Some days I really, really hate titling, and that would be why this title sucks.
This is based off a prompt from sarahb2007 and Cat and NCIS Obsessed one of many of the Prentiss/Doyle stories that came off the first prompt based one, "This Must be Hell". For more information on that whole thing, check out my profile. I'm keeping track of all the updates there, so my head doesn't explode trying to keep it all organized.
Thank you sarahb2007 and Cat and NCIS Obsessed for the prompt, I hope I did it justice. Thank you to everyone who reads, and especially to those of you who review!
Emily opened her mouth to speak, but couldn't quite make the words form in her mouth. Her lips moved silently, and that was it, her expensive prep-school education was failing. Then again, it was never meant for this situation. She swallowed, clenching and releasing her fists, before finally settling for pressing her mouth to his lips, her body flush against his. He wrapped his arms around her, held her tightly, and Emily relished the feel, tried to memorize and catalog every bit of what was likely the last time he'd ever hold her.
Ian pulled back first, and Emily tried to cling to him, hating the sudden desperation she felt. "Lauren, what's wrong?"
His eyes searched hers, and Emily forced deep breaths in and out of her mouth. "We have to disappear, Ian. Very soon."
He frowned. "Why's that, Love?"
She didn't know which secret to blurt out first, so she went for whatever was closer to the tip of her tongue. "I'm pregnant."
At least this one would keep her alive.
Ian stared at her in shock, then a slow smile broke out on his face. The smile he wore the first time he told her that he loved her. "Are you sure?"
She nodded. "I took about five tests."
He went to speak, but abruptly stopped, and his eyes hardened. He must have sensed the desperation, seen the fear in her eyes. "You don't want it."
"No, Ian, of course I do," she assured him, taking his hands in hers.
"Then why so eager to run away, Love?"
Emily inhaled, her mind still whizzing, and part of her unable to believe what she was doing. This wasn't her, this clingy, desperate, terrified woman, throwing away everything at the chance of happiness with this man. This man who loved her, but a her that didn't really exist. This man responsible for the deaths of tens, even hundreds of people.
"You love me, right?" She asked.
"You know I do."
"I love you too," she said, dropping Lauren for the first time, and becoming Emily. She continued gripping his hands, ignoring his tense body language. She licked her top lip. "My name isn't Lauren Reynolds."
For several seconds he didn't move, confusion playing over his face. Then he backed quickly away from her, eyes wide, then narrowing to anger. "CIA."
She nodded. "I've been lent out to Interpol for the last four years."
There was silence. Perfectly still, eerily calm, nerve-wracking silence. Then he lunged at her, pushing her up against a wall, forearm pressed to her throat. Deep ragged breaths were passing in and out of his mouth, and his eyes blazed with anger. "Give me one reason I shouldn't kill you right now."
He didn't release her, just stared, his eyes revealing nothing, and Emily wondered if maybe their child wouldn't be enough to keep her alive. Seconds turned into minutes, and Emily kept her body perfectly still, waiting on Ian to react. She didn't fight, and didn't want to, she just wanted to be with him. It was insane and she knew it, but never in her life had she felt this way about anyone.
Ian sighed, and released her. He didn't let down his guard though. "What's your plan here?"
"Even if they don't have enough dirt to arrest you, which they probably do, they'll come after me. We need to go somewhere that no one can find us, Ian."
He scoffed. "And, why shouldn't I kill you after you give birth to my child?"
"Because, I love you." He smirked. "And you love me, even if you hate me right now, you still love me."
His smile faded. "So you think, what, we can just go away and be a happy family?"
"Yes. If you want to, if you can give up this business, we can disappear."
"And, I should give it all up for what? You? A woman who laid in my bed and my arms countless nights, all the while betraying me every minute? Hardly seems worth it."
"A woman who's giving up everything for you. This is it, Ian. My life as I knew it, it's over. Either I have this baby and then you kill me, or we leave and make a life together, and I never see anyone from my life ever again." Not that that was much of a loss for her, she barely had a relationship with her mother, and hadn't been in regular touch with friends since Interpol had recruited her.
"I need to think," he said.
He left then and came back with something Emily really didn't like the look of: shackles. The modern type that they typically use in prisons, but shackles nonetheless. She eyed them wearily, catching Ian's eye and the sadistic smile as he took in her discomfort. It was to be expected, she supposed; he was pissed. She'd just have to hope it didn't last.
"Declan has his first riding lesson today, I promised him I'd go with him," she tried, feebly.
"You'll have to disappoint him, won't you?" He gestured toward the bed. Their bed. "Get on it, by the post."
