Fandom: Criminal Minds
Characters/Pairing: Prentiss-centric - gen
Summary: In the clutches of Ian Doyle, Emily dwells on her past. Meanwhile, the team are forced to dig deep into their colleague's secrets in order to find her.
It was just Emily's luck that there was nothing good on TV.
She'd checked herself out of hospital and braved an excruciating, painkiller-free cab ride to the hotel only to discover that their cable package sucked. Her body wanted to sleep, but her mind wasn't having any of it.
The next yawn, when it came, was a big one, and Emily's eyes fluttered shut for a few seconds before she jerked back to reality, the movement jarring at her knee.
So she mindlessly flipped through the channels. It was uncomfortably similar to what she'd done at the hospital, only the bed was a lot nicer, and she didn't have to deal with nurses poking and prodding every half hour.
The one good thing, though, was that the food options were a damn sight better. She read through the room service menu quickly, not so much caring what she ate, as long as it wasn't strawberry flavored Jell-O.
She grabbed the phone by the bed, and went to dial. She was asleep before she even made it to the second number.
By the time they landed, Garcia already had a hotel name for them. Morgan was a little surprised – he had thought that Emily would have tried harder to hide from them.
'She booked in with her own credit card, mon cher,' Garcia told him, apparently guessing his thoughts. 'She's not trying to hide at all.'
'Unless it's a false trail,' he countered.
'Why are you so eager to believe that she betrayed us?' Garcia snapped, and there was an awkward silence. Penelope Garcia rarely snapped, least of all at Morgan. He softened slightly.
'I'm sorry, baby girl, I just…I need to know why she lied to us.'
'So do I, but that doesn't mean we have to write her off as evil incarnate – she deserves better than that.'
'Alright,' he promised her, and he meant it. Maybe he was overreacting. Maybe he just wanted to feel angry about the whole situation. 'We'll call you back when we've found her,' he said, reassuringly.
The drive to the hotel took longer than he liked. Each minute they spent in the car was another minute where something else could have gone wrong.
When they got to the hotel, Hotch badged his way through to the reception desk. They were getting stares from the rest of the hotel guests. 'Can I help you?' the concierge asked, nose more than a little upturned at their presence.
'SSA Hotchner, with the Behavioral Analysis Unit. I need to ask you some questions regarding a woman that booked into your hotel today,' Hotch said authoritatively.
'Agent Hotchner, I would be happy to help,' the concierge continued, in a voice that suggested he was absolutely not happy to help, and, more to the point, wanted the FBI out of the hotel as quickly as possible. 'But I don't have contact with every guest that comes through here, and even if I did, there's no way I would remember all of them.'
'She would have been on crutches,' Morgan provided. 'And probably pretty stubborn, too. Her name is Emily Prentiss.'
'Ah,' the other man said with realization. 'Of course. Miss Prentiss was quite insistent on getting a room immediately.'
'What room?' Rossi interjected.
'I'm afraid I can't—'
'How quickly do you want us out of your foyer?' Morgan asked.
The concierge glared at him. 'Just let me check…Ms. Prentiss is booked into a room on the eighth floor – Room 806. Would you like me to call up for you?'
'No,' Morgan said, while Hotch said, 'Yes,' simultaneously.
'Call up,' Hotch reiterated. The concierge did so, treating them all to half-nervous, half-suspicious looks.
'The phone is off the hook,' he explained. 'But I can give you a keycard.'
And that was how the BAU team found themselves squeezed into an elevator. A man in a business suit was about to follow them on, before quickly deciding against it.
The ride up was silent.
An awkward silence that didn't usually accompany their work. Over the years they'd learned to become comfortable with one another, and it almost seemed as though all of that had disappeared.
Room 806 was just down the hallway from the elevator. Morgan led the way, hoping like hell that he wasn't going to find something ugly inside. He had seen up close what Ian Doyle had done, and even amongst the feelings of betrayal, there was a fear that something similar might have happened again.
He knocked on the door.
'Emily?' he called out.
Cautiously, he pulled out his gun.
'Just in case,' he said, taking the keycard and inserting it into the slot.
The door swung open.
Emily jumped awake at the sound of the door opening. Heart beating like a jackhammer, she grabbed at the most weapon-like thing within arm's reach, which happened to be the lamp on the nightstand.
She saw Morgan almost instantly, but it took several seconds for her brain to catch up. His gun was out, and she froze, fingers gripping the base of her weapon tightly.
