Disclaimer: I do not own Criminal Minds.
"According to Greek mythology, humans were originally created with four arms, four legs and a head with two faces. Fearing their power, Zeus split them into two separate parts, condemning them to spend their lives in search of their other halves." – Plato
o o o o
25 December, 2010
How the nerdy, socially inept Dr. Spencer Reid found himself engaged to the biggest social butterfly to ever live, he had no idea, but that's the way he woke up on Christmas morning – engaged to the love he'd never expected, Calliope Sellers. If someone had asked him three years ago, Spencer would have said he expected to be a perpetual bachelor, destined to live his life with books and education and serial killers. Now that life was so far in the past he wouldn't have been able to see it with a telescope.
"Spencer! Where's Perses' Christmas collar!" Calliope poked her head into the bedroom. Her curly hair spilled over her shoulder, obscuring the neon green and pink stripped sweatshirt she wore over her grey yoga pants.
"Still at the store," Spencer smiled as she walked towards him, the Goofy slippers she wore scuffing against the hardwood floor. "You never bought it."
"I didn't?" Her brow furrowed together as she tried to remember. Spencer wrapped his arms around her shoulders and gave her a quick kiss.
"No. You spoke about buying it nine times, but, as far as I know, you never actually bought it."
"I could have sworn I bought it," Calliope sighed and Perses, their one-year-old Bernese Mountain Dog, trotted into the room carrying what had just last night been Spencer's favourite sweater. The frayed remains demonstrated exactly how appropriate it was to have named him after the Titan of Destruction. Perses jumped up on the bed and dropped the sweater. He thumped his tail happily as Spencer winced at the soggy wool. Calliope scratched his head with a fond smile, "No festive Christmas wear for you, Pers."
"Because purple and yellow screams Christmas," Spencer gestured at the bright purple and yellow sweater and yellow slacks hanging in a plastic drycleaners sleeve over the back of the chair.
"Hush you, my fashion choices are fabulous. Besides, red clashes with my hair," Calliope pushed up on her toes and kissed him.
"Everything potentially clashes with your hair. That's the risk you take when you dye blue, purple and green streaks into already red hair."
"Party pooper. You're ruining my fun. Maybe I'll put a scarf around his neck."
"He might destroy it."
"Naw, he only destroys your clothes," Calliope laughed. "You nearly ready to go? We need to leave for Dahlia in thirty minutes."
"I'm ready. You ready?" Spencer ran his thumb over the engagement ring on her finger and Calliope made a face.
"Better sooner than later. Can you go make sure Emeline's ready? I want to check and make sure all the presents are in the car."
"Sure. She's in the playroom?"
"She was putting a Christmas dress on Sasifi when I checked on her," Calliope nodded absently.
Spencer nodded and gave her a quick kiss before leaving their bedroom and heading down the hall. Before he even reached the pink painted room, he could hear his daughter singing along with Frosty the Snowman. She shrieked "STOP!" with the song and dissolved into laughter like it was the funniest thing she'd ever heard in her life. Spencer stood in the doorway of her bedroom as watched her marching in place in front of the television along with Frosty and the children in the cartoon.
"No money, no ticket!" Emeline yelled at the television as the ticket man slammed the gate shut in Frosty's face. Laughing, she twirled in a circle, stopping when she saw Spencer. "Poppy! Can I go to the Norff Pole too?"
Catching her as she launched herself at him, Spencer juggled the toddler for a moment before finding a solid grip on her. "I don't know. I think Maman and I might miss you a whole lot if you went to live with Frosty at the North Pole. Why don't you just come with us to Dahlia?"
Emeline appeared to be thinking hard, her little face wrinkled and she bit her bottom lip the way Calliope did. "Grandpa and Grandma?"
"They'll be there," Spencer nodded, fixing a loose barrette in her crinkly brown hair. The three-year-old's barrettes rarely stayed clipped.
"Yup. You saw us putting Santa's presents in the SUV."
"Probably," Spencer laughed. "What's with all the conditions, Princess?"
"I wanna watch Frosty, Poppy!" Emeline twisted in his arms to look back at the television where Frost was carrying the girl through a snow storm.
"How about we bring Frosty in the car? We can bring the Grinch and Rudolph too."
Emeline's face lit up as Spencer solved all her problems with a single suggestion. She wiggled and squirmed until Spencer put her down. Running back to where she had been watching Frosty, she picked up the Just-Like-Me American Girl Doll lying face down on the carpet. She ran back to Spencer with the half-dressed doll, holding her out for him to take.
"Do the snaps, Poppy!" Emeline demanded.
