Title: Next Place
Rating: PG-13
Fandom:
Criminal Minds/Others (Fringe, Warehouse 13, Thursday Next, Doctor Who)
Characters/Pairing:
Prentiss, others - gen
Genre: Drama/Humor
Summary:
Some career possibilities are less hectic than the BAU. Some aren't.
Author's Note: This started off as a look at Emily's career choices after leaving the BAU, hence the lack of other team members. I may have an entire extended plot worked out for the Fringe piece. Nothing to see here.

FRINGE DIVISION (Fringe)

The transfer request came less than six months after JJ had left the unit, and as a result, Emily Prentiss was both pissed off, and a little apprehensive. After all, not even Hotch had been able to circumvent that transfer.

Admittedly, "Boston Field Office" was a little less impressive than Department of Defense. A lot less impressive than the BAU, which pissed her off even more. This is what happens, she told herself. This is what happens when you get on the Section Chief's bad side. You get transferred to fucking Boston. She didn't particularly mind Boston – it was better than going back to Chicago – but after ten freaking years of trying to get into the BAU, it was the least desirable place in the world.

'I'm sorry about this, Prentiss,' Hotch said, and he really, really did sound sorry. Sorry and angry, because this was way beyond adding insult to injury. It was also way out of her hands. Not even Garcia could do anything – even though Emily had asked her repeatedly not to, the technical analyst had still hacked the system seven ways to Sunday, earning her a stern glance from Hotch, and a serious blow to her pride.

'Yeah,' she sighed. 'I know.' Emily hated the way she sounded like she was blaming him, but there was still some part of her that resented the fact that they all got to stay, and she had to leave. The way she always had to leave.

So Emily packed up her desk, and her apartment, and had her things shipped to what felt like a world away, and that was the shitty thing about Boston – she couldn't even hang out with Morgan and Garcia on Friday nights, or watch bad sci-fi with Reid. She'd be stuck alone in a city where she didn't know anyone.

But Emily Prentiss did not shirk responsibility. She took the blows with her head held high, and she went to Boston.

It wasn't quite what she'd expected.

She'd expected to be ushered to a desk, and given the "Welcome to Boston" speech. Instead, she was ushered into an empty office, and given a "Wait here," which was way off script. Emily frowned.

She wasn't in Boston because Strauss was being a vengeful bitch. Something weird was definitely going on.

Ten minutes later, a tall, dark-skinned man entered, his suit almost as impeccably pressed as Hotch's had been.

'SSA Prentiss? I'm Special Agent Broyles, with the Department of Homeland Security.'

Emily raised an eyebrow. Homeland Security? She felt like she was in the middle of some conspiracy movie, where everyone knew what the hell was going on except her. It was very disconcerting.

'I'm sorry I had to bring you in like this, but we had no other choice.'

Emily stared at him. Maybe she was being punk'd. She looked around for some kind of recording device. 'Seriously?' she asked him, finally. 'What could you possibly want with me?' Of all the people in the BAU, she was probably the least likely to be called in for some special project. She didn't have Reid's intelligence, or Rossi's experience, or anything that really set her apart from anyone else.

'You come highly recommended,' Broyles said, in a voice that told Emily that he was most definitely hiding something. Before Emily could question him further, though, he slid a file across the table towards her. She read over the first page of the file, the words "Fringe Division," and "alternate universe" and "shapeshifters" being among the many that made her wonder if she'd somehow fallen asleep in the middle of a briefing, and that this was some kind of fucked up dream.

After a few moments, she looked at Broyles, and said, 'I don't have clearance for this.'

'You do now,' he responded.

THE WAREHOUSE (Warehouse 13)

It started with an unsub.

More specifically, it started with an unsub that was shooting his victims with an antique revolver. The same antique revolve that he pointed at the team when they kicked in the door. 'Put the gun down,' Hotch said, but apparently nobody listened to what the FBI said anymore. These days, "put the gun down" seemed to sound like "pull the trigger" to some people.

As it turned out, antique bullets hurt just as much as regular ones. Especially when they wouldn't stop bleeding. It wasn't a serious wound, by most measures: the shoulder, rather than the stomach, or the heart, or the head. The problem was, the bullet wouldn't come out, and the wound wouldn't stop bleeding, and the Doctors had absolutely no idea why.

Not exactly a comforting thought.

So they kept her in a hospital bed, hooked up to an IV, while the team took turns sitting by her side. After everything that happened, their unsub had escaped, which meant that they were guarding her as much as they were keeping her company. The continued blood loss and the painkillers and antibiotics pumping through her system meant that most of her conversations were less lucid than she'd like.

