Still Buffy... Still Criminal Minds. Already half over.
Reid dug in his bag for his keys, and couldn't feel the shape of them. Sighing, he put down his folders, placing a foot over the cover to keep them from blowing away, and lifted the flap of his satchel, holding it with one hand, and digging through it with the other, trying to see a glint of metal in the dim light of the parking lot lamps.
A motion distracted him, and he looked up, seeing someone emerge from the shadows, and had a brief terrifying second of panic, before he recognised who it was. Still unsettled, but no longer afraid, he let the bag drop slightly, and greeted her.
She was older, all the roundness gone from her face, and all the softness missing from her eyes, but even if he hadn't been studying her image since they been assigned the case, he would have recognised her.
"Spencer." Her voice was soft, quiet, all at odds with the brittle rage barely contained in her eyes. She held her hand forward, a small piece of metal dangling off one slender finger. "Looking for these?"
He reached, and she dropped it into his cupped palm, and he closed his fingers around it, realising it was his motel key. Another frisson of unease ran through him, and suddenly the partially lit and completely deserted lot felt less safe, despite the fact that his gun was still at his hip, and she was really very slight. He unlocked the door, keeping her in his field of vision, and swung it open, swiping the switch on the wall, but not stepping in, because he didn't want to have to invite her with him. Bright yellow overtook the dim grey of the night, and she blinked a few times in the sudden glare, and when he met her eyes again, the change was so complete, he doubted what he’d first seen. Wondering whether it had simply been the play of shadows, he stepped inside, "Would you like to come in?"
She followed staying out past arms length, and stopped just inside the threshold as he deposited his bag at the small table, tucked his key away, and turned back towards her. "Coffee?"
"No thanks." Her voice was still soft, and gentle around the edges, and suited her. In the harsh light of the room she looked thin and frail, the bones in her face sharp, making her eyes seem larger, and rounder in comparison. Hesitating by the door, in the light, she looked very much the same as she had 8 years ago. Tired, and sad.
"How'd you find me?"
He frowned at the idea of the detective having tipped her off. "Is she part of your... cult?"
She stared for a second, and then laughed. It was unexpected, and he guessed more to her than to him. She laughed as if she had nearly forgotten how, and sobered more quickly than she should have. "No." The answer was simple, and he wasn't sure what humour he was missing, but he knew it had to be something, since the remnants of laughter left her lips into a half smile that was probably devastating when full blown.
"No. And she isn't telling me anything about the investigation. She's a good cop. She'll tow the line even if she thinks it's in the wrong place. She just thought I deserved to know about you being here."
She leaned against the door, relaxing in the face of his awkwardness. "FBI, huh?"
"How's your mom?"
He was thrown, for a second at the sudden switch, and then smiled. He'd forgotten that about her, while trying to remember all the things he’d learnt in an hour eight years ago. Although she wasn't as smart as he was, she had a deftness of thought, and a non linear conversational pattern that had made her very interesting to talk to. "Better." He paused. "I was sorry to hear about yours."
Her features flickered for a moment, and then resettled into neutral. "I guess you did research."
"Tell me." His skin prickled, instinct telling him the tone was dangerous, even as his higher brain had no idea why. "Were they planning on using you as a way in? Having you stumble into me and happen to reconnect, to see how many details you could glean from the inside?"
"No. I was going to talk with you, but in my official capacity. I wasn't going to lie."
"That's something at least." She said, although the set of her jaw said it wasn't much.
"Buffy, you have to trust me. We can help you get out of this."
She shook her head, "No. You can't. You don't even know what this is."
"Buffy, if you don't cooperate, people might end up hurt."
"People have already been hurt." She said flatly.
He scrambled, watching her sink into the rigid mindset of a cult member, turning deaf to any reason.
"They're just girls, Buffy. What ever happened to you... you can't let it happen to them. You have to help us. We can help."
She stepped back, until she was at the railing, back into the dimness, and he followed to the edge of the door. Again in the shadows, her eyes were unrelenting and cold.
"It's always just girls." She said, soft, but with a vein of venom to it he hadn't heard in her words so far. "And there is nothing anyone can do for them now, but what we're already doing. Stay out of it, Spencer. Before you get hurt."
He opening his mouth to reply, and must have blinked, or spaced out, because suddenly she was gone, completely lost to the dark. Reid shivered, and retreated into his room, securing all the locks and wondering how he would explain the encounter to the rest of the team in the morning.
