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The Clusterfuck Job

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Reid thinks he might understand Elle a little better now, shifting his tie again – it's choking him.

"Leave it," Morgan admonishes, slapping his hands and straightening the knot. "You can't look nervous."

"I don't see how," Reid says, "I am nervous."

"Don't let it show," Morgan says, resting a hand on Reid's shoulder. "We'll be right outside. All you have to do is say the word."

Hotch rounds the corner and looks Reid up and down. "You have to be suave and flirtatious," he says, his face, as usual, devoid of all emotion. "Think you can manage that?"

"Just pretend you're Morgan," Rossi says over the radio, and Reid can hear Prentiss's choked off laugh through Rossi's comm.


It's the third bar they've tried today; if they strike out here, they'll have to switch to plan B. Reid doesn't know how he feels about being a serial killer's type… skinny long-haired white guys, more polished than he is, but he can fake that part well enough, he thinks. Hopefully.

He takes a deep breath and steps into the bar, not sure if he should be praying for this to work or not work. He knows it's the easiest way to catch the killer and he has faith in his team, but even the best planned scenarios can go wrong, and he's been on the wrong side of that enough to know even the victims that get saved are never the same.

He keeps his sunglasses on as he sweeps his eyes over the people in the bar on his way to get his first drink. Stockbroker bars are a weird place, but he's got the hang of them now, and this one seems to have all the usual suspects. There's the tech squad, four men and two women tapping away on their computers, watching the numbers tick by on the three enormous TVs around their booths. There's the socialites, four men and five women, drinking and talking and consulting their Blackberries every few seconds. A few old fashioned men, talking on their phones in low undertones, all of them with their eyes glued to those huge flat-panel TVs.

The profile on their killer says male, late thirties to early forties, so that takes out the techno crowd and more than half of the men with Blackberries glued to their hands. There are three men on the phone, two escalating their voices as the price on something starts to fall and the third still talking in low tones. Reid rests an elbow on the bar, doing the best he can to look casual and, he supposes, inviting. No one has looked yet, but most of the people in places like this don't look at each other until the market closes.

He's narrowed it down to the old-fashioned three guys on the phone. Their killer wasn't savvy enough to clean the cache on his victims' computers after he killed them; Reid doubts he's a Blackberry kind of guy. The man talking in low tones is looking down, with a certain amount of concentration; he hasn't been watching the tape much at all. The two other guys are more likely candidates anyway, as he seems too old for the profile, fifty at least, maybe sixty if he's kept himself up. Reid waits impatiently for the market to close so he can get this over with.

Reid grabs his drink and heads over to the phone-talkers' corner. Best to insinuate himself into their area while they're otherwise occupied.

…Mickey on it. And I don't want any…

Reid stops in his tracks. That was definitely not on the TV. As a matter of fact, it sounded like someone on his comm. He turns to go back to the bar, and sure enough, as he passes the older gentleman, he gets another snatch of conversation in his ear.

…no, not Danny, he can't be trusted…

He bottoms up his drink, setting it down on the bar when he gets there. He glances around the bar again, briefly. He looks more carefully over the techno group. The two women and one of the young men are busily multi-tasking, tapping away on their keyboards with their eyes never leaving the TV. Two of the other men are typing and glancing back and forth between their screens and the TV. The last guy, though, a young, handsome black man who is clearly not a stockbroker, even though he's dressed for the bar, he's ignoring the TV and talking to himself. He's not wearing a Bluetooth, and he's staring intently at his computer, working in fits and starts – definitely not a stockbroker.

Reid grabs his second drink, deposits his sunglasses in his coat pocket, and slowly walks away from the bar, pausing when the tinny voice comes across on his comm again. It happens when he gets directly between the tech guy and the old guy on the phone, and nothing that comes through seems like it's of any interest at all, at least from his investigation's standpoint. He heads back to the bar and calls Garcia.

"Fairy godmother, at your service," Garcia says, and Reid smiles into the phone.