On the second day, she was visited by a tall woman with dark, curly hair. Her name was Myka Bering, and her badge said Secret Service. Rossi, sitting at her bedside, was skeptical.

'Why does the Secret Service want to know about a serial killer?' he asked.

'National Security,' was the answer given, and even in her drug-induced placidity, Emily could tell that the woman was lying. She didn't leave, though, which led Emily to believe that the Secret Service thought the guy was coming back, too.

He did.

Rossi had his gun out fast, but not faster than the Agent Bering, who zapped the guy before he got within five feet. Literally zapped. She had some weird gun that looked like a steampunk throwback, and shot electricity. Either the painkillers were doing a damn good job, or something really, really weird was going on.

The agent snapped on a pair of purple gloves, pulled the revolver from the unconscious man's grip. Clasping the thing between her thumb and forefinger, she dropped it in what looked like a foil bag. There was another spark, and Emily felt a burst of pain in her shoulder. She let out a cry, and Rossi put a hand on her uninjured shoulder, giving Agent Bering a look.

'What the hell did you do?' he asked, and Emily imagined that the look on his face was a pretty scary one.

'The gun's been neutralized, so the bullet should come out without any problems now.' She called for a doctor then, and Emily found herself falling back into unconsciousness.

Three weeks later, Emily was on sick leave, spinning her wheels and trying to find out just what the hell the Secret Service had to do with magic revolvers. Never before had she been more grateful for Garcia, who cracked through a dozen security protocols before tracking Myka Bering down to South Dakota, of all places.

There was no question in Emily's mind that South Dakota was the place she needed to be.

The Middle of Nowhere, aka Univille, to be precise, which was a really, really weird place for a Secret Service Agent to be stationed. Emily couldn't imagine that anything related to National Security could happen in a place so remote. There was an IRS warehouse in the area, but not much of anything else.

Maybe it was a nuclear testing site, or an underground shelter of some kind. Garcia's hack had been frustratingly imprecise, which was disconcerting both for Emily and Garcia.

Asking around town seemed the first logical step, and it was some kind of ridiculous luck that she tried the Bed and Breakfast first, because the first person she saw the moment she stepped through the door was Myka Bering, her eyes wide with surprise.

'Uh…hi,' Emily said, a little nervous, and not exactly sure what the etiquette was for this kind of situation. I had a friend hack your file, and I drove all the way here from Washington D.C. with a still healing bullet wound, to say thank-you for saving my life from the guy with the magic revolver.

'Hi,' said Myka.

'So…I just wanted to say thanks.' It sounded even weaker out loud than it had in her mind.

'You're welcome.'

Emily stared around, trying to take in everything around her. It didn't exactly look like the secret lair kind of place.

'Is that what you do?' Emily asked, 'Do you go around the country saving people from magic guns?'

'Something like that.'

The revelation that there was some kind of secret government conspiracy out there, fighting off strange, ineffable, unnatural things should have surprised Emily, or at the very least pissed her off a little, but it didn't.

'Sounds like that kind of thing could get a little crazy.'

'Oh, believe me,' Myka said with a grin. 'You have no idea.'

SPEC-OPS/Jurisfiction (Thursday Next)

The car came out of nowhere.

Literally, out of nowhere, as in, one moment there was nothing, and then there was a car rushing towards her at 50 miles an hour.

It was a multi-colored Porsche that made Emily want to put on her sunglasses after she'd been staring at it for more than a few seconds. She heard the screech of tires against bitumen as the car came to an abrupt stop in front of her.

She stared at it for a good few seconds, half in shock, and half unable to comprehend exactly what had just happened.

A woman jumped out of the passenger's side – no, the driver's side. Not only had a car appeared out of nowhere and almost hit her head on, it was a right hand drive, which meant that it had come from a very long way away.

'Sorry,' the woman said. She had a British accent, which explained the car. 'Time travel ceases to exist, and then suddenly you've got universe-jumping instead. You haven't seen a furry, jumping kind of thing come this way, have you?'

'Uh…no,' Emily said, unsure of what answer she could have possibly given.

The woman shook her head. 'See, the problem with being the monster at the end of the book, is that the monster always dies, and most of them don't like that so much.'

'I can't imagine they would.'

After looking around for a few minutes, the woman – Thursday, she introduced herself as – got back in the car and sped off.

Emily blinked.

Hell of a way to start the weekend.

