading to the kitchen.

Isaac began fussily and began crying. "Oh, baby." Élise smoothly rocked him. "I'll go take care of him." She kissed Reid's cheek and waved Séraphine before she left the foyer for his nursery.

Reid distinctly smiled before turning to face Séraphine, only to have a frowned mouth and squinted eyes. Trying to cheer her up, "Hey, Fifi. Do you want to help mommy with Ziggy?"

Séraphine blew a raspberry.

"Fifi, that's not polite." Reid sternly replied to her.

Séraphine folded her arms and blew a raspberry again.


Ethel called everyone to enjoy the dinner she had made.


Élise was in the bedroom, reading The Little Prince, when Reid was rocking Isaac to sleep.

"Rock-a-bye Ziggy," Reid began singing a classic lullaby to his son. "On the treetops. When the wind blows, the cradle will rock. When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall, and down will come baby, cradle and all."

Isaac yawned, making Élise flutter. She couldn't help but set her book down and record this special moment.

Reid softly shushed him as he got Isaac to sleep and gently laid him down in the bassinet. Reid sighed as he got into bed and cuddled next to Élise, who showed him the recent recording of him singing to Isaac.

"Aw, isn't that cute?" Élise gushed before placing her phone on the beside. "I can't wait for tomorrow."

"Yeah," Reid agreed before he curiously bit down on his inner bottom lip. "We need to talk about Séraphine."

Élise massaged her temples, "What about her?"

Reid feared, "Profiling her behavior around Isaac, she's jealous."

Élise opened her mouth but soon thought about her behavior lately. Especially when she tried to get Séraphine to join her as she wanted to read Isaac a story and when she tried to throw a handful of lasagna. "Now that you mentioned it, yeah." Sighing. "We assured her that she's not being replaced and that no matter what, she'll be as loved like him."

Reid shrugged. "Still…" He scratched his ear. "We have to get her to talk about it. We have to assure Fifi again that she doesn't need to be jealous of Ziggy. We need to give her more of our love and make her feel special more than ever before."

"Absolutely." Élise got out her phone and pulled up some articles about how to deal with a jealous sibling. "We also have to be supportive, see from her point of view, but at the same time, we have to put Séraphine first and get her involved with Isaac. We shouldn't rush it, but…"

"I get it," Reid understood.


After breakfast time, Reid decided to take Séraphine for a walk around the neighborhood while Isaac had his first nap. Holding her hand, "You were a good girl this morning, finishing your breakfast like that."

"Yah," babbled Séraphine.

"And you were good keeping Opal company," Reid replied.

Séraphine babbled again, "Yah."

"Things such have changed since the baby came," Reid knew it was now or never. Massing her palm with smoothing circles, "I know it's been hard on you; mommy and I spending so much time with little Ziggy lately."

"Laud," Séraphine had her hands to her ears.

Reid snickered, "Yeah, Isaac can be loud. But all babies cry a lot, right?"

"Hmph," Séraphine scoffed and turned her head the other way.

Reid sadly smirked, "It's going to take us all some time to get used to this."

"Hmph," Séraphine still had her mouth pouted.

"It'll get better because we're all in this together," Reid assured Séraphine as he lovingly stroked her hair. "It won't be forever."

"Uh-huh," Séraphine nodded and crossed her arms.

"Hey," Reid squashed to Séraphine's size. "I meant what I said about no one is replacing any other in this family. Our love for you growing stronger every yoctosecond of the day every day since the moment you were born. And little Ziggy loves you, too." Reid profiled what he was saying was getting to Séraphine, and he continued. "You are his big sister, after all. He's lucky to have a big sister like you."

Séraphine let out a chuckle, Reid began laughing, "See what I mean? When he gets a little older, he's going to need you. Someone to make him laugh and smile and look after him."

Séraphine pulled Reid into a hug; Reid smiled. "Aww. Thank you, Fifi. Mommy and I are going to give you more love than ever before."

"Tanks, dada!"


Élise merrily bounced Isaac in her arms. "Z is for being a zestful baby. I is for inventive. The two Gs mean ga-ga. And Y is for the youngster baby you are." She found herself strolling into the great room where she saw Reid and Séraphine watching The Lion King. "Hey, am I missing the party?"

"Nope," Reid tapped an empty seat on the couch, gesturing Élise to sit down.

Séraphine giggled when she saw Isaac, "Ziggy." She wiggly waved at Isaac. "Hi, bah."

Isaac cooed; Élise gasped, "Hey-hey. He's saying 'hi' to his big sister. Hi, Fifi!" She wondered. "Where's Ethel?"

Reid answered, "She went for a walk around the neighborhood nine minutes ago."

Knock-knock-knock!

"Maybe she came back earlier," Élise figured as Reid got up from the couch.

Reid half-guessed, "Yeah, maybe." He walked out of the great room to answer the door. When he opened it, "Heeey."

The entire team, even Hotch's son Jack and JJ and Will's son, Henry; from Hotch to Rossi; from Morgan and Garcia; JJ and Will and even…

"Prentiss?" Reid blinked, and his mouth gaped. Prentiss moved to London to accept Clyde Easter's offer at Interpol the last time he checked. "What…?"

"I, uh…had some last-minute business to take care of in D.C. before I head back to London," Prentiss explained.

Reid accepted it and allowed the team to come in.

Henry immediately cuddled his godfather's legs, "Uncle Spencer!"

"Hey, Henry!" Reid snuggled his godson. "Whoa! Did you get taller?"

Garcia pushed her way through with her eyes flashing and a dimpled smile, springing up and down. "Ooh! Where's the little guy? Where's little Isaac?" Garcia went through her phone and pulled out the electric birth announcement.

ISAAC DYLAN REID

BORN JUNE 21ST 2012 AT MIDNIGHT

8 LBS AND 22 INCHES LONG

"Ever since I got the email, I couldn't help myself! I had to see him!" Garcia squealed. "Where is he! Where is he!?"

"Garcia!" Élise walked out of the great room, holding Séraphine's hand and carrying Isaac, pressing her finger to her mouth and motioning her hand down. Séraphine waved to everyone.

Garcia covered her mouth in embarrassment and whispered, "Sorry."

"Lisey!" Jack rushed to hug Élise.

Élise chuckled. "Hey, Apple Jacks!"

"Jack-Jack!" Séraphine opened her arms out.

Jack hugged Séraphine next. "Hey, Fifi."

After being sprayed down with Lysol and given hand wipes, sanitizers, and lotion by Reid, the team took a couple of steps to get a better look at Isaac.

"Aw, he's adorable," Prentiss grinned at days-old Isaac.

Rossi commented, "He kinda looks like you, Spencer."

"Thanks, Rossi," Reid expressed his gratitude.

Hotch smirked with his arm folded, "You find a head full of hair and chubby cheeks attractive?"

Reid raised his eyebrow, "Are you getting back at me for the 'You find baldness and wrinkles attractive' comment I made about Jack?"

"Well, one thing's for sure is that he has his pretty daddy's pale complexion and short pretty little brown hair," Morgan tickled Isaac's chin, making him coo.

Garcia playfully hit Morgan's chest and dainty wiggled her finger around Isaac's face, "Look at that little witty-bitty nose.' Gasping. "And those pretty blue eyes with a little hint of gray."

"Congratulations," JJ nodded.

"Come on," Morgan stepped forward and held his arms out, "Let me hold the pretty little guy."

Élise shook her head in amusement and joked, "Let's hope Ziggy doesn't spit up a river."

"Ha-ha," Morgan deadpanned as he's given Isaac but is warned to watch his head gently. "Ooh…I got you." He bounced him a couple of times and smiled at Isaac. "Hey, little man." He chuckled to the team, "He likes me." Suddenly, he sensed something on his hand and sniffed it. "I think your boy pissed on me."

The Bastien-Reid family began snickering; the same with most of the team, Jack, and Henry, especially Hotch. Garcia rushed to his aid and dried his wet hand with wipes.


The team sat down for a short lunch and had a quick chat with Ethel.


It had just turned one in the afternoon, and Reid was in the kitchen with Ethel, helping her fix dinner after they finished with lunch. Wiping his hands with a clean napkin as he left the kitchen for the great room, Reid smiled when he saw Élise reading to Séraphine and Isaac; Opal napped in the corner.

"How are we doing?" Reid joined them on the couch.

Séraphine babbled, "Gah!"

Isaac yawned; Reid beamed, "I take it you're good, too."

Knock-knock-knock!

Élise pouted her mouth to the side, "Did you invite someone?"

"No," Reid warily answered as everyone got up and went to answer the door. "Did you?"

"Nope." Séraphine babbled.

They opened the door, and their mouths dropped.

"Maeve! Bobby! Little BJ!"

Bobby smiled, "Hey-hey!" He allowed Maeve to go first, whose belly was blooming. "After you, my Queen."

Reid and Élise helped Maeve inside the house; a squeal came out of Élise's mouth. "Oh my, Maeve! You are glowing like the morning sun."

Maeve blushed and stretched her back. "Thank you." She wiggled waved to Séraphine, "Hello, Fifi!"

"Hi!" Séraphine flapped her hand to everyone, especially BJ.

"What's going on here?" Ethel's voice thrilled when she was walking down the hall and into the foyer. She was wearing a red gingham printed dress with short sleeves, square neckline and was below the knee, a white apron, and black flats. She soon noticed Maeve, Bobby, and BJ. "Oh! We have guests."

Reid began introducing them, "Aunt Ethel, these are our friends, Dr. Maeve Donovan, her husband Robert Putman, and their son, BJ."

"Hi, thanks to meet you," Maeve politely shook Ethel's hand.

Bobby nodded. "Spencer has told us about you, ma'am."

Ethel cocked her head a bit and lowered her eyes a little. "Really?" She took a couple of steps towards him, scaring Bobby a tad. "What has he said about me?"

Reid noticed Bobby's calm body language as Bobby responded. "That's you're a wonderful and amazing woman."

Ethel blushed and giggled. "Well, that's very sweet. Thank you."

Once Ethel turned around, Bobby released a sigh of relief, making the adults giggle before Ethel offered them a quick snack.


Reid knocked on the door of the guest bedroom Ethel was staying.

Knock-knock-knock-knock!

"Come in!" said Ethel.

Reid opened the door to see Ethel organizing her suitcase. He figured, "Getting ready for tomorrow?"

"Yup." Ethel rolled her shoulders behind her back before she cupped her hands together. "I need my sleep for when I go back to Las Vegas. John called—he, Melissa, and Sabrina send their congratulations again; same with Anna and Nathan—and he's getting ready." She took one last look at the contents: clothes, shoes, accessories, toiletries. "Perfect."

She cautiously locked her suitcase, and Reid placed it away from the bed. Ethel sighed as she sat on the edge of the bed. "Whoo! Thank you again for letting me help you out with little Isaac."

"Anytime, Aunt Ethel,"

Ethel had her hands over her cheeks. "This brought back so many memories when John and Melissa had Sabrina. And with John and Anna in general. My babies are having babies." Ethel sniffed and wiped a tear from her eye. "This feeling is just….overwhelming and…" Ethel wiped more tears away and fanned herself. "Whoo! I can't wait. It feels as if I'm starting all over again. Thank you, nephew, for allowing me to do this for you."

Reid accepted her hug. "You're welcome."

Chapter Text


"Ah-ah. I got it," Reid adjusted the blue pacifier in Isaac's mouth and tickled his cheek, making him coo. "There you go, little guy."

Reid hummed as he was rocking Isaac in the nursery. Sure, it wouldn't be another few weeks until he moved Isaac there, but there was nothing more than he liked doing than spending a little quiet time with his son.

Reid smiled to himself. His son. Isaac Dylan was his son now.

Still, he decided to give a call to the team. There was nothing wrong with checking in on them every now and then. Reaching for his phone, he set the phone to a low volume and vibrated before dialing the number and placing the phone to his ear. The phone rang about three times before he got an answer.

"Hello?"

Reid whispered, "Hey, Hotch."

"Reid," Hotch was surprised to hear from Reid. "How are you?"

Reid sighed, "Good. Very good. He just fell asleep and Élise's with Séraphine, so…I just wanted to see how everyone was doing."

Hotch joked, "If I remember correctly, dad, you're supposed to be asleep when the baby is."

Reid yawned, "Oh, believe me. I get more than enough sleep." He cleared his throat. "So, how is everyone?"

"We're okay," replied Hotch. "I'm still going through the candidates to hold Prentiss' position."

"Oh," Reid furrowed his brow, and his mouth gaped when Hotch announced to him that he's been trying to find Prentiss' replacement. "Really?"

"Yeah, you know how the Bureau doesn't like to leave spots vacated for so long," Hotch explained.

Reid figured, "Well, yeah. So, it's just been you, Rossi, JJ, Morgan, and Garcia?"

"We're good, Reid," Hotch firmly assured him. "Just spend the rest of your paternal leave with your family. Don't worry about us."

Reid stared down at Isaac, who made gurgling noises, making him chuckle. "Oh, I definitely will."

"Go do that," Hotch told him. "And make sure you keep spending us some baby photos."

"Will do," replied Reid as they hung up. He tickled Isaac's cheek, making him coo through his pacifier again, and kissed his head. "I love you so much, little guy."


"Hello, everyone!" Luna waved to the family as they noticed them entering the store. Luna closed, "Oh! This is little Isaac Dylan?"

"Yes, it is," Élise tickled Isaac's chin, making him.

Luna squatted with her hands on her knees, "Oh, my…Fifi! You've grown since the last time I saw you."

"Tank you," babbled Séraphine.

Luna smiled and noticed a small stain on the upper left side of Reid's rolled-up sleeves lavender and white poplin shirt. "May I ask…?"

"A little baby vomit," Reid explained and let out a chuckle.

Élise leaned forward and whispered, "You should have seen what Isaac did to his oxford shirt while Spencer was changing him. Isaac did a number two on him," Luna giggled a bit, and Élise replied, "But we brought backup clothing, just in case." Élise pointed to the black satchel Reid was holding.

"That's good that you did," Luna nodded.


The family spent the past hour with Luna taking photographs of them with Isaac alone, either Reid, Élise, and/or Séraphine holding him before getting a few as a family.


"Ooh, I love this one!" Élise giggled when she pointed to a picture on the screen with her and Reid holding Isaac, and he took a leak; Séraphine covered her mouth and giggled.

Luna giggled with her, "Oh, I've captured some unfortunate mishaps over the years, so I'm used to it."

Reid was now carrying Isaac and asked, "The photographs will be ready in a few days, right?"

"Mm-hmm," Luna answered.


Reid poured himself a fresh cup of brewed coffee and sipped it. He took a seat at the breakfast nook when Élise walked in. She stretched and yawned, using her hand palm to cover her mouth. Élise scratched her back before sitting next to Reid.

"Hi again, love," She tiredly smiled and kissed his lips. She licked her lips, smacked her mouth, and guessed, "Coffee?" Élise eyed his coffee cup and started tapping, itching to get even a little drop. She tried to reach for it.

"Nuh-uh, wifey," Reid knew Élise's eyes greedily staring at his cup and slid it away from her. "You're nursing our boy."

Élise gulped, trying to lean and smell the aroma. Whining, "But it's Ethiopian…"

"Lisey…" Reid used his warning tone, lowering his eyebrow, cocked his head, and smirked.

Eventually, Élise backed off and pouted her mouth, "Okay."

"Good girl," Reid gave her another kiss and caressed her cheek. He offered to make everyone breakfast before he got up and replied to Élise, "Stop staring at my coffee cup." He turned his head back again to see Élise's frown.


Reid and Élise decided to take Séraphine, Isaac, and Opal down to the park for some fresh air, figuring it's been a while since they had been to one. Reid and Élise took turns swinging Séraphine back and forth on the swing, looking after Isaac, and playing with Opal before they began walking.

"Hey, little man," Élise doted at Isaac in his red and blue seat in the double stroller. "How are you feeling?"

Isaac's eyes were starting to close, and he licked his lips.

"Ah, I take that he's feeling fine," Reid tickled his cheek, making him lick his lips again before staring down at Séraphine, asking her, "Did you have a good time at the park today?"

"Yah!" babbled Séraphine.

"How about you, Opal?" asked Reid.

Opal barked in response before cuddling his leg.

Élise chuckled, "Do you know why I like coming to the park?"

"Because of the clear air provided by the trees from pollutants and natural ecosystem protection, physical activity, and boost for our mental health?" Reid figured. "As a matter of fact, journals, including researchers in Finland and the Netherlands, studied that even ten minutes can reduce stress, sadness, and depression, and increase happiness."

"I used to love coming to the park with my dad," Élise reminisced about her childhood. "You get to make your own sense of adventure."

"Not to mention, it's a great place to meet new people," Reid agreed, "Especially when you're still a child, though I rarely came to the park with my parents." Reid sighed, thinking how he wished he had made a friend or two at the park. "But at least I get to spend it with Fifi and Ziggy, right?"

"Yah!" Séraphine giggled and kicked her legs.

The family stopped at a nearby bench for a short rest.

Reid bent down and gave Séraphine a small snack. "Here you go, love."

"Tanks, dada," Séraphine cheered.

Élise screwed her water cap and set it back in her bag before her eyes caught sight of a familiar character. "Hey, babe." She grabbed Reid's attention and pointed him to the gypsy lady. "It's her."

"Ms. Giselle Ardelean?" Reid remembered who she was.

"Yeah," Élise got up and strolled towards her. "I looked up some of the tarot card meanings from the last time, and I felt as if what she said happened to us. Unexpected events, wonders, good things, and the positive outcomes that come with it. Plus, there's kind of fun to do, and I did a little research on her." Élise pulled out her phone and showed Reid the information on her.

Giselle Ardelean: Born to two European and African immigrant parents in the US. She traveled and lived around the world growing up. She's also a certified counselor in D.C., has no criminal record, and freelances as a gypsy and tarot card reader on the weekends.

Reid chuckled as he followed her. Once there, "Uh, Ms. Ardelean?"

Ms. Giselle gasped, "Ah. I remember you. How are you all doing today?"

"We're good," Élise answered chipperly. "And you yourself?"

Giselle inhaled and exhaled the air. "Fine on a day like today." She presently waved to the deck of cards in front of them. "Would you like a card reading?"

Élise spoke up for everyone, "Yes, ma'am."

"Please, sit," Ms. Giselle played with the deck of cards as Reid took a seat. She set out three cards in front and flipped one.

"The Wheel of Fortune card." The woman breathed. "Changes have been happened to you," Her hand trembled as she picked up the card and motioned it towards Élise. "As well as you, my fair lady." Setting it back down, "Like life, cycles going on and on, including the unexpected changes that are happening; good and bad."

Both Reid and Elie agreed to that.

Ms. Giselle turned the second card, and she gasped, placing her hand on her heart.

On the card, it's raining heavily, and there's a floating heart with three pierced swords.

"The Three of Swords card," Ms. Giselle explained. "I see grief happening. A loss and heartbreak; sadness and tears even." She reversed the card. "Life knocks us down, but we have to get back up. We can move past from it and heal."

Reid and Élise nodded their head silently.

Ms. Giselle spun the final card, and it had an unclothed woman with two water containers. She's pouring one on dry land and the other in the water, one foot in the water and the other on the ground. Above her are a large star and other stars.

She folded her long fingers, "The Star. With healing comes hope. No matter what life throws at us, we mustn't lose hope and remember the positives; we are strong. Keep the faith and appreciate what we have in life. When you do that, you can get through anything."

Reid and Élise were still speechless until Isaac began making soft cries.

"Hey-hey-hey, little Ziggy," Élise immediately began comforting him. "It's okay. Shh-shh-shh. We got you."

Reid tipped the lady, "Thank you, ma'am."

"Anytime," Ms. Giselle glued her palms together and respectfully bowed her head.


"Look at these pretty locks to you, sweet boy," Élise said in a soft tone as she was washing Isaac in the kitchen of the master bathroom. After drying his body, she used a tiny brush to clean his hair. "Look at these pretty locks." She gently poured the small water bowl over his hair—avoiding his eyes—before using a clean white terrycloth towel to dry his head. "There you go, little man."

She walked out of the bathroom just as Reid came in. "You're all clean now," Élise giggle-talked. "You're all clean." She bopped his nose, making him coo.

Reid smiled as he walked over to Élise's side and wrapped his arm around her. Wiggly waving to Isaac, "Hey, Ziggy. How are you doing, little man?" Isaac released another coo, making Reid grin.

"How do you feel about returning to work soon?" Élise playfully nudged him as she led them to their bed.

Reid sighed as he got into bed with her, "They say it'll get easier, but…it just never does."

"At least I'll be home for the next eight weeks," Élise mentioned. "You don't have to worry. Plus, Rose will be helping me, so there'll be no worries here."


For dinner, the family had tomato and eggplant casserole, beets, and greens salad; the dessert was freshly baked healthy chocolate chip cookies.

Reid offered to put Isaac down for a cat nap while Élise tended to the dishes and Séraphine.


Élise gave Isaac another feeding just as Reid offered to get him settled down while she took a quick shower.

"Are you ready, little man?" whispered Reid in Isaac's ear, holding him in his arms. "Are you ready to go beddy-bye?" He gently laid Isaac flat on his back and made sure he was comfortable.

Isaac faintly moved, opened his mouth and eyes little by little.

Élise was clad with a silk robe, watching the father-and-son exchange in silence with her arms crossed and by the bathroom door.

"Hey, little man." Reid grabbed a nearby chair and sat down beside him as Isaac was resting. "You know, I had this talk with your big sister, Fifi, though I know you're too young to understand. But I'm going to tell you anyway. I'll be going back to work soon. Mommy and I have dangerous jobs. What we do is to protect those in need, even you and Fifi. No matter what, we're always going to fight to our last dying breath to come home to you." Reid took his tiny hand and kissed it before kissing his forehead.


"Okay," Élise said to herself as she was fixing breakfast for everyone, including Reid, who's set to go back to work today. She decided to try a new breakfast recipe: oven-baked sheet pan pancakes.

She removed the half sheet pan from the oven as soon as the pancakes turned golden brown. Élise put on her mitts and cut the pancakes in small-sized portions for Séraphine and large portions for herself and Reid.

"Here you go, my love," Élise passed the small plate to Séraphine in her highchair. "I didn't forget your berries and your milk." She set the small cup of milk next to her plate.

"Tank you, mama!" giggled Séraphine as she picked up her fork and began eating her small pancake slice.

Élise asked Séraphine as she sat down and had a couple of bites, "How is it?"

"Gad!" answered Séraphine and took another bite.

Reid walked into the breakfast nook, and Élise's mouth was half open as she could barely close it, no matter how many times she tried to. And for a good reason. Reid was handsomely dressed in a crisp blue oxford shirt with the sleeves rolled up, freshly ironed dark pants, and his favorite Converses.

Fixing his hair up a bit as he was holding Isaac, Reid asked, "How do I like?"

"Like you're modeling for iconic brands, especially the preppy ones," Élise coyly sipped some orange juice. "Which is fine with me because preppy is so…"

"Élise…" Reid discreetly pointed to Séraphine eating and him holding Isaac, sensing she was about to use rather inappropriate language.

Élise broke out into giggles as she took Isaac from his arms and into hers. "I got the coffee maker ready for you, so enjoy yourself." She caressed Reid's cheek and kissed him again, and thumb-pointed him to the machine.

Reid chuckled, "I'm surprised you didn't sip any for yourself."

"I have good willpower," retorted Élise as she had another helping of the breakfast she made.


After ten minutes, Reid offered to wash the breakfast table and dishes while Élise took Séraphine and Isaac to the great room.

"That's it, little man," Élise encouraged Isaac to breastfeed from her left side. "That's it, Ziggy."

"Well," Reid finished drying his hands as he entered the great room and waved to Séraphine and Opal playing together. "I'm off to work."

Séraphine got up by herself, waddled to her father, and hugged his leg. "Bah, dada."

Reid scooped Séraphine off and kissed her head, "I love you so much, Fifi." He set her down next to Élise on the couch and kissed Isaac's head. "I love you so much, Ziggy."

"And where's my kiss?" asked Élise before she puckered up.

Reid chuckled to himself before passionately kissing Élise's lips. Pulling back, he felt Opal cuddling his leg. "Aw, I love you so much, Opie." He stared at his silver watch. "Ooh! I better get going." He quickly grabbed his satchel and bid adieu once more. "Love you!"


Reid sanitized his hands again once he stepped off the elevator and opened the double glass doors. He only took a few steps…

"Surprise!"

The team—most of them: Morgan, Garcia, JJ, and Rossi—stood by his desk.

Reid had a broad smile on his face when the team surprised him.

"Hey, Spence," JJ greeted him.

"Welcome back, my favorite daddy of two!" Garcia cried as she strolled towards Reid and embraced him with all her might. "How we missed you so much!"

Morgan was the next to hug him after Garcia pulled back. "Welcome back, pretty daddy." Drawing back, Morgan placed his hands on Reid's shoulders and took a good look at him. "Mmm. You look the same. Eh, maybe not. Probably because of those bags under your eyes right there."

Reid slapped his hand away when Morgan pointed to his eyes and laughed. "Ha-ha."

"So, you do have any new photos of Baby Isaac?" asked Rossi with amusing curiosity.

Reid rummaged through his satchel and pulled out a copy of the family photograph taken a week prior. He cautiously took out the previous photo he had in the frame and replaced that photograph with the new one.

It was a family portrait of him, Élise, Séraphine, and Isaac.

"Oh," Garcia swept the photo frame from Reid's hands. "You all look so good and so cute and polished and so…oh!" Garcia could barely keep her excitement. "I'm just so proud and happy for you!" Garcia hugged him again.


Reid knocked three times on Hotch's office door.

"Come in," said Hotch.

Reid walked in and found Hotch at his office desk with stacks of files, staring down at one of them.

Hotch looked up, "Hey, Reid."

"Hey," Reid observed the files and figured, "Still interviewing for the vacant seat left by Prentiss?"

"Yes," answered Hotch. "Though I do see some promising ones. Hopefully, I'll have an answer within a week or two." Hotch set his pen down and closed the file, folding his fingers and asked, "How was your paternal leave?"

Reid sighed, taking a seat across from Hotch, "It was good. I'm glad I got to spend some time with Ziggy." Reid went through his bag and pulled out some new photographs he showed the team earlier. He gave them to Hotch.

Hotch looked at the photographs and joked, "He has your smile."

Reid snickered, "Yeah, he does."

"Is Élise still taking the eight weeks off?" Hotch questioned before giving the pictures back to Reid.

"Yes."

Hotch observed Reid's tense body language. "Are you okay?"

"I, uh, I know I had this same with Séraphine, though I know Ziggy's too young to understand. I, uh, told him that Élise and I have dangerous jobs, but what we do is to protect those in need, even them. And no matter what, we're always going to fight to our last dying breath to come home to them," sighed Reid. "And I even promised myself I would never abandon them as my father did to my mother and me."

"I know you won't, Reid," Hotch nodded.

