Author's notes are at the end.
This wasn't what she wanted.
The hotel room was dark and soundless, the drapes drawn against the light and windows closed, blocking out the noise of the street below. She wasn't in the mood for the bright Spanish sun, or the post-siesta gaggle of voices. This was only a pit-stop for her anyway; when the sun finally died, she'd venture outside and collect what she needed to move on. For two days in Barcelona, she was Catherine Walker, a British citizen on vacation. One who rarely ventured from her hotel room.
When she left she'd have a knew name, a new identity, a new life.
Two days before arriving in Spain, she'd been Cosette Lejeune, a Belgian citizen, one of the IDs JJ have given her. Cosette had flown to Poland, supposedly visiting an old friend, and spent two days in Poland doing much of what Catherine was doing in Spain. She found a forger and got the passport and documentation for Catherine. Last night, Catherine had found another forger, who would create the papers for her new identity.
This one she would keep. As long as her name and the names of the aliases JJ have given her were in a record with the CIA, DOD or whoever else might have generated them, Doyle could torture or buy the information off someone. But, ff Doyle or one of his people located her now, after all this, then she'd welcome his bullet with open arms.
Emily Prentiss was already dead anyway.
As it stood now, she could never go home. Never see her family again. Never see Serge again. The poor cat, she hadn't even had him that long. She hoped one of the team had adopted him. Reid could use a pet, and he seemed much more a cat person than a dog person. Or Garcia, she liked all things fuzzy and cute, and oddly, didn't have a pet of her own. Or maybe, Hotch would want to give Jack his first pet; Serge was very affectionate, he'd do well with a child. Rossi and Morgan both had dogs, so that probably wasn't an option.
She hated lying to them, letting them believe she was dead, leaving them to mourn her. But, she hadn't been coherent when that decision was made for her. No, the woman that used to be Emily Prentiss was still unconscious, barely alive after intense abdominal surgery. She didn't even know a decision was being made on her behalf, and still didn't know who'd made it. Except that it probably involved high-ranking people in the CIA, DOD and one former FBI agent turned DOD media liaison.
All she felt was pain as she blinked her eyes open into bright hospital lights. That meant she was alive, at least. Pain radiated from her abdomen, and underneath that her whole body ached. Emily struggled to focus her eyes, to look around the room, and it pulled on her stitches and the burn on her chest and she winced. Shouldn't they be pumping her full of morphine?
Then she saw figures in the room, though not the ones she was expecting. A doctor was standing by the door, glaring toward the men on his right. Four of them, all in dark suits, with light collared shirts and dark ties. They stood calmly and watched her come to, their expressions blank, lacking any trace of emotion.
"Ma'am," one of them greeted her.
Her mouth opened and she breathed in, a nurse came up to the side of the bed, and gave her water to sip. "I'm alive," she said.
He stepped forward. "No, ma'am."
"What?" What the hell did that mean? Had she just fallen into a Hitchcock thriller?
He ignored her question. "We need you to tell us about Ian Doyle. What did you discuss in your time with him?"
They ignored her sarcasm and another stepped forward. "Why didn't Doyle shoot you outright?"
"I stalled him." She winced, speaking made her stomach move, and pain shot through her.
"Did you catch him?"
"No, Doyle is still on the loose." He said.
"He's going to look for his son."
"Declan is dead," the first one said.
"No, I faked his death seven years ago. I hid him." She bit her lip against the pain, and whimpered.
"Where did you hide him?"
"Where did you hide Doyle's son?" the other one tried again.
"No, I won't tell anyone."
"Did you kill Declan?" The first one asked.
"No, I already said-"
"Did you kill Doyle's son?" One of the two who hadn't moved stepped forward.
"Is the boy dead?" The fourth one asked.
"Damn it, no," she hissed. She whimpered again, shifting against the pain. They were trying to confuse and overwhelm her, force honesty out of her. Unfortunately for them, she was already being honest.
The questioning continued a while longer, the four men-CIA agents, she was pretty sure-asking her the same questions over and over in different forms, then moving on, only to come back to the same topic later and hammer it further. She had to remind them that a beating and branding didn't get her to reveal Declan's location, they weren't going to get her to give it up.
