Transitions

Chapter 25

"Zugzwang."

Reid's blood pressure fell. Gripping the receiver as a lifeline, he tried to calm himself enough to think.

"I'm sorry, I didn't get that."

"Zug…zwang."

The connection was broken. Reid's mind was racing.

Zugzwang. It had to be about Maeve. But it can't be about her! Please, God, no!

It was too much to hope it was some sort of sick coincidence. They'd used the phone booth because of her pursuit by a stalker. And now a strange, disembodied voice was responding in her stead. Using an obscure chess term that few people would recognize. But he recognized it. It had been meant specifically for him.

Reid knew it made no sense, but he was desperate. He pulled out his cell and punched in the number to Maeve's. No answer. And she'd not activated her voice mail account. Not on this new phone. The one she'd just gotten, 'just in case', even though she thought her stalker was gone.

He gave up and punched in another number. When it was answered, he didn't even announce himself, didn't even say hello.

"I need to see you."

Aaron Hotchner was an excellent profiler. It wasn't hard for him to identify the voice on the phone. Nor was it possible to ignore the rapidity of the speech, the tremor in the voice, the sense of panic and fear.

"Meet me at the BAU. I'm on my way."


Hotch could see that Reid was already in his office when he arrived. He couldn't know that the young man had no memory of his trip to the BAU. He'd traveled by rote, unable to settle his thoughts enough to process them.

"Reid, what's wrong?"

The young agent was pacing, and his unit chief didn't try to stop him. He looked like he would virtually explode if he didn't have a way to release some of his tension.

Hotch stood and watched him. "Reid."

He stopped, turning to his superior. "There's something…..something's happened. There's something I have to tell you about. Hotch, I need help."

The unit chief started scanning his recent memory for stressors. Judging from his disheveled appearance and his behavior, Hotch felt certain Reid was about to tell him he'd relapsed. That he'd gone back to dilaudid. But he couldn't think of what might have triggered it. He was in the habit of noticing the mental and emotional states of all of his team, and especially the young, sometimes fragile, genius. But he hadn't noticed anything. What did I miss?

His thoughts drawn elsewhere, Hotch didn't understand when Reid handed him what looked like a bundle of letters. Handwritten correspondence, not business material. He took them from Reid, his heavy brow furrowed in confusion and concern.

"Her name is Maeve."

He told the story from the end, and then went back to the beginning. When he came to the end again, Hotch prodded him. There was something about that final phone call…..

"Tell me about it again. What you heard on the phone."

It was etched deeply into his brain. He'd never forget the word. He'd never forget the voice, the metallic, depersonalized tone that might very well have changed his world forever.

"Zugzwang. It's a chess term. It's used to describe the situation where a player has to make a move, but any move he makes puts him at a disadvantage."

"But why?" Hotch didn't like the logic of this. Something was off.

"If the stalker's goal was Maeve, why taunt you? Are you part of this victimology?"

Reid shook his head. It wasn't making sense to him either, but at the moment, there was no sense to be made inside his brain.

"I don't know. I don't know why. But I know that the message is for me. He's telling me I can't just do nothing. I have to make a move."


Thirty minutes later, the story was out and the rest of the team had been called in. Reid had required continuous refocusing, demonstrating to Hotch the addled state of his genius brain.

Hotch had only texted the team members that Reid had a problem and needed them. He was heartened when each responded with a 'be right there', even on this, their first day off in weeks. JJ called him back immediately.

"Is it Maeve?"

Obviously Reid hadn't kept Maeve a secret from the entire team. Hotch could hear the concern in JJ's voice, and the fear for her best friend.

"I'm afraid it is, yes."

"Oh,God. What happened?"

"He thinks she's been taken."

There was a pause on the line, as she absorbed that and thought about all it could mean.

"Hotch, how is he? Is he okay?"

Their unit chief was a man of few words at the best of times. Now, he answered only with, "No."

