This is a really difficult genre to write in. I know nothing about the FBI or the criminal psychology they get into on CM. I really like the Emily / JJ pairing although I have to stretch to see them together what with the things the show has got JJ into. Yuck. There are a lot of things I had to either make up or elaborate on to make a functional story since they give us so little details about the characters lives outside of work. Most of the computer stuff is mine as big organizations and secure systems are basically what I work on all day. The hacking is all Garcia though, of course. ;-) I think how I portrayed Prentiss will be bit different for most readers. I see her as being a kind of 'dark' character and that makes her a lot of fun to write. Back in the day, this portrayal would be Uber Xena. I come from the old school Xena fandom and I have not written anything for more than 10 years. Over the past couple of months CM and Prentiss and JJ (especially Prentiss) just kind of became all I could think about.

Alice ................................

Disclaimer: The characters in the following fanfiction are not mine (except for a couple incidental 'guest stars') and are used without permission. No profit is derived from this story.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us. Marianne Williamson

Right in This Moment: The Outing of Emily Prentiss

Chapter 1: Girls Night In

Present Day, Early Evening

"Are you going to eat that last bit of Tikka Masala?" Garcia pointed her fork at the takeout container.

"It's all yours," Prentiss answered absently. JJ stretched across the table and passed the food to Garcia.

"Thanks, JJ." Prentiss gingerly eased back in her chair grimacing briefly.

"Are you all right?" JJ asked with concern.

"Yeah…" Prentiss drew out the word. "I just need another pain pill."

"Why don't you go settle on the couch," JJ stood and walked around behind Prentiss' chair letting her hand rest lightly on her shoulder, "Garcia and I will clean up."

Prentiss briefly squeezed the hand on her shoulder with her own. "Sure." She stood slowly and moved with equally slow determination to the living room where she reached for the prescription pill bottle on the side table. JJ watched as she swallowed a pill with a drink of water.

"You done, Garcia?"

The change in tone made the technical analyst almost jump. "Yeah, yeah," Garcia drained the last of her wine before getting up to help JJ clear the plates and takeout containers from the table.

JJ pushed the lids onto the leftover rice and Vindaloo lamb. "You don't find this stuff too spicy?"

"God, no," Garcia answered. "They know me at the Tandoori Temple. When they see me coming they go in the back to get another case of chili pepper."

JJ laughed as she stacked the containers in the fridge. Garcia loaded the dishwasher. All that was left on the counter was their two empty wine glasses. Garcia looked at them forlornly. "Damn!" she swore, "and I was so looking forward to getting plastered and playing Twister with you guys!"

"Not nice!" was the response from the couch. "I can't drink and I'm defiantly in no condition to play Twister."

JJ rinsed out the large wine bottle and dropped it in the recycling. "Can we open a bottle of yours, Em?"

"Oh, let me! Let me!" Garcia bounced over to the wine cooler.

Prentiss gave a belated response of "Mi casa, es tu casa" as Garcia rummaged through the bottles.

"Oooooo … this sounds yummy! It's from New Zealand," she handed the bottle to JJ to uncork. "It's called 'Cloudy Bay'", she pointed out. "Sounds expensive," she added in a whispered undertone.

Their two glasses full, JJ carried the bottle in an ice bucket to the living room coffee table. Garcia sat on the couch facing them as JJ settled beside Prentiss.

Garcia took a sip. "Ummm," she commented, "hints of pear and licorice. Don't you think, JJ?"

JJ swirled the wine in her glass and sniffed. "I'm thinking more fresh nettles and gooseberry," she took a sip.

Prentiss looked at the woman sitting beside her. One corner of her mouth crooked in that odd expression of hers that could mean she had just looked at a particularly graphic crime scene photo, or perhaps stepped in something stinky.

"I don't think so…" she extended her left hand – the one not connected to the arm in the sling – and took the wine glass from JJ. "More like cat's pee on a forsythia bush," she stated blandly after sniffing the wine and sipping it.

Garcia snorted. "I suppose you learned your wine tasting skills on a trip to the Napa Valley?"

"The south of France, actually."

"Snob!" Garcia teased.

"I do believe it's time for presents," JJ interjected. Garcia reached behind the couch and brought out a large gift bag. She placed it between JJ and Prentiss.

