Chapter 1: Friday the 13th
"Grandpa! Grandpa what's wrong!"
I cried then. No, maybe. I hadn't started right then. At that moment I was fixated on convincing myself we hadn't been found. Convincing myself Grandpa wasn't having a heart attack. Convincing myself he had only accidently hit the emergency erase button. But then he fell. He had been saying something, but I wasn't paying attention. My mind was focused on convincing myself. But then he fell. Maybe, if Grandpa had been in this room when it started, this wouldn't have hit me so hard. But when he dropped his spoon, when he stopped in mid-sentence, when he slowly rolled to the side, it felt as if I had been shot. It took several seconds for me to realize the pain in my chest was not a heart attack. Not half a moment after I had this realization, I was on the ground; he was in my arms.
"No!" I cried, again and again. I called his name, over and over. He stared up, his eyes glazed. He blinked once. His lips moved, slowly. "I'm sorry…" I heard, just barely, and then watched as his eyes closed, forever. Those two words brought reality crashing down around me, like a chandelier that's tether had snapped. Glass seemed to shatter and fall around me as blood rushed through my ears. In less then one minute my world had been destroyed. Tears flooded down my face and a sob racked my body.
After several moments passed I began to realized my heart was still beating. I could hear the blood in my ears and feel the pulse in my chest. One simple truth came to my attention. I am alive. This one simple truth, which had made me rejoice so many times before, now tore me apart. He was not alive. Grandpa was not alive. I was alive, but they were not. My thoughts flashed back to the conversation I had overheard earlier. "When this is over, I'll ask her to marry me." I heard him say again. He'd said that not even an hour ago. And hour ago I knew this case was over. I knew we had won. I knew he would ask me within the week. But now? Now, he was dead.
A bullet pierced my heart. He was dead. Just like my parents. Just like B. Just like After and that little boy I met in New York. He was dead. I would never hear his voice or see his rare smile or feel his touch ever again. I would never stumble upon him sleeping quietly on those rare nights were his insomnia was absent. I would never spend hours listening to him explain some far out theory while we both ate strawberry cake, ever again. I would never be able to just talk to him, ever again. Another sob racked my body and I fell into a fit of tears. He was gone.
I awoke with a start, tears forming in my eyes. Why now? I thought, that happened six years ago, why am I dreaming about it again? I sat up and placed my head in my hands. Six years ago. Has it really been six years? And I had been eighteen then. Now I'm twenty-four. Why do I feel so old now? I just shrugged and stood up. The moon had set but the sun was still far below the mountain outside my window. The clock on my bedside table read 5:38. Shit. I'm going to be late. I thought, that'll make one hell of a first impression.
I had showered the night before, thank Karma, so I didn't have to worry about that. I was about to put on some black leather pants, then decided that wouldn't make the best impression and pulled out a pair of black silk dress pants. I pulled out a simple blue paisley blouse to wear over them. A pair of simple black-heeled boot completed the outfit. I looked in the small mirror in the small bathroom of the small apartment I rented. My black hair hung over my eyes but was relatively kempt. I took a small moment to thank Karma cared that I was Asian. I decided I should pin my hair up today so I pulled it back into a ponytail then twisted it into a bun. I took out a small sliver and sapphire barrette and clipped it onto the bun. I decided not to put on any make-up, my lips were already naturally pretty red and when I rechecked my clock it read 6:58. Where over an hour had gone, I'll never know.
Cursing my horrid sense of time, I rushed to the kitchen an downed a few shots of whiskey to help me forget that dream and rushed down the steps of my apartment to the small parking garage beside the main building. Inside was a mix of chars and trucks and one small motorcycle. I headed straight for the bike, hopped on, and revved the engine. Still working beautifully I noticed, and remembered the hours I had spent constructing it. Smiling to myself I speed out of the garage and towards the FBI headquarters in Quantico, Virginia.
