Quest for a Supervisor
Summary: When a delusional unsub targets members of the BAU with his taunts, the disappearance of SSA Aaron Hotchner and his family is discovered. The remaining team members scramble to decipher the cryptic clues and save one of their own.
Disclaimer: I only own my twisting of the cannons and characters herein.
Note: This takes place at the end of Criminal Minds season one. The episode 'Machismo' which first aired April 12, 2006, had the Mexican Day of the Dead celebrations (October 31-November 2). So for the purposes of this story, ´The Fisher King´ takes place mid-December 2006. According to the Farmer's Almanac website, the temperature in Washington DC spiked into the low 70s °F (21-24 °C) for a couple days, so the characters who wore short sleeves aren't even a continuity error. CM cannon up to the season finale more or less matches the series, with minor tweaking of a few character's backstories. Buffy cannon and backstories have been folded, spindled and mutilated. However, this takes place in the equivalent of Buffy season seven.
The sound of a phone ringing filled the living room.
"Hello, we can't take your call right now," a man's voice played from an answering machine next to the phone on the end table. "You know the drill."
"Agent Hotchner," a harsh voice spilled through the answering machine after the tone. "Don't waste time on the first victims; they were unrepentant bad men. She's the important one. Remember, everything starts at the beginning. There won't be much time. The youngest holds the key. You must help him save her."
The call clicked off and silence once again filled the house. Sometime later, the phone rang again. "Hello, we can't—"
"HOTCH, PICK UP!" a voice called over the spiel. "IF YOU'RE THERE, PLEASE! ELLE'S BEEN ARR—" The answering machine beeped, and the person on the phone took a deep breath. "Hotch, it's Morgan. Elle's been arrested for a murder at the resort we're visiting. Whoever did it left a deliberate blood trail to her room. We're in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Call me as soon as you get this. We need help."
Morgan hung up. A couple minutes later, the full moon emerged from behind a cloud. Its light shone through the Hotchners' translucent drapes and reflected off the pieces of a crushed cell phone.
"Gideon!" Jason Gideon turned and saw Jennifer Jareau walking across the bullpen. The blonde quickly caught up with him. "I've been trying to call you."
"Someone sent you a head?"
"From Jamaica," Jason replied, unsurprised. News like that tended to travel fast.
"Morgan and Elle are in Jamaica right now," JJ replied. "There was a murder—the body was headless. Elle's been arrested for it."
"What?" Elle Greenaway was at times too brash for his taste, but he did not believe her capable of something like that.
"Strauss flew down this morning with a Bureau lawyer and a couple forensics experts to straighten everything out."
"Strauss?" Jason figured the BAU's new section chief would be more focused on damage control than getting Elle released. "I'd have thought Hotch would insist on going himself."
A flash of worry crossed JJ's face. "We can't reach him. His cell's going straight to voicemail, and he isn't answering up his landline. When Morgan couldn't reach him last night, he called me, and I notified Strauss. We figured we'd hear from Hotch this morning, but..." JJ swallowed hard. "I just tried him again. Even if his home phone has the ringer turned off, they have an answering machine, not voicemail. They would have heard it pick up. I was about to look up his address and check on them."
"I should come along," Jason said. "Just in case..." Jason closed his eyes and quickly prayed that the Hotchners were just out of the house and had not thought to check their machine when they woke up. "They're probably fine, but—"
"I know." JJ cut him off.
As they left, JJ fully briefed him on the situation: aside from Elle's predicament, Reid had called in after receiving an odd package—nothing grizzly, though the 'save her' theme that came with the head had been part of it—and someone had hacked Garcia's system to access the Bureau databases and breach the BAU's personnel files, which explained how the unsub had known where to send his packages and set Elle up. They spent the rest of the drive into DC in silence, each agent lost in their own thoughts. The Hotchner home was located in a nice neighborhood: quiet, low-crime, good place to raise kids—all the labels that ordinary people who never dreamed of the depths of the human psyche used to convince themselves they were safe. The feel of the place reminded Gideon of a time he had long lost.