It was when she was sweating and struggling through the pain that the doctor finally stepped in. "That's enough, she's still recovering. Give her the morphine," he directed the nurse.
Almost at once, three of the CIA agents turned on their heels, and headed to the door, calmly walking out one by one. The third one came toward her, and leaned close. He had dark hair and hazel eyes, his expression hadn't changed the entire time he was in her room. He spoke softly, but firmly.
"Emily Prentiss died on March 7, 2011. The funeral will be held at Arlington in two days, I'm sure it will be a beautiful service."
Then he turned, and walked out the door, leaving Emily floating in shock and a morphine induced haze. The nurse offered her a supportive smile, and hand pat, neither of which meant much to her. It was only seconds before the morphine knocked her out.
She hadn't needed anymore information though, those two simple sentences told her that everyone she loved believed she was dead. That sucked.
Doyle would also believe she was dead. That was a small consolation.
She hadn't tried to contact anyone in the two weeks she was at the hospital. The first week she was barely conscious thanks to the painkillers, and the second surgery to fix a spontaneous bleed. She should probably be grateful it only took two surgeries to fix the damage from a wooden stake.
Eventually, she realized that she was in a military hospital, which wasn't a surprise. It would be easier to secure her room in a military hospital, not to mention keep it all secret. She didn't leave her room at all those two weeks, and didn't see a single visitor, baring the nurse and doctor who handled her care. But, Emily didn't ask questions. She knew the CIA, how they operated, and that she had no control over the situation until they willing handed it over. The damage was done anyway, her family believed she was dead.
They came again literally in the middle of the night, on the last day of the second week.
She came awake to find the nurse standing beside her, gently shaking her shoulder. Emily inhaled and brought herself completely awake, noting the darkness of the room. The nurse nodded toward the doorway, and Emily looked over. Two men in black suits were darkening her doorway, and she greeted them only with a tired sigh. She pressed the button to raise herself into a sitting position, and demanded, "What?"
"Time to go," one said. They didn't give names, and she didn't see the point in asking.
The nurse gestured her to a wheelchair, and held up a bag of clothing that looked surprising like her go-bag. Emily nodded, and with the nurses help, slid out of bed, and got to the bathroom. The nurse dropped the bag, and left her to dress herself.
It was not her go-bag.
The clothes were all new, but all her size. The shoes included. She carefully dressed herself in real clothes for the first time in two weeks, and then explored the rest of the bag. It held extra clothes, toiletries, prescription bottles and care instructions, two novels, and to her complete surprise, a 4x6 of the team. It was stuck into one of the books, and the sight of their faces made her eyes sting with tears. She looked at the book it had been in, a paperback thriller as far as she could tell. She glanced at the back blurb, and suddenly froze. The protagonist's name was Jamie Jones.
Emily dug through the rest of the bag, looking for a letter, something to tell her what the hell was going on, or just traces of the rest of the team. There was nothing though. No letter, no bright-haired trolls or colorful blinking doodads, no Vonnegut books or Italian recipes, no Statistical Analysis of whatever, nothing to hint at anyone elses hands in the bag-packing. Just JJ. So, JJ knew she was alive, but no one else did?
She resisted the urge to analyze, to question, and simply repacked the bag, carefully tucking the photo back into the novel about Jamie Jones. Emily opened the bathroom door, and one of the suits took the duffel bag, while the nurse helped her into the wheelchair. When they got to the door, the other agent helped her out of the chair, and wrapped her in a hooded coat.
There was a car waiting in the back lot of the hospital. The lights came on and the car started almost instantly. It was raining. They ushered her to the dark sedan, maneuvering her into the back seat and sliding in on either side of her. She'd done this with a couple witnesses in her CIA days, and she wondered if she wore the same look of exhausted terror on her face they all had.
They drove for about forty-five minutes, and she had no idea what time it was, only that it was late at night. Dark and rainy didn't provide much information. She couldn't tell if the airport was civilian or military, as the sedan drove straight to the hangar, and they ushered her from the car to a private, unmarked jet. One of them helped her up the stairs, her bag over his shoulder, and passed her to another man in a dark suit. He guided her to a seat, while his partner closed the entrance.
She was in a lot of pain.
