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Shadowed Steps

Chapter Text

- Phoenix Foundation
- Somewhere in Southern California
- 5:15 a.m.

Waiting in the War Room for their boss, Jack Dalton, Angus “Mac” MacGyver, and Riley Davis lounged on the furniture.
“What are we even doing here this early?” Riley asked, swinging her feet to try and get comfortable in the chair. She was dressed in her usual skinny jeans, tight Tee, and combat boots while her hair was tied back into a ponytail.

“I don’t know. Matty called, said it was urgent and to get our butts here or else. I just don’t know what was so damn important that couldn’t wait until tomorrow,” Jack complained, his jaw popping as he yawned yet again.

“Ugh, this is too early. What do you think Mac?”

Silence was her answer and that had her raising her head to see Mac had fallen sideways on the couch, eyes closed, and chest rising in deep, even breaths signaling he was asleep.

“Can you believe him? He falls asleep anywhere.” Riley shook her head as she settled back into her chair.

Jack chuckled at that and repsonded, “You learn how to do that a lot in the Army. Sleep where you can when you can is basically the unspoken motto. You never knew when you were pulling out or pulling into base except when you were already there.”

“Makes sense.” Closing her eyes she startled as the door to the war room opened and Matilda “Matty” Webber strolled in, face unsettled.
The sound startled Mac who snapped his eyes open and quickly took in the room before moving to sit up and rub at his eyes like a little kid.

“Hey Matty.”

“Morning Blondie, guys. We have a problem.”

“Yeah, you calling us in even before the sun is up. I mean I used to back in Texas but still Matty this is -,”

“Murdoc is back.”

That statement stopped Jack’s trail of thought and sucked the air from the room.

After a moment of stunned silence three voices, in unison, all shouted, “What?”

“He appeared in San Fransisco a little over a week ago if cameras are to be trusted. So far five people have died and the local police think it might be a serial killer so they’ve called in the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit to help catch him.”

Jack scoffed at that. “What makes them think they can catch him if we haven’t been able to even keep him in jail. I thought he was in lockup, how’d he get out?”
“Apparently Blondie isn’t the only one that can improvise. He used a pencil sharpener and killed his guards.”

That had everyone in the room grimacing.

“Well then,” Jack started to say, “Us and the FBI working together to catch a maniac. What could go wrong there?”

Nodding in agreement Matty sighed. “I’ve sent them a file about us already and explained that we have tried to catch this man before but he has eluded even us. We’re currently offering our services but as of yet we are not stepping all over their investigation. We will listen to their orders until further notice. Are we understood?”

Mac and Riley nodded but Jack spoke up. “Why are you looking at me like that?”

Raising a brow Matilda answered, “I don’t know what you’re talking about Dalton. What look are we talking about?”

“That look you just had that basically said ‘don’t do anything rash and listen to the FBI agents’ that one that you’re still giving me.”

“I wouldn’t have to give you a look Dalton if I thought you would behave. So play nice with the FBI agents and maybe I’ll give you a pat on the back later, ok?”

That effective, and creative, tirade made Jack sit back down and look like a kicked puppy.

“Thank you. Now let’s grab our bags and get going. It’s a drive guys.”

The team scattered grabbing their bags and heading for their cars. They would need to get driving if they wanted to make it there before the FBI. Matty had said that they were only to help until further notice and not really interfere until needed.

“Think we’ll actually catch him now?”

Mac looked to his partner of nearly ten years and shrugged, tossing his duffle into the trunk and sliding into the passenger seat. “Hard to tell right now. Murdoc’s eluded us this far and suddenly pops up close by. Seems suspect to me. Like he’s egging us to come and get him.”

“Yeah there is that I guess. Hey Riley, you riding with us or going solo this time?”

The team’s hacker smirked and walked over to them, her bag joining theirs in the trunk. Sliding into the back she settled in with her headphones and laptop.

“Just climb into the car, why don’t you? Yeah, thanks.”

She smiled and nodded to the beat.

“What are you waiting for Dalton? A written invitation? Get going.”

Looking up Jack replied, “Boss lady is coming too?”