"Garcia, it looks like there's another team in here, doing some surveillance on a guy. I'm getting something over the comm that's probably from a bug in his phone, and there's a guy hacking away at his computer. Can you take a look around?"

"You got it, sweet cheeks. I'll call you with anything I find."

"Anything to worry about?" Hotch says over the comm.

Garcia hangs up with a click in his ear, and Reid keeps the phone up long enough to say, "Don't think so, I've got a few things in my sights, and they're not the guy being tapped."

He hangs up the phone as Hotch says reassuringly, "All right, ignore it, then, and get on with it."

Reid grabs his drink and turns to make his way back to his two suspects when he runs into a pretty blonde woman with a ponytail. She's dressed a little oddly for a stockbrocker bar, but since she's not actively watching the tape, he figures she's one of the many people who come by to get dates with potential millionaires. She apologizes briefly and he answers with a curt, "No problem," before making his way to the back of the bar where his two potential unsubs are still on their phones. One of them glances at him briefly, and turns back to the TV. The other still has his back to Reid, so he takes the opportunity to grab a table a few feet behind them both, trying to keep his eyes on as many suspicious people as possible – and that number is just getting bigger and bigger, as he realizes his wallet is gone, and the blonde woman is nowhere to be seen.

His phone rings, and he tries not to jump.

"Okay," Garcia says before Reid can even say anything. "Your fake ID is being run, and I hadn't really planned for it to be more than a way to make sure you could get a beer, so if this guy is any good at all..."

Reid does his best to glance at the tech guy surreptitiously, and sure enough, he's looking more and more alarmed. "Damn it," Reid says, and Morgan comes on over the comm.

"Reid? You need us?"

"No!" Reid says. Whatever else is going on here, the guy who glanced at him earlier is taking a longer look, and if Reid could just disentangle himself from this situation, he may be able to get him on the hook. "Garcia, can you send something to this guy, communicate with him somehow?" He glances up at his mark and gives a smirky smile, the best he can manage. The suspect nods at him, smiling. "I think I've got something, if we can just keep them…"

A muscular, long-haired guy who knows how to move comes into the bar, dressed in jeans and a flannel shirt – so obviously out of place that half the bar turns to stare. "Oh shit," Reid says. Flannel shirt-guy looks around the room and locks eyes with Reid. "Oh shit!" Reid says again as flannel shirt-guy starts walking his way.

The door bursts open again, and Morgan's voice rings out. "Hey!"

The other guy turns to look, and bristles as he sizes Morgan up. Reid glances over at his lead suspect, and he looks like he might jump ship, so he needs to get these people out of here.

"Derek," Reid says loudly, "I told you to stop harassing me. We're not together and that's the end of it." Morgan looks up and thankfully, catches on immediately.

"Trying to replace me?" Morgan says, looking up and down flannel-guy contemptuously. "With this scum?"

"Hey," flannel-guy says, looking confused and angry all at once. "I'm not interested in your boy, here."

"Eliot," tech-guy calls. "Eliot, leave off the lovers' quarrel and get over here."

"Hardison," Eliot says to the guy, glaring at him over his shoulder. He looks back at Reid and Morgan, and puts his hands up dismissively. "Always calling…"

Eliot walks away, grumbling in annoyance, and takes a seat across from Hardison. Reid glances nervously over his shoulder at his suspect, who's watching with interest. He turns to glare at Morgan, tilting his head toward the door. "I told you to leave me alone," Reid says, giving Morgan a shove toward the door. "It's over – get it through your thick skull."

For a second, Reid thinks Morgan might laugh or just shake his head at the weirdness of it all, but he pulls a stern look and shakes his head. "You'll come back, you always do."

Morgan exits the bar as loudly as he came in, and Reid sits down into his chair heavily. The other team is now sitting around Hardison's booth, Eliot, the blonde woman, and an older looking guy, sloppily dressed but sharp despite that, and they're split between watching Reid and his suspect and the other guy on the phone, who stubbornly ignored the whole scene between Reid, Eliot, and Morgan.

