Through the Streets of London

Chapter XII: What happens on a day

"Either you run the day or the day runs you." ~ Jim Rohn

The next morning, when Hotch got out of his hotel, he had the strange feeling that someone was watching him. He had returned to the hotel too late the previous night having the same feeling. He didn't know if it was just an idea derived from his tiredness, the case or actually someone was there. The whole previous afternoon and most of the night were spent trying to understand more about their Planner, how he was choosing the first victims. If he was in London, even before his partner got arrested, that meant that he had a very specific target and he was going to pursue it. They had to figure out who this target was before he got to the person, otherwise they were going to lose him for good. They were going through every single file of the cases at three in the morning when Emily had proposed him to go to his hotel to have a little rest. He hadn't refused. He needed a shower and a shaving.

When he arrived at the Office four hours later, he didn't find anyone in the room that they used to work in. He headed to Emily's office and he almost smiled with what he saw through the glass window. The two women were asleep, Emily in her chair and Gloria on the sofa. Gloria was sleeping on her back, her left arm over her head, her legs hanging from the arm of the couch. A folder had dropped to the floor beside her. Emily was curled on her chair. She had taken off her shoes, she had her legs bent on the chair and she was leaning to her right. Hotch remembered all those nights in the jet when he had watched her sleeping. He used to do it when all the others were asleep as well. She was so peaceful when she was sleeping on the plane on the way home, she made him forget all the terror they had witnessed during the case…

He had to wake them up, though. They had to rush and that was just an understatement. The moment he turned the doorknob, Gloria almost jumped to the slight noise. He knew that she wasn't as ok as she was pretending to be. Her back hurt from the abrupt movement judging from her expression. She looked at him annoyed rubbing her eyes. Yesterday's makeup was already gone.

"Oh Gosh… I had better awakenings…" she murmured standing up. He raised his eyebrows in a way to tell her that he didn't do anything. "I'm gonna make some coffee," she said to him in low voice averted her gaze from him. She got out quietly.

He approached the sleeping Emily that didn't seem disturbed by anything. He leaned on her desk just watching her for a few more moments. He had to fix what he had done, but he wasn't so sure if he could find the courage. He wasn't good with this stuff. He tried to speak smoothly. She couldn't hear him but at least he had to try to say it to himself. In this way, when everything was finished, maybe he could say it again.

"Emily, I never pushed you away consciously. I can't even… Because I… I…" but he wasn't able to express what he was feeling, like always. So he said the only thing that he could. "I'm sorry, Emily, for being me but I…"

Without thinking he touched her left arm with his right hand, he leaned over and he pressed his lips on her temple. It was only for one moment and then his senses came back and he pulled himself back quickly, observing her anxiously to see if her eyes had openned. They couldn't face whatever existed between them in the middle of the case and certainly not in her office. He rubbed her arm and then she stirred finally. Her eyes opening focused on him, soft at the start and lovingly, but after she seemed to become aware of where they were and the rest and she got surprised and uncomfortable with his closeness. He had taken some distance but he was still tilted over her, his palm resting on her shoulder. He could tell that, at first, she had thought that she was dreaming but then the reality hit her and confused her. For sure she hadn't heard him or felt his lips on her, at least not consciously. He saw her taking a deep breath before she turned her head away from him and she rubbed the downside of her eyes with her other hand.

"We fell asleep, didn't we?" she said as casually as she could.

"Yep," he said simply removing his hand.

She put her feet on the floor straightening her blouse. She pushed the files on her desk.

"There is no pattern in choosing those victims. His choices are random, like these folders dropped in his hands just by chance. He has a preference for narcotics cases but no specific links," she briefed him.

They saw an officer passing behind the office window heading to the other room and they heard Gloria's surprised voice: "What?!". Emily and Hotch got up opening to the door. Gloria met them in the hallway. She had a paper cup of coffee and an unlit roll-up cigarette in her hand. She was heading out when the officer got to her, Hotch guessed.

"They found two bodies near Barbican, murdered during the night. Only one was stabbed, the other shot."

"And what do they have to do with us?" Hotch asked.

"The murderer left Shakespeare's quotes with the victims," Gloria continued.