Matilda gave him a look that sent him into the car and turning the key. Backing up out of the spot Jack took off for the highway and San Francisco, Mac laughing at him.

Chapter Text

- Federal Bureau of Investigation - Behavioral Analysis Unit
- Conference Room
- 7:41 a.m.

“We have a case,” Jennifer Jureau announced to the rest of the BAU team in the bullpen.

“Already? There goes the weekend.”

She shrugged. “ I know Derek but Hotch grabbed the case when the local police called. Something about the Phoenix Foundation is coming to help us on it.”

“The what foundation? Pretty Boy have you heard of this group?”

Pretty boy, or Spencer Reid, looked up and shook his head. “Nope. What is it?”

JJ shrugged. “I’m going to assume something like us since they’re coming to help us. But we need to get to the conference room before Hotch starts yelling.”

The rest of the team agreed and followed the Communications Liaison into the conference room where their Team Leader was already waiting.

“Thanks for coming in so early. Sorry that I called you away from your weekends but we have a case.”

“Yeah and it’s where again?” David Rossi asked, taking his seat between Spencer and their technical analyst Penelope Garcia. Today she was sporting bright pink hair, yellow earrings, and an outfit that complemented all of it at once.

“San Francisco. Five dead as JJ may have told you, in various states of decay. The locals have also called in the Phoenix Foundation which, if you look them up seem to be some sort of think tank and not exactly in this line of business.”

“Right. And now for the information. Boys and girls, ladies and gents please if you have a weak stomach look at kitty pictures. Of which I will need a lot of later to get past this.” Garcia clicked the button on the projector remote and the whole room swallowed.

Just as they had been saying for the last ten minutes the five bodies were in various states of decay, some looked like they had been laying in the sun for days while some still looked perfectly preserved. The five bodies on the screen were dressed in what they had been last seen in and still had all their identification on them from what the files read.

“The first to be found was Margaret Robinson, age fifty-two. She was a realtor, wasn’t married and had a cat. Poor kitty, hope it finds a home. She was found in a house that she was going to be showing the next day. The second was, also a woman, Laura Laird, forty-two. She was a personal fitness trainer and training for the Boston Marathon this year. She has a son that’s in college, a husband that works from home and a dog. She was found in this back alley between the gym and home.” Garcia clicked the button again and the next two popped up on the screen.

“So, Henry Barnes and Liam Connery were both on Spring Break when they were killed. Henry was twenty-five and Liam was only twenty-three. They both lived in the same cul-de-sac and had been friends growing up. They were found several blocks from this strip joint, everything left on them. The fifth and last as of right now is William Saunders. He was twenty-seven, also on Spring Break but from a different college and did not live in the cul-de-sac where the two boys did. No connection there. He was described as being a loner during his teenage years and was shot playing GTA in his own room at home, his dad never heard anything.”

So two boys who knew each other, one who didn’t know anyone, and two women who were successful and had decent lives. What do these guys have in common for this UNSUB?”

“Not to mention the fact that if he likes keeping the bodies until they decay why were the two boys found in near perfect condition? The women were the ones in decomp.”

Hotch nodded, closed his file and stood. “Wheel's up in twenty.”

The team stood and followed their leader out, grabbing their own go-bags as they did so before leaving for the plane.

Chapter Text

Jack, Mac, and Riley finally arrived at the local San Francisco Police Department.

Pulling his car into the parking spot permitted Jack shut the engine off and sighed. “I never thought we would get here.”

“If you had just listened to me and not the GPS we wouldn’t be here almost two hours late but no someone had to listen to the tiny computer,” Mac teased, unbuckling his seatbelt and letting Riley out after him.

Getting out and stretching they could all hear their joints pop and muscles eased back into their natural position.

“Yeah, yeah. The GPS knew where it was going but San Fran closed all the roads here,” Jack argued back.

“Guys,” Riley interjected, “Let’s get inside, hope Matty’s here and not the feds and go from there. You two can argue later about who was more right.”

Grabbing her tech bag from the backseat and leaving her go bag in the trunk with the others they made their way inside the building.