They didn't attempt to make conversation, and she was grateful for that. Emily swallowed a couple painkillers, and curled up on a sofa. She woke up sometime later with a blanket covering her, and one of the agents telling her to buckle up, they were about the land. Somehow, it was still dark out, and that rankled her. But she ignored it, and dutifully followed her keepers to another nondescript dark sedan, except this one had French license plates.
They took her to a hotel in a city that was unfamiliar to her, and escorted her to a room, where more men in suits waited, and to her surprise, two women as well. There ensued the longest debriefing of her life. It was a suite, so they were able to question her for twelve hours, send her to bed, and resume questioning for another twelve hours after she'd slept.
It had to be about a week before they finally gave up asking her where she hid Declan. She wasn't about to let them use an innocent child as bait to catch his father, which is exactly what they wanted to do. They didn't have to say it, Emily had the experience to know they could be just as ruthless as the criminal they sought. CIA or whoever, they were all the same.
They'd taken her to Paris after that, where she spent the next six weeks hiding in a hotel room. It was too dangerous to wander the streets of Paris; Ian had many contacts, and France had been one of his favorite places. It kind of made her wonder why they'd put her in Paris. But then being former CIA, she knew better to question their decisions. Maybe it had been a hiding in plain sight sort of thing.
It wasn't a bad six weeks all in all. She'd spent a good portion of it in bed, popping pain killers and sleeping more than she had in the last ten years. She read about Jamie Jones, who turned out to be a naive young reporter with expensive taste in shoes and absolutely no sense in romance or her professional life. The other book was more her style, a crime thriller set in a futuristic dystopia. And, she sat out on the balcony, slowly reacquainting her stomach with real food.
That was the thing about having a stake shoved in your stomach; you had to be very careful what you ate until it healed. French food certainly wasn't the easiest cuisine to digest, and once again she had to wonder, why Paris? But, still she didn't question any of it, there was no point. After a month, yet another man in the ubiquitous dark suit had stopped by and given her an envelope of money. No message. She didn't need one. Get some clothes and things together, you're being moved soon. It was that simple.
It was two weeks after that, that a voice on the telephone told her a familiar face would find her at such and such a cafe at such and such a time.
She read a newspaper and carefully sipped black coffee. There was really nothing quite like French coffee, or Italian for that matter. It was different than American, the rich flavors and bold smells were satisfying in way American coffee never managed. Here it was brewed like it was an art form, they took time and put love into it, while in America, coffee was such a way of life, no one had the time to make it an art. People need their caffeine to survive the Indy 500 paced days.
It made her think of the BAU, of the late nights and early mornings and all the coffee they consumed to keep running long enough to find the unsub. It was always uniquely disgusting coffee, but when she'd been woken up at 2:45, flown two hours, spent all day running around a town she'd never been before, and finally at midnight had a moment to sit, the coffee could taste like horse piss and she'd still guzzle it down like it was ambrosia.
She remembered once when she and Morgan had gotten lost at least a dozen times in one 18 hour period driving around a heavily sprawled farm town before finally finishing their interviews and making it back to the police station. The coffee was lukewarm, burnt to sludge, and had oil swirling around the surface, but damn, if that wasn't the best cup of coffee she'd ever had in her life. Morgan had look equally as pleased with his cup.
Emily glanced at the Eiffel Tower, a structure she'd seen several times in her life. Ian had taken her to Paris for a vacation once, and they'd strolled in the moonlight, like any other deeply in love couple. Except that Interpol was constantly following them around. It was in front of the Eiffel Tower that he'd stopped and pressed a passionate, breath-steeling kiss to her lips, and casually asked her feelings on marriage. She'd quickly explained that she was not the marrying kind.
Lauren wasn't the marrying kind. Emily was never quite sure what kind she was.
They'd gone back to the villa, and she'd given Declan a little model of the tower. He'd been so excited by the small gift, and insisted on dragging her outside to play. But, that was a long time ago. He would be 12 now, just noticing girls and trying to figure out what kind of person he wanted to be. Weapons dealer and terrorist weren't on an option now, and for that, this moment was worth it.
