university of wisconsin madison
The Purpose of Sleep: To forget, Scientists say  sleep may help the brain prune back unneeded synapses.
By Carl Zimmer

A PET scan of a brain during normal sleep.

by Carl Zimmer

Over the years, scientists have come up with a lot of ideas about why we sleep.

Some have argued that it’s a way to save energy. Others have suggested that slumber provides an opportunity to clear away the brain’s cellular waste. Still others have proposed that sleep simply forces animals to lie still, letting them hide from predators.

A pair of papers published on Thursday in the journal Science offer evidence for another notion: We sleep to forget some of the things we learn each day.

In order to learn, we have to grow connections, or synapses, between the neurons in our brains. These connections enable neurons to send signals to one another quickly and efficiently. We store new memories in these networks.

In 2003, Giulio Tononi and Chiara Cirelli, biologists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, proposed that synapses grew so exuberantly during the day that our brain circuits got “noisy.” When we sleep, the scientists argued, our brains pare back the connections to lift the signal over the noise.

In the years since, Dr. Tononi and Dr. Cirelli, along with other researchers, have found a great deal of indirect evidence to support the so-called synaptic homeostasis hypothesis.

(excerpt - click the link for the complete article) 


Vintage photos of college dorms over the past 110 years.

A century ago, students still slept in single beds, hung family photos on their walls, and chilled with friends in their dorm rooms.

USA. Wisconsin. Madison. October 18, 1967. “Dirty Fascist!” An enraged University of Wisconsin student yells at a policeman after Madison police used riot clubs and tear gas to break up an anti-war protest. Dozens of persons, including policemen, were injured in the rioting.

Photograph: Dennis Connor/Bettmann/Getty

MistyMountainHop’s That ‘70s Show Fanfic that Never Was: #9

A few years ago, I wrote a partial draft and outline of a One Difference story, but other stories stole my creative attention. I’d held off from sharing this one here because I thought I might finish it someday, but that seems highly doubtful now (I’m working on several other stories I very much hope to post).

Remember, first drafts are just that: first drafts. I revise a story a lot before I post it on FFNet and AO3 (which is one reason why I take longer to put out new stories than other people). Beware clunky sentences and other strange, first drafty things (*lol*).

And now, without further discussion, I present…

aka One Difference: Hyde Doesn’t Pass Out (at the Beer Warehouse)

August 18, 1979
Point Place, Wisconsin
The Pinciottis’ Living Room

Jackie and Donna finished off their joint. The smoke hadn’t made Jackie feel better about Steven’s absence, and being surrounded by the tacky décor of Donna’s living room didn’t help matters either. Aqua and silver belonged at the bottom of the ocean together, as a rusting hull of a ship and the water surrounding it. They didn’t belong in a house.

Donna was going on about starting a rock band called the Sandy Sandals, but sand reminded Jackie of dirt, and dirt reminded her of Steven. She’d given him an ultimatum, either he proposes or she leaves for Chicago to start a life without him. He had until noon tomorrow, seventeen hours from now, but as each minute ticked by, her heart sank lower and lower in her body, like that silver ship. Rusting and rotting at the bottom of the sandy ocean. And now she was back to Steven.

“You know,” she said, “I thought if I really put myself out there he’d see how much I love him and say yes right away. And then when he didn’t, I thought, ‘Okay, well, maybe he’ll take a couple hours and then say yes.'” She frowned, even though it would give her frown lines. “But now I think he’s only taking so long ‘cause he’s gonna say no.” Her heart plummeted to her knees. “Donna, what if he says no?”

“Jackie, if Hyde says no, then you and I get a van,” Donna said, smiling, “and the Sandy Sandals tour America.” A thick candle was lit on the coffee table behind the couch. She took it and gazed into the flame, but she replaced it on the table when hot wax dripped on her hand. “Anyway, men are stupid. Eric knows who I work with at the radio station. There’s no Kevin. He should’ve realized I was trying to make a point by saying I had a date tonight. But at least I hurt him a little, like he hurt me a lot by deciding to go to Africa without even talking to me about it.”

“Men are stupid,” Jackie said. “Steven has the most beautiful, talented woman on the planet wanting to spend the rest of her life with him, and all he can do is say, 'I don’t know’? Idiot.”

“Well, helloooo, toots!” Eric said. He was at the hallway door, and he stumbled down the one step to the recessed living room. “Back from your date so soon, huh? Used to be you had to buy a girl dinner if you’d want her to …” he gestured at Donna, “slide all over you, moaning like a ghost.”