Stepping inside they were amazed at how bright the precinct looked. White white walls outlined in pale blue and an almost off white for some of the doors.

Leaning close to Mac Riley whispered, “Is it just me or does this place scream “one flew over the cuckoo’s nest”?”

Mac nodded in silent agreement and followed Jack to the Captain’s office.

Knocking they entered when ordered to and weren’t at all surprised to see their boss talking with the captain already.

“About time you got here. The BAU are coming from the airport now, they should be here any minute.”

The three teammates had the decency to look sorry. Even Jack didn’t say anything to Matty’s reprimand.

A knock came at the door and a young, fresh faced officer stepped in. “The FBI is here, boss.”

The Captain sighed and stood from his chair. “Let’s go get this guy and go home.”

“Couldn’t agree more,” Matty said, the four of them following him out.

In the main area of the precinct the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Behavioral Analysis Unit stood waiting.

Looking up Hotch gave a small scowl when he saw four people walking behind the Captain dressed in jeans and t-shirts while the tiny woman was dressed as he was. Like a boss.

“Captain Andreas Bordeaux at your service. Let me introduce you guys then show you where you’ll all be working.”

Hotch nodded and the Captain started with Introductions.

“Matilda Webber, Mac, Jack, and Riley. I’ll let Miss. Matilda can fill you in on what they’re from after I get you a room. Guys, this is Aaron Hotchner and team. I’ve worked with them before and they’ve been nice enough to come back and help this time too. Now, your room.”

The captain led the way all while the BAU tried to take subtle glances at the other “team.”

Feeling eyes on him Jack looked up to see the dark-skinned man giving him a glance. Jack narrowed his eyes and scowled. He knew what he was doing, he had done it himself as a Delta before. Sizing up the enemy and seeing anything that could be used against them.

Morgan looked away after realizing that the older guy knew what he was doing. Catching up with JJ he whispered in her ear. Giving her own subtle look she saw what Morgan was talking about and nodded.

The rest of the team would figure it out soon too.

Pulling back to walk next to Mac Jack leaned in and did his own whispering. “They’re trying to get a read on us.”

“I saw. The one guy looked back. He also told the one with blond hair.”

Nodding the retired Delta followed Mac into the giant conference room along with the rest of the people. It kinda’ felt like the Captain was herding cattle but maybe that was just the Texan in him.

Standing off to the side Jack quickly did a once over of the room and where everyone was.

“Ok, so Phoenix Foundation meet the top team at the FBI. Agent Hotchner might be modest and tell you that others are just as good but I don’t trust anyone else on this case right now.”

“Thanks, Captain. I appreciate that.”

The one that dressed in a three piece suit stepped forward. “I’m Supervisory Special Agent Aaron Hotchner, this is SSA Jennifer Jareau, Morgan, Dr. Reid, and SSA David Rossi.” As he said the names the team members stepped forward and, in the case of Reid awkwardly waved.

“So who are you guys and why did you get called in?”

“Morgan,” JJ admonished. Turning to the team she shook her head.

“What? I’ve never heard of this Foundation before.”

“Understandable,” Matilda spoke up from where she was. Having taken a seat already she stood and walked over to where the other team was. “We are the Phoenix Foundation out of Southern California and we deal with things you guys either don’t know about or know about but take no credit for. Is this explanation satisfactory?”

“To me it is, thank you,” Aaron said, shaking her hand. “Do you know what’s going on here or do we need to fill you in?”

“We know what’s going on here,” Matty replied.

“Then let’s get busy.”

The two teams scattered.

Chapter Text

Morgan and JJ made their way to where the blond and the older guy stood, shoulders touching, and spoke. “Hey, I’m Jennifer Jeruea or JJ and this is Morgan. You’re Mac and Jack right?”

Jack grinned and Mac nodded. “That’s us. What can we do for you?”

“Why’d you guys get called in?” Morgan asked, his stance speaking of take no shite.

Looking at his companion who just shrugged and went back to examining case files Jack sighed and replied, “We’ve been chasing this guy too. For years now and the Captain is an old buddy of mine from back in the day. So he called us in and said maybe we could help.”

