This is the sequel to my story "A New Life", and while you could understand this one without reading that one, I suggest reading it anyway. This probably isn't going to be what most of you were expecting of hoping for, but this is what came out of my head. I did go in with the intention of making it happier than "A New Life", but I had a lot of trouble with it, and yeah, that isn't what happened.
My last of the Prentiss/Doyle requests, which will be several chapters, should be posted end of this week, or beginning of next.
She found the envelop on her desk when she got in, with the blue and red markings of airmail and a postmark from the UK. There was no return, but her information was scrawled across it in handwriting she knew well. She hadn't seen him since she'd gotten back, and the emails had been sparing, but she hadn't been surprised. She used to live that life, she knew Clyde was all over the place with limited secure access to the internet. Emily tossed the envelope on her stack of things to weed through, and headed to get a cup of coffee. By the time she returned, Reid was coming back from somewhere, grabbing his things, and looking ready to head to the conference room.
"We have a case?" She asked.
He nodded. "Garcia said it's a nasty one, she and JJ are in with Hotch now."
JJ had resumed many of her usual duties upon returning, though Hotch tried to treat her as on of the profilers. He still needed someone to preform the functions she'd handled as media liaison, and JJ was happy to do it for the most part. She was no longer responsible for going through all the new cases though. Instead Garcia went through them, and JJ helped her triage cases, and narrow down which might need focus from the entire team.
Emily sighed. "Be up in a minute."
Reid nodded, and headed upstairs, leaving Emily to gather her things. She balanced a notepad, her I-Pad, and few pieces of mail in one hand, and held her coffee in the other. She dropped her things next to Reid, who was already seated, speaking with Morgan, and slid tiredly into the seat. After a sip of coffee she glanced at her mail, decided the envelope from the Bureau insurance carrier could be left until later, as could the one about her 401K plan. Even months later, not everything in her life was completely settled.
Apparently, coming back from the dead was a lengthy process.
She gently pried open the air mail envelope, and slide the contents of Clyde's envelope into her hands. It was a letter, and a photo, which she moved behind the letter, so she could read it.
I didn't think you were ready to see this for a long time, but now I think you need to see her. The bastard's dead, you can acknowledge her now.
Her name is Lily.
With her fingers slightly trembling, she pulled the photo from behind the paper so she could see it. It had to be fairly recent. A six year-old girl with dark hair, and even darker eyes was holding a stick out to a little dog, and smiling widely at the camera. She was beautiful. Lily was so perfect and happy, full of life and energy, and completely oblivious to all the misery that surrounded her conception and birth.
"Hey, what's that?"
Emily nearly jumped, and quickly covered the photo out of instinct, before turning to a surprised Garica. "Nothing," she said.
"Oh…okay," the tech said, uncertainty coloring her words. And maybe even a little hurt. She began to walk away.
Emily ran her tongue over her top lip, and made a decision. Clyde was right, she could finally acknowledge her daughter's existence. "Wait, Garcia."
Garcia turned back to her. "Are you okay?"
"Yeah, I just…yes, I'm fine." She held out the photo, and let Garcia take it. "She's my daughter."
The room was suddenly plunged into silence, their attention fixed, and Garcia's eyes were on hers, wide as saucers. Emily glanced around nervously, noted that everyone had arrived, which was both daunting and relieving. At least, she'd only have to explain this story once.
"Her name is Lily. She's six and a half now." Deep breaths, in and out, she coached herself. She licked her lip again, and inhaled, stealing her nerves.
It was Reid, of course, who did the mental calculations, and figured it out. He frowned and said, "Six and a half, but that would mean you were undercover when she was conceived?"
Emily swallowed, and nodded. "Ian Doyle is her father."
"Doyle got you pregnant?" Morgan blurted out, voice laced with hostility. Any mention of Doyle made him see red.
Emily nodded. "He never knew. When I found out, I contacted Clyde to end the mission, and then when I started to show, he helped me disappear for a while. I had him choose a couple for me, and they came and got her the morning after I gave birth."
Garcia still looked flabbergasted. "You never told us."
Again Emily inhaled. "Giving her up was about the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. For a long time I couldn't even think about her without…and talking about her was just too hard. And then, there was needing to keep her safe…so it was just easier to pretend she didn't exist."
The tech looked down at the photo in her hands. "She looks a lot like you."
Emily simply nodded. It was harder to keep her emotions under control than she expected, and speaking didn't make it any easier. Garcia gestured passing the picture around, and Emily nodded.
Reid smiled at the photo, passed it to Morgan, and looked at her. "Are you going to try to get custody now?"
"Well, when are you going to go see her? I mean you can now, right, since Doyle's dead?" Garcia asked.
She struggled again, knowing most of them wouldn't understand her choices. "I'm not going to see her. I don't plan on being part of her life."