Reid whispered and felt a tear coming down his eye, "Yeah. I know."

Chapter Text


"SPENCE!"

Reid nearly jumped out of his chair and snorted, "Wha…?" He shook his head and noticed JJ standing over him at his desk. Giving him a funny look, she wondered, "You okay?"

"Oh, sorry." Reid covered his mouth as he yawned for the third time since he arrived. He looked down at his desk and was surprised himself that he didn't drool on himself like he did the other day. "Ziggy woke Élise and I up. Along with another surprise this morning."

JJ smirked, "What happened this morning involving a surprise?"


3:15 in the morning...

Reid shut his eyes tightly and groaned when he heard his cell phone vibrate from under his pillow. Pinching his fingers between his eyes as he rummaged under his pillow to get his phone. Sighing, "Hello…?"

"AHHHH…!"

The screams over the phone were enough to startled Reid to wake him and wake Élise up.

"What the…?" Élise moaned, scratching her head.

It was a good thing Reid didn't set his phone on the speaker; otherwise, Isaac would have been screaming and crying as he did an hour ago.

"Aunt Ethel…?"

"I'M A GRANDMA AGAIN!" Ethel screamed over the phone. "I'M A GRANDMA AGAIN!" She hung up.

Reid set his phone on the bedside table and rested his head against the pillow again. Élise questioned, "What happened?"

"Ethel's a grandma again."

Élise chuckled; her eyes are still closed shut. Tugging the pillow against her head, "At least her call didn't wake up Ziggy."

Suddenly, Ziggy started fussing and crying.

Again.

"Well, it was nice while it lasted," Élise said dryly. "And congrats to the family."


JJ started chuckling after Reid told her what had happened this morning.

This soon caught Rossi's attention, who had just walked out of his office and made his way towards JJ and Reid at their desks in the bullpen.

"What's going on?" Rossi wanted in on the latest gossip he witnessed.

Still giggling, JJ thumb-pointed, "Spence got a little surprise this morning."

"Ooh, what kind of surprise?" Rossi asked intriguingly with a raised eyebrow and a smirk.

Reid showed them the text message on the phone he got from his cousin John.

SAMUEL LUCAS CARNEY

BORN JULY 27TH 2012 AT 12:15

8 LBS 21 LONG

"Ah," Rossi understood. "And I take it Aunt Ethel woke you all up?"

"Yup. After the call, Isaac started fussing and crying, and it took us eight minutes to let him go back to sleep." Reid massaged his ears as JJ's phone rang.

JJ calmed herself from chuckling as she answered her phone, "Hello?"

"'Ello, loves."

JJ started chuckling again, "Hey, Garcia." She set her phone on speaker. "How are you and Derek?"

Garcia continued speaking in a British accent, "My statuesque god of sculptured chocolate thunder and I made it to London alright. Now, we're relaxing back at the hotel, and we plan to begin the fun tomorrow bright and early."

"Are you going to conceive that love child of yours?" joked Rossi.

Morgan came to the phone, "I heard that, Rossi."

"Oh, what's the 411?" Garcia wondered.

"The famous Aunt Ethel woke me up this morning as she's a grandmother again," Reid yawned into the phone.

"Aww," Garcia gushed at the news. "That's hunky-dory, brains."

Reid smiled, "Thanks." He yawned again. Shaking his head to try to alert himself, "Oh, man…"

Morgan chuckled, "Aw, don't you sound so cute when you yawn like that?"

Reid deadpanned, "Ha-ha. Just have fun on your vacation trip in London and say 'hi' to Emily for me."

"Tickety-boo, love," replied Garcia. "If we get our new member, let me know as soon as possible, so I can..."

Fearing Garcia would say something involving "looking them up", Morgan added, "We'll make sure to bring something back for your guys. Now, my lady and I want to tour London early."

JJ shook her head, "Okay. Have fun!"

"But not too much!" joked Rossi.

"Laters."

Garcia spoke in a British accent, "Ta-ta, cheerio. God save the Queen."

JJ giggled as she put her phone away and looked to Rossi, "Hey. When was the last time you had a vacation?"

"I don't know, and honestly, I don't care." Rossi made his way back to his office.


Reid rubbed his eyes again as he approached Hotch's office and knocked on his door three times.

"Come in," said Hotch.

Reid walked in and found Hotch at his office desk with at least ten stacks of files less than the last time he was in his office, staring down at one of them.

Reid knew, "Have you decided on our new team member?"

"I have, yes," Hotch closed the completed file he had just finished and opened the one containing the applicant's file. "Alex Blake."

Reid's eyes broadened with the whites showing, and his jaw gaped, "Dr. Alex Blake? She's returning to the FBI full-time or…?"

"No, she'll still be teaching forensic linguistics at Georgetown," Hotch closed her file. "But yes, she'll be joining our team sometime next week."

Reid knew everything he knew about Dr. Alex Blake, other than being the wife of Dr. James Blake, the man who operated on his knee when he got shot nearly three years ago. Her mind was as equal as his. She was also a prodigy in her own mind and right and a veteran agent with the Bureau for years until some unfortunate incident during a case that greatly derailed her career.

"I'm sure you two will get along better than you do now," Hotch remarked.

Reid nodded his head, "Absolutely."

"I know it's been a couple of months since Prentiss left, but this will be good for us." Hotch sounded hopeful. "And you already know the Bureau doesn't like keeping position opens for too long anyway. She'll fit right in."

"I know she will," Reid sounded hopeful himself.


"Hey, Zig-zag," Élise was in the great room with Séraphine and Isaac; Opal was resting in the corner. Élise gently, carefully, and securely had Isaac on her silver exercise ball, covered with a white blanket to make his tummy time more comfortable. "Good boy, my little Ziggy."

Reid walked in with a cup of coffee in his hand. He was dressed in a lavender grid check button shirt with a dark purple tie, a lightweight cardigan sweater, gray trousers, black belt, and Converses.

"Don't you look good, bunny?" Élise admired what Reid was wearing. "No doubt you're going to be one of the best-dressed guest lecturers at Georgetown University."

"Gad, dada!" babbled Séraphine.

Reid chuckled as he made his way towards Séraphine and found her on her belly and stretching. Squatting down and stroking her curly hair, "What are you doing, silly girl?"

"Ziggy!" giggled Séraphine.

Élise explained, "She saw me helping Isaac with his tummy time and wanted to help out. I'd figured to combine a little workout time with his tummy time, so…"

"Oh," Reid kissed her forehead. "That's a good girl." He began laughing when Élise strategically placed the baby-safe mirror in front of him. "Ooh, you're looking good, Ziggy."

"Next thing he'll know, he'll be taking selfies," Élise tickled his cheeks, making him smile, and Reid to take a quick snap from his phone.

After Reid took the picture, he looked at the time and exclaimed, "Ooh! I have to get going!" He gave Séraphine another kiss on her forehead and one to Isaac before squatly walking and passionately kissing Élise's lips. "I love you all."

He gently rose and shook his legs before he noticed Opal cuddling them. Stroking her fur, "Ooh, I can never forget about you, girl."


Arriving at Georgetown University, Reid made his way to the prestigious Gaston Hall, an auditorium located inside the Healy Hall. It was known for its rich interior and grand embellishments and hosting prominent figures; from heads of state to political leaders and other VIPs.

Upon his arrival, he acknowledged a few familiar faces and other noticeable public figures he knew. He heard about before a feminine voice called out for him.

"Dr. Spencer Reid."

He turned around and saw a pale-complexioned woman in her late forties. She had dark brown eyes, curved eyebrows, full pink lips, wavy brunette armpit length hair, and was attired in a navy-blue pantsuit with a crisp light blue dress shirt and black heels.

"Dr. Alex Blake."

Alex smiled and folded her arms. "It's been far too long since the last time we saw each other."

"Two years, a month, and three days," Reid calculated in his head since the last time he and Alex each other.

Blake took a few steps closer to him, "How's the married life treating you?"

"Wonderfully," said Reid with a grin on his face. "We now have two wonderful children, a seventeen-borderline eighteen-month-old Séraphine Celeste and a month-old boy name Isaac Dylan." Reid went through his cell phone and showed Blake a recent picture of the family.

"Ah," Blake still had a smile on her face. "Your children are so adorable," She pointed to Séraphine in the picture. "Séraphine: French variation for Seraphina and the Hebrew origin meaning ardent and fiery. Not to mention the highest-ranked angels, the six-winged seraphim. Celeste: derived from Late Latin meaning heavenly." She then pointed to Isaac. "Isaac: Hebrew and Aboriginal origin meaning "he will laugh, rejoice, play." Derived from Itzhak, Tzachaq, Yitzhak, and Yitzchok. Dylan: Welsh and means the son of the sea."

Reid was always fascinated by her mind. He could remember the first time he met her.


November 2006—before Thanksgiving break.

Reid walked into a college classroom in Georgetown University; no one was there except a woman writing something on the whiteboard and had an open book on the desk. Slowly approaching the woman, he quietly said, "Dr. Blake?"

Blake turned and saw Reid, who meekly waved to her.

"So, you must be Dr. Spencer Reid?" Blake nodded her head.

Reid stood up straight and cleared his throat. "Yes, ma'am."

Alex did was she does best, "Spencer: derived from English, meaning house steward, dispenser of provisions. From Medieval Latin to Old French to Anglo-French and Middle English. Reid: Scottish with English origin meaning 'red-haired." Ironically, no red hair?"

Reid scratched his head and snickered, "Surprisingly no, ma'am. I've researched some of the cases you worked on, which inspired one of your books, The Root of Words. I read twenty days ago, and it was brilliant."

Alex smirked. "Thank you. And I've read your thesis for your Psychology BA and your recent article in Behavioral Science on linguistic and psychology; fascinating."

Reid flushed a bit. "Wow, uh, thank you, ma'am. I used one of your other books, The Lineage of Language, as a reference. I take it that was why you wanted me to guest lecture with you in your forensic linguistic class while your assistant is out sick today?"

"Actually, yes," Alex ended the sentence with a smile.

"I'd be honored, too, Dr. Blake, ma'am."

Alex replied, "Thank you. And please, you don't have to call me ma'am or Dr. Blake. That's for my husband; he's with Georgetown University Hospital."

Reid blushed. "My apologies. I was raised to say 'Yes, ma'am/No, ma'am; Yes, sir/No, sir, by my mother."

"Well, your mother did a wonderful raising you." Blake grinned before they noticed some students walking in.


"How's your husband, Dr. Blake?" Reid asked politely.

Alex sighed. "He's with Médecins Sans Frontières, Doctors Without Borders, and the last time we Skyped, he's now in the Middle East."

"Noble," said Reid before noticing someone approaching the podium, prompting the two to walk and take their seat upfront.


Reid and Blake watched a couple of guest lecturers before they were called upon to discuss forensic linguistics.


The guest lecture sessions were over, and lunch was being served by the university's catering nearby.

Reid looked at the time, and it was 12:16 P.M. Blake offered to take Reid to one of her favorite cafes in the area and discuss her soon-to-be colleagues before carpooling with him.


Élise oozed with Isaac just lying across her legs while sitting on the couch in the great room, watching a Disney movie with Séraphine.

Élise scooped Isaac up when they heard the front door being opened and closed a voice cried, "Hello?"

Élise had an instant smile on her face. "Hey, honey!"

"Dada!" Séraphine waddled-ran to Reid, who lifted her up and kissed her forehead.

"Hey, angel!" Reid kissed her again before introducing her to Alex. "Can you say 'hi' to daddy's new coworker, Dr. Alex Blake?"

Séraphine babbled, "Hi!"

Alex giggled. "Hello, Séraphine." Her eyes beamed when her sights set on Élise holding Isaac. "And hello, Isaac. You have the most beautiful blue-gray eyes I've ever seen."

Isaac cooed, making everyone in the room melt.

Élise offered a cup of tea to Blake and hoped to catch up for a bit since the last time they saw each other.

Chapter Text


Élise was the first to step out of the car. She made her way towards the backseat and got Séraphine out of the car first. Reid stepped out of the driver's side and took Isaac out of the backseat before letting Opal out.

Walking up the stone pathway, Élise rang the doorbell and squealed, "Ooh! I can't wait to meet Maeve and Bobby's little girl." Exhaling, "I'm feeling like Garcia."

Reid chuckled as he gently shook Isaac in his arms, "Except you would never hack into anyone's system."

"Well, yeah," Élise agreed as someone answered the door.

Bobby smiled at first sight of the Bastien-Reid family. "Hey-hey-hey!" He gave Reid and Élise a heartfelt hug. "Thanks for being here!" He made space for them to come inside the house.

"Of course, Bobby, and congrats, man." Reid patted his shoulders as everyone stepped into the house; Opal wiped her feet before stepping inside.

They saw Maeve relaxing on the couch with BJ as they strolled into the family room. Maeve soon noticed them and grinned.

"Hi, you guys!"

Élise gasped at first glance at their newborn girl and covered her mouth. Her emotions were high and up, and she needed to take a moment. "Oh, my…Maeve. Bobby." Élise wiggly fanned to herself, "She's so pretty. Hi, Charlotte Marie Putnam." Élise took a piece of her hair and stroked it. "Her hair color…I swear her hair looks dark auburn."

"I know," Maeve nodded.

Bobby waved over to Maeve's side and playfully bopped his newborn daughter's nose, revealing her eye color. "At least she has her mommy's pretty eyes."

Élise replied as she and Reid sat across from them, "I swear, I don't see enough redhead and blue eye combos often."

"Actually, I read that having red hair and blue eyes is the rarest hair and eye color combination. Blue eyes is usually over fifteen percent and one-to-two percent when combined with red hair," said Reid as he cuddled closer to Élise. Séraphine sat in the middle of the room with Opal while BJ slowly got off the couch to play with them.

"I guess we got lucky." Maeve chuckled. "Especially since you were born on July 20, Gregor Mendel's birthday, my little girl."

"Ooh!" Reid exclaimed and handed Maeve and Bobby a pink and purple swirled colored bag. "For you two."

Bobby expressed his gratitude, "Thanks, Spencer!" They peeked inside the bag, and it was a knitted pink and purple outfit with a matching cap. "Wow, man!"

"Aw, thank you so much." Maeve beamed before catching a whiff of something. She figured, "Is that the Lily of the Valley and Cosmo fragrance you're wearing, Élise?"

Élise blushed, "I just love it. Especially since I got it from you, my man." She kissed Reid's lips before lightheartedly hitting his nose, making him giggle.

Soon the two families chatted about what's been going on lately.


Élise hummed to herself as she waited for Reid to come out of the bathroom and went through her and Reid's anniversary book.

She smiled as she got to the part entitled Our Second Anniversary.


"Surprise!"

Reid presented to Élise and Séraphine a small pulled-in retro-themed candy machine on the dining room table with two small colored powders and paper cones.

"Ooh!" A heavily pregnant Élise massaged her belly. "What's this?" Élise angled her head, raised her eyebrows, and smirked

"Decided to do a unique take on cotton for our second anniversary," said Reid. He placed some sugar-free blue raspberry candy into the extractor head. Reid held two cones steadily and horizontally across the unit top. He turned off the machine just as he collected all the cotton candy.

"Ta-da!" Reid smiled as he gave them the treats.

Séraphine giggled as she made her way to hug him, "Tanks, dada!"

"Aw, thank you, hubby!" Élise waddled to hug and passionately kissed him.


Élise reminisced on another memory when she got to another photograph under the page.


"So, what are we doing here?" Reid asked Élise as she took him by the hand into a China shop in the downtown D.C. area, and the little store was filled with delicate ornaments.

Élise giggled, "Wait for it." She rang someone and soon a woman with dark hair and eyes, dressed in a red blouse, black knee-length skirt, and flats. "Hello, Mrs. Lee."

"Hi, Élise," Mrs. Lee greeted and smiled. "How are you doing?"

"We're good, thank you," answered Reid.

Soon an elderly gentleman with white hair and dark eyes approached everyone carrying something covered in a red sheet. "Hello there, Élise. You're just in time."

Reid was still not clued in, "Just in time for what?"

Mr. Lee removed the sheet, and Reid's mouth dropped.

It was China figurines of him and Élise in their wedding attire.

"Wow," Reid was amazed at the accurate detailing that was put into it. "Amazing work."

Élise snuggled closer to Reid, giggling, "Do you like it?"

"I love it."


Reid fastened the first button of his purple pajama top and smiled when he saw Élise looking through their memory book. Crawling into bed and snuggling next to her, Reid looked at the photos of their second anniversary.

There were photos of him and Élise feeding each other and Séraphine cotton candy.

The two of them in the garnet jewelry they bought.

Them in a Lily of the Valley and Cosmos floral background.

"Can't believe it's been two years since we said, 'I do,'" Élise could feel a tear coming and cooled herself.

"And look where we are now," Reid sighed. "We have two beautiful children."

Élise closed the book and caressed his cheek, "And I wouldn't change it for the world."


Reid was in the roundtable room reading Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems by Galileo Galilei when Rossi and JJ walked in.

"Hey, Spence." JJ coolly said as she sat down a seat away from him.

Rossi was the next to greet him, "Yello."

Reid closed his book and set it down, "How are you doing?"

"We're good," Rossi answered for him and JJ. "Today's the day Blake joins our team."

"Mmm-hmm," JJ stared at her phone at the latest pics of Garcia and Morgan. Chuckling, she first showed Rossi a pic of the two before showing it to Reid.

It was a usual cheeky photo of Garcia and Morgan.

"I swear, those two…" JJ turned her phone off and put it away. "They're something, alright."

"How much would you like to bet they've already conceived their love child?" Rossi joked, making JJ and Reid laugh, considering their unusual platonic relationship.

"Everyone." The laughter died down when Hotch walked in with Blake beside him. Hotch sat down next to Rossi while Blake sat down between Reid and JJ and smiled at the three.

"Hello again, everyone." Blake acknowledged them and waved. "Pleasure

Rossi waved to her, "Hey, Blake. It's been a while."

"Welcome," JJ respectfully bowed her head.

Hotch observed everyone's body language about Blake joining the team for a moment. Judging by their reaction, they seemed to like her so far and wanted to get reacquaintance with her as soon as they could.

Hotch shook his head. "Okay. Let's get to work."

The team opened the files about a case of murdered women in Seattle.


"Oh, Ziggy," Élise used a blue napkin to wipe Isaac's mouth from the milk she breastfed him and was now rocking him and had her feet up. "There you go, my little, precious, baby boy." She kissed his forehead, making him coo. "You cute little boy. Yes, you are. Yes, you are."

His nursery door suddenly opened when Séraphine dashed in with Opal behind him. "Mama."

"Hey, Fifi," Élise greeted. "Opal. How's everyone's doing?"

Opal responded by snuggling Élise's arms.

"We're good," Rose appeared at the doorway. "I'm about to get lunch started, so would you like anything?" she asked.

Élise shrugged, "How about a turkey sandwich for lunch and a pizza for dinner?"

"Okay." Rose approved and left everyone alone for now.

Élise's phone vibrated on the white dresser. She got it and looked at the caller ID. Smiling and setting the phone on speaker, "Hey, boo."

"Hi."

Séraphine babbled when she heard Reid on the phone, "Dada!"

"How are you, angel?" asked Reid.

"Gad!"

Reid asked again, "How's Ziggy?"

"I swear, this boy loves to spit up, especially through his nose," said Élise as she wiped his face again when milk came from his mouth and nose.

Séraphine scrunched her face, "Eww!"

Reid chuckled, "I just wanted to see how you were doing. Blake's adjusting to the team just finely. Garcia and Morgan said they should be returning to London on Monday, so…"

"Okay," Élise sniffed her nose when she started to smell something. She smelled Isaac, "Whoo! Now, I have to change this little guy."

"Yeah, you go do that. I love you all."

Élise smooched over the phone, "Love you."

"Luv ya, dada!"

Opal barked just before Élise hung up.


The team worked throughout the entire weekend.

After going back with the previous victims' last moments before their loved ones and/or anyone else saw them alive, they realized that the unsub was using their own child to bait the victims.

Finally, the unsub was caught.


JJ and Reid stepped off the elevator and made their way to the bullpen; Rossi and Hotch headed the other way to Strauss' office, and Blake went to use the ladies' room.

Once there, they saw Morgan and Garcia—who, of course, had bags of souvenirs and welcomed them back with hugs and gifts. Garcia gave Reid a coffee mug with the British flag and gifted JJ a small double-decker bus.

They talked about their time there, Prentiss settling well there before Garcia asked about Blake. Garcia started mockingly ranting about Blake. Garcia did her research on Blake and wondered if she was nice.

And soon enough, Blake came from behind her. And judging by the looks on the three's faces—Blake e hoped Garcia meant that she was nice in the modern use of the word and not the original 12th century Middle English usage meaning 'foolish' or 'stupid.' Blake warmly introduced herself to Garcia and Morgan before Rossi and Hotch walked in; Strauss followed them and carried the team's current case files.


Meeting in the roundtable room, the team and Strauss discussed an ambulance crashing accident. Strauss clarified that they were called in because of the guard's sewn shut mouth, the Silencer's (or copycat's) signature.

Now the escaped inmate, John Doe, who never had a word in the years he's been incarcerated, now had the guard's gun and the EMT's uniform. Knowing they needed to get a move on, they'll catch up on the plane and Wheels Up in 30.


Twenty minutes after Hotch told them to Wheels Up, Reid was almost done organizing his go bag when he heard a younger voice.

"Dada!"

Reid's mind alerted when he turned his head and saw Séraphine running towards him and his desk. He kneeled, and his mouth gaped, "Hi, Fifi!" He picked her up, hugged her with all his might, kissed the top of her head, and set her down. He soon noticed Élise strolling in with Isaac in the baby carriage. "Hi, you two." He rushed to kiss Élise on the lips, scooped Isaac, and kissed his head. "How are you doing?"

"We're good, bunny," Élise caressed his cheek before sighting his go bag on his desk. "Let me guess, you have to go?"

Reid sighed. "Unfortunately, yes. To Texas."

"Oh, well, in that case, please us back some Texas food?" sweetly Élise asked with a coy look.

Reid kissed her hand. "Of course."

"Hello again, family!" Garcia sashayed to the Bastien-Reid family. "You all get even prettier every time I see you." Her eyes beamed when she saw a near two-month-old Isaac. "Hi, you growing big boy. How are you today?" She started tickling him. "Yes, you are a growing big boy."

"Well-well-well," Morgan chuckled. "If it isn't the family: Pretty Lady, Pretty Girl, and Pretty Boy, Jr."

Rossi joked, "Be careful, Morgan. He might urinate on you again."

"Or worst, do a number two on you." Reid pinched his son's cheek, making him coo.

"I take it that's what he did to you?" Rossi wondered with a sly smirk on his face.

Reid nodded. "Unfortunately."

"Guys."

Everyone turned to JJ, who motioned to them that it was time to get going.

Reid sighed again. "I'm sorry."

"It's okay, big brains," Élise embraced his cheek. "We'll be fine. Just be safe and sound, alright?"

Séraphine hugged his leg. "Bah-bah, dada."

Reid stroked her head. "I'll miss you, my loves." He gave everyone goodbye hugs and kisses before bidding them farewell.


The team discussed more on The Silencer case on the plane, from the three women he killed within four months to his unusual signature of literally sewing the mouth shut.


Hotch had Reid and Rossi take a closer look at John Doe's cell while he and Blake went to the USMS and JJ and Morgan to the M.E.'s office.

Judging by the number of books John Doe had in his cell, including one book in French, he's quite the reader but a silent person in rage.

They grabbed his notebooks and books to get a better understanding.


Reid and Rossi caught up with Hotch and Blake at the USMS office. They concluded that the unsub's well-read with mediocre writing.

JJ and Morgan joined in with what they got from the M.E.'s office and that the unsub literally put the words into the guard's mouth, knowing they mean something to him.


Reid was with Blake when word got out that the unsub killed a gas station owner and left another note.

After everyone gathered back to the USMS office, the team delivered the profile to the Marshals about the unsub with a possible speech impediment and grew up surrounded by literature. He'll withhold his anger until he snaps, and based on his previous victims, it's likely his mother was abusive towards him.


Reid had just changed into a plain purple shirt and flannel pants after taking a shower and brushing his teeth. Walking out of the bathroom and to his bedside, he picked up his phone, dialed a number, and placed the phone to his ear, waiting for the caller to answer.

"Hello?"

With a smile on his face, Reid whispered, "Hello, my love."

Élise groaned, "How are you doing?"

"Decent," answered Reid. "How's everyone back home?"

"We're good," Élise replied tiredly. "Fifi was an excellent helper today with Ziggy's tummy time. Did you get the pictures?"

Reid chuckled, "Yeah, I did. I totally needed that."

Élise yawned again, "I better get going." She yawned again. "I love you."

"I love you, too."


Now, another murder had happened, but a male motorist was dead while an infant was found alive, and no note was found this time.

Confusing the team, they thought back to the unsub's first kills; starting with the first victim; a New Orleans woman named Julie Myers who had three boys.

Thinking back to the unsub's sunken face on the left side, the team figured that the unsub had an implant.

With Garcia's help, they managed to get a name.

John Myers, Julie's youngest son who was deaf and had a cochlear implant at fourteen, and Julie was paid.

Looking at the notes he left in his victims, the team realized that they were places he intended on going.


The case ended on a bittersweet note: while the team managed to save the unsub's victims, he committed suicide.


Élise began singing Isaac a remixed version of a classic lullaby. "Frère Ziggy, Frère Ziggy. Dormez-vous? Dormez-vous? Sonnez les matines! Sonnez les matines! Din, don, din. Din, don, din."

Reid walked into Isaac's nursery, slowly closed the door behind him, and tiptoed his way to Élise's side. Standing behind her in the white rocking chair, "Hi, little guy." He waved to his son. "Daddy's home."

Isaac pulled his ears and released a big yawn.

"Aww," Élise kissed his head. "Mommy's boy is tired. He needs his sleep." She steadily got up, walked to his crib, and gently set Isaac on his back. "Good night, little guy."

"Sweet dreams, little guy." Reid waved goodbye as he and Élise left his nursery.

"Ahh," Élise exhaled and embraced Reid closer to her. "I'm so glad you're home."

Reid took Élise's hand and led her to their bedroom. "Surprisingly enough, when we got back, Strauss said we had another one but wanted us to spend a night in our own beds."

"Hallelujah." Élise raised her fists and cheered. "Maybe we have some fun."

Reid chuckled.

Chapter Text


"Whoo!" Élise swiped the sweat from her forehead as she just finished twenty-to-thirty minutes of light and easy postpartum exercising. However, she felt a bit under the weather and thought it was better than being in bed all afternoon. Walking out of the kitchen, she gulped down some ice-cold bottled water with lemon, ginger, chia seeds, and mint and made her way to her bedroom bathroom.

