True to his word, the doctor released her in the morning. Garcia and Morgan picked her up with Declan practically skipping beside them, and not letting go once he had a grip on her hand. Emily didn't mind at all.
They'd headed straight to the BAU, where Emily gave her statement to Morgan. He'd insisted on a cognitive interview and all, which she was a bit too impatient to deal with, much to his frustration. After they finished, Morgan sighed with relief, and then escorted her toward their break room, where he poured coffee for both of them.
"So, how are you holding up?" He asked, sipping his brew.
Emily shrugged. "Fine."
He stared at her, studying her for several silent and rather uncomfortable minutes. "Two days ago you kissed your children goodbye and marched to your death. Yesterday, you killed their father. And that's it, you're fine?"
"Fine," she sighed, "I'm not exactly fine. I'm tired, my head hurts, I want to see my daughter, and emotionally I'm torn between being relieved and upset. Happy now?"
"Deliriously. Seriously though Prentiss, this isn't something you're going to get over today or tomorrow or even next month. I'd bet my next five paychecks that you'll be looking over your shoulder for at least another year, maybe two, three or even five. Give yourself time and space to feel whatever your going to feel, or it's going to come back when you least expect it and bite you in the ass. Trust me."
"You speak from experience?"
He looked away and then back. "Let's just say I've had my share of shit to deal with."
Emily snorted. "You and me both."
Morgan's phone beeped then, and he pulled his phone off his belt and looked at the face. Then he smiled and looked back up at her. "Well, I can help you with one of those things you listed."
"JJ and Will have Charlotte up in the conference room."
In less than a minute her coffee cup with in the sink, and she was halfway to the conference room with Morgan chuckling behind her. She barely had time to get in the door when she found herself holding her arms open to catch Charlotte, who was racing toward her and shrieking.
"Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! I missed you, Mommy!"
Emily lifted the little girl into her arms and held her tightly, thanking a god she wasn't even sure she believed in for letting her survive to see her children again. "I missed you too, baby."
Charlotte pulled back and began talking a mile a minute. "I got to ride on a horsey, Mommy. She was gray and white, and she liked me, and I got to feed her a carrot. And, JJ's mommy took me to see the people in the funny clothes. They had funny hats too, and all the girls wore dresses. And we went to a farm, and there was sheep and cows and, and piggies! There was piggies with their mommy. They were so little!"
"Wow," Emily said. "You sound like you had a lot of fun." Then she turned to JJ. "People in funny clothes?"
The blonde was smiling, clearly amused by Charlotte's rambling. "The Amish. I grew up about thirty minutes away from Lancaster."
"Oh, of course." She turned back to Charlotte. "You're going to grow up to be a veterinarian aren't you?"
The girl frowned. "What's a ve-ter-er-an-anian?"
"Veterinarian, sweetie. It's a doctor for animals."
Charlotte's lights lit up. "Oh, could I do that, Mommy?"
Emily chuckled. "Yes, you can do whatever you want to, Char."
And, she could. Both of them could. There would be no Ian hanging the family legacy of murder and mayhem over their heads. Emily kissed her daughter's head, surprised when she squealed and cried out again.
"Declan!" She started scrambling away so fast, Emily almost dropped her. Then Charlotte ran to her brother, who smiled and hugged her.
"Uh FYI," JJ said. "Didn't give her a drop of sugar this morning."
"Oh, that's just her being a three year-old. You'll see soon enough." Emily nodded to her bump. She walked over to the couple then, and sat beside them. "There are no words that can really express how grateful I am to you for taking care of her the last few days. I just…" Her breath caught in her throat. "There are no words."
JJ squeezed her hand. "You're welcome. I'm just relieved everything turned out okay."
Emily looked away from the other woman's pointed look. She was not used to people really giving a damn what she did with her life. Even when Clyde gave her looks like that, or less frequently Sean or Tsia, she'd never been comfortable with them.
Fortunately, her discomfort was quickly cut-off. The BAU's two senior agents appeared at the doorway, Rossi smiling at the two excited children, and Hotch nodding her out the door. She got up and looked over at the kids, before Rossi caught her eye, looked at the kids, and then nodded toward Hotch. Emily bit her lip, but did as instructed for the first time in a long time.
She followed Agent Hotchner to his office, and sat in one of the chairs in front of his desk at his gesture. Rather than risk awkward silence, Emily jumped in. "I'm very grateful to your team for protecting my children and saving my life."
His eyebrows rose. "I was under the impression that you saved your own life."
"I never would have made it out alive if you guys hadn't come when you did and taken out Liam and the others. Liam would have killed me the second I opened the door, and enjoyed the hell out of it, by the way."