Jackie and Donna share a disgusted look. Then Steven stumbles down the step and bumps into Eric. “Outta the way, Forman.”

“Steven?” Jackie jumps up from the couch.

Donna stands up behind her and says, “Okay, you know what? I didn’t have a date, but I should’ve.”

“Wait, so you lied?” Eric says, and Steven looks unsteady on his feet, like he’s about to fall over.

Jackie pushes Eric out of the way, and Eric crashes to the floor. But Jackie doesn’t care. She supports Steven, who’s swaying on his feet. “What happened?”

Donna goes to Eric’s side and helps him up. “They’re drunk-a-duck. Daffy Duck. Wascally wabbits..”

Eric says, “And you’re high.”

Donna giggles. “Yeah.”

Jackie, though, thinking about Steven then seeing Steven, has sobered up a bit. “Drunk?”

“Jackie,” Steven says, “I gotta tell you somethin’, Jackie … but first, I gotta get on the floor.”

“What?” Jackie says, but Steven’s already on his knees.

Keep reading


When All Things Considered launched in 1971, NPR brought a “new and different” sound to radio. This new sound featured the creative energy and electrosonic compositions of Donald Voegeli, a musician and composer at the University of Wisconsin. The university received funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to compose music for both public television and radio. At the time, audio experimentation in electronic sound was on the rise, and Don took on this project with his synthesizer. Using a Putney, Don did some composing and the first iteration of the All Things Considered theme was born.

In this 1974 interview with Don, Susan Stamberg tells him, “You are really the man who has given us our sound.”

Image: Courtesy of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Archives (ID S14739)

Rookie Mistakes: Criminal Minds Fanfiction Spencer Reid x Reader

A/N: This is my first time writing imagines and sharing them. Please be kind. I wanted the reader to be able to fit into the story instead of creating a new character, but I did add some background details. Thank you for your read!!
Enjoy the fluff, forgive the formatting issues. I do not own the characters. xoxo Stu

Setting: Season 9 Rating: T

“You know, Y/N, considering the amount of hands that office supplies pass through on their way to the round table, I doubt you want to keep chewing on pens as a concentration technique.” Spencer Reid chimed in on your temporary moment of distraction. You turned in your chair, looking your co-worker in the eye and made an immature gagging mime at him. Dr. Spencer Reid was the smartest member of the FBI’s BAU, but he did not have the best grasp on when his knowledge was welcome. His big eyes bulged at your surprising, yet comical retort. He puckered his lips and turned back toward his own desk.

You had been on the team for two months and it was everything you had hoped and feared it would be; awful hours, lots of evil people and not always happy endings for the victims’ families. But you were now working with some of the FBI’s greatest assets and taking down unsubs with the highest rated team since its inception. Reports took hours, so that meant you had two more cups of coffee to go before your day was done. You tossed your chewed-on pen on top of the folders on your desk and slid back. You headed to your favorite place inside the BAU, the tech shrine that is Penelope Garcia’s office.

You knock as you strolled in and hug Garcia from behind in a mopey, tired manner. “Oh Sugarplum, “Garcia exclaimed,” what happened?!” “Nothing, Penny, just tired and needed to be real.” You slouched in the extra chair and watched Garcia work. She was fascinating and so nice. She made this work bearable. “Remind me, what happens if I kill a coworker?” You ask hypothetically, “that would be automatic termination, right?”

Penelope spun in dramatic fake shock, “Um, Y/N, do I need a gun or a hostage negotiator right now?” “Garcia, girl, no. I would never. It’s just, Reid, you know? He is so smart and an amazing agent, but really?! How can he have all this knowledge and not realize when to put a sock in it, you know?” You ranted. Garcia nodded and listened to your complaints, watching your arms flop. She smiled at you and sighed. “Uh yeah, Reid is a bit much. But if you are planning on being on this team. You are going to have to get past it. He is O.G., okay, not like Rossi O.G., but seriously the kid has been here longer than me!”

You considered the professional implications of not getting over this rut. You had worked hard for years to get here and were not going to give in now. “Gracias, girl, thanks and, um, don’t tell Derek? I will figure it out before I need any extra insight, deal?”

“Eh, I can’t hide anything from my Boo. But I will hold out through the weekend, maybe, if I can. Deal?” Penelope smiled reassuringly.

