For breath is life, and if you breathe well you will live long on earth. ~Sanskrit Proverb
Anna was the last to arrive at the BAU, wrapped in a trench coat, with a knitted wool cap and leather gloves. She was also on the phone, "I'm fine, Dean," she told him, "have fun in Miami."
"Miami?" Derek said as Anna dropped her phone on her desk.
"Dean doesn't like being cold in the winter," Anna said as she pulled her gloves off and stuffed them in her coat pocket. "I don't either, as a matter of fact, but I've learned to live with it."
"Morning Anna," Elle said as she joined them, "how was your weekend."
Anna paused in the act of shrugging off her coat to smile, "I guess you could say it was a killer," she said, and then finished taking her coat off. Derek looked down at the report he'd been working on.
"What did you do to yourself?" Elle demanded.
Derek turned, "Oh my God, Anna," he said standing up.
Anna glared at him, "I'm fine," she ran her hand down her bruised arm; "my sparring partner just got a little enthusiastic ok? It's my own fault for letting my guard down." She pulled her hat off, and fluffed her hair, "Do you like?"
Derek eyed the white spikes for a moment, "Hotch is going to kill you," he said.
"I had hair this color naturally when I was a kid," Anna told him, "therefore; it's not against the rules."
"Nice eye," he told her as he stepped closer, studying her black eye.
"Like I said, I let my guard down," Anna replied, "I'm bruised and scraped and all, but my tetanus shots are up to date and I can kick unsub butt with the best of them."
"Good," J.J. said from the stairs, "we have a case."
Anna hesitated as Derek and Elle headed for the stairs, "Reid," she said, "can I have some of your coffee?"
Derek turned to find that the young genius had arrived, carrying a large mug of coffee as he closed a file and put it on his desk. "It's sweet," Reid said, and offered her his mug. "What happened by the way?"
"Derek," J.J. called.
Derek turned and hurried to catch up, wondering at how easy Anna had managed to charm Reid. "So are you," Anna was saying behind him. "Thanks, I had an unfortunate encounter with an old couch yesterday."
Derek frowned slightly at the story, wondering how it fit with her sparring story. Then he shook his head and walked into the conference room. Hotch and Gideon were waiting, already discussing the case while J.J. stood outside the door watching Reid and Anna. "Anna, are you ok?" J.J. asked.
"I'm fine," Anna snapped as she followed Reid into the room, "I mean, besides the fact that I really haven't had any coffee because my coffee machine busted, my new cell phone died and everybody keeps asking me if I'm ok. I'm fine, ok; I just had a rough weekend." She turned to them, "I just want to find out about our case."
"Did you go to the hospital?" Hotchner asked.
"No," Anna replied, "why would I do that?"
Hotchner eyed her for a long moment, "We'll discuss this after the briefing, J.J."
"This is Tyler Grey, Brianna Mitchell and Nia Porter," J.J. said, calling images up on the flat screen as Hotch passed out folders. "They have all been found strangled on the beach with an ace of hearts super glued to their forehead. They are college graduates from the University of Hawaii and considered up and coming professionals. The police also received these," J.J. added, and sketches of each victim appeared on the screen.
"Style's a little too black and white for me," Anna said, "but the strokes are steady. He's got talent; he's been drawing for a while."
"You know art?" Derek asked.
"Haven't a clue," Anna replied, "at least, not much beyond runes."
"Anyways," J.J. said, "Tyler was found a month ago, Brianna a week ago and Nia two days ago."
"He's escalating," Reid said. "Is there any sexual assault?"
"None," J.J. replied.
"You know, ace is another name for 'asexual'," Anna said, peering at one of the photos in her file. "Ace of hearts is for a panromantic asexual." She looked up and blinked, "What?"
"Are you trying to take over Reid's position of knowing random facts?" Derek asked.
"No," Anna replied, "I dated a panromantic asexual, best time of my life."
"All right," Hotch said, "wheels up in an hour. Anna, you're with me."
"What for?" Anna asked.
"You're going to the hospital," Hotch replied standing up.
"I'm about to willingly get on a plane for nine hours," Anna said, "are you really going to traumatize me by making me go to a hospital first?"
"Yes," Hotch replied.
"But I'm fine," Anna protested.
"Anna, you look like you came out the loser in a bar fight," Derek said.
"I'm not bruised enough for that," Anna replied.
"You're still going to the hospital," Hotch replied.
"If it makes you feel better," Derek said, "I'll come along."
"Fine," Anna said and shoved her chair back as she stood up. "Let's go."
Derek stopped Hotch, "I think it's safe to say that she really doesn't like hospitals."
"I wonder why," Hotch replied.
"Besides the obvious," Elle asked as she passed them.
Anna didn't speak to either of the male agents as they headed out to Hotch's van, and the ride to the hospital was uncomfortable at best.
Once the three of them boarded the plane, Anna picked a spot where she could sit and glare at everyone. "How is she?" Elle asked.
"Bruises and scrapes," Derek replied, "and a very interesting old injury."
Anna snarled, "I swear to Brigit, that man is going to get a malpractice suit when I get back. What the hell happened to doctor patient confidentiality?"
"You have a piece of metal the size of my palm lodged under your spine," Derek replied, "that sounds like something people should know about."
Anna growled again, but didn't actually speak as the plane took off. Once the seatbelt light went off, she stood up and stalked over, "For the record, I'm a Marine with a medical discharge." She leaned forward and looked at each of them for a long moment, "There was an explosion, I was hurt, but me and the Corporal got one of them out of the vehicle before it exploded. There wasn't enough left of the rest of them to fill a duffle bag. Excuse me for being unwilling to talk about it." She stalked back to her seat, pulled an MP3 player from her bag and a book.