Sadly I cannot claim ownership of this wonderful TV show or any of the characters on it, to which I am addicted. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I did writing it. Please review, and enjoy =)
It was the perfect crime; no evidence in any way shape or form was left behind. Just a pristine body, the medical examiners should appreciate all that he had done for them. Everything was cut into so nicely. So evenly, it was a work of art. And it was his gift to her. The one who saved his life. He hadn't contacted her other then the other gift like this one, since that fateful night when he had met the woman of his dreams, but he would soon. Soon she would know all that he had done for her, for them.
Reid sat opposite Morgan deeply involved in the chess game before them. Studying the board with a pretended board expression, Reid was using this game as a warm up before he took on Gideon again. Morgan just stared at him and grew impatient.
"Its only a game if you actually move one of the pieces every now and again." Morgan reminded him
Reid raised an eyebrow, but refused to take his eyes off of the game. Then with a slow practiced gesture, he advanced his night forward two and to the left one. "Technically this could be considered not a game, but a training exercise. We are trying to get into each other's minds, to see what the other is going to do, predict their move. Much like we do when we are chasing a certain type of un-sub."
JJ looked over the file she was reading and eyed the two other agents. She was comfortably stretched out on the couch opposite them in the small cabin of the airplane. "Is that the new excuse for playing chess instead of reviewing the case files." When Morgan glanced at her she smiled, "just making sure I am keeping up on the current theory." Retiring to her file she laughed silently to herself as Morgan finally looked back to the game board.
"Hey when did you move?" Morgan demanded
Reid finally looked up from the board, a innocent smirk on his young face. "Sorry, I forgot to say 'Check Mate'". The smirk evolved into a cat that ate the canary grin, which Morgan ignored as he check the game board from another angle.
"Since the game is over, lets review shall we?" Hotch commented as he walked back to the agents, followed by Prentiss and Gideon. The later two settled down on the couch next to JJ who moved her feet for them. Then all focused their attention on Hotch and the screen behind him. He waited a token beat before clicking the hand held remote to the slide of his choice. It displayed a murder scene that was simple yet confusing. There was a single body, laying supine with a 'Y' shaped incision going down their chest, much the same way that a body would look after a medical examination by the coroner.
"This was Amy Stuts, she was a RN at Los Robles Hospital in Thousand Oaks California." The screen clicked over to another body, positioned the same, and with the same incisions, "and this was Lela Egan. Also a RN at Los Robles. There was absolutely no evidence left at either crime scene. And the local police were a little overwhelmed. This isn't exactly the kind of place murders like this happen. They were rated the #1 safe city in California."
"Do they have any leads?" Morgan asked, happy for the excuse to ignore the lost chess game.
Hotch was silent for a moment before settling down on the end of the counter behind him. "The local police are looking into everything as we speak, so far other then where they work there isn't really a connection, its not that small of a town, but small enough that people still know their neighbors."
"There is another work connection, both of them were involved in a case at the hospital where a nurse has come up for disciplinary actions. The nurse did something outside of her range of practice and may have saved a patients life, but the hospital is viewing it as she went around the rules. Both of these nurses were called as witnesses, and both went against her, a Valerie Kent." JJ read out of her file. "Valerie has yet to account for her whereabouts at the time of the murders."
"Just going from the crime scene photos it would have to be someone who has a knowledge of the body. They managed to miss all the major arteries or else there would be some arterial splash on the walls. But in the photos there is nothing like that." Reid said as he studied the now side by side pictures of the crime scenes.
"What else if anything do we know about Valerie Kent?" Morgan asked as he flipped through his own file of the cases.
JJ flipped open her phone and smiled at him, "all it takes in a phone call and we will know whatever we need to. Garcia? Can you do a full background check for us on a Valerie Kent from Thousand Oaks California?" she was silent for a moment nodding to the phone then smiled, "great just send us when you get it." With a flourish she flipped the phone shut and turned to Morgan, "we should have all we need to know in a few hours, just in time to land."
