New Story! I'm still working on my other one...but I needed a break. Remember to read and review please! :)
Jennifer Jareau opened her eyes and peeked at the alarm clock over her husband's shoulder. She had five minutes until the alarm would go off and she'd have to get up.
Stifling a yawn, she leaned back down against Will's chest and stroked the hair of the little blonde boy who was situated between them. She was curled protectively around him. Henry had had a nightmare last night and apparently the only cure was to sleep with mom and dad. He had his arm around one of her legs and one of Will's, gripping tightly.
JJ drank in the moment, too aware of how close it had been to never happening. Will had been shot and almost blown up twice in a 12-hour span and his shoulder was still in a sling. Her own ribs were still black and blue from where she had been kicked during her fight with Izzy Rogers. Henry didn't have physical marks of the past week, but the nightmares wouldn't stop. He always told her about a woman coming in to take him away, no doubt the aftereffect of Rogers' visit.
A tear fell from her face onto the straw-colored hair below her. The pain of knowing Henry was with a psychotic killer and not knowing whether Will was alive or dead still stung.
The hand that had been holding hers came up and wiped her cheek, "No tears," came a whisper next to her ear. She angled her head to see the wide eyes of her husband staring back at her. He leaned in to give her a quick kiss.
The alarm broke the stillness between the three bodies on the bed. Will reached over to turn it off after Henry jumped. I pulled his face up to meet mine, "It's ok, hun. Just the alarm."
"I know, Mom. It woke me up. I sleeping."
Will chuckled, "That's the main purpose of an alarm, kiddo."
Henry stretched and then flipped over on all fours. "Daddy, you said we could go to the park today!" He then proceeded to jump on Will's torso, not noticing the cringe his father had tried to hold back.
I got up and picked up my son on the way out of the room, "Let's go make breakfast."
He squirmed before yelling, "Breakfas, breakfas!"
Laughing at his pronunciation, I let him down before he ran into the kitchen. I felt two arms wrap around me from behind and I leaned back into the embrace.
Looking up, I noticed Will's look of pure bliss, "I love you."
I placed a peck on his chin, "I love you, too." He leaned his head down and hugged me tighter, closing his eyes.
We had a few seconds to ourselves before our rampaging child came back into view, "I love you FREE! BREAKFAS!" He then rammed himself into our legs.
Will laughed and picked him up with his good arm, "What are you hungry for this mornin'?"
Henry was deep in thought for a few seconds before replying, "French toast."
I smiled, "Well you're in luck because that's daddy's specialty."
I watched the two most important boys in my life walk off into the kitchen. Turning back, I got dressed for the day of work that was ahead of me. Heels, slacks, and a blue blouse made up the outfit for today. While I pulled my hair back into a sleek ponytail, I started to smell some delicious aromas wafting in from the kitchen. I grabbed my badge and gun from my nightstand before joining my family for breakfast.
Henry was perched at the island on a bar stool and had wasted no time in dirtying himself and the counter. There was syrup everywhere! Will handed me a plate and I pecked him on the cheek, "Guess who's got clean-up duty today?"
He laughed as I sat down next to Henry, "Henry, mommy looks like she needs some syrup, doesn't she?"
I grabbed the two little arms that were moving quickly towards me, "Henry, mommy has her own syrup and daddy is just trying to make me late for work."
His little giggle makes my heart melt every time. "If mommy is late to work than you can come wif us to the park!"
Kissing him on the cheek before digging into my plate of French toast, I replied, "I'm sorry, buddy. I really do have to go to work today; otherwise I would love to go to the park with you and daddy."
Henry's face turned into a frown, "Mommy…"
I put down my silverware and stared at him, "Tomorrow, honey, I promise."
Will smiled as he sat next to me at the counter, "Hey, we'll play some football today, Henry. You only play soccer when you're with mommy, don't you like football too?"
My son's face brightened right up, "Football! I like football!"
I rolled my eyes and put my head in my hands, "Don't corrupt my child…"
Will pulled me into a half hug and whispered in my ear, "He's better at soccer anyway…"
Laughing, I finished my plate and got up to put it in the dishwasher, along with Henry's. I looked at the clock and saw it was almost seven. I pulled Henry into a hug before he ran off to his room yelling, "Bye mommy! Wuv you!"
I turned to Will with a sigh, "Does he even notice I'm gone?"
