A couple notes. I'm obviously not trained in behavioral profiling, so I did the best I could with this first part. It's something I wanted to show, especially since the show hasn't. Weiqi is the game 'Go', but I figured Reid would use the original name, so that's what I used. Thank you everyone that read and reviewed the first chapter!
There will be further A/Ns at the end.
February 27, 2011
It had been a week since she'd gone to see Strauss and nothing had come of it yet. Sitting with the team, and working cases, knowing what she'd done and what the SC had planned, it was getting harder and harder to bear. They all seemed ignorant to her anxiety, or more likely just attributed it to nervous jitters from inexperience. These people rarely missed anything.
Emily wasn't doing any better, but she didn't seem to be any worse either, though it was clear she wasn't getting a whole lot of sleep. And, the guys were still well aware of what was going on, and not bothering to share anything with her. Although, from what she could tell, there wasn't much going on. She'd seen Emily go into Hotch and Rossi's offices a couple times in the last couple weeks, though that could simply be for help with consultations.
The profiler blinked at her now. "Was that word for word from the textbook?" She asked.
Seaver winced. "Maybe."
A patient nod. "Okay, that's a good start."
"I totally got that wrong, didn't I?" She asked. An hour ago, Emily had given her a consultation request, and told her to review it, then they'd go over it together. She'd just rattled off what she'd thought was an accurate profile.
"I wouldn't say that," Emily said. "The thing with profiling is that it's an art more than a science. It's very rare than an unsub actually matches the textbook profiles."
"What do you mean? If they don't match, how can you...?" Oh, now she was confused.
"It's okay," Emily assured her. "The basic profiles are just sort of templates. Each ubsub is very nuanced, there will be pieces of the puzzle that don't always fit with what you know, and you have to create new pictures to make them fit. Occasionally, you'll get lucky and the unsub will be dead-on with one of the profiles, but that's like once every few years."
"But, how do you know how to put the pieces together, or what the picture is supposed to look like? Oh, I'm so lost right now," she blurted.
Emily smiled. "Don't worry. Here, let's walk through this together, and I'll show you."
She picked up the consultation file, and opened it to the photos. "Young victims, 14 and 15, both female, from the same school, but different races, Kayla is white, Sonal is Indian. The girls were found at the primary crime scene, which was a good distance from traffic, and out of eyesight. They were both killed with blunt force trauma, one with a stone, the other a brick, both raped, and left fairly exposed, but with their faces covered. They also found candy wrappers and empty soda bottles at both scenes, and the autopsies revealed both girls had eaten the type of candy and soda found at the scene. Two sets of prints, and two sets of DNA were found. Are you forming a picture in your head of the unsubs?"
"Yeah, I think so," she said, looking up from the photos.
"Alright, now lets look at victimology, you pointed out before that it was quite different," Emily said.
"Yes, the girls are different races, and seem to have different personalities. Sonal was an athlete, and a poet, and highly religious, Kayla was known for getting into trouble, but did play her flute in the marching band."
"Good, now tell me what they had in common."
She surveyed the reports. "Uh, okay, they were around the same age, went to the same school, they both stayed after school the day they were abducted, um..."
"Tell me about their families," Emily coaxed.
She searched out the information. "Sonal's family was strict, her parents put a lot of pressure on her, at least according to the statements from her friends. And Kayla's parents were in the middle of a tense divorce, according to her friends, they put Kayla in the middle." She paused, and then got it. "Oh, they were both stressed, pressured."
"As if there isn't already enough in high school," the profiler mumbled. "So, put it all together, tell me who I'm looking for."
"Okay, they were probably white, maybe one was Indian or some other minority? 25-45, they were disorganized, it doesn't look like they planned anything, but it doesn't feel like a first time...I'd say it was a couple guys in the neighborhood, maybe stopped and offered a ride, coaxed them to that spot, a break from school and their parents."
Emily nodded. "Reasonable, but look, candy wrappers and soda, who usually eats those?"
She didn't get it, and then she frowned. "Wait, you think kids did this?"