"Penelope and I thought you could use a few things to help you get better," JJ stated.

Prentiss gamely reached into the bag and pulled out the tissue paper and the first item. "A Chia Pet?" the corner of her mouth crooked again.

"It's a cat," Garcia qualified. "You know, so you can have a pet – someone to come home to. Even if it's …"

"Made of grass and clay?!" Prentiss completed with a laugh.

"And, your point is?" Garcia feigned indignation.

Prentiss reached into the bag again this time pulling out a DVD set. "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles," she read.

"I heard you talking about it to Reid a couple times," JJ explained.

"And Lena Headley's in it," Garcia chipped in. "I know you Googled her a few times.

Prentiss stuck her tongue out at the computer geek. "Read my email too?"

Garcia ignored that. "The show totally rocks."

"And so does Lena Headley," JJ said softly as if to herself but the other two women still overheard.

"By the way, the DVDs were all Girlfriend Number One not me," Garcia gestured at JJ. "I really wanted to get you the 'Lord of the Rings' extended version boxed set."

"I have it," Prentiss waved her hand in the direction of the shelves below the flat screen TV.

"Quelle surprise!" remarked Garcia.

Prentiss reached into the bag for the last gift. She recognized the next DVD and smiled at JJ.

"You remember Buffalo?" asked JJ softly.

"Ummmmm … yeah, JJ," murmured Prentiss glancing sideways at Garcia.

Garcia made herself busy pouring more wine.

"It's that TV show," JJ started, "the one where the girl gets to go back in time and do over the things that she regrets?" JJ ended the sentence with a question, but the look in the dark brown eyes meeting her gaze told JJ that particular night, at the particular hotel in Buffalo, was anything but forgotten.

"Oh, do tell!" Garcia was looking from JJ to Prentiss with her best evil smirk.

Prentiss held JJ's gaze a moment longer before looking away knowing full well what her look could do to the younger blonde.

"What would you do – what in your life would you change – if you could go back and do it again?" Garcia asked all serious. She leaned forward and watched her two friends and co-workers closely. "Nothing earth shattering that changes the Space Time Continuum. I really don't want to wake up in the morning and find myself in another dimension."

"You mean like you did Saturday night?" Prentiss teased.

Garcia almost tossed a throw pillow at the FBI special agent, stopping herself at the last second. Prentiss stuck out her tongue again.

"Oh, you'd like that, wouldn't you?"

"You wish!"

"Girls!" with a flick of her wrist, JJ launched a pillow at Garcia, "stop being silly."

"Yes, ma'am," Garcia tossed off a snappy salute at JJ and looked over her glasses at Prentiss. "Even though a threesome with you two would be, like, totally awesome…" she started then tuned her gaze to JJ who was gaping at her. "I want to hear your greatest regret; at least as long as it applies to girls and kissing."

"What the…" JJ looked from Prentiss to Garcia. "How did we ever get onto this?"

"You started it," Prentiss deftly flipped the DVD case at JJ.

"Sweetie, you can find anything on YouTube if you look hard enough." Garcia sat back looking satisfied with herself. JJ nibbled her knuckle and looked uncomfortable. "I was curious why you wanted that DVD so I did some searching and, long story short…" Garcia paused for dramatic effect. "I want to know your 'almost kissed a girl' regret and what you would do differently if you could do it again."

"What makes you think I…"

"You're breathing aren't you?" When JJ didn't answer, Garcia looked at Prentiss.

"She is."

"Garcia, I do believe yer drunk!"

"So?" Garcia poured the last of the wine into JJ's glass. "Em, honey bunches of hotness, got anything stronger; tequila or something?"

JJ buried her face in her hands.

"Help yourself."

"God," JJ sighed, "I've created a monster."

When Garcia returned to the living area she was carrying a bottle of Amaretto and two glasses. She added a few ice cubes from the bucket and poured herself a shot.

"JJ?"

"What the fuck…" the blonde downed the last of her wine and took the proffered glass. "But…" she swirled the dark liquid in the glass and took a sip. "You first, Pen."

"Oh, my God! Sugarplum! We'll be here all night if I have to tell those stories."