He sidled up to me and pulled me into him, "Yes he does, cher. He asks why I don't cut his sandwiches like you. Why don't I kick the soccer ball as well as you? Why don't I know his favorite channels like you do?" I smiled as Will leaned his head against my forehead. "He misses you and so do I."
I wrapped my arms around Will's neck and hugged him tightly. "I miss you too," I whispered in his ear. I stood there in his embrace for a few seconds, "I really have to go…I'm already late."
He smiled, "I know."
I pulled him in for a kiss. His hands wrapped in my hair, pulling us closer together. I cradled his face with my hands, noticing his stubble that had grown overnight. Sometimes I wish I could stay like this forever.
We broke apart when we were both out of breath. I leaned my head against his chest and sighed, still trying to breathe. Will squeezed me one more time before letting me go. I scooped up some folders that I had put by the door and looked back at him.
He winked and said, "Be safe," before heading to Henry's room. I went out the door and locked it behind me before climbing into my car that was parked in the street.
I drove through a Starbucks before going to the Bureau, making me even later. I figured since it was my first day back everyone should give me a little slack. I had taken a week off after my wedding. Near-death experiences kind of take the wind out of a family.
Before I even made it to the glass doors to enter, I saw Garcia looking extremely worried at my desk, while Reid and Emily were nowhere to be seen. I opened the door to hear Penelope talking to Morgan, "Hotch did say she was coming back today, right? What if she doesn't come back? What if Will almost dying made her quit? Oh my gosh, Derek, what if she QUIT? Don't you think she would tell us before she did that?"
A smile crossed my face as Morgan pointed in my direction, interrupting her rant. Penelope whipped around and I held my arms out to her. She ran into my embrace, hugging me tightly. She felt me flinch a little and immediately stepped back and started apologizing, "Oh, I'm so sorry Jay, I forgot about your ribs! How are they?"
I pulled her in for a longer hug to shut her up. "They're fine, Pen, just a little sore still."
Garcia was beaming when I finally let her go. "I'm so happy you're back!"
I winked at her before sitting down at my desk, "I'm happy to be back."
"So, the Pennsylvania petite joins us again…how was the break?" Derek asked, suggestively raising his eyebrows.
"My time off was great. Getting to spend more time with Will and HENRY was amazing."
Derek just chuckled and went off with Garcia back to her lair. Reid popped out of Hotch's office, flashing me a smile as he darted right back into Rossi's. Rossi then went back to Hotch's office, while Reid came down to see me.
"Hey, Spence! Where's Emily?"
He pointed back to Hotch's office before sitting down at his desk, "We were going over a possible case."
I frowned, "I couldn't go one day back without getting one, of course."
Looking back over to Reid after he didn't say anything, I noticed a paper airplane flying at me. I caught it before it hit me and looked over at him quizzically.
He just laughed, "It's a local one. Cheer up, JJ."
I whipped the airplane back at him and it bounced off his chest and onto his desk after his failed attempt to catch it. "You better put your thinking cap on, Spence, I want this over and done with quickly."
He mimed putting a hat on as I laughed. Emily, Rossi, and Hotch came down to the floor where we were. I stood up to hug Emily and Rossi while Hotch nodded with a 'Welcome back.'
After discussion of how my family was doing, Hotch turned the subject to a more serious one. "We need to meet in the briefing room in ten minutes. Reid, would you go get Morgan and Garcia?"
After everyone dispersed, I texted Will, letting him know what was going on.
Just got a case :( it's local so I should be home for dinner…I hope. xoxo –J
As I was walking to the briefing room, I got a reply.
Just be safe. That's all I care about. Love you –W
I tucked my phone into my pocket before grabbing a tablet and sitting down next to Emily. Everyone else was seated already and the mood was grim.
Hotch started off, "The Quantico police force has asked for our help in dealing with a serial killer on the loose. He was last seen entering Prince William Forest Park somewhere off Joplin Road."
I raised my eyebrows, "You weren't kidding when you said local. That's ten minutes away."
Emily nodded, "He's a suspect in at least ten murder investigations, and they have evidence against him in another seven, all women."
Hotch turned the TV on and pictures flashed across the screen. Garcia ducked behind her tablet while the rest of us examined the evidence.
"Mitchell Kesler is 28 and lives in Washington D.C. He was forced to relocate after D.C.P.D. found him responsible for the first seven murders. He's been on the run ever since, but just resurfaced today after an 8 month hiatus." Reid added on.
Derek looked skeptical, "This kid was on the run for 8 months and he came back to where he got caught? What the hell?"
