A/N: I'm baaaaaaack…sorry for the seriously long delay. One word, LIFE.
This story picks up approximately five months after Pick a Target, Any Target. Our ladies and gents are all back to work. Rossi is on limited duty but is working hard to be restored to full duty. Jordan has been offered a new job that moves her closer to Garcia. And the crazies? Past and present, they are all still out there.
If you haven't read the previous stories in this series, you may want to. Starts with Targeted.
Oh yeah and there's this notion of a vacation for everyone that I mentioned previously. This chapter is basically angst free folks. These guys need a break, and they will get it, for a little while anyway. ;D
Emily smiled as Jennifer brushed a strand of hair behind her ear. Turning, JJ caught the older woman staring. "What?"
"Nothing, I just like looking at you." And she did. Jennifer was wearing Emily's favorite blue shirt the one that brought out the blue in her eyes. Add in the snug jeans she was wearing and Emily knew without having to look around that she wasn't the only one staring at her fiancée.
Reaching around her Emily grabbed their bags off the carousel. "Are you ready for this?"
"Are you?" JJ's grin could quite contain her excitement.
"For a vacation, of course."
"Emily Prentiss, you know darned well this isn't just a vacation!" Emily couldn't keep a straight face in the face of JJ's indignation.
Chuckling she dropped the bags at her side and pulled Jennifer to her. Capturing her lips, Emily ignored the stares of passers by and kissed her, hard. Leaning into her, she whispered, "I know exactly what this is cara."
Jennifer shivered at her words. They had all waited a long time to be able to get away together. A vacation, sanctioned by no lesser personages than Section Chief Erin Strauss for the BAU team and Lt . Sean Cavanaugh for the Boston PD crew. After the last case they had worked on together they needed it. The physical toll on both teams had been significant and the emotional toll had only just leveled out. Both teams had been investigated for their actions in the case against Brandon Wilkins and with the trial looming in a little over a month, they had unilaterally been granted leave. Ten days including the upcoming holiday.
Emily and Maura had planned the trip with some input from Rossi. With the help of Maura's mother, they had been able to reserve a small island paradise all to themselves. Five bungalows all attended to by the same staff. There would be chances to scuba, fish. Enjoy some swimming and other beach related activities. For those so inclined, each bungalow also had its own private beach. The center of the island was a Mecca for bird watching and nature walks, with barely visible hiking trails leading to a surprise that only Maura and Emily were aware of.
"When does everyone else get here?" Jennifer looked around the small airport. They would be taking a charter flight to the island.
"In the next couple of hours. How about we grab a bite before they get here?"
"Yes ma'am!" linking arms they each grabbed a bag and walked toward the small restaurant to await the others.
Jane bit her bottom lip to keep from laughing. Frost and Korsak both were gripping their armrests so hard you would swear they were keeping the plane up through sheer will.
By the time they had all arrived, the charter plane had been ready to leave for over an hour. After exchanging hugs and grabbing bags, they had been rushed into the Tarmac where both Frost and Korsak had stopped short at the sight of their plane. It was a small twelve seater. Both men had looked at Jane like she was crazy.
"No way!" Barry had glared at her, ignoring the laughter coming from Morgan and the others.
It was Maura's and Reid's spouting of statistics that finally got them on board.
Maura interrupted Jane's reminiscence. "I can't believe you didn't warn them Jane." Whispering, she stole a glance at the two men.
"Honest to God, I never thought they would be so skittish." Jane couldn't stop the laughter bubbling up in her chest.
Maura smiled at her fiancée and looked around the plane at the others. Emily and JJ had fallen asleep, Reid and Morgan were playing games on their phones, Rossi and Hotch were reviewing some photos and Jordan and Garcia were talking quietly. Maura frowned at the sight of the eyepatch. Jordan had undergone another surgery just a few weeks prior to repair her damaged cornea. The surgery had been hailed as a success but Jordan was having trouble adjusting. Add in the residual pain and the eye patch was still on. She made a mental note to herself to speak with Penelope about it.
"Maur? Maura!" Maura spun in her seat to see concern on Jane's face. "You okay hon?"
"Oh…yes Jane. Just thinking about everything that brought us together and how fortunate we've all been."
Maura nodded and brought Jane's hand up to her lips. "We're all still alive and together."
Jane stared at her for a moment. She was right. Regardless of the ups and downs at work, the investigations and negative press, here they all were. They would be facing the nightmare of Brandon Wilkins soon enough at his trial, but for now they were okay.
Leaning over Jane kissed her fiancée. Her voice was hoarse with emotion when she thought about what could have been. "Alive and together. We definitely are."
"Wow…" Morgan eyes swept the room and back to his bunkmates. "They outdid themselves."
"I'd say…" Barry opened up the far door. "Dibs!"
"Hey!" Morgan hurried over and poked his head in. The double bed in the room took up most of the space with a small armoire and a door leading out to an outside balcony.
"I'll take this one." Reid called out to them from the door that Morgan had walked past. This one too had a double bed.
Opening the last door with a flourish, Morgan stopped dead at the sight of the single bed. There was no way his large frame was going to be comfortable on it.
