Rating: R for innuendo and somewhat graphic descriptions of harm to humans
Written for the Post-Christmas Crossover Fest at torchwood_fest
Crossover with: Criminal Minds
Prompt: Torchwood requests that the BAU help profile some alien species in order to catch them. Would like a case fic, but underlying... Hotch is hesitant to start a relationship with Reid since he is his boss... Jack and Ianto notice the tension and offer their advice to move the couple forward into a relationship. Nothing too fluffy, I like when they are the manly men they are... but definitely obvious affection/desire between the couples.
Word Count: This part - 5644
Summary: The BAU is loaned to the United Kingdom to help find a serial torture/rape killer who's been dumping bodies in Caerphilly Castle's moat. Torchwood is brought in when they find that the bodies that haven't completely decomposed are found to have no nerve tissue left, apparently eaten from the inside out. They need to work together to get rid of the threat.
Timeframe: Classic Torchwood with no dead people in it. Criminal Minds at least a year after the mess with Foyet.
Characters from Torchwood: Jack Harkness, Ianto Jones, Gwen Cooper, Owen Harper, Kathy Swanson
Characters from Criminal Minds: Aaron Hotchner, Dr. Spencer Reid, Jennifer Jareau, David Rossi, Emily Prentiss, Derek Morgan, Penelope Garcia
Pairings: Jack/Ianto and a taste of Hotch/Reid
Disclaimer: I do not own Torchwood nor do I own Criminal Minds. They belong to other people. I have no intentions on disrupting anyone's copyrights. I just like to play in the sandbox.
Warnings: Descriptions of torture/rape victims, really icky aliens, and some more gross subjects. Nothing very graphic occurs on stage, but it may trouble some people to hear it talked about.
A/N 1: Caerphilly Castle is a real castle with an honest-to-goodness moat, about 10 miles from Cardiff and Newport. Everything about the surronding area is as accurate as I could make it based on Google maps and much searching.
A/N 2: For those who are unfamiliar with the gorgeous people of Criminal Minds, go here:
Touching a Nerve, Part 2
Rossi rolled up the window. "Is it always this green?" he asked.
"Most of the time," Ianto told him. The young man was almost as much an encyclopedia as Reid, but after two of Reid’s rambles which Rossi cut off in mid-sentence, he had apparently decided to keep his answers to the point.
Emily laughed. "I can see why you warned us about the caves. They’re all over the place."
Reid and Ianto spoke almost simultaneously, "The sub-stratum of…" They stopped, smiling at one another. Rossi decided if they got any cuter he would have to strangle them both.
Ianto suddenly tapped his ear. "Yes, Tosh?" After about thirty seconds, he said, "Give me a minute."
He raised his voice slightly. You might want to sit back in your seats."
Rossi moved slightly. There was a soft whine beside him and he stared as a computer screen and keyboard appeared like magic. Emily and Reid had one each as well. The young genius looked across at Ianto with bright eyes. "Can you do sleight -of-hand, too?"
"My fingers were never limber enough to do it well."
"After this is over, I’ll teach you some."
Rossi grinned internally. Not if Hotch had anything to say about it. He had already seen the slight hardening around his mouth when the two young men started chatting with each other. God, if Hotch would just do something instead of suppressing his feelings…
His chain of thought was broken when the screen in front of him was filled with Garcia’s bright face. "This is the first time I’ve ever talked to a car before. I mean, I’ve talked to you while you were driving and all, but this time I’m actually talking directly to the SUV! I’ll have to give her a name."
He could see Emily biting her lip to keep in the giggle in check. "What have you got for us?"
"They’ve managed to identify two more of the victims. They’re pretty much the same as the others as prostitutes and petty thieves. Some of them had possession on their records as well."
"It looks like we have an opportunistic killer," Rossi observed. "No specific victimology; grabbing them because they’re accessible?"
"The local coppers – they call them that here and I like it – have managed to come up with some relatives. Here are the mug shots of the new ones." The screen changed to pictures of a boy and a girl. She had red hair tied back into a scraggly pony tail. She had a gaunt pinched face and her blue eyes looked dilated. The boy was black-haired, younger looking than the girl, but had that same pinched appearance. One eyebrow was pierced by a gold ring.