“That’s it? Why are you guys chasing him?”

“America’s most wanted. Top 100 serial killers. Kind of want slash need him behind bars.” Jack was honest at least, even if did bend the truth a little.

“Hey guys, where should I set up?”

Looking to their left JJ and Morgan saw an African-American woman, skinny torso, and curly black hair that was pulled up into a messy ponytail. Wearing what looked like skinny jeans and a t-shirt Morgan was wondering if she did field work or if she did something else.

“Uh, you know what kid, might want to ask their Tech and see if she might know,” Jack suggested.

“Where is she?”

“I’ll take her. JJ.” the friendly blond stuck out her hand and Riley shook it, introducing herself as well.

“I’ll show you where we stashed our tech analyst Penelope Garcia and you two can get started doing it is what you guys do best.”

“And what do you think that is, ma’am?”

Furrowing her brow JJ had a moment to process that before she realized something about the young lady standing next to her. She had been around federal agents before and she hated them. So with a grin on her face she held the door open to the analyst cave and replied, “Hack, of course.”

Riley nodded in approval. The women had caught on quicker than she expected but she was a fed. “So your analyst goes with you guys on cases too or just the extra special ones?”

“Just the extra special ones. It’s kinda hard to do things from other places that she can do better back at Quantico. She can explain it all to you though, I’m sure. Here we are.”

Knocking on the closed door JJ opened it when a woman’s voice shouted out enter.

“Penelope Garcia meet Riley. She’s the Phoenix’s tech analyst. Figured you two should work together and do whatever it is you guys do to catch this guy. Have fun!”

The two hackers looked each other over, quietly sizing the other up. It was an unspoken rule that rarely did two hackers ever be in the same room unless it was either a job or a crew. This time was mandatory they both knew that but still, hackers have to have some rules.

“So what did they get you for?” Garcia asked, turning back around to her computer and typing.
“What?”

“You’re working for a super secret top notch organisation that not even I can find and all I get is what? What did you do to get on their radar?”

“Oh, that. I hacked the NSA.”

“Pfft, I did that. Four times.”

“Twice and got caught the second on purpose.” Riley made herself comfortable in the padded chair that was there and put her legs up on the table in the corner of the room. Pulling her laptops from her bag she opened both and got to work.

“Why on purpose?”

“Well, you know, when a group says “do this or I’ll kill your mom” then you kind of get drastic and go to max security for a while. What did you do to get in here?”

“Got caught trying to hack a company that tested on animals.” Garcia shrugged and kept typing.

“Wait, seriously?”
Turning the lady with bright pink hair, orange rimmed glasses, and pale skin stared at the younger hacker in disbelief. “I did yes. I like animals.”

“Ok, ok. I just couldn’t believe that they still test on animals. Kind of barbaric as Jack would say.”

“Thank you. Finally someone that agrees with me. A lot of people still refuse to see the harm in animal testing these days.”

“I try to get things that say no animal testing but it’s hard too.”

Garcia nodded. Typing on the keyboard Riley looked up when the keystrokes stopped.

“What’s up?”

“I think I found him.”

“What? Where?”

“Here. Corner of Lombard and Van Ness.” Penelope pointed out the man wearing dark clothes and walking against the camera so Riley could see better.

“Go get your boss and mine. This was time stamped ten minutes ago.”

Riley sprinted for the door only for her to stop short as it opened.

“There’s been another one,” Hotch said, Matilda standing by his side.

“We found him. He was on the corner of Lombard and Van Ness,” Garcia said, fingers flying across the keyboard once more. “Maybe I can find him again.”
Riley was doubtful but she watched as Garcia tried.

“Why can’t I find him?”

“Because he hides in plain sight as someone else all the time,” Riley spoke up. Plopping back down into the cushy chair she sighed.

“Murdoc is a master at disguise, hiding, and killing. He’s been after our team for a while now and even managed to grab one of us a while back. Jack told you guys the truth when he said the Captain called us in for this.”

