To quote Finding Neverland, 'This is just a bit of silliness really'… But I enjoyed writing this and plan on adding more. I hate putting Prentiss in more pain but having someone hurt themselves on the job gets your fanfiction minds whirling.

I own nothing of Criminal Minds. Thank you to everyone who has stopped by on my last few fics. Your words are incredible.


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Wiping at the blood running mercilessly down her arm was useless in itself. Stopping the tears from forming in her eyes was also a hopeless act. Emily couldn't believe her luck. Well, actually she could.

She ought to be quite used to her fabulous timing. The pain was extremely sharp and coursing back and forth but she knew if she just held on, her body could make itself numb to the feeling. The discomfort would drown out. It always had in the past, of that she was sure.

Remaining aware of her surroundings Emily tried to keep a steady grip on her gun. The throbbing ache caused her hand to shake.

Along with the loss of blood, she had lost track of time. And that was not good.

Stepping around the body on the floor, Emily silently cursed this case and everything involved. Never had splitting up turned out this bad. Splitting up was never good to begin with but the idea that a large group of men were around torturing women with knives left Emily not so game.

The ringing in her ears was dying down a little; the gunshots putting two bullets right into the chest of the pitiful excuse of a man on the floor had echoed off the walls, automatically resonated uncomfortably in her ears. The team had to of heard it. Lord knows Emily did. She could only hope they were ok. Even though she never wanted to admit defeat or admit she needed help, Emily wished at least one of the team was there with her.

Maybe they were heading her way to assist in getting her the hell out of there.

No, she couldn't think like that. The three young women hidden away somewhere in this warehouse was what was important right now. They had to find them. Too many women have already fallen to this sick group of men. Emily would like to put several bullets in the rest of them, ending the horrendous torture. They were using these women to fulfill their twisted fantasies.

Emily's stomach churned at the thought. But she was strong. She would do everything she could to save them. Her team was fighting too.

Garcia and Reid were at headquarters. Rossi and JJ had taken the front of the immense warehouse. Morgan and Hotch were covering the two sides and that left Emily to take the door closest to the back.

They were obviously shorthanded. A swat team wasn't exactly available at that moment. Might as well go ahead and say that there was no swat team, just the brave few from the BAU. Not to say that every single agent wasn't capable of handling their own. Emily definitely could shake what was thrown at her. But being this separated caused a hell of a lot of worry. Being outnumbered was one of the worst possible situations. None of the members of the team liked this idea, but when three young women were at stake, fear went out the window. The job had to be done, at any costs.

Feeling her hand quiver again, Emily swallows the lump back in her throat. Bile threatened to rise. Her Kevlar felt entirely too tight. The air was thin. A dense, awful smell wafted throughout the humid building. Controlling her breathing, Emily sets her mind forward. Her eyes went in and out of focus and she cusses again.

Exiting the room, she finds herself entering a short hallway. Streaks painted the metal walls. Stains littered the floor. Emily didn't think on what those dark patches were from. New splatters were joining the old, but Emily paid no attention. Her mind couldn't be on her arm right now.

When that bastard had come around the corner, she thought she was prepared. But he was a big guy. The switchblade in his hand hadn't glinted in the dim light until the extremely sharp edge flew right at her. She had jumped back but it was too late. Everything happened too fast. Wincing as the knife sliced through her skin, Emily let no sound out. Perhaps she should have, but she knew more than likely another one of the sick bastards was close by and would have heard instead of a member of her team, who all were at different ends of the building.

She had managed to grasp her inner strength as well as the handle of her glock and defend herself. Ah, to hell with it. Pulling the trigger twice, she doesn't give him a warning. He didn't deserve one. He was dead the instant his back hit the concrete floor.

So much for staying quiet; the sound ricocheting off the walls was loud enough for anyone to hear. She kept her gun poised, ready for sick bastard number two to appear. When nothing is heard, she strives forward. One down…


A careful placing of steps is now heard, bringing Emily back to the present. The steps were coming closer to the hall Emily was occupying. Placing her back against the wall, she prepared herself again; knowing there had to be another one. As the steps are about the come around the corner, Emily can sense the slight hesitation. Her head feels heavy, her arm almost like dead weight. But she knows she needs to focus.