"Boys they went to school with would know their troubles, the kids would offer to walk them home, stop at a place away from civilization, bitch and moan, eat junk food, and then attack when the girl isn't expecting it. These girls would both trust kids they went to school with," she said.
"But, kids tend to attack older women."
Emily nodded. "That's true, but this is what I mean by thinkng past the textbooks. You see their faces are covered, but they were left exposed, and the bodies weren't maniuplated in any other way. After they killed them they didn't want to hang around, they were nervous and left quickly. But, they covered the faces, because they knew the girls. And, there was no torture, no sodomy, there wasn't any, how shall I say, special touches, as you'd expect from a more experienced man. The rape was quick and basic as well, again nervous, younger offenders. Also with race, an older man would know what he likes, like most teenage boys, these offenders just wanted a pulse and a vagina."
She blinked at her mentor's bluntness. "Right."
Emily covered her mouth as a yawn escaped her, and glanced at the time. "I have to meet with Hotch, you want to look at another one while I'm gone?"
March 6, 2011
She had all of five seconds to decide to do it or not, and with a fifteen year-old boy in danger, she wasn't about to choose not.
They had entered the house less than ten minutes ago, hoping like hell that they weren't too late to save Sebastian Thomas, the latest teenage boy the unsub had abducted with the intent to molest and murder. They found the unsub in the basement, the boy tied up, but on his feet, the unsub with a six inch blade pressed to his throat.
It was always the fucking basement, like they had some guidebook they all followed. The basement is the most sound-proof area in the house, and as such we psychos find it appropriate to set up shop. It should be kept as dingy and sinister looking as possible...
The kid was terrified. He was in only a pair of boxers, and she'd found herself praying that the unsub hadn't gotten to molest him yet. As one could imagine, Morgan took this case a bit personally, and he was eager to rip the unsub apart. But, he'd come down the stairs that were straight in front of the unsub, Rossi, Hotch and Reid with him. They were confined to the steps and the space on the floor directly in front of them. Anymore steps, and the unsub would slash the boy's throat.
It was one of those old houses though, with bizarre secret passageways, so closets led to stairways and rooms. She and Seaver found one that led to stairs, and now they were behind the unsub. Though they were both wearing vests, she kept the cadet behind her as they ventured soundlessly out of the basement closet/passageway thing. She was inexperienced in the field, and Emily felt somewhat responsible for her. She quickly assessed the situation, Hotch trying to gently talk the unsub down, Rossi and Reid backing him up with words of their own, Morgan just looking furious.
This unsub wouldn't be talked down. His life was ruined the minute they arrested him-a high school drama club instructor that molested children. Sebastian was on his team, the first he'd taken from his own students. The other three boys had been pulled from outside the state, and dumped in the neighboring town. If she walked up, and pressed her glock to his head, he'd cut the boy's throat, forcing her to shoot him. No, she needed to get the boy and the knife as far apart as possible.
She turned behind herself, motioned Seaver to stay back, hopefully out of harm's way. Then she met Hotch's eyes, and holstered her weapon. Carefully silently, with her teammates focused on the unsub so as not to give away the game, she crept up to him, and jumped on him. Arms snaking quickly around his body, dragging his right arm with the hand holding the knife, away enough for the boy to sneak out, twisting his left wrist to weaken his grip of the kid, Emily used all her body weight force him to the ground.
He wasn't done, and he was furious. They tussled on the cold concrete, mass of arms and legs fighting for control in motions so quick it was impossible to see who was winning. Until she felt a burning in her side, just above her waist. The irony of bulletproof vests is that knives go through them pretty easily. She gasped, and momentarily released her grip on his left hand so she could land a hard hit to his face. He screamed and she kneed him in the groin as footsteps got close. Someone landed a hit to his back, affectively stopping his struggle, and then he was being dragged off her.
She was gasping for breath, and accepted the hand Reid offered as she got to her feet. He stared at her. "Are you alright?"
"Uh...I think he got me." Sure enough, she moved the hand she slapped over her left side, and found a mess of blood seeping out of the cut in the vest.
