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Penelope Garcia used the blunt end of her pen to press the speaker for her office phone. “And what does my favorite genius need from me today?”

Silence. Garcia leaned over to reread the number of the incoming call. Yes, it should have been Reid. “Reid?” she asked. “Spencer?”

“Sorry,” he blurted. “I wasn’t sure how to answer.”

“Reid, what do you need?”

“There’s a detective here…”

Penelope interrupted. “Reid. The case can wait for five minutes. You guys don’t have nearly enough clues to find the Unsub. What do you need?”

Reid chuckled weakly. “A cheerful friend, maybe?”

Garcia straightened in her chair. “I am that, always. You need babbling brook or something more substantial, friend that never stops thinking? Friend-that-never-stops-thinking, hmm, I think that should be your Indian name.”

Reid chuckled this time and Garcia congratulated herself for kicking his funk. “I need a quick background check on one of the detectives.”

Garcia posed her fingers over her keyboard. “Really? Rossi was pretty sure that the Unsub was unemployed but didn’t bother having me cross-check unemployment records with domestic calls since it wouldn’t whittle the suspect pool yet.”

“He’s not the Unsub.”

“Who isn’t?”

“Detective Nick Burkhardt.”

Garcia was already reading his background. “Lost his parents at the age of twelve, in a car accident that –huh- was not a car accident. The case is unsolved. I bet I know what the detective does in his spare time. His aunt, Marie Kessler was named custodian by their will.”

“I don’t need his complete history, Garcia. Just if he’s taken any profiling courses.”

Garcia typed in the new parameters. “He’s good?”

“You remember how Gideon would take of all his knowledge and experience and profile you at a glance?”

Garcia shivered. She had ended up on the freezing end of that glare too many times. Also, she had been on the receiving end of his compassion when he read that she was distressed. She had never realized how subtly Gideon had kept the team sane until he wasn’t there to do it anymore. Hotch did it now, with just as much finesse, but the days before he had realized the need was stark in her memory. “Burkhardt’s never had any profiling or psych classes outside of the academy.”

“Huh. Okay. Thanks, Garcia.”

“So he profiled you?”

“I challenged him to.”

Garcia winced. She knew his secrets, but she was his friend. For a stranger to suss that out? Garcia shook her head. For Reid to challenge him to do so? For a genius, Reid sometimes exhibited little sense. “I’m revoking your Indian name,” she told him. “You must have stopped thinking to blurt that challenge.”

“Pretty much,” Reid agreed with a smile.

“You want me to do a deep background search to even the playing field?” she offered.

“No,” Reid was sure. “He didn’t reveal any secrets that he saw, so, no. And it wouldn’t be evening the playing field. You make every place to our home field advantage.”

“I do, don’t I,” Garcia preened. She hung up on his laughter.

Mission accomplished.