You nod and shake your head, returning to the bullpen. You found Reid doing his mesmerizing speed reading at his desk. His mop of curls falling around his face, his long fingers scrolling from page to page like a conductor moving a symphony in rhythm. You observed your coworker as you would watch someone awaiting interrogation; quietly and calculating. You knew Hotch was watching you stare, you also knew he would not say anything unless a problem arose between you and the tall genius. One more reason you loved being on this team, you had the best boss in the world. You caught Hotch’s eye as he headed out the door, you nodded your goodnight.

Meanwhile, Reid read on. You sighed dramatically, plopping yourself down into your desk chair and slid across the aisle, right into Reid’s little reading bubble.

“What are you doing?!” Reid exclaimed. He practically stood while hugging his book to his chest. You remained sitting and looked up at the agitated man. You knew you got under his skin, by using proximity to unnerve him. So you slowly wheeled closer, putting your face near to touching his chest. You glanced up and smiled, “Doctor, what are you doing tonight?”.

Reid slid out between you and his desk with quick, lithe movements, leaving his book atop the desk. He quickly looked around the room and then tilted his head and looked at you, clearing his throat. “Y/N, you can call me Spencer, or Reid if you prefer, being such a serious agent. May I inquire into your sudden interest with my leisure activities?” Reid slipped his hands into his pockets as the blush left his face, he was now a safe ten feet from you.

“Okay, Reid, I realized that I have not had any 1-on-1 time with you since joining the team. Even in the field Hotch pairs me with Rossi or JJ. I want to be an effective member of this team. In order to do that, I need to build rapport with everyone on it. Even you… who I do not quite like, at the moment.” You wheeled your chair back to your side of the aisle, but continued to face the now intrigued Reid. “So, you want to get to know me? Someone, you don’t like, for your job?” Reid nodded, “Well, I was going to a French Avant Gard Cinema night, but that doesn’t start until 11 o’clock.”

You were not surprised, though French was not a language you had known him to know. You calmly tuck your legs beneath you to sit in meditation pose upon the office chair. You spend hours practicing yoga and meditating, this is a default position. Spencer’s eyes follow your legs, but you didn’t register it. You are considering your evening plans of more work and debate asking to tag along with the good Doctor instead.

“What are the odds that we will get called on a case this weekend?” You ask intentionally because asking Dr. Reid anything rhetorically is useless. “Over the past ten years, the BAU has been called into the field on weekends, or have cases stretch into weekends a total of 263 times. So only slightly more than a 50% chance.” He did not disappoint.

“Alright, Reid,” you clear your throat,” but I do love calling you Doctor, for reasons that are entirely unprofessional. Would you mind some company?”

Spencer watches you for a moment, “Y/N, you don’t speak French.”

“How do you know that?” You cross your arms over your chest, challenging him to admit his inner knowledge of your life.

“Y/N Y/M/N Y/L/N born Y/B/D attended University of Wisconsin at Madison, majored in psychology and legal studies. You attended Georgetown for your Masters while beginning your vetting process for Quantico. You have extended family from Central America, therefore you are comfortable with Spanish. But as far as I have read, you have no experience with French on paper or in the field.” Spencer rambled off your file while whittling your life down to degrees and family. He was not wrong, just missing a piece.

“Vous etes un imbecile, docteur.”

Spencer’s eyes widened.

“My parents hosted and exchange student, while I was in high school, from Belgium. What kind of host sister would I be if I did not learn his mother tongue?” “Touche,” the thin man conceded. “Oh, and Doctor?” You pointed your finger at him seriously. “I am driving.”

You would never look at him the same way again. The mini film festival was more Avant Garde than you anticipated. Reid was thoroughly enthralled with the show and you found yourself thoroughly enthralled with his reactions. It wasn’t until the second feature that you dozed off. You were exhausted and it had been one hell of a week. You came to when the lights came up between shows. You were warm and comfortable, smelling something like old books, coffee and soap. You slowly opened your eyes, realizing that your hair was plastered to your face with the puddle of drool you had left there during the last half of the film.

“Shoot me now,” you thought. Dr. Spencer Reid was watching you. You realized all too late the reason you were so comfortable was that he had draped his P-coat around you as you slept. You quickly shrugged it over to him, mumbling an embarrassed, “Thanks.” Just as you stood to stretch, both of your phones buzzed. He gave you a knowing look and a small toothless smirk. “The odds were against a weekend off after all, Doctor.” You reached for your coworker’s spindly hand to haul him out of his seat, leading you both back to Quantico.