"I'll see if the paramedics got here yet," Seaver said and ran up the basement steps. She'd looked as pale as a ghost, but Emily figured that happened the first time you see that you and your colleagues aren't immortal.
The unsub was cuffed, currently in Hotch's possession, as he didn't quite trust Morgan not to beat the piss out of him, and they were all trying to catch their breath. She noticed eyes on her then, and shook her head. "It's not bad, he didn't get the knife in very deep. I'll probably just need a few stitches."
Rossi coaxed her over. "Sit down until the paramedics get here. We'll take the unsub up to the locals, they should be here by now. Reid, you'll stay with her?"
He nodded, and Hotch and Rossi left with the unsub. Morgan was off to the side with Sebastian, speaking gently to him, and handing him his cell phone so the kid could call his mother. And, he did, addressing her as 'mommy' and weeping unabashedly until the paramedics came down. One wrapped a blanket around him, the female, and gently coaxed him upstairs. The other removed Emily's vest, and examined her.
He frowned. "Let me get Shannon back down here, and we'll get you on the gurney."
"Oh no, I don't think so. I'll walk out to the ambulance."
"You could tear the wound further if you move, it's safer if we transport you," he said.
She shook her head. "No. I'm walking." Ignoring both his and Reid's protests, she used the railing to get to her feet, and proceeded to slowly, and painfully make her way up the stairs. Eventually, Reid quieted his protests, and moved closer to help her up. Reluctantly, she let him.
When they got outside to the circus of local PD and ambulances, she did get on the gurney, but only because she was in so much pain, she didn't want to move. With a wave to the guys, the ambulance took off to the hospital.
Seaver was pacing around her hotel room, trying unsuccessfully to wear herself down, and shake off the adrenaline. She was actually considering hitting the minibar, but had the feeling the Bureau accountants wouldn't be impressed with that charge. They'd gotten back from the hospital twenty minutes ago, the guys all looking tired, but very much relieved. After they'd taken his statement and a short hospital visit, Sebastian went home with his parents. He seemed to be okay when he walked out.
Emily had needed eleven stitches to close the wound in her abdomen, which all things considered, didn't sound too bad. The hospital was keeping her over night, over her unhappy protests. They had her on mild painkillers, and said if all was well in the morning, she could leave then. Needless to say, they were staying the night, and would fly home in the morning. Other than not wanting to stay at the hospital, she'd seemed in fine spirits, joking with Morgan and teasing Reid like it was any other day.
Seaver was fairly certain she wouldn't react that way to being stabbed. No, she was pretty damn sure she'd be terribly shaken up. Then again, if rumors were true, which after tonight she was thinking they probably were, Emily had suffered worse than a superficial stab wound in the past.
The ringing of her cell phone brought her pacing to a halt, and Seaver pulled if off her belt with clumsy fingers. Hell, she was a little shaken just from seeing someone else stabbed.
"Ashley," a familiar voice greeted, "I just heard from Agent Hotchner, seems the team had a little scare earlier today."
"Yes, ma'am. Agent Prentiss was injured while apprehending the suspect."
"Yes, Agent Hotchner told me about it, but I'd like to hear things from your perspective. Would you please describe what happened for me?" Strauss asked.
"Sure, of course, ma'am." Seaver slowly and carefully recited the events starting from the lead to the unsub, and ending when she'd walked out of the basement. Strauss was quiet through the whole thing.
"How is it that you and Agent Prentiss became separated from the rest of the group?"
"Uh, well we went in, in pairs ma'am. We found the passageway as we were clearing the library," she explained.
"And, you just decided to follow it to...where ever?"
"Agent Prentiss heard voices, ma'am. We followed the voices."
She could almost see Strauss calm nod. "Mmhmm, did you inform the rest of the team of your intent?"
"Well no, but Agent Prentiss didn't want to alert the unsub by yelling," she said.
"And, you said she motioned you to stand back, and holstered her weapon before advancing on the suspect?"
Seaver shifted uncomfortably. "Yes ma'am, but I'm sure she had her reasons."
"I'm sure," Strauss agreed with a satisfied musical lilt to her voice.
