A/N: Howdy! Here we go on another creepy case fic. But before we start, a few people have asked why Emily calls her wife JJ sometimes instead of Jen or Jennifer. There are three times that happens:
1) When she is trying to compartmentalize her feelings and slips up. Usually that's pointed out by her wife or a teammate.
2) When her feelings are all jumbled and raw at the surface. For instance, the slip up as she gets her Harley. The party, the gift, the friends/family it was just a bit overwhelming for Emster. JJ lets those instances slide because she knows it's not Emily denying her feelings just being hit by a lot at once.
3) When the author is tired and misses that she writes JJ instead of Jennifer during their interactions. Hence, the JJ when Emily is telling Rossi about the pregnancy. It's tough when everyone calls her JJ and only Emily, Francesca or the elder Prentiss' call her Jennifer. Even the Jareau's call her Jenny. It gets confusing. Dang my muse for making it hard on me. Lol
So, there you have the explanation. Feel free to decide when you see it what drives it. If there's nothing emotional going on, just chalk it up to a writer boo-boo that a Henry hug and kiss can't heal.
Now, without further ado, here is the start of the next case file…which doesn't actually start with the case. Well…you'll see. Anyhooo, enjoy!
Tuesday morning Emily reports to Baltimore to help Katie Cole with the information her Crimes Against Children's Unit has found. Emily stands outside the door of the department, taking a couple deep breaths to steel herself for the nightmares she is about to reawaken.
"You know it's not an automatic door, right?" an amused voice says from behind her.
Emily turns and grins. "Hi, Agent Cole. Good to see you again."
Katie extends her hand. "Please, call me Katie. It's easier in this department to have a more relaxed atmosphere. What we see everyday can make you turn inward. You have to believe everyone here, from the probies on up to the chief is someone you can go to when you need to vent."
Emily nods. "I can imagine that is extremely helpful. When I was in Long Island I kept most of it to myself. And I hated the things I had to pass on to our analyst to enter into her search engines. I couldn't stand the thought I was making her live what I was living even in a small way."
"Understandable. Trust me when I can say the agents and analysts you will be working with today and possibly tomorrow have seen it all. If you need to scream, scream. If you need to break things ask for the plate room and one will take you down to it."
Emily frowns. "The plate room?"
Katie grins. "I frequent yard sales and buy up all the old dish sets. I have a room down in the basement where you can go and just throw plates at the wall to relieve stress. It's been a real saving grace for all of us."
Emily nods, smiling. "I bet it is. I will be sure to ask about it if I need to."
"Good. So, ready to slip back into Hell?"
Emily shrugs. "No time like the present. Just point me towards the coffee pot and my work station."
Katie notes the helmet in her hand. "Made the drive from just north of Quantico without coffee? You're a braver agent than I am, Emily."
The women laugh and head into the unit to get to work.
JJ is reading over a report on a series of rapes in the Norman, OK area. Something about the case is ringing a bell of familiarity. She turns to her computer and searches her files but can't see one that jumps out at her.
She goes back to the photos of the crime scenes and the photos taken of the victims. She turns them all to thumbnails on her tablet to see if putting them side by side helps her. She shakes her head. "I've seen these patterns. Where the hell have I seen them?"
As she flips through the photos once more it hits her: she'd seen the actual photos! She turns to Reid.
"Spence, do you remember a series of rapes you consulted on somewhere in the Midwest?"
He raises an eyebrow. "Since I joined the BAU I've consulted on 147 rape cases in the Midwest."
JJ grins. "Right. Of course you have. What about in the last year?" She gets up and shows him the picture on the tablet. It's a close up of a strange pattern on the back of a woman's leg. "Remember this? You brought it up in a meeting because no one can figure out what it is."
Reid slowly nods. "I do remember it. There were 17 women raped over a 4 year period in San Antonio and then the attacks just stopped. The women were drugged and could not remember where the rapes occurred but all had that same pattern on their legs." He looks up at JJ. "Where is this?"
"Norman, OK. They've had 9 rapes in the last 2 years."
"So the rapist left San Antonio for Norman. He's interstate."
"More importantly if the pattern is the same, wherever he's raping them went with him. He's got a trailer or motor home. Pull that file and let's see if Garcia can pull enough information to find this guy."
"Right. Go get Garcia going. I'll let Hotch know we may have a case for the team."
JJ nods and hurries down to the analyst's lair. "Garcia, up for a treasure hunt?"
Garcia spins around in her chair. "Always. What's the prize?"
"Getting a serial rapist off the street."
Garcia spins back to her computer. "Best prize ever! Give me what you've got!"
JJ sits on the edge of one computer desk. "Two years ago relocated from San Antonio to Norman, OK. Driving a van, RV or pulling a trailer. Would be in his late 30's to early 40's. Anti-social. Loner. Probably in a relationship with a woman who over-shadows him personally and professionally."
"Go, Profiler Jareau," Garcia says proudly as she types.
