A/N: I'm sorry I've been MIA so long, but 2013 started out as really busy, and then became really miserable. Needless to say, I lacked the time and then motivation to write fanfiction. Motivation is a bit better now, but time is still limited, so though I'm aiming at updating on a weekly basis, I can't guarantee any regularity with updates. That all said, please enjoy this chapter, thank you for reading, and reviews are always appreciated.
And, after all, what is a lie? 'Tis but the truth in a masquerade. - Alexander Pope
Emily wiggled around, and then winced at the throbbing in her head. The goose egg he'd given her was sore as hell, and making her a bit dizzy. The right side of her face throbbed with pain, and felt warm and swollen. That didn't mean that she was about to give up or give in. No, not when some psycho had kidnapped her, tied her up, and locked her in a closet. Even if his semen was still on her top and in her hair.
She'd been walking down an alley between shops when he'd snatched her. It was maybe a stupid thing to do, but it was daylight, and more importantly Emily was highly trained by the CIA. She also should have had one of her team members tailing her. But her attacker had come up behind her so quickly, slammed something hard into her skull, and Emily had barely been aware that she was about to be kidnapped.
Correction, Lauren was kidnapped. Lauren was on a short business-vacation to the states with Ian and Declan. Lauren had left alone to go on a short shopping expedition to pick up surprises for her boys: a few pieces of lingerie to wear for Ian, and a set of children's books for Declan. He loved to read, and he loved it when she read to him. Emily was really looking forward to giving him those books, but now they lay abandoned in some alley.
Emily shifted again, her shoulder bumping the back of the closet. At least she assumed it was the back and a closet. He'd thrust a bag over her head before shoving her in there, but not before shoving a gag in her mouth. Her wrists and ankles were bound with what she'd guessed to be wire, and even with the plastic covering they still cut into her skin. Her arms were bound to her sides with a belt, strapped impossibly tight around her forearms, just below her elbows. She'd put up a fight earlier, and though he'd seemed to enjoy punishing her, he seemed reluctant to take any more chances with her.
Her stomach turned over and Emily breathed in and out her nose slowly to keep anything from coming up and suffocating her. She wondered if Ian had realized she was missing yet…though she had no idea what time it was or even if it was day or night.
She needed to find a way to get out of the closet before he came back. Or, she at least needed a way to defend herself when he did return. Emily knew that when her abductor did return, he would rape her, and this time he'd be more prepared for her resistance. But how the hell was she supposed to save herself when she couldn't move her arms or hands, when the gag kept her from screaming or talking her way out, and when there was a bag over her head preventing her from even seeing where he'd stashed her.
Emily tensed and pushed her body as close to the wall as she could go. She didn't even know where the damn door was or in which direction. Her heart thudded in her chest as she listened to the steps. There was no way out of this, was there? She tried to stay calm, tried to remember what she'd learned in her torture training at the Farm. Shut off. Shut down. Remove yourself from the situation, mentally if you can't do it physically. But the steps were getting closer, and the sound of each was like gunfire going off inside her head. Emily closed her eyes and took deep, slow breaths in and out of her nose.
She could feel her heart rate creeping down, and continued the deep even breaths. Emily let herself be Lauren, and went to the safest place she could imagine. In the villa with Ian and Declan. She could have given herself a new cover, like Beth or Claire or Angie, and let that cover suffer the abuse, but Emily knew the divide wasn't that strong. No matter what name she gave herself, she was still Emily and Emily was the one who had to survive everything. But Lauren gave her a safe space. She breathed.
Then she heard a man's voice ring through the house, and it wasn't her abductor. She couldn't make out the word, but the sound wasn't familiar. Though her abductor hadn't been terribly chatty, his moans and grunts had given her plenty of information on the tone and tenor of his voice. Then another voice rang out. It was a different man, but this time she understood word and her pulse jumped up, destroying all her hard work at remaining calm. But it was okay, because with just from the one word from the mysterious man's lips, Emily knew she was safe.
She shimmed forward, bending her legs and pulling herself forward, twisting along the floor, and began kicking her feet into the door. She tried her best to yell through the gag. The approaching footsteps quickened until suddenly the door creaked open. There was a beat of silence before her benefactor spoke.
"I'm FBI, you're safe now." It was a woman's voice, low and calm. "I'm going to take the bag off your head now."
Emily heard her slide her gun into her holster, and then felt the slightest pressure as the woman untied the strings on the bottom of the bag, and pulled it off of her head. She found herself face to face with a woman about her age with dark hair pulled into a ponytail, and soft brown eyes.
The woman turned behind her then and shouted. "Morgan! Hotch! Gideon! In here!" Then she looked back at Emily. "I'm going to remove the gag and then get your hands and feet okay?"
Emily nodded. When the FBI agent pulled the gag out, the fabric scrapped the back of throat, and caused her stomach to roll over. Emily tensed and leaned forward, trying not to vomit.
"It's okay, go ahead and throw-up if you need to."
"Elle." More footsteps, and the voice of the second man who had yelled. Emily looked up at him. Darker skin, but still pretty light for an African American man, enough that she guessed one of his parents was white. His dark eyes studied her with sympathy, and he offered her a smile that was probably meant to reassure her. Emily was just trying not to throw-up all over herself.
'Elle' was already working on the wires wrapped around her wrists and ankles. "Do we have paramedics here? She's got a nasty bump on the head, it bled too."
Emily opened her mouth to tell them that she didn't need a doctor, but instead was forced to turn quickly to the side, so the vomit erupting for her throat didn't get all over the nice FBI agent. Someone put hand on her shoulder, and drew her hair back. Emily heaved and trembled with it. She had always been a very violent vomitter. She'd have preferred a broken bone to throwing up.
