Monday morning the BAU agents meet up at the airstrip at 6:30 a.m. By 7 they are in the air and all trying to get in a nap before they go over the case file. JJ is curled up against Emily's side. For the first time since she had returned to work, she is not scared about leaving Henry behind. He is able to stay in his bed, with all that is familiar to him, with someone she had trusted upon first meeting.
Emily kisses JJ's forehead, silently thanking her parents for their interference. For once it had worked out for the best. Francesca may be just what the young family needs to survive the long separations from Henry…and any other children that come along. Emily smiles as she imagines a little sister or brother for Henry. With that image in her mind, she closes her eyes, catching 40 winks before work will really begin.
At 9:30 a.m. Hotch reluctantly wakes his team to start the briefing. JJ moves to the front of the cabin to use the large TV screen on the wall. She brings up the first picture.
"Seattle, Washington. Someone is killing Santa Claus."
"Well, that's sure to get you on the naughty list," Emily states dryly. The other agents chuckle as JJ rolls her eyes.
"Since Thursday they have had 1 killed each day and 3 others have been assaulted. The ones that lived all had one thing in common," she brings up another picture. "Their beards were real. The unsub shaved that beard and told them that now they couldn't lie to children any more."
"So, wait a second," Morgan interrupts. "He kills the ones with fake beards but only shaves off the beard of guys with facial hair? He obviously hates store Santa's but what's to stop those guys from just putting on a fake beard?"
Rossi glances at Morgan. "Would you go out and buy a beard after that?"
Morgan bobs his head a bit. "Probably not. But what I'm saying is he's not necessarily stopping these guys from doing just that. What has he accomplished?"
"That remains to be seen," Hotch states. "He's left no clues at the scenes but the attacks are getting more violent, even against those that live."
"With him using a knife, if he's getting more violent he should eventually cut himself. That will at least give us some DNA," Emily points out.
"Are we all thinking that this guy may have been abused by a store Santa at some time?" Rossi asks.
"That or he's a disgruntled elf," Hotch jokes. Everyone laughs.
"Cute, Aaron. But I'm wondering if he was abused why he wouldn't go for genital mutilation on them, especially the dead ones," Rossi questions.
"That's a good question," Morgan agrees.
"Jen, do we have a geographic area that he's hitting?" Emily asks the liaison.
"That's usually Reid's thing but in looking at the reports they just all seem to be malls versus box stores. And all the men are ones that do the pictures with kids instead of being bell ringers or sign holders outside stores. Reid may be able to refine it more and he is planning to work on that first thing when he arrives," she answers. She glances at Hotch, who nods. "Also, the chief has not informed his lead detectives that we are coming on board. He knows they would prefer to work it on their own, especially one of them."
"That's not unusual," Emily states. "You'll be able to smooth things over for us."
JJ blushes. "Um, probably not this time."
"Oh, shit!" Morgan blurts as he sees why. He looks up at her and Hotch. "Did you know she was there?"
Hotch shakes his head. "No. I was never contacted as a reference which isn't surprising."
Emily looks down at the form and pales as she reads the names of the two detectives. "Oh. This could be a bit uncomfortable."
JJ nods, giving a half grin. "To say the least."
Hotch looks at Rossi. "Dave, I feel that it may be best if you take the lead with the detectives. Given the past relationship some of us have with Elle Greenaway and the fact that Prentiss replaced her she may be more receptive to working with you."
Rossi slowly nods his head. Like just about everyone at Quantico, he knew the story of how Elle had been attacked in her own home, nearly killed and had come back with deep scars in her psyche. To this day it's debated around the water cooler if her final shooting as an FBI agent was justified or not. "I'll do what I can, guys. But if the captain doesn't get things smoothed out before we get there we could be in for a tough case inside and outside the precinct."