TITLE : Mummy Dearest

AUTHOR : Karen Gomes (pyrie@hotmail.com)

CATEGORY : SBR

RATING : R

SPOILERS : Probably

DISCLAIMER : All of the known characters/premises/plots belong to their respective owners. So there.

SUMMARY : A series of bizarre murders lead the VCTF team to Brooklyn, and a strange encounter brings Sam and Bailey closer than ever.

NOTES : Okay, this is my third Profiler fic, and you won't expect anything but SBR - I can't help it if I'm a romantic realist. evilgrin Please read and review - it fuels my thirst to write.

Cheers!

Gomes.

---------------- Mummy Dearest, part 1. ----------------

VCTF, Atlanta

Bailey Malone sat in the Command Center alone, reviewing some cases. Naturally, he was the first one to arrive in the morning - provided that he had actually left the VCTF - so he patiently awaited the rest of the team.

George was the second to arrive and bid his boss hello, to which Bailey raised his coffee mug and smiled. John and Grace followed suite, followed by Nathan. They all sat in their respective seats; George had already busied himself in front of his laptop, while Grace and Nathan were talking over some coffee and doughnuts. John had his head resting on the table, and Bailey shook his head, suspecting another late night for the ex-cop.

"Anyone hear from Sam?" Grace asked, looking at her watch.

"We all know who she's with." Bailey muttered into his mug and downed the rest of his coffee, wishing that it was scotch instead of Java. He had been noticeably apathetic recently, and Grace had her reservations as to why.

As if on cue, Samantha Waters entered the building, her cheeks a rosy hue and her shirt slightly un-tucked. She walked in buttoning up the last button of her suit and combed her hand through her hair, trying to look presentable. "Sorry I'm late, I overslept." She said, apologetically as she scanned the room: John still had his eyes closed, Grace was finishing up her doughnut, Nathan was looking over George's shoulder, who was enamored with his latest program and Bailey seemed to be brooding, entranced by his empty mug. Sam looked over expectantly at her boss, mentor and best-friend. "Bail?"

He looked up and smiled warmly at her, and Grace noticed his reaction.

Just then, Nick 'Coop' Cooper breezed in, walking over to Sam's side and capturing her lips with his. "Sorry to disturb you guys," he said to the team, but then directed his speech to Sam, "but you forgot your watch on my bedside table." He laughed, and handed her the watch.

"You could have given it to me later." Sam said, blushing.

"It gives me an excuse to come and see you, and invite you to lunch." Coop teased, and Sam let out a nervous giggle.

Bailey bit his lip, and Grace was the only one to notice his eyes grow dark. "Excuse me." He got up abruptly and headed to his office. Once inside, he paced with his hands clenched into fists. He took deep breaths, and tried to calm himself down. He turned swiftly when he heard his office door close.

"Do you want to tell me what's bothering you, Bailey?" Grace asked, leaning against the door.

"Lack of sleep, bureau always on my ass, budget cuts. . ." Bailey prattled on, hoping that Grace would get distracted and not press the real issue at hand.

"Really? And everything seems to erupt whenever Coop enters the building." Grace observed.

Bailey raised his eyebrow. "Well then, he must be the trigger." He replied sarcastically, stopping right in front of Grace.

Grace held her ground. "Do you have a problem with Sam dating Coop?" Grace asked, direct as always.

Bailey took a deep breath. "Yeah, yeah I do." He said softly, but then raised his voice. "This is a building of business, not a dating service. I don't care what anybody does in their personal lives, but once they are on the clock, this," he pointed to Sam walking Coop to the door, hand-in-hand, "is unacceptable."

Grace looked at Bailey defiantly, and he began to fear that she would press the matter further. She nodded, seeming to accept his answer, turned on her heel and exited his office. Bailey waited a few moments to try to recompose himself, then returned to the Command Center. "Okay people, enough interruptions," he looked at Sam, "back to work."

"Someone got scolded by the principle." John whispered in Sam's ear, causing her to chuckle. Bailey shot them both a warning glance, which only caused more laughter from both agents. Soon, Grace joined in the laughter as did Nathan.