Garcia peeked out from her iPad to comment, "Local police think he went south, but then headed back to finish off his final victim."
"Any ideas on who the lucky girl is?" I asked.
Garcia shook her head before Hotch pulled up scenes from the murders, then she went back into hiding.
"Kesler abducted each woman from a public place: bar, park, apartment complex, etc., before going on to kill them in secluded locations. He mostly picked rivers as disposal sites but he did use public dumpsters for a few as well." Hotch was cycling through the pictures, each one messier than the next. That much blood would mean…
"Did this kid chop them up? What's with all the blood, that's usually too messy for a serial." Derek asked.
Hotch nodded, looking grim. "Each woman was cut into several pieces post-mortem, then dumped in Kesler's site of choice."
Derek's eyebrows rose, "This is one sick dude."
"Indeed, and that's why Quantico P.D. and D.C.P.D. need our help in catching him. We need to figure out where he's going before he gets there. JJ, I want you and Emily to interview Kesler's parents. They live in a subdivision off of Fuller, the address is in your tablets. Derek, Reid, go to the police station and see if they have any leads on where he might be going. Dave, you and I can run point from here. Garcia, would you research Kesler's background; credit cards, bank accounts, education, record, family, etc. We can meet back here in two hours to go over everything we've found." Hotch ordered.
Emily and I were off to the subdivision to interview Kesler's parents. As we pulled up to their house, I couldn't help but notice how normal it looked. We were there for an hour, but got little to no information. They hadn't seen Mitchell since he was 18. He left for Washington D.C. to join the Army but was unsuccessful. He hadn't been back.
We were walking back to the SUV when Hotch called my cell phone. Apparently, Garcia had found an old abandoned lot that Kesler had bought. It had two warehouses on the property, one significantly larger than the other. He didn't think that Kesler would return, but we were supposed to scope out the situation anyway. Reid and Morgan were going to meet us there.
Emily and I joked on who would have to clear the bigger building on the way there, since it was about a 30 minute drive.
"You know Derek won't let us. He'll think that a bigger building means more threats. There's no chance in hell he's going to take the smaller one."
Emily laughed, "We could get there before them and just start going through it anyway."
I glanced at my watch, "They had a ten minute head-start though…you drive too slowly to catch up."
She huffed, "Excuse me? Slow? Look around!" She gestured to the heavy traffic around us.
"Turn on the siren and let's get it girl!"
She frowned, "But it's not an emergency…"
It was my turn to huff, "You take the fun out of everything!"
She looked at me and shrugged, "Because I follow federal laws?"
I laughed, "I guess so. Fun-haters."
We got there right as Reid and Morgan were pulling in. I called Will before we got out of the SUV.
"Hey, you done already?" He answered.
Frowning, I replied, "No, we're just clearing two buildings on a piece of property that the unsub bought right now. Hotch said today wasn't going to be a late day though…"
"I'll set you a place at the table then, cher. Do work out there."
I smiled, "I'll try. See you tonight."
I hung up and joined Emily, Reid, and Morgan outside. As expected, there was a heated debate over which building was being cleared by who.
"You guys should take the smaller building. Reid and I can handle the bigger one. Garcia sent me the schematics of it, there are more rooms and corners and spaces for him to hide. The smaller one is more straight-forward. It's basically divided in half for the most part." Derek was trying to reason.
"So JJ and I aren't capable of clearing the bigger building? Is that what you're saying?" Emily countered.
He sighed, "You and JJ are completely capable. I would just feel more comfortable letting you do the smaller one."
I took four bullet-proof vests out of the back of the SUV and handed them out, "Em, you might as well give up. I told you he wouldn't let us."
Emily glared as she put her vest on. "You owe us a round of drinks the next time we go out. And don't tell us about all the good stuff you find in that building. I don't wanna know."
Reid laughed, "There's always the likelihood of nothing being in these buildings. Records show that Kesler hasn't touched them in at least five years."
"Who buys two warehouses when they're 20 anyway?" Emily pointed out.
"Who knows?" I said as I pulled her towards the smaller of the two buildings. Derek and Reid jogged off toward the entrance to the other.
"So, what's our plan of attack?" I asked while un-holstering my gun.
"I take one side, you take the other?" She asked.
"Should we split up, though?" I had bad memories of splitting up in the past.
Emily smiled, "There's nothing in this building, Jay. We can clear this one quickly and then scare the pants off of Derek and Reid. You know Reid's scared of the dark right?"