"Tell him I'm coming. I need to get a sitter, but I'm on my way."

Hotch was the only other parent on the team. And he, too, was single parenting. He knew how precious little time they had with their children. He was about to tell her to stay home with Henry, but then thought better of it. He could hear it in her voice. She needed to help. And he'd heard it in Reid's voice, too. He needed her support.

"I'll tell him."


In the end, JJ was the first to arrive. Her anxiety must have been obvious in her voice, because her sitter had come over immediately. Karen would bring Henry home with her, where he could even spend the night, if necessary. For the umpteenth time, JJ was thankful that her path had crossed with that of this most generous, kind woman, who loved Henry as her own.

She caught sight of Reid still pacing in Hotch's office and ran up the stairs.

"Spence!"

She had to restrain a gasp when he turned around and looked at her. He was pale, his eyes unfocused and yet managing to exude terror. She could see that his whole body was shaking.

JJ went to him and embraced him. She whispered into his ear, "We'll find her, Spence. It will be okay. She'll be okay. You both will."

As she released him, his hands fell to his sides. He just stood there, looking as helpless as she was sure he felt.

"Spence, remember. This is what we do. We're good at it. We'll help her."

"But I can't think, JJ. I can't get my mind to slow down. I can't even capture a single thought. How can I help her?"

She made him look at her. "We'll help her, Spence. We. The whole team. We'll find her. Make yourself believe that. It will settle you. You'll be able to think."

She put an arm behind him and gently nudged him toward the door. The team was gathering below.

As they approached, Hotch and JJ exchanged a look. She shook her head gently to indicate that Reid wasn't yet up to telling the story again. Hotch would break the case for the team.

Reid stood apart, listening. It was so strange to hear his life narrated in the third person, even by someone he trusted so implicitly. It was made more strange by the problem of his uncontrollable thoughts. He really only heard and processed a smattering of what Hotch was telling the team.

He looked only at the floor, but he could feel their eyes on him. Part of him knew they were reacting with shocked disbelief at the very existence of his relationship, let alone its unusual nature. He knew how strange it had been, but it had suited him. It was his first, and he'd intended it to be his only, relationship. And now it was in jeopardy. Maybe it was already over. He had no way of knowing. His mind resumed its rapid presentation of images, and sounds, and possibilities. But it refused to show him finding Maeve, and saving her.

Suddenly he realized that Hotch had stopped speaking, and all eyes were again on him. When he finally looked up at them, he saw only caring concern in each of their expressions. Garcia was unconsciously holding her hand against her chest, in a gesture that told Reid her heart was breaking for him. JJ's hands were clasped in such a way that he could tell she'd been praying. JJ.

They seemed to be waiting for him to say something, so he did.

"I need your help. It may be too late already," his voice was becoming more and more choked, "but if it's not, I need your help. Please help me save her."

Morgan walked over and put his arm around Reid. "You know we will, Kid. You hang in there."

The rest murmured their assent. Garcia snuck in a hug before she went to set up their conference room. "We love you, Junior G-Man."

JJ lingered with Reid, her hand on his back. He stood slouched, eyes on the ground but staring, she knew, at some hideous vision of Maeve suffering at the hands of her abductor.

She turned him to her, and held him again. From the strength of his return embrace, she felt like he was holding on to her for sanity. When they released, she took his face in her hands, forcing him to look at her. She wanted to replace the vision in his head.

"We'll find her, Spence. And she'll be okay. You'll be together."

He responded in a quiet voice. "I would give that up. I would give her up, if only she could be okay. If only she could have a life. I'd gladly give mine."

JJ knew he meant it sincerely. He would sacrifice his happiness, his future, even his own life, for Maeve's. Once again she was encountering the kind of selfless love she'd once thought didn't actually exist. But it is real. And I'm going to do my best to see that he gets to live it out.

Hours later, she would remember what Reid had said, and realize he was about to act on it. In that moment, she would learn just how precarious a thing selfless love could be. How it could give so much, at the same time that so much was taken away.