"Penelope?" Reed knocked on the edge of the room she had temporarily claimed, and then ducked his head in, seeing her hunched in front of her computer, fingers flying across the keys. He stepped inside and cleared his throat, but she didn't look up.
"I was wondering about one of the things-"
"Not now, Reid," She said grimly, "I have to show this girl a thing or two about com- damn it." She sat back, watching words write themselves across her screen.
He sat down beside her, speed reading to catch the bulk of the message, that ended with the statement,: ‘Better luck next time’ in large letters, and was followed up by the screen going black, and the whirr of the tower shutting down.
"Damn it." Garcia repeated quietly, trying a hard boot, which after a moment brought the screen back to life, a blue screen offering easy configuration of a new computer. "That wily little..."
She didn't turn from the computer, but he knew he at least had more of her attention than he had earlier, as she replied. "I was trying to track the money. See if I could dig up anything new on the Council that appears to be backing this Giles guy, but I accidentally triggered a cyber trip wire. I didn't even see it until it was too late." She reached out, fingering the fuzz of a small plastic toy beside her keys, and he wondered if she even realised she'd done it.
"Anyways, next thing I know someone's shutting me down. I thought I had them for a bit, but all I bought was time." She turned to look at him, "Do you know how impossible that is? I mean, humility is one thing, but I'm good at this. It's why I work for you guys, rather than just getting free meals and shelter. And this girl, who according to her transcripts dropped her computer courses last year and started taking education courses, just kicked my ass. Thoroughly. I mean she installed Vista on my computer!"
Reid winced slightly at the pitch of her voice. "How do you know it was her?" He asked.
She turned around, lingering as the blue disappeared, replaced by the usual black screen of white text. "I just do. I mean, it can't be anyone else. I just didn't realise she was this good. She shouldn't be this good."
Reid hesitated. "Is she better than you?" He asked quietly.
Her fingers flicked again, and she was silent for a second. "I don't know." She said finally, and picked up a plush toy, dropping it in her lap and squeezing it before returning her fingers to the keys. "Maybe."
Reid finished his transcription of the message, and reread it, despite the fact that it was already stuck in his memory. He puzzled over some of the passages, wondering if like most aspects of this case, something that appeared one way was actually another. At least he hoped so, because if not-
"What'cha got there?" Derek asked, dropping into the seat next to him, and slouching comfortably in the hard plastic chair.
"A message. It appeared right before Willow shut Garcia down."
"Baby girl got shut down?" Derek asked in surprise, sitting up and grabbing the page. He skimmed it and concluded, "You need to show this to Hotchner or Rossi."
"I know, I just finished copying it down."
Derek stood up, the paper still in his hand. "Let’s go."
Reid held back a sigh, and followed him across the pen to conference room where most of the team was set up.
"You guys need to see this." Derek said, and dropped the page onto the table.
Hotchner picked it up. "Hey BAU. You guys want to know what the council is? Try looking this up. - In every generation there is a chosen one. One girl in all the world, to alone stand against the forces of darkness. She is the slayer. - You might not want to use computers for your search. Better luck next time. The Scoobies."
Emily was the first to speak. "So I guess there’s no doubt now that this a cult."
"And by the sound of it, the chances of this resolving without violence just went down." Rossi concurred.
"Okay," Hotcher said, sticking the letter onto the board they'd set up. "Lets start thinking this through. They're collecting young woman, seemingly at random from various walks of life. It started out small, but it's growing. None of the girls seem to be resisting. They're funded by an old well connected British agency that we can't get a fix on, and led by a man who used to be a curator, and a girl who dropped out of college. They have a hacker who can apparently stop anything."
"There's obviously a religious element." Derek continued. "A female chosen one, which also promotes the theory that Buffy is in charge. Something that puts that much power in the girls, tends to matriarchal, which would mean Giles would end up in a supportive, submissive role, rather than being the one in charge."
"And Buffy Summers is beautiful young woman, who knows it, and surrounds herself with intelligence, and according to the character assessments we could find from her old doctors, is a potent mix unstable and charming, which makes her the typical cult leader type." Emily expanded.
"But what religious influence does this cult have?" Reid asked. "Every picture of Buffy in our files; she's wearing a cross, but a female chosen one is not Judaeo-Christian. It's not any of the current dominant religions. My guess would be something Celtic, but I've never encountered this saying before. The patterning of it is too precise, too formal to be something they made up in high school."
"Although the designation 'Scoobies', makes me think of Scooby Doo. A band of kids, teamed together. This is something typical misfits will do, giving themselves a unique group named based on something familiar, to establish a bond, and create a unit, an ‘in’ that any non-Scooby - the rest of the world, wouldn’t have." Derek pointed out.
