Bless the Child

Part Two

There is silence.

Emily waits for her mother to say something – anything.

She's kept this bottled up for so long. Apart from Rossi, and now, her mother, there are only two or three others that know, and one of them died three months ago.

It should feel as though a great weight has been taken off her shoulders, but instead, there's just this agonizing pain. Emily chokes back a sob, waiting for the reprimand that usually follows; she's not supposed to wear her heart on her sleeve like this.

It's at least a minute before she realizes that she's not the only one who is crying.

Emily can count on one hand the number of times she's seen her mother crying – including this time. Emotions are a something that should be conveyed behind locked doors, is the lesson she grew up with.

'You could have told me,' Elizabeth says, and for all the emotion she's conveying in her facial expressions, her voice is still flat. Because she's not quite sure what to be feeling. A side effect of being disconnected from her emotions for so long; should she be angry that Emily didn't tell her about the abortion? Should she feel guilty that she wasn't a strong enough presence in her daughter's life?

'I'll go microwave that pizza,' says Emily quietly, knowing that if she just sits there any longer, trying not to stare at her mother then she'll have a complete breakdown.

That's it. Her deepest, darkest is out, and she hasn't quite gotten the response she expected. Right now, Elizabeth Prentiss isn't concerned about her public image – she's concerned about her daughter. Whether it would have been the same twenty-three years ago, when the Ambassador was at the height of her political career, and said daughter was fifteen years old is another question altogether.

'I was terrified,' Emily admits, finding the Tupperware container of cold pizza at the back of her fridge. It's only a few days old – she's fairly sure she's not about to give her mother food poisoning. 'You weren't exactly the most approachable parent for a teenager to talk about personal issues with.' She's trying not to sound resentful – after all, her mother didn't have to come tonight – but it's difficult, knowing that the whole damn chain of events might have been prevented if she could have cried on her mother's shoulder. Of course, Elizabeth had been bogged down with work at the time – so much so that she hadn't even noticed her daughter's strange behavior and unexplained period of absence.

'I'm sorry,' says Elizabeth, and her voice is almost cracking now. She might have had a successful career, but she's a failure as a parent. Her only child learnt the lessons of life the hard way. She wonders what other lessons Emily had learnt while her mother dragged her from country to country, without ever giving her a chance to settle down. Without ever being a real parent.

Hindsight's twenty-twenty. Looking back now, neither of them can change anything. They've both made the life choices that have led them to this moment. A mother and daughter who haven't had a real conversation in years, and yet there is a connection between them. A connection of choices past. Of regrets.

Elizabeth takes a tentative bite of the cheese pizza. It's been years since she's had a pizza. She can't even remember the last time. It feels…good, in a way. Uncomplicated – the way her daughter's life probably should have been.

'I'm proud of you, Emily,' Elizabeth says eventually. Well versed in reading human behavior as Emily is, she knows that her mother isn't just saying it to make her feel better.

'Thanks,' whispers Emily, but the Ambassador hasn't quite finished.

'And I love you, even if I haven't been the best at expressing it.'

Because even after everything that's happened between them, Elizabeth Prentiss wouldn't give up her daughter.

Not for the world.

A/N: Short, yes, and not up to standard, but I needed to get this written. Written because several people actually wanted to see Emily tell her mother. But I never actually showed that scene. Oh well. Enjoy.