Prentiss gave a sharp snort and clutched her side. "Shit! Garcia! Don't make me laugh so hard!"

"Sorry, sorry," Garcia started to rise to go to her, but a soft voice stopped her.

"In my first year of college…" JJ smoothed her hair behind her ear then gripped the cool glass in both hands. "There was this girl on my floor in residence. She was like you, all into computers and what not. She was fixing my laptop one time… I was leaning over her shoulder. She was really cute. She had dark hair and wore these chunky, black glasses…"

"Oh. My. God! JJ! You never told me you went to school with Rachel Maddow!"

"Garcia!" JJ looked but couldn't find another pillow to throw. Prentiss was looking down, her fist under her nose, as if to suppress a sneeze.

"So, when did you kiss a girl?" Garcia asked, suddenly sly and sober. "For real?"

JJ placed her glass on the coffee table with a sharp 'clink'. She stared at it for a long moment running her hand through her hair. When she looked up it was at the dark haired woman not at the blonde geek.

"Em, you scared the shit outta me, you know! All that blood…" JJ's voice trailed off and Prentiss felt her own hand go toward the bandage on her chest. Their eyes met and once again JJ felt herself caught in those dark eyes at once so sensual she could hardly breathe, and now so sympathetic she felt tears start in her eyes.

"Jennifer, I'm sorry," Prentiss carefully shifted on the couch and extended her arm. JJ sighed and gently settled herself in the pocket of warmth against her side. "I'm sorry for everything," Prentiss stroked the soft blonde hair.

"How did you know?" Prentiss fixed Garcia with her intense, dark gaze.

"That something happened between you two in Buffalo?"

"Yeah..."

"Reid. Reid told me."

"What? Reid?" JJ asked surprised.

"Well…" Garcia began. "Not in so many words. He told me he must've gotten the room beside some women who were attending a religious revival 'cause all he heard all night was 'Oh, God, oh, God'."

Prentiss tried to keep from laughing for the sake of her sore ribs. JJ just closed her eyes.

"Then he went on about the statistical communality of the name 'Emily' or some such 'Reid Speak'."

Chapter 2: Snowed-In In Buffalo

3 Years Ago

Supervisory Special Agent Emily Prentiss snapped her cell phone closed and walked up behind SSA Jennifer Jareau where she stood looking out the concourse windows. She touched the other woman lightly on the small of her back. "Garcia worked her magic. She got us the very last two rooms at the Marriot. Where's Reid?"

JJ gestured to a row of seating where SSA Dr Spencer Reid was digging in his Go-bag. "He's never seen snow like this. I think he's a little freaked out." Reid donned a rumpled cardigan and joined them.

"Two rooms did you say?" He rocked on his heels slightly. "Who's bunking with me?"

Prentiss gave him her best 'you wish' look. "Here's our ride," she picked up her bag and headed out the door toward a police SUV that had just pulled up.

A young officer opened the back hatch. "Are you the FBI?" His tone was slightly amused as he looked over the two women and Reid.

"We are," Prentiss tossed her black leather bag inside. "We are very grateful for the ride. Apparently cabs are really hard to come by right now." She joined the officer in the front seat as JJ and Reid got in the back.

"It's just a little lake effect," the officer grinned. "It's nothing new for Buffalo."

"Statistically speaking," Reid piped in, "Buffalo averages around …"

Later

Prentiss pocketed her card key and followed JJ across the lobby. "We'll be in the bar, Reid," she called over her shoulder.

Inside the bar, JJ dropped her bag on the bench seat and sat down where she could see the TV screens. "Fucking Buffalo," she gestured at the two flat panel screens one showing The Weather Channel, the other a hockey game.

Prentiss just ducked her head and ran her hand through her hair. "Can you remind me, the next time we have to fly commercial air for a conference, not to connect through Buffalo?"

Reid joined them just as the waitress arrived to take their drink orders.

"Whiskey Sour," Prentiss stated.

"Gin and tonic," JJ added.

"I'll have a Coke," this from Reid.

"Not feeling adventurous?" the waitress smiled down at him. He squirmed slightly disarmed by her gaze. "Unless you got a snowmobile, you won't be driving anywhere anytime soon."

