DISCLAIMER: The following story may contain graphic scenes of torture and violence, character death, mature themes, profane language, lampshade hanging, absurd situations, excessive sarcasm, and badly written poetry. Read at your own risk.

"Man makes plans…and God laughs." – Michael Chabon

The phone was ringing.

Reid wanted to cry.

Thirty-seven minutes. That was how long he'd been allowed to sleep. Thirty. Seven. Minutes.

It rang again.

Letting out a moan, he reached out for the phone blindly, knocking it off of the bed in the process. Swearing, he groped around on the floor, eventually making contact with a smooth, plastic object. He raised it to his ear—realized it was the television remote—then threw it at the wall and collapsed onto his bed again.

The phone rang a third time.

"Fine!" Reid shouted, anger eventually giving him the motivation to push himself out of his bed. He crawled around on the floor for several moments before finally finding his phone—which had apparently had the audacity to bounce underneath the bed stand—and answered it just before it went to voicemail.

"Rise and shine, wunderkind!" Garcia's voice chorused from the other end of the phone.

"Someone had better be dying," he mumbled.

There was a pause. "Well, you've got an uncharacteristically dark sense of humor this morning," Garcia replied eventually.

"I'm tired."

"Ran out of coffee?"

"You guessed it." Reid pushed himself to his feet and slowly made his way into the bathroom, allowing a large yawn to escape his lips.

"Well, people are dying, as a matter of fact."

"That so?" Reid asked. "Where?"

"Iowa."

"There are people in Iowa?" Reid asked mildly, turning on the shower.

"You'd better get caffeinated soon, mister, because I don't think Morgan will appreciate this snarkiness the whole plane ride in. He didn't sound much happier than you are."

"Copy that," Reid said, hanging up the phone.

O

By the time Reid arrived at Quantico, the team was sitting around the round table. Hotch and Rossi were having a muted conversation, JJ was on her phone, and Morgan appeared to have fallen asleep in his chair.

Reid frowned, confused by the lack of activity. "What's wrong?" he asked. "Are we going to leave soon?"

"No such luck," Blake said, entering the room. "Garcia got the call a couple minutes ago. The unsub turned himself in."

Reid blinked. "What?"

"Yeah, something about a thirty-year unsub killing local prostitutes to avenge the spirit of his dead mother," Blake said, shrugging. "Then he found out she was still alive. So they don't need us anymore."

"Oh," Reid said, resisting the urge to hurl his cup of coffee at the opposite wall. "That sounds…weird."

"Apparently it was," Blake agreed. "I wish every case was that easy."

Reid sighed. Any excitement he might have felt at the detainment of a serial killer was significantly dampened by the fact that he was at work before the sun had even risen. "Why is everyone still here?"

"Strauss wants to talk to us," Hotch said, breaking his conversation with Rossi to address Reid.

Reid blinked. "Oh," he said. "Why?"

Hotch didn't answer—instead, his eyes lingered on Reid for several more seconds before returning to the conversation with Rossi. Reid frowned, then cast a confused look at Blake. She shrugged.

He sat down next to Morgan, prodding him in the side to wake him up, eliciting a surprised shout from the older man.

"Not cool, pretty boy," Morgan growled, massaging his arm.

"Why does Strauss want to talk to us?" he asked.

Morgan blinked. "Strauss wants to talk to us?" he asked. "Is it about the case?"

Reid raised his eyebrows. "We don't have a case anymore."

"Oh," Morgan muttered. "It's over already?"

"Ah-ha!" Both Reid and Morgan whipped their heads around, disoriented, as a very colorful looking Garcia flounced into the room holding a mug of tea in one hand and a large handbag in the other. "Ten dollars, JJ. Ten. Dollars."

JJ glanced up from her phone, rolling her eyes. "The bet is hardly valid anymore," she said. "Spence messed it up."

"What?" Morgan asked, looking very confused.

"We wanted to see how long you'd sleep," JJ explained. "I bet Garcia you'd be out for over thirty minutes."

"And it has only been nine minutes," Garcia said.

"Because Spence woke him up," JJ said, laughing.

"And how, exactly, did he wake him up?"

Both women turned to Reid with expectant eyes.

"Um," Reid said, not fully paying attention. "I just kind of poked him."

"See?" JJ said. "Poking clearly nullifies any monetary wagers."

"Well, I don't know," Morgan said, coming to Garcia's defense. "I wasn't sleeping very deeply. It wouldn't have taken much to wake me up."

"He's just saying that because he doesn't want to admit that he would have slept the day away, case or no case, if we'd let him—"

"Reid," Garcia said, interrupting JJ, "How hard did you poke him?"