She curled her free hand in and back, and shuffled her feet on the carpet. "Well, I've be rethinking our um...arrangement, and what I've told you, and I think I may have been a bit hasty in judging Agent Prentiss."
A beat of silence. "You don't want a spot on the team anymore?"
"No! No, of course I do! I desperately want to be on the team, I just, I wonder if this is the best way to go about it..."
"Ashley, what made you come back to my office and tell me your concerns regarding Agent Prentiss?"
"I was worried about her." And, I want that damn spot, she thought.
"Yes, and you have right to be worried. It took great courage to come forward, my dear, don't rethink yourself now." Her voice had gone back to it's kind, almost maternal tone.
Courage? She wasn't sure about that, but it did make her feel a bit less sick about the whole thing. "O-okay. Thank you, ma'am."
"Oh, thank you, Ashley." Strauss sounded immensely satisfied as she hung up.
Seaver hit the end button on her phone, and fell onto the bed. After today, she wasn't sure she'd done the right thing. Emily had saved that boy's life, and she didn't seem emotionally unstable when she did it. She seemed like a cop.
Sleep would not come easy tonight.
March 7, 2011
Emily watched Hotch snap his phone shut, and rejoin the group amassing in the bullpen to receive Garcia's usual welcome home greeting. He looked less than thrilled as he walked over, his eyes landing on her. "Strauss wants to see us immediately."
"Us?" Emily asked, eyebrows raised. Hotch nodded. She sighed unhappily and turned to Morgan. "Quick, stab me again."
"So not funny," he said.
"Wasn't trying to be funny," she grumbled. "Why does she want to see us, Hotch?"
He shrugged. "I'm sure it's just a debriefing to find out how you're doing."
She was tempted to argue, but there was no point, Hotch didn't have a say in this either. "Fine, let's go."
They dropped their go-bags by her desk, and headed out of the BAU to the lair of the Evil Beast Woman of Virginia. Emily would rather have dinner with her mother, than have a sit-down with Strauss. That was saying something. Elizabeth Prentiss wasn't exactly a barrel of monkeys, though Erin Strauss made her look like a trip to the Copacabana.
Unnervingly, her secretary waved them right into the office, smiling politely at them both. Janine was a sweet woman, and how she worked for Strauss, Emily would never understand. Though rumor had it, Janine was fond of benzos. She couldn't blame her.
"Agents, please have a seat." Strauss directed. Hotch closed the door, and like the perfect gentleman he was, gestured Emily to sit first. Strauss straightened up, and rested folded hands on her desk. "The reason I asked you both here is to discuss your recent behavior, Emily."
"Are you referring to last night, ma'am?" She asked, keeping her tone level and in check.
"I'm referring to the last few months. I understand your behavior has been a bit erratic, and it calls you mental health into question."
Her eyes widened. "Excuse me?"
Hotch rested a hand on her arm, sensing her firing up beside him. "If you wouldn't mind describing some of this behavior, ma'am?"
She inhaled. "Where to begin...expressing sentiments of hopelessness to coworkers, crying binges, irritability, lack of appetite, difficulty sleeping...need I go on?"
Emily's mouth opened and closed several times. Crying binges? When the hell had she had a crying binge? And, how the fuck did Strauss know she wasn't eating or sleeping? The woman was typically as about observant as a brick.
"I don't know where you're getting your information from, but as Agent Prentiss's supervisor, I assure you most of that isn't true, and what is, is certainly mild and hasn't disrupted the team. The BAU is stressful, difficulty coping is expected now and again, but we all get through it," Hotch said.
"I admire your loyalty to your team members, Aaron, but I'm afraid that loyalty is the exact reason I can't take you word on this."
"You don't trust me to take care of my own team?" He asked angrily.
"That's the problem, you aren't supposed to be taking care of your team. They aren't children, they can look after themselves," she insisted.
"You misunderstand me-"
"No, I understand you fine. Agent Prentiss, after this last incident it's clear to me that you aren't well right now-"
"That's not true, I'm fine. And, what last incident? Yesterday? I was doing my job," Emily argued.
