A/N: So this is a femslash crossover between The X Files and Criminal Minds. I already had this chapter posted, but upon rereading it, decided to rewrite some of the parts and dialoge. After all, writing is rewriting. No changes has happened to the plot though, so it makes no harm if you want to continue reading. All the mistakes in here are mine. Please review, this project is very dear to me and I love getting opinions, but mostly just enjoy!
The story is set late season 3 of both the shows, around when JJ got pregnant on Criminal Minds, and before Scully got sick and started a romance with Mulder. (The romance not having anything to do with her illness)
It was a morning like any other morning; nothing seemed to be out of place. Daniel had kissed his fiancée goodbye as usual, grabbed the same running shoes that he always wore, and taken the same route as normal through the woods. It was a sunny day, a nice change from the grey clouds that had made themselves known lately. Daniel was the type of guy that never really decided not to run, no matter the weather outside. His fiancée always laughed at him and called him insane, but he knew that he didn't really mean it. Besides, he had never once heard a complaint against his well-trained legs and six-pack. Daniel liked adventure, liked running and hiking out in the wild instead of showing off in the training center, like all those steroid filled muscles heads. He wasn't trying to impress anyone, he just merely enjoyed the fresh air, the feeling of self-satisfaction and the beautiful view surrounding his. He had always loved that and would absolutely refuse to give it up. So in every way, running through these wood, was just a normal morning like any other.
The only thing that made a difference to this morning, was that today, Daniel had decided, in his otherwise normal adventurous ways, to stray off his normal path through the trees to try to get closer to the lake he knew to be somewhere to his left. He had seen the lake a couple of times and had thought it beautiful, but he was still fairly new to this wood and he had expected that he really had no idea how to get to the lake itself. What he hadn't expected however, was him tripping and falling over something half-buried in the ground, while making a turn to an unknown clearing. It wasn't really that unusual to trip though, it came with the terrain, so he brushed himself off and tried to make sure that he hadn't gotten a scrapped knee by accident or something, since he had indeed fallen pretty hard. Nothing was there to see. As a reflex and with a curse under his breath, Daniel turned back to see what the hell had made him trip, only this time to have his eyes widen in horror at what now lay before his feet. This was definitely not a part of every other morning.
"What have we got?" Hotch asked once the BAU team were gathered on their plane and on the way across the sky.
"A runner found a dead body lying in the woods outside of Salisbury, Maryland." JJ answered. "When the sheriff and medics arrived, they uncovered two more bodies lying next to the first, like a mass grave. All male in their late twenties."
"What's unusual about this case is that the hearts of the victims was somehow removed, but the marks left behind aren't matching with any sort of tools that we know of." Reid continued. "Instead the hearts have been replaced by a flower in the hole, more specifically the Lilium candidum, commonly known as the Madonna lily, or simply a white lily. The hands of the victims have been folded over their stomach as some sort of sign of remorse."
All of them were sitting with the folders in their laps, shifting through the various photos of the victims. The bodies weren't that old but still in various states of decomposition. The freshest body looked almost like the man was merely sleeping, taking a nap, if it hadn't been for the flower growing out of his chest. It looked almost poetic in a morbid sort of way.
"Why the flower?" Morgan asked. They had seen cases of mass graves before, the flower however, was something new, unexpected.
"It could have some sort of ritual or religious meaning." Rossi answered, a look of contemplation and something almost resembling wonder written across his face. "In the Roman Church the Madonna lily symbolizes purity and is often depicted with the Virgin Marry. It could be a glorification of the victims, making them into something pure. It could be some sort of religious sacrifice, maybe as a way for the unsub to redeem his sins."
"He could be consuming the heart as a part of a ritual as well, it's seen in many cases of war, where soldiers would eat the enemies heart both as an ultimate sign of revenge or victory, but also because they believed that consuming the heart would gain them courage and power. Give them the mana of the victims. Otherwise he could be keeping them as trophies." Prentiss added.
"Since there is no sign overt sign of Christianity or any other religion being the main focus, let's try to not narrow it down before we get to know more." Hotch said, looking around the group with determined eyes.
"Do we have any connections between the victims yet?" Morgan asked in an effort to change the subject and get more information out.
"Not so far." JJ answered. "All though it appears that the last place the victims have been seen in a closed community outside of Salisbury. It's a small community of primarily LGBT people living together. Maryland is one of the more progressive states with some protective laws for LGBT people, so it was an obvious place to create a small community to live together more peacefully. Apparently it's been around for a bit of time."
"A bit like West Hollywood?" Prentiss joked, a smile firmly placed on her lips. The notion of a community mainly consisting of LGBT people seemed almost ridiculous, but she guessed it made sense in a sort of way. The world wasn't always that welcoming to people who stood out in one way or another. She knew that by heart.
"So like a safe haven of sorts?" Morgan asked, brining seriousness back into the conversation before they could turn the whole case into a joke.
"I guess you could say so." JJ went on, ignoring Prentiss's comment as well. "It's a small planned suburban community, likes to keep to themselves, but are also dependent on Salisbury for school, jobs and stuff like that. Appears very friendly, though it could be argued a bit secretive. They call it The Valley." She stated looking over her notes in her file.
"JJ, you and Reid can go to the police station and get us set up, Morgan and Rossi go talk to the victims' families, see if you can find anything, Prentiss and I will head out to the crime scene to see what we're dealing with." Hotch stated, promptly ending the discussion.