"And what is this slayer thing?" Rossi said. "Some female hero? Some ascended leader chosen out of the girls they’re assamasing. Will the slaying be metaphysical, or will it actually involve death. And death to whom? Those outside the cult, or the faithful within it. What is their end goal? What are they seeking and how are they brainwashing and keeping these girls."
"We have too many questions here." J.J. pointed out, speaking for the first time. "It sounds to me like you're trying to profile the cult, rather than a person. They may have a similar mindset-"
"-but we need to focus on the different types. Leaders. Followers. Faithful. Desperate." Hotcher interrupted, and walked over to the board, scanning it and then turned around to face them. "We need to focus. And I suggest..." he pulled a photo of Buffy down, and held it up. "We start at the top."
Reid tuned out the sound of Morgan and Prentiss arguing over the finer points of Buffy Summer's archetype. So far, they'd taken all the usual information, and come up with completely different profiles. They were used to being a highly effective team, but right now things had disintegrated to squabbles of what information didn't fit, what evidence was most important and who exactly she was. Reid had given up on making any suggestions to her character about the same time Jennifer and Garcia excused themselves from the room. Which was still a while before Hotcher and Rossi did the same. Reid left, and returned with as many books as he could find on female centric Celtic cults. Which meant that he knew more about Brigit and the rite of the first hay than he had ever wanted to but he still hadn't found anything on ‘The Chosen One’. And he'd run through the easily sourced material.
He stretched, and stood, and left the room without either of them looking up from their increasingly heated discussion. It was early enough that the bull pen was mostly empty, and he wandered past the other crime board on his way to the elevator. It was covered with the usual maps, as well as a suspect photo from a mug shot, of an older man, with grey hair and deep lines etched into his face. By the picture, Reid would have pegged him as homeless.
He looked at the victim photos. Young woman, with a small mark seared under their chin. A brand made blurry by swelling that hadn't had a chance to fade before their death. Each had a line bisecting the stitches the medical examiner had sown into their chest, too thick for a knife, but thin enough that it was some kind of blade.
Curious, he scanned a report tacked up. Arthur Worsely, 52, had been found sleeping in the streets, wearing a ring with the same marking as found on the first girl. Bail had been posted, and he'd taken out a bond on his apartment, which had been purchased by his recent employers WRH inc. And then he'd disappeared. The emergence of four more bodies, all killed in the same way as the first followed shortly after.
Reid straightened the sheets and stepped back. Seemed clear cut enough, but he recognised the company. What would a law firm want with employing a man who according to his profile hadn't finished high school? And since when did low level employees who'd been the company a few months, get free apartments? And why would a man with such an apartment, be sleeping in the streets?
Someone coughed, and he looked up, seeing one of the officer staring at him expectantly. He flushed slightly, and pushed the questions from his mind. "Sorry." He apologised for intruding, and hurried to the elevator. He dismissed the odd feelings that had risen as he stared at the board, and flipped open his phone, hoping the religion professor at U.C.L.A would be willing to help him find 'the chosen one'
"Professor Hanson?" Reid stepped into the cluttered office; avoiding the piles of books just inside the door that were acting as a secondary doorstop.
"Read the office hours." Then man replied, his voice a mix of harried and resigned, and pointed to a sign on the front of his desk without looking up.
"No... um... I'm not a student. I'm Dr. Spencer Reid... we talked on the phone?"
The man looked up, face brightening. "Of course. Come in. Sorry about that." He stood, and circled the desk, attempting to clear a stack of books off the chair that faced it. "What can I do for you Dr. Reid?"
"I'm with the B.A.U, and we're investigating a group that made reference to some bit of religious... lore that I'm afraid I don't recognise. I was hoping you might be able to help."
"I can certainly try. Please sit."
Reid did, and dropped his bag across his lap, flipped it open, extracted his transcription of the message.
The professor read it, and frowned, reading it again, his finger scanning along through the words. "Hmm. It's not something I'm very familiar with." He stood, still looking at the page, and wandered over to one of the bookshelves, fingers tracing the spines of several books. "And four months ago I would have said for certain that I could do nothing but make an educated guess... which would probably have wrong, but," He pulled a volume from the shelves. "I received this."
"What is it?"
