With the children gone, Emily and JJ set up their laptops in the kitchen so they can work as they eat the pizza they brought home with them. They haven't been at work long when the doorbell rings. Before JJ can get to the door, it opens and Garcia walks in carrying an overnight bag and pulling her rolling computer case. JJ looks at her in confusion.
"Uh, hi. What's up?"
"We leave early. Yes, we, me included. So, I'm staying here tonight because in addition to it allowing me to sleep a little longer I can start to look at the horribleness that is this case without being alone." She looks at the pizza box. "I've already eaten but let me grab a goblet and help you with that wine."
Emily and JJ exchange a look. They shrug, not at all minding the uninvited but very welcome guest. The three women sit in silence studying the information Hotch had sent them. After about an hour, Emily sits back in her chair. She looks up and studies her wife. She sees the empathy in the blue eyes for the children hurt and the families who lost their child mixed with the anger at the unsub. Emily then glances at Garcia, who sits beside JJ, and sees the anger and disgust in the woman's eyes.
It amazes the brunette: both women are reading the same information but their reactions to it are so different. And both are preparing their hearts, shielding them, for the tough case ahead. The way they approach the information and the eventual suspect will be so different than her own way. Each member of the team will take this information in their own way and they will bring those ways together to form the nucleus of the case.
"Keep profiling me and I will kick you," JJ warns, her eyes never leaving the computer screen.
Emily grins. "Not profiling you. Not really. Just…studying you and Pen and thinking about how different we all are on this team and yet we form an incredibly cohesive unit. Our different ways of processing these horrors work so well together. This case is going to suck but we are going to be there for each other and the victims and we're going to stop the bastard responsible."
JJ raises an eyebrow. "So, you weren't profiling us, you were putting us into a case study in your head. Good thing I love you, nerd girl."
Emily and Garcia laugh. Emily shuts her computer down. "I'm through with this for now. Going to get my computer packed up and ready to go. Then I'm going to watch a mindless movie."
Garcia snaps her computer closed. "I'm with you."
"Give me 5 more minutes and I'll be in there with you," JJ promises.
A little while later the three women are watching a comedy and trying to clear their heads knowing the case they will be immersed in starting tomorrow will lead them down a dark path until it concludes. They needed this brief respite from the coming storm.
Once the jet reaches cruising altitude the next morning the team gathers in the center. Hotch sighs.
"So what do we know?"
"That we're going to need a lot of scotch to get over this one," Rossi states seriously.
Emily sits forward. "Do we know if there are any bodies in the house? Like Gacy?"
"So far no child has been found but Cartwright ordered the scene to be held intact until we arrive. He understands we have to see it just as it is to get into the unsub's head," Hotch replies. "He did have them video and take stills of the entire place and he's ordered ground penetrating radar to come in today to scan the yards."
Emily nods. "Do we have missing child reports for New York and the surrounding states?"
Garcia takes this one. "Compiling as we speak. Sadly, it is a huge list and until we get on scene and I can get into his computers we won't be able to match faces. And if this guy is as demented as we think he will most likely have a kill bug on his computer."
"Meaning if you enter the wrong password it's wiped clean?" JJ confirms.
"Yes. I'm going to first try to clone his drives without opening them."
"Is that possible?" Morgan asks.
"If the program I have been working on for the better part of a year does what it's supposed to, yes."
"And if not?" Hotch asks.
"If not we'll have to use a regular password breaker and cross our fingers. I have a dummy computer with me to test the program on once I finish tweaking it."
Hotch nods. "Keep working on it, Garcia. If anyone can do this it's you. Once we get into the computers, JJ, Reid, you'll help Garcia go through all the information on them." The two agents nod. "Morgan, Rossi, I want you to walk the house with Cartwright and after that start talking to neighbors. Prentiss, I need you to go through the videos and photos he has to profile the children. We need to know what he was looking for in a victim. That will help us narrow the missing children list and hopefully help us focus the profile."
"I'll take the point with the media. I want you all concentrating on finding this bastard and if this does prove to be as extensive as Cartwright thinks it could be Katie Cole may be stepping in to help."
"Does she have anything that can help us narrow the profile down?" Rossi asks.
"Not yet but she is on call if we need her. Anything solid that she can investigate I will get to her," he replies. He takes a moment to look each member of his team in the eyes. "Cases involving children are always the hardest. This one looks like it could be one of the worst we've ever seen. If at anytime you need to step away from the scene to clear your head there is no shame in that. We need to be at our best and sometimes that means stepping away to get perspective. Do what you have to do," he advises them.
The team nods. Soon the only sound is Garcia typing away and mumbling to herself as she refines her cloning program.