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Title: Meetings
Fandom: Criminal Minds
Rating: PG
Summary: Spencer has a strange encounter
Disclaimer: I don't own Criminal Minds or any of its characters.
Spoilers: Minor teensy ones for 'Penelope' and 'Memoriam'

A/N: A huge 'thank you' to shinealightonme for nurturing this plot bunny, encouraging me to write it and helping me polish out some of the rough edges. Dedicated to her.

ETA: Nominated for Best Friendship Fic in the 2009 Criminal Minds Fan Fic Awards.

Spencer scurried down the sidewalk, his class schedule held between his teeth as he juggled the newly purchased textbooks of his advanced calculus class. Frowning at the bustling campus, he struggled to see the buildings over the much-taller students that surrounded him. He had hoped to hit his growth spurt soon - both of his parents were of a respectable height, and he was following a standard pattern of growth for someone his age - but statistically he knew it might be years before he was tall enough to not feel like a child around virtually everyone he encountered.

Switching the textbooks to the crook of his left arm and balancing them on his hip, he pulled the timetable out of his mouth and inspected the accompanying map again. He didn't really need either piece of paper to remember the hand-drawn layout of the campus or what buildings his classes would be held in, but there was comfort in carrying the papers like every other new student at the school.

There was less comfort in realizing he had absolutely no idea where he was.

The square blocks on the map looked nothing like any of the buildings he was surrounded by. His very first class was due to start in less than twelve minutes, and he'd been hoping to make it there early enough to secure a seat near the front - close enough to hear the professor speak, but a bit off to the side, so as not to make himself the center of attention. At the rate he was going, he'd end up stumbling into the room late, all eyes turning to stare at the little shrimp in the big kids' class.

Swallowing the fear that rose at the thought of beginning his university career with such an unpleasant experience, he returned his attention to the map, squinting to read the legend in the glare of the sunlight reflecting off the glossy page.

"Lost, sweet pea?"

He looked up in surprise at the presence that had appeared over his shoulder. Turning quickly, he found a slightly plump teenage girl with shoulder-length blonde hair and heavy black eyeliner grinning incessantly at him. He frowned, taking in the dark pink wool coat and low-cut top over her flower-print skirt.

"I--uh...what?" he replied unintelligibly, putting aside her appearance as his brain caught up with her words. 'Sweet pea'? Was that supposed to be him? Of all the nicknames he’d received in his life, ‘sweet pea’ was most certainly not one of them.

"You look lost," she clarified, not unkindly, but with a hint of deep amusement as she nodded at the map in his hands. "Anything I can help you with, m'dear?"

Spencer stared owlishly at the girl.

"Do you...go here?" He asked timidly. Caltech was a small but prestigious school, admitting only the most serious of students. Somehow, she didn’t fit his idea of a stereotypically studious individual.

"But of course!" She answered happily, apparently not offended by his question. "Class of '96, baby!"

"Oh." There seemed to be no appropriate replies to such comments, but she didn't appear to mind. Spencer had never met anyone so inherently cheerful in all his admittedly short life. His thoughts turned back to the time, as he realized his class would soon be starting without him. He did need her help. 'Beggars can't be choosers,' his mother's words rang in his ears.

"I'm trying to find my calculus class," he informed her, glancing down at the paper in his hand. "This map is really hard to follow."

"Ah! Tell me about it!" she replied delightedly. "The Caltech campus is not for the faint of heart. Although, calculus? Really, hon," she shook her head in theatrical disappointment. "Computer science is where the future is. But whatever floats your boat, I guess. Here--"

He sputtered as she grabbed the timetable and diagram from his hands, rapidly inspecting it before giving a tiny sound of success.

"There's your problem," she declared triumphantly. "This is the old map. They reorganized some of the buildings last year." She pulled a yellow fluffy-top pen out of nowhere and began scribbling diagrams on the sheet.

"There!" She exclaimed proudly after a moment, handing it back. "This is what you're looking for."

Spencer blinked, looking at the blueprint which was now mostly scratched-out and embellished with a handful of flower doodles and happy faces. "...Thanks."

"Not a problem, my good sir," the young woman replied, granting him a 100-Watt smile. "This is my second year here, so I know all the ins and outs. Now!" She clapped her hands decidedly. "You'd better scoot, or you'll miss your class! I'd offer to go along and show you in-person, but alas! Our love must be a forbidden one, as all great romances are!" she declared with a dramatic sigh.

Spencer gawked at her as if she'd grown a second head. "...Huh?"

"Tah, my love!" she bid, a delicate wave of her fingers her last gesture towards him as she turned and sauntered away. Spencer was left alone, feeling very much like he'd been a part of a second conversation only she was aware of.

He wondered if all college students were going to be this strange. If so, his university years looked to be markedly more interesting than his high school ones.

His gaze fell to the redecorated map again as he noticed a flourished scribble in the corner.

'For a good time, call Penelope.'

He shook his head, hiking his textbooks up in his arms as he took off down the sidewalk at a run. Much more interesting.

Fin.

Comments

( 31 comments — Leave a comment )
fourth_moon
Jan. 23rd, 2009 03:16 pm (UTC)
Wheee! Lovely! I knew it was Penelope not from the first describtion of her looks but from the way she talked. "Sweet pea" was a slight hint but the cheerfulness and the stuff like "whatever rocks your boat" were too much like Penelope. And the fluffy yellow ball pen was the supreme proof.

> alas! our love must be a forbidden one! delicious, and so like Penelope.

