Disclaimer: I do not own Criminal Minds.
"Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour and it seems like a minute. That's relativity." – Albert Einstein
o o o o
14 December, 2008
"I'm glad you think I'm scary, Dean," Calliope Sellers grinned across the table at the coffee shop at the couple opposite her. Brianne Scheiner rolled her eyes and mumbled something unintelligible while Dean Guthrie, the man sitting next to her with his arm draped loosely over the back of her chair, began laughing.
"I flinch every time you raise your hand, Callie."
Calliope snorted in laughter and pressed the back of her hand against her nose, as if she were afraid her coffee would come shooting out her nostrils if she didn't. Calliope stood barely five feet tall and weighed less then ninety-five pounds; Dean, on the other hand, might as well have been a mountain at well over six feet and thickly muscled. If anyone should be scared it was Calliope. Though no one who knew Dean could even think of being scared of him. However frightening his outward appearance might be to a stranger, that was just how gentle his soul was. Calliope, on the other hand, was far more frightening on the inside than the outside.
"Oh, please," she said with a laughing smile, "like I'd leave a mark even if I did hit you. I'd break my hand before I hurt you."
"Like Bella!" Brianne laughed and both Dean and Calliope looked at each other in confusion.
"I really need to read those books," Calliope shook her head. Dean still looked confused. "Those vampire books. The ones were the vampires sparkle in the sun."
"Those aren't real vampire books," Dean shook his head at Brianne. "Real vampires are scary! Dracula. He's a real vampire. Nosferatu. Lord Ruthven. The Count from Sesame Street! There is nothing scary about some emo, sparkly vampire who's in love with some shallow high school chick who just wants to die."
"It's romantic!" Brianne protested.
"Romeo and Juliet is romantic."
"Romeo and Juliet isn't romantic! Romeo and Juliet is plain bizarre," Calliope shoved herself into the conversation. "She was thirteen and killed herself over some stupid boy! Seriously? If Mammy or Grandpa caught me sleeping with a guy at thirteen, I wouldn't have had to kill myself! They'd have done it for me!"
"And, yet, Romeo and Juliet is considered one of the most classic love stories of all time," a tall, thin man in khakis and brown jacket over an almost Bill Cosby inspired sweater stopped behind Calliope chair and stooped down to drop a kiss on the top of her head. "Sorry I'm late. The subway car I was on broke down. Dean, Brianne."
"Hey Spencer," Brianne smiled as Dr. Spencer Reid sat down next to Calliope. Dean nodded in welcome, still unsure about his friends' new boyfriend. Dean was less trusting than his better half; she had welcomed Spencer with blistering enthusiasm and practically thrown a parade in his honour.
"You're gonna have to get fresh coffee. This one's probably cold," Calliope gestured at the green porcelain mug waiting in front of him before sticking the tip of her pinkie in the liquid without warning. "It's cold."
"Thanks for testing," Spencer joked, taking her hand in his and threading his fingers through hers. Brianne nearly squealed in delight at the sight. Spencer was an answer to prayers Brianne had never actually uttered.
"I told you to dress casual."
"This is casual."
"No, it's not. Are you at least wearing sneakers?" Calliope ducked her head to look at his feet. "I guess Chucks'll work. Jeans would have been a better."
"I don't own jeans."
"You don't own jeans?" Dean asked incredulously.
"Never needed them," he shrugged, his face turning a light shade of red. "What are we doing today?"
"I'd tell you, but then I'd have to kill you," Calliope quipped.
"We don't know either," Brianne shook her head when Spencer turned to them. "We questioned her the entire way here and she kept saying we were going to the moon and other ridiculous places. Once she said we were going to the U.S.S.R."
"My favourite was Earth Spacedock. I kept telling her Sulu wasn't there anymore."
"Dervish & Banges! That was the best," Brianne argued, shaking her head at Dean.
"Harry Potter, String Bean," Calliope smiled and explained when Spencer looked confused at the last place. "It's from Harry Potter."
"Oh… So… what are we doing?"
"Becoming international spies."
The other three laughed, but Calliope kept her face serious with only a small smile. They talked for a while, about everything and nothing at the same time, before getting fresh drinks, Spencer getting his first, and walking away from the Chinatown Coffee Company. Calliope led the group west on H Street, still refusing to tell them where they were going.
"This is how people get kidnapped," Dean joked as they turned left on 7th Street.
"Please, like I could kidnap you," Calliope rolled her eyes.
"Actually, seventy-three point six percent of kidnappings are committed by people the victims know," Spencer said seriously, his hands in his pockets as he walked between Calliope and Dean. No one knew how to respond to that; Spencer thinned his lips and wished the ground would open up and swallow him whole. He always did this. He always said something stupid and mortified himself.
