Author's Note: This will be a multi-chapter fic. The Black Keys song "Sinister Kid" is what sparked the idea and that is what the lyrics below are from. I hope you'll stick with it and I'll do my best to not go too long between updates. For those of you who don't like character death fics, hang with this one. Everything is not what it seems. ;) Oh, and I really appreciate any feedback, positive or negative. Reviews are magical!

Disclaimer: I have no ownership of these characters. But, they're so much fun to play with.

I've got a tortured mind and my blade is sharp.

A bad combination in the dark.

If I kill a man in the first degree

Baby, would you flee with me?

-The Black Keys

It was late and he was not nearly drunk enough. He turned his glass up, swallowing the last of the scotch it contained. He could feel it blazing a smooth trail down his throat. And therein was the problem. He could still feel too much, still tasted, still yearned, still burned. And that was just not going to cut it right now.

But drowning this slow smoldering anger wasn't a task he could accomplish with only a few drinks. It consumed him like a raging fire, burning to ashes all but one thought: Kate.

He reached for the now half empty bottle, refilling his glass with the warm, brown liquid. His goal was to be numb tonight, no matter how much it took. He would eradicate himself of every useless feeling. Feeling was weakness. Weakness that he could not afford.

He would not talk himself out of his plan, even though she would have hated it. She would hate it even though he knew she'd do the same if the situation were reversed. Frustrating, paradoxical, beautiful woman. His entire being ached for her and for letting her down in more ways than one.

But he was committed and he would not back down. He understood what it was like for her now. That rabbit hole she'd been so afraid of falling back down when they'd only first met. He knew now what it was like to be so driven by a singular goal that you lost yourself in the process. It didn't make a person blind to the consequences like he'd always assumed. He always thought that Kate couldn't see what she was doing. That she didn't realize she was exchanging her life for the case. It wasn't exactly like that. At least not for him. He was just so entwined in the drive and the pain that he no longer cared what it cost him. Because to him, he'd already paid the highest cost.

She was afraid of the rabbit hole back then but he'd also made sure she was never in it alone. Made sure to pull her back from the edge each time she began to slip. He could still hear her speaking the words she'd said at Montgomery's funeral. If you're lucky you find someone who will stand with you...

He'd stood with her. He'd given her always and now always was just a cold and empty word that reminded him just how fleeting forever could be. There were no happy endings in this story, no matter how he wrote it. She wouldn't be there to pull him out of the spiral. And it was down in the darkness that he'd found this one purpose, even if for a limited time. She couldn't stand with him anymore, so he'd stand for her.

He took another long draw from the glass, relishing the way the alcohol simultaneously ignited and dulled his senses, containing the anger simmering at a slow boil within his veins.

He caught a glimpse of movement in his peripheral vision outside the window and watched a group of people walking along the sidewalk outside his building. Probably on their way to a club, based on their attire. He was surprised to find that his mind still noted the details. Still was fully attuned to the stories out there. He just couldn't bring himself to care about them anymore. What did it matter without her? His stories wouldn't bring her back. Nothing would ever have the same meaning again.

He had the fleeting thought of just how different things could be right now, in another life. The life that they'd been building. Perhaps he'd be out too, with Kate. Just finishing a night of dinner and a show? Dancing? Would he be writing while she propped her feet across his legs, engrossed in her own book? Would he be charming her into staying the night? Or listening to her pretend to protest that she still needed some independence, even though they both knew it was only a matter of when, not if, she moved in with him. Would he be carrying her into his bed? Trailing his fingers across her body as she moved beneath him sighing his name in the way that had always undone him. Memories clouded his mind as he choked back the tears. Tears that he refused to allow himself to cry.

He slammed the glass down so hard that for a moment he expected it to break in his hand. He laughed cynically. Like it'd matter if it broke. Everything else was broken. Pain was the only thing that reminded him he was alive. Pain and the anger were all that was left now.

He knew his family was worried about him. His mother had offered to move back in. Alexis stopped by almost daily. Ryan and Esposito too, for a while. Even Gates had tried to talk him into continuing to come in and help out at the 12th. An action he found truly out of character for her. Just a testament to how wrong everything was now. As if he'd ever go back without her.

Black Pawn had extended his deadlines. Gina and Paula had even been sympathetic. He smirked to himself at that thought.

But, eventually the calls quit coming. That's sort of how it was in life, wasn't it? Sympathetic looks, phone calls, visits, at first. Everyone "understands" in the beginning. Then, understanding faded to whispers of speculation regarding when he'd write again, when he'd move on…

It made it easier though, once the calls ended. He was sick of pretending to get better. Tired of forcing smiles, reassuring people that he was fine. He wasn't fine. He would never be fine again. He didn't want to reassure. He wanted to avenge.

So he had worked hard to make sure it was possible. Months spent getting back into shape. Running came first. He had to increase his stamina. Then, training. Money was not an issue of course, so he spared no expense in hiring the best. He had to be ready for physical combat. For the task that lay before him.

He stared at his reflection in the window. His biceps stretched at the sleeves of his shirt. His face much thinner and jaw line more chiseled than he could ever remember. In his younger days he'd have admired this look and used it to his advantage. But now, his toned and lithe body only served one purpose. There was only one thing left to do. And he would not fail.

The knife sat only a foot away on his desk, glaring up at him coldly. He couldn't stop himself from picking it up again. He trailed his finger along the blade, watching the city lights glint off the cool metal with narrowed eyes, as he turned it over and over in his hands. He swallowed a wave of nausea that he may have blamed on the alcohol had he not known better.

He stared at the ridges on the lower part of the blade, wondering how many lives this knife had taken. How many bodies bore these signature marks? How many others failed to protect the ones they'd loved? How many others hadn't even seen it coming? Again, the nausea threatened to overtake him as he forced himself to push those questions aside.

It would take only one more life, he thought bitterly, tossing the weapon onto his desk. That was the only thing that he was sure of now. But that was tomorrow. Tonight, he would drink. Tonight he'd let the burn of the alcohol replace the burning rage in his heart. And tomorrow he'd kill the man who'd taken Kate from him.