Garcia had put everything she could find up on the smart board. It wasn't much. Pictures of Mendel University, where Maeve had worked. Pictures of the restaurant where they'd planned to meet. But no pictures of Maeve Donovan. As Reid had learned when he'd first researched her, Maeve's faculty picture was blank.

"I'm trying to trace a driver's license, but it looks like she gave hers up ten months ago."

Reid was trying desperately to focus. He needed to contribute. Garcia's comment filtered through to him.

"She gave it up when the stalker found her in two consecutive addresses. She gave up her credit cards, too. Anything that might have an ID and address that could be traced. "

"Well, I'll find her old one, but it will take me a while."

Reid didn't care about it for himself. He'd never needed a physical representation of her. He had a visceral image, a sense of her. Maeve. That was enough for him. But he also knew they needed to be able to recognize her. He wouldn't try to stop Garcia from finding a photograph.

She'd not been able to track an address for Maeve. But she found one for her parents. Found two for her parents, in fact.

Rossi thought he knew what it meant. "Either they're not together, or they rented the newer address for Maeve."

It only took a phone call to find out. Hotch took on the grim responsibility of calling them and telling them their worst fear had come true. The shocked couple acknowledged that the new loft apartment had been Maeve's. Hotch arranged for them to meet with him at the District FBI office while he sent others to the loft apartment.

"Reid, I want you with me." He wanted his input, but he also wanted to keep an eye on his youngest. He'd never seen Reid so lost.


Focus. Focus! He was watching through the one-way window as Hotch interviewed the Donovans. He'd declined to meet them, and Hotch agreed, recognizing that Reid's emotional state would only heighten the Donovans' distress.

As he watched, Reid found his mind trying to form a mental image of how the genes of the two senior Donovans would have combined in the person of Maeve.

Does she have her father's eyes? Her mother's hair? Her long, expressive fingers? His strong cheekbones? Reid recognized the cadence of her mother's speech, the unique expressions of her father's. They'd both been a part of Maeve. Maeve!

The Donovans pointed Hotch to look at Bobby, her former fiance. They'd disliked him, and how he'd treated Maeve, long before the breakup occurred.

"She said it wasn't him, but I don't agree. He always wanted the upper hand in their relationship. When she broke it off, he had to find a new way to constrict her." The original female Dr. Donovan was sure of his guilt, and she provided Hotch with his address.

"We'll do everything we can. Thank you for your cooperation."

Hotch exited the room and had trouble keeping up with Reid, who was already headed for the SUV. He motioned to Rossi and Morgan to join them.


At Maeve's loft, JJ and Alex found signs of a struggle, but no sign of Maeve.

On her bedroom bureau, JJ found a stack of letters, bound. She recognized Reid's scrawl right away. Here were the letters he'd sent to her. She reached for them, and then stopped herself. The team would have to look at all of the evidence. They already had the letters she'd sent to him. JJ knew that would be difficult enough. But now, to have the letters he'd written, the words he'd meant to be known only in private…..

Alex came into the room and saw JJ's hand hovering over the bundle. Right away she realized her colleague's dilemma. But she also knew what they had to do.

"You have to take them, JJ. He'll get them back."

"But it's so hard for him to let anyone see inside…."

Alex was gentle. She took the letters from the bureau. "He loves her. He'll do whatever it takes, won't he?"

JJ nodded slowly. "Yes, I guess. You're right." Reluctantly, she followed Alex out of the room.

I'm so sorry, Spence. For all of it.


Bobby's apartment door was opened by a woman. She identified herself as his girlfriend, said her name was Diane. At the sight of their badges, she granted them entrance. Almost immediately, they heard a male voice asking who was at the door. And then the male entered the room.

He made eye contact with Reid immediately. "I know you."

Hotch's brain was working much faster than Reid's on this occasion. He pushed his young agent out of the apartment. "You've met him?"

