The Woods

Disclaimer: CBS still owns Criminal Minds, excuse me while I weep over that.

Summary: Four weeks after the interrogation of Eli Thomas, Emily's determined to catch him...

Timeline: Alternate Universe, four weeks after chapter one

A/N: Thank you to everyone who reviewed chapter one, here's the second and final chapter. Enjoy.

Thanks for reading, don't forget to leave a review.

"Any fact facing us is not as important as our attitude towards it, for that determines our success or failure." Norman Vincent Peale

Emily had her head bent over, going over her case files when she saw a file fall down on her desk.

"Here you go my kit and kaboodle" Garcia said in a sweet tone, "I've gone over everything just as you ask and the only new thing that I can find out about creepy Thomas was that when he was fifteen, his high school girlfriend disappeared while on her way home from a cheerleading competition."

Emily frowned reading over the file, "Why the hell wasn't this in his original file?"

"Her father was the Sheriff at the time and they didn't suspect Eli" Garcia answered, "They initially ruled him out of the first investigation because at the time he was still at school in detention but about three weeks later when they found the girl's torso the teacher that had been overseeing the detention came forward and admitted that he was drunk on the job and that it could've been possible that Eli slipped out early."

"And they didn't have enough to hold him," Emily said looking up, "They never found her head did they?"

"No" Garcia said, "This is one sick and demented guy."

"You got that right" Emily said, closing the file, "And I intend to catch him."

"How?" Garcia asked, "There's no trace of him. He's not using his ATM, or ID. He hasn't made any public appearance I've checked all electrical feeds from here to Pennsylvania..."

"I need to use myself as bait" Emily told her, watching Garcia's eyes widen in horror, "I need to be put on the news..."

"Emily, no" Garcia said, "You can't put yourself out there for this... freak to get you."

The brunette knew why Garcia was protesting but she couldn't live with the fact that another woman could be targeted, it wouldn't be fair to put anyone else in jeopardy.

"Son of a bitch" Morgan grumbled coming out of Hotch's office, "We've got another one."

"What?" Garcia asked, "Another what?"

"Another brunette" Hotch said, "The Maryland P.D. just called and it looks like the Thomas' M.O."

"Well bossman, you have to take a look at this" Garcia said, following the man up to his office with the file, "Look at this don't ask me how but for some reason it wasn't placed in his file but Eli Thomas' high school girlfriend was murdered."

Hotch stopped dead in his tracks while Dave walked into the office, "What?"

"Eli Thomas' girlfriend was abducted walking home from school" Garcia said, passing him the file, "The police thought he had an airtight alibi..."

Hotch read through the file, "Damn it. He's been doing this for nearly two decades."

Hotch looked up at Dave, "Tell the team wheels up in twenty."

The Unit Chief picked up his go bag, stuffing the necessities from his office into the large bag, but kept an eye on the brunette in the bullpen.

He'd never admit it to her, but he was worried for her. He knew she wouldn't appreciate the sentiment, with her being so independent and stubborn. Much like he was.

But something inside him told him that she was on Eli Thomas' radar and he didn't want to lose her again.

"This is Tricia Bevins with your local news" the female reporter said, "We're coming to you live from the Baltimore Police Department where the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit has joined in the manhunt for the serial killer known as the Woodsman."

Emily stomped out of the Bureau SUV walking in the background of the news reporter when something struck her.

She didn't like being watched over and she knew that it was an equivocal sentiment that the four men on her team were watching her.

She turned when someone shoved a microphone in her face while she tried to not slam her eyes shut from the blinding lights.

"Are you with the FBI?" Tricia asked, "What's being done to capture the Woodsman?"

"No comment." Emily said brushing past the prying reporter as she made her way into the precinct.

"Well it looks like the FBI isn't commenting on anything" Tricia said, "But the local police issued a statement warning the women of Maryland to stick together. Back to you, Bob."

Eli stared at the screen, watching the brunette agent in the background, "I'll see you soon, Emily."

The brunette agent paced back and forth in her shared room while JJ sighed looking at her friend.

"Can you stop that." Emily asked, moving away from the bed.

"Stop what?" JJ asked.

"Stop watching me" Emily said, "The way that you keep staring is making me nuts."

"Well what do you want me to do?" JJ asked, "Gouge my eyes out?"

Emily stopped her pacing and looked over at the younger woman, "Really? Does it look like I need the sarcasm right now?"

JJ sat up on the bed, "Don't get pissy with me, Em. I didn't want this anymore then you did, but you heard Hotch. There's a very big chance that Eli's watching you."

