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[personal profile] calleigh_j
Title: On A Burning Beach
Author: [livejournal.com profile] calleigh_j
Artist: [livejournal.com profile] aoibhe - art to be linked soon
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: none
Pairing: Emily/JJ
Summary: AU fic; when CIA Agent Emily Prentiss and FBI Agent Jennifer Jareau meet on a case in Boston, a connection is forged which may be more than just professional
Notes: thanks to [livejournal.com profile] racethewind10 for being the best beta in the world even though she's hideously busy with awesome things; idea for the case from [livejournal.com profile] jujuberry136 so thanks to her and everyone else who offered suggestions for exactly how to get Emily and JJ to Boston; title and first quote taken from the Crowded House song 'Nails In My Feet'; second quote from 'Fingers of Love' by the same



On A Burning Beach

Your skin is like water on a burning beach
And it brings me relief

Chapter One:

Walking into her apartment, Emily yanked off her graduation gown and tossed it somewhere in the direction of the couch. She kicked off her uncomfortable black heels and stalked into the kitchen. There was half a bottle of good Scotch left on the counter from the last time she'd had friends around, and she poured a large measure into an empty tumbler. She took a long swallow and winced as the alcohol burned down her throat. She topped up the glass, screwed the cap back onto the bottle, and walked over to the couch. Leaning over, she picked up the black gown she'd thrown down just a few minutes earlier and laid it over the arm of the couch. She slumped down onto the armchair next to it and sighed. Her anger was gone now. After a slow build up since early in the morning, her rage and frustration had died as soon as she stopped moving.

She was twenty-six years old. She had graduated top of her class from high school. She had an undergraduate degree in international relations and, as of three hours ago, a dual Master's in psychology and Arabic. And not once had her parents attended any kind of graduation ceremony of hers. Three strikes and out, she thought bitterly.

This time, it was supposed to be different. With her assignment in Thailand coming to an end a week before the ceremony, Elizabeth Prentiss had promised her only child that her time back in the US could be timed to coincide with graduation. Emily's father had assured her of his presence as well: he could, he had said, of course take a few days off from his ambassadorial duties and return to the US to see her graduate.

But at six that morning, the ringing phone had pulled Emily out of a restless, anxious sleep. It had been her mother, distracted and brusque, citing an urgent meeting as the reason she was still in Thailand, rather than on a plane due to land in two hours

"No, it's fine," Emily had said, "Of course, I understand."

Emily had hung up the phone and dropped back against the pillows. She should have expected it, but going to bed the night before with nothing from either parent to say they couldn't be there, she had naively assumed that for once, her parents weren't going to let her down.

Her father's assistant had called a couple of hours later.

"I'm sorry, but Ambassador Prentiss has been called in on urgent business and will unable to attend the planned event."

If the young woman hadn't already checked to confirm that she was speaking to Miss Prentiss - Emily had corrected her with an irritated 'Ms' - Emily wouldn't have been sure the assistant even knew she was talking to her boss' daughter. Emily had accepted the standard, formulaic apology and listened to the dead air as the call was cut off.

And with two short phone calls, probably no more than three minutes long in total, her parents had failed her once again. In an echo or so many childhood memories, work had taken precedence in her parents' lives over anything their daughter had wanted them to share in. Her earlier anger hadn't even been solely directed at them. A not inconsiderable portion had been aimed squarely at herself for letting herself believe, despite all evidence to the contrary, that just once, her parents were prepared to put her happiness ahead of their jobs. Her parents had missed birthdays, Christmases, school plays: why should her final graduation, the culmination of everything she'd worked so hard for, be any different?

The phone rang. Emily set her glass down on the low coffee table and picked up the receiver from the small end table beside the couch.

"Hello?"

"Emily, get your ass down here." The demanding voice belong to Andy, one of her fellow students.

