Title: Bad Moon Rising
Fandom: Criminal Minds/Supernatural
Universe: Demon Days (Part 4)
Characters/Pairing: Emily Prentiss, others – Mentions of Dean Winchester/Emily Prentiss
Summary: Hell was something that was Emily Prentiss could not fully conceive until she actually ended up there.
Warnings: Warning in advance that this particular installment contains some graphic descriptions of Hell, and the kind of things that accompany an internment there. Both heaven and hell in this story are based upon what has been shown in the Supernatural universe so far, and are meant in no way to offend.
The home office screamed "politician."
The furnishings were extravagant, but not excessively so, and the photos that lined the walls described the life of someone who had made a very successful career out of foreign relations. Perhaps too successful.
Italy, Egypt, Afghanistan – only a few of the many countries in which Elizabeth Prentiss had been an Ambassador. Not the best environments for raising a child, but then, that career had come at the cost of a family. Elizabeth Prentiss had put her job above her daughter until it was far too late to do anything about it.
Now, she would never get the chance to apologize. A hand that was hers, and yet not hers tapped its fingers across the desk. Feet that she had no control over perched themselves on a pile of important documents.
'Come home.' The…creature that had somehow taken over her body spoke, and Elizabeth tried – so hard, to take control, to say instead, "Stay away," but she couldn't.
'I'm sorry, mom…I'll try to make it home at some point, but right now…I have things I need to do.' Elizabeth felt an overwhelming relief – she didn't know what this creature wanted with Emily, but she knew that it wasn't anything good.
'I'm sorry to hear that, Emily. I hope you'll reconsider. Have you spoken to your father lately?' The creature was taunting her, now, even if it didn't know it. It was the most Elizabeth had spoken to Emily in a long time – before "the incident." Elizabeth had provided the best legal team that money could afford, but she hadn't taken the time to speak more than two words to her daughter.
Now, at least, she could admit that she was afraid of what she was going to hear: "I cracked and killed my colleagues because I had a horrible childhood."
I'm so sorry, sweetheart.
'I love you Emily, remember that.'
'I love you too, mom.'
Elizabeth could have laughed. How long had it been since she'd heard those words? And all it took was a creature possessing her.
'Is she coming?' Peter asked, only it wasn't Peter – it looked like Peter, and it sounded like Peter, but he had dark black eyes, and a malicious streak that was absolutely nothing like the young man from Montana that had grown up on a farm.
'No,' the creature said, annoyed. 'But she will.' Peter smirked, and pulled the gun. Elizabeth couldn't stop her eyes from closing.
I'm sorry, Emily.
The bullets didn't hurt nearly as much as she'd imagined.
Now, somewhere in Hell
Hell was something that was Emily Prentiss could not fully conceive until she actually ended up there.
All her life, she'd heard the tales of fire and brimstone; she'd read the Divine Comedy, following the narrator through the nine circles of hell. Living in Rome, her exposure to the idea of sin and guilt and absolute damnation had been a little more intense than most, but even in her darkest days, even when she was so sure that hell was the place she was going to spend the rest of eternity, she couldn't conceive it.
The mind could only handle so much pain, so much anguish before it blanked out. Here, there was no escape, no reprieve, no recovery. Just an endless cycle of torture, and memories that she would rather forget. Realistically, she knew that their souls wouldn't be here – Dean had explained that to her thoroughly, in the hopes, she gathered, of assuaging her guilt. The team had died with clean souls. Matthew was another matter, but even through all his darkness, he had remained a good person at heart – Emily couldn't quite reconcile his presence either. In her mind, hell was for murderers and rapists and torturers. The figures that haunted her were from her own mind – more dangerous than any instrument of torture.
Time did not pass in the same way.
At least, that's what they told her. They, being the demons that came with their whips and their brands and their preternatural powers. They would hold the flame to her skin for hours on end (somehow it never seemed to scar) and then show that not even a fraction of a second had passed in the real world. She was sure that there were more efficient ways of causing pain for creatures such as those, but no doubt the psychological effects of actual torture devices were as effective as the devices themselves.
'You killed me,' an ethereal voice whispered, and Emily shied away, even though the voice was in her mind as much as it was in the air. There was no face to the voice, and no way she could determine who it actually belonged to, but that had long since stopped being the point of the exercise.
