harlow has always known how to play video games. being the younger sister of the furious four saw to that. they never piqued her interest the way they did for her siblings, but she had fun playing with them nonetheless. sport had always been her sort of thing and she was fine with being the odd one out. that is, until she started getting suspicious that there was more to her brother’s job than just working at hinobi’s tech store. that’s why she decided to follow him to the hinobi smash tournament. it’s there that she meets five and miko, gets her memory wiped, then meets them again, only then discovering her brother’s true job. perhaps she doesn’t know as much about games as he does, but she knows how to kick some ass, and she’s about to prove to him that she can be just as good, if not better, than he is.
#ocappreciation#allaboutocs #sARAH BACK AT IT AGAIN #making ocs for media no one consumes #but i was watching glitch techs again recently and i love them i miss them #*nepb #*gt harlow williams #*fd glitch techs
Cynthia is sure that she knew herself as Cinderella’s daughter before she knew her actual name.
When you’re a princess, you learn to expect a certain amount of attention and fame. That much was decided before she’d even been born. Her birth is celebrated by the residents of Cinderellasburg just like her brother’s before her and she isn’t even aware of it. It’s surreal to think about.
Her name is Cynthia Anna Charming, an identity of her own, yet the expectations of her follow someone else’s strengths and weaknesses.
And we’re back at it again with another challenge! This is the OC Valentines challenge, brought to you once again by @lizziesxltzmxn and @randomestfandoms! While not all of us may have a real person to spend it with this year, or even might just not want to, most of us have oc couples we love! Now’s your chance to show off your favorite created relationships, whether oc x oc or oc x canon! This challenges starts on the 8th of February and ends on the 14th!
DO NOT copy others edits.
If you are doing crossovers, PLEASE make sure that the creator of the other oc is okay with crossovers.
If you want your post to be reblogged onto this blog, it must contain the hashtag ovc2022
Feel free to ask questions!
Everything is up to the creators interpretation, although I have tried to include some examples for help!
note: you don’t have to do all of them, or any, or even post them on the right days, this is for fun
Challenges below the cut!
1. The Road Not Taken Looks Real Good Now (Feb 8)
Maybe they didn’t date, but they weren’t just friends. Make something for an ex-something, an ex-maybe, an ex-almost.
2. You Had To Kill Me But It Killed You Just The Same (Feb 9th)
If your loved one is made of ashes, chances are you will be too. Make something for a toxic oc relationship.
3. Lost In A Film Scene (Feb 10th)
A scene plays in your head, the perfect soundtrack accompanies it. Make an edit of a scene you can picture clearly in you head, with the song that would play during that scene.
4. Wherever You Stray, I Follow (Feb 11th)
Here we go again! We’re hopping on the train and crossing the multiple, rolling in like the ship that night, and making something for a crossover!
5. I Never Thought It Would Be You (Feb 12th)
In the beginning, they never expected it. They were just chillin’, but soon they were getting closer. When sparks fly, someone they never pictured themselves with is suddenly the only person they can imagine the rest of their lives with. Make something for a ship where not even your main character could picture loving.
6. I Miss You And I Hope That You’re Okay (Feb 13th)
We love many people in life, but we fall out of touch with many people as well. Still, even if you can’t recall their face, you carry them with you. Make something for an oc and someone they miss, platonic moments encouraged!
7. All’s Well That Ends Well To End Up With You (Feb 14th)
Sometimes you meet someone and it feels like you’ve known them for 20 years even if you only met them 20 seconds ago. You want to go wherever they go, and let them take you home. Make something for your oc and the magnetic person they want to spend the rest of their lives with.
“Can’t you feel it? There’s a vibration in the air. I can feel it from head to toe… it’s magic!”
“We’ve only been witches, for like, a millisecond, but already you can feel it?”
Dark Paradise » Emmalin Cromwell + Mara Cromwell; @twofacedharveydent
#ocappreciation #fd: the originals #oc: emmalin cromwell #oc: mara cromwell #brotp: emmy x mara #edit: dps #dark paradise series #edit: mine #made for friend #sagelondyn #sage bday 2020 #sage bday 2022 #(🎂🎂🎂) #(happy happy birthday!) #(not gonna lie- making this made me miss our witchy twins so much!) #(sorry for posting these so late but you know the reason :/)
Aubrie lives in social obscurity with her best friends; Scott and Stiles until everything changes after meeting Derek Hale, who can't seem to keep his distance from her.
He's dark and mysterious with a touch of danger in the air around him; everything she knows she should run from. But things aren't always what they seem, not when Brie might have some secrets of her own.
It's Just a Trick of the Moonlight || FFN ;; WP
Aubrie Beck + Scott McCall + Stiles Stilinski; @twofacedharveydent
#ocappreciation #fd: teen wolf #oc: aubrie beck #brotp: aubrie x scott #brotp: aubrie x stiles #fic: it's just a trick of the moonlight #edit: mine #made for friend #sagelondyn#sage bday #sage bday 2022 #(happy birthday bestie boo!) #(🎂🎂🎂) #(sorry for posting these so late but you know the reason :/)
It’s been over a year since Mark Aspen was finally gone from Sylvie’s life once and for all. A whirlwind romance with Dick and a newborn child later, she’s coming to terms with how much things have changed. Training the new Titans in San Francisco, things come to a head when an old enemy from Dick’s past makes a re-appearance. Slade Wilson is bent on revenge, for reasons Sylvie doesn’t completely understand.
As the sins of the past and Dick’s secrets come to light, Sylvie starts to think maybe she was too quick to start a life with a man who can only ever seem to give her half of his heart. She can only hope that she’s able to keep the Titans together, especially when they’re facing off against a threat that last time, broke them all apart.
Alexis chewed on the edge of her fingernail, wondering if perhaps she hadn’t made a mistake with all this. Perhaps she should have left Willie alone, not interfered with his afterlife when her own was such a mess. But she refused to let him get pulled into all this without trying to prevent something terrible from happening.
‘You shouldn’t go see him,’ she said softly, hating the way his eyes widened at the comment. ‘It’s dangerous while they’re not part of the club.’
‘Dangerous?’ he asked. He looked so much like a little kid, a teenager being berated for sneaking out. It broke her heart that she couldn’t warn him outright about what Caleb was planning. All because she didn’t know. Where once her old friend had shared everything with her, this time he was keeping his cards close to his chest. She didn’t understand why.
Alexis nodded, hoping her expression was grave enough that he might understand without needing her to explain.
Of course he didn’t. Willie’s curiosity was one of the things that had Caleb snapping at him a lot of the time. That and his morals.
‘It just is,’ she said, waving her hand as if she could simply dismiss the question that way. ‘Wait it out. Just a few weeks and then –’
‘A few weeks?’ Willie asked, glancing around cautiously, as if someone might have heard his outburst. But that was the benefit of being a ghost: very few people knew they were there. ‘He might be gone by then.’
Alexis opened her mouth to refute the point, but found she couldn’t. Not all of them hung around. Some people moved on quickly, for various reasons.
‘Please,’ Willie said, taking a step closer to her, ‘what’s going on?’
‘N – nothing,’ Alexis told him, trying for a small smile but feeling it falter. She let it drop away completely, knowing there was no point in faking it. ‘Just... be careful if you do see him. Enjoy the time.’
She could tell he wanted to question her, wanted to find out why she’d changed her mind so quickly, but Alexis nodded before heading away from him. Perhaps giving them as much time together as she could was the best she could do. She’d try to put Caleb off for the moment, get him to think of things other than the young ghost and the group that he was becoming increasingly tangled with. She just hoped that things would work out well for them. For all of them.
Matt was beginning to have serious reservations about these meetings. He hadn’t wanted to accept the strange letter, perhaps all just a rouse from his mother, but Zarek had been very real. And, very quick to leave. Matt didn’t blame him, still it had done nothing to help his desire to understand what they were all about. Done nothing to help him figure out what the meetings were all really about.
Every part of him screamed at him to have told Phia just in case something went bad; to tell Billie and see if there was something the police could do. Yet he hadn’t. He’d blindly gone where the letter told him to, looking for someone described in the words in the hopes of finding his own answers.