Sucking in a breath, she rounds the corner just as the other does and comes face to face with a glock. Behind the gun, is Hotch.

"Emily!"

He looks like he's just scared himself to death as he whispers her name desperately. His gun is immediately lowered just as Emily shakily lowers hers. His dark eyes trace her face, along with her surroundings, checking to see if anyone else was nearby.

"Hotch…" Her voice is hoarse and tired. She blinks several times. Her equilibrium was precariously leaning. "I'm, I'm sorry…"

Little did she know that a small pool of blood was forming by her feet. Hotch, ever the one to be aware of what was going on around him, notices instantly that something is wrong.

He goes on, his voice whispering in concern. "What happened? Are you alright? I heard the shots. We've all been asking over the earpiece if everyone is ok. You were the only one who didn't answer."

Then it dawns on Emily. After the gunshots, she had ripped her earpiece out of her ear. Something she should have never of done. That was definitely training 101. The ringing was at the highest octave and taking the piece out seemed to ease the pressure.

She looks down, feeling guilty; licking the corner of her lips then lifting her eyes back up to his face, she just knows she's going to have her ass handed to her. "Oh…yeah, Hotch I'm so sorry. I must have…"

He didn't let her finish, his eyes and his mind comprehending her face, her arm and the large amount of blood upon the floor. The worry was evident.

"Emily! You're bleeding. Profusely. What the hell happened?!"

Emily knew her arm would eventually numb and quite frankly had almost forgotten about it. What a horrible thing to say, that getting used to the pain was easy. But it certainly was for Emily.

She threw up her wall, anxious to get back to work. Plus the last person that she wanted to show any weakness to was Hotch. Despite his attentions and concerns to whenever she was open to talk. He has made himself available and exposed to her as of late and she was extremely appreciative. He had a hard shell too, much like hers and together they were slowly breaking the surface. But now was not the time. As much as she wanted his attention, now was not the time.

"Oh, I… took care of one of those bastards. And he took care of my arm. I'm ok. We need to get moving…"

She starts to walk around him but Hotch steps to block her. The quick movement he makes surprises her. His voice is now stern but traces of trepidation could be heard. It shakes her to the core. There was also a dark, deep look in his eyes that Emily couldn't stare at for too long. The look caused her to feel something completely different.

"The puddle of blood as well as the line of spots leading up to where we're standing says the opposite of ok. Let me see your arm." There was a multitude of emotions he was showing and she wasn't ready to face them. Or was she?

She sighs, knowing Hotch was just as hardheaded as she was. There was a slight demand in the words, leaving Emily no choice than to shift her left arm towards him.

The light blue of her shirt along the arm was stained and soaked in blood. The red fluid was trickling down her forearm, her life support falling to the ground. The exact line of entry was at a long angle from the inside of her bicep clear down to her elbow. The bastard was skilled, even at an odd angle and strike; he managed to get a good portion of her upper arm. As she slightly lifts her arm, Emily can feel again a sharp burn. Almost like someone was still dragging a searing hot knife along the open wound.

The light was dim so Hotch moved closer, very sure in leaning forward and lightly grasping her wrist to gently turn her arm to some extent up. Fingers hold at her pulse, almost like he was checking to make sure her blood was still pumping through her veins and not just dripping to the floor. His lips are tight and the crease in his brow seems even more troubled. Emily isn't used to this close proximity with him. His smell surpassed the awful air around them, comforting her. And yet her head swam again, lightheadedness coming into play.

"The cut is deep." His voice rumbles low and he clearly looks pissed. "You've lost an incredible amount of blood. We need to get you out of here Prentiss. There…there may be damage to major muscle tissue."