Reid explained. This was the man he'd seen at the restaurant. The one he'd thought was Maeve's stalker. Now it looked like he'd been right.

"It's him, Hotch. It's got to be. We have to make him tell us where she is!"

The whole thing wasn't holding together for the senior profiler. If her ex-fiance simply wanted the woman, why not just take her? Why taunt Reid about it? If he'd been following her so closely, he had to have known they'd never even met. Something else had to be going on here.

He sent Reid outside while they spoke with Bobby and Diane. They were given permission to search the apartment, but found nothing. It was looking like a dead end, and yet, there had to be something. The man had been in the restaurant.

Hotch and Rossi took each of the couple to a different room and interviewed them separately. Morgan took the opportunity to go down and look for Reid. He found him pacing the sidewalk in front of the building.

"Hey, Kid. Slow down, you'll wear out the pavement."

"They have to know something, Morgan. We have to get something. She's running out of time. I can feel it."

"Kid….Reid…. I know you're scared. You have a right to be. But remember, we're expert at this. We'll find her. You'll have time."

Reid was shaking his head. "Two thousand, four hundred and twelve."

"What?"

"Two thousand four hundred and twelve. That's the number of hours we were together. Except we were only together in phone calls and letters. But that's what the time added up to. One hundred days."

"A hundred and a half." Morgan smiled at Reid, hoping his one-upsmanship would garner a smile. But he knew it was only a sad reminder of how dysfunctional Reid was at the moment.

"You'll have more time, Kid. That's not all you'll get."

"What if…." Reid shook his head again.

"What if what?" Morgan could be a tease, but he could also be sincere. And a sincere Morgan always unlocked Reid.

They'd had so many conversations like this. The big brother/little brother exchange. Morgan giving advice, Reid admitting his need for it. This was no exception.

"What if I never get to tell her?"

"Tell her?" Morgan thought he knew what Reid was about to say.

"One time…..no, a couple of times now, she ended our conversation like this. "Love you." That's it, that's all she said. Just "Love you.""

Morgan watched his young friend. "And you never said it back."

Reid was shaking his head. "I couldn't. I mean, I felt it, I just couldn't get it out of my mouth. I told myself I was waiting to say it in person, but the truth is…I'm a coward. I was afraid to say it. Because saying it out loud would make it real. And if it was real….I could lose it."

His voice choked on the final words. They both knew he thought he had lost it. Morgan had to swallow before he could speak again.

He cuffed an arm around Reid. "No use thinking that way, Pretty Boy. We need you in the game. Let's find her, and then you can get your gumption up and tell her, okay?"


Bobby and Diane were both being tailed, courtesy of several phone calls from Hotch and Rossi, calling in favors. This still wasn't an official case, but there was no shortage of off duty FBI agents willing to help out a brother in need. The two senior profilers had decided on having the two of them tailed.

"They're together, and he was obviously stalking either Reid or Maeve or both in the restaurant. She may not be actively participating, but she may well be complicit." Hotch agreed with Rossi's assessment.

The team was gathered back in the round table room, reviewing the evidence. Reid sat apart from the rest, on a sofa against the wall.

They were going through his letters. Their letters. Reid knew his friends would try to be as sensitive as possible, but it still felt like a violation. The words they'd shared, meant only for the eyes of the other, were now exposed for all of them to see.

Hotch wanted to leave no possibility ignored. "Think about this from every vantage point. What if the unsub is the ex-fiance? What if it's his new girlfriend, Diane? Or what if we're dealing with someone we haven't yet identified at all?"

Alex was intrigued about the possibility of the unsub being a woman and, specifically, Diane. "You know, it could be. If Bobby is still obsessed enough with Maeve to follow her to the restaurant, Diane could be jealous. She could be feeling like she has to get Maeve out of the way."