Both of them were too young to be dead.
From the front seat, Reid said, "Have they contacted any of the relatives?"
"Funny you should ask, boy wonder. They did dig up some relatives here in Cardiff and some in Newport. Gwen took JJ with her to see some of them, so Tosh and I were discussing a threesome with the hunk over there."
"Hey, no fair!" Prentiss protested with a smile.
"It’s just us three in the Bat Cave now, if you don’t count the pteranodon. Tosh has offered to take us down to meet a Weevil. The gorgeous Captain Jack and our fearless leader should be returning at any time with lunch. Don’t forget to eat, now." The screen went dark.
"What’s a Weevil?" Emily was curious.
Ianto pressed something and a picture came up on the monitors. Rossi jumped back a little and didn’t feel too embarrassed when he found Prentiss had done the same thing. The monster had teeth like a shark, an elongated skull and wrinkled coarse skin. Their hands were small with claws like talons instead of fingernails. "That’s a Weevil. We don’t know a lot about them, except that they have rages where they come aboveground and terrorize the locals. If we can get them sedated and fed, they’ll go peaceably back to the sewers."
Further discussion was prevented by the sight of the castle before them. Even from here they could see it was massive. A soft "Wow," came from Reid. When they got closer, they could see the bridge across the moat. Even though Rossi would never admit it, the closet romantic in him was thrilled at a castle that had been standing for centuries. Ianto ignored the bridge and took the SUV down an incline where tents had been set up.
After they got out, Ianto introduced them to a very nice-looking black woman as Detective Inspector Kathy Swanson. She took them closer to the shore where they could see divers bringing up bags from the lake. "This is the most likely spot for the bodies to enter the water. There’s an underwater dam over there and then the bridge supports on the other side. That’s where we’ve been finding the human remains."
Emily looked across the lake. "Have you investigated the other side?"
"We did a preliminary survey, but it’s a deep lake. We’ve started in on the CCTV around the castle, but they are positioned for the castle itself, not on the surroundings. There are two cameras that are focused on the Ruined Tower. That’s more so if it starts shifting they can get a crew out here to shore it up rather than catching trespassers. Most of this is public land, so it wouldn’t technically be trespassing."
Frowning, Rossi asked, "Hasn’t anyone seen anything in town? Have any of the missing people you’ve identified come from it?"
She shook her head. "Most of the quaint little villages around here are just that. Quaint, I mean. A lot of their income is from tourism, so they keep the places tidier than a city. No prostitutes allowed; it scares the tourists away. No vandalism that isn’t fixed by morning. Like that."
Ianto spoke up. "They’d most likely migrate to Cardiff or Newport, even if they were born in Caerphilly. More opportunity."
Rossi’s inner profiler took in the look that that flashed briefly on the woman’s face. He could see the crush there, but he could have told her it was doomed before it started. Ianto could see no one but his captain. He profiled as a mix of alpha and beta – not a submissive and certainly no one’s pet – but standing behind the Captain, rather than at his side. So far Rossi had seen nothing but a polite expression on the man’s face, except when he was talking with Reid. They both seemed relaxed around each other, odd for Reid. Maybe it was a genius-bond or something.
Shaking himself out of a profiling trance, he gazed around the countryside. Woods and caves on all sides made for great killing grounds. He walked up the slope and looked at the roads. It still made him uneasy – this driving on the wrong side of the road. More small cars than in the States, except for the ubiquitous white vans and trucks. They were everywhere he looked.
The SUV came up beside him. Reid leaned out and said "Ianto is going to show us some of the more accessible caves."
Rossi hoped he didn’t need to crawl into dark holes on an empty stomach.
Garcia loved this place. Loved it! Sewer chic, lots of dark corners, and strange creatures flying from the ceiling. What’s not to love?
She had hit it off with Tosh right away. Since Tosh could actually understand what she was saying, it made it fun to dig into the complexities of Mainframe. Just now they had set up the facial recognition software to search for some sign of Mark Elroy. Because they didn’t know exactly when he’d been taken by the unsub, they were going through the last four weeks. It was a long shot, but you never knew.
