Rating: FRM (violence, language, angst, all that fun stuff)
Summary: The team pursues a suspected serial killer in North Dakota. The case seems harmless until one of their own falls victim to the killer's deadly obsession.
Story Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended. I don't own the characters or the show and no profit is being made from this.
A/N: For this story I conveniently ignored Big Game and Revelations because, I mean really, your agents can only get kidnapped so many times before you need to start questioning the safety of your operations. Also, this can be read as its own series but it does reference the events of "The Kiss" (unofficial prequel) which can be found at my profile page, if you should care to read that first. Enjoy, and let me know what you think.
"The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it."- Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)
It had been ten days, almost to the hour--not that she was keeping track--since their first kiss in the elevator.
She still didn't know how it happened.
This yearning, this overwhelming passion had just taken over her until she was no longer in control of her actions.
Watching Spencer sit across from her in his dangerously neat desk, stealing glimpses when he thought she wasn't looking, or blushing and stumbling over his words when she caught him off guard with a friendly gesture or a light touch, would keep her occupied with thoughts of his perfect lips and shy smile for days on end.
It was only inevitable really that she should need to know what those lips tasted like against her own. It wasn't as though it had meant anything. Certainly an office romance was out of the question. Forbidden even, but just the word forbidden made it all that much sweeter.
No. It was wrong. It was nothing.
She poised her hands determinedly over her keyboard in a desperate attempt to focus on her work.
Her job was nothing to take lightly. The last board meeting of the day was only minutesaway.
Spencer was about thirteen feet away. Thirteen feet... that was precariously close.
Maybe she should move her desk. Maybe she should just get Spencer to help her move her desk. It was pretty heavy after all; it would take two of them. Damn it.
She groaned to herself, placing her fingers on the bridge of her nose for no real reason other than moral support.
He wasn't even paying attention, no doubt swimming around in that endless ocean of information inside his head again.
This unnatural lack of control had her head spinning. She always had control. She was in control.
She quietly reassured herself that nothing had changed. Maybe she was just bored with the dating market and had needed a little excitement. Yes. That was absolutely her problem.
She would just give Spencer up, like a good little employee and they would go back to their platonic friendship. Purely platonic.
She had been weak, that was all, and sure that one little kiss had perhaps opened a Pandora's Box of kisses, and the storage closet down the hall had been visited considerably more often as of late, but all of that meant nothing.
It was time to terminate the relationship, or lack-there-of. She couldn't allow it to get in the way of her --their-- job. That was it. Done. Settled.
"J.J, you ready?"
She jumped slightly when Spencer lightly touched her shoulder, a stack of papers balancing on one arm, and concern evident in his voice.
And just like that she was putty in his beautiful, talented hands.
She withdrew her fingers from the bridge of her nose, realizing he probably thought she had a headache, and couldn't stop from smiling at the sight of him as she quickly gathered her things and shut her computer down for the night.
They walked silently together toward the boardroom, ready to be debriefed on a case.
Spencer was seemingly lost in thought, and J.J, well, she was just lost.
She berated herself for her pitiful resolve and all but gave up hope on keeping her job secure, since she couldn't even manage to keep Spencer out of her head.
What if it wasn't a debriefing after all? She had only assumed. What if they were caught? Maybe those joint coffee breaks hadn't gone unnoticed after all. Oh God.
J.J was about to truly panic by the time they stepped into the boardroom and took their respective seats on opposite sides of the long mahogany table.
She realized though, that Spencer didn't look the slightest bit concerned about their impending doom. Had she forgotten something?
Morgan was the last to enter, complete with both hands full of coffee, which he quickly distributed.
A few minutes later, once everyone was settled in, Gideon moved to the head of the table in front of the whiteboard and removed a folder from his leather briefcase.
It was very similar to the folder that had been delivered to her desk this morning, and was in fact still on her desk, unread. Maybe she had forgotten something.
She calmed slightly, though her initial panic had gone entirely unnoticed by everyone but herself, despite the fact that she had come somewhat under-prepared.
That, she could handle.
If anyone could pull off a meeting without any preparation, it was her. It was, after all, her job to look like she had all the answers while allowing others to see only exactly what she wanted them to.
"Now I know we've all had some long nights this week after the Gillespie Case," Hotch started, moving to stand by Gideon, "but as you all know, the bad guys don't take always take weekends off. Unfortunately, neither do we. This case just came in from Williston, North Dakota. A string of seemingly random murders and disappearances. It might be nothing, but apparently the locals are beginning to think otherwise."
"Martina Moore, 26, prostitute," Gideon stated as he stuck her picture on the whiteboard and scrawled her name underneath it with the efficiency and ease of a man who had been doing it for far too long. "Found in the Missouri River by a tourist. Cause of death is indeterminable at this point. She had been in the water for at least three weeks judging by the swelling. That was two months ago."
He posted the next picture to the board.
"Amanda Wright, 17, high school student. Found twenty days ago, approximately two miles downstream from where Martina's body was discovered." The group listened intently, making mental notes as Gideon continued, honouring each photograph with quiet contemplation.
"Nicole Lasica, 15, high school student. Found two weeks and three days ago in a ditch along the main highway. C.O.D for both girls was exsanguination; however Nicole also suffered from second degree burns to her arms and legs. Finally," Gideon removed the last picture from his folder and added it to the makeshift-memorial that their drawing board had become, "Deanna Artym, 31, intern at the District Attorney's office and single mother of two. She missed work Wednesday morning and hasn't been heard from since, so time is of the essence in this case."
Gideon returned the folder to his briefcase and took his seat at the table, letting Aaron take the floor.
