Status: complete

All the Madness in the World

Crossdale Park

"Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it." – Terry Pratchett


The call had come when everyone was getting ready to head out. Morgan was bugging me about taking too long, saying he was going to leave without me and force one of the others to “drive my ass home.” I was punching him when Penelope came rushing in. It was hard to understand her at first, she was rambling so much about the events leading up to the phone call, but Morgan calmed her down and she got out a few coherent thoughts.

“JJ asked the local PD and media to notify me immediately if there was any mention of anything related to Greek stuff and the Virginia Star just got an anonymous call about the fall of Athens happening in Crossdale park.”

My heart skipped a beat as Hotch began to direct everyone, the team moving out in groups and instructions on how to proceed being delivered. A panic grew within me as I contemplated the possibility of something going wrong: or more, going right. What if we caught him tonight? It could all be over. Or it could all go horribly wrong and everything would go to shit.

That seemed about right.

I buried my cynicism as we pulled into the park, taking a deep breath and drawing my gun. My place tonight was clear: stay in the middle of the group. I was the fragile china doll in this earthquake of a situation; I was to be flanked at all times by a body with a loaded weapon. I was not to do anything rash or stupid. I had to keep my head. I had to keep my head.

For a group of seven professionally trained FBI agents and a host of police, one of us should have been able to sense something was up from the get-go. We weren’t called here by chance, of course, and we knew that. But I don’t think anyone properly thought out what was orchestrated by Ares. When we made it to a clearing—the main area of the park—we were greeted by two awaiting gunmen.

The pair of them were clad in identical clothing: black pants and sweaters—hoods drawn, just like their weapons. Ares and Deimos. But one of the figures was shaking a little. Phobos and Deimos? No, I’d killed Phobos. I stabbed him in the heart. Whoever it was, they were bad news. But it didn’t matter—it was two against fifteen. There was no way they were getting out of this. So why the suicide mission? They were commanded to lower their weapons, both of them, and get down on their knees. Hands behind their heads. The same commands, over and over from so many different voices. And they never bothered to obey. They didn’t have to. They had a plan.

It was somewhere close—this huge force that sent us all stumbling to the ground. After I was thrown onto the ground I heard the noise, this ridiculously loud booming; it felt like a bass line in a too-loud movie theatre multiplied tenfold. The brightness of the explosion illuminated the night sky, and my ears began to ring as I tried to get my bearings. I was trying to figure out what the hell had just happened when I remembered—Deimos and Phobos. Pushing myself up on my elbows, my head stopped spinning enough for me to see the hooded figures running towards the forest line. The one further away, his hood fell down as he got to his feet. I squinted to see him through the darkness, but immediately regretted doing do. It was a familiar face; I knew him. This, however, was not the alarming sight—what was worse was seeing Spencer get to his feet and begin to chase after them. My heart spurred into a frenzy and I tried to get up.

Spencer!” I cried out, stumbling twice before finding enough traction to get to my feet. Someone called out for me to stop, but all thoughts of rationality or protocol were gone the second Spence made it to the tree line. It would have been impossible to see anything if it wasn’t for the fire burning through whatever it had been set on; this obtuse orange glow showering down around us and illuminating random glimpses of a shoulder, knee, arm.

It was difficult work keeping my footing; there were countless roots reaching out to try and hinder me. I saved my breath, knowing that the motivation pushing Spencer on would not be quelled by my pleas for him to stop. All I could do was keep close on his heels and push on. I knew that Ares was out there somewhere; and that at any moment he could reach out from the cover of darkness and take me, just as he did before. When Spencer’s life was at stake, these were things I just couldn’t afford to care about. I couldn’t think about the faster runner, the one I’d known, the one who called himself Deimos but was—

Without warning, Spencer barreled forward and tackled the slower one, pinning him to the ground. I stopped suddenly, rushing to raise my gun to the boy but struggling against the desire to chase and the desire to protect. I didn’t have it in me to leave Spencer here. He knelt on the boy’s back, prepping his hands for the cuffs I offered. We pulled him to his feet and moved the hood back enough to see his face, but immediately I knew something was wrong.

“Oh god, oh god, oh god—please—please don’t kill me, oh god! Please, they told me they’d pay me! Don’t kill me!” The kid was shaking, his eyes hollowed out with lack of sleep and his skeletal frame that of an addict’s. He was bait.

“Tell me your name!” Spencer yelled.

“J-Jeremy Gornit! Please, I swear I didn’t know what was going to happen!”

The others caught up with us and I shook my head to tell them this wasn’t our guy. As we all stood there the reality of everything was hitting me, and after the fear I became angry. Spencer demanded one of the officers to get Gornit out of his sight, and as soon as he let go I turned on him.

Are you out of your goddamn mind?” I yelled. “What part of you thought that running after them was a good idea?!”

