Arthur Roysters flicks his eyes from Hotch to JJ and back again. "You lie," he says in disbelief. "You're working a scam with that lawyer!" he accuses.
"I'm afraid we're not, Mr. Roysters," Hotch assures him.
The man looks at his wife, who has dropped into a chair, devastation on her face. He looks back at Hotch. "Let me see those badges again," he demands.
JJ and Hotch dutifully pull out their credentials for the man to study. JJ sighs. "I promise you, sir, they are real. And, I'm sorry, but the adoption was a fraud."
Roysters' knees give out and he would have fallen if Hotch and JJ hadn't been there to catch him. They help him into a chair near his wife's. The agents exchange a look. These poor people were just pawns in the Castle's games.
After asking a few more questions, they leave. In the car JJ shakes her head.
"How the hell did they not think it was a fucking scam when he told them to go to Russia and buy a fake birth certificate? Are they really that stupid?" she blurts.
Hotch sighs. "Not stupid just desperate. They had tried every legal method possible. They believed him when he said the state could still stop the adoption because of her health issues. They wanted a child so badly they just…they threw common sense out the window."
JJ sighs, staring out the window. "Yeah…maybe I can see that. But that blind desperation killed one woman and nearly killed another."
He pats her leg. "Actually, it nearly killed 2 more."
JJ slowly turns and looks at him. She sighs and turns back to the window. "Yeah…I guess…"
When they get to the precinct they find the team and the lead detective waiting for them. Hotch frowns.
"Did she lawyer up?"
Morgan shakes his head. "Nope. Says she'll only talk to JJ."
JJ recoils. "Me? Why? She showed me the bitch behind the mask. Why they hell would she want to talk to me? It would make more sense for her to try to convince you guys she's not a sociopath."
Rossi shrugs. "Could be a chance to get you alone, try to kill you before you can blow her cover."
Reid grunts. "Not a comforting thought."
JJ spares him a grin. "Tell me about it." She looks at Hotch. "If you all swear to be in there if she makes a move I'm willing to see what she'll say."
Hotch nods. "We will be. Come with me a moment."
JJ nods and follows Hotch down to an empty office. He closes the door and takes a deep breath.
"JJ, you've never gone one on one with a sociopath before. Are you sure you can do this?"
JJ sighs. "Do we have a choice?" Hotch just raises an eyebrow. JJ starts to pace. "I get your concern. I really do. But, Hotch, I have learned a lot from you all over the years and I got a crash course in interviewing in Afghanistan. Trust me…there were plenty of sociopaths in my reports."
He grins. "I'm sure there were. She's going to try to prove you wrong. She's not going to be easy to trick into showing her true colors."
"I know. I'll do my best."
He nods. "Of course you will. And if you need help, just turn and look at the mirror."
"Will do. Thanks, Hotch."
The chief nods and they go back to the others. JJ can't help but feel a bit of excitement at the fact that she is going to be running this interrogation. She glances at Morgan who gives her an encouraging smile. Grabbing a pad and a pen she heads into the room.
Martha Castle is sitting in a chair, her eyes darting around nervously. Her hands are clenched tightly together. Her posture and even her breathing indicate scared little woman. JJ has to hand it to her: it's convincing.
"Been running that scam a long time, haven't you, Martha," JJ thinks to herself.
JJ takes her time sitting down, noting the slight change in Martha's pulse. The "meek" woman is excited. Finally JJ meets her eyes.
"I understand you will only speak with me, Martha."
Martha nods. "Yes! I need you to—"
"Just a second. For the record, you have been read your Miranda rights?"
Martha nods. "Yes. The officers did that at the farmhouse."
"Good. Those rights still apply. Do you want an attorney?"
She shakes her head. "No. I know you and I can get this worked out."
JJ gives a sarcastic smile. "I'm sure we can." She pulls out pictures of the 5 dead women. "Do you know these women?"
Martha nods. "Yes. Bertie kidnapped them. He was a very scary man, Agent Jareau. Very scary. He made me help him keep them until they had their babies. Then he would kill them. I couldn't help them, Agent Jareau. I swear. But I made sure the babies were okay."
