So Near Yet So Far
This is written for the Valentine's gift exchange on Chit Chat on Author's Corner. It does contain some spoilers for Series 6. Thank you to Flashpenguin, who has beta'ed this super quick.
My assigned pair was Reid/Prentiss, with the love song & prompts: Far Away by Nickleback (the lyrics I have included are in bold); mismatched Valentine's socks, anonymous Valentine, yellow roses (anti-Valentine's sentiment gets bonus points). All have been used.
So Someone aka me; this is for you, I hope you enjoy it. It's a little dark for a Valentine's story, but it was the way the song took me.
Disclaimer: I own nothing but the ideas.
. . . . . . . . . .
This time, This place
Too long, Too late
Who was I to make you wait?
Just one chance
Just one breath
Just in case there's just one left
Reid was jittery. Not his normal everyday jittery, super charged jittery. To make it worse, he was aware he was jittery, and that it was about to give away everything that he had planned so carefully. He tried to focus, but his eyes kept going back to the door. She was never late; though he was glad she hadn't been early, which she had a tendency to do, especially recently. It wasn't as if she was very late, it was only five past, but everyone else was in. Without him realising, the speed that he tapped his pencil increased in time with his now twitching leg. 'This is ridiculous' he thought to himself.
"Hey Kid, if you don't calm down she'll know it's you before she even gets to her desk and sees the roses," Morgan grinned at his younger colleague's nervous impatience.
"Umm, sorry?" Reid span round on his chair, to face Morgan, a confused look on his face.
"You are being about as subtle as a sledgehammer; calm down before she gets here or all your hard work will be wasted."
"Sorry Morgan, I really don't know what you are talking about," Reid tried to lie.
"Really?" One eyebrow rose. "So the yellow roses and the card on Prentiss' desk have nothing to do with you this Valentine's day?"
Reid shook his head, as he looked over to her desk, trying to look surprised, as if it was the first time he had seen the thirteen yellow roses, each delicately tipped with red, laying there.
Morgan watched his little display and stifled a giggle, oh boy, Reid had fallen for her, well and truly.
"Well if it's not you, and it's not me, maybe I should go and ask Hotch or Rossi if they know anything."
"I don't think they'd appreciate it if you did," Spencer was starting to panic; he really didn't need this to become some big deal. He had always liked Emily. He'd felt a connection since they first met. As he got to know her more, he realised it was different to how he felt about JJ and Garcia. He wasn't willing to admit he was in love with her, but he did want to get to know her better, see if they could be more than just friends. Hence the roses, especially chosen, yellow with a red tip; meaning friendship leading to love; and thirteen, not the traditional twelve, as this meant secret admirer. He knew this would be wasted on most people. But he also knew how much Emily loved flowers and her attention to detail meant that she would find out the message behind them, if she didn't already know.
"Well, I am off to find my own sweet Valentine and make sure she knows how much I love her," Morgan got out of his seat.
"You do realise Garcia has a boyfriend?" Reid had never understood Morgan and Garcia's friendship.
"A man can dream, can't he?" Morgan winked. "Just like you've been doing…hey."
Morgan turned towards the door, nearly bumping into Prentiss as she hurried in. "Whoa, you OK, Princess?" Morgan held her arm to steady her after their near miss. "I hope he was worth it. You look like you've been up all night," he joked.
"What if I have?" she snarled at him, jerking her arm back and heading for the coffee.
Truth be told she had been up all night, again. She had been up all night, every night, since she had spoken to Sean McAllister a few weeks ago. In fact the only time she slept now was on the plane or away with the team, it was the only time she felt safe, and then it was lightly, as she was afraid to sleep deeply, she didn't want to dream. She must be the only person in the building praying they got another case soon.
Throwing the deposable cup of the coffee she had just finished into the bin, and grabbing another coffee, she made her way to her desk; she didn't know how long she could keep this up, the more caffeine she drunk, the more she needed to keep her going. As she walked past Reid, she noticed the roses. Please, no, not here as well; she swallowed, praying that they weren't from him! In the pit of her stomach she knew it wasn't, Ian Doyle sent her lilac freesias. But why would there be flowers on her desk if it wasn't him?
She flopped into her chair, dropping her bag on the floor. Looking suspiciously around her, he couldn't be here; he couldn't get to her here - here she was safe. As she scanned the room, Reid caught her eye.
"You OK?" he asked.
She nodded. As Spencer got up she noticed his bright socks, one black with scarlet hearts and the other red with a cupid design on it. Suddenly the penny dropped. Valentine's Day, but even for Morgan this was elaborate, usually he just got a humorous card to wind her up, telling her he hated to see a beautiful woman without a single card on Valentine's Day.
"You sure you're OK?" Spencer's expression was fall of concern. Emily had been acting really strangely for the last few weeks.