Emily swallowed and did as he instructed. Ian carefully fastened one shackle around the bedpost, and the other around her right wrist. "Can't risk you getting away now, can I, Love?"
She spent a month mostly in that room, with periodic forays to the villa grounds so people would see her and know she was still alive. He also gave her permission to perform whatever check-in procedure she had with her team. While she was suffering from a raging case of cabin fever, she didn't ask for anything or complain. Not even about the fact that he didn't look at her anymore. Not the way he used to, at least.
Occasionally, there was a glance. Or more like an untrusting glare. He'd told Liam she knew, because the other man, who didn't trust her anyway, spent his time watching her like the proverbial hawk, and shooting her looks that sliced through her like daggers. Ian didn't even ask about the baby, or how she was feeling.
He did send a doctor in to see her though. A OB-GYN likely paid some obscene amount of money to make the house call and keep his mouth shut. He gave her a pelvic exam, took blood, and used a portable ultrasound machine to confirm the pregnancy. That was the moment where Emily knew she'd at least survive until she gave birth, the only moment she witnessed something other than anger from Ian.
His eyes had been first on the doctor, then firmly planted on the small screen, and his breath had caught in his throat as the image appeared. Doyle's eyes had softened and lit up at the image of their child, even though it was barely recognizable as human. She'd seen love in his eyes, the love she used to see when he looked at her, and Emily was able to believe a little more that she'd made the right choice.
But then the machine shut off, and the moment was gone. The doctor handed her a prescription for prenatal vitamins written for a woman with an Italian name. Ian wasn't stupid, her people would come storming in if her name turned up on a prescription for prenatal vitamins. Either name.
So, that left her here. Sitting at the desk in the bedroom, which was actually unlocked, because even if she did make it out of the room, his men wouldn't let her make it off the grounds. And by this time he had to be pretty confident that she wasn't going anywhere. Emily was in the habit of asking permission to leave the room. Part of her absolutely hated it. She'd never been so…obedient before, even with her parents; following orders had never been her style. But Emily knew the only way to earn his trust again was to defer to his control and command. The only way to prove that she loved him was to stay, even under threat to her life, and give him a healthy child.
She flipped the page in a catalog, scanning the glossy pages filled with baby paraphernalia, circling anything that she liked. Emily had taken a chance and told him she wanted to prepare for the baby. Ian had seemed almost to take some glee in telling her that she may never see their child. Yet days later, one of the servants had shown up with a pile of baby books and catalogs. Unable to concentrate on the books, she'd turned to the catalogs.
Reading the books meant she was investing herself in being a mother to this child, and if Ian didn't allow her to take that role, it would break her heart. Of course, if that was the case, he'd probably kill her seconds after the birth, so she wouldn't have long to be heartbroken.
The door opened and she looked up to see Ian standing there. There was strain playing across his features, a sign of some internal struggle visible in his blue eyes. He didn't look at her. "That what you wanted then?"
Emily nodded. "Yes…I wouldn't mind your opinion on some of this." She gestured to the catalogs, keenly aware that asking Ian Doyle his thoughts on baby items was akin to asking Santa Claus about Easter.
Head slightly bowed, his eyes flicked up to finally meet hers. "My opinion is that I trust your judgment."
Emily's eyebrows shot up.
Ian almost smiled. "On this. You'll want what's best for the baby, of that, I've no doubts."
She rested a hand on her still flat stomach, and nodded, running her tongue over her top lip. "Thank you."
"That's what got me, you know." He was still meeting her eyes, his struggle seemingly gone, replaced by an unnerving intensity.
He ran a finger over his top lip. "That habit of yours, Love. Nervous tic, I suppose."
She bit her lip. "Yeah, I guess so."
"Made me want to kiss you desperately. Funny, I don't imagine you created that just for Lauren."
"No, that's me."
Ian crossed the room and stood in front of her, one hand running over her reddish hair, and cupping her face. Emily leaned into his touch, desperately wanting to reconnect with him, but also fearful of rushing it and breaking whatever moment they were having. He took her hand, and gently tugged her to stand, then spent several seconds just looking at her, analyzing, searching, doing what she didn't know.
"Ian?" Her voice was breathy, almost fearful. She hated the sound of it.
Then he kissed her, and she forgot all about it. His lips were on hers, soft and familiar, his five-clock shadow scraping against her skin, and his familiar taste hitting her mouth. Tinges of Irish whiskey and cigarettes. She hadn't had a cigarette in over a month, since the day she first suspected she was pregnant.
