Disclaimer: I don't own Criminal Minds or its characters...

Author's note: I had written this quite a while ago (apparently, over six months ago), but never posted it for some reason. Perhaps, because it's primarily an indulgence into my own tendency for exploration of the dark and angsty, as well as torturing characters.

Everything had seemed to be going so well...

She should have known. And not only because she was a member of the illustrious Behavioral Analysis Unit of the FBI, and supposedly possessing of honed observational skill. No, she wasn't even angry that she hadn't seen through him. It was the fact that nothing in the universe would ever allow her life to go that well. And she should have known better.

"Don't look so crushed, Emily."

He smiled that damn endearing, deceptively ingenuous smile of his. A delicate dimple formed in the side of his cheek, the same little trait that first drew her to him. Why hadn't she known better? Some random electrician her building super had hired-incredibly cute, extremely polite and funny-had asked her out, had been everything she had given up on finding.

She glared hatefully at him, struggling against the ropes binding her wrists to the arms of the chair. Taking a step back, he threw his hands up in mock hurt.

"Whoa," he responded, chuckling in the lighthearted manner she had grown to love but apparently was all a lie. It was genuinely the most well-crafted cover she had ever encountered, prohibiting even the faintest glimpse of his dark soul from being revealed. Or had she been too blinded by her desperate desire to bond with another human being?

"There's someone I want you to meet," he announced, giving her a wink that sent chills down her spine for its utter innocuousness. And then he disappeared through the heavy wooden door, leaving her alone in the small, dark and musty room. The walls appeared to be stone... perhaps a cellar?

Emily Prentiss tried to push aside her self-loathing, clear her head and do what she was trained to do...analyze. Who was this man? Obviously not the 'Nicolas Doyle' she thought she had known, had begun to... Oh, she felt ill.

The door creaked before it opened, alerting her enough that her heart quickened its pace but didn't leap into her throat. And then his gentle, smiling face returned. It was so difficult to wrap her mind around it all. There was no further need for pretense, so why hadn't he dropped that innocent, tender manner of his? Unless... Emily swallowed hard. He hadn't gotten down to business yet. He was still playing with her.

The bottom of her stomach dropped when she saw the pathetic thing that followed him into the poorly lit dungeon. It was a woman...or at least had been at some point. From what Emily could make out, she had pretty features, was well kempt. But everything about her, her downcast eyes, slumped shoulders, the way she cowered at his feet... Emily knew that if the woman could even be persuaded to raise her eyes so she could see them, what they contained would haunt her forever. The poor thing was beyond broken.

"What did you do to her, Nick?" Emily turned dark, accusing eyes upon the face that had been her comfort, her solace on the bad days for the last six months. How did she miss the monster beneath?!

He clicked his tongue, lopsided, boyish grin gracing his attractive features.

"Wouldn't want to ruin the surprise, now would we?" he scolded playfully.

Emily winced for the woman who didn't even flinch when strong fingers twisted amongst the pale locks of hair. And then a shimmer of light drew her eyes from the victim's submissive form to something far more sinister and threatening. Still surrounded by his aura of 'good little boy', Nick brandished the blade like it was some sort of game, like he was trying to impress her with his possession of such a toy.

There was nothing short of the apocalypse that could tear her eyes from the razor-edged kitchen knife as it slowly made its way closer and closer to the helpless woman. A slight tug on the mangles of hair, and the docile victim willingly exposed her throat to him.

Special Agent Emily Prentiss had often witnessed the aftermath of far too many acts like the one imminent before her eyes, but rarely had she actually seen the brutal, horrifying execution of such violence. There was no desire in her to fuel the vivid nightmares she suffered. There was even less to see another life taken, although there obviously wasn't much left in the destroyed creature.

"Say 'goodbye' to Emily, Sara," Nick commanded.

"Don't do this," the impotent agent pleaded, vastly overwhelming the faint utterance by sorrowful Sara.

And then Emily screamed. All her training, the years of repressing emotions in the line of duty, and she screamed. Maybe it was for the woman who did not. Maybe it was for herself. Maybe it was at herself. No matter the reason, she did, closing her mouth only after blood splattered across her face, soiling her tongue.

Nick's reaction was neither one of shock nor pleasure over her outburst. A piece of information she logged away for later analysis when she had the presence of mind to consider it.

"Normally, I'd have the new girl clean up the mess left behind by the old one," Nick shared matter-of-factly. He smiled like they were sharing an inside joke. "But not you, darling. It's different with you."

When he leaned in close, she was so angry and disgusted that she tried desperately to will him away by squeezing her eyes shut. Then her nose twitched, detecting the scent that had imprinted on her brain, and involuntarily she was flooded with pleasurable associations.

"You're my special girl," he whispered in her ear, causing her to bite back tears. That first night they spent together, those precise words he had uttered quietly into her neck. She had teased him about how it sounded like he had other girls, knowing with all her heart it wasn't the case. But there had been another girl, hadn't there? His victim. How many times had he gone straight from torturing Sara to her own oblivious arms? How many other girls had there been before Sara? She obviously hadn't been the first throat Nick had slashed ear to ear without an iota of hesitation.

Bile bit at the back of Emily's throat as a gentle hand caressed her cheek and familiar lips sought hers. She returned the kiss willingly, wary of angering him and perhaps partially deluding herself into wishing everything was how it seemed to be even just a few hours ago.

Bending over, Nick grabbed the limp arms of the murdered Sara and proceeded to drag her through the door. Looking back over his shoulder he gave her that goddamn charming grin that she had loved, that she now despised.

"I'll be back, darling. Just sit tight."

Like she had a choice...

A/N: There is a bit more already written, but beyond that… I'd probably need encouragement to pick it up again. ;-)