Reid blinked. "What?"

"On a scale of one to ten, how hard, would you say, did you poke Derek?"

Reid stared at Garcia, his irritation growing. "I don't remember," he said.

"Ridiculous," JJ scoffed. "You remember everything. Please calculate the exact degree to which you poked Morgan at approximately five forty-six this morning, Eastern time—"

"There isn't an objective scale for measuring poking," Reid snapped.

Garcia sighed. "Alright," she said. "Fair enough. Could you recreate the poking, please?"

Reid blinked. "What?" he snapped, glancing at Morgan for help—Morgan however, looked like he was about to fall back to sleep any moment.

"Please poke Derek again, in the exact same manner as you did at five forty-six this morning, Eastern time, so that we will be able to assess whether or not the poke was sufficient enough to rouse Derek from his sleep and to ultimately determine that JJ owes me ten dollars, further proving that I have a deep and intimate understanding of Derek's sleep patterns as such is matched by no—"

"It's good to see you're all getting a lot of work done." Everyone's head snapped up simultaneously as Strauss' voice sounded from the doorway. Blake cast her a slightly disdainful look before inching out of the doorway and sliding in the other seat next to Reid.

"Ma'am," Garcia said, "We were just—"

"It's alright," Strauss said, smiling slightly. "I do have a sense of humor sometimes, you know. And I realize that it's frustrating to get called from your beds at five in the morning only to find your job has been done for you."

Everyone simply stared at Strauss, as if wondering whether she had a point or was simply trying to make their morning even more annoying than it already was.

She sighed. "There was a note sent to Quantico anonymously late last night," she said. "I mentioned it to Agent Hotchner, earlier—I'd like you all to take a look." With a quick glance at Reid—which was so short, he wondered if he had only imagined it—she exited the room, leaving an envelope behind on the table.

Hotch reached forward, opened the envelope, and surveyed the letter. After a moment, he frowned.

"It's a poem," he muttered, raising his eyebrows.

"A what?" Morgan asked, still sounding half-asleep. "The threatening message is a poem?"

Hotch shook his head. "It looks like a poem," he muttered. "Yep," he muttered, smiling slightly after a few more seconds of silence. "Definitely a poem."

"Could you read it?" JJ asked, sounding impatient. Hotch cleared his throat and started to read.

"'It's no surprise, I must agree,
If you do not remember me—
It's been a week or month since then
(I'm rather bad with dates, my friend.)
I saw you last so long ago
I feared you would forget—and so
I thought I'd write a limerick
(Just to ensure my words would stick)
Perhaps a quatrain, or haiku—
But what, my friend, could impress you?
If I could delve into your mind—
I say, what joyous things I'd find!
But so you do not misconstrue
I must convey my thoughts to you.
I wondered once, how precious minds
Are often rare, so hard to find.
And so I wondered (sure enough)
If you were made of different stuff—
Perhaps the coils of your brain
Were somehow better, not the same
As those of us mere mortal men.
If so, what was contained in them?
I know that we could get along,
And tell me, was it really wrong
To look at you, and wonder "how?"
(As far as science would allow)
To wonder how your blood would race
In tributaries, down your face?
And would it look the same as mine?
(Perhaps more tragic—more divine?)

Now please, my friend—don't be alarmed!
I do not wish you any harm.
I wish to see inside your head
(Which would be hard, if you were dead!)
I shall not let you hide away.
Don't be afraid—come out and play!
And now you see—no need to fear!
I think our time is drawing near.
I've always been so very shy
But we must meet before you die.
So don't be scared—it's not the end!
I simply want to be your friend.'"

There was a brief moment of silence after Hotch stopped reading the poem. "Well, he's not Edgar Allan Poe, so we know that much," Reid muttered sleepily—his eyes had slowly drifted closed as Hotch had read the poem, and he began to wonder whether or not he could fall asleep right then and there. As the silence stretched on, however, he was forced to look up.

"What?" he demanded, once he realized they were all staring at him.

There was a long silence. "Well, Reid," JJ began. "It does kind of sound…"

"What?" Reid demanded. "Sound like what?"

"Like he's talking to you," Hotch said.

Reid blinked. "I don't see where you're getting that from," he said.

Hotch raised his eyebrows and began to read the poem again. Irritated, Reid reached forward and snatched the poem from him, unwilling to spend another minute listening to something he could read in five seconds.

