This was written for the Lost Child of Gallifrey as part of the gift exchange for the Valentine's Day Challenge on Chit Chat on Author's Corner. And it's two days late... I'm sorry! But the turns the show, the story lines and the characters have taken just makes writing a bit harder for me.
My pairing: Morgan/Prentiss - My song: Lucy by Skillet - My three items: cookies, flowers, stuffed animals - This has spoilers for up to episode 6x16. The only thing taken into consideration from 6x17 is the conversation between Morgan and Prentiss in the car. I think both of them deserve to properly say goodbye to each other.
PS: I once promised myself three things regarding my writing for Criminal Minds: I would never be too late for a challenge, I would never write a story that takes JJ's departure into account and I would keep my hands off the current story line for Emily. Just because I love her too much. With this story, I'm breaking two of those three promises. And I'm not happy about it.
Disclaimer: I own nothing even remotely related to CM.
That's how long Emily was currently giving herself to wrap up her life in DC and disappear to God knows where. All she knew for sure at this moment was that she needed to leave. If she didn't her life wouldn't be the only one on the line.
There was no sound in her small appartment apart from the occasional clanking of hangers that she had ripped clothes from before mindlessly throwing them into the duffel bag that was sitting on her bed.
The quietness had been disturbing for her at first so she had tried some music to get rid of the eerie silence. But as soon as Skillet's 'Lucy' had started playing and the lyrics had hit her brain she had given up and shut it off. There was no use in painting her thoughts any darker than they already were.
And a healthy dose of hypervigilance certainly couldn't hurt.
That's probably what eventually caused her to wince quite a bit at the knock on her front door.
It was night time. She wasn't expecting anyone. But she'd only planned on staying for half an hour so she hadn't seen the sense in pushing her single piece of hallway furniture in front of the door. Balancing the vase at the edge of it would probably have already taken up too much time.
But then again... A serial killer out for revenge most definitely wouldn't knock to announce his arrival.
"Morgan... What are you doing here?"
"What? You mean I can't come by on Valentine's Day to bring a beautiful woman some beautiful flowers?"
"Oh no, you can!" Although you really shouldn't be here... Because I can't even muster up a smile to show you that I really do appreciate them...
Derek hesitantly gestured to the hall behind her. "Can I come in?"
Emily slowly stepped aside as Derek passed her and walked into the appartment. He spun around in the living room and came to face her again.
"This is nice. Now I know why you didn't want our help moving in though. There's like nothing in here."
She approached him with her hands in her back pockets and an apprehensive look on her face.
"Yeah, I know. I don't have much personal stuff." She nodded as if to reassure herself of her own words. She didn't have a lot of personal things. Whatever mattered to her was mostly stuffed away in boxes in the back of her closet. But he didn't need to know that the real reason behind the bare walls and shelves was her desire to get out of this place as soon as she had the chance.
"So. What are you really doing here?"
He smiled as he pointed the bouquet of tulips towards her. "I told you, I came bearing flowers. It's what you do on Valentine's Day. You show the people around you how much you appreciate them. Some bake cookies, others give a stuffed animal. But I always thought those were too corny. So I went with flowers."
His smile was still in place and only faded slightly while he waited for her to accept his gift. Instead, he watched her biting her lower lip while she seemed to contemplate things in her head.
"Em, do you-"
"Thank you for the flowers, Morgan. They're pretty." With that she rushed forward to grab the bouquet from him and hasted towards the kitchen. While she waited for the vase to fill up with water in the sink with her hands in a firm grip on the kitchen counter she could hear Derek quietly coming up behind her.
"What is it that you're not telling me, Em?"
"What do you mean?"
"Come on, I'm pretty sure you don't need me to spell it out for you."
She shut off the faucet and turned around to him, still not facing him though, and began to pick her nails. Her default reaction to every situation and emotion that had come up in the last couple of weeks.
"I saw a packed bag when I walked by your bedroom a few seconds ago. Are you going on a trip?"
"Yeah," Emily replied with a deep sigh as her eyes finally found his. "Look, there's some personal business that I have to take care of. It's my-"
"Is it your mother? Is she asking you to go on a trip with her?"
"Hmm..." Would he really believe her? Just like this? It was worth a try. She had never liked telling lies, but if she was honest with herself that's all she had been doing for the last few weeks. It wasn't fair, but what the hell. The end justifies the means. "Yes. That's what I'm doing, I'm going on a trip with my mother. She asked me to accompany her to Italy and I agreed. Even though reluctantly so. You know how she is..." she chuckled slightly.
"I guess I shouldn't have brought you flowers then. Seeing that you're leaving I mean."
He eyed her cautiously as he could practically hear the wheels turning in her head. But then he saw sincerety invading her gaze.
"No! No... They're actually very sweet, thank you... A lot like you actually..."
This time she straightened her back and held his gaze. She watched as he folded his arms across his chest and leaned against the door frame. He was listening.
"Derek, you told me that no matter how bad things are I could trust you. I trust you with my own life and the lives of the rest of us. So I know that you will keep them safe."
"No, let me finish. While I still have the chance."
"Emily, what is this about?"
"You're a good guy, remember? How you make the people around you feel good? And that's what you've always done for me. You've made me feel welcome from the beginning and I'm forever thankful for that. You've always had my back and I always knew without a doubt that I could rely on you. You've never disappointed me or hurt me or let me down. Ever. You've never made me feel bad. I've always felt like you were looking out for me. And even if only for once I felt like you weren't... you still always ended up being my hero."
Their gazes were still locked and she could clearly see that he was trying to make sense of her words. She must have sounded crazy. Completely out of her mind.
Wow, this was just so ridiculous...
"Why are you telling me this?"
She could have given him a number of reasons. If she was honest with herself she just now realized that she should have told him sooner. But she was never quite the person that wore her heart on her sleeve. And now that everything she held dear was on the line she realized that maybe she should have voiced her thoughts a bit more often over the last years.
But she couldn't tell him all that.
So she went with the easy way.
"Well, it's what you do on Valentine's Day, right? You show the people around you how much you appreciate them."
With that she turned back around to take the vase out of the sink and sunk the flowers into the water.
She felt genuinely bad for leaving them in the solitude and emptiness that would inhabit her appartment from now on.
But it had to be done.
"Right..." Derek slowly stood upright again and cleared his throat. "Well, I guess I'll let you head out then. Have fun in... where did you say you were going again?"
"Sure... I guess I will leave you it."
"Thank you. And thank you again for the flowers. I appreciate them." She moved towards him, the flowers abandoned on the kitchen counter for now. "Really."
They stood across from each other and both of them knew. Derek was well aware of the fact that she wasn't telling the truth. Emily realized that he could see right through her lie and probably all the other ones she'd dropped here and there for the better part of the last month.
And yet neither of them commented on it. Because they trusted each other from the bottom of their hearts.
They shared a hug that, if Derek wasn't imagining things, lasted just a bit longer than he thought was usual for the two of them. When they parted there was understanding in both of their eyes.
And although both of them knew that their actions weren't exactly what they should have been they didn't know how else to react.
So Derek left and Emily locked the door behind him.
When she turned around she glanced once again at the tulips in the kitchen. Her heart broke for a moment and she briefly considered unpacking.
But it needed to be done.
Knowing Derek Morgan he would probably sit outside in his car for the next thirty to fourty minutes, watch her building and convince himself that she was a big girl and able to look after herself.
That just meant that she had to kill more time pacing her living room and checking the contents of her bag a couple of more times.
Because she would be leaving tonight. For more than just a trip with her mother.
And Derek couldn't know.
Thank you for reading! I hope you liked it :)