[This was better in my head when I came up with it. I don't like it too much on paper, but it's been sitting on my computer for ages so I thought I'd see how people like it. So here ya go.

Disclaimer: I don't own Criminal Minds...]

"Every man builds his world in his own image. He has the power to choose, but no power to escape the necessity of choice." -Ayn Rand

"Choose, Derek.", the voice said. It was robotic, cold, unfeeling.

Derek almost flinched at those words. Why him? Choose what? Who lives and who dies? He wasn't going to do that.

"What?", his words came in a whisper, he was surprised the UnSub even heard him through the video call.

"I said CHOOSE. The one you choose gets to walk, the other stays here with me. You're lucky, Derek, that I'm letting you choose, really, I didn't get a choice.", he practically spat, and the connection went black.

There was a sad silence in the BAU conference room.

"I would pick Garcia. Emily has training and she-", Reid started, but Morgan cut him off.

"You don't think I'm actually gonna pick, do you?", he said, anger becoming evident in his voice.

"If you don't, I think he'll just kill one of them.", Hotch said, slightly flinching on the word kill.

Derek thought about this for a second. He was right. He had to pick.

"But Emily looks hurt.", he said, voice low again. Yes he needed to get his baby girl out, she couldn't handle this, but he couldn't just leave his partner there to die.

"We have no choice, Derek. We can't leave a technical analyst with no defense or combat training in there. We all know Prentiss can handle herself."

And that seemed to be the end of the discussion.

"Question is, how do you take two FBI agents hostage without causing some type of disturbance? There were no signs of struggle at neither apartment.", said Reid, jumping straight into the profile.

"So, what, we're thinking 2 UnSubs?", said Hotch.

"No, his vendetta against Morgan seemed to be personal. He said that he, alone, didn't get to choose. This seems like revenge, and if he had a partner, he would've shown already.", Rossi chipped in.

"It wouldn't be that hard.", Derek said, looking down at the table. It seemed he couldn't get his face above a whisper today. How could all of them be so professional when two of their team were being held hostage, for God's sakes?


"I said, it wouldn't have been hard.", Derek forced his voice to rise. "Penelope wouldn't have been a hard target. So the UnSub gets her first, goes to Emily's, tells her to go with him or he'll shoot Garcia, and there you have it. We all know that's exactly what Emily would do. Maybe that's why she was so badly beaten; she probably tried to profile him and get him to let Garcia go."

"Yeah, but keeping two hostages quiet and contained, that still takes some manpower.", Rossi said, flinching on the word hostages. He promised himself he wouldn't refer to them as victims.

"Maybe he payed someone,off the street. A junkie maybe.", Reid said.

"Rossi, go out on the street and see how hard it would be to find someone to help you kidnap two people. Focus on junkies and prostitutes, anyone desperate for money. Reid, you start going through Morgan's old cases, see who fits the profile, and might've held a grudge. I'm going to go pick up JJ from the airport, we need her help on this." Hotchner was in full boss mode now.

"What about me?" Morgan said

"You are to stay here, help Reid and think about who this UnSub might be. And wait for the next call. We have borrowed Kevin Lynch and he will be trying to trace the computer. Got it?", he said, already walking out, Rossi close behind.

"Emily, Em?", Penelope's voice was low, trembling.

"I'm okay Pen.", she said, but she did not sound okay. Didn't look like it either. Her face was bruised and blood was running down her lips from where he'd hit her. That's what she assumed anyway; Penelope's eyes had been closed the whole time.

"Why do you have to provoke him Em?", she said, her voice barely above a whisper as she craned her neck to look at her friend, tears in her eyes.

"He wants us to squirm, he likes it. If we're both cooperative he'll get bored and probably kill us. Besides, I want to start on a profile, and getting him angry is the best way to do that.", Emily said, slightly wincing at the pain in her lip as she tried to talk.

It was true, what she said. She was starting on a profile, but she wasn't very far along. This guy seemed to be changing personalities every time he came to 'talk', which basically meant beat her to a pulp.

"Can I do the squirming?", Emily heard Garcia say as tears rolled down the analyst's face.

"Penelope, listen to me. You will keep your pretty little mouth shut, and be a perfect hostage. Then, when Derek picks you, you will go with him. You will try to remember what you smell, what you hear, every turn he makes. The you will tell all that to the team and help them find me. Got it?", her tone was aggressive when she said this. She must've sounded almost mad. Instantly, the guilt hit. She hadn't meant to be angry at her friend. They had to stick together.

But she had to, somehow, get the idea of angering the UnSub out of Garcia's head. Emily could take it, this was what Emily was trained for. Besides, Garcia deserved to live, she was genuinely an amazing person. She had people to go home to. Emily didn't deserve to die either, she knew, but her life was nothing compared to her friend's.

She'd done so many things she regretted... But now wasn't the time to think about death. She would have time for that later. Right now, she just needed a way to convince Penelope to drop it.

So she reached behind her where her hands were tied to her friend's, grabbing her hand and squeezing.

Garcia still hadn't answered, so Emily just said, "Okay?", her tone gentler this time.

"Y- ye-yes.", came Garcia's shaky reply, her voice shaking with sobs as Emily squeezed her hand once more.

It would be okay. Derek would pick Penelope, and Emily would make sure she got out alive.

As for herself, she wasn't so sure, but that didn't matter.

[What do you think, should I continue? Review please :)]