Series: A Universe of Meetings
Fandom: Criminal Minds,
Tags: Undercover, Agent Hotch, Gambler Reid,
Pairings: Aaron Hotchner/Spencer Reid,
Characters: Aaron Hotchner/Spencer Reid,
Summary: Someone is killing high rolling players at a Vegas Casino. Hotch ends up going in undercover.
Warnings: Graphic Depictions of Violence,
Hotch had been undercover for a week before one of the main suspects made it back to the tables. He’d been expecting him back before now. Garcia’s voice in his ear about the information on all those at the table was soothing. Morgan was a bartender but other than that, there was no one else in the building right now. Prentiss and JJ were ‘off’ today as servers. Rossi was at another casino with three other suspects.
There were currently three suspects in the murders of players at the table with Hotch right now. Two middle aged men who were clean as a whistle but still viable suspects and one who had a few charges but nothing that spoke to murder. Spencer Reid was leaned back in his chair, looking at his cards and smiling. Hotch had seen him play in the weeks leading up to the undercover case but still hadn’t figured out if the kid had any tells. The profile for him was a vague as the profile for the killer they were after.
Reid was a professional gambler. He moved from city to city in a rotation that only made sense to him. The last three cities he had been in had no murders that could be connected to him but that didn’t make a difference. Hotch knew that he was intelligent. If he was the UNSUB, there could be a lot of bodies in every single city that had a high profile enough gambling center. The way that Reid looked at him though told Hotch that the man was very interested in him, he just wanted sure if it was sexual or professional.
A big event was happening behind closed doors later that night. Hotch had heard whispers but he had no way of getting an invite to the event. Every single victim so far had been a loser at the events that had taken place before. It was the same players every time, outside of those who died. Hotch hoped that if he played enough over the next week, he’d get invited to the next one. If not, the undercover operation was for nothing.
“Sir,” a waitress said as she handed over a new drink. Hotch looked at it. He hadn’t ordered it. “Enjoy, Sir.”
She was gone before Hotch could say anything. He looked down at the clear drink. It looked like tequila or vodka on the rocks. Under the tumbler though was a chip. It was silver and looked nothing like the chips the facility used. He knew what it was though. It was the invite to tonight’s event. Looking around the table, Hotch took a small sip of the drink. It was water. He nearly stopped his gaze around the table at that. Someone knew he wasn’t drinking. His own glass of whiskey on the rocks was actually tea. His server for the night knew not to give him anything with alcohol in it but the woman who had dropped this off hadn’t been his server.
One of the three men at the table who were invited to the event knew that he wasn’t drinking. He needed to figure out whom.
“Sir, I can’t tell who ordered the drink. In fact none of the men at the table have even done a single thing to tell me that they have talked to anyone who isn’t at the table. That means that they ordered it for your beforehand and it was delivered now.
Hotch nodded to let her know that he heard her and looked around the table again. Reid was staring at him now, openly. There was barely disguised lust in his eyes. That answer his question from before. Reid was looking at him sexually. Hotch kept the stare up, not turning away. Reid smiled at him and took a drink of his own drink, slightly saluting him before turning to look back at his cards and the pot in front of him.
Seven hours later, the game broke up. Hotch had come out ahead but wasn’t the winner by a long shot. Reid had cleaned out every other man at the table. Tonight’s event was going to be stress filled as the men at the table worked to get their money back.
Arriving at exactly the right time at the ballroom, Hotch handed over the chip and entered. The bouncer let him in and shut the door behind him. Hotch didn’t know what to expect but to find Rossi there as well as Morgan bartending was not it. Both nodded at him and gave him looks of shock. Hotch didn’t like it. He didn’t like not having a gun. Most of the suspects were already there, including Reid.
Hotch moved to the table and found that he was seated in between Rossi and Reid and his position had eyes on every single doorway. He’d been told that once he entered the room, he would be alone. There would be no backup but something else was going on. The last suspect arrived and everyone made their way to the table.