‘Zarek said you were a bit... jumpy,’ someone said, making Mathias startle and look over his shoulder. A young woman stood there, expression neutral and yet eyes filled with something he recognised from Gabe’s eyes. It was a coldness, a look that made anyone pinned beneath it feel like they were little more than something to be scraped off the bottom of their shoe. She took a pensive sip of her drink, not moving to sit with him. ‘But then he left before he could ask any questions.’
‘Are you Kiara?’ Mathias asked, determined not to question her link with Zarek. It niggled at the back of his thoughts, but didn’t seem immediately important.
She gave an almost imperceptible nod before slowly stalking towards the table. There was something predatory in the way she moved, something dangerous that made Mathias want to move. The café suddenly felt as though it was too crowded, despite the fact there were very few people sitting at the tables dotted around him.
Matt swallowed. ‘So neither of you know who sent the letters either then?’
‘They were all unsigned,’ she reasoned, walking past him and pausing at the other chair. She didn’t immediately sit down, instead she carefully put her drink on the table, eyes never once leaving his face. ‘And neither of us recognise you – or his previous meeting – as someone from our area. So, why’d someone want both of us to meet you, Mathias?’
‘I –’ Matt coughed, hoping to remove some of the squeakiness of his voice. ‘I don’t know.’
‘Me neither,’ she admitted, pulling the chair out from the table. ‘Which is surprising. So, why don’t you tell me exactly who you are?’
Mathias wanted to argue, wanted to insist that she at least give him a little more about how she knew Zarek, but he didn’t. He had a feeling she was more like Gabe than he might have first wanted to admit to himself.
‘OK,’ he said. ‘But first, I need a drink of my own.’ He thought she might argue as he stood up, but she didn’t, merely watched his movements. He nodded once, as if to assure himself things were going to be OK, before heading to the barista. All Mathias could do was hope he hadn’t made a mistake with all this.
Prefer to read on ao3 or want to read the tags/warnings? Read it here.
Chapter 5: Moonlight Lingerie
Summary: Another part in Alabama, with some memories tossed in! The plot starts to ramp up a bit after this. I feel like I have a much better grasp on Spencer's voice after this chapter. It took me a bit to get it right.
The two songs mentioned in this chapter are
Stand by Your Man by Tammy Wynette
I Think I've Had Enough by Gary Allan
Also, just so you know, when I picture Jack, I picture Jake Johnson in Stumptown? Like sexy tattooed with a beard Jake Johnson? Yeah. I love him.
CW: blood and a bit of gore
memories of torture
The “hotel” was actually an old farm house that had been converted into a bed and breakfast just outside of Ellison. The living room had been renovated into a large dining area with a bar, and the parlor was now a check-in and waiting area. All the rooms were upstairs, and since they were the only guests, all eight bedrooms were taken up by the team, the master suite being happily claimed by Emily.
They reconvened in the dining area after their assignments. After the morgue, they had spent most of the day interviewing witnesses and amusedly watching Jasper ignore the deputies trying to hit on her. It had taken a lot out of Spencer and he was ready to relax a bit.
When they had dated, she could’ve been holding Spencer’s hand or sticking her tongue down his throat and still some asshole would come up and try to entice her away. It was endlessly frustrating, and had killed his self-esteem when it came to their relationship.
She was this gorgeous, strong, imposing woman, and he was skinny, uncomfortable, gangly Reid. He was the kid who got tied to flagpoles and laughed at by the prettiest girl in school, he didn’t get to actually take her out.
Spencer knew she had done her best to assuage him of any notions that she didn’t want him. She wasn’t much of a PDA person when they first met, but after a month or so she began clinging to him, albeit in a less physical way than she did when they were alone, and it had helped him a lot. Still, it was hard to silence those parts of his brain that told him she belonged with someone like Jack, who was strong and brave. Someone who deserved her more than Spencer did.
“How was your first day, Jasper?” Luke asked as he approached the table, setting down a handful of drinks he’d precariously stacked on top of one another. The rest of them had pulled some tables together and spread out with takeout, drinks, and casefiles.
Jasper was eyeing a particularly bloody photo of one of the boys with one hand as she stuffed her face with the other, still wearing that red cardigan even though the temperature was in the high nineties. She ate quickly, a byproduct of being a Marine, eating most of her food before the rest of them really settled in.
Spencer used to make a game of her eating habits. She ate so quickly and was usually distracted by a book or something, so Spencer would hand her pieces of food and other plates, watching in amusement as she just kept eating whatever was handed to her.
More often than not, Spencer would hand her something inedible like a knick knack or a notepad, laughing as she bit down on it without thinking. She would glare playfully and toss the item back at him, the fight usually ending with them in a tangle of limbs and sighs on the floor instead of finishing their dinner.
“As good as it could be, I guess,” she shrugged, shoving another forkful of noodles into her mouth. She stared at the photo, munching away despite the gore. “Can’t imagine dead kids would be fun for anyone’s first day.”
“You know, we heard that you’re immortal,” Lewis stated. Jasper gave her a confused look. Tara just smiled back at her, waiting for an answer.
“Yeah, Luke said you’ve done it all- been shot, stabbed, blown up,” JJ added from across the table where Spencer sat next to her.
“I guess, yeah I have had all of those happen to me,” Jasper glanced over at him, then back at the photo, clenching her jaw. “Isn’t that how the job goes?”
“Not this job,” Luke laughed, leaning back in his chair and taking a sip of his drink, “I mean, it can get pretty hairy, but it’s nothin’ like what we were doing in the Middle East.”
“That’s kinda why I picked it,” Jasper smiled at him, “I guess I got tired of pulling dumbass Rangers out of humvees.”
“Man, I’m glad you were doing it back then, at least! Without you I would’ve died on the side of a dirt road outside of Fallujah. You guys should’ve seen it, Jasper’s a total badass. She pulled me and two others from the wreck after we were ambushed with an IED. She took a bullet to the head and chest and still went back for the last guy.”
Jasper’s face turned red, her back stiffening as Luke spoke. Spencer saw that familiar shadow fall over her eyes when anyone brought up her time in the service. She could talk about her qualifications, her job history in the Marines, but ask about details and she usually shut down. During their time together he had managed to get only a handful of stories from her time overseas.
“You got shot in the head?” Spencer asked, hands on the table as he leaned closer to her in concern. Even though she was clear on the other side, she leaned back in her chair.
He couldn't help but imagine it, having worked with the BAU for so long. The image that ripped through his brain sent his chest into a freefall. She was so tiny, she had probably been launched off her feet. She must have hit the ground so hard. Was it before or after she’d been shot in the chest? Did she think she was going to die? Had she been at peace with that?
“In the helmet,” she sputtered, reaching a hand up and tugging her curls away from her face, “It didn’t go through, just gave me a headache for a few days.”
“Jesus,” Walker grunted, “Sounds like you both got lucky.”
Jasper shrugged uncomfortably again, avoiding Spencer’s gaze. She reached into her bag at her feet and pulled out a newspaper. Little articles had been circled in red ink, the housing section.
“Do you guys know any good neighborhoods for apartments?” she adjusted her glasses on her face, forcing the conversation another way, “It’s been so long since I’ve been in D.C. and I don’t wanna stay in this hotel they’ve got me in.”
“Yeah,” Luke said, poking her on the shoulder playfully, “I can help you look for some. Georgetown has a few great spots.”
“Didn’t you used to live in Georgetown? That one bedroom with the balcony?” Jasper asked, finally making eye contact with Spencer across the table. He felt JJ shoot him a salacious smile as she already knew what his answer was going to be.
“I, uh, still live there, actually.”
Everyone else’s attention seemed to turn to him at once. Jasper was shocked, and the rest of the team had looks of glee that no doubt stemmed from their minds wandering to just what could’ve happened in that apartment between them.
“What?” he asked defensively, trying not to think of them in that apartment together. Trying not to think of Jasper, prancing around in his CALTECH sweater and nothing else, trying to entice him away from a book and back into bed as her curls bounced wildly about her shoulders.
