Spencer Reid shifted in his seat. It had been 2 hours 42 minutes since the rest of his team had left but Reid had been determined to stay put until he finished the paper work from their latest case; a series of seemingly random murders that they had solved quickly and efficiently. However someone had to write up the reports. Reid normally would have gone along with his team for celebratory drinks but he found himself growing increasingly more withdrawn as they approached the anniversary of his abduction at the hands of Tobias Hankel. It had been 5 years yet Reid still felt a tug of guilt in his heart when he thought about Tobias' lifeless eyes staring up at the night sky. He just wanted to be alone now.
Reid slowly stood up and made his way to the coffee machine in the small kitchen of the BAU offices. There was a half-filled pot on the counter that he did not remember making but he had been so detached lately he didn't trust his memory. Pouring himself a new cup Reid made his way back to his desk in the bullpen. Seeing the normally bustling bullpen ghostly quiet normally relaxed Reid, yet now he was struck by an overwhelming feeling of loneliness (or was it fear?) and he wished that he could see a familiar face.
As if waiting for such a wish, the caretaker shuffled into the room and quietly began sweeping around the many desks. Reid offered him a small smile and turned back to his papers, gulping coffee as he did. The only sound came from the gentle strokes of the caretaker's broom on the floor. He was a relatively new employee but he was so unassuming and quiet he fit right in without any fuss or attention. He was a tall and strongly-built man, yet he stood with a slight stoop and had a child-like demeanour that reminded Reid of Lenny from Of Mice and Men. His was a comforting presence in the bullpen.
As Reid downed the last of his coffee, he felt a strange drowsiness settle over his limbs. He put it down to exhaustion and realised it might be time to call it a day. It was only when he stood up to put on his jacket that he realised it wasn't tiredness; he had been drugged. Panic crawled under his skin and into his brain. He knew it had been the coffee but that was the extent of the reasoning he could manage. His brain felt foggy and unclear. The janitor appeared in his slightly spinning vision.
"Hey, excuse me, I need help," Reid called. However is speech came out slurred and unintelligible, as if his mouth was not receiving signals from his brain. However the janitor hear and walked over to Reid with real purpose.
In his fuzzy state Reid did not note how the janitor had dropped his stoop as he strode over. He did not register the dark glint in the man's eyes.
"I think I've been drugged…the coffee…" Reid tried to say, stumbling over to the janitor. His legs were so uncoordinated he tripped and fell to the floor, looking up at the other man and trying to convey the seriousness of his predicament.
"Drugged?" the janitor said softly, a slight smile apparent in his voice.
"I – can you call…the hospital?" Reid slurred, hands gripping the edge of Pretntiss' desk as he tried to pull himself up. The janitor lightly gripped under Reid's shoulders and hauled him to his feet. He helped him over to his desk and sat him down, smiling contentedly down at the drugged agent.
"Do you feel uncoordinated? A little fuzzy? Eye sight a bit off?" the janitor asked, seemingly concerned, yet there was a lift in his voice from the slight smile on his lips.
Reid looked at him, confused. There were four janitors swimming in front of his eyes and he couldn't seem to get his mind into the here and now; his instincts told him that there was something wrong here, deeply wrong, but his judgment was completely shrouded by whatever drug was in his system.
"I feel…sick," Reid whimpered quietly, head lolling forward onto his chest. The janitor lightly took Reid's face in his hand and lifted it so he could look into the unfocused eyes of the doctor.
"Yup…definitely the effects of rohypnol. Did you know that rohypnol is absorbed incredibly quickly into the bloodstream, especially when it is taken with…Oh let's say, coffee," he looked meaningfully and menacingly into Reid's eyes, noting the way that his previously glazed look was replaced quickly with acute fear.
"You…you…" Reid started to panic, reaching for his gun which he was sure he'd left on his desk.
"Yes, me. Your gun's not there, by the way. It's here," the janitor said, speaking with more purpose than Reid had ever heard, and holding up Reid's gun in a taunting manner. Reid reached up to reclaim his gun from this man, but the janitor held it just out of his reach, chuckling like a schoolboy teasing his friend. When he pulled a roll of duct tape from his back pocket, Reid started to panic. He concentrated hard in order to clear the fog that the rohypnol had cast in his mind, but he could not think of a way out of this. His instincts took the place of logic and he yelled out to attract someone's, anyone's, attention. Quick as a flash the janitor shoved a piece of scratchy material into Reid's open mouth, causing him to wretch and choke and also stifling his calls.