"I'm really not in the mood," she replied, preparing herself for a long battle. Andy was persistent and could usually get her to do things she didn't want to do but ended up enjoying, but today all she wanted to do was sit and mope. It wasn't classy and it wouldn't change anything, but she felt she was entitled to spend the evening with a glass of Scotch and whatever B-movie she could find on TV.

"You're free, Prentiss," Andy said, the familiar air of determination in his voice, "You need to celebrate."

"Have fun, Andy," Emily said, smiling despite herself, "I'll see you in the diner in the morning. I promise, I'll be more in the mood for celebrating then."

She hung up the phone before he could try and persuade her again, and then put the receiver on the table beside the base unit. With the phone off the hook, there would be no more interruptions and maybe she could get some sleep.

***

The diner was surprisingly empty when Emily got there just before ten the next morning. It was usually difficult to find a table any time mid-morning as seemingly half the population of the campus arrived for the best cup of coffee. Emily took a seat in one of the larger booths with a view of the entrance. She ordered a cup of coffee when the waitress came over, then sat back to wait for her friends to arrive.

"Emily Prentiss?"

Emily looked up from the menu she was studying and into the eyes of a tall, middle-aged African-American man in a suit and tie that reminded her uncomfortably of the various protective details who'd been charged with her protection as a child.

"Yes?" she answered, not even trying to keep the curiosity from her voice.

"My name is David Hanson. I work for the CIA. We've been watching your progress over the past couple of years and we think there might be a place for you within the Agency."

Emily found herself speechless, a rare occurrence for her. She blinked a few times, staring at the man as she tried to formulate some kind of coherent sentence. David Hanson's nonplussed reaction to her blank stare suggested to Emily that he was probably used to this sort of response. He reached into the inner pocket of his jacket and pulled out a small white card.

"This is my business card," he said, putting it on the table and sliding it across to her, "If you think you might be interested, give us a call."

With a nod to the waitress bringing Emily's coffee over to the table, David Hanson walked through the diner and out of the double doors.

Emily looked at the card on the table. It was simple: the CIA logo on the left hand side, then 'Agent D. Hanson', with 'Washington DC field office' on the line below and a telephone number underneath that. She picked it up and turned it over. The other side was blank. Emily turned it back over and ran her fingers over the text. It was smooth and felt oddly cheap compared to some of the cards she used to play with in her father's office. Closing her eyes, Emily massaged her temples with her fingers. When she opened her eyes again, the card was still there. The whole meeting, which probably hadn't taken any more than two minutes, seemed so surreal and unlikely that Emily had been half-convinced that she'd imagined the whole thing. The continuing presence of David Hanson's business card indicated that she probably hadn't.

"Emily!" The yell from across the diner had Emily looking across to the main doors and grinning. Her friends had arrived, a couple of them looking the worse for wear. She picked up the business card and put it into her purse and out of her mind. The CIA could wait: she had celebrating to do.

***

The next day found Emily nursing a blinding hangover. After a leisurely brunch in the diner, she and her friends had spent the day wandering around campus, visiting all the places that had been important to them over the last few years, before ending up in a packed bar. She wasn't certain exactly what time she'd made it back to her apartment, but it was some time after three in the morning and it was now only just gone nine. She'd awoken to the sound of her phone ringing. She'd ignored it and waited for voicemail to click in.

"Emily dearest, it's your mother. I'm so very sorry about missing your graduation the other day but you know how these things go - there was no way for me to get out of the meeting and asking for it to be rescheduled would just have been impolite. I hope you and your father had a good time though, and I'll take you out to celebrate when I'm back. Bye darling."

Even if Emily hadn't already been battling a rolling stomach, her mother's message would surely have induced a similar nausea. It was, Emily thought, not worth getting riled up about - her parents were never going to change and she ought to accept that - but the familiarity of the situation didn't dull the pain.