"Obnoxious ex?"

Reid looks up at his lead suspect, and every alarm bell in his head is ringing. He fits the profile to a tee, and something about him just creeps Reid out. He's working the knot of his tie loose, and he pulls it off and stuffs it in his pocket, opening a couple of buttons on his shirt.

"Yeah," Reid says, finishing his drink. "Doesn't take no for an answer."

"I know the type. Warren Miles," he says, holding out his hand.

Reid shakes it, and it's the strangest handshake he's ever felt. It's not firm, like business handshakes, or nervous, like date handshakes, it's just sort of… warm. "Will," he says, hoping Warren chalks up his nerves to his fight with Morgan. "Will Sinclair."

"Well, Will, you look like you could use a drink. May I?"

Reid follows him to the bar, clenching his fists a couple of times to get rid of his shakes.

"Scotch and soda," Warren says to the bartender, and then looks at Reid. "What'll you have?"

Reid turns to the bartender, and is surprised to see the young blonde woman, not the stylish young man from earlier. "The same, please," Reid answers, and she smiles broadly at them and takes Warren's cash.

Reid's never really been on the dating scene, but he knows a lot of random information, and he spent last night reading up about the stock market and the latest trends. Luckily, Warren seems to be able to talk about himself and his work endlessly, so a few guiding remarks from Reid, and he's passing along enough information for Reid to be nearly certain this is their unsub. When he leans forward to pull off Reid's tie, telling him to loosen up, Reid swallows and forces himself not to pull away, even though Warren is looking at Reid's throat like he wants to eat it for dinner.

"Oh, that's terrible," Warren says, glancing up at the news. It's an editorial about eliminating the debt of third world countries. Reid glances at the TV involuntarily, as though something there might give him more information. "Excusing debt isn't going to help them gain sound financial footing."

Reid doesn't agree, but somehow, he thinks he's not supposed to have an opinion. "I've never really thought about it," he says mildly, and reaches for his drink.

"Hey you," the bartender calls between them, and he and Warren both look over to where she's pointing at a couple of women giggling over their drinks. "If you drop it, you buy it." Reid glances back at her quickly enough to catch the end of a smooth sleight of hand, switching their drinks. Whoever she is, she's very, very good.

When Warren looks back, Reid's got his tumbler in hand and takes a long drink. Warren's smile gets bigger, and the bartender looks at them briefly and walks to the other end of the bar.

"Listen," Warren says. "Why don't we take this somewhere less crowded?"

"Bottoms up," Reid says, tipping his drink up and emptying it. It's real whiskey; the last one was watered down cola. He coughs a little and Warren claps him on the back.

"All right," Warren says, leaning forward to grab his own glass. When he does, a thick chain slides across the opening in his shirt, and Reid involuntarily shivers. Something clinks together as he shifts, and it sounds like it could be the rings their unsub has been taking as trophies.

"You're a necklace type of guy?" Reid asks, holding his breath, not sure if reaching for the necklace would get him in hot water. He reaches for a button instead, and Warren's eyes go big as Reid slips the button through the buttonhole.

"You're just raring to go, aren't you?" Warren asks, putting a hand on Reid's to still it. He presses Reid's hand against the trinket, and he can definitely feel several rings.

"That's it," Reid says, wrenching his hand out of Warren's grip and stumbling backwards. "He's our unsub."

"What?" Warren says, reaching out for Reid. Reid stumbles back a little more, and comes up against Hardison, who puts a steadying hand on his shoulder.

Eliot steps in front of Reid, but before he can do anything more than be menacing, the bar's doors crash open and his team is coming in, guns aimed at the unsub. "Warren Miles, you're under arrest," Hotch says, and Reid lets out the breath it feels like he's held since he walked in here.

"Okay," Reid says, turning around to face the guy who may or may not have helped him catch the unsub. "Thanks."

Hardison grins, smacks him on the shoulder and says, "Hey, no problem. How about a drink?"