Disclaimer - I don't own Harry Potter or Criminal Minds.
Note: This story is a complete one-shot, though it's possible I'll create a longer version of this one at a later date.
Also, a major thanks goes to IcarusIscariot for both inspiring this and helping me work through it.
She's not sure when it started. Perhaps it was the shunning in first year? The murder attempt in second? The liberal injustice in third? All she's sure of is that every year, the magical world flays her until she's nothing but blood and muscle (and she is the warrior on the battlefield, the only one they could never kill).
She knows, instinctively, that the final hammer blow that caused the cracks to spider-web in her already fractured psyche was after the war. That after all the blood and sweat and tears, nothing changed. She was labeled as foolish and selfish for wishing differently (and oh how she wished! She wished on every star, every night, until the night she wished she could tear all those useless stars from the sky and throw them into the abyss).
(In the back of her mind, she hears a chorus. It sounds like stars wishing upon her, as if she were about to die. So she replaces her blood with red ink, so she can pretend to live again.)
The magical world is pulling her in different directions (dance, puppet, dance!) and she's tired of twirling on the dance floor to music she can no longer hear, belonging to everyone and no one.
So she leaves. She leaves to fix herself, but all she can manage is glue and tape and figures that's enough (she ignores how the cracks start to spread).
During the day she smiles and laughs and hopes that no one can see that it's painted. At night she's haunted by those she's killed. The Death Eaters wore masks, but they have faces in her dreams. They circle her, taunt her, "You're just like us." Sometimes, they wear the faces of the few maskless Death Eaters she's seen, and sometimes they wear faces of friends, classmates, neighbours (and she knows she's spiraling when, upon seeing the cashier at the grocers, she asked herself, "Didn't I kill you?")
(And she hates when someone survives who she thought she killed. Why would they haunt her if they were still alive?)
It's happening more and more, people showing up alive when they should be dead, dead, dead.
She's good at killing, she's learned (she's good at everything but love and friendship, and it makes her laugh and laugh and laugh) so she decides to do it all the time, but she's a good girl, so she only kills those who deserve it. The murderers, the rapists, the child abusers (monsters, her mind chants) and only the ones who the justice system left behind or let go. She carves into their skin their crimes. She knows it's scarred across their souls, but understands that a more outward sign is needed for others to see, to know. She makes them look at her when she goes for the kill, so they can't wear someone else's face when they visit her in her sleep.
Her work doesn't go unnoticed. She's contacted by people who want her to take care of someone for them. She hesitates, but knows that sometimes, one must make deals with demons to get to the devils. She researches her target thoroughly. The person's sins are numerous and she wonders if it would fit on their skin, but comforts herself with the knowledge that she'll just have to carve smaller. She feels dirty when they pay her, so she gives the money to charities, to victims.
(She got a letter from Harry. She's confused, at first. Wasn't he dead? She saw his corpse in Hagrid's arms... She shakes her head. Silly Hermione, Harry was Reborn. She scribbles a note saying she'll be by for Christmas. Work keeps her so very busy.)
She makes it clear she won't touch the Innocent (they don't deserve to die, don't deserve to be tainted by her touch) and when she's contracted to do just that (the man lied to her, tried to trick her. She doesn't like being tricked) she decideds to teach him a lesson. She doesn't kill him. No, his shade of grey has not yet turned black enough to fall into her realm, but sometimes she thinks she should have - From him was born a Legend, and she dislikes legends... They're always distorted, like Divination, only as strong and powerful as those who believe in them, and the people are always built up and torn down. Puppets, she thinks, and she cut her strings long ago.
The man never made the same mistake, and she grins proudly at having taught so completely (and if her smile is a little broken on the side, no one's there to see).
She isn't working the night she meets Ian Doyle (her soul stirred once and then was still). It was rather embarassing, actually - he saved her from a mugging attempt. She's a woman of honour, though, so she bows her head just slightly and informs him that she owes him a Life Debt (and she snarls internally, because she dislikes being in anyone's debt).
The woman intrigues him and he's relentless in his pursuit, but she always flitters just out of reach. He's done his research - He knows this is the Avenging Angel whispered about in the darkest of pits, the tones reverent and fearful. The desire to bed her is overwhelming.
He chases her through countries across the world before she finally concedes to one night, and they come together in clashing dominance, taking all they can from each other. He takes her against the wall, on the table, on the floor in the corridor. It's hours before they reach the bed, and they fuck until they've had their fill (he will never have his fill. This angel is everything he didn't know he needed. He doesn't want to let her go). They talk until the first rays of sunlight begin to appear-
("Where do you call home, beautiful girl?"