A time he doubted he could truly remember the feeling of.
JJ tried calling one last time as Jason parked in front of the Hotchner home. It was a white, two-story home with a separate garage next to it. Hotch's sedan sat in the driveway. The house had a well-manicured lawn with well-trimmed trees and shrubbery. A sidewalk cut through the lawn from the street to the three short steps in front the stoop. When Hotch again failed to pick up, JJ turned to Jason and grimly shook her head. The gesture, unnecessary given the lack of conversation, was more an expression of her worry than anything.
"Let's do this." Jason opened the door and climbed out of the vehicle and strode to the front door. JJ headed toward the garage. He rang the bell, and then knocked firmly on the door frame. He hoped that Hotch or Haley would answer, but no one came to the door. JJ walked up to his side.
"Whatever Haley drives isn't here," she reported.
"We should have Garcia look that up. Put out an APB." Jason walked down the steps, and around the shrubs in front of the house. White, translucent curtains covered the inside of the bay window. A light inside allowed him to see the outline of furniture, but no clear detail of the room. "You check around back?"
Jason nodded in acknowledgement as he walked around the corner of the house. He absently registered JJ's following. The backyard looked as neat as the front, with nothing out of place. All the windows were covered by blinds or curtains, and the back door was locked. Gideon sighed as he surveyed the back lawn, as immaculately landscaped as the front.
They must have a lawn service, Jason thought absently. No way is Hotch home enough to keep up with this... He turned to the short space between the house and garage. Like the rest of the property, there was nothing to suggest foul play.
Except Hotch's conspicuous silence. Morgan might joke about not answering his phone over vacation, but Hotch took his duty too seriously. Jason sighed and walked over to the kitchen door. The top was glass, and the lock looked easy to force from the inside...
"Hey Garcia," JJ spoke, startling him. Jason turned to her. The blonde agent was a couple paces behind him, staring at a basement window as she talked on her phone. "I need you to… HOTCH IS MISSING! Now, I know you're focused on catching whoever hacked your system, but we know he accessed our team's personnel files. I need you to go back and see if he altered Hotch's current location, before we do anything drastic like break into his house… No, we're here now, and his cell's going straight to voicemail since last night. So unless they're out of service range… Probably the same unsub who sent the head to Gideon… Yeah, an actual human head... From Jamaica… It's all over the office… Well I assumed someone had… We think it goes with the body at the resort Elle and Morgan went to… Reid got a strange message in Vegas… You're sure… Okay… Well, it's possible they're all running errands. Can you look up Hayley's vehicle and put out an APB…? What really?" JJ asked as she pulled out a pocket notebook and pen. "Where… If it's on the street, why… Oh. Do you have a number…? Possibly. We'll check it out… Thanks, Garcia," JJ said after she finished writing something down. "You're the best… I'll let you know…"
JJ hung up and turned to Jason. "Garcia found no sign of tampering, but Haley's new SUV came with a free portable GPS. It's in Maryland, just over the DC border, and near a house owned by Haley's sister. She doesn't have a landline, but cell service disruptions have been reported in the area since last night. He probably just doesn't know his battery died."
"Thank God," Jason sighed. "You have the address?"
JJ tore the sheet out of her notebook and handed it to him.
As Gideon drove down the street, neither agent noticed the living room drapes pull to the side.
Elle Greenaway knew she was being bitchy, and wanted to reveal in it, despite the voice of logic that said she should try to keep her head. She had barely gotten to sleep when the Jamaican police had burst into her room and dragged her out of bed. They had kept her in this over air-conditioned interrogation room ever since, handcuffed to the damn chair still in her sleepwear—black camisole and panties, not something she ever planned on being publicly seen in—and she had to pee. Badly. Not that she intended to tell the annoying detective that, even if she could not quit bouncing her leg. The stupid jackass would not believe that she had nothing to do with the murder. Honestly, who saw an obvious blood trail to a bloodless hotel room and called it anything other than a pathetic setup attempt?