Élise took a steady shower and left the bathroom, changed into a pink sweatshirt, gray joggers, and fuzzy slippers. Stretching her back, Élise headed to her part of the closet and observed her pre-pregnancy wardrobe. She looked at one long sleeve shirt, stood in front of the mirror, made a couple of looks, and tossed it onto the carpeted floor.

For the next thirty minutes, Élise was finally finished and observed the large pile of clothes she had now decided to donate. She began bagging it into a clear plastic bag she would keep. Walking out of the closet, she stretched again when Reid, Séraphine, and Isaac walked in.

"Hey, it's mommy," Reid took Isaac's hand and waved it. "Say hi to mommy."

"Mama!" Séraphine waddled her way to hug her mother.

Élise squatted to hug Séraphine before picking her up. "Did you and Ziggy have fun at the park?"

"Yah-yah, mama!" babbled Séraphine and cheered.

Élise stroked her fingers through Isaac's hair, "Did mommy's boy have a good time with his daddy and big sis at the park?"

"Ah-ah…" Isaac cooed; his eyes beamed when he did. "Ah…"

Élise squealed as she continued holding Séraphine. "Ooh, I love it when he does that. Remember when Séraphine had her first coo?"

"Mmm-hmm…" Reid reminisced. He walked to Reid's side and pressed his palm against her forehead. "How are you feeling?"

"I feel good, babe," Élise set Séraphine gently on the ground and sat down on the edge of the king-sized bed. "I did some Qi Gong and yoga online."

Séraphine walked out of the closet, pulling out a blue sweater and smiling.

"Fifi," Élise chuckled.

Reid took the sweater from Séraphine, "Are you trying to play with mama's clothes?"

"I foud it in there," Séraphine pointed to Élise's closet and smirked.

Reid gave Élise Isaac before he walked inside the closet and saw what Séraphine meant. Reid found a big bag filled with Élise's clothes and lifted it as he walked out with it.

"Are you donating your clothes?" asked Reid as he tossed the sweater he took from Séraphine into the bag.

"Most of them," answered Élise as she played with Isaac's hair. "My body's still in recovery mode, so I figure there are people who are in more need of it than me."

"Awww," Reid planted a kiss on Élise's forehead. "That's sweet." Reid thought and stroked his chin, "Maybe I should donate some of my old clothes."

Élise listed another reason, "Plus, it's always good to treat yourself to some shopping."

"True, though I still prefer book shopping over any other shopping any day," said Reid as he offered to get a snack for everyone minus Isaac.


Élise went over Isaac's diaper bag one more time while she was in his nursery; Reid was with Séraphine in her nursery room. She organized the most important necessities: diapers, wipes, cream, ointment, and changing pads. Élise reordered Isaac's burp cloth, bib, plastic bags for dirty diapers.

"Perfect," Élise was finished. "Now we're good to go."

Élise walked over to the floor-length mirror and chuckled as Isaac enjoyed staring at himself in the mirror. Scooping him up, "Hey-hey-hey, Zig-zag." Kissing his head, "You don't want to get too caught up in the mirror. You don't want to get so self-absorbed when you're older."

She continued kissing his head again when Reid and Séraphine strolled in, holding hands. "Hey, you two. Are you ready to go see Dr. Kelly?"

"Yes, we are," said Reid, still holding Séraphine's hand.

Séraphine bounced her knees, holding her hands together after letting go of Reid's, "I think I ned to pee."

Reid and Élise gave each other looks, knowing that Séraphine needed to use the bathroom.

This also meant that she needed to start potty training.

And soon.


Isaac was sitting on Élise's lap, clapping his hands while Séraphine was on Reid's lap, reading a color book when Dr. Pierce walked in.

"Hello, family!" Dr. Pierce greeted with chipperly.

"Hi ya, dac!" Séraphine waved to her and smiled.

Dr. Pierce wiggly waved back, "Hi, Séraphine." She turned her attention to Isaac, "Hey-hey-hey, Isaac. Wow! You are getting so big."

"Yes, he is," Élise giggled and tickled his chin and cheeks, making him gurgle.

Dr. Pierce got her clipboard ready and began writing, "So, we're going to the usual exam checkoffs. Check for measurements, then the physical, vaccinations, screening tests, and if you have any questions, feel free to ask, okay?"

"Absolutely." She pulled Dr. Pierce closer. "We think Séraphine's ready to start her potty training."

Dr. Pierce gasped. "Really?"

"Mmm-hmm," Élise shook her head excitedly.

"We can talk more about it during the examinations, okay?" Dr. Pierce whispered.


For the next thirty minutes-close to an hour, Dr. Pierce examined Séraphine and Isaac, taking their measurements and immunizing them.


"It's okay, Ziggy," Élise tried to soothe Isaac with gentle circles and bounces as he was still fussing over the shots Dr. Pierce gave him. "It's okay, little guy."

"It's understood for babies to be cranky from their shots." Dr. Pierce nodded her head and handed Sweetie Pops to them, "As long as you're cuddling and feeding him, he should be fine. But don't hesitate to ask me for anything, okay?"

Reid spoke up as he unwrapped the plastic covering the purple Sweetie Pop for Séraphine, "Serious vaccination side effects in babies are rare. Actually, their reactions are actually encouraging signs that the immune response is working."

Dr. Pierce agreed, "Yes. But like I said, if anything, don't hesitate to call me or get medical help immediately."

"Okay," Élise kissed his head. "And thank you again for scheduling Séraphine's eighteen-month checkup the same for today."

Dr. Pierce waved, "Absolutely."

"Great." Élise took Isaac's hand and flapped it as the family made their way out the door. "Say 'bye-bye, doc.'"

Séraphine babbled, "Bah, doc."


Élise was in bed with her lower body half covered by the duvets and on her laptop when Reid walked in. She soon noticed Reid walking in.

He sighed as he leaned back against the door; Élise wondered, "What happened to you, brains?"

"I finally got Séraphine down for a nap," Reid explained tiredly and sat down next to her on the bed. "I think she's starting to have temper tantrums."

Élise's eyes widened, and her mouth opened. "Oh." She clicked on the bookmark manager on her web browser. She clicked on a save bookmark about temper tantrums listed in the Childcare folder. Reading the info, "According to this article, tantrums may happen when a child's tired, hungry, uncomfortable, especially if they don't get what they want."

"Most definitely," Reid agreed.

Élise continued reading and recapped, "What we can do to avoid tantrums is distractions, give them a little bit of control for what they want. You know, like, make them choose what they want. We do not, in any way, shape, and/or form, reward them by giving in to their tantrum nor spank them."

"Oh, no to spank or any kind of corporal punishment," Reid shook his head at the thought of hitting his children.

Élise chuckled, "You know, if we were in the islands, you would have gotten a flogging."

"A flogging?"

Élise explained, "It's Caribbean slang for beat the crap out of you with a belt. Or a stick." She whispered the last sentence.

Reid shuddered.


Reid wiped his hands dried after needing to use the bathroom. Walking into the great room, "Séraphine!"

A humming Séraphine was drawing on the walls.

"Séraphine!" exclaimed Reid.

"What happened?" Élise asked; she was in the foyer and had Isaac in her arms. Walking into the great room, she gasped; her jaw dropped, and her eyes broadened at the scribbled walls. "Séraphine!"

Marching to her side, Reid squatted down and tried to take the crayon away. "Hold it there, little girl."

Séraphine wailed, and she began a tug-of-war with the crayon with Reid.

"No! We told you, no drawing on the walls."

Finally, Reid got the upper hand, took the crayon from her, and wagged his finger. "Séraphine Celeste, we told you, no drawing on the walls."

Séraphine stuck her tongue out and blew a raspberry.

"And for that, you're getting your first timeout, little girl."

Élise pulled out a small chair from the corner, and Reid placed her in it. "Now…hold it…" Séraphine tried getting up, but Reid got her to sit down again. "You're going to sit there for exactly two minutes and think about what you just did. Is that understood, young lady?"

Putting her head down, Séraphine scoffed a puff, folded her arms, and stomped her feet for a few seconds. They knew she was having a temper tantrum moment and decided to ignore it unless she started hitting herself.

Élise sighed as she continued bouncing a cooing Isaac and looked at the walls. "Well, on the flip side, at least it's easily washable. And it was less than yesterday."

"True." Reid left the great room to go to the bathroom for a moment and returned with a small bucket filled with soap and water, some sponges, and wipes. "I know infants and toddlers do this out of boredom and express their creative minds, but there are limits." He began cleaning.

"Mmm-hmm," Élise agreed. She took a seat on the couch and picked up her feet. "I feel so tired and lazy right now." She tickled Isaac's belly, making him gurgle.

Reid chuckled as he placed the sponge back in the bucket and wiped his hands. He crouched facing Séraphine, "Now…have you thought about what you did?"

Séraphine nodded her head.

Élise got up from the couch and faced Séraphine, "Are you going to do it again?"

Séraphine picked her head up and shook it. "Sawry," she apologized.

Reid and Élise gave her a hug and kiss on the head. Reid continued cleaning the walls while Élise had Séraphine help her with Isaac.


"Hello, Princess Séraphine," Reid dramatically exclaimed; he was pretend playing with Séraphine. He was costumed in a blue military uniform top, black pants, shoes, and a fake gold crowd. He respectfully bowed to her and held his hand out to her. "Would you like to dance, please?"

Séraphine was in a stunning princess costume and wore a rhinestone tiara in her hair. She giggled, "Yes, daddy."

Élise was in a gown with a necklace used for a tiara, capturing the moment.


Élise was typing on her phone, reading an article, when Reid's phone started vibrating on the bedside. He had just walked out of the bathroom and quickly answered it, smirking when he looked at the caller ID. Putting the phone on speaker, Reid spoke up, "John! How are you doing?"

Élise set her phone aside for the bedside and grinned. "How is it on the West Coast, John?"

"We're good," answered John before he yawned over the phone.

Reid and Élise joked, "Has sleep become a thing of the past with Samuel?"

"Sam's fine, though he can get fussy at night," John replied. "Honestly, I think this guy loves waking us up in the middle of the night and then falling back to sleep."

"How are you handling the jumpstart from one child to two children?" asked Reid.

"It's not easy," John sighed. "We have twice the work now, but it has been twice the blessing."

Élise asked, "Are you going for another one anytime soon?"

"Not right now, if that's what you mean. But..." John took a moment to think. "Maybe in a year or two. What about you two?"

Élise quickly answered, "Same with you, dude."

"How's the family?" Reid asked.

John chuckled, "Melissa's great. Same with Brina, despite her jealously moments."

"Same with Séraphine," Élise remarked about Séraphine's early jealously moments. "How's the rest of the family?"

"Anna and Nathan are awesome. Dad enjoys being a grandpa again. Mom..."John snickered. "Oh, mom."

"How's the famous Aunt Ethel?" said Élise with amusement; she already sensed something."

John laughed, "Mom's been hogging him and calling him a movie star whenever she visits. Which is every other day since we bought him home."

Reid had to laugh, "Aunt Ethel did the same here with Ziggy." Reid pulled off an Aunt Ethel impersonation. "Ah, look at this little movie star. I can't wait to start spoiling this little movie star."

Everyone, including John, laughed at Reid's impersonation until his phone started beeping again. "On hold, I'm getting another call," Reid answered the other caller, putting John on hold. "Hello?"

"Are you sassing me, Spencer Walter Reid?"

Élise looked away and started snickering; Reid stuttered, "H-how do y-you…"

"You just won't learn, will you, Spencer?" Ethel threaded. "Never…sass…me. Or I'll…come after… you."

Reid gulped. "Yes, ma'am."

"Good." Ethel's voice chippered. "Now I'm off to see my movie star grandson Sammy." She hung up.

Reid switched to John; Élise was still giggling. "Hello again, John."

John deduced, "Let me guess, you had to deal with my mother sassing you?"

"Mmm-hmm." Reid knew John knew so well. "By the way, she's on the way to see you."

"Thanks for the warning," John responded wittily. "I swear, my mother was a psychic in a past life."


Reid was with JJ and Blake. JJ was typing on her computer. Blake went through the lesson plans for her forensic linguistics class in the upcoming fall class, and Reid reviewed them.

"Do you like the curriculum I planned out?" Blake asked for Reid's opinion.

Reid answered honestly, "I like it. Your lesson plans for the fall semester spread to a wide range of topics for you to cover. From the importance of the written and spoken language, famous cases involving linguistic analysis most definitely include the origin and importance of the Miranda Warnings."

Morgan and Rossi just stepped out of their offices and made their way towards the desks.

"Are we interrupting something?"

"Ah, nope." Blake sighed as Reid gave her back the lesson plans. "Just two people conversating about linguistic college courses.

"Sounds like fun," Rossi looked through the blinds and saw Hotch and Garcia discussing the latest case. "How much do you want to bet that it'll be in D.C. and/or Virginia?" Rossi wondered dryly.

JJ replied with her hand on her cheek, "I think we had about three cases either in D.C. or in the state for the past week. Other than that, we have large amounts of paperwork." JJ started massaging her neck.

Morgan shrugged. "Personally, I don't have much of a problem with it since they've been short, quick, and surprisingly easy to handle."

"Me either," Reid agreed. "Even though certain crime type rates in D.C. have increased in the past year as well as the population."

Rossi shook his head, "What isn't you don't know?"

"Not everyone can know everything, Dave," said Blake with her arms folded and a smirk on her face. "Not even smartboards."

Reid bowed his head back, "I mean, take it from it, I don't know much about today's pop culture references."

"Well, that's not surprising," Morgan and Rossi said simultaneously.


It was just another day of filing and paperwork with the team's consultation with the D.C. police, and the workday was over.


Reid placed his bags in the corner and pushed in the security code. He sniffed the air and smelled cooked and seasoned vegetables. Making his way to the kitchen, Reid instantly smiled when he saw Élise, Séraphine, and Isaac having dinner.

"Dada!" babbled Séraphine with a mouthful.

Reid kissed Séraphine's head. "Hey, honey." He turned to Élise, "Wifey." After kissing her lips, he kissed Isaac's head as he's been fed by Élise, "Hey, big guy."

"How was work?" asked Élise.

Reid helped himself to a small slice of the vegetable lasagna and sat down at the head of the table. "It was okay. How was your day?"

Séraphine giggled, "Gad, dada."

Reid chuckled, "How was Ziggy?"

"He was a good boy," Élise looked down and cooed to him. "He's a good mama's boy. Yes, he is."

"Well, Séraphine's a good daddy's girl," Reid tickled her cheek.

"Tank yoo, dada."


After the family finished their dinner, Élise offered to get Isaac a bath and tuck him in. Reid did the same with Séraphine after changing in a simple black sleep tee and flannel pants.


"Alrighty, princess," Reid scooped Séraphine. After reading to her, he placed her in her recently converted white crib-to-toddler bed. Tucking her body under the pink, purple, and white comforters, squatting to her size, "How do you like your new bed?"

Séraphine babbled, "It gad, daddy."

Reid stroked her head and asked her again, "Do you miss your crib?"

"Nah," Séraphine shook her head.

"Okay," Reid petted her head before kissing her forehead, "Good night, Fifi." He turned off the main light for her owl-shaped nightlight. "I love you."

"Yoo too, dada," Séraphine yawned before gently falling asleep.

Reid closed the door, made his way to Isaac's nursery, and waved to his sleeping son. Shutting the door, he went to his room and saw Élise on her phone. Sliding next to her in bed, "What are you up to?"

Élise sighed as she set her phone down, "I've been thinking about house hunting."

"House hunting?"

"Well, yeah." Élise shrugged and tilted her head. "Our children are getting older. Our families can stay here when visiting more often. We've lived here for three years since our engagement, and as much I love it, I think it's time for a new change."

Reid knew Élise was right; they had been living here for three years. So many memories have happened in this house, from Séraphine's biggest milestones to birthdays and parties. But their family is now expanding, and they do need bigger space.

"Yeah," Reid agreed. "Do you want to start tomorrow?"

Chapter Text


"Wowza, Spencer," Élise was simultaneously browsing through some real estate listing websites with Reid. Isaac was napping, and Séraphine was playing with Opal in the great room. "I swear, the D.C. metro area has some of the most beautiful houses I've seen in a long time."

Reid looked through some of the houses on the screen. "Let's hope we don't get a massive-sized house."

"I know, but living in one would make me feel like a member of the Carrington family from Dynasty," Élise cheekily smiled.

Reid broke out in snickers and pinched between his eyes. "So, what? You want us to dress up in fancy suits and dresses and slap each other around over money and power?"

"No, of course not," Élise playfully tapped his arm. "Hopefully…"

"Élise…"

Élise giggled.


Reid was at his desk in the bullpen, thoroughly looking at good real estate brokers around the D.C. area. Rossi had just walked out of his office and spotted Reid. Squinting his eyes and lowering his brows a bit at what the agent was going, he walked down the steps and took Reid's desk side.

Reid soon noticed Rossi and acknowledged his presence, "Hey, Rossi."

"Hello, Reid." Rossi curiously looked at the computer screen and some real estate magazines that were just casually sitting on his desk. He deduced, "Are you and Élise looking to move?"

Reid answered, "Actually, we are." He leaned back in his chair, "Élise and I talked about it for eight days ago. And while we love the place we're renting from Morgan, we figured now would be a good time to find a new home."

Rossi tapped on his coffee mug, "Have you given any thought to where you and Élise would want to live?"

"Definitely around the metro area," responded Reid, still looking at some of the magazines featuring the best brokers.

"Ah," Rossi nodded after taking a sip. "So, places like Great Falls, Bethesda, Potomac, Chevy Chase, McLean?"

Reid answered straightforwardly, "Yeah."

"Oh." Rossi sounded intrigued. "Well, then. I know the perfect person who can help you."

Reid wondered, "Who?"

"Ophelia Alexis."

Reid joked, "Is she one of your secret ex-wives?"

"Ha-ha, no," Rossi sarcastically retorted. "She's a broker with Howard Norwood Realty and one of the best in D.C.; she even sold me my mansion. And she's the wife of Supervisory Special Agent Armand Seymour, so Garcia doesn't have to do any off-the-desk research on her.

Reid chuckled as he knew Garcia's usual tendency to "research" or "dig up info" about people outside the team. He still remembered though eidetic memory can never make him forget anything, at what she did with Seaver, Blake, and even Élise before Morgan blabbed.

Rossi continued, "Most people don't know she's married to him because of his line of work. I can give you her number, and perhaps you can call her when you get the chance."

"Mmm-hmm," Reid took a moment to think. "Okay. Thank you again, Rossi."

Rossi tapped Reid's shoulder before walking back to his own office with a smirk. "Anytime, Spencer."


"Mmm…" Élise stared at her reflection in the floor-length mirror as she came out of the dressing room, wearing a black blazer pantsuit. She needed some new clothes since she donated most of her old clothes and was still in post-pregnancy mode with her body; Maeve joined her. "I don't know about this outfit."

"Oh, come in, Élise," Maeve gave her opinion. "I think it looks nice on you." She called out for a sales associate acquaintance of Élise's. "Excuse me, Cora." The average-height woman with dark hair and eyes walked over to the ladies. "What do you think of this outfit?"

Cora expressed her opinion, "I like it. What is it you don't like about it?"

Élise sighed as she shrugged. "I don't know. Maybe it's just me."

"Come on, Élise," Maeve tried to perk her up. "It looks nice on you. You should buy it."

Though Élise was still unsure about the outfit, she decided to get it. She and Maeve looked around for a few more minutes before leaving to get something to eat.


"Élise!" Maeve exclaimed as she saw Élise taking a coffee cup sample while they visited their favorite hangout place.

A guilty-looking Élise widened her eyes and tightened her mouth. Licking her lips, "I'm desperate, Maeve." She whined, "I'm so sorry."

"It's okay," Maeve gently took the cup from Élise's hand and put it back on the sample table. Walking Élise away from it, Maeve sensed Élise was looking at it, "Élise…"

"Drinking coffee while nursing is not technically bad, Maeve," Élise replied. "You can't stand between me and my caffeine."

Maeve jested. "Oh, I can think of a few things." She and Élise got in line and looked at the window display and what they might like to eat. "Oh! I think I'll have a vegetable panini, a poppy seed muffin, and a green tea, please." She playfully elbowed Élise's arm and asked her, "What do you want, Élise?"

Élise bit on her fingernail, hesitating about what she could want. "Maybe I'll have a tomato Caprese. Uh…a frozen fruit cup." She scratched her head. "And, uh…a bottled spring water, please."

Maeve patted her shoulder and asked, "Hey, you okay, Lise?"

Élise shook her head and cleared her head. "Yeah, I'm good."


"Rossi gave me the number to a great real estate broker in the D.C. area," Reid sat on the edge of the bed, getting ready for bed.

Élise laid back in bed with the comforters over most of her body and her fingers crossed. "Mmm-hmm."

"I gave her a call earlier today, and she said she would be more than happy to help us out."

"Mmm-hmm."

Reid turned to see Élise looking at the ceiling and sounded droned and uninterested. Come to think of it. She's been this way since they came home, had dinner, and tucked Séraphine and Isaac to bed ten minutes ago. "And maybe she can help us free all the animals at the Smithsonian Zoo."

"Yeah, maybe," Élise breathed.

Reid cuddled closed to Élise in bed. "What's wrong, Lise?"

Élise suddenly burst into tears and collapsed into Reid's arms. "Oh, Lise. I'm here for you."


Reid and Élise talked and listened to each other for about thirty minutes and fifteen seconds.

"It's okay that you feel that way," Reid stroked his fingers through Élise's hair and wiped her tear-stained face. "There's no shame."

Élise sighed heavily, "I know. I know." She scratched the base of her eyebrow and sighed again. "It's never easy to talk about how you're feeling on the inside. Even when I was a kid, I…" She shook her shoulders and pursed her mouth. "Never talked. I get it from my dad."

"As I said, there's so shame," said Reid. He was kissing her forehead. "Let's have more of these talks, including with the doctor, no matter how last or early is it, even if it's about the little things. Okay?"

Élise smirked, "Okay." She kissed his back. "I love you."


"Mama!" babbled Séraphine.

"Good morning, my loves," Élise chipperly greeted Reid as he walked into the kitchen with Séraphine and Isaac; Opal trailed behind them. "Have a seat. Have a seat."

Reid smirked, "Someone's happy this morning."

Élise gave everyone their breakfast plates. For Reid and Élise, herself: two whole-grain Belgian waffles, two fried eggs with cheddar cheese, two bacon strips, and frozen berries to the side. Séraphine: oatmeal made with milk and frozen berries. And Opal: her favorite dog food with some leftovers from the previous night.

"Ah," Élise lightly sighed as she sat down next to Reid. She inhaled and exhaled, "I'm loving life right now." Élise opened her arms out, and Reid gave her Isaac. "Hey there, little guy. How are you feeling?"

Isaac gurgled and cooed, making Élise grin.

"How about you, Opal?" asked Élise.

Opal barked in response after taking a break from eating, walked over to Élise, and cuddled her arms.

"Oh," Élise stroked her fur. "We love you, Opie."


"Okay," Élise crashed on the couch and next to Reid. "Fifi and Ziggy are napping, so we have about an hour and change to ourselves. "What do you want to do?"

"As much as I would like to do what you're thinking right now, I think it's best if we write down what we want in our new home." Reid sensed Élise wanted to do something naughty just by her sparkling and batting eyes and coy smile. Chuckling and then whispered in her ear, "Maybe if you're a good girl…"

Élise giggled, kissed his palms a couple of times, and patted his knees before getting serious. Waving her palm over her face to cool herself, "I'm good now." She picked up her tablet from the coffee table, logged in, and clicked on a few links. "Now. What is it do we want in our new house?"

"Definitely, we need a kitchen, dining and living rooms, bedrooms, and bathroom," Reid listed the obvious.

Élise replied, "Of course, Dr. Obvious." A suddenly curious Élise had to ask, "What's the difference between the living room, family room, and den?"

Reid explained, "In definition terms, the living room is for relaxing and socializing. The family room is for family and guests to gather and is often adjacent to the kitchen and can lead to a deck, garden, or terrace. And a den is a small room where people don't want to be interrupted."

"So, I take it that our library will be your version of a den?"

Reid chuckled again and changed the topic. "Home office. How about a built-in gym in our home?"

"I'd like that," Élise approved. "A playroom for the children."

Reid nodded. "That's a good thing. Guest room?"

"Mmm…" Élise cocked her head and pursed her mouth. "Maybe a guest house. Give our families some sense of privacy. A basement?"

Reid responded, "Just as long as it's not a walkout and it's finished."

Élise waved her hand. "Absolutely. I don't know why, but they freak me out a bit." Élise looked over the exterior features sections. "Patio?"

"We'll have to childproof it, but that be interesting to have a patio," said Reid. "Pool?"

"How about an outdoor pool? Indoor pools…" Élise frantically shook her head. "I just can't help but worry about the thought of something happening..."

"I get it." Reid patted her knee, knowing exactly what she was thinking. "I get it." Moving onto another amentia concern. "How would you feel about living in a gated community?" He uneasily asked, knowing the case from nearly two years ago involving a man murdering omen within the gated community he lived in, including his wife, who killed her to throw the suspicion off him.

Élise twisted her mouth, and her eyes wandered. "Well, considering our careers, especially with me being a D.C. Circuit Judge, maybe it's best. And besides…" Élise tugged herself closer to Reid. "With you in the neighborhood, I already feel safe."

Reid liked where this was going. His mouth already formed into a lopsided grin, "Someone's trying to prove she's been a good girl." The two began making out, placing the tablet aside and wrapping his arms around Élise; the two began making out.


On their way to meet their realtor, Ms. Alexis, Reid, and Élise pulled their car up on the tar and chip circular driveway. When they arrived at the destination, there was a petite-looking woman with fair skin and cream blonde hair, dressed in a chain printed midi dress and heels, standing in front of the door of a large white stone house.

As they stepped out of the car, the woman greeted them. "Hello, you two. A pleasure to meet you in person."

Élise held her hand out, "Hello, Ophelia." Élise waved to Reid, who waved back to her. "My husband, Dr. Spencer Reid."

"Nice to meet you, Dr. Reid," Ophelia waved back to him. "According to my husband, your reputation precedes you around the Bureau, along with the no-hand-shaking." She held her portfolio book closer to her.

Reid nodded. "Yes, it does."

Ophelia chuckled a bit before opening the front door for them and allowed them in after she took a step. "Here we are."

Revealing to them was the cool-color panel palette with a curved staircase, a couple of painting with dark wooden picture frames, and hanging accents.

"Mmm…" Élise pouted her mouth. "It's nice."

Ophelia smirked and pointed to the different rooms. "On the left is the dining room," They peeked inside and saw the fourteen-seat dining table with two small chandeliers, floor-length rug, and a minibar and tables. "And here is the living room." They stepped inside the gracious living room. "Pretty."

Ophelia suggested, "If you do like the furniture, it would be best if you keep the furniture negotiations separate from the purchase and sale agreement."

Élise smirked, "Okay."