"That was unwise, Dr Reid. I have a gun you know," the janitor said, mildly irritated, as he pushed Reid onto the floor. He fell with a painful thud on his knees but was unable to even contemplate righting himself as the janitor grabbed both of his thin wrists and yanked them behind his back. Reid felt the duct tape being wound tightly around his wrists, round and round. At least 10 layers of tape; he was completely incapacitated. This apparently wasn't enough for the janitor though and he proceeded to wind the tape around Reid's torso, just below his elbows so he could barely move at all. He sat struggling slightly in vain as the janitor stood up, dusting his hands off, admiring his handiwork. Reid managed to spit the rag from his mouth, and coughing slightly, he fixed the janitor with an analytical stare.
"Why – why are you doing this?" his voice filled with genuine concern and hurt. He couldn't understand why this seemingly innocuous man had lashed out in such a drastic fashion. If he hadn't been under the influence of a powerful sedative he would have been profiling this guy at lightning speed, his eidetic memory fishing through everything he knew about this man.
"All in good time, young man… Shall we go? I think we should," the janitor said as if he was about to go to the cinema with a friend, "and no yelling or calling for help now, or I will blow the brains out of anyone we see, alright?"
Reid shivered at the psychotic characteristics of this man as he was pulled to his feet by him. The janitor slung Reid's own jacket over his shoulders, partially covering his bonds. Unstable and weak as he was on his feet, Reid suspected he would just look as if he had overdone it on the beers and was being guided along by his friend if anyone saw them. This was probably the point. The janitor kept one hand in his pocket gripping Reid's gun and the other arm was wrapped tightly around his shoulders, pinning him to his side as he walked the both of them out of the BAU bullpen.
The odd pair didn't bump into a soul as they left the building through the rear exit, which wasn't a shock at this time of the night. What Reid wouldn't have given to see Morgan's smirking face, or Hotch's stern glare, or Rossi's kindly smile walking down the corridor towards him…
They reached the fire exit of the building and emerged into the dark alleyway where a car was parked conveniently close. All the seats in the back had been folded down to create a flat surface and Reid quickly noticed the lack of handles on the inside of the back doors, creating a mobile prison.
The janitor knelt down by Reid's feet, causing Reid to briefly contemplate kicking his captor however he knew that he would probably be too weak to cause any real damage and he would probably just anger this man. So he stood compliantly as the janitor wound yet more tight layers of tape around his ankles. He stood up and pulled a length of duct tape taught, eyes never leaving Reid's pale face. Reid knew what this was for and he jerked his head back and pleaded with the man.
"No, no, no, no, please, don't, no," he repeated over and over again, voice weak and trembling but fear palpable. He had always been claustrophobic and the thought of something covering his mouth, sealing his breath, made him feel nauseous. However there was nothing he could do as the janitor pressed him against the car and smoothed the tape over his lips, winding the ape around his head so tightly Reid thought he would suffocate right there. The janitor broke of the tape and, almost kindly, patted Reid on his gagged mouth, as if he had bandaged a wound or sealed a band aid over a small cut. Reid continued to voice his meek protests, though they were muffled into small whimpers.
The janitor unlocked the door to the back of the car and pushed Reid into it with lazy ease. Reid landed on his back and had no choice but to let the janitor push his feet into the car and turn him slightly so he was lying on his side and facing the driver's seat. The janitor's eyes widened as he remembered something and he pulled a thick strip of black material from a bag in the car. Reid shook his head desperately and protested into the tape on his mouth but there was nothing he could do to stop the large man blindfolding him, plunging him into darkness, leaving him completely helpless in the hands of this stranger.
"Perfect!" the janitor said proudly, and Reid heard him clap his hands together like a pleased parent. Reid just lay there as he heard the door being shut, and the janitor getting into the front seat, keys jangling and engine starting up. The rumble of the car was almost soothing and Reid finally succumbed to the drugs clouding his mind and passed out in his captive's car.
The unmistakeable swagger of Derek Morgan. Emily Prentiss laughed to herself as her confident co-worker strutted into the office, broad shoulders held proudly under the tight-fitting sweater he wore.
"Morning, all," he said with a satisfied look on his face
"Let me guess, an underwear model?" Prentiss asked feigning a look of disapproval, "or was she an aspiring actress, looking for her big break?"