"Here in The Valley we take good care of each other, I can't imagine anybody I know doing this." Sheriff Brown informed Prentiss and Hotch after they had arrived. "I must be some sort of outsider. We're an extremely peaceful community, people respect each other and follow the law to a tee. You have to understand, a lot of our people have move to The Valley because they have been wronged where they come from. They come here to live peaceful and open lives, to get away from injustice, not create it. I have never seen anything this gruesome in all my time on the force. It still shocks me."
"Has there been any newcomers who have created any kind of problems of any sort?" Prentiss asked.
"Not that I know of. We get new people occasionally, some more private than others but always friendly. We did have a group of women, about 10 people, move in here about a half year ago, but they keep mostly to themselves, may be a bit secretive, but they haven't created any trouble or anything. They seem like nice enough people though. The only sort of crime we have here are small things like petty theft and that sort of thing, but mostly just some troubled teens if anything."
Both Hotch and Prentiss knew that a sheriff would most likely always talk good about the people in their cities, but at least Brown seemed to be open to discussing the case with them and receiving their help, so that was always good news.
Before they had a chance to talk much more though, a black sedan pulled over and two people, a smaller redhead and a tall man stepped out of the car, both wearing coats and suits. It was clear to judge that both of them had to be agents of some sort, but Hotch was almost certain that the BAU were the only people to work this case alongside the local police. It was only three bodies, a standard case for them, there really were no reason for more hands. Puzzled by all this, Hotch decided to go great them instead, closely followed by Prentiss. The last thing they wanted was to create any sort of unknown drama in front of Sheriff Brown or look like the FBI didn't know what was going on in their own backyard.
"Hello." Hotch greeted, flashing his credential. "I'm special agent Hotchner and this is special agent Prentiss with the BAU, this is a closed crime scene, is there anything that we can help you with?" Hotch's look was impenetrable as he looked to the two agents standing across from him.
"Looks like we've been double booked, huh, Scully?" The man smiled to his partner. The redhead, apparently named Scully, raised a single eyebrow at his comment, clearly not all that amused by his comment and seemingly unsurprised by the turn of events. Prentiss could only guess that this wasn't the first time something like this had happened. "I'm agent Mulder and this is agent Scully, we're with the FBI as well. We're here to help with the murder case." Mulder smiled friendly, meeting Hotch's look.
"Agent Mulder? As in Spooky Mulder?" Prentiss asked in disbelief as soon as the name clicked in her, an amused and curious sideway smile plastered on her face. Finally things seemed to become interesting. "They talked about you at the academy. It's a pleasure to meet you sir!" With a radiant smile, she extended her hand to greet the man heartwarmingly. While Mulder merely shrugged it off and greeted the woman, Scully seemed almost a bit taken aback by the slight forwardness of the woman before her. She was more surprised by her joy though, most people who had heard of Mulder beforehand seemed to laugh them out more than anything. This sort of greeting almost put an unexpected blush to Scully's checks. "But you're with The X Files, right? What's your interest in this case sir?" Prentiss asked once wonder turned to curiosity.
Hotch looked at Prentiss, clearly not too happy about her excitement, but if she registered it, she chose to ignore it.
"Pleasure is on our side." Mulder answered, a bit surprised, but as Scully, merely happy that they hadn't been completely rejected yet. "We have reason to believe that this may have something to do with some sort of ritual conducted by a small cult in order to prolong life."
"What, like some sort of satanic group?" Hotch asked, now curios as well. If this Mulder guy had anything to add to the profile or had some sort of unknown facts, he was all ears.
"I believe it to be century old witchcraft. We believe this is only the start of a murderous rampage by the witches themselves." Mulder said, not even considering how this might sound. In time with Hotch's eyebrows going up in disbelief, Scully's eyes momentarily went to Prentiss's shoes, trying to create an unspoken distance to the man standing next to her, before she turned her lowered gaze to him.
"I really can't bring you anywhere, can I?" she muttered under her breath, earning her a small but honest smile from her partner. Prentiss realized that she hadn't really noticed the other woman until now. She was shorter than Prentiss, a naturally beautiful woman with serious and skeptical blue eyes Prentiss noticed, slightly curled shorter red hair, and wearing a formfitting standard working suit. She seemed to have this sort of aura around her that Prentiss couldn't quite put a finger on. She made Prentiss have to quietly shake her head to herself before being able to refocus on Spooky Mulder.
"With all due respect, I hope you realize that your comment is absolutely absurd. There are reason to believe that anything supernatural is involved in this case, let alone some mythical notion of witchcraft." Hotch stated, not wanting to deal with these sort of ideas in his investigation. Did this Mulder seem to think that this was some sort of joke?
"Sir, may I have a word with you?" Prentiss interjected, placing a gentle hand to Hotch's elbow, before he had a change to add anything else. Reluctantly, eyes staying on Mulder's for a minute longer, he stepped aside and followed Prentiss a few steps away, out of earshot.
"Well that went well." Mulder stated, his optimism still not completely failing him.
"You think?" The irony however, was clear in Scully's voice.
"Prentiss, this man in clearly delusional." Hotch began, not liking to be dragged off like that by his team member.
"I know, but I've heard about these guys, they have an extremely high percentage of solved cases. They may have some unorthodox methods, but if they have any kind of clue on this, we're going to want their help." Upon seeing the skeptic look on her superiors face, she continued. "Look, I believe in this stuff just as much as you do, but if it's true that we might we dealing with some sort of criminal cult whose only just begun, we might as well take all the help we can get." She finished.
Hotch looked to the side into the woods, squinting his eyes in contemplation for a moment, before saying:
"As much as I hate to admit it, I think you're right."