I nodded, "Sneaking up on two armed FBI agents while they're trying to clear a dark building…sounds fantastic!"
She stuck her tongue out at me before pointed to a door to my right. "You take that door; I'll find another one around back."
"Sure. If I start screaming you better run your ass over here on the double."
Laughing, she jogged around the corner of the building. I rolled my eyes at her before walking up to the door. I tried the handle and found out it was unlocked. I wouldn't even have to kick down the door. That was depressing.
I cracked the door open and darkness stared back at me. Pulling my flashlight from my belt, I shined it around the room slowly, making sure to clear every little crack. I entered the building and shut the door, keeping my back to the wall. There was just mechanical junk in here. It looked like it used to be someone's old garage.
Slowly, I made my way to the next room, clearing that one as well. This had more junk in it. It also had some rope and zip-ties, which could be useful to a serial killer, but I was starting to get bored. Emily had been right. There was nothing of value in this building. The four of us had put earpieces in before we separated, and all I could hear were whispers of 'clear' every few minutes. Reid had found some cars and Morgan some clothes but, other than that, we had nothing.
I tried to open the door to the next room, but found it locked. I perked up; finally there might be something interesting!
Stepping back, I kicked in the door like Morgan had taught me. He looks like a badass every time he does it, but it's not really that hard, except when you have heels on…like I did. It took me a few tries but I finally got it. I slinked through the door and closed it behind me. This room had no windows to the outside like the others had had, so it was completely dark.
I crossed my flashlight with my gun and surveyed the room. I did a quick sweep to determine what the layout of the room was, then established that there was no one here. This room looked more promising. There were tattered clothes and a set of knives on the counter to my right and what looked like a series of pictures to my left. I moved over to a table but slipped and had to catch my balance on a nearby chair. Flashing the light downwards, I saw what I had slipped on. My hand rose so I could tell the others of my find.
Just before I had pressed the button down to tell them I had found blood on the floor, someone grabbed me from behind. My gun was knocked out of my hand and my flashlight clattered across the floor, turning off as it did. I thrust my elbow back into my attacker but I think it hurt me more than him. He had me pinned before I knew it.
I was in a pitch-black room being held by a complete stranger…although I had a feeling I knew who it was. He was grabbing me so tightly that I could feel the bruising in my ribs again. The hand that I had raised was pinned against my chest, and his other hand was clasped over my mouth.
I tried to move but he had an iron grip on me.
Emily's voice through my earpiece made me jump, "JJ, haven't heard from you in a while. Everything ok?"
The man holding me was close enough to hear what she had said, since his head was pressed against mine. He released my arm, but still had a firm grip on my mouth. Seconds later, I felt metal touch my neck. I tried not to breathe too deeply. It was one of the knives that I had so casually put off earlier.
He whispered in my ear, "You say anything other than 'clear' and I'm going to slit your throat."
I closed my eyes as he released my mouth, yanking my hand up to my face. He pressed the button on my watch. I tried to say 'clear' as calmly as possible. I must have succeeded because then he ripped the watch off my wrist and stomped on it.
"I was getting worried for a minute, Jayje." Derek added.
"Nah, I thought she was just scared of the dark like Reid." Emily jabbed.
I didn't get to hear Spencer's reply because the man ripped the earpiece out of my ear, slashing at it with his knife before dropping it to the floor. I moved to run but he tackled me to the ground, pinning me down. My face was pressed up against the floor as he took off my vest and tossed it aside. He also patted me down, looking for other weapons before getting up. I jumped up to grab something, anything, to use as a weapon before getting a punch straight to the face. I crumbled to the ground, cradling my head as he turned the lights on.
I looked up to see the malice-filled eyes of Mitchell Kesler staring back at me. I charged, taking advantage of the time that his eyes needed adjusting to the light.
All of my force hit a solid brick wall. He caught me, and then proceeded to knee me right in the chest. I fell to the floor again, this time I couldn't help from falling in the puddle of blood that I had slipped in before. It hurt to breathe and I'm pretty sure one of my ribs was cracked, if not broken.
Kesler yanked me up and forced me to walk out the door opposite the one I came in. It was a door to outside and he looked around carefully before forcing me out of it. I saw my chance to run and took it. Squirming out of his grasp, I bolted.
I had failed to see the plank of wood propped by the door.
The impact it made with my head made me pass out. The last thing I saw was the ground coming up rapidly.