Trying not to think of Jasper cackling with surprised glee when she found a stack of books in the microwave and the oven, his face heating up when he explained that he had absolutely no idea how to cook anyways, so they’d become shelves for his ever-growing collection.
Trying not to think of Jasper’s feet on his lap as they sat on the couch, catching her looking at him over a crossword puzzle while he was trying to study, her pink painted toes wiggling under his book to distract him.
“It’s small and fits my needs. It's rent controlled. I never got married or anything so I didn’t need any extra space. You and Jack could probably use a two bedroom or something. JJ found a great brownstone.”
“Oh,” Jasper nodded, turning her attention back to the table. “Well, it’s just me, so I think a one bedroom might work just fine. Truth is, I’ve been running around doing all this work for almost twenty years, I’ve never really had an apartment for more than a few months so the few I’ve had were real crap holes.”
“Why won’t you talk about Jack?” JJ asked suddenly, her face light and easy, but Spencer knew that face too well- her interrogation face. She wanted answers.
Spencer’s face lit up with heat. He knew JJ just wanted answers for his sake, since he’d probably never ask if he could help it.
“JJ!” Emily said, “That’s not really any of our business.”
“It’s fine,” Jasper said quietly. She opened her mouth to speak, then closed it again. Luke reached over and squeezed her shoulder, and she smiled appreciatively. “I’m actually not married anymore. He died about twelve years ago.”
Spencer felt the guilt pool in his stomach. He’d been asking about Jack all day, fighting jealousy and guilt and his immense dislike for the man. He knew she hadn’t said anything before now because she probably hadn’t talked about Jack in years. That’s what Jasper did. Take a problem, take her pain, put it in a box and put it on the shelf. Move on.
Why was she still wearing her wedding ring?
Twelve years ago? That wasn’t very long after they broke up.
“I’m so sorry,” JJ said quietly, her enjoyment in button pushing evaporated in an instant.
“He died in Bagram, during his last tour. We were only married a few months.”
“How long were you together?”
“Less than a year. We just decided to go for it a few days before he left,” Jasper nodded to herself, staring down at the newspaper she’d brought.
“That’s not enough time,” Rossi said quietly, no doubt thinking of his last time with Caroline, when he thought they had forever together.
“It never is,” Jasper cleared her throat and shrugged, sliding the weight of the conversation off her shoulders. Moving on. “Those deputies were super annoying, huh?”
“Well, they weren’t hitting on us, so we had a pretty flirt-free day,” Walker joked, picking up on her desire to change the conversation.
They all chatted idly, unwinding after the long day spent in the heat. The sheriff’s station didn’t have air conditioning, so they had all sweat through their clothes as they poured over information and paper files, glaring at Jazz as she seemed unaffected in her cardigan.
“Jazz, Reid,” Emily said before they all headed to bed for the night, “Tomorrow I want you two to go over the list of possible suspects. Spencer reads the fastest and Jasper has an eye for detail, so I think you two will work best together on those paper files.”
Spencer and Jasper locked eyes for a moment before turning their attentions back to the table, which was not lost on the team. JJ smiled at Reid, trying to catch his eye. Rossi amusedly glanced at Stephen, who shrugged noncommittally. Spencer figured there must be some pool or bet about them by the way the team kept giving one another suggestive glances.
Emily rattled off assignments for the rest of them before giving her dismissal. They all stood, snagging their food containers before leaving the dining area.
JJ and Tara caught up with Spencer, looping their arms in his as they followed a few steps behind Luke and Jasper up the stairs to their rooms.
“How was it? JJ asked, “Did you guys get along alright?”
“Honestly? She ignored me most of the day and focused on the case,” he shrugged. “I don’t know what I expected but she seems fine enough with this. It is awkward, though.”
“Well, I’m sure she just wanted to do a good job for her first day,” Tara suggested.
“She just seems different from who I knew.”
“Fourteen years is a long time, Spence. I would be more worried if she was the same.”
“Did you see her wrists?” JJ asked, looking around Spencer’s chest to Tara, who nodded.
“Hazards of the job?”
“They only look a few years old. I wonder what she was doing.” Spencer tried to ignore them as they gossipped, which just forced him to watch Jasper’s ass in her jeans as they walked. She looked good .
“Do you think she and Luke ever did it?” JJ’s question pulled Spencer out of his mind, “They seem pretty comfortable together.”
“She and Spencer did it for like ten months and she looks intensely uncomfortable around him,” Tara countered.
“Yeah but hooking up and dating are two very different types of sex.”
“Okay!” Spencer groaned, pulling his arms out of theirs, absolutely mortified. If he was honest, he was also a little pissy at the thought of Jasper and Luke hooking up. “I’m done with this conversation.”
They were approaching their rooms, and JJ and Tara peeled off to their own at the beginning of the upstairs hallways. Spencer groaned internally as he approached his room, which just so happened to be next to Jasper’s. Emily had to be doing this on purpose.
She flashed him a smile as they both unlocked their doors. For a moment she hesitated, like she wanted to speak. He turned and watched her expectantly, but she just shook her head.
“Goodnight,” she said quietly, opening the door and shutting it quickly behind her, leaving Spencer staring at empty space.
Jasper couldn’t sleep. She tried, really tried, but she was too stressed.
She hadn’t gotten any sleep since the day before leaving Iraq, but knowing Spencer Reid was on the other side of the wall and that she had been savagely blindsided by her past this morning was just about too much for her to handle on top of everything else.
She played music on her phone as she lay there, anger building in her chest while Tammy Wynette warbled on the nightstand:
But if you love him, you’ll forgive him
Even though he’s hard to understand
She sighed, glaring up at the popcorn ceiling. She didn’t need this shit. She had an arms dealer to skin alive. She didn’t need blood-pressure-raising-Reid to go along with all of that bullshit.
Fuck them both, she thought bitterly, fuck both of those assholes.
Hiccups happened on missions, small slip-ups. They always happened. But this?
This was different.
This was a massive fuck up on her part.
How was she supposed to know the most influential ex of her fucked up and ridiculous life was going to be the biggest obstacle? She had a mission to execute, and that meant working with the FBI, even though she technically wasn’t an agent, nor did she want to be.
Fuck the FBI, they’d never done anything for her before. But she trusted Luke, trusted his recommendation for the job, that she would be a good fit. It was just supposed to be a cover, it just needed to get her where she needed to be. It just needed to get her to Liam’s corrupt piece-of-shit contact in the FBI.
It wasn’t that she forgot that Spencer lived in D.C It was more that she hadn't expected him to stay in D.C. He was too good for the FBI. She always figured he’d found his own organization or decide to take over the world. He had the skills, he could do it.
Luke had neglected to tell her Spencer was on the fucking team. Granted, he didn’t even know she knew him, but Jasper was still pissed about it. She hadn’t told anyone about Spencer, nobody except Jack. It had hurt too much to talk about him, and Jack only knew because he’d met Spencer the same night she had.
Jack had been her best friend. He’d been there for all of her relationship with Spencer-- the meeting, the falling in love, the breakup, the picking up Jasper off the bathroom floor, the emotional shut down that followed it all. She could still remember him, gently pressing a washcloth to the back of her neck as she threw up whiskey for the third night in a row. He held back her hair and whispered soothing words to her as she cried into the toilet. She’d been a fucking mess for months after the last time she saw Spencer Reid.
She missed Jack.
Spencer had been the one she was going to leave the Agency for. They were going to be happy. And then she’d fucked it all up. She’d let Spencer see too much of her, and he took what he saw and threw it back in her face.
Fuck. Stop thinking about that shit.
It was too fucking hot in Alabama. The covers were too coarse and too thick, and the sheets soaked up every drop of sweat as she lay on top of them. She only wore a pair of panties and a satin cami, and still she was ungodly hot.
She traced the scarring over her hip, following the jagged ugly word carved there- MINE . It still burned, seared like a brand, since that’s exactly what it was. Baheera said it was entirely psychosomatic, a trauma response, but sometimes Jasper swore she could still feel his fingers on her skin, pulling the wire deeper into her wrists as he held her down and carved into her.