"No idea what you're talking about," Morgan replied, not missing a beat.
"Oh come on, you always come in with that cocky look after you scored with a…hottie," Prentiss chuckled, snapping out of her stern pretence.
"Can't a guy just be in a good mood after a great night's sleep?" Morgan asked. This time it was his turn to joke, feigning a look of hurt, "and please, never say 'hottie', ever again…'
The friends laughed and looked down at the piles of paperwork on their respective desks.
"Huh, looks like Reid got a good start on the paper work for our last case…but boy genius didn't finish…" Morgan said scanning the records in front of him.
"He's been a little off lately, he probably just wanted to get home I guess, relax a bit," Prentiss said. She was a compassionate soul and she understood the lasting effects Reid suffered from earlier trauma. She knew that he needed space, and the team mustn't crowd him with anything, even work.
As the pair began to go through their files (much to Morgan's chagrin) Hotch appeared from his office and stalked over to their desks in the bullpen.
"So who was she, Morgan?" he asked, his rare joke making Prentiss guffaw as a small smile tweaked his own mouth. Before Morgan shot back a retort, he looked around to Reid's desk, "Have either of you seen Reid today?"
"No, he's not in yet," Prentiss said, concern crossing her face, "What's up?"
Hotch sighed, "Strauss wants him to do a psych eval.,"
"What?" Morgan exclaimed angrily, "He's fine, why would he need some shrink –"
"Hankel," Prentiss and Hotch said at the same time.
"It's around this year he tends to get a little introverted... He obviously still suffers mild PTSD, understandably," Hotch said, his face set in its usual serious countenance, "I just wanted to talk to him before Strauss gets her claws in him."
"Ah man," was all Morgan managed as he thought about his younger colleague and what he had gone through 5 years earlier. Suddenly a pysch eval. didn't seem so crazy.
"Yeah, well, send him into my office when he gets here," Hotch said, sharing a meaningful glance at Prentiss before he returned to his office. Prentiss blushed when she saw Morgan smirking at her.
"Only a matter of time…" he murmured teasingly.
"What?" Prentiss asked indignantly, her blush deepening.
Morgan merely chuckled knowingly and turned back to his desktop. Prentiss huffed and looked down at her own work, letting her gaze linger on the door of Hotch's office before she submerged herself in paperwork and records.
Reid woke up with a head full of jumbled memories and a strange haze over his thoughts. He couldn't for the life of him remember the night before. The team had finished a case in Michigan and they had flown back to Quantico and then…nothing. It was like someone had taken a pair of scissors and snipped a great chunk out of Reid's memories, leaving only the frayed edges of broken recollections.
As his senses slowly awakened, his fuzzy uncertainty was replaced by a very real, very serious sense of danger. He was tied up, he felt that now. His arms, torso, ankles were bound up in restricting tape. Vague snippets came back to him; a man winding the tape around his limbs...But there was nothing clear. His mouth was sealed shut with more tape that he strained against, grunting with the effort but not managing to make it budge. He started to hyperventilate. Trapped. Alone. He felt the ground beneath him. Carpet. He was on his side. He could see living room furniture. He was next to a couch. A pair of heavy boots. Boots attached to legs. Legs wearing navy overalls. A janitor's uniform.
Realisation consumed Reid and as he brought his fearful eyes up to the man's face and instantly recognised the janitor from the BAU. His hazy memories of being abducted by this man started to feel real and precise instead of dim and dream-like. He spoke into the tape on his mouth, silenced questions said with more than a hint of anxiety. He was still breathing too fast through his nose; he was going to make himself faint if he didn't calm down.
"Morning, sleepy head," the janitor (the unsub!) said happily, "You've been asleep for hours. I've been watching you. You talk in your sleep; who's 'Tobias'?"
Reid cried out, unable to contain his fear and he tried to sit himself up, make himself less vulnerable. He didn't know if he could deal with being kidnapped again…
"Hey, calm down!" the unsub said, gently resting a boot on Reid's shoulder and pinning him to the ground. It wasn't painful but there was definitely enough pressure to hold the smaller man in place, "I don't know what's gotten into you, buddy. Oh, man, that's so rude of me! My name is Peter! Peter Douglas, by the way."
Douglas laughed to himself, as if forgetting to tell his hostage his name was a serious faux pas. He had a terrified federal agent tied up at his feet and he was chuckling over not introducing himself earlier. If Reid wasn't almost having a panic attack he might have deuced that this made his attacker seriously delusional and detached from reality. But he couldn't profile when he was in this state and he only panicked more.