"Throw a splash of rum in his Coke," Prentiss told the waitress who patted Reid on the shoulder and left their table. "I had a feeling you were about to tell her all about the statistics of snowmobile accidents in the greater northeast."

"Actually, I'm not sure whether more people are killed falling through the ice on lakes or crashing into trees," Reid's brow furrowed in concentration. "Can I borrow your BlackBerry, JJ?"

Later

"The fan's not working; leave the door open a crack like I did," Prentiss said to JJ's back as JJ headed into the bathroom for a shower.

Prentiss tossed her towel on a chair and opened the TV cabinet looking for the remote. Weather and hockey she thought surfing through a few channels. Instead she found lists of cancellations scrolling under the local sports highlights.

She pulled on a pair of well worn boxer shorts and a tank top and settled back on a pile of pillows at the head of the king bed. After a few more minutes of flipping she found a show she had never seen before that seemed to have an interesting premise. When the commercials came on she leaned forward to pull the sheet up over her bare legs and caught her breath.

The mirror over the dresser was angled just right to show JJ standing naked in the bathroom through the partially open door. Prentiss blinked, looked away, looked back. JJ was standing in front of the bathroom mirror combing her long, blonde hair.

The TV show started again after the commercials, but Prentiss couldn't take her eyes off her colleague as JJ took the hair dryer from the wall mount and began drying her hair. She spent the next few minutes dividing her attention between the TV and the show in the bathroom.

JJ picked the most opportune moment to exit the bathroom dressed in pajama bottoms and T-shirt. "Is she touching her breast?" she stopped short staring at the TV. "Is that porn? You found porn on the TV?"

Prentiss opened her mouth, closed it, and grimaced. "No, not porn, it's Canadian." She glanced at JJ taking in the little pink cats and yellow yarn balls covering her legs. On the TV a guy walked in on the two women. Prentiss gave a loud sigh.

"Don'tcha hate when that happens," JJ sat on the other side of the bed and looked squarely at Prentiss. "So, what's going on there?" JJ pushed her hair behind her ear and settled more comfortably on the bed.

"Well," Prentiss muted the commercials. "They were friends in college. The quirky girl, Erica, always regretted not knowing what it would've been like, or what would've happened, had she kissed her friend when her friend made a pass at her. Their friendship was ruined because of it. So," Prentiss paused and looked at JJ, "her therapist let her go back in time and do it all again."

JJ nodded. "Right; must be nice going back in time and doing things again."

They watched the conclusion of the show without further comment. When it was over Prentiss found CNN and muted the sound. She thought for a long moment before she spoke. It was a gamble how JJ would react but everything tonight had seemed to contrive to put them in this situation: the snow cancelling their flight, the last hotel room with only a king bed, the two or four drinks in the bar, the broken bathroom fan …

"Do you have any regrets about not having kissed a girl?"

"Who says I haven't? Do you?"

"I don't regret any of the girls I've kissed," Prentiss replied, a challenge in her tone.

JJ met her gaze and held it. After a moment she let her eyes travel over the other woman sitting beside her on the bed; over the white tank top that did not completely hide the dark nipples, over the long legs partially covered by the sheet.

"Were you watching me in the mirror," JJ flicked her eyes at the bureau, "while I was in the bathroom?"

Prentiss inclined her head and smiled ever so slightly. "Were you watching me?"

"Are you coming on to me, Emily Prentiss?"

"What would you think if I was, Jennifer Jareau?"

JJ pulled her knees up to her chest and wrapped her arms around them. She looked away, then back at Prentiss. "I think it would be very complicated," she took a deep breath, "but pretty damn hot."

Chapter 3: Reconnecting With a Friend

Early Monday Morning, 9 days ago

Prentiss opened one eye and looked at the glowing green numbers of her bedside digital clock.

03:02 and her phone was ringing. Not the BlackBerry she carried for work, but the iPhone she had picked up recently for personal use. "Fuck," she swore at it as she picked it up and looked at the call display.

"Some people sleep at night, you know, mija, "she said to her friend, and some time lover, from the DC police.

"Are you asleep?"

"Are you looking to hook up?" Prentiss answered the stupid question with an enquiry about their usual reason for getting together.