She rubbed the scar on her chest. The long one that dipped between her breasts ached with the heat, but so did the others from that night when he finally tracked her and Jack down. They hurt when it rained, when it snowed, when she woke up in the morning. Some days it was unbearable.
The scars on her wrists and forearms pulsed, angry at her for covering them up in the sweltering heat of the day. She had been miserable under the cardigan, but she wasn’t ready to see Spencer’s face when he saw the deep scarring on her forearms.
She could sometimes still hear the crack of her arms as they broke through the skin as she tried to protect her head and neck, tied by her wrists to a pipe as the baseball bat connected with her hands, her arms, her back . In the silence of the night, she would hear it, whoosh, snap! She would look around frantically for the source, but never found anything but her own face in the mirror.
Her fingers traced the scar down to her ribcage, over the shrapnel scar from her first tour to Iraq. Spencer had long since replaced the actual memory of how she got it. The only scar with a good memory on her broken and torn up body. Back then it had been the worst of the few scars she had.
The moonlight wrapped around her like lingerie as she lounged on the bed. Spencer loomed above her, hips still connected to hers between her legs, his face pink and his hair damp from sweat in their afterglow.
He had spent the last few minutes tracing his hand up and down her naked body, their legs tangled between the sheets as they came down from their high in comfortable silence. Whether he meant to or not, his hands kept coming back to a spot just under her left breast, a spattering of raised scars scattered across her ribcage. The scar almost cut her in half, wrapping around the entire left side of her chest and carving around to her back.
“How did you get this?” he asked quietly. She could see the concern in his soft features as he lightly drew circles along the largest part of the gash. She decided to give him as much truth as she could. How could she tell lies to a man with eyes like that?
“IED,” she said just as quietly, as though it were a secret. To her it was, but he’d never know. “The humvee door exploded inward and into me. I almost died.”
“Were you scared?”
He nodded, genuinely wanting to know. She knew he was in the academy and that someday he might be in danger. She didn’t want him to be frightened of that. If she had it her way, she’d cradle him against her chest forever and be his protector. She’d be his safe place. His home.
“No. I was scared of the pain.” She paused carefully before continuing, brushing a strand of his hair behind his ear as she looked up at him. “I couldn’t move, because a big piece of the door was sticking out of my chest. I was pinned to the ground just watching the firefight around me. I was scared of being trapped, even if I survived, of being paralyzed or worse.”
He nodded, though he could never understand until he was put in a position like that himself. There was just no way to know what it was like to be held down by the throat and have Death herself breathe across your face. She didn’t ever want him to know.
“Does it hurt?” he asked suddenly, pulling his hand away as though he could ever be the one to cause her pain.
She reached between them, grabbing his hand and pressing it firmly against her skin. She could feel the bits of metal shift between her ribs, but she didn’t care.
“This is the first time it’s stopped since it happened.”
Jasper sat up, tugging her hands through her unruly hair as she tried to dispel the memories from her mind. She finally decided to brave the heat, pulling on a pair of shorts and snatching her phone from the nightstand on her way out.
She quietly made her way down the stairs, opening the front door as slowly as she could before stepping onto the large wrap around porch. Bless southern houses. The wood was cool under her bare feet, a blessed reprieve from the sweltering day and somehow equally hot night. She sat down on the front steps of the porch, tossing her phone next to her as Gary Allan softly sang to her:
I’ve finally realized
This love it never dies
I’m really not that tough
No I’m really not that tough
I think I’ve had enough
“You and me both, bud,” she grumbled, pulling her knees up to her chest and looking up at the stars. She could hear coyotes and other small animals running around the woods surrounding the remote hotel. She longed to be them- feral and wild, traipsing through the trees with the fierce abandon she had as a girl, leaving all this shit far behind her.
One thing she missed about the south was the sky. In Louisiana, in the part she’d grown up in, the trees from the swamps and the bayous were too thick to see through most nights. The cicadas would scream and she’d lie awake listening to her father’s snoring, her chest tight and more scared of the man in the next room than the night outside.
Sam Donnelly, whose last name she’d taken for her own when making this cover, because she was just a stupid grief-stricken kid when she’d created Jasper, he would tap on her window, giving her a big grin as she opened the blinds. He would reach out his hand to her and help her climb out and onto the trailer porch. She’d sit on his handlebars and he would bike her to Tate’s Clearing to watch the stars. Sam would lie about knowing their names, and she’d let him, falling asleep to his creation of the universe.
The only times she really felt safe were with Sam, but he was gone now.
He had been for a long time. So had the girl he’d known.
“Couldn’t sleep?” a voice startled her out of her reverie, her hand going to her hip for a gun that wasn’t there.
She turned to look, and there sat Spencer Reid, sitting at one of the porch seats with a book resting against the table. His shirt was unbuttoned halfway down his chest, his sleeves rolled up and his messy hair pushed back away from his face. In his late thirties and somehow he still looked like that twenty-three year old kid sitting across the booth from her at Moe’s, sipping a strawberry milkshake on a hot summer night and grinning at her like she was the fucking sun.
“Jesus, Spence,” she sighed, rubbing her forehead. “You scared the shit out of me.”
“Sorry,” he laughed awkwardly, dragging a hand across the back of his neck, “You didn’t seem to notice me when you came out.”
“I didn’t. I’m sorry.”
“You know listening to music when you can’t sleep is just guaranteed to keep you up. I told you that before.”
“I can’t believe you remember that,” she muttered, reaching for her phone and turning the music off.
They sat uncomfortably, watching one another from their seats, the slats of the porch like an ocean between them. That’s how it had felt all day, keeping furniture and people and dead bodies between them so they couldn’t get too close.
This was so awkward, goddamnit.
“I’m not going to stay on the team,” she said quietly. She meant it. She would find something else. Surely Luke would help her, this was something he’d probably understand.
Spencer’s brow furrowed, and he snapped his book shut and stood. He marched over to where she sat and plopped down next to her. The stairs weren’t very wide, so she couldn’t lean away from him. Fuck.
Even with the heat and sweat of the day, cinnamon and citrus wafted from his rumpled clothes. The dark circles beneath his eyes betrayed the youthfulness of his features, and she noticed stubble along his jaw that never would have been there fourteen years ago. She wanted to reach out and rub her hand along it, make a joke and wash him blush as she held him.
“Why?” he asked, gazing intently at her with those wide hazel eyes. She wanted to reach out and press her finger between his stupid eyebrows and ease them apart.
Your face is gonna get stuck like that, Stick, you do that too much.
You’re the only reason I make this face. You know that right?
“You already took the classes and passed with perfect marks. Why leave if you’ve put in all that work?”
But she hadn’t put in all that work. Sure, she’d taken the classes when Luke offered her the job a few years back, but she hadn’t actually worked to get into the FBI. Perks of her job, she could be wherever she needed to be because of Oona, because of the American government and it’s dirty little secrets- aka her .
“Spencer…” she started, shifting on the stair, trying to face anywhere but at him and failing, “This is awkward, right? I mean, you are obviously entrenched here. You guys are all like a family, and I’m an outsider. I’m trying to find a place that I fit. I don’t fit in your life. Not anymore.”
“I think you’d fit it great if you actually let yourself,” he whispered, licking his lips. If she let herself believe it, she might think he’d looked down at hers when he did so, “With the team, y’know? Luke is so excited that you’re here.”
“Why would I get to know these people if I’m going to leave after this case?”
“Because that’s what people do, Jazz,” he said bitterly, “they form relationships. You wanna settle down? This is the place to do it. If what you want is to be in the States, then this job is perfect.”
“Why would you even want me to stay?” Do you still want me ?
She couldn’t think like that. She had a mission to finish.
Taqib is more important than your stupid childish romances. Get it together you dumb bitch!
“You… obviously know what you’re doing, and honestly? I’m happy to see you again.”
Her chest fluttered. It was an odd feeling for her, almost like the damned thing might sputter out and stop working altogether. She hadn’t let herself think of Spencer Reid, of love, as anything more than an open wound in so long, it felt like a betrayal of herself.