Half an hour after the message, Emily finally rolled over and pressed 'delete' on the small machine by her bed. Slowly, she pushed back the covers and got to her feet. The world was spinning less than it had been when she first opened her eyes and she was thirsty. Focussing on putting one foot in front of the other, not falling over, and not throwing up, she made it into the kitchen to get a glass of water. She filled the closest glass she could find and drank deeply. When she put the glass back down on the counter, she noticed her purse: obviously she'd left it there the night before. She pulled out her wallet and opened it, slightly concerned about how much money she might have spent the night before. Money wasn't a problem for her and, providing she didn't do anything stupid, likely never would be, but still she didn't like to waste it. Tucked inside the wallet was a little white card she suddenly remembered being given the previous morning.

The bizarre appearance of Agent David Hanson had occupied her thoughts for a little while after he'd left, but the day's activities had soon made sure her mind was on other things. Now though her aching brain was determined to think about this apparent job offer from the CIA. It seemed like an odd way to go about it - approaching a potential employee in a diner - but it was after all the CIA: a certain amount of intrigue was presumably expected.

Emily's mother had been trying to convince her to work for the State Department since Emily was ten. It was a suitable job for the daughter of two ambassadors and with her linguistic skills and personal connections, it would be easy for her to get a good job there and work her way up. Emily had no desire to work in the State Department though, in large part because of her mother pushing it on her. Looking at it objectively, she could see that a lot of the work would be interesting but the politics inherent in a position within that department nullified whatever interest Emily might have had in a job there.

Emily herself had never had a clear idea of what she wanted to do. She wanted to make some use of the languages she knew - the only upside of her nomadic childhood - and she wanted, as cliched as it sounded, to make a difference. She wanted more than meetings and deals and politicking at glamorous parties; she wanted to be in the thick of it. The more she stared at Agent Hanson's card, the more possibilities occurred to her. She wasn't sure exactly what position it was they wanted her for, she knew it most likely wouldn't be anything like the spies she'd seen in films, and she knew it would require a lot of work, but Emily had never backed down from a challenge. Besides, it surely couldn't hurt to call and see exactly what was on offer.

Picking up the handset, Emily dialled the number on the card: Agent Hanson's direct line.

"Agent Hanson."

"Agent Hanson, this is Emily Prentiss. I'm calling about the job offer."

***

Chapter Two:

"Three women have disappeared over the past four weeks," JJ announced as Reid, the last to arrive, slipped into his seat. She pressed a button on the remote to bring up pictures of the three women side by side, with corresponding pictures of the locations from which they'd disappeared underneath.

"All of them went missing from bars and clubs in the city," she continued, "They were out on their own, waiting to meet friends. The bartender in one of the clubs remembers seeing Amy Anderson, the second victim, talking to a man about ten minutes before her friends arrived."

"Do we have a sketch of the man?" Morgan asked.

"The bartender couldn't remember anything about him," JJ said, shaking her head, "There's security camera footage of the entrance to the club though and Boston PD are going to bring him in and get him to have a look through."

"The women are of different ethnicities and different ages: they have different jobs and live in different areas of the city," Hotch said, "Garcia, see if you can find any commonalities other than all of them being single and the circumstances of their disappearances."

"Sure thing, boss," Garcia said brightly, making notes with a bright yellow pen with a springy bumblebee on the end.

"Boston PD have called us in?" Hotch checked as he turned back to JJ.

"Captain Daniel Butler has requested our assistance," JJ confirmed.

"Right, wheels up in thirty."

***

On the plane, JJ handed out glossy photos of the locations the women had vanished from. She opened up the laptop and connected the call through to Garcia.

"Right then, my little chicks," Garcia said, her voice echoing through the jet, "I've delved into the lives of our missing women and I can't find a single thing they all have in common. The first victim, Margarita Delgado, is originally from California and lives with two friends in an apartment in the Fenway/Kenwood area. Amy Anderson, number two, is Bostonian born and bred, divorced, owns a brownstone in Back Bay. And our final unlucky lady is Jenna Moore. She moved to Boston six months ago from Texas and lives in South End. They don't share doctors or dentists. They live in different areas of the city, they come from different places: I can't find anything to connect them so far. I'll keep looking though: see if there's anything in their family backgrounds that connects them."