Ian's fingers were already at the hem of her top, slipping under the fabric and sliding over her skin. The rough calluses were a feeling she'd had to get used to, and one that she'd missed terribly over the past month. Emily pressed her body closer into his, relishing the feel of his touch for the first time in a month. Ian pushed back, nudging her toward the bed, Emily walking backwards and tentatively touching him.
He would want all the control, but she needed to be with him so badly.
He fiddled with her buttons, and pushed her pants over her hips until they could fall down themselves. She stepped out of them, and shimmied back on the bed, pulling him with her. Hands on the sides of his face, she pulled him closer to deepen the kiss, one hand sliding down his neck to his muscled shoulder blades. She wanted to pull his clothes off, and a month ago, she'd have done just that, but not now, not when he could pull anyway any time.
Ian busied himself with her sweater, pulling her up, and yanking the fabric off, and going to work on her bra before her back could hit the bed. Emily allowed him to slip her panties down her legs, and laid there naked and vulnerable while Ian straddled her, and studied her. He was breathing heavily, and so was she as a hint of a chill threatened if she cooled down further. Emily let the fingers of one hand tease along the bottom of his shirt, untucking a tiny piece from his pants.
But his focus wasn't on sex at the moment, it seemed to have been temporarily rerouted to her stomach. He rested a hand over the lower portion of her abdomen, instantly heating the exposed skin. Emily remained still, taking in the look of rapture in his face, the look that wasn't dissimilar to the one he wore during the ultrasound. He slid his hand along her skin, bringing her nerve-endings alive, and then suddenly his gaze broke, and his hand slid abruptly between her legs.
Emily gasped. His fingers barely brushed her clit and over her entrance, before he plunged one finger inside her. She inhaled, body tensing and breathing growing faster. His rough-skinned thumb teased her nub, and she began to moan and writhe on the bed. Then he pushed a second finger into her body, and worked her into a frenzy the way only he could. Out of all the men she'd been with, only Ian could so quickly and thoroughly get her off.
She gripped the sheets, and bit her lip to keep from screaming. Her body felt like it was on fire, her muscles taught and she wriggled around the bed as he brought her closer and closer. Then he froze in his ministrations and stared at her for several excruciatingly long seconds. There was his control. He could finish her off or walk out right now, and he wanted her to know it. Emily nodded. She understood. Too well.
Suddenly, he started again, and quickly brought her to climax.
While she was still trying to catch her breath, Ian was carefully, but quickly unbuttoning his shirt, and removing his shoes, socks, and pants, letting it all fall abandoned on the side of the bed. Without warning, he entered her, his eyes sliding shut and a breath expelling from his mouth, almost like it was a relief to be inside her.
Emily ran her hands over his chest and stomach, wrapping them around his back, fingertips trailing across his skin. She flicked her tongue across a nipple, satisfied when she heard him grunt, and then moved her attention to his neck. As he pulled himself out and thrusted back into her, Emily ran her hands, lips and tongue over every erogenous zone on his body that she could reach. She tasted his salty-sweet skin, and closed her eyes at the feel of his skin sliding over hers. She wrapped her legs around him, and hooked her ankles, allowing him to enter deeper and earning a moan from him.
His pace grew faster and more intense, but never rough. Ian had barely looked at her the whole time, as though she may as well be some hooker, but he was always careful, gentle even. He was still furious with her, but he wouldn't risk anything that could harm the baby. Even though, normally, they both preferred it a bit rough and uncontrolled. Today he kept his control, even as he shouted and emptied into her.
Ian collapsed on top of her, his body covering hers, and Emily continued to keep her arms around him, holding their bodies together. It wasn't long before he rolled over though, and she struggled to move with him, snuggling her body up against his side, her head tucked against her shoulder. Emily rested a hand on his chest, like she would have before, and struggled to suck in the feeling of being with him and store it up, not knowing when she'd get this again, or even if she'd ever be held by him again.
It was over too soon.
Whereas normally, they'd have stayed like that for a while, even taken a nap, Ian pulled himself off the bed quickly now. She sat up, holding the bed sheet over her nudity, and watched him change back into his clothes. As much as it hurt it didn't surprise her. He'd barely looked at her, there was no emotional component to what they'd just done, it was just sex. Emily wondered if that hurt him as much as it hurt her. From the speed at which he was dressing and the fact that he wouldn't meet her eyes, she thought it might.
She opened her mouth to speak, but nothing came out. She wanted to tell him that she loved him. That she missed him. That she wanted to build this family with him. That she wasn't loyal to the CIA, or Interpol, or the JTF-12 team, but only to him. That she wanted to be with him so much, she was willing to become an international fugitive.
