Author's Note: Hey, guys, I'm finally back! I bring you Nightmare Man. When I first thought of the idea for this story I was super excited about it. Unfortunately it got shoved to the back burner as I was working on other ones. When I finally had a chance to pick it up again, my inspiration for all but the dreams was a little shot. This means you will likely find gaping holes in it. Unlike my other stories, both sides (rescuer and rescuee) aren't really shown. On another note, this story is dark, and gets darker as the dreams go on. I'm pretty sure I managed to keep it to T, but one chapter is questionable. Hopefully someone out there will enjoy it minus its flaws.
Chapter One – The Nightmare Begins
Supervisory Special Agent Aaron Hotchner knew that working for the FBI had risks. There were times when the people they were after gained the upper hand. Even within his own team, there had been instances when an agent was at the full mercy of an unsub. In fact, two members of his team had been taken hostage or abducted at the same time before. Sometimes it had just been the unfortunate luck of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Other times it had resulted from a bad decision.
As Hotch looked around the dank little room at the four of five members of his team chained wrist and ankle to a wall like he was, he couldn't help wondering where he'd gone wrong. Five members of the BAU in the hands of an unsub meant he'd made one colossal mistake somewhere. He just had no idea where, and the fact that he had a pounding headache didn't help his thought process. They had worked the case in New York and caught the guy they were after. Hotch had no doubt at all that it was the right guy, so how the hell had this happened?
Off to his left, David and JJ were chained about three feet apart and still unconscious. There was no way he could reach them. While the chain on his wrist was long, presumably so he could lie down, the one on his ankle was only about two feet. Dave and JJ were at least ten feet away based on his estimation. Chained to the wall opposite Dave and JJ, Morgan was also unconscious. Hotch didn't recognize the brunette woman chained next to him. She was awake as far as he could tell but was focused in the opposite direction of where he was sitting. Watching the door he guessed. Hotch pulled his eyes off the unknown hostage when he heard a soft groan coming from right next to him.
"Ow. Dammit." Emily glanced up in pain and confusion and focused on his face through squinted eyes. "Hotch? What the hell?"
She knew for a fact that they had all slept in separate hotel rooms that night and hadn't just decided to camp out on the floor for no reason.
"Take it easy," Hotch directed.
"Jesus, my head." She pressed a hand to the side of her head and closed her eyes.
"It gets better."
Both Hotch and Emily looked across the room to the woman who'd spoken. Emily hadn't even known she was there, and Hotch hadn't expected her to speak up at all. He didn't know what to make of this woman yet. She didn't seem panicked like a recent abduction victim would or shut down like a long term one. He could only describe her as calculating and maybe a little detached.
"If they gave you the same thing they gave me, the heaviness will be gone in about ten minutes," she continued.
"Ah," Emily groaned as she rubbed her head again. "Great. What the hell happened?"
"I don't know," Hotch answered, not really liking to admit that. The only thing he remembered was going to sleep at the hotel and waking up here with the same headache Emily had. How, where, and why remained a mystery to him.
"Given any other time I might say that I should record this moment," Rossi piped up, having just woken in time to hear Hotch's unwilling admission.
Hotch took the sarcasm with a straight face as always. Besides, he knew that of all of his team members Rossi was the one who really knew that Hotch didn't always have all of the answers. None of that mattered at the moment though. Right now they had work to do.
"Dave, wake up JJ," he ordered before shifting his attention to the other side of the room where the unknown woman was. "Wake him up please."
Hotch and the rest of the team may not know who she was, but Olivia Benson knew who they were even if it was only who they worked for. She'd already been given the preview of their captor's plans.
At Hotch's request, Olivia nodded and turned to shake the man tied to the wall beside her. Unfortunately, Morgan had been placed as far away from her as possible. It was easy enough to reach each other when both people moved as close as they could, but like this Morgan was out of Olivia's reach. She growled a bit in annoyance and stretched out as far as she could in an effort to tug on Morgan's shirt or the edge of his pants. It took a few attempts, but he finally seemed to come around.
"Morgan," Hotch called, drawing the other agent into full awareness.
"Yeah, Hotch, I'm up. I'm –" he trailed off when he realized what was going on.
He took a brief look around the room at everyone chained up and swore. This had to be some kind of sick dream. The case was over, and they were set to fly back to Virginia. So much for that plan. Morgan immediately started digging through his pockets and wasn't pleased to find that his cell phone was missing.
"Besides headaches, is everyone alright?" Hotch asked the group. He needed to quickly assess their conditions before dealing with the situation at hand.
"Pissed off, but fine," Morgan answered.
"I'm fine," JJ replied, leaving out the fact that she was sore. It wasn't important and hopefully rolling her head around would work out some of the kinks.
"Anyone remember anything?" Hotch continued when he was sure the team was alright.
"Aside from the really bizarre dream of smoke pouring into my room from under the door?" Emily answered, "Nope, don't remember anything strange."
While JJ and Rossi were reporting negatives in answer to remembering anything strange, Morgan was watching Olivia. He knew she'd been listening to everything they were saying despite the fact that she didn't openly appear to be doing so. Morgan hadn't planned on mentioning it until Emily had spoken. When Emily had recounted her dream, Olivia's head had snapped around. Even now she was watching Emily, apparently mulling something over.
"Hey, what is it?"
Olivia started and stared at Morgan uncomprehendingly. She hadn't expected him to suddenly ask her something.
"You've been giving Prentiss an odd look ever since she answered Hotch. What did she say that got you thinking so hard?"
By that point all eyes were locked on Olivia. They may not have picked up on her interest as Morgan had, but they trusted his observation. Olivia's eyes flickered from one agent's face to the next. Hotch's frown and furrowed brown to Emily's confused expression over what she could have possibly said to interest Olivia to Rossi's quiet contemplation, and JJ's light frown. Finally she turned her attention back to Morgan, who hadn't taken his eyes off of her for a moment. She sighed and answered his question.
"It wasn't a dream."