"Come on guys, this is bull…one of you switch with me." His whining made them both burst out laughing. Jane and Emily had set this up as a joke hoping for exactly this reaction.
Glaring at them Morgan thought for a second and realized what was going on. "You guys all suck, you know that?"
"Hey big guy, blame your partner and mine. This was all their idea." Frost raised a hand to Reid who agreed.
"That's right Morgan, we were just the part that made it work." The broad smile on his face made him seem younger than he was.
Morgan's laughter surprised even him. "Okay you all got me, now which one of you is switching with me dammit."
"Oooh!" Garcia's squeal of delight warmed Jordan's heart. They all needed this break before they had to deal with Wilkins again. Pulling off her eye patch she sat on the edge of the bed and massaged the area around her eye.
"Is it bothering you?"
"Un poco." Smiling she looked up at her. Her vision was definitely improving. Bright light was still an issue, but little by little. Patting the bed she asked Penelope to sit. "Are you glad we came querida?"
"Of course I am! Its beautiful here and I get to spend some serious alone time with you, on a beach no less." Pen smiled at her girlfriend, happy to see her without the eye patch. She was trying very hard not to push her to give it up completely, knowing Jordan would when she was ready. She kissed her gently at first, and was not surprised when Jordan took the lead. She loved that about her. Jordan was definitely hers. Lying back with her she enjoying the feel of her body against hers and hoped the others weren't waiting on them to come out anytime soon.
Hotch sat on the porch situated over the water and took a drink, enjoying the peace of this place.
"What's on your mind boss man?" Rossi limped in, cane in hand, followed by Korsak.
"Nothing Dave, for once, nothing at all."
"This is a great place isn't it?" Vince Korsak looked across the water and imagined the size of the fish he would be catching the next day.
"It is. So Maura's mother set this up?" Hotch looked at the other men questioningly.
Korsak nodded. "Apparently she had some friends who came here a few years ago who recommended for getting away from the every day."
"This is certainly getting away." When Emily and Maura had asked him for his thoughts about the vacation they were planning he had suggested someplace that would significantly distance them from the everyday horrors they face in their line of work. This was perfect and remote. You could only get there by charter flight or boat and while Emily had insured that the plane would be on call for them, the idea was that they wouldn't avail themselves of it until it was time to leave.
Hotch pulled out his cell phone and laid it on the table. His sister in law had Jack and she understand the need for the team to get away. His son Jack was safe, secure, Hotch's soul wasn't. The past couple of cases with and without the BAU team had been tougher than most and his team had paid the price for the decisions he had made. He had fully expected to get suspended after the last investigation and was grateful for the reprieve, regardless of the scrutiny they were under.
Vince took the seat next to Hotch and watched as Rossi went back in for a drink.
"We needed this."
"Yes Vince, we did."
Jennifer watched Emily take her shirt off and licked her lips hungrily. They had agreed to have dinner on the beach with the others in a little over an hour but Emily wanted to go for a quick swim. Grabbing her bikini top she was surprised when JJ grabbed it first.
"What are you doing?" Seeing the look in her fiancée's eye she knew it was a rhetorical question. "See something you like?"
"Most definitely." Running her fingers along the scars on Emily's torso she smiled smugly at the responding shiver.
"Screw it, the ocean can wait." Emily reached for the hand at her side and drew JJ close to her. They had some time before dinner and she wanted to break in the king size bed in the room behind them.
Jane and Maura lay on the beach hands clasped. They had walked down to the beach soon after getting settled in their bungalow. Listening to the waves Maura glanced over at Jane and smiled. Jane's eyes were closed as she listened to the waves lapping against the shore. Maura actually felt physical relief at the sight, it was so rare to see Jane this relaxed, especially after the rough eighteen months they had just gone through. Physically Jane's body had taken a beating that most people didn't take in their whole lives. Listening as Jane's breathing evened out she rolled on her side careful not to disturb her. Her t-shirt hid the scars on Jane's torso but Maura could trace them in her sleep.
Their wedding was less than a month away and the stress of pulling it together now that the trial was set was getting to both of them. This vacation meant more than anyone knew. Unfortunately they were still paying the cost of their run in with Wilkins as were the BAU team. Jane had worked hard to pass her physical and had been prompted by Maura to request a different vest from BPD. The custom vest she now had for work was custom made and was built to absorb impact a bit differently. Cavanaugh had signed on and supported the request after realizing its need. It would protect Jane better than a regular police issue vest. He had been able to justify the cost by trading on Jane's status as a decorated officer. It grated on her but Jane accepted it as long as she could just get back to work, and she had.
Maura rested her head on her arm and closed her eyes. They had some time before they all met to eat a nap was exactly what they needed. Putting all thought of Brandon Wilkins aside, Maura let herself drift off to the sound of the waves.
I will leave it there for now…as promised AFRET2010 I can to write an angst free chapter! Don't keep counting on it though. Reviews really are helpful and definitely inspire quicker updates so…please let me know your thoughts, helps me get back in the groove.
Should be posting on Damage Control within the week as well as Silence is a Virtue…