"You must be hungry, huh?" Douglas asked, his head tilting to the side slightly, completely failing to recognise the signs of terror Reid was displaying, "Come on, then."
Without warning, he bent down and grabbed Reid by his short, tousled hair and started to drag him from the room. Reid screamed in pain but Douglas took no notice of the muffled cries and continued to yank Reid along by the hair until they reached the kitchen where he hauled Reid into one of the wooden chairs at the table. By now the frail agent was crying in pain, his eyes squeezed shut and his brows knotted together as he winced. Douglas smoothed down his hair, causing Reid to flinch. He seemed completely unaware of the pain he had caused this man as he fetched bowls and cereal, whistling to himself. Reid slumped forward in his seat, moaning in agony and desperation. He could feel a headache blossoming behind his eyes and in his temples, the pressure building as pain in his skull. He kept his eyes shut tight to try and protect his fragile mind.
"Ok, so we've got Fruit Loops? Or Lucky Charms? No? Oatmeal? Really I can do anything…hello?" He gazed expectantly at Reid and gave his shoulder a little shake, "Oh I see, gonna sulk until we get our way, are we? Alright then, just this once…"
And with that Douglas grabbed a pen knife that he carried in his pocket and began slicing through Reid's gag, grazing his ear as he did and harshly ripping the sticky tape from his skin. Reid gasped at the sudden pain but was greedily gulping in air soon enough. He was trembling as he began speaking.
"Please, I don't know why you're doing this, but you have to – please let me go. I won't tell anyone, I'll forget this ever happened, I've got money, just let me go. Please," he said quietly, quickly, desperately, tears spilling from his wide eyes.
"Do you want Fruit Loops or Lucky Charms?" Douglas asked coldly, his smile gone and a look of menace in his eyes. His friendly countenance had completely vanished as he glared at Reid.
"Did – did you drug me? Why are you doing this? Please, please let me go," Reid spoke quickly, his voice low and frightened like a wounded animal. His mind was so jumbled when it was normally full of clarity and precision and statistics; he just couldn't think straight at a time when his mind might be the only thing that could save him.
Douglas' hand squeezed into the boxes of cereal he held, puncturing the card as he shut his eyes and let out a laboured sigh.
"You really are all the same aren't you…you fucking…you just take and take – you do whatever you please, everyone else be damned. I was trying to help you, but you are all so fucking selfish," he hissed, opening his eyes as he spoke the last word and fixing Reid with a sharp stare. There was a definite madness in his eyes now, a burning murderous hatred that scared Reid far more than his delusional friendliness.
Reid took a deep breath, "I'm sorry. I'll have the L - Lucky Charms, please," he said quietly, voice shaking slightly. The profiling part of his mind told him that he needed to play into this unsubs fantasies; he needed to be whoever it was this guy was displacing his anger onto. It was the only way to keep the unsub calm.
Douglas slowly poured Lucky Charms into a bowl and set it down in front of Reid with deliberate concentration.
"I'm sorry if I got a little worked up. But you of all people know what it is like to be passionate about something. We are going to work through this. You can tell me why you did it, or your team can. I just want to know the truth," Douglas said sincerely, fixing Reid with an unblinking stare. He continued to stare right into Reid's eyes as if trying to gauge his reaction.
For a few seconds Reid could not think what to do, but once again, the profiler in his head took over. Just keep him calm and happy. Reid managed the best smile he could, though his eyes were still tearful.
"I know. We will sort this out," he said, trying to keep his voice steady. Douglas smiled back at him, apparently satisfied with this response and went about making a pot of coffee. Reid quickly replayed Douglas' words in his head; he had described Reid as "you people" and he had mentioned his team in relation to whatever it was that had angered him so much, whatever it was that he wanted retribution for… He has a vendetta against the FBI? Federal Agents, perhaps? It made sense…Reid just knew he didn't want the team being dragged into this, unless they were there under their own terms, saving him! He looked down at the bowl of colourful, sugary cereal in front of him, aware that he could not feed himself. Hunger pangs clawed at his empty stomach.
"Peter?" Reid asked tentatively. Douglas had his back to Reid where he stood at the kitchen counter and Reid saw it visibly tense and regret instantly hit him like ice cold water.