“Stop yelling at me!” He roared irritably.

“I’ll stop yelling when you get your head on straight! It’s me he’s after, Spencer; he doesn’t care about you. Don’t you get it? He’ll kill you if it means he can take me so don’t be so stupid next time!”

“Okay, Tash let’s take a walk.” Derek offered.

“I don’t need to take a walk, I need to talk to Garcia.” I said, turning completely from Spencer and beginning to walk away. My head was spinning with everything that had just happened. Deimos was gone. Ares was out there somewhere. But Spencer was safe. Making stupid decisions, but safe.

“Why?” Derek asked. I stopped, heaving out a sigh and turning back to them as I rubbed the sides of my head.

“It was Luke. Deimos—the one who got away, it’s Luke Evans. The guy I dated in university. I saw him.”

The team let me walk ahead of them on our way back to the cars, and I silently thanked them for not trying to give me sympathy. I had no use for it. In my heart I knew that I was wrong in yelling at Spence, he was just trying to look out for me by, essentially, catching one of the guys tormenting me. How could I blame him for that? Because I could never live with myself if something happened to him at the hands of one of them. The world needed Spencer Reid, whether they knew it or not. There would be time for apologies, though.

A fire engine drove past me as I made it to the cars, their wailing sirens hurting my ears. In light of catching Gornit I’d forgotten entirely about the explosion, but it was long-since over and so I crawled into the front of one of the SUVs. Shortly after the rest of the team made it back, Rossi taking the driver’s seat as the others got into the remaining vehicles. Rossi spared me the stupid question of asking if I was okay or the questionable promise that everything was okay. He just placed his hand on my shoulder for a moment before starting up the car and leading the way back to headquarters.

How I hadn’t known that Luke was Deimos was beyond me. How was I supposed to have any faith in my skills anymore if I’d been romantically involved with one of the men responsible for my torture? If I looked into his face for all that time and couldn’t see who he was? The thing that was bothering me even more than that, though, was why on earth he got together with me in the first place. He had all that time to kidnap me again on Ares’ orders, so why didn’t he? What was the ulterior motive, the hidden agenda, the big secret?

I kept turning over these thoughts again and again as I followed the procession of FBI agents and cops into the building, Jeremy leading the line pushed on by an officer. He was put immediately into the second interrogation room and promptly left alone. Rossi stayed at my side, eyeing me now and again as the team slowly gathered into a circle awaiting instructions.

“Dave, I think you should lead the interrogation.” Hotch said. Rossi nodded, peeling off his vest and cueing the rest of us to follow suit. Hotch listing off instructions for everyone else as Rossi made his way towards the interrogation room. Upon request I headed towards Garcia’s office, knocking before being beckoned inside.

“Hey Pen.”

“What can I do you for, my queen?” She smiled, rolling over to her desk. I grabbed a chair and joined her.

“I need you to look up a name for me. Lucas Charles Evans, born…uh, June18th, 1979.” She nodded once, her fingers flying across the keyboard and occasionally moving to the mouse.

“I’ll need a bit more than that, dearest.”

“He was a sophomore at UNLV in 1999, emigrated from England.” The more she typed, the more little boxes came up on her screen and the more her eyebrows furrowed.

“I’ve got nothing.”


“Nada, no record of anyone with that name ever attending that University.” She looked up at me with concern. “I’ll expand the search to try and find—”

“Nevermind.” I got to my feet, confusion and anger swelling within me as I headed for the door. “Thanks for the help, Pen.”


It didn’t surprise me to find the rest of the team in the observation room, studying Jeremy as Rossi tried to get something useful out of him. I relayed Garcia’s findings, positing that he’d probably used a fake name and documents. Spencer was standing off to the side, hands in his pockets. He offered me a half-hearted smile that made me feel like complete shit. I was totally out of line yelling at him like that. I walked over to him, pulling a blade of grass from his hair.

“I’m sorry Spence. I never should have yelled.”

“You worry too much, Tash.” He smiled. I shook my head, laughing lightly before pulling him into a hug. Part of me threatened to break down but I knew that it was neither the time nor place.

“Has he said anything yet?”

Spencer relayed Jeremy’s story verbatim; how he’d been looking for a dealer when two guys drove into the alley and offered him $2000 to help them. He was supposed to stand with a gun and black hoodie as backup. He swore he knew nothing about any cops or FBI or killings or anything. He was just looking for a way to get his next fix.

Rossi had been riling him up, taking the offensive as he hammered out questions at the boy, smashing his fist on the table in intervals. The kid was shaking. Everyone was coming to the conclusion that this wasn’t going to get us anywhere; we wouldn’t learn anything this way. My head still swarming with thoughts of Luke—Deimos—whatever, I knew I had to preoccupy myself. I asked Hotch if I could give it a try, and traded spots with Rossi. Taking a seat, I let the kid calm down a bit before introducing myself. I needed to connect with him on a human level. I didn’t think Jeremy was bad, just suffering from an addiction. There was compassion in there somewhere, and I needed to find it.

