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A Split Second Is All It Takes

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Haley's breath quickened, her heart pounding in her ears so loud, she was sure that not only could Foyet hear it, but probably Hotch and the team as well. She knew he will get there before that bastard can get his filthy hands on her son, but she also knew she was doomed. She wanted to tell Hotch that this wasn't his fault, that he shouldn't stop doing what he does because of this, that she finally understood why he did it. She wanted him to keep doing it so there will be less Foyets in the world for her son's sake, their son's sake. But she didn't have the time... and she didn't want to give that bastard the satisfaction of hearing her admit that he got to Hotch and that Hotch will forever carry this guilt with him.

She could hear Hotch sniffing quietly on the other end, and she knew he was beyond devastated. She gasped softly when the cold nuzzle of the gun touched the back of her neck. It was hard not to show fear when you're facing death; when you know that you're leaving behind a five-year old who will forever wonder why it had to be his mommy that got taken away; that you're leaving behind a man who tended to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders, and tried his best to save it, taking it hard when he presumably failed; when your father and sister might blame said man for the rest of his life for what happened to you, despite logic saying that Foyet killed her because he's a psychopath, that she was just another victim to him, and that his obsession with Hotch was nothing more than a sick attempt to divert the blame and cause pain. Her tears cascaded down her cheeks despite her will, and she closed her eyes when she felt him take a breath, and grin behind her.

It was eerily quiet for a split second, and then two shots rang out.

SSA Aaron Hotchner didn't have an easy childhood growing up; his father was an abusive drinker who demanded perfection. A lawyer who saw every discussion as a case to be argued, only he appointed himself judge, jury and sometimes, even executioner. And his mother had tried to keep them from the harm, but was never successful. He had died young, at the age of forty-five, and to Aaron, that was not young enough.

His solace had come in the form of Haley; his high school sweetheart. The blonde girl, with the radiant smile, whom he had joined the drama club for. And it had been a dream come true. They stuck together through thick and thin; got married, had a child. But then one day it all went to hell. She couldn't handle his job anymore, and she walked out. He had tried to balance between the two, but she gave him an ultimatum. Give up the job, or them. And he couldn't. He loved her, and he would die if something happened to Jack. His son was his whole life. But she was asking him to give up who he was, and he couldn't handle that. He knew he would be miserable, and so will she. So, he let her go. He let her go, so she can have the life she wanted, and he was content with his son. He didn't see him as much as he hoped, but after Foyet stabbed him, he decided he was going to work his schedule better so he can at least see him on the days when they're not on a case.

But now... now the job that he refused to give up, was about to get Haley killed. He was getting her killed... because the job was him... and he was the one who refused to make that deal. Her blood was as much on his hands as it was on Foyet's.

He heard her breath become shallow, could distinctly hear the tears in her voice, and knew the thoughts running through her head, for they were going through his as well. He stepped on the gas, hoping Foyet will taunt him longer, that by some miracle he won't shoot her. That when he got to his house, she won't be lying in pool of blood, next to the corpse of their son. It's true he had told Jack to hide, but Foyet could look for him, and he could find him.

He knew his prayers weren't answered, when she gasped lightly before two shots rang out, deafening him as they echoed through the cell phone. He threw the device on the dashboard, and pressed his foot on the gas pedal even harder, as he sped the last few miles towards his house. He knew what he had to do. He was going to do what they should have done the first time around... he was going to end it. Regulations and policies be damned. George Foyet was not going to spend another day on this Earth.

He screeched to a halt outside his house, pulled his gun out, and practically jumped out of the car. He knew Foyet would hide inside the house to enjoy the look of pure horror on his face when he saw Haley's body, so he wasn't cautious as approached the front door.

To his surprise, it opened, and he immediately aimed his weapon ready to fire, when his eyes widened in shock, his brain unable to comprehend what he was seeing.

"It's okay, it's okay. It's all over," she whispered softly.

He stared at her in shock for a few seconds, before his brain managed to form one single word. "Haley!".