"Let's discuss that then, shall we?" Emily nodded. "You separated yourself from the group, and didn't inform them of your intention to follow what you believed was the unsub's voice. Can you tell me why, Emily, you motioned your young colleague Agent Seaver to stay behind, while you went after the unsub?"
Emily's blood ran cold. Seaver was the only one who could have told Strauss that, but she wouldn't...would she? "She's inexperienced in the field, I didn't want her to be injured."
"So, you were aware what you were about to do was foolish and risky?"
She bit her lip. "I didn't say that, there wasn't another option, the unsub would have killed that kid."
"Why did you holster your weapon before going after him then? Why not approach him from behind while armed, and force him to drop his weapon?" Strauss asked, infuriately calmly.
"If I'd done that, he would have killed the boy."
"You aren't a psychic, Emily, you couldn't be certain of that."
"But, she is a profiler," Hotch argued, "she's qualified to make a judgment call on an unsub."
She turned to Hotch. "So you're satisfied with this outcome then, Aaron? You have no problem with your Agents jumping blindly at unsubs, and hoping for the best?"
"That isn't what I did, you're twisting it around," Emily seethed.
"No, Emily that's exactly what you did. They all said you were reckless, and it I should have believed them. What's more, in light of your behavior previous to this incident, I have no choice but to take you out of the field. You're a danger to yourself and your team, and I can't allow that. You are suspended. Get some help, and in the future you can come in for an evaluation by the Bureau psychologists."
She couldn't believe it. She honestly couldn't believe what she'd just heard. "You're suspending me? For something Morgan would receive a commendation for? You have to be kidding me."
"No, I'm quite serious. And, Agent Morgan doesn't have a recent history of mental instability."
"I am not mentally unstable! Ask the team! I swear they'll you the same." She was on her feet, leaning forward, speaking far too loudly, and probably backing up Strauss's assessment, but she was furious.
"I have a reliable source who disagrees. I'd advise you return to the BAU and pack your things."
"Pack my-how long is this suspension?"
"Indefinite, and Emily you should know, considering you mental state, it's possible you'll be returned to field work one day, but highly unlikely you'll ever be assigned to a high stress unit like the BAU again."
She couldn't breathe. She couldn't think. And, her stomach ached, not the stitches but a deep, agonizing ache. She might be sick. She would not cry. Not in front of Strauss.
"You can't be serious," Hotch objected. He looked as blindsided as she felt. "This isn't right. She saved that boy's life, and her actions weren't even that risky."
"I've made my decision, Aaron." She looked at Emily. "I do hope you get the help you need, Emily."
"I'm going to be short an agent, and I don't need to tell you I'm already short a media liaison," Hotch said.
"Agent Seaver can pick up the slack, she'll be graduating soon as I understand it."
"With all due respect, ma'am, Seaver isn't a profiler. She's not even an agent."
"She'll do for now. If you're unhappy with her work, I'll send you some personnel files and you can pick from them."
Seaver again. No, that couldn't be, she couldn't believe that of the girl. But, no one outside the team knew what was going on with her, and Seaver was the only one she couldn't swear wouldn't talk to Strauss.
Seaver was getting her position on the team.
Oh god, she felt sick. Her legs felt like jello, but she forced them to move one after the other, and take her out of the office, Hotch behind her. Her head was spinning and whirling, and she felt like she couldn't catch her breath. This couldn't be happening.
Hotch pulled her aside once outside Strauss's office, and looked into her eyes. "I'll fight this, Prentiss. She's in the wrong here, and she knows it. I'll go over her head."
Emily just nodded, too deep in shock and too busy trying to control her gag reflex to comment. He'd said the same thing to JJ, and how many months later, she was still at the DOD.
Hotch seemed to notice that she wasn't quite with it, and gently escorted her back to the BAU. At least, almost to the BAU. She detoured to the ladies room to vomit, and after she cleaned herself up, she headed to storage to grab a box.
This couldn't be happening.