Morgan was frustrated because the victimology was leading him nowhere. Those were always the most difficult cases, people chosen at random because they happened to be there. They might get something from one of the relatives, but that seemed like a longer shot than the facial recognition. These kids of the street seemed to exist in a vacuum. No one knew them and no one cared. It was sad.
She brightened a little when the yummy Captain returned along with the cranky doctor and her gorgeous leader. Yes, she had Kevin at home, but window shopping was free and fun. His incredibly blue eyes, his killer smile, his vintage coat and his amazing charisma made for a package she wouldn’t mind unwrapping. The doctor was all right in his cranky way, but not a patch on the other three men taking their places in the lunch room. Tall and dark gorgeousness wherever she looked.
She reported what they’d been doing while the food was unpacked and handed out. Garcia glanced forlornly at the coffee pot. The Coffee God wasn’t back yet. She would need to learn his magic for when they returned to Quantico, because that nectar, once tasted, would make every other beverage a wannabe.
Tosh said, "I’m using the geologic maps of the area within a 50-mile radius of the castle to get us a clear picture of the cave systems that seem likely to hide in."
"Any luck with the victims, Morgan?" Hotch asked.
"Not much," Morgan said. "The only thing they have in common is that they’re all tall. Even the women were six feet or over. From their mug shots, they were all underweight, too."
"The guy I saw definitely was. I’d guess about 6’ 2", and weighing about 150," Dr. Harper said. "He’d be scrawny. The girl would have stood 6" 1’ in stocking feet, I’d guess. Almost no meat on her bones and the fish hadn’t been at her yet.
Frowning, Hotch said, "Anorexia? Bulimia?"
"No way to tell now," the doctor said. "It’s possible that the bones would give some indication of reduced calcium, but even that wouldn’t be a sure diagnosis."
"So, we’ve narrowed it down to tall, skinny prostitutes. How many are there of those in Wales?"
The Captain sighed. "Too many to do a headcount."
"And the sad part is we don’t even know where they were picked up." Morgan clenched his fist. "We can’t have Reid pull his voodoo with the maps."
As always, Hotch came to the rescue of those who didn’t understand profiler-speak. Garcia had seen it so many times and wondered how he could pull off the lectures not to sound snooty. "Reid likes to make geographical surveys of the victim locations and the dump sites. We call it a geographical profile. Sometimes when he looks at it, something clicks in his brain that gives us a direction to go in."
"Kind of hard to do that when you have only one dump site and no known victim sites. I guess you could throw darts at it."
The yummy Captain proved he had brains as well as beauty when he said, "I’m betting he would get them from Newport or Cardiff. Maybe some from Swansea. Better hunting in large cities. I’m not saying that the smaller places don’t have some possibilities, but I would think my chances of finding one to take would be better in a place where there’s a greater concentration and everyone doesn’t know everyone else."
Tosh looked at Hotch. "I could check missing persons in the three cities. See if any of the victims have been reported by other known prostitutes."
"Also, we might find something if we check police reports of calls in the places where the victim types hang," Garcia offered. "Although someone is going to have to tell me where those are. I’m new around here."
Morgan actually smiled at her. "Way to think, baby girl."
Gwen and JJ had returned in a couple of hours with no new information. The few relatives they had managed to find didn’t want to talk to them. Most of them hadn’t even shown emotion. Gwen had summed it up by saying, "They’d rather know a dead boy than a rent boy."
Jack had seen her irritation. One of her special talents was getting people to talk to her. It seemed that was something JJ was good at, too. They were sitting on the sofa together, talking quietly. Morgan had joined them. Tosh and Garcia had taken a break from their screens and gone out to fetch coffee, since Ianto wasn’t back yet. He’d been faithfully reporting their position every hour. Ianto knew full well that Jack would fret.
He had driven into the area near the Brecon Beacons and Jack hadn’t been happy about that. None of them was fond of that place. Being nearly eaten by a demented group of humans did make one cautious about venturing into their territory, even if the ones who’d survived Jack’s blitz attack were locked in high security prisons.
He wasn’t surprised to hear Agent Hotchner coming up the stairs. The man had held out longer than Jack would have been able to. He indicated a chair and spoke as the man sat. "Last known position was about ten miles east of here. They’re on the way back."
