Rating: I'm not sure... PG-14?
Archiving: Go on, have it your way. :)
Disclaimer: They're not mine, well except some OFC..
Author's note: As usual, un-beta'd (I think I have a habit of posting at 2 in the morning). All grammatical & spelling mistakes are my own, including the ever-so-boring diction. (note to self: read dictionary/thesaurus in spare time).
Oh well.. I really hope you like it. :)
Dedication: For Falc - I hope you update yours soon .. For Thn - I want to read your next fic .. For luvthejem - can I snag that Paget icon I love so much?? Please?? I'll send you cookies .. For my D - how do I love thee? Let me count the ways...
*ahem* Okay, here's
“Give me life, give me pain, give me myself again.”
The team tried to work as fast as they could. Within an hour after Emily called her, Garcia had managed to narrow down their suspects to three men: a Brandon Luke – drug dealer, a Lucas Woodrow – who was sent to jail for raping his cousin, and an Allan-Lee Hendell – a former child-trafficker. The computer tech had sent them the files when Reid called in and told them that there was a high possibility that their Unsub was in his late twenties.
“This just doesn’t make sense!” Morgan exclaimed angrily. He was beyond frustrated. “Late twenties? These guys here are at least in their early fifties!” The dark man smacked his fist against the table, making JJ jump a little.
The blonde was reading one of the files Garcia sent them. She agreed with Morgan that none of them fitted their profile. She closed the file and sighed. “Did Reid get anything else from the footage?”
Morgan shook his head. “Pretty much nothing. The Unsub walked away with the kid. He probably parked his car somewhere else. Reid had sent Garcia a blurry picture of him. Let’s just hope she can do her magic,” he replied. As if on cue, the fax machine at the corner of the room beeped and rolled out a picture. Morgan took it and handed it to Hotch, who stood up in a hurry.
“JJ, prepare a conference. Give them information about the Unsub, and make sure to show them the picture,” Hotch commanded. He didn’t want to waste any more time.
“I’m on it!” JJ answered quickly, dialling some numbers as she walked out of the room.
“Prentiss, Morgan, go back to the crime scene. Ask people if they’ve seen this guy before,” Hotch said. He quickly called Detective Landon and told him about it.
Emily took her coat and followed Morgan to the car. They walked past JJ on the way out. The blonde was busy talking to the local public relation officer. Emily strode without a single glance. She needed all her focus on the case – it wasn’t the right time to think of JJ mixed signals. But just before she walked away, a gentle tug on her sleeve stopped her. JJ was looking at her in the eyes.
“Be careful,” The blonde whispered. Her blue eyes darkened with emotions. She wanted to be the one who went with Emily but that wasn’t her job. She had her own work to do. She tightened her grip on Emily’s arm for a second before letting go. She had to force herself to stop looking at Emily. You’re so in big trouble, Jareau! She said to herself. This time, even the ever-nagging voice that kept reminding her about Will – about her sexuality – was nowhere to be heard.
Emily climbed up to the passenger seat without saying anything to Morgan. The man kept glancing at her with a curious look. They still hadn’t spoken yet since the previous night, but the man was happy to see that at least Emily didn’t look as if she was going to explode anymore. The dark man couldn’t stop himself from thinking about what he saw earlier before they left the station. Something was going on between JJ and Emily. He knew that they were best friends, but he was almost certain that there was something more about it. He could see it in JJ’s eyes. It can’t be... Morgan shook the thought away before he could finish it. Don’t be such a jerk, Derek! He reminded himself.
A couple of hours later Emily climbed back to the car – exhausted and clearly frustrated. She couldn’t believe that no one remembered seeing Maeghan Wilson walking with a stranger. People can be so ignorant, she thought forlornly. She closed her eyes and pinched the bridge of her nose. Her headache had worsened by the heat. She needed more coffee. Her eyes snapped open as she heard Morgan climbed into the car hurriedly. “Anything?”
“An old lady said she saw a man that looked exactly like our Unsub got into a maroon SUV with a little girl at the intersection two blocks from here. She said that the little girl didn’t look scared or in trouble, like she was having a ride with her father. Two blocks! No wonder Reid couldn’t find the car anywhere from the footage around here,” Morgan said as he drove away. “I’ve called Rossi to get the videos. You got anything?”
Emily shook her head. “Zip. They didn’t see anything. Some of them even refused to see the picture although they said they know the Wilsons personally,” Emily said. “I can’t believe how ignorant people can be. They just don’t care – they don’t want to care.” She felt anger crept up her head. It was so easy for her to get angry lately, and she didn’t like it.
The dark profiler glanced at his colleague worriedly. He still thought that it was a mistake, calling Emily back to work this case. The woman was still too fragile in the mind. He thought about Elle and shuddered, giving Emily another glance. First Elle, then Gideon. Was it Emily’s turn?
Emily’s phone rang. She picked it up on the second ring. “Yeah, Reid?”
“Emily, I found the SUV. It was registered to a Benjamin Rodgers, deceased. I have asked Garcia to dig everything about him, but for now, here’s the address,” Reid informed them. Emily repeated the address to Morgan.
The dark man stepped on the gas. They arrived in no time. Emily was ready to jump out of the car as he stopped the vehicle, but Morgan stopped her. Their last ‘raid’ was a disaster and he didn’t want that to happen again. “Prentiss!” He called. “No funny business. You follow my lead,” he said sternly, ignoring the look of hurt on the woman’s face.