I took me nearly half an hour to reach the FBI building. I thanked the sun for making it warm in July and thanked my clothes for not being too wrinkled. I rushed in through the large, glass double-doors that lead to the main office of the Behavioral Analysis Unit of the FBI. I noticed three things as soon as I stepped inside. One: this place was in shades of black and white. Some desks looked like they belonged to five-year-olds. Other desks looked like they belonged to drill sergeants. Two: All the desks were separated my thin glass walls. It seemed privacy was lost on Americans. Three: Some poor little nerdy-looking guy was being picked on by a big, muscle-head black guy and a chubby little blonde girl. Past experience told me to stay out of those matters so I started to just pass them by, but then I heard someone call, "Hey!"
I whipped around and cocked my head to the side, "Are you calling me?" I asked. The big, very big, black guy stood up.
"Yeah," he said, "Are you the new girl Hotch said we'd be getting?" he said.
"He's our boss. Try 'Agent Aaron Hotchner' next time, Derek," said the blonde girl, then she laughed at him.
"And now you're lecturing me on nicknames?" the man, Derek, asked.
"Well, you should be more clear with new recruits," the little nerd said as he stood up. No, not little. He's actually really tall, as tall as Derek. This guy just has absolutely no muscle or fat. He's a freaking stick.
"Reid, shut up," Derek said flatly. The blonde girl burst out laughing.
"Um, excuse me? You mentioned Aaron Hotchner?" I asked, tentatively. Derek and Reid had walked off, arguing, and this blonde girl walked up to me.
"Ignore then, they're idiots," she said. Now that I could see her better, I noticed she was actually pretty tall, and wearing heels.
"You're shy aren't you?"
"Um… a little, maybe."
"Hahaha! You're so cute! Where are you from? Asia right? No wait, let me guess… Korea! No, then you probably wouldn't have joined the FBI… I-I'm not being racist or anything, I swear!" she yelped out that last sentence and threw her arms up as if to shield herself. I burst out laughing.
"Hehe, don't worry, I don't think you're being racist. But I'm not from Korea. I'm Japanese."
"Oh… wait, wait, wait, wait! If you're Japanese, then why do you sound British?"
"I was born in Japan, but mostly lived in England. Well… then I moved back to Japan… But I've been in London for the past few weeks, then I moved… here, I guess, hehe."
"You move a lot don't you?" she asked, then started laughing again. "Oh! By the way, my name's Penelope Garcia. The big hunk of chocolate over there is Derek Morgan. And the stick-nerd is Spencer Reid."
"Um, okay then. Well, my name's Alycia Kayne. It's nice to meet you Garcia."
"Please, please, please don't sound so formal, Alycia! Call me Penn, or PG, or Penelope at least, hahaha," she cried and clasped her hands together as if she were begging for some change on the streets of New York.
"Alright, Penelope, but then can you just call my Ali?"
"Of course, Ali!" Penelope laughed as she slung her arm around my shoulders. She had to bend down a bit, thanks going to my damned Asian-shortness genes.
"What happened to who?" Morgan came over and asked.
"Nothing, go back to your nerd fight," Penelope chided.
"Who's a nerd?" Reid asked, completely serious.
"You are. Now, leave us alone so I can take Ali here to meet the bosses," Penelope declared, pushing past the boys, pulling me behind her.
"Ali…?" the boys murmured.
"M-my name's Alycia Kayne!" I called back. Then I turned to follow Penelope. She pulled me to a larger room with a huge monitor resting on one wall and a round table sitting in the center. Ten or so chairs were arranged around the table and another blonde girl was setting out pads of paper and pens in front of each chair.
"Hmm, they're not here yet… JJ, have you seen Hotch or Gideon?" Penelope asked the girl. The girl looked up, her big blue eyes revealing confusion the moment she saw me.
"Um… Penn, why are you dragging a kid around here?" the girl, JJ, I guess, asked.