"Are you a stealth profiler, Captain Harkness? Or are you an alien psychic?" Even though the agent had been grim-faced all day, Jack had suspected there was a sense of humor somewhere in there."
"I’ll tell you if you’ll relax and call me Jack."
"Hotch is what my team calls me."
"Okay, Hotch. I’m not a stealth profiler or an alien psychic, but I can tell you’re worried about your Doctor Reid. Want to talk to him?"
"If it wouldn’t be too much trouble."
Jack smiled as he tapped his comm. "Ianto, my sweet, have you got an ear bud that your new best friend can use?"
He heard a very dignified sniff. "Yes, I do, honey." The last word was drawled with more than a touch of snark. "Work behavior, Jack."
"Yes, sir." Jack knew he’d be paying for that little endearment later, but it was just too fun to get Ianto to blush, even if he couldn’t see it. He could hear it though, even if Ianto thought that was ridiculous. He fished in a drawer and tossed a bud to Hotch. "Give it a tap to turn it on for speech."
He heard Ianto giving similar instructions. Finally he heard a whispered, "Hotch?"
"Yeah, hi. Ianto says we’ll be there in half an hour if we don’t hit traffic."
"What have you been doing all day?"
"Seeing some very impressive scenery. Wales is nice. What? Oh, Rossi says he’s tired and his feet hurt. Prentiss says the next time you send her out she’s going to wear sensible shoes. We’ve been spelunking."
"And you’re okay with that?"
"Ianto loaned me a very bright flashlight. I want to take it home with me. He said we’d have to clear it with Jack."
"Tell him Jack says it’s all right as long as you come back here when it needs a new battery." Jack heard Reid start repeating the words to Ianto. He snickered.
"It’s okay, Spencer," Ianto said. "He knows I heard him and is just giving you a hard time. I remind you, sir, that during office hours you are supposed to try your humor on me first, so I can determine if it’s work-safe."
Jack’s eyebrows had gone up at the "Spencer" and he saw Hotch’s go up as well. He decided to end the conversation before anything else got weird. "Let me know if anything delays you. I’ll send Gwen on a dinner run so you’ll have hot food when you get here." Jack tapped the bud twice to put it back into "listen only" mode. Hotch copied him and then took the bud out to examine it. "We usually hide them under a Bluetooth device so we don’t appear to be talking into thin air."
"How did you get it so small?"
"If you really want to know, ask Tosh. But make sure you really, really, really want to know."
Hotch gave him a wry smile. "Perhaps it would be better if she told Garcia."
"I’m not sure I want them interacting that much. We’re talking serious world domination here. I’m just hoping they won’t clear out all the international banks just for fun." He looked up to see Hotch’s dark eyes studying him. "What?"
"There’s something you want to tell me," Hotch said quietly. "Something you’re not comfortable about. You’re using humor to deflect it, but it is important information."
Jack almost stared and then got his face under control. "Now who’s an alien psychic?"
"Not guilty." Hotch sat forward, interested but not alarmed if his face was anything to go by. "You’ve been assessing me since you met me. You’ve been glancing down at your left desk drawer every 90 seconds or so. You read me well enough to know I wanted to check on my team and used that to show me a small piece of alien technology to see if I was nervous handling it."
Oh, yeah, this one was good. He’d only slipped once, but Jack kept that in reserve. "Okay, you’re good at what you do." He decided to go ahead. It wasn’t like others in the government here didn’t know. And since they did, it wouldn’t be a secret anywhere else. He slid open the drawer and drew out a dagger. "I’m going to tell you something that you won’t believe without a demonstration. Or maybe you will. I’ve met your people and Ianto gave me a thorough briefing on your backgrounds. You’re all heroes. You’re used to being first to react and when you see someone in danger, you’re likely to forget about the consequences in order to save someone’s life. That’s usually a good thing."
"We like to think so." Hatch still sounded cautious.
"So I want to tell you. Tell as much or as little to your people as you think necessary. My team knows and I’ve almost got them trained. When we’re in danger, I go in front. I’m not trying to step on your authority, or prove which of us is the leader of the pack. I go in front because I can’t stay dead."
Jack had to admit he was impressed. There was no gasp or twitch or anything that indicated surprise. Instead, Hotch looked into his eyes with concentration. "You’re immortal?"