"I'm not sure. I thought it was a hoax. A isolated prankster who decided to write a book to make himself feel important. Honestly, I would have gotten rid of it… I don’t have room for that kind of clutter. But the sentence in your text... ‘she alone will stand against the darkness. She is the chosen one.’ These are lines directly from the book, lines I remembered because they made me doubt it's authenticity. You know how rare it is to see that kind of female empowerment in the last millennium."
"You know how old the book is?" Spencer asked as Hanson handed it over.
"Educated guess; about four hundred years, this copy at least. Chances were this was an early English translation. I can't remember where in the book those lines were, but it's filled with a concern for mythology taken literally. The writer suggests that the world is full of dark creatures normally gone unobserved, all the stuff of nightmares, and that there is one girl, not the same girl, but always a girl, who is guided to battle them."
"One girl against the legions of darkness?"
"According to the book, it keeps them at bay. Like I said, I was planning to get rid of it. I hope it's helpful."
"Thank you." Reid stood and held out his hand, which the professor shook. He left, clutching the book that was at the moment their best lead, politely apologising to the startled student he bumped into on the way out of the office. He was so focused on his find, it took him until he was standing at his car, keys in hand, before he realised why she'd looked a little familiar. He considered going back, but Dawn Summers, was probably long gone by now.
Reid paused as the light beside his bed flickered; the wiring in his hotel long past the point at which it should have been replaced, and then returned to the page when it stabilized. He finished his note as he re-skimmed the page, double checking the pertinent words. The book, he'd realised less than thirty pages in, three hours ago now, was a lucky find. It seemed as if he had stumbled upon a copy of the exact manifesto that the cult drew from, and he was compiling a list of all the things in the book, the reasoning and mindset, figuring it would help refine their profile. He planned to show to the team in the morning, and figured they’d be able to offer the police a reasonable understanding of the cult by lunch.
The light flicked, failed for a second, and sputtered back to life. He was weighing whether a flashlight would be more convenient, when he realised something was out of place. He looked up, and nearly fell backwards off the bed in surprise.
Buffy Summers was leaning against the wall just inside the door, which appeared to still be shut and locked as he had left it. Her arms were crossed, eyes narrowed and focused on him... and the book clutched to his chest.
His heart thudded, and he tried to speak over it. "Hello."
"Dawn said you got lucky." She replied, nodding at the book as he set it down carefully, hands still unsteady with his surprise. She strode across the room, covering the space faster than someone of her stature should have been able to, and he flinched in surprise. She ignored him, and reached for his notes, flipping through them. When she looked at him, the expression on her face was heavy with disgust.
"You are not as smart as I thought you were." She commented, voice still as cool as it had been the last time.
"I figured it out didn't I?" He defended himself on instinct before he realised what he was doing.
"No." she said, dropping the pages. "You didn't. But you'll probably get a gold star and a cookie anyways. You keep missing it Spencer. The big picture. The truth is out there and all that jazz."
"How should I know? What I'm saying is have you ever considered the possibility that just because someone believes something that seems very different from what you think is true, that maybe they aren’t nuts?"
"I respect other peoples religious beliefs when they fall within the law, Buffy." Spencer explained, "But not when they endanger young girls."
"And what about when they're not religious? You ever consider there is proof out there; you just haven't seen it yet?"
"Why? If this-" he gestured at the book. "-is true, why haven't I noticed-"
"Because we are all very good at our jobs."
His brain found the subtext in a flash of insight. "You think you're one of them. The chosen ones."
"All signs point to yes." She snarked.
"Then why the girls?"
"I can't give you all the answers, Spencer."
"How about giving me anything? You’re making us do all the work, and then scolding me for coming to wrong assumptions. If I'm so far off, why don't you explain it. Try to teach me."
"Would you listen. Or would you just analyse for an way in. To try and figure out a way to ship me back to a tiny white room that no one visits."
"I would visit."
She stared at him for a moment, and he wondered if he'd managed, finally, to get a little bit under her shell, and then her fingers moved, too fast for him to make sense of what she was doing, and then the room went dark as the lamp cut out, and it was another moment of waiting before he realised that this time it wouldn't come back on again.
"Guys." He cleared his throat, and placed the book down on one of the paper stacks on the conference table. Emily and Derek looked up from their work. "We should probably get everyone in here."
It took less than five minutes for everyone to assemble. They were all drawn and tired looking, and he suspected that it was the failure to pin Buffy, the first profile, down. They were used to being right and being efficient. Moving forward in quick precision, not stumbling around in the dark unable to find anything. And it was wearing them down at an alarming rate.