"Please." Emeline parroted the correct pronunciation and Spencer took the doll. Squatting down, Spencer tugged the red Christmas dress farther up over the doll's brown plastic arms, quickly snapped the clasps along the back of the dress and handed it back to Emeline. "Sasifi's ready for the party now, Poppy!"
"She is. Now that your doll's ready, let's get you ready. Where'd Maman put your dress?"
"In the car."
"Is that what you want to wear while we drive?" Spencer gestured at the flannel Buzz Lightyear footie pajamas she wore. Emeline had seen them as they passed the boys' section in Target a month ago and immediately fallen in love. Now she refused to sleep in anything else. Spencer had a pretty good guess what her answer would be.
"Yes. Can I wear Buzz at Grandpa and Grandma's too?" Emeline turned big brown eyes on him, as wide as she could possibly make them, and puffed her bottom lip out a little.
"Sorry, Princess. You have to wear your Christmas dress," he shook his head. Emeline gave a long-suffering sigh, but didn't speak as Spencer walked over to the TV and took the Blu-ray out of the Blu-ray player and stuck it in the box. "Okay. Come on. Where's Grinch and Rudolph?"
Emeline ran across the room to the child-sized bookshelf and pulled two disks off the shelf, running back to Spencer and shoving them up at him. Spencer took them and together they gathered up Sasifi, her crayons, her Tangled colouring book, and her favourite yellow blanket. Together, they walked out of the playroom and Emeline immediately ran to Perses and threw her arms around him.
"Eme, come on," Spencer grabbed the little girl around the middle and pulled her off of the dog. "We have to put on your coat and shoes."
"Minnie!" Emeline shouted as soon as he set her back on her feet and took off back to her bedroom. Spencer sighed, putting her coat down on the counter next to her things.
"Emeline, come back here!"
Calliope poured coffee into a travel mug and tried to hide her smirk. Sometimes corralling Emeline was harder then halting a hurricane – a trait she inherited a hundred percent from Calliope. Spencer made a face at her and she snickered as she stirred in sugar.
"You get Emeline ready and I'll finish with the car."
"Not a chance," Calliope laughed, shaking her head and leaving the travel mug on the counter to wrap her arms around his neck. "She's all yours right now."
Spencer leaned down and kissed her, pulling her close just as Emeline came barreling back into the room with a worn out and tatty stuffed Minnie Mouse doll. With a soft groan, Spencer rested his forehead against Calliope's and glanced down at the little girl. Calliope dissolved into giggles and sashayed away from him back to their bedroom. Spencer squatted down to Emeline's level. "Princess, you have terrible timing."
Emeline smiled at him and hugged the Minnie doll tightly. She went everywhere with the stained doll. It was the only toy she had that had survived the earthquake in Haiti that left the little girl an orphan with only an ailing grandmother. Haiti was where Calliope had met Emeline. She had, along with her grandfather, gone to Haiti right after the earthquake to help where they could and Emeline latched herself onto Calliope.
There had never been a discussion about what would happen to Emeline. Well, there had been, but it had been more of a 'if this is what you want, this is what I want' conversation. Until Spencer had made the trip down to Haiti a month after the earthquake, met Emeline and fell in love with the little girl for himself. Now he couldn't imagine life without his daughter and eagerly awaited the finalization of her adoption papers.
"Can I have juice, Poppy?"
"Orange juice or apple?"
"Apple," Emeline followed him to the fridge and happily accepted the juice box after Spencer jammed the little plastic straw through the foil-covered hole in the top. It didn't take long for them to finish shoving the last few things they were taking into the already full SUV and the four of them pilled in along with their stuff. Perses thumped his tail happily, excited for the car ride, and Emeline happily watched the opening credits of 'Frosty the Snowman' as they pulled out of the garage and headed for their long driveway through the trees to the main road.
Once they were through the trees and out the gate onto Lee Drive, they waited for the gate to close before ambling away down the road. The snowplow had already been through this morning and snow was piled up on either side of the two-lane road. They turned right onto Lafayette Boulevard and when Calliope kept going straight instead of making the expected left onto Route Three, Spencer raised an eyebrow.
"I forgot Grandpa's gift in my office," Calliope explained and Spencer rolled his eyes.
"We're going to be late."
"I'll be quick, Marlin," Calliope quipped as she pulled to a stop in front of The Hobbit Hole.
"That won't make us less late, Dory," Spencer snarked back at her. Calliope broke out into a wide grin and leaned across to kiss him as she unbuckled her seat belt.
"You got my joke," her crooked smile made him smile and he squeezed her hand has she pulled away, stepping out of the car.
"Don't slip!" Spencer called as she closed the door behind her. Calliope dashed up the steps to the brownstone and Spencer waited for her to slip on the icy stone steps, relieved when she kept her footing the entire way up. When she unlocked the door and slipped inside, Spencer keep staring at the building, letting the memories of the last two and a half years wash over him.