"Thanks Garcia," JJ said, "We'll get in touch when we get to the station." She disconnected the call and pushed the laptop to the side.

The team shot ideas back and forth, but with nothing to connect the women, none of the normal profiles seemed to fit.

"If we assume someone's grabbing them from the bars," Rossi started, "Then this guy has to fit in. He's talking to these women without raising any eyebrows."

"And if no-one's mentioned any disturbances," Reid jumped in, "That suggests they might be going with him willingly."

"They could be drugged," Morgan suggested, "GHB, rohipnol; something in their drinks so they just walk out with him."

"We should ask at the bars," Hotch said, "Find out if any of the people who work there are aware of any incidences of people being drugged with anything like that."

"How did Boston PD connect the disappearances?" JJ asked, flicking through the photos, "I mean, the places they vanished from are all under the purview of different precincts and there isn't anything to particularly make them stand out."

"It says here," Reid said as he gestured to the folder open in front of him, "That there was a spate of disappearances a couple of years ago which turned out to be connected, but no-one figured it out until it was too late, so they're being extra careful now. I guess they figured it was better to call us and have it not be anything than miss something important again.

The rest of the flight was spent in relative quiet as each team member studied the information they had and tried to form conclusions about the kind of person they might be looking for. Soon enough, the pilot's voice came over the speakers in the cabin announcing that they would be landing in approximately twenty minutes. Hotch divided up the assignments.

"JJ and Reid, I want you to rendezvous with Captain Butler at his precinct. Rossi, Morgan and I will go and check out the crime scenes and see if we can learn anything new. JJ, I also need you to talk to the bartender from the second disappearance and see if he's been able to get anything from the security tapes.

***

That evening found the team in a crowded club a few blocks away from where Jenna Moore had gone missing. Examining the places where the previous victims had disappeared from had revealed nothing new. The bartender who'd seen the second woman talking to someone soon before she disappeared hadn't been able to identify anyone from the tapes. JJ had spent two hours going through them with him with no success and she was tired. Her head ached and her neck was stiff from sitting at an awkward angle for too long.

Over the next couple of days, they would interviewing friends and relatives of the missing women.

It had been Morgan's idea to check out some of the clubs in the area to get a better idea of the environment their unsub would have to exist in comfortably. The music was loud and thumping and JJ wasn't sure how anyone could really be comfortable when they couldn't even hear themselves think. Then she groaned inwardly at how old that thought made her sound.

She had a glass of orange juice in her hand and was hovering with Morgan at the side of the packed room. Reid was by the bar, talking to one of the bartenders, and Hotch and Rossi were in a car outside with a couple of the local cops, keeping an eye on the people entering and leaving the bar.

JJ's attention was caught by a woman weaving her way through the crowd with a bottle in each hand. JJ watched as the woman stumbled, righted herself, and handed one of the bottles to a man leaning against the back wall. JJ wasn't surprised she'd been off balance: the woman was wearing knee high boots with a narrow, vertiginous heel. The boots, combined with a wickedly short skirt, showed off long, lean legs, and a form-fitting shirt completed the outfit. JJ scanned the crowded again but found her gaze drawn back to the woman in the killer heels, who appeared to be leaving through a small door in the far corner.

"Eleven o'clock," JJ said to Morgan, gesturing towards the door through which the woman and her companion were leaving. He looked where she was pointing, then caught Reid's eye and signalled that they were following.

The door led out into a dark alley. Light from the doorway and the single streetlight at the far end of the alley lit up dumpsters, bags of garbage, and a woman pointing a gun at a man.

"FBI; freeze," JJ and Morgan yelled in unison. The man turned his attention away from the woman and towards JJ and Morgan, and even in the dim light JJ could see his eyes were wide.