"Are you guys really so insecure," Reid muttered, "That you think I'm the only one here who has a 'great mind?'" He raised his eyebrows, glancing around at the team. "There's no indication that this is intended for me. It wasn't even sent to the BAU. It was just sent to Quantico. It could be meant for anybody that works here. Hotch, or Garcia, or Strauss, or Anderson, or any other person who—"

"And yet," Hotch interrupted. "Despite her incredibly high opinion of herself, Strauss did not assume the message was for her—nor did she assume it was intended for me, or Morgan, or JJ, or Anderson, or anyone else at Quantico. Because nobody else has an IQ of 187, and eidetic memory and—"

"Yeah, yeah, okay," Reid said. "Strauss knows that. But this person doesn't know that."

They all stared at him.

"It's true!"

"Okay, sure," Morgan said, speaking up for the first time. "But if it was meant for anyone, Reid..."

"I know what this is really about," Reid snapped. "You all just think I have this weird proclivity towards being stalked and kidnapped, and so you just jump to conclusions without considering all the evidence first."

"In all fairness, Reid," Hotch said carefully, "You do have a bit of a history of—"

"No," Reid snapped, pushing himself to his feet. "We didn't even have a case, did we?" he demanded, glancing back and forth from Hotch to Blake. "You just wanted to get me in here as soon as possible!"

"You have no evidence to support that," Hotch muttered. "It doesn't matter—you're here now. And we need to discuss the—"

"No," Reid snapped. "This is unbelievably stupid."

"All I'm saying, Reid, is that we need to act with an abundance of caution until we've got this figured out. If you could just take a closer look at the—"

"No," Reid repeated, gritting his teeth. "This is ridiculous. Unless this is an actual case that she wants us to work on—you know, one where an actual crime has been committed—I'm going to go finish my paperwork." With that, he turned his back on his team and stormed out of the room.

"Spence!" JJ called after him, once she saw that he was truly leaving. "That's fine, but just—you know—re-read the poem over in your head a couple times,—or….or whatever it is that you do—just really let it soak in, you know—"

"Right, got it!" Reid shouted sarcastically, raising his hand in farewell. "Thanks a lot, everybody!" Once he'd made it to his desk, however, he realized he had forgotten his coffee in the conference room—and so, for the next several minutes, he simply sat in his chair, torn between his desire for coffee and his immense reluctance to go back and face his team again, all the while the obnoxious lyrics of the poem bounced around in his head.

"Goddamnit," he muttered eventually, getting up to make himself coffee in the break room. Glancing at his watch, he realized that it wasn't even six o'clock yet.

It was going to be a long day.

O

"Hey, Spence. Do you want to come over to dinner tonight? Henry hasn't seen you in awhile."

Reid swiveled around in his chair, arms folded, one leg crossed over the other, and surveyed JJ's innocent face suspiciously.

"Why?"

JJ laughed. "Does there suddenly need to be an ulterior motive to invite you over to my house?"

"No," Reid said. "But there is."

JJ frowned. "Fine," she said. "So don't come over. Go home and get murdered by an insane poetry fanatic. See if I care."

Reid couldn't help but laugh. "Alright," he said eventually. "I'll come. But I swear to God, if you bring it up one more time…"

JJ laughed, reached forward to mess up his hair, then darted out of the way as he tried to push her off. "Great, thanks!" he shouted, pushing his hair out of his eyes as she walked across the bullpen towards her office. "Excellent, JJ! That really made me want to spend more time with you!"

She waved to him cheerily, before turning around and shutting the door to her office.

O

"I don't like it!"

"You can't know that, Henry," JJ admonished her son. "You haven't tried it yet!"

Henry brought his face several inches closer to the plate before recoiling with a look of disgust. "It looks like horse guts."

JJ rolled her eyes. "It looks nothing like horse guts, Henry," she said. "It's salmon."

"No," Henry snapped, growing more stubborn by the minute. "I hate salmon. Salmon is the worst."

"But you haven't even tried it—"

"JJ," Will interjected in a hushed voice, so that the younger child couldn't hear, "You're not going to get a four year old to eat salmon."

"I just want him to try it," JJ insisted irritably.

"You know, Henry," Reid said, "I used to eat salmon all the time when I was a kid."

Henry surveyed him with a look of suspicion.

"It's true," Reid said. "It's got lots of vitamins in it. Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A and B, folate—"

"NO SALMON!" Henry shrieked suddenly, lashing out without warning and knocking the pot of mashed potatoes off the edge of the table and onto Will's foot.

"Damn it!" Will hissed, gritting his teeth in pain as he bent to pick up the pot.

"Will!" JJ snapped, shooting him a severe look.

"What?" Will asked. "He's the one who tried to amputate my foot."