"Then let him come and get me but staying here like sitting ducks isn't helping anyone and I think there's a very good chance that he's out there making another woman march through the woods" Emily told her, "I can't live with that, I'm not the type of person to sit around and let danger come to them."

Emily opened the hotel door turning back to JJ when she felt someone wrap a hand around her neck rendering her immobile.

JJ's eyes widen in fear before quickly reaching over grabbing her service weapon, "Let her go."

"I wouldn't do that Agent Jareau" Eli hissed, pulling out a stun gun, "Otherwise I might just have to pay Henry a little visit and show him what his Mommy looks like after I eviscerate her."

JJ felt torn, she wanted to keep her friend safe but this man was threatening her son.

Before she could even make her decision she felt an electrical charge hit her and collapsed on the bed.

Emily felt Eli pull her with him slamming the door, "Behave or I will come back and kill her and her son. Got it?"

The man felt Emily nod her head against his chest and whispered, "Good girl."

The next thing she knew she felt Eli's hand go around her neck hitting her pressure point.

The last thing she saw was Eli picking her up as they walked down the service stairs before the darkness consumed her.

Emily awoke with a jerk, the last image replaying in her mind.

JJ being shot by the stun gun, and her unexpected trip into the unconscious.

The one thing she knew for certain was that she was the trunk of a car.

And judging by the bumpy road, she knew that Eli Thomas was taking her to his cabin.

"Keep cool, Prentiss" she told herself, reaching into her boot for the gun she always kept there, only to sigh realizing it wasn't there.

Eli popped open the trunk, he reached in grabbing the brunette out keeping her close to him.

"Don't move" Eli hissed out, wrapping his free arm around her neck, "I knew you'd show up sooner or later."

"Of course I did" Emily said, "I told you this wasn't over."

He pulled her back towards the cabin, "Well, lets take this party inside."

Hotch bang on the door, "Emily? JJ? Open up."

The dark haired man frowned when he could hear groaning, "Emily?"

Hotch looked over at Morgan, nodding for him to proceed, standing back as the younger man kicked in the door.

"Shit" Morgan hissed out, while Hotch rushed over to the blonde checking her pulse, "Get a medic!"

Hotch sighed, "She's out cold."

Morgan looked around, "Where's Emily?"

The two men holstered their weapons, while Hotch checked over the bathroom and closets, "She's not here."

"You think Thomas got her?" Morgan asked, moving to JJ when he noticed her coming to.

"JJ?" Hotch asked, "Are you ok?"

"What the hell?" she muttered, "Emily?"

"She's missing" Hotch stated, "JJ, who did this to you?"

"Emily" she repeated, touching her neck.

"We'll find her" Morgan said watching the EMTs rush over to JJ's side.

"I'm trying to tell you he's got Emily" JJ said emphatically, shoving off the concern of the paramedics, "She agreed to go with him."

"What?" Morgan asked, looking over at Hotch, "Why the hell would she?"

"He threatened Henry" JJ told them wiping her eyes, "I froze when he said that."

"It's not your fault" Hotch told her turning to Morgan, "Call Garcia have her check for cabins."

"She's been in constant contact with Garcia" Morgan said slowly, "She was the one that gave us the information on the missing high school girlfriend..."

"Hurry and call her" JJ said, rubbing her throat, "I don't think we have a lot of time left."

Emily took a deep breath as Eli tied her to a chair, she raised a dismissive eyebrow to him. She could tell three things about him without even having a full profile on him.

One, he wanted answers, but to what she didn't know. Two, he was going to take great pleasure in harming her and lastly that he was aware that he wasn't going to get out of this situation like the others.

"You know, Emily" Eli said, "We're not very different. We're actually the same."

Emily scoffed at that, "We have nothing in common."

"We're both surrounded by death" Eli told her, "And from what I've learned about you, you don't trust easily, much like me. You had to learn at an early age not to rely on people."

"A lot of people share those qualities, yet I'm the one that's tied to the chair" Emily said, "So you want to tell me why?"

Eli took a seat across from her, keeping the gun she brought with her trained on her, "You know why, this is what I do."

"You may want to kill me, but you also want answers." Emily told him, "About why the way you are."

"And why would you want to tell me?" he asked her, "It's not like telling me will possibly save you life."

"What I do know, Eli" she told him, "Is that if you really did your homework on me, as you claimed you did that this is who I am. I am my job."

Sitting back in the chair, "Well I did learn quite a bit about you. Absentee parents, childhood bounced around the globe, always trying to make new friends whatever the cost and lets not forget about that secret you keep close to you bountiful chest, Italy."

