It was Morgan who broke the case. He'd found Steven Holbrook's name on both women's pharmaceutical records. The pharmacy tech was the only person in common between the two women—at both the clinic and pharmacy.

Hotch and Morgan drove to the man's apartment near downtown to interview the man while Rossi, Reid, and Emily concentrated on his co-workers. It wasn't much, but Hotch knew it in his gut that this was the guy.

He'd have him.

Ten minutes later he was frustrated, angry, and impatient. Holbrook was nowhere to be found. "Let's head back to the pharmacy. See if he's there. He wasn't scheduled to work, but…"


Emily rubbed the back of her neck, her only outward sign of weariness. Rossi stood by her side, one eye on the woman they were attempting to interview, and another on the female colleague to his left. Poor thing was still tinted a little green.

He wondered why Emily's pregnancy already seemed cursed by more morning sickness than JJ's ever had.

"So Steven gets along well with most everyone?" Emily asked, for the third time. The pharmacy tech wasn't very helpful, was wary and resentful of the three FBI agents doing the interviews.

"That's what I said."

"And you don't remember these two women coming in here?" Rossi asked.

"No. But we get nearly a hundred pregnant women in here each day. The clinic always sends patients here."

Emily sighed, knowing that this, and probably the rest of the interviews, was going to take a long while.


Morgan and Hotch were in the parking lot when they saw him. Holbrook opened the door to the pharmacy and was inside in a matter of seconds. Hotch could see Emily and Rossi through the window.

"I don't know if he's armed." Hotch said, voice tense. "So we can't just go in there and take him down. Too many people at risk."

"Text." Morgan said, pulling his phone from his pocket. "I'll text Emily and get her out. She can signal Reid and Rossi to be ready."

Morgan and Hotch watched as she checked her phone, nodded to Rossi. Hotch hoped the other man got the message. Emily turned to step out of the building and Hotch's eyes met hers through the glass. She smiled almost unconsciously in his direction.

Steven Holbrook stepped between her and the door.


Emily's eyes jumped to the man in her path's face. She recognized him immediately from his photographs—and as the pharmacy tech who'd filled her prescription the day before. As she looked into his eyes she realized one thing—Holbrook was definitely their UNSUB. She felt, rather than saw, Rossi pulling his weapon at her side.

Her own hand was on the butt of her gun. Holbrook's eyes followed the movement. He looked at her balefully, not moving to approach her. Hotch and Morgan moved in behind him.

"Steven Holbrook?" Rossi said, and Emily felt him move a little closer to her. His protectiveness irritated her just a bit, but she focused on the man in front of her, not the one to her side. "We need to ask you a few questions regarding the recent murders of the Thompson family and the Kirk family."

"I had nothing to do with that." The man said, though his eyes told a different story. He'd yet to look away from Emily. "You were in here yesterday. With your boyfriend. And now you're back, to arrest me?"

Emily didn't answer him, just kept her weapon trained on him as Morgan moved in to cuff him. Then Morgan and Hotch were dragging him out of the pharmacy. Emily lowered her weapon and turned back to Rossi and Reid.

They had interviews to finish.


Hotch sat across the table from Holbrook. Morgan was at his left. Hotch opened the files containing the crime scene photos and began spreading them across the table. Holbrook barely even looked at the shots, until Hotch laid out those of the two women. Then the man exhibited signs of pride, arrogance, even a fascination.

"Pregnant women." Morgan started. "That's just wrong, man. What could you possibly have against pregnant women?"

"I somehow doubt you'd understand." Holbrook said, shooting a disparaging look toward Morgan. He then turned to Hotch. "But you, you're white bread. Probably believe in the white picket fence, two kids, and a dog, am I right? You already got a kid? Know you have one on the way. I saw you with her, yesterday. She's pretty. And pregnant."

Hotch didn't reply. Only he knew how his hands clenched under the table. "Why pregnant women?"

"Why not?" The man shrugged. "World already has too many kids. And then you get women like them."

