22 January 2012 @ 12:09 am
Solitary Confinement (2/?)  
Title: Solitary Confinement (2/?)
Author: Merucha
Crossover: Criminal Minds/Torchwood
Characters: Everyone's here, more or less
Rating: Some chapters definitely not safe for work.
Disclaimer: Oh, please. If I owned them, would I let some of those idiots write the scripts? And if I were making any money off them, would I be where they could find me?
Summary: Aaron Hotchner's secrets and the real reason for the existence of the BAU team is revealed when a terrible serial killer strikes...
Author's Note: People are the only mirror we have to see ourselves in. The domain of all meaning. All virtue, all evil, are contained only in people. There is none in the universe at large. Solitary confinement is a punishment in every human culture. Lois McMaster Bujold. Mirror Dance.
Author's Note: So, yes, it's John Hart. Remember, this is AU. It will all be explained, I promise. Also, the quoted madrigals are as follows: Weelkes (1597), Pilkington (1613), Campion (1613), Bateson(1604)

They were met at the airport by the homicide detectives in charge of the case. Hotch snickered – discreetly, because it wouldn't do for the team to know he actually had a sense of humor that worked in some seriously kinky ways – when he heard Emily's quiet whoa at the sight of the slim blond man in the leather jacket.

“Hey, Ieuan.”

“Hey, Tall, Dark, and Humorless.”

They shook hands, grinning. John Hart, quondam time agent, blackmailer, and murderer, and the first person to break through Hotch's self-imposed isolation after Haley's death. His hair was now white-blond, but nothing else had changed, especially his penchant for taking his friends down a peg or two.

“Everyone, this is homicide detective Ieuan Harte and his partner, Leah James. They're in charge of the Beall case. Ieuan, these are Special Agents Rossi, Morgan, Prentiss, and Reid.”

Ieuan grinned. “No blondes. What is it with you people and no blondes?”

The tall red-head snorted. “Ignore him. There's only room for one blonde when he's in the room.”

Morgan stepped up smoothly, offering his hand. “Derek Morgan. You drew the short straw?”

“With the partner or the case?” Leah riposted, making everyone, even Harte, chuckle. “ When it comes to the partner, well, let's just say the chief has resorted to making us take turns at partnering him. Learning experience, he calls it. The case? It stinks and nobody wants the smell on their clothes. Ieuan and I don't care. We're not ladder climbers.”

“Let's have this conversation indoors, shall we?” Harte ushered them to the SUVs. “Fair warning, TDH. The moment you show your face at headquarters they're going to pull you in. The Public Information pukes are dying to show you off to the local press.”

“The story's gotten out?” Reid asked.

“Someone leaked on the Beall case, and a bright reporter in the Times put two and two together. Nothing conclusive and PI is still stonewalling, but it's not going to hold for long. The Commissioner is talking about a task force.”

“Maybe we should split up,” Rossi said. “Moving targets, so to speak.”

Hotch nodded. “That'll work. Will you handle the forensics people? Leah can go with you. Morgan, Prentiss, go with Ieuan and start going through files. Reid and I will go to the hospital and interview Peter Beall.”

“Only one objection,” Rossi said with a faint smirk. “Three groups, two SUVs.”

Leah pointed. “I have my own transportation, agent Rossi.”

Rossi stared at the car, then back at her. “That is a 1939 Bugatti Stelvio. Replica?”

Harte snorted. “In her family? It would be considered a sin.”

Leah slapped his arm. “Stop, you. It's the real thing, agent Rossi. My grandad got it as a twenty-first birthday gift and he passed it on to mother, who passed it on to me.”

“Fantastic,” Rossi whispered with the reverence of a true fanatic. “Let's go, then. And call me David.”

“And I'm Leah.”

Harte shook his head. “That car is the biggest eye-candy magnet I've ever encountered. Well, except for Jack.” He held out a set of keys to Hotch and motioned towards one of the SUVs. “Yours.”


He got into the driver's seat and waited until Reid had stashed both their go-bags in the back and crawled into the seat next to his, eyes resolutely forward. Reid had the look of someone who was consumed by curiosity but would rather gnaw through his own tongue than ask.

“I've known Ieuan for about ten years. We were introduced by a mutual... friend.” The look Reid gave him told him Reid had caught the hesitation. He decided to take the plunge. “Lover. Former, for both.”

Reid blinked, then nodded as if he had had a suspicion confirmed. “And he?”

It took him a couple of seconds to realize what Reid was asking.

“No. He's a very attractive guy, and under other circumstances I might have been tempted, but, well, wrong time for both of us.”  He glanced at Reid and caught what he could only describe as a smug smile on Reid's lips. “You don't seem surprised.”

“You don't look at men like Derek does.”

