DISCLAIMER: Don't own anything associated with the show… I just like playing with the characters in it from time to time. Dance Monkeys! Dance!
RATING: T - Teen
SPOILERS: Through US Aired Episodes of Seasons 4 & 10 respectively.
WORD COUNT: 2514
SUMMARY: Prentiss is giving a presentation at an old Ivy League academic association when she runs into an old friend.
A/N: Mingsmommy & Alicat were trying to put the bug in someone else's ear about a crossover fic between CSI & CM, and a plot bunny was born. This is the result.
REVIEWS: Reviews are the way I know if people are enjoying the work or not. So, if you leave one, THANKS! And if not, I hope you found at least a little something to brighten your day, and thanks for taking the time to read.
"Following a highly successful academic career at Yale University, she committed to life in the service of justice with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, where she has spent the last ten years, most recently becoming a behavioral analyst in one of the Bureau's most prestigious units. Please welcome Yale alumnus, Supervisory Special Agent Emily Prentiss." With the auditorium erupting into applause, Emily slowly stood and took her place next to the presenter. The woman's introduction was designed to make Emily sound much better than she really was which made her very uncomfortable. It was made worse by the fact that Emily felt it was probably exactly how her mother described her to various associates in the State Department. Now, more than ever, Emily Prentiss hated playing political games.
"Thank you very much." She nodded, waiting for the applause to die down before she spoke. Carefully straightening her note cards once more, Emily launched into her prepared speech. "It is a real honor to be invited to speak at one of these functions. For many years I have sat out there among you and marveled at the many women who have graced this dais, but I never imagined I would one day have that privilege."
The rest of her speech droned on in her head. She had given variations of the same basic presentation to numerous colleges and new recruits to the Bureau for a couple of years. And she hated it. Emily hated the speech, but she really hated the fact she had become the poster child for the Bureau to recruit over-privileged young women looking to give back to the world through federal service. She may have grown up in a world of politics and pandering, but that did not mean she enjoyed even one minute of the process.
Looking out into the first row, Emily saw J.J. patiently enduring her speech for the umpteenth time. The worst part of the whole thing was that J.J. would have been a much better choice for this kind of presentation, but the Bureau did not look at a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh the same way they did someone graduating from the Ivy League. And that probably bothered her more than the speech.
When her speech, and the other presenters concluded, it was time for the meet and greet that always followed these things. Most of the time Emily tried desperately duck out at the last minute, usually feigning a call from the unit, but there was no hope this time. J.J. was right there and would bust her for certain.
This particular presentation was for the Ivy League Women of Distinction Alumni Association. They were so high minded, they could not even be bothered to have a name with a good acronym. And Emily was pretty sure calling them ILWODAA would get her some serious scowl time for the rest of the day.
Shaking hands and listening to the latest society matron praise her brave (albeit foolish) choice to work with the FBI just made Emily long for a quiet night on a leather couch with a black lab warming her feet and a smooth Italian warming her heart.
Thankfully J.J. brought her out of her daydream before it became apparent to the other woman talking to her. "Yes, it can be very dangerous, Ma'am, but we take all of the proper precautions. Isn't that right Agent Prentiss?"
"Oh, yes, we do take care." Emily nodded at the woman and smiled as she calmly walked away, before leaning over and whispering to J.J., "Body armor, big guns and the occasional fire bomb tend to keep the rowdier suspects in line, as well." Emily's dark humor never failed to get J.J. to crack a smile, but it also had a tendency to get them into trouble.
"And a little water-boarding now and then never really hurt anyone, did it?" The woman's voice caught Emily totally off-guard and she quickly turned in its direction to make her apologies. The moment her eyes found a familiar gap-toothed smile and twinkling brown eyes staring back at her, she laughed. "Nice to see you haven't lost your sense of humor, Prentiss."
"You had me going there for a sec, Sidle." The two women quickly embraced, still smiling. "I haven't seen you at one of these things in forever. What finally brought you out of the shadows?"
She shrugged and waved the program as she answered, "Oh well, I've been traveling a lot lately, and when I saw the presenters' list, I just had to come hear you speak."
