Status: complete

All the Madness in the World


“There's no chance, no destiny, no fate, that can circumvent or hinder or control the firm resolve of a determined soul.” – Ella Wheeler Wilcox


There’s a multitude of signals your body will send when you’re nervous. Most of the actions revolve around trying to appear smaller, or limbs twitching to signify the unrest in your mind. The majority of the shrinking movements, from an anthropological point of view, come from our primitive instincts to appear small and submissive in the face of a threat we can’t challenge.

Section Chief Erin Strauss was a threat I couldn’t challenge in every sense of the term. Despite my best efforts, I was incredibly nervous and it would’ve been obvious to anyone who worked at the BAU. My eyes kept darting to the clock, watching the minute hand inch closer and closer to 4:30. Every few minutes I had to stop my foot from twitching. My throat was dry and I tried to calm myself down, but I knew that I wouldn’t be okay until this was over, and even when it was I still might not be.


“Did you need a fork?” Emily asked, hovering at the side of the table with a wide-eyed look.

“I got one, thanks.” I didn’t wait for her to sit down before I slid my food closer and grabbed a handful of fries. She handed me a straw and I pushed it out of the wrapper before jamming it into the cup. It was always nice when your friend craved junk food at the same time as you.

“Next time we’re getting take-out.” Emily groaned as a kid four tables over began to throw a tantrum.

“Agreed.” I unwrapped the burger and we had a few moments of silence as we savoured the unhealthy but ridiculously satisfying food. My heart was heavy, and I sighed before wiping my mouth and waiting for Emily to finish her bite. She clued in and finished quickly, watching me with raised eyebrows. “So there’s something I need to talk to you about.”

“Is everything alright?” She asked with a worried expression.

“Yeah, I’m fine and everything, but…” I sighed heavily, trying to think of how to word things properly. “You know the whole rule regarding relationships in the office and all. Well I’ve kind of taken things into my own hands.”

“What do you mean?” She asked skeptically.

“I kind of…went ahead a requested a meeting with Strauss to discuss things.” I winced at her mortified expression. “I just…Em, I can’t do this top secret thing anymore. Not after what almost happened. I’m just going to tell her, and see how close I can stay to the unit.”

“Oh my god.” She breathed, eyes wide. “What are you going to say?”

“I don’t even know.” I groaned, grabbing some more fries. “I mean, I’m in love with him Emily. And if we ever…you know, move on to something more, I’m not going to let a job title get in the way of that. I don’t care if she tells me to leave the BAU entirely.”

She was quiet for a moment, mulling over all that I’d said. “When are you meeting with her?”

“Thursday afternoon.” I put my head in my hands, groaning. “I just want to get this over with. I can’t stand this anxiety anymore.”

“Well I hope to be the first call when the verdict is in.” She raised an eyebrow at me, taking a sip of her drink. “And whatever it ends up being, you’ll make it through this. You’re tough as nails, Natasha Reid.”


“No later than Tuesday, McCall.” Strauss’ door opened and man walked out with a bundle of folders under his arm. He nodded to her and she removed her glasses as he disappeared. She nodded to me, motioning for me to come inside. “Agent Reid.”

“Chief Strauss.” I nodded, summoning the courage to push myself off the chair and follow her into the office. She closed the door behind me and moved around her desk, gesturing for me to sit. I did my best to appear relaxed in the chair, despite the fact that every atom in my body wanted to flee. It was ridiculous; my level of anxiety shouldn’t have been on par with waiting in a hospital to see if Hotch was going to make it.

“You have a matter you wish to discuss?” She asked, opening a folder in front of her and shuffling through a few sheets of paper before settling and looking up at me.

“It’s about Agent Hotchner.” I stammered out, more ready to take on an enemy firing squad than get through this conversation. “You know all about the events of the past few months, and during this time the…nature of our relationship has shifted.”

“And?” She asked, face completely blank as I swallowed hard.

“We’ve become romantically involved and as this goes against policy I’d like to know if there are any other positions I can take in the unit.”

She was quiet for a moment before sitting back in her chair. She pushed on her glasses and picked up the papers in front of her, skimming through them. My heart was hammering against my chest as I waited for some kind of response.

“You do good work, agent.” She said simply. “I don’t believe I ever had a chance to commend you on how quickly you managed to bounce back after the events with Anton Miller. You’ve come very far in your time at the BAU, and I’ve been impressed.”

“Thank you.” I said quietly, unsure of where this was going. She slid the papers towards me, nodding to them.

“Your colleagues took it upon themselves to submit reports to me about you.” She explained, taking off her glasses as

I flipped through the papers. Everyone on the team, except of course for Hotch, had written in-depth accounts of my skills and abilities as an agent, but more specifically how I acted despite my involvement with our boss. Part of me wanted to cry—they were trying to keep me on the team. I made a mental note to scold Emily for getting everyone involved in this later.

“They all seem completely convinced that both you and agent Hotchner have maintained your level of professionalism despite recent complications, and have all requested for you to remain on the team.” She looked at me, eyebrows slightly raised as if amused by the feat. “A few years ago I would have ordered you to move to another unit without a second thought. Now I’m willing to consider leniency. But if this is some silly thing that will be over quickly I assure you there will be serious consequences.”

“In all honest, I have every intention of marrying him.” I said suddenly, catching the both of us off guard. The smallest of smiles crept onto her face but it was quickly vanquished and the blank slate returned.