"No. Not this time. I actually have something," the voice faltered for a moment then resumed, "something I'd like you to look at. It's a case."

Prentiss lay back on her pillow and stared up through the gloom at the ceiling. "Is it a BAU case?"

"No. Not yet."

"Then you know I can't really …"

"One of the victims was someone you know, Em. Someone we both know."

"I'll put the coffee on."

Later

Prentiss peered through the peephole of her door at the woman waiting outside. Detective Theresa Lopez Carballo stood with an undisguised air of impatience. Prentiss waited another moment before opening the door.

"I'm surprised you didn't greet me in your Kevlar with yer gun drawn," Carballo started to stride past the taller FBI agent, but Prentiss caught her arm.

"You'd come in your pants if I did," she inclined her head slightly freezing the detective in place. Prentiss dropped her hand to Carballo's holstered handgun, traced her fingers slowly across the grips letting them come to rest on the other woman's belt buckle. Slowly she bent and kissed her softly, tenderly, on the mouth.

"Bitch," Carballo broke away, moved out of the entry hall, "me cago en tus muertos," she swore and went in the kitchen. Prentiss leaned against the counter watching as her guest poured herself coffee.

The detective was shorter and more compact then Prentiss with short dark hair and flashing, eager eyes.

"Que pasa, Tee-Lo?" Prentiss used her station house nickname deliberately.

"Yer not gonna like it," Carballo carried her coffee and briefcase into the living room, tossed her leather jacket on the couch, and sat. Prentiss joined her with the rest of the coffee in a thermal carafe.

Carballo placed three crime scene pictures on the coffee table. "Recognize them?"

Prentiss looked closely at the first photo. A woman in her thirties lay on the floor on a bedside mat partially tangled in a sheet as if she had rolled out of bed onto the floor and died. She was dressed in underpants and a T-shirt and appeared to have no signs of violence on her body. "I don't know her," she pushed the photo aside and looked questioningly at the detective.

"She was a lawyer and a lobbyist," Carballo provided. "I'd seen her around. Cause of death was OD on Triazolam mixed with alcohol. It's probable suicide."

Looking at the second photo, Prentiss bit her lip. "I talked to her once or twice. She's a Brit. She worked in some capacity at the British Embassy." Also in her thirties, this woman lay on her back, her eyes slightly open, a pool of blood below and around her head. "Was a Brit," Prentiss corrected herself. "Blunt force trauma?"

"Official circumstance of death is undetermined; possibly accidental."

"Accidental?" Prentiss raised a brow.

"There's a table just out of the frame with blood and hair on the corner of it. A broken glass and water stains were found on the floor."

"You don't buy it? That she slipped?"

"I'm not sure."

Prentiss took the last photo. A dark haired woman in her late twenties lay on a disheveled bed, her blouse ripped and bloodstained from several stab wounds. "I went on a date with her once – last year – I didn't sleep with her. When did she die? I didn't hear."

"Three weeks ago. It was on the news. I didn't get the case. Last I heard cops that did are leaning toward domestic violence. She had a nasty ex-boyfriend. The lesbian angle has been overlooked."

"You don't buy that either?"

"No. She might've had a nasty ex, but when she was with me she was all girl, know what I'm sayin'"

Prentiss couldn't suppress a smile at Carballo's slang.

"You see what I'm gettin' at here, FBI?" Carballo's jaw was tense and her eyes angry.

"They were all gay. Or playing at it," Prentiss looked over the photos again. The first two aren't necessarily foul play."

"You're missing something."

"What?" Prentiss was irritated." It's four o'clock in the morning. I'm not seeing it. Tell me, OK?" Prentiss held the detective's gaze until she relented.

"They were all at The Venue on the night they died. Check your calendar you prolly were too. I was at the last two nights."

"Shit," Prentiss ran both hands through her hair then flopped back on the couch.

"It's gettin' dangerous for us out there," Carballo studied her friend, her eyes changing from angry to something else as they roamed over the loosely worn sweatpants and sleeveless FBI Academy T-shirt, pausing to admire the bare skin showing through the gap at the waist .

"It's never a good time to be queer in this city," Prentiss met the look with one of her own. Her hand found the detective's where it lay on the back of the couch and traced slowly along her fingers to her wrist.

