DISCLAIMER: Criminal Minds and its characters are the property of CBS. No infringement intended.
SPOILERS: 3x17 In Heat, 3x20 Lo-Fi, 4x01 Mayhem.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

By gilligankane


You sneer, one side of your mouth twitching upward in an unfamiliar path. You can feel your forehead furrow, your eyes darkening and narrowing in a sinister fashion.

You watch her eyes widen in shock, going round and soft like giant doe eyes and for a second, your mask falters, almost slinking off your features, but when her hand grabs for her chest, the mask tightens, curving to your smirk and dipping down over your brow line. Her hand stretches across where her heart should be and you let out one harsh laugh that sounds more like a hard cough that cuts and sears your throat.

It's an empty and hollow laugh to go with her empty and hollow chest.

Somewhere behind you, he's screaming for her, yelling her name the same way she yelled yours that night in New York: desperate and shrill and panic-stricken. But his words, her name, doesn't register in you, and her eyes are locked on yours, like you're a vortex pulling her in. She couldn't look away even if she tried.

Somewhere behind you, a year or two ago when life was still easy and you still knew that when your eyes narrowed you were thinking hard and when your lips curved upward you were smiling, somewhere back there, a younger, more naïve version of you is shaking her head in disbelief. That version of you can't believe that your life ended up this way: cheap beer and cheaper women. That version of you can't believe that you let yourself fall apart this easily.

Here in front of you, in real time, in real space, she's staring at you with her mouth half open, her chest hitching, trying to swallow air. She's trying to swallow air, but you've watched enough medical reports to know that it's useless; she's trying to swallow air but the blood is rising in her throat and soon it'll slither between her teeth and slide over her broken lips and glide down her chin in one perfect line.

You feel your own chest rising and falling deeply and you exhale the breath you're holding obnoxiously, enjoying the way her chest does a double-hitch in hope and anticipation.

"Emily…" she manages to rasp, one hand still fingering the hole in her chest where her heart isn't, her other hand outstretched towards you.

She falls to one knee, jerking awkwardly when she hits the ground solidly, slumping to one side. Her outstretched hand steadies her body weight and you stand motionless, watching her with a grim smile of satisfaction. You resist the urge to say "how do you like that feeling" and instead, you bite down on your lower lip in a feral leer.

What she's feeling now is how you felt: cold and lost and like you couldn't stand on your own.

Except, you realize as her hand presses harder against the where she has no heart, that she's not feeling what you felt. She doesn't have a heart anymore; she can't feel what you felt. She probably only feels the burning sensation, the slight rippling of the skin, the heat that comes with the whole process.

She probably only feels the bullet and not the pain and it makes you want to pull the trigger again and again and again until she feels it the way you felt it.

It only seems fair.

But there was only one bullet in your service weapon. Well, only one for her. The other is for you, because the way your lips curl upward, you're not going to go down by someone else, because that happened once.

She killed you once, when she grabbed him by the arm and turned him around and let him kiss her.

"Em…" is far as she gets before the bright red – almost too bright – liquid slides over her pale lips and down her chin and follows the curve of her neck, staining the collar of her tee-shirt.

"Every story needs a villain, baby." You unlock the safety and don't even realize how it gravitates towards your temple, presses against the delicate skin like it was made to be there. You don't even realize how her eyes get even wider and how her hand presses harder and harder against the red blotch on her white shirt, spreading out across the cotton, spewing out slowly from under her hand. You don't realize she's watching you; watching the red spot on her chest fade while it grows darker and thicker on your chest, soaking through your jacket and sluicing down your pale skin.

It's getting brighter and brighter and brighter and suddenly, she fades into the whiteness; fades into the nothingness and when the colors come back, she's smiling at you, wide eyes and wide teeth – innocent and young and in love.

In love with him.

She propels herself forward, right there in the middle of this disaster area in New York, with her hard diamond ring glittering on her left hand, and she presses herself against you while your hands are still covered in that terrorist's blood. Her body fits against yours like she's never molded herself against anyone else but you, but you know differently.

And you shiver when her hands find your hips and her stomach presses against your flat abdomen and she leans forward and upward to whisper in your ear: "Every story needs a villain. Baby."

She sneers, one side of her mouth twitching upward in an unfamiliar path. You can see her eyes narrow and twinkle in danger and the knowledge that she can – and did – reach her slender hands into your chest and pull out your heart and you can feel her stale breath on your neck as she laughs.

It's an empty and hollow laugh to go with your empty and hollow chest.

The End

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