"Let's go there," Emily said.

They grabbed their coats and went to the parking. It was cloudy and it was raining lightly. Hotch, the moment they stepped out of the building, got the same feeling that someone was watching. It shouldn't be just his idea finally. He was so deep in thought that he unconsciously went for the driver's door. He didn't even know if he did it thinking that this was the passenger's door or because he was mostly the one driving back in DC. Gloria's voice brought him to Earth.

"Hey! Do you want to learn to drive on the right side in a way to a crime scene?" her tone half-joking.

They drove to the first crime scene. In a deserted parking space, a grey haired man was lying on his right side, shot at the neck. Hotch got the impression that this was familiar, too familiar… Judging from Emily's expression he could assume that she had the same idea in her mind. But it couldn't be, could it?

"Shot? If he is our guy, he doesn't stick to the Executioner's M.O.," Gloria stated unaware of what was going in the others' heads.

Emily went to talk with the police officers and she came back with a paper in an evidence bag.

"It was found pinned on the victim's jacket," Emily informed them.

"What does it say?" Hotch asked.

"Love goes by haps; Some Cupid kills with arrows, some with traps, some sold cupid with bullets. If love be rough with you, be rough with love. Prick love for pricking and you beat love down. And a short notice: Expectation is the root of all heartache," Emily read and looked at him with question.

"Who the hell is he addressing to?" Gloria said.

"I don't know. Where is the other victim?" he replied.

The second crime scene was only one block away. In a dark alley a woman looked like she was stabbed on her back. She was lying face down. She was a prostitute judging from her clothes. The M.E. was over her. Hotch could see Gloria stiffen the moment they stepped into the alley.

"Good morning. Emily Prentiss, Head of Interpol Office," Emily spoke showing her ID, "What happened?"

"Interpol? That's a first," the old doctor answered, "The victim has three deep cuts on her back, no stabbings, cuts. The poor woman bled to death."

Emily stole a look towards Gloria. She seemed professional and calm but Hotch could say that she was trying too hard.

"When did she die?" Emily continued her discussion with the M.E.

"At least four hours ago and given that she died after bleeding for about…" the doctor replied.

"Six hours…" Gloria told him quietly.

"Yeah," the doctor continued glaring at her in question, "Given this, the attack should have taken place around 10 o'clock yesterday night."

"She was the first," Hotch added, the other victim was killed after midnight.

"And he did this…" Emily said still looking at Gloria. It wasn't difficult to guess that this crime scene was exactly what had happened to her. "He is definitely the Planner."

A police officer approached them, handing them a similar piece of paper in a bag and Gloria read it:

"Most dangerous is that temptation that does guide us on to sin in loving virtue, that makes us bad in the name of the good. Some rise by sin and some by virtue fall. And If you prick us do we not bleed? If you poison us do we not die?"

"Ah and something more.", the M.E. said coming towards them, "She had used drugs. Her pupils are dilated."

Gloria suddenly lost the color from her face. Hotch got the idea that something else was hidden.

"Excuse us," he told to the doctor, walking a few feet away with the women right behind him.

"Is there anything more that I should know?" he asked sternly glaring at both of them but mainly at Gloria.

Emily was looking at Gloria concerned. Gloria bent her head.

"This murder is an exact imitation of your attack. Is the last detail part of this staging, too?" he continued in strict voice.

Gloria kept her head down, again untouched by his tone.

"Agent Hotchner, when someone goes under, they need to do some things to make it look real, things that you don't want to know…", Gloria told him in a dismissive tone.

"It makes us bad in the name of the good"… The fact was that he knew more than he wanted. Emily had slept with a terrorist. She had used her own body to make it look real… The sold "Love" that killed with bullets… The first victim could be indeed a reference to Doyle…

"Were you using, agent?" he pressed.

"I would have never jeopardized a case," she replied finally lifting her head and looking him in the eye.

"Then what is the explanation?"

"Somehow I had to cover my ass at some points," she stated neutrally.

"That's…" he lifted his eyebrows in disbelief.

"A cheap explanation? I was too deep, no other agents were around. Sometimes I just couldn't fake it!" she told him trying to keep it neutral.