Hotch marched back into the bullpen, without Emily, and headed straight for Rossi's office, closing the door behind him. He looked pissed. A couple minutes later, Emily came back, looking pale and out of it, a box in her head. Seaver's stomach twisted up in knots when the profiler reached her desk, and set the box on her chair. Morgan and Reid were both watching Emily, picking up on all her little behavioral clues that were still somewhat of a mystery to Seaver.
She watched Emily, sigh and blow into her hands, like she was trying to ground herself. She then pulled the lid off the box, and opened the top drawer in her desk. Seaver saw Reid and Morgan shooting each other alarmed looks, as if the other might have more insight into the situation. Surprisingly, it was Reid who found his voice first.
Clearing his throat, voice soft and tentative, he asked, "Emily, what's going on?"
She had avoided eye contact with any of them up to that point, and though she glanced up now, she still didn't meet either man's gaze. "Strauss suspended me, indefinitely."
"What?" Morgan blurted, voice high with emotion.
She didn't look at him. "According to her I'm reckless and mentally unstable, a danger to myself and my team...there's a chance I'll be let back in the field in the future, but she made it clear, I'll never be part of the BAU again."
"That's insane, she can't do that," Morgan continued to object.
Emily continued carefully placing items in the box. "She can and did."
The sound of people approaching stopped them, and all four looked over to see a pissed off Hotch, and a dour-faced Rossi approaching. Rossi nodded at Emily. "We'll fight this, I have connections above Erin, you'll be back here before you know it."
"Thanks, Dave," she offered him a small smile, but Seaver could see she wasn't really holding out much hope.
"This is real?" Reid asked, looking rather lost.
Hotch nodded. "Not for long."
Emily ignored them, and went through her stack of consults, tossing half on Reid's desk, and the other half on Morgan's desk. Hotch approached her then. "Do you have any idea who Strauss's source is? If we know who it is, we can figure out how much he or she fabricated."
Emily did meet his eyes. "I have an idea, but I can't confirm it, so I won't say."
They engaged in an eye-locked exchanged for a few seconds, during which time Hotch seemed to draw some conclusion, because he broke contact and nodded. Seaver felt like she might be sick.
Emily sighed. "I have to go tell Garcia."
"You want back-up?" Morgan offered.
"No, I've got it, thanks." She gave him a small smile. Then her attention suddenly went to Seaver, and the cadet's stomach turned violently over. Emily nodded toward the glass BAU doors, and then started walking toward them. Seaver followed, feeling her palms grow instantly clammy and her body instantly washed in the heat of nervous energy.
To her chagrin, the profiler pulled her into an interrogation room. "I need you to tell me the truth, and I'll know if you're lying. Are you Strauss's source?"
She swallowed, but couldn't seem to make her mouth move to deny or confirm.
Emily nodded, looking away, tongue running over her lips. "She promised you a position on the team?"
Still unable to speak, she managed to nod. No point in lying now.
"Do you know why Strauss hates me?" Seaver shook her head. Emily paced a few steps, and then turned to her. "When first joined the team, she tried to get me to spy on Hotch, she wanted him out of his leadership position. I resigned. At least, I attempted to, but Hotch and Garcia blocked it...Strauss got the point though."
"I-I was worried, something's been going on with you, and no one was doing anything about it, so I uh, told her." She bit her lip, hands clenching at her sides.
"There is four profilers out there with more experience than your or I, do you really think none of them noticed? And, why didn't you go to Hotch if you were worried?"
"I don't know, I guess I didn't think he'd listen to me."
It was clear Emily didn't believe that. She closed her eyes and took a breath. "Do you honestly think I so far gone, I'm a danger to the team?"
"No," she said quickly. "I don't think that."
"So, then it was really all about getting a position on the team?"
"No, I-I was worried about you, I just..." What was she supposed to say? I'm sorry I screwed you over, I made a mistake?