"Don't. Don't call me that," he said, venom in his voice as he swivelled round to fix Reid with a burning glare once more, "You will not call me that. It's Mr. Douglas or Sir to you, you little snake!"
The fact that the unsub could flit between such extreme emotions in such a short space of time frightened Reid a lot. He knew he had to try and keep this unstable man sweet, despite his acute fear of him, and fear for his own safety.
"I'm sorry, Mr. Douglas," he said in a steady voice, "I don't know why I did that."
"You don't know why you do anything, do you? Just take, take, take, right?" Douglas shot back, still angry, "What did you want anyway?"
"N – nothing. Just – Do you have a spoon I can use? I can't eat it like this," Reid didn't want to point out the obvious, offend the unsub by saying he couldn't eat with his hands tied behind him.
"I think we're done with breakfast. We have some things we need to sort out," Douglas said softly, but the underlying threat was tangible. Reid swallowed hard as Douglas moved behind him and grabbed him under the arms, dragging him once more from the room. He watched the bowl of cereal grow further away. Looks like he wouldn't be eating for a while…
He put up no resistance as he was dragged back into the living room he had woken up in, his bound feet unable to support himself anyway. He was set down next to a radiator as Douglas grabbed something from the coffee table; a roll of duct tape.
"No, no, you don't need to do that, I'll be quiet, I really will!" he almost shouted as Douglas tore of a large strip of tape and smoothed it over Reid's mouth, despite his squirming. Once more he found himself breathing heavily through his nose, not sure how to retain the last of his dignity when he was in this uncompromising position with this dangerous man. Douglas reached into his pocket and fished out what looked like a simple black leather dog collar. Not good.
"If you act like a dog, you will be treated like a dog," Douglas said, advancing on his captive with the collar held in front of him. Reid screamed at him to get away from him and leave him alone but the strong, determined man ignored his unintelligible cries and looped the collar round his hostage's thin neck. For a brief moment, Reid's air supply was cut off and he thought Douglas meant to choke him by tugging at the collar. However once he yielded to the pulling of the collar, he saw what Douglas was aiming to do; the collar was pulled towards the radiator, dragging Reid along with it, and buckled around one of the bars. Reid was held in an uncomfortable position on his knees with his neck strapped to the radiator on the wall. He couldn't move an inch and the collar meant he was forced to lean forward slightly, making him feel even more vulnerable and exposed; Douglas could do anything to him now and this thought sent nauseous waves of fear pulsing through him. If this man could abduct and imprison him, what else would he do? Douglas left the room, leaving Reid to wonder what he was going to bring back and what he was going to do to his young prisoner…
Douglas came back into the room carrying only a small video camera in one hand and a sharp carving knife in the other. Reid began struggling against his bonds as Douglas began walking towards him, raw emotions bubbling in his eyes and his weapons held high.
The BAU team began to pack up their bags and the clock reached that glorious time of the day when they were free. Everyone had the same contented look on their faces.
"Got any plans for tonight?" Morgan asked Prentiss as he slipped his jacket on.
"You asking me out? 'Cause I don't think I'm your type, and you are definitely not mine!" Prentiss shot back quickly.
"No, no way…I wouldn't want to get in trouble with Hotch anyway…" There it was again, that pointed insinuation that made Prentiss blush, though she wouldn't admit why. She ignored it and continued loading files into her bag that she would work on when she was at home, preferably with a large glass of wine in her hand. Hotch's sudden voice behind her made her jump and caused Morgan to burst out laughing.
"Reid never showed today," Hotch stated, to the point as always, "Neither of you have heard anything from him?"
"Nah, he was completely MIA all day," Morgan replied when he had stopped laughing.
"He probably just needed space," Prentiss suggested.
"He normally rings though. He's never not rung," Hotch said simply. Prentiss loved how he never wasted words; he said what he meant always. He was so reliable and safe, yet strong…
"Uhh guys?" Garcia's voice broke Prentiss' train of thought and brought her back to the real world, "There's some weird shifty goings-on over in my temple of excellence and I don't really know what I'm doing, which is weird because I always know what I'm doing so when I don't know what I'm doing it can only mean that there must be some bizarro shift in the cosmos that turns brilliant people slightly less brilliant –"
"Baby girl, slow down," Morgan interrupted the blond technology pixie's rant, "What's the problem?"
"You'd better just follow me, Abs. And you, Fringe and Eyebrows," Garcia spun on her heels and scampered back to her room.