She let a breath escape her lips, and turned back to the table, just in time to see a familiar face approaching. She had her hair pulled into a bun, and a scarf loose around her neck. JJ looked tired and older than the last time Emily had seen her, but more disturbing she looked like she fit into this world. Not Paris, but the cloak and dagger CIA BS Emily had grown exhausted of during her tenure in the Company.
Always keeping secrets and hiding in shadows rots a person's soul; she didn't want to see that happen to JJ.
She slid in across from Emily, reached into her large purse, and drew out a thick envelope. "Passports for three different countries, and bank accounts in each to keep you comfortable," she said, sliding it across the table. "Good luck."
"Thank you," Emily said, and began to rise from the chair.
She desperately wanted to stay, to hug her friend, to talk, to have a connection to someone, because men in suits didn't really fulfill that need. But, she walked away instead. Calmly without a hint of the turmoil in her gut, she walked down the street away from part of a family she'd probably never see again.
It had been wonderful to see JJ. It had also been akin to torture.
She didn't want this, she never had.
They'd given her a taste of a home she hadn't seen in a month and a half, before she would leave it behind forever. She desperately missed them. Reid's incessant babbling and never-ending supply of statistics, Garcia's constant excitement and happiness, the rarity of one of Hotch's smiles, Rossi's little amused smirk, JJ's warmth, and Morgan's brilliant smile as he teased and flirted with her.
And, what would her life be now? Constant solitude. Intense paranoia. Permanent homesickness. That hadn't been a problem as a kid, being that she'd never really had a place that was home, but she'd made one in DC with the team, and now that was gone forever. And sure, she could try to move on, embrace her knew life, but how well would that work? A boyfriend would eventually press her about the grotesque clover and the scar on her stomach. A friend would want to know why she always looked over her shoulder, and never relaxed. A child was a liability she couldn't afford.
When it came down to it, all those wonderful people she could meet, even if they didn't ask too many questions, they would never really know her. Any relationships she built now, would be built on lies.
Emily knew all this, had known it when she went after Doyle, and had known it when Doyle ran off and escaped the team. She'd known what would happen if she lived when Morgan found her bleeding out in the warehouse, and begged her to hold on. So she begged him back.
Let me go.
Now, she stole into the late evening in Barcelona to meet a forger and collect her new identity. The smells of spicy street food bit her nose, and the hot air tickled her skin. It was a beautiful city, and now that work was finally done, people were pouring into the streets to enjoy the nightlife. Emily blended in, moving carefully among the crowd, following a throng into the areas that tourists never made it too. These were less crowded and not terribly well lit, but she been here last night around the same time, and she wasn't afraid of any mugger.
She ducked into a cluttered pawn shop, and headed straight for the back of the shop. She passed one other patron who was studying a selection of necklaces like they were a brainteaser. In the far back, behind the replicas of oil paintings and old furniture, she found Amato, a man in his late sixties who still had the eyesight and fine motor skills of a man in his twenties. He smiled when he saw her, and reached into his workstation, pulling out a paper bag. From the paper bag he pulled a passport and driver's license.
She traced the bright red cover of the passport, fingers running over the small white cross, before flipping it open and studying her own face beside a completely foreign name.
Lara Moix, a Swiss national with an address she'd never been two, and the appropriate stamps to suggest she'd been a few places over the years, Spain the most recent, and was heading home. The driver's license was similarly authentic-looking, both good enough to fool whomever they needed to. She smiled at Amato, and handed him a small stack of bills, before stowing the documents and quickly exiting the store.
Emily would run, and she would hide, and she would live. As long as she was alive, there was hope she could one day go home. Yet, she didn't want this life.
Catherine Walker grabbed her suitcase, and checked out of her Barcelona hotel room.
Lara Moix boarded a train bound for Switzerland. Bound for her home.
Emily Prentiss was dead.
I know this story is rather dark and probably kind of hopeless, but I plan on doing post-eps with each of the team members, and eventually doing a case-fic multi-chap where I get to bring Prentiss back home. So, not so miserable, right?
And, I realized as I was editing this, I used a style here that I had previously used on an original work, the flashbacks offset in italics, though they were shorter in the original work. That in mind, I'd really appreciate any thoughts anyone has regarding that, if you liked it, if it was confusing, anything at all.
Thanks for reading, and please review!