Emily shook her head, the tension in her body suggesting it was all but out of patience. She stared at nothing across the room for several minutes as her body slowly deflated of anger, of fight, of something Seaver couldn't quite put her finger on. Suddenly she turned back to the cadet. "I know you're young and inexperienced, and you don't really understand what you did yet," she said, inhaling. "But in five, maybe ten years when you've been in the Bureau a while, had a few partners, a team, you will Seaver, and it's going to hit you like a ton of bricks...and, I hope you get through it."
She didn't quite understand that, but nodded anyway. Emily began to pace again, and Seaver felt a more than a little nervous being in that tiny interrogation room with her. The profiler suddenly stopped in front of her, and Seaver nearly swallowed her tongue.
"Do you realize you just destroyed any chance you had of being a part of the team?"
Seaver was taken aback. "What do you mean, I-"
Emily cut her off. "You'll be on it, you'll work cases with them, you'll travel around the country with them, but you won't be part of the team. Eventually, they will find out your part in this, and they won't be able to trust you. They'll be civil at work, but they won't joke with you, and they won't confide in you." She paused and took a breath. "This team is a family, my family, easily the best thing I've ever been a part of, and while that may not mean much to you, it means a hell of a lot to all of us."
She felt like she couldn't breathe, like someone had just put a hot stone in her stomach. "Emily, I-"
"Don't. I have to go tell Garcia I'm out..." She shook her head, and headed for the door, only to stop and turn back abruptly. "Did you hesitate at all before you sold me out?"
Seaver was paralyzed, unable to think or speak, her head pounding as she took in the look of betrayal in her mentor's eyes. It wasn't supposed to go like this. It wasn't supposed to make her feel this bad. She was helping, it took courage coming forward, that's what Strauss said. Except she'd known that wasn't true even when she said it. She knew what the SC wanted, and what she was giving her. Seaver had known exactly what she was doing when she did it, and she did it anyway.
But, it wasn't supposed to feel like this.
"Hey kitten," Garcia swung around in her chair as Emily walked into her office, one hand on her aching side. She'd forgotten in the shock of her suspension, and now the pain reared up with a vengeance. "Oh, that doesn't look good."
"It's fine, I'm just moving a little too much."
"You better sit then." She was about to get up, but Emily stopped her. Garcia must have seen something in her face, but hers drained of all enthusiasm. "What's going on?"
"I'm out of the BAU, suspended indefinitely," Emily said, and began to explain what was going. She watched Garcia's eyes fill up with tears as she spoke, and it hurt like hell.
"No, no, no, this isn't happening. They already took JJ, they can't take you too." Garcia shook her head vehemently. "I'm going to hack Strauss's financial records and destroy everything!"
"No, you're not. You'll get arrested, and then the team will be short a tech goddess too."
She deflated. "This isn't fair. That evil bitch is taking the team apart piece by piece, and we can't do anything about it."
"Hotch and Rossi said they'd fight it." Emily shrugged.
"So, is she sending a new agent in then to replace you?"
"No," Emily said, "she seems to think Seaver can handle it."
"What?" Garcia gaped. "She's not even an agent! And, she wants an inexperienced trainee to back up my boys in the field? Is she out of her mind?"
"I thought you liked her?" Emily frowned.
"I don't dislike her, and I respect her desire to learn, but my favorite superwoman ass-kicking agent she is not. Oh, Strauss has to have lost it...I feel sick." Garcia suddenly fell back into her chair, looking a little pale.
"You okay, PG?"
"No, I'm not. This doesn't make sense..."
Emily squeezed her shoulder. "I have to go," she said, turning to go. She needed to get away, so she could lose it in private. She refused to cry at work. Before she made it to the door, Garcia was suddenly there, squeezing the life out of her. To the point where she actually cried out from the pressure to her wound.
"Oh god, I'm so sorry, are you okay?" Garcia jumped back, eyes watery, cheeks wet.
"Yeah, I'll be alright...will you?"
She nodded. "I'll call Kevin, it's almost quitting time anyway."
Emily squeezed her hand, and left the tech's office for the last time as a member of the team. There was a stoic goodbye with Hotch, who again promised to fix it. And Rossi hugged her, in an almost fatherly fashion, and again assured her she'd be back there soon. Those were hard, but Reid and Morgan, that would hurt even more.
