I had to wait until I was actually excited to work on a story again, but I think my short hiatus has officially ended. Thank you very much whoever nominated me for the Criminal Minds Fanfic Awards (link in my profile), that kind of recognition is amazing and encouraging, and also humbling. Check out the nominees list, you'll understand why I say humbling. And thank you to the people running it, your hard work is appreciated.
This is a chaptered story, Morgan/Prentiss centered, but the entire team is involved. And, I'm totally ignoring everything going on in the show now, i.e. that Prentiss is apparently James Bond. I've had this idea for a while, and that doesn't really fit with it.
Thank you for reading, and please review!
"Camouflage is a game we all like to play, but our secrets are as surely revealed by what we want to seem to be as by what we want to conceal." - Russell Lynes
September 14, 1976
She clung to him, her small frame easily managed in his thickly muscled arms. One skinny arm was wrapped around his neck, the other hugging a stuffed bear to her chest, and her face was ducked against his shoulder. Still, the little girl peered into the night, with big brown eyes filled with fear. But, she didn't cry.
She hadn't cried in two days.
And, the man who held her was a stranger. She had never seen him before, and at nearly six years-old when he'd swept her into his arms, she couldn't offer much protest. He'd stolen into the night with her, rushing through dark landscape as if he had night vision. He never loosened or lost his grip on her, never stumbled or faltered. Like Hercules or Superman, he seemed more than human, capable of things average men could never hope to do.
They reached a car, and he pulled her loose, and set her inside, before climbing in beside her. She curled herself up tight, even though it hurt the cuts on her arms and legs, and aggravated the rash that ran along her thighs. Dried blood crusted over the cuts, and where red had smeared on her arms, her legs, her hands, her face. There were bruises around her little mouth, and her deep pink lips were chapped and cracking. Her dark hair was a tangled, greasy mess, her pigtails having fallen out long ago.
She was filthy, the bodice of her dress covered in vomit, and the skirt soaked in days worth of urine. One hand unwound from around her knees, and scratched at that rash, wincing at the pain. Red, angry bumps covered the backs and insides of both thighs, the skin irritated from sitting in her own urine.
The girl drew further into herself as the stranger wrapped an arm around her, and held her close as the car pulled away. It was warmer and drier in the car than it had been outside, but she still shivered. Still, she didn't make a sound, and didn't move, not even a little bit.
The ride was short, and the man removed her arm, as he opened the door and climbed out. He pulled her from the car, lifting her back into his arms, holding her against his broad, muscled chest. They moved what couldn't have been more than fifteen feet to a truck. The back was open, showing the stacks of cardboard boxes inside, and men stood outside, speaking Korean. The stranger handed one of the Korean men a stack of bills, and climbed into the back of the truck.
Far in the back, there was an open box and a roll of tape. The man pulled her off his body once again, and this time he laid her in the box, almost like he was putting her to bed. There were small holes cut in the bottom, barely big enough to fit her tiny pink finger through.
His voice was soft, almost gentle when he spoke. "Alright sweetheart, I need you to be really quiet for a while. You can't make a sound, not one peep. Can you do that for me, Emily?"
The little girl nodded, curled on her side, clutching the teddy bear, as he'd laid her in the box. She didn't react when first one flap, then another was folded over top of the box, didn't react as the second set was folded over. And, when sounds of tape being unrolled, ripped and smoothed over the top of the box hit her ears, Emily only squeezed her stuffed bear tighter.
May 22, 2011
He owed her dinner. At least, according to her, she'd won their little bet. Morgan insisted that she had cheated, but Emily was just as instant that he'd agreed to her little variation on the rules of Scrabble. He had agreed, and he wasn't the least bit sorry about it. Nor was he all that sorry that he lost, not that the game had come to a formal finish of any kind. But, the scores were pretty clear even so.
Morgan had been down by 150 points.
Emily had been down to her panties.
Her idea. He'd swear that up and down on a stack of bibles. Emily had gotten stuck with lousy letters, so she turned to Italian to be able to make a word. He'd cried fowl. She suggested that he allow the obviously illegal move, and any that follow, and in exchange for every non-English word she used, she'd take off a piece of clothing. It's not like he was actually going to say no to that. It was when she took off her bra, and sat there across from him, in nothing but her panties, breasts hanging free, that he forgot about the stupid game.
So, now he was buying her diner.
