Disclaimer: Not mine, no profits for me. Also, while I'm disclaiming, over the course of this story I will at one point steal a scene from an episode of Criminal Minds. It won't be for a while, but I don't own that show either.

Spoilers: Non-specific spoilers through the end of season 5. I've been holding out on writing this one, because there are some points on which I would like to stick to cannon, but they haven't happened on the show yet, so I don't know what cannon will be. We will all just have to accept that I am going to get a few things wrong, because I'm tired of waiting for the show to catch up to my imagination. My apologies.

Interlude: On Getting Away With It.

It's exhilarating. There's no other way to describe it. You have no idea, I'm sure you don't. What are the chances that a kindred spirit would be reading this? There aren't that many of us...although, there are probably more of us than you imagine. More of us than the knowledge of whom would allow you to walk as blithely through the world as I'm sure you do. It's amusing, really, the way people cling to the illusion of security- to their deadbolts and chain locks, their alarm systems and puppy dogs, their stranger danger and self-defense courses. Actually, that's not so amusing- more pathetic, really. No, what's amusing is that despite their precautions (woefully inadequate, by the way), no one believes that it could ever happen to them. The first emotion to flash across their faces? It's not fear. It's not panic. It's surprise. Every. Time. People are so lamentably predictable, even in death...especially in death. You might think that when faced with a death so outside the normal (you hope, you pray) human experience, one would exhibit a uniqueness, a smidgen of singularity. Well, you would be wrong. I've seen all kinds- women, children, men (though my preference is for women, and my current situation demands that I focus mainly on those in the shadows, those who won't be missed. You know the kind.)- enough to make me confident in my pronouncement that none of you should consider yourselves extraordinary. Now, that's not to say that the sameness of it all takes away from exquisiteness of the act. The moment they realize that there will be no hero on his white horse, no last minute save by a policeman with a heart of gold, when they finally accept that real life is not one of those crime shows they use to sedate themselves after a day at the office where the crack investigative team always gets their target just in the nick of time...that moment, there's nothing like it. The feeling is....

But I digress. That's an exposition for another time. No, for now, I'm focusing on the exhilaration of escape. There are several things I know, and I would be happy to share them with you. So far, you've learned that people are predictable. Here's something else: People are stupid. When I first gave in to my true nature, I lived in fear, waiting for the moment when I would be discovered. That moment never came, and I no longer live in fear. So I add to the list of things I know the fact that I am more intelligent than most. Now, I'm sure you won't want to believe that. It's those crime shows again, they've convinced you that the 'good guys' always win in the end, that the 'bad guys' always make mistakes. I'm going to give you a piece of advice here- stop watching the crime shows. Do you have any idea what the actual solve rate is for murder? I do, and trust me, you wouldn't like those numbers. Still, each and every time it's confirmed that there is no karma, that justice is merely an illusion we've created to make the meaninglessness of this existence bearable, well...it's exhilarating.

God, this last time. It was, well, it was orgasmic. It was the challenge. Most of the time, I'm forced to stay within the margins, but this was different. To be able to prolong, to be able to watch...there are no words. Of course, there were drawbacks. People like me, we tend to work alone, but this time the opportunity was too perfect to ignore. She wouldn't have been my first choice as a partner. She's your everyday sociopath, and a greedy one at that. It's the money that matters to her, and she's willing to sacrifice that moment for a dollar (well, a million of them, anyway). I must give credit where it's due, her methods were certainly creative, but there was no poetry to her work. I could have helped her with that, but the key to my success (and I have known a great deal of success) is staying within my boundaries. It was her party, I just suggested a few of the guests...and provided the transportation.

Oh, don't look so horrified. It's not as if anyone died. Well, people did die, but, ironically, not once I became involved. In the interest of full disclosure, I will admit that this wasn't my preference, but you don't always get what you want out of someone else's party. Besides, I learned something important from this experience- almost as magical as that moment is watching the people who have foolishly chosen to take on the role of 'loved ones' as they come to terms with the possibility of that moment. There is also the undeniable pleasure of taking one's time. It's a luxury I have rarely been afforded in the past, but will try to cultivate in the future.

I'm getting off track again, aren't I? I hope you will forgive my self-indulgence. Yes, escape. It wasn't guaranteed this time. We were dealing with smart people. The smartest people you know. The smartest of all the stupid people, the kind of people who regularly have the phrase 'world renowned' added to their title. You can understand, then, if I take time to bask in the glow of this particular escape. 'World renowned', and they couldn't even put together the basic fact of my existence. They got her, and they let that be enough. Even the smartest people sometimes refuse to look too closely at that which they don't want to see. You might think that I would fall victim to a scorned partner; again, you would be wrong. I scare her. Do you know how difficult it is to scare a sociopath? But I do, I scare her. Her fear has purchased my escape.

So, here I am. Her trial has ended, her case is closed, and I am left alone to enjoy my exhilaration. That's not to say I have no regrets. People like me tend to want to finish what we've started. It's what sets me apart from her. She was willing to walk away for a met ransom demand. I've never been good at walking away. I had been hoping to tie up loose ends rather quickly, but my current situation doesn't allow it. Of course, it doesn't help that my loose ends are planning themselves to escape. Geographic mobility is another luxury I can ill afford. What I do have is time. Time, and infinite patience. They'll be back, and I'll be waiting.


A/N: I have this one completely outlined, so for those of you who like to know your destination before you commit to the ride, this will probably take somewhere in the neighborhood of thirty chapters. We'll get to B&B in the next one.