"Actually, did you know that cool colors tend to have a calming effect?" said Reid as he wandered around the living room. "In fact, the best colors for the living room are green, gray, blue, beige, and black."

Ophelia replied, "Well, that's the purpose of a living room. You have a right to feel calm and relaxed in your own home."

"Absolutely," Élise agreed before everyone strolled into the eat-in kitchen. "Oooh! Nice kitchen."

Ophelia gave them the facts, "Stainless steel appliances. Quartz counters. A cute little island." She waved to the pantry before showing them the eight-seated breakfast and warm and cozy-looking recreation room. "And here, you can kick off your shoes and relax and enjoy."


Soon, Ophelia showed them the basement and a few more rooms before she led them upstairs, and she showed them the bedrooms and now the master bedroom.

"Ah," Élise gazed at the plush Queen-sized bed. "Mmm. This looks good and cozy."

Reid looked inside the bathroom for about thirty-three seconds before meeting the women back in the bedroom. "The bathroom reminds us of one of the bathrooms during our honeymoon stay."

Élise blushed.


"Now, this is my kind of library," Reid adored the dark-paneled library with the detailed shelves, fireplace, desk, and antique-looking chair. "If I could, I would live in here."

"We're just visiting the house, Spen." Élise amusingly reminded him.


Everyone returned to the driveway after Ophelia showed them the backyard. It consisted of a swimming pool, pergola, terraces for outdoor dining and entertaining, the detached guest/pool, garages, and gated motor court.

"Wow," Élise felt exhausted after getting to see the house with Reid. "This is the first house seen, and it's already at the top of the list."

"Still, we would like to explore more options and house," said Reid.

"Understandable." Ophelia bowed. "It's always good to explore more options because you never know what you see, and it just might be the one you want."

Élise gratefully shook Ophelia's hand, "Again, thank you so much, Ophelia."

Reid added, "A pleasure, really."

"Anytime," Ophelia smiled. "The real estate market in the fall in D.C. metropolitan area can get busy, but there are definitely lots of houses to see and still get a good deal. Even if I'll be busy throughout most of September, if there's any house you're interested in, give me a call, even if I'll be busy, okay?"

"Okay," Élise waved to her as she and Reid got in their car and drove off. "Goodbye."

Ophelia waved back, "Buh-bye."


Reid was in bed, reading Realtor Magazine, when Élise walked in, stretching and covering her mouth as she yawned. Crawling in bed next to him, "I swear, sometimes our children is like yin and yang. Ziggy was lights out, but Fifi is like a little ninja."

Reid chuckled. "Fifi, a little ninja?"

"Did you give her refined sugar before bed?" Élise pursed her mouth and tilted her head.

"How can I when we all had the same dinner and dessert?" Reid retorted and raised his eyebrow back.

Élise still had her mouth pouted and thought about it. "Maybe she's naturally energetic." Tucking the covers under her, she sighed, "Ah. I can't believe my maternity leave is up, and I go back to work on Monday."

"How have you been feeling since our talking?" Reid wrapped his arm around Élise and placed his chin over her head.

Élise sighed again. "I'm good. I felt so good to get it all out."

"There's never any shame to talking," Reid breathed.

"Yeah."

Chapter Text

"Hey, little guy," Reid comforted a fussy Isaac after giving Séraphine her whole wheat Belgian waffle topped with a fried egg with low-fat cheese and a small bowl of berries to the left side of her breakfast plate. He just had a fresh cup of coffee. "It's okay, little man. I got you, Ziggy-Zac." He began feeding him the pumped breast milk Élise pumped the previous night as she came into the nook. She was dressed in a white shirt, black cashmere jacket, straight pants, and heels.

Reid smiled, "Morning, love."

"Mama!" a mouthful Séraphine babbled.

Isaac smiled when Élise walked in.

Élise let out a small smile, "Hey, everyone."

Opal dashed into the nook and snuggled Élise's legs. Élise petted her fur. "Hey, Opie. How are you doing this morning."

Opal responded with a bark.

Élise chuckled as Reid gave her a cup of tea after kissing her lips. "Oh, thank you, brains."

"How are you feeling?" asked Reid as he watched her take a sip.

Élise swallowed, placed her hand on her stomach, and answered, "I feel like I'm going back to school. Bloody nerves and nausea."

Reid sighed as he was about to ask her a difficult question. He knew what she's been going through recently and how it was her first day back to work since her maternity leave ended. "How are you feeling since…?"

"I'm good, babe," Élise caressed his cheek and had another sip. "You're right; talking about what's been going on with me has really helped."

Reid kissed Élise's temple. "Awww."

"How are you doing this morning, Fifi?" She stroked her fingers through her tight curls. "Ooh, look at your hair, little girl."

"You know, I've been looking at videos online," Reid pulled out his phone and showed her a couple of videos, still holding Isaac. "And I've also been reading some articles on how to take care of her hair as well as Ziggy for when he gets older."

Élise chuckled as she played with a piece of Isaac's hair. "I can already imagine this boy's hair. He'll probably have your curls as have."

"Let's pray Aunt Ethel won't torment us about cutting his hair." Élise joked.

Reid ran his fingers through his hair after setting his phone down. "Yeah, let's hope not."

Élise finished the rest of her tea when her phone vibrated. Looking at the time and the text message from Marshal Johnson, he was outside and waiting for her. "Ooh! I have to get to work."

Reid gave Élise her traveling mug and kissed her lips again. "Pick you up after work?"

"Mm-hmm," Élise gave Séraphine and Isaac a kiss, Opal another stroking, and was on her way. Reid gently got Séraphine out of her seat, held her hand, and watched from the window as the Marshal helped Élise get into the car; they waved to her, and she waved back.


Reid knocked on Hotch's office door after arriving at the bullpen.

"Come in," said Hotch from his office door.

Reid walked in and closed the door, only to find Hotch standing by his desk, stacked with files, and he himself was looking at one.

"Hey, Reid," said Hotch as he picked up his head after seeing Reid enter his office.

Reid greeted his boss back. "Hey."

"How's everything?" Hotch began to strike up a conversation.

Reid shrugged and scratched his neck. "Decent. Élise is going through some…personal struggles." He noticed how fast Hotch snapped his head up when he mentioned Élise.

Hotch asked with concern, "How is she now?"

"She's been getting help," Reid answered quietly. "And we've been talking about how she's been feeling. And me, too. Élise is taking it one day at a time." Reid looked down and tapped his feet. "Even me."

Hotch nodded. "Well, that's good for the both of you. Is she back at work?"

"Yeah, she went back today." Reid gulped. "You know I can't help but worry about her, you know? And me and…" Reid could barely bear to finish the sentence and just stayed silent.

Hotch placed his hand on Reid's shoulder and ensured him, "If there's anything that you need, you let me know immediately, okay?"

Reid agreed. "Okay."


Élise was on her phone, waiting for Reid to pick her up, when a tall man approached her after putting away his phone in his jacket pocket.

"Your husband is here."

Élise placed her phone back in her bag. "Thank you."

Marshal Johnson escorted Élise to the parking lot. They saw Reid driving and Séraphine and Isaac in the backseat, napping.

"Thank you, Marshal." He opened and closed the door for her. "Have a good night."

"Good night, ma'am," Marshal Johnson bowed his head. "Sir." He turned his head to Reid.

Reid waved. "Good night." He soon drove off and asked Élise, "So, honey. How was work?"

Élise sighed. "It was nice." She massaged her forehead. "Decisions, decisions, decisions. So many I helped make today to make our world a better place. I feel so tired. If I have to make one more decision right now…"

"Well, we are going to have spaghetti and meatballs for dinner with garlic bread and leafy green salad for dinner."

Élise smiled.


The family had their dinner, and now it was time for bed.

Reid offered to tuck Séraphine in as did Élise with Isaac.


"Ooh!" Élise squealed, looking at her cell phone as Reid left the bathroom, already clad in a shirt and flannel pants. She scooted next to him. "I can't get over this invitation."

It was a wedding invitation template in a Victorian portrait style with floral and scroll designs.

The Families of Anna Delilah Carney and Nathan Ji-Hun McGee cordially invite you to their wedding on September 29th, 2012, at the Henderson Community Church. Following the reception and Paebaek Ceremony at the Longhorn Room at Binion's.

"Still can't believe it'll be Great-Uncle Roger's final service." Élise read the message.

Reid pursed his lips. "No surprise; the man is 80, but he's still healthy as a horse with a fighting and fiery spirit." He banged against his chest.

"I can see where Aunt Ethel gets it from," Élise remarked with a smirk.

Reid chuckled as he looked at Reid's phone and scrolled through the email. "Mmm. I've read about the Paebaek Ceremony. It's an intimate Korean unification tradition historically performed after the wedding ceremony to represent the bride entering the husband's household."

"This is going to be a fun celebration," Élise turned her phone and set it on the bedside. "I can't wait to see everyone again. Anna asked me if I could be a bridesmaid if I were up to it. Considering how she planned our wedding, absolutely."

Reid stroked her cheek. "Well, that's nice."

"Just a couple of things we need to straighten out," said Élise before taking her glasses off, placing them in the case, and setting them on the bedside next to her phone. "Think we should take Séraphine and Isaac with us?"

Reid pursed his mouth again. "Probably not the best idea. Isaac's too young, and Séraphine had just recovered from her cold. Plus, think of it as a post-baby weekend getaway."

Élise pressed her lips together and rolled her eyes. "Yeah." Élise shrugged. "Who can babysit them while we're gone?"

Reid scratched his cheek. "Definitely not JJ after the whole Prentiss faking her death debacle and the Green Fairy hungover."

"Oh, yeah," Élise groaned. "Morgan would probably use our children to score a date."

Reid stifled a peal of laughter. "Yeah, probably. Garcia would probably want to keep our children to herself. Rossi doesn't have the energy to deal with a 19-month-old toddler and a 3-month-old baby."

"Alex said she'd love to babysit, but her husband's overseas," Reid mentioned. "And Rose said she'll be at a wedding herself to see one of her nephews get married."

"There's always Hotch and Jessica, but I think it's best if my family would do it."

Reid suggested, "You'll call them in the morning?"

"Mm-hmm," Élise rested her head against the pillow. "Right now, Judge Bastien needs her sleep."

Reid replied, "As do Supervisory Special Agent Spencer Reid."

Élise giggled before they engaged in a passionate kiss after turning the lights off.


Élise placed her phone to her ear, waiting for the caller, and they finally answered after the third ring.

"Yello?"

Élise casually greeted her older brother Arthur with, "Hey, bro. How is everything in the Garden State?"

"Ah, everything good on this end. How about your end?"

Élise exhaled, "Everything's good here, even Spencer. So, you don't have to think about whomping him or anything."

Arthur chuckled, "Don't worry. I think you can handle him without my help. Now, is there anything that you need?"

"Well, now that you mention it, yeah. Spencer and I are going to his cousin Anna's wedding this weekend, so may you babysit Fifi and Ziggy for us, please?"

Arthur answered, "Eh, why not? Anything for my niece and nephew."

"Yes!" Élise cheered. "Thank you, bro. I owe you one."


For the next couple of days, Reid and Élise worked, took care of the children, been browsing through a few more houses, and managed to go to an open house.


"Okay," Élise set her luggage bag next to Reid's by the front door, just as Reid walked into the foyer, holding Séraphine's hand and carrying Isaac in the other. "Aw, let me hold my little boy." She gently coaxed Isaac from his arm. "Hi, Zig-zag. Are you going to miss mommy?"

Isaac cooed and smiled, making Élise smile.

"I mis yoo, mama," Séraphine waddled towards Élise and hugged her legs.

"Oh," Reid scooped her up and kissed her head just as the front door rhythmic knocked three times. He and Élise immediately smirked as they knew who it was.

"¡Mi familia!" Élise grinned when her family appeared.

"Hey, little sis!" Arthur exclaimed as he and Brenda stepped inside the house first. "With my nephew and bro-in-law!" He pulled Reid into a quick brotherly hug. "Hey, Fifi!"

Séraphine tottered her way towards Arthur and Brenda. "Artie! Bea!"

Ms. Geneva smiled. "Lise!"

"Lisey!" Mr. Micha opened his arms out after he and Ms. Geneva stepped in and closed the door behind them. "Lisey!"

"Hey, pop!" Élise warmly greeted him. Pulling back, she looked at her father's stomach, "Has your belly been going down?"

Polite and heartfelt laughter enriched the family.

"Let us see our grandson," Ms. Geneva smoothly took Isaac from Élise's arms and began doting him. "Look at this big guy. Look at you, big guy. Look at you."

Élise moved some of her hair back just as Reid walked out of the house after picking up their bags to place them in the car. "Okay. Phone numbers and emergency contacts are on the kitchen counters next to Ziggy's feeding schedule. His bottles are in the fridge. We went grocery shopping earlier this week, so you don't have to worry about anything, but if you want something from the outside, we left some money on the counter."

"Don't worry, Élise. We'll take good care of Fifi and Ziggy," Brenda assured Élise as she scooped Séraphine and bounced her.

Reid opened the door again. "I got the bags packed. We're ready to go."

Élise sighed as she turned around, gave her family another hug, kissed Séraphine and Isaac's heads before she and Reid bid farewell to the family.


Now it was fifteen minutes till one. Arriving at the main terminal at McCarran International, Reid and Élise had just reached the baggage claim area and picked up their luggage.

"Spencer!"

They turned around, and it was the usual Carney family members. Cousin John with Melissa and Sabrina; Anna and his soon-to-be cousin-in-law Nathan; Uncle Gordon and the ever-memorable Aunt Ethel.

"Hiii!" Ethel cried as her arms opened, itching to hug her nephew and niece-in-law. "Oh! Look at you two." She ran her fingers through Reid's hair. "When are you going to cut this hippie-style hair?"

Reid chuckled amusingly. "Nice to see you again." He soon hugged Gordon.

"How are you doing, boy-o?" Gordon guffawed.

"Hey, cousins," Anna hugged as she hugged Reid and gasped when she saw Élise. "OMG, Lise!" She took her hand and spun her around after hugging her. "You did not just have a baby."

Melissa made her way and agreed, "I know, right?" She and Élise embraced. "You look so good."

Élise complimented back, "As do you, Melissa." Élise flexed her arm muscles. "I've been working out lately. Mostly from YouTube workout videos by Connie Tang, BadAbs, May Feng, and lifting two babies."

"And speaking of babies…" Ethel folded her arms, and a smirk appeared on her face.

Anna assured as Nathan looked away, snickering and blushing, "After the wedding on Saturday, mother." She knew her mother would freak if she and Nathan had sex before the marriage.

Ethel inhaled and exhaled with a smirk. "That's all I want."

"Uncle Spencer!" Sabrina waddled towards Reid and cuddled him.

"How are you, my pretty niece?" Reid squeezed her before noticing Samuel in the stroller. "Hey, Sammy! How are you?"

Samuel cooed.

"He's so adorable and so cute." Élise waved to him. "He's so precious."

Ethel batted her eyes. "Hope we get more pictures of my movie star nephew Isaac."

"And you will, Aunt Ethel," Élise singsonged.


The Bastien-Reid and Carney families stopped at the Carney Ranch to drop off their luggage. They had a quick lunch before a nap before Reid and Élise visited a very special someone.


"Mom?" Reid called out his mother, who was with two fellow elderly patients.

Diana lifted her head up, and her eyes sparkled and smiled, with her white teeth showing with joy at seeing her son. "Oh, my baby boy." She got up from the couch and immediately started hugging him. "Oh! How are you doing?"

"Good, mother," answered Reid as she pulled back.

"My Élise!" Diana embraced her next before her eyes grew worried. "Oh, where are my grandchildren? Did something happen to them!?" Diana shook Élise's shoulder.

"Now-now, Mama D," Élise took her hands and gently smoothed them and her back. "They're in D.C. with my family. Isaac's too young to travel right now, and Séraphine just recovered from a cold."

"Oh," Diana sighed and had her hand on her heart. "Oh. Thank God." She began squealing again. "Ooh! I'm so excited about Anna's wedding tomorrow."

"Same here," Élise agreed.

Soon, the three of them began talking more about Anna's wedding, and Diana introduced Reid and Élise to a couple of her patient friends.


Now the Bastien-Reid and Carney families had dinner at Nathan's parents' nearly two-and-a-half acre and over the ten-thousand-square-feet custom-built estate.

"Mmm…" Élise enjoyed the dinner Dr. Jee-Yoon made for dinner. "These mandu dumplings are even better than the ones I ate from our honeymoon to South Korea. So delicious."

Reid agreed; his mouth was full of noodles. "Mmm-hmm."

"It's delicious, honey," Dr. Nigel nodded.

Dr. Jee-Yoon smiled, "Thank you. They'll be plenty more at the wedding on Saturday."

"And speaking on the wedding," A woman with olive skin tone, brunette bob hair length, hazel eyes, and dressed in a yellow cardigan sweater dress rose from her seat. "I would like to propose to a toast."

Oliver, a young man with pale skin, coifed hair, hazel eyes, and Grace, who had light skin tone, brown eyes, and long brown-blonde hair; both business casual attired, also rose and held their glasses in the air.

Amelia smiled; her newly wedded husband rose next to her. "Anna, welcome to our family, and may God bless you and my brother, Nathan, until the end of time."

"Amen."

"Amen!"


BANG! BANG! BANG-BANG-BANG!

Reid removed his goggles and headphones, and the human silhouette target pulled up closer to him.

John appeared next to him, as did Nathan.

"Wow," said Nathan, nodding his head and pouting his mouth as he was impressed Reid managed to get the heart and head targets. "Remind me never to mess with you."

Reid chuckled. "You should have seen me when I first started in the FBI."

"How were you when you started in the FBI?" asked Oliver as he removed his goggles after removing his headphones.

Reid answered truthfully, "Anything that was technically book related I was good at, and they had to make some exceptions for me to out in the field. Definitely not your average person when you entered the academy at twenty-one. But as the years went on, I've improved. I shot my first kill during a hostage situation in the head nearly seven years ago. Then another shot to the chest that killed the man who held me captive for two days six years ago and another headshot kill when protecting a doctor after he shot me above my left knee three years ago." Reid opted to leave out Tobias Hankel having DID and his drug usage.

"Whoa." Oliver held his hands out and took a few steps back. "I'm never messing with you."

Noah agreed, "Same."

The gentlemen engaged in light laughter.

"Sorry if we couldn't go gambling, guys." Reid apologized. "Unfortunately, I'm banned from casinos in Las Vegas, Laughlin, and Pahrump because of my card-counting ability."

"That's okay," said Nathan in a relaxed tone. "Personally, I'm not into gambling."

Oliver raised his hand, "Same here. Why do you think I'm a video game designer?"

"Not every bachelor party has to include gambling and poker," John reminded Reid. "Remember when we went paintballing and top golf for my bachelor party?"

Reid smirked. "Now, that was fun."

"I say we have a good bite to eat and then head home," Nathan declared, rubbing the back of his neck. "I need my sleep for my big day tomorrow."

"Aw, yeah." John wrapped his arm around Nathan and smiled. "You're going to marry my beautiful sister." In hushed tones, John replied, "And you better give my mother some grandchildren."

Nathan pinched his nose, chuckling, and assuring, "And we will. You can't rush things."

"I wonder what the girls are up to now," Reid thought about what Élise and the girls were up to.

"Well, the Chippendales are performing tonight," Oliver slyly smirked. "And The Thunder from Down Under."

"Dude!" John's eyes widened before breaking out into chuckles.


"Ooh. Now, this was exactly what I needed."

The ladies enjoyed themselves at the 134,000 square-foot Canyon Ranch spa + fitness at the Palazzo for Anna's bachelorette party.

"As do I," Élise was having a soothing massage. "I was in desperate need of a massage."

Melissa agreed. "Same here."

"How are my growing niece and nephew doing?" Anna asked.

"They are wonderful," Melissa answered heavenly. "Twice the work, but twice the blessing."

Grace asked as she had a mani-pedi, "Ready for the big day tomorrow, Anna?"

"Oooh," Anna suddenly felt a chill and knot in her stomach. "I'm already nervous just thinking about it."

"It's okay, Anna." Amelia comforted her. "Remember a couple of months ago with Noah and me? I was such a nervous wreck; I almost threw up on my wedding gown. Twice." She chuckled. "But then I looked at him, and all those bad feelings and thoughts went away. It's going to be fine."

"And if not, we can always schedule another full-body massage for you," Élise made a light joke that got the ladies laughing.

After their time at the spa, the ladies went shopping around the Las Vegas Strip and grabbed a bite to eat.


Reid and Élise woke up and got ready for Anna's big wedding day. They took a shower, washed their faces, and got dressed up.

Élise was still in the bathroom as Reid, already in his suit and tie and polished black shoes, grabbed his cellphone, pressed a number on speed dial, and placed the phone to his ear. He patiently waited for the caller to answer and finally did after the third ring.

"Yello?"

Reid chipperly greeted, "Hey, Arthur!"

"Hey, Spencer!" Arthur greeted him back.

"Dada!" Séraphine came to the phone.

Reid smiled, "Hi, princess! Are you behaving yourself with grandma, grandpa, Uncle Arthur, and Aunt Brenda?"

"Yeah, she's behaving herself."

Élise walked out of the bathroom, already in her ruby bridesmaid dress and matching color shawl: a flutter sleeve wrap bodice with a knee-length circle skirt with light gathering in the center front new gold Manolo Blahnik heels, and gold jewelry. Her chin-length hair was straight and smooth, with some of her bangs wispy, her skin glowed, and her makeup was natural and fresh.

"Hey, everyone!" Élise came to the phone.

"Mama!"

Isaac cooed on the other line.

"Is everyone behaving themselves?"

Brenda assured, "We're great. How's everything in Las Vegas?"

"It's great," Élise answered. "We're on our way to the church."

"Well, have fun!" Brenda exclaimed.

Arthur jokingly replied, "But not too much!"


"Whoo, Mama Diana! Look at you!" Élise couldn't take her eyes off of Diana. She beautifully wore a long-sleeve and floor-length mink color with a demure bateau sequined neckline and comfortable flats. Her short hair was pulled away from her face and style nicely.

Reid complimented, "You look so pretty!"

Diana blushed.


Reid and Élise parked their car in the parking lot and made their way towards the church; Reid helped his mother out of the vehicle. Already at the double doors, there were two columns with white autumn floral arrangements, such as freesias, roses, chrysanthemums, and dahlias.

"Something tells me we're in for a big surprise." Élise bounced on her heels.

They walked inside, and their mouths dropped.

The altar was draped and accented with white autumn blossoms and foliage, including the arch placed at the end of the pews, weave tulles, and pedestal arrangements. The pews were ornamented with the same white autumn flowers, including baby's breath, tulle, and trailing ivy foliage swags; the same with the balconies and windowsills minus the baby's breath. The gold chandeliers glowed, the outside aisles had twinkled light branches, and the white runner was sprinkled with white rose petals. Floral bouquets and arrangements, tulle and silk swags hung to visible trusses, across and from the ceiling to the seating.

"Holy…Anna definitely went all the way out!" Élise was in complete awe.

Diana nodded. "Indeed, she did. It's so stunning."

"You made it!"

They turned around and saw Ethel, dressed in a navy gown full-length A-line skirt, bateau neckline with illusion cap sleeves, low-heels, simple makeup and her hair in clean layers, and Gordon in a black suit and bow tie.

"Ooh, congratulations!" Diana gave Ethel and Gordon a warm hug.

Ethel inhaled and exhaled. "This wedding may not be my first rodeo, but it'll be my last." Ethel sniffed. Her eyes began to get teary, and she held her hands over her heart. "My little girl's getting married."

"And speak of the bride." Élise pointed to Anna walking in the church. "Here comes the bride. Not yet dress in white."

Gidding and bouncing up and down, Anna asked, "So, what do you think?"

"It's stunning, princess," Gordon pulled Anna closer to him and kissed her head.

"I can't believe I'm getting married." Anna squealed and fanned herself. She gasped, and her eyes beamed. "I need to get ready." Anna hurried herself to the bride's suite; Diana, Élise, and Ethel followed her.


Reid was with Nathan in the groom's suite with Dr. Nigel, Gordon, Oliver, and Noah, giving Nathan words of encouragement and advice before Dr. Jee-Yoon walked in. The gentleman excused themselves.


Élise gasped when she helped Anna into her wedding attire. "Oh, my…Anna."

Anna looked stunning in her ivory and white wedding gown: a sheer and shimmering bodice of textured floral appliqués and liner designs with long-sleeve lace and beading. The seamless skirt was made with pleated matte chiffon and had a rounded and long train, her capelet was made from Carrickmacross lace, and her armpit brunette-length hair was in an elegant chignon with a bejeweled hairpin. Her makeup was perfectly natural and fresh, and her skin dewed and smelled of Chanel perfume.

The 'something old' was Ethel's mother's veil and tiara. The Jimmy Choo heels with the sixpence inside were the 'something new.' The 'something borrowed' was Ethel's pearl and diamond earrings. And the 'something blue' was a small ribbon sewn into the inside of the wedding gown.

Ethel tried to say something but fanned herself to try not to cry. Closing her eyes for a moment, she inhaled and exhaled before opening her eyes again. Ethel adjusted the veil and beaded tiara. "Oh, my girl's getting married."

Melissa was helping Sabrina with her white flats, which went nicely with her ivory sleeveless dress. "Anna, you look so good!"

Anna fanned herself, "Oh, ladies. I am scared…"

"We're in the Lord's house, young lady," Ethel wagged her finger.

Anna bit on her manicured index fingernail. "I'm just scared and nervous. I feel like wetting myself."

"It's okay to feel that way," said Amelia. "My brother would be a complete idiot not to marry you."

Anna hissed. "Oh…"

"Darling," Ethel took her hands and asked Anna, "You love Nathan, right?"

"Mmm-hmm…" Anna nodded.

Ethel caressed her cheek, "Then those bad feelings will go away once you see him."

Grace burst in the door, "Okay. Is everyone ready?"

Melissa left with Sabrina, following Amelia. Élise and Diana were still with Anna and Ethel when Gordon walked in.

Anna closed her eyes when Gordon asked, "Ready, princess?"

"I'm ready."


The church was a full house, mostly on Nathan's side. Most of his relatives from the UK were dressed lavishly as if they were attending a royal wedding; the women even wore beautiful fascinators and hatinators.

The wedding began when Great-Uncle Roger walked first. Nathan's groomsmen, longtime friends, and colleagues were next. Then came the bridesmaids with the best men: Reid and Élise, John and Melissa, Amelia and Noah, and Oliver and Grace. Nathan walked in with his parents. Sabrina and Nathan's cousin from the UK was the flower girl and ring bearer.

Then everyone rose from their seats and had their eyes set on Anna as she walked in with Ethel and Gordon.

Finally getting to the altar, Roger smiled and asked, "My good gentleman, do you support your daughter's decision to marry Nathan Ji-Hun McGee?"

"Everyone in the Carney family accepts it." Anna hugged her parents before they joined the rest of the family upstage.