I love the whole encounter and the thought that they might have met at caltech. You described them just as I would imagine them in caltech. Penelope sounds so sunny and cheeful I can almost see her sauntering off while little Spencer gives her a slightly baffled look. And Spencer's characterisation worked well too: not too obvious, but stuff like "following a standard pattern of growth for someone his age"? Yep, that's Spencer right there.
batgurl88
Jan. 24th, 2009 04:33 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! I'm so glad you found them both to be in-character. I usually struggle with writing Garcia, so reading that it sounded like her is very reassuring!
(no subject) - fourth_moon - Jan. 25th, 2009 03:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
unlovablehands
Jan. 23rd, 2009 03:22 pm (UTC)
The minute I figured out they'd have to have been at CalTech for at least one semester (quarter? whatever schedule they're on there.) at the same time, I was dying for someone to write them running into each other there. AND THEN YOU DID. :DDDDD

Edited at 2009-01-23 03:23 pm (UTC)
batgurl88
Jan. 24th, 2009 04:35 am (UTC)
XD I'd been waiting for that fic too. I'm still waiting actually, cuz I know at least one other author was considering taking a crack at it, but I'm glad I could help tide you over until they hopefully write their version (which I'm sure will be better). Thank you so much for reading!
autumnwriting
Jan. 23rd, 2009 06:15 pm (UTC)
...this is amazing and I <3 it. =D
batgurl88
Jan. 24th, 2009 04:35 am (UTC)
Aww thank you so much!
coffeeem
Jan. 23rd, 2009 08:31 pm (UTC)
Sa-weet! Thank you! (Poor Spencer, swept up in a Garcialanche. But Garcialanches do only good.)
sleepysunshine
Jan. 23rd, 2009 08:40 pm (UTC)
Omg. I know the only way to survive a Hotchalanch, is with a Garcialanch.
(no subject) - batgurl88 - Jan. 24th, 2009 04:36 am (UTC) - Expand
sleepysunshine
Jan. 23rd, 2009 08:41 pm (UTC)
Aww I saw this on FF.net and I read it there, but I loved this story. Maybe you need a follow up where both Gracia and Reid remember when they first met
batgurl88
Jan. 24th, 2009 04:37 am (UTC)
Aww you read it on FF and still commented here? XD That's so sweet! I'm glad you liked it! A couple of people have suggested a follow-up, but I'm still not sure how I'd go about it. Guess we'll see what the muse thinks.
blackalchemist
Jan. 23rd, 2009 08:45 pm (UTC)
Aww, poor reid. He got all lost on campus, but gacia helped bim out.

(Also, a follow up would be awesome!)
batgurl88
Jan. 24th, 2009 04:38 am (UTC)
lol Glad you liked it. Not sure how a follow-up would go, but I guess we'll see how the muse decides to treat me...
nagi_schwarz
Jan. 23rd, 2009 09:38 pm (UTC)
Hah. I can totally see Penelope being awesome like that. It'd be interesting to see the follow-up years later, that first time on the plane when Reid sees Penelope's face on the computer screen. Whee! Go Penelope!
batgurl88
Jan. 24th, 2009 04:40 am (UTC)
Garcia had to have been born completely awesome. Seriously - no one can reach that level of awesomeness through practice alone. I'm trying to work out a follow-up, but there's no word on when/how it would go...

Thanks for reading, though!
jalabert
Jan. 24th, 2009 01:47 am (UTC)
*Giggle*

That was unexpected and adorable.
batgurl88
Jan. 24th, 2009 04:40 am (UTC)
I'm glad you thought so! Thanks for the comment!
shinealightonme
Jan. 25th, 2009 12:18 am (UTC)
You posted, you posted! \o/

This story is amazing, I love it so much. And I want to say again what a great job you did with Garcia! She's wonderful. This whole story just makes me so happy ^_^
batgurl88
Jan. 25th, 2009 02:31 am (UTC)
*g* Thank you so much!! I really appreciate all of the feedback and support you gave me for this fic! And I'm glad it puts a smile on your face. :)
miss_pam
Feb. 5th, 2009 11:22 pm (UTC)
wheeee, i love! little spencer being lost with all his books and papers and lady penelope coming for rescue. i really could see this in my head, the look on poor reid's face when he realises that he's lost and after penelope sauntered off.

oh, and this was the first time of me reading cm-fiction actually. so overall .. thumbs up for this!
batgurl88
Feb. 6th, 2009 03:27 am (UTC)
*blush* Your first time reading cm-fic? And you read mine?? XD lol Little Spencer is so cute when he doesn't know something. Thanks for reading!!
(no subject) - miss_pam - Feb. 6th, 2009 12:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
hilsongirl
Feb. 7th, 2009 11:59 pm (UTC)
Awesome fic!
batgurl88
Feb. 8th, 2009 12:10 am (UTC)
Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it!
elliptic_eye
Dec. 14th, 2009 12:35 am (UTC)
I can't even deal with how adorable this is. It's left me grinning like a fool.
batgurl88
Dec. 16th, 2009 06:32 am (UTC)
XD Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it.
saraah
Feb. 18th, 2010 11:19 pm (UTC)
This was so unbelievably sweet. I was squeeing all over this as I read. Garcia to the rescue *_* And baby!Reid was just too cute. Great work (=
batgurl88
Feb. 21st, 2010 01:05 am (UTC)
Thank you very much! I'm really glad you enjoyed it. :)
the_bluechannel
May. 28th, 2011 03:59 am (UTC)
Too cute! You wrote Reid so well<3
batgurl88
May. 28th, 2011 10:13 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it.
( 31 comments — Leave a comment )

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