They were holding hands as they walked, strolling along the street, enjoying the peaceful atmosphere of DC on Sunday evening, as they walked toward the restaurant. It was just an out-of-the-way neighborhood bar that served better than average bar food. Emily didn't want fancy, she wanted relaxed.
Morgan suddenly tugged her toward a display in the window of an electronics store. There was a small flatscreen with a video camera on top, showing anyone that passed by on the street. Emily shot him a skeptical look.
"Do you need a new TV?"
"No, I don't watch it enough to wear it out." He pulled her close, arms wrapping around her waist. "I was actually looking at the video camera. I was thinking about buying one."
"Then do some consumer research first," she said. "Don't buy the first shiny thing you see."
"Where's your sense of spontaneity?"
She cocked an eyebrow, a smirk appearing on her face just before she leaned toward him, and captured his mouth in a steamy kiss. "Better?"
He grinned. "Alright, I like that, we probably just gave their security boys a show, but I like that."
"Oh, you like the exhibitionist thing, do you?"
Rather than answer, Morgan kissed her, a little too passionately for being on the street, but she didn't pull back, she couldn't seem to help herself. It was why they didn't notice the white van pull up at the curb beside them, or pay any attention to the sounds of doors opening and closing. It was only the sound of approaching footsteps that drew their attention.
They broke apart, and turned to see five men surrounding them, all wearing familiar albeit distorted faces: Nixon, Reagan, JFK, Abe Lincoln, and George Washington. What the hell was this?
"Can we help you something?" Emily asked before he could.
"Yeah," Reagan nodded. "Don't fight."
Morgan took an instinctive step in front of Emily, knowing full-well she'd give him hell for it later. "We don't want any trouble, why don't you boys get on your way."
He could see Nixon smile behind his mask, seconds before the men attacked. Three came at him, two went at Emily. She started screaming for someone to call the cops, while fighting off Reagon and Washington. He thanked God for his judo skills as he went at Nixon, Lincoln and JFK.
Then he heard Emily cry, and turned just in time to see JFK had switched targets, and was sticking a needle in her arm, while the other two held her. Emily slumped in the men's arms, unconscious. JFK exchanged the needle for a knife, and pressed the blade against Emily's throat.
"Do not be stupid. Do not move, and she won't get killed."
Morgan immediately froze, and felt Nixon and Lincoln take hold of his arms. JFK kept the knife to Emily's throat as he reached a hand in his pocket and pulled out a capped hypodermic needle, and tossed it to Nixon. Morgan made the slightest move to resist, but stopped at the sight of scarlet drops against Emily's ivory skin.
Everything went black.
The man who had been wearing the Lincoln mask tossed his, and the other five latex masks into white van. They were parked in a forgotten section of land, hidden away off a highway in Virginia. JFK scooped Emily into his arms, and carried her to a camper hooked to a pick-up truck. She was bound with duct tape around her wrists and ankles, and across her mouth, and clothed only in her bra and underwear. She was still unconscious. They had several more hours yet.
Washington and Nixon moved Morgan, who was similarly bound, undressed, and unconscious, to the same camper. Washington climbed in with them, and accepted the sawed-off shot gun Nixon handed him-just in case. The camper wasn't huge, but big enough for two hostages and one mercenary with a shot gun. JFK and Nixon climbed into the front seats of the pick-up-an old, black Ford F150, and waved to Reagan and Lincoln, and headed off into the night.
Reagan was busy pouring gasoline over the van, carefully soaking each seat, and every surface that could potentially be used to lift a fingerprint. This included the masks, and their hostages clothing and shoes. Once finished, he tossed the red gas jug into the back of a second pick-up truck. He pulled a tiny matchbox from his pants' pocket, and struck one of the little wooden sticks along the edge. It flared brilliant orange in the rapidly growing darkness. He tossed it into the van, and he and Lincoln watched the white van erupt in flames.
Lincoln tossed two objects into van, and watched them disappear into the flickering orange and yellow.
Then they got the hell out of dodge.
They drove back into the city, to the rundown apartment they were renting, and got to work. Lincoln set the digital camera on the printer, and clicked through the printer, printing four different photos. Once they dried, he slid the photos into a manila envelope that had a printed label on it, and tucked a note inside. Reagan handled delivery, paying a kid twenty bucks to hand the envelope to a doorman.
It was addressed to Ambassador Elizabeth Prentiss.