"Them?" Morgan asked, taking charge of the interview with no protests from Hotch. As much as the supervisor wanted to rip Holbrook apart, he knew it wouldn't help their case at all. So he controlled himself. Barely. "You mean Mrs. Thompson and Mrs. Kirk."

"And your girl." He nodded to Hotch.

"Go on." Hotch said, his tone not betraying how he was feeling. He has vast experience in suppressing outward signs of his feelings, and this time would be no different. "What are they like?"

"Maybe," Morgan postulated, leading the man to where he wanted the conversation to go, "They should have stayed home? You think so, Steven?"

"You know so, Agent Morgan." Holbrook smirked, looked back at Hotch. "Doesn't it bother you, man? Here you go to work every day, bring home a paycheck, and yet in the end—there she is. Waiting to take everything you've worked for from you. For her and her kid. Or kids. And then—she tells you she's bringing another little shit into the world. And you're expected to pay for it. I know you know what I am saying, man. Know you've not even married the little bitch. Yet you still have to take care of her."

"So what are you saying?" Morgan asked, tone even, though Hotch had known the other agent long enough to recognize when he was disgusted.

"I'm saying that they're mercenary little bitches that use the whole pregnancy angle to rip a man off. And then once they have what they want, they take off and leave you with the kid."

"Why did you choose those two women?" Hotch asked.

"Because it was easy." Holbrook said. "And they already had a kid or two, why did they need more?"

The rest of the interview circled around the same theme and by the time it was over Hotch felt literally sick. He masked it by drinking a can of soda. Lemon-lime. He'd found it set on Emily's desk. She hadn't minded, just leaned against his side—a comforting presence. He knew she'd watched the interview from the observation window.

"Sick bastard?" She asked.

"No. Just didn't care." Hotch said. "Didn't like pregnant women. Probably because he supported his girlfriend while she was pregnant, then she abandoned him and the child within weeks of giving birth. Holbrook's mother now has the boy."

"So he had a grudge against his ex, and took it out on two entire families. I don't think I'll ever understand it." Emily's hand had dropped to unconsciously cover her stomach. Hotch lifted his free hand to blanket hers.

"Thankfully, people like Holbrook are rare. I wish there weren't any like him. I wish there was no need for our unit."

"I'm just glad there are people like us who can do this job." Emily countered. "It's never easy. And it's never perfect, is it? But we do it."

"We do it because it's who we are." Hotch said, feeling the honesty of those words to his core—words he'd spoken before, to another woman.

This one, he sensed, would understand them completely. In a way that other woman never had. "Come on, let's wrap this up. I want to get home. I have some packing to do."

She looked at him, a small smile touching her lips. "Just enough for two months."

"Two months." He agreed. He watched her for a little while, as she teased with Reid, as Morgan flirted harmlessly with her—all the while shooting teasing looks Hotch's way, watched as Rossi patted her on the back in a friendly manner. She really was a part of his team. An integral part.

She was fast becoming an integral part of him. He wondered what it would take to show her just how integral she was to him. The team soon had everything packed up, and he reached in front of her, taking the heavy filing box off the table before she could even think to. The rest of the team filed out, Garcia walking beside the waddling media liaison, leaving Hotch and Emily to follow.

He nodded to Mayors, where the other man stood beside the lone female agent on his team's desk. Hotch had a few suspicions about his friend and the pretty redhead. But it was up to Mayors to decide what he wanted to do about it. He smiled, turned back to Emily. He nudged her shoulder almost playfully. "You know, Agent Prentiss, two months is a good place to start. I'm looking forward to the challenge."

"So am I, sir. So am I."


As of this point in my life, fanfiction updates will be slowing down considerably. Not only am I full time at the hotel, but I will possibly be adding another editing position (part time) to my workload. Writing of fanfiction, therefore, will not be a priority. I do fully intend to finish some of my incomplete work. Thank you all for reading, and please let me know your honest opinions.