He shook his head. He knew that something was wrong with her. She had gone too deep to the point of almost turning.

"What? Are you judging me? Listen to the rest of the story then! We had what we wanted six months before. Everything was just freaking fine! But Clyde wanted a bigger fish. So he left me go deeper and uncovered! Guess the rest of the story but remember to add that we caught that bigger fish, too!" she carried on. She was frustrated but she wasn't trying to justify herself.

Hotch wasn't expecting her to continue her story, but for some reason she wanted him to know the rest. He was surprised. This story was far too irresponsible from Clyde's side, though. He had almost burned his agent. He wasn't surprised with the particular person though. The guy was too much business, even if he was saying that he could show empathy. It had taken Hotch a threat and an almost begging to finally make Clyde give information to save Emily.

"I don't make excuses for myself, Agent Hotchner, but that's the truth," she continued in low voice, bending her head again and she headed out of the alley.

"Others by virtue fall," Hotch thought and turned to Emily. She knew all this and she had still let her deal with a case. She should have a very strong belief that she was able to cope.

"She didn't do it out of weakness, she did it to survive and to catch another type of a monster," she said. She was trying to answer to what she knew he was thinking, "Hotch, I know how it is to sell your own soul to the devil thinking that you are doing good… But I want to believe that you can take it back, if you still believe in good…", she looked him in the eyes, as she was finishing her last sentence and his eyes softened.

He wanted to say something, when the police officer that had given them the message came again after talking on his radio.

"Excuse me. They found another body with a message inside the warehouse next to us."

Hotch and Emily followed the officer inside the old building. A grey haired man was lying dead on the floor, beaten forcefully to death and, as far as Hotch could say, it looked like he was beaten with just bare hands… This one looked familiar, as well, too familiar… He had done the same thing years ago, to Foyet…

Emily reached for the paper already in an evidence bag. He took it in his hand and read:

"If the ambitious is not as stern as you say, you fail because, we know what we are, but know not what we may be. We may be monsters instead of saviors. And another advice: God has given you one face, and you make yourselves another. And False face must hide what the false heart does know."

This couldn't be what it seemed to be, no. Many people had characterized him as ambitious since the start of his career, even during the first years in BAU. But after he stuck to the BAU. Was he thrilled with the chase? He didn't really know why. "May be monsters instead of saviors"… He had asked himself the same thing when he killed Foyet. How far was someone from becoming a monster? He had killed a man with his bare hands. He did it to protect his son but it was too brutal, too… he didn't even want to think for any other proper adjective. Whoever wrote this message knew also that he used to hide, hide everything, his abusive father, his emotions, his grief, everything… Emily got closer to his side in a way to support him. She understood where all this was going. He couldn't stand another moment in that warehouse looking at a replica of what he had done himself. They went outside.

"Hotch…" Emily tried to speak reaching for his arm.

"That looked too much like Foyet, Emily. And the message…" he said almost with tears in his eyes.

He had tried too hard to bury that action in his mind and now a sick son of a bitch had brought it all up telling him, also, that he knew that he buried it. He had, also, uncovered Emily's fake "love" for Doyle and Gloria's too self-loathing ways in the name of the law.

"And the first like Doyle…", Emily continued. She had that same expression as when she had told him that she was having a bad day on the plane some months ago…

He didn't know who moved first but they ended up hugging there, in a wet, deserted road between warehouses with the lights of the London police cars flashing behind them. Two persons united by their ghosts and demons…

"Is it ever going to stop?", Emily told him softly, her voice muffled on his shoulder.

"It will.", he tried to reassure her, but he was unsure himself.

Emily pulled back first, gathering herself.

"And he is killing people for what we have done?" Emily asked.

"He shows us what we have done," he spoke softly. "Me, you and your friend."

He put his hand on her back and they walked. They found Gloria sitting on the ground, leaning on a wall, her elbows on her knees, her face behind her hands. She heard them and she looked up.

"He is taunting us," he spoke.

"We had an idea…" Gloria said quietly and not in any smart tone.

"He wants to tell us that we are not better than him to stop his mission," he finished.

"Hell is empty and all the devils are here." ~ William Shakespeare


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