Without any of them openly articulating it, all of them were speaking of Maeve in the present tense. It was something they always did with the missing. Speaking of them in the present tense meant they were alive, and leant urgency to the case. In this particular case, it was also meant to ease the distress of their fellow team member.

Hotch agreed with Alex's observation, but was still troubled by how Reid fit into that scenario. "If she's simply trying to remove Maeve from Bobby's life, why taunt Reid? Why not be glad that Maeve is in a relationship with someone new?"

JJ was on a different train of thought. "I don't know about that, but I'm wondering if the female unsub idea might be why she used a mechanized voice. Maybe she didn't want anyone to realize they were looking for a female."

That started a discussion of what motivated female-on-female crimes. Reid dismissed out of hand that Maeve could have been in a relationship with another woman, now scorned. He was more amenable to the idea that there might be some jealousy…either about her ex-fiance, or about her expertise in her field.

He was managing to stay seated in one spot throughout the case analysis, but his tension was tightly coiled. When he leapt up and exploded at Rossi over a casual comment, Reid immediately apologized and started to head for the door.

"I'm no good, I should go."

Morgan knew better. "Yes, you are, Kid. You've got two thousand, four hundred and twelve hours of conversations and letters with the woman in your head. You probably know something that will help."

"But I can't…."

"You can't do it alone. So pick someone to help you." Hotch knew Reid needed to get away from this. But he also knew it could be dangerous to leave the young man alone.

Reid looked at the faces around the table. JJ looked back expectantly. She was shocked when she heard his choice.

"Blake."

Alex gave him a small smile. "All right, let's get out of here, then."


He was surprised when she took him to the park and sat down at a chessboard.

"Why here?"

"Your brain is racing, right?"

He nodded. It had barely slowed since the phone call.

"This will slow it down, use up some of the energy. We'll play and talk."

She made the first move. When Reid picked up a pawn, she got him started. She knew she had to give him a focus. "Tell me something that she liked."

That was easy. "She liked Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. We talked about him all the time…."

It didn't always flow easily, but the conversation had begun. It continued from there, Reid talking and Alex listening for just the right pertinent detail….


At the BAU, JJ was in Garcia's tech room, clearly upset.

"Did I do something? I mean, he's shared so much about her with me. Why would he choose Alex?"

JJ had nothing against her fellow profiler. But she was upset that Reid might be trying to isolate himself from her, just when she knew he needed her the most.

"Jayje, I don't think that's it at all. You saw how it was for him when we were reading the letters. He felt exposed. Now he's having to share all of their private conversations. He's being flayed wide open, and he knows it. I think it's just a little easier for him to do that with someone who's not as close."

She saw the look on JJ's face.

"Doesn't that make sense? JJ?"

"Not really, but I understand it, I guess. In a weird way, I mean. I guess I just can't think of anything else to do for him, so I just want to help him somehow."

Garcia have her good friend a squeeze. "You help him just by being around, girlfriend. He just needs to do this his way."

One of her computers gave Garcia an alert. "Jayje, look at this. Diane…well her parents…..her dead parents, mind you, rented a loft in the same building as Maeve. Just a month ago. Jayje, it has to be her! It's Diane!"


There was a breakthrough happening at the park as well. They'd been talking about Maeve's professional life.

"That's it!" Alex may have been listening for just the right pertinent detail, but it was Reid who heard it come out of his own mouth.

"That's it! She's so well respected in her field. There were any number of graduate students wanting to work with her. Maeve said it was so hard when they wanted it so badly, but simply didn't have the talent. It was hard to let them down easily enough without completely discouraging them. What if one of them was angry enough with her to do this?"

Their cells sounded almost simultaneously, with the news of Garcia's breakthrough. They headed immediately to join the rest of the team back at the building that held both loft apartments.

Maeve might have been only a few steps away from her home. It may as well have been light years.


The building had a security camera with an intercom system. Now, as they approached the building, they heard a voice. A female voice. Diane's.