Some faces clouded over with confusion, but some seemed to have some understanding. "But, why?" Garcia asked, voice high, clearly upset by the admission.
"I don't want to disrupt her life. She's happy and well-adjusted where she is, I don't want to upset that." The tech started to object, but Emily cut her off. "Please don't, Garcia."
Morgan rested a hand on Garcia's arm, and gave her a look. She sighed, and seemed to drop it.
"We have a case we need to get to," Hotch reminded them, passing the photos to Rossi, who seemed to instantly smile at them.
As soon as the team had left for the case, which was local, Garcia had gone to her office, determined to find out more about this child. She'd called Clyde Easter right away, and demanded the names of Lily's parents. He'd told her she was nuts and to respect Emily's wishes. She'd told him she was about to erase his credit history with the push of a button. Easter had reminded her that he'd been a spy most of his life; he didn't have a credit history.
She then threatened to hack into the SIS servers and deactivate his clearance and keycards. He'd told her she was an overly persistent, pain in the ass. Then he'd given up the information.
In a process that took her all day, as she worked with the the team, Garcia tracked down the parents' Facebook pages, LinkedIn accounts, and hacked the IP address and managed to get a browsing history for them. They had a Youtube account, but the videos were locked to the general public. She gave them a nod of approval. At least, they were aware of the dangerous of internet predators.
Of course, Penny Garcia was not the general public, and easily broke into the account. She was rewarded with a private stash of family videos, most of which were filled with notes directed toward various family members around the country. She had reserved the videos until the case was over, and the team heading home. Now, she found the earliest one, and hit play.
A baby rolling over, slowly learning to push her upper body off the ground with her chubby little arms. Familiar brown eyes peered out at the world triumphantly.
It hurt. A lot.
Garcia held a hand over her chest, and searched for the pause button. It just wasn't fair. As wonderful as these people were, they weren't Emily. Little Lily deserved to grow up with her awesome kick-ass Mom, and Emily deserved to raise her child. She should have had these moments. She should have been the one filming her little girl pushing herself up for the first time.
Lily was part of their BAU family.
As Garcia was wiping tears, there was a knock at her door, and it opened to reveal Emily. Crap.
"Hey, when did you guys get back?" She asked, trying to quickly close the open windows on her screen.
"Just now. I wanted to—" She stopped as her eyes caught the computer screen. "Garcia, please tell me that isn't what I think it is."
Penelope drew her lips back and winced. "Depends on what you think it is."
"Garcia," Emily groaned, shaking her head. She held up a hand. "I can't do this."
"Wait, wait, wait, I'm not trying to be nosey, I just wanted to make sure she was okay. I didn't contact her family or anything, just buzzed around their social networks. They have a bunch of videos of her."
The tension and hardness in her look softened a bit, and her lips seemed to twitch. "Yeah?"
"Yep. This seems to be the first one." She hit play before Emily could object.
Garcia watched her friend's face soften further, and then practically deteriorate as she struggled to hold it tears. "It's killing you to see her, and not be with her, isn't it?"
Emily wiped at her eyes. "Why do you think I didn't talk about her for six and a half years?"
"Then why not go to her? It's safe now."
The profiler took a shaky breath. "Because she has two people that she calls Mommy and Daddy, and loves to pieces. They love her too and have done a good job caring for her. If I go there and tell her I'm her mommy, there's far too much potential for damage. And besides, they can give her more than I ever could. I want her to have that."
"You could give her a lot too."
Emily snorted. "Garcia, I can barely manage myself some days."
Garcia offered her a soft smile. "You do just fine, kitten."
"She's doing well, Pen. She's happy. She has no idea where she came from, and I'd love for her to never have to know. Not until she's old enough to make that call herself."
"Well, from where I'm standing, she came from somewhere pretty special."
"She came from an undercover spy and terrorist and murder. I don't want to stick her with that legacy. Declan is stuck with it, at least part of it, but Lily doesn't have to be."
Garcia sighed. "I don't get it, and I won't pretend to, but it's your decision. Even if I don't understand it, I will respect it."
"That's all I ask," she said.
The tech smiled and then squeezed her hand, before a thought popped into her head. "Oh my god."
"What?" Emily's eyes scoured her in concern.
"Your dream. The little girl dancing on the hill…that was Lily, wasn't it? Doyle dredged up all those memories and you were afraid for her. You were afraid he'd take your innocent little girl, and drag her into all his darkness."
Emily's gaze went to her boots, before she looked back up. "Terrified."
Garcia stood up then, and wrapped her arms around the profiler, holding her tightly. "He's dead, Emily. You're daughter is safe, because of you."