"I see. So you are saying you didn't kill these women? Bert did?"
"Yes. You have to believe me!" She shudders, though JJ sees it is forced. "He would do terrible things if I didn't." She looks beyond JJ to the mirror. "He was a terrible man! He would beat me if I disobeyed."
JJ raises her eyes at that. "I see. So you must have some bruises or scars to show us to support that statement?"
Martha's eyes flicker. It takes her a split second to cover that lie. "I'd learned my lesson, Agent Jareau. He hasn't had to beat me in a while."
"I see. Why dump the bodies near churches?"
"I told him to do that. It was…was the only comfort I could offer them once he was finished with them."
"Why freeze them first?"
"That was Bertie's idea. He wanted to mess with the forensic evidence. I thought it was terrible to do to them."
JJ makes a couple notes on her pad. The next questions would be the ones that will either break Martha's façade or solidify it. The agent has to be careful. "Why did you take one child to the hospital?"
"She had turned blue almost as soon as she was born. We made her mother breastfeed to see if it would help. I finally realized that she was sick. Bertie just wanted to drown the baby and get rid of it with the mother. I convinced him to save the baby." She looks at the mirror again. "I swear, I just wanted the babies to be okay. He chose good families for them! I would have never helped him if he hadn't."
On the other side of the glass, Morgan shakes his head. "Who the hell does she think she's fooling?"
Reid shrugs. "Non-profilers and detectives might believe it. I think she's practicing for a jury."
Rossi nods. "Most likely. Still, I have a feeling she has something in store for JJ. I just don't like this."
Hotch remains silent. He agrees with all three agents. And he really hates that he agrees with Rossi.
JJ sits back in her seat. She crosses her arms. "Martha, let's cut the bullshit here. You let me see who you really are and you didn't get a chance to kill me to keep your secret hidden. Even if you had," she gestures with her thumb towards the mirror. "the people over there watching you? They can tell this is an act. They can see the tells you can't control. You're a sociopath who probably saved that child because you knew no jury could look past the death of a child. You also figured it would help you with them; maybe show Joe Public that you are just a victim, too." She leans forward, arms resting on the table. "You may fool Joe Public but you can't fool yourself…or us. So either start telling me the truth or this interview is over."
Everyone sees the mask fall. Martha locks eyes with JJ. The woman can't handle direct confrontation.
"I should have had Bertie blow your head off in the woods, you stupid bitch."
JJ grins. "Yeah, you should have. But you didn't." She taps the photos. "Your only chance to avoid the death penalty is telling us where the children are. That's the only deal the prosecution is offering: the kids for your life."
Martha narrows her eyes. "What do you think I should do?"
JJ raises her eyebrow. "Personally, I think we'll find the kids. I hope you keep your worthless fucking mouth shut so the families get real justice."
"Uh, oh…" Reid mutters.
All the FBI agents see it coming, including JJ. Martha leaps to her feet. JJ leaps up at the same time. She lets Martha drive her into the wall…so she can justify punching the woman. Martha swipes at JJ weakly. JJ follows up her right with a left hook and Martha is out like a light.
Hotch throws open the interrogation room door and stares at the woman on the ground. JJ glares at him.
"You're late, Hotchner."
Hotch grins. "Knew you had it covered, Jareau."
JJ just grunts and steps over the woman, glad the whole thing is on tape. Martha Castle is done.
In the hallway, Morgan grins at her. "Feel good?"
JJ smiles. "You have no idea just how good."
Morgan's laughter follows her to the conference room they had been using. As she starts to gather her paperwork together, she hears her personal cell phone ding. She pulls it out of her briefcase as her teammates walk into the room. She frowns.
"Holy shit," she mutters.
"Jayje? What's wrong?" Reid asks.
JJ hits redial. "I have 6 missed calls from Elizabeth."
The team grows quiet, seeing the fear in JJ's eyes.
"Elizabeth? What's going on?" JJ asks nervously.
They see JJ's face pale. Her legs go out and she drops to the ground. "Emily WHAT?!"
A/N: Yes...yes I did just end on that cliffhanger. On the bright side, I'm not going out of town for Thanksgiving and the next story is nearly done. :o)