“Garcia,” Hotch spoke to the face on the monitor, “Who will we be meeting at Mitchell airport?” “Detective Hansen will be meeting the team at the airport and will take you downtown to the hotel,” Garcia replied. “The kid is the rookie assistant to the lead on the case, Andrews. You will meet him bright and surly tomorrow at the precinct.” “Sounds good, thank you.” Hotch nodded. “Nighty night, my lovelies,” Garcia saluted and the window closed on the screen. You carefully made your way to the open row of seats closest to the bathroom. As the new agent on the team, you got the most trafficked sleeping quarters. Everyone on the jet was still half asleep, except Hotch. Honestly, the boss man never seemed like he was tired. The quiet din of the engine had become your new white noise machine, you fell asleep before the lights were dimmed.

“I know, man, but how was it that you and Y/N roll up at two thirty in the morning, in her ride?!” Morgan was harassing Reid about the night you had shared, his deep voice crossing the jet’s length in waves. You did not want to wake up, so you kept your eyes closed. “I was attending an all-night film festical and Y/N asked if I wanted company, Morgan, that is how.” Reid replied in a nearly inaudible whisper.

“What kind of film festival?” the louder agent inquired.

“French Avant garde, it was not the best representation of the genre, but I hadn’t seen the original Fantasmaghorie. It was a good open, but Y/N fell asleep during El Dorado.” “Well, I knew Y/N had taste. Look at you Reid, a girl invites herself on one of your nights off, but falls asleep before it is over.” Morgan chuckled. “Y/N has been putting in extra hours on reports all week. I should have told her to go home and get some sleep instead of a team building endeavor.” Spencer mused. “Team building?” Morgan asked, “Wouldn’t that require the team to be present? And not just the two of you?!” He emphasized the last three words, making you roll in your faux sleep. “Y/N said she needed to build some rapport with me,” Spencer sighed,”Well, because she does not like me at the moment.” His voice disappeared. You ached at the hurt you heard in his admission. You yearned to open your eyes and see the nonverbal cues Derek was getting from the brilliant man.

“Oh man, that is rough, “Derek mumbled, his voice drifting. You were finding it harder to hear them as the pilots were bracing for landing. You gave up your façade and quietly opened your eyes. You couldn’t see Spencer’s delicate features, only the back of his now-mussed head. Derek had his chair reclined and a support pillow around his neck. He eyed you wearingly, you blinked, but held his gaze.

The hotel was a drop off, shower and refueling stop. The 24hr Starbucks in the lobby was going to be making extra tips this weekend. You bunked with JJ in the first room, Rossi and Derek shared the next. Putting Reid with Hotch at the end of the hall’s peach rug. JJ had been pretty quiet on the way here, she usually held herself in when the victims were children. Sadly, that was this case. She held a graceful strength that you admired. You might be leading the questioning this case, but JJ would nail the unsub to the wall. At 0800, the team was clean, caffineited and wheeling out of the parking lot; heading in three different directions. Hotch was taking you to the precinct to meet with Detective Andrews. Derek and JJ were headed to the last body dumpsite and Reid was with Rossi, further questioning the babysitter of the currently missing kid. You had been in the Brew city all of two hours and the BAU was in overdrive.

“With the unsub’s escalating timeline, we may be looking at a deadline or a de-evolution.” You suggested to your unit chief. “True, but we won’t know if it is intentional until we complete the profile.” Hotch replied, “Andrews called us because the case was quiet for months and suddenly two bodies were discovered within a month. A secondary trigger seems more likely if this is a preferential offender.” Five kids over three years and now suddenly three targets the past month. You reviewed the digital images of tiny bodies in blankets, signs of remorse, while Hotch drove into the underground garage of the precinct.

Rossi was driving to the in-home daycare where Kyle Mason went missing the day before. Spencer shifted in his seat as the folders balanced on his lap. He could smell your perfume on the neckline of his jacket, he absentmindedly played with the collar. Rossi hadn’t spoken with Reid about women in a long time, but he hadn’t wanted to push the kid. Now he knew he needed to. “So, Y/N likes foreign cinema too?” He prodded the younger man. In a team this close, gossip was easily passed and forgotten, but Reid was unique in never having anything to hide; usually.

“I am not entirely sure what she likes, Rossi. But she does understand the French language, which was a lesson for me last night.” Spencer answered, completely missing the double entendre that he left hanging. Rossi smiled to himself, amused at the innocence left in the world. “What does the day care teacher have to share?” The older agent got back to business, as they entered the smaller streets of the Bayview neighborhood.