TARDIS (Doctor Who)

The Doctor, as near as Emily could figure, was some kind of intergalactic pimp.

Of course, that's not what she thought at first. At first, she was entirely sure that he was an escapee from the nearest mental institution, or at the very least, someone with a seriously weird case of identity conflict.

It started off three weeks after she left the BAU (because there was only so much death and destruction she could handle before it sent her completely, batshit insane). She was sitting on the sofa, glass of red wine in her hand, wondering what the hell she was going to do with her life.

The explosion comes from downstairs, and Emily barely even had to think about it before she grabbed her gun from the side table. It was a new gun – she'd handed in her standard-issue Glock, along with her badge, and an, 'I'm sorry,' to Hotch, who didn't look entirely surprised at the situation. Still, having seen the things she'd seen, there was no way in hell that she was going to stay unprotected. She knew what happened to single females that lived alone.

Explosion was probably a strong word to use. There was a bang, and it was loud, but not loud enough to wake a heavy sleeper. Loud enough that it wasn't just something that had accidentally been knocked over.

She slipped her keys into her pocket, and went off to investigate the noise, without even a second thought. Maybe that was something the job had done to her. Maybe it was something that she'd had all along.

The smoke emanating from the laundry room in the basement was the first sign that something was wrong. Either one of the dryers was on fire again (that had been a fun night) or something altogether more serious was going on.

Finding a man in tweed running around yelling, 'Where did you go?' was not exactly what she expected to find.

She leveled her gun in his direction, at the same time knowing that it was absolutely the wrong thing to do.

'What are you doing?' she asked, in a voice that was once used to talk down unsubs and suspects. Whatever – whoever – this man was, the voice didn't seem to shake him in the least.

'Hello,' he said with a smile. 'Sorry about the explosion – TARDIS is acting up again, so I had to land her.' He stared her down. 'Judging from the clothes, and the accent, I'd say Earth, United States – 20th, 21st century – though there was a comeback on Ragnarok IV in the 5300s…' He stopped as if only just noticing the gun in her hand. 'You don't need that. Put that down.' He lowered his hands over hers gently, pushing them down. Once upon a time, she would have pulled the trigger.

Emily engaged the safety, and tucked the gun in the back of her pants. 'Who are you?' she demanded.

He didn't answer straight away, instead, starting to sniff around. Literally, sniff. 'I can usually smell it,' he said, with a frown, 'But there's too much fabric softener in the air. I suppose I could be on a laundry planet, but that wouldn't be very interesting, would it.'

'Washington D.C.,' Emily told him. '2010.' As an aside, she added, 'Earth.'

'Oh, Washington,' the strange man nodded. 'Wonderful. Nice change of pace. I always seem to end up in England. Or,' he frowned. 'Cardiff. Haven't been to Washington in a long time. Two hundred years, to be exact. Two hundred years your time, that is, not mine. Six months for me – before I sent the Ponds on their honeymoon – four suns, that planet. No night at all. Wonderful beaches, but she had to marry an asteroid, just to get some rock and roll.'

He looked at her, as if waiting for some kind of reaction to the joke. Emily said nothing. 'Who are you?' she repeated, and the man just kept looking.

'Oh, I'm sorry. How rude of me.' He held out a hand for her to shake. 'I'm the Doctor. Nice to meet you.'

'Emily.' Brow furrowed, she shook his hand. 'You're an alien?'

'Does that frighten you?' he asked, as though she were ten years old. He reminded her of Reid in a way, jovial and then serious in rapid succession. Not to mention the way this Doctor seemed to give her the impression that he knew so much more about everything than she did.

'Not really.' There was a pause. 'I've seen worse.' He held her gaze for a few moments. Was he psychic? Was he reading her mind?

The question, when it came, was unexpected. Just like the Doctor. 'Have you ever been to France?'

'Yes.'

'Oh.' He didn't seem altogether put off by the answer, following it up with. 'Have you ever been to Titan?'

Was that a trick question?

'No,' she said flatly.

'Well,' he shrugged. 'It's a bit boring, but the food's not bad. You're not allergic to dairy, are you?'

She stared at him. Apparently, the decision that she was going off on a magical adventure in space and time had been made for her. Whether that was for the Doctor's sake, or for Emily's, she couldn't quite tell.

Aliens, as it turned out, were kind of hard to profile, but he seemed like the kind of person that couldn't be alone for too long.

Maybe – just maybe – things would be a little less chaotic than they had been in the BAU, but Emily doubted it.