Criminal Minds: Dr Spencer Reidbywife2hotblk©
Note to Reader: No sex in this one...sorry.
Dr Spencer Reid stared at the photograph taped to the white board. Even almost fifteen years later he would recognize her: Alexa Lisbon. She had been his first crush. He was barely twelve years old, but thanks to his exceptionally high IQ and his didactic memory he was promoted to high school. His mother had been going through a particularly bad period with her mental illness; so deep in her disillusions and depression that she had rarely noticed his presence.
It was a day he could never forget. Barely a month into his high school experience and head cheerleader Harper Hillman had passed him a note that Alexa wanted to meet him after school by the field. He could hardly believe it, but in his innocence followed the instructions in the note. Alexa was after all his lab partner in chemistry; perhaps she needed some help with the assignment that was due on Monday. He had no reason to doubt it after all. Although she was a cheer leader, the step-daughter of the football coach and one of the most popular kids in school; Alexa had always been kind to the gawky little kid, who had not yet quite entered puberty even. He had even held out a faint ray of hope that perhaps in some small measure his infatuation was reciprocated.
Until that day, when he had arrived at the practice field just as the sun was beginning to set behind the mountains. It was beginning to get cold already. Even in late September, Las Vegas was after all a desert: hot in the day and cold at night. The field at first appeared abandoned. He had waited a few minutes and was turning to leave when out of the shadows of the stand stepped Harper Hillman, Alexa's older brother Troy and most of the football and cheerleading squad. Troy had begun the taunts about the little nerd having a crush on his baby sister. The rest had joined in the verbal assault.
But it had not ended there. They had striped him and tied him to the goal post like some prize. Then as if the humiliation was not enough, Harper had pushed Alexa from out of the back of the crowd somewhere. Troy had wrapped his man size arms about his little sister's shoulder and asked, 'So little sis, what you think of your genius boyfriend now?' Staring at Spencer he had laughed, 'Good thing his brain is bigger than other things.' Alexa had simply stared for a moment in what appeared to be shock before they had all dispersed, dragging her with them and leaving him tied naked to the goal post.
It had taken him hours to free himself from the ropes and gather his clothes that they had cruelly tossed high into the stands, trees and anywhere they thought might prove difficult to retrieve. Then he had walked home through the Las Vegas night lit as it was with the neon of the strip. It was after midnight before he made it home, but his mother had not even noticed. He spent that weekend in his room; shame and fear had eaten gapping holes into his young soul. He was lucky though. Within a few weeks, it was decided that not even the high school curriculum was challenging enough for the boy genius. He was relieved to be away from there...and off to completing his first bachelor's degree.
As he stared into the clear blue eyes that had once danced with laughter over chemistry and some silly joke, he was struck by the irony. Alexa, his Alexa Lisbon, was the fifth victim of what was being called the Hen House Ripper; a sadist who took pleasure in kidnapping, torturing and eventually murdering the top drawing attraction at the brothel of that name. The top earner each week had her name placed in lights on the neon board; for over a month now that honor had become a death sentence. If the killer held to his pattern, Alexa would be the next victim in a couple of days. She had been gone for four days now; the killer always disposed of the body on day six, moving onto the next victim the next day.
He stared at the picture of the blonde beauty, who he knew was almost thirty now; almost three years his senior. He looked too at the pictures of the other four victims. The profile had been given that morning: a sadistic rapist and murderer, a male between the age of thirty-five and fifty, familiar with the area and likely a regular customer of the brothels. Dr Spencer Reid knew that logically the profile fit the crimes, yet something bothered him. Something was not quite right with it. They were missing something.
Alexa came awake slowly in the cold, damp of the basement that had been her home for the past few days. She had tried very hard not to lose count, although without windows or a clock it was hard to do. But she knew the pattern; on day six her body would be found near the Hen House, just like all her friends. If she could not come up with a plan to stop her tormentor. By her count it was day four, she had two more days to think of something...at the most.