Roger continued, "Everyone, we are gathered here today to witness this wonderful ceremony between these two people and within God's presence himself. If there is anyone who doesn't think these two shouldn't marry, speak now or forever hold your peace."

Ethel, Gordon, John, Melissa, Dr. Nigel, Dr. Jee-Yoon, Amelia, Grace, Oliver, Noah, even Reid, and Élise stared everyone down if they tried to say anything. The ceremony continued as everyone went back to their respective seats and places.

Roger looked to Nathan and asked him, "Do you, good sir, take Anna Delilah to be your lawfully wedded wife?"

"Sir, yes, sir."

Roger looked to Anna and asked her, "And do you, my fair lady, take Nathan Ji-Hun McGee to be your lawfully wedded husband?"

"Yes, I do."

Roger looked to the crowd. "Will you who have witnessed these promises do all in your power to uphold these two people in their marriage?"

"We will."

Roger asked Anna and Nathan again. "Now, who would like to go first to share their vows?"

"I'd like to go first." Anna offered. She sighed shakingly before collecting her thoughts together. "Nathan Ji-Hun McGee, I promise to be there for you as you were right there for me. I promise to be your bestest friend, biggest fan, your partner-in-crime. I promise never to stop loving you and my love for you to grow bigger and stronger than ever. Salanghae. Geuligo naneun dangsin-ege salm-eul wihae baindingdoego sipseubnida. [1]

Nathan wiped a tear from his eyes and chuckled, trying to shake the developing lump in his throat. "Wow." He exhaled again before beginning his share of vows. "Anna Delilah Carney. I promise to be there for you for everything, good or bad, through triumph and defeats. I promise to treat you with the highest respect, honor, trust, hope, encouragement, esteem, patience, understanding, and endless amounts of love. I knew from the moment I saw you, you've tickled me pink, and I wanted to be yours through the end of time and time itself."

Roger wiped his tears. "Ringbearer?"

The little ringbearer presented the rings. Roger continued as the ring exchanging went on. "Look at these rings as a reminder of your devotion, commitment, and love to each other every moment of every second of every day for the rest of your lives. Amen."

"Amen."

Anna and Nathan couldn't stop smiling, even after he lifted her veil.

"By the power vested in God and me, I now pronounce you two husband and wife. Kiss and let's give these two a hand!"

Everyone roared at the newly wedded and lip-locked Anna and Nathan.

Chapter Text

"Kudos, Nathan," Reid was the next to congratulate Nathan for just marrying his cousin, Anna. "Welcome to the family." He helped himself to a stuffed mushroom appetizer and a water glass.

Nathan sipped some champagne and shook his head. "Ah, thank you, man."

"Nathan, son," His father, Dr. Nigel, pulled Nathan into a manly hug. "Kudos, my boy. You're married, and now, I have a wonderful daughter-in-law."

"You got that right!" Gordon guffawed and was the next to hug Nathan. "Congrats, son-in-law."

Nathan exhaled and had another sip. "I swear, I was sweating bloody bollocks on the inside. but when I saw Anna…"

"It's changed everything, huh?" John joined in on the conversation as a waiter offered him a drink, which he accepted. "Reminds me of when I was marrying Melissa." John gazed at Melissa, who was talking to Anna, Ethel, and Élise. "I thought I was going to wet myself or think she leave me, but when I saw her coming down the aisle…" John sighed. "Ah, memories."

Nathan smirked. "Yeah." He raised his glass in the air. "A quick toast for new memories in this chapter I'm now sharing with you all today."

The gentlemen raised their clinking drinks.


"I still can't believe it," Anna couldn't stop staring at her Irish-and-Welsh gold wedding ring. "I'm officially Mrs. Anna Delilah McGee."

Élise squealed as she hugged Anna, "Congrats, Ans. You're a married girl."

"Oh, my little girl's married!" Ethel hugged her next. "Now comes the fun part of marriage."

Melissa asked obviously before helping herself to a flatbread appetizer, "And what's that?"

"Babies!' Ethel cheered.

Anna blushed embarrassingly, "Mom! I just got married."

"I know you did, baby," Ethel pulled her into another quick hug before whispering in her ear, "But you and Nathan better give me some grandbabies."

Anna broke out into laughter, making Élise laughter after sipping some water.

Soon, Amelia and Grace approached them, giggling and squealing with excitement. "Ooh! Welcome to the family, Anna!"

Anna fanned herself, feeling the tear ducts in her eyes. "Aww, thank you all so much!"

Dr. Jee-Yoon soon approached the ladies and had a smile on her face. "Ah, Anna. I'm so happy for you and Nathan!" She lovingly embraced Anna. "I hope you and Nathan give us some grandchildren to spoil."

"And we will," Anna assured her mother and newly mother-in-law.

"It was so amazing," said Grace before eating a devils on horseback hors d'oeuvre. "The church reminded me a bit of The Nanny when Nanny Fran and Maxwell Sheffield finally married."

"Yeah," Élise looked at her phone for a moment, hoping she'd gotten any new messages from her family watching Séraphine and Isaac before looking at the time. "Oh! It's almost time for us to head to the ceremony!"

"Oh, yes!" Grace's eyes beamed. "We got everything set up."

Amelia jumped up and down. "Ooh, I can't wait!"


Now it was time for the Paebaek Ceremony, set up near the church.

Anna and Nathan walked in, donned in traditional Korean wedding attire. Anna donned on a red hanbok with red dots on her face and Nathan in a blue robe; the same with the parents and in-law wearing the traditional gear.

Everyone stood up and applauded the families.

The Paebaek ceremony started with Nathan's parents sitting behind the table set up that faced everyone's attention, and Anna and Nathan exchanging bowing to everyone. Nathan gifted the Carney family wooden ducks. Soon, Anna and Nathan drank from the same copper cup and served tea to everyone, with the help of Élise, Melissa, Amelia, and Grace.

After the tea was drunk, Anna and Nathan received advice, words of wisdom, and blessings, as well as receiving white envelopes containing money, which they announced that they'd be donating to charity around the Las Vegas area.

Now came the throwing of the dates and chestnuts representing the number of children the couple would have. The dates represented the sons, and the chestnuts symbolized the daughters. Ethel, Gordon, Dr. Nigel, and Dr. Jee-Yoon sat behind the low table, and Anna and Nathan sat down, held a white flower embroidered fabric to catch the dates and chestnuts.


The families took separate cars to head to Binion's for the reception party in the Longhorn Room.

Reid and Élise were sitting with John and Melissa when they saw Anna and Nathan walk in, smiling and holding hands.

"Please welcome Dr. and Mrs. Nathan Ji-Hun McGee!"

Everyone applauded the couple. Anna was now dressed in an ivory silk chiffon dress and Nathan back in his tux.

"Now, I would like to invite the newlyweds over to the dance floor for their first dance."

Reid and Élise smiled at Anna and Nathan having their first dance together.


Dinner was served and soon came the toasting and speeches. Gordon cleared his throat and tapped his goblet; Ethel rose next. "Everyone. I would like to propose a toast to my darling daughter, Anna, and my new son-in-law, Nathan. May God bless you two with a long, loving, and fulfilling life together because you two are one now. Amen."

"Amen."

Dr. Nigel and Dr. Jee-Yoon stood up as Ethel and Gordon sat down. "First off, Anna, again, welcome to our family as we are blessed to have you. May you two hold on and never let go. No matter what challenges you will have, you two have each other's back and love each other, no matter what. Never stop loving each other because love conquers it all. Amen."

"Amen!"


Anna danced with her father as Nathan danced with his mother before everyone got on the dance floor and danced.

Then after forty minutes, there came the cutting of the bride and groom cakes and the bouquet and garter tossing.

The wedding continued until the late hours.


Reid and Élise headed back to William Reid's place. By the time they got home, it was a few minutes past midnight, and they managed to get seven hours of sleep.


"Mmm…" Élise enjoyed the mixed berry pancake William cooked for breakfast. Swallowing, "This is so good, Papa Reid."

"Papa Reid. I kinda like it." William chuckled. He took a seat and asked the two, "So, how was the wedding?"

Reid answered before taking a sip of coffee. "Oh, it was great."

"It was so grand. I mean, you should have seen Ethel during this one part of the ceremony." Élise recapped to William about the Paebaek ceremony about the number of dates and chestnuts Anna and Nathan managed to catch. "I think she almost passed out."

William laughed. "Yeah, now that I can imagine."

"Sorry you weren't invited, dad," Reid offered his apologies to his father.

"Yeah." There was no doubt William would always regret leaving Diana and Spencer for as long as he would live, and perhaps, he would be able to watch Anna marry. "Where are they going for their honeymoon?"

"Northern Europe to get to see the Northern Lights," Élise replied as she dapped her mouth. "So lucky."

William sighed. "Well, congratulations to them and for their new life together."

"Cheers," Élise rose her glass of orange juice in the air and toasted to Anna and Nathan's newly marriage.


After breakfast, Reid and Élise showed William new photographs of Séraphine and Isaac. They chatted about what's been going on in their lives before he dropped them off at McCarran International for their flight back to D.C.


Reid and Élise made it back to D.C. at around minutes to five in the evening. They arrived at the main terminal and were on their way to the baggage claim.

"Hey!"

They picked up their heads when they heard someone.

"Hey!" Élise instantly smiled when she saw her family.

"Mama! Dada!" Arthur set Séraphine down and allowed her to run towards her parents.

Reid scooped her up, hugged her, and kissed her head. "Mmm. Were you a good girl while we were gone?"

"Yah-yah!" babbled Séraphine.

Élise opened her arms for Brenda to give her Isaac. "Oh, come here, my big boy." She smooched all over his face. "Mommy and Daddy missed you and Fifi while we were gone."

Mr. Micha grabbed their bags for Reid and Élise. "So, how was the wedding?"

"It was great," Élise's eyes beamed. "Hopefully, we can go back to Las Vegas before the holiday season."

Soon the Bastien family took Reid, Élise, Séraphine, and Isaac back to the house for dinner and got a good night's sleep.


Élise yawned and scratched her hair when she walked into the kitchen, dressed in a black pinstripe stretch wool pantsuit with a pink-white dress shirt and heels. She saw her mother giving her father a bowl of whole-grain and steel-cut oatmeal with sliced apple, flax seeds, and walnuts when she got there. "Morning."

"Morning, Lise," Mr. Micha and Ms. Geneva replied when they saw Élise walk in and open the fridge and freezer, trying to think of what she would like to eat for breakfast.

"Do you want some oatmeal?" her father asked.

"No thanks," Élise closed the freezer door after she grabbed a bag of frozen mixed berries and poured some in a small glass bowl before eating a couple.

Ms. Geneva sat down at the breakfast nook and said, "You know, oatmeal is the best breakfast you can eat. With oatmeal, you're good to go."

"Maybe another day," Élise politely turned down her mother's suggestion for oatmeal just as Reid walked in the kitchen, clad in a purple striped button shirt with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows dark purple tie, dark charcoal dress pants, and Converses. "Morning, babe."

"Good morning, everyone," Reid began pouring himself a cup of coffee and drank. "Did everyone sleep well?"

"I slept good," Ms. Geneva raised her hand.

"Mm-hmm," Mr. Micha had a mouthful of oatmeal and nodded.

Ms. Geneva offered, "Would you like some oatmeal for breakfast, Spencer?"

"Ooh, I love a bowl!" Reid accepted the bowl Ms. Geneva gave him. "Thank you."


"Okay," Élise was in the kitchen, getting breakfast prepared. She asked Séraphine, who was sitting in her pink and purple booster seat at the table when giving her parfait breakfast, "Do you think daddy will like his breakfast?"

Séraphine raised her spoon in the air, "Yah!"

Reid yawned as he walked in and carried a cooing Isaac in his arms.

"Surprise!" Élise cheered.

Séraphine opened her arms out, "Tarise!"

Reid started chuckling. "Aw, is all this for me?" Sitting next to Séraphine, he stared at his breakfast plate: a chocolate muffin, a chocolate donut with sprinkles, a cinnamon roll, and French toast with a tall glass of orange juice and water with lemon, blueberry, and rosemary.

"Anything for you, my love," Élise tickled under his chin as she sat down and started feeding Isaac. "It's your birthday."

"Hapay birday, dada!" Séraphine babbled.

Reid kissed her head again as he began eating his breakfast.


After twenty minutes, Reid finished his breakfast. Dapping his mouth, "Wow! That was the best birthday!"

"Anything for my main man," Élise tickled his cheek.

Chuckling, Reid looked at his watch as he finished his cup and bowl. "Oh. I better get going." He wiped his mouth, table spot, and chair, kissed Séraphine's head, set her in his seat, and placed his bowl in the sink to wash and placed it in the dishwasher. Kissing Élise's lips and Isaac's head, "Love you! Have a good day."

Reid grabbed his satchel and was out the door.


Reid was in the conference room with Morgan, JJ, and Blake when Garcia and Rossi walked in, discussing Rossi's thirty-one unused vacation days. He and Morgan suggested Florida for Vitamin D, a safari in Africa and Italy, but rejected them.

Blake figured Rossi should give his vacation days away to someone in need, prompting him to ask Garcia to find people in the Bureau who have spouses serving in the military overseas.

Hotch walked in, and they immediately discussed a case in California involving two victims.


The team continued to discuss the case on the flight about how the victims were tortured by dragging.


Reid and Hotch headed to the LAPD while JJ and Morgan went to the latest crime scene, and Rossi and Blake went to the M.E.'s office in San Diego.

They met Detective Angela Pratt and offered to set up everything they needed and what she got from San Diego PD when Garcia called them.

She got information on one of the victims, Mark Coleman, who changed from Logan.

And how Mark was arrested for the sexual assault of an eight-year-old girl named Kelly Taylor, who disappeared ten years ago.


"Ah, thank you, Marshal," Élise expressed her gratitude to Marshal Johnson for driving her home after getting out from the passenger seat. She waved to him as she drove off. She rummaged through her phone when she heard it vibrate as Élise walked up the driveway. Answering it after hearing it ring for the second time, "Hello."

"Hey, Lise."

Élise sighed, "Hey, love."

"Long day?" Reid guessed.

Élise scoffed as she unlocked and opened the front door. "Decisions-decisions-decisions." She closed the door and locked in the security codes. Taking off her heels, "How's California so far?"

"Ugh," Reid groaned. "We talked to a deceased victim's family who was released from prison after he confessed to sexually assaulting an eight-year-old girl who disappeared ten years ago."

Élise shook her head in disgust. "I swear…"

"Mama!"

Élise's tone changed when she heard Séraphine call out and waddled her way towards her. "Hey, bunny." She lifted Séraphine and kissed her head as Rose came into the foyer with Isaac in her arms. "Oh, come here, my little Zig-Zag." Smooching him, "Hi, baby." Élise whispered as she put the phone on speaker. "Daddy's on the phone."

"Hi, dada."

Reid laughed. "Hey, Fifi. How are you doing?"

"Gad!"

Élise asked Rose as she removed her heels, "So, what's for dinner?"

"Vegetable stir-fry."

"That sounds  good," said Reid. "Oh, I have to go. I'll be thinking of you all. Love you."

"Luv ya, dada!"


Reid and Hotch met up with JJ. They concluded there were two unsubs with the information they got from Mark's father and what Rossi and Blake got from the M.E.'s office. One of them was hesitant, and the other who takes pleasure in the killings.


Now the team got news about another victim who was dragged to death.

And with a connection to Mark Coleman.

And with news and information about the first victim, Brenda Wipley. She only served two months in juvie for killing a two-year-old under the influence due to her wealthy father's donations. The team concluded that the unsubs were a vigilante team delivering their own brand of justice.

This prompted the team to give the profile.


After finding out that the mother of the toddler Brenda Wipley killed committed suicide, the team managed to get a name via Garcia.

Ellen Russell, a boat shop worker, and Sam Dolan's maternal aunt talked about him in a private chat.

And another name who mainly talked to her.

Darlene Beckett, who talked about Mark Coleman's release and is Kelly Taylor's mother.


"Mmm…hello?"

Reid whispered as he was on his way back to the team from the crime lab, "Sorry if I woke up, but I really needed to hear you."

"Mmm-hmm," Élise moaned. "I'm all for justice, but sometimes people deserve what's coming to them. My mom always said what you do in the past will be back to haunt you in the future."

Reid nodded. "Absolutely. I have to get going. I'll dream of you."

"I love you."

"I love you, too," Reid smirked as he hung up. Getting serious again, he found the team and announced to them about a second DNA sample of Kelly Taylor's underclothing but was too degraded for a match.

With Garcia's help again, they found someone connected to Mark Coleman and the third victim, Paul Montgomery.

Jason Nelson and visited Mark weekly during his incarceration.


Hotch decided to stay behind while the team rushed to Jason Nelson's apartment, only he wasn't there and judging by the broken window glass and bloodstains, he was kidnapped.

But from searching his place and JJ's gut instinct, they deduced that he's a psychopath.

And for a good reason.

Trophies were found in Nelson's position; Kelly wasn't his first victim.


After hearing how a motorist barely survived after being randomly shot, Rossi had Reid and Blake check Nelson's storage closet to find any evidence linking to where Kelly Taylor's body was buried.


The case was completed, and the team was on the flight home. Most of the team was asleep, but Reid stared at the window with his hand on his cheek.

"Hey."

Reid snapped out of his thoughts, looked up, and saw Hotch standing before he sat down across from him. Reid replied quietly, "Hey."

"You okay?" asked Hotch with concern.

Reid sighed. "The loss of a child can really affect someone. I'll always worry about losing and outliving Séraphine and Isaac."

"Yeah." Hotch agreed. "I worry about losing and outliving Jack, and honestly…" Sighing, "When Foyet and I..." He closed his eyes for a moment and opened them again. "He said after he finished with me, he'd find Jack, and show him me and Haley's dead bodies before he..." Hotch had to not finish that sentence. "I…think I hit my breaking point. I can't imagine my life without him." He lowered his eyes. "I'd fight and die for him."

"Any parent would. Myself. Élise. The women…" Reid couldn't help but be a bit sorry for them, even though they got away. "Think they'll be caught one day?" He saw Rossi look at the newspaper clipping he took from Kelly Taylor's room and it gave him some ideas on where to find the ladies.

Hotch exhaled. "Hopefully." He made eye contact with Reid again and suggested, "Why don't you take Friday off? Spend time with your family? Make up for missing your birthday?"

Reid nodded. "Okay." He figured he should get some sleep before they landed.


It was Friday afternoon, and after Séraphine and Isaac had their naps, Reid and Élise were in the great room, relaxing with him.

"I'm never letting any of you go," Reid vowed as he cuddled towards Élise and Isaac on the couch and Séraphine on his lap.

Chapter Text


Reid didn't have a case, but the team had big meetings and presentations coming up, and they had to prepare for that. Then he did—and no doubt he counted eight files—before Hotch decided to call it a day and send everyone home, but he'll have three more to do. Hopefully, he can get that finished by the end of tomorrow.

Reid parked his car, walked up the pathway, and unlocked his front door. Reid sighed as he stepped into the house. Rolling his neck and massaging his slightly cramped hands, Reid set his satchel aside and locked in the security codes. Rubbing the back of his neck, Reid sniffed the air and smelled chicken and vegetables. He walked into the dining room.

"Dada!" Séraphine jumped out of her seat and ran to hug Reid. "I mis yoo verry munch today, daddy."

Reid squatted down to hug Séraphine back. "Hi, my princess. I missed you very much today, too." Kissing her head, "Where's mommy?"

"She's right here." Élise walked out of the kitchen, holding a plate of food while holding Isaac in her other. "Hey there, my handsome hubby."

Reid replied, "Hey there, my wonderful wifey." He gave her a passionate kiss. Élise gave him his dinner plate before they sat down and said their prayers. Soon he asked, "How was your day?"

"Good day," said Élise before she had a mouthful of chicken and vegetable fried rice. She gently bounced Isaac while feeding him her breastmilk in a bottle. "How about you, Spennie?"

"The team and I had to prepare for our conferences and speeches to the JCS and the DOJ in a couple of weeks," said Reid after he swallowed and sipped some water. "Mmm. Then we did paperwork." He turned his attention to Séraphine, "Do you like your dinner, Fifi?"

Séraphine babbled, "Yah! Uump." She chewed another mouthful before she burped.

"What do we say, Séraphine, when we burp?"

Séraphine blushed and covered her mouth. "Sawry. Xuse me."

Reid stroked her head. "Good girl."

Élise giggled before she looked down and stared at Isaac, "Don't you look so cute, Ziggy, drinking your dinner?"

Isaac let out a laugh, making everyone at the dinner table smile.


Reid had just finished the final page of H.G. Wells' The Time Machine when Élise walked in and closed the bedroom door behind her. Stretching her back and groaning when she did, "Oh, putting our children to sleep gets easier for us by the day, despite their quick and energetic moments."

Reid chuckled; he cuddled closer to Élise when she tucked herself under the comforters. Élise liked it. "Ooh, I love your touch. I'll never get enough of it."

"Mmm…"

Giggling, Élise grabbed her tablet from the bedside and began strolling through real estate listings in the D.C. area. "Mmm…" Élise cocked her mouth.

Reid guessed, "Still trying to find "the perfect home?"

"Yes," Élise quickly answered. She stopped strolling when she got to a certain house in the D.C. area and gasped but nodded her head and continued strolling around.

"We're going to find the right house, Lise," Reid patted her hand and kissed it.

Élise giggled again. "I know, my brainy bunny." She played with the ends of her hair. "I just want a house that can go on for generations. Maybe pass it down to our children and their children. Almost like old money."

"Old money?" Reid had to laugh. "So now we're an old-money family like the Rothschilds, Forbes, Rockerfellers, Astors, the du Ponts, or even the Roosevelts? What, should we invite the Vanderbilts and Kennedys for a weekend brunch?"

Élise sarcastically replied, "Ha-ha. Though I do have a colleague who happens to be a good friend of Anderson Cooper and Caroline Kennedy…"

"Élise…"

Élise laughed heartily. "I'm just saying it'll be nice to pass our house down to their generation."

Reid tilted his head to the side and thought about what Élise said. "That would be nice."

Élise shook her head. "Mmm-hmm." She continued strolling and clicking around until she gasped. Her mouth dropped, and she had her hand to her cheek. "No way."

"What?" Reid asked concernedly.

Élise jumped. "No way!"

"Shhh," Reid put his index finger to his mouth. "Fifi and Ziggy are asleep. You don't want to wake them up, do you?"

Élise innocently covered her mouth with her hands and whispered, "Sorry." Nevertheless, she showed Reid what was getting her so giggly and happy.

It was a stately-looking red brick colonial Georgian. It had trimmed and pruned hedges and shrubs, gray hipped roofing and dentil molding, balanced multi-pane windows flanking the paneled and pilaster black front door with a transom over it, and two window dormers.

"Wow," Reid looked impressed by the house Élise showed him. "It reminds me of the Home Alone house."

Élise could barely contain her excitement, even in her low vocal tone. "I know." She squealed and giggled again before clearing her throat and calming herself down. "I know." She clicked through the pictures. "Oh, it's so pretty. And it has everything that we need. Bedrooms, bathrooms. Oh!" She showed Reid a picture of the wood-and-oak paneled library with a fireplace. "Looky here!"

"Mmm…" Reid nodded and pursed his lips out a bit. "I like the library."

Élise knew better and smirked. "I've been with you for four years, and I know you love this library. And we're just looking at it on the screen."

Reid smirked back, and they continued looking through the Georgian estate pictures on the tablet screen. "Oh!" He stopped at a media room. "Take a look at this."

"Aw, I miss the days of going to the movies with my family," Élise reminisced childhood memories of being at the movie theaters. "It's nice, quaint, and nice, like you right now." Élise twirled Reid's shirt collar with her finger, making him giggle.

"Ooh, check this out!" Élise clicked on some pictures of the master bedroom and bathroom. "It has a sunroom, his-and-her walk-in closets, and a balcony."

Reid smirked again. "Looks nice." Reid used his finger to swipe through the rest of the pictures in the gallery before stopping at the lower level/basement. "Hey, take a look at this."

Élise looked at the au pair suite/guest bedroom and bathroom photos. "Ooh. That could be nice for family."

"Or maybe for Rose?" Reid shrugged and suggested.

Élise lifted her eyebrow when Reid suggested the au pair suite/guest bedroom and bathroom in the lower level of the house should be for Rose. "Rose? I don't know." She placed her hand on her stomach. "I'm sure she's not someone who wants to give up her independence, especially at her age, but I do get what you're saying." Élise clicked on a few more pictures before shutting the tablet off and setting it to the nightstand. She smiled. "I think we found our house."

"We still need to take a better look at the house," Reid reminded Élise before they go and buy the house.

Élise playfully scoffed. "This house has everything; room for us, our children and potential future children, family, privacy, seclusion. I'm sending Ophelia an email."

"Okay, but let's just try not to get our hopes up."


Reid and Élise managed to squeeze in an open house with Ophelia. After Rose left Séraphine and Isaac at home in her care, they drove and made their way to this long brick-paved pristine tree-lined driveway.

"Wow," Élise admired the trees they were passing by. "I'm loving this already."

"Élise…" Reid reminded Élise to tread lightly.

Élise sat still in the front passenger seat, squealing with her hands between her legs. "Sorry, brains, but I just can't contain my excitement."

Reid looked to Élise with a smirk. "We're not seeing the actually Home Alone house."

"We might as well be, at least in the D.C. metropolitan area version of it," Élise chuckled before her mouth dropped. Her eyes beamed when she and Reid approached an iron entry gate with brick piers and walls. They drove through as the gates opened and saw Ophelia when they slowly stopped at the circular driveway.

They got out of their car and greeted Ophelia. "Hello again, Ophelia."

"Hello again, you two," Ophelia greeted Reid and Élise back. "How's your weekend so far?"

Reid bowed. "We're good, thank you."

Élise's face glowed when she saw the house up close, holding her hands together tightly. "Eep! I'm so excited for you to show us this house."

Ophelia began to give some details about the house. "Now, the house is a newly constructed house; completed earlier this year by acclaimed builder Stephen Gubarev."

"I think I read about him," Élise pointed out. "I've seen some of his portfolio work on his website. I think he even built a house for some D.C. baseball star."

Ophelia nodded. "He did. Now the house sits on a little over three acres of land and is completely secured by iron gates, so you'll have absolutely and great levels of privacy, security, and tranquility. GM Security literally monitors the house with exterior security cameras and individual window alarms linked to the police department."

"You said some of my three favorite words," Élise replied with a smile.

Ophelia chuckled before she motioned her hand to her left. "Now, the guest house is two bed-and-bath, so it'll be nice for visiting family members, but we do have a guest house/au pair guest in the lower level, so…"

"That'll be great," said Reid. "That way, they don't have to worry about staying at a hotel."

Ophelia shook her head again. "Exactly. Now, let's a look inside, shall we?"

Élise took ahold of Reid's hand and cheered. "Yay!"