“Jeremy, I know you didn’t do anything wrong on purpose, okay?” He looked up at me, eyes dilated as he bit at the skin around his nails. “Do you have a sister?”


“Is your mother still alive?” He nodded. “Do you love her?”

“Of course I do!” He roared. I took a determined breath and prepared to give as much sincerity as I could. I needed him to feel comfortable, to establish a rapport with him, to let him know that unlike Rossi I wasn’t here to accuse him of anything.

“Then I’d like you to listen closely. Imagine that someone took her and beat her, tortured her, raped her. Wouldn’t you want to do anything you could to help her?” The thoughts I’d put in his head were alarming him and his eyebrows turned down more and more. He nodded once, though, and so I reached across the table and took his hands in mine. “The men you were with did bad things to me, Jeremy. I need you to try and remember anything you can about them. Will you do that for me?”

For the first time he looked up at me, this puppet of a boy whose hands shook lightly in my grasp. Withdrawl. He kept blinking quickly, teeth grinding in his mouth and occasionally peeking out to rip the skin from his lips. He hadn’t shaved in weeks, but he probably hadn’t had a decent meal in longer. I didn’t smile at him, although it might have helped, because I was still so put off that nothing had come back on Luke; but there would be a time to chastise myself, and it wasn’t now. After what felt like an eternity, Jeremy nodded.

“W-What do you wanna know?”

“Anything. Did they say their names at all?”

“I…I don’t think so, no.” This distressed him, but I kept a firm grip on his hands so he wouldn’t disappear on me.

“What about a...a car, or something, did they drive there?”

“Yeah, it was a um…a truck, a big black truck. A Ford, maybe? I…I don’t know…”

“This is really good, Jeremy.” I said hopefully, moving my thumb over the back of his hand. He looked up at me with doubt in his eyes and I smiled. “Do you remember seeing the plate at all?”

“I can’t…I don’t know man, I was just waiting to get my friggen fix!” He began to recoil but I pulled him back, pleading for him to try and remember. He put his head down, thinking for a while before slowly shaking his head. He mumbled an apology and I released his hands, defeat filling me. Another loss. I got to my feet and headed for the door, opening it half way before he called me back, a wild look in his eyes. “2…2PML. Nevada plate. That’s—It’s all I can remember.”

“Thank you.” I said honestly, my stomach knotting up as the rest of the team met me outside of the room. JJ was instructed to put out an APB on any pickup trucks with plates ending in 2PML. Rossi went back into the interrogation room to try and get more out of Jeremy while the rest of us headed to Penelope’s office. She wasn’t accustomed to having so many people in there with her at once, but once she got past that she was quick in her work. She entered the plate, narrowing it down to pickup trucks registered in Nevada. She got 14 hits, and at Spencer’s suggestion she narrowed it down to cars registered in the past 20 years, and then to Ford models only. We were left with 6 possibles.

I was burning to find out his name. Some part of me believed that if I just knew this, if I could just prove some element of him was forced to be relatively human, then maybe we would find him. Maybe he would be caught and tried and put away for life. A name: that was all I needed. Some confirmation that he wasn’t a Greek god able to elude the justice system for decades from some divine power—just a man with enough intelligence.

Penelope pulled up the six pictures and my eyes flew across the screen, drawn to the face I’d never quite learned how to forget. It sent a shiver through me, having to look at him, even though he looked different. Older, definitely, and he wasn’t clean shaven in his picture. But those eyes would never change: they were just as dead and hollow as they’d been seventeen years ago. My head began to spin and I gripped the back of Penelope’s chair to steady myself, clearing my throat before finding the courage to speak.

“Number five. That’s him.” I said quietly as Penelope singled out his photograph and records on the screen. Number five—Mars—the fifth planet in our galaxy, the symbol of Ares. He wasn’t smiling in his license picture, but I didn’t need to see it to remember it. That sick, toothy, twisted smile that had plagued me for months. It sent a shudder through me and I suddenly felt incredibly vulnerable, as if even six floors up in an FBI building he could find me.

“Anton Gustav Miller, age 44, he was charged with arson at 13 and apparently suspected of animal cruelty although he was never formally charged.” She rambled on all these facts that somehow still didn’t help him seem human. “He majored in Greek Studies at college. Mother and father divorced when he was six, nine years later his mother died from a drug overdose and he was placed in an orphanage. No known properties other than the truck, had a hard time keeping a job. He…oh dear…”

“What is it?” Hotch pressed, scrutinizing the screen. Garcia stuttered a bit before forcing out the words.

