Morgan was angry and helpless, two things he hated being.
“I don’t usually take much to kids. This one’s…” The unsub sniffed Ellie’s hair. “Just special.”
“We’ll find you, you sick son of a bitch.” Morgan said.
“Is that another promise?” The unsub dragged Ellie out and left Morgan and Kristin tied up.
The team finally found them, but it was already early in the morning. Ellie and the unsub had a headstart.
Morgan told them everything he’d learned from Kristin, who was badly injured. He drove an old, dirty RV, much like the unsub himself. He refused to go the hospital until they found Ellie.
Ellie was surprisingly calm. For a moment she’d believed she had a chance to escape, but it had been a trick. He’d used her as a decoy to kill the couple in the house she’d run to.
Now he was calling the two of them a team. But he was repulsive. A monster. This, Ellie thought, wasn’t a Disney movie. She was certain there was nothing to love about this beast. He’d killed her father, and maybe her aunt, too. The best plan was to wait.
He continually listened to the radio, pausing every time he himself was mentioned. The entire county was searching for her. No way she could give up now.
Meanwhile, Morgan was on the phone with Garcia, who was running a search for the RV. Kristin had given Prentiss more information about the man, including how he listens to the radio constantly.
He snapped at Garcia and hung up. It was obvious he was angry, and the pain in his shoulder and head was not helping. He was going to find him, and keep both his promises.
Ellie confronted the man. “We’re not a team.”
“You got us in. We did it together.”
“But I didn’t know. And if I didn’t know, we aren’t a team.”
“Why do you have to kill people?” Ellie asked, annoyed. “My dad says people who hurt other people are cowards, that they never hurt somebody who can protect themselves.”
“So how would he explain what happened to him tonight?”
“He let you go so that you wouldn’t hurt me,” Ellie decided to add an insult. “That doesn’t make you brave.”
“He let me go?” The man sounded amused.
“To save me.”
Ellie opposed him every chance she got. When he asked whether they should kill the man parked nearby, she said no. Unfortunately, that had made him more confident in the “team” idea.
“The question isn’t why do I kill people, the question is why I don’t kill everybody. I decide who dies, but mostly, I decide who lives. I’m like… God. And now you are, too.”
Ellie was disgusted. She didn’t want to be God. She had to find a way out.
The radio caught their attention. It was describing the RV. Ellie’s heart sank as she watched the man nearby look at the RV and pull out a cell phone.
Still, she didn’t flinch at the sound of the gunshot. As he returned, the radio continued.
“Police are also saying that the prince of darkness may now be traveling with a young girl, an 8-year-old girl, as a hostage. She’s described as having long brown hair.”
He looked at her, and Ellie gulped.
The team was going over the recent events, trying to figure out how the unsub was developing. Was he devolving? Or becoming more controlled?
Garcia had nothing on the plates, leading Morgan to snap at her again. Hotch gave him a disapproving look, which Morgan ignored.
“How the hell are we supposed to find this guy?” Morgan demanded.
“We can contact him,” Prentiss said. “Kristen remembered in the ambulance that the unsub listens to the news radio incessantly. He would even stop assaulting her if the broadcaster said anything about the Prince of Darkness.”
Prentiss’ idea was a good one, but there were about twenty news radio stations in Los Angeles. There was no way they could cover them all.
“What about the emergency alert system?” JJ offered. “It would be a way to communicate over all the stations simultaneously.”
“How do we do that?” Prentiss asked.
“I don’t really know.” JJ admitted. “How hard could it be to work out?”
Ellie was quite happy with herself, having outsmarted the man, even if for a moment. Seeing him in a panic was satisfying.
“He has a brother,” Ellie revealed in a sweet voice. “I told him to tell the neighbors to call the police, and then tell the next house, and the next house, and the next house. You know, he’s probably told the whole block by now. Can’t kill them all, can you?”
“I can try. Come on.” He was obviously angry, but Ellie knew if he wanted her dead, he would have killed her a while ago.
Going out the front door was a bad idea, as the whole neighborhood was gathering around. It was like a mob was forming. For a second, Ellie believed she might be free. But he had another idea.
There was a car in the garage. He quickly found the keys, and forced her into the passenger seat.
“What’s the matter, scared?” Ellie mocked him.
“Shut up.” He growled, before backing the car through the closed garage door, and speeding away. The neighbors narrowly avoided getting hit.
“He cut her hair,” Reid commented.
Morgan shook his head. “I swear to God, when I get my hands on this son of a-”
“That actually might be good,” Reid reasoned. “Why disguise somebody you’re gonna kill?”
They snooped around a bit more in the RV, finding a newspaper article about Spicer, in which Ellie’s name was underlined. He was after Ellie the entire time. He thought he was something like a grandfather to her.