"Unless it's with you, jefa," Carballo said softly. "Then it's all good." She leaned forward moving closer to Prentiss. "Girl, you looked so hot the other night. Where'd you get those combat boots?"

"Government issue. Where'd you get the fireman helmet?"

Carballo shrugged. "Guy I know," she was watching closely as Prentiss took the holster off her belt and dropped it on the coffee table. Next her BlackBerry was removed. She caught her breath when Prentiss put her hand directly over her crotch and squeezed.

"I thought you was half asleep?" Carballo gasped at the pressure that was both direct and proprietary.

"Do I look asleep?" Prentiss moved over the smaller woman her hand now undoing the detective's belt.

"Hell, no," Carballo put her hands in the long, dark hair and closed the gap to kiss Prentiss hungrily.

After a moment Prentiss got up from the couch. "I have to be at work in a couple of hours." She held on to one of Carballo's hands, squeezed it.

"What? What about right now, right in this moment?" Carballo tugged at Prentiss' hand trying to pull her back to the couch.

"Right now, we're going upstairs."

Chapter 4: File Check

Later that morning

Prentiss tossed her leather briefcase beside her desk, plunked down in her chair, and smacked the space bar on her keyboard. Reid was watching her over the divider between their workstations but she ignored him. When the monitor came to life she entered her logon ID and password.

"How was your weekend?" Reid asked. "Do anything interesting?"

Prentiss spared him a 'wouldn't you like to know' glance as she started Outlook. The first email in her inbox was from Unit Chief Hotchner stating that Agents Morgan and Rossi would be out of the office all week at a forensics conference in Dallas. Morgan would be representing their team and the BAU, and Rossi would be presenting … she skipped over the details.

I went to an event on Saturday night I think you would find fascinating, compelling and possibly disturbing, Prentiss thought, and this morning

"I had a hard time getting out of bed this morning," she said.

"Yeah, me too," Reid commiserated. "I think it's because the days are getting shorter and there's less sunlight. Maybe they should move the BAU operations to Florida during the winter months."

"Great idea," JJ dropped some files on Prentiss' workspace and handed some over to Reid. "You didn't have time to dry your hair this morning?" JJ flipped a damp section of Prentiss' dark hair.

"Nope. Late getting up," Prentiss looked up at JJ who was running the hair through her fingers. "Is it time for the morning meeting?" she asked with just enough force to break JJ out of her spell. They had often had moments like this since Buffalo, but right now was not a particularly good time as Reid was watching.

"Yeah, time to gather," JJ dropped the lock of hair and ran her hand across Prentiss' shoulder. "Let's go," JJ waited long enough for Prentiss to lock out her PC, and then preceded her up the stairs with Reid following them.

Later

After the meeting Prentiss walked toward the washroom on the lower level. The hall was empty so she took out her iPhone. The cell had vibrated once in her pants pocket during the meeting announcing the arrival of a text message.

It was from Carballo. She read it in the stall.

Did u look yet?

She had promised she would discreetly find out if the FBI had taken any interest in any of the cases Carballo had shown her. The detective had also given her copies of the case files and she planned to read these over later.

Back at her desk, she typed the last victim's name into an internal FBI search engine. The result was several files, all of which she had clearance to access, except for the background file done by the FBI for the senator the woman worked for. It was created at the time of her employment and updated yearly.

That would probably be the most interesting, she thought. I can imagine what mine has in it. 'Subject appears to suffer from a borderline personality disorder'? If I hadn't studied psychology and sociology, I might be offended. Everyone has something in their file that's not complimentary. She glanced up at Reid who was flipping through a folder. Let's not even go there …

Accessing the last file, the one created the day after the woman died, was likely to be logged by the system. This did not concern her as her job at the BAU often involved looking into all sorts of files searching for correlations. This is what Garcia did all day only a zillion times faster and on a far wider scale.

She clicked on the file and read through it briefly. It appeared to be a copy of the police report and it was assigned to a low-level FBI agent in the local office. It might as well be stamped with MONITOR as that was all it told her.