"That's enough, Dr. Reid. And friends. You won't be wanting to storm the door. Not if you want to see your precious Maeve again. In fact, I don't think you'll be needing your weapon either, Dr. Reid. Nor your vest. Leave them outside. And come in alone. Tell him, Maeve."

The way she said the name infuriated Reid, and made his blood run cold. But then he heard the more familiar voice.

"Spencer, don't come in here. She's killed Bobby, she'll kill you!" She'd gotten the words out, rapid-fire, before her voice was muffled by something.

Reid was already ripping his vest off when Hotch and JJ called out simultaneously.

"Spence!" "Reid!"

He couldn't bring himself to even look at JJ. To his boss, he said, "You heard her, Hotch, she's got Maeve. I can't leave her there. I have to go in."

It was his zugzwang. The move he had to make, even if it cost him.

JJ bit back tears and prayed furiously. He's done nothing wrong. Neither of them have. Can't You give them to each other? Please, please let him be okay. Let him save her. It will save him.


She was waiting at the end of the hallway, gun in hand.

"Doctor Reid." Sarcasm dripping from the 'doctor'. It was the title she'd sought and not been able to get.

"Diane." He took a few steps, hands up to show he was unarmed. "Diane, it's not too late. You can let her go."

He prayed that what he was saying was true. That it wasn't too late. But he'd heard her voice, and there'd been no sound of gunshots…

She allowed him to get close, and then motioned him up the stairs with the gun in her hand. He obeyed, and followed her direction through an open doorway. He had time to notice there was only one other apartment on the floor. That's where she was, all those times we spoke. That's where I should have pictured her.

Night had fallen, and the room was dark, until Diane hit the switch that connected to a small lamp in the corner. Now Reid could see. Maeve was there, alive, strapped to a chair by plastic ties around her wrists. She'd averted her eyes when the light struck them. Now, eyes adjusted to the light, she looked up. Looked at Spencer, for the very first time. Tall, handsome, eyes that were boring into hers….

He stared at her, tried to take her in. Her hair was long, and dark. Her beauty was unique, her face somehow conveying the intelligence behind her eyes. Her eyes….

Diane shoved him into a seat opposite Maeve. It didn't matter where she pointed her gun. He knew he'd be as destroyed if a bullet pierced Maeve as he would if it hit his own heart. He wouldn't fight Diane. Not physically. Now is when he needed his brain to work with him again. They'd been in any number of high risk situations, he and his brain. It hadn't failed him in those. He begged it not to fail him now.

"Maeve."

"Spencer…..I'm so sorry I let this happen."

"You didn't do anything, Maeve." His brain was starting to realize the danger they were in. It came to his rescue.

"Diane, tell her. There was nothing she could have done to stop this, was there? You're too smart to have let her stop you."

Diane had been watching the visual exchange, and now listened to the verbal one. She fell victim to Reid's flattery.

"He's right, there was nothing you could have done. You think you're so smart. Just because you have the office, and the grants, and the title. Well, it will all be mine one day, you'll see. Everything you have will be mine. I've already taken Bobby, haven't I?"

Maeve crumpled at that. She'd resisted so much of what Diane had thrown at her today. The taunts, the accusations, even the command to kill herself by jumping from the building.

"I won't. I won't have my family, my…..I won't have them thinking I took my own life. If you want me dead, you kill me."

Diane, ever insecure in the face of authority, had backed down. It was the only reason Maeve was still alive. But the thought of what Diane had done to Bobby, how she'd coldly shot the man she'd been taking to her bed, undid Maeve. She began to cry.

Reid's heart was broken by her tears. He knew he had to find a way to end this. He tried to flatter Diane into letting Maeve go.

"Diane, you don't need her. We don't need her. You can have me. In fact, you already do. I read your thesis. I don't know what the department was thinking, it was brilliant. Maybe you were just ahead of your time. Maybe your time is now. Let her go. I can help you. I can help the world to see how brilliant you are. Let her go. I'll stay. We'll make the trade, me for her."

