A/N: Hello once again, friends. I hope you are all well. It's been a while since I posted a multi-chapter fic, and this one has been in the works for more than six months. I lost my way a few times, but it has finally come together. It will be five chapters. I'd normally say I hope you like it, but that may not be the right words for what's in store for you. This takes place sometime in the future. I didn't put an exact time frame on it, but a few years from now. You'll understand why in chapter 2.
I'll go ahead and warn you now, this is going to be a rough one. You guys know how I like my angst and drama and… well… this one definitely covers that. This one has been an emotional roller coaster for me to write. Yes, I've made myself cry. More than once. Always freaks me out a little bit when that happens!
This story is inspired by the song "Welcome To The Black Parade" by My Chemical Romance. The quotes at the beginning and end of each chapter are lyrics from the song. For those who haven't heard it, look it up! It's great! (Dang! This is turning into the longest Author's Note I've ever written!)
To Cinny – Several months ago, you read over this first chapter for me and I've left you hanging. SORRY! Hopefully the wait for the finished product will be worth it.
To TN, Rockie, Wotumba, and Monkey – Please don't hurt me! I love you guys! I promise, I'll bring you some Hotch brownies when this is all over. "Why would we hurt you?" you ask. Well, here's why…
WARNING: Major Character Death(s)
When I was a young boy, my father took me into the city to see a marching band. He said, "Son, when you grow up, would you be the savior of the broken, the beaten and the damned?"
They entered the abandoned building slowly, keeping a watchful eye on their surroundings. Guns drawn, Prentiss and Reid took the east corridor, Morgan and JJ the west, Hotch and Rossi the center. They kept ears on each other via their communication devices, checking and clearing rooms as they went, looking for any sign of their Unsub or his dangerous, deadly explosive devices; his favorite toys as he referred to them.
"East corridor completely clear," Prentiss called out. "Heading back now."
"Same for the west," JJ responded.
"One more to clear in the center," Hotch called back quietly. "Meet back in the lobby."
Hotch and Rossi continued to clear the center corridor. They stood together in front of the last door with guns at the ready. Hotch nodded to Rossi, who gently and quietly opened the last door. Hotch entered first, Rossi right behind him.
"We've got a body," Rossi informed the team.
"Want us to come up?"
"Negative, Morgan," Hotch returned. "The rest of the room isn't clear yet. Stay put."
"Hotch," Rossi got his attention. "This is our Unsub. Looks like he slit his own throat."
Hotch returned to Rossi's side to get a closer look. He noticed something in the man's hand.
"What is that?"
Rossi pried his hand open gently, careful not to touch the device.
"It's a remote detonator. There's got to be something…"
Before Rossi could finish the sentence, something on the body started beeping. They looked frantically before finding the explosive device attached to the man's belt, hidden from view by his jacket. And it was ticking away a very short countdown. Rossi and Hotch glanced briefly at each other, knowing they were in a heap of trouble.
"Everybody out!" Hotch yelled through his com-link as he and Rossi got up and ran. "It's a trap! Everybody out now! Go! Move!"
Reid, Prentiss, Morgan, and JJ made it out of the building with ease, but stopped on a dime when they heard the small explosion. They turned, hoping like hell to see Hotch and Rossi running out of the double doors. Instead they were greeted by a much bigger explosion and stared, transfixed in horror, as the roof collapsed, trapping their friends inside.
Morgan was the first to shake himself out of his state and ran towards the burning building.
The others were right on his tail, desperate to find their friends.
"Hotch! Rossi! We're coming!"
JJ immediately got on the radio to call for immediate medical and fire/rescue assistance, but could barely hear the dispatcher over the shouting of her teammates or the pounding of her heart. Garcia, in constant radio contact with all of them on this mission, could hear her frantic plea for help - "two agents still trapped inside!" - and immediately jumped into action.
"Oh God! Guys, I've got your location. I'm sending you an army. Be careful!"
Morgan kept trying to push closer to the rubble, desperate to find his way in, but the flames were too hot. They had no choice but to wait for the fire and rescue crews. It was the longest few minutes of their lives.
He said, "Will you defeat them, your demons and all the non-believers, the plans that they have made? Because one day, I'll leave you, a phantom, to lead you in the summer to join the Black Parade."