From the articles, Reid realized that the unsub’s first murder had been in 1968, not 1984. He needed to call Garcia.
“Yes, yes I’m still here,” said JJ, trying to sound pleasant. “Yep, I’m always gonna be here. Ok, my name is Jennifer- no.” She’d had enough. “Do you know what? I’m not going to explain this entire thing again to another mid-level bureaucrat who can’t give me a sufficient answer. Put someone on the damn phone who can authorize what I need.”
“Why did you do this?” he asked, and Ellie wondered if he was actually capable of having his feelings hurt. “We were gonna be a-”
“I told you,” Ellie said. “We’re not a team.”
“Not a team? We were going to-” He paused, before looking at her. “I was nice to you.”
Ellie huffed. If the definition of nice was killing her father, then sure, he was nice to her.
“Great. Thank you so much, Madame Secretary,” JJ said, grateful she’d finally reached her. “Yeah, yeah, I will let you know how it goes.”
She called Hotch immediately.
“I need you to talk to him, JJ. I’ll give you some strategies,” Hotch said after JJ explained how the EAS worked.
“I’m not a hostage negotiator.” JJ argued, but Hotch wouldn’t take no for an answer.
“I’m sorry. You are today.”
“Dr. Reid, you’re on your own cellular.” Garcia said, surprised.
“Yeah, the power came back here a few minutes ago.”
“How’s my main man doing?”
“On the completely safe assumption that you’re not talking about me, let’s just say I wouldn’t want to be this unsub when Morgan finally gets his hands on him.”
“That bad, huh?”
“Has he ever yelled at you before?”
Garcia laughed. “Touche. How can I be of service?”
“How far back can you go with your records, Garcia?”
“How far back you talkin’?”
“Uh, a murder investigation from 1968.”
“Get inside and don’t come out until I call for you!” he shouted.
Ellie stared at him. Who was he talking to?
He didn’t say anything, but looked surprised with himself.
“Billy? Billy Flynn?”
“Whose Billy Flynn?” Ellie asked.
“Mr. Flynn, I… I don’t know for sure that you can hear me, but… my name is Jennifer Jareau.”
It was the radio. She was talking to him through the radio.
“I work for the FBI as a communications liaison for the-the behavioral, uh…” It sounded like she was taking a breath. “Ok. Mr. Flynn, I want to talk to you about letting Ellie Spicer go. I mean, I want to ask you to. Uh, see… I’m not a hostage negotiator, uh, I’ve never done anything like this at all ever, but, um, sometimes circumstances, it’s…”
There was a pause. “Look… You can tell I’m not a hostage negotiator. But I am a mother. And I… I know what your mother did you to you when you were little.”
Ellie watched Flynn’s expression, feeling sympathetic towards him for the first time.
“If I could just… you know, pick you up and just tell you that it’ll all be okay… That’s what moms are supposed to do. They’re not supposed to be the cause of your pain, they’re supposed to make it go away. They’re supposed to hold you and tell you everything is gonna be all right.
“They’re supposed to tell you that thunder is angels bowling and that it’s okay to be afraid of the dark and that it’s not silly to think there might be monsters in your closet and that it’s okay if you want to climb in bed with them just this once, ‘cause it’s scary in the room all alone.
“They’re supposed to say it’s okay to be afraid, and not be the thing you’re afraid of. But most importantly, they’re supposed to love you no matter what. What happened to you isn’t fair, it’s not right, but…
“I’m supposed to empathize with you. Sympathize. Understand. But I can’t. That would be a lie. The truth is, I don’t understand what you’ve done. I don’t sympathize with you killing people all these years, and I especially don’t understand you taking Ellie.
“What I can do is tell you what a mother should tell you, that you can’t take away your pain by hurting someone else. That it doesn’t make all the nights you went through, scared and alone, any better if you scare someone else the way you’re scaring Ellie. What happened to you, it isn’t fair.
“But what you’re doing to Ellie isn’t fair, either, and if anyone should understand what that feels like, it’s you. You have the power. You can do what you want to do. But for once, you can choose to use that power to do for Ellie what should have been done for you.
“You can choose letting her go. You can choose teaching her that, yes, there are monsters, and it’s okay to be afraid of them. But it’s not okay to let them win. And it’s not okay to be one.”
Everything was right in the world again. Well, as right as it could be. Reid was on the phone with Emma, telling her he’d be home soon. Ellie was sitting in the police station next to Morgan, who was waiting for child services.
He didn’t want to let her go, but everyone was saying he didn’t have a choice. Her mother had died a year ago. Her father had been shot down, and her aunt had died in the hospital. She had no one left.
Reid was finally off the phone, and Morgan approached him.
“Reid, I need your help with something.”
Reid glanced at Ellie. “I’m not sure they’d let you, Derek.”
“I have to try.”