The outer ring of the seventh circle of hell, housing those violent against people and property. Immersed in Phlegethon, a river of boiling blood and fire. Alexander the Great. Attila the Hun.
There was no river of blood and fire, but the metaphor was still applicable. This was the place that held the worst of the worst. This was the place where Emily would be spending the rest of eternity.
Now, she could see why the fear of God worked so well. A world of paradise was a much more desirable alternative.
And all because she'd made a deal.
Several Days Ago (Relatively speaking), Washington D.C.
Emily kept her weapon leveled at the demon, and tried not to let her hand shake. Bullets had had absolutely no effect on the creature. 'I want to make a deal,' it said.
'Go to hell,' Emily shot back, not quite noticing the double meaning of the words until the demon laughed.
'You think I haven't heard that one before? Real original.' He stared down at the bullet wounds in his chest, as if only just noticing them. 'You think my host is going to appreciate waking up to a belly full of lead?'
'You're not leaving your vessel and we both know it.'
'So you'd kill an innocent man to kill a demon?'
Emily didn't answer the question straight away. She let her eyes dart back towards Dean, who was still unconscious. She needed him to be awake now. Emily didn't know how to deal with demons – not like this.
'Whatever needs to be done,' she said, even though she wasn't entirely sure she believed it.
'You feel guilty, don't you? I can understand that. After all, what makes your life so important that you survived when no-one else did?'
That was the question that Emily had been asking herself for way too long now. The team deserved to be alive, not her. She would have given up almost anything to see that happen. She frowned. 'You can bring them back?' she asked. 'In exchange for my soul?'
The demon laughed. 'It's a nice thought,' he said. 'But there's no five for one special. You're not worth enough for that.'
She knew she was being played, but the temptation was overwhelming. She couldn't make it right, but she could at least try. 'What am I worth?'
'One soul, tit for tat. You go down, they come back. It'll make you feel so much better about yourself. The only question is…who do you choose?'
If Emily Prentiss were fully logical – emotionally detached, like Spock, or Data – she might have made the smart choice. Once upon a time, she'd been a master of compartmentalization, but that had died along with the team.
Today, she chose with her heart.
Now, Somewhere in Hell
'Someone finally came through for you,' a voice said. Emily was in too much pain to be able to tell if it was something in her mind, or if it was another demon coming to taunt her. She couldn't even tell whose voice it was. 'Boss says you're going upstairs.'
Emily frowned, choking out a breath. Technically speaking, oxygen didn't matter in hell, but she breathed anyway. More than anything else – more than the pain, the nightmares, the voices in her head – more than any of that, breathing made her feel as though she was still human. 'What are you talking about?' she asked.
Upstairs – was he talking about the real world? Or…
'Heaven,' the demon supplied. 'I hope you don't get motion sick, because I hear it's a real wild ride.'
Before Emily could ask for clarification, she felt a rush of wind, like she was riding a rollercoaster whose top speed broke the sound barrier. She fell to her knees, hyperventilating.
Another time, she might have found the fact that she was hyperventilating in heaven kind of weird. After all, heaven was a place of peace and joy and tranquility that didn't seem to have any place on Earth.
'It's a little disconcerting at first,' a voice said, and Emily's heart would have stopped, if it had really been beating at all. She didn't dare look up. She didn't dare let herself see the betrayal on their faces.
'I just spent ten years in hell,' Emily said, eyes focused on a strikingly familiar carpet. 'Disconcerting probably isn't the word I'd be going for.' She felt a hand on her shoulder – a touch that she had only felt once before, but the strength, the stability, was not something that would easily be forgotten.
You can't ignore them forever, Emily.
Shakily, she stood, aware that the tears had already started falling.
'Emily.' Hotch's voice was calm – an anchor in the sea of overwhelming guilt and emotion. 'It wasn't your fault.'
'How can you know that?'
'Come on, princess.' Morgan gave her a sad grin. 'You really think being here is going to stop us from finding out what's going on?'
Emily frowned. The realization of where she was standing hit her like a brick. Whatever this place was, it looked exactly like the briefing room back at Quantico. She felt an ache of longing in her heart. If this was heaven, then maybe it wouldn't be such a terrible way to spend eternity.
She caught the look of worry on Reid's face, the frustration on JJ's…
And maybe it was just a little too good to be true. 'I can't stay here, can I?'
'Raphael is looking for you,' Morgan revealed. 'We think he wants to use you as leverage against the Winchesters.'