"I guess 'Fringe' and 'Eyebrows' means us?" Hotch said to Prentiss, managing an almost smile once more.
"Well, you're definitely not 'Abs', I'm Abs. Right, Fringe?" Morgan pushed past the pair to Garcia's tech office. Hotch and Prentiss followed, both laughing now at their co-workers.
When the three of them were inside Garcia's office the mood turned very serious. There was an email on Garcia's screen that she had enlarged on all the screens in the office.
Dear FBI agent,
Make sure your whole FBI team is available at 6.15 this evening
I have something to show you
Be there and make sure they are all here too
We can sort this out, if you cooperate
"Weird, right?" Garcia said, obviously disconcerted by the mysterious message. Hotch glanced at his watch.
"It's 6.10 now so we're on time," He stated, addressing his team.
"Who's it from, Garcia?" Morgan asked, arms folded across his chest, brow furrowed.
"Well, that's the strange, strange thing…It was sent from my own account. But I only just got it. It must have been set up on a timer to send at this specific point, "And check out this link at the bottom of the email."
Garcia clicked the link and they were directed to a page with a large black box and nothing else right in the centre.
"So, it's going to be a video feed, most likely live. Yet when I trace the source – brace yourselves for a Freaky Friday-style twist – it is supposedly coming from this vey computer!"
She looked around wide-eyed at her colleagues, but none of them shared her shock or enthusiasm as they looked at one another with blank stares.
"Ugh, normos," she sighed and proceeded to spell it out for them, "Basically I am sending this feed from my computer, but obviously I'm not, someone else is. It just looks like I am. And there's no sign of hacking. So…there has been some very clever, complicated, Garcia-level hacking brilliance that I am ashamed to say I can't trace."
"Well, I guess we wait then. This mystery-hacker said nothing about contacting us, they're just gonna show us something," Prentiss reasoned, though she had a distinct feeling that something wasn't right.
"Yes, and they won't be monitoring us, so it doesn't really matter that the whole team isn't present," Hotch said, doubt in his eyes. He realised how contrived it sounded even as he was saying it.
"Alright guys, anyone else sincerely creeped out?" Morgan interjected, cutting to the chase.
"Thank you!" Garcia said loudly, "I knew you'd get the weird vibe too, my chocolate Adonis."
"It's 6.14," Hotch said, "Garcia are you going to record this?"
"On it, boss," Garcia's hands flew to the keyboard as she worked her magic. The tension in the small office was palpable as the four agents stared in anticipation at the blank video feed on every screen in the room. As soon as the digital clock showed 6.15 the video feed sprung to life and they were all suddenly enthralled and horrified with what they saw.
Two legs were the only things in shot; two long, thin legs clad in smart black trousers kneeling on floor. The legs had black converse trainers at the bottom with flashes of colourful but mismatched socks showing in the gap between the trousers and the shoes .These were the clearly the legs of Spencer Reid. There was duct tape wound tightly around his ankles and he wasn't moving. The camera panned up agonisingly slowly to reveal Reid's whole body. His hands were bound behind him with tape and there was yet more tape wound round his torso. There was a leather strap around his neck securing him to what looked like a radiator and forcing him to lean forward in an uncomfortable position. There was a strip of duct tape over his mouth and he was straining against his many bonds to try and look at what the camera person was doing. He was making small pained noises and his eyes had even darker rings around them than normal. He'd been crying.
"Shhh shh shh," came the voice from the man pointing the camera, "This'll all be over soon."
Reid tried twisting round so he could get a better view of his captor but the more he moved the more the strap cut into his neck so he ceased his struggling.
"FBI agents? I trust you are watching this from your offices?" the man said, his voice calm and steady. At the mention of 'FBI agents', the bound man on the floor grew still and his breathing deeper. He was now frozen, listening to the words of the man with the camera.
"As you know, I don't like FBI agents. You don't care who you hurt. Do you?" he quickly moved towards his captive and shoved the video camera in his face so that every flicker of emotion was captured. Reid looked right into the lens; his eyes were filled with fear and desperation. The man slapped him lightly, once, twice, "Huh? No, you FBI agents are all the same, so it's time someone taught you what it's like to get hurt. An eye for an eye?"
The assailant's voice was growing more and more agitated as his calm, measured tone slipped and he was unable to supress his emotions. He was angry. He stopped speaking and only his heavy breathing could be heard.