Emily was still completely shocked by the woman's presence, until J.J. cleared her throat as a reminder that she was standing there. "Oh, god, I'm sorry. Jennifer Jareau, this is Sara Sidle, an old acquaintance and fellow rebel from way back."
"When you say it like that it makes us sound ancient or something." Sara reached out to shake J.J.'s hand as Emily laughed. "We actually met at one of these presentations when we were both undergrads."
"Yeah, we were both sitting in the back row making snide comments under our breaths about whatever ultra conservative Suzy Homemaker socialite they had on the dais back then. And it was friendship at first wisecrack." Emily still remembered their meeting fondly. She and Sara had bonded over shared discontent and their dark senses of humor.
"Even if she was only a Yalie." Emily stood in shock as Sara winked at J.J. with her comment.
"Oh, I can't even believe you went there." All three women laughed until they were interrupted by the ringing of J.J.'s cell phone.
Looking at the display, J.J. frowned. "I'm sorry, but I have to take this. Excuse me."
Once the two were alone, Sara shook her head and said, "You look fantastic, Emily. I don't think I've seen you smile this much in years."
"The same could be said of you. You don't seem quite so restless anymore." Emily tried to put her finger on the difference in her old friend and then it came to her in a flash. "You seem to really be at peace now. What's happened?" She was at a loss for understanding just what would have had such a drastic affect on Sara. "Last time we spoke you were about to get on a boat to Central America to figure things out and put your head on straight."
Shrugging her shoulders, Sara simply said, "I guess I finally managed to get it on straight." Emily eyed her suspiciously and then watched Sara fold her arms over her chest self-consciously.
The light was working in Emily's favor when it glinted off of the single gold wedding band on Sara's left third finger. "Or maybe you got a little help straightening it out." She glared and pointed at Sara's hand, and the woman instantly blushed.
"Oh, yeah, and I um, got married." Sara guiltily looked at down at her hand.
"Well, don't just stand there turning red…who the hell is it?" Emily began mentally counting out the various characters she had listened to Sara describe in recent years and then gave each one voice, "The detective in San Francisco was a total wash. The paramedic was a bust. It would never be the muscle headed cowboy with no chemistry or the smooth talking gambler." Emily rolled her eyes to even consider them, knowing Sara would never go for style over substance. "So, that leaves the socially awkward boy genius who moons over you, the marine biologist merchant mariner, or that guy your mother was trying to set you up with…some professor, wasn't he?"
"Or…" The way Sara was dragging out the notion of another option told Emily exactly what she needed to know, and it completely floored her.
"No friggin' way!?" Her exclamation brought another blush to Sara's cheeks and Emily had her answer as she checked to see who might have heard her outburst. "Seriously? You worked it out with the crazy bug guy?!"
Sara tried to dissuade her assertion with a shake of her head. "He's not crazy… A little eccentric, maybe…but not crazy."
Her argument only served to make Emily laugh out loud. "Ha! C'mon, Sidle… The guy waits how many years to actually ask you out? And then it's some cryptic, don't tell anyone, nobody can know relationship, that you never really call a relationship, because neither of you ever talks about it. Not to mention the bug thing, which, you have to admit, is really kind of creepy."
"It's not creepy. It's a very useful discipline and he's done a lot to help solve significant issues of time using those skills." Sara's defensive posture told Emily she was protecting her own, and that let her know Sara truly was happy with her choice. "It also enabled him to come to Costa Rica to help with our conservation project, which is where we ended up getting married."
"That's gotta be some story." Emily looked at her watch to see if they could slip quietly out of the building to get away and have a real conversation. "Have you got time for some coffee, or something, so you can tell me all the gory details?"
Before Sara could answer, J.J. returned with the phone still attached to her ear. "Sorry, Emily, but it looks like we need to get going." J.J.'s face told her all she needed to know; a new case was interrupting their little side trip to Boston.
"Dangit. Just when I was starting to enjoy myself." Emily rolled her eyes, but J.J.'s stern expression told her there was no use fighting it.