She meant to perch herself on the genius's desk, but that hurt too much, so she settled for standing beside him. "So, being that I won't be flying with you anymore, we're going to need a new arrangement for you to teach me Weiqi. How do you feel about Tuesday nights?"
He looked at her with this sadness in his eyes, face partially down turned like he was trying to hide. "Tuesdays work."
"You know I'll still just be a phone call away, right?"
He nodded and faked a smile, not meeting her eyes. "Of course."
"Or an email, if you ever decide to get an address," she joked.
He seemed to chuckle, but didn't respond verbally. Emily sighed. "Hey Reid, look at me a minute, please."
He did, and it was almost hard to meet his eyes. Reid did not do people leaving well, and she could see the hurt on his face. Not that he blamed her, she knew he didn't, but still, it was hard to watch someone leave...again.
"I'm not going to disappear like Gideon did, I promise," She said, gently squeezing his hand.
Instead of responding, he stood up and hugged her, careful not to press on her wound. He was the little brother she never had. He released her with a smile. "Tuesdays," he said with a nod.
"Good, I'll text you." He sat back down, and she turned to see Morgan already watching her, an unreadable expression on his face.
"I've got this," he said, grabbing the box off her desk. She didn't object, because frankly, she didn't want to tear her stitches. They already hurt enough that she was ready to pop a pill and call it a day.
Emily followed him to the glass doors, and felt a tightening in her chest as she walked through those doors for the last time as a part of the BAU. This was it. This was really it. Strauss had finally found a way to repay her for the proverbial 'fuck you' Emily had given her three and a half years ago. She didn't say goodbye to Seaver, she had no reason, and the cadet wasn't around anyway.
Morgan stopped by her car, and looked almost as bummed as Reid had earlier. She opened the door and then let him slide it in her backseat. "That can wait a couple days. Don't try to take it up to your apartment until your stitches are out," he said.
"I'll be alright, Morgan."
He crossed his arms over his chest. "This is complete bullshit, you know that right?"
"Spoken by the man who suggested I see a shrink."
"Because you were depressed, not mentally unstable. If you were mentally unstable, I'd have snatched your glock from you, and those boots of yours with the nasty looking heels."
She smiled. "I love those boots." Then she sighed. "I had my first appointment with a shrink last week."
His eyes went wide, and his eyebrows jumped up on his forehead. "Now that is something I never expected to hear...How'd it go?"
"Awful," she laughed. "But, I'm going back this week."
"I hope it works, Prentiss. I don't think I've seen you smile in months. Not with your eyes anyway." She glanced at the floor, a bit uncomfortable now. He cleared his throat. "Emily?"
"Yeah?" She looked up.
"Strauss's source...it's Seaver isn't it?"
Initially it caught her off guard, but then she figured they'd all figured it out by now. A lump caught in her throat and she nodded. "She sold me out, Morgan. Just like that."
He pulled her into a hug then. "You heard Hotch and Rossi, they'll fix this. You'll be back soon enough, and until then, you work on getting that smile back."
"Thanks, and thank you for always being there to talk to," she said, pulling back.
"Always will be," he said matter-of-factly.
Emily climbed into her car then, hands shaking as she tried to grip the wheel, and slowly backed out of parking space. Morgan stood nearby, and she gave him a wave as she directed the car to the exit. She drove out of Quantico then, for the last time as part of the BAU team that became her family in the almost five years she'd been a member. Her eyes began to mist then, and rather than try to hold it in and blind herself, she let the tears fall.
She felt like she was leaving her home.
Okay, writing this story was much harder for me than expected. Writing Emily as breaking down, while still keeping her functional was very difficult. Writing a character, who in my opinion, has all the personality of a cucumber (Seaver), may have been even more difficult, as was finding a balance between being fair to what personality she does have, and making this plot work. And, writing that scene in Strauss's office gave me a wicked stomachache for a while, I felt that bad doing this to Emily. This all to say, it was challenging in a lot of ways, and I'd love to hear what everyone thinks now that it's done.
Thanks for reading!