At 9 a.m. the next morning there is a coordinated take down of the hundreds of clients of Christopher Ridgeley. Some had been on the radar of various Crimes Against Children divisions, including Katie Cole's, for some time. Others were new to the units but would pay just the same for the crimes against Victor and the many other children in the DVD's and photos found in Ridgeley's office.
Morgan and Hotch walk into the safe house. Morgan glares at Edmund Banner.
"What was it, Edmund? He want your house next? Or maybe he wouldn't let you play for free anymore?"
Banner's eyes are terrified. "I…I…I don't…"
Hotch grabs him and spins him around. "Edmund Banner, you are under arrest for rape, child pornography, statutory rape, kidnapping, aiding and abetting, and any other fucking thing we can think of!" he secures the cuffs a little tighter than necessary.
"I…I don't understand."
Hotch spins him around and pins him against the wall. "Your story about how you saw Victor Tobbin doesn't match what Victor said. He was smuggled into the house in a large duffle bag that had been in a car that matches yours. Maybe Ridgeley blackmailed you into it but you're still on the hook for the kidnapping."
Morgan steps up behind Hotch's shoulder. "And if that isn't enough, we found your banking information and a full listing of all the DVD's and photo's you've purchased from Christopher Ridgeley. You were the last fuck to use that house. You were the one who took Victor Tobbin and the first one to abuse him. He identified your picture, you fuck. So whatever Ridgeley did to piss you off? You're going down just like he would have had he lived."
And so the man who started the investigation is the first to be arrested as it ends. Hotch and Morgan drag him out to the waiting police car…ignoring his pleas to hide his face from the reporters who had been "leaked" information regarding the arrest.
Turns out JJ still has some contacts in the greater New York City media and was happy to use them for this.
Emily opens her eyes at 11 a.m. to find her entire team in chairs around her hospital room. JJ sees her wife is awake and stands. She lifts Emily's right hand in hers.
"Hey, how you feeling?"
"My head is throbbing," Emily answers.
"I figured that. What about the other?"
Emily knows JJ is asking about the molesting she'd had to endure as a captive of a sexual sadist. Emily shrugs. "Let's just say it's a good thing Westfallen is on my speed dial," she answers without humor.
JJ strokes her left hand through brunette locks. "As you've vowed to me I vow to you: whatever you need, whenever you need it."
Emily nods, squeezing JJ's hand. "I know, Jen. Thank you."
JJ shakes her head. "No need to thank me for loving you."
She leans over and kisses Emily on the forehead. JJ looks up as Hotch approaches the bed.
"Prentiss, how are you feeling?"
"Fucker took me hostage with my own gun and then felt me up. How do you think I feel?" she counters with anger that has nothing to do with her head injury.
Hotch nods. "Right. Dumb question. The good news is with Ridgeley dead his business is done."
"Did we at least take down his network? If not they'll find other ways to…get their fix," Emily states bitterly.
Reid walks over. "At 9 a.m. this morning 327 men and women were arrested across the country. Police in 4 other countries have been notified of clients of Ridgeley and are preparing to arrest them, too."
Emily sighs. "Thank God. Unsub is Ridgeley?"
"Yes. Rossi made sure he can't ever get his business up and running again," Hotch assures her.
Emily closes her eyes. "Good. Then maybe this fucking headache is worth it."
Hotch nods. "I know you can't fly out today but wheels up at 4 for the rest of us. JJ?"
"Are you really asking? I mean, seriously?" JJ stares at him in astonishment.
"Jen, go home," Emily says, forcing her eyes back open.
"No! Emily, don't ask me to leave you here."
"Unsub is dead so he can't come after me again. You can go home and let Rocky and Henry know I'll be okay soon and that I'll need lots of Henry Hugs and Rocky Kisses when I get there."
JJ stares at her wife. "Emily, it's Wednesday. We've only been gone 3 days. And they were with Will and Helen until yesterday. Me waiting a day to go home with you won't hurt them."
Emily frowns. "Three days…seems like so much longer," she says quietly.
JJ nods. "I know. But the doctor will probably release you this evening and we can fly home tomorrow. Or take the train or rent a car if you don't want to risk flying. One more night will be okay as long as you talk to them later." She smiles. "They missed talking to Batman last night."
Emily can't stop the smile. "Yeah, Batman missed that, too."
JJ looks at Hotch. "I'll take a comp day."
"No you won't. We'll consider it a continuation of the case. If you two weren't married I'd have to leave an agent behind with Emily anyway. That's SOP."
JJ chuckles. "Right. Forgot about that."
"I could stay if you want," Morgan offers walking up. "I'm sure I could have some fun for a night in the Big Apple."
JJ smiles. "I'm sure you could but I got this, Morgan. Promise."
There is a tap on the door and it opens to admit Pete Cartwright. "Hi, is she- -she is! Hi, Em. How you feeling?"