You had set up all the evidence boards at the small precinct. The map for geographic profile and the happy smiling faces in school pictures of the known victims. The last boy, 4-year-old, Kyle Mason stared back at you. He had crystal blue eyes and short dark hair. He was wearing a grey dinosaur button down shirt. You sighed, returning to drawing up the signature to help complete the profile for the team to present.

You texted Garcia a few emojis to lighten your mood. She sent you back a mime, a bottle of wine and a huge question mark. You replied with your favorite thumbs up GIF of the eleventh Doctor, followed immediately with a sassy faced Glee GIF to completely shut down this absurd line of questioning. It was taking a lot of perseverance to not throttle Spencer Reid. You were not trying to date him.

“You know I can’t call her, if you are texting her.” Morgan complained while he leaned on the evidence board. You let the seasoned agent observe your layout, hoping for some feedback before the rest of the team arrived. You pocketed your phone and waited.

“Y/N, this would be better under the unsub,” Derek took a sheet from the victimology charts and slid it to the next column.

‘Right, more relevant to mobility than victimology,” you replied.

“Otherwise, this is a great summary, Y/N.” Agent Morgan complimented.

“Thanks, Morgan.” You answered, trying to hide your pride in your first solo display.

“If the unsubs comfort area is so small, why has no seen anything?” Rossi queried. He had brought in a tray full of coffees. You had to stop yourself form hugging the veteran and managed to give him your most gracious face ever instead. “I think someone has, but with the amount of kids in the neighborhood and the schools being off for winter break, the routines are off for everyone right now.” You answered.

“Good point,” Hotch and Reid had just walked in with Detective Andrews for questioning the missing kid’s parents. “That is why the daycare was so overwhelmed. Most of these kids are only there in the summer, when the kids can play outside. That many kids in a house all day would be exhausting chaos.” “But who would be able to get a kid to come outside, when it is below freezing?” JJ asked. “A friend.” You stated the obvious.

Everyone looked at you shocked. Another child luring case in the same town? This seemed too coincidental, but the targets were kids themselves, not mothers.

“Garcia, I need you to pull up the details on the last three victims,” Hotch already had her on speaker phone. “Were there any mutual friends between the boys?” “I have already checked that, sir,” Garcia paused. “Kyle was only in school half days at a private school, Jason went to one public school, and Aidan to another. No sports teams overlapped. The parents didn’t work together.” “What about Scouts organizations?” Rossi offered. “Negative.” Garcia clicked away at her search. “Okay, let us know when you find something.” Hotch had to hang up on the backbone of the team. “Let’s deliver the profile.” Before you began, you noticed Spencer eying your geographic profile map. You didn’t even flinch when he moved some notes around. Taking a deep sigh, perhaps you weren’t going to kill him after all.

Garcia saved the day, no surprise there. She found the link, through facial recognition software: she found the boys had all been attendees in a Saturday morning woodworking promotion at Lowe’s. And a very creepy Lowe’s employee just happened to have brought his nephew along to those classes. So not only was the kid friends with the victims, but the unsub, one Brandon Davis, 34, had access to the boys’ contact information on the safety waiver forms. Spencer had noticed the wooden models in the various boys’ rooms first, but the amazing software was what proved his hypothesis.

Hotch was driving you and Reid to the Lowe’s where the unsub worked. While JJ, Rossi and Derek were heading to his residence, in search of the missing boy. The locals had the parking lot contained, but the massive box store had three exits plus a loading dock. The possibility of civilian casualty was too great; therefore, no sirens were used and a discreet entrance to capture the unsub. Hotch had found the floor manager and had him page the unsub to the breakroom. You and Spencer paced the lumber aisle waiting for the guy to show up.

“You know a lot of this wood is imported. Though Wisconsin still has a substantial logging industry of its own.” Reid noted.

“Yeah, tell that to all the closed papermills up North. That will make you some friends.” You retorted bitterly.

“Of course, you would understand the losses in the forestry industry since you attended school here.” Spencer confirmed. “It wasn’t that the source had dried up, or the need gone away. It was that greed had beat the American worker.” He quoted an economics paper you wrote your junior year.

You were taken aback, speechless. This was even slightly touching that this esteemed colleague had bothered to consider your past. He looked at you sideways, gaging your reaction to his famous eidetic memory. But your eyes were focused past his long frame now, watching the unsub storm his way into the breakroom. You gestured from your eyes to the unsub. Reid lead the way to finish the trap that Hotch had set for Davis.