She pauses. Is home where the heart is? Then her heart is buried in a lonely cemetery in Australia. She's long since replaced it with a red stone - No need to pump blood when she's been bled dry. She purses her lips before grinning and kisses him instead.)
-As he closes his eyes, he thinks he could easily fall in love with her. It's not something he ever really believed in, but he wants to try for her. She's gone when he wakes up and if it weren't for her lingering scent, he would have thought he dreamt her.
He doesn't give up. Now that he's tasted her, he wants her for himself (and the thought of her with another man stokes the fires of his rage. He'll punish anyone who dares touch her).
(There's a drink in his left hand while he busies himself with his right. It relieves the tension that builds up inside of him, and he slowly forgets her name. He dreams of her that night, wrapped in a tangle of limbs. He awakes with a bittersweet taste in his mouth.)
It's been years since she last heard from him (and she refuses to admit, even to herself, that she yearns for the contatct. She still feels his phantom touches. The thought of him conceding defeat and pursuing another woman makes her more brutal in her next three projects). It takes her a while to gather the information, but she learns he's in prison.
She next sees him in Russia, having arranged his escape (and finally ridding herself of that damnable Debt). She sees the knife, the lack of clarity in his eyes, and tells him, "If you even think about killing me, I will hurt you. It will be long and drawn out and very fun."
It takes him a moment to orient himself, a moment longer than he'll ever acknowledge, but when he does, his smile is blinding, and he's filled with the hope of a dying man who has been Saved.
He hasn't been able to breathe properly since she left. He's been burning with such longing (and later, hatred and betrayal) that he hadn't noticed, not until he was once again in her presence. He won't let go, can't let go, now that he can breathe again. He wants to hold her, love her, taste her for eternity. She belongs to him now, just as he has always belonged to her.
(The first thrust into her feels like coming home.)
Her whispers calm his mind and her soft caress soothes the ache in his soul. He speaks in low tones, under the cover of darkness, of the child he fathered - How he was stolen and murdered, but he believes, a gut deep feeling, that the boy is still alive. He wants him back, and he tells her of the dark places his vengeance will take him. She offers her services (her work has made her very good at tracking) and he showers her with kisses like fire for answering the question he hadn't asked (and he's unclear of what the question is. To help? To stay?)
He waits until she falls into deep sleep before closing his own eyes, holding her as tight as he dares. He knows he can't chain her to him. Angels are supposed to fly, but he can hope, make sure she doesn't fly too far away.
She allows herself to be captured so Ian can escape. She has magic, after all. She can cheat. The dark haired man demands answers from her. She thinks his name is Hotchner (and she can hear the lust in his voice that he tries so desperately to hide and thinks if things were different, it would be his burning touch she yearned for). He's intelligent, and much too perceptive, so she closes her eyes. She remembers reading, somewhere, that eyes were windows to the soul. She's unsure how true it is, but keeps her eyes shut, just in case. It would be embarassing if they saw the cracks, the contamination of her broken mind.
(She finds it funny that it's Ian they're interested in, that they don't know about her work.)
She hears the click-clack of Lauren's heels as she enters the interrogation room (she wonders if the staccato sounds like war drums to anyone else, but shies away from the thought) and she scowls, because dead people are supposed to stay dead. Her real name was -is- Emily Prentiss, she remembers. Ian said he killed her, but he must not have done a proper job. She thinks it was rushed, she recalls him returning injured. She would have done it herself, but Prentiss is Innocent. It would have been different if she had actually killed Declan, but as it is, she won't deny Ian his justice.
That she lives is irrelevant, she decides finally. The Pied Piper has come back to play, and she giggles at the thought. Handsome Hotchner asks what she finds so amusing, so she tells him (and doesn't see their surprised expressions at knowing who else was in the room without ever having opened her eyes).
(Outside, Reid tells the rest of the team that the original Pied Piper stole the children when he wasn't paid.)
Prentiss asks her a question, but she doesn't talk to dead people, so she ignores her. She's getting tired of this game. It would be more fun if she could speak, but she doesn't want to give anything away. She wonders, idly, if Professor Snape would finally be proud of her. He was always berating her for talking when she ought to keep silent.
The lights flicker and she's gone. She wishes she could see their faces, hear their shouts, but Ian is waiting for her, and she's anxious to get back to work. She hasn't killed any of the deserving since they started this hunt, but she has a list ready and waiting.
She grins at the thought of who's next. The mother of Ian's child has a multitude of crimes, and her fingers itch to carve them into the woman's flesh. She's patient, though, and knows Ian has more right to her than she does. Perhaps she'll share this one, she thinks, and the thought excites her.