Don’t humanize him now, dammit! He’s a bastard! He hurt you, he took your stupid, maggot ridden, calcified stone of a heart and smashed it into a million pieces! He’ll do it again.
You’ll get him killed like you did Taqib. You'll choose the mission every time, and you'll watch him die, too.
They watched one another for a moment before his eyes trailed down to her chest, his gaze clouding with worry.
She’d forgotten how little clothing she was wearing in the Alabama heat. The light from the porchlight was dim, but it was just enough to see all of the rips and tears on her battered body. All her scars were on display except the one on her ribs and her hip, thank god that one was covered.
He reached out and gripped her forearms, turning them as he inspected the torn flesh. Her back stiffened so quickly she thought it might coil and snap as she realized this was the first time Spencer Reid had touched her in a decade and a half.
His fingers were cool, always soothing and soft against her burning skin. She was always on fire, and he had always been the one keeping watch of the flames lest they spiral out of control. His hands left tingling electricity in their aftermath, his touch seeping into her skin and saturating her bones.
Spencer’s hand trailed up her arm, one hand settling against her neck as the other moved to the shredded scar along her left leg from Wren’s sniper round. The bone had splintered through her skin, blood and tissue bursting from her body, ungodly pain following only after she wondered stupidly how she could have just spontaneously combusted.
He finally looked back into her eyes, and he must have seen the absolute terror that gripped her because he pulled his hands from her immediately.
“I’m sorry,” he whispered, swiping a nervous hand over his mouth and dragging it down his jaw. His eyes still rested on the scar on her chest, his brain coming up with a thousand different scenarios for how she could have gotten them.
She wanted to tell him, just tell him everything. All of it. From back before, before she was Jasper, all up till now. At least if he thought her a monster for the life she lived, Jasper would have told him the full truth for once.
“Me too,” she said evenly, sincerely meaning it as they sat there, not exactly sure what she was sorry for. Loving him? Or leaving him? Maybe for making him feel like he had to compete with Jack’s affections for all those months, even though it had never been her intention. Maybe for all of it. Maybe none of it.
He had that look , the one that she remembered. The one that always killed her. Eyes wide and worried, lip tucked between his teeth so tightly she just wanted to reach up and pull it out. Of course when she used to do that, she’d kiss him after.
His hands would wrap around her waist, that worried look morphing into one of pleasure as his hands rucked up her shirt. He would run them up her back, seeking out the planes and dips of her muscles, soothing her aching body in a way that she hadn't achieved since leaving him.
She didn’t know what to say, but she didn’t want to leave the porch. There was no way she would tell him that, but she didn’t want him to leave. Jasper had missed him.
But Jasper couldn’t do it. There was a reason she was so good at covert work. At lying. She took her heart and wrapped it up tight, hid it from the light of day so this kind of crap wouldn’t happen.
She stood abruptly, tearing herself away from Spencer Reid and all of the history between them. Jasper went back inside and into her room without looking back. Just like the night she had left him, she pushed herself forward until she could lock her door securely behind her and burst into tears.
Jasper had to get the fuck out of the BAU.
Please tell me what you think! It really helps me!
I'm trying to pepper in truths and Jasper's lies into her thoughts, I hope that you can tell the difference? Like you can see what she hides so well in front of others?
Prefer to read on ao3 or want to read the tags/warnings? Read it here.
Chapter 4: Syria
I wrote and rewrote probably 15 versions of what Jasper could've been getting up to in the last fourteen years. I hated all of them, except for this one. So, I hope you still like her, she's pretty cool imo.
CW: Torture, talks of torture and murder, blood
Eight Days Ago, Western Syrian Safety Zone- 2:13 p.m.
“I have eyes on the target,” Baheera’s voice muttered into the comms, “Southwest corner of the street. Red building with west-facing doors. He’s leering at me. Ugly bastard.”
“Confirmed. He is an ugly bastard. Setting up on the opposite roof,” Wren replied, his deep voice muffled by a bit of shuffling as he ran, lugging his rifle case behind him, “Boss? You got eyes?”
“I’m on my way,” she said, moving her way through the street as nonchalantly as possible. Her tanned skin and dark hair helped her blend in with the locals. Her robes hid her muscle definition, but she wasn’t starving like most of these people were, and she needed to stay anonymous. Hidden.
“I can’t wait to nail this bastard to the fuckin’ wall,” Billy chimed in, chuckling over the headsets, “Oh, and I got eyes. I’m on the street now. Waiting for the signal.”
“Ooh, I wish I was there! If I wasn’t such a genius I’d totally be there blazin’ and blastin’,” Oona crooned sweetly, her happy voice hiding the pure dripping malice she had for their target.
“Stay calm, everyone. I know we’ve got a lot riding on this. We all want revenge for Taqib, and if we succeed today we’ll be one step closer. But we need to keep level heads. We can’t risk spooking him or killing him by accident.”
“Sure thing, boss lady.”
“You know best, boss.”
She rounded the corner, keeping her head down as she wove through the crowds of people. Some spared her a second glance, no doubt thinking she was a bit too well fed for the rags she was wearing, but most of them ignored her. They had their own things to worry about.
Abd El-Kader was their target, and sure enough, there he sat in front of the building. It was a little two story that had been converted into a business hall. He stuck out like a sore thumb, but he didn’t mind. He was dripping in his wealth. His fat fingers adorned in gold and rubies, expensive robes hugging his round belly in all the wrong places.
Along with arms dealing and drug distribution, Kader dealt in child trafficking. None of these things are what put him on their radar, but nobody would miss him, not even his wife.
The team had gotten ahold of her the day before, after almost six months of searching for Kader. All it took was the five of them showing up in her lavish Parisian home for her to ask if Abd is who they were looking for. When they said yes, she told them exactly where he was. Turns out, he was a wife beater too, and she was glad to finally be rid of him. She and the kids would be better off without him.
Six months ago, her cover had been blown because of Kader’s source in Intelligence. The exact name of the infiltrator in the Gallagher Clan hadn’t been known, but she had been one of the few suspects.
The end result of that act of treason was Liam Gallagher torturing her for days. Trying to get her to finally break, he made her watch as he taped a stick of dynamite into Taqib’s mouth and lit the fuse.
She didn’t break.
Taqib died for the mission. He was brave.
He didn’t break.
They had no clue who the informant was, so they looked for Kader instead. Now that they had finally found him, they were just a bit closer to their revenge.
“You’d think someone that rich could find a good tailor.”
“Yeah, what’s the point of profiting off of baby rape if you can’t even manage to look good doing it?” Billy muttered.
“Oh, that’s so wrong,” Wren laughed quietly from his perch, “It’s a good thing the Agency doesn’t listen in on our comms.”
“Thank god for covert ops and A-Teams,” Baheera said, obscuring her mouth with a cup of coffee.
She could see her on the other side of the street, sitting at an outdoor cafe. Baheera’s long black hair was pulled back into a ponytail and secured tightly under a hijab, her robes clutching her body in all the right places. She was the distraction, something for Kader to ogle while the others got into position.
It was working. He was staring at her, a smirk splayed on his stupid face while he chatted with his body guards. He had no idea what they had planned for him. Sucker.
“Everyone in position? We have one shot at this,” she asked, pulling a syringe from her robes. She held it tightly at her side as she began walking with purpose to the building. If she did this right, they could take out Kader’s two bodyguards behind him, the two in the car, and load him into the SUV before anyone knew what happened.
“Baheera’s ready for chaos.”
“Wren’s ready to kill.”
“Billy’s ready for fat-napping.”
“Oona’s ready for a blackout.”
She told them hundreds of times, a simple “ready” would suffice. But no, she’d curated a team of sarcastic assholes who took a little too much enjoyment in their jobs. Of course, she was also one of those sarcastic assholes, and she loved her job.
“Boss is ready for a prick,” she said, earning a round of groans and fake retching over the comms. She tried not to smile. This was serious work.
“Three… two…,” she began. She was less than twenty feet from the target. It was now or never.
All at once, the plan unfolded, like their notes and planning unfurled right there on the street. As she slid the needle into Kader’s jugular, two muzzle flash suppressed rounds pounded into the chests of his guards, fwump fwump. Wren shot out two more from his perch across the street, bullets penetrating the windshield of the expensive car, killing the occupants inside.
