7.11 true genius

Cupcakes and Confessions

I’ve been sitting on this for weeks because I’m a bit of a perfectionist, but I figured if I didn’t post it now, then I never would. It’s my very first fanfiction, so go easy on me. I do welcome constructive criticism, so please let me know what you think.

Just for clarification, this snippet takes place October 12, 2018. The team celebrated Reid’s 24th birthday in Season 1 Episode 4, “Plain Sight,” which aired on October 12, 2005. Season 7 Episode 11, “True Genius,” which aired on January 18, 2012, saw the team belatedly celebrating Boy Wonder’s 30th birthday. I’m going with an October birthday for Reid because, well, duh. I’m also keeping his age ambiguous.

Stories don’t need to be told in chronological order, so I’ll be jumping around a little. The next one will cover the party and provide a lovely segue to the actual start of Spencer and the OC’s relationship.

Finally: drawing isn’t my strong suit, but I felt that the fic needed something extra. Okay, I’m shutting up now.

Word Count: 1,275

It was a bright, warm October morning in Washington, D.C. Penelope Garcia and Derek Morgan strode into the apartment building swiftly, the former with an air of sheer determination, the latter with one of mild trepidation. 

“Baby Girl, I’m not so sure we should -”

“Shush, you,” Garcia interjected, playfully slapping Derek on the arm. “This. Is. Happening. I put a lot of thought into today’s festivities and he will have fun, even if it kills him.”

Morgan raised his arm in front of her, halting their climb up the stairs. He had a stern expression on his face. “Penelope, Reid said he didn’t want a huge fuss on his birthday,” he said reproachfully.

“Oh, he doesn’t know what he wants,” Garcia countered as she rolled her eyes and waved her hand dismissively. 

Morgan released a heavy sigh, resignedly following the clickety-clack of Penelope’s ridiculously high heels when she resumed her journey up the staircase. “He did agree to dinner with everyone tonight, but as much as he’ll love spending time with us, it’ll also exhaust him. We know how overstimulated Reid gets – all that noise, the camera flashes, the crowd – he needs quiet time alone to prepare himself for that.” 

They had reached Reid’s floor. Garcia paused on the landing before turning to face Morgan. She looked crestfallen and slightly ashamed of herself. “I know, you’re right,” she conceded, “I just…but,” she pouted as she defiantly raised the platter in her hands, “…Doctor Who cupcakes.” 

Morgan flashed his impossibly white smile. “I know, Mamma. I worry about him too. Let’s just leave these at his door and we can text him so he knows they’re out here. That work for you?” 

Garcia, however, wasn’t paying attention to him. “Shhh, can you hear that?”

Morgan listened for a few moments, then he caught it; somebody nearby was playing an electric guitar. More like making it sing. “They’re talented, whoever they are…ummm, is that…Beethoven?” 

“Derek, it’s coming from Reid’s apartment.” They meandered towards the door, their heads tilted in curiosity, their hearts warmed by the performance. It had clearly been practiced to perfection, but not for a packed concert hall or a panel of judges. 

No, this felt more…personal, more intimate. Morgan opened his mouth to say just that when Garcia interrupted his thoughts. “Hold on, Reid doesn’t play guitar, so how…oh, wait…” realization dawned on Garcia’s face as she broke into a devilish grin. 

“Oh-ho-ho. Spencer, you naughty boy,” she giggled quietly, prompting Morgan to raise his eyebrows. 

“What in the world are you on about, Penelope?” 

“It’s McKinley, it has to be. I guess she took the day off work. Well, no wonder he didn’t wanna spend the day with us,” whispered Garcia, whose cheeks were now flushed with excitement. 

Morgan’s eyes shifted between Garcia and the apartment door while he processed her statement. “You mean the McKinley? Works at The Smithsonian McKinley? The one he’s been dating for almost a year?” 

Penelope nodded in confirmation. “Ley’s also in a band; they sub for a couple of house bands around the city.” 

Morgan chuckled admiringly, impressed with both this mystery woman and his kid brother. “All right, Pretty Boy! Get some,” he cheered quietly. “Man, I really need to keep in touch more; I’m missing a lot – too much.” In the background, the last few notes of “Für Elise” rang through the air, quickly followed by lilting, if somewhat nervous, laughter. 

“So, Doctor, what’s the verdict? Give me your honest review.” 

Reid took a moment to respond. “It’s not what I expected, but that was lovely, Kinley, thank you.” 