"How do you know what happened in Italy?" Emily asked, her mind racing but she kept calm.

There was no possible way he even knew about that.

"You know sometimes medical records are hacked into" Eli said, lowering the gun, "And I was quite surprised to learn that at fifteen you had an..."

"You think you know me just because you hacked a few files?" she interrupted, "You don't know a thing about me, Eli all you have are your records."

"I know that you live a very desolate and lonely life" Eli said, "And is that why you push everyone away? Took on Ian Doyle alone? Face it Emily, I'm doing you a favor. You won't ever have to worry about disappointing whatever loved ones you've got."

Emily looked up at his face and started laughing, "This is your sales pitch?"

Eli tensed at her laughing, he was livid.

"They tried to save you once" Eli said, picking up his gun, "I don't think they're going to make it this time."

Emily shook her head, "Here's something that actually tells the difference between us, Eli. I can accept my death but you you run from it. You run because you're a coward. You pray on the weak, going after women who've fought back against the worst kind of depravities and you want to know why?"

"Why, Emily" Eli scoffed, "Give me that profiler magic."

"Because you see yourself like them, a victim. A victim of whatever hell you grew up with. But you took out your couldn't accept that so you started becoming angrier and took out that rage on women because like you they never fought back" she told him, "You picked your high school girlfriend because you found out something about her, maybe she was cheating or she planned to dump you, but that made you snap decision at fifteen then you went after your own sister because she wanted to sell this hell hole? No, because she probably knew what you were."

"Think so, huh?" Eli asked.

"Then after that, you knew you couldn't target women you knew because it would only draw more attention on you" Emily told him, "And you're just a fucking nut who'd pick whatever brunette that crosses your path."

"Well you're here" Eli pointed out with a smirk, "So it looks like I've won."

Shaking her head, "You didn't win anything, I chose to be here to spare others."

"You always put yourself in the path of oncoming traffic" Eli commented, "Because you can't bare the thought of..."

Emily knew she needed to keep him distracted so she did the one thing she never thought she'd do.

"Last year, after the fall out with Doyle" she said watching Eli look up at her, "After I recovered in the hospital I was told that my death was faked. I knew that since he escaped the safest thing to do was to stay away from my team. I ran, I was given faked passports and money but I knew that I couldn't run forever."

He saw Emily's face turn to look out the darkening sky, "Because he was still out there, I knew it was only a matter of time before he found either his son or caught me."

"The only reason he showed up in the first place besides revenge, was he wanted his son" Emily said, taking a deep breath, "But I'd... I'd never tell him, where Declan was because all he wanted was for him to grow up and be just like him."

"A terrorist" Eli finished, "And when he was caught and you came back?" when Emily didn't say anything, "Oh come on, Emily, I know you want to talk about it. I know for a fact that you never told any of your shrinks about this. So tell me, when you watched Ian Doyle get shot down at that airfield what were you feeling?"

"Nothing" Emily said confidently, "I didn't feel a thing."

"Really?" he asked, with a skeptical look, "Something in those eyes tells me that's not all true."

"Well even if that were true, I wouldn't tell you" Emily scoffed.

"Well I'm the only one here" Eli mocked, looked around him, then lifts his gun, "So unless you want me to go out and shoot one of your little FBI buddies. So tell me, what did you feel when you watched the monster who ruined your life die?"

Emily stilled at that then took a deep breath, "Relieved, at peace. I felt like I was finally free."

Eli smirked at hearing that but his face dropped when she said.

"Then I saw Declan reach across for Doyle, telling him he remembered him" Emily murmured, "And I don't know why but I felt remorse."

"For his death?" Eli asked.

"No, for denying Declan the opportunity at having a father" Emily said, her body cramping up from being tied to the chair, "But it had to be done. Doyle would've tried to raise Declan to be like him but I wanted him to have a future. As horrible as it was, I was glad that it happened, Declan could be free."

She couldn't hide the sniffle from trying not to tear up while Eli looked her over.

"At the warehouse before he stabbed you, you were ready to accept your death?" he asked.

"He kept hitting me, kicking me" Emily said, her voice becoming void of emotions as those memories returned, she looked up seemingly at peace, "I didn't want to die. Nobody ever does, but if it was a choice between me, or them, I'd pick my death over them."

"We have to be smart this time" Hotch said, "We can't afford to lose her again."

Hotch, Morgan and Dave charge for the house while JJ, Reid and the local police went around the perimeters keeping a firm eye for any chance of escape on Eli's end.