"Well, I think it's safe to say I'm not planning on kidnapping Dean. And even safer to say that, should I plan to sometime in the future, I would not be successful. Dash it all," Calliope came to his rescue, slipping her hand into his and squeezing as they passed a few people in Capitals jerseys outside of the Verizon Center hoping to catch Ovechkin or Bäckströmor Green coming out from pre-game practice and snag an autograph. They passed a huge picture of Ovechkin glaring at them and Calliope shuttered. "Jeeze, he's terrifying…"
"I know," Brianne laughed and glanced up at the poster as well. "I don't understand hockey."
"Me either," Calliope shook her head. "But I barely understand football."
"How can you not understand football?" Dean groaned. "You two are ridiculous."
Spencer didn't say he didn't understand football either, despite all of Derek Morgan's attempts to fix that particular problem. He understood the rules fine. He could watch a game and know exactly what was going on and why. He just didn't understand why anyone would want to watch a game. Calliope, Brianne and Dean laughed and teased each other; Spencer mostly observing rather than joining, and they turned right onto F Street. They kept walking past the Smithsonian and crossed the street.
"Oh my God," Brianna doubled over and started laughing.
"You're kidding." Dean grinned and dropped his face into his palm.
Spencer simply smiled; he had guess where they were going about five minutes ago, right before they passed the Verizon Center.
The architecture of the massive granite building before them inspired feelings of espionage and secrets, of Soviet Russia and the Cold War, of The Man From U.N.C.L.E., and took up the better part of a block. The International Spy Museum.
Inside at a counter, a solemn, somber woman greeted them. "Welcome, Agents, to Operation Spy." The woman's hair was pulled back in a severe bun and she dressed in a slat grey wool suit. Reaching into the desk, she pulled out a small GPS unit, penlights and a small pad of yellow lined paper. She explained the objective and gave them a mission. An enemy had managed to plant a nuclear weapon somewhere in Washington, D.C. and they were charged with locating the weapon before it could destroy the nation's capital. Each clue they found would lead to the next clue.
Spencer was so engrossed in listening to the severe woman's instructions that he didn't realize at first that Calliope's hand had slipped into his. He kept his smile to himself, but squeezed her hand. Calliope squeezed back and picked up the GPS from the desk.
The instructions where brief and the woman gave a look that plainly said for them to move away from her desk. Shuffling awkwardly, their party of four maneuvered themselves away to the other side of the room. "Okay," Calliope took charge, "Bri and I could get irrevocable lost in Target, so you two can do the GPS thingamabob."
The only clue they had was written in neat, square handwriting at the top of their notebook. An address. The address took them a few blocks away to an older looking building made from dark red bricks. They set to work trying to find the small engraving in the bricks, Dean and Spencer taking the higher bricks and Calliope and Brianne stooping down to take the lower ones. The engraving blended in with the other slight dips and crevices in the bricks, but it showed itself eventually and Spencer tried not to look too proud to be the one to have found it.
The engraving showed what looked to be the front of the Smithsonian next to an image of a person holding newspapers and off they went. Spencer saw the woman selling newspapers immediately when they reached the Smithsonian, but let Brianne point her out about a minute later.
"Can we, uh, ya know, have a newspaper?" Brianne pulled a few quarters from her pocket and handed them over, looking around like she was doing something bad and was afraid she would get caught. Spencer wondered how many people acted like this when asking for a paper and how she kept from laughing, but the woman kept a straight face and pretended to look around the way Brianne had been before slipping stiff slip of paper into the middle of the newspaper in a not-so-covert fashion. Well away from the lady and her newspapers, Brianne ripped the paper open and Dean snatched the slip before Brianne could grab it. "Hey!"
"Too slow," Dean laughed. "'Isaac Newton by James Gleick. Published in oh-three by Vintage. Hardcover.' What does that mean?"
"We're supposed to find the book?" Calliope suggested. "The MLKJ Memorial Library is right there."
Calliope and Brianne exchanged excited glances and practically dragged Spencer and Dean down the block without waiting for a response. The computers they could see from where they stood in the foyer of the library were being used, so Brianne headed towards the old-fashioned card catalogue that took up an entire corner instead of looking for more in a different place.
"It's over there," Spencer pointed to a wing in the back of the expansive library and shrugged when everyone looked at him incredulously. "I've… been here before."
Once in the right part of the library, Brianne went to work and Dean started teasing her about being the super librarian. Calliope whacked in him the stomach. Spencer stayed well out of the way. "Found it!"
Brianne was hushed by several library patrons as she pulled out a heavy copy of Isaac Newton off the shelf. They cracked the book open and a bookmark with more neat, square handwriting fell out.