"She's not a little girl! She's our newest profiler!" Penelope huffed.
"O-Oh! I'm so sorry, um…"
"Kayne, Alycia Kayne, but you can call me Ali," I said.
"Right, Ali. Well, my name is Jennifer Jareau. Everyone calls me just kinda calls me 'JJ' though,' the girl said and smiled at me.
"She's really shy, by the way," Penelope said, randomly, making us both jump. JJ and I both started laughing.
"Hey, you sure she's not a kid, Penn? I'm sorry, Ali, but you sound just like a kid when you laugh," JJ laughed.
"Yeah, I know. I'm told that often. I'm also often told my accent is wrong…" I murmured.
"Well, you are Asian, hon," Penelope giggled.
"Yeah, I know," I murmured again. Penelope laughed again and JJ and I joined her.
"What's so funny?" Derek said in a sly tone.
"You, alone in the dark," Penelope whispered evilly. She, JJ, and Reid, who I just noticed was behind Morgan, all burst out laughing.
"What are you laughing at, Pretty Boy? You're the one who's afraid of the dark," Morgan shot back.
"No, he's afraid of the absence of light," JJ added in. Everyone was in stitches now. I took a step back, smiling, but feeling somewhat left out. I guess this wouldn't last long, but every time I meet a group of new people like this I get so damn shy!
"No laughing!" A scruffy man said as he walked in, laughing, to the large room.
"Speak for yourself, Hotch!" Derek scolded without breaking his laugh.
"Hotch! I found the new girl!" Penelope shouted.
"Hey! Wh-huh. Um… hi?" I stuttered as Penelope pushed me towards Aaron Hotchner.
"Your Agent Kayne?" he asked.
"Um, yes," I murmured.
"C'mon, look up. You're a part of this team now. You should be happy… or scared."
"Hey!" the others snapped. Hotch laughed.
"Hehe, yeah!" I smiled.
"Why's there a kid here?" an older man came in and asked.
"She's not a kid!" Penelope fumed.
"She's the new recruit, Gideon," Hotch explained.
"Oh yeah… Well then welcome to the BAU…"
"K-Kayne. I'm Alycia Kayne."
"Jason Gideon," Gideon said as he shook my hand, "Do we have a case?"
"Yes sir," JJ said and handed him a case file. She passed out folders to everyone else, and me. "Three girls were found dead in a shallow grave outside Los Angeles. All three were found incredibly emaciated and tortured, both physically and sexually."
"Well, I think we can see an obvious pattern," Morgan said. And there was. All three girls were clearly Asian. Great.
"Ahh, sorry about this, Ali. Not exactly the best first case," JJ apologized.
"Hmm, oh it's not really a big deal. I'm not one to get personal over race, and I won't be distracted by the fact I look like the victims."
"Are you sure? You know, you don't have to work a case on your first day here," Hotch said.
"I'm fine really. I want to help."
"Alright then," JJ said, "Local law enforcement has called us in and are eager for our help."
"Well that's always helpful," Gideon murmured.
"Are you guys taking this case?" JJ asked.
"Yes. Wheels up in thirty. Garcia I want you to find out who these girls were" Hotch said and he stood up and walked out the door.
"C'mon, Ali, we're going to Los Angeles. Do you have a go-bag?" Morgan asked me.
"Ah, go-bag?" I asked.
"Yeah, a bag with clothes and travel stuff in it," Reid said.
"Very eloquent, Dr. Spencer Reid," JJ laughed.
"Oh, yeah, I have a bag packed," I said.
"Then c'mon, let's catch that plane," Morgan said.
"We have a jet!" Reid laughed.
And that's how I ended up going to Los Angeles, probably the last city I ever wanted to go to in America. One of my closest friends ran away to, and died, there. And now young Asian girls were being killed there. I glanced at a calendar on my way out to the plane, or jet, and noticed the date. Friday 13. Thank you, Karma, for not mentioning this earlier.