"Who's the victim?" the man folded his hands together and set his arms on the table.
"For the hundredth time, I didn't even know that there was a victim UNTIL YOU DRAGGED ME OUT OF BED!"
"WHERE'S THE VICTIM'S HEAD!" the man demanded, matching her raised voice. He leaned over the table.
"Well, I must have dropped it on the way in here," Elle said sarcastically. "Come on! You know that I had nothing to do with this! I'm an American FBI agent. I'm here on vacation, man!" Elle sighed as the last of the angry energy faded. "I'm the police, just like you."
An officer came into the room and dropped a file in front of the detective. The man opened it as the officer left. "Are you the 'her'?"
"Excuse me?" Elle asked as the detective slid the folder across the table, tapping on the photo on top. Clearly of the crime scene, it had the words "save her" written in blood over the headboard. "I hope not," Elle frowned. "Though if this unsub's delusional, I suppose it's possible that he thought leaving a blood trail to my door would prompt you protect me from… something."
"Unknown Subject of Investigation. Many US law enforcement groups use it instead of 'the subject'."
The detective nodded. "And you arrived in Jamaica yesterday?"
"That's right," Elle confirmed.
The detective proceeded to inquire about everything she did since her flight landed. He inquired thoroughly about the guy she had met over Frisbee and then danced with at the resort—and anyone who might have paid overmuch attention to the both of them. Finally, the detective asked, "What time did you go to bed?"
"Around midnight… I think." Elle found herself shaking her head at that. As a trained agent, she really should be able to trace her own steps better. Just how strong were those umbrella drinks, anyway? "I don't really know. It was late."
"Were you alone?"
"By the time I got back to my room, yeah."
"Did you hear anyone or anything before you fell asleep?"
"No, I—" the door to the interrogation room opened. In walked a grey-haired man who appeared to be a Jamaican police official and a familiar blonde in a stern business suit. Elle's stomach fell. Chief Strauss' reputation suggested that she would sooner protect the Bureau from the fallout of her arrest than battle for her release.
Not that the pencil pusher would necessarily realize this was a snafu anyway.
Morgan followed the pair to the doorway, and stood leaning against the door of the interrogation room. Elle met his eyes and instantly read the worry there. "Detective St. Pierre," the man nodded at Elle's interrogator. "Agent Greenaway, I apologize for the inconvenience, but I'm sure you understand the necessity of thoroughly eliminating suspects as soon as possible."
Elle's instinctive response was rather acerbic, though she bit it back and nodded curtly.
"Sir?" St. Pierre asked. "We're still going over—"
"Agent Greenaway only arrived in the country yesterday afternoon," the older man stated, handing St. Pierre the file. "Our coroner has concluded that your body has been dead at least twenty-four hours. As such, we're releasing Agent Greenaway into her superior's custody." St. Pierre grudgingly tossed a handcuff key across the table. Elle grabbed it and quickly freed herself. Now she just needed to get some clothes.
But first, a bathroom.
The brunette woman groaned as the vision ended and the force holding her prone body five inches above the floor vanished. With a sigh, she picked herself up from the floor. A pair of concerned hands grabbed her shoulders and helped her to a chair. "Angel," she muttered, grabbing one of the man's hands.
"What did you see?"
Cordelia Chase blinked and looked across the room, not at the curly-haired brunette woman who had asked, but the green-skinned, red-horned demon nursing a cocktail by her side. "That Slayer you knew in high school—the one whose power was sealed—you sure she's dead?"
"The next Slayer was called."
Cordelia's eyes narrowed as Lorne refused to meet her gaze. "So was Kendra."
"Yes, that was quite a first, wasn't it? Give the Slayer CPR; have two. But while Hale sure as hell would not go gently, even without her Slayer gifts, she still disappeared into that horde. The only one who could describe her exact fate barely survived himself, and all but abandoned the supernatural world thereafter."
"That'd be the tall, dark and stoic partblood Anya brought in for Faith's meltdown?" Cordelia continued.
"Anyanka's grandson, yes."