Looking at his sad eyes, she would like nothing more than to tell him, but she couldn't as she knew what would happen. Once the dam broken the flood would be all consuming; she needed complete control to survive. She'd done it once before, she could do it again.
Emily put on her best smile, one perfected through years of her mother's functions.
"Just a little tired, I didn't sleep well. So is this Morgan's latest wind up?" she nodded towards the flowers.
Spencer tried hard to hide the hurt look on his face; she thought they were from Morgan.
"Did you know that it was during the Victorian era that Valentine's cards were first given anonymously; they believed it was bad luck to sign them?"
Spencer's comment brought her attention to the two cards resting on her desk, one propped up against the roses and the other laying in front.
Spencer had noticed the other card when he had arrived this morning. He assumed it was from Morgan, though it didn't look like his writing on the front. Reid watched as Prentiss opened his card. It was modern and unpretentious; he had real trouble finding a card he thought Emily would like. As she slowly opened it a strange looked crossed her face, it was so quick that he begun to think he had imagined the change in her expression.
"Did you know Hallmark has 1330 different Valentine's card designs? Or that only one third of cards are accompanied by a gift? Around one billion cards are sent at Valentine's day, making it the single largest card sending occasion after Christmas. Also Valentine's Day is only celebrated in the States, Canada, Mexico, France and the UK."
Emily was relieved, this wasn't from him. She wasn't sure who it was from, but it wasn't Ian Doyle, the relief meant she could breathe again. She looked up at Spencer.
"Help me out Genius; tell me a fact I want to know; who is my secret admirer?"
"Well it wouldn't be a secret if I told you, would it," Spencer could feel himself redden, so he left her desk and returned to his own, watching her from behind his divide, as she opened the second card. This time her change of expression was unmistakable. Her normal calm composed look was distorted with fear. Reaching down she grabbed the bin from under her desk, she threw both cards and the flowers in, than shoved the bin back.
"What's with you today?" Morgan interceded, as he returned to his desk, "Someone went to a lot of effort for you there."
"Well you shouldn't have bothered. Valentine's Day is yet another over merchandised marketing gimmick. It's another day of the year, it doesn't change anything, it doesn't make the world a better place, and it is just an excuse for company fat cats to make more money to line their pockets."
"First it wasn't me. I like you, but not that much, and second try thinking of other people's feelings, because I would say that someone is trying to tell you they are there, and right now you look like you need someone."
"I don't need anyone!" Prentiss stormed out, she needed air.
"Sorry kid," Morgan looked at his hurt colleague.
"Why are you sorry?" he shrugged. "It was a stupid thing to do. I just thought…I know she liked flowers. I just wanted her to smile, she seems so sad recently."
"Something's up, but she won't discuss it, trust me, I've tried." Morgan was as worried as Reid about Prentiss, but if she didn't let them in what could they do?
"I think it had something to do with the second card she got. I'd assumed when I saw it on her desk this morning, it was from you. I know you have always got her one to wind her up."
"Nope, not me, mine's here," Morgan waved the red envelope that had been on his desk. "Figured I didn't like the competition this year."
Both agents made their way to the bin, fishing out the second card.
"Should we be wearing gloves, it may be evidence?" Reid said.
Bumping his head as he looked at Reid, Morgan cursed. "You serious? What do you think is going on?"
"Don't know, but it takes a lot to rattle Emily. So it must be serious."
Emerging from under her desk, they made their way up to the conference room. Not wanting to get caught snooping by Prentiss.
"Well it's an anonymous Valentine's card," Morgan spoke first, sarcasm dripping in his voice.
"An expensive, handmade card - personalised by the look of things," Reid was studying the card carefully. "It must have been made to order, it hasn't got traditional love symbols on it. The freesia is not a Valentine's flower. Some see it as a symbol of innocence and friendship, others say this flower epitomizes grace under pressure and is the ideal way to congratulate someone who kept their cool under difficult circumstances. Seems appropriate for Prentiss, whoever sent this knows her well. The flower is lilac, which is a shade of purple. Purple is the colour of power and luxury, but it is also associated with good judgment and spiritual fulfillment. There is an intricate Celtic design behind the bloom. This card has been designed to send a message, and by Prentiss' reaction I would assume it was loud and clear to her."
"Is there any subject in the world you are not an expert on?" Morgan should have learnt by now not to be amazed by the young genius, yet day in day out he still caught him.
Reid looked at his friend, confused. Blinking he added, "No, not that I'm aware of."
"So, we have an anonymous card and a pissed off Prentiss. Where do we go from here?"
"Do I need to remind you that Prentiss carries a gun, and though I hate to admit it, she is a very good shot? She will use it on us the mood she is in."
"Morgan, you didn't see the look of fear on her face when she opened this card. I would rather her not speak to me and be safe, then lose her forever. Something is frightening her, and we can't ignore it any longer."
Morgan nodded; they made their way to Hotch's office. Not sure what exactly they were going to tell him.