"Mppppphmmm mrrrhmmmm mmmpphhh!" Reid yelled urgently into his gag but there was no understanding his muffled words. He was looking at something out of shot, something the camera man was holding, with terror in his eyes. Suddenly the thing he was looking at was lowered into shot; a long, serrated carving knife.
Reid was crying futilely now, tears slipping from his large brown eyes. The knife was brought up to his face and traced lightly around his left eye. He tried jerking his head away but the strap around his throat had him completely restrained.
"No, no, no…don't resist it," his captor said gently. Reid stopped squirming, squeezed his eyes shut and moaned softly into the gag. The knife point pressed slightly into the ridge of his left cheek bone below the eye socket. It kept pressing until the skin turned white from the pressure and the skin broke. It was only a tiny nick but a small trickle of blood ran down his face where it dripped of his chin and onto the carpeted floor. Reid gasped in pain and his eyes shot open so he was staring apparently up into the eyes of his kidnapper, silently pleading.
"I'm not going to hurt you. I'm better than you, I'm not going to stoop to your level," the man said and the camera moved up and away from Reid so it was looking down at him from standing height, "But I want you FBI agents to know that unless you make up for what you did to me, I might not be so nice next time round. For now though, I'm going to treat this one like the dog we all know he is."
He swiftly kicked Reid in the stomach. Unable to defend himself from the sudden blow, Reid coughed, winded, and whimpered in pain. He couldn't even lower his head to hide the tears that were falling freely from his eyes and mingling with the blood from the cut on his pale cheek. The camera zoomed in on Reid's face and captured every last tortured look of pain in detail.
And with that the video feed went dead. A stunned silence filled Garcia's office; no one could quite comprehend what they had just seen. Garcia's sob broke the silence, followed closely by Morgan.
"Son of a bitch!" he yelled, unable to put his frustration, fear, anger and shock into anything but profanity.
"Garcia, I'm guessing there is no way you could trace that then?" Hotch asked quietly, but the fury was apparent in his voice.
"No, sir, it was coming from this computer…I couldn't – I can't do anything," the technical analyst cried and she stared at the blank video, unable to tear her eyes away.
"Hotch, what do we do?" Morgan asked, the only thing he could do was to turn to his superior.
"New case. Abduction, false imprisonment, torture. We need to come up with a profile. Someone needs to get JJ here as soon as she can make it," Hotch barked orders, his minds springing into action, "We'll find him guys, don't worry."
No one felt comforted by this. They all felt helpless. Yet they knew they had to act immediately in order to rescue their friend and colleague. Prentiss had remained silent since seeing the live video stream. She was afraid that if she opened her mouth she would be sick or break out in uncontrollable sobs or wailing. When Reid has been abducted by Tobias Hankel she barely knew the guy, yet she sensed his endangerment terrified the rest of the team. He was the child, the baby, the innocent of the group and none of them could stand to see him suffer. It only took Emily Prentiss a few weeks of working with the young genius to see why everyone felt this way. That was why when the two of them had been taken hostage by the cult group she had put herself forward for being the FBI agent; she knew that whatever torture they could inflict on her could never compare to the torture she would suffer if she saw them hurting Reid. And now he was kidnapped again and he was being tortured. He was scared and alone and in danger and there was nothing Prentiss nor the rest of the team could do and that hurt her so much. She walked in a daze back to her desk in the bullpen and just stood and stared at Reid's desk, as if any minute now he would awkwardly walk over and start rambling on about something none of them found interesting, wildly gesticulating and a great big smile on his youthful face. Prentiss laughed at the thought and in the exact same moment, tears spilled from her eyes and she wept in despair.
Hotch saw Prentiss standing, almost catatonic, over at her desk. Her shoulders shook gently as she cried. He wasted no time in walking up to her and gently folding her in an embrace. He knew it was inappropriate behaviour in the work place but he was damned if he was going to let her suffer alone. They both knew there was something between them lately and Hotch didn't plan on beating around the bush; he knew he could comfort her and he was going to.
"What if we don't find him?" Prentiss asked, her voice thick from the tears.
"We will," replied Hotch simply.
"With Hankel…we were lucky," Prentiss' voice cracked mid-sentence.
"We are going to find him," her superior answered with such certainty, Prentiss felt a little comforted. Hotch gently stroked her smooth, dark hair, soothing her. The pair of them closed their eyes and leaned on each other, peaceful and still.