Instead of landing at the ever crowded LAX, the team arrived at the smaller Camarillo airport, that was a much shorter, and kinder drive to Thousand Oaks. They were met on the ground by the anxious sheriff who introduced himself as Sheriff Wilson. He was a balding man in his late forties, whose belt was doing all it could to keep up his slightly bulging pants. But he greeted them with a smile and much thanks. "This isn't the kind of thing that's supposed to happen in a town like this. We are the kind of town where neighbors still patch up each others kids."
Hotch nodded to the Sheriff, and replied "we will do all that we can. Perhaps we should move on to the station so that we can set up and look over everything. Reid, Morgan, head over to the hospital and interview Valerie Kent. We need to assess her for ourselves, and see if she fits into the profile we are making."
The team split up heading in two directions, Reid and Morgan to the hospital and the rest of the team to the sheriff's station. JJ was already tackling into media problems on her phone on the drive there, and was only too happy to accept the help of several officers at her disposal.
The hospital was set off the freeway a few miles in a quite neighborhood, just down the street from the high school, and near several medical office buildings. From the outside it was a quite, peaceful building that hadn't yet followed with the trend of harsh angles now so popular with the modern buildings. It was subtler in its beauty. The inside however was in a panic. The staff was upset about the loss of another of its nurses and now they were short handed. Nurses traveled up and down the halls with a sense of urgency about them few even bothered to look up at the two men moving among them. Finally they located the check in desk and waited to catch the attention of the nurse on staff.
When she glanced at them it was an assessing glance, that saw more then she pretended. With a false smile she focused on them, "may I help you?"
Morgan regarded her for a moment before proceeding, "agents Reid, and Morgan with the FBI Behavioral Analyst Unit. We are here looking for a Valerie Kent. Is she here today?"
The nurse regarded their badges for a moment before glancing at a sheet in front of her, "Kent… Kent… she is working in ER, down that hall and through the double doors, then to your left. Ask the person at the desk to point her out, but just a heads up. They are short in the ER today."
Morgan thanked her and turned to follow her directions. Reid caught up with him a step later, "think she needed to tell us they are short?"
With a knowing smile Morgan answered, "Nurses are always short, at least in the patience department."
Reid studied him for a moment, "I though being patient was one of the qualities of a nurse."
"Not when they are short staffed it isn't."
They found the desk in question and waited again for the nurse to glance at them. She was not short, she was actually close to 5'10, but not slender enough for Morgan to consider attractive. Her smiley-faced scrubs made her look more like she should be working in the children's wing then in the ER. When she did look up she gave them a half smile, "can I help you?"
"Agents Reid and-"
"Yeah I know, I got the heads up, I am Valerie Kent, how can I help you?"
Reid and Morgan exchanged a quick look before Morgan took the lead. "Is there anywhere that we can talk that would be more private?"
Val, as she preferred to be called, lead them to the staff room, and poured each of them a cup of coffee before checking the pot and starting a fresh one. She gave them a half smile and indicated that they take a seat. Reid sat, Morgan stood untouched cup of coffee in one hand. There had not been enough coffee in the pot for a cup for her, so Val simply eyed theirs and tried not to look too desperate.
"Is there anything that you want to tell us?" Morgan asked as he took a slow sensual sip of the coffee, it was actually good; with a raised eyebrow he asked the questions 'how'.
With a genuine smile Val explained the secret to their coffee, "we put saltine crackers on top of the coffee grinds, it brings out more flavor. Staff secret. I could get killed for telling it to you, so don't tell anyone you heard it from me."
Reid eyed her before taking a small tasting sip of his own cup, and then stared at the cup in wonder, it was fantastic.
"We really aren't here to discuss the coffee, you know that." Morgan asked, he was determined not to be swayed even if the coffee was the best he had in a long time.
She nodded slowly, "you're here about Amy and Lela? Have you caught the person responsible for it yet? Amy's mom was hear earlier today to clean out her locker," Val looked to her left to the long line of lockers along the wall, when she looked back there were tears in her eyes.
Morgan was unimpressed by her tears and pushed on, "we were hoping you could tell us about your disciplinary actions case, what happened?"
Val blinked a few times before focusing on them, "isn't that a state board issue? If I have a federal notch against me I will loose my license, what is the FBI doing investigating this anyway?"
"Just let us be the judge of what is an federal issue and what isn't please. Explain what happened." Morgan said dryly.