"I told you, I didn't want to die, so I fought back" Emily said.

"Well that doesn't seem the case now, does it Emily?" Eli asked.

The brunette remained silent, watching as Eli got out of the seat walked over to her and ran his fingers through her hair before tugging on it.

"You want to die" Eli told her.

"As I said, I don't want to" Emily repeated, "But given a choice between myself and an innocent, I'd pick to save them every single time."

"Always the little martyr" Eli murmured, placing the gun in the back of his pants and untying her, "Fine. I'll give you the same thing I gave the others, a head start. But in your case, I'll make it two minutes longer then the others."

As Eli moved around towards the front of Emily, he looked in her dark eyes, "If you try to escape or kick me before the walk through the woods I'll go over to those two team members houses and murder their children. Understand?"

Emily bit her lip but nodded. She knew that now was not the time to be reckless but to keep a cool head.

She knew every action had a reaction, and if she got out of this alive she needed to make sure that Eli Thomas didn't.

As Eli undid the binding on her feet he quickly pulled the gun out, "Get up."

The agent slowly stood up, keeping her hands close to her side, she knew she had to wait until the right moment to make her move.

She needed him temporarily distracted and as they walked from the kitchen towards the living room she looked around for something to throw him off guard.

That's when she saw it, the thing that could change everything.

Eli paused when he noticed that Emily stopped moving.

"Keep going" he ordered her, shoving the barrel of the gun in her back, "Emily, move."

Nodding towards the left, "Is that were it happened?"

"What?" he asked.

"Is that were your father locked you up after he beat you?" Emily asked, feeling the man wrench her arm to turn her to face him.

"What?" he barked out.

"That's what he did, right?" Emily asked, "He beat on you, your mother and your sister? But you were different, he use to lock you in the hall closet while you begged, pleaded, cry beating on the door to be let out?"

"That never happened" he protested, his grip loosening on her.

Emily could see the outlined shadow from the basement she knew the cavalry had arrived.

"You don't know anything about me" Eli hissed out.

"Then tell me is it true?" she quickly asked, "Did your father hunt you down and beat you every single night?"

His face was immobile, Hotch could see the man's shoulders tense, and the dark haired agent nodded over at Morgan who had slowly and methodically slinked behind the door to the kitchen.

The younger man charged at Eli, and knocked both Eli and Emily down onto the ground causing the woman to grunt while the unsub held onto the gun.

Eli elbowed Morgan in the ribs knocking him off of him, and the two men scuffled on the floor with the gun getting knocked over towards the brunette agent who was scrambling to get up.

Hotch leaned over helping Emily up as she clutched the gun in her hand.

Morgan grabbed the other man up by the scruff of the collar only for Eli to punch him in the nose and take Morgan's weapon from it's holster.

"Drop the gun" Hotch ordered while Dave slowly moved towards the group.

"Put the gun down" Dave said, "You're in a situation you cannot control. If you want out of here alive, put the weapon down."

Eli looked from Hotch to the two men then Emily, "I think I'll take her with me. So go head and shoot."

Holding his gun on Emily, Eli gave a grin and the sound of a gun going off could be heard outside.

The resonating sound of a gun going off made JJ and Reid rush up to the cabin followed by three other shots and rushed for the door with the police behind them.

Hotch walked out of the cabin with the two male agents following close behind him.

"There was nothing that could be done" Hotch said, "This situation was handled with the..."

The sheriff looked at the wheeled out body bag and the four agents standing on guard, "Clear case of self defense, thank you for your help Agent Hotchner."

Hotch shook hands with the older man, stepped off the porch going towards the waiting ambulance taking a seat besides Emily.

"How are you feeling?" Hotch asked her.

"Surprisingly well" Emily said, "For the first time in nearly a month I'm good."

Hotch gave her a small smile, "Glad that you're ok."

"Me too" Emily said, looking over at JJ, "How is she?"

"She said that she wished that she would've taken the shot" Hotch told the brunette agent.

"I'm glad that she didn't" Emily said, looking at him, "I never wanted any of you to have to choose between your family or me."

Hotch placed his larger hand on her own, "Don't you get it already? You are family."

Nodding she was surprised when he pulled her into a hug, "Thank you."

"You never have to thank me" Hotch told her.

The two felt a sense of peace from the embrace both knowing that despite the fact that this wasn't the right time both knew that there was the possibilty there.

"The thing you fear most has no power. Your fear of it is what has the power. Facing the truth really will set you free." Oprah Winfrey


Well here's the ending, I hope you all enjoyed it. Don't forget to leave a review.