"I found something." He pointed at the book, and handed out half the stack of photocopied notes to J.J., who was sitting at his left, giving the rest to Hotchner to go the other way. "I contacted a religion professor at ULCA, and he was able to direct me towards a book that had word for word, the line used in the message. It also has background, and mythos. I studied it and complied the most pertinent facts. Basically, this book rewrites human history, presenting an alternant timeline as fact. To put it into perspective, it is like a book detailing the events of the holocaust, written for someone who doesn't believe it happened. Only instead of documenting World War Two it documents-"
"Demons?" Derek asked, brow raised in scepticism, looking up from his copy of the notes.
Reid nodded. "Yes. Quite extensively, in fact. Parts of it read as detailed biology reports for fictional creatures. Scents, textures. sketches. Feeding habits. Whoever made this was very dedicated, very elaborate. And whoever made this did this some time ago. Based on the writing styles, I would guess that the version I found was a translation to English, not an original manuscript. I would also say that it had been translated before, and there was one section that was actually in cuneiform, with a translation beside it, so how old this book is, I can't really say. If it were presented as fiction, or there was any hint that the author was joking, it might even be a significant literary find. As it is... it's a little disturbing. This cult goes back far into written history. Each generation that preserved this manuscript, each that cared enough to translate it, was a group of people with no concept of reality. Each was a group who idealized a girl, possibly even taking one and making her face terrible tasks. There were a few notes, footnotes, to volumes of diaries, and a snippet of one was written in the margin of one of the pages. It describes an altercation between the beast being described on that page, and a young girl who dies in the confrontation. The message is not really about the girl, but seems to attempt to provide more information about the creature. This is very deep dissociation, very severe, and by all indications, very persistent."
"But demons?" Derek repeated when Reid took a breath.
"Yes. The crux of this idea is that there is a whole world that we haven't bothered to notice. One that threatens us from the shadows, that only a chosen one, a girl between the ages of 13 and 18, can defend us against it." Reid smiled slightly. "This book asks us to believe the truth is out there."
Hothner's expression sharpened and he laid his sheets down carefully. "That seems like an odd expression for a book as old as this to use."
"But who? You don't normally quote television Reid."
He hesitated, and then admitted. "Buffy."
"Buffy gave you here opinion on this book?" Emily asked, voice pitched slightly higher than normal.
"Yes. She confirmed that she believes it."
"She confirmed it when?" Rossi asked, leaning forward.
Reid fought the urge to redirect the conversation back to the breakthrough information he had uncovered, and answered the question. "Last night. She ugh... broke into my hotel room."
"She did what?" Derek asked, brows pulling down. Beside him, Garcia's mouth fell open, eyes going wide.
"She appeared. My lamp flickered and... she was there. She talked about the book, said we were missing the truth, and then the power went out and she was gone."
Derek swore quietly. "And you don't find that creepy?"
The confession came loose before he could think. "No. She was there before, and she didn't-"
"In your hotel room?"
"In the doorway."
"And you didn't think to tell us?" Derek’s anger redirected smoothly.
"No, I-" Reid stopped as Derek got up and stormed from the room. "I forgot." He said, looking at the rest of them.
"You can't forget something like that." Emily said.
"We'll need to have you moved. Under surveillance. And if you see her again, you will need to call in. No hesitations." Rossi said firmly, voice flat and unhappy.
"I think... I think that might cost us what might be the only chance we have of getting to her."
"I don't think there is a chance." Hotchner lifted his pages. "I don't think she's going to respond to reason."
"I think I almost got through before." Reid argued. "I-"
"I'm not willing to risk it. Emily will escort you to your new rooms." Rossi cut in. "We should be able to present the profiles this evening."
Reid sat back, looking miserably at the old book that he thought was the key, with the sinking feeling that everything had just gone from bad to worse. And it would keep going downhill long before it got better.
"These individuals are dissociative. The leader, who we believe to be Buffy Summers, not Rupert Giles, has a clearly defined hero complex, which was actually diagnosed during her adolescent years. This complex creates a drive to save, and in her case, save from imaginary threats, possibly by throwing the subject into danger, much the way a firefighter with this complex would set a fire to be able to save it's victims. We believe that she has been doing this for quite some time, and is now looking to pass of the torch, as it were, to another person, so that she could... almost retire. And another girl would be responsible for saving-"
"You're talking shit."
Emily stopped suddenly, her hands stilling in the air, and they all looked into the crowd of blue. Reid noticed that Kate, who'd situated herself at the back, was smiling slightly.
"Excuse me?" Rossi said.
The cop cleared his throat. "Nothing." He grumbled, looking away.