'Emily,' he said, in what sounded like his attempts at being reassuring. 'It's alright – I'm putting the gun away.'
It took another few moments for the adrenaline to die down, and for Emily to reassure herself that she didn't need to give Morgan a concussion with a table lamp. He wasn't alone, she noticed, then – Reid and Hotch were both behind him as he stepped into the room, followed by Rossi, who wasn't even supposed to be on active duty. Seaver hesitated by the door, before pulling it shut behind her.
'What the hell are you doing?' she said, not looking at any of them in particular, but it probably didn't take a profiler to figure out that her words were directed at Morgan.
'You weren't answering the door, and the phone was off the hook – we…I thought that you might have been in trouble.'
'I was asleep,' she told him, exasperated.
'You could have slept at the hospital.'
Emily gave him a look. 'Seriously, Morgan? I've been in hospital for two weeks. Don't tell me that you wouldn't do exactly the same thing.'
He didn't answer – not because there wasn't some acidic retort on his lips, but because Hotch chose that moment to intervene, and it was a good thing, too. Emily didn't want to make the Bureau reimburse the hotel for the table lamp she was about to throw.
'Is everything okay?' Hotch asked, his voice calm. He was using the voice that he used with victims. Another day, Emily might have given him crap for it, but today, she could understand it.
'I'm fine,' she said shortly. 'I just…I couldn't stay there any longer, Hotch. It felt like the walls were closing in on me.'
'You know that you could have stayed with any one of us, right?' Rossi asked. Emily gave him a look. For one thing, she didn't want to intrude, but more importantly, she didn't want to deal with the awkward silences that would no doubt follow. "Gee, Emily, you used to work with Interpol and there was a psychopathic terrorist that wanted to kill you. Think maybe you should have told us?"
Yeah. There's no way that would have ended badly.
'I'm staying here,' she told them matter-of-factly. 'If nothing else, it'll let me clear my head.'
'Please don't argue with me on this Morgan,' Emily sighed. 'I get that you're angry, or worried, or all of the above, but we all know that I can't just go back to the way things were…and I need some time to figure out just what that means.'
'What can we do?' Rossi asked. 'Pack a bag? Get some DVDs?'
'Yeah, I need to catch up on My Little Pony,' Emily said, her voice deadpan. Rossi looked confused for half a second, before realizing that it was, in fact, a joke. 'You really don't have to go to all that trouble.'
'Put it this way,' Hotch said. 'Do you really want to be trying to get back to your apartment by cab while you're still on crutches?'
'No,' Emily admitted. 'And I guess…it would be good to have some of my stuff here.' She paused. 'I don't know where my keys are. I think Garcia has a spare.'
'Morgan, Reid.' Hotch looked towards the two agents. 'Take Seaver with you.' Morgan almost looked as though he was about to argue, because it was abundantly clear that Hotch's main motivation was to get Morgan out of the way.
Morgan gave a quick look towards her, before leaving. Reid gave an awkward smile and a half wave and Seaver, who looked more confused than ever, said a hurried, 'Bye.'
'Are you sure you don't want to talk about this, kiddo?' Rossi asked, as soon as the door had clicked shut. Emily gave him a look at the use of epithet.
'All anyone's wanted to do over the last two weeks is talk,' Emily said bluntly. 'There isn't exactly much to say. I went undercover, I got too deep, and I paid for it. End of story.'
Emily looked towards Hotch to support, but from the look on his face, he wasn't going to intervene. As much as they needed to know, she didn't exactly want to tell them.
'Maybe…his feelings for me weren't exactly unreciprocated.'
'You loved him.' Hotch said, more a statement than a question.
'Love is a very strong word. To keep the cover alive, I had to…love parts of him.'
There was a short silence. Maybe it wasn't awkward really, but in Emily's mind it sounded that way.
'You'll have to talk to the Bureau psychologist before you come back to work,' Hotch told her. It wasn't a subject that had been broached, and yet she knew that it had been coming.
'I know, Hotch, I get it. You need to make sure that I'm not going to have a complete mental breakdown in the middle of a case and run naked through a police station.'
'We wouldn't put it that way,' Rossi said, the beginnings of a smirk on his face. 'I'd like to think we'd notice something before it got to that point.'
For a moment, Emily considered pointing out that they hadn't done anything about her behavior over the last few weeks, but she changed her mind.
After all, none of this was their fault.