After a minute, she said, "I'm okay."
It was the dark-skinned man holding her hair back. He let it go and stepped away, giving her the space she wanted.
Elle smiled at her. "I can't offer you any water, but I think I have some gum."
The dark-skinned man stopped his partner's hand before it could pull anything out of her pocket. He nodded to the white stains on Emily's shirt. "They'll need to swab her mouth for evidence."
"What? You think the stomach acid-laced puke didn't destroy his DNA?"
Emily was about to object that she did not have his DNA, but then realized that while there wouldn't be semen in her mouth, there would most certainly be blood. She sighed. "It's fine. He's right."
Two men joined them then, one with very dark hair and a permanent frown, and the other was older and already balding.
"Do you have a name? Family we could call?" The first man asked.
"Lauren Reynolds," she said. "And, I'm from out of town, just on vacation, so no, there's no family to call."
"Hell of a vacation," the dark-skinned man said.
"Yeah, tell me about it." Emily looked around for the first time, and saw what appeared to be a very homey little dwelling. It made her want to throw-up all over again. "Who did this to me?"
"A very bad man," the older man said.
Emily tried not to view it as condescending. "You're FBI, so I'm not his first." She searched the faces of her benefactors, and sighed. "You're all BAU, aren't you?"
All four of them frowned. The dark-haired man spoke. "Are you Bureau?"
"No. I uh, I just read a lot," she said, not entirely lying. She did read a lot.
The older man inhaled. "Elle, Morgan, take Ms. Reynolds to the paramedics, and go to the hospital with her." He turned to her. "Ms. Reynolds, after the doctors clear you, these agents will bring you to our office so we can get your statement, alright?"
She nodded. "Did you guys catch this guy?"
"Not yet," the dark haired man answered. "But we will, and you're safe with Agent Greenway and Agent Morgan."
Agent Greenway helped to stand on her now freed feet, and she walked with the two younger agents through the house. "Um Agents, do you know what time it is?"
Morgan glanced at his watch. "11:15."
She momentarily felt relief that she'd only been missing for ten hours when she saw daylight through a window. It was morning, not night, which meant that she'd been missing for about 22 hours.
Ian must be freaking out.
Doyle paced through the house. He hadn't slept all night, he couldn't, not when Lauren hadn't come home. She'd been distracted yesterday, and seemed tired, but she would never not come home. He knew something had to be wrong, and he'd spent all night with images of her fate running through his head. Had one of his enemies come for her? God knew, he had enough people interested in hurting him. Lauren had her share too, he knew.
He wished he'd made her take security with her yesterday before she left for her shopping trip, but she had insisted that she would fine. She'd insisted that she'd draw far too much attention if she had two goons following her everywhere. He'd let her go, and now he was hating himself for it. Ian sighed and stared out the window in his study, willing her to appear on the street, shaken and tired, but safe and alive. As long as she was safe and alive, nothing else mattered.
Small footsteps alerted him that he wasn't alone. Ian turned to the doorway to find Declan standing there, looking rather shy. Ian waved to him. "Come over here, Declan."
The boy trotted over, and wrapped his arms around Ian's legs. He rested a hand on his son's golden curls, and sighed heavily. Declan looked up at him. "Where's Lauren?"
"She's not home yet."
"When is she coming home?"
He stroked Declan's head. "I don't know, son."
"But she is coming home?"
Ian looked down at the boy. "Aye, 'course she is, and soon. You go play, and before you know it, she'll be home."
Declan's eyes said he didn't really believe his father's reassurances, but he took them anyway, walking back out of the room as his father instructed. Ian felt for his son, Lauren was going to take him to a zoo today, a trip for just the two of them while Ian took care of some business. Lauren was always true to her word with Declan, and hadn't disappointed him yet.
He ran a hand over his head, and kept pacing until Liam appeared. Ian waved him into the study in the rented house, and knew without even asking that Liam did not have good news. "You didn't find her."
"No. We went around the shops she mentioned to you, showed her photo around a bit. A few recognized her from yesterday, but no one knew where she'd gone too. We did find the second rental though."
Ian's interest perked up. "Oh? Signs of a break-in? A struggle?"
Liam shook his head. "Car was locked, windows intact, no signs of anyone jimmyin' the locks. So, we combed the place. Tyler found something." He turned and waved a young man over.
He had a small clutch purse in one hand, and two shopping bags in another. "We checked the bag, it's Lauren's."
Ian took it. "I know, I had it made for her." He stuck a hand in, felt along the lining for the thin zipper hidden at the bottom of the bag, and slid it open. He pulled the small 22-caliber pistol from its hiding spot in the bottom of the purse.
"Guess she didn't get a chance to grab it," Liam said.
Ian let his head fall to his chest, and took deep breaths. He was not a man accustomed to panic, and he would not succumb to it now. "What're the bags?"
"Well, it looks like before she was taken, she went to a lingerie store and a book store." He handed them over.
Ian opened the first and found some children's books, for Declan he assumed, and the second, underneath a layer of tissue paper held some satin and lace garments. Any other time they'd excite him, but now they just made his stomach hurt. It was painfully clear that someone had abducted Lauren, had pulled her straight off the street without anyone else noticing. He breathed in and out slowly, and then turned to Liam, rage making him all the more determined to find Lauren's abductor and make him regret ever laying eyes on her.
"Talk to you contacts. Find out which of our enemies is in town."
"Do you think she's still alive?" Liam asked.
He grimaced. "She had better be."