*This all started as a "what-if" that popped into my head, where, instead of joining the BAU, Prentiss was running a field office in some random city and had to call on the team for help with a case. And so, this story was born. Set during season 3, the only difference being Elle never left.

Disclaimer: I do not own Criminal Minds or any of the characters, I just borrow them to play.


Boston, Massachusetts

"Agent Hotchner?"

He turns at his name, and is immediately face-to-face with a serious brunette, one of the law enforcement personnel in attendance at the Serial Crimes seminar that he and Dave were asked (i.e. forced) by the Bureau to present.

He actually remembers seeing her in the audience. Clearly impatient (he's sure he wasn't the only one that noticed her foot tapping against the leg of her chair), but still hanging on every word. As he expected, she has a thick case-file in her hands. Impromptu consults are par for the course at these events.

"What can I help you with, Miss…"

"Prentiss," she supplies. "Agent Emily Prentiss. I head up the field office here in Boston."

That stuns him for a moment, and it must show on his face because she actually rolls her eyes. It's part annoyance, part resignation. "Over a year into this, and I get the same reaction every time," she remarks.

"I apologize, Agent Prentiss," he says, feeling thoroughly chastised. "I meant no offense. Now, what was it that you needed?"

She hands him the file, clears her throat. "I'd appreciate it if you and Agent Rossi would look this over," she starts. "We've got six victims over the past nine months. He keeps them for two weeks, then dumps them. All tortured extensively; all young, blonde females."

"Nine months?" His eyebrows go up. "And you're just bringing this to our attention now?"

Prentiss folds her arms over her chest, her defenses going up. "Prior to the last two victims, there were no links between the cases. The first four were all high risk victims; prostitutes and junkies. Boston P.D. only made the connection because DNA evidence linked this latest case to one of the previous victims. When the case came across my desk, it only contained those two girls. I did a little digging and found the other four."

He nods as he skims through the file, then realizes that something doesn't add up. "How did this come across your desk, exactly?" he asks. "This doesn't read as the sort of case that would immediately get handed over to the FBI."

She looks down, starts picking at her fingernails. It's a nervous tic if he's ever seen one. "Our latest victim is none other than Emma Portman."

Oh God. "Please tell me she's not Senator Portman's daughter."

"His only daughter, to be exact," Prentiss confirms. "He wants this case solved yesterday, and the lead detective got tired of his abilities being called into question. So, they handed the case, pushy politician included, over to me."

"I see." He closes the file, looks up at her. "Agent Rossi and I can review the case in detail tonight, and have a preliminary profile on your desk before we leave. Once I've had time to look the case over thoroughly, I'll send you a more detailed profile."

"Actually, Agent Hotchner," she says, "I don't believe we have time for that. When you examine the specifics of the case, you'll see that each girl went missing no more than a month after the previous victim's body was dumped. And Emma Portman, was abducted only twelve days after Kerri Henning's body was discovered."

He understands the urgency, the impatience, now. "You think the UNSUB may already have victim number seven."

Prentiss nods. "Even if he doesn't, he's got his eyes on her as we speak." There's a desperation in her voice that he hadn't picked up on before. "I can't catch this guy on my own," she admits. "Not before another body drops, anyway. I need your team on this investigation. I can handle the politics, if that helps," she adds.

That actually does. He'll have to check with J.J., make sure they don't have another case pending, but he thinks maybe they can swing it. "I can't promise anything," he tells her, "but I'll see what I can do."


FBI Headquarters, Quantico, Virginia

J.J. is packed to leave and is almost out the door when the phone rings. She considers ignoring it, but her conscience won't let her. If someone's calling this late at night, it's probably urgent. She sets her purse down and picks up the phone.

"Behavioral Analysis Unit, Agent Jareau speaking."

"J.J., glad I caught you." It's Hotch. Definitely urgent. "Is the rest of the team still there?"

"Morgan left about an hour ago, but everyone else is still here," she tells him. "Why? What's going on?"

"We're needed in Boston," he says. "I'm faxing the details of the case to you now."

She tries not to sigh audibly. There goes yet another weekend with Will down the drain. "When do we leave?"

"First thing in the morning," Hotch tells her. "And come directly to the Boston field office. We'll have everything set up by the time you get here."

"Got it," she says. "See you in the morning."

Elle and Garcia are discussing weekend plans when she steps into the bullpen a few minutes later, case-file in hand. She catches the tail end of their conversation, something about a ladies' night.

Garcia's the first to spot her. "Hey, Jayje, got any plans for the weekend?"

She holds up the file apologetically. She hates this part. "I do now," she says. "Sorry, guys. We're needed in Boston first thing tomorrow."

To their credit, they're all business almost immediately. Garcia looks at her curiously. "Do we have I.D.'s on any of the victims?"

"All of them," J.J. says, handing her the list of names.

"Awesome," she replies. "I'll start running those now. If we're lucky, something will pop by the morning."

