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The Sum of All Fears
Staring at the brass numbers hanging above the peephole of the door in front of her, Emily Prentiss's fingers twitched nervously at her side.
"You can do this," she whispered to herself, trying to find the courage it took to lift her hand and knock. She knew she had to do it. She owed him that.
That, and so much more.
But the look on his face when she'd walked back into the Behavioral Analysis Unit that morning had confirmed her worst fears.
The battle for his forgiveness was going to be harder to win than the one she'd just fought with Doyle. And the stakes were so much higher.
Doyle had only wanted her life.
But Spencer Reid owned part of her soul.
Inhaling a shaky breath as her stomach clenched, she forced herself to take a step forward and raise her arm. Knocking against the wood, she flinched at the hollow sound, harsh against her ears in the empty hallway. Anxiously waiting, she bit her lip as she prayed he'd open the door. After a few more moments, she sighed and knocked again, this time calling softly, "Spencer, please. We've got to talk."
Leaning her forehead against the door when only silence answered her, she blinked back helpless tears. She'd known coming back would be hard, but nothing had prepared her for the betrayal she'd seen reflected in his eyes today. Her deception had taken a heavy toll on him...on all of her team.
But with Spencer, it was different. It always had been.
"Spence, please," she begged, flattening her hand against the door. "Just let me try to explain."
Abruptly, she felt the support of the door disappear and she stumbled forward, coming face to face with the face of the man that had single-handedly kept her moving forward for six months.
"I told you before, we have nothing left to say to each other, Emily," Reid said coldly even as he caught her arm, catching her before she could fall. Dropping her arm as though burned a second later, he took a step back. "You're wasting your time and energy," he snapped, shaking his head before turning away.
She tried to ignore the finality in his voice as she watched his long legs carry him into the sparse living room of his apartment. Closing the door behind her, she followed him quickly, reminding herself with every step that at least he'd let her inside. That had to mean something, didn't it?
"Spencer, you've got to let me apologize," she pleaded, wincing as he sat down on his couch, his gaze fixated on the wall in front of him. "Let me try to explain."
"Explain what, Emily?" Reid snapped, his eyes flashing as they jerked toward her. "Explain why you let me think for months that you were dead? Explain how you kept me in the dark about this whole hidden life you had once upon a time? Explain how you didn't feel the need to tell me that you'd been an operative in the freaking CIA? That you'd been an undercover agent that slept with a terrorist for a profile? Or maybe, you'd like to explain how it was so much easier for you to let Hotch know you were alive than me, the guy you'd been sleeping with for almost a year? Where do you want to start, Emily?" he asked coldly, his words encased in ice.
How could she respond when she knew he was stating the truth? Feeling a part of her slowly withering underneath the onslaught of his justifiably angry words, Emily swallowed hard while she tried to formulate any response.
She had expected his anger. But the bitterness…now that was more than she was prepared for.
Tilting her chin slightly, she whispered, "If I knew where to start, Spencer, I'd never left in the first place."
Seeing his jaw tighten even further, she raised one hand, hoping to forestall what was certain to be another eruption of the active volcano spewing toward her, his words as hot and punishing as any lava could be. "You're right. I wish I knew how to explain. I wish I knew how to tell you that my past was filled with incidences that I'd much rather forget, let alone have examined under the harsh light of my lover. But, if you don't believe anything else, you have to understand that I never intentionally set out to hurt you."
His definitely un-Reid like snort filled the apartment. "That's obviously the understatement of the year. At what point did you really give one single thought to my feelings, Emily?" His face hardened then, and he bit out bitterly, "Or would you rather I called you Lauren? I hear that's what your last lover knew you as, and I hate to be the cause of any confusion."
Her breath caught in her throat as her cover name fell off his lips. "Spencer, please...Doyle was not my lover."
"Yes, I'm aware. He was your assignment. Isn't that what you kept calling him this morning?" Reid sneered, his eyes narrowing on her pale face.
Biting her lip again as she fought for control, Emily nodded. "Yes," she whispered. "That's what I called him. That's what he was. Spencer, I'm not proud of what I did. I'm even less proud of the way I did it. Nothing you can say is going to make me feel any worse."
Narrowing his gaze on her, Reid replied, his tone almost casual, "You realize I don't believe a word you say, right? I'm not even sure you know the difference between the truth and a lie anymore, Emily."
"I know I love you. And that's the truth," she whispered, wrapping her arms around herself as she fought the shudder threatening to overtake her body.
"Stop!" Reid shouted, exploding from his seated position to face her with hands fisted at his side. "That's your biggest fucking lie of all, Emily!" Shaking his head, he vibrated with anger. "If you'd loved me, you'd have NEVER put me through this. Not after the way Gideon left! Not after watching my mother slowly disappear. Fuck you! And your fucked up version of love!" he spat, pointing angrily at her, his shoulders literally vibrating.
"I loved you when I left and I love you now, Spencer," Emily denied, reaching out to touch him only to hitch her breath when he jerked away, taking a step backward. "It's because I loved you that I left you in the dark. Otherwise you'd have been as big a target for Doyle as I was. All of you were!"
"See, you're little hypothesis doesn't hold up under pressure, Emily," Reid said flatly, his voice emotionless as he met her eyes. "If you'd been so concerned for our safety, you'd never have told Hotch! But, no," he sneered. "Him you could confide in!"
"I didn't tell Hotch anything," Emily retorted defensively, shaking her head. "JJ did!" she yelled, her hand flying to her mouth as she watched Reid face whiten.