"My name is Emily Prentiss," the woman said, gaze and gun still trained on the man, "I'm a CIA agent. If you'll let me reach into my pocket, I can show you my badge." With the gun in her hand, the woman's body language was completely different to that which she'd projected in the bar. Gone was the tipsy young woman, tripping over her heels and giggling. In her place was a woman completely in control of a volatile situation and if JJ hadn't seen the woman earlier, she wouldn't have believed they were the same person.

"Slowly," Morgan assented, approaching the woman. Reid had called Rossi and Hotch and they were standing with JJ now and watched as Morgan reached the woman, took something from her, and then lowered his gun. Agent Prentiss said something JJ couldn't hear, and the man ran out of the alley and down the street.

Morgan led the CIA agent over and introduced her to the team. JJ found herself uncharacteristically tongue-tied and afterwards had no idea what she'd said to Agent Prentiss. She hoped it wasn't too stupid, and then wondered why she hoped that.

Suddenly a car screeched to a halt at the end of the alley and a man jumped out.

"Prentiss, what happened to comms?"

JJ smirked as Prentiss rolled her eyes.

"Too loud in the bar, Mattie - I couldn't hear a thing as it was and I thought it would look a little suspicious if I started fiddling around with an earpiece."

"And these guys?" 'Mattie' gestured to the BAU team as he spoke.

"FBI," Prentiss replied, "I think they must be the team Boston P.D. called in to help look for Amy and the others."

"You know about Amy Anderson?" Reid said and Prentiss sighed.

"I think you should probably come back to the office with us," she suggested, "This could get a little complicated."

***

"I'm Director Benson; I'm in charge of the Boston field office."

Director Benson was short and a little portly with thinning gray hair, but still cut an imposing figure as he stood behind his desk. After leaving the bar, JJ and the rest of the BAU team had followed Agents Prentiss and Mattie, who'd been introduced as Matthew Hamilton, back to the Boston office where the Director had been waiting to meet them.

"I understand Boston P.D. called you in to work on the case of three women who'd all gone missing over the past couple of weeks."

"That's correct, sir," Hotch replied.

"All three women had relatives who either work or used to work for this agency," Benson said bluntly. JJ and Morgan exchanged glances and JJ could see the others looking around as well. Not only was the information surprising but the Director's bluntness in informing them of a connection between the women was unusual too. The FBI and CIA typically had a fairly antagonistic relationship and often cooperation between the two was limited unless a higher power expressly commanded it.

"Do you believe this is the reason why the women were taken?" Hotch asked, immediately assessing the information from the point of view of their case.

"We're certain this is the reason," Benson answered, "Another two women connected to former CIA agents, one from DC and one from Los Angeles, have also gone missing recently. Prentiss and Hamilton were working the DC case and that's why they were sent here when Margarita Delgado - the first victim - went missing."

Benson reached into his desk drawer and pulled out a manila folder which he handed to Hotch. JJ craned her neck as subtly as she could but was unable to see what was in the file.

"That's the information about the other two women who went missing," Benson explained, satisfying JJ's curiosity, "I've spoken to your Section Chief already and she's agreed that you should remain here and continue to work on the case."

JJ suspected her own expression matched the expressions she could see on the face's of Morgan and Reid. Willingly sharing information was one thing, but to actually request the assistance of an FBI team in an investigation the CIA clearly considered their own was rare indeed.

"There's a lot of information to go over," Benson said, looking at Hotch, "And it's late. Bring your team back here in the morning and I'll have Prentiss and Hamilton explain everything to you and we can out how we're going to work this with the police department."

"They won't be happy with you taking their case," Hotch pointed out. JJ winced internally: if there were problems between the different investigative groups, it was going to be her job to sort them out and that was always the hardest part of what she did.

"We don't want to take it away from them completely," Benson said, "We'll need their help talking to witnesses and examining the crime scenes, but there's a lot of classified information linked to the relatives of these missing women and we need to keep things as contained as possible."