"It's a book code," Spencer recognized the numbers immediately from Randall Garner. "Page number, line number, word number."
"Like in National Treasure?" Dean asked.
"I guess?" Spencer hadn't seen the movie. Calliope took the bookmark and read out the first number and Brianne flipped the pages until she found the right one and counted down the lines and then over the words.
"Thirty," Brianne said and Dean wrote the word down on the yellow pad of paper. It took a little over half an hour before the code was completely finished.
'Thirty-eight degree fifty-three feet thirty-seven inch north, seventy-seven degree one feet thirty-seven inch west, cure." Dean read the finished code aloud and looked up, puzzled. "Okay, I get the map coordinates, but what's 'cure' mean? Are you sure that's the right word?"
"Yeah," Brianne nodded, studying the book again to check.
"The coordinates are for the Grand Hyatt a block over," Spencer said after plugging the numbers into the GPS unit.
"Cure Bar & Bistro. It's in the Hyatt," Calliope mentioned, glancing at Spencer standing next to her.
"Sneaky!" Brianne snapped the book shut and shoved it back in its' place.
"They just want people to go eat there!" Calliope started laughing, earning their group another annoyed shushing noise from the people around them. Spencer helped Calliope up from where she sat cross-legged on the floor and she leaned into him for a second before moving away. "Let's go, let's go."
"Wait," Spencer held onto her hand as Brianne and Dean walked away, hand-in-hand, without waiting for them. "Hi," he said awkwardly when she was standing inches away facing him.
"Hi," she grinned, returning his greeting as if they hadn't just spent the past few hours traipsing around Washington together. Spencer shifted his weight from one foot to the other. He wanted to lean down and kiss her, but he had only kissed her a few times and he still felt like he needed to have her sign a permission slip. Calliope rolled her eyes and tugged his head to hers. "You're ridiculous," she whispered, her mouth just a breath from his, before kissing him.
"I'm glad you got back from New Mexico in time for today," Calliope threaded their fingers together. "C'mon, Mr. Magic, we're going to be left behind."
After a quick second kiss, Spencer let her pull him out of the library, making sure to keep hold of her hand as they hurried to catch up to their friends.
"Making out in the library," Dean shook his head, laughing, and Spencer blushed. Calliope just raised her eyebrows as if to say 'so?'
"You're just jealous you didn't have the guts," she joked back and leaned into Spencer as they walked into the Hyatt Hotel.
"What do we do now?" Brianne whispered as they stood in the entrance to the restaurant off the lobby.
"Do you have a reservation?" The hostess asked without looking up.
"Uh, Jones?" Spencer said cautiously, remembering how the sour woman who had explained the game to them had repeatedly referred to them as 'Agents Jones.' The hostess nodded without question and Spencer gave an inward sigh of relief at being correct when she lead them across to the bar.
The hostess exchanged looks with the bartender and he nodded. A serious-looking manila envelope was pulled from a cabinet beneath the bar and laid on the counter. The bartender pulled out four tall martini glasses and began mixing cocktails without a word.
Calliope tugged on Spencer's hand until he leaned down so she could whisper in his ear: "If those are shaken, not stirred, you'd better be ready to catch me, because I'm going to die of laughter." Spencer bit the inside of his check to keep his own laughter in check.
The envelope contained a thick document full of complicated jargon that only Spencer understood and he realized right away that half of it didn't make sense anyways. They skimmed through the pages, not really reading about the leaked information being sold, but looking for what they were supposed to do next. On the very last page, there was a code printed. Brianne typed it into the GPS and hit the 'send on secure network' option.
The GPS beeped happily and replied "Mission Accomplished. Good Work, Agents."
"Thank you," the bartender finally spoke. "You've saved your country."
Calliope and Brianne both lost it at that moment and started laughing as Dean and Spencer handed over the GPS, penlights and pad of paper. The bartender looked like he was trying his best not to roll his eyes as he handed over their drinks.
"Excellent work, Solo," Brianne held up her drink to Dean.
"Brilliantly done, Kuryakin," Calliope clicked glass against Spencer's.
This one-shot was a prize to griffindoranime, who was one of the winners of my contest back in January. And it's taken me this long to finish one. I'm such a freaking awful person. I disgust myself. Bleh. Sorry, hun! I hope you liked it!
These characters - Calliope and Spencer - are the two lead protagonists in most of my one-shots and in my multi-chapter Mystery Muse. Brianne and Dean are a two of the several background characters who make appearances every once and a while. If you want to find out more about Dr. Reid and Ms. Sellers you now know where to find it! I hope you enjoyed this vignette and enjoy the rest of my Mystery Muse universe.
Thanks for reading and, please, tell me what you think - Good or bad!