“What I’m proposing is a sit in. I’ll randomly choose a case to come in on and I’ll judge whether or not I believe that keeping you on the team would be the best choice.” She collected the papers and stacked them back into the folder before filing it away. “That is all.”

“Thank you, Erin.” I said genuinely, getting to my feet and shaking her hand. She nodded and I turned on my heel, trying to control the speed of my walk as I exited her office and got into the elevator to return to our floor. In between floors I released a squeal, completely overwhelmed by the strike of luck.

The doors opened just as I composed myself and I walked out, making a b-line for Emily’s desk. She was sitting with Derek, Spencer, and JJ. I kept my face sullen and sat on the edge of her desk, crossing my arms over my chest. They all fell quiet and I gave a weak smile, eyes watering.

“Was it that bad?” She asked.

“She’s letting me stay.” I broke into a grin and they all cheered, Emily pulling me into a hug. “The only condition is that she wants to sit in on one of our cases to see how we work. Your reports really helped sway her, I can’t thank you guys enough.”

“Don’t mention it, T-Bird.” Derek nudged me and I straightened up, grabbing my jacket off the back of my chair and slipping it on.

“Him and Rossi still aren’t back from the conference, right?” I asked, fixing my hair. They shook their heads and I looked up at the empty offices anyways before turning to Spencer. “They’re airing a marathon of Doctor Who season one tonight, up for some adventures in the TARDIS?”

“I can show you how far I’ve gotten with translating the Gallifreyan alphabet to traditional Latin characters!” He exclaimed, rushing to gather his things before we said goodbye to the others.

Spencer was gushing about his latest achievements in the life of a Doctor Who fan for the entire drive back to my apartment. When we got inside he crashed onto the couch beside me, pulling out a stack of papers covered with different symbols and their corresponding English letters. How he managed to do it was astounding, but so were more than half of the things Spencer Reid did with his life.

He stopped his explanations as the marathon began, and I left him to make some coffee in the kitchen. I pulled out two mugs that were Doctor Who-themed just for kicks, leaning on the counter until the coffee was ready. I handed him the steaming mug and he started spewing out a plethora of “Did-You-Know” facts regarding the series itself. When the commercial break came on he glanced at me out of the side of his eye and quickly looked away.

“So how’ve you been lately, Tash?” He asked, keeping his eyes on the sheets of paper in front of him so he wouldn’t see my unimpressed look. As much as I didn’t like to bring up or talk about things regarding how I was coping after the second wave of “worst month ever,” I knew he was just trying to help.

“Pretty good.” I shrugged, taking a sip of my coffee. “As good as I can be, I guess.”

“Are you still…having nightmares?”

“Occasionally.” I nodded, watching as he sat up and faced me. “They aren’t at all as severe as before, though. I can calm down a lot quicker and they aren’t as vivid.”

“Good.” He smiled. “I’m glad. I know however many times I say it, you won’t actually call me if you need anything, will you?”

“Probably not.” I teased, nudging him. He knew me well enough to know how much of a bother it felt like to actually take people up on the offer of ‘Call me anytime.’ “But I appreciate the sentiment all the same, Spence.”

“You’re welcome.” He smiled, settling back down with his coffee as the show came back on. I crossed over to my aquarium, pulling the food out from the cabinet beneath it and opening the lid so I could feed the fish. As I closed the cabinet my phone buzzed in my pocket; I checked the caller ID before answering with a smile.

“Hey you. Is the conference over already?”

“Yeah, we didn’t have to stay for the last bit.” He explained. “So I’m a little worried.”

“Worried? Why?”

“I heard you had a meeting with Strauss.”

“Oh, that.” I sighed in relief. This, I could handle. “Yeah, I kind of went ahead and told her…about us.”

He was silent for a moment. “Without talking to me about it?”

“Don’t get all worked up Bossman, everything’s…well, great actually. I told Prentiss about it before and I guess she and the team decided it’d be a good idea to write up reports on how I function well with the team.”

“They did?” He asked with the same surprise that I had as I fiddled with the top of the tank.

“Yeah. And she was…oddly okay with things.” I explained. “She’s going to want to join on a case to see how we work and all but I think it’s a pretty fair deal.”

“Better than I would have expected from her.” He remarked. “Well this is a good transition into what I’ve been wanting to ask you about for a while.”

“What?” My heart was fluttering, a million thoughts running through my head.

“Given what you just said, I think it’s the appropriate time to ask your opinion on whether or not you’d…like to move in?”

My eyes bulged and I bit my lip, trying but failing to contain the smile on my face. It took me a minute to remember that I actually had to speak and not just nod my head, but when I did my voice came out all squeaky.

“I think that’d be great.”

“Good.” He said after a moment. “We can talk about the details later, I’ve got a pile of paperwork waiting for me at home. I’ll talk to you later?”

“Yeah, for sure. Night.”

He told me he loved me and I told him I did too, and even as I put my phone back in my pocket the grin was stupidly plastered on my face. Spence waited till commercial to ask what had made me so happy and I told him the news. My heart was swollen three sizes too big, but it was a pleasant feeling nonetheless. There may be such a thing as too much of a good thing, but this definitely wasn’t it.
♠ ♠ ♠
Wow, I'm sorry it's taken me so long to update. I've been stupidly busy with other things, but here is the latest chapter!

Please take a moment to read my latest update and, as always, comments and messages are ridiculously appreciated.