It's back! Infinitely sorry for the endless delays. Special shout out to lolyncut whose message kicked me back into gear. Thanks for all the reviews everyone, it's what in the end made me decide to keep going with this. Happy Monday! :)
He can't stop shaking.
As he hangs up the phone, he can feel the tremors coursing through him, the shivers running continually down his spine. He'd just spoken to a ghost. The ghost of Emily Prentiss.
He sighs and gets up from the bed, the perfectly made sheets a silent testament to the fact that he hasn't gotten any sleep in a while. It took him thirty minutes of cajoling and begging for Penelope to finally patch his call through to her. And once she had, he'd started to shake, all the tension and raw emotion suddenly freed to run amok throughout his body.
He's never thought about being a father. Ever. Kind uncle, doting godparent, for sure – but he, a dad – no way. He'd been a parent, in many ways, since his father had walked out the door and left him alone with a loving but schizophrenic mother. He isn't prepared for this, how could he be? Who was he to learn from, to find guidance in?
Unbidden, the images arrive in his mind. He is in the hospital again, and it looks exactly like the room in which Henry was born, down to the last bouquet of flowers and bunch of balloons. He is standing next to the bed, a smile spreading across his face in delighted shock as he gazes down at the bundle in his arms.
She smiles at him from the bed, and he realizes it wasn't Emily in real life, it was JJ, but he ignores the impossibility and gazes down at the infant in his arms, a warm body pressed tightly against his own. Rosy pink cheeks, soft downy hair, the baby looks nothing like him and everything like her...
He shakes his head in annoyance and irritation, and moves back to the bed. Seating himself, he buries his head in his hands, still as confused and as bewildered as he'd ever been. What were the odds for a situation like this? Given Emily's age, their single "encounter", the stress placed on her body – the whole situation was a statistical fluke. Not to mention the fact that she'd clearly decided to keep the baby, in the middle of a desperate battle for her life. What could have made her choose that was beyond him entirely...
Well, not entirely. He more than most knows what it was and is like to feel alone, to crave physical and emotional interaction yet always reject it. He knows what it is like to feel like the only person in the world.
A knock at the door interrupts his thoughts, and he reluctantly rises to his feet once more to answer it. He'd left rather abruptly after their meeting the night before, once they'd established a working game plan and had decided to wait for further updates from Penelope before proceeding further. The analyst had convinced them to wait until the morning so that she could try and convince Emily to come to them. Hotch had agreed to give her eight hours, and then after that they'd have to resume operations with or without Emily's help.
Everyone had been fairly shocked when the pieces had come together: that the pregnant woman accused of murder in northern Montana was none other than their former teammate. He'd heard Rossi whisper under his breath to Morgan about Emily's obvious condition, and Reid knew for a fact that Garcia was equally – if not more – curious about the whole situation. He'd only sat there, nodding his head occasionally when asking for his opinion, and elaborating further only when prompted by Hotch or Morgan. He'd left just past midnight, feigning fatigue and telling them he'd see them in the morning. As he'd left, he saw the doubt in their eyes, the confusion at his current state, but they hadn't pressed the matter.
Sliding the lock on the door out of the way, he opens it up and blinks against the already bright light of a beautiful Montana morning. He refocuses his vision and finds that the figure before him is Morgan.
"I'm awake," Reid mutters, before turning and heading back into his hotel room.
Morgan follows, not waiting for a formal invitation. "You seemed... off last night, Reid. Want to explain what's going on?"
Reid shrugs, and sits back down in the same spot he's occupied off and on for the past few hours. "I'm fine," he says, though even he can recognize the insincerity in his voice.
Morgan crosses the length of the room and grabs the one freestanding chair in the corner. He turns it to face Reid, and sits down, a look of concern spreading across his features. "Is it about Emily?"
The young doctor almost flinches at the mention of her name. He doesn't answer, afraid of what his voice might unintentionally betray.
Morgan sighs and tries to meet the eyes of his friend. "Look, we are just as worried and concerned for her as you are, believe me. I was before any of this happened, and now it's just amplified. "He rubs a hand over his head and sighs. "Look, I was floored by this whole pregnancy thing too. First Doyle, and now what, a baby? This doesn't make any sense, man, I'm just as lost as you, but we've got to pull it together and work as a team to get our girl back."
Reid can't – won't – meet his friend's eyes, still staring down at the ground. A long moment passes before he answers, and even then, he doesn't turn to face the other agent.
"Maybe she doesn't want us here." Maybe she doesn't want me here...
Morgan gets up from the chair and sits down next to the younger agent. "Look, Reid, she called Penelope. She wants us here. She wants our help. I'm sure she tried everything she thought she could do to protect us, but we are here now and I'm glad for that. I'm still not sure what this whole new stuff is all about, but we've found our way through way more complicated problems than this. Trust me, kid."
Reid knows that his friend is only trying to cheer him up, to motivate him to get back into the game and to restore his confidence once more. But all Reid can think about is the grainy VHS image, the face that was so familiar, the unfamiliar shape of her body as she moved across the screen. That was her baby in there. His baby.
And he was just going to have to come to terms with that.
Abruptly, he stands, throwing Morgan off balance and forcing the other man to throw out a hand to steady himself on the mattress. The younger agent looks down at his teammate. "Coffee?" he says, before striding towards the door.
"Uh, sure," Morgan answers, not entirely sure what just happened. But he follows the younger agent anyways, hoping against hope that for the first time in the last twelve hours the doctor's mind was finally in the right place.