Suddenly, there was a loud shout and an explosion sent you and Spencer across the empty breakroom table. There was glass and plaster everywhere, the pain in your ears was excruciating, luckily you could move. Reid was half on top of you and half on a toppled chair. You couldn’t see his face and with the ringing in your ears make you doubt he could hear you. You tugged on his arm with no response.

Slowly, you sat up, and slid out from beneath his warm body. You hadn’t seen any movement from the manager’s office. It seemed like your life was trapped in stop motion flashes. The fire alarm had been activated and lights were flashing as the sprinklers pelted down on you.

“Y/N,” Spencer grunted slowly coming back to you. You held his wrist to check his pulse, not wanting to invade his space anymore, again, so soon. “Hotch?” he asked. You nodded and scrambled away into the room that held your boss. “Hotch!” You screamed, your throat coarse from the fear and the sediment in the air. There was no response. Your team’s voices were suddenly on the coms. “Talk to me, Y/N.” Derek pleaded.

“Reid and I are conscious. Send medics to the breakroom. There was a minor explosion. I am looking for Hotch now.” You relay to the whole team. “Any visual on Kyle?” You remember there was more to the mission today. “We have him,” JJ answered, “Alive.” You could hear the relief in the female agent’s voice.

“Well done guys,” You wiped a tear from across your cheek. You had needed that good news right now. There was a slight movement up ahead, a desk was being slid across the floor. You raised your Glock and called out, “Freeze, keep your hands where I can see them!”

The movement stopped. A stifled voice called out, “Y/L/N, there was a closet, I think Davis got away.” Hotch called. You turned to check where Reid was, he was staggering toward the fallen desk that hid where Hotch lay.

You barreled through the remaining debris, into the unhinged closet door, falling over the clearly dead store manager. Through the doorframe, you saw a crawl space following the length of the entire building. You double check behind you, no surprises. Your heart is racing, your ears are ringing and your adrenaline is through the roof. You whisper over the coms. “Suspect Davis fled on foot after the explosion. Believed to be in store skeleton walkways. Please send back up. Agent Y/L/N in pursuit.”

You weave in and out of the concrete and steel framework of the building. Your ears are clearing, but no sound has reached you. You have no idea where the unsub is. The unheated space is wet and icy in patches on the concrete floor. You shiver from the sprinkler remnants on your skin. Wisconsin winters were not something you had missed. You keep your head up, but move slower than you would like to be.

A chain rattles in the distance. ”Brandon Davis!” You bellow, gun raised, certain and clear headed. “Come out with your hands up!” A rhythmic clanking noise began, a door opened suddenly and you see it, just ahead. A loading door is opening and Davis is driving one of the store’s forklifts. You repeat, “Brandon Davis! This is the FBI!”

“Park the vehicle and come out with your hands up!” Suddenly Reid is behind you and all of Milwwaukee PD seems to be waiting on the other side of the service door. The spots blind the unsub. He holds up his hands, you get to make the arrest. Spencer’s face is bleeding and his clothes are a mess. He backs you up as you climb the forklift and cuff the predator.

“Okay, okay. But seriously, what were you guys doing when Davis was blowing up Hotch?!” Derek joked eyeing Spencer and you affectionately.

You were all in the waiting room. Hotch was being discharged, just a leg sprain with cuts and bruises on the side. Everyone had inquired about his ears, but his hearing appeared to be no worse than usual. Hotch was the agent that just kept going. Reid picked at the bandage on the left side of this face. You were sad that this was your first time in the field alone and he had gotten hurt. No one had seen it coming, but a hardware store would contain many variations of ingredients for cheap explosives. Davis had been ready for anything. You blamed yourself, but you knew Spencer was more logical than you were. The way he thoughtfully looked at you now, told you he wasn’t upset.

You realized that the team was still waiting for you to answer Derek and here you were staring into a different pair of brown eyes. “Discussing 21st century Rustbelt economics,” you finally answered.

Rossi shook his head and patted you on the back. “You know, kid, if it were anyone else giving me that line, I wouldn’t believe them. But with you two, that is the only explanation.”

Everyone laughed.