"Call Morgan, too, while you're at it," J.J. requests. "Tell him we're meeting on the jet at six."

"Boston, huh?" Elle asks. "If it's this pressing, I'm surprised we're not leaving tonight."

J.J. shrugs. "So am I, honestly, but Hotch said to get some rest. I'm guessing we're gonna need it."


BAU Jet, en route to Boston, MA

Derek's beyond grateful that Garcia caught him before he partied too hard last night, because trying to piece together the details of this case while dealing with a hangover would be next to impossible.

"We're missing something here," he remarks, earning curious looks from J.J. and Reid.

Elle nods. "I was thinking the same thing," she says. "The first victim, Wendy West; her murder seems too…" She pauses for a moment. "Sophisticated for a first kill, especially from a sexual sadist."

"That's a good point," Reid agrees. "A first kill would be messier, less organized. A killer, even an organized one, has to evolve to this level of restraint and control. We should have Garcia look into all unsolved cases in and around Boston going back at least five years."

"I'll get her on it the minute we land," Morgan says. He turns to J.J. "You said that we're coordinating with the local FBI on this case. Why'd Boston P.D. give it up?"

J.J. sighs. "Hotch says that the most recent victim found is a Senator's daughter. P.D. couldn't handle the politics, so they handed the case over to Agent Prentiss."

Elle groans. "That's just what we need. An emotionally invested politician trying to run the show."

"From the sounds of it, Prentiss will be handling most of the politics on this one," J.J. says, shrugging. "I guess she has a lot of experience with politicians."

Morgan's eyebrows go up, he can't help it. "She?"

J.J. nods. "Yeah. Agent Emily Prentiss. She's been running the Boston field office for over a year now. So, maybe try to not act so surprised when you meet her." She grins a little. "Apparently, Hotch managed to offend her in less than thirty seconds."

They all laugh before turning serious again. "So," Elle says, almost conversationally, "what do we know about sexual sadists?"


FBI Field Office, Boston, MA

Emily is in her office, just getting off the phone with Detective Hartman when the rest of the BAU team walks into her bullpen. She steps out to greet them, and immediately understands why Rossi jokingly referred to them as an island of misfit toys. They're the oddest combination of agents she's ever seen, but as long as they're as good as they're rumored to be, she couldn't give a damn.

The blonde that's leading the pack approaches her, hand outstretched. "Hi, Agent Prentiss? We spoke on the phone this morning?"

She remembers. She also remembers wondering who on earth could be that perky at 5am. "Of course," she says, shakes her hand. "You must be Agent Jareau."

The blonde nods. "But, please, call me J.J." She gestures to the rest of her team. "These are Agents Morgan and Greenaway, and Dr. Spencer Reid."

"Thank you for coming on such short notice," Emily says. "Agents Hotchner and Rossi are already set up in one of our conference rooms. We were just waiting on you to get started."

Morgan steps up beside her as she leads them to their room. "We've got a theory about the case that I think you should know right away."

She nods. "Go on."

"We don't think Wendy West is our UNSUB's first victim," Reid pipes up.

Emily sighs. It's frustrating to think that she missed something so vital to the case. "We came to the same conclusion this morning. Agent Rossi says your technical analyst is already searching for other potential victims."

"We know he's got a type," Greenaway says. "Blonde haired, blue eyed females, late teens to mid-twenties. That narrows it down some."

"True," she agrees. "But that's still a lot of unsolveds to weed through."

Morgan flashes her a quick grin. "If anyone can do it, it's Garcia," he says confidently. "She's the best there is."

Emily believes it. Usually, she's a little more skeptical, but she'd been privy to Rossi and Garcia's conversation earlier, and the bubbly analyst had set her mind at ease. It's almost scary, really, how much she's already unearthed about their known victims.

She notices the change in atmosphere the moment they step into the conference room with Hotchner and Rossi. It reminds her of Academy cadets in the presence of their T.O.

Hotchner steps away from the whiteboard where he'd been examining their timeline. He gives Emily a quick nod, then addresses his team. "As you all know, we have a serious situation here. We need to move quickly to prevent more bodies.

"Reid you're going to stay here with me, work on a geographical profile while I work victimology."

He turns to the other agents. "Elle, one of Prentiss' agents will escort you to the coroner's office. He's waiting for you with Emma Portman's body. Morgan, you and Rossi examine the dumpsite, and then you're going to meet Detective Adam Hartman at Emma's apartment; see what you can learn from both scenes."

"And me?" J.J. asks.

Emily clears her throat. "You and I are going to be conducting interviews with the victims' families. Wendy West's grandparents and brother will be here within the hour."

"In the meantime, I'd like you to prepare a press release," Hotchner says. "But I'd like to wait until we have more information to release it."

They all spring into action immediately, and Emily can't help but feel relieved. She did the right thing, bringing them here. They were going to catch this guy.