Emily nodded and slowly pulled away, her eyes averted from the tech. Garcia saw her wipe at her eyes, but didn't comment. When Emily finally looked at her, the tears were gone, but the were still glassy vestiges. "You said there was videos?"
She nodded eagerly. "Yep, a whole slew of them. You want to watch?"
"Actually, could you burn them to a DVD for me?"
"It might take more than one, but sure. I'll have them ready for you when you come in tomorrow."
Emily squeezed her shoulder. "Thank you."
Garcia was pretty sure that thank you wasn't just for the DVDs, but only smiled widely at her friend, and bid her goodnight.
After Emily left she returned to Lily's parents' Facebook page, and picked out a still of the little girl wearing an apron with chocolate smeared on it. She sent it to one of the photo printers, and went to collect it. On returning to her office, Garcia put the printed photo into a frame, and set it beside the photos of Jack and Henry.
Lily was part of their family, even if they would never meet her.
The next night Emily was at home, sitting rigidly on her sofa, the remote in her hand, and her eyes glued to the pasta maker infomercial on the screen. Rather, she stared somewhere past the screen, destroying the nails of her free hand with her teeth.
There had been two DVDs on her desk when she got into work earlier, and a note from Garcia on top. Two DVDs full of videos of the child she'd given up years ago, the little girl with her eyes and Ian's smile. Her stomach was throbbing and her mouth was dry, and she hadn't even hit play yet.
Too many images were already racing through her head. Too many memories. Laughing when her umpteenth reading of "Mother Night" was interrupted by persistent kicking. Watching her baby suck her thumb at her five-month ultrasound. Seeing the clear impression of a foot pressing against her skin. Then there was the memory that made her heart ache, the first moment she saw her daughter and cradled the newborn in her arms.
She hit play.
Baby Lily appeared on her screen, rolling over and pushing herself up with her arms. She giggled and smiled at whoever was behind the camera. After a few minutes it changed to bath time, Lily in a baby seat, waving her hands and splashing in the water. Lily in her crib, sound asleep and looking so peaceful.
Emily felt her chest tighten, but held back her emotions. Then it was Lily's first time crawling, and the dam began to crack. The videos continued, some very short, others longer. When Lily smiled at the camera and said, "Mama," Emily just broke.
There was proud voices and clapping in the background, and it should have been her. It should have been her voice squealing with delight, and kissing Lily on her chubby cheeks. It should have been her that Lily was waving her arms excitedly at as she exclaimed, "Mama, mama, mama," over and over again.
But it wasn't.
There was a knock at her door, and Emily wiped at her eyes. Not that it would matter, she could feel they were red anyway. She was still wiping the tears from her face, as she pulled the door open to see Morgan, who immediately took note of her appearance.
"Hey," she said.
"Hey, uh Garcia said she gave you some DVDs today. I just wanted to come by and check on you, I thought it might be hard for you."
Emily nodded, and let him inside. She didn't know if she wanted to share this moment, or be greedy and keep it all for herself. She also wasn't sure if she'd be able to make it through much more without some uppers or a lot of wine.
Morgan looked around awkwardly, and then sat on the sofa beside her. He looked at the image paused on the screen. "She looks really happy, what's going on here?"
"She said 'Mama' for the first time." Her voice cracked and she looked away, but not before she saw the smile drop from his face.
He sighed, and grabbed her hand, squeezing it. "I am so sorry you didn't get to be the one she said it to."
"Yeah, me too."
He cleared his throat then. "You know, you told me once that you weren't a mother."
She looked at him, brow furrowed, and the corners of her mouth turned down. "And, I'm not."
Emily sighed. "Giving birth doesn't automatically make you a mother."
He nodded. "That's true." They'd both seen plenty of miserable women who'd give birth, and did not deserve the title of mother. Morgan pointed at the screen. "What do you see there?"
He smiled. "Obviously. But, let me tell you what I see. I see a beautiful little girl with her mother's big brown eyes, who's happy and healthy, and loved by the couple who adopted her. I see a little girl whose going to grow into an intelligent, healthy young woman, and if she's anything like her mama, she'll be a force to be reckoned with. These things are possible, because her mother made two difficult and very painful choices. She gave up her baby to keep her safe, and instead of going to her now and disrupting her life, she's staying away. You are putting her needs first, no matter how much pain it causes you. Those are the actions of a mother."
Emily looked away. "Maybe."
Morgan grew silent and she could feel him watching her. When he spoke again, his voice was soft, but still firm. "Emily, look at me."
She did, though it was hard, as the emotions inside her were fighting to break onto the surface. Morgan staring into her eyes didn't help matters.
"You will always be Lily's mother, even if you never hold her again."
Tears began to slide down her cheek then, and she hiccuped as the sobs started. Morgan pulled her close to his chest, and she just held him as she cried for the daughter she'd never know.