"Like a Mack truck hit me."
"Yeah, I bet. Uh, look, any chance I can get your statement from you? I want to put this damn case to bed so I can forget it about it for a while."
Emily nods. "Sure." She looks at her team. "Uh, mind giving us privacy for this? I don't want…I'll have to…I just…"
JJ pats her arm. "We understand. Come on, guys."
JJ herds the team out. Rossi glances at the bed. Emily gives him as confident a smile as she can muster. He nods and closes the door behind himself. Pete steps up to the bed.
"Em, based on what the others said, would you like a female agent to conduct this interview?"
She shakes her head. "I trust you, Pete. That means more to me than anything."
He smiles. "Thanks. Well, let's get started."
When he leaves 45 minutes later he offers his hand to Rossi, who stands with the team. "If you hadn't taken that bastard out I might've been in danger of losing my badge."
Rossi smiles. "Funny, protecting Emily has that affect on people."
Pete grins. "Maybe it's because she's so tough all the time. Always has been. So when she's hurt or…or vulnerable, a word I don't think I've ever used about her before, it makes us that much angrier. But one thing I do know about her is she'll be fine. She'll use this to make herself a better agent; a better voice for the victims. That bastard Ridgeley just made the world a hell of a lot safer."
Morgan smiles. "You nailed that on the head."
JJ gives Pete a hug. "Thanks for being the one to take her statement, Pete. I appreciate it."
"No problem. And if she gets out tonight plan on dinner with us. I know Vicky will want to see Em's really okay."
JJ nods. "It's a date."
Emily is released just after 4 p.m. She insists on making a stop before leaving the hospital. JJ smiles and rides the elevator up to the children's ward with her. Emily breathes out in relief when she sees Victor Tobbin actually smiling as he talks with his parents.
"Hi, Victor," she says from the doorway.
The little boy waves shyly. "Hi, Emily. Hi, JJ." He frowns. "Who hurt your head, Emily?"
Emily walks over and takes his hand. "The bad man hurt it. But he can never hurt me or you ever again."
Victor swallows nervously. "Did…did you shoot him for me?"
Emily shakes her head. "No, I didn't shoot him. But he was killed by another officer when he wouldn't surrender." She gives his hand a squeeze. "He will never hurt you again," she reiterates.
Victor nods, looking at their hands. After a moment he looks up at her. "What about…the other man?"
JJ steps forward. "He was arrested. You were so brave to identify him from those pictures Pete showed you. He won't be able to hurt you again, either."
Part of JJ knows there is no guarantee when it comes to the courts. But a larger part of her is a mother. She nods to him. "Promise."
After dinner that night at the Cartwright's, Emily and JJ get back to their hotel room around 9:30. Emily drops down onto the bed.
"I still can't believe it's only been 3 days."
JJ nods. "I know. Me, too." She lies down beside her wife and cuddles against her side. "Do you know how hard it was to toss out my guns when he had you? I just…I just…"
Emily kisses her temple. "You had calculated the chances for a shot. And then you calculated how long it would take to dive out the door, grab a gun and fire."
JJ looks up at her wife. "How do you know that?"
Emily smiles at her. "Because I'd have done the same damn thing."
"Great minds think alike," JJ says with a smile.
"Damn right." The two lay there in silence a few minutes. Emily suddenly rolls to her side and stares into JJ's eyes. "Jennifer…I need to…I need…"
JJ strokes a hand down her wife's face. "Anything, anytime, Emily. Always."
Emily gives her a deep, passionate kiss. When it ends, she stares with eyes more defenseless than JJ has ever seen.
"Make love to me. Please. Please show me what love is. Erase that bastard's words and actions from my memory. Please, Jennifer."
JJ sits up, kneeling on the bed. She slowly removes her shirt and bra. She takes Emily's hand and places it on her heart.
"This is love, Emily." She slowly undoes Emily's blouse and caresses the strong abdomen she exposes. "My touch is love." She undoes Emily's bra, watching her wife shiver; knowing that bastard had felt breasts which are hers. "These are mine. He can't take them from me. They are mine because they are part of you and I love all of you, just as you love me."
"Shhh…forget him. Just feel me, Emily," JJ says as she starts to gently knead Emily's breasts.
The dark-haired woman lies back down on the bed. JJ straddles her wife. Emily has a momentary flash of fear. JJ leans down and gives her a gentle kiss on the lips. She takes Emily's hands and moves them to her waist. Emily shivers in fear.
"It's me, Emily. Touch me, feel me, inside and out: feel me, baby."
Emily runs her hands up and down JJ's sides as JJ leans over and kisses her wife again. A few gentle pecks, a swipe of her tongue along plump lips. She places small kisses along Emily's jaw. Emily shivers again…but this time with lust. JJ kisses her way up and down Emily's neck.
"Oh, Jennifer," Emily whispers.