He can see the paleness of her skin, the contrast against the blood like a bright warning sign. And to him, the seriousness of the situation hit like a ton of bricks. It may only be a cut that can easily be stitched up but Hotch didn't dare look past anything. Too many terrible things have happened to Emily and he couldn't stand to see her in more pain. After everything they have all been through in the past year, there was just no break to catch. Therefore, nothing can go unnoticed. And as much as Emily wants to brush things off, they both can't ignore the situation.

His heart is thundering in his ears but Hotch keeps any disturbing thoughts away, despite the desperation beating through his chest to get her out of there.

Always the one to argue for herself and go against the rules, Emily shakes her head. "No we need to save those women. We can't backtrack just because of me. We've come too far. I'll be fine. Please, Hotch."

His hand moves away now and Emily senses the loss of his touch immediately. If anything, at least that meant she still had feeling in her arm and the nerve endings were still functioning.

Almost as if he didn't hear her, Hotch speaks to Garcia through the earpiece. "Garcia, send for an ambulance and paramedic. I want them ready and waiting when we step out of these doors. Prentiss has a very serious injury. But we can't raise alarm to the building. Morgan, Rossi and JJ are closing in on the five other men. This has to be clean until we find the women."

Emily doesn't hear the concerned reply from Garcia, as her earpiece still hangs off her shoulder. Her head is pounding and the room spins. She manages to catch Hotch tucking his gun back into the holster. He proceeds to undo his Kevlar, shifting it to the side to un-tuck his shirt. Grasping the end of the material, he rips a wide amount apart.

Emily opens her mouth to stop him, to say something, but nothing comes out. A small portion of his stomach can be seen and a couple of his scars appear in her vision. The lump in her throat is back. Her gun feels heavier than usual in her right hand and her hold on the handle seems to slip. Pulling her bottom lip between her teeth, Emily forces her fingers to embrace the handle more firmly.

Securing the Velcro back in place, Hotch steps forward again, shred in hand. His fingers are tainted with her blood and her stomach folds at this knowledge. He looks into her pained eyes and can tell her body is wavering.

"Do you need something to bite down on?"

She hears his words but they sound rather far away. Attempting to shake her head, she replies quietly. "No."

He continues to wrap the material around her arm twice, pausing to whisper an 'I'm sorry' before tying a knot tightly across the majority of the open, bleeding wound. Emily gasps outwardly, blinding white heat coursing through her arm and in her head. She squeezes her eyes shut for a moment, seeing stars and breathing deeply. Once again the room spins and just when she feels like the floor has been taken away from her, Hotch wraps his arm around her middle, locking her back in place.

"Morgan just caught two of the men. Rossi and JJ found the women. The rest of the men are guarding them and they are in a stand down." He is repeating to her what is being said through the earpieces. His breath is fluttering along her neck, warm and unfamiliar, his lips close to her ear. "They aren't far from where we are. We might have a better angle at them…Emily, just…just hold on, ok? You've got to hold on for me."

He didn't desire to go any farther into the building with her like this. He desperately wanted her safe, inside an ambulance and getting the proper treatment she most assuredly needed. But what could he do? Garcia had already sent for the ambulance but where they were at was far off from the city. Emily was strong, hardheaded and determined to keep going. He could demand her to leave, boss mode in place…but in the end, it would do no good. They were one in the same. Rossi and JJ needed help and with all of them together, the men would be outnumbered. They just required time.

Emily nods once and she stands a little straighter in his embrace. Her left arm hangs limp at her side.

"Ok, let's get this done so we can get the hell out of here."

She flexes then resettles the grip on her gun again. His arm loosens, then falls back to his own side almost reluctantly and before they continue forward, Emily whispers, "Thank you, Hotch."

Gun back in hand, Hotch meets her eye. A flicker of something they both allow to be seen is shared between them. This time she holds his gaze. This time she doesn't want to look away. He wants to say more but all he can do at that moment is nod. Words always seem hard when they counted.

They walk side by side; covering each other's backs as they round each corner and pass each room. Voices are heard and a whimper of a woman dies in the air.

They are close.


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lilylynn