Henry started giggling, but was stopped short after a stern look from JJ, lowering his eyes to his plate and muttering an apology to his father.

"Anyways," JJ said, as Will was busy cleaning the mashed potatoes off of the floor, "As I was saying, Reid—I think you should stay the night. Henry hasn't had been seeing you nearly enough lately."

Reid let out a sigh as he twirled his salad around on his fork. "Could we not start with that again?"

"What?" JJ asked. "Don't you want to spend time with your godson?"

Reid shot her a dark look. "Using children as a tool for manipulation," he said, raising his eyebrows. "Really, JJ. I thought you were better than this."

JJ leaned across the table. "Excuse me for not wanting you killed," she hissed.

"Is Uncle Spencer in danger?" Henry piped up, his eyes wide.

"No," JJ and Reid said simultaneously.

Reid shot JJ a knowing look. "You see?" he said. "We're in agreement."

JJ looked on the verge of retaliating when she noticed that Henry had begun to dump forkloads of the salmon onto the floor. "Stop it, Henry!" she snapped. "If you don't eat your salmon, you're not getting any ice cream after dinner!"

Henry slammed the fork down on the table. "Damn it!" he shouted.

"Henry!" JJ cried. "I told you to never use that—"

"DAMN IT! I HATE SALMON!" Henry shouted again, smacking his hand over and over on the table. "DAMN THAT SALMON! DAMN THAT SALMON!"

"You see what you've done?" JJ demanded of Will, who was still on his hands and knees cleaning up the potatoes. "I told you not to swear in front of him!"

"I'm a little busy!" Will shouted from the ground.

"Actually," Reid said, amid the shouting, "That type of rhyming capability in a four-year-old indicates advanced linguistic skills. If I were you, I'd be pleased."

"DAMN THAT SALMON!" Henry shouted again and, with a grin, hurled the entire plate at the wall—however, it fell slightly short of its intended target, with the majority ending up on Will's head.

"Henry!" JJ snapped again. "What has gotten into you?"

"Maybe it's all that sugar you gave him earlier!" Will shouted, wiping mashed potatoes off of his neck.

"Actually," Reid said. "Recent studies contradict the notion that sugar causes hyperactivity in children. In fact—"

"Not now, Reid!" JJ said, lifting a screaming Henry from his chair and carrying him upstairs. Reid stood there somewhat awkwardly as the screams of "DAMN THAT SALMON!" echoed down the staircase.

"Need any help?" he asked Will. Will stood up with a sigh, still brushing pieces of salmon out of his hair.

"M'alright," he said. "Don't know what's up with Henry, though. It's that JJ's on edge, I think. He can tell. It upsets him."

Reid felt a combination of guilt and irritation building up in his stomach. "She doesn't need to be worried," he said. "The whole team is acting ridiculous."

"I dunno," Will muttered, taking a seat at the table again. "Aren't you a bit worried?"

"No," Reid insisted stubbornly. "They don't even know that it was for me. They're just assuming that it is, because..." he trailed off."They're all just overprotective of me," he continued. "They still think of me as 'some kid.' Well, I'm thirty years old—"

"You oughtta be careful," Will interjected, "That you're not so busy being defensive that you stop using your head."

"What I'm saying," Reid muttered, "Is that I can look after myself."

"Oh, really?" This voice came from behind him—he turned around to see JJ standing there. "Henry's in his room," she said, by way of explanation.

"I see," Will said.

She turned again to Reid. "Let take a look back," she said. "There was the whole Tobias Hankel thing—which goes without saying—"

"You were there, too," Reid muttered.

"But then there was the anthrax incident—"

"I found the cure eventually," Reid hissed.

"And that time during the Fisher King case where you got yourself set on fire—"

"It was only my pants

"And that other time when you decided to leave your bulletproof vest behind and wander into the house where the unsub was keeping the victim hostage, without telling anyone, all because you had a headache—

"It was a migraine!" Reid shouted bitterly.

"And don't make me mention the last case where you willingly approached the unsub, blindfolded, and tried to sacrifice yourself to save a girl you'd never even seen before—"

"Hey!" Reid shouted, furious that JJ was willing to bring Maeve into this. "Alright! I get it! I work for the FBI—there are some risks involved, in case you haven't noticed. It's not like you've never been in danger."

"No, Reid," JJ said. "I haven't. Not as much as you have. Because you—well, don't take this as a criticism, Reid, but you're not always the most…aware."

Reid glared at JJ without speaking.