Diane shook her head, to show him she was no fool. "No. I know they're outside. Remember, I saw them. They'll arrest me."

"No, no they won't. Not if I'm with you. They'll let you go. Just let Maeve go, and I'll stay with you. It will be all right."

She was just vain enough to want it to be true. But she wasn't sure. "Prove it. Prove that you're on my side. Tell her. Tell her you don't care about her. Show me that you care about me."

Tears were still falling from Maeve's eyes. Now Reid's were filled as well. They looked at one another, deep into each other's eyes, and each saw the other's heart. What was said didn't matter. They knew.

Reid's lips moved. "I don't care about you. I care only about Diane. I love her, and I want the world to see her brilliance. Go, and leave us alone." He gathered every ounce of resolve he had to keep his voice steady as he spoke.

She swallowed, and responded. "I understand." My sweet Spencer. How have we been brought to this?

Diane was still looking back and forth between them. Now she went to Reid. He wasn't physically restrained, but he forced himself to sit unmoving as she slipped a hand down the front of his shirt and caressed his chest. Maeve turned her eyes away at the sight.

Next, Diane bent to him and brought her lips to his. He'd been so anxious about the first kiss he'd hoped to share with Maeve. Now, with Diane, he felt only revulsion. He couldn't hide it. And she sensed it right away.

"Liar." Cold, factual. Almost like that robotic voice on the phone. She called him what she knew him to be.

"Liar. You don't love me. You're just trying to save her. Well, I'll show you how well that worked."

She was quickly at Maeve's side, cutting the ties with a knife. Reid saw his moment. Knew there wouldn't be another moment, if he didn't act. He stood, and went for her. Went for the gun. It went off in the struggle. And then it went off again, hitting him in the shoulder.


Outside, JJ heard the first shot fired. Oh, God, no! Please! She followed Hotch and Morgan into the building, ahead of Alex and Rossi. All of them had their guns drawn.

He heard them coming. "Stay back! Stay back!"

Diane had the gun to Maeve's chin. He didn't want her startled into shooting.

"Stay back!"

JJ heard his voice before she could see him. Thank You, God. But now she could see him holding his upper arm, blood seeping between his fingers. He'd been shot.

"Stay back!" Seeing that the team was following his direction, Reid turned back to Diane and Maeve. He could see the terror in Maeve's eyes.

"Diane, it's not too late. You can still let her go. You can have me. Remember, I told you. Me for her."

"No! You're a liar! I felt it when I kissed you….you don't love me. You don't care about me at all. It was all for her. You love her. You would give yourself up for her, wouldn't you?"

"Yes."

No hesitation, no thinking about it. Just the declaration. All of those in the room heard it for what it was. He loved Maeve. And he was willing to give himself for her.

"You would die for her, wouldn't you?"

"Yes."

Diane was sobbing now. "It's not fair. She has everything! And I have nothing! It's not fair!"

Now Maeve spoke. She could feel the tension in Diane's arms, and knew her time was short. She looked only at Spencer.

My Spencer. My love. Please know that I love you. That I loved you.

All she said was, "Thomas Merton."

"What does that mean?" Diane demanded to know.

Maeve directed her words to her captor now. "He knows. It's ours. And it's something you'll never know. Something you can never take away from us."

Reid wanted Maeve to stop. She was taunting Diane, and it could only make things worse. But Maeve could feel Diane. She could feel the tension in her body. She knew it couldn't get any worse. It was already over. There was sorrow in her eyes as she looked at Reid now.

Diane appeared to be thinking for a moment. Then she spoke again. "Take her, then. But you'll not have me." And she raised the gun she'd been holding to Maeve, and pressed it against her own temple. Their heads were millimeters apart.

Reid saw what would happen. In the instant it took him to say, "Wait!", Diane pulled the trigger. In that same instant, her world ended.

As did Maeve's.

As did Reid's.




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