“I do have a question,” Spencer began, “What would one do in Wisconsin on a Sunday night?” His brown eyes teasing, the other members of the team wouldn’t remember your alma mater was here. Let alone the one thing you did miss about Wisconsin winters…

Thirty minutes later, the BAU was crammed into the closest bar, watching Sunday Night Football starring the world famous Green Bay Packers. Luckily, for Morgan, they were not playing the Bears that night. You would hate to see a grown man cry from such devastation, after all. JJ approached you with another cold beer, “You know,” she sat down next to you. “Spence took me to a Redskins game once.” This revelation floored you, you just shook your head in amazement. “He was gifted the tickets and had absolutely no interest in the game.” JJ chuckled at the memory. “I can imagine, JJ. But, um, why are you telling me this?” You asked staring at the blonde’s concerned face.

“Because, it is a big deal that he figured out that you like football. It’s not something that has come up in the field. Look, Y/N, the Redskins game was eight years ago. Way before Will, and well, of course before Maeve.” JJ paused, seeing if where she was headed had sunk in yet. The name Maeve was only spoken with quiet reverence amongst the team. Garcia had filled you in early on, as no one would dare to talk about her in front of Reid. Frankly, you were too new to even think about asking more questions about them. That she was coming up, was a bit much for the fun filled evening you had anticipated.

“Okay, whoa. Let’s back up.” You made a time out and a reversal signal at JJ, drunk you even talked with your hands. “I am honored, Reid thought about me while we were still in town. But today was possibly the first day I didn’t want to suffocate his geeky ass since joining the team. The fact that we both could have died, might be the saving grace here. I am not trying to make any moves here. I am just trying to get along with the whole team.”

JJ watched your over dramatic explanation, hiding a smile. “Okay, Y/N, I hear you.”

“Yeah, we all hear you!” Barged in a slightly drunk Morgan. “We could just profile you and leave it obvious to everyone in the bar.” You playfully punched him in his meaty shoulder, which you instantly regretted. He laughed at you. Then you glance down the bar, Reid is drawing plays on a napkin and talking at length to an old trucker who is very kindly listening to the doctor’s sound strategies. The pen in his long fingers distracts you, it has been chewed on.

You gulp down your pint of beer, thinking maybe this wasn’t a good idea after all you had been through with the case. You make your way outside to call Garcia, despite the biting chill in the air. You hate that she isn’t here with the team, celebrating her victory.

“Sugar, I am in need of beauty sleep!” Penelope mumbles on the other end. You picture her in her ridiculous sleep mask and silken pajamas; you smile in spite of your panic attack in progress. “Penny, I think he has my pen.” You start to cry and even you, a professional profiler, don’t understand why. “Okay, love, but is this really worth crying about? Or is this the type of drunk you are?” Garcia asked curiously, “No, not a sad girl drunk, not you!” She teased. “Stop it!” You begged. “Spencer has my pen from when he pissed me off the night before we left.” “Okay… but since when do you call him Spencer?” Garcia was too good at this. “Stop profiling me! I am scared. Alright? I can’t be the one to come after her, Garcia, I can’t live up to that!” You gasped at your realization. You were scared and that wasn’t the worst of it. You knew Hotch would kick you off the team if you did anything to mess with Reid, because that would truly hurt the team.

“Honey, honey, no one is asking you to! I mean have you even talked to Reid?” Garcia’s insight steering you straight yet again. “No, just JJ. And Morgan, but I am never sure when he means what he teases.” You sniffled.

“Do you like Spencer, Y/N?” She just said it, clear as day.

You shook your head and pulled your coat tighter against the cold night. A loud chorus erupted from the bar, signaling a touchdown for Green Bay.

“Probably,” was all you could muster. You thought about sleeping in his coat, how warm and safe his scent made you feel. How his quirks made you watch others more closely, making you a better agent. You thought about delicate fingers and his ridiculous Halloween costumes. He was brilliant and somehow surpassed all the guys you had loved before and couldn’t have because of your insecurities. How had you not seen how you had been so closed off to the possibility? “Oh, my God, Penny. What am I going to do?” You beseeched your closest friend, “I care about the Doctor!”

A slight gasp came from somewhere near the bar’s entrance. You could not turn around. You would not. Garcia was cheering on the other end of the phone and you were frozen in place. Slowly you turned on the spot, forcing this tense moment to end.

Spencer Reid was staring at you from about eight feet away. His breath coming in small puffs of steam. His dark P-coat making him look like more of a Burberry Ad than a renowned scholar. You unceremoniously hung up on Garcia. She would find out about whatever was about to happen, eventually. You stood, shivering and scared watching your coworker watch you. Where was an unsub with explosives now? Why couldn’t you clear your head to make a complete thought come out of your mouth?