The rest of the trip was made in silence. Hotch tried to concentrate on the case, but the conversation with Reid kept replaying over and over again. He wasn't surprised Reid had known about his bisexuality; he was sure Reid thoroughly profiled all his colleagues, prohibition be damned. But  he thought there had been more to it than that. Reid's smile had too much satisfaction in it, almost as if Hotch's admission that Ieuan had not been his lover was a personal triumph. He knew that after Gideon's abrupt departure Reid had come to rely on him for both support and approval. Now he wondered if, as Reid had gained confidence, he had started to see him as a potential sexual partner.

When they arrived at the hospital he followed in Reid's wake as they navigated the maze of wings and corridors. Reid being Reid, he had memorized the hospital floor plan along with the files on both patient and doctor. Finally, after what seemed like miles, they had ended up in a small waiting room that looked like every other hospital waiting room Hotch had ever seen.

Doctor Lizbeth March ushered them into her office herself and poured coffee from a large insulated jug. She had an excellent reputation in law  enforcement circles as a psychiatrist who could be trusted to tell them the truth whether they liked it or not. She had the delicate, wispy look of a Rakham fairy and the temper of a sergeant of Marines.

“Can't stand the hospital crud. Now, as to Peter. He's incoherent most of the time.” She told them. “Mumbles abut the witch and the fourteen ones. Those are the most common phrases.”

“Fourteen what?” Reid asked.

“He doesn't say. Just the fourteen ones.” She made little quote marks in the air. “Mostly he sings. I recorded it and asked my sister to listen to it. She's a pianist. She says Peter's singing Elizabethan madrigals.”

“His medical files say he's tone-deaf.” Reid told her. “And there's nothing in his background to suggest an academic interest in music.”

“I know. My sister was only able to recognize it because of the words.” She stood up. “I'll take you to see him now.”

They followed her across a glass-roofed atrium and through a set of double doors into the confinement wing. The corridor was narrow and bare, with antiseptically white walls punctuated by thick metal doors with electronic locks. Soft music was playing but didn't manage to totally mask the noises coming from behind those doors. Hotch noticed Reid start to withdraw, mentally blocking out everything but the business at hand. It was standard behavior for the young genius whenever he was faced with any sort of mental illness. Not for the first time, Hotch wished he had the right to put his arms around Reid and offer him some comfort. He contented himself with touching Reid's arm lightly.

“Can you do this?” he whispered.

Reid nodded. Hotch felt him lean into the touch for a second, and the implied trust brought a smile to his face. “All right. Let's go.”

Peter Beall's room was the last one on the right. Doctor March pulled out something that looked like a credit card from the pocket of her lab coat. She tapped the card on the keypad by the door. “Don't take too long. He's agitated for hours after any effort at conversation. Poor bastard.”

Hotch nodded as he pushed the door open. The room was stripped down to the basics: a heavy hospital bed with pillows and blankets, a small side table with a carafe of water and a glass, and a single chair against the wall. There were paintings on the beige walls – views of the sea in the gentlest of pastel colors. Peter Beall was curled up on the bed, knees drawn up to the chest in one of the tightest fetal positions Hotch had ever seen. Clawed fingers drew up the blankets to above the neck, but Peter still shivered as if he were lying on an ice floe instead of a warm bed.


The sound of his own name seemed to terrify the  man on the bed. The shivering intensified until the bed springs squeaked. Words poured out in a jumbled torrent as he screwed his eyes shut.

“Let me try,” Reid said to Hotch.

He pulled the chair closer to the bed  and sat down. Hotch moved back until he was standing against the wall. Martha had said that one of the Carrionites had showed up unexpectedly while they were speaking to the architect of the Globe Theatre, who had been committed to Bedlam. What had been his name? Peter Strete, that was it. He wondered if there was a connection. In any case, he would have to be on guard.

Reid leaned closer to Peter. “Now every tree renews his summer’s green, why is your heart in winter’s garments clad?”

The whisper made Peter moan. “Peter... Peter heard her.” He let go of the blanket to cover his ears. “Peter shouldn't have listened. No, no, Peter should not have listened. Hope, upon which before my thoughts were fed, Hath left me quite forlorn and from me fled. ”

Reid pulled the hands away gently. “Who spoke to you, Peter? Who took your hope away?”

“The witch! The witch!” It came out as a high-pitched moan. “She came at night and she whispered. She sang her songs to me. Silly boy! ’tis full moon yet, thy night as day shines clearly. Oh, Peter shouldn't have listened!”

“Did the witch tell you what she wanted?” Reid kept Peter's hands in his. “Did she say anything?”

“Fourteen, always fourteen, always! She wants fourteen, fourteen will open the gates, yes they will. Sister, awake! close not your eyes... awake! make haste, I say...” He moaned again. “No, no. No sisters, no, no!”

