Finally, Addy story number seven, sorry it's been so delayed. This story will be chaptered, though a shorter chaptered story. And yes, the title sucks, but this series is really hard to title for some reason.
For those who just stumbled into this, this is part of an ongoing series, and I suggest you read the others first. The entire chronology of the series is in my story called, "Series".
"Hey babe, do you need some help with her?" Morgan asked.
Emily had Addy on the changing table, trying desperately to wrestle the baby into her dress and legging set. Addy was screaming like she was being mercilessly tortured.
Emily finished without a smile, and turned to him. "Can you just take her for a minute, so I can finish getting ready?"
He nodded, and scooped up the baby, who looked at him with big, wet eyes, and when she saw her mother leaving the room, began to scream again, squirming around, and thrusting her body forward, wiggling her arms. "Shh, come on now, Mama's not going anywhere, sweetheart."
Addy continued to scream, and Emily had stopped, turned and held her hands out for the baby. "I'll just get ready with her," she sighed.
Morgan considered arguing, but with Emily's mood, it would just make things worse, if they could get worse that is. He slid the baby back into her mother's arms, and rested a hand on Emily's shoulder, while making an attempt to kiss her. Emily shrugged him off, and turned away, walking off toward the bathroom.
Morgan tried to ignore the sick feeling in his stomach.
It had been eight months since they had decided to move in together, and they still hadn't been able to find a place. The realtor had proved to be less than useless, and after not being able to contact her for two weeks, Morgan threw his hands up in anger, and declared that he'd find their home himself. It wasn't like he was new to home-buying or the housing market.
His little princess was almost a year and a half now, and Morgan wanted to give her a cozy home and a front yard to play in. Emily had been very enthusiastic for the first several months of searching, but the last couple months she seemed to have checked out. And not just on the home search, on about everything. It was worrying Morgan.
It started with exhaustion from the struggle to wean Addy off breastfeeding, and that slid right into aggravation and disappointment of not being able to find a place. But it was the appointment two months ago with Addy's pediatrician that really seemed to make her shut off. Guilt was plaguing her, and pulling her away from him. And, it was getting worse every damn day.
His beautiful little girl didn't talk. She sometimes babbled and talked to herself in nonsense, but she hadn't formed a single identifiable word yet. Addy was 17 months old, and should have a small vocabulary by now according to all the books. She should at least be saying 'Mama' and 'Dada'. But Addy didn't talk.
The pediatrician had told them not to worry yet, that all children develop differently. Yes, typically most have a few words in their vocabularies at Addy's age, but not all children hit the milestones the same way. He said that some children don't talk for a long time, and then suddenly start spouting words like they can't stop. Yes, he agreed at Emily's questioning, it's possible the lack of prenatal care and proper diet, rest, etc, could have affected her development, but he stressed, he wasn't prepared to say that yet.
The kind doctor tried to reassure them, and said if Addy still hadn't said a word by 18 months, that he'd refer them to a developmental specialist.
That was a month away, and Morgan knew as upsetting and stressful as he found that looming deadline, Emily felt it even worse. She blamed herself for whatever developmental problem Addy might have, and he could almost see the guilt literally weighing on her. Derek tried to tell her it wasn't her fault, but she only waved him off. She would never forgive herself for not realizing she was pregnant, and for not taking care of her unborn child.
In the last two weeks, she'd all but completely shutdown. She barely spoke to him, or even let him touch her. They hadn't had sex in three weeks, and he hadn't even kissed her on the mouth in days. He was with her everyday and yet he missed her terribly.
His family was falling apart.
Emily decided her hair was fine as it was, and hurried to grab her bag and sling it over her shoulder, Addy quiet now in her other arm. She had been extremely clingy since they weaned her off breastfeeding four months ago. And, it was always worse when Emily got back from being away on a case. Frankly, it was becoming a little overwhelming, but considering it was her fault Addy couldn't or wouldn't talk, Emily couldn't deny her daughter the simple pleasure of being in her mother's arms.
She knew Morgan went through hell with Addy when she was gone, and that he never complained about it. And that made it even harder than it already was to keep her distance, but she just couldn't be around him right now. She was struggling to make sense of too many things, to deal with too much to give him the attention he deserved. Emily really just couldn't handle being touched by him, even though part of her desperately wanted to feel his strong arms wrapped around her, pressing her into his body.
When Derek tried to take her hand in the car, she pulled it away, and ignored the sigh he released. He didn't ask her about it though, but moved his hand back to the steering wheel. The ride to Quantico was silent, except for Addy's nonsense babbling. All her baby girl could do was babble, and Emily knew it was all her fault.
They dropped Addy at daycare, and headed their separate ways in the Bureau building. Emily dropped her bag at her desk, offered a tired smile in response to Reid's, and headed to the break room for coffee. She only made it half way, before her stomach turned over, and she changed her mind. Instead, she grabbed a cold bottle of water, and headed back to her desk for a couple hours of paper work.