It was halfway through the game and Hotch shifted his position, his leg brushing something. Carefully, he moved a hand under the table and found a holster there with a gun in it. He knew from the feel that it was a Glock. Shifting again, Hotch found that one was under Rossi’s part of the table as well.
Hotch profiled every single man at the table and other than Reid, the only one that stood out was the man across from him, Stephen Galldecker. Before last night, Galldecker was the winner of every game played. The victims had been the ones who had before then been the best to beat him. Hotch was worried about the man beside him. If Galldecker lost to him, Reid could very well lose his life that night.
Watching Reid play was like watching a person with ADD do anything. He seemed to focus on everything all at once and his eyes shifted more than Hotch had noticed before. It was the final hand, down to Reid and Galldecker. Hotch had been out for five rounds and Rossi two before that.
A hand on his thigh had Hotch jumping slightly. He looked down to see that it was Reid. The hand was caressing his thigh like a lover would. It was subtle but it helped calm Hotch down. He wasn’t going to deny that Reid pushed his buttons. If Reid wasn’t a suspect in the case, Hotch probably would have flirted with him.
The hand was gone as quickly as it was there and Reid laid down his cards. Galldecker slammed his own cards down and stood up. Reid jumped up as well and that’s when Hotch saw the gun. Grabbing his own gun from under the table, Hotch stood.
“Drop your weapon! FBI!”
Rossi had his gun trained on Galldecker and Hotch heard Morgan clearing the bar behind them. The other men at the table scrambled out of the way as quickly as they could. Hotch watched them all.
“You little faggot,” Galldecker spat at Reid as he squeezed the trigger. The sound of three other guns going off were loud in Hotch’s ear. He watched as Reid spun out of the corner of his eye. Galldecker was shot three times all center body mass. Rossi moved quickly and cleared Galldecker. Reid was sitting down in his chair with a hand wrapped around his upper arm.
“It went through and through.” Reid spoke through gritted teeth. Hotch grabbed the scarf that was wrapped around Reid’s neck and used it to staunch the blood flow. “Never thought I would be in a shootout.”
“You’ll be fine.” Hotch kept both his hand on the wound, trying to stop the blood flow. He heard Morgan on the phone getting medics. He wasn’t worried. It would hurt for a while but that would be it. Reid should have no other issues with the shot.
Reid smiled at him and leaned forward. Hotch tried to stop him but Reid’s good hand wrapped around his neck and he was pulled in. Reid pressed his lips to Hotch’s for a few seconds before pulling back.
“Thank you, Agent.”
Hotch only nodded. He didn’t want to think of how nice Reid’s lips felt on his. Reid smiled as he leaned back and closed his eyes. It was only a minute before Hotch was pulled away as EMTs arrived on scene. Hotch walked Reid out into the ambulance before he went back inside.
“There was another undercover agency there,” Rossi said as he sat down beside Hotch inside the conference room where the BAU was finishing up everything with the case. “We are not allowed to know who just that he or she is the reason that we all had weapons and got the invite to tonight. We aren’t even sure if it was one of the other seven players in the room.”
“Why are we not being given the identity of the agent?”
“Their case is still ongoing.” Rossi handed over the typed letter with no signature. Hotch read it over. The letter said what Rossi had told him. The words were generalized and hide whatever the intelligence of the writer.
“We proceed like normal. Have we heard any word on how Reid is doing?”
“LEOs said that he’s doing fine. It was a clean shot. He’ll have no issues. If he hadn’t jerked away from the shot, it would have went through his heart. Ballistics match the other murders. Galldecker will be going away for a while.”
“Wonder if we will ever know about the case?”
Hotch entered the BAU bullpen. He was the first to arrive every day. He stopped at was once an empty desk. There was a small stack of files and a messenger bag sitting there. He looked around. He saw the movement in his office.
