A/N: Hello, everyone! So, I have a bunch of other things I ought to be working on, but instead I'm going to write this! It's something that's been buzzing around in my brain for a while and has become particularly loud as of late. Hope you guys enjoy!
Disclaimer: I do not own anything recognizable. Including, but not limited to: Criminal Minds and the characters.
There is no moment like the present. The man who will not execute his resolutions when they are fresh upon him can have no hope from them afterwards: they will be dissipated, lost, and perish in the hurry and scurry of the world, or sunk in the slough of indolence.
The moment they pulled up to the UnSub's secluded house, Reid knew waiting for backup wasn't going to be an option. Morgan was acting far too agitated for the younger agent to believe he would wait and, if he was honest, Reid didn't really want to stand around outside the house while Stanley Burk could be stabbing Megan White to death inside, either. When Morgan put the car in park and glanced over at Reid, the genius nodded and that was all the other agent needed. They could get in trouble for going in without backup- and not just the type to do with their jobs- but if they could save the girl it would be worth it.
Slipping out of the SUV quietly, the two agents sidled up to the large, two-story building, guns drawn, and moved towards the door. They had every reason to believe that Megan was in the house at that moment, but the strangled scream that emitted from somewhere in its depths was enough to have Morgan kicking the door in. As they entered the house, everything suddenly went startlingly silent. There weren't even any sounds of a struggle. It was as though the sound of the door crashing in had overpowered everything else.
Undeterred, the two invaders gave the living room they had burst into a quick once over. With a silent gesture, Morgan signaled for Reid to clear the bottom level of the house while he went upstairs. While splitting up was far from a good idea, Reid knew it was also the quickest way to find Megan.
While Morgan stealthily scaled the staircase behind him, Reid snuck through a door on the far right of the room. He found himself in a kitchen, with the only other door leading to what seemed to be a basement. The ideal thing to do would be to clear the rest of the lower floor before heading down into the basement. However, nothing about this case had really been ideal. They had been on this case for a good week and half already and had lost nine women to Burk. They had begun sleeping in shifts and it had finally been Morgan and Reid's turn to go to the hotel, conveniently located on the other side of town from the police station, and get some rest when the call had come in.
The UnSub had been discovered. His place of residence had been closer to the motel than the station, much closer, and Reid and Morgan were to head out there first. The rest of the team would be 15 minutes behind them. They were all tired and drained, but there was a young woman who needed them, so when Reid heard the quiet 'no' coming from the basement, he shook off his thoughts of the less-than-perfect case and approached the gaping basement door.
When he drew closer, he could see the only meager source of light in the otherwise dark subterranean room was a naked bulb hanging in the center of the ceiling. A cursory glance around the room from the top of the steps showed Reid a situation he did not like at all. Megan was tied to a chair in the middle of the room, directly under the circle of light the bulb cast. The rest of the room was in shadow, or worse, complete darkness. However, Morgan was upstairs and there was no way to alert his partner without alerting Burk as well, so Reid ignored his sense of self-preservation, something he had gotten quite used to, and descended into the basement.
He checked around as best he could, pointing his gun into the darkness, before turning his attention warily to Megan. The situation reeked of 'set up,' but Reid couldn't ignore the small groan the girl gave. "Megan," he said quietly, moving to stand in front of the chair but not holstering his weapon. "Where is he? Is he here now?"
The young woman lifted her head and look up at Reid, who stood tensely in front of her. When her eyes widened in horror, the agent realized a moment too late that Burk was behind him. A flash of dizzying pain across the back of his skull (he had been hit with the hilt of Burk's large knife, Reid would realize later) threw him off balance and he felt himself being shoved to the side in his moment of disorientation.
Reid hit the ground with a gasp, his gun clattering off somewhere into the shadows, and he lay there a moment. It was all he could do not to give into the threat of a darkness of his own before he rolled onto his back with a groan. His fuzzy vision cleared in time to give him a view of Burk standing before Megan and raising a blade above his head, ready to bring it down and plunge it into the young woman's body.
For once, all thoughts cleared Reid's head. Something in his brain shouted "Just go!" and he did. With a speed he only seemed to be able to call up under duress, Reid launched himself off the floor and tackled Burk with all the force he could muster. They landed in a heap with a surprised grunt, though whose it was couldn't be said. Burk was quick to turn the tables, however, and Reid found himself on his back once more, this time with Burk's unforgiving weight on his chest.
Burk brought the knife he had managed to hold onto forward once more. Reid quickly realized his assailant had failed to pin his legs and brought a knee up, somehow managed to catch Burk in the gut with some part of his leg- Reid wasn't paying particularly close attention to exactly what was happening, so long as he got the madman with a knife off himself. Taking advantage of Burk's momentary lack of breath, he shoved the large man away and sat up quickly.
