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Cold Case

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“Love lights more fires than hate extinguishes.” ― Ella Wheeler Wilcox

The young brunette woman woke up to find herself tied to her bed and immediate panic set it.  She tried to move her arms but couldn’t no matter how hard she struggled.  She tried to yell for help, but her mouth was gagged and trying to yell just made her gag.  She looked around, scared and confused.  It was her bedroom, in her apartment.  How did she get here?  She remembered leaving the club after getting the hot blonde's phone number, but that was her last memory before waking up to this.  Something shifted in the shadow of her room and she realized someone was in the room with her.  She tried to call for help, but it was no use.  Her body felt sore and she cried as it dawned on her what had happened.  She knew she had been raped by the man that was now standing over her and she began to cry.  Her adrenaline kicked in and she struggled against the ropes as the man ran his hands up and down her naked and exposed body. 

“You’re awake, finally.” He whispered and continued to let his hands explore her young flesh while she thrashed to try to pull away, though it was impossible.  

“You have very beautiful eyes; do you know that?” he continued.

“FFUGGGHGHGHGHGH” She tried to scream again, but it was useless.

“Now that you know what a real man can do for you, you’ll never crave a woman’s touch again.” His smirk made her want to vomit. “If you ask me nicely, I’ll do it again.  Would you like that?”

She shook her head violently- no- no- please no.  She had been unconscious the first time, thank god, but now she was awake.  NO- she struggled and pulled on the ropes until her wrists and ankles were raw and bleeding.

A flash of something evil went through his eyes and she could tell that he was getting angry.  “I’m going to remove your gag, but if you scream, I will kill you.  All you have to do is tell me that you want it, and I promise I’ll be gentle and then I’ll leave.”

 He removed her gag to let her answer for herself. 

“Get the hell away from me you sick motherfucker!” She screamed at the top of her lungs.

He grabbed her throat and squeezed until her world went black.

 

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She was running and her lungs were on fire, but she didn’t care.  The toned muscles in her legs screamed for her to stop, to take a break, but she kept pushing.  One more mile, she would keep going.  A voice in her head kept reminding her that she was not as young as she used to be.  Just keep going.

As she rounded the corner of her street that led to her D.C. townhouse, she saw the dark SUV waiting out front of her house. Fuck.

Carol Aird walked up to the vehicle with the darkened windows and stood, hands on hips, breathing deeply.  A tall, dark, and handsome man in a suit got out of the SUV and met her on the sidewalk.  “I see you are still keeping in shape.  That is good.  How is your shooting?”

“I never miss." The beautiful blonde smiled.  "What do you want Hotch?” Carol asked him while trying to catch her breath.

“Can we go inside and talk?” he motioned for the door, envelope in hand. Carol looked at the large yellow envelope and felt her stomach drop.  She nodded and escorted Aaron to the front door and into her living room.

Aaron Hotchner was the Unit Chief of the Behavioral Analysis Unit of the FBI.  The job of the BAU was to assist other agencies on special cases and up until a few years ago, Carol Aird had worked with the BAU as a supervisory special agent.  Together, she and the team helped to catch serial killers and terrorists across the country. They also worked to find missing children and solve other crimes when the local law enforcement agencies needed help.  That was until her life fell apart and one of her fellow agents was killed. 

“Where is Rindy?” Hotch asked as he looked around at the simply decorated home.  He noticed the lack of color on the walls and the sparse furnishings.  Carol had not been here long, or if she had, she had not done any decorating. 

“She is in New Jersey with Harge’s parents this week.  It’s spring break, so…” Carol took a long drink of water from her sports bottle.  “Why are you here, Aaron?”

“We need your help.” He walked into the kitchen and placed the envelope on the table.

Carol immediately began to shake her head as blonde strands fell out of her ponytail.  “I don’t work for the BAU anymore and you know I can’t go back.”

“I know you still consult with the FBI on various cases and you teach classes at the academy, Carol.  I know you have not filed your retirement paperwork, and you have been in this state of limbo for two years now, which tells me you aren’t really ready to leave.  I look around your house and I can tell you are still struggling with what happened.  I also know you believe what happened was your fault, but it wasn't. Losing agents is never easy, but it is an unfortunate part of this job.  We all know the risk when we sign on.”

“First, stop profiling me.  Second, she was my agent and my responsibility, Aaron.  And more than that, she was my friend. And you know as well as I do, that what happened wasn't the same as being killed in the line of duty.” She gazed off into some imaginary distance.  “And I still don’t know who murdered her so how good of an agent can I possibly be?”

Aaron stood and looked out the window.  “The whole team worked on that case Carol, and while it may be a cold case, it is still open.  You know that when there is only one scene and very little evidence, it can be near impossible to solve a crime.  But there are still other people out there who need your help.”

“You have a team.” She took another sip of her water; her muscles were shaking now from the crashing adrenaline of her run. "Why do you need me?"

“I do, and they are excellent, but honestly, we are stretched too thin, so I am creating a second team and I want you to lead it.”

Carol just looked at him with ice-cold blue eyes.  “Are you listening to me?  I told you I can’t.”

He pointed to the folder on her kitchen table.  “Four women over two years, New York, Philadelphia, Ohio, and now the latest in Chicago.  The unsub has a cooling off period of about six months. We were only brought on a few days ago because he is crossing state lines and you know that it makes it more difficult to connect the cases.”

She didn’t move to open the contents.  “How do you know it’s the same unsub with that much time in between?”

“All brunette, all women, tied to the bed and assaulted.” 

Carol felt the bile rise to her throat as she recognized the description he was giving.  “Hotch…were they…” she paused and shut her eyes.

“Yes.” he said simply.

“Are you trying to telling me that this is the same man who killed Abby?” Carol's voice dropped to a deep and dark growl.

“The DNA at the scene matches that of the unsub who killed Abby, but he still hasn’t been identified.”

Her face had gone red with rage, “I would be emotionally compromised, Hotch, you know that. I couldn’t guarantee what I would do if I did catch him.”

“I know it would be difficult since she was your friend, Carol.  But if anyone can find this man and bring him to justice, it is you.  And I know you.  In the end, you will do the right thing.”

Carol did not answer at first and Aaron sat down at the table across from her waiting for her to process everything.  She needed her blood pressure to come back down before she could make a rationale decision. “Who would be on my team?” Carol finally asked.

“I’m sure you remember Penelope Garcia, our technical analysts and Dannie, Genevieve, and Phil were there when you left and are still on the team.”

“I would need at least one more.” Her voice had gone emotionless.

“There is a new special agent that would join your team, an Agent Belivet.”

She closed her eyes and tried to breathe through her rising anxiety. “You seriously want me to train someone new while trying to catch the man who killed my best friend?”

“You are one of the best profilers in the FBI, Carol.  She could learn a lot from you and I think you will be impressed.”

“She?”

“Yes. Agent Belivet has been in the FBI for two years, but she would be new to our unit.”

“Two years?  She’s practically a child! What is she another Spencer Reid? Super genius?”

“Not exactly. She does not have his memory, but she is incredibly smart and empathetic, and she is good at reading people and her background in forensic science has proven invaluable to the FBI.  She has moved up the ranks very quickly for a reason.  Believe me, you will like her.”

“If I take the job.” Carol added.

Aaron stood and walked towards the door to leave.  “I’ll leave that with you,” he said pointing to the unopened folder still on the table. “If you decide to come back, be at the office tomorrow at 9am for the morning briefing and to get to know your team.”

“And if I say no?”

Aaron just smiled as he turned to walk out the door.  Carol would not say no, not to this.