Across the bullpen, Morgan and Garcia broke their own embrace, one that was more about friendship than intimacy. Garcia blew her nose loudly as Morgan put his arm round her shoulders. They both looked at their boss and their colleague, taking in the bizarre sight that all at once seemed strange but also made more sense than they could ever have imagined.
"Reid will be baffled by that," Garcia smiled sadly, resting her head on her friend's shoulder.
"Yeah, baby doll, he will. He will."
Douglas lowered the camera and stared down at Reid. His heart was pounding. He wasn't even sure if the other FBI agents had been watching the video, yet he was still filled with adrenaline after the broadcast. He would finally get justice for what that FBI agent scum had done years ago… No matter if they had been watching the video feed or not, he would get his justice, what he was owed. An eye for an eye, he heard himself say and he smiled at what he had come up with on the spot.
Looking down at the boy on the floor he felt a slight twinge of pity; the young man was whimpering quietly and crying, sounding like a wounded animal. There was a small cut on his face and his eyes were squeezed shut tightly.
"How did you do that, huh?" Douglas muttered under his breath as he stared at the cut on Reid's face, the blood dripping… "My wife used to be clumsy too."
He knelt down and ran a finger over the cut, wiping away some of the blood. The man merely sat still as a statue, trembling ever so slightly. Douglas didn't know why the boy was so scared; he hadn't done anything to him! He sighed and began stroking his soft hair gently.
"I used to do this for my daughter when she had night terrors, it would help her get to sleep," he whispered, knowing this would soothe the young man, just as it had his daughter. However instead of drifting into a peaceful slumber, they boys eye's shot open and he squealed and looked right up at Douglas, fixing him with a distressed scare. Douglas yanked his hand away at the sudden movement. He'd only been trying to comfort this emotionally unstable kid and he had reacted as if he'd hit him! God, that was so typical of FBI agents, they would just take and take and take and do anything they want, regardless of the consequences, or who they would hurt.
"Typical!" he spat in Reid's face and yanked his hair sharply. The boy yelped in pain but didn't move away so Douglas slapped him, hard. Yet the boy just remained motionless, as if he was daring Douglas to continue, do more! So Douglas wrapped a hand around the thin, milky white throat that was bared so blithely in front of him. The younger man's eyes widened in fear and he made strange strangled noises… Douglas let go after a few seconds and looked at the collar around the boy's neck. He was obviously a dog, he was wearing a collar for Christ's sake! This made Douglas giggle to himself; he had a little FBI agent pet dog! This would show the FBI, they thought they were so powerful and intelligent, but here was a so-called genius behaving like a dog, right here in his house!
Douglas mulled this over for a few minutes more and then realised what he was going to do. He got up, leaving the dog tied to the radiator (his rightful place!) and fetched a blanket from a cupboard, carrying it down to the cold basement. Once there he arranged it in the corner to look like a dog basket. He smirked to himself as he grabbed an old dog water bowl, filled it up and set it down next to the make-shift basket. Perfect.
Back upstairs the FBI agent was twisting and turning where he kneeled, trying to make an apparent escape, to no avail of course. He would only choke himself on his own collar. Douglas strode over and unbuckled the leather collar. Reid slumped forward, groaning in pain.
"Get up," Douglas commanded, nudging him with his foot. When the younger man didn't respond, Douglas started kicking his shoulder. Now he looked up, except he looked confused and helpless, "I said, get up!"
Reid struggled a bit to stand but only ended up falling again so he was lying on his side, just staring up at Douglas.
"Jesus, do I have to do everything myself?" he shouted, causing the boy to flinch and cry some more. Douglas snorted, "Some FBI agent you are…I thought you were s'posed to be a genius?"
He grabbed Reid around the waist and began hauling his skinny ass down to the basement; the FBI dog didn't resist.
"Now, this is where the pets sleep! More accurately, where the dogs sleep!" Douglas threw the kid to the floor, in the dog basket. He curled up into a ball and lay, shoulders shaking, with his face tucked away.
Douglas got an idea that would further taunt the other FBI scum as he stared down at this pitiful excuse for a man. He ran to get his old Polaroid camera from his bureau upstairs in his bedroom and gleefully jogged back down the stairs of the basement. He snapped a single shot of the dog. He would send it right away, first class, so it would reach them by tomorrow morning! Laughing at his own ingenuity, he walked back up the stairs, calling down to Reid before he locked the door.