“The game is over, your guys won it.” Spencer spoke first, clearly his sports lingo off a little. You smiled, finally exhaling.

“Good, JJ owes me twenty bucks.” You replied, without looking away from his squinting concern. You took a few steps forward and decided it was now or never, all or nothing.

“So, Doctor,” emphasizing the nickname, knowing he wouldn’t be able to deny what he had heard now, “Did you have a good time in the dairy state?”

“Yes, though, of course, technically California produces far more milk than Wisconsin does. Y/N, you know how I love dairy.” Spencer smiled at you, his hands hidden in his pockets, shaking. “I’m the reason we haven’t worked together in the field more.”

That was not where you thought this conversation was headed. “What do you mean?”

“I asked Hotch for some space from you, after Albuquerque.” He was using his very matter-of-fact voice, though the tone usually provided much more information with it.

“But, why?”

“Because you make me uncomfortable.” Spencer declared “And I know sometimes you do it on purpose; just to watch me squirm.”

You panic in an entirely new way. “I am so sorry, I didn’t know I affected you so much!” Your voice was catching in your throat. You had already been drunk crying and now you were being told that you made someone you care about feel awful for at least the past twenty-three days. You continued forward towards the bar’s entrance which was letting a steady flow of post-game fans out. But you had to walk passed him, your heart now destroyed. You moved as if cement was strapped to your boots. You made it passed this tall, infuriating, sweet man and were almost inside, but curiosity stopped you.

“If I make you so uncomfortable, why did you take my germ-infested pen?” You nearly spat the words at him. You felt like an open wound: unstable, oozing and vulnerable to further damage. You spun around and to find that he had followed you. Suddenly he was in front of you, all six feet and curly hair of him was now inside your bubble. His hand had found its way to your elbow, gently holding you, not pressing. You stared up at him, challenging him. His mouth twitched and his eyes refocused on your furrowed brow.

“It had rolled off your desk the other night. I couldn’t just set it back on your files with the floor all over it too. So, I went to wash it off and in the process I may have overheard you talking to Garcia about becoming a workplace shooter.” Spencer sighed, was he embarrassed? You were the one who was being a jerk that night. “And you ended up pocketing the pen as you went back to your desk… I am an ass, Spencer, I am so sorry.” You plead at him, gripping his jacket sleeve for support. “Hardly, Y/N, but I think you need to be more honest with yourself. Especially about me, it would make everyone more comfortable around us both.” Spencer’s eyes were kind and in this moment you remembered that this angel faced man is actually older than you. His social awkwardness did not make him immature, it is was what makes him Spencer, your Doctor. You have been the one being immature this entire case. “Oh, God, they all know. Don’t they?” You lean into Spencer and grab the buttoned opening to his jacket. “Know what, Y/N?” He looks down at you, slightly amused.

You draw in a deep breath and look directly into those inquisitive eyes, knowing this moment could change your life forever. “The team knows that I, Agent Y/L/N, am attracted and emotionally tied to you, Doctor Spencer Reid.” You say it, clearly, calmly and honestly. Your heart is racing, the air between you two is full of clouded breathes and clarity. He smiles, not his typical smile, but a wide glowing grin. His warm hand reaches up to your face and gently brushes your hair behind your ear. Your breath catches at the intimate gesture.

“Thank you, Y/N, for your honesty.” He leans down and whispers it in your ear. He rubs circles on your cheek with his thumb and suddenly you are undone. You leap on to your tiptoes and pull him towards you. Your mouths crash in clouds of warmth. His soft lips caress yours, you feel unstoppable. But was he always this tall? You worry about straining his neck or messing up his bandaged face and all too quickly break the kiss off, self-consciously. And wait. Because an honest declaration deserves an honest response. He didn’t back away or drop his long hand from your face. He pursed his lips and smiled gently down upon you. “I, Doctor Spencer Reid, really like you Y/N Y/L/N.”

You smile, no, you beam up at this amazing guy. Squeezing him in a tight embrace, you bury your face in the wool of his coat, drinking in his scent. His hands softly play with the strands of your hair.

A long cat-call whistle rips through the air around you, startled you both spin. And a chorus of hoots, hollers and applause fill the air. The BAU had been escorted out of the closing bar and into the brisk night air. Blushing you drag Spencer to the SUV that the only other sober agent, Hotch will be driving back to the jet.