They walked up the five-six brick steps when Reid opened the door for the ladies and walked into the small entryway. Their jaws gaped again when Reid and Élise stared at the foyer. Ralph Lauren floral wallpapering with white molding panels and natural brass sconces. The straight staircase was with white Victorian wood balusters and dark caps to the left.

"Ooh," Élise stared at the high-level ceiling. "Total Home Alone vibes."

Ophelia replied, "Rumor has it that Mr. Gubarev was inspired by the house when he saw the movie."

"Well, the man has good taste," said Élise, nodding. "So far, I'm very impressed."


Soon, Ophelia showed them the living room before showing them the wood-and-oak paneled library. The fireplace was an antique carved oak hooded top mantel with a dark color marble base and columns.

"Wow," Reid was impressed by the library. He admired the grand bookshelves before getting to the wallpaper. "What's the wallpaper made of?"

"Leather stencil. And the cool thing is…" Ophelia answered before she walked over and gently pushed the bookshelf aside, making Reid and Élise's mouth drop again when they followed her. "The bookcase is a hidden door built leading to the media room."

"Wow," Élise liked the dark color media room.

Ophelia presented to them the screening room. "State-of-the-art advanced 4K theater system, custom luxury but comfortable loungers, a mini-bar with sink and refrigerator, a full bath and sound-absorbing walls."

"So cool."


Ophelia showed them the custom-built office, living room, and family room before getting to the gourmet chef's kitchen, equipped with everything needed for a kitchen.

"Stunning kitchen," said Élise.

"High-end and premier home appliances from the States here and in Europe with a custom hood. Beautiful hand-crafted cabinetry by Phineas Courtney." Ophelia aimed her hand at the exotic countertops and expensive wood floors. "Induestrivuble; waterproof, resistant to stains, heat, burns, mold, mildew. scratch. Plus, it's low-maintenance and easy to clean."

Reid pursed his lips out, fascinated. "I like it."

Soon, Ophelia presented them the butler pantry, hand-painted dining room, and the breakfast nook before they headed upstairs. Ophelia pointed to an elevator connected to all the floors in the house.


Now Ophelia showed them the master bedroom suite with wall-to-wall carpeting and fireplace, including an elegant sitting room, hardwood floors, crown molding, built-in bookcases, and a wood-burning fireplace with a carved marble fireplace mantle. They took a quick peck inside the sunroom before standing on the balcony overlooking the backyard.

"Wow," Élise sniffed the air. "So beautiful."

Reid stood next to her and agreed. "Yeah. It's nice."

They looked at the his-and-her walk-in closets, spa master bathroom featuring porcelain toilets, marble-tiled flooring, steam shower with built-in bench, soaking tub with jets, the other bedrooms and bathrooms on the floor, and a playroom.


Now, Ophelia presented Reid and Élise to the third floor, which had an attic bedroom and bathroom with a closet and empty but completed rooms that can be used for storage.

"This looks cute." Élise looked at the attic bedroom before peeking inside one of the storage rooms.

Reid suggested, "Maybe when the kids are older if they want to move into the attic."


Now, they were at the lower level. It had a rec room, rooms that could be used for more storage, including a finished basement, utility room, fitness room, and the au pair/guest room; hardwood floors, a small sitting area, walk-in closet, and en suite bathroom.

"This could be a good room for Rose," Élise wandered around the room. "If she wants to."

Reid nodded. "Exactly, yeah. She would have her own space, but just here."


After walking through the fully screened porch, the three were now in the backyard.

"Wow," Élise was in awe by the outdoor scenery when she stepped onto the bluestone patio next to the terrace. There was an Olympic-sized heated swimming pool with automatic cover and controls, an equipped pavilion; Élise squinted her eyes when she could see a gazebo, a small greenhouse, and a garden away.

And she did.

"I swear, this house is too perfect," Reid commented.

Ophelia smirked. "You'd be surprised by what houses can offer."


Now, Ophelia revealed the single-level cool-color palette two-bed-and-bath guest house, set with a small kitchen and living room.

"Cute and cozy," Élise wandered around the living room. "This will be great for our families whenever they stay in town."

Reid replied. "Indeed, it would."


They concluded the open house by visiting the detached garage before meeting back at the driveway.

Élise felt her body tingling with goosebumps. Staring at her hands, "Wow. Best open house yet."

Reid shoved his hands in his pocket. "I have to agree with Élise. This was the best one yet."

"Just give me the keys to the house, and we'll have a deal." Élise held her hand out and smiled.

Ophelia giggled. "Thank you. But we still have to go through some more paperwork, offer a good price and negotiations, another home inspection, mortgage, etcetera, etcetera. Plus, there are two offers on this house." Ophelia lowered her voice when she said the last sentence.

"Told you." Reid turned to Élise, causing Élise to shoot a dry look at him. His phone started vibrating; he quickly pulled it out from his pocket and looked at the message.

We have a case.

Élise looked over his shoulder, and she knew it. "Work?"

"Yup." Reid put it away and told Ophelia, "I'm sorry, but work calls for me."

Ophelia was cool. "That's okay. We can talk more about this whenever you're free."

"Absolutely." Reid and Élise bid adieu to Ophelia and rushed to the BAU.


Hotch arrived last before Garcia brought the team together on a case in Kansas City involving a murdered family, the Yamada: mother, father, older daughter, and younger brother missing.

When thinking what would cause the family to be abducted and murdered, Hotch told them to Wheels Up in 30 when another family, the Acklins, has been reported missing.


After the team discussed the two upper-middle-class families on the plane, Hotch had Reid and Blake check out the Yamada house.

But now, the Yamada son's body was found. With the information Morgan and Rossi got when checking the Acklin household and judging by the Yamada son's room, they concluded that the sons were forced out of their rooms and were used by the unsub to take control over the family.


Reid and Blake were on their way to Ravenwood Camp after Garcia discovered the families vacationed there; Blake was driving, and Reid was in the front passenger seat. Reid reached for his cell phone when he heard it vibrate.

It was some pictures of Opal playing with Séraphine and Isaac. He started laughing when Opal began licking Isaac's feet. Blake took a quick peck and smirked. "It's never easy to be away from family."

"Who are you telling?" Reid agreed as he put his phone away. He inhaled and exhaled before asking Blake, "Did you get a chance to chat with your husband?"

"Mm-hmm," Blake answered. "Now he's in South Asia."

Reid spewed a fact. "Actually, did you know that South Asia's one of the world's earliest known civilizations? And that most of their natural resources come from the land, such as grains, seeds, rice, and tea?"

"And it's one of the most linguistically diverse areas in the world," added Blake. "Even though some of those languages are dying. It's an art that should be preserved."

Blake parked the car, and she and Reid made their way to find the Ravenwood Camp owner. While he gave details on the two families, the two knew he wasn't the unsub but rather a businessman with aggressive tactics.


"I'm telling you, Maeve, it's the perfect house," said Élise to Maeve as she was on the phone with her during her lunch break. "I mean, perfect."

Maeve replied, "You mean it's the ideal house."

"Pretty much the same thing, yeah," Élise retorted. "Seriously, Maeve, the house from the outside has charm and class. And when you walk in, it's buh-bam! You have everything you could need. Plus, Spencer loves the library and office, so…"

Maeve chuckled. "You know, Bobby and I have been thinking about buying a new place ourselves for some time now."

"I can give you the number of the real estate broker Spen, and I have; perhaps send you her email. She's one of the best in D.C."

"Oh, that would be great," Maeve sighed.


The team gave the Kansas City Police Department the profile about the unsub possibly being a mid-40s man who came from a dysfunctional family and had no family himself. He stalked the families, familiarly with the dumpsites of the Yamada family, and possibly drives a minivan.


Reid quickly dashed into a small room, grabbed his phone from his pocket, dialed the first number on speed dial, and pressed the phone to his ear, waiting for the caller to answer.

"Hello?"

Reid happily replied, "Hi, my wonderful wifey!"

"Dada!" Séraphine came to the phone next.

"Hi, Fifi!" said Reid. "How is everyone?" Reid smiled when Isaac cooed over the phone.

Élise responded. "We're good. I had a good day at work, Fifi's good, and Ziggy's smiling like there's no tomorrow."

Reid sighed. "I wish I was there."

"It's okay, bunny," Élise assured. "We're always thinking about you."

"Yeah," Reid whispered before he looked through the blinds. "I have to get back to work. I love you."

"We love you, too."

"Luv, dada!"


Now Reid and Blake visited the M.E. after the body of Vanessa Hall—the Acklin son's tutor and the mistress of the Acklin father—was found.

Gathering with everyone again, they got new information about Darren Wilson—the Acklin daughter's boyfriend going missing and the Acklin mother borrowing thousands of dollars from a loan shark. The team realized that the unsub's making the family pay for their sins and using anything and anyone to do so.

Because he really knew about the family's issues.


Going back to the Yamada and Acklin household, they discovered the unsub had planted mini cameras.

She led the team to find the unsub: Arthur Rykov, a contractor who found the Yamada son.


Reid watched from afar the Acklin son reunite with the family, Darren was taken into an ambulance, and Rykov was arrested.

He felt his phone vibrating again, prompting him to get it.

He smirked when he saw a picture of Élise with Séraphine and Ziggy.

He texted them.

I'll never take any of you for granted.


Stepping out of the elevator and walking to the bullpen, the team is greeted by Garcia with fruity drinks, proclaiming her love for them and promising never to take any of them for granted.


The following morning, Reid nodded his head as he prepared breakfast for the family and got the bottle out of the fridge. He turned around when he noticed someone was coming in.

It was Élise, who was holding Séraphine's hand and carrying Isaac.

"Dada!"

Reid squatted after setting the breakfast plates down on the table, picked up Séraphine, kissed her head before getting her seated.

"Someone's in a good mood," Élise noted Reid's happy mood as she grabbed Isaac's bottle and started feeding him.

"I meant I said last night. I'm never going to you all for granted."

Élise gently placed her hand on Reid's cheek. "I love you."

They embraced in a loving kiss.

Chapter Text


Reid and Élise decided to take Séraphine and Isaac to Louis, a well-known D.C. restaurant, for Sunday brunch.

"Come on, sweetheart," Reid let Séraphine set inside first as he held the door for them; he then let Élise come in with Isaac in the stroller seat. They walked up to a white podium with a middle-aged man in a long-sleeve button shirt and jacket, dress pants, polished loafers, and parted hair.

"Good morning. How may I help you this morning?"

Élise asked, "Table reserved for Bastien-Reid and Donovan-Putnam?"

The maître d' looked down at his schedule. "Let me…yes." He picked up some menus and escorted the family to their seats, located privately away in a corner. "Here you are."

"Thank you, sir." Élise expressed her gratitude, and she and Reid are given are their menus.

"Here you go, honey," Reid helped Séraphine into her seat. He opened the menu and allowed Séraphine to take a look, asking her, "So, do you want to? You want pancakes? Waffles?"

"Waffas!" Séraphine pointed to what she wanted.

"Waffles!" Élise playfully mimicked her as she was getting Isaac from the stroller seat and held him in her arms. "You want waffles for brunch?"

Séraphine cheered, "Yea!"

"Here you are."

Reid and Élise looked up when they saw Maeve and Bobby escorted by the maître d' to their seat.

"Thank you, sir," said Maeve to the maître d' as she sat across from Élise and helped BJ into his seat.

Bobby greeted the Bastien-Reid family as he carefully took Charlotte from her stroller seat, "Hey, family!"

"Hi, Bobby," replied Élise before she finger-waved to Charlotte. "Hey, Charlie! How are you doing?"

Charlotte gurgled, and her blue eyes sparkled.

"I swear, Maeve, those blue eyes of hers are sooo blue like a sapphire." Élise tittered.

Reid blurted a fact. "Actually, did you know that blue sapphires go back to ancient Rome and Persia and Middle Ages times? Europeans in the Middle Ages believed that sapphires cured eye diseases and preserved chastity, and they symbolized nobility and faithfulness?"

"Whoa, that's so cool!" Bobby exclaimed as he bounced Charlotte on his knee.

"You know, I've always wanted a sapphire ring like Lady Diana's; may she rest in peace." Élise gushed as she looked over the menu. "I read it's a Ceylon sapphire, and it came from Sri Lanka." Élise snapped her fingers. "What if we go to Sri Lanka and do some sapphire hunting? I know a colleague whose spouse is a lapidarist and occasional jewelry-maker and gem hunter."

Maeve asked Bobby, "Have you ever thought about taking another vacation, babe?"

"Maybe we should take one this upcoming summer." Bobby thought as he began feeding Charlotte. "I read Spain is a good place to travel with kids. Or maybe Italy."

Élise nodded. "Sounds fab." She turned her head and asked Reid, "Want to go on vacation again, bunny?"

"I wouldn't mind another vacation," said Reid.

Soon, the adults noticed a young man approaching their tables. He asked, "Hello. May I take your order?"

"Hello." Reid and Élise decided to order first. "We'll have Belgian waffles, French toast, a small bowl of berries, orange juice, and cinnamon rolls."

"Okay." The waiter got that down. "And what would you like to have?"

Maeve and Bobby looked at the menu for a little bit longer before deciding, "We'll have muffins, scones, and we'll also take berries, orange juice, and cinnamon rolls."

The waiter took their menus and assured them their orders would be ready momentarily. Reid, Élise, Maeve, and Bobby continued their conversation; Élise started with, "So, what have y'all been up to?"

Maeve answered, "So, I got in touch with an old friend from mine from university, Tanya Randall. She's worked for a science company as a consultant. She just came back from California working on some short films for some companies, and she's agreed to help me with the illustrations for the book."

Élise's mouth dropped, and she gasped. "That's so cool, Maeve. Kudos." She waved her hand to Bobby. "What about you, Bobby? How's work-life treating you?"

"Nothing much happening for me," Bobby now placed the yellow pacifier in Charlotte's mouth. "Though my company is in negotiations with VR Gaming."

Reid pursed his mouth. "Ooh. That sounds interesting, Bobby."

"As I said, they're in negotiations, so nothing happening yet." Bobby shrugged. "So, what's been going on with you?"

Reid shook his shoulders. "Work is work."

"Same here," Élise waved her hand in the air in agreement. "But at least our kids are keeping us occupied, right?" She tickled Isaac's belly, making him giggle.

Polite laughter ensured the group; Élise's smile soon started to disappear little by little when she saw a Caucasian man staring at her from across a table, and her eyes widened. Reid soon noticed Élise's blank stare and tapped her shoulder. "Élise?"

Élise flinched when she felt Reid's touch on her shoulder. "Huh?"

Startled by her jumpy reaction, Reid asked concerningly, "Are you okay?"

Élise glanced back and saw no one there. Blinking her eyes and rubbing her goosebumps hands, she tried to brush it off. "Oh, yeah." She cleared her throat and tried to assure him as their meals came with a closed-lip smile. "I'm fine, babe."

"Are you sure, Lise?" Maeve soon asked. "You almost look like you've seen a ghost."

"I'm sure," Élise brushed it off. "Really, y'all."

Everyone soon enjoyed their meals, though Reid and Maeve glanced at each other and then Élise, worried about her.


After brunch, the two families decided to meet up again for Sunday church services.


Nighttime came, and Élise was on her phone, reading an article on what to do on Halloween before going to another link for suggested Halloween costumes.

When Reid walked in, she looked from her phone, already in a long sleeve knitted shirt and pants. He sighed exhaustingly when he got into bed. "I got Fifi and Ziggy asleep."

"And now it's time for us to sleep as well." Élise placed her phone on the bedside table and pressed her head against the plushy pillow as she lay down.

Reid's been keeping it in since brunch, even during dinner, so he straightforwardly asked Élise, "Is there something bothering you? Or someone?"

Startled by Reid's question, Élise asked back, "What do you mean?"

Reid moved his shoulders. "Since brunch, I…I-I don't know; I-I-I just been sensing something wrong with you and I…" He moved his hand back and forth, trying to get the words out, but he couldn't. "I just don't know."

"You're such a profiler, bunny," Élise joked, taking his hand and kissing his palm, firmly assuring him. "But I'm fine."

"Saying 'you're fine' is not the same as 'being fine,' honey," Reid meant what he said. Speaking from personal experience, no matter how many times one says they're fine, they really aren't. "Seriously…you can tell me anything. Okay?"

Élise answered his question with a kiss goodnight.


"Whoo!" Élise dashed into the breakfast nook, fidgeting with her black suit jacket. Flipping her hair, "Sorry, everyone, morning." She quickly kissed Reid's lips, Isaac's head as he was feeding her, and Séraphine's head. "And thanks, Rose," Élise patted Rose's shoulder.

"Anytime, Élise," said Rose as she placed Séraphine's breakfast plate. "Big meeting?"

"Yup," Élise took a piece of toast and took a big bite before pouring coffee into her mug. "I want to be early; you know how I am about punctuality." She took a few more bites before rummaging through the freezer and poured some frozen berries in a small glass bowl.

Reid agreed as he finished his pancakes and fed Isaac. "Mm-hmm." He dabbed his mouth and drank some orange juice. "Hey, Zig-Zag. Did you have a good breakfast?"

Isaac burped and then laughed, making everyone laugh and giggle.


Reid was reading Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Sign of Four at his desk when he saw and noticed his phone ringing. He looked at the caller ID, and his eyebrows lowered a bit and twisted his mouth to the side. He pressed the call and placed the phone to his ear. "Hello?"

"Hey, Spencer."

Reid was surprised to hear Maeve. "Hey, Maeve. How are you doing?"

"I'm good," answered Maeve. "Sorry if I bothered you at work."

Reid assured her, "Don't worry; it's okay. Is everything okay with you?"

"Oh, yeah," Maeve chuckled. "Everything's great. It's Élise. I've been worried about her since yesterday at brunch."

"Same here," Reid sighed. "Something's bothering her; I just don't know what it is."

Maeve agreed. "Yeah; something, someone, enough that it spooked her into silence. I don't want to push her, or she'll close off, you know?"

Reid leaned back in his seat and scratched his eyelids. "Yeah. If there's anything else, I'll let you know, okay?"

"Okay. Have a good day."

Reid laughed quietly. "I'll try and same with you, Bobby, BJ, and Charlotte." He and Maeve hung up and quickly finished up a chapter when he saw everyone else heading to the bullpen, and they discussed a case in New Mexico about two male victims—one deceased and one recently found alive—who had their right leg removed.


Élise's meeting concluded when she noticed her phone vibrating in her hand. Quickly answering it, "Hello?"

"Hey, honey."

Élise smiled. "Hi, bunny. I take you're calling me that you not only love our family and me, but you have a case out-of-state."

"New Mexico."

Élise sighed. "Okay. Make sure you're safe, or that unsub will have to deal with me."

"Okay," Reid giggled. "Take good care, okay?"

Élise exhaled again, knowing it was about what happened to her yesterday. "Okay."

"I love you."

"I love you, too." Élise hung up and made it back to her judges' chambers when she saw a white envelope sitting on her desk. Using a Bakelite letter opener to it, Élise soon pulled the letter out of the envelope and read it.

All typed capitalized, the letter read I'M WATCHING YOU BITCH!

Élise immediately flashed back to yesterday morning when she saw that man in the restaurant.

Shakingly gasped, Élise tossed the letter on her desk and placed her hand on her throat when she abruptly felt this tightness.

Somebody was watching her.


After consulting more about the case on the plane, Reid and JJ headed to the M.E.'s office to examine the first victim's corpse, and judging by the amputation; they deduced the unsub has medical training and anatomy knowledge.

Gathering back with Hotch, Rossi, Morgan, and Blake, they concluded that the unsub sees themselves as a scientist. The victims are his test subjects, and he's experimenting with their legs.


Now on her lunch break, Élise quickly grabbed her cell phone and held the phone to her ear when it began ringing.

"Hello?"

Élise whispered, making sure no one heard her talking to her DOJ source. "Hey there. Uh, did you process the note I got this morning?"

"Yes. And it was clean. No prints nor DNA. I even had it checked out twice."

Élise groaned. "How about security camera footage?"

The DOJ source replied, "The footage was compromised, so nothing. I'm so sorry, Élise."

Élise felt like kicking or punching the walls. "Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. What do I do now?"

"I'll keep trying again, and if I were you, I'd keep close to the Marshal, okay?" Her DOJ source advised her.

Élise placed her hand over her face and sighed, "Fine."

"Maybe you should tell your husband and his team…"

"No!" Élise cried. "I won't put them in the middle of this. I need to handle this on my own. Let me know if you have more info, okay?"

"Okay."

Élise hung up her phone, tossed it into her bag, and continued walking, trying to remain calm.


Reid and Morgan walked out of the M.E.'s office after seeing the corpse of another male victim and knew it was time to give the profile to the Albuquerque Police Department. Reid groaned again when he rubbed his eyes.

"You okay?" Morgan concerningly asked. "Are you having another migraine?"

"Yeah," Reid sniffed and cleared his throat. "I just have a lot on my mind."

"Oh. Sorry to hear that," said Morgan. "You know, you can talk to me or any one of us about it anytime, right?"

Reid quickly answered, "Yeah." He sniffed again. "Thanks for saying that."

They soon met up with everyone else to deliver the profile.


"Okay, my little Zig-Zag," Élise breathed. "It's time to beddy-bye-bye." Élise gently laid him on his back, and every little bone in her body melted when he squeaky yawned. "Oh, you adorable little boy." She tickled his cheeks before kissing his head. "Sweet dreams."

She blew him a kiss as she left the room. Pressing her back against the door, Élise closed her eyes for a moment, inhaled, and exhaled. She hurried to the front door to ensure the security alarm was armed, checked to see all the windows were locked and double-checked on Séraphine and Isaac.

Resting her hand on her heart, Élise made it to the master bedroom.

"Whoa!" She jumped when she heard a buzzing sound but calmed down when she realized her phone was vibrating. Answering it, "Hello?"

"Hey," Reid greeted her. "You sound exhausted and out of breath."

Élise scratched her eyes, trying to think of something. "Just feel a bit tired. Long day at work."

"Oh, well, just called to see how you're doing," said Reid. "Make sure you dream of me, and I'll do the same for you."

Élise giggled. "You're so adorable. I love you."

"I love you, too."

Élise hung up and collapsed her body against the plush bed. Now all she has to do is get some seriously needed sleep, and perhaps what happened to her at work will be a faded memory.

Maybe.


The team got word of another victim, but this time, a woman whose left leg was replaced with another woman.

Reid decided to use outsider help and called Maeve to get her input on why the unsub is switching to women.

Because the men were test runs, and now the unsub is ready for the real run-on.

And with her help, the team managed to find the unsub, John Nelson, and rescue the other victim.


Reid was finishing up another chapter of The Sign of Four when Morgan sat in front of him on the plane ride home.

"Hey, pretty boy," said Morgan.

Reid replied without looking up from his book, "Hey."

Morgan wondered, "How is it that your consultation helped us with a major break in the case?"

"I have good connections," Reid responded.

Morgan let out a chuckle before changing the topic. "You and Élise doing good these days?"

"More so than you," Reid retorted.

"Well, keep on playing, playa," Morgan laughed and made kissing sounds.


"Spencer! Élise!" Maeve opened the door, holding BJ's hand.

Reid and Élise stepped into the Donovan-Putnam household with Séraphine and Isaac, and they saw Bobby feeding Charlotte on the couch in the living room.

Letting go of BJ's hand and letting him play with Séraphine and some toys set up for them, Maeve asked as she sat next to Bobby, "What are you doing here?"

"We love seeing you all. And to give you and Bobby this." Élise handed Maeve a red-covered-and-yellow-ribbon-wrapped present.

"Oh, what's this?" Maeve playfully wondered as she opened it, and her mouth dropped. "It's a gift certificate."

Élise added, "To The Inn at Little Washington, one of the best restaurants in the D.C. metro area."

"As a thank you for helping me during the case," Reid mentioned.

Maeve blushed. "Aw, thank you, you two." She lovingly hugged them. "I couldn't have asked for a better group of friends."

"Same here."


Unbeknown to the Bastien-Reid and Donovan-Putnam families, someone was taking photographs of Élise.

"Only the beginning, bitch."

Chapter Text


"Shhh, it's okay," Élise was on the couch with a fussy Isaac, comforting him with gentle circles to his back, trying to get him to relax since they came from Dr. Pierce's office an hour ago. "It's okay, Ziggy. It's okay. I know you're still achy and cranky from your vaccine shots. I get it, sweetie."

Isaac was still acting fussy until he suddenly started giggling and laughing.

"See? I know I told you you would be fine, Ziggy," said Élise as she continued rubbing soothing circles to his back.

"Surprise!" Reid's voice echoed the foyer before he stepped into the great room with bags of groceries. "I'm back! I told you I would be back in thirty minutes."

Élise asked as she pulled Reid into a loving lip-lock, "How was your trip to the store?"

"I managed to snag some last-minute candy," Reid pulled out a bag of variety Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and then a large bag of M&Ms. "I can never get enough of this holiday. And it's going to be your first Halloween, buddy," Reid tickled Isaac's belly,

"Same here," Élise raised her hand.

Reid chuckled before he lifted his eyebrow, noticing something behind the couch. Smirking, Reid placed his index finger to his mouth, signaling Élise to be quiet and starting tiptoeing to get to the couch's backend.

"Gotcha!"

Reid jumped, exclaimed, and then laughed when he saw Séraphine giggling. Scooping her from the carpeted floor, he gave her a big kiss on the cheek, making her laugh. "What were you doing behind the couch?" Reid asked Séraphine as he set her down on the couch, next to Élise; Isaac started acting fussy again and sounded as if he wanted to cry again.

Séraphine used her hands to hide her face and popped back, making Isaac laugh again.

"Oh, so you were helping cheer Isaac up, huh, Fifi?" Élise stroked her fingers through Séraphine's locks. "Aw, thank you so much, Fifi. You're such a good big sister."

Séraphine blushed. "Tanks, mama!" She soon curiously took a look at the candy bags Reid had just purchased.

"Nuh-uh, Fifi," Reid gently coaxed the bag away; Séraphine started to cry and reach out for it. "Oh, I know you want candy right now, but you can't have any candy yet, Fifi. You have to wait until Halloween, and then you can get all the candy you want."

Élise corrected, "In moderation."

Reid bowed his head. "In moderation." He stroked her head and kissed her forehead. "You don't want to have too much candy. Or get a serious sugar rush."

"I heard that," Élise smirked. She looked at her phone. "Oh, I think it's time for your nap, little man." She gracefully rose from the couch and walked to his nursery. "Come on."

Isaac yawned.


Reid and Élise took Séraphine and Isaac to a pop-up costume store to look for Halloween.

"Oh," Now in the Novel Inspiration costume section, Reid took a leather-clad plastic-covered costume from the silver hooked rack and showed it to Élise. She was rocking Séraphine and Isaac back and forth in the stroller. "How about this one?"

Giggling, Élise used her index finger to make Reid closer to her. "Maybe for our third anniversary next year. That'll be our theme."