JJ stopped by her desk just before ten, smiling and slipping her phone back in her pocket. "You guys ready?" She asked.
"Sure. Do we have a case?" Emily asked. They'd only gotten back yesterday morning, if they left again so soon, Addy would scream all night and not allow Morgan even a wink of sleep.
"Nope, just house-keeping today. Don't worry, you don't have to leave Addy again yet." JJ offered her a reassuring smile.
"Thanks," Emily said, grabbing her note pad, and following JJ to the conference room.
She sat down heavily, and bit her lip against another wave of nausea. Garcia sat beside her, eyeing her skeptically. "You okay, kitten?"
"Yeah, just tired," Emily said.
"How's the munchkin, and my delightful slice of chocolate heaven?" She grinned.
"Addy's still clingy, and Derek is…good." She honestly didn't know how he was, or what he was feeling, though she'd bet he was tired.
"No sign of a real word still, huh?"
Emily shook her head. "Not yet."
Garcia took her hand. "Don't worry, Emily. Addy is just taking her time, the little diva already likes making us wait."
"I hope so."
"She's reached all her other milestones, hasn't she?" Reid asked.
"Yeah, the doctor said she's doing great otherwise."
"I wouldn't worry," he said. "The milestones published in books and online are just what's typical of a particular age group, that doesn't mean all children progress at that speed. Addy has no hearing loss, acknowledges instructions, can identify some things when you ask, and probably most importantly, she's engaged with other people. That's a pretty clear sign that you at least don't have to worry about autism."
"I know, still worry though. Thanks, Reid." She appreciated their attempts to try and make her feel better, but there was nothing that was going to make her feel better. Not now.
She just had too much on her mind, too many worries to feel better about anything.
At least Addy was a distraction from the other big worry on her mind. The worry that had been plaguing her for weeks, and frankly, scared the hell out of her.
By late afternoon, Morgan could no longer focus on work, and found himself walking to Garcia's lair. A couple months ago, he'd have gone to the bullpen to flirt with his girl, but she wouldn't be receptive to that now. He knocked on the door before entering, and then slid into the extra chair the tech sometimes had around (and was usually an indication that Kevin had been around), his head coming to rest in his hands.
"Hey handsome, what's wrong?"
Morgan looked up. "I honest to god don't know."
Her mouth opened, but she didn't speak at first. She rolled her chair closer, and took his hand, then spoke. "Talk to me."
"I'm still trying to find us a house, I haven't been that wowed by anything yet." He started with the easy part of the conversation.
"Are you sure you guys aren't just being uber picky, or getting cold feet maybe?"
He shook his head. "No, it's not either of those things. I actually saw one house I really liked, but it's too big for us, three bedrooms and a little bed and bath suite that was originally built as servants quarters."
Garcia looked impressed. "Sounds nice, also sounds a little expensive for two public servants. How far in the boonies is this place?"
He smiled. "It's in Alexandria, actually, and it's affordable because it needs a little TLC."
"Well, in that case, too big or not, you might want to think about it. You'll want a guest bedroom anyway, and if you really want to make Emily happy, turn the other extra bedroom into a library."
Morgan nodded. "I'll keep that in mind."
"Okay…what else is going on?"
"I think…I think it might be unnecessary anyway," he said.
"What do you mean? You guys have been desperate to find a house." She pushed her glasses up on her nose, and fixed him with a purposeful look.
Finally faced with admitting his fears from the last few weeks, Morgan's mouth turned to sandpaper and his throat grew thick with emotion. "I think Emily wants to end it."
"What!" Garcia gaped at him. "How? Why? What do you mean?"
"I mean, I think she's going to break-up with me."
He shrugged. "She's shutting down on me. This thing with Addy…I can almost feel the guilt around her like a tangible thing. And, I don't know, it's just getting worse. I feel like there's more to it, but she barely talks to me, and she won't even let me touch her."
"How long has this been going on?" Penelope looked as devastated as he felt.
"She's been totally ignoring me for about two and a half weeks, before then it was tense and things were hard, but I felt like she still—" He paused, searching for the words. "Like she was still with me."
"Oh honey, maybe she just needs more time to work out this guilt over Addy."
He shook his head. "It's more than that, baby-girl. I don't know what it is that's gotten to her, but she's shutdown, and she's going to end it soon." His stomach clenching painfully, and tears pricking his eyes, Morgan inhaled a shaky breath, refusing to let his tears fall. "I don't know what I'll do without them, babygirl."
"She's getting so big already. Doesn't it kind of knock you back when you realize they're starting to look more like a kid than a baby?" JJ was leaning up against Emily's desk, the profiler's cell phone in her hand, flipping through the newest pictures of Addy.
"Yeah, I remember thinking that when you'd bring in pictures of Henry. Addy isn't quite there yet, but you can really see it coming, can't you?" Her little baby was growing so fast, it was hard for Emily to even catch her breath.
