A/N: As promised, chapter 12 in the SAME DAY as chapter 11! That should count for something right : )
Emily felt her heart pounding in her chest while she followed quickly behind Morgan and Reid as the trio made their way to the back door of Brad Connors' house. She was already agitated that she had not been put on point; she was the second best shot on the team after all. However, she was more upset that she had to trail behind Reid, who coincidentally was the worst shot. But she knew that she was lucky to even be here since Hotch had fought so hard for her to stay at the bullpen with JJ and Garcia. The brunette profiler reluctantly swallowed her pride and waited impatiently behind Morgan and Reid to enter the house.
While standing there, mentally preparing for the entrance, Emily heard Hotch yell for Brad Connors to open the door. After a minute or two of no response, they got the go ahead to force entry. With her heart level increasing exponentially, Emily swallowed her nerves and clenched her jaw in determination. Even if she wasn't on point, she would still fulfill her duties to the best of her ability. Growing slightly lightheaded with the intense wave of emotions and physical activity, Emily nearly failed to realize that Morgan had kicked down the door and the two men had disappeared inside. Knowing her slightly blurred vision was due to her fatigue, Emily forcefully pushed the sensation aside and followed the duo inside. She would be not proving Hotch right about his desire for her to stay at the bullpen.
The next sequencing of events happened in a blur, seeming to barely register with the brunette in her state. When Emily entered the house, she saw Morgan and Reid descending the staircase leading to the basement that was sitting immediately in front of the back door. She quickly made up the space between her and Reid as she descended the stairs two at a time. Once behind him, they all proceed down the narrow hallway in front of them. With two doors on each side of the hall and one at the very end, Morgan quickly went to the first to clear while Reid went to the second. Emily made her way to the third when she felt Morgan rush behind her to clear the fourth room. After clearing the small, empty storage room in front of her, Emily turned to wait with Reid as Morgan tried to open the fifth and final door.
When Morgan reached for the handle, it wouldn't budge, signifying it had been locked. So, with a grunt of effort, the strong and muscular man threw his shoulder into the door three times before it opened with a loud crash.
The sight that greeted the trio of agents took their breath away. The cold room held one gleaming surface after another with reflections bouncing back and forth between them all. But the most horrifying part was the operating-like table located in the center of the frigid room. Atop the table lay a woman, naked and beaten. The woman, with hair that was once most likely a long and flowing blonde, now lay limp and matted with blood. Her wrists and ankles were secured to the table with restraints that were cutting into her pale skin and drawing blood that dripped steadily to the floor. As the woman turned her head to look at the group, she opened her eyes, allowing the three agents to see her dull and nearly lifeless blue eyes.
Finally jumping into action, Morgan raced to the woman's side and began undoing the ties holding her to the table. While doing so, he began speaking to the woman softly, "It's okay. We're with the FBI and we're going to get you out of here. You're safe now." Hearing the words of soft comfort, the woman allowed silent tears to fall from her eyes leaving clear streaks on her dirtied face.
Emily watched as Reid took a step forward to help Morgan untie the restraints as well to quicken the process so they could leave the unsettling basement. As Emily took a step forward, she realized with a quick start of fear, they hadn't cleared the room. There were places inside that anyone could hide. The shock of the living victim had stunned them so much that they forgot to actually perform their normal duties.
In the process of raising her gun again to clear the room, Emily began to call out to the two men. But before she could get one word out of her mouth, she felt something collide with the right side of her face with such force that it threw her off balance and she fell backwards, losing her gun in the process. As Emily looked up from the floor, she saw Brad Connors raising a steal pipe over his head to bring back down to beat her. With her vision swimming and her stomach nauseous, Emily could do little else than grunt in pain as she tried desperately to reach her gun which was just out of reach. Before she could even shuffle closer to the desired object, she saw Brad Connors give a quick jolt of shock as he grabbed his stomach. Emily watched as blood spread rapidly over his shirt and began to slip through his clenched fingers. Finally, the tall man fell heavily to his knees and continued until he was lying on his right side, facing Emily.
The injured profiler wondered briefly why she hadn't heard the gunshot ring out. She turned to her left to see Reid bending over Brad and applying pressure to his gushing wound. Then she faced up again and saw Morgan leaning over her with a concerned expression on his handsome face. He was talking to her. It was then that she realized she couldn't hear anything because of the constant ringing in her ears. With her head throbbing, her ears ringing, and her vision swimming, Emily concluded that she most likely had a concussion. Not new to the experience, she also knew this meant she couldn't stay alone tonight and she wouldn't be getting any decent sleep.