"Not your biggest fan, then?"
She chuckled. "Far from it." She cleared her throat and grew serious again. "I owe your team so much, and I don't think could ever adequately repay it."
"I may have an idea of where to start," he said. "But first I have questions, like where have you been living the last four years?"
She didn't dodge or refuse to answer. "Twin Falls, Idaho. I taught at the community college."
He looked suddenly interested. "Really? What subjects?"
"Psych 101, Criminal Behavior as a Special Topics course in psychology, and then Arabic 1 and 2." She was one of maybe a handful of people in the state that could speak, read and write the language fluently enough to teach it.
Hotchner nodded. "You have a degree in linguistics or psychology?"
"Masters in psych. My B.A. in Linguistics, but I'm fluent, the only one cheap enough to hire, and my papers are fake anyway."
He cracked a smile. "Do you plan on going back there?"
She sighed. "Well, after the funeral yes, but I think I'd like to move back to D.C. now that it's safe to."
"Doyle. Whatever else he was, he was also a father."
"I wasn't judging. Just asking."
"I just expect it I guess."
Hotchner nodded. "Well, if you're interested in work, the Academy here is always looking for good instructors, and the BAU could benefit from a consultant with your expertise."
Emily opened her mouth to answer, but her thoughts just seemed to float away. Did he really just offer her a job? With everything he knew about her now? She shook her head. "I don't understand. After the last few days…why would you want me?"
"I'm familiar with your resume, you come with good recommendations, and honestly, if you're a full-time mother and working here, I can't imagine you'd have much time to get yourself into trouble."
"Did I take a few years off your life too?" She smirked.
"Not quite, but I think if you settled into domestic bliss, you'd save your friend a premature coronary." His expression was neutral as ever, but Emily could see the twinkle of humor in his eye.
This was serious though, and she sobered quickly. "How much time would be teaching, and how much would be consulting?"
"That would depend on the Academy's needs, but it might be possible to work it around your preference. Do you have one?"
She looked toward the conference room, where the nicest people in the world were watching over her children. All of whom, worked right here. Emily looked back at him. "I suppose not." She inhaled. "It's a wonderful offer, one I will seriously consider, but I need to wrap my head around it a bit, and sort things back in Idaho."
"Of course." She rose and he rose with her, accepting his outstretched hand.
"Thank you, Agent Hotchner, for everything." He nodded and Emily headed back to the conference room.
Charlotte was sitting on Morgan's lap, giggling crazily as she watched Reid perform magic tricks. JJ and Will were sitting closer together, watching with amused expressions, both with a hand on her bump. Rossi was laughing as he leaned back in a chair and watched them. Declan was huddled beside Garcia in front of a laptop, and her hands were moving around as she spoke. The boy looked captivated as he looked between her and the screen. Then he saw her.
"Mom," he called. She headed over and he grabbed her hand eagerly.
"Ms. Garcia said that she'd give me computer lessons."
"Really?" She turned to Garcia.
She shrugged. "He's so cute, and impossible to resist."
"Don't I know it." Emily ran a hand over his head. "Did you thank her?"
"Well, she needs a really, really big thank you. You know she's really good at what she does, right?" He nodded, but she could tell he didn't quite get it. She smiled. "Declan, getting computer lessons from Ms. Garcia is like getting soccer lessons from David Beckham."
Now he got it. His eyes widened and he turned to Garcia. "Whoa." Then he jumped up, and hugged her. "Thank you!"
"Oh, you're very welcome, sweetie."
Emily looked at her. "Just nothing illegal or semi-legal until he's 18."
The tech chuckled. "No worries, he'll probably get bored and be into girls before we get to that level."
Now it was Emily's turn to chuckle. "Oh, you don't know my son."
Emily sipped her iced tea, and worried her nails, her hands hidden under the little café table. It had an outdoor section, but she was seated inside where the air conditioning kept the temperature cool.
With everything happening and the medical examiner's office backed-up, Emily had taken the kids back to Idaho for a while. She'd arranged the funeral from the phone, relying on recommendations from JJ, whose connections apparently went beyond cops and reporters.
Being back in the home she had known for almost four years, the house where Charlotte took her first steps and Declan learned to ride a bike without training wheels, had had the effect of lifting a fog. It was easy to get caught up in everything in D.C., just as it was easy to think about leaving while Idaho was so far away.
Still, Emily had a decision to make, and she made it.
When she booked the tickets to fly back for the funeral, she scheduled the return for several days afterward. Derek Morgan was going to take them around to look at some houses, some of which Emily picked out, and some that he'd selected himself. Declan had mentioned that they were moving to Garcia, while chatting online during his first computer lesson, an online one. The next day Morgan had called, apparently he was quite familiar with the housing market in the D.C. area.