"What I mean," she said, "Is that you've got this uncanny ability to get yourself into…into situations…that most people would have been able to avoid. And I'm sure that it's only because you're thinking of something really important—like the theory of relativity or postmodernism or Moby Dick—but you've got your head in the clouds a lot of times, Spence, and you don't really seem to have the greatest common sense, and if you are being targeted by an unsub you can't just wander around and—"

"I think I have to go," Reid snapped, turning his back on JJ and heading for the door. He didn't care whether or not her intentions were pure—he was sick and tired of everyone treating him like he was helpless.

"Wait!" JJ shouted, grabbing onto Reid's arm as he was getting his coat. "Please, Spence. Just think about this. Stay for awhile, and—"

"I'm all set," he muttered. "Thanks for dinner. I'll see you at work tomorrow."

"But, Spence—look, I'm sorry if I offended you, but you've got to stop being unreasonable about this. Spence!" But Reid had already gotten into his car and backed out of the driveway as the last of JJ's protests faded away. As he drove on, he felt guiltier and guiltier, but was too proud to turn around and go back.

He didn't feel like driving back to his apartment—so, he went down to the library. He wandered around for some time, gazing at the titles of the books on his shelves and trying to determine whether or not he had already read them.

"Not sure why you come to the library so often, Dr. Reid," said a voice from behind him—he turned around and recognized Ms. Wilde—a stout, elderly librarian with a stern face but kind eyes. "You've got an entire library inside your head, after all."

Reid smiled. "I like the way books smell," he said.

She laughed. "So do I, Dr. Reid," she said. She surveyed him for several moments, before remarking, "You look upset. Is everything alright?"

He scratched his head. "Just an argument with a friend," he admitted.

"A lady-friend?" Ms. Wilde asked, raising her eyebrows knowingly.

Reid laughed. "Not exactly," he said. "She's married."

"Well, that's a shame," Ms. Wilde said, sighing.

He laughed again. "That's not what we were arguing about."

"Well, about what, then?" she asked.

Reid shrugged. "Well…I don't know," he said. "Do you think I'm…absentminded?" He was immediately struck by the ridiculousness of the query, especially considering who it was addressed to, and began to feel slightly stupid.

"I wouldn't know, dear," Ms. Wilde said. "Everyone's absentminded in a library. Books will do that to you."

"Right," Reid muttered. He stayed in the library until it closed at nine-o'clock—after that, he drove aimlessly around the city, unable to quell the building sense of agitation in his stomach. Torn by a desire to apologize to JJ and punch her in the face, he parked outside a local coffee shop and went in.

"We're closing at ten," shouted the teenager working the register.

"Right," Reid muttered, checking his watch. "Well, um—can I have a coffee with sugar and milk?"

"I don't know, can you?" smirked the teenager. Reid folded his arms and glared. "Guess you can," the boy muttered, turning around to grab the cup. "People have no sense of humor anymore. Sheesh."

"Excuse me for not appreciating your innovative comedic brilliance," Reid muttered under his breath. The teenager gave him a dirty look as he handed him his coffee.

"Three-fifty," he said. Reid handed him four dollars and walked out of the store, loitering outside on the sidewalk for several moments. He couldn't tell whether his bad mood stemmed from his confrontation with JJ, or the reason behind it—or, worst of all, a legitimate fear that they were right.

Finally, as the time approached eleven o'clock, Reid was forced to return to his apartment, convinced that no amount of driving around aimlessly would take his mind off his present situation. As he opened his apartment door, however, a small, folded piece of paper fell out of the doorway and onto his head. Frowning, he unfolded the piece of paper and scanned the words quickly.

I thought I'd wait till you got home
To see if you had read my poem.
And yet, alas! You are not here.
So here's a game of hate and fear.

"Goddamn it," Reid hissed, whipping around and slamming the door behind him. He wasn't sure whether he was more frightened that he truly was being stalked or furious that his team had been right. Hands shaking, he whipped out his phone and dialed Hotch's number.

"Reid," Hotch said, before he'd had a chance to speak, "I was just about to call you."

"Hotch," Reid began.

"Listen, Reid," Hotch interrupted, his voice sounding frightened and urgent. "We were wrong. Alright? I'm sorry."

Reid frowned. "But, Hotch—"

"I didn't expect this to happen," Hotch muttered. "It doesn't make any sense. The victimization makes no sense in terms of either of the poems..."

Reid paused for a second, frowning. "Wait," he said. "What are you talking about?"

There was a brief silence. "I thought you knew," Hotch said, after a moment.

"Knew what?" Reid demanded.

There was a tense pause. "It's JJ," he said. "She's disappeared."