Val studied him through narrowed eyes for a moment before focusing on the more likable Reid. "It was three weeks ago, a really slow night, the kind that you wish would happen all the time, everyone was having fun-do you really need to know this?"
"Everything that you can remember about the night would give us a better idea of exactly what happened." Reid said after taking another sip of coffee and eyeing the brewing pot expectantly.
After a sigh, Val crossed her arms and continued. "The CNA's were having wheel chair raises down the hall way, a few of the nurses had opted to take a nap. I was walking a patient from the cancer wing, Mr. Jefferies, he can never sleep through the night so a walk around the ER usually gets him tired enough to fall asleep. He went home the night after everything happened. Sweet old man. Cant tell you what he has though HIPPA violation, sorry.
"Mr. Jefferies and I were just passing the nurses station when a man came stumbling into the ER, he looked like hell, tall, but not healthy, thin-with stringy black hair that looked like it needed a wash. I know it sounds odd, but he looked kinda familiar, I just don't know where from. He took a look around the area then came strait at me, there several other nursing staff hanging out, but he came right up to me, grabbed my arm and just stared at me for minuet. I froze; I thought he had a gun or something. Then he just collapsed, I kind of half caught his body with mine so his head didn't hit the floor, and yelled for a CNA to take care of Mr. Jefferies, the guy had just passed out on the floor. I started doing the ABC's on him, airway, breathing, cardiovascular, and he wasn't breathing. So I yelled for a few other nurses and we got him on a gurney and into a room, we paged the doctor on call several times. And never got a response. I did a manual check of his airway-nothing obstructing it, we had a bag on him, but there was no air getting into his lungs. His fingertips and lips were going cyanotic. There is only a 4-6 min window before permanent brain damage so we had to do something. We paged the MD again, no answer, it was now 3 mins, and his O2 sat was only 89% so I intubated him. I had seen it done a dozen or so times, and read the procedure more times then I care to count. Just as I was attaching the bag, Dr. Stone showed up.
"He took over, ordering us out of the way, and demanding to know who had done it. I was asked to leave the room, and finish my reports for the night and go home. I was suspended while they performed their little investigation. And they determined that I had saved his life, but that I had acted beyond my scope of practice. So I was supposed to be suspended, but we are so short staffed, that they brought me back."
The two agents were silent for a moment. Val check on the coffee, refilled their glasses before pouring one for herself and settling back against the counter.
"That's quite a story." Morgan commented after a sip from his cup. "You have to understand how odd it sounds for a RN to suddenly be able to perform such a high skill procedure."
"Its not that high," Val said defensively to her coffee cup, "med students can do it."
"Med students who have had the training sure." Reid said then looked down when Val shot a glare at him.
Morgan heaved a huge sigh, taking the attention away from Reid. "Miss Kent you have to understand how all this looks to us right? You have a bad night, the other two nurses on shift suddenly come up murdered. That doesn't exactly paint you in the best light."
Val stared at them for a moment, jaw ajar, "you think I did that? You think that I could of-to my friends? Done that! What is the matter with you people!" She began pacing back and forth, her arms wrapped around herself, coffee cup on the counter, she didn't look at them, couldn't bring her self to admit that they were in the room.
Reid gave Morgan a questioning look which was ignored. When Morgan's phone range it was a welcome breach of the silence. "Morgan here." He was silent nodding for a few moments then said, "yes we just spoke with her," a few more moments of silence then he closed the phone and slid it back into his pocket. When he turned to Val she was facing them, arms still crossed, eyes bright with anger. "I have been asked to bring you with us to the Sheriff's station. You are not being charged with anything yet, this wont go on your record as long as you cooperate with us."
In a brave effort Val clenched her jaw to keep it from trembling and nodded. She pointed to the second locker from the end and asked Reid, "Could you please get my sweater the combo is 11-30-81."
Reid rose and went to the indicated locker, but Morgan blocked him and opened it, gun in hand he checked the locker and retrieved the needed sweater, which he threw to her. Val caught the sweater and said blankly "thank you." Pulling the sweater over her head, and hiding her smile faces scrubs, she followed Morgan out of the room and out of the hospital.