J.J couldn't help but be concerned by the obvious lack of sleep Gideon had been getting since their last case. His normally gentle features seemed wracked with age and despair.
"What makes the police think they're related? The age spectrum is pretty broad," interjected Morgan contemplatively, as he sprawled across his chair in that masterful way that only he seemed capable of.
"Not to mention their employment," Emily added.
"The local papers have been featuring the idea of a serial killer as front page news since Nicole Lasica was found. It's gotten the city a little paranoid. We hope to locate the missing woman as soon as possible and put an end to suspicion before the police force loses control of the populace."
"Nothing spreads faster than paranoia," Gideon conceded. "However, we still can't rule out the possibility that the papers are right. Until we have solid evidence against it, this case is to be treated with the same validity as any other. Supposing we did have a killer on our hands, what would our profile be?"
Spencer shifted in his seat. "Well, considering the victimology, the Unsub is most likely to be a male. Caucasian. Since it's less likely for serial killers to prey on those older than themselves, I'd say he would have to be in his thirties at least."
"Was there any evidence of sexual assault?" J.J questioned.
"Not as far as the medical examiners could tell," Hotch answered, seeming somewhat pleased at her involvement. He knew she had been wanting to prove herself as more than a PR agent for some time now, even though he was sure everyone already considered her part of the profiling team.
"He sure has a preference for blondes though," Emily noted, glancing into the folder on her lap.
"So he finds pretty blondes, bleeds them to death then disposes of their bodies. Somehow this doesn't sound all that unique. And what about the burn marks on the third victim?" Morgan's scepticism was apparent.
"Evolution?" Spencer suggested.
"Or more than one Unsub," J.J proposed.
Aaron Hotchner looked at his watch then back at his team.
Deciding to go easy on them after such a long week, he held up his hand to cease their conversation.
"Okay everyone, let's finish this tomorrow on the plane, we leave at eight thirty."
He didn't bother telling them to get a good night's sleep. He knew that's all they wanted to do anyway and he had faith in their determination.
The team packed up their things quickly and mumbled goodbyes to one another. Hotch, Morgan and Emily shuffled out of the board room with J.J and Reid close behind leaving Gideon to return his photos to their rightful place in his leather briefcase, as was his custom after a debriefing.
Hotch moved in the direction of his office, presumably to gather his things, while Morgan made his way toward the stairs, as always being conscious of his physique.
Emily, Reid and J.J packed themselves into the elevator.
The team still had their minds wrapped around the new case, but their enthusiasm paled compared to their exhaustion.
The three on the elevator were too tired to engage in small talk, so the descent to the parking lot was silent except for the slow rhythm of their breathing, a sound that was only noted and accounted for by Spencer's overactive brain.
Spencer's arm accidentally brushed J.J's for a moment and he noticed her breath increase slightly.
He smiled to himself, revelling in the thought that perhaps, if only on a physiological level, J.J shared the same affection for him that he felt for her.
She finally lost consciousness.
It had been the third dose of electricity that did it.
She was strong. Not like the others.
Older too. Probably thought she had something to live for.
He brushed a stray hair out of her face, his movements tender.
They were always so beautiful when they slept.
She wasn't dead, and he was glad. Their fun had only just begun after all. But when she woke up, it would be for the last time.
He felt the excitement course through his veins, just as he imagined the electricity had coursed through hers.
"What are you waiting for my love?" Constance came up behind him, trailing her hands up and down his arms. Her voice was smooth and sultry, like vodka and arsenic, the perfect combination to bring him to his knees.
"I want her to be awake," he replied.
She laughed, deep and low, moving to play with Sleeping Beauty's lovely blonde hair.
"You always were an exhibitionist baby, but don't waste too much time. We have work to do." Her every movement was sensual, enticing. He could never deny her anything she asked, and he knew she knew this. Sometimes it was as though he was her puppet, but God, he thought, it was worth it. "Have to fix you up baby, make you strong again," she continued, "You want that don't you? To be with me forever?"
"Forever," he answered. She smiled, but doubt entered his mind. "What if this one doesn't work?"
She seemed sure, but in the dark, dank setting he couldn't seem to share her enthusiasm.
Suddenly he was fearful and desperate. Maybe Constance was right, he shouldn't waste any time... He looked to Constance, who was now leaning her sinfully elegant body against a set of bars that comprised the door of the old musty cellar.
She was watching him, waiting.
She nodded her approval.
He moved closer to Sleeping Beauty and took his grandfather's cattle prod off the table, replacing it with a newly-sharpened kitchen knife; the same one his mother used to use when she was making dinner.
He smiled at the memory of her as he returned to his Sleeping Beauty, and unbound her wrists for better access.
He gently ran the edge of the knife over the soft skin of her arm, weaving around the remaining evidence of their little game--a prong shaped burn.
Of course the cattle prod itself wasn't strong enough for his tastes, but he fixed that. A wire here, a switch there, a little extra voltage and they'd been begging in no time.
He loved it when they begged. But no time for that now.
He pressed the knife slightly harder, just enough to leave a little trail of blood behind.
He brought the limp wrist to his lips and ran his tongue along the scarlet trail, looking up as he did so, to see Constance watching him.
She licked her lips seductively.
Sleeping Beauty stirred. Perfect.
She was in no condition to struggle, though he wouldn't mind if she did.
He drew the blade up once more and made a quick incision horizontally across her wrist, deep enough that the blood began to rush out.
His bloodlust increased to a breathtaking rate as he savoured the warm metallic taste of it, his body pulsing with expectation.
Constance was suddenly beside him, though he hadn't noticed her move, running her fingers through his hair, whispering encouragements, "Good baby... Son of Darkness... My love...There you go...For me... For us..."