"I understand…duty calls." Sara smiled comfortably and Emily deeply regretted having to leave. She had missed having a confidant like Sara around, and though they hadn't talked very much over the years, simply knowing she was available always made things better.
"Hey, where are you guys based out of? I've got some time coming up and I really want us to reconnect now that you're back." Emily had her phone out which was already buzzing with the call-back from Garcia.
"Well, that's a little complicated." Emily gave her a disconcerted glare. "I'm in Vegas again, for the time being… And Gil's teaching in Paris at the moment." Now Emily was confused, but Sara was quick to explain. "I've been going back and forth every three or four weeks, when he has breaks in his lecture schedule. There's just nothing for me to do there when he's lecturing, and they really needed the help at the lab in Vegas."
"Well, that's an interesting arrangement, but I'd expect nothing less from you." Emily brought up Sara's former contact information to check it when something sparked in her mind. "Wait...you're back in forensics?"
Sara smiled in that I've got a secret kind of way she had always been known for and said, "Yeah, well, that's a story for when we have a lot more time to talk."
"Gotcha." Emily knew when someone was changing the subject well enough, so she held up her phone and asked, "So, I can call you at the same number?"
"I've got a new cell, but the work number's the same. I'll make sure someone knows to give you my cell when you call." Sara tipped her head at J.J., who was standing impatiently at the door with their coats. "I think you need to put a move on it."
Emily scowled at being given the bum's rush, but she knew it was time to go. "Yeah, yeah. Always when I'm having fun, that's when those calls come in." Pocketing the phone, Emily said, "Thank you so much for coming out to this thing. You made the humiliation totally worth it. And we have got to get better at staying in touch. There's obviously a lot I've missed. I do have some time coming up, so maybe we can do a whole weekend somewhere to catch up, huh?"
"You've got a deal." Sara reached out to embrace her and that was when it was Emily's turn to blush as Sara quietly added, "Maybe we can even have both of our significant others along to get better acquainted."
Emily was totally shocked by Sara's assumption, but her next words left her in a complete daze. As Sara pulled out of their embrace, she tugged Emily's shirt collar to pull it tighter to her neck. "You might want to re-think the open neck shirts if you don't want anyone to know." It took Emily a moment to piece together what she was saying, and then it dawned her as Sara went on. "I don't think you can get away with scarves the way I did… FBI dress codes and all. Maybe a nice turtleneck next time." Sara patted Emily on the shoulder and gave her knowing wink as Emily instinctively brought a hand up to that spot just below her other shoulder, and above her collar bone, where a certain someone's bearded chin liked to nuzzle and rub as he kissed her neck.
"I ah, um…" There was no recovering her dignity at that point. She might have been able profile others, but Emily was obviously not paying enough attention to her own behaviors and appearances if Sara had been able to figure her out so effectively.
It also did not help Emily's case that Sara was merciless when she discovered a person's weakness. "I've found a little vitamin E when you get out of the shower works wonders for most beard burn."
Emily nearly jumped out of her skin when J.J., tired of waiting at the door, had come to retrieve her associate, and added her own wisdom to the conversation to speed it along. "And a warm compress makes the hickeys go away faster, too. But some people seem to think we're all color blind or something." She rolled her eyes to Sara, who was chuckling under her hand. "Sorry to break up this 'how do you hide the obvious from people trained to spot everything' pow-wow, but we have to get to Logan for a flight down to Philly A.S.A.P." J.J. turned again to Emily with her coat in hand, "Here's your coat, there's a car waiting for us on the street."
Sara reached out her hand to J.J. as Emily pulled her coat on. "It was nice to meet you Jennifer, and you can also take a really hot shower after the application, and it can keep most of them from even turning colors."
"Seriously?" J.J. seemed impressed with that bit of information, but Sara only nodded. "That's really good to know, thank you… Believe me, it's really good to know."
As J.J. hurried Emily to the door, Emily had to ask. "You're still getting those hickeys?"
J.J. huffed and rolled her eyes as she pushed through the outer door and said, "God yes. Why else would I be wearing all of this makeup, except to blend in all the stuff I have to put on my neck every other damn day?"