“He…uh, he worked for the catering company that was under contract with Natasha’s university…while she was studying there.”

My stomach threatened to eject my lunch and I turned away, fleeing from the sight of Ares and heading for my desk. Anton Miller. It sounded too plain, as if it undermined the severity of his crimes. I rummaged around the drawers of my desk until I found the Tylenol, swallowing one to try and soothe the headache that was coming on. How stupid I’d been to think I’d ever actually escaped. Why he never took me again was beyond me when he clearly knew where I was. Maybe it was just some sick game to him, and he was just biding his time until he felt like stealing me again.

“Natasha.” Rossi called out from his office. “Come here for a minute.”

The rest of the team made it back as I begrudgingly ascended the stairs and headed towards Rossi. I tried to fathom how much more bad news I could hear. Yes, we found Ares’ name, but that didn’t get us any closer to finding him. It might not even be his real name. David moved aside to let me in and gently closed the door behind him. He sat down on the couch and motioned for me to join him as he took a deep breath.

“I’m worried about you, kid.”

“I know I shouldn’t have run after Spencer. I’m sorry, I really am trying to stay as rational and collected during this thing but—”

“That’s not what I’m talking about.” I looked up at him, confused. There wasn’t a doubt in my mind that he’d been told about the recent discovery. I was sure I was here because he was worried that in light of finding out about Luke and the school thing I wouldn’t be able to hold it together. I would become a danger to the team, and a danger to myself. “What you’re going through…no one expects you to be okay with it, Natasha. I’m worried because you seem to think it’s wrong to be upset about these things.”

“How am I supposed to do this job if I can’t control myself?”

“No one here doubts your ability to do this job—it’s not in question. But I need to know that you understand that none of us will criticize you for responding. You’re allowed to cry or yell or ask to talk or take some time off. You’re allowed to be affected.”

I put my face in my hands, trying not to wail as the tears escaped. There was such a heaviness in my heart, it held me down like straight jacket and cemented me to the couch as I cried. It didn’t make sense, nothing was fair. I should have known who Luke was. I should have seen Ares and recognized him. I should have caught him years ago and then Arlene and Stacy would be alive.

No matter what I told myself, I just wasn’t prepared for any of this.

Rossi put an arm around me as I continued to cry, failing miserably at stopping. He shushed me gently, turning me so that he could hold me properly as I sobbed into his shoulder. It was so much, too much to handle at once. I’d been with Luke for two years—how the hell could I not have seen that it was him? Had I paid so little attention those four months? If I was wrong about him then what other details was I messing up on? And Ares—Anton—my demon shadow. Following me wherever I went. How many days, I wondered, did he sit in the shadows of the cafeteria and watch me laugh and smile and flirt with and kiss his acutely crafted criminal, his prestigious protégé? I tried not to imagine the pleasure he got from always knowing where I was and who I was with; but his name just kept echoing in my head over and over and over again.

There was a knock on the door and Rossi told whoever it was to give us a minute. I took my time composing myself, but I knew there was no chance in hell of hiding the tears. My eyes would be red and puffy, I would still be sniffling, just overall a walking billboard. Rossi waited until I was ready and opened the door to a nail-biting Spencer. He straightened up from his spot against the railing, hands diving into his pockets as he offered a smile.

“C’mon, I’ll take you home.” He said, motioning for me to follow him. I thanked David and followed after Spencer, pausing at my desk to gather my things and ignoring the side-cast glances from the others. I was half-tempted to remind them of their promise to cut the victim crap, but I would be out of their sight soon enough.

When we got to my apartment Spencer talked his way into crashing for the night, despite my promises that I was just fine. We cooked up a small dinner together—and by together I mean I cooked and he managed to burn a pot of kraft dinner and set off the fire alarm. I was washing the dishes afterwards as he put the leftovers away in the fridge and the dry dishes away in their assigned places. He made a joke about being one step shy of needing to label the cupboards so I flicked a bit of water at him.

Calling out in shock, he recoiled from the gesture like a temperamental cat before cupping his hand under the tap and throwing it at me. I gaped at him as the water dripped down my head. In the span of a few seconds he went from his childish laughter to body-binding fear at the realization of what he’d started. I grabbed the sprayer attachment and took aim, drenching him with the coldest water the tap would allow. He screamed and ran forward, wrestling the hose around until it was spraying me. We continued like this for a bit until I had the sense to flee to the bathroom. He knocked on the door, proposing a truce as I filled up the soap dish with water.

“Alright…” I said, opening the door and stepping aside to avoid any attack. Only one of us was plotting, though, and so when he stepped in unarmed and was met with one final attack, I couldn’t help but shake my head. “You know Spencer, for a genius you can be pretty stupid sometimes.”