Title: Said the Joker to the Thief
Rating: PG-13
Criminal Minds
Emily Prentiss, Derek Morgan
Genre: Hurt/Comfort/Friendship
Post The Thirteenth Step. Morgan wants to know why Emily's been keeping secrets.
Author's Note: No explicit spoilers for future episodes, but a bit of speculation.

Morgan stood at the door, waiting to knock.

He wasn't even sure why he was there – it was eleven o'clock, and he should have been asleep. Hell, Emily should have been asleep too – the case had been fairly brutal, even for their standards – and yet there was a light shining beneath the door.

He wondered if she was commiserating, or if she just couldn't sleep.

Biting the bullet, he let his fingers hit the wood, three short, sharp knocks.

On the other side of the door, he heard glass break, and a distressed, 'Fuck.'


'Morgan?' She sounded surprised – even relieved – as though she had expected someone else entirely.

'Is everything okay?' he asked, a frown forming on his face.

'Yeah,' she said, but it wasn't a very convincing answer. 'Just give me a second.'

She removed the chain, and unbolted the door. It seemed like an excessive measure, but then, after all the home invasions they'd seen, he wasn't entirely surprised.

Emily's hair was mussed, as though she had been running her fingers through her hair repeatedly.

'What's up?' she asked, and Morgan couldn't quite give her an honest answer. She'd been acting strangely over the last couple of days, but really, they all acted strangely at one time or another – whenever they had secrets that they didn't want anyone else to know, or a burden that they refused to share.

'Can I come in?' he asked, and Emily gave him a nod far more quickly than he'd anticipated. "Home" was always the place where they were safe from intrateam profiling. Unless there was a movie night, or a Christmas Party, or some other kind of event, they tried to keep out of each other's way.

He stepped inside, and Emily locked and bolted the door behind him. Her hands were shaking.

It wasn't a significant amount, and he doubted that he would have even noticed, if he hadn't been watching her hands as she locked them inside the apartment.

She led him back over to the kitchen table, which had her Glock and a large yellow envelope sitting on top of it. Broken glass, and a liquid that looks suspiciously like whiskey or bourbon was splashed across the floor.

'Just let me get some newspaper,' she told him, and she retreated to the kitchen and began rifling through her recycling.

'Is everything okay?' Morgan asked, doubtful that the answer he got was going to be an honest one.

'Yeah. Why wouldn't it be?'

'Well, your door is deadlocked, your gun is sitting on the kitchen table, and from the glass on the floor, I'd say you got pretty shaken up when you heard me knocking on the door.' Not to mention the phone calls Garcia told me about, and the way you've been acting all week.

Emily gave him a wavering smile. 'I'm just a little wrung out, is all. Senseless violence will do that to a girl.'

'You've seen a lot worse than this, Prentiss.'

'I'm sorry,' she snapped. 'Let me go hand back my empathy card.' Her eyes widened. 'I'm sorry,' she repeated, but the words were a lot softer, a lot more sincere that time around. 'I just…' She shook her head, and pulled out a dustpan and brush from underneath the kitchen sink. 'It's not important.'

'Emily.' He stepped towards her, and put a hand on her shoulder. 'If it's upsetting you, then of course it's important.'

Emily gave a bitter laugh. 'Sometimes it's easy to forget that underneath all the bravado you're a really good guy.'

Morgan wasn't quite sure whether that was supposed to be a compliment or not, but he didn't say anything. Emily took a breath.

'I ever tell you that I used to work for Interpol?' The question was a little non-sequitur, and kind of surprising. After all, he didn't know that she used to work for Interpol. As far as he knew, she'd been in the Bureau for the last fifteen years.

He knew that she had secrets – after all, they all had demons kept under lock and key – but he wasn't actually sure why she'd omit something like this. If it was CIA, or NSA, or something national security related, he could understand, but in his experience, Interpol was more about liaising and politics rather than actual investigation.

'It was a good use of my language skills, and it was the closest I could get to actual law enforcement without my mother having a fit,' she explained, after he didn't say anything. 'It was never supposed to be dangerous.'

She sat down at the table, picking up her Glock, and running her hand along the barrel, her eyes fixated on the gun. Morgan had the sudden urge to check his own weapon.

'Have you ever heard of Ian Doyle?' she asked.

Morgan frowned. The name sounded vaguely familiar, but he couldn't quite place it. 'No,' he said eventually.

'Irish mobster,' Emily provided. 'Big on assassination, shooting out kneecaps over the slightest transgressions. Irish LEOs tracked him down to Russia, and the Russians weren't co-operating, so we stepped in.'

'And he's what…got some sort of grudge against you now?'

'Maybe. I'm not sure. He as good as swore revenge when he was put away, and now he's escaped prison. For all I know, he's on his way here.'

Morgan's heart skipped a beat. This was Foyet, and Battle, and Randall fucking Gardner all over again. He sat down in the chair opposite her.

'Emily…have you told anyone else about this? Have you told Hotch?'

Emily shook her head. 'I've only been home a couple of hours. I needed to think things over. Sleeping isn't really an option right now.'

'Hey.' He put a hand over hers, effectively pushing the gun to the table. 'You're scared. I get that.'

'I'm not scared,' she said. 'I'm worried. There's a difference.'

Morgan raised an eyebrow, because that was a very Prentiss thing to do – pretend like the situation wasn't that bad. She was right – for all they knew, Doyle was on his way here to kill her.

'First thing in the morning, you need to tell Hotch,' Morgan told Emily firmly, and she rolled her eyes.

'I know that, Morgan. I'm not going to shut you all away just because someone's trying to kill me.' She paused. 'I need to tell my mother. Just in case.'

'You think he's going to go after family, too?'

'You know how it works, Morgan. They go after anyone they can.' Morgan grimaced. He knew all too well how it worked, and how much harder it was to be on this side of things. Of course, in the end, Foyet had gone after Haley, rather than him, but his experience still haunted him sometimes. And that wasn't even a revenge thing. That was just a serial killer that liked to play with his food.

Emily sighed. 'I should probably clean this up.' There was a long pause. 'Thank-you…for coming to check on me. I mean…I appreciate knowing you've got my back.'

Morgan grinned. 'Any time, princess.'

Emily rolled her eyes, and then bit her lip. 'I'll see you tomorrow, then?'

He sensed the slight, almost non-existent hesitance in her voice.

'If you want, I could sleep on the couch,' he offered. 'Make sure no bad guys kick the door down in the middle of the night.'

Emily straightened. 'Are you sure?'

'Well when I tell people that I spent the night at a beautiful woman's house tomorrow morning, I don't want to be lying.'

She gave a smile then – a genuine grin that let him know his charms were having their desired effect. 'You are incorrigible.'

'Would you have it any other way?'

'Well, you're the one that'll be doing the walk of shame tomorrow morning.'

It took a few minutes to clean up the broken glass, which was then carefully wrapped in newspaper and thrown in the trash.

'Thanks again,' she told him, in the tone of voice that told him she was ready for bed. 'I owe you one.'

'You really want to make that promise?' he asked. She smiled again. 'I'll always have your back, Emily – remember that.'

He did.