Knowing what Élise meant, Reid chuckled as he placed the costume back on the rack. He searched through the racks again before he noticed Élise still had her dark Ray-Ban aviator sunglasses on. "Don't you think you should take off those shades? We're indoors."

"Still thinking about being an international spy," said Élise, still hiding to Reid about the threatening note she found a few days ago.

Reid chuckled. He had to admit; that would be an interesting choice of costume.

"Ooh!"

Reid and Élise soon noticed Séraphine pointing to something. "What is it, Fifi?" asked Reid, scooping from the stroller. "Do you see something?"

"Tat!"

She pointed to a plastic-covered costume. Reid took it from the rack and showed it to her. "Is this what you want to dress up as?"

"Yea!"

Élise gently took Isaac from the stroller and looked at what Séraphine was talking about.

It was an Alice in Wonderland costume.

"Mmm…" Élise lowered her eyes and pursed her mouth. "Alice in Wonderland. Classic." She looked to Reid. "You want to be Alice for Halloween?"

"Yea! Yea! Yea!" Séraphine cheered, clapping her hands and giggling.

Reid nodded. "I think we're going to be characters from Alice in Wonderland."

"Maybe because we watched the 1951 version and the updated and yet more modern version from 2010," said Élise as she placed Isaac back in the stroller baby seat. "Remember when we saw that version?"

Reid chuckled as he searched from more of the brackets, looking through more of the costumes bags from the story. "It was a great movie."

"Tim Burton was the perfect choice for the movie. And Johnny Depp, too..." Élise smiled. "Ooh, I swear, he…"

"Whoa!"

She jumped and backed into a wall, almost knocking costume bags off the wall when she was surprised by a small scary mask-clad person in a black burlap outfit.

"August!" a tall, middle-aged man with dark hair, fair skin, rimmed frames, and dressed in a button shirt, chinos, and loafers, grabbed the small person from behind and removed the mask. "There you are." Soon revealed a toddler boy who appeared to be two-or-three years old with curly hair and dazzled eyes, giggling. "My apologies…" His mouth dropped. "Why, hello, Élise."

"Hello, Eli," a still-shaken Élise was still patting her chest smiled a bit, despite thinking the person who sent her that note found her and was second away from hurting her and her family. "Fancy seeing you here."

"Sorry if my son gave you the scares." Eli apologized again. "He wants to be something scary for Halloween.

"Oh, it's okay," Élise smiled, fanning herself, still trying to calm herself.

Reid turned the stroller around as he was still looking through the frames. "Oh, I see you two know each other."

Finally composed, Élise closed her eyes, inhaled, and exhaled before she made an introduction. Eli went into his pocket, took out a small bottle of hand sanitizer, and took some. "Spencer, I would like you to meet Elijah Sherman. He's one of my new colleagues from the D.C. Cir."

"Oh, a pleasure to meet you, sir," Reid pulled his hand out; Eli firmly shook it back. "Usually, I'm not into handshaking, but since I saw you…"

Eli understood, especially when Reid reached into his satchel for bacterial wipes. "I get it. Plus, Élise has told me about how you are with handshaking. Believe me; I can be the same as well."

"There you two are." an average height and pregnant woman with long dark hair and eyes in an orange mid-length dress and flat brown boots approached the group. "I found some costumes for us…" Her eyes widened at the sight of Élise. "Hello, Élise."

"Hello, Naomi," Élise grinned. "Oh! This is my husband, Dr. Spencer Reid. Spencer, Dr. Naomi Greenberg."

Reid wagged his fingers. "Oh, I know who you are. You're a professor at Georgetown University under the Medieval Studies Program."

"That's me." Naomi chuckled before her eyes widened again. "Oh, is your mother, Dr. Diana Reid?"

"Yes…?" Reid uneasily answered.

Naomi gasped. "Oh, my…I once used one of her articles as a reference on 15th-century women for a class I'm currently teaching. She's amazing."

"Wow, really?" an amazed Reid asked.

Naomi shook her head. "Mm-hmm."

Élise added. "Congrats on the pregnancy. Boy or girl?"

"A little girl," Naomi giggled, clutching to her belly. "She should be hereafter Christmas, like New Year's; maybe before, who knows? We're still thinking of names, like Greta, Zara, Elizabeth, Emma."

"Aw." Élise smiled before Isaac started acting fussy, prompting her to care for him immediately. "Oh, come here, my little guy."

Naomi cooed. "Aww, he's so adorable."

"So is your little guy as well," Élise pointed to their son playing with the mask again.

"Boo!"


Soon the two families had a quick chat over tea and coffee.


Reid and Élise trailed through a pumpkin patch on a farm near the D.C. area.

"Ooh!" Élise cuddled Isaac in her arms and pointed to a giant pumpkin, making him want to grasp the stem naturally. "That looks like a big pumpkin, huh?"

"Pumkin!" Séraphine found a pumpkin and tried to pick it up amusingly. "Pumkin!"

"Hold it right there, little girl." Reid picked it up for her and gently placed it in the provided red wagon. "Don't want to stray out your back? Let your daddy handle it."

Élise added cutely, "Let your big and strong daddy do that pumpkin for you."

"Actually, did you know that pumpkin craving originated from Ireland and the Scottish Highlands? As a matter of fact, the jack-o-lantern coming from an Irish folktale about a man named Stingy Jack who made a deal with the devil? The Celtics were the first to start craving. Turnips, beets, and other root vegetables were the first origins of craving to wear off the evil spirits and/or represent them by frightening people. Also, when Irish immigrants came into America in the 1800s, they brought their craving traditions onto pumpkins."

"Wow, this country really is a melting pot of traditions and history," said Élise as she showed a small pumpkin to Isaac, allowing him to grasp it and adjust his knitted hat.

Soon the family strolled through the farm's apple orchards.


"Hoo-ooo!" Élise made spooky hollowing noises as she and Isaac were in the great room; Isaac was playing with his toys and rattle on the carpeted floor. Élise cut a one-toothed smile shape into a medium-sized pumpkin and removed the mouth's cutout.

"See-eee, Ziggy." Élise turned the pumpkin around to show Isaac the jack-o-lantern. "It's a jack-o-lantern. And he got a face like yours.

Isaac stared at it before he started giggling.

"Do you like it, Ziggy?" Élise chuckled. "I did a good job on it, huh?" She turned around.

"Boo!"

"Whoa!" Élise jumped, and her feet landed off the couch.

Reid raced into the great room, hearing Élise's cries. "Hey, Fifi!"

"Ha-ha, mommy!" Séraphine removed the skull mask Reid just gave her. "Ha-ha!"

Élise tapped her chest and sighed. "You gave mommy a heart attack, Fifi."

"Sawry." Séraphine shrugged and giggled.

Reid bundled her. "Good job Fifi; you apologized to mommy for scaring her." Reid took note of Élise's jack-o-lantern. "Nice design!"

"Thanks. Now, you own me a kiss for giving Séraphine that Halloween mask." Élise puckered her lips, and Reid passionately kissed them.


Élise placed her Frankenstein novel on the bedside as she finished a chapter. She snuggled the comforters closer to her when Reid walked out of the bathroom.

And her mouth dropped before slowly turning into a smile.

He was in his Mad Hatter costume.

"So, how do I look?" he asked, imitating a Scottish brogue accent before he did a funny dance walk.

Élise giggled. "Like Johnny Depp in the movie." Reid jumped on the bed, making Élise laugh. "You go everything down. You would give him a run for his money. From the bright orange wig right down to the accent."

"Actually…" Reid removed the hat, revealing that the wig was attached to the light brown top hat. "Ta-da! I even had time to make the bandolier sash." Reid showed Élise the bandolier made from colorful thread spools connected by a silver chain.

Élise could barely stop giggling. "Oh, you are so silly. Imagine if you were an actor. Are you going to do the white face paint and orange eyebrows for Halloween?"

"Or what? Off with my head?" Reid impersonating The Queen of Hearts from the 2010 movie version.

Élise snickered, making Reid snicker.


While waiting for the rest of the team in the roundtable room, Reid laughed to himself, looking at the recent photos. Blake walked in and sat a seat away from him, and asked Reid, "What's got you in a happy mood?"

Reid showed Blake the photo of Séraphine trying on her Alice in Wonderland costume.

"Aw, she looks so much like Alice!" Blake gushed. "What about Isaac? What's he going to be?"

"The March Hare," said Reid and showed Blake Isaac as the March Hare.

Blake prattled with affection. "Aw, that's so adorable. They must be so excited."

"Who must be so excited?" asked Morgan as he strolled into the room with a coffee cup in his hand and sat down next to Blake to her right.

Reid put away his phone. "Élise and I are taking Séraphine and Isaac to the Smithsonian for Halloween."

"Aw, that sounds like fun," Blake said as Hotch walked in, then following Rossi, JJ, and Garcia, who soon presented the team with a case in rural La Grande, Oregon, involving four deceased men.


After discussing the case on the plane more, Hotch had Reid and JJ go to the latest victim's cabin since they didn't have much information about him.

While JJ ambled through some books she found, Reid found something interesting.


"Are you okay, Élise?" a colleague of hers, Mara Robinson, asked as they had their lunch in the D.C. Circuit Courthouse Cafeteria, located on the first floor of the William B. Bryant Annex.

Élise flinched, poking her Asian sesame chicken and greens salad. "No."

"You just seem a bit jumpy lately," Mara looked at her iPhone.

Élise quickly said, "No, I'm not."

"You shouldn't have to worry; we're protected by the U.S. Marshals," Mara waved her arm around and turned her head. "The cafeteria was filled with them." She sipped some Perrier.

"You never know, Mara," said Élise before she took another bite of her salad. "You never know."


Reid and JJ walked into the police department, found Hotch and Rossi, and conversed what they found at the latest victim's house—marijuana and a list for baby food.

The sheriff alerted them that the body of another man had been found.

After more information about him, the team delivered the profile, mentioning a woman may be responsible for the abducting and killings.


Rose was preparing dinner while Élise was reading "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" to Séraphine and Isaac.

"Looks like I got five pieces of candy. And I got a chocolate bar, added Violet. I got a gummy candy, said Peppermint Patty. Charlie looked in his bag with disbelief. I got a…rock!?" Élise pulled a confused face.

"Y Charlie got a rock, mommy?" asked Séraphine.

Élise tried to think of an answer for her. "Maybe it was candy, but it was wrapped in tinfoil. Or maybe they just didn't like his costume."

"I trow," Séraphine motioned her hand forward, making Élise laugh.

"You can't do that, Fifi," She whispered in her ear, still steadily holding Isaac. "But I would have as well." She continued reading until Rose called them for dinner before joining.


Hotch had Reid and JJ go to the M.E.'s office after the latter read a grocery list involving items known for improving the immune system, getting the team to think that the fourth victim had cancer, which was why he had medicinal marijuana and why the unsub killed him.

From their findings, natural sedatives were found in that victim as well as sawdust.


Élise checked on Séraphine and Isaac twice before walking to her bedroom.

She cringed when she noticed her phone vibrating on the bed. Élise gave her body a good shake before answering it. "Hello?"

"Hey, lovely. How are you doing?"

Élise breathed. "I just put the kids down. Work was decent today, so how are you?"

Reid sighed. "It's a lot. I can't wait for all this to be over, so you and I can take the kids treat-or-tricking."

"Yeah," Élise laughed a bit before she spun her head, and Élise sensed something out the window.

"Élise?"

Élise continued to unintentionally ignore Reid when she went to the window and dragged the curtains open. She looked through for a few more seconds until she pulled the curtains back.

"Élise?"

"I'm fine, babe," she replied with her hand on her hip. "Must be those bloody pranksters." Élise snapped her fingers. "Which reminds me to call Ophelia about the house when you get back. Or I can do it during my lunch break tomorrow."

"Yeah. I love you."

Élise sweetly replied, "I love you, too."


Now hearing the news that the unsub abducted a pregnant woman and performed a successful C-section, leaving her and the baby alive, Reid realized that she took the pregnant woman for the placenta to consume it.

Combining everything they had, the unsub's using the victims as human fertilizer and knowing the unsub did a successful C-section, she lives on a farm.

And they got a name.


And that name was the widow Emma Kerrigan.

They managed to save her eleven-year-old daughter, and the third victim might not be able to live for long, judging by his condition. Same with Emma, who'll be institutionalized.


"Oh, you look so adorable, Ziggy!" Élise took another snapshot of him in the black-and-orange-striped hooded romper. "Work it, little man!"

Isaac kept on giggling and laughing.

"Still taking photos?" Reid walked into the great room holding Séraphine's hand.

Élise gushed. "I can't help it. It's our boy's first Halloween. I'm just as excited as he is. Yes, he is. Yes, he is." She took another picture. "Ooh! Work it, baby boy! I remember you being this excited about Fifi's first Halloween last year." She gave him a smirk.


"Ooh," Reid helped himself to a pumpkin chocolate chip cookie Élise was letting cool on the racks in the kitchen after taking them out of the oven. "This is so good."

"Aw, thanks, honey," Élise gave him a peck. "Are you getting ready for tonight?"

Reid finished the cookie and began eating another one. "Mm-mmm. These are really good."

Élise smirked as she pulled out a dozen cupcakes from the oven and gently set them on the kitchen island. "Wait until you try the brownies."

Reid helped himself to one. "Ooh, too good to be true."


"Aw, wasn't that adorable?"

Reid kept on smiling after seeing his godson, Henry, dress up as him for Halloween. "Yeah."

Morgan chuckled when he pointed ahead of him. "Pretty boy..."

Reid turned his head, and his mouth dropped again. "Hey."

It was Séraphine dressed as Alice in her Alice costume. A blue dress with buttons in the back and puffy sleeves, built-in petticoat, ruffled white apron, a black satin ribbon tied to her curly hair, white tights, and black Mary-Janes.

Isaac was in a white hare costume with a blue jacket and a built-in pocket watch.

And Élise in a crushed red velvet pullover gown with an interlock bodice back, knit mesh skirt inset, lower sleeves, sweetheart neckline, satin, and gold-laced corset front, and heeled Mary-Janes.

"You all went out this year, huh?" Rossi smirked.

Séraphine made her way to hug Reid. "Dada!"

"Hi, Alice!" Reid smooched her head, making her laugh.

Garcia squealed like a fangirl. "OMG…you all look for adorable." She gasped when she saw Isaac. "Look at you, little boy. You're so cute, and so soft, and so cuddly, and so snuggly. I want to hold you for as long as time will be."

Élise looked down at Isaac. "As much as I love to see you do that, Lady Penny, Reid, we need to get our Halloween celebration on. So…" She waved a bag containing Reid's Mad Hatter costume and accessories.

"Oh, this I can't wait to see!" Morgan devilishly rubbed his hands together and smiled like a Cheshire cat.


The Bastien-Reid family met up with the Donovan-Putnam family—who were dressed as the characters from Disney/Pixar Up—at the Smithsonian National Zoo for the Boo at the Zoo event.


Reid sighed as he walked back into the great room, where he saw Élise with some of Isaac's Halloween candy in a small bowl. "I finally got Fifi down for bed."

"Nothing like the use of lavender and lemon oils to help her fall asleep, huh?" Élise commented how Séraphine was borderline energetic when they got home.

Reid crashed on the couch next to Élise. "Now it's time for us to enjoy some Hocus Pocus."

"Mm-mmm," Élise ate an ear of candy corn and fed one to Reid. "What a great holiday."

"And I already got plans for next year," said Reid.

Élise kissed his cheek. "And I can't wait for them."

Chapter Text

"Coochie-coo, Ziggy," Élise tickled Isaac under his chin, making him laugh. She carried in front of him in the black baby sling in zip-off kangaroo panel parka coat; at the farmer's market with Reid and Séraphine, coolly sitting in the shopping cart seat. "Coochie-coo-ooh!" She cried when Isaac grabbed ahold of her left gold earring and pulled on it.

"Hey-hey-hey, Zig-Zag," Reid came to Élise's rescue and gently patted Isaac's hands off her earring. "No-no. Let go of mommy's earring, buddy."

Isaac let go of Élise's earring and gurgled.

"Oh, my hero." Élise gave Reid a warm kiss before she removed her earrings and placed them in her parka pockets.

Reid turned around and saw Séraphine grabbing for a caramel apple. "Oh, no, little girl." Reid coaxed the treat out of Séraphine's hands and placed it back where she got it.

Séraphine began crying for a few seconds before he scream-cried no, kicking her legs and banging her hands against the shopping cart rail.

"Séraphine, that is not necessary," Élise scolded as she picked out some kale and placed it into a plastic bag.

"I wat now!" Séraphine banged again.

Reid wagged his finger. "You had more than enough candy from Halloween. No more for now."

"I wat now!" Séraphine shrieked. "I WAT NOWWW!"

"No means no, Séraphine," Élise firmly replied again as she bagged some radishes. "You, young lady, throwing a temper tantrum like that is not going to get you want in life. Keep it up, and you'll get a timeout when we get home."

"Yup. What mommy said." Reid agreed.

Séraphine folded her arms and made a pouty-lip face.


After arriving home, Séraphine and Isaac had their naps and snacks and were now in the great room with Élise. They were playing with their toys as she was on the phone with Ophelia about the house they saw almost two weeks ago.

"I'm telling you, Ophelia, it's the perfect house for us."

Ophelia chuckled. "It's too good for words, huh? It's quite a popular choice."

"Absolutely," Élise smirked to herself. "Spencer and I discussed the price, and we're going to offer…five million for the house."

"And are you sure about it?" Ophelia steadily questioned back. "As I said, there are two other offers on the house."

Élise knew there was no going back now. "Yes."

Ophelia said, "Okay. I'll have a chat with the homeowners and get back to you as soon as possible, okay?"

"Yes. And thank you so much, Ophelia, for doing this. And I hope you got a call from some good friends, Dr. Maeve Donovan and Bobby Putnam?"

"I got a call from them a few days ago, and I found some good listings for them," Ophelia assured.

Élise smiled. "Great! Enjoy the rest of your weekend, Ophelia."

"You, too, Élise. Goodbye."

"Goodbye," Élise hung up and went back to doing some paperwork.

"No, Ziggy!"

Élise's head snapped when she saw Isaac grasp onto a blue stuffed octopus, and Séraphine snatched it out of his hand.

"Hans off it now! No touchy!"

"Hold it right there, you two!" Élise got in the middle and seized the stuffed animal away from Séraphine's hands, making her cross her arms, and Isaac started to cry.

"What happened?" Reid rushed into the great room, wondering to know what was going on, after hearing the commotion from his office.

"My toy!" Séraphine pointed to the stuffed animal Élise tossed on the couch before scooping Isaac off the carpeted floor. "Mine!"

"Oh, it's okay, Zig-zag," Élise comforted. "It's alright."

Séraphine took the stuffed octopus back and clenched it close to her heart. "My toy! It's mine!"

"Séraphine…" Reid used his serious voice tone and had his hands on his waist. He squatted to her size; she still had a grimace on her face. "You have to learn how to share with your little brother. And others when you get older."

"Wy?" Séraphine shook her head.

Élise replied simply, "Because it's caring, Fifi. When you share, it can be fun, and so can getting along with them. When you give a little to others, you can get some of what we want, too."

Séraphine looked down at her stuffed animal and walked up to Élise, giving it to her.

"Aw," Élise gushed. "Are you giving me your stuffed animal, or is it for Ziggy?"

Séraphine babbled, "Ziggy!"

Reid petted Séraphine's head. "Good girl, Fifi!" He pulled Élise closer and whispered, "Maybe later, like at around dinnertime, we can play a sharing game, okay?"

"Okay."


"Okay, family," Élise walked out of the kitchen with a pan with veggie lasagna and carefully set in the middle of the dining table. "Dinner is now ready and served." She removed her blue oven mitts, tossed them on the console table, and took her seat next to Reid. "But before we eat, grace, Spencer?" Élise took Isaac from his lap and onto hers.

Reid cleared his throat, folded her hands, and closed his eyes. "Heavenly Father, thank you for this food we're about to eat from thy bounty through Christ our Lord, amen."

"Amen."

"My food!" Séraphine tried to reach for the veggie lasagna pan.

Reid lured her hand away from it. "Séraphine. Remember what we said about sharing." He cut a piece and placed it on a plate. "Élise." Reid passed the white plate to her.

Élise gasped as she bounded Isaac on her knee while feeding him. "Thank you, bunny, but I think I would like to pass my plate to Fifi, please."

"Tank you, mommy," Séraphine smiled. "But may I pease pas it, daddy?" She sliced her plate to Reid.

"Aw, see how much fun sharing can be?" Reid kissed her head before he cut a piece for Séraphine and Élise.

"Mm-hmm," Séraphine nodded as her plate was given to her and she began eating.


"Breakfast is ready!" Rose chipperly announced as she presented Reid and Élise a plate of cinnamon French toast she pulled from the stovetop and onto the table.

Élise smiled. "Thanks, Rose. I mean, you didn't have to do all this." She had a bite of the egg white, and spinach omelet Rose cooked.

"Ah, I just felt a rush of energy," said Rose as she sat down with them.

"Tank you, Ro!" a mouthful Séraphine said.

"You're welcome, Séraphine," Rose grinned as she gave Opal her breakfast.

Reid warned her. "But next time, swallow before you talk."

"Yes, daddy," Séraphine obeyed.

Suddenly, the doorbell rang.

"Did you invite anyone for breakfast?" Élise moved her eyebrows while sipping her glass of freshly squeezed orange juice.

After finishing the rest of his berry muffin, Reid retorted, "No, did you?"

"No."

Reid got up from his seat; Opal followed him and answered the door.

"Hey, pretty boy."

It was Morgan, dressed in a black sleeveless shirt that showed off his tattooed muscles, dress pants with a belt, and shoes. He was also carrying a bag of sports equipment.

"Hey…" Reid uneasily answered as Morgan walked himself inside the house. "Yeah. just come on right in." He closed the door. He wondered, "What are you doing here?"

"First, I'm going to help myself to some breakfast," Morgan headed to the kitchen after setting his bag down, and he found Élise eating breakfast while feeding Isaac with Séraphine and Rose. "Hello, ladies and Pretty Boy, Jr."

Séraphine waved. "Hi!"

"What are you doing here?" Élise cocked her mouth and lowered her eyes.

"What, I can't see my favorite family?" Morgan casually opened his arms before his dark eyes spotted a plate of turkey bacon. "Ooh!" He helped himself to one.

"Nex tyme ask," said Séraphine.

Morgan apologized. "Sorry."

"Not without good reason," Élise responded.

Opal barked.

"See? Even Opal's suspicious."

Reid walked into the kitchen. "Why are you here, and why do you have sports equipment?"

Morgan recalled a memory. "Remember when you said, 'I own you one' when I dropped you and Élise to the airport so that you can attend your cousin's wedding in Las Vegas?"

Reid knew where this was going. "Yes."

"Considering this a repayment: join the bureau softball team against the Secret Service." Morgan proposed.

Reid suddenly felt this knot in his stomach. "Seriously."

"It's just for one game," said Morgan. "May I please have another one?"

"Yes, you can." Élise approved.

Morgan had another small bacon slice. "Come on, pretty boy." He lightly tapped Reid's back. "It'll be fun."

"Considering my bad childhood sports memories, I highly doubt that," Reid mumbled as he flashbacked to everyone laughing and booing at him whenever he played sports.

Morgan made a face. "You make it seem I'm going to torture you."

Reid muttered. "You might as well have."


Before Reid and Morgan can really get into it, they are called for a case in Miami involving dead puppies and a prostitute.


Élise was on her way to a court appearance when her phone vibrated. She answered it. "Hello?"

"Hi, honey."

Élise smiled. "Hi, Spencer. How was the softball practice this morning?"

"I felt like an idiot just trying to swing the ball," Reid sighed. "I'm now starting to regret asking Morgan for that ride to the airport."

"As Morgan said, it's just for one game," Élise reminded him. "You're going to be fine. And considering your physical therapy and gaining some muscle over the years with me, you should be good."

Reid doubted. "Yeah, maybe. Oh, I better get going. I love you."

"I love you, too." Élise hung up and was almost there when she got another phone call. She pressed her lips out a bit and wrinkled her nose when Élise noticed it was a blocked number. Nevertheless, she still answered. "Hello?"

The caller didn't answer.

Élise repeated. "Hello?"

She hung up when they didn't answer the second time. But just to be on the safe side, Élise turned off her phone. "Ugh, I hate when they don't answer."


Reid and Morgan headed to the crime scene where the last puppy was found after the plane landed in Miami.

After a quick look around, Morgan hung after getting Garcia to compose a list of teenage offenders after judging from the places they passed and looking at a kissing couple.

Reid kept on staring at the kissing couple. Morgan joked, "Oh, someone's thinking about being at home with his lady."

Reid countered, "At least I have a lady and children to go home to and not some single jerk."

Morgan chuckled. "I'm single by choice."

"Mm-hmm," Reid twisted his mouth to a straight line.


Now Rossi, Blake, and JJ knew about Morgan drafting Reid for the softball game and had a quick conversation about it until Hotch approached them with what they had. Soon the head detective contacted them with news about another woman with a completely different M.O.

But the only similarity is the plastic bag over the victim's head, like with the first human victim.

They realized they were dealing with a team.


Élise sighed as she was getting ready for bed. She checked on Séraphine and Isaac twice before going to bed.

She jumped when she heard her phone vibrating. I really need to stop doing that, Élise said in her head. She exhaled when she saw the caller ID. "Hi, honey."

"Hey, are you okay?" Reid wondered. "You sound drained."

Élise ran her fingers through her hair. "What a day."

"I know the feeling." Reid agreed with her. He yawned. "I better get going. See you in my dreams?"

"As always." Élise smooched over the phone.


Now with the news of another murdered woman, knowing now the two previous victims were practices, the team delivered the profile of the unsubs being a team of two: an adult leader and teenage apprentice.


Reid and Morgan talked to a kid who was brought in for questioning by Miami PD. They managed to get him to open up about the day he was knocked out by one of the unsubs after seeing the younger one beat up a dog.


Élise went into the bathroom, locked the door after making sure no one was in the stalls, and she was completely alone. She pressed a number on speed-dial and the phone to her ear, waiting for the caller to answer.

"Hello?"

"Hey, it's me," said Élise. "Did you trace the phone number I got yesterday?"

The caller replied, "Yes, and the number came from a burner phone, but it went untraceable after the call."

Élise rolled her eyes in annoyance. "I swear, when I find out who's doing this to me, hell will be on fire."

"I'll keep trying, Élise." The caller promised.

Élise nodded before they hung up. "I know you will." To be honest, Élise was not so sure and wondered if maybe…She shook her head.

Whoever is doing this to her is her problem and doesn't need—nor wants—to drag anyone into her drama.

Not even Spencer.


Discussing more about the killings and unsubs, the team realized that the older unsub learned his M.O. from prison.

Garcia got the name: David Roy Turner.