Those words all stuck in her throat. Nothing he wanted or was ready to hear.
Instead she asked, "Can I see Declan?"
It felt like they'd been driving forever. Emily was tired and hungry, and frankly, she'd had enough of riding with Ian and neither saying or word or glancing at each other. She glanced over at him now, watched him check his cell phone and then turn to look out the window. She sighed, and let her hand rest over the small bump in her abdomen, the cause of this exceedingly long trip. She began to show almost two months ago, and managed to hide it with baggy clothing, until now. Now, she was getting big enough that baggy clothing wouldn't be enough, so Ian finally realized that they had to get the hell out of dodge.
The baby moved, a gentle flutter beneath her fingertips, and Emily smiled. It was just about the only thing that did make her smile these days. Well, that and Declan. She'd always have a smile for the little boy. Ian made occasional visits to her room, but those visits hurt more than anything else now. It was just sex. He never met her eyes, never stayed to hold her, and never gave any indication that he might still love her. She wondered if he was punishing her; he had to know that every time he used her it broke her a little more.
She'd had a dozen chances to leave, but never did, not when there was still a chance they could be a family. Except now, the two of them were headed to who-knew-where, and Declan was with Louise and Liam, destined for an entirely different who-knew-where. Ian hadn't wanted to leave them at the house, knowing that the cops would be storming it within days. He had let her say goodbye to him, Emily figured that had to be a good sign.
They suddenly stopped, and Emily looked around, peering into the dark. It had to be the tiniest airport she'd ever seen, and judging by the scenery, out in the middle of nowhere. Ian opened his door and got out, so Emily made to do the same. He was at her side of the car suddenly, offering a hand to help her out. She wasn't big enough to need it yet (not quite six months along), but accepted it anyway, just because it was the slightest bit of affection from him.
When had she become that pathetic?
He left his arm around her as he guided her to the small, private jet waiting for them. She noted the people scurrying around them, collecting the luggage from the SUV and moving it into the plane. They walked up the stairs and into the very comfortable, spacious cabin. Thick leather seats, a couple sofas in the same fashion, and what appeared to be a pantry in the back. Emily lowered herself onto one of the seats, debating on whether she wanted to switch to a sofa.
A young man appeared from the stairs, a plastic bag in his hand, and handed it to Ian. It smelled like food, and Emily decided that sleep would wait. Right now, she wanted food. He set a container on table across from her, where he'd been standing, and walked over to place the other container and a bottle of water in front of her. The smell was strong, and Emily instantly knew what it was without even opening it.
Kushari. A dish she'd eaten so often while her mother was stationed in Egypt that it had become something of a comfort food for her. One of her favorite dishes. Ian didn't like Middle Eastern food as much as she did; he was a meat and potatoes kind of guy, which meant he'd purposely picked Egyptian cuisine for her. She bit her lip, and glanced up at him. "Thank you."
He nodded, and retreated to his seat, opening his container. Emily pulled the top of the Styrofoam box up, and inhaled the delicious smell wafting at her. Garlic sauce. He'd even remembered that she favored garlic sauce. Emily turned her attention across the aisle. "Ian…"
He didn't shift his gaze from his dinner, but did speak, his voice almost soft. "Louise says you're good for Declan."
She didn't dare speak, too afraid he'd stop talking to her.
"Liam insists I should kill you the second the child is born."
She swallowed. "And, how do you feel?"
"I agree with Liam." Emily's heart hit the floor, and her hand went protectively to her stomach. "But, that doesn't explain why I keep dreamin' of a little girl with brown eyes and dimples."
She licked her top lip and decided to take a chance. "You said you wanted me to raise Declan. I can do that, Ian. I want to do that."
"I said I wanted Lauren to raise my son. I don't know you, and as I recall, you said you couldn't do it." He was glaring now, but at least he was looking her way.
She inhaled, considering her wording carefully. "I can't raise my children to be killers and criminals, but I can raise them to be fighters, to be passionate about a cause. They can be warriors without being sociopaths."
He nodded at that and sipped the coffee that had been brought with his meal. "That still leaves us with a few problems, doesn't it? The woman I loved is gone."
"Do I seem so different, Ian? Do you actually believe I'm that talented an actress that every moment we've had the last two years has been a lie? Because, it wasn't, Ian."
He turned away, eyes pointed toward his food, but she doubted he was actually looking at it. She swallowed back the emotion building up in her throat. "You told me once that you didn't know what kind of life we'd have, but that you wanted me in yours. I'm telling you the same thing. I want you in my life, Ian."