Emily raised an eyebrow. 'How the hell are you getting all of this?'
'There are as many people up here opposed to the prophetic view of the apocalypse as there are down on Earth,' Rossi said, and by his tone of voice, he could have been talking about a disorganized serial killer, rather than a fight between two angels.
'Tell Dean "Ash says hi,"' said a man with a mullet standing in the corner of the room – Emily could have sworn that he'd appeared out of nowhere. 'And that I'm still totally cool with the fact that he got me killed.'
Emily frowned. 'I can't tell Dean anything, when I'm here,' she said.
'That's why you're going back,' Morgan said matter-of-factly.
'Back to Earth,' Rossi clarified. 'You have to keep fighting.'
'I can't…I can't do that.' A sudden sob overwhelmed her, and she tried so damn hard to stop the flow of tears that was threatening to be released. 'I can't leave you behind again.'
'You've gotta go save the world,' Morgan said, clapping her back.
'We're a team,' Emily persisted. 'I can't just forget that.'
'Well how about this?' JJ said. 'How about you go back to keep an eye on Garcia, and to make sure that Henry and Jack have a safe place to grow up in. Can you do that?'
Emily stared at the ground. 'I guess.' She frowned. 'So how am I supposed to get back? This kinda strikes me as the place you can't just walk away from.'
'That's what I'm here for,' Ash grinned. He pulled out a piece of white chalk, and started scribbling something on the door. 'Shortcut to the gardens of paradise, where Joshua'll be waiting.'
'And how do you know Joshua will be so willing to send me back?'
'Because you aren't supposed to be here.'
Emily nodded. 'Okay,' she said. Then, she shook her head. 'I'm going to miss you guys.'
'You'll see us again,' Reid said, confident in his words. Emily found herself hugging the younger man. Their goodbyes seemed to take just as long as the conversation itself had.
'Give Garcia a hug for me,' from Morgan, was the last thing Emily heard before stepping through the door.
The garden was beautiful.
Impressive, for sure, but not the kind of thing she'd expected from paradise. The trees were lush, and green, and flowering. It was kind of peaceful. And familiar.
'The Polish Embassy gardens in Prague,' a voice commented. Emily rounded the corner to see a serene looking man, staring upwards at the sky. 'An interesting choice.'
'You see what your mind wants to see,' he said, and she wondered if he was psychic. He said nothing, but the look on his face said, "yes." 'For the record,' he continued. 'Making deals with demons is never a good idea. Even if your intentions were pure.'
Emily felt herself blush. Disappointing an angel didn't make her feel particularly pious.
'I'm not disappointed,' Joshua told her. 'I just think you should be more careful.'
He held up his hand, and Emily saw a flash of white light.
She sat up with a jerk, gasping for breath.
'Emily!' It was Dean's voice, and it didn't sound surprised. It sounded…relieved.
'Holy fuck,' she muttered. 'Holy fuck.'
'Are you okay?' He put a hand on her shoulder, and she gave him a look, as if to say what the hell do you think?
'A couple of days. How about you?'
'Ten years, give or take.'
Dean nodded. 'I tell you, Garcia's been out of her mind with worry.'
'And the deal?'
'You want to know if the demon held up his end of the bargain?'
'Well, after she heard about everything that happened, your mother is both worried, and super pissed that you sold your soul to bring her back to life. Dealing with demons is a really shitty way to work out your guilt.'
'I guess I found that out the hard way.' Emily swung her feet off the bed, and stood on solid ground for the first time in what seemed like an eternity. 'You were so sure I was coming back?'
Dean hesitated. 'Let's just say things have changed a little while you were gone.' Emily stared at him. That did not sound like the kind of news she wanted to hear.
Dean glanced to his left, and Emily became aware of a tall figure standing in the doorway. His hair was shaggy, to Dean's spiky, and the face was kind of different, but underneath it all, there was a kind of family resemblance borne in stubbornness and the darkness in their eyes. She was pretty sure she knew the answer, but she raised her eyebrows in question anyway.
'Emily, this is my brother – Sam.'
'Hi,' Emily said, which really, was all she felt like she could say. I thought you were in hell, was what she wanted to say, but didn't, because, considering what she'd just been through, escaping hell apparently wasn't the most impossible thing in the universe.
'So what do we do now?' she asked.
'Now?' said Dean. 'Now, we stop the apocalypse. Again.'