"Of course," Hotch said. He and Director Benson shook hands and Benson instructed his assistant to show them out. They followed the young man down a number of corridors and out into a large room comparable to the rotunda back at Quantico. JJ could see Prentiss and Hamilton over at one side of the room. Prentiss was sitting, feet propped up on the desk in front of her, seemingly unconcerned by how much leg she was displaying. JJ blinked a few times, dragged her eyes away, and followed her teammates out.

***

Chapter Three:

Emily rubbed her eyes and yawned. After finishing her report on the brief and ultimately fruitless hunt for information at the bar, she'd made it back to her hotel room a little after two. It was seven thirty now and it just felt too early. A cup of coffee appeared on the desk in front of her and she grinned.

"Matt, you are my saviour."

"I aim to please."

Matt Hamilton dragged his own chair up to Emily's desk and started sorting through the files on it.

"I'm sorry about the thing with the comms last night," Emily said apologetically.

"Eh, it's forgotten," Matt said with a shake of his head, "But seriously Em, you're going to get yourself in trouble one day doing something like that."

Emily snorted, "You sound like such an old man sometimes."

"It's my job to keep you out of trouble," Matt replied, "And some days you make that a whole lot harder than it ought to be."

"I promise not to do it again," Emily said insincerely, making a crossing motion over her heart, "Anyway, did you talk to Lily last night? How's Rachel doing?"

Lily was Matt's wife of eighteen years and Rachel his oldest daughter. While Emily and Matt were working out of Boston, he had to make do with e-mails and phone calls. Both Emily and Matt travelled quite a lot for their jobs and Emily guessed Matt's family must be used to him not always being around, but knew it would still be hard for them. Emily's childhood had been a more extreme version of the same thing and it never been easy to come home - wherever 'home' was that month - to an empty house and the news that, once again, her parents were otherwise engaged.

"She's better now - Lil reckons it was just a twenty-four hour thing. However, your presence at Friday night dinner is requested once we get back."

Emily grinned. Hamilton family Friday night dinners were nothing short of miraculous to her and she welcomed the regular invitations.

"I'll be there," Emily promised.

The tone of the sound in the room changed then and Emily looked over towards the main doors. The FBI team had just walked in and everyone else in the bullpen was trying to pretend they were deeply involved in their work while actually staring not that subtly at the new arrivals. The team leader - Hotchner, Emily remembered - and the blonde woman were at the front with the rest of the team behind them. "JJ," the woman had said last night, "Call me JJ," and Emily had wished briefly that the conversation was taking place inside the bar rather than in the seedy alley outside without the other FBI agents around. She'd spotted JJ and her teammate Morgan in the bar the night before, standing awkwardly off to one side. Most of her attention had been focussed on the man she was talking to. He was well connected within the drug subculture of the city and Emily's job was to find out if he knew anything about the missing women, which he hadn't. She was still aware of the people around her though and JJ had caught her eye, looking adorably awkward and out of place in the busy bar.

Watching the team as they hovered around the doors, Emily realised they had an extra person with them. She had the most wildly coloured hair Emily had ever seen in a professional setting and was clutching a large bag so bright it was bordering on fluorescent and looking around the bullpen with great interest.

Benson had instructed her earlier that morning to brief the BAU fully, including all the information they had about the two women from outside the Boston area. Emily had been working the case since the first woman went missing. She was the daughter of a former high ranking CIA agent and as such her disappearance was a cause for great concern with the agency. Her father had turned up at Langley mere hours after she'd gone missing and Emily and Matt had been assigned the case. They had worked alongside the LAPD for almost two weeks and found nothing. Then the second woman had gone missing, this time the wife of an agent, and alarm bells had started ringing. When the first woman had disappeared in Boston, Emily had been sent to Boston post haste with Matt arriving the following day. They'd been in Boston for three and a half weeks and were still struggling to find any solid leads. The investigation was focussing now on links between the relatives of the missing women on the assumption that there was someone out there with a score to settle and the case had been officially handed over to the CIA, with the assistance of the BAU.