This building was where it all started. Up those steps, past the front desk, down the hall, through the third door on the left in the room decorated to look like Lothlórien. He had been sitting there, re-reading The Odyssey for the ninety-seventh time when she came waltzing into his life to turn it upside down and sideways.
Calliope jumped back in the car with a small wrapped box, which she shoved into Spencer hands, throwing her own hands against the air vents to warm them up. "Mary, Joseph and the camel, it's freezing outside."
"It's twenty-four degrees outside, Sweetheart. It's below freezing. And you weren't wearing gloves."
"I wasn't asking for comments from the peanut gallery," she stuck her tongue out at him and flexed her fingers, making her knuckles crack as she did so. Spencer gave her a quick kiss before she threw the SUV out of park and into drive and they pulled back out onto Caroline Street. "To Dahlia!"
"Doll-yah!" Emeline shouted happily from the back seat.
The drive from Fredericksburg to Williamsburg usually took about two hours, depending on how far over the speed limit Calliope decided to drive or how many coffee and/or bathroom breaks were necessary. With the snow and the ice, it took close to three hours before they made it to Williamsburg and Emeline was beginning to fuss. The Santa Clause played in the Blu-ray player and, while Emeline loved all three of The Santa Clause movies, she'd been in the car too long and she wanted out.
"Tinsel. Not just for decoration."
"Maman, I wanna go home," Emeline pouted, pulling on Perses' tail as the dog ignored the annoyance.
"We're almost there, Princess," Calliope said as she turned the car onto a dirt road with mounds of snow on each side. They passed a beautiful marble sign that read 'Dahlia Plantation' in big, beautiful engraved script. Beneath that, smaller script said 'founded sixteen ninety-four.' The sign stood a few yards in front of the open gate through which they drove.
As they drove closer, a massive white plantation home rose into view, three stories high and decorated to look like a magnificent winter wonderland. Calliope parked the car, glancing through the windshield up at the antebellum structure. Garland wrapped around the columns and hung from the railings. Wreaths hung on the doors and every window and the lit Christmas tree could be seen from a window on the bottom floor.
"It looks beautiful every year," Spencer agreed.
"Eme," Calliope turned in her seat to look back at the little girl. "Remember what Poppy and I told you yesterday about getting married and the pretty ring Poppy gave me?" Emeline nodded and stared at her as Spencer reached up and turned off the movie, an action that got Perses' attention more than it got Emeline's. "That's going to be our little secret until Maman and Poppy say something, okay?"
"So we're not going to tell Grandpa or Grandma, right?"
"Because it's a surprise," Spencer explained.
"What a surprise?"
"That Maman and Poppy are getting married," Calliope smiled at her.
"Oh. Okay," Emeline smiled a wide, toothy smile. "Can we see Grandpa and Grandma now?"
"Yes, we can see Grandpa and Grandma," Spencer laughed and got out of the car, the snow crunching beneath his shoes. He pulled Emeline out of her car seat after pulling on and zipping up her jacket. Calliope let Perses out of the car and the dog immediately jumped down and straight into a pile of snow. Calliope took two of the bags from the back of the SUV and Spencer took a one bag in one hand as he carried Emeline in the other. The four of them trekked up the marble steps from the ground to the white porch, Perses bounding ahead of them and waiting impatiently at the top.
Calliope put one of her bags down and flipped through her keys, finding the one she wanted and unlocking the big French doors. She pushed it open and the bells on the wreath jingled as it bounced against the door. Spencer watch her put down her bags and pull the ring off of her ring finger, shoving it into her pocket. She gave him a nervous smile that he returned.
"Grandpa! Mammy! We're home!"
I don't even know what to say. I mean, I seriously have no idea. I HAVE SO MANY EMOTIONS.
Okay, the people who are just picking this up and don't know me already are sitting there like, "Da fuq is wrong with this girl?" and the rest of you who've been with me through Mystery Muse are like, "Welp, Thalia had too much Monster today, now didn't she? Someone should really take that away from her." Whichever one you are, I LOVE YOU. And yes, I have had too much Monster today. And I haven't even finished one.
OKAY. Welcome to the Whirlwind is the sequel to Mystery Muse, which somehow, by some miracle of God, became very well loved by people other than myself. God has a fantastic sense of humour. Mystery Muse also has a bazillion one-shots that go along with that - I lovingly call them "deleted scenes." It also has a parallel story for Derek set ten years in the past. Basically, I love everything about my little world and I hope you do too!
Thank you so much for reading, I hope you liked it and, please, tell me what you think - good or bad!