Looking about the cool stone walls, she put all her efforts towards finding a solution. Despite what people might think, Alexa was no dummy. She was though the unfortunate victim of a string of circumstances that had driven her to choices others might not have made. First, it was the death at age twelve of her beloved father, a state trooper in the line of duty. Then her mother had re-married barely a year later to the man that had once been his partner and was now the local high school football coach; a man who regularly beat and abused her mother for years.
Even the one bright moment of her youth had been stolen from her. His name was Spencer Reid. Even though he was younger than she was, for the first time she had found a friend with whom she could share her own genius. Even his silly jokes that only she seemed to understand had made her laugh; something she had not done much of in a couple of years. But it was not to be. Her step-father had encouraged her older brother, best friend and the others to play a cruel joke on him, using her as bait. The truth was though that it was less about tormenting the young boy and more about getting her back into control. So in the end, she had stayed far from him...to protect him as she had tried to do with her mother and younger brother and sister.
Not even the brief escape to UCLA had succeeded in breaking the bonds of dysfunction that held her to this place and her family. Another brief bright moment had been when her mother and siblings travelled to Los Angeles to watch her graduate with honors in psychology. She had hoped not only to eventually help others, but also to one day understand herself and her family. She had been given a scholarship to pursue her doctorate at Stamford in the fall. But it was to be the last time they had all been together.
Troy had joined the Marines. After watching her walk across the stage to receive her degree, they had travelled to San Diego where he would be completing basic training. For the first time since her mother had re-married Alexa thought she glimpsed the care-free young man that he had once been. But over the years, like his sister, he had taken to trying to protect his small family. His ways though were different. Where Alexa would confront and fight her step-father, he would try to placate. He would do anything to please the man: win the big game or even bully a young genius, who just happened to have a crush on his sister. But once again, her luck was short lived. Troy was killed eight months later in Iraq.
Her mother had never fully recovered from this additional loss. Alexa had noticed when she visited during breaks that her mother was thinner, the lines on her pretty face were deeper, and she had even more of the nasty purple and green bruises. When her mother became pregnant later that year, Alexa had hoped that she might rally for the baby's sake. Her lovely baby sister, Katrina, had been only six months old though when her step-father had snapped. He had beaten her mother to death in front of her seven year old half brother.
Alexa had left Stamford half way through her doctorate program in childhood psychology. She had returned to Las Vegas to fight her step-father's family for guardianship of her young brother and sister. In the end she had won, but she found it difficult to manage the demands of two young children, one still a baby actually. It was almost impossible to find a job that would allow her adequate time to care not only for their physical needs but their extremely battered young psyches. Working nights had been the solution she found most manageable. In her first year back, she had been a waitress, black jack dealer, and even tried her hand at being a show girl.
None of them had allowed her both the time and energy her young family needed and the money they must have to survive. It was during her early morning shift at the dinner along the Interstate where she met Nancy, Naval Nancy to be exact. She was a prostitute at the Hen House Brothel and Gentlemen's Club about fifty miles outside of Las Vegas. She stopped each Monday morning on her way back home for breakfast. Alexa always made sure to serve her for two reasons. First of all was the twenty dollar tip that was guaranteed to be the largest of the week, unless some visitor scored really well at the local casinos. But it was also because she genuinely liked the woman.
They became friends of sort. It was through Nancy that Alexa learned about the exceptional money to be made in...well, in selling what she used to give away. Not that she had had much time to even give it away in the year since she had been back. It had taken two months for her to work up the courage or perhaps the desperation to go for an 'audition,' which basically meant a two hour sex session with the owner. It had not been as bad as Alexa had expected actually. Although Shane was older and rounder than the men she had been with, the sex itself was not bad; but then again it had been so long for her that any sex would have been a blessed relief like a down-pour of rain after a hot Las Vegas day.