The other two victims were less interesting to the FBI. The British diplomat had an FBI file that was beyond her clearance level and was probably background info of a standard sort the CIA and DHS would find fascinating. The other woman had nothing. If there was something on her, it was buried in the deep dark levels as Google had told her the woman was a fairly well known corporate lawyer and a lobbyist for the interests of a big telecom company.

She sent a quick text to Carballo reporting her negative findings then started into the case files reading the first two through completely despite the tone of the reports being more about suicide, in the case of the first, and accident in the case of the second.

There was nothing remarkable about the first case. The deceased has consumed a large quantity of prescription medication and had a fairly high level of alcohol in her system. An empty, recently prescribed, pill bottle was found in the bathroom.

Her family wanted the case closed and no further investigation done – TLC stated a Post-It-Note stuck on the file. Prentiss smiled at the detective's initials and how they inadvertently created a more interesting nickname. One she had used in more intimate settings.

So no hard questions had been asked about the death, Prentiss assumed.

At the end of the second file was another note: Did she fall or was she pushed? – TLC

Good question.

The last file was the most straightforward. People didn't commonly stab themselves in the chest. Likely with a long-bladed weapon that was not found at the crime scene, Prentiss noted. Carballo had as well along with several other points including how it appeared the unsub had cleaned himself up after and wiped away any finger prints that could have been left in the most likely places a guest would have touched. Hardly a crime of passion that an ex lover might've perpetrated.

Prentiss glanced over the top of the file and noticed an icon flashing on the taskbar of her PC. She clicked on the Office Communicator message from JJ.

Jareau, Jennifer: You hungry for lunch yet?

Prentiss, Emily: Yeah, kinda. U?

Jareau, Jennifer: Starved. Wanna go downstairs with me?

Prentiss, Emily: Sure. Meet u by the elevators in 5?

Jareau, Jennifer: K

Prentiss was in the cafeteria lineup when she felt her iPhone vibrate. The line was moving slowly and she was engaged in selecting lunch when her BlackBerry announced an incoming text. She knew Carballo would contact her second cell if the first was not answered promptly. She and JJ had just sat down when her iPhone began to vibrate intermittently signaling a voice call.

Looking away from JJ she took the call. "Que, mija?"

"Turn on the news right now!" Carballo was excited and stressed.

"I'm not in the office; I'm at lunch. What's going on?" Out of the corner of her eye she could see JJ watching her.

"Someone else is dead; stabbed. "Carballo paused and Prentiss could tell she was taking a deep breath. "It was Catherine-Margaret Wilkinson." Prentiss felt herself react though she tried hard not to. "I know you knew her. I did too."

Everyone did, Prentiss thought. She was one of the most active members of The Venue; young, very good-looking and totally uninhibited. And she was an ambitious up and comer at the State Department to boot. No wonder it was on the news.

"Is it yours?"

"No, but the guys on it aren't dumb. They're already tying it to the other stabbing."

There was a long silence between the two.

"There's nothing I can do right now. I'll get back to you," Prentiss ended the call. She placed the iPhone by her plate and started eating her salad.

"When did you get that?" JJ asked, looking at Prentiss curiously.

"It's for personal stuff," Prentiss replied adding no details. When she met JJ's eyes, her friend looked slightly hurt.

"You didn't give me the number."

Prentiss called up the display and placed the phone by JJ's tray. JJ added the number to her BlackBerry and handed the phone back.

"Everything alright, Emily?" she asked stirring her soup. "You turned pretty pale when you took that call."

Prentiss's face went through a range of emotions. "Yeah, just bad news about someone I knew."

Back upstairs in the bullpen Prentiss found the remote control for the big screen TV and flipped through the channels. Near the end of the local noon hour news the "Breaking News" story was replayed. The reporter was standing outside a Georgetown brownstone Prentiss had been to several times. A picture of the dead woman was in the upper left corner.

"… her body was found this morning although it appears she may have been dead several days …"

"She's cute; you knew her?" JJ leaned against the desk beside her their hips touching.

"Yeah, she worked for State," Prentiss kept her voice low despite the room being almost empty." I met her at some functions," she pointedly left off the exact where assuming JJ would think it was connected with her mother.

"Was it a homicide?" JJ found Prentiss's hand where it rested on her thigh and interlocked their fingers.

"Yeah, totally sucks."