A/N: The title is French and translates into "The Madwoman". Just sounds classier in French. Plus, it's pretty much a dead give away to things as is the reason this story has been written. It's my submission to the Psycho Beth challenge in the HotLy Discussion Forum. It'll be a pretty Hotch heavy story, plus expect a few familiar faces from a different show with initials in its title.
The pounding in Hotch's head seemed to grow stronger and louder with each passing second and it took him a while to realize that it wasn't just in his head, but someone knocking on his front door. Slowly, Hotch pushed himself up into a sitting position and almost fell back onto the bed as his head swam when the room tilted violently on its axis. He raised his hands to cradle it, fighting the wave of nausea that nearly overwhelmed him. He tried to remember what happened last night and vaguely remembered having drinks somewhere, but he couldn't recall where or with whom.
The knocking on his door continued and with agonizingly slow, deliberate movements, Hotch forced himself to get out of bed and shuffle his way to his front door. He peered out the peep hole and saw a tall man with dark hair, dressed in a dark suit standing there, still knocking. Hotch didn't recognize him.
Slowly, he opened the door and peered cautiously at the stranger. "Yes?"
"Aaron Hotchner?" the man asked. When Hotch nodded slowly, the man continued. "Detective Tom Kramer, DC Metro PD. May I come in?" He showed the FBI man his credentials and badge.
"Of course," Hotch began in a gruff and scratchy voice. He cleared his throat and stepped aside to allow the man inside his apartment. He was surprised to see a uniformed officer follow the detective into his apartment. He hadn't noticed the other man before.
Hotch closed and locked the door, looking curiously at his two visitors. He assumed this was some sort of consultation, but it was rare that a uniformed officer would accompany the detective and he had never had a detective come to his home asking for the BAU's services. Had his head hurt less he would have realized sooner something was very wrong.
"How may I help you?" Hotch asked.
"Do you know a Beth Clemmons?" Detective Kramer began.
"Beth?" Hotch queried in a surprised voice. "Well, yes. We dated for a while."
"We broke up several weeks ago," Hotch replied, his eyes narrowing at the other man, the niggling sensation that something was very wrong finally breaking through the haze his throbbing head and thrown him into.
"What was the cause of the break up?"
"What is this all about?" Hotch ignored the other man's question. "Why are you asking me questions about Beth Clemmons?"
"That's Agent Hotchner," Aaron said sharply. "I'm the Unit Chief for the Behavioral Analysis Unit at the FBI."
"I'm aware of that, sir," Kramer continued, "But I'm not here speaking with you as a fellow professional."
"Then why are you here?" Hotch's brow darkened, not liking where this could be going.
"Ms. Clemmons did not show up for work this morning. A concerned colleague went to her apartment. This co-worker has a key and let herself in. Ms. Clemmons' apartment was found in disarray, as though a struggle had taken place. Ms. Clemmons was nowhere to be found and evidence indicates that she may be injured. When questioning her neighbors, several recalled hearing an argument last night. One reported seeing a tall, dark haired man leaving Ms. Clemmons' apartment late at night. She said that she had seen this man before at Ms. Clemmons over the past few months. Ms. Clemmons co-worker gave us your name. Sir, I'll ask again, where were you last night?"
Hotch stared at the man in disbelief. "Beth is missing?"
"Mr. Hotchner, can you tell us where you were last night?" Kramer repeated patiently, but persistently.
Hotch's eyes snapped back towards the detective's face. "You think I have something to do with her disappearance?"
"Please, Mr. Hotchner, if you would just answer the question. Where were you last night?"
"That's Agent Hotchner," the profiler growled by the annoying persistent question. "And I have nothing to do with Beth's disappearance."
At that moment, the Detective's cell phone rang. He excused himself and moved over to the other side of the living room to take his call. As Kramer spoke in a low tone, the uniformed officer kept a silent, but sharp eye on Hotch who tried to sort out what was going on even as his headache grew worse.
Kramer finished his call and walked back towards the other two men. He leveled his gaze at Hotch who glared back at him.
"Agent Hotchner," Kramer said in a firm voice. "I'm going to have to ask you to come with me down to the station house."
"Why?" Hotch snapped.
"We found Ms. Clemmons' car. It had been set fire to and a badly burned body was inside. Female. The general size of Ms. Clemmons. We need to continue this questioning elsewhere."
Hotch stared at Kramer and the uniformed officer as they waited for him to move, but he couldn't. His head still pounding out a rhythmic beat must have affected his hearing.
"Wha-, what are you saying?" Hotch asked in stunned voice.
"Sir, we're asking you to accompany us to the station house. Now."