A/N: I'm terribly sorry for having disappeared so wordlessly for three weeks to get my wonky internet fixed and upgraded. On the bright side, you won't have to wait long for the next update! Once again, thanks so much for leaving me such kind, wonderful words and staying with this story.


"Tears are the safety valve of the heart when too much pressure is laid on it." ~ Albert Smith

Chapter XI

"JAYJE, GET DOWN!" Emily shrieked, pushing the blonde backwards and at the same time, pulling her down to the ground as a colossal pendulum blade swung from the other room, through the door and straight towards them with a loud, bloodcurdling, hair-raising whoosh.

Fortunately, Emily had reacted a couple of seconds quicker and the razor-sharp, semi-circle-shaped blade swung past the top of her head while she was down bound, narrowly missing slicing it open.

The two of them flattened themselves on the front onto the keys-covered floor, side by side, with Emily lying half a body ahead of JJ. The jagged edges and odd protruding surfaces of the mass of keys beneath them dug non-penetratingly, but painfully, into their flesh, pressing hard against their bones.

Gritted teeth was the only sign of them registering the pain. They had their heads tilted up slightly, their shimmering eyes transfixed on the menacing, swinging blade, watching as it swung out of the room and for a brief moment, lingered unmoving in the air before it swung back in once more with extra gathered momentum.

Vroom.

The walls were now mere inches away from the door frame. Time and space were running out, fast.

Emily kept her focus on the pendulum blade, seeing it swing in and out continuously, waiting with self-restrain for that precious window of opportunity, preparing herself to make a run for the opening when it came. It took about another few swings of the blade before she caught on to its rhythm, its timing, but the moment she did, she set her mind on making her move.

The next time the blade began to sweep out of the room, she seized the chance.

Emily pushed herself up, off the ground, onto her feet and dashed to the door. In the mad rush however, she accidentally slipped on a batch of damned keys near the doorway as her eyes widened at the sight of the blade started to come back down purposefully, threateningly towards her. She tripped over her own feet in an attempt to get her footing back, but she managed to recover just enough of it for her to pull off a dive through the door, to the side, just in time to get out of harm's way.

"UGH!" Emily grunted in anguish as she crashed down to the cement ground on her wounded side, hard and heavy. The pain was almost overpowering, she could have sworn she heard her ribs crack, if not for her overwhelming fear for JJ, who was still trapped in the room. She clenched her jaw shut to brave the pain and quickly turned around, crawling her way back to the side of the door, careful to keep herself away from the pendulum blade's swinging path.

Vroom.

"COME ON, JJ! YOU CAN DO THIS!" Emily shouted, one hand grabbing tightly onto the door frame, one hand stretched out ahead of her, flicking her wrist, beckoning JJ forward. A strong gust of wind whipped through her already messy dark-brown hair as the massive blade flew past her, perilously close.

"EMILY, I CAN'T!" JJ exclaimed, her voice choked and hoarse, her face etched with an expression of pure panic. Tears were welling up in her eyes unceasingly, misting her vision, replacing those that had brimmed over her bags and rolled down her cheeks. "MY PANTS' CAUGHT UNDER THE WALL!"

Earlier, JJ was at the ready to follow Emily's lead and make her own run when the subsequent window of opportunity opened up for her, only to find herself snared and stuck. She shifted onto her back as she clawed and clutched at various parts of her right pants leg, which had a little more than half an inch of its hem cragfast under the slit of the moving wall, trying frenetically, forcefully to yank it free.

But even as her knuckles had been drained of blood, JJ's efforts were to no avail.

JJ was outright crying as fear got the better of her, invading every piece of her mind, every part of her body. She was gasping laboriously for every breath she took, trying urgently to drag more air into her lungs as the increasing pressure of the walls on either side of her was determined to snuff it out and suffocate her. She writhed violently on the floor and despite having limited motion with her right leg, it didn't discourage her from kicking at air, using the force to try to tug her pants leg out.

Her movements were frantic and emphatic. Keys were jabbing acutely into her flesh and rubbing roughly against her exposed skin and the raw wound on her back, but overran by her manic nerves, pain had become simply a numb sensory.

Vroom.

The walls have reached the door frame, closing in on JJ's shoulders. The fabric of her pants were now wrapped skin-tight round her calf as the wall sucked more of it underneath its huge concrete body when it moved.

"EMILY! HELP ME!" JJ screamed, her chest heaving as she thrashed around helplessly, unable to hold in her torturous agitation.