"No. Not nothing. You said something man, and we want to hear what it was." Derek challenged.
Another man stood up. "He said this is shit. And he's right. No offence, cause we were briefed on your track record, but we don't need you here. This is just the mayor, who knows jack, giving in to the screeching of some woman who's husband misses the opportunity to beat on his eldest girl. There is no problem here."
"No problem?" Emily asked, in astonishment. "Girls are being sucked into a dangerous cult, and there is no problem?"
"They're not being sucked." Another officer broke in, and there were a few snickers, "They're walking in. Of their own free will. And walking out whenever they feel like it."
"This is a dangerous mindset. Poisonous to the structure of society. Would you want these girls talking to your daughters?"
One of the older men answered. "No. If I ever had Buffy Summers knock at my door, I'd break down crying, but if she moved into my neighbourhood, my mother's neighbourhood... I'd throw a fucking parade."
"Why?" Reid asked.
There were some rumblings as no one said anything specific.
"Reports." Kate said finally. "We have about a thousand. Robberies, gang attacks. Buffy and company show up and the problem goes away."
"And that doesn’t worry you?" Derek asked incredulously.
"No." The man who'd stared it finally looked up, face red. "That's like asking the people of the Metropolis whether having superman save them was a bother."
"You think this girl is a superhero?" Hotchner questioned. "You’re cops! You should know even if she is just a vigilantly, and not at the root of these attacks, it still won’t end well.”
"Of course it doesn’t." The guy continued, standing up. "People die. They always die. What were trying to tell you, is that we have boxes of case reports where when she shows up, they die less. My youngest boy is going to UCLA next year. A year ago the disappearance and death rate among students was 17%, most of those freshmen. Since the girls from the Summer home started going there, there have been five people. Not five percent, but 5 people! Bottom line, I'm not helping you in this witch hunt. I have a family to think about."
He stood, and walked away. Another bunch of cops followed. They rest who stayed looked hostile at best, many of them almost mutinous.
"Dt. Lockley." Hotchner said coolly. "A word, if you will." And he exited the room with as much dignity as was possible to salvage from that briefing turned clucsterfuck.
Derek turned to Reid, and blatantly ignored the remaining uniforms were making their way out, having decided the briefing was now officially over. "What the hell just happened?"
"I don't know." Reid answered automatically, but he wasn't entirely sure that was true. It seemed to him this was oddly reminiscent of the last briefing he'd tried to give. There was something about this case that make everyone less than receptive to hearing about it.
“What the hell is in the water around here?" Prentiss hissed as they headed for the room where Hotchner and Lockley appeared to be arguing quietly.
"I don't know, I'm just glad I brought bottled." Morgan said.
"But that did just happen?"
"Yeah." J.J. nodded, "It really did."
"I can understand them not liking our profile, or disagreeing with it, granted that would make more sense if we were pointing at law enforcement, but not wanting it at all?" Emily pressed.
"You read the case reports." Reid pointed out.
She whirled. "Yeah?"
"I'm just saying... there's a lot about this that has never made sense."
Emily frowned, unable to contest that. They paused, at the edge of the room, and listened, unashamedly.
"Look, I'm crossing my t's and dotting my i's all right. I've had enough trouble without staging a coup. You guys want to throw yourself up against a wall, that's fine. My job is to help you in any way I can."
"It's been clear since the beginning that you have no interest in our presence here." Hotchner said coldly, "It's not unreasonable to think-"
"Yeah. But it's unreasonable to accuse. I know you're stressed... these people will make you crazy. But this is not my doing. I didn't organise that. I didn't condone that."
"You allowed it."
"You furthered it. If you hadn't pressed, it would have died down into murmurs. I figured you wanted to listen for a change."
Reid pushed open the door, ignoring the look Morgan shot him, and stepped in, and Kate halted mid sentence, both of them turning to glare at his interruption.
"Um, sorry. I was just wondering... does this mean we move on? To a new case. We've done the profile. The police know where the suspect is."
The others filed in, and waited just as expectantly.
"No." Rossi walked in the door on the other side. "So far we haven't actually done anything. This isn't about filling a quota, this is about those girls."
"Those girls don't want to be saved." Kate pointed out quietly.
He glared at her. "Do you know that? Have you talked to them?"
"Yes." Kate shot back. "Have you?"
Rossi paused. "No. You have access to them?"
Kate smiled. "Yeah. I went to the Summer home. And pushed the doorbell."
"They let you in?"
"No swat team required."
Feedback is the stuff dreams are made of :)