Greeting the team in the middle of the bullpen, Emily led them off into a side room set up with tables, computers, and white boards. The team spread themselves out over the various desks and began putting up the information they had onto the boards. A lot of what they had corresponded to the various papers and photos that had been littering Emily's temporary desk for days, but they had a few extra things and a few missing documents. Emily returned to her desk and collected the things she thought the BAU didn't have before collecting Matt from the break room where he'd been preparing more coffee and going back to the FBI agents.

"Agent Hotchner, I think you might need these," Emily said, handing him the various papers she hadn't seen amongst the BAU's own information. He flipped through them before handing half to Agent Reid and half to Agent Rossi.

"Most people call me Hotch," he said, "And we don't tend to bother with 'Agent' - we're fairly informal."

Emily smiled, relieved. Working with other agencies was always different and only ever made harder by employees who insisted on being referred to by their full title all the time. She said as much to Hotch, adding, "I'm Prentiss then, or Emily - whichever's easiest."

Hotch went round the rest of his team then, introducing them again and explaining their roles and specialities. The woman with the colourful hair - Penelope Garcia, Technical Analyst - was whisked off by one of the Boston analysts to assist with the detailed background searches being carried out on all the missing women and their families. Everyone else settled down to work on the information they already had to try and find any more solid links between all the missing women.

***

It took longer than JJ might have anticipated to go over all the information they had, and with the inclusion of the documents from the CIA relating to the first two disappearances and the women's relationships to CIA agents, there was a lot of information to go through. Of the five missing women, two were the daughters of agents, one was a wife, one an ex-wife, and one a sister. The women were connected now, a solid thread linking them all together in these unfortunate circumstances. Linking the CIA agents together was another matter entirely.

JJ had foolishly imagined that now they had the connection, it might be fairly easy. This was the CIA, a government agency: surely there would be paperwork on the various assignments all the agents had been involved with; surely it would be easy to find some assignment common to the five agents. But there was paperwork and more paperwork and redacted paperwork and documents so full of black lines that it seemed the only words they were allowed to read were 'and' and 'the'. Three of the agents were still with the agency which made things even harder: they weren't allowed to look at anything which might compromise current operations. At least the two retired agents had finite files as it were - they had left the agency and the work they had done had been finished. But at some point in their careers, all the agents had been involved in operations which, for whatever reason, were still highly classified.

By the time they broke for lunch, they had a few possible operations selected. These were times when at least three of the agents had been involved and Prentiss and Hamilton were going to spend the afternoon trying to ascertain whether all the agents had involvement in these operations. The job of the BAU team was to see who else had been involved in those operations and to try and isolate anyone who might have been wronged in the process. They were looking for anyone who might have cause to be out for revenge or to settle a grudge. The number of people involved in these operations was daunting and JJ wasn't sure how they might safely be able to eliminate people given how much of the information lacked details even as basic as real names, codenames being much preferred.

"There's this amazing sandwich place down the road," Emily said once they'd decided to stop for lunch, "They have pretty much everything you could ever think of, so just put requests down here..." She held up a piece of paper, "And I'll head out in a few minutes."

"Do you need a hand?" JJ asked, desperate to get out of their little side room. It had no windows and JJ was starting to feel a little stir crazy.

"Sure," Emily said, "That would be great. I'll see you in the bullpen in a second - I just have to go and update the Director."

Emily picked up a couple of pieces of paper and headed out of the door. JJ gathered everyone together and compiled a list of what they wanted to eat before following her out into the bullpen. Seeing Emily hadn't yet finished with the Director, JJ hovered awkwardly by her desk. It was entirely bare of personal effects save one picture of Emily with Hamilton, a woman JJ didn't recognise, and three children. The rest of the desk was taken up by a computer, a keyboard, a printer, and reams of paperwork. It reminded JJ a lot of her own desk back at Quantico which seemed to gain three or four new pieces of paper or sometimes entire files every time she left it.

"Ready to go?" Emily asked, appearing at JJ's side.