Bailey slammed his fist on the table. "This is not a bloody daycare, we have work to do and I don't think it's in my job description to baby-sit." All agents eyes grew wide; Bailey had a habit of losing his temper, but never directed at one of them, let alone the whole team. He closed his eyes wearily, and stood up. "Just take a break - George call us if anything pressing occurs." He turned to go to his office, but stopped short. Sam could tell he was battling with some inner conflict, and she ached to comfort him. Bailey continued his path to his office, slamming the door behind me.

"Menopause?" John offered, still stunned at Bailey's outburst.

Sam nudged John in the ribs. "This is your fault, you know that." She smiled. She glanced back at Bailey's office. "Let me go talk to him."

Grace grabbed hold of her arm. "Leave him, Sam. I don't think you can help him with this one."

"Why?" Sam sat back down. "Am I the problem?" She said in jest, but the silence confirmed her doubts. "It's me?" She said, with disbelief. "What did I do?"

Grace sighed. "Look, Bailey should address this, not me or anyone else here."

"What's wrong, Grace." Sam demanded.

"It's you seeing Coop." John blurted out. There was an awkward pause. "What?" He asked, off of Grace's warning.

"My personal life bothers Bailey." Sam said, in a monotone voice. "What, is he afraid that I'll get distracted from one of his precious cases? That I can't profile because all I have is Coop on my mind?!" Sam began to overreact.

"Uh, sorry to interrupt, but someone should call Bailey." George said aloud over his feverish typing. All agents looked at eachother. George waited expectantly and then sighed. "I guess I was forcibly volunteered." He mumbled as he jogged over to Bailey's office. He knocked once, and entered. "Boss?"

Bailey sat idly at his desk, elbows resting on the chestnut-colored surface. His left hand held a glass of scotch while his right hand was massaging the bridge of his nose. "I lost my temper out there." He stated and then looked up pathetically.

George gently removed the glass of scotch from Bailey's weak grip and placed it on the mini-bar. "C'mon, we have some disturbing news." George started for the door then stopped short. Without turning, he addressed Bailey, "look, we all understand that you have a lot going for you right now, what with budget cuts and your bosses not making it easier, so don't worry about what happened earlier." George finally turned around and smiled honestly.

Bailey was a little more relieved as he made his way back to the command center. "Okay, what do you have, Georgie?" He asked, casually, trying to avoid the concerned gazes of his team.

"Okay, this isn't our usual type of case, but there is an alarming number of disappearances throughout New York, mostly concentrated in the Brooklyn area." George said, pulling up a map on the screen.

John shrugged. "So what, we don't deal with missing persons."

"The thing is, three bodies were found, and another person was reported missing today." George finally looked up. "The Police Department senses a pattern, and specifically asked for the VCTF." He printed out a sheet. "He wants this to end before anymore victims surface."

Bailey took the paper and read it over. He nodded and handed it to Sam without making eye-contact. His eyes flew up when Sam grasped his hand and gave it a reassuring squeeze. He didn't move, nor make any facial expression - he just stared into her crystal blue eyes as all noises melted in the background. Finally he dropped his gaze, and proceeded to brief the other agents. "Okay, so far all the victims are males, so we are concentrating on a list of male missing persons in the last week or so, in the Brooklyn area."

"The first victim found is Corey Jones, originally from Boston. 45 years old, 5'3", 132 pounds. Cause of death is still unknown; they're saving the bodies for you, Grace." George grinned.

"I have all the luck." Grace retorted.

"Second victim," George continued, "is James Yule of San Francisco. 32 years old, 5'8", 163 pounds. He was in a car accident when he was a child, and loss the use of his left arm - it was severed in the crash." George finally pulled up the last victim's file. "And lastly there's Harry Klunk, originally from New York City. 38 years old, 6'1 and 310 pounds." George looked up. "A little on the heavy side." He shrugged.

Sam looked at all three pictures. "They don't look alike, they all measure and weigh differently, different ages, and all come from different parts of the country . . . I don't know. Are we even sure these bodies are done by the same person?" Sam asked, still staring at the screen.

George shrugged. "These were the three victims that the police sent over to me." He typed a little then addressed the team. "Autopsies haven't been done, but all the victims were found the same way." The team looked at him expectantly. "All three of them were found at the same time, in an abandoned warehouse."

"So?" John asked, though it was more of a challenge.

"Inside the warehouse, there was a concrete tomb of some sort. A large rectangular prism, box-like and hollowed out, in which the bodies were dumped in, one on top of the other."