“Ok. Let’s do this then. Where would he go after murdering someone then?”

“Look at subway tunnels, carports, things like that. He might have walked or driven but most of the time he takes public transport. Puts him closer to his victims he said once.”

“This guy sounds creepier and creepier as more minutes pass. What else?”

“Uh,” Riley was trying to rack her brain for everything that she had heard about Murdoc. “Try bus stations, coffee shops, he likes to make deals in public so that way if he ever gets caught he can take the other person down too.”

“Slimy, I like. Give me more.”

“Try the names Dennis or Nicholas Helman at any hotels or things around the area.”

“Got it.”

While Garcia was looking there Riley hopped on her computer and started typing. She had her own way of finding people. Thank god for satellites. Following Lombard all the way down Riley soon found a black clothed man that was going into the Marina Inn.

“Hey Garcia? I think I found him.”

“Where?”

“The Marina Inn. He kept going down Lombard it looks like.”

“Checking names and dates now.”

Dinging the older analyst shouted in joy. “Found him!” hitting a button and dialing Hotch she told them what they had managed to find.

“Great job you two. Let me know if anything else pops up.”

“Right-o.”

The two got back to work doing what they did best.

Chapter Text

Driving to the scene of the newest murder gave Morgan some time to examine both the young blond and the older fellow better than before. The blond had an air around him that reminded him of Reid. Like he had seen some stuff and knew a lot about the world. The older fellow, his name was Jack, had a similar air about him but one that spoke of experience rather than witnessing. Also he had mentioned Delta. Morgan could only think about that meaning the Army Delta’s. The ones that went in went things went from SNAFU to FUBAR really fast. But how did the kid add up in all of that? He certainly wasn’t a Delta, was he?

“So, how did you two meet if you don’t mind me asking?” Morgan turned the radio down and waited. Maybe he’d get an answer.

“I was trying to fix his gun and he punched me for it,” Mac answered easily.

“What?”

“Yeah, that wasn’t very fun. First he punched me then he tried to pin me. Then our C.O. came in and started yelling.” Mac chuckled at the memory while Jack shook his head.

“All I could think after he called you Angus was “who in their right mind would name their kid after a hamburger?””

“Is that why you kept calling me hamburger until that one mission?”

“Yep. I thought we were both going to be hamburger at that point.”

“I take it then that you two were in the army?”

“Yeah, I was an EOD tech and he was my gunner.”

“EOD? You were a bomb expert?” Morgan was shocked. “How old are you kid?”

“Twenty-nine.”

“Yeah, you and Pretty Boy would get along great,” Morgan said with a chuckle.

“Pretty Boy?” Jack spoke up now.

“Reid. He’s our resident genius on various subjects and once you get him talking he can chatter your ear off. He joined when he was about twenty I think. He was the youngest ever recruited.”

“Pretty cool.”

“Yeah. But why an EOD tech kid?”

Mac chewed that thought over before answering. “My grandfather called me while I was at MIT one day. Told me one of his war buddies had passed away. Made me rethink where I was at and what I was doing. Next week I was signing up and being shipped out.”

“Damn kid. I mean seriously. You and Reid never do anything half-assed.” Morgan was impressed.

“So he punched you for touching his gun and now you’re best friends? How’d that happen?”

Mac looked at Jack and smirked. “You want to tell that one or do you want me to embellish your little girl scream?”

“I’ll tell it just so you don’t do that. Jeez.” Rolling his eyes Jack replied, “I stepped on a pressure plate and a bomb was going to go off. Good thing Mac knew what he was doing and stopped it before it did or otherwise this would be a very different conversation. But yes, I did scream at him to leave. Though little girl scream is taking it a bit far.”

“At the time I remember telling you to shut up,” Mac jabbed back.

Morgan smiled. These two reminded him of him and Reid. The way they joked and teased each other. He was also pretty sure that Jack would die for Mac if he had to. He knew he would die to save Reid if it came down to it.

Pulling into the crime scene Morgan shut the car off and they all got out.

“So, uh, who’s the vic?” Jack inquired, pulling the sheet back and grimacing. Murdoc was getting creative these days.

