|The Story of Her Conscience
Author: ilovetvalot PM
Emily needs help dealing with her guilt.Rated: Fiction T - English - Friendship - E. Prentiss & D. Morgan - Words: 1,532 - Reviews: 9 - Favs: 14 - Follows: 1 - Published: 10-30-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7507373
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
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The Story of Her Conscience
Story Prompt (compliments of Kavi Leighanna & Sienna 27's Short Story Prompts) -Robert Bloch - The Story of a Conscience
Derek Morgan's lips twitched as he stared at Emily Prentiss' pensive face. Chin propped in her hand, she stared into space, her gaze unfocused and distant. If it hadn't been obvious before that her conscience was weighing her down heavily, that expression on her face made it patently clear.
His friend was suffering again. And, like the true introvert he knew she was, she was trying to do it all by herself with as little disruption to her friends and colleagues as she could manage.
Making his way toward her on silent feet, he met Rossi's eyes at the front of the plane and saw the elder man's slight nod of approval. The two of them had sort of developed a system in the last months of being mute sentries to Emily when she drifted into one of these melancholy moods. Well, he was mute, at any rate. Derek's chosen method was a little more in your face.
"Hey," he grunted, bumping her arm as he threw himself into the seat next to hers. "What's with the little girl lost look again, Pretty Thing?"
Startled, Emily's eyes widened as Derek's sudden voice shook her from her stupor. "Hey," she said softly, shifting in her chair as she smiled tightly at him, forcing herself to make the small talk that was demanded. "Just thinking," she murmured, her eyes turning to stare out the window at the passing clouds as the jet sailed toward home.
"What's to think about? We caught the big bad wolf and now we're homeward bound. And as I remember it, you still owe me a coffee and a backrub for today. I think I'll have a vanilla latte," he teased, keeping his voice even and light.
Smiling faintly, Emily shifted her gaze back to Morgan. Her friend had always possessed an irrepressible charm, but lately even allowing that to lighten her mood was a challenge. "I'll get right on that," she remarked dryly.
"Hell, yeah, you will. A deal's a deal," he smirked. Reaching a hand out to squeeze her leg, he murmured, "You know you can talk to me, Em. What's bugging you? I saw you try to engage our resident genius in conversation earlier..." he offered softly, jerking his head toward the back of the plane. "I'm assuming that didn't go over quite as well as you'd hoped for."
"He doesn't want to talk to me...or JJ," Emily sighed, relaxing slightly as she began to open up, her barriers lowering just enough to allow her soul the release she needed.
"The kid doesn't wanna talk to any of us, Em. He feels like we all betrayed him in one way or another. He's not just focusing his anger on you. Believe me, we're all getting treated to the great Reid freeze-out."
"It doesn't bother you?" Emily murmured, sneaking a sidelong glance at her friend.
"Of course it does," Morgan chided with a small nod of his head. "But he needs time. You can't rush him through a process that took months to bring him to this point. None of us can."
"I know you're right," Emily replied unhappily, tilting her head slightly, her ebony hair flowing against her shoulder. "I just feel so guilty, Derek," she whispered. "Because of me, friendships are fractured. Relationships are in jeopardy," she said with a nod to a miserable looking JJ, the woman's phone pressed to her ear as she held a hushed conversation with the caller.
"Jeez," Derek grimaced, watching as JJ flipped her phone closed and buried her face in her hand, oblivious to those around her. "Will, again?" he muttered darkly.
"Yeah," Emily affirmed softly. "Now, in addition to Spence being pissed that JJ kept my secret from him, Will has joined in the fun. He thinks that JJ should have confided in him and the fact that she and Hotch kept this massive deception alive together...he's doubting JJ's devotion to them as a family."
"He thinks she and Hotch have something going on the side?" Derek asked, his jaw dropping as he turned to stare at Emily.
"The mind goes some crazy places when it starts putting too much thought into things, Derek," Emily murmured with a shake of her dark head. "She was only doing what she could to keep me safe and she's being penalized for it. It isn't fair."
"No, it isn't, but there's nothing you can do about perception, Em. Some of these things that you're trying to weigh your conscience down with just aren't your fault," he reminded her quietly.
"Yeah, well, me and my conscience aren't exactly feeling that way right now," Emily denied, wincing as JJ's phone rang again, the loud buzzing filling the cabin of the plane. "In fact, it seems like there's a direct link between me and every single hurdle this team is facing, both personally and professionally. God, Derek, I thought Hotch was going to blow a vein when Reid questioned him in the field."
"The kid is pissed and he's acting out." Derek shrugged, patting Emily's knee as he settled deeper into the leather seat. "If Hotch didn't expect that to happen prior to this, he's not as great a profiler as I figured he was. Some of these battles are gonna have to be fought alone, Em. Everybody made choices that they have to be responsible and accountable for making. That's just the way it is. Torturing yourself isn't going to change anything. You, girl," he said bluntly, his dark gaze focused on her pale face, "are lucky to be alive. You made it out there. Alone. That's a huge damn deal, Em. Have you ever even given yourself credit for that?"
"Now you sound like Rossi," Emily accused, wrinkling her nose at him. "Besides, it's hard to feel proud of yourself when you know your friends are unhappy."
"Their problems don't negate what you had to endure on your own, Emily," Derek countered resolutely. "Even when I wanted to kick your ass for going it alone, I was impressed as hell that you managed what should have been impossible. I respect the hell out of you for that."
Covering the hand that rested lightly on her knee, Emily smiled softly. "You're a good man, Derek."
"Mmm hmm, I am." Derek bobbed his head as he preened, his grin widening and his eyes glowing. "And I still want my vanilla latte and rubdown." Wriggling his eyebrows at her suggestively, he added smoothly, "I'll even let you pick the part of my body you want to devote your attention to, Princess."
"Well, that's easy," Emily replied in a velvety voice as she reached up to stroke his bald head. "Maybe if I rub this had enough it'll shrink that monster size ego of yours," she teased.
"You love my ego," he replied confidently, his teeth gleaming as he smiled at her.
"I love all of you, Derek," Emily corrected him without pause, her hand dropping to cup his cheek. "Thank you for being here for me," she thanked him quietly. "It means a lot."
"You mean a lot, Emily," Derek returned, his voice equally quiet as his eyes turned dark and serious. "I just wish you realized it."
And as she settled back into her seat, lapsing into companionable silence with her friend and oft partner, Emily savored his gentle statement.
And, for a moment at least, her conscience eased.