Fandoms: Criminal Minds/Doctor Who
Characters Spencer Reid, Penelope Garcia, Aaron Hotchner, Derek Morgan, The Doctor (Eleven)
Word count: 2,103
Spoilers: S6-ish for Dr. Who (though really all you need to have seen is the S3 episode "Blink"), very vague S6 for Criminal Minds
Warnings: Kidnapping, internal monologues about mental illness
Disclaimer: Doctor Who and Criminal Minds belong to their respective creators, who are not me.
A/N: Thanks to etoiledunord for betaing!
Summary: Spencer Reid finds something he doesn’t remember, in a book he knows by heart, relating to a case close to hand. Does he dare trust an unfamiliar memory when a girl’s life is on the line?
Spencer knew every paper in his childhood house, every letter, every bill, every book his mother ever let him read. He knew the notes in the margins, the scrawled notations on the backs of pictures, the pointed reminders he’d written to try to remind Mom to take her medication or eat supper. He knew every case file he’d ever read, every madman’s notebook he’d ever been asked to view, every professional journal, every technical manual, everything. That was part of him, something he’d realized about the time he’d turned seven.
And there was something he’d never read before in a book he’d re-read once a year since he’d been twelve.
Don’t blink. It was in an unfamiliar hand, in bright blue ink, right on the flyleaf. He hadn’t taken the book into the police station, Hotch never left the SUV unlocked, and the rest of the time it had been in his satchel within his sight. No one could have gotten to the book. But Spencer never remembered reading those words. Spencer remembered everything.
A thread of fear firmly wrapped itself around his spine.
He double-checked the lock on his hotel room door and set his forehead against the wood, trying to think. Spencer forced himself to calm down, interviewing himself with the thoroughness of the witness he’d questioned earlier today. Eyes shut, ignoring visual distraction, he brought up all his senses and set them loose on his memory.
The plane landing in the darkness, night already in Tampa. Landing gear loud against the tarmac. A glance at his watch: 11 o’clock. They’d gotten the call late. They’d left Quantico after 10 p.m. Hotch’s voice greeting the sleep-deprived and nervous detective that had met them at the airport-.
Stop, go back further. What happened earlier?
Hotch had gotten them all on the plane with the words: “Kidnapping, four hours and counting.” They hadn’t had time for anything else. But there had been a five-minute delay on take-off. The pilot had said something about being diverted to another runway before they’d been allowed to board. Morgan had been shifting with impatience next to him.
Where had his book been? In the satchel at his side-- he remembered having to shift it in his seat so it wouldn’t dig into his hip.
The plane taking off, Garcia talking from the laptop screen. Hotch tense, J.J. pale, grim set to Morgan’s mouth, Rossi and Prentiss all business.
“This is the second missing child in this area in a year.” Garcia’s voice had fed them what they needed to know in the absence of advance files. Two children, united virtually only in age: 10 years old. One had been white, the other Hispanic, one male, the other female. Both mildly popular, one a slight troublemaker, one with siblings, one without, both with roughly upper middle-class families. No enemies, no threats, no ransom, no body. Relatively close geographically, but no known association through families or school. Both children had been warned against danger. Maria Constentino, the newest missing child, was known to keep her cell phone with her at all times, but she hadn’t used it. It had been turned off, and Garcia couldn’t turn it back on.
Had he had the book with him when Hotch was talking with the lead detective on the runway? No, he’d put his satchel in the SUV so he could have his hands free to look at the map that had been spread over the hood of a squad car. Hotch had sent him to interview Maria’s friends and family while the others went to her school and home. He’d had the satchel with him when Maria’s classmate Tanya had told him she’d seen her walking home from school at 4 p.m. That was the last time anyone had seen her. Tanya had cried as she spoke, and grabbed his hands, begging him to find her friend. It had been near midnight, and everyone was still frantically looking for Maria.
Next? Keep going, don’t dwell.
Talking by phone, collating data, condensing Maria Constentino’s life into words and pictures on a white board. Maps and photos emphasized points of intersection between her and Bobby Kerrigan, the first missing boy. The points were random and few; Spencer had looked at them until his eyes crossed, trying to make sense of them. By 4 a.m. Hotch’s voice had gone rough and tattered. He told the team to sleep in shifts so someone would be relatively fresh when new information came in. He made Spencer go first. At the hotel, Spencer had showered, remembered hearing the squealing of brakes outside his window as he-.
Brakes. The hotel was not on a highway. The braking had gone on too long for even the worst pile-up. It hadn’t been braking.
Spencer pulled himself away from the door and faced the book again. He opened the cover and saw the flyleaf again.
He turned the page.
You’re not going mad.
Same handwriting as before. Next page, top margin.
You know they’re connected.
You can save her.
These were not part of his copy of A Wrinkle in Time. He knew this book like the back of his hand. He kept turning pages, hunting for what didn’t match his memory.
Check the maps. The killer could only hide in once place. The place they both went.
Tell me where.
Stop reading until you figure it out, Spencer.
He dropped the book as if it had burned him and pulled a copy of the local map from the file in his bag. Blue ink stained it from where he’d copied his useless speculations, and he spread it out on his bed with trepidation, wondering if there would be something else on here that he didn’t recall writing.
An old memory intruded with the clarity of his earlier recollections.
His mother curled up in her bed for the second week in a row, protecting herself the only way she knew, by hiding within the words within the covers of books. Anything to ignore the terror the world had become.