Sam stood up and walked to the screen. Grace watched Bailey as his eyes followed her form, and she could feel the love that this man possessed for his best-friend. She was sure that Bailey lusted after Sam, but it went beyond that: there was love, respect and affection as well. She sighed, as long as Coop was in the picture, Bailey would never achieve true happiness.

"Were there any markings?" Sam asked, looking at George.

"No." George shook his head. "Why?"

"Well," She tucked her hair behind her ears. "maybe it's symbolic. A lot of religions and cultures believe in burial in tombs."

"Like what?" John asked, perplexed as usual.

"Well, the Imperial Tombs of China, or the Thirteen Tombs of the Ming Dynasty could be a lead. During the Ming Dynasty, established by the Han Chinese, people believed that their dead continued living, similarly to the way we do on Earth." Sam stated. "They wanted to make sure that the dead were comfortable for the after-life." Sam shrugged. "Christianity - Catholicism to be more precise can't be ruled out either, because Jesus was buried in a tomb. Of course, the circumstances were different, but the symbolism is still present."

"So," Bailey interrupted, "I think we can rule out the Ming Dynasty and Catholicism."

Sam raised her eyebrow defiantly. "Why?"

Bailey noted her reaction. "Because the Ming Dynasty royalty were buried in separate tombs, each connected by a road called the Sacred Path, if I'm not mistaken." Bailey smiled smugly.

Sam walked up slowly to Bailey. "Oh, but you are wrong; it was called the Sacred Way." She huffed. "And what about Catholicism?"

"If the suspect is so religious, they wouldn't be killing. It's against the Ten Commandments. Why go to all the trouble to recreate Jesus' burial, or something like it, when you disobey the Lord's wishes anyway?" Bailey challenged Sam.

Sam stepped closer to Bailey. "Well, maybe in her mind, the killing is justified." She sat down on her chair, and turned towards the screen. "Maybe God spoke to her."

"Why do you think it's a woman?" Grace asked, intrigued.

Sam paused, and bit her lower lip, a mannerism that drove Bailey crazy with love. "I don't know, since they are all male victims, I have a gut feeling that it's a female killer." Sam looked around the table for support.

"How can a woman take on a man? I understand for the short guy, but what about the 300 pounder?" John argued.

Sam shrugged. "I guess. . . but there are many ways to overpower men these day."

"Sure : sex, food and more sex." Grace quipped, and the two women shared a laugh.

"Hey, our egos are fragile." Nathan joked.

Bailey rolled his eyes. "Anyway, we'll still keep our minds open to suggestions." Bailey said, humouring Sam. He stood up and looked at his team. "So, I say it's worth a look. George, make reservations at the cheapest hotel in Brooklyn, and we'll take the VCTF jet."

"What? Cheapest?" John almost shrieked. "I don't work well unless I'm comfortable. I demand at least five stars." He crossed his arms over his chest.

"Fine." Bailey agreed, to a rather surprised team. "And should I send you the bill care of VCTF or just mail it to your home address?" Bailey remarked casually.

"Okay, I got a couple of rooms at the Wellington Hotel. It's not too bad, and well in our budget." George said.

"Okay, meet up back at the VCTF in about two hours, and we'll decide from there." Bailey headed into his office, and looked out his window through the blinds. He watched his team discuss a few things, then scatter, each going their respective ways. He watched Sam head to her office.

Sam stopped before entering her office. She sensed a pair of eyes on her, so she slowly looked over her shoulder. Her gaze fell upon Bailey. She hurt for him; she could tell he was going through some rough times. She continued to her office and picked up the phone.

Calling Coop, no doubt. He thought bitterly. He changed into a pair of black jeans, put on his leather jacket and grabbed his motorcycle helmet. A little drive, and then I'll head home to pack. He mentally made his schedule for the day and headed to the parking lot.

She watched him put on his riding gear and head to the parking lot. She wanted to go up and console him but she was afraid of rejection. He had become so distant towards her, that she was scared he would push her further away if approached. She was also terrified of what her feelings could do to him. Sure, she cared about Coop, but nothing compared to what she felt for Bailey, but she would never let the love she felt take him away - willingly or not - from her. She would have to settle for Coop. Until Jack was caught, no one could know of her harbored feelings, for she knew Jack would kill Bailey. . . and she wouldn't know how to live without him.