Title: A Flower for Her Grave
Fandom: Criminal Minds
Universe: Remembrance of Things Past (Part Four)
Characters/Pairing: Prentiss-centric - gen
Summary: Not everyone takes Emily's news well.
Author's Note: To the person that asked why this was one shots instead of a single story, the short answer is – It seemed like a good idea at the time. This way, I feel less obligated to update as regularly. As if that's going to stop me.
Emily tried to disconnect herself from the situation as she told her story. Technically speaking, the majority of the information was in the file – Doyle's history, her extensive reports, as well as the dossier of all the people that he'd killed. She knew from her time in the BAU, though, that personal details were paramount when it came to tracking down people like Doyle. The profile could tell them that he was an intelligent, white male, but Emily's experience could tell them how he liked to kill, his rituals, his flaws.
She could also tell them that he liked his steaks rare, and that against all expectations, he was a gentle lover, but those details were largely irrelevant.
'How do you know he's after you?' Morgan demanded. The anger in his voice was not subtle, but it wasn't overbearing, either. It was the kind of anger that came with learning that one of your best friends had been lying to you for four years. In all honesty, Emily wouldn't blame him if he decided never to speak to her again.
'When I came home last night, there was a box by my door,' she told them. 'It was a single flower – a freesia. His garden at the villa in France was full of them.'
'No note?' Hotch asked, frowning.
Emily shook her head. 'No, but the meaning was clear enough: "I know where you are."'
'He could just be toying with you,' Morgan argued.
'Derek, a guy like this "toying" with someone usually ended up with that person's body dumped in a river.'
'I'm just saying—'
'And I'm just saying that he is not someone to be trifled with!' Emily snapped, feeling the anger rising in her chest. She was vaguely aware of Garcia staring back at her, eyes wide and mouth open in surprise.
The team didn't know this side of her.
Really, when it came down to it, they didn't know her at all.
'I'm sorry,' she muttered, making a hasty exit from the briefing room. She couldn't work this case if her head wasn't in the game. She made her way back to JJ's old office, where Sergio was scratching at the door.
'Hey, buddy.' Emily pulled the cat up into her arms before he could run off, and shut the office door behind her. If everything had gone the way it was supposed to, JJ would still be here, instead of over at the Department of Defense – Emily felt like she was insulting her friend's memory by using the room as kitty prison.
After almost a minute, there was a knock on the door.
'Emily?' To her surprise, it was Morgan. 'I'm sorry…Can I come in?' It wasn't that he didn't sound somewhat apologetic, but Emily still felt that there was a certain gravity in his voice that wasn't normally there.
She let him in anyway, because there was no way in hell they'd be tracking down Doyle if the team couldn't work as a team.
It was probably one of the more ridiculously awkward conversations that Emily had been a part of. Standing in an ex-colleague's office, holding a cat. She bit her lip.
'I'm sorry that I never told you about the Interpol thing,' Emily said, eager to get the apology out before she could chicken out. 'By the time I joined the BAU, there was still fallout from…what happened. They thought that it would be best for everyone if I was given a fake cover.'
'That's not what I'm upset about,' he told her, and Emily felt her eyebrows raise in surprise. 'I get it, Emily. I'll admit it, it was a surprise finding out that you worked for Interpol, but I understand why you feel like you had to keep it a secret.'
There was a long pause.
'I asked you what was wrong…and you told me to leave it alone. Then I find out you're going to Rossi's house in the middle of the night. I thought you trusted me.' The words stung hard, as though he had physically slapped her. But not as much as the next ones. 'I thought we were friends.'
'Derek…no exaggeration – your friendship is one of the most important things in my life. I trust you implicitly. When you asked me what was going on, I didn't know how close he was to narrowing in on my life, and when I left my apartment…I just…All I wanted was to get out of there as quickly as possible.'
It wasn't the complete truth, but then, Emily felt uncomfortable telling him that reason she'd chosen Rossi was that he'd been there for her in the past. It wasn't that Morgan hadn't been there for her, just that the nature of the support was markedly different.
His expression softened into a sad smile, but Emily could still see the hurt in his eyes. 'I guess it was probably for the best. Rossi has a spare bed after all, right?'
'Plus I wouldn't want to go intruding on your Fortress of Man,' Emily offered. 'I might never escape.'
Morgan grinned. 'Trust me. Once you've been inside Chateau de Morgan, you'll never want to leave.'
'I'll keep that in mind.' She set Sergio down on the ground, and he immediately rubbed himself against Morgan's leg. 'He likes you.'
'He can probably smell Clooney,' Morgan provided, reaching down to scratch the cat behind the ears.
'Come on,' Emily said. 'We should get back to the rest of the team.'
She shut the door behind them, gently, to make sure Sergio didn't catch his peeking head. Beside her, Morgan made a sound of disbelief.
'What?' Emily asked, already looking up to see the cause of his distress. Strauss.
Her heart skipped a beat. More specifically, it was Strauss and Hotch, standing outside the briefing room, engaged in what looked to be a serious conversation. No prizes for guessing what the topic was.
'Shit,' Emily muttered. 'Do you think she'd notice if I went and hid in the ladies' room?'
'Come on, Prentiss.' Morgan put a hand on her back. 'She was going to find out eventually.'
'True,' Emily nodded. 'But I was hoping to keep the fact that I abused my clearance level hidden from the Section Chief just a little bit longer. Plus,' she added. 'I don't think she'll be particularly pleased about having a cat in the building.'
Emily was almost positive that she stopped breathing for half a second when Hotch and Strauss turned in their direction. The look on Strauss' face was not one that suggested puppies and sunshine.
'Here we go,' she muttered.