When the Levee Breaks

A purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved

Kurt Vonnegut


Derek Morgan watched JJ with some intensity. The content of the phone conversation she was engaged in would determine whether or not the BAU would be getting shipped off on another case. It felt as though there were far too many of them, and they never seemed to end particularly well, solve rate aside.

'I understand,' she said, nodding. 'We can be there by tonight.'

Morgan sighed as JJ hung up. Even an extra half hour of solace would have been nice. 'Briefing room, ten minutes,' she told him, before heading in the direction of Hotch's office.

'What was that about?' asked Prentiss from behind him. She had just walked in, apparently, coffee in one hand.

'Briefing in ten. I thought you were off until Thursday?' he enquired.

'I got bored,' she replied, somewhat sheepishly.

'Are you alright to be back?'

'I passed the psych evaluation.'

Morgan did not press the matter further. He knew she wouldn't be here if she couldn't handle it. Together, they headed to the briefing room, chatting idly until the arrival of Rossi, Hotch and JJ. According to Prentiss, Reid was taking another week at the suggestion of the Bureau psychologist.

'Kid needs a break,' agreed Morgan. 'I could do with one too,' he mused.

'Well that's never going to happen,' commented Rossi upon entering with Hotch. The two had evidently been discussing something, though it was unclear what. JJ was right behind them, carrying a box with the word "RIDGEVIEW" scrawled on the side in black marker. Morgan quickly stood to help her, increasingly aware of the pregnant agent's physical state.

'Thanks, Morgan, but it's just paper,' she acknowledged. 'I won't be a complete invalid for another three months at least.' From that, she seamlessly transitioned into the briefing. 'Ridgeview, Main. Population 19,000.' She clicked, and several photos appeared onscreen.

'Those aren't crime scene photos,' noted Morgan.

'That's because there aren't any crime scenes,' replied JJ. Several eyebrows rose at that. 'At least, none with bodies at them. The town of Ridgeview has a serial kidnapper and torturer on his hands.'

'What's his M.O?' asked Prentiss.

'He kidnaps them, tortures them for anywhere between four days and three weeks, and then releases them. Of the seven victims so far, none have been able to provide any useful information.'

For several minutes, the team debated the reasons for such an M.O, ultimately deciding that they would need further information before being able to build a basic profile.

'Wheels up in an hour,' Hotch told his team. 'Emily, could you stay back a minute, please.'

Prentiss shared a knowing glance with Morgan as he left the room in pursuit of his ready bag.

'Are you sure you're ready to be back?' he asked.

She almost rolled her eyes; Hotch was that predictable sometimes. 'The approval papers should have been faxed to you,' she settled on.

'They were. I'm not interested in psych evaluations and medical reports. I'm asking you straight. Are you ready to be back?'

'Yes, sir. And...as long as we're being straight?' she looked straight into his eyes.


'A cult is not the worst thing that's ever happened to me, sir.' Her eyes held their gaze for a few more seconds before breaking off.