Sorry for the long wait, people, I had School stuff. Thanks for all your interest, please don't lose hope for this story. :))


Aaron Hotchner was on him before Reid could even think to regret looking away.

In what seemed like a mere second, the man was suddenly across the room, pinning his gun hand against the desk while the other, the one with the bloody knife still in it, landed against his side.

Reid jerked in shock,but the feeling of the knife kept him from pushing or twisting away. Trapped. Immobile. Dead. He stood frozen, coiled to a spring, his heart racing as he waited for the inevitable pain, the tear through his flesh-

Waited and-

Nothing happened.

Reid stared, stunned, as though through a red haze, at Hotchner's face right in front of him...that confident, knowing smile hadn't faded, only now it was entirely too close. As were those intense black eyes which were boring into his, the gleam in them now impossible to ignore...

Hotchner looked down at him, reading his expression for a moment, then his fingers around Reid's wrist tightened imperceptibly and he leaned in, close enough that their cheeks were almost touching. Reid flinched back uselessly when it brought them chest to chest; he could feel Hotchner's breath against the side of his face and it left him unable to breathe. Seconds ticked by in which he just waited, waited for the inevitable attack.

But Hotchner didn't move.

He just stood there, looming over him, too close, much too close, breathing in- smelling him?!

Reid's breath hitched. He could feel the involuntary response to Hotchner's closeness building up inside him, primal instinct screaming at him to get away, to push Hotchner away, even if that movement would surely cost him at least a kidney-

"FREEZE!"

Emily's voice made both their heads snap around, taking over all attention.

She was standing in the doorway, gun cocked and aimed at Hotchner with a look of grim determination on her face. In the second it took her to scan the room, see Hotchner and Anderson and Strauss and the knife, Reid saw her finger twitching on the trigger -then he sudden felt himself be whirled around, losing contact with the desk.

Hotchner's body in front of his was suddenly gone but pressed against his back instead. It all happened too fast for him to even gasp. Before he knew it, Hotchner's arm was wrapped around his shoulders, immobilizing him. There was a sound of metal as the knife clattered to the ground at the same moment that Reid felt his gun being wrenched out of his hand.

Then it was all over, much too still suddenly, and he was staring straight ahead into Emily's suddenly frightened face. The rasping sounds of Erin's breathing had ceased and all he could hear now were Aaron Hotchner's steady, light breaths against his ear.

"I would say you need to work a little on your timing, Agent Prentiss." Reid could sense the smile accompanying these words without having to see it.

"Prentiss, go," he manged to press out, despite the paralyzing terror he felt, "get out of here-"

Emily's finger twitched on the trigger once more, her eyes clearly searching for an opening to shoot that wouldn't mean killing Reid. There wasn't one though, he knew.

"Better do as he says, Emily," Hotchner threw in amiably, surprising both of them, "There's nothing you can do here except make things more...complicated. Now, I have no interest in killing you...as long as you get out of our way. We must really be going."

Emily didn't move.

"Prentiss!" Reid fought to not think about Hotchner's words but about his friend's safety instead. If she could get out of here, if he'd let her go...she couldn't help him anyway, Hotchner could so easily shoot her with him blocking her line of fire... "Emily, go!"

Hotchner took a step forward, and Reid stumbled to adjust, reluctantly stepping closer to the door, and closer. Emily backed up slowly, but didn't lower her gun.

"I'm not letting him take you out of here, Reid," she promised.

"Back up," Hotchner told her, unimpressed. His arm tightened around Reid, pulling dangerously close to his neck as he took another step forward. "I said I don't want to kill you, that doesn't mean I won't."

They progressed slowly, step by step, Emily stoic and harshly demanding that Hotchner surrender over and over with little to no effect. Eventually they were at the elevator.

The end of the road.

"Kindly press the button, if you insist on going down with us, Emily," Hotchner smiled, and Reid almost gasped in surprise when she actually took one hand of her gun and blindly found the button behind her. What was she doing? They were isolated up here...if they went down into the lobby, onto the street, there would be people in danger-

"No-" he protested, tensing.

Hotchner's hand squeezed his shoulder in response, pulling him into a body like a brick wall. "Yes."

They went down to the first floor with Emily pressed into the far corner of the elevator, gun in both hands again, and them by the door, Reid cringing from the close contact that wouldn't end.

Then, the elevator door opened with a bing and Reid immediately knew what Emily had been doing leading them down here. He could hear steps behind them, running through the front doors, then yelling.

Morgan. Gideon. They were back.

And Hotchner had his back to them.

He was trapped. If he turned he would show his back to Emily-

Reid had one half a second to feel victorious, see the beginnings of a smirk on Emily's face-

Then Hotchner's arm around his shoulders vanished and he felt the man spin around impossibly fast. He heard several guns being drawn and cocked as Gideon and Morgan presumably skidded to a halt behind him to be able to aim at Hotchner.

Reid tried to step forward, making use of his freedom of movement to get out of Emily's line of fire, but Hotchner was still holding his wrist in an inescapable grip. "Stay very still, Spencer," he said, loud and clear, "If I feel you move to give Emily the shot, I will shoot Morgan. For real this time."

Reid froze in mid-step. He heard Gideon curse under his breath and knew without having to turn around that Hotchner was aiming at Morgan with deadly precision. In front of him, Emily was staring daggers at him, silently willing him to move to the side so she could take the shot. But he couldn't risk it, couldn't risk that Hotchner would feel the movement...

"Just give up, Hotch, you're not getting out of here-"

"Yes, yes, over your dead bodies, so I've come to understand." God, how could Hotchner be so calm now when he was one twitch from death. "Well, like I said, that could be arranged. Now, move..." He took a steady step forward, waiting for Reid to catch on and follow without losing his footing. "Or I'll go through you."

They were nearing the door. Morgan and Gideon were being forced back, kept from standing their ground in a way that would have been professional because they were too worried for him, too involved...

Hotchner would walk right out of here.

Horrified, Reid stared at Emily, trying to silently communicate with her, make her act. Her face twisted like she was in pain, conflicted for a moment. But then Hotchner took another step closer to freedom and determination settled over her eyes.

Reid had the briefest moment to feel relief before the deafening sound of a gunshot reverberated in the confined space and searing pain ripped through him, blacking out his vision and throwing him to the ground.