He wouldn’t let himself succumb to the fantasy world that had claimed her.
Spencer wrote, “Don’t blink,” on the edge of the map. The handwriting was not the same as the book. He took small comfort in that.
He dragged his eyes up the map from his writing, right between Maria and Bobby’s houses. His eyes snagged on a square of green. Harmless. A city cemetery, bordered by busy streets on all sides.
Garcia took ten rings to answer the phone, her chirpy voice now far more scratchy, putting the static of fatigue into the digital line.
“Boy genius, you’re supposed to be asleep!”
“Garcia, did Bobby or Maria have family buried in Woodlawn Cemetery?”
Clicking of the keys, fuelled by adrenaline, espresso, and the sudden infusion of hope.
“Grandparents!” she exclaimed suddenly. His phone beeped as information popped up on the tiny screen. Death certificates, tombstone pictures-.
There was a weeping angel on each of the graves. Identical angels. Identical statues for families that didn’t know each other, in a cemetery that had thousands of graves.
Spencer flipped the next page of the book.
Meet me there. You can save her.
His memory felt clear. He remembered everything but those words. Those words were the one new thing, the one new fact that was tipping the balance from random points of intersection to a pattern. He didn’t know if that pattern added up to a person yet, but it was the closest he’d gotten to Maria since he’d landed in Tampa.
He made sure his gun was secure and tucked the book under his arm.
“Garcia, tell everyone else where I’m going.”
He turned one last page.
Don’t blink, Spencer. Whatever you do, don’t blink.
The cemetery was vast, and Spencer could feel the urgency beating against his chest as he hunted for the gravesite. Normally he would be riding in the back of the SUV, processing facts or talking to Garcia as Morgan or Hotch sped towards the unsub’s location. Now he was on his own, the SUV parked behind him, gun out, book shoved under his Kevlar vest as he went down the row. The Constentino grave should be-.
The weeping angel loomed out of the dim light to his left, and he turned to stare at it. He hadn’t been expecting it so soon. It should have been-. A flick of his eyes, and he realized it was not standing over the Constentino grave. That grave was four down from where he was standing.
The statue had moved closer in that brief flicker of inattention.
Spencer’s eyes watered immediately at the comment, and he winked one eye, then the other, to keep the weeping angel in sight.
Statues don’t move. The ridiculous solemnity of the comment somehow didn’t provide any comfort.
“Keep looking at it. Back up, slowly.”
The urge to check behind him was almost overwhelming with every step backwards along the damp grass. The voice was British, quietly urgent, and close.
“Who are you?”
“We can save her, Spencer.”
Somehow Spencer knew that if he were to look at the speaker, his memory would fail again, because the statue would move again. Not because he was fatigued or stressed and suffering from eyestrain, but because it was capable of independent movement. Spencer was positive of that fact, positive as the clues in his book.
Statues do not move. I’m going mad.
“You’re not going mad. Keep moving.”
“How’d you put those notes in my book?”
“Time travel. Long story, but little Maria is somewhere back in 1910, and I didn’t know where to find her until you told me. Watch your step.”
Grass changed to smooth parquet floor under his feet, and Spencer’s peripheral vision showed him going through a narrow doorway. He heard the sounds of a huge room behind him, and curiosity screamed at him to look. The silent screams of Maria rang louder in his ears, and he kept her face firmly in his memory as he stared at the statue.
“Did you know Weeping Angels hate mirrors? Can’t stand them, rather like a cross to a vampire, provided that vampires were quantum-locked stone time-traveling assassins with a terrible appetite for lifespan. I wouldn’t put that in your report if I were you, looks a bit daft on paper. Keep watching, I have a nice triple-mirror set-up right behind the TARDIS, but I’d hate to let the Angel know I’m about to trick it. I’ll gather the Angel up and put it somewhere harmless once you’ve gotten the girl, promise.”
Spencer almost cracked a smile at the voice’s earnestness. “We’re going to 1910 to find her?”
“Should be.” Mysterious snaps, boings, and twangs were going on behind him as the voice moved around. “Oh, right, 2012, March 23rd, guy in the bowtie is totally cool enough to let sit at your table, promise. Talk about Maria, would you? Help me figure out about Bobby, too, because you’ve got quite the brain on you and I don’t say that about anyone. And remind me that the 1970’s weren’t nearly as groovy as I thought they were.”
Spencer felt the weight of the gun in his hand and wondered if he would remember any of this when he woke up.
“I promise,” he said.
“Good, excellent. Just as a reminder, it was a fair bit swampier here in 1910.”
Morgan and Hotchner were the first two on the scene, the first to find Spencer Reid, covered in mud up to his eyebrows, supporting an equally-muddy and very dazed Maria Constentino, who was babbling fragments of something about statues and a man with a blue box. There wasn’t any mud within two hundred yards of that section of the cemetery, but between the knot on Maria’s skull from where she’d slipped and fallen and Spencer’s story of locating her lost in the far reaches of the vast cemetery, they had no choice to but to believe him. And with another life saved, neither was willing to argue with Spencer’s memory of things.
On the ride home, Spencer took out the book he’d had tucked under his vest, now stained with mud. He flipped through the pages, and stopped on the inside back cover where now-familiar handwriting was scrawled.
It was signed The Doctor.
Spencer took a pen and wrote the March meeting date under the name. It was something he definitely did not want to forget.
Prompt: Doctor Who/Criminal Minds Scenario: Don't blink Reid. Whatever you do, don't blink.
Messing with memories.