Author: ficdirectory PM
Part 6 of the Paris series. Episode tag for 6x20 "Hanley Waters". Written for CM Prompt Meme. Seaver's grief counseling session with Hotch.Rated: Fiction T - English - Angst/Tragedy - A. Seaver & A. Hotchner/Hotch - Words: 759 - Reviews: 5 - Favs: 5 - Follows: 3 - Published: 02-22-12 - Status: Complete - id: 7862775
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
It's strange to sit in a room, waiting to talk to Hotch. Ashley won't admit that the last thing she wants to do is talk to him. She won't admit that she feels strange around him. That she would rather talk to Rossi - even though they were both there when her father was arrested - so she knew them both equally well. The thing is, Rossi has always had a way of making her feel valued and protected. Hotch just makes her feel judged and weak. Ashley knows these are her own issues, not Hotch's, but the bottom line is, she does not want to talk to him. The bottom line is, Ashley knows she is an afterthought.
The rest of the team took priority. They have all known Emily for years, not months and it makes sense for them to feel her loss deeply. Ashley knows, too, in the way she knows things she isn't supposed to know, that Rossi had to speak to Hotch specifically about getting Ashley in for a session. Otherwise, she might not have received one at all.
She does not want to admit that she's tense on cases. That she jerks awake multiple times a night, positive she has been splattered with someone else's blood - just as she was that night on the roof. She doesn't want Hotch to know that deep down, she blames herself. She doesn't want to admit that deep down, she is like every abused and traumatized child who will never stop blaming herself when things to wrong. Rossi asked her for help specifically. He told her they were counting on the team member with the freshest eyes because they were all too emotionally involved. And she had asked the right questions, or so it seemed… She just hadn't asked them soon enough.
"How are you doing?" Hotch asks, taking a seat in the dimly lit office.
"Fine," she says, because it's instinct. She's far more used to being reprimanded by this man than she is confiding in him. Especially knowing that this is all for a report that will be sent back to Strauss, to see that they are all in suitable shape to keep working. It doesn't make her want to open up. It begs her to keep hiding. But she has no choice. Be honest, she knows, or risk losing everything. But be too honest, and that could do her in just as easily.
"Ashley. You can be honest," he encourages. If he cares, it doesn't show on his face.
"How come you didn't do one of these on me earlier?" she asks, because it's all that comes. The only words she can form.
"Pardon me?" he asks. It's obvious he is used to asking the questions.
"I'm sorry. That was out of line," she apologizes. "I've been a little tense," she admits, just to see what he will do.
"How are you sleeping?" Hotch asks.
"I have nightmares," she offers dully. She doesn't elaborate. She does not tell him that she dreams of the rooftop and not of Emily. She doesn't admit that, after all these years, she still dreams of her father and the things he did.
She thinks of the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, acceptance… She is missing one but cannot remember what it is. It doesn't matter. She knows in her heart Emily is gone. Feels it with every particle of her own being. While Morgan is stuck in anger, and Garcia in denial, and Reid, perhaps in bargaining, Ashley accepts this as the truth. Because she has had to accept far worse truths in her life.
"He reminds you of your father, doesn't he?" Hotch asks. "Doyle?"
Ashley swallows once. Purses her lips. "My father is not the issue here. Emily is. I might not have known her as long as everyone else on this team, but she was important. I feel…like I let her down by not solving this. By not being quick enough or thorough enough. I feel like you all blame me. First for taking JJ's place and now for not succeeding in saving a teammate." She blinks back tears, willing herself not to cry.
"We all blame ourselves, Ashley. You're not alone in that regard," Hotch says, a touch of softness in his voice. "Please, believe me."
She sits back and closes her eyes.
Please, hear me, she thinks.