She is still inputting information when Hotch and Reid enter her office. "What do we have?" Hotch asks.
JJ gives him a rundown of what she's having Garcia input. Hotch and Reid both nod in agreement with JJ's parameters. Hotch lays a hand on Garcia's shoulder.
"Expand your search to include any towns between San Antonio and Norman. If he drove himself and he was not happy about the move he may have struck along the way."
Garcia nods. "Done. This is a huge search over a long stretch of the U.S. I'll let you all know when or if I get a hit."
"Garcia, do you mind putting this picture up on one of your big screens?" JJ asks, showing her the picture of the strange pattern.
Garcia finds the file she had sent JJ and puts the picture up on the wall. Hotch, Reid and JJ all walk over to stare at the larger image.
"It's a grid of some sort," Reid notes. "They had to have been laying on it long enough in one position to get such a good imprint."
"True," JJ notes. "But if they were being raped while it was being done the pattern wouldn't be as defined. This was done after the rape."
Hotch frowns. "He fell asleep on them. After the rape, he fell asleep on top of them, pressing them down onto whatever it was. When he woke he then dumped them."
Reid thinks carefully. "His adrenaline should have been pumping due to the illegality of the act. What could make him pass out?"
"Comfort," JJ states. She looks at the two men. "He was so into the fantasy that he actually derived comfort from the closeness, much like when you fall asleep in the arms of the one you love after sex. These are the perfect women: they don't degrade him, they let him run the show. They aren't in charge, he is."
"He must take the time to stalk them," Reid notes. "Otherwise he wouldn't have felt so comfortable. The women didn't resemble each other so it's not their looks giving him the comfort. And none of the women mentioned a man chatting them up before the attack so it's all in his head."
Hotch looks at his two agents. "Contact the detectives you were working with. Reid, let them know the case has possibly gone active again. JJ, tell yours that we may have a connect in Texas and will do our best to find who this man is so he can pay in both states. Garcia, as soon as the run finishes, let us all know. We may be responding as a team."
The agents return to their desks to make the notifications. JJ sends a text off to Emily letting her know they may be flying to Norman. They had already decided if the team is called away JJ would take Emily's go bag…since Emily had insisted on riding her Harley to Baltimore. JJ grins. Emily had looked hot as shit that morning putting her riding chaps on over her work slacks. And the desire to jump her bones right there in the garage had NOTHING to do with pregnancy hormones.
Emily closes her text messaging down and sighs. "How fucked is it that the chance to chase down a serial rapist makes me feel better?"
The young agent sitting adjacent to her grins. "I understand. It sounds pretty good to me, too," he admits.
Emily stares at the description of the videos in front of her. All had seemed similar to what she found in New York but how many ways were there to describe the horrors the movies held. She runs a hand through her hair and stands.
"Time to watch the damn things," she mutters.
She goes to the room in which Cole had set up a VCR/DVD combo and the stacks of child pornography. Emily closes the door and sits down in front of the TV. She lifts up the first DVD and inserts the disc.
Two hours later she walks over to Cole's office. "Katie, we have a problem. Two of those pieces of shit in there were done after Long Island but it's definitely the same editing technique. If you look at others there are differences in the way it's filmed, edited and framed. But those two…those two are right out of Ridgeley's network."
Cole sits back in her chair. "I thought the same thing. I really thought we got everyone connected to that shit hole."
Emily shrugs and drops down into the chair across from Cole. "We didn't. But whoever did that is in Ridgeley's notes. Reid was the one that cracked his codes but…never mind…"
"But what, Emily?"
Emily sighs and stares at the ceiling. "It took a lot for us all to get past that one. It was…hard for a lot of reasons. I fucking hate the thought of bringing Reid back into this shit. I know time is always of the essence," she brings her eyes down to lock with Cole's, "but can we leave him out for now? Reid and I think a lot alike. I may not be as fast as him but can you give me a day to try to find this new guy before we call him? Please?"
Cole smiles. "Your devotion to him is admirable. I can give you until tomorrow."
Emily nods. "Thank you. Do you have the files I need to look through?"
Cole reaches behind herself and grabs an accordion file. "Here you go."
"Thanks. I'll let you know something when I know it."
Emily takes the file and returns to the desk she had been using. A headache has started behind her right eye and she has a feeling it is not going away any time soon.
"Nothing, sir," Garcia reports.
Hotch raises an eyebrow. "What do you mean nothing?"
"I mean I have no man hitting with the various parameters I've input."
Reid slaps his hand against his forehead. "Of course not! It was in the profile: he has a wife who overshadows him. Everything would be in her name."
"Correct, Dr. Reid. But no hits on a woman, either, within the parameters that include the Texas to Norman move. I changed that part of the parameter just in case," Garcia tells him.
JJ drops down onto Hotch's couch. "So we gave those detectives hope for no reason?"
Hotch shakes his head. "No, we gave them a stronger profile. The police in Norman now have an idea what to look for, something to warn the public about. If more information comes to light we can reconsider whether or not to go out that way."