She had gotten the job too. For the next year and a half she had worked Friday evening to Sunday late night. She made enough in those two days and nights to more than care for her family and pay for the professional nanny that stayed with the children while she worked. Since Katrina was now toddling she was even able to return part-time to University of Nevada -- Las Vegas to pursue her doctorate. It seemed almost like her luck was changing, but then this.
Alexa heard the door open a bit. She fought through the drug induced fog to focus on her assailant, although her mind fought against the reality of it all. Alexa shook her head and whimpered as her muscles cried out in pain against her restraints. She knew that the next couple of hours would be more of the same torture that had filled the last four days. The adult toys that had been part of her trade and were meant to bring pleasure would instead inflict pain and humiliation. But there was no denying the truth as the tall, buxom red-headed that she had once counted as her best friend entered the cold confines of the room. Naval Nancy was the Hen House Ripper. Alexa's mind cried out the truth in her anguish even as she fought so hard to stay alive for her family.
Dr Spencer Reid had stared at the board for hours. He could not get over the feeling that they were missing something crucial to the investigation. He had to figure it out...for her...for Alexa. Despite everything he still thought of her as that welcoming smile and kindness in chemistry class. All of the ugliness had never completely replaced that. Besides after reading the file that contained a summary of her life, her victimology, he felt as if she had received far too harsh a sentence for whatever her part in his torture and humiliation that day.
Derek Morgan entered the room. He watched as his friend stared transfixed at the board. He had seen his friend involved in other cases, but not like this. He alone knew why. Alexa Lisbon. It was not the first time he had heard the name of course. During one particularly tragic case of a teen outcast and 'Justice Collector' in a small Texas town, Spencer had shared with him the pain of his own high school experience. Alexa Lisbon was at the center of it.
Walking into the room, he began calmly, 'So how are you doing?'
'It doesn't make sense. We are missing something,' he said with conviction as he continued to stare at the board.
'I don't mean the case, exactly,' Derek said as he walked to the board and took her picture from it. Tossing it in front of Dr Spencer Reid, he said, 'I mean her, kid.'
Spencer cleared his throat nervously, a habit he had had for years. 'That has nothing to do with this case,' he lied. 'This is a case and she is another victim, that's all.'
Derek shook his head, tempted to call his friend on the obvious lie, but then he saw something. It was a look on his friend's face that he had come to know meant just one thing: he had the answer.
'It isn't a man at all. The unsub is a woman,' he exclaimed as he rushed out of the room to find the rest of the team.
Alexa fought the drug and exhaustion induced slumber that followed the ritualized abuse at the hands of her friend. The ironic thing was that Alexa could still think of Nancy that way, even after the past few days as well as the months of erratic behaviour that had tormented all of the girls at the Hen House. Her degree in psychology helped her to recognize that her friend was suffering from a disassociative break brought on by her bi-polar depression.
Alexa, of all people, could understand the pathology and separate it from the person she had once known: a person she knew still lay deep inside this monster. Reaching that other person was her only chance of survival she realized. So through out the hours of torture she remained focused on talking to her assailant about her brother and sister, her studies, their friends at the brothel, anything and everything they shared in common that might draw her friend out.
She knew that if she fell asleep this time she would be wasting her few remaining hours to figure out an escape plan. She had long since given up on help from the police. The killing of a few whores was not top on their priority list. Of course, when Nancy turned her vitriol on their customers, then she would be caught...quickly. Besides Alexa knew they were all looking for the wrong thing. They had assumed that like most prostitute killers the Hen House Ripper was a male customer, not a disgruntled former employee.
It was the same assumption that Alexa had made, which was why she had not thought twice about getting in the car with Nancy when her broke down on the long drive back to Las Vegas that Sunday night. She had wanted desperately to get home to her children as she now thought of them. She had actually thought that it was good fortune that Nancy found her instead of the mysterious man that was raping and murdering her colleagues. She was thankful for the bottle of cool water that her friend offered...until she woke bound in the basement prison to the type of torture that only another woman could think to inflict upon the female body.