Emily lay still and with her eyes closed for what she thought was a few minutes until the ringing in her ears ceased. Finally, she opened her eyes to see that her vision was close to normal. However, the pounding in her head had only grown. Morgan was still bending over her with concern in his eyes, waiting for her to open her eyes. When he saw that she was coherent again, he began speaking, "Prentiss, are you okay?"
Of course that would be the first question he would ask, thought Emily as she attempted to sit up, only to have herself pushed back down. Seeing that she wasn't going to get up until she convinced Morgan she was okay, Emily responded, "What do you think? I just got hit in the head with a steal pipe by a crazed serial killer. My head feels like it is about to explode. Of course I'm not okay, but I'll live. Now let me up right now before I hit you over the head with the same pipe."
Morgan chuckled as he stood from his spot and helped Emily rise to her feet. Yeah, she would be fine. But the man winced as he took in Emily's appearance. The place on her head was already bruising heavily. Her scalp was cut just at the hairline on the left side of her face. Her temple and cheek were already a light purplish blue color that would only grow darker with time. With the deep, dark bags until the brunette's eyes and her normally tan skin turning paler by the minute, and Emily Prentiss looked dead on her feet.
Seeing Morgan looking sympathetically in her direction, Emily spoke up, "I'm fine. Stop looking at me like that." Morgan raised his hands in surrender, but she continued, "What happened after I blacked out?"
Morgan was going to respond, but first he had to get something off his chest, "I'm so sorry Emily. When we burst into the room and we saw that girl, I just went into hero mode. I couldn't think of anything other than getting her out of here. I didn't even stop to think that maybe the door had been locked from the inside and that Brad was waiting on us. I was on point and I should have been more attentive. I'm sorry."
Emily sighed as she waited until Morgan was looking her in the eye. Once the eye contact was established, she began, "You have nothing to be sorry for. The woman stunned us all. We were not expecting to find a victim. Hell, I wasn't even expecting to find Brad here. So when I saw her, I had the same reaction you had. If I had been point, I would have done the same thing as you. I would have thought first to save her then thought about clearing the room. Don't be sorry, just fill me in."
Nodding his head in understanding, Morgan knew this was the last that the two of them would discuss the miscalculation. "Well, I guess I'll start with when you got hit. Reid and I were so focused on freeing the victim that we didn't even notice Connors creeping up on us. But we sure as hell heard when he whacked you over the head with that pipe. I had already holstered my gun so I couldn't get to it in time to prevent him from hitting you again. But Reid had sat his gun on the table, so he lifted his and shot Connors. Since Reid took the shot, you know it wasn't fatal. He hit Connors in the stomach and then rushed to apply pressure while we waited for the Paramedics. Finally, they got Connors out and we got the victim off the table. She was okay, just pretty shaken up and beaten. She's at George Washington University Hospital with Connors. They're both gonna live."
Emily looked to the table and saw that the blonde woman was indeed gone. She saw all the medical equipment neatly placed across one of the counters. If she didn't know any better, she would think they were standing in a hospital operating room. After taking in her surroundings, Emily asked, "Gosh Morgan, how long was I out for?"
"At least twenty minutes. They are sending another bus to come get you, too."
Emily's eyes widen as she realized she was going to have to go to the hospital too, "No! Look, I'm fine. I'm standing on my own and talking coherently. I know I have a concussion, but I know what to do for that. I don't need to go to the hospital," she defended in an attempt to convince Morgan.
Morgan smiled as he looked to Emily again. He knew Emily hated hospitals more than anyone else on the team and she actively avoided them at all costs. He responded with a genuine understanding, "It's not me you have to convince Prentiss, Hotch is the one who called for the other bus."
Clenching her jaw in understanding, Emily turned on her heel in search of her boss. Although the quick motion made her dizzy and nauseous, Emily refused to allow that fact to show as she walked up the stairs. "HOTCH!" the brunette agent called out as she entered the living room. She saw no one and heard no one so she walked toward the hallway leading off from the living room, most likely to the bedrooms. Before she went more than two steps down the hall, Rossi stepped out of the room at the end and quickly walked towards Prentiss.
"Hey Prentiss, why don't you come with me?" Rossi asked as he tried to usher the tall brunette back into the living room. He mirror Morgan's grimace of sympathetic pain at the sight of Emily's wound.
Deciding to let that slide for now, Emily responded, "Where's Hotch? I need to tell him I'm fine and will not be making a trip to the hospital this afternoon."
Rossi nervously glanced to the back of the house before responding, "Hotch is at the hospital already. He rode in with Connors to oversee everything. I can release you now if you like. You don't have to go to the hospital if you feel you are okay."