“Agent Hotchner,” a familiar voice called out from the office. Hotch watched as Spencer Reid appeared in the doorway. He was dressed in a sweater vest with a dress shirt and a tie, slacks, and a pair of converse with mismatched socks. What drew his gaze though was the gun at his hip. It was a revolver. “Hi.”
“Hello. You have me at a disadvantage.”
“Doctor Spencer Reid. Agent Doctor Spencer Reid.”
“You were the undercover agent.” Hotch watched the smile blossom on Reid’s face.
“Yes. Why don’t we sit? It would be better than talking across the bullpen.” Reid disappeared into the office and Hotch walked up the stairs. Reid was sitting in the chair across the desk, a cup of coffee in his hand. There was a second cup on the desk. Black, the way that Hotch liked it. Hotch took the seat next to him. “I didn’t expect him to blow up and try to kill me in a room full of people.”
“No. It’s not.” Reid took a sip of his coffee. “I knew who Agent Rossi was the moment that I saw him. I knew that he had been retired so to be in the field again he had to be back in the BAU. It didn’t take long for me to figure out the rest of the team. Getting the invites wasn’t too hard. No one watched me closely.”
“You were able to get us guns inside that room?”
“I could have gotten everyone in that room had they been working that night. It was my week to set the event up. You picked a good week to play your best hands.”
“So what agency do you work for?”
“At the moment? I don’t have a boss. I am in between units. I left organized crime as was agreed upon when I joined up but my new Unit Chief hasn’t accepted me yet. The undercover operation was supposed to take two years, it ended up taking seven. The Unit Chief that agreed to take me in is no longer with the Unit I want.”
“Not odd for seven years.” Hotch watched Reid’s behavior. The young man was relaxed.
“No.” Reid leaned over the desk and grabbed a file. Hotch remembered Strauss setting the file on his desk, telling him it was a request for a transfer. All the pieces fit into place.
“You were the prodigy that Gideon wanted brought in. Three doctorates, two BAs. He said that you would be greater than him one day.”
“I’ve got another PhD and two more BAs since then. It’s all in the file. I came in early to talk to you about what happened while we were waiting on the medics.”
Hotch knew what Reid meant. The kiss. Hotch opened the file and read over it. Reid sat in front of him with no signs of nervousness or anything like it. The evaluations since coming out of the operation were good. A PhD in philosophy and two BAs in criminal justice and social psychology.
“It was decided that using my gambling as a way to pay for degrees was a good cover. No one questioned why a young genius would gamble to get money.”
“I watched you read during a break in a game, can you really read that fast?”
“I can read 20,000 words a minute and have an eidetic memory. I was actually reading slow most of the time to not attract too much attention. I’m sorry I never figured a way to get you a backup weapon.”
“How did you know?” Hotch looked up at Reid.
“When you cross your legs, you never rest where a backup holster would be on your knee. You probably have a small Glock of some kind and the holster rests on your left inner leg. You are left handed but keep your gun on the right to seem more normal. It’s a tactic to confuse the UNSUB when you confront them.”
“You are good.”
“Hotch.” Rossi entered the room and stopped when he took in the sight of Reid sitting there.
“David Rossi, you remember Spencer Reid.”
Reid stood up and shook hands with Rossi as the rest of the team stood in the doorway. Every single one of them knew him. Rossi’s eyes were glued to the gun at Reid’s waist.
“Doctor Reid is the newest member of the team. His undercover case with organized crime ended and he got the pick of jobs he wanted.”
“Hotch?” Morgan asked.
“I was supposed to join the BAU under Gideon when he was in charge but was pulled for organized crime first.” Reid picked up his cup of coffee and took a drink of it. The first real tell that Hotch had ever seen the young man do. He was nervous. He was joining a team that had been a team for a while. Before when he would have entered he would have had Gideon to shore him up.
“You got us the weapons into the room?” Morgan asked. Reid only nodded. Morgan stepped up and shook hands with him. “Thank you.