Emily frowned sadly. She should have known better than to think that Morgan would trust her again that fast. She got out of the car without any words, slamming the door shut. The brunette waited for Morgan to walk to the house and followed him. She kept her mouth shut throughout the whole talking with a young woman, who, apparently, rented the house from Benjamin Rodgers’ son, Alex. Morgan asked the woman if she knew Alex Rodgers’ whereabouts but she said the last time she heard from him was about a month ago, when his sister was hospitalized, after that Alex didn’t come anymore.
The tall man showed her the picture they had and the woman said it could be Alex, but she couldn’t be too sure because of the cap. Morgan thanked her and gave her his card before leaving. He noticed that Emily hadn’t said anything at all. And she wasn’t usually like that. The woman was usually very proactive in questioning a potential witness, and she was always able to think of good questions to ask. He looked at her and saw nothing but a mask of professionalism. He felt rather guilty for reprimanding his friend like that and he wanted to apologize. He voiced his apology when they were back in the car and received only a simple nod from the woman. He sighed, Garcia is so gonna kill me.
“Alex Rodgers, twenty-nine. Currently unemployed. His parents died in an accident two years ago and he was left to take care of his little sister, Jacqueline, twelve years old. A couple of months ago she got an accident that left her in a coma. She was hospitalized for three weeks and was released because their insurance couldn’t cover it. There’s no trace of the whereabouts of the siblings since,” Garcia read out what she found. “There’s no death certificate for any Jacqueline Rodgers anywhere, so I guess the sister is still alive.”
“Wow, this man has a lot to deal with,” JJ said. “Thanks a lot, Garcia.” She hung up.
Rossi stopped writing in his notebook. “Well, I guess now we know what the trigger might be. Losing his parents at the same time, having to take care of a comatose sister, it was a lot – almost too much – for such a young man,” he said. “And now that we know he has a sister around the victims’ age, there is a possibility that they know him because they knew his sister.”
“I don’t think so,” Hotch disagreed. “The kids didn’t even know one another. And remember that Maeghan Wilson is homeschooled.” The unit chief skimmed at the files. “Rodgers had been switching jobs for several years. Let’s see if we can get something out of his former employers. I’ll go to the first job on the list – day care center. Come on,” he said.
Everyone moved from their chair. Emily was the last person to rise from her seat. She had kept silent during the briefing. There was no need for her to speak; after what happened two days before, everyone must think that she would somehow manage to blow the case. She heard someone called her, she turned.
Rossi was standing by the door, staring at her. “Wanna go with me?” He offered nicely. He noticed that Emily hadn’t said a word since she came back from Rodgers’ house.
Emily opened her mouth to say yes, but before she could say it, a soft voice answered behind the Italian agent, “Emily is going with me, Rossi.” Rossi turned and saw JJ standing in front of the door, smiling sweetly towards him. “Guess you have to go alone.”
The senior agent chuckled. He waved at the two ladies and went his way. JJ leaned on the doorframe, waiting for Emily to move. And when the brunette looked at her with a furious look, JJ stepped into the briefing room. “Let’s go,” she called.
Emily was beyond angry. She had had enough. “Would you just stop that?” She snapped. When JJ gave her a confused look she added, “Putting words into my mouth! I am capable of deciding what I want to do.”
“I’m not...” JJ replied confusedly. “Of course you are. No one says you aren’t capable of doing so.”
“Then stop all the ‘I’ll go with Emily’ thing! What? Did Hotch tell you to babysit me? To make sure that I didn’t do anything stupid? Well I didn’t!” She said in a loud voice. “Don’t pretend that you care! I know that you’re all think that I might break at some point – that you guys should watch my back!”
JJ sighed. She closed the door behind her. This wasn’t going to be easy. “Emily, no one asked me to babysit you or anything. I just want to work together with you,” she explained patiently. “And I do care. I really do,” more than you know, she added silently. “What happened to you? Why are you so angry?” The blonde stepped closer, invading Emily’s personal space.
“It’s none of your business,” the brunette snarled. “Just... leave me alone, okay? I don’t need anyone to babysit me!” She pushed JJ aside and walked to the door. She swung the thing open and before she walked out, she said icily, “And please stop pretending that you are okay with me being gay, ‘cause I know you’re not.” With that last statement, Emily left, leaving JJ standing with a confused and hurt look.
This is so not happening, JJ thought, panicking. She regained her composure and chased Emily to the parking lot. “JJ, you’re stupid!” She growled to herself.
Place: Somewhere unknown
Maeghan Wilson had finally managed to stop the uncontrollable sobs. She was hurt and so terrified. Her body ached and there were bruises everywhere. The linoleum floor beneath her was so cold and she shivered, only to feel more pain on her whole body. She cried again. “Alex?” She called between her sobs. “Please, I want to go home...” She pleaded. The little girl choked as she tried to stop herself from sobbing – because even the sob hurt so much. “Please...”
Her body jerked back when she heard someone walked on the other side of the door. The room was pitch dark if the door was closed. She tried to move herself away as far as possible from the door as she heard it being unlock. She blinked a couple of times when a glimmer of light entered the room as the door flung open. A man walked inside, stopping just a few inches before her, and squatted.
The dark haired girl flinched when the man reached out and touched her face. She suppressed her instinct to scream and kick and beg and forced herself to be very still. She had screamed, and kicked, and begged earlier. And all she got was more beating. The hand that touched her face was cold and calloused. A sob escaped her throat and the hand stopped dead on its track. Maeghan waited for a blow but it never happened.
Alex stood up, eyeing her tentatively before turning away and left. Maeghan eyes fell and she began to lose her consciousness. The last thing she heard was “We’ve got a strong one, Jackie,” and everything went black.
“You know that saying, bad things don’t happen to good people? That’s a lie”
a/n: *fidgets* Err.. umm.. what do you think?