AN- Yeah I literally have no excuses for how late this update is besides that working at a day camp is HARD. Jeez, I hate how long I leave you guys hanging. But I'm here now, right? That counts for something! I know that for now the UnSub's MO is gonna seem inconsistent with his previous actions, but I promise I'll tie it together.

The Countdown

Chapter 4: Three

The first thing he noticed was the cold. His bones were steeped in it, his skin heavy and clammy against them as he tried his best to move.

Why can't I move?

The pain rushed back like a migraine and he was covered in it, and, suddenly, Reid was having trouble breathing. It was cold and damp and everything smelled like it was covered in three thousand years of mold. And he didn't know where he even was. He was almost afraid to open his eyes.

"Dr. Reid, I know you're awake. Open those eyes for me."

Reid groaned softly. His eyelids were just too heavy.

"I meant now!" Reid's face was slapped hard, and his head lolled for a second until he could force his eyes open and sit up straighter. The pain was rocketing through his cheek, sharp and distracting, and he tried to bring his hand up to it, but it wouldn't move. His breath was harsh and fast, and he could see it right in front of his nose, and he remembered again how he'd had an inhaler as a kid, how he'd had every possible allergy and every breathing problem. He thought he'd grown out of that.

"That's better. Your eyes are so pretty. Don't hide them from me."

Reid coughed harshly, squinting at the light. "Who…who are you?"

"Me? You don't know? I'm hurt, Dr. Reid."

"Where am I?" he tried again, doing his best to stay calm because suddenly everything hurt so much more in his legs and back and upper chest like there wasn't so much blood left in his body or air in the room, like it was getting cut off all at once.

"In time. You need to learn some patience. Pretty ones like you need to learn to wait every once in a while."

And there it was. At those words; the drop of his stomach, the rolling and fluttering. The man heard Reid's sharp intake of breath and smiled.

"We're going to have a lot of fun together, doctor. I've been waiting for this for a very long time."

Reid steeled himself. "Why do you think I'd ever enjoy your company?" he said quietly but with conviction, trying his best to be convincing through all of the fear.

"I can't believe you'd say that! NO ONE INSULTS ME!" Reid saw the fist coming before he felt it, but then the pit of his stomach exploded with pain and the breathing got even worse and frantic and the fist was at his shoulder and his face and now two thick hands were wrapped around his neck. Seeing stars.

When he was released, it was almost like being born again. Reid slumped forward, breathing haggardly. He watched the man warily, hair in his eyes.

"See, you really shouldn't do that. I didn't want to hurt you. I just want to play." The man looked thoughtful. "Do you want anything to eat or drink?"

Reid was too terrified to say no, to go against the man's will. If he only got unstable when insulted, maybe Reid could gradually gain his trust and escape that way. It's not much of a plan, but it's something. Maybe he'll let down his guard just long enough.

If I last that long.

Reid's eyes flickered upward when a sudden movement distracted him from his thoughts. The man's face was suddenly so close, his eyes so intrigued. He was touching Reid's hair, and it took everything in Reid's power to remain still. He shut his eyes and shivered, and the man just chuckled and got down onto his knees, taking a gentle hold on Reid's chin.

"It's okay if you're nervous. Don't worry, I won't be upset. I'm here to teach you."

"Teach me what?"

The man seemed thoughtful for a second, and got to his feet. "You'll see soon. I need to go now, but I'll be back. Will you miss me?"

"How could I when you kidnapped me?"


And his breath was hot in Reid's face and his face twisted angrily and suddenly he was pushing Reid's shoulders back hard into the wall and he was kissing him roughly, biting at his bottom lip and forcing his tongue into his mouth, pushing the bony shoulders harder and harder into the concrete. He pulled away slowly, eyes calmed again, then looked over and gently licked the blood from Reid's bottom lip.

"All better now." He laughed quietly, mirthfully. All of the malice in his eyes and body was gone now, as though it had never existed. Reid's eyes were glassy and unfocused, downturned to his feet. His breathing, so harsh before, was now quiet, and the cuff around his wrist must have tightened somehow to the pipe in the wall. He couldn't remember it being so tight and restrictive and he couldn't hear anything but the buzzing in his head getting louder and louder.

"I'll be back soon. Try to get some rest. Make yourself comfortable." The man walked up the stairs and Reid fought back hundreds of angry and sarcastic retorts, fought them back with that chilling fear up his spine, his lips too bruised to move. And he heard the door close at the top of the stairs, and his breathing sped and he fell over to his side, breathing and sobbing as silently as he could at what was to come. And he lay there wracked with the silent sobs long after the footsteps had petered away, and he lay there with a dry taste in his mouth until the tears subsided, but his mind was too clouded to think properly, because he already knew how this would end.

Anyone would know how this would end.

He could only hope the team found him in time.

"No one's heard from Reid yet?" Hotch asked, sitting down in the conference room. Everyone looked to each other, but no one replied. "Okay. We'll have to start looking. JJ, I need you to keep your eye on the press to make sure no information leaks prematurely. Also, as soon as we make a concrete profile, I'll need you to call a press conference. Morgan, I need you to stay behind and continue through the case files, and see if you can narrow down an UnSub or relative of one with a personal vendetta against Reid. Dave, Prentiss; come with me. We're going to see if we can retrace Reid's steps and find any clues."

"But Hotch, you're number two on the list. Man, that's too dangerous," Morgan said.

"We still don't know who the UnSub will kidnap first. It doesn't even need to be in order."

"But he took Reid!"

"Morgan, I advise you to keep your voice down. I know you're upset, and we all are. But we can't wait in here and hide and hope for the best."

"Exactly, so I should be able to come and look for Reid too."

"No, we need someone to look over the case files. That is just as much help."

"Like hell it is," Morgan grumbled, plopping into his seat and throwing a folder open.

Hotch seemed about to say something, but instead took a deep breath and nodded to Prentiss and Rossi. "Let's get going."

AN- Hope that was good! I'll try to update pretty soon, and by next chapter the UnSub's character will make 1000% more sense. I know right now it seems like he's bipolar but the previous murders are so violent that this bipolarity wouldn't admit it, but I have a way! Never fear! And review please!