They'd flown in last night, and tomorrow she'd take Declan and Charlotte to bury their father.
Today, however, she was seeing her mother for the first time in almost six years, and speaking to her for the first time in almost five.
They'd never been very good at keeping in touch, and being undercover had made her ability to call even more sporadic. The Ambassador knew nothing about Ian Doyle, Lauren Reynolds, or that she had grandchildren. Up until last week, she hadn't even known that her daughter, her only child, was even alive.
Her head snapped up at the familiar sound, and there was her mother, straight-backed and as serious as ever. Her lips were pursued and she didn't move, like she wasn't ready to believe her daughter had come back to life yet.
"Hello Mother." She smiled and stood up. To her surprise, Elizabeth pulled her into a crushing hug.
"My god, I thought you were dead. Everyone said you had to be. They wouldn't tell me why, they just said your last assignment went bad." The Ambassador continued rambling and holding her. "I yelled and railed and I pulled every favor I was owed, but they wouldn't tell anyone anything. The idiots just kept saying how sorry they were for my loss."
"I'm so sorry, it just wasn't safe to contact you or anyone else," Emily said. Her mother finally released her, and held her arms as she looked at her.
"You look good, Emily. I was afraid you'd look like death after being missing so long."
"I wasn't exactly missing, I was hiding."
"From what? What happened four years ago, Emily?"
Emily gestured to the seat across from her. "Trust me, Mother, you'll want to be sitting down."
For once the Ambassador listened, and she continued listening, even waving away the waiter who came to take their orders. When Emily revealed her pregnancy, her mother gasped. "With this man's baby? This terrorist?"
"Yes. I cleaned things up at work, and then I went into hiding with Declan and his guardian. I gave birth on March 17, 2005, Charlotte was 7lbs, 6ozs, and I sobbed like a baby when they put her in my arms."
Her mother's eyes seemed to light-up in a away Emily was sure she'd never seen. "A girl? I have a little granddaughter?"
Emily nodded, and pulled a photo out of her purse. It had been taken two months ago, Declan and Charlotte sitting on the steps to their porch. She handed the photo to her mother. "That's Charlotte and Declan at our home in Idaho."
"Declan? You kept the boy as well?"
"Yes, I've adopted him, and he is my son as much as Charlotte is my daughter."
"They're beautiful, Em. I can see why you why did it, why you ran away and hid from the world."
She nodded. "No more though. If all goes well over the next week, we'll be living in the area by next month."
"Can I seem them before you go back to Idaho?" She was tensed, as if afraid Emily might say no.
"I was hoping you'd want to."
"You thought I might not?"
Emily bit her lip and looked away, before finding the courage to meet her mother's eyes. "Honestly, I was afraid of what you'd think of me when I told you."
Elizabeth didn't speak right away, and Emily squirmed a bit under her gaze. Finally, the older woman reached across the table, and laid her hand over Emily's. "I think I have a very strong daughter."
The day of the funeral, Emily was nervous, and tired because she'd barely slept a wink. Her stomach was throbbing, and the kids' soft voices weren't soothing her like they normally might. Declan was dressed in a black slacks and a polo shirt, and Charlotte wore a simple black short-sleeved dress. Emily decided a four-person funeral didn't require formal attire, and the kids would have been uncomfortable in it anyway.
They were sitting on the hotel bed playing while she finished her make-up. Her dress was cut high across the top, covering the jagged, messy clover on her breast. It didn't matter to her, she knew it was there, but it made it all the more difficult to sort out her feelings. She loved the man, and hated him too.
Emily lifted the gold chain off the tabletop, and slipped it around her neck, the ring settling just above where he'd branded her. Suddenly she laughed.
"Mom?" Declan had turned to look at her.
"It's nothing, honey." She was just realizing that she would never date again. Her last relationship was far too fucked up to explain to any guy. She didn't just have baggage, she had the entire cargo hold of a 747 jet.
"Charlotte," she called. The little girl came running, and Emily lifted her onto her lap. "You know what we're going to do now, right?"
She nodded. "We're saying goodbye to Daddy."
"That's right, we are." She didn't feed them any bullshit about him going to be with the angels, because if Christianity was right, Ian was going straight in the other direction.
Charlotte picked up the bottle of mascara and rolled it in her fingers. "Mommy?"
"Declan remembers Daddy, but I don't. Why?"
"Well Char, you never met Daddy. Remember?" Yesterday, she'd explained why Charlotte had never met her father - he'd been living very far away without any way to contact them.
She was not about to tell her sweet, innocent three year-old that her Daddy had been locked away in a North Korean prison.