JJ brings her head up and looks into her wife's eyes. "I love you, Emily Prentiss. And I will always be here to love and protect you. Always."
Emily tangles her hand into golden locks and pulls her wife into another passionate kiss. JJ shifts a little and undoes the slacks Emily wears. JJ pulls out of the kiss as she slides her hand into Emily's pants. She holds her wife's eyes as her hand strokes the hard clit through underwear. Emily rocks against the hand. After a few minutes Emily nods to her wife.
JJ stands and removes her pants and underwear. She then finishes undressing her wife. She sees the bruises from the fall down the stairs but it doesn't matter to her.
"You are so beautiful, Emily Prentiss."
She climbs back on the bed, straddling one of Emily's legs. Emily moans when she feels how wet her wife is. JJ rubs her center along the muscular leg below her.
"Can you feel my love for you? My desire? He didn't take that from us, Emily. No one ever could."
"Oh, Jen," Emily husks as a tear slips down her cheek.
JJ leans over and licks the tear away as her hand moves back to Emily's center. JJ enters her slowly, carefully. They rock against each other as JJ suckles at Emily's breasts, moving back and forth between them; cleansing them with her love. When she feels her wife teetering on the edge of ecstasy, JJ sits up and they once again lock eyes.
"Te amo, Emily Prentiss."
Emily screams as her orgasm washes over her. JJ presses her center down against Emily's twitching thigh and follows her wife over the edge. She eases down and pulls Emily close. Emily clings to her. After a few minutes, Emily swallows emotionally.
"I love you, Jennifer. Thank you so much for loving me the way you do."
JJ pulls her closer and kisses her forehead. "You never have to thank me for loving you, Emily. Never."
JJ gently runs her hand up and down Emily's back, soothing the woman to sleep. JJ kisses her forehead again.
"Now and always, Emily. Now and always," she whispers to the love of her life.
Emily had worried the train would be too loud so she and JJ rented a car for the drive back to Virginia. They arrive at Quantico just after 2 p.m. on Thursday. As they get off the elevator the first person they run into is Chief Straus.
"Agents, glad you made it back. Are you okay, Agent Prentiss?"
Emily shrugs. "Still have a headache but other than that I'm okay."
"You were in a scary situation. I'm assuming you know you'll need to see a Bureau psychiatrist before being cleared back to duty."
Emily nods. "Yes, ma'am. Truth is I knew the team would get me out of that situation. I just wasn't sure how," she adds with a grin.
Straus smiles. "I'm not sure anyone saw that end coming. That Rossi is a heck of a shot."
Emily laughs. "Yes, he is. Might give Jen a run for the money on the range."
JJ grunts. "Ha. I can take him any day with one clip tied behind my back."
Straus grins. "I'm sure. Well, good job up there. Your team's work has stopped a huge ring of child pornography around the world. Very impressive work indeed."
"Thank you, ma'am," they say as they continue on into the bullpen.
"Hey, how you feeling?" Reid asks when he sees Emily.
Emily smiles. "I'm good. Had the perfect nurse," she gives JJ a wink.
Reid grins. "So you didn't miss Morgan?"
Emily chuckles. "No offense to him but not a bit." She glances up at Rossi's office. "Rossi not here?"
"Left early. Said he needed some time."
Emily sighs. "He took the shot in anger, didn't he?" Reid nods. "Was still a damn good shot."
"He knows. He'll get over it. He just needs a little time."
"Well, I can understand that."
Emily gets her computer up and running. She sends out an email.
Thank you is not enough. If you need to talk or anything, I am here for you. I love you.
With that taken care of, Emily starts to clear the rest of her emails, noting the appointment for the next morning with the Bureau shrink is at 10. Good thing her appointment with Westfallen is at 8:00.
Emily smiles as Henry runs and Rocky crawls toward her. She drops down to her knees so they can both welcome her home. She gets hugs and kisses from both of them.
"I love you two so much," she tells them. "And I will protect you with everything I have in me. I promise," she vows to herself.
JJ runs a hand over her wife's head, suspecting the unspoken vow. "So, were you two good for Aunt Franny?"
Henry nods and throws himself at JJ. "Si, Mommy. Henry and Wok good."
She lifts him up, giving him a hug and kiss. "That's my good boy." She leans over and kisses Rocky as Emily stands with their little girl. "And my good girl, too."
That night when Emily gets to sing both of her children to sleep she once again confirms what she has always believed: Henry and Rocky are better medicines for her than anything a pharmaceutical company has ever invented.
A/N: Shew! What a ride. So glad to have this thought worm out of my head. No, I am not done with the next story yet but I really just wanted this one done. It was emotionally exhausting to write.
Again, my deepest respects to cops and agents who have to watch and experience this stuff to catch bastards like Ridgeley in real life. And respect to the doctors, nurses, psychiatrists, etc. who have to help little children rediscover that the world is not filled with monsters.