Months later, Emily sat in the maternity ward of a hospital on the Island of Mauritius. It sat off Madagascar, near the southern end of the African continent, and how Ian had gotten them set up there, she couldn't fathom. They used different names, but he still seemed to be conducting business, and they hadn't been found yet. There hadn't been a peep of their disappearance in the papers, not that she'd expected Interpol to admit they lost an international terrorist and one of their agents. She felt a little bad knowing that her team probably believed her dead.
But for this? It was worth it.
She was exhausted and sweaty, but the tiny figure in her arms was worth every bit of effort. Seven pounds, four ounces of beautiful, her newborn son.
Ian hadn't been with her for the delivery, but then even if she'd still been Lauren, Ian Doyle would never be the man donning scrubs, ready to coach his girl through labor. That just wasn't him. Just like the docile, obedient creature she'd become wasn't her. Today though, she'd either be killed, or released from purgatory and allowed to shed that role. Either way, she'd be wearing it no longer.
Emily cuddled her son close to her chest, running her fingers over his delicate, perfect features. His face was still red, and he was fast asleep, but she'd seen his eyes earlier and they looked just like Ian's—light blue, like a faded sky. And, there was already a considerable amount of dark hair covering his head, no doubt from her. He was perfect and tiny, and she loved him so much it hurt to think she may not live to watch him grow up.
She'd given up and risked everything for her son. She'd never be able to return to the States, or even Europe. She'd never see her mother again, nor the few friends she'd managed to somehow retain through her brutal schedule. She may not live past today, because she'd told the father of her child, that she was really an undercover operative.
She kissed the baby and stroked his cheek, and as she stared in awe at him, she knew she wouldn't change any of it.
Someone cleared their throat across the room, and her head shot up. Ian. "It's a boy," she said.
"I heard. Healthy too."
She nodded. "You want to hold him?"
He nodded, and slowly approached the bed, accepting the baby as she transferred him to his father's arms. Ian was very gentle, but firm as she cradled their son, one large hand cradling the infant's body, the other supporting his head. His eyes adopted the same awe he wore during the first ultrasound. Like he couldn't quite believe they'd created something so amazing, so precious, so beautiful.
Emily watched Ian cradle their child for what had to be about ten minutes. Warmth flooded her body at the image, and gave her almost a feeling of peace. After a while, he looked up at her and spoke. "I'd like ta' call him Conall."
"I like it. I don't know how great it will sound with Doyle though."
Ian shook his head. "It's a bit irrelevant seein' as how he won't be goin' by that name."
She nodded, in understanding. No matter what happened with her, Ian would have to hide if he wanted Conall in his life. If he killed her and went back to Italy, Interpol would arrest him, and it wouldn't take more than some suspicions and a DNA test to determine that she was the baby's mother. Clyde would make sure Conall disappeared, and no one, including Ian ever saw the boy again. He would protect Conall for her, knowing that that was what she'd want.
Emily swallowed and watched Ian lay their son in the plastic hospital bassinet. Conall didn't really react, still pretty much asleep, just a wiggle and a breath of air out of his mouth. She felt something in her chest tighten, something in her gut burn, and struggled to keep her tears at bay.
This was it. Ian was going to kill her. She struggled to find something to say, to delay it, to buy herself an escape. "Are you disappointed?"
Ian looked at her and frowned. "About what?"
"That he wasn't a girl."
He released a breath that sounded almost like a laugh. "No, 'course not…" He paused and trailed off, before picking it back up. "I can wait for the next one for a girl."
Emily's head shot up, as her focus went from the baby to Ian. "What?" she blurted.
"Seems I've decided to give you a reprieve, Love."
"You're not going to kill me?"
"No." He finally met her eyes, after almost nine months of refusing to, and she saw what she'd missed so much. He still loved her, it was right there in the soft gaze of his baby blues.
She struggled to hold back tears. She'd get to raise her son, to be with the man she loved, to raise the little boy she adored. "What about Declan?"
"He'll be home next week. That'll give you time to get settled with Conall."
"Home? We're staying here?"
Ian nodded. "Your people've no idea where we are, we're safe."
One hand over her mouth, Emily breathed in and out, trying to keep herself together. Then she took a chance, and reached for his hand. He gave it, and surprised her, stepping closer and pressing his lips to hers. Emily pulled him closer, deepening the kiss, before breaking away, and settling into an almost painfully tight hug. He pulled away enough to look into her eyes, and peck her lips, before holding her again.
It was gone. That feeling that he didn't love her anymore, that there was no feeling left when he touched her, that he didn't care. It was all gone. "I love you," she said.
Ian pressed his lips against her head and held her tighter.