“You know, for someone whose career hinges in no small part on controlling your affect and demeanor, you’re surprisingly terrible at lying, Spencer,” McKinley admonished him. 

Outside the door, Derek snorted lightly. 

“What?! I’m not lying, Kinley,” Reid exclaimed, his voice rising an octave or two. 

“There it is! You’re using your squeaky voice! Always a dead giveaway.” 

“Squeaky voice? I do not have a – never mind. I meant what I said, McKinley.” 

Derek started shaking with silent laughter, while Penelope smiled proudly as she leaned against the doorframe. She had evidently borne witness to this type of exchange between the lovebirds before. 

“You’re hedging, and you know I don’t tolerate that. I’m a grown-ass woman, Spencer. I can handle constructive criticism. I welcome it, in fact. You’re censoring yourself in an attempt to spare my feelings, and that’s just insulting. It’s unfair – to me and to you.” 

“You played beautifully,” Spencer reiterated. 

“But?” McKinley wouldn’t budge. Judging by the full minute of awkward silence, it appeared that Reid wouldn’t either. 

“Oh, she’s good,” Derek mouthed at Penelope, “and she calls him on his b.s. I like her already.” Garcia waved her hands dramatically. “Wait until you meet her tonight,” she gushed. 

“Okay,” Reid finally relented, “I just don’t believe that classical music ought to be played on electric guitars – electric anything. The juxtaposition is too jarring. It feels…wrong. They shouldn’t mix, and I’m quite certain the composers would agree.” 

“Pffft, Beethoven totally would’ve been a metalhead,” McKinley declared. “Anyway, I understand; classical music and rock are to you what meat and sweet are to me. Bacon dipped in maple syrup? Ewww! And yet some people like the combination. Now I know to pull out my keyboard for certain songs.” 

“I didn’t want to sound disparaging or ungrateful,” Reid mumbled apologetically. 

“You complimented me on how well I played, didn’t you?! We’re not required to enjoy all the same things just because we’re dating. And Spencer, every day you show me how much you appreciate me.” 

“You must’ve worked on that for weeks, though, Kinley.” 

“Yeah, and you burned the midnight oil on that Edgar Allan Poe painting you gave me for my birthday. It’s unconventionally beautiful. The painting is very…you. That’s why I love it; that’s why I love you, Spencer Reid. You couldn’t be cookie cutter even if you tried.” 

Derek and Penelope swore they felt the heat from Reid’s blush oozing through the door. 

When Reid replied, he sounded pleasantly breathless. “That’s one of the reasons I love you, too. You’re unashamedly different.” 

Another silence fell, except this time a sweet bashfulness hung between the two.

“They’re exchanging ‘I love yous’ now?! Yes!” Penelope whisper-screamed, punching the air. “My OTP grows stronger by the day. Derek, I can see it now,” she murmured dreamily, placing her hand on his chest. “They’ll have a spring wedding. JJ, Em, Tara, and I will help with the planning. We’ll be bridesmaids! You’ll be the best man.” Garcia did a little happy dance, then suddenly gasped. “And baby geniuses! Maybe this time we’ll get a goddaughter!” 

“Just be cool, baby, damn,” Morgan snickered. 

“Oh goodness,” McKinley’s voice echoed from within the apartment, “look at the time, Spencer! It’s nearly 9:00! We need to hustle if we’re gonna finish everything before we have to head over to Rossi’s.” Morgan and Penelope could hear the two moving around, packing up her guitar, setting mugs in the sink. 

“That’s our cue to leave, Penelope. You know what, let’s take these cupcakes to the front desk. If we drop them at the door and text Reid now…well, it’s bad enough that we eavesdropped, but if he finds out, he’ll be mortified.” 

“Agreed. I’ll write a note saying we figured he was still asleep and we didn’t want to disturb him.” 

A few minutes later, the two were walking arm-in-arm around the corner to Derek’s rental car, Garcia enthusiastically discussing the details of the party she and JJ had organized, and wondering out loud if McKinley had slept over at Reid’s.

  • Prentiss: You're afraid you've let people down?
  • Reid: No, I'm afraid I've let myself down.
  • Prentiss: By not curing schizophrenia?
  • Reid: No, I just... I don't know why I'm in the FBI.
  • Prentiss: I see. You're a genius but you have the same job as me, Morgan, JJ...
  • Reid: Yeah, exactly-- no! It's not what I'm saying. Sometimes I just got this feeling that maybe I should have done something more with my life.
  • Prentiss: How old are you? 29.
  • Reid: I'm 30.