Billy pulled up in an unmarked military SUV with practiced ease, and Baheera was suddenly at her side, lugging Kader’s body under the armpits with her across the sidewalk and into the back passenger door. Baheera hopped in next to Kader, shoving his limp body as far as she could. She jumped into the front seat. After all, the boss gets shotgun.
“All comms and video surveillance are down. Any cell phones are out of commission until we’re safely out of the… safety zone. Whatever, you get it. I’ll monitor your progress to the secondary location.
“Thanks girlie,” she smiled to herself, then at Billy, who wore a shit eating grin on his face. She looked back to Baheera, who glared in seething hatred for the man next to her. She would restrain herself, and her boss wouldn’t mind seeing Kader bleed a bit, but it would have to wait,
In and out in under thirty seconds. It was a new record for them, and if the mission at hand wasn’t so personal for them all, they might be celebrating right now.
After they picked up Wren from his location, they took Kader to a safe house over the Syrian border just outside of Mosul to meet Oona.
The term “safe house” was a bit redundant. It was a two room shack in the middle of a hot zone. With the jobs they did, they had to work outside of normal American military restraints. Once they buried Kader they would head to Camp Clairborne in Mosul and fly out to their next location.
While he was still unconscious, Billy and Wren bound Kader to a chair by his chest, thighs and ankles. One leg of the chair had been shaved down a quarter inch, causing it to wobble. In order to not feel like he was constantly about to fall, Kader would have to continually balance himself to feel steady on the shifting sand beneath the plyboard his chair sat on.
His neck was tied tightly to the back of it, forcing his back to arch and keep him in an upright and stiff position. His muscles would tighten and ache with his hands bound behind his back.
Capsaicin cream was worked into the ropes binding him. Soon enough they would begin to burn and chafe the skin beneath, sending all of his leftover senses to focus on his sore body.
Wren and Billy spoke loudly in Pashto about the Afghan National Army, whining about the “postings” they were at, in an effort to make Kader believe he was being held in an Afghan military camp.
Oona periodically filtered in the sounds of flashbangs and crunching gravel, cars approaching, doors opening and closing, all noises to force Kader to believe he was somewhere he wasn’t. That the danger was different than it was.
They did this for two days.
On the third day of his captivity, she decided to go in.
“Why are his wrists so red?” she asked quietly to nobody in Arabic. The team were all in the next room, watching Kader intently on video. His head jerked toward the sound of her voice, his body trying to pull away from the source.
She reached out and touched his shoulder gently. He jumped violently, almost tipping the chair over. His body trembled as she laid her hand on his shoulder a little firmer.
“Let’s get you a little more comfortable.”
She untied the rope around his neck, sucking in a breath dramatically as the redness began to show. Truth is, she wanted to do much worse to this miserable, lowlife, motherfu-.
“I’m going to take your blindfold off, alright? Is that okay?”
“Y-yes,” he wined pitifully. Christ, the things this man did day in and day out, and he couldn’t handle a little torture?
“Mr. El-Kader, my name is Alaia,” she lied. She wasn’t Arabic, but she looked ethnically ambiguous enough, and spoke the language perfectly. He was so scared, he wouldn’t think too hard about her ethnicity.
She moved to the door, turning her back to him in a show of trust, and picked up a tray she’d left just outside. “Would you like some bread? Some water?”
He eyed her cautiously, no doubt fighting himself after three days with no food or water. He was already covered in his own sweat, piss and tears, and things weren’t looking up for him. What could he have to lose?
She took a bite of the bread, then a sip of the water from her canteen. She then tilted the bottle toward him in question. He nodded in acceptance, his hunger and thirst winning over.
She fed him by hand, as his were still bound behind his back.
He was grateful.
He had nothing to say to her about the target.
The next day she did not appear in his room. They left the blindfold off, but kept him bound tightly to the chair without the neck bindings. They still filtered in noises, waiting for him to nod off in sleep before hitting play, watching with a bit of humor as he jerked awake.
Eventually, he managed to jerk himself awake so hard that the chair fell over to its side, taking him down with it hard . They all breathed in a wince, but they left him there. He couldn’t see the cameras, they were too small, and he didn’t need to know they were watching him not-so-slowly break.
Billy came in on the fifth day and put him upright. At six-foot-six and over two hundred pounds, Billy Vasquez was an impressively built, beautiful Puerto Rican man. His piercing blue eyes were usually light and squeezed tightly shut from laughing. He was a fun man, and when he wasn’t on a mission, he preferred to swap his desert khakis for brightly colored pants and patterned shirts.
He liked to say it was because he was born in Miami, and he liked the camp. She knew the truth, as he’d drunkenly admitted to her one night in Berlin. Billy was born in Washington State to immigrant parents, but had become obsessed with The Bird Cage as a teenager and it’s outfits. She never told anyone, and he appreciated it, preferring to keep his more… humble roots to himself.
Now, as Billy stood in front of Abd El-Kader, his eyes were cold, impassive. He asked questions as though he were bored, and used his staggering frame to look down on Kader and make him feel small and vulnerable. Like a child.
He did this for two days.
Billy liked being the “fun uncle” of the group, but like all of them, he had a dark side. That side that liked to bathe in blood and feel the pounding of knuckles against flesh. That side that got him discharged for misconduct after he lost it on an officer for making fun of his “faggy” clothes. Billy wasn’t gay and he didn’t mind being assumed to be as such, but say it like it was a bad thing and he’d lose his shit.
They all had that dark side. They all had their thing that they used to make this little A-Team excel in ways other covert teams couldn’t.
Billy was the intimidator, all bark, mostly no bite.
Baheera was the expert in wetwork and information gathering, usually by bloody and violent methods. Before the ban on many forms of “enhanced” interrogation, Baheera had been the United States’ leading foreign operative interrogator, having spent most of her career in the Middle East.
Wren was the shooter. The bird. Their eyes in the sky. A former Army Ranger, he did what he had to do, and if that meant blowing off the leg of someone who still had days of torture ahead of them, he did it. Coincidentally, that was how she recruited him, after he’d blown through her leg with a sniper round to send a message for his former employers. She offered him redemption, a full reinstatement to the Army, and a shit load of cash.
Oona was the techie, their expert in overstimulation and frequency information tactics. She spoke fifteen languages. The daughter of a former Army general, she spent her childhood running around the world, learning new technologies and cultures along the way. She developed a lifelong obsession, and used her talents to hack into the Pentagon to prove her worth when she was sixteen. The Boss snapped her up soon after that.
Taqib was… was the babyface. He was so handsome and sweet looking, he could charm just about anyone. Genderfluid and pansexual, he had no problem being their Black Widow of sorts. He was their Faceman, and the light in their otherwise usually dark world.
Which was why Liam Gallagher decided to blow that face off just for the imagery.
She would find him. She was getting closer. One day soon she would stand over Liam Gallagher and carve him to pieces small enough to feed to him. He wouldn’t die until every piece of muscle and skin had been peeled off and hung to dry like meat in a smoker.
And who was she?
The Boss. The mastermind. The planner. An amorphous being who shifted into whatever was needed. She was the one sent in deep cover over and over again. She could keep the lies straight. She could keep it together under pressure. She would die for the mission.
They all would.
One of them had.
That was why they were here. In a shack in Iraq, torturing this piece of sweltering garbage who didn’t deserve the waste of the bullet that was going to kill him.
On the seventh day, she returned. Billy lingered in the doorway for a moment, and she coaxed him away, making a show of how much she trusted Kader. She knew he just wanted to help them.
She gave him water and bread once more, soothing his sore arms with ice as she spoke to him.
“Look, Abd, I really just need a name. They’re growing restless out there, and soon they’ll begin cutting pieces off of you,” she began, her brown eyes wide and pleading. Days of forced insomnia had left bruises underneath her eyes. She needed Kader to believe she was fighting day and night for him.
“You do not understand. Whatever you do to me will be a mercy compared to the Gallaghers. They are insane!”
