How can you…?
“Magic,” Derek answered. It was going to change everything, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t going to be honest.
“Magic, Morgan, come on…”
“Look, you said you wouldn’t ask how I knew. So don’t ask.” He gestured at the floor. “The dig teams can get the bodies now. Why don’t you and I work on the book?”
“Derek, what do you know about languages?” Reid frowned. “I mean…”
“Well, genius, what I have is a working vocabulary in this language. Which means I can get the easy words and you can use that to figure out the hard words.”
“But what is it?” Spencer was looking at him sideways. “I mean, really. Magic?”
“Look, you’re going to have to take some of this on faith, at least for now. Once we solve this case, I…” Derek paused. “I promise, when we’re back home and this case is over, I’ll explain everything I can to you.”
He’d always wondered a little bit about Spencer Reid. But that expression, that look – if the kid was fae, he didn’t know it. Spencer couldn’t lie that well.
The promise seemed to settle him down at least. “All right. Do you said it’s called ‘Idu a’Iduþin?’ ‘To know all there is to know?’ That sounds like a fairly common construction for words about language. For instance…”
“Later. I promise, later. We have a killer to put to rest here.”
“Put to rest? So you think…”
“I think that the male body we found here was the killer, yep. Which means somebody killed him.” Derek frowned. “Which is, of course, its own problem.”
Spencer twitched. “So we might be looking for a serial killer killer, or a victim who somehow got away, after putting the body in bedrock. This case just gets creepier and creepier.”
“The book.” Derek pointed at it. “If we can get through this, we can figure everything else out.”
“I still can’t believe you let me go over this for hours without stopping me.” Reid settled down, still muttering.
“You were having fun. Who am I to stop you when you’re having fun?”
The book was harder than it ought to have been, in part because Dr.-Reid-the-Genius kept taking apart words to understand how they worked, and in part because it had been decades since Derek had actually read Old Tongue. He could talk it with the best of them, of course, but talking a language and reading it were utterly different.
When they were done, the translations and the book itself photographed and sent to Garcia, they both felt a little sick. “Derek, this is – you know this is impossible, right?”
“I know, kid. I know. And I promise you we’ll work it all out.”
“But you know what else, right?”
“Yeah.” The book had detailed every single body down there. Except the male body. “We have a serial-killer killer to go look for.”
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