Disclaimer: I do not own Criminal Minds. No profit made, no infringement intended.
Notes: A huge thanks to serialbathera for all her amazing advice as my beta.
Chapter 1: Happiness is a Warm Gun
"New York wants us," JJ tells the team as she walks into the room, her arms full of files. All eyes are on her as she sets down the files and pulls up the case on the screen.
"Brooklyn to be precise. In the last 3 months they've had 4 murders, in Carroll Gardens, Bushwick, and Sunset Park. The last one was 24 hours ago. The victims were all males who had been investigated for rape, but the DA had declined to prosecute. Their ages and races vary, but they were all investigated within the last year. All were shot in the chest from close proximity with a 9mm, ballistics indicates the shooter was very skilled, likely an expert marksman. This is the first victim Ricky Knight, 35, shot in his apartment in Carroll Gardens," JJ tells them, as the images switch from a mug shot to the first crime scene.
"So they're thinking they've got a vigilante?" Morgan asks, "Do they have anything linking the murders other than the manner of death?"
"That's their assumption at the moment. The main reason for thinking this is one UnSub rather than unrelated murders is that in each of the victim's hands was a crumpled piece of paper with the words 'I am a rapist', and their hands had been posed in the fist post-mortem," JJ explains, showing a close up of the crime scene photos.
"Hand-written or typed?" Reid interrupts.
"Hand-written, same writing in all notes," JJ answers as she clicks the note onto the screen.
"Sounds like this isn't politically or socially motivated. The rape is personal for the UnSub, possibly a victim or a parent of one," Emily adds.
JJ nods, clicking the next crime scene image to the screen.
The team arrives in La Guardia at 10am. By 10:45 JJ and Reid are set-up in Brooklyn's 78th Precinct, Reid doing a handwriting analysis of the notes while JJ talks to the Sargent about the press. "The Brooklyn Rapist Avenger" already ran in today's New York Post, and JJ is determined to control tomorrow's headlines. Morgan and Prentiss are busy at work at the first crime scene, while Rossi and Hotch study the second.
"No signs of a break-in here, the chain's intact," Morgan calls out to Prentiss.
"Just finished checking the bedroom, all the windows are locked, dust undisturbed," Prentiss answers as she joins him in the living-room/kitchen space.
"Guy wasn't much of a housekeeper, huh?" Morgan laughs as he looks over the mess of empty beer bottles, discarded clothing and food wrappers.
Prentiss chuckles and shakes her head. "Probably a disorganized asocial offender rapist," she can't help but add, always the profiler.
"So how do think the UnSub got in? A ruse, or did they charm their way in?" Prentiss asks as she looks through the peep hole. "Line of sight is pretty good here, guy would know what he's opening the door to."
"Perhaps more importantly, how did our UnSub know where this guy lived? Without a conviction he's not a listed sex offender," Morgan offers.
"Maybe the UnSub stalked him, or maybe they just worked somewhere where they had access to that information. The UnSub could even be someone who works in the criminal justice system, they'd have all the addresses of defendants at trial," Prentiss replies.
"Nothing in this crime scene allows us to narrow down those possibilities. There should be something here at the scene of their first crime- rage, hesitation, or a mistake. Everything here is too undisturbed, too controlled," Morgan says, his brow furrowed.
"It could be that we still haven't found the first crime scene, only the latest. There could be a body still undiscovered, a crime from years ago, or too different in MO to connect yet," Prentiss suggests.
"Or this UnSub really is just this extremely organized," Morgan sighs.
Prentiss shakes her head, lips pursed.
"We're getting more questions than answers here, but maybe the next one will reveal more. Come on, I'll drive," Morgan says.
Prentiss raises an eyebrow.
The last crime scene offers little in the way of new clues, the only striking difference between the scenes is that the last victim seemed to be a bit less of a slob.
"We're thinking we've got an organized offender for sure, right? I mean, this UnSub knows their crimes and where they live. There's no struggle, no trace of DNA or fingerprints yet," Morgan says as he looks over the room again.
"I agree, everything here indicates planning. Let's call Hotch and see how the second crime scene compares," Prentiss says as she takes her phone from her waist.
"Agent Hotchner," Hotch answers.
"Hotch, we think we're looking at an organized offender," Prentiss replies.
"Our crime scene indicates that too. No signs of break-in, no disturbance inside. This UnSub was efficient and prepared," Hotch replies.
"No signs of disturbance or a break-in here either," Prentiss confirms.
"We're going to head to the third crime scene. Have you heard from Garcia?" Hotch asks.
"No, we'll call Garcia right now," Prentiss finishes, closing the phone.
Morgan flashes a smile as flips open his own phone.
"Hey sexy mama, you find us any links between the vics?" Morgan croons into the phone.
"You know I'd be risking my name as supreme Goddess of cross-referencing if I didn't," Garcia answers with a laugh.
"What have you got for us my Goddess?" Morgan says with a grin.
"Ooh, I like sound of that, you better call me that again sometime soon... Okay what I've got is that all four women our vics raped sought help from Brooklyn Rape Crisis," Garcia's voice quickly switches from playful to serious. She pauses, then adds, "I'm not sure you're going to like this, but guess who is the program director for Brooklyn Rape Crisis?"
"Don't keep me hanging pretty mama," Morgan continues teasing, unaware that the color has drained from Garcia's face thousands of miles away.
"Derek- it's Elle. Elle Greenaway is their program director," Garcia answers, her voice measured and full of concern.
Morgan's smile fades from his face. Prentiss thinks he might be about to swear. Slowly control washes over him.
"Okay, thanks Garcia," he says stiffly, hanging up the phone.
Prentiss waits until Morgan is ready to tell her, but she can't keep her curiosity and worry from her face.
"The link between our vics is former agent Elle Greenaway," he finally tells her.
Prentiss nods, biting her lip.
Morgan grips the phone tightly as he calls Hotch back, the muscles in his arm forming hard tense lines.
"Hotch, we've got a connection. It's Elle. She's back in Brooklyn working at the Rape Crisis that all of the women our vics raped turned to," Morgan says bluntly.
"I'll call JJ right now. I'll wait until we all meet up to tell the rest of the team. Good work Morgan," Hotch says, his reply the product of forced decisions, leaving no time for doubt or emotion.
The unnecessary and unwanted praise for suspecting Elle feels like a knot in Morgan's stomach, and can only manage a weak, "Yeah", before he hangs up.
A moment of silence lingers after the call between Morgan and Prentiss, the heaviness of the revelation weighing upon them.
Prentiss covers the awkwardness quickly, asking simply, "Precinct?"
Morgan nods, and they slip back in to their routine.