WARNINGS: This is the only warning that will appear, it applies to the whole story. This is a chaptered case-ficish story that will eventually contain scenes of abuse and rape of a major character. I will not warn when its coming, this is the only one you get. If you can't take it, don't read it. But honestly, if you can watch this show, you can handle this.
There will be hints of Morgan/Prentiss, but not much beyond that.
"Severe mental illness like psychosis can lead to a tragedy like this - that people can see things that aren't real and hear things that aren't real and believe things that aren't real, and act in that distorted reality." -about Andrea Yates, who drowned her five children in a bathtub
Morgan dragged another white and green bucket of spackle into the living room of the house. Prentiss was scrapping the last bits from the first bucket they used, and gently layering it onto the wall, repairing minor cracks and breaks. Her dark hair was pulled back, and to his continued enjoyment, she was wearing a tank top and cutoffs.
Emily Prentiss was the last woman he'd expect to own a pair of cut-offs, but he found he was continually surprised by her. It was about four months ago, on the flight home from a rough case (as if any weren't rough) that she'd asked to help him work on his properties. After the initial surprise passed, he'd said of course, fully expecting her to join him once or twice, and that was it. She was still coming though, and bringing with her, her own brand of nerdy, infectious enthusiasm.
She'd been with him the entire time he'd been working on this house, perfectly happy to do whatever needed doing. When he'd first brought her, Morgan had carefully explained what he planned with the living room and dining room, and watched her turn slowly around both areas, picturing what he saw in his head. Prentiss had suddenly turned to him, smile on her face, and said, "Let's do it, then."
It didn't matter that they were constantly together, at work and now here; they worked well together in both situations. They knew each others quirks already, and had no discomfort working in companionable silence. Morgan couldn't think of a single other person he could spend this much time with, and not get aggravated. Even Garcia would grate on him eventually-there are times a guy needs to brood, and it's hard to brood with the ray of sunshine that is Penelope Garcia around.
Together, he and Prentiss had broken down the wall between the rooms down, cleaned out the old fireplace (a hideously, disgusting job), ripped up the carpet in the living room and cleaned off the beautiful wood floor beneath, and fixed the walls in the dining room. Now, they were fixing the walls in the living room, then they'd lay the molding. She'd actually helped him pick that out. Morgan would admit, if only to himself, that it was kind of fun having someone as invested in the house as he was.
"Perfect timing, I just ran out." Emily smiled and held up her spatula of the last of the white goop.
"I aim to please," he said, cheekily.
Prentiss rolled her eyes, and turned back to the wall with a smile on her face. Morgan watched her a minute, before working on prying the bucket open. He'd just gotten it when a phone started to ring. He checked his, and then turned to his companion, who was already opening hers, with an exasperated look on her face. Morgan didn't even need to hear her greet JJ, before he started pounding the top back onto the fresh bucket of spackle. That look meant a case.
"How bad is it?" Morgan watched her face carefully as she listened to JJ answer her question. The wince wasn't too severe, so it wouldn't be one of their worst.
"That's creepy." Emily went silent again. "I'm on my way, and I'm with Morgan, so I'll let him know." Then she smirked. "No, we did not. We were spackling walls." A slightly embarrassed smile. "Don't go there. I'll see you in twenty."
Prentiss turned to him then, and his bemused expression. "What?" She asked.
"Something tells me, I had a staring role in the end of that conversation."
Her smile turned slightly wicked. "Wouldn't you like to know." Then she started walking out.
"Hey!" He called after her.
"We've got a serial killer to catch."
"We're going to Albany. Four women have been killed in the last three and a half weeks," JJ announced, passing folders around the table. "The first two, Sidney Thomas and Jessica Lawson were a week apart, the third, Sara Bennett, five days later, and this last one, Moira Durning, was last night, only three days after the previous one."
"He's escalating quickly," Reid commented, studious frown on his young face as he studied the pages.
"Yeah, and the victims are all upper middle-class or wealthy, so Albany PD and our local office are both getting a lot of heat from the local politicians. And, this one has a lot of press attention guys, they'll be watching everything we do."
"Yeah, cause that'll help us," Morgan grumbled.
"I don't need to tell any of you that no one is to have any contact with the press, verbal or otherwise. JJ will manage them for us." Hotch gently warned his profilers.
Pressure made tempers flare, tempers caused normally diplomatic people to snap and make rude gestures or comments to the cause of their stress.
"Oh my god," Prentiss suddenly blurted out, eyes widened on something in the case file.
"Em?" JJ asked.
Prentiss looked up startled, as if she hadn't realized she'd spoken aloud. "Uh, I know one of the victims, well one of the husbands of one of the victims," she corrected, still startled by the discovery.
"Chris Bennett, number three." She wasn't looking at JJ, but studying the family photo that had been included in the case file.
"Closely?" Hotch asked, frowning.
Now she looked up. "Yeah, once, years ago."
"Old boyfriend?" Morgan asked, lips upturned in amusement.
"Sort of..." She ran her tongue over her lips nervously. "I was supposed to marry him fifteen years ago."
It was crickets for a few minutes, raised eye brows, open mouths, and wide-eyes the only responses the team could manage, until Reid of all people, gathered his wits.
"I broke it off." The finality of her tone indicated that's as much information as they were getting.
"Is this going to be a problem?" Hotch asked her.
"No. I got over it, and I'm assuming he did." He'd gotten married and had kids, she figured it was a safe bet.
Hotch simply nodded. "Wheels up in thirty."
That effectively called an end to the meeting, all further discussion would be reserved for the flight. They all filed out of the room, JJ stopping Emily before she could.
"And, I thought you being with Morgan at 10 in the morning on a Sunday was interesting. When we get back, you're so telling me about this guy."
Emily rolled her eyes. "It was fifteen years ago, and it's really not that juicy."
"Then why hide it?"
"I didn't hide it, I just didn't-" she stopped and groaned, "Fine, when we get back, I'll tell you about it."
JJ smiled then, satisfied, and gestured toward the door.