“Liam Gallagher is a murderer and a psychopath. We will kill him, and you won’t have to worry about him ever again. I just need to know where he’s going next. I need to know who he’s selling to.”
Billy slowly opened the door behind her, standing straight and tall in the doorway. The sun poured in behind him through the slats of the shabby roof. She turned to Kader again, shaking her head hurriedly.
“I’m afraid we’re out of time, Abd. I’m so sorry you must suffer this fate.”
She turned to leave, her shoulders slumped as Billy made his way into the room. She looked over her shoulder as Billy passed her, sorrow and guilt marring her expression. Kader’s eyes bugged out of his head as Billy approached.
“Wait! He’s going to America!”
“Yes,” Kader eyed Billy with growing fear, “He has a contact in the government. High up in the FBI. Someone in Quantico is looking to buy from him.”
“It’s been in the works for years. I’ve never met the contact, he’s very nervous. The timeline is for the sale to take place over the next year.”
She shot Billy a look, who sent a worried one back to her.
“Oona? What’s the chatter looking like in D.C.?”
“Unfortunately, I’ve seen quite a bit,” Oona grumbled in her comm from the other room. “There’s been talk of a fringe group in the government looking to use our unsavory enemies as allies. Had no idea it was gonna be that Irish fucker.”
“Well,” she said, pulling her gun from her hip holster. “Guess we’re going to D.C.”
Kader’s eyes widened again, his head shaking as he began blubbering and begging for his life.
“Jesus, boss, this guy is the worst. ”
“I know,” she shrugged, pulling back the trigger and bracing for the kick. Kader’s head snapped back against the back of the chair as blood and brain splattered onto the wall and sand behind him.
“I’m gonna need an old cover,” she sighed.
“I thought we didn’t do that,” Baheera asked, coming into the room. She took in the sight before her with little interest. “Thought it was dangerous.”
“I know too many people there. I spent a few years under the same cover for a job. Hell, I even got married in D.C.”
“You? Married? Boss, I can’t imagine you in a flouncy white dress,” Wren laughed, coming in behind Baheera. He and Billy moved to untie Kader’s body from it’s binds so they could bury it under the building.
“Yeah, well, it didn’t last long.”
“How are we going to get into the FBI? We can’t just… infiltrate as veteran agents. We’re all too old to be recruits.”
“Speak for yourself, sister,” Oona chuckled, the youngest of the group at twenty-four.
“I already have that covered,” she smiled at her team, who all looked confused. She went to the other room and grabbed the SAT phone.
“You trust whoever you’re about to call?”
“This is one of the few people I trust outside of this room. And I only trust Kader because he’s dead and can’t talk to anyone.” She dialed a familiar number, smiling as she heard cursing on the other end.
“Hello?” a gravelly voice grumbled on the other side of the world. It was something like three a.m. in D.C. She knew she woke him up, but she didn’t care.
“Luke Alvez, you beautiful bastard. You sound even sexier when you just woke up.”
“Jasper?” he asked with a small laugh. He started moving around, blankets shuffling over the speaker as he woke himself up more. “Do you even care that it’s the ass-crack of dawn?”
"You remember that job you had me get certified for a few years ago? The one in the Bureau? I think you were trying to get a guy of yours out of prison.”
“We did get him out, thanks to some of your contacts. The job is still yours if you want it. You can start immediately.”
She grinned, a plan forming as her team began destroying their little camp, erasing any evidence they had been there, any evidence that Kader had been there.
“I’ll see you tomorrow.”
How are we all feeling? How are we feeling about Jasper being another cover? Tell me all your thoughts!
Prefer to read on ao3 or want to read the tags/warnings? Read it here.
Chapter 3: Hotter Than Shit
The investigation begins! And Spencer remembers some stuff.
The ride to the hotel was uncomfortable.
Rossi, Stephen, Lewis, and JJ rode with a deputy in one SUV, while Reid, Luke, Jasper and Emily were packed into another like anchovies in a can with Sheriff Bowman.
In Alabama. In July.
It was hotter than shit, to say the least.
A happy chubby man with an almost comical handlebar mustache who chatted and chittered like it was his job, Bowman was grating on Reid’s last nerve as he sat squished between Jasper and Luke. Spencer fiddled with his fingers and jiggled his thigh as they drove the forty miles from the runway to the small town of Ellison, Alabama, wishing for all the world he’d kept his book on him instead of stuffing it into his bag before they landed.
Jasper ignored him, looking out the window as they drove, her left thigh and shoulder pressed against him tightly in the tiny SUV. The heat from her body burned through his clothes as they sat stuffed in the backseat.
She had always run hot, molten hot , even back then. The first time they had slept together he thought he might melt from her searing skin.
His mind wandered as he tried in vain to ignore how she was pressed against him. Luke was, of course, on the other side, but Spencer barely registered his body as it was nowhere near as distracting as Jasper. Her perfume was drowning him, spiced cherry and plum plunging him deep into a world of memories he’d long since buried in an attempt at self-preservation.
She was thinking hard about something, he could tell by the way she was biting the tip of her tongue as she watched the Alabama landscape pass. He remembered the way she would trace her jawline lightly with her fingers when she read, how she used to sing country music at all hours of the day, warbling and yee-hawing as she swayed around his kitchen in one of his shirts and a pair of panties.
Other memories had come up, ones he definitely couldn’t talk about to his friends.
Dark, lustful memories of hazy sunlight blanketing his bedroom early in the morning. Jasper peppering soft but insistent kisses along his throat as she woke him up with her wandering hands. She loved slow, sleepy sex first thing in the morning, straddling him in the dim light as her tongue slid against his.
She’d smile against his mouth as they kissed, drinking in every gasp and moan that came from them both like they were her fuel for the rest of the day. A greedy thing, she was, happily soaking up all the sensations, sights and sounds of their lovemaking, wanting more, more, more , until she had to slap away his hands and catch her breath.
He had loved burying his hands in those wild curls, tugging firmly at the base of her skull and grinning against her neck as her whole body would react, arching for more of him. Watching that hair bounce and shake as much as her soft skin as she rode him was the best part of any morning back then, her moaning his name and squeezing him so tightly he might actually burst.
He could have passed out the first time he’d plunged himself into her, his eyes rolling back and his hands squeezing her hips so tightly they had actually bruised. She was liquid fire , wet just for him and clinging to him tightly as she begged for more. The closer she would get to orgasm, she would begin to beg and plead, please please please, Spencer, please… Begging for something he was already giving her, like any moment he would cruelly take it away.
If he thought hard enough he could remember the way it felt, that heat clenching around him as her legs and hips shook around his waist. Her whole body would flush a deep, patchy red that ripped up her chest and over her arms and face as she peaked, her breath coming out in pants and gasps as she clutched him tighter. He could never last long after that, spilling deep into her and trying to pull himself closer to her, burying themselves in one another and shattering.
“Will you quit that?” Luke muttered, stopping his leg jiggling with one hand and snapping him back to the present. Heat rose to his cheeks as he adjusted in his seat. Hopefully they would just contribute it to the sweltering humidity that seemed to permeate even the air conditioning in this god forsaken place.
Jasper faced him finally, shooting him an amused look, “You nervous?”
Spencer shook his head quickly, “Nope,” he clipped, popping the ‘p’ as he pointedly looked straight ahead through the windshield.
“You do that leg thing when you’re nervous.”
“Just ready to get started. Child murderer and all that. I’d like to catch him quickly,” he shook his head again as Luke and Jasper exchanged raised eyebrows.
“Where are you from, young lady? I can tell you’re from somewhere real close, but I can’t place it,” Sheriff Bowman called up from the front, finally ceasing his verbal assault on poor Emily in the passenger seat.
“St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana, sir,” she smiled sweetly, pulling out her full Louisiana drawl, “A real small town called Belle Terre.”
“Smaller than Ellison?”
‘Yes, sir, last time I was there the population was eight hundred.” Her hands clenched in her lap as she looked back out the window.
“That a long time ago?” Emily asked, turning in her seat to face the three of them.
Jasper nodded, chewing on her lip and adjusting in her seat, “Eighteen years.”
