Disclaimer: I do not own anything Criminal Minds related. Characters are merely borrowed and will be put back later. ;)

A/N: And so here it is. The sequel to Fair and Foul. I hope you enjoy it- but note that it's dark, gruesome and extremely angsty in places. Let me know what you think! Apologies for the wait; the exams took over. Cramming! :D

Suffer and Save

Prologue

"If only. Those must be the two saddest words in the world."

Mercedes Lackey

Emily smiled to herself when she pulled away from him. She felt safe with his arms clasped around her hips, his nose nuzzling her hair, the warmth of the hallway making her feel at home, satisfied and content.

"Go Aaron. You have to see Jack," she softly, reluctantly, admonished him. He smiled into her hair and nodded his head, resting his hand against her cheek for a second, kissing her once more, and wishing her a quiet "goodnight", before he left her in the hall near her apartment and left the building. He was already late.

Emily hung around for a second, trying to still her beating heart. She figured that, after half a year together, her emotions would have become accustomed to him- but that had simply never materialised. She was still as lost in him as she had been from the very first night- which she could still recall in intricate detail when she wanted to. She closed her eyes and sighed gently, glad that the last case was behind them. It was one of the better ones, with a happy ending.

But then again, no case was truly a good one.

***

Aaron exited the hall and half ran down the steps to the ground floor, finding his car quickly and diving in, barely noticing his surroundings, starting the ignition a little too fast, making the car splutter, and within seconds, he pulled away into the dark street, checking his watch to see how late he was. It was 9.44. He was supposed to get Jack at quarter to ten. He was going to be quite late-Haley wouldn't be happy. He drove on quickly, fighting the case exhaustion so that he could see his son- his post case tradition.

***

She took a breath and headed to her front door, pulling the key from her door and stepping through quietly, tossing her keys on the table by the door and pulling her jacket off, leaving it on the chair in the hall. She turned on the hall light and wandered toward the kitchen for her customary cup of tea before a long soak in the bath to relax, and then as many hours sleep as she could fit.

She only got about five feet into her apartment when something heavy hit the side of her head. She felt the muscles in her neck strain as she struggled to retain her balance and jeep herself upright. She turned to face the right direction, but something barrelled into her, tossing her to the floor with ease. Her home was her sanctuary; she didn't ever protect herself here, she never needed to.

She felt, more than saw, the man in her apartment throw himself in her direction again. He grabbed her hair viciously and pulled her half to her feet, glaring into his eyes and she winced at the hissing pain in her head. Her heart was thumping again- but in the wrong way. She tried to yell, and opened her mouth to do so, wanting to scream at Aaron to come back, to help her, to save her. But just as her voice echoed out, her attacker's closed fist made contact with her cheek, and she felt a funny crack in her face. He had broken her cheekbone, and it was agonising after about three seconds. Groaning to herself, a few tears spilled from her eyes and she tried to blink them away.

She was pissed off as well as upset, and she spat violently, the blood spattering across the short void between them and landing on his jacket. She knew immediately that it had been a bad move, but she caught herself in a brazen moment of not caring. She got to her feet quickly when he tossed her down again, and she threw herself at him, beating her fists against him , noting the bulging muscles on his tanned arms, the strong chest in front of her- and the fact that he was about seven inches or so taller than her. In all, she was well aware that unless she got out of her apartment, she was never going to get away from him.

She did what any smart woman does, and kicked him, hard, where it was likely to hurt most. He crouched over immediately, in agony, furious and winded. She made her move, and ran for the door immediately, grabbing her bag as she pulled it open and ran outside, her heels banging against the floor as she heard him get to his feet.

In a panic, Emily pulled her phone from her bag, screaming and roaring for help, dialling Aaron's number but not listening to see whether he picked up or not. She beat her fists against the door of the next apartment she came to, and saw the man beating down the hall at high speed behind her. She wasn't going to get away, she realised with a sinking in her stomach.

He was on top of her within seconds as she ran, breath heaving in her chest. Her phone clattered to the ground and she knew immediately that it was broken. Her bag was dropped; the only thing she had left was the FBI tag in her pants pocket to prove her identity. Her lungs were burning, her heart felt as though it was going to explode, and the feeling of nausea in her stomach got worse with each passing second. She toppled to the ground harshly, her knees scratching on the floor, her legs stuck under his tremendous weight.

He dragged her again, back down to the hall to her apartment; and he dragged her with ease and quickly. She continued to scream and roar- but she had a sinking feeling that nobody could hear her. The doors here had been soundproofed some years before, and she knew that they would never know what was going on. She knew though that there was a CCTV camera nearby, and she knew that it would see her, so she knew that there would be an automatic clue. Nonetheless, she still felt awful.

And then when they were near her apartment, he seemed unable to hold on much longer. He turned to face her lying body and tossed her legs back to the floor. As she scrambled to get to her feet again, he grasped her arm roughly and banged her head and torso against the white wall behind her. She instantly felt light headed, but was determined not to pass out. He slapped her sharply and she cried out. The sting in her cheek was worsened by the broken bone she knew was waiting to burst into life again. He pulled her with him as he moved again, yanking her along relatively easily; there was nothing she could do to stop him.

When they got back to her apartment, he closed the door and threw her across the ground again. Her hands and arms burned against the carpet and for some reason, her nose was also bleeding. She guarded her head when he came to stand over her, afraid that he would hit her and she would pass out. But he had no intention of doing that. He needed to see her suffer. He kicked her, hard in the stomach, and watched as she convulsed in front of him, trying to breathe and failing, a full blown panic attack taking over her sense of reason.

Before she could even properly think, something light pricked her skin and she passed out.

***

In the weeks to come, Aaron Hotchner would wish, time and time and time and time again, that he had stayed with her. If only he had kissed her harder, if only he had told her he loved her, told her he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her if he could. He would wish that he had gone back to her when her call had hung up.

In the weeks to come, he would wish that he had gone into the apartment first; wish she had stayed outside; wished they had gone to see Jack together; wished they had gone to his house.

He would wish and he would wish and he would wish.

And it would make no difference.

In the weeks to come, nothing existed to pacify him. He would tear the world apart, he would scream and roar, shout to the heavens, with never an absolution.

If only he had been there.

If only.

***