"Not exactly. I can die. But it doesn’t stick. I come back. It hurts and it’s no fun, but I come back. The people on your team won’t. I don’t want anyone to get hurt because of misplaced chivalry. Ianto is the worst, so you may have to keep an eye on him. Gwen, Tosh and Owen are pretty good about restraining him, but they may not be there. I wanted you aware. I’m putting a lot of trust in you, Agent Hotchner. Like I said, this isn’t generally known and most people don’t believe it. That’s why I keep the dagger in the drawer. Sometimes I have to stab myself to convince someone."
Hotch held up a hand. "Not necessary in my case. I’ve heard the rumors. I’ll admit to a healthy amount of skepticism, and I suspect that you are a very good liar, but only a moron would tell me what you just did. You’re many things, Captain Harkness; things I can’t read and I’m very good at reading, but you are not a moron."
Jack leaned back, satisfied. "Thanks. We can go back to Jack and Hotch now. Indulge me. What can you read?"
The wry grin reappeared. "You’re really sure you want to know? Really, really, really sure?"
With a laugh, Jack nodded. "Give me your best shot."
"Ok, but don’t say I didn’t warn you." Hotch also leaned back, getting more comfortable. "Your most outstanding characteristic is the way you keep yourself hidden in plain sight. You seem open and friendly, but on close inspection there’s too much darkness in your eyes. You were born with the natural ability to project the right amount of charm to conceal your motives and get exactly what you want from other people, unless they fight you on it. Most of the time it isn’t necessary. You’re conceited and vain, especially about your appearance, but you aren’t a narcissist. You like people in general, but you don’t trust easily. You have extensive military training, but you don’t’ see yourself as a commander. On a more personal note, you are very much in love with Ianto Jones and he is equally in love with you, which you still find surprising. And although you are the alpha of the pairing, he sets the rules and boundaries in the relationship. You enjoy pushing at them, but you won’t break them without a very good reason and a full understanding of the consequences."
For the first time in a very long time, Jack found himself completely speechless. He’d been nailed and he himself had handed this man the hammer. "Wow," he managed finally. "Thanks for the warning."
"There are reasons we’re not supposed to profile our coworkers, although we do it anyway." Hotch’s smile went from wry to wide. "I did warn you about being sure."
"I should have listened. Next time, remind me not ask. I won’t ask you to reveal all your secrets, but how did you pick that up about Ianto – that I’m surprised he loves me? Because I am. I’m constantly amazed that he knows so much about me and can still stand to be close to me. Isn’t that the way you feel about your Doctor Reid?"
Jack felt a little better seeing Hotch as stunned as he had been by that analysis. After a noticeable pause Hotch said, "We’re not… we don’t have that kind of relationship."
The Captain raised his eyebrows. "Why not? I’m no profiler, but even I can see what’s going on. The sun shines right out of his eyes for you."
"No." Hotch shook his head sadly. "You’re wrong. He doesn’t feel that way. Not about me."
"Don’t be ridiculous. You picked up all that stuff about me from watching me for a few hours and you can’t tell that you’re the center of his universe? Bollocks. At least you’re not trying to convince me you’re not in love with him. You warned me off at the same time I warned you off of Ianto."
All kinds of emotions were flitting across that formerly-stoic face, chief among them confusion. Jack pressed his advantage to say, "I’m not clairvoyant, but I’ll tell you what’s going to happen when he comes through the Hub door. He’s going to ask where you are and come straight to talk to you, even if the others try to stop him." Jack made a swift movement to stick the point of the dagger into the top edge of the desk. "And as soon as he notices this, he’ll push you back and get between you and it and demand to know what it is. He won’t believe me when I say it’s a letter opener, but he’ll believe you."
Jack stood when he heard the garage door alert go off. Hotch stood at the same time, still looking somewhat dazed. They both heard the sound of footsteps and then "Where’s Hotch?"
"In Jack’s office." Toshiko must have pointed the way because the footsteps immediately moved to the stairs.
