“Is that Garcia?” JJ asked.

Emily nodded in her direction as they started to make their way into the house. JJ knew Penelope – maybe better than most, other than Morgan, so Emily’s stuttering and strained tone was probably all an effort to calm her down. Penelope hated being helpless more than anything else in the world, so she was probably losing her mind at the moment, stuck in her lair. 

She wasn’t the only one.

Everyone was on edge. They’d already gone through hell trying to get Diana back from Cat and Lindsey, and getting Spencer out of jail. The last thing they needed was this. Everyone was distracted. Everyone was tired. They all just wanted to go home, and now Scratch had made his way out of the woodwork again. JJ would bet money on the fact that Scratch had been watching Cat and Lindsey the entire time, knew that Spencer was now out of prison, and purposely wormed his way back in the BAU’s presence because he knew how badly they were suffering - that their minds were splintering and his reappearance would break them entirely. Psychological warfare was Scratch’s specialty.

JJ heard Emily mention Stephen – that he was okay and on his way to the hospital. “We will,” she heard Emily say. “Going in now. Stay on the line. We may need your help-“

“What happened?” JJ asked when Emily pulled the phone away and stared at it for a second, her teeth gritted. She closed her eyes for two seconds and took a deep breath to compose herself. JJ could see how much having to be in charge was killing her right now; it was not something she envied.

Emily glanced around the house. At least from the outside it had looked like a house.  “The line went dead.”

“But the power is still on,” Luke said.

Tara and Rossi made their way into the house behind Luke, leaving five people and five doors. The room they were standing in was minuscule – dank and dark. Even the floors were slick. They all found themselves looking down at the liquid under their feet, praying it was water and not blood.

A loud sound reverberated throughout the small room, bouncing from wall to wall and before they knew it, chains and shackles had popped out of the concrete, binding themselves around their wrists and ankles. Rossi grunted as his wrists were bound, tugging at the chains, which rustled against the concrete. All the while, Luke cursed and wrenched his hands away from wall, nearly breaking bones in the process. “What the hell is going on?” Tara said. “I want this fucker’s head on a spike.”

“You and me both,” Emily replied as she bit her tongue.

As they all searched around, trying to figure out what to do and where to go, JJ’s shackles retreated into the walls and the furthest door from her opened slightly before the power went out completely. “What do I do?” she asked, her voice shaking as she looked her boss and friend. “Do I go?”

All five team members glanced at each other. “Scratch is all about psychological torture,” Tara said. “It’s not about killing you. It’s your mind he wants.”

“I suspect that’s what he wants for all of us,” Rossi added. “Stay strong.”

Emily nodded. She didn’t want to see JJ go in; she was so afraid she wouldn’t come out, but they were completely at his mercy, so they had to play by his rules and his game. “We are all here for you. Do not let him get in your head.”

“At least don’t let him stay there,” Luke finished. He knew, as they all did, that Scratch was going to tear them down, it was just a matter of them all winning their individual battles so the war could be won.

JJ swallowed hard and turned around, stepping into the room and closing the door behind her. The second the door was closed, she heard it lock, the single sound echoing in her mind. She could easily allow the fear and anticipation to fog her mind, but she promised herself he wouldn’t get to her and instead filled her mind with thoughts of her three boys – they would keep her strong.

With any luck. 

Before her stood a chair, completely wooden save for metal pieces near the wrists and ankles; it looked like an electric chair. The corner of her mouth twitched and the scarred skin on her chest tightened. Askari had electrocuted her; he’d put a dampened towel against her heart and shocked her into submission. “No,” she whispered under breath. He was going to make her sit in it. Scratch was going to shock her. He was going to make her relive her worst memories in order to get out of his room; she just knew it. “You will not break me.” She hoped he was listening. “I will not let you break me.”

A shiver ran up her spine. Although he wasn’t there, JJ believed it was his lopsided, calm smile that caused the cold to enter her body. Before she sat down, she ripped a piece of her shirt off and bit down on it, knowing what was to come. The second she hit the chair, the power went back on, flickering at first and causing her heart to pick up its pace. But she remained steadfast.


It was a short shock. Only enough to focus on the burning pain and not enough to bring the painful memories back to the forefront of her mind. Her eyes had closed in an effort to stave off the hurt and when she opened them, her eyes burned at the light.

It flickered.

It went off.

Another zap – this one was longer. She gritted her teeth, feeling the roots grind against the material of the shirt she was biting. Giving Scratch what he wanted, hearing her scream and cry, was the last thing she intended to do, but as he toyed with her, flickering the lights on and off, and zapping her at varying intervals, she started to lose her resolve.

Each zap tore at her resolve and groans rumbled upward and fell from her lips; she could do nothing to stop them. Tears fell from her eyes as the shocks continued and images of her child that could have been flashed before her - the child that could have lived if not for Askari and Hastings.

Don’t let him stay there. That’s what Luke had said. Scratch wanted inside her mind. He wanted to break her, because for him that was more satisfying than physical pain. She wouldn’t allow it; she refused to.

Scratch was calculating. He knew how much pain a body could withstand. He wasn’t going to push her body past her limit; it was her mind he would test. Seconds passed into minutes, which passed into hours – at least that’s what it felt like to her. The power cut in and out, the shocks that racked her body increased and decreased in intensity, never allowing her to get accustomed to the pain, and although the tears flowed freely as she was unable to control them, she found the camera on the wall and stared into it the entire time. She would not let him win the war. Through sheer grit, determination and the love of her family, she had banished Askari and Hastings from her mind, and she would do the same with Scratch.

Eventually, after minutes or hours or days, she didn’t know, the shackles on the chair released themselves and she toppled out of the chair, crawling limply towards the door and making her way into the common area once more. Except this time, she was met with the cold, damp, gray walls, and empty shackles hanging limply from the wall.

The rest of the team was gone.

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  • Someone: How are you?
  • Me: I'm fine :)
  • Inner Me: Okay I just wanna know how Garcia knows how to spell every name the team tells her to search ??! Like I can barley spell my own name some days ??! And she just knows how to spell any given name handed to her ?!!! Names have so many different spellings and she ??! always guesses the right spelling?!! I wi..sh.,.