"Uh, yeah, sure," JJ stuttered, startled by Emily's appearance. Emily grabbed her purse from in the little filing cabinet beside the desk and gestured for JJ to go ahead of her.

They left the field office in silence and out on the main street, Emily turned left. JJ walked beside her, desperately trying to think of things to say.

"So, uh, how long have you been working for the CIA?" JJ asked finally, aware that the question was far from original but dying to break the silence between them.

"A long time," Emily replied with a shake of her head, "Going on eleven years, I think. I joined out of college when I'd finished my Master's."

That surprised JJ: Emily was clearly older than JJ would have guessed for her to have completed a Master's degree and spent more than ten years working at the CIA.

"What about you?" Emily was asking, "How long have you been with the FBI?"

"A little over five years," JJ answered, "I joined out of college as well. I had no idea what I wanted to do and ended up going to one of Rossi's - David Rossi's - talks and I was sold."

It was close to three o'clock, well past the lunch hours of most people, so the cafe was fairly empty. Emily gave the order to the server and she and JJ sat down at one of the small tables along the wall to wait.

"Your partner - Matt," JJ asked, "How long have you guys been working together?"

"A really long time," Emily replied, laughing, "We met in the training programme and ended up as partners when we were both reassigned to DC. I think I'd been with the agency maybe eighteen months or two years."

"You seem pretty close," JJ commented.

"We are," Emily confirmed, "He's my best friend; practically my family. His youngest daughter, Grace, is my godchild."

"He's married?"

"I think he was born married," Emily joked, "When we joined the CIA, he'd already been married six years.

By the time they'd collected the sandwiches and walked back to the CIA offices, JJ had the basics of Emily's life story and it couldn't have been more different to JJ's own. Unfortunately for JJ, who had hoped that knowing a bit about Emily would stop JJ from being so deeply curious about her, it only served to pique JJ's interest further. JJ groaned inwardly: this was not how it was supposed to go.

***

It was close to ten before they finished the work required of the day, but they had a list now of possible suspects: all former agents who'd worked on the three assignments common to the relatives of the victims. The next few days would be spent interviewing other family members of the missing women and trying to locate the suspects. Interviewing relatives would be difficult emotionally but they were all in the Boston area and had definite locations where they could be contacted. Finding a former CIA agent who probably didn't want to be found was going to be another matter entirely. Emily wanted to be positive but she was realistic: she knew that if she personally wanted to disappear, she could do it fairly easily. She knew what to do and what not to do and any other CIA agent would have had the same training.

Emily took one last look at the evidence around the room. There were five white boards - one for each of the missing women - plus countless other documents and photos pinned up on cork boards on the walls. In the morning, the BAU team was going to give a profile of the person they were looking for. Though the circumstances were obviously far from ideal, Emily had enjoyed listening to the profilers and Press Liaison work. Their analyst - Garcia - was good too. Given access to the CIA servers, she'd come up with a few things their own analysts hadn't found and did it with a grace and humour Emily envied. She'd taken classes on abnormal and criminal psychology at college and understood the basics of what they were discussing. In another life, she reckoned, she might have made a good profiler. Now, she wouldn't give up her position in the CIA for anything, but had she been given the choice back when she was finishing college, the path to the BAU might have provided a tempting alternative.

She left the small side room and crossed the almost-empty bullpen. There were a few occupied desks, lights marking the continued presence of certain agents and analysts, but almost everyone else had left. Matt had walked the FBI agents out around five minutes ago and Emily promised him that she would be leaving soon. Like so many of her colleagues, Emily tended to get caught up in assignments, lose track of time, and end up working until one in the morning. It worked fine for a few days, maybe a week, but then fatigue inevitably caught up with her and she began to wane. She was trying to cut down on the excessively late nights, but it was hard. Still, there was nothing more she could do right now. They had suspects identified and tasks planned for the following day. All she could do was go back to the hotel and try to sleep.

Part Two
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calleigh_j

December 2010

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