“Holly Richardson, African - American, sixty-five, retired schoolmarm that taught sunday school. She’s the oldest victim so far too. What is this guy’s issue?” Morgan ran a hand over his bald head and sighed. “It’s like he doesn’t care who he kills or how, he just kills them.”

“Actually that’s not true. This UNSUB, is that what you call them?”

Morgan nodded to Mac’s question.

“The UNSUB is actually a killer for hire. It’s one reason why his kill methods keep changing. Depending on what you want done to the victim depends on the price, location, stuff like that. He really doesn’t care about anything else but killing and getting paid for it. He was trained to do this. And he loves it,” Mac explained, shuddering as he remembered what he did to figure it out.

“How do you know all of this?”

Mac looked at the dark skinned man and smiled sadly. “We’ve been chasing him for a long time now. He kidnapped me from my house at one point then shot one of ours and left her for dead. When we catch this guy he’s going away for a long time.”

Nodding Morgan could understand that. When the one serial killer George Foyet had gone after Hotch and his family it had been the team’s promise to catch him.

“How bad is it?”

Jack grimaced, “I’ve seen better looking from suicide bombers to be honest.” The old Delta stepped aside and let his partner and the Agent take a look.

Morgan looked away in seconds, a look of disgust crossing his face while Mac’s look was more quizzical. “I’ve never seen Murdoc go this crazy on a victim before. But then again I do know if he’s paid to do it he will do it. I wonder who’s paying him for this and why?”

“We were wondering how they were all connected too,” Morgan said, turning his eyes away. He knew the other two had to have stronger stomachs or something but to just look at this victim was impressive.

“We’ll know more when we get the coroner’s report I take it though?” Mac stood and stepped back, nodding to the medical team to remove the body.

“As soon as I know something you guys will,” the Medical Examiner said, trailing after the medical team.

The three watched as they left and turned to survey the crime scene.

“He killed her here,” Mac said, pointing to the ground. “The blood pool is too large to say otherwise and even if the ground soaked up half of it there’s still more here than there should be if this was a secondary site.”

“Same thought here too kid. Do a lot of this type of thing?”

“Nope but when you’re an EOD tech you either learn to look and pay attention or you die, fast.”

“Makes sense.” Morgan walked to the end of the trail and looked over the edge. “So why didn’t he just dump her body off the side here? Why leave her exposed?”

“He wanted us to find her. To show off,” Jack spoke up, “I’ve seen a lot of this thing, even out of the Army days. Guys like this want people to see their kills, to get them the recognition they deserve even if what they deserve is a bullet in the head and a six foot grave.” Jack’s face was serious as the words came out of his mouth.

“I get all that by why these people? Why these sites? The gamer was an easy one, he was killed in his room with a silencer. Then left until the dad went to check on him, what? Hours later?” Morgan tossed all of this out and waited.

Jack looked at Mac and grinned, “What’cha thinking there Hoss?”

“I think we need to do some digging. What was the Sunday school teacher before that? Same with the others. Let’s look in their past and see if that’s why someone would want them dead.”

“I’ll call Garcia and have them get started on it right away.”

“Thanks.”

Morgan walked off to make the call and left the two other agents alone.

Looking at his partner now Jack could see the furrowed brow, slightly there but still there, and his wide eyes. “Hey, Mac. Come on man. Look at me, would ya’?”

Blue eyes met steely grey ones and Jack could see Macgyver’s breathing even out. Slowly settling a hand on Mac’s shoulder Jack gave a small squeeze. “We’ll catch him, ok. Working with the feds BAU team? We got this bastard. Just remember that.”

Taking a few more deep breaths Mac nodded his head. “I know. I don’t know why it’s bothering me so much right now.”

“Probably because he’s out and antagonizing us. Killing folks again. The usual Murdoc stuff.”

“Thanks, Jack.”

“Anytime kid, anytime. Now let’s go see if our girl has anything for us back at the station, huh?”

Mac nodded and they walked back to where Morgan was just getting off the phone. “You guys ready to head back then?”

“Yeah.”