“You haven’t been home since you were seventeen? ” Spencer asked, not sure why it had surprised him. She all but refused to talk about her past when they knew one another, only giving small bits of information late into the night, occasionally a bit more if she’d been drinking.
“Yeah, because you were always so excited to go back home to Las Vegas,” she rolled her eyes at him. “Why would I go back?”
“Family?” Emily offered.
“Don’t have any,” Jasper said, shrugging and glancing up at Spencer. He knew it was a lie. Jasper didn’t have much family to speak of, and he knew she didn’t care for the little she had.
“What about Jack?” Spencer questioned, watching as she rubbed her forehead with two fingers, a self soothing gesture she often made when she began getting frustrated. “You never took him to see your hometown?”
“Nope.” She looked away from them, glancing out the window and sighing, “I’ve been running around the globe for the last eighteen years, so I just never even thought about going back.”
“Well, you’re real close now, you could pop over before you head back to D.C.,” Bowman said, Alabama twang laced with sugar and genuine sincerity.
Jasper didn’t respond, hands moving to twist her wedding ring once more. Bowman smiled and began blabbering with Prentiss again. He did all the talking during the rest of the drive while the rest of them sat awkwardly as his captive audience.
It was disgustingly hot in Ellison, Alabama. Emily, Spencer, and Jasper had some relief at the morgue, trying not to find too much enjoyment in the air conditioned room filled to the edges with six dead ten year olds.
Jasper set to work, snapping on a pair of gloves and profiling the bodies as Emily talked to the coroner, an older fake redhead named Judy. She watched Jasper in contempt as she poked and prodded the bodies, completely analytical in her approach.
Spencer just watched her work, a little annoyed at her comfortability taking the reins. Spencer usually did this part of the job, being analytical and cold while the coroner judged him. This was a good opportunity to see if she actually had the ability to do what she was attempting, at least.
Jasper didn’t even flinch at the gruesome sight before her, just went about making her notes on the notepad from the plane as the coroner rattled off the facts to Prentiss.
She began her inspection of the latest body, adjusting the boy here and there, poking and prodding as she went.
“See anything?” Judy asked, hands on her hips as she watched Jasper in unconcealed disdain. “Or are you done messing with this poor boy?”
Jasper arched a brow as she looked up from what she was doing, her hands leaving the boy as she stood straight.
“I see a lot of trauma and a prolonged torture time on the body.”
“ His body, this is a dead child, not an anatomy cadaver to play with,” the coroner growled.
Jasper snapped off her gloves, rounding the table and making some more notes before clearing her throat. She rubbed her forehead, that same gesture Reid remembered from their time together. As much as it was self-soothing, it was a gesture of restraint, of her containing herself.
“I apologize, I’m sure you knew this boy, howev-,“ she began, jaw snapping shut as the coroner interrupted her.
“I did know this boy.”
She nodded sagely, a small smile on her face as she continued, “However, me treating this as anything other than a body is not helpful to the work I need to do on this investigation. If you have nothing else for us, I’ll be seeing you.”
“Just tell us what you see, Agent Keaton,” Emily broke in, nodding toward the bodies between them. “Please.”
“I think he let them escape,” she muttered, mostly to herself. She turned one of the boy’s legs, inspecting his feet as Spencer joined her.
“Their legs are all scratched up, and the bruising on their necks is stacked. I think he let them run away, caught up with them, and choked them before letting them run again.”
“How would he know that he could catch them?” Spencer asked, “They could’ve escaped completely.”
“Not if he’s athletic. Besides, how fast can a ten year old run?”
“About one and a half miles in ten minutes, so about nine miles an hour,” Reid rattled off, earning an amused smile from Jasper.
“Okay, but I’m going to assume they weren’t running for an hour. They’re kids, they’ll run for a bit and hide as quickly as they can,” Jasper shrugged at him, biting the tip of her tongue as she theorized. “They were all found in the same stretch of wilderness. He’s gotta be from around here.”
Spencer bit back a smile. He was happily impressed. Of course, he’d looked up Jasper’s profiling test scores while she was in the office with Prentiss, but he wasn’t sure what her skills would actually be in the field. Her degree from Georgetown had been in Foreign Service, her minor had been in Forensic Psychology. Her file was mostly classified and blacked out, so he had no idea what she could have used either of them for before she came to the BAU.
“You think someone from Ellison is responsible for this?” Judy asked incredulously, “I can’t think of a single person who would be capable of this.”
“It’s just a theory, one we all came to and have to keep in mind in places like this with limited geographical space and population,” Spencer shot back, his tone even and steady, but firm enough to let this woman know his ex-girlfriend- coworker, you idiot, wasn’t going to be the only one not taking any shit.
Judy just shook her head and walked away from them, ducking into an office at the far end of the morgue. Spencer felt bad for her. People in small towns feel a variety of emotions in cases like this, especially ones involving children and such degrees of violence. But the Law Enforcement of Ellison needed to look at this like investigators, not as members of a community.
They took that as their cue to leave, groaning as they exited the building, the sun beaming down on them like ants through the looking glass.
Jasper jogged ahead of them to snag the front seat. Spencer slid into the back, letting out a gasp at the thick heat inside the car. Emily turned the ignition, rolling down the windows as soon as she could.
“Fuck me," Jasper grunted, fanning herself as the air conditioning shot on, covering them with a hot funnel of air.
“Speaking of that,” Emily started slowly, looking grossly uncomfortable as she looked between the two agents, “are you two doing okay working together?”
Jasper glanced back at Spencer, who shrugged at her in response, “I don’t have a problem.”
“Yeah, we’re both professionals,” Spencer said, tight-lipped. If he had to tell the truth, it had been aggravating him how cavalier she’d been the whole day. She hardly looked at him, or even acknowledged him. Jasper had always held things pretty close to the vest, but he had expected something. Some reaction, or at least some direct conversation.
“I’m only asking because you two seem tense.”
“A lot goes on in fourteen years, ma’am. We’re both completely different people. Spencer’s just another stranger I have to get to know,” Jasper smiled at Emily, who didn’t look convinced.
Emily glanced back at Spencer once more, while he glared at Jasper, who was fiddling with the air conditioning settings on the SUV. He might not have known much about her past back then, but he knew her.
He knew the best things. He knew the way she took her coffee in the morning. Black, a splash of milk. Unlike you, Stick, I don’t take a splash of coffee with my mug of sugar.
He knew the way she groaned as she stretched first thing in the morning, making a tense squeak as she reached for the ceiling and he pinched her sides. She would let him tug her back under the covers, tossing them over their heads and kissing the back of her neck as she giggled and squealed when he tickled her.
Spencer knew the way she would sometimes get lost in her own head, eyes going hazy and shadowed as she got pulled under the wave of her own memories. Whether they’d been memories of her recent tour to Iraq or of her childhood, he never knew. But a cup of hot cocoa and a kiss on the shoulder was the best way to pull her back to him, even if just for a little bit.
He knew the way she clutched his shirt tightly when she would wake from a nightmare, chest heaving and tears prickling the corners of her eyes as she apologized over and over again for waking him up. He would lace his fingers into those curls again and pull her close, rubbing circles between her shoulder blades with his free hand as she shook until she fell back asleep.
He knew the way her rage could consume her, and how good she was at holding it back. He really had to push to get her to show the least bit of it. He knew when he was agitating her by her forehead rubbing, and sometimes he’d push further just to know something, anything.
Looking back, it wasn’t healthy, and he knew it at the time too. Spencer would just feel so stifled by her sometimes, by the wall that surrounded her emotions and her past. He’d spilled all of his secrets to her- the bullying, his dad, his mom- and she never even told him her parent’s names. It took three months for her to tell him that she was even from Louisiana.
Maybe it was the inner investigator in him, the one who was being trained for, and had always wanted to work for the FBI. Maybe it was the mean, bitter part of himself that knew she loved him and wanted to test her anyways. Maybe it was the fact that he could be an asshole when he was frustrated, and she never took it lying down.
Maybe it was all of that. Maybe it was none of that. Maybe they had just always been strangers, and always would be.
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