Reid looked at Hotch and shook his head. Hotch tilted his head towards the door. Reid turned back to Peter. “Peter, can you do something for me?”

Peter looked down at their joined hands, then up again, nodding.

“Take your medication. You haven't been, have you?” A shameful nod was the only answer. “You need to take your medicine.”

“It lets her in!” The urgent whisper was filled with terror. “The words get in!”

“Then you can keep her out with words. Here, can you remember these? Aroint thee witch, for not a mouse shall disturb this hallow'd house. Puck was sent with broom before, to sweep the dust behind the door. Can you remember that?”

Hotch watched as Reid drilled Peter until he had memorized the words. He was not surprised that Reid knew the lyrics to Elizabethan music; Diana Reid loved the classics and read them to her son from the cradle. But that last one was not just an Elizabethan poem. It was part of one of Puck's speeches from A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Reid had changed it a bit to suit the circumstances. Hotch smiled grimly. Appropriate.

“Now sleep, Peter. She won't come tonight. You can sleep.”

Reid pulled the blankets up to Peter's neck. He waited until Peter's breath had evened out, then went out of the room. Hotch followed.

“That last bit was inspired,” he said. “Let's hope he'll remember it.”

“He will. I did.” Reid smiled at the puzzled frown on Hotch's face. “ I had nightmares as a kid. Always the same dream. I'm walking down a dark street. The buildings are tall and narrow, and the shadows make streaks on the pavement. There are lights in some of the windows. It's cool and I'm enjoying the walk.  And then they're there.”


“Witches. At least, that's how I thought of them. Woke up screaming almost every night until Mom made me memorize the poem.”  As they entered the atrium, he looked around uncertainly. “Do we need to see Doctor March again?”

“Not really, unless you have more questions. She's supposed to send us her report... Reid, can you hear that?”

“Screaming. It's coming from the office wing.”

They ran across the atrium, dodging others, including hospital security officers, running in the same direction. Hotch pulled out his identification. “FBI! Let us through. FBI!”

One of the guards glanced at the ID, nodded, and started to run interference. They burst into the waiting room and into a scene of complete chaos. It seemed to Hotch that every mechanical system had malfunctioned. The air conditioning was blowing blasts of cold air  strong enough to smash paintings and blackboards to the ground. The sprinklers poured water down on the cowering patients and the hospital staff trying to help them. One of the tvs had been pulled half-way out of its bracket mount and sparks shot off from its cracked back like Fourth of July fireworks.  One of the nurses was trying to move a patient that had fallen off his wheelchair almost directly underneath it. Hotch ran to help, only to be pulled away by one of the guards.

“You better go into the doctor's office. I'll take care of this.”

Hotch didn't have to be told which doctor. The door to Lizbeth March's office was torn off its hinges. A pulsing red glow reminded Hotch of his own living room fireplace, but instead of heat, he was met with blasts of icy air. The interior had been thoroughly trashed. Books had been pulled off the shelves and firing cabinets overturned; even the stuffing had been pulled out of the couch and chairs. Blood ran down the walls, and the smell was strong enough to make Hotch almost gag.

Doctor March was on the floor, Spencer kneeling by her side. The blood, Hotch realized, had to be hers. She was still alive, eyes fluttering, chest moving in shallow, uneven movements. He looked at Reid, who shook his head.

“Agent Hotch...ner.” The voice was the barest of whispers.

“What happened, doctor?”

“She... wanted me to...say...” she gave a cough, and blood  leaked from her nose. “Peter... making it up.. things. I... wouldn't...”

“Who was it, doctor March?” Reid asked.

“Crow... bitch. Not.... going to... lie. Never... lie. Crow...”

This time the cough convulsed her whole body and blood poured out from her mouth. She gripped Hotch's hand as if trying to say something else. Instead, a great shudder ran trough her and she arched upwards then collapsed down to the rug. Hotch felt her hand grow limp.

Standing up, he pulled out his cell phone and punched in two numbers. “Ieuan? Get everyone to base, right now. Reid and I will meet you outside in half and hour.”

I'd like to take Leah along.” Ieuan said. “She'll be useful.”

“All right. If it doesn't work out, there's always retcon.”

He closed the call, then pressed another button. “Sir? Under the authority granted to me by the ATCU charter I am activating the New York base.”

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[personal profile] yanto on January 22nd, 2012 07:18 am (UTC)
very powerful cliffie. now i am very curious how hart(harte) eneded in up american law inforcement?
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[identity profile] yuenoclow.livejournal.com on January 27th, 2012 04:18 pm (UTC)
*bouces* Ooo, so many interesting things! Interesting plot, and of course, loving the Hotch/Reid thing going on. And Hart! Very interesting! I can't wait to see how he got where he is. And Reid had encountered the witches before! I can't help but wonder if they're responsible for his mom going crazy... hm. Eagerly awaiting the next part!
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