In a moment, Reid’s head appeared, followed by the rest of him. "Hotch!" he cried happily, all but running to him. "You won’t believe the scenery here. It’s great! Ianto got me some big maps of the…" His eyes fell on the dagger and he stopped. He took hold of Hotch’s arm and pulled him gently but firmly back a step and stepped between Hotch and the desk. "What’s that?" he demanded.
Keeping his expression deadpan, Jack said, "It’s my letter opener."
Reid didn’t move, but he glanced over his shoulder. "Hotch?"
Jack couldn’t see his Hotch’s face because of Reid, but he heard a wisp of amusement as he told Reid, "It’s his letter opener."
"Oh." He turned back to Hotch and tugged at his sleeve. "Come and see the maps," he said, pulling Hotch behind him.
Jack grinned as he followed to seek out Ianto. He so enjoyed being right.
JJ enjoyed the Indian take-out, which tasted different here than in Virginia. The conversation over the shared meal was not exactly jubilant, but was not especially gloomy either. They were still only in the beginnings of what looked like a complicated investigation, after all.
Once the dinner things had been cleared away, the talk turned to what information they had gathered today. It could have been summed up in two words: not much. When Hotch asked for questions, she piped up with one that had been bothering her. "Why haven’t the Nerve Worms attacked the unsub? I mean, he has to get the bodies close to them somehow, right? They can’t move very far on their own."
Owen shrugged. "Maybe he tastes nasty."
"Nerve disease?" Prentiss suggested. "Since they eat nerves?"
"That covers a lot of territory," Reid said. "It would have to be one that allows the person be mobile, which cuts out diseases like Parkinson’s."
"In addition, the person would need to be able to carry the victim at least some distance," Ianto put in.
Rossi agreed. "Most of the caves we looked at today didn’t have convenient parking lots."
"And we’re pretty sure the unsub has a car or access to one," Morgan said. "Otherwise he’d have to approach the castle on foot with a body. Not very subtle."
JJ grinned as Gwen pitched in. She’d taken a liking to the somewhat brash but earnest operative. "Well, I’ve been wondering how the unsub… that’s what you call your killer, right?" On getting nods, she continued, "How did the unsub find these things to begin with? Was he just strolling about and stumbled on them?"
"And was it cause and effect?" JJ speculated. "Was he a killer before he found the things or did he find the things and then become a killer? Did they somehow force the unsub to kill for them?"
Tosh said, "Owen, if you give me a list of diseases that fit, I can set up a scan for medical records tonight. It will probably be a long list."
"No kidding. All right, I’ll give you a list." He stood.
So did Tosh and Garcia. When Owen raised an eyebrow at the blonde, she said, "Tosh is my new bff," she said, smiling sweetly. "Where she goes, I go." JJ knew that the smile meant business. She wondered what Owen had done to turn on Garcia’s lioness-with-a-cub mode on. Whatever it was, Owen would probably be sorry he’d done it.
She turned to Hotch. "What should we do now, sir?"
"I think we should go back to the hotel and get a fresh start in the morning. We’re all still jetlagged."
Gwen stood and said, "If you’d like to visit a nice Welsh pub on the way, I’ll take you there."
They filed out. JJ heard the Captain say, "Dr. Reid, I’d like to show you something in my office if you have a minute." She looked over her shoulder to find a spark of mischief in his very blue eyes. She hesitated and then decided to let Hotch handle it.
What the hell was Harkness doing?
Hotch crossed his arms at the blatant flirtation going on in front of him. He knew – dammit, he knew – about Hotch’s feelings. He’d just told him. He’d just…
Glancing at Ianto, Hotch knew he wasn’t alone in his bewilderment. Ianto didn’t look hurt or angry. Just confused. Hotch felt marginally better. At least he had a clue about what might be happening. As Reid turned his head to look at Hotch, Hotch saw that Jack used that distraction to toss a wink at Ianto. He was sure then. The sneaky Captain had decided to play matchmaker.
Not that Hotch expected anything to come of it. There was nothing he could offer to entice Reid into a relationship, without even considering the fraternization rules of the Bureau. He had Jack and the job and that was more than he deserved. He had his dreams, too, but Hotch was a realist.
Still it wouldn’t hurt to see what the Captain had in mind, so he gave Reid a nod. The younger man relaxed and followed Jack out of the room toward his office. Ianto shrugged and followed. Hotch brought up the rear.
