Fandom: Criminal Minds
Pairing: Emily Prentiss/Jennifer Jareau
Disclaimer: No, they are not mine….“Criminal Minds” belongs to CBS (unfortunately).
Summary: Four, five, two. That’s the parcel number where Agent Jennifer Jareau will be placed tomorrow at the Northbrook Cemetery.
Authors Note: As always, thanks audiopineapple for the beta.
A/N 2: Italics are always flashbacks.
Four, five, two. Three numbers which are so innocent, so simple, so harmless.
It’s funny how little things can stick in your mind. I was always good with numbers; somehow the analytical thinking calmed me down, whether it was math, geometry or physics. To solve a problem, fix an equation, connect the dots and get the full picture. To understand what is behind the motive. This always interested me in a strange way and gave me the satisfaction that something was achieved, solved, someone saved. That lives that were protected because of the team. Our team.
Those little numbers should mean nothing to me…Those figures should not even exist…but that’s the parcel number where Agent Jennifer Jareau will be placed tomorrow at the Northbrook Cemetery.
Bathing in self-pity, I’m sitting on my couch with a glass of scotch in my hand, the bottle is already halfway down. The dark night is a pleasant companion among these bitter hours. I’m not able to move, not able to think, I cannot wrap my head around what had happened.
Jennifer is dead.
Because of me.
What was I thinking anyway?
The liquid is slowly burning its way through my throat, ending in my empty stomach, the strong taste and the delusional state are very much welcomed. I’m all alone, numb inside. The house is cold, lost all the kindness and glow that was here before the incident.
When Jennifer’s life was taken in front of me, in front of my eyes, I died there as well. I couldn’t even say goodbye to her, she was long gone before I could open my mouth. And then she was taken away, in the ambulance, and I haven’t seen her since then. They said that she fought for her life in the hospital but the doctors couldn’t save her. Couldn’t save her…the sentence is just so wrong in every way. It’s not true. It can’t be true, she can’t be dead. Tonight we were supposed to go out and have a drink. Tonight we had plans. We should be at our tables now, drinking our beers, sharing stories with each other.
I’m so angry! How could she leave like this? How could she abandon me? How could she do this…I’m too mad at her and my energy runs out as I cry myself to a restless sleep. That’s when the memories come and take over my brain only to get me to those little compartments where I don’t want to be right now.
Flashback – 4 days ago, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
The team has been on a case for 5 days now, the killer who we are chasing is not stopping until we make him. He killed 3 women in less then 3 weeks, his last victim was found 6 days ago which means if we don’t catch the bastard now, another woman will be tortured and then shot in the head in 2 days. I haven’t slept for 48 hours and it’s taking its toll on me. This case affects me more than it should and I have a feeling it’s because the victims are so similar to me. Every one of them is brunette, mid-thirties with a decent job. All we know about the murderer that he is a very intelligent, white male around his late twenties, white-collar worker, probably a lawyer or a business man who is handsome and confident enough to make women trust him and be alone with him.
After 2 days we finally have a lead, an eye witness who says he saw the abducted woman in a park, so JJ and I are going to interview the man who maybe has information about our unsub.
We arrive to a nice neighbourhood, the suburbs. Everything is neat – if you ask me, it’s too neat for my liking – our witness’ house is a bit huge for just one person. We go to the door, knock and after a few minutes a man opens the door.
“Mr. Ryan? We are with the FBI. Agent Jareau and SSA Prentiss. If we are correct, you may have some information about a woman you saw 5 days ago?” – I introduce ourselves as I show Mr. Ryan the picture of the woman.
“Oh, hi. Yes, come on in, just about to put on some tea.” – He invites us inside and goes to the kitchen, saying he will be with us in a second. The first thing that surprises me is that the house is immaculately tidy and has minimal furnishing. This is unusual. No framed pictures, not on any table or walls, nowhere. The room is very bright, sun is shining through the big wall-to-wall windows and I even can smell a subtle paint scent, indicating that Mr. Ryan probably moved here less than a month ago.
I can tell from the quirked eyebrow that JJ has, she is as puzzled as I am but she lets it go saying this is just ‘common weirdness’. I started to say something to that but Mr. Ryan comes back and sits on the sofa waiting for us to begin, so I start our questioning.
“We are aware that you saw Ms. Robinson in the Layfield park just before her abduction, 6 days ago, is that right?”
“Yes, I was jogging as always, around 8pm and she was sitting on a bench. It was strange to see her there so late alone, that’s why I remember her.”
“And you are sure that nobody was there with her, right? Do you remember any strange person around that time? Can you recall anything that we could use?”
“Well, when I first run past her she was all alone but now that you mention I did see someone with her, I think a man addressed her and asked for a match for his cigarette. This was around half past 8, after my third circle. Later, I didn’t see her at all.”
“Can you describe the man you saw?”
“Uh, average build, approx. 6 feet tall, white male, I didn’t see his face because of the hood. That’s all…oh, and on the sweater he wore was the sign of the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, if that’s any help.”
“That’s really helpful. Any more…” – I’m interrupted by a whistle from the kitchen implying that the tea is ready. Mr. Ryan quickly gets up and disappears again. As he is out of sight I whisper to JJ:
“This is not much. I thought he had more information.”
“Hey, don’t worry, we have Garcia and I’m sure she will wave her magic wand and find something for us. Until then….wait, did you hear that?” – She asks in the middle of her sentence and I shake my head from left to the right.
“What? I can’t hear anything.”
“No, listen.” – And we stay silence for a few seconds and that’s when I hear it too. A muffled sound as if someone is trying to talk but their mouth is full.
We look at each other, unholster our guns and slowly make our way from the living room through the corridor to the other end of the house. I peak into the kitchen but nobody is there, the tea kettle is on the table, untouched. Damn, how could I not see this? All the signs were there and I didn’t catch it. This man is our unsub.
JJ is alarmed and frustrated as well as he clearly fooled us so easily but we don’t have time to muse about this because we both know that the unsub is armed and he has Ms. Robinson. I reach for my cell and call for back up. As I end the call I hear him shouting from the room ahead of us:
“Ah, and I almost thought that I had you there guys. It could have been so easy. But this little bitch had to make a noise, right?” – as he appears in our sight we see that the unsub holds a gun against the woman’s temple. We are 10 feet away from them but can’t risk going any closer. We know that he won’t go down without a fight and that frightens me. I can’t let anything happen to JJ or Ms. Robinson, we need more time.
“Mr. Ryan, put the gun down, you can’t go anywhere from here, back up is on its way, we know who you are, you can’t escape.”
“That’s where you are wrong. Who said I want to run?” – a grotesque smile appears on his face and in that moment I know what he is up to. From this point everything happens in slow motion: he pushes the woman in front of himself.
In the corner of my left eye I can see that JJ is moving but not towards the victim, instead she takes a sudden leap to the right and maneuvers herself just right in front of me.
And another one but this one is from my gun, hitting the unsub on the head. And then everything is still for a moment.
The woman is on the floor, not moving. JJ is still in front of me but the second I reach for her she clutches and I catch her, she is in my hands. Something is terribly wrong. I feel wetness from behind her back and I instantly realize that she has been hit on her back. Oh my God!! JJ!
“No, no, you can’t do this, JJ! Hey, listen to me! No, don’t close your eyes, stay with me! JJ, stay with me!!!” – I shout to the empty house, not believing what just happened. In the distant I hear sirens but they are forgotten as I watch Jennifer, helplessly in my arms.
I jerk up startled from my nightmare, heavily sweating from tossing and turning on my couch. If numbers ever brought me peace before, now they all have a different meaning.
In 8 seconds.
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