"Did he try to negotiate with the Powers to break her seal?" Cordelia pressed on, aware of the growing attention and concern from the other members of Angel Investigation. Fortunately, they were content to listen, instead of interrupt.
"Why?" the anagogic demon demanded, posture suddenly rigid.
"The Powers put the deal into play."
Lorne's Sea Breeze crashed to the floor.
"How are you holding up?" Morgan asked Elle as she finished checking out.
"Can't fucking wait to get out of paradise," she muttered as the desk clerk gave her her receipt.
Morgan sighed. "Yeah, I'm sorry the vacation was such a bust."
"Hardly your fault." Elle slung her suitcase strap over her right shoulder, and stalked through lobby. "I just want to go home and put the whole nightmare out of my mind."
"That may be easier said than done, Agent Greenaway," Strauss said as the pair reached the doors. She put her cell phone into her purse as they walked outside. The rental sedan that brought them over waited in front of the building, the stony Agent Jones sitting in the driver's seat. Elle and Morgan got into the back while Strauss climbed into the front passenger seat. After they began the drive to the airport, Strauss turned to face them. "The blood trail to your door was no coincidence, Agent Greenaway. Yesterday, Analyst Garcia discovered that somebody hacked her system and used it as a gateway to access your team's personnel files in the Bureau database—specifically your emergency contact info for the duration of your vacation. Shortly before Dupree got the anonymous tip about Harris' murder, Agent Gideon received a late night delivery of a human head. Return address: Montego Bay."
"You mean Harris' head," Elle said.
"Any positive ID on the head will be released after we're in the air," Strauss replied sharply. Then she sighed. "Though I'd be surprised if CSU comes to a different conclusion. There's something else…" Strauss' voice lost its sternness. To Elle it sounded almost apologetic. "It appears that Agent Hotchner and his family have been abducted."
"WHAT!" Morgan roared. "YOU SAID HE JUST TRAVELED OUT OF PHONE RANGE!"
"That's what it looked like!" Strauss snapped back. "We had his wife's GPS at his sister-in-law's, and the area had been having frequent cell service disruptions. However, when Agents Jareau and Gideon drove out there to get him, they found the wife's GPS unit on the ground, along with the SUV's registered plates, and glass shards from every single second story window. They called an evidence response team to the house and tried to interview the neighbors. No one living on Ms. Brooks' street had even noticed the damage." Strauss' voice now held disgust.
"How noticeable was the damage?" Morgan asked.
"From the photos Agent Jareau just sent me, very. Anyway, try to get some sleep on the flight back."
"What?" Elle protested as Morgan opened his mouth. "We need to figure out what's going on!"
"Which will best be done at Quantico, after Agents Jareau and Gideon have finished processing Brooks' house, and Agent Reid flies into Dulles with the package he received. Neither of you have had a full night's sleep, and you can do more good looking over everything with fresher eyes, than if you spend the next few hours working yourselves into exhaustion over this little slice of the puzzle."
Morgan sighed. "She has a point Elle," he said. Strauss frowned, clearly unhappy with either the comment or his tone. Or both. "But ma'am, I'm not sure I can sleep at this point. Not after everything that's happened down here, much less what we've just learned."
"I'm only asking that you try." Strauss' tone softened. "And if you can't and need to crash later, check into a hotel. I don't want any of you going home alone until we know how many people have your personal info."
"I'll keep a close eye on him," a brunette woman smiled at a black-haired man as she bounced a brown haired baby on her knee. "Just do what you need to. You know what to get, right?"
The man nodded, a grim expression on his face. "Yes," he said simply.
"Good." She gently grabbed one of the baby's hands and lifted it up. "Wave bye-bye to Daddy, Jack." The baby squealed happily as she moved his hand.
The man waved at the baby. "Goodbye Jack," he said. "I promise to be back as soon as I can."
"Relax Dad," the brunette said. "We'll all be five by five."
"Right," the man replied, glancing behind her into the rest of the SUV. Then he turned through the parking lot.