Raiding his place, the team found pictures of who could be his teenage apprentice: Toby Whitewood.


With Garcia's help and Ms. Whitewood's help, the team managed to save Toby's last victim, his boss.


On the plane ride home, Reid sat with Morgan, JJ, and Blake, as he began reading The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes when he got a text from Élise a few hours ago.

He smiled when he opened to Élise making a poster with Séraphine and Opal licking Isaac in the background.

Unbeknownst to the rest of them, Hotch and Rossi had a private conversation about a copycat.


"Here you go, my love," Élise gave Reid his breakfast plate: scrambled eggs and oatmeal with peanut butter, dried cranberries, a tall glass of orange juice, and water.

Reid had a bite. "Mmm. Delicious."

Élise sat down and began feeding Isaac. "You're going to need your strength for the big game today against the Secret Service. Rumor has it the Bureau hasn't beaten them in five years."

"Oh, why?" Reid only had three bites and was already feeling queasy.

Élise perked. "You're going to be fine. And who knows? Maybe you won't even have to play."

"Dada!" Séraphine burst into the kitchen with something; Opal followed her. "Ear yoo go."

It was a white poster with GO FBI in yellow-gold lettering.

"Aw!" Reid pulled her into a hug. "That is so sweet! Come on!" Reid scooped Séraphine into her seat. "Eat your breakfast."

"Okay."

Élise smirked before eating some Honey Nut Cheerios. "Oh, this is going to be a good day."

The doorbell rang. "I'll get it."

Élise got up and ran to answer it.

Reid swallowed after mouthful. "Who's at the door, Élise?"

"Surprise…"

William Reid presented himself, and he was casually dressed in a simple blue polo, dark denim pants, and Converses.

"Dad," Reid's mouth gaped.

Séraphine got up from her seat. "Granpa!"

"Hi, my gushing granddaughter," William's eyes flashed and broadly grinned when he hugged Séraphine. "How are you doing?"

"I gah," Séraphine giggled.

Reid wiped his mouth and wrinkled his nose. "What are you doing here?"

"Élise and your colleague, Morgan, invited me since you've been asked to play in a softball game."

"As a favor," Reid corrected.

William shook his shoulders. "Still, I'm happy to give you some pointers."

Reid smiled. "I'd like that."


After breakfast, William gave Reid some pointers as Opal took the opportunity to run around in the backyard before taking a nap after everyone left.


"WHOO-HOO!" Élise cheered into her mini bullhorn. She was joined by the rest of the team, William, Séraphine, Isaac, and even Rose, for the FBI and the Secret Service game. So far, it was five for the FBI and six for the Secret Service.

"YOU CAN DO IT, SPENCER!"

"GO, DADDY!" Séraphine raised her hands in the air. "GO, DADDY!"

William clapped as he was filming the game for Diana. "You can do it, son!"

"You can do it!" said Morgan from the field, clapping his hands. "You can do it! You can do it!"

"Hey, this guy can't hit," A Secret Service softball player said, motioning the ones in the field to come closer. "Bring it in."

As Morgan ran across the field for timeout, Élise knew what was going on and decided to give them a little taste of the Silent Eliminating Enforcer. "Hey, may you hold my darling boy for me, please?" She asked Rose before giving Isaac to her.

"Of course," answered Rose. Élise stepped down from the silver bleachers, watched Morgan give Reid a pep talk, and watched the Secret Service players laugh and chuckle. She motioned William to come to her side and sensed Morgan was finished before he ran back out into the field.

"HOLD ON, MORGAN!" Élise cried into her bullhorn.

"Time out!" Morgan called timeout again as Élise and William ran out into the home plate. "Time out!"

A confused Secret Service player asked, "You're calling timeout for a girl and an old man?"

"THERE'S NO RULE AGAINST THAT!" Élise replied. "THAT'S HIS FATHER AND, UH…I'M HIS WIFE, YOU DIM BULB MEATHEAD!"

The crowd hollered.

Élise rolled her eyes and looked passionately to Reid; Morgan gave them some space. "Hey-hey-hey. I know what Morgan said to you. Babe Ruth once said, "Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game." Don't let those bad childhood sports memories stop from winning this game against these clowns. And stop overthinking, no matter I much I love it. You can do this."

William spoke up next. "You can do this. Babe Ruth also said, "Every strike brings me closer to the next home run." And it does. You should not be afraid of failing. You can do this." He placed his hands on his son's shoulders. "You…can…do…this."

Reid shakingly sighed.

"Dada!" Séraphine ran onto the home plate and hugged Reid's leg, making everyone gush.

"Come on, Fifi," Élise and William took her hand and passionately kissed Reid's lips. "You can do it." They returned to the bleachers.

Another Secret Service player groaned. "Oh, God. What is this, some family reunion movie?"

The game continued, and Reid struck out twice, meaning the third time, the FBI would lose against the Secret Service.

"Yeah," another one laughed.

"This guy's got nothin'."

Another one joked, "This guy ain't nothin'."

William used Élise's bullhorn. "HEY, THAT'S MY SON!"

"YEAH! THAT'S HIS SON, AND MY MAN YOU'RE MESSING YOU!" Élise had her hand on her hip. "AND SMACK-TALKING ABOUT!"

One chuckled. "Well, if I were you two, I'd get myself a new man and new son, little girl and old man."

Reid snapped his head when that player said that. But with Morgan, Élise, and his father's previous words of encouragement and wisdom, Reid finally put all those bad childhood sports memories away and watched as the ball was thrown to him…

And stared in awe as it swung out onto the field.

"RUN, FOOL!" Élise exclaimed. "RUN!"

"RUN, SON!"

Reid dropped the bat and ran as fast as he could through the bases.

"You can do it!"

"Come on!"

"Yes! YES!" Morgan cheered as he reached home base, scoring a point for the FBI.

Reid was almost there…

"Get down!" Morgan motioned for Reid to slide to make it to home base. "Get down!"

"And…"

The umpire called it. "SAFE!"

The crowd roared when the FBI won against the Secret Service.

"You did it! You did it!" Morgan ruffled his hat before helping him up and hugging him. He and a few other agents helped him carry Reid. "You did it! Whoo!"


Unbeknownst to everyone, someone from afar took photos of the team, family members, and significant others.

Chapter Text


"Ooh, I can't get over this jumper I got for Ziggy!" Élise showed off the orange and brown turkey jumper she got for Isaac before folding it back, returning it back to the shopping bag, and eating a bit of her BLT sandwich. She and Maeve had just finished shopping for Thanksgiving in the next couple of weeks. "I can't wait for Thanksgiving."

"Same here," Maeve sipped her chai tea. "Bobby and I start taking the children to my parents' place in D.C. What about you?"

Élise replied, "Las Vegas." Élise figured it would be good if the person who sent her that note and possibly that hang-up call last week would start.

"Ooh!" Maeve squealed. "Ophelia found a few homes within our price range and look." She gave Élise her cell phone.

"Cool!" Élise strolled down to the listings of houses. She stopped when she got to one particular house. "Ooh, I like this house."

Maeve was handed back her phone and looked at the house Élise wanted her to look at.

Reading the description, it's said to be a restored farmhouse from the 19th century, painted in yellow paneling. It had five beds and baths, a laundry mudroom, a walk-up attic, and a basement with a finished wine room and a mancave.

"Ooh, I like it." Maeve wiped through the gallery. "Something tells me Bobby will like the man cave."

Élise joked, "The library is Spencer's mancave."

Maeve burst into chuckles. Fanning herself after wiping her mouth, "Okay-okay. I'll send Ophelia an email tonight, and hopefully, after Sunday services, we'll meet up with her."

"She has a magic touch for real estate," Élise toasted. "And to be honest…"

She felt a slight bump from behind her chair.

"Oh, God," a bit of her water slipped. "Oh, sorry about that…"

Élise felt the shivers on her face when she saw an elderly man, possibly in his late sixties-to-early seventies. He had this slightly disgusted look on her face as he walked past her.

Maeve eyed Élise and the man back-and-forth before asking her, "Who's that?"

Élise rolled her shoulders back and shook her head. "I…rather not talk about it."

Maeve knew there was something but decided to push Élise any further and continued describing the house.

"Hey, family!" Maeve waved when she saw the Bastien-Reid family at the parking lot at the church after stepping out of the car. She unstrapped BJ from his car seat, gently got him out, and carried his hand. "How are you doing?"

Élise held Isaac in her arms and answered, "We're good. And you?"

Bobby carried Charlotte in his arms and replied, "Great. We got in touch with Ophelia yesterday, and we're going to see the farmhouse after services."

"Glad we helped you get in touch with her."

Maeve smiled. "Thank you both so much."

Reid yawned as he walked out of the bathroom; his teeth were brushed, his skin was clean, and he was dressed in his black and purple plaid pajamas.

Élise walked into the bedroom, stretching her body, rolling her neck, and groaning.

"Oh, boy," an exhausted Élise moaned. "I can't wait for work. This week…" She shook her head as she crawled under the soft comforters.

Reid sensed something. "Are you okay?"

Élise flapped her lips as she sighed.

"Come on, Lise," Reid pleaded. "Tell me, please."

Reid was at his desk, scribbling some mathematics that popped into his head when he saw his phone vibrating next to him. Looking at the caller ID, he answered. "Hello?"

"Morning, Spencer."

"Morning, Maeve," Reid set aside his notepad and pen and rested his elbows on his desk. "How are you?"

Maeve answered truthfully, "I'm good. I even have an appointment with Generation Group this morning."

"Oh, I had about them. Aren't they an imprint of Prescott Publishing?"

"Yeah!" Maeve exclaimed. "They're one of the major publishing companies in the country. Their headquarters is in New York City, but they do have an office here in D.C., so if all goes well…"

"Congratulations." Reid's voice grew a bit. "That's great. But, uh…I take it that wasn't the only reason you called me this morning?"

"No, it's about Élise," Maeve whispered. "Have you talked to her? She got really freaked out when she and I were out on Saturday, and she saw this guy and…"

Reid assured, "Don't worry, Maeve. Élise and I talked about it last night."

Maeve sighed in relief. "Well, that's good. Élise is like a sister to me, you know?"

"Aw, that's so sweet." Reid smiled before he saw Garcia rushing into Hotch's office, presumably about a case. "Uh, Maeve. I have to get going."

"Okay, later."

She and Reid hung up, and Reid met up with Morgan, JJ, and Blake in the roundtable room. Soon, Rossi entered, and then Hotch and Garcia with a case in Santa Monica involving burned bodies.

Élise was in her chambers at her desk, smoothly at work and typing when she saw her phone vibrate. Picking it up, Élise noticed it was a text message from Reid. She opened it and read the message.

CASE IN SANTA MONICA!

Élise took a moment to reply to the message.

OKAY! STAY SAFE! LOVE YOU!

Élise set her phone down and continued typing,

She saw that she had an email,

Though it was the message's subject was blank, and it was an unfamiliar recipient unless it was junky spam, Élise curiously clicked on it.

I'M STILL WATCHING YOU BITCH!

Élise felt her face crawl and tingle icily. Her mouth opened and formed an O; she felt nauseous in her stomach to the point where she felt like vomiting and her heart beating. Shallowly exhaling, she picked up her phone again—she almost dropped it—and frantically dialed her source.

Reid and Blake visited the M.E.'s office and discovered that the victims were stabbed before being set on fire.

After the visit, Reid and Blake were on their way; Blake asked, "So, you lived somewhere two months and didn't make any friends?" she thought about what he said on the plane.

"I wasn't exactly the most gregarious or social when I was growing up," answered Reid. "I mean, I-I-I had a friend or two growing up. And definitely not the most popular or coolest kid when I was in school, especially when you're a child prodigy whose classmates were six years older, but…" he shrugged his shoulders. "I get you can say I pretty much kept to myself since I found it hard to make friends."

Blake remarked, "Look how far you came. I mean, you have a wife, two beautiful children, a good career, great family-like colleagues."

"Yeah," Reid smirked.

Soon, they met up with Hotch after he finished talking to the female victim's mother and disclosed to him what they got from the M.E.

Élise was done with work for the day and was on her way out of the building, waiting for Marshal Johnson, when her phone vibrated.

After placing her phone to her ear, she answered it, "Hello?"

"Hey, Élise?"

Élise heaved a sigh. "Did you get anything from the email I got?"

"Unfortunately, no. But just in case they try to send you another email, I blocked it for you."

Élise had her hand on her stomach. "Thanks. That makes me feel a little better." After hanging up, she saw Marshal Johnson waiting for her, and he escorted Élise to the car and drove her home.

Unbeknownst to her, someone was taking photographs of her.

"Only in due time, bitch."

Reid laid his back on the plushy twin-sized bed, scrolling through some of the recent messages he got from Élise during the case.

Hotch walked in. "Hey."

"Hey," he replied, not looking away from his phone.

Hotch asked again, "So, how's life?"

Reid picked his body up. "Good. The house we bid on; one of the other bidders dropped it due to finding another one, so now we're completing with the other bidder who placed a little bit higher than we did."

"Oh. Well, I hope you do get it," said Hotch.

"Yeah."

Hotch detected something off. "Anything else?"

Reid let out a big puff. "I'm just worried about Élise?"

"Worried about what?"

Reid shrugged and massaged his neck. "Is it weird that I don't know, but I can't put my finger on it?"

"No," Hotch replied. "It's okay to worry. Maybe I can talk to her?" he offered.

Reid set his phone on the bedside. "If you want to, yes. But try not to push her," he warned Hotch. "I don't want her to feel ganged up or…"

"I know." Hotch nodded.

In the middle of the night, like about two in the morning, Élise moaned when she heard her phone vibrate under her pillow. She smirked; Élise guessed Reid wanted to talk to her again.

Her eyes were still sleepy, but she still managed to answer it before she closed her eyes again, still smirking, "Oh, did you miss me?"

Élise quickly sat up when she heard heavy breathing over the phone. "Hello? Who's this?"

All the receiver did was continue to breathe heavily before hanging up.

A look of shock came on Élise's face. As she dialed for her source, Élise tossed the comforters aside and checked on Séraphine, Isaac, and Opal.

The team delivered the profile to Santa Monica people about the unsub targeting and hunting the homeless.

Élise had a second helping of the green tea she brewed this morning. She barely slept after the call she got last night and kept checking on Séraphine, Isaac, and Opal.

Nevertheless, she focused on her work and decided to her phone turned off.

Reid and Blake visited the M.E.'s office and noticed that the unsub's M.O. had changed with the victim. Meeting back with the team and gathering the information, they realized the unsub is house cleaning the homeless.

"Wow, Rose," Élise dabbed her mouth and tossed her white napkin on the plate. "Dinner was amazing."

Rose blushed. "Oh, thank you, Élise." She rose from her seat and gathered everyone's plates.

Élise looked at her phone and noticed she got a voicemail message after turning it back on. "Hey, Fifi." She kneeled to her size. "How about you help Rose with the dishes, okay?"

Séraphine obeyed. "Yea, mommy."

Élise smiled and kissed her temple. "Good girl." She scooped Isaac into her arms and exited the dining room. After logging in her password, she placed the phone to her ear and dialed for her messages.

"You have one new message," the dialer said. "New message."

All Élise got was heavy breathing for about fifteen seconds before hanging up again.

Élise was so zoned in from the voicemail, what snapped her out of it was Isaac's cries.

"Oh, sweetie." Élise tended to him. "Mommy's here, Zig-zag."

The team got the unsub name: Chad Mills and managed to save his two homeless victims, one connected to Rossi's past.

Élise rested her hands on the sink edges in the bathroom and stared at her reflection.

She imagined a figure dressed in black was behind before spinning around, but nobody was there. Élise grabbed for her phone and spun around again. She kicked the stall doors to make sure no one was there and sighed to herself in relief.

She was on her way out, but the door was locked. Élise remembered she locked it and walked out after unlocking it.

"Whoa!"

Élise jumped when she saw Marshal Johnson sitting on a nearby bench on his phone.

Marshal Johnson tucked his phone inside his jacket pocket. "Are you okay, ma'am?"

"Yeah," Élise nodded.

Marshal Johnson noted. "Your husband's waiting for you."

Élise sighed as he escorted her to Reid, waiting for her. "Thank you. Have a good night."

"Same as you," he replied as Marshal Johnson watched the couple drive off and go to his own car.

Reid observed Élise resting her hand on her forehead and looking defeated. "So…how was today?"

Élise groaned in response.

Reid tapped her shoulder. "Believe me; no matter how many cases we solve, it never ends. I get it."

"I'm so tired and drained and mentally exhausted," Élise grumbled; her eyes were still closed.

"We're on our way home to see our wonderful children and dog," Reid chippered.

Élise replied, "Yeah."

Chapter Text

"Aw, these are so adorable!" Élise prattled at the photographs she and Reid got from Luna. Gasping, "Oh, look at this one."

It was a photograph of Isaac surrounded by fallen leaves and fall flowers and resting his head on a giant pumpkin.

Élise squatted to a cooing Isaac's size in the baby stroller and showed him his photo. "Aw, you look so adorable. Like a little model."

Isaac squealed in response.

"Aw, he's so adorable!" Luna prattled.

Isaac squealed again and began to smile.


Élise stared into her favorite Goyard luggage on the bed, making sure she had everything for the Thanksgiving weekend in Las Vegas.

She went over her list on her phone. She mumbled that she had her clothes, accessories, toiletries, and anything extra that she might need.

After that was done, Élise closed her luggage and placed it against the wall. All of a sudden, she clutched her stomach, already feeling his nausea feeling. She walked into her closet and stumbled upon her shoe boxes. Kneeling down, Élise took a look inside some to see if she could donate them before she came across a small unfamiliar box. Élise peeked inside and jumped before immediately closing it.

Holy s—, she said in her head; she didn't even want to finish that sentence since it's been so that…Élise was surprised to have kept it all these years.

"Élise!"

She heard Reid call out for her. Élise placed the box on top and was surrounded by a bunch of other boxes and stuff. Rising back up, she shook her head, slid her hair back, and walked out with grace and poise. Élise smiled when she saw Reid carrying Isaac, all clean from his bath, and Séraphine being followed by Opal.

"Hey, Ziggy-Zaggy," Élise gracefully coaxed him from Reid's arms and kissed his temple numerous times. "Did you have a good bath time?"

Isaac babbled as he played with the squeaky yellow rubber ducky in his mouth.

She gently bounced him. "You love that rubber ducky so much, huh?"

"I think they're another reason why he loves his rubber ducky," Reid said with a sly smile.

Élise tilted her head a bit, wondering what he meant before she took a closer look inside his mouth. Gasping, she pulled Reid closer and whispered, "His first tooth's coming in."

"Mm-hmm," Reid nodded.

Élise's eyes began tearing up, and she repeatedly kissed his forehead. "My little boy's growing up."


"Here you go, Fifi," Reid helped Séraphine make a pumpkin thumbprint, using orange and white construction paper and crayons. He had her place her thumb on the white paper and trace a circle around. After coloring her thumbprint orange and making a brown stem, Reid oversaw Séraphine to glue it over the orange paper. "Good girl."

Séraphine clapped. "Yay!"

"Hey, what's going on?" Élise wondered as she walked into the great room carrying Isaac, still teething to Sophie the Giraffe and babbling.

Reid explained, "Pumpkin crafting." He soon cut some more orange and white squares.

"May we join in?"

Séraphine babbled. "Yea!"

Élise sat down across from Reid and Séraphine and had Isaac propped up in a froggy position.


"Mmm…" Élise helped herself to a chocolate chip lactation cookie; she baked a dozen of them after allowing them to cool on the rack in the kitchen. She licked her lips and had another when Reid walked in, holding Séraphine's hand.

"Mommy!" Séraphine hugged her legs.

Élise stroked her head. "Hi, Fifi. Did you have a good playdate?"

"Yea!" Séraphine bounced before her big eyes spotted the cookies, pointing them out.

"Do you want one?" Élise asked; Séraphine nodded. "What do we say?"

Séraphine batted her eyes. "May I hav one, pleaze?"

"Good girl," Élise handed Séraphine one in a paper towel. "Here you go."

Séraphine replied, "Tank you."

Reid helped himself to one and chewed. "Delicious."


"Hey, Élise."

"Lovey," she replied. "Did you see the news?"

Reid looked at the screen in the bullpen before looking around to see the other agents and D.C. police officers the team will be working.

"Yeah, high schoolers in the D.C. area have gone missing in a bus hijacking," Élise shuddered. "Crazy scary. Thank God I lived a walking distance when I was in high school and stopped taking the school bus after middle school. Make sure you bring those kids home safe and sound."

Reid whispered, "Yeah. Love you."

"Love you, too."

After hanging up, Reid, along with JJ and Morgan, talked to some of the agents working with them about the mass abduction of the students and the adults riding the bus being possibly still being in the D.C. area before everyone headed to Central High to set up as their command center.


Élise was in chambers, still having her eyes googled to her phone about the mass high schooler abduction before calling Rose at her.

"Hello," Rose answered after the second ring.

Élise spoke up, "Hey, Rose."

"Élise. Did you see the news?" she asked.

Élise massaged her eyes. "Oh, God, yeah. But how are my darlings?".

"Mommy!" Séraphine came to the phone; Isaac was cooing and babbling.

"Hey, you two," said Élise. "Are you being good to Rose?"

Rose laughed. "Oh, they're a joy to be with."

Élise smiled. "In the meanwhile, Rose, can you help me pack up when I get home?"

"Absolutely."


On their way to Central High School, the team realized that the mass abduction might have been planned after the kids' cell phones were found far away and that other school buses had the same route, but this one particular bus was the target.


Some of the team made it to the high school in Fredericksburg, set up headquarters in different parts of the school, and talked to some of the parents.

Reid and Blake went back to the site where the bus stopped and noted the unsub must have used a ruse.


After finding the bus driver dead, Garcia sent coordinates to an abandoned barn.

They managed to the missing children, but only a fraction of them.

Meaning that the others are still missing.

After freeing them and getting them to relax about what happened, the kids told the team that there were two unsubs. They wore gas masks to conceal their identity, tied their hands with white zip-ties, and made Mr. Webster drive them to the location.

They lined the kids up, put collars around their necks, and picked ten certain ones before abandoning them and taking the others with them.


"Okay," Élise made sure the front door was locked before walking down the pathway and met up with Rose by their cars. "Security system, locked in." She tapped on the phone's app to verify the alarm. She walked to Chevy Suburban backseat windows, ensuring Séraphine and Isaac were secured in their seats and that their luggage was in the trunk.

Rose raised her hand and pointed to her car. "And I got Opal."

Élise ran up to Opal in the backseat window of her car. "Be a good girl for Rose, okay? We'll bring you back a treat or two."

Opal barked in response before licking Élise.

Élise laughed before rushing to the front seat. Strapping herself in as Marshal Johnson drove off, she got a text from Reid.

FOUND SOME OF THE STUDENTS; STILL SOME MISSING.

Élise leaned back in her seat and rested her hand on her face.

"Is it about the missing D.C. students?" Marshal Johnson knew.

Élise shook her head as an answer.


The team wondered why the unsubs would take ten students before Rossi suggested it's about Gods of Combat, a video game consisting of five players. Meaning that the unsubs might have gotten their choices from the kids' social media platforms.

The addition to the game led to their violent behavior and tendencies.

Reid was walking down the hallway with Detective Richards when Garcia approached them with millions of Gods of Combat players in D.C. who were kicked out for hacking and lost their gaming history, thus not just recreating the game.

Garcia found two players with the same IP address, and the relationship went deeper than they expected.

The unsubs are brothers.


Élise oozed at the pictures of baby clothes Maeve's mother's knitted for BJ and Charlotte. "Oh, Maeve. That's so cute." Her mouth dropped. "Ooh. I love the blue and white sweater. Ah. I love the pink and gray jumper."

"Ever since she's started knitting, she's been nonstop," Maeve chuckled. "You should see the living room. I mean, she knitted the rug, the pillow covers, blankets. She even knitted me a bag."

Élise pursed her lips out. "A knitted bag. The new fashion accessory of the year." Élise looked at her phone again; still no new developments about the missing high schoolers. "I swear, these kids…"

Maeve sighed. "I know. Makes me want to homeschool and tutor BJ and Charlotte, just to lock them away until the world's a safer place."

"Same here," Élise agreed. "But then, they would never get out."

"True," Maeve replied.


"Oh, man," Rossi was mentally drained from the case as he and the team stepped into the elevator. "At least we got one of the brothers, and the other one is dead."

Morgan exhaled. "Mm-hmm."

"Yeah, but what about the kids we saved?" JJ wondered how the children would be able to get past their harrowing experiences. "And that one girl who was forced to shoot one by the unsubs? No doubt she's going to be haunted by that for the rest of her life. And all because of a video game."

"You know, Frederick Douglass said, "It's easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.""

Reid nodded. "It might be too late for the brothers, but the kids will be able to get past the experience. Which reminds me to talk to Élise about our children and video games."

The elevator doors opened, and everyone stepped out. "After I get everything I need, I'm going to be with Jack 24/7. And because it's Thanksgiving tomorrow, we don't work any case until Monday."

"I can deal with that," said Morgan as they strode into the bullpen. "I'll be visiting family in Chicago."

JJ raised her hand and agreed. "Same in Pennsylvania."

"Hey, everyone."

Élise was sitting at Reid's desk with their luggage and Séraphine and Isaac sleeping in the stroller. She placed her index finger on her lips, signaling everyone to whisper and/or stay quiet.

"Hey, wifey." Reid grinned when he saw Élise before he gave her a quick lip kiss. He waved to his sleeping children. "Hi, my little beans."

"Where are you guys headed for Thanksgiving weekend?" Rossi smirked.

Élise answered. "Las Vegas."

"Say 'hi' to Aunt Ethel for me," Morgan chuckled.

Reid got the luggage. "Ha-ha."

After Reid put away related to the case away, Marshal Johnson escorted Reid, Élise, and their sleeping children out of the FBI building and to Reagan Airport.


Arriving at the main terminal at McCarran International, Reid and Élise made their way to the baggage claim area and got the luggage.

"Spencer! Élise!"

Reid searched his head in the direction of who was calling them, and her mouth dropped and formed a smile. Waving back, "Dad!"

William Reid smiled as he approached the family. He was about to speak again, but he saw Séraphine and Isaac still asleep. Instead, he whispered, "How's everyone doing?"

"We're good," Élise hoped so since someone back in D.C. is sending her threatening notes. "Ready for the year to be over."

William warmly smiled. "I know what you mean."

Reid handed his father some of their luggage before exiting the airport in William's Toyota Prius hybrid for a good night's rest.


Reid stretched his back as he walked into the dining room. There, he saw his father serving breakfast and Élise feeding Isaac in his lap.

"Here you go, princess," William gave Séraphine a nice helping of pumpkin pancakes, maple turkey bacon, and blueberry French toast casserole.

"Tank yoo, Granpa!"

Reid caressed Séraphine's head before he kissed it. "Good morning, everyone.