Emily narrowed her eyes as Rossi hurriedly finished his sentence. He was either lying to her or trying to hide something from her. She was going with the latter of the two. Hotch usually had to ride to the hospital with the suspects if they were shot in an altercation. "Rossi, what are you not telling me? I may have a concussion, but I'm not blind."
Emily watched as Rossi slowly swallowed to buy time before answering, she could tell that he was debating on whether to lie to her or to tell her the truth. Finally he began, "It's nothing Prentiss. I'm just worried about you is all. Concussions can be serious."
As soon as the words left his mouth, Emily knew that Rossi had lied. She hated lying more than anything. She watched as Rossi's eyes flicked once more to the back of the house and then settled apprehensively on her face. She could tell the older man was hoping she would just let it drop, but Emily Prentiss was nothing if not stubborn and persistent. So instead of responding to his bold faced lie, Emily turned once more on her heel, a bit too quickly for her injury, and headed confidently down the hall. She vaguely registered Rossi calling her name, begging her not to go further, but she pushed the pleas from her mind.
The confident profiler paused briefly before the closed door Rossi had just left from. Whatever was behind this door was something Rossi didn't want her to see. Taking a deep breath, Emily pushed the door open and stepped inside the master bedroom. What she saw shocked her even more than finding the victim in the basement. Emily immediately fell to her knees and raised a shaking hand to her open mouth.
Covering every inch of wall space in the master bedroom were photos of JJ. JJ with Henry. JJ with Emily. JJ with Henry and Emily. JJ outside her house. JJ at the store. JJ walking into work. JJ holding Henry through the window of the child's room. Every picture on the wall had the blonde media liaison in them. And every picture that happened to have Emily in it as well had red "Xs" across the brunette's face.
Emily prided herself on being able to compartmentalizing everything. She knew people found it unnatural to be able to take things in stride the way she did, but it was the only way she had survived in life as far as she had. But as she kneeled in the floor of Brad Connors' master bedroom with tears continuously streaming down her bloodied face, her compartments broke and shatter under the weight of such an emotional shock. She could not possibly place this into a box and shove it into a dark corner of her mind.
Clenching her jaw and turning her limp hands into tight, white knuckled fists, Emily rose quickly from her position and spun to exit the room. She was immediately confronted with Rossi standing in the doorway. "Move out of my way Rossi. I'm gonna kill that bastard. How DARE he violate JJ and Henry like this! I'll kill that son of a bitch with my bare hands!"
Rossi simply stood more firm in his position. He noticed how Emily didn't mention her own invasion of privacy, just JJ and Henry. He began speaking softly to Emily, "This is what I didn't want you to see Emily. I know you're protective over JJ and Henry; certainly more so than most people are over their blood family. I was only trying to protect you too."
Emily's pale face was now glowing red with rage, "I can't believe you were going to keep this from me. I needed to know. How else do you expect me to protect JJ and Henry without all the details?" Emily fumed as she took a menacing step toward Rossi.
Ready for the reaction, the man held his ground, "It doesn't even matter now Prentiss. Connors is in custody. He can't get to JJ. You have nothing to worry about now. This room can simply serve as research into a serial killer's mind." Emily faltered just briefly before making her way to the door. She made brief eye contact with the older agent as she shoved past him and began storming down the hallway. "Prentiss, where are you going?"
Emily never looked back as answered, "I'm going to find JJ."
Rossi quickly made his way into the living room, chasing after Emily's retreating form and finally caught up to her at the doorway. He grabbed her arm and spun her to face him, "Prentiss, you can't drive in your condition. Just wait a little while and I'll take you to the bullpen myself."
Emily roughly ripped her arm out of Rossi's loose grasp and spun back around to stalk out of the house. "Like hell I can't drive. Just watch me."
And with that, Rossi watch as Emily climbed into the nearest SUV, turned on the blue lights and sirens, and peeled out of the neighborhood. This was exactly the reaction he was hoping to avoid. He was aware of Emily's hidden feelings for the blonde, even if she tried to compartmentalize and ignore them herself. If nothing else, he hoped this would provide a wakeup call for the two women. He was quite frankly tired of all the sexual tension floating around the office daily. Rossi sighed as he turned to head back into the house. He was glad that Hotch hadn't been here. He would have ordered Emily from the room and she would have most likely murdered the man when she found out. As the older agent walked back into the bedroom and looked around, he shuddered in repulsion. There were thousands of pictures pinned to the walls. This obsession had been going on for longer than any of them probably realized. Truth be told, he had a reaction similar to Prentiss'. He would also like to kill Brad Connors' with his bare hands. No one messed with one of his family members and got away with it.
A/N: As always, read and review! I'm really interested to see what you guys think about the end of this chapter! Please give me your thoughts. I'd love to read some predictions!