Baring down upon Burk once more, Reid attempted to go for the knife. Burk's arm came up, slashing at Reid with the weapon. The surprised genius brought his arm up to block the blade that would have otherwise made quick work of his torso. Barely registering the burst of pain he grabbed Burk's wrist before the man could strike again and slammed it to the floor with strength he hadn't been sure he possessed, causing Burk to drop the knife.
The killer wasn't discouraged, however, and landed a foot squarely in Reid's chest, in a similar fashion to the way Reid had caught him off guard before, sending the slighter man flying backwards. Reid landed on his back and barely had time to suck in a breath before he had to roll out of the line of another kick from Burk. He came to a stop close to where he had initially landed when Burk had hit him over the head and, upon coming to this realization, Reid threw his arm out to the side, groping at the dark floor.
It couldn't have gone that far- ah! Reid's fingers closed around the still-warm handle of his revolver and brought it up, with a shout of "Freeze!" for lack of anything more original to say.
Burk quickly complied and Morgan rushed forward to shackle the man's hands behind his back, surprising Reid. He realized belatedly that he'd heard Morgan thundering down the basement steps when he was rolling out of the way of Burk's foot.
Panting, Reid sat up, gun still tightly held in his hand, and looked over and Megan. "You… okay?" He gasped between breaths.
The girl nodded tearfully, pursing her lips and looking gratefully at Reid. Morgan glanced between the two and tugged Burk towards the stairs. "I heard Hotch and the others pulling up before I came down here." He informed his partner and then nodded towards Megan. "Can you get her?"
"Yeah." Reid nodded and got up off the floor, feeling as though his lungs were closer to working at full capacity once more.
As Morgan dragged Burk up the stairs and the sound of their backup clomping around on the ground floor of the house filled the air, Reid kneeled in front of Megan and began working at the knots binding her to the chair with shaky fingers. The ties weren't very difficult and he made quick work of them despite his unsteady hands. The moment her own hands were free, Megan tossed them around Reid's neck and squeezed, sobbing. "Thank you." She gasped.
At a loss for what to do, exactly, Reid put an arm around her shivering shoulders and led her towards the stairs. "It's okay…"
Burk had already been packed away in a squad car by the time Reid and Megan made it upstairs. Megan was immediately whisked away by a paramedic, though she appeared to be physically sound, and Reid made his way over to Morgan, who was talking to Hotch.
Hotch looked as though he very much wanted to speak to Reid as the younger man approached, but the senior agent was stolen away by an officer. He left with a look that said there would be a serious conversation later. Morgan turned when Reid came up to his side. "Hey, kid, are you okay?" He asked, worry worked into his words.
"I… yeah, I think so." Reid nodded slowly.
"You sure? 'Cause you kinda look like a bloody mess." Morgan said, reaching around and touching the back of Reid's head gently.
Reid hissed at the discomfort the action caused and flinched when Morgan's finger came back smudged slightly with blood. "Come one, we've gotta get you checked out." The older man said, nudging Reid gently in the direction of the front door. "You might need stitches."
"Head wounds may bleed profusely but that usually simply makes them look worse than they actually are…" Reid began, balking at the idea of his scalp being sewn up.
"I meant your arm, actually." Morgan said, gesturing to Reid's right arm.
The young man looked down at his forearm and blinked at the still-bleeding gash in surprise. After a moment, he remembered how he had received it and nodded slightly. Morgan shook his head and slung and arm gently around Reid's shoulders, leading him out of the house. "What happened down there, kid?" He asked, looking over at the younger man.
"I… I don't know, exactly. I didn't really think about it. I just… went." Reid attempted to explain, hunching his shoulders slightly in uncertainty.
Morgan scrutinized the younger man for a moment before he grinned. "Feels good, doesn't it?" He asked jovially.
"Aside from the wounds I sustained through lack of properly thinking things through? Yeah, it kind of does." Reid nodded with the ghost of smile.
Chuckling a little, Morgan steadied his friend as they made it down the steps of the porch and towards an ambulance. "You did good, Reid. Really good." He said seriously before grinning again. "You ready to leave the tackling to me from now on?"
"I think so, yes." Reid replied readily with a smile of his own.
In skating over thin ice, our safety is in our speed.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
A/N: Ah, that was fun. I'm not really at experienced at writing action scenes and that's basically all this story was… one big action scene. It was also fun because this is the first thing I've finished in months that didn't have anything to do with "Family" or a challenge. I hope you all liked it! A review would be absolutely lovely if you feel inclined to write one! Thanks!