JJ sighs and stands. "Then let me officially say this really, really sucks." She walks out of the office to make a call to Oklahoma.
Reid watches her go then turns to their boss. "She's right."
Hotch just nods as Reid goes to call San Antonio. Garcia looks at Hotch. "Is there anything more I can do?"
"Not right now, Garcia. Good work. Even if the results were less than satisfactory it has nothing to do with you."
When Emily gets home that night just before 7 she finds her children are already in bed and her wife sits in their bedroom, a glass of apple cider in her hand as she stares out over the backyard. Emily sits down on the bench at the end of their bed.
"Bad day?" the brunette asks.
JJ turns and looks into her wife's haunted eyes. "Go sing to them, honey. It will help you."
"And what will help you?"
JJ holds up the cider. "Pretending this is wine…and your arms."
Emily smiles. "Then you'll have both. See you in a few minutes."
JJ stands and goes to their bed. She sits so she can hear her wife singing through the monitors. She can't help but smile when Henry's sleepy voice commands.
"Sing, Mama," when Emily finishes the first lullaby.
Emily kisses his forehead and complies, singing one more for him. She then goes to check on their daughter and sings to her, smiling as Rocky coos when a hand is brushed down her back. JJ smiles at the noise.
"Our little love bug," she whispers.
Emily walks into the bedroom and starts to change into her pajamas.
"Did you eat?" JJ asks.
Emily nods. "Katie ordered pizza for us. She convinced me it would be better to wait out traffic than leave right at 5."
"Smart woman. How was the bike?"
A real smile lights up Emily's face. "Amazing." She walks over and crawls onto the bed, snuggling up to her wife. "Thank you so much, Jennifer. It was…I think that might be the most thoughtful, incredible, surprising gift I have ever been given. I never in a million years would have expected it."
JJ gives her a kiss. "I have to admit, I never would have predicted buying one for you but that ride we took made me think more about it. You looked so…peaceful that day. Yes, you are so happy being a wife and mother but I think you also need that solo time. I can see it in your eyes even tonight. The freedom and seclusion is healing to you in some ways."
Emily stares at her wife. "I…I hadn't…wow…nice job, profiler. You nailed it. I hadn't thought of it in those terms but, yeah, I do feel better now than when I left Baltimore. Even better now that I'm in your arms but the drive home settled me in a way I hadn't considered."
"So, what's going on with the serial rapist?"
JJ tells Emily about the brick wall they had run into. Emily pulls her wife closer. "You've uncovered important information today, Jen. You, Reid and Garcia are getting the police closer to finding him. I can't help but believe when they catch him the things you all have found will help convict him."
JJ kisses Emily's chin. "Thank you. I needed to hear that because I really hated calling that detective back and telling him we were just as stuck as he had been. So, going back to Baltimore tomorrow?"
Emily nods. "Yeah, I am. I'm close to cracking the code. Once I do, I'm out of there."
"Good. I hate the look in your eyes when you just think about the Long Island case." She stands and pulls Emily up. "So, let's go shower, wash the day off ourselves, you can wash my hair, and then we can crawl into bed for some mindless TV."
Emily stands and pulls JJ close. "Perfect idea, Mrs. Prentiss. Absolutely perfect."
The two share a kiss then go into the bathroom to put JJ's plan into action. When they get out, both are fully relaxed. As they crawl into bed, JJ kisses her wife and snuggles into her arms.
"I love you so much, baby."
"I love you, too." She rubs a hand over JJ's stomach. "You and our little nesters and our two toddlers. You all are my world."
JJ kisses her again. "As you are mine."
Emily starts to deepen the kiss but suddenly JJ pulls away.
"That's IT! You're mine!" she says excitedly.
"Umm…yeah?" Emily says in confusion.
"But if you were some overbearing, obnoxious woman I couldn't escape I wouldn't want you to know about my place of solace! I'd hide it from you so I could rape and kill surrogates for you anytime you got to be too much for me!"
Emily raises an eyebrow. "Wow…you really suck at sweet talking tonight. Can I assume this is about the case and not concerns I'm going to become the monster you need to repeatedly kill?"
JJ leaps up and grabs her phone. "Totally about the case. I need to send a text to Garcia. Somehow he's hiding his RV or van or trailer from his wife and us. Either he didn't re-register it when they moved to Norman and he's driving with expired tags or he's stolen registration date stickers for the plates so he doesn't have to register it. I'm sure there is something Garcia can do to find out."
JJ finishes the text and crawls back into bed. "Now, where were we?"
"I'm not sure about you but I was sitting here thinking we talk about some pretty damn creepy things at bedtime."
JJ laughs. "Uh, yep, we do. More proof we are perfect together."
Emily joins her wife in laughter. "Yes, Mrs. Prentiss, I guess we are."
The two share a kiss then settle down to watch a couple of comedies and forget about death and mayhem for a little while.