Alexa had never been much into the whole girl-on-girl thing although she had occasionally engaged in a threesome at the brothel, even a couple with Nancy. But the atrocities that she had endured for the past almost five days were unimaginable in any true lesbian relationship. Of course, she had long ago recognized that her friend had a deep set conflict about her sexual orientation, which was a large part of the issues she had with the other girls at the Hen House.
That was when it dawned on Alexa: she would pretend to be in love with Nancy. She really felt it was her best chance of surviving and going home to her family. With a solid plan in her mind, Alexa allowed herself to drift into slumber. But it was disturbed with dreams of him...Spence.
Dr Spencer Reid huddled outside the normal looking ranch style home on the outskirts of Las Vegas. Derek was close by as was Rossi and Hotchner. He was anxious; more so than normal. It was dawn of day five and if the pattern held Nancy Hernandez would soon be murdering Alexa, if she had not already. He wanted to rush forward, but his training held him back.
Once the profile had been corrected it did not take them long to identify a prime suspect as the unsub. From the beleaguered owner of the Hen House to the women that worked there, they all unanimously identified Naval Nancy as the only former employee that fit the profile. Within minutes Garcia had worked her magic and had the address of Hernandez' home and likely location of the murders.
Now it was a matter of waiting. Moments seemed like hours as the assault team finalized their plans. Spencer noticed Derek watching him; a tad too closely. Was it that obvious to his friend that this woman meant more to him than just another victim?
Finally the signal came and they rushed forward as a unit. They quickly cleared the ground floor of the home but encountered a barricade when they attempted to enter the basement off of the utility room.
Alexa heard the commotion but she kept her focus on the interaction with her friend. She knew that even in a matter of seconds Nancy could use the lethal looking knife that she had brought into the basement this morning. With the seven inch serrated edge, Alexa would be mortally wounded before her potential rescuers could breech the barricade. So instead she continued the pleading she had begun the moment her friend entered.
'Nancy, I know you have always loved me. Since we first met at the dinner, I knew there was something between us,' she lied. 'Please, put the knife down. I promise that if you give me a chance we can be together. Forever...,' she held out the false hope to her friend.
Nancy's normally captivating brown eyes that now held the stare of a mad-woman moved between the door and the woman captive on the bed before her. 'What about the brats? All you think about are those brats. You know they ain't even your damned kids,' she spat viciously.
Alexa bit back the instant retort that sprang to her lips. She would do whatever it took to get back to her family. With the police on the other side of that door she had more hope than ever before.
'Please Nancy just kiss me...one more time,' she hoped to distract her assailant long enough for them to breech the locks on the fortified door.
Nancy looked back and forth between the door and her friend. Crossing the few feet to the small bed on which she was shackled, she bent forward until her lips pressed against the trembling ones of her captive. It was then that Alexa registered the cool steel of the nasty knife against her throat. Just as she heard the door give, she felt the twin motion of her friend's tongue slip between her lips and the blade cut deep across her throat.
The pain was excruciating but still she fought to remain conscious. She had to tell them. She needed her family to know that they were the last thought on her mind. She felt the warm stickiness seeping down her shoulder and with it her strength.
Then it was as if some angel had descended upon her. Her angel, Spence. Of course, she logically recognized that it was not possible, but still it was a nice image upon which to breathe her last breath. In the illusion, he scooped her into his arms; his hand clamped tight around the wound as if to steam the flowing tide that was her life.
While she had wanted so desperately to tell her brother and sister through the rescuers of her love for them, that need was suddenly replaced by another admission that was far older. Her voice was barely audible as she mouthed, 'It wasn't me...I didn't know.' She saw her angel shake his longish brown wavy hair as if confused, but she was losing this final battle to remain conscious. Her eyes closed.