Owen, Tosh, and Garcia were together at one of the consoles. Jack stopped and told them to go after the others. "I’m trusting you to be the grown up tonight, Toshiko," he said with a smile.
She nodded. "I’ll get them to the hotel before anyone loses control of a limb."
Jack continued up the stairs to his office drawing Reid along as though pulling a leash. When they were all in, Jack pulled out a drawer in his desk and withdrew a wooden box. With a smile that was anything but innocent, Jack said, "I noticed that you were wearing a revolver rather than the ever-present Glock, Dr. Reid, and I wondered why. I thought the Glock was standard issue."
Reid looked down at his holster as though he’d forgotten it was there. "Oh. Yes, well, I…" He drew the gun free, taking care not to point it at anyone. "I prefer this. It’s heavier, but has less recoil." He proffered it to Jack.
Jack took it by the barrel and examined it. He put his finger through the trigger guard, but didn’t grip the handle. "Nice balance."
He gave it back to Reid who was apparently unable to form a reply. "Thank you," he said finally, sliding the gun back into the holster. "Or thank Smith and Wesson, actually. They… did the balance… I guess."
Jack gave him another dazzling smile. Hotch blinked. How on earth could the man have so many impossibly white teeth? Jack put a hand on the box. "I prefer a revolver myself, although I use a Webley for Queen and Country, of course." Jack opened the box to display two revolvers. They had an antique look to them. "These are Webley Mk V’s from World War I. I wondered if you might like to try one out. We have a gun range downstairs."
Hotch knew that while Reid was not a fan of firearms in general, he was very knowledgeable about them. He looked a bit like a child who has been offered ice cream just before dinner. "But… these are valuable antiques!" he protested. "What if I drop one?"
"You won’t." Jacked closed the lid and picked up the box. "Come on."
This time Ianto led them. They had to go through a tunnel which wasn’t too dark, thank goodness, and then they were in the firing range. Hotch looked at the targets. There were a few of the ones he expected to see, but others had various unusual shapes. Ianto handed him safety gasses and ear protectors and said, "We try not to shoot at humans," he explained. "It upsets the locals."
"It would." Ianto grinned. Hotch considered the possibility of moving to Cardiff. He seemed to be surrounded with people who actually understood his humor.
After they had donned the protective gear, Jack loaded one of the Webleys for Reid. He took the gun and hefted it. "It’s lighter than mine," he observed.
"And," Jack said in a purring growl, stroking the barrel slowly, "this is longer." The Captain raised his head a bit and met Hotch’s eyes with a definite challenge. "I’ll help you adjust your stance."
Good God! The man was seducing Reid right in front of him with his lover watching! That was…
Hotch’s brain caught up with his emotions. That was…
… Exactly the point.
With a clearing of his throat, Hotch took hold of Reid’s shoulders, careful not to startle him. "If you need any help, Reid, I’ll do it."
Jack stepped back immediately. Reid, apparently oblivious to what was going on around him, stepped up to the line and raised the pistol. He frowned and looked at his feet.
Hotch heard the door quietly close behind them. It was now or never. He moved to Reid and put his hands on either side of his hips. He applied just enough pressure on the right one to pull it back a fraction. He stepped up close behind, gently raising Reid’s right arm. "You’ll need to aim a bit higher," he said softly. "To compensate for the longer barrel."
"Yes," Reid sighed and relaxed against him. He fired three shots – right on target. Reid’s free hand closed over Hotch’s to bring it up around his waist. He fired another three shots, all within millimeters of each other.
Hotch waited to see if he would move away, but Reid stayed where he was, leaning back against him, fingers idly stroking the hand around his waist. Hotch used his free hand to remove their safety gear. "You could have done that without me," he said quietly.
Reid carefully placed the gun on the wall and turned toward him. "I could have," he said. "But I didn’t want to."
Hotch managed to gather enough strength to ask one more question. "Spencer, are you sure?"
"Oh, yeah, Aaron" he said, meeting Hotch’s gaze with his own. "I’m sure."
Hotch’s last coherent thought as he moved slightly to kiss those lips he’d wanted for so long was the sun really does shine out of his eyes.
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