"HANG ON, JJ! I'M COMING!" Emily hollered reassuringly in response, feeling a shiver travel down the length of her spine at hearing the outcry for help, chastising herself crudely on the inside for even needing JJ to yell for it in the first place. She tore her eyes off of a wrestling JJ to the swinging pendulum blade, shifting restlessly in her kneeling position as she looked on intently for her opening.

The moment the blade flew out of the door, Emily scrambled to her feet and rushed into the room, bending her body down and putting her hands over her head, shielding it. She half-stepped, half-jumped over JJ on the ground before crouching and joined in on JJ's endeavors to pull the pants leg out from under the cursed wall.

"IT'S NOT FUCKING COMING OFF!" Emily shrieked in frustration, the muscles in her arms burning red-hot in exertion. Her body was dog-tired and her strength was waning, so rather than stubbornly sticking to their obviously failing plan with time and space against them, she started to tear apart the woolen material of JJ's pants, using her might to snag open the seams before splitting it down to the hem and then hurriedly, haphazardly ripped the pants leg off JJ at thigh level.

"Alright, JJ... C'mon... Get up," Emily urged as she panted, snaking her hands under JJ's arms to haul her up.

Vroom.

The two agents stood with their bodies slanted at a slight angle as the space between the walls had become too narrow.

Emily wrapped an arm around JJ's waist, holding the blonde close against her, not caring the least bit about JJ's blood and sweat soaked back staining and damping her front. She maintained her entire focus on keeping them out of reach of the still swinging steel, waiting for the perfect opportunity for both of them to get out of the room for good.

"When I say go you run like hell, you hear me?" Emily asked in breathy whisper, her warm, heavy breath tickling JJ's ears with each word.

JJ, who was too much out of breath to give a verbal answer, simply gave a few short, quick bobs of her head as an affirmative. She used the back of her hand to furiously wipe off the tears that seemed to flow perpetually down her face as she tried to regulate her breathing, clinging on to the last shred of self-control she had left.

When the blade rushed down towards them for the umpteenth time, Emily's hold on JJ's waist tightened in anticipation. She watched with bated breath as it stopped for a split second, and hovered right in front of them, before it began its swing back to where it came from.

In her mind, one thought was clear as day – it's now or never.

"GO, JJ! NOW!" Emily exclaimed, instantly letting go of her protective hold on JJ, allowing her to run free. She followed a mere quarter of a step behind as the two of them bolted through the narrow doorway and stumbled out of the room, taking an instinctive dive to the side. She fell partially on top of JJ as they collapsed onto the granite-like ground with a double thud-thud accompanied by a series of loud cries and groans of pain.

Vroo- Boom!

They cringed at the sudden thunderous, monotonous roar that resonated in the near empty room, its dull echo bouncing off the four walls around them, lingering in the air for the next few moments, mingling with the sounds of their labored breathing. Not moving from their positions on the floor, the two of them raised and turned their heads back tardily to see the blood-stained, unpolished pendulum steel blade sandwiched between two fifteen-inch-thick concrete walls. A handful of small silver keys near the doorway got squeezed out from the gap in the middle in the process, causing them to spill over the threshold.

The sight of everything reminded them of what would have been an extremely painful death, one that was way beyond their ability to fathom exactly how painful the death would have been, but it didn't matter.

They were out.

They were safe.

They were alive, well, at least for now.

JJ's supporting elbow gave out beneath her as she crumbled back down to the floor, her thoroughly exhausted body wracked with sobs of relief, disbelief as well as every form of emotions that her overloaded mind had begun to process and let loose, flooding her entire being, consuming her very soul.

Emily's chest heaved and deflated intemperately as she fought the powerful onslaught of emotions within her, determined not to lose control and be swept off her feet, hell-bent on keeping herself grounded, although, she was powerless to stop hot tears from springing to her eyes and billowing over. She enveloped JJ's body with her own and buried her tear-streaked face into the crook of JJ's neck, offering as much comfort, as much support, as much warmth as she could to an utterly distraught JJ, but at the same time, needing someone to hold onto, an anchor.

"I can't... I can't do this any longer..." JJ choked out in between gasps of breaths as she continued to cry, turning into Emily's embrace, trying desperately to soak up everything Emily was giving. "I can't take anymore of this... I just can't..."

"Shh, don't speak, JJ. Just try to breathe, try to rest..." Emily cooed as she sniffled, moving her hand up and down the side of JJ's back soothingly, keeping it away from the long, sanguinary gash the blonde decked. She tried to free up more room for air for JJ by moving away, but a strong grip on her collar tugged her further forward instead.

JJ clung onto Emily for dear life, refusing to let the brunette go, unwilling to come out of the bubble she's in, afraid that the second she did, she might simply fall apart into pieces...