JJ smiled and squeezed her shoulder. "Don't worry, there's new challenges ahead, but I wouldn't say they make you any crazier than the ones you've already gone through."
"Oh thanks, that's comforting."
"Hey, hey, what's going on?" Garcia asked, swooping in, looking slightly twitchy in a style that wasn't her usual hyperactive bubbly.
"Looking at pictures of Addy."
"Ooh!" Garcia snatched the phone, and starting examining them. "God Em, this little girl is looking more and more like you everyday. I know I've never laid eyes on your ex, but I don't see anyone but you in her."
"That's what Derek says, I think it's a relief for him." He didn't want any reminders that Addy wasn't biologically his.
"What about you, do you see any of your ex in Addy?" JJ asked.
Emily thought about that. "Every now and again, but not much. I must have super-strong genes or something." She looked over to Reid's desk, and the empty area reminded her that he'd already headed home. The one time she was going to willingly ask him for information, and he wasn't there. Damn.
"Well, they make for one cute kid." Garcia handed her back the phone, her twitchiness returning.
"Something on your mind?" Emily asked her.
Garcia bit her lip. "I need a minute with you in private."
Her eyebrows rose and she glanced at JJ. Garcia followed her eyes. "Well, this is about something someone else told me in confidence, and I'm kind of already breaking it with you, so as much as I trust and love Jayje, I'd rather talk to just you."
JJ shrugged. "I need to pick up Henry and get home anyway. Will has a late shift tonight, so it's just me and the little man."
"Give him a kiss for me," Garcia said.
"Will do." JJ smiled and headed out.
Emily and Garcia headed into the conference room, away from the other agents still hanging around to finish paperwork or whatever. Emily faced the tech. "So?"
"What's going on with you and Derek?"
She immediately tensed, and tried to resist going defensive. "I know he confides in you as a friend, Pen, but that's really between us."
"I know, and I get that, I really do, but he came to talk today, and he was really upset and scared. And, I think you need to talk to him."
Emily bit her lip, and glanced at the ground. "Scared?"
It was Garcia's turn to look uncomfortable. "Uhh…I don't want to break his confidence, but he uh…" The tech struggled to think of a way to phrase what she needed to, but quickly gave up. "Uh damn it, he's afraid you're going to leave him."
"He what?" Emily gaped. Then she thought about it, and of course he was afraid of that. Shit. "Never mind. I should go. Thanks, Pen."
When she got back to her desk, she found Morgan's car keys and a note. He had to take care of something, so he grabbed a Bureau SUV and left. He'd see her at home. Emily snatched the keys, and headed to the base daycare, where she found Addy happy to see her as usual.
At her building, she pulled Addy out of the car, and slung her bag and the diaper bag over her shoulder. She wondered if Derek was in yet. She needed to talk to him, tell him everything. It wasn't like she could hide it forever, but pretending it wasn't happening had been the safer thing for her to do. Telling him meant they'd have to talk about it, that she'd be forced to make a decision, and she didn't think she could do that, either way.
She dropped the bags by the door, and walked down the hall, finding a surprise in the living room. Derek was home already, sitting hunched over on the sofa, looking pretty miserable. She was about to speak when she saw the bag beside him. "You have a case?"
"No." He stood up. "I don't know what's going on with you, Em. I wish you'd talk to me, I wish I could get through to you…" He swallowed and looked away. "Right now, me staying here isn't good for either of us, so I'm going to go, and give you your space."
Emily didn't speak, she couldn't, she was frozen in shock.
"Can I have a minute with Addy?" He asked.
Numbly, she nodded and let him take the baby from her arms. Addy smiled and talked nonsense at her father, giggling when he kissed her. Her short hair was in tiny pigtails that pulled her bangs away from her face, and left her big brown eyes open to the world.
"Hey sweetheart, Daddy isn't going to be around as much for a while. But, I promise I'll come see you as much as I can. Okay?" She didn't really understand though, just smiled and wrapped her little arms around his neck. Morgan's voice cracked. "I love you so much, baby girl."
Emily was almost startled when he passed Addy back to her, and she had to get her head back together to listen to what he was saying.
"I'll pick her up tomorrow, feed her dinner and take her to the park, and drop her back here before bedtime. Is that okay?"
She nodded, still numb and trying to process the sudden change in their lives. That's what everything had been since Addy came into the world: sudden, overwhelming change.
Then Derek was gone, leaving Emily to sink into the couch, the sound of Addy's babbling hallow in her ears. Her stomach roiled with the sudden reappearance of the nausea she'd been fighting all day, and she had to breath in and out through her nose until it went away. When the sob came, it was seemed to surprise them both, such loud, gut-wrenching emotion in the quiet house. Then the tears came in a silent torrent.
Addy looked from her mother breaking down, to the hallway where her father had disappeared, fear in her big brown eyes.
Don't hate me yet, this is a chaptered story! The next chapter may or may not be up next week, it will just depend on how the holiday goes.
Thanks for reading, and please review!