The little girl nodded. "How could Daddy love me if never met me?"
Emily silently cursed her daughter for inheriting both her parents' brains. She bit her lip, then inhaled. "Well, when you were with JJ and Will, and I wasn't there, you still loved me, right?"
"Of course, Mommy!" Charlotte shook her head at her mother's silly question.
Emily smiled. "Well, it's like that. Even though he never saw you, never held you," she squeezed her daughter tightly, "never kissed you" she kissed Charlotte's cheek, "or rocked you to sleep," she said, swaying with the girl in her arms, "he still loved you with everything he had in him."
"Yeah." She said it without doubts. Ian Doyle may have been a bastard, but he would have treasured his daughter. Where he pressured and pushed Declan, he'd have coddled Charlotte.
"Mommy?" She asked again.
When the little girl's head came up, she was surprised to see fear vivid on her face. "Are you going to go away like Daddy?"
"Oh no, baby. Of course not." She pulled Charlotte close and pressed a kiss to her head. "I have the two best kids in the world, why would I go anywhere?"
She found Declan across the room, and waved him over, ignoring the look on his face that was clearly telling her that she was full of shit. She supposed he had the right, she did walk out to her death, and he knew it.
Even so, when he made it toward them, she held his arm. "How are you doing?"
He shrugged. "Okay."
"Well, you remember what I said, right? It's okay to feel whatever you feel." He nodded and Emily pulled him close and hugged him too.
They met Clyde in the lobby of the hotel, and took her rental to the cemetery. It would be only a simple graveside service performed by a Catholic priest in a Catholic cemetery. Emily harbored no delusions about the kind of man Ian was, and no desire to masquerade as if he were something more. However, she still cared enough about the man to honor his faith.
She walked over the path and the lush green grass, holding both her children's hands. Declan was quiet, had been since they'd woken up that morning. Unlike his sister, he understood what they were doing, and he remembered his father. Even though not all of those memories were happy, some were, and it was harder for him because of that. Charlotte had been her usual talkative self until they got to the cemetery, but now she pressed her body close to Emily and walked silently.
The priest was already waiting when they arrived. They made introductions and he offered his condolences to Emily and the children. He seemed a bit confused at Clyde's presence, but they both ignored it, so he didn't press. She stood beside the box, a child on either side, and behind Declan, close enough to comfort her if she needed it.
Emily knew being there, mourning Doyle was probably killing him, but he didn't let on.
The priest began, and ran through an abbreviated version of a Catholic ceremony, which was usually a very long affair. Small children don't do long, Emily had explained that when she'd called. It was lovely, but rather generic since she'd given him so little information on Ian, herself and the kids. At one point she felt Declan move closer to her, and she held him close with her arm.
To her surprise, Emily felt emotion building up behind her eyes, and had to take a deep breath to keep it at bay. Ian Doyle was a bad man who had loved her, and shown her that in every touch and every kiss. He was the man who had looked at her as if she was everything good in his world, and he was the man who had given her two children. Those are things she couldn't forget, no matter how many times she reminded herself of the destruction and suffering he'd caused in his life time.
When the priest finished, she took the roses Clyde had held for her, and gave one to each child, and kept one for herself. She crouched, mindful of her dress, in front of Charlotte.
She smiled at her daughter, forcing her pain back deep into her mind. "Alright Sweetie, I need you to say 'Goodbye' to Daddy, and put the flower on top of the box, okay?"
Charlotte nodded. Emily stood as the little girl walked up to the box, and put a hand on it. "Goodbye Daddy, I love you even if I never met you."
Tears sprung to her eyes, but she blinked them away. Charlotte turned and Emily lifted her so she could lay the rose on the coffin. She turned to Declan then, who looked miserable.
Emily ran a hand over his cheek. "You feel whatever you feel, Declan."
He nodded and walked up to the coffin, laying a hand on it like Charlotte had. His voice cracked when he spoke. "I wish you could have been better."
He tossed the rose up on the box, and retreated back to Emily, standing close again.
She walked up to the coffin, her breath shaking as she inhaled and rested her own hand against the wood. She spoke softly, so the children couldn't hear. "You were a bastard, Ian. You were a bully and cruel, and I hate you for that. But somehow, you made me feel loved, and I hope for a little while I made you feel the same." She breathed again, trying to keep her emotions in control. When she spoke again, it was louder. "Thank you for them."
Emily set her rose on top of the coffin, the flower seeming to land with an unusual heaviness. A finality for which she wasn't quite prepared.
When she turned around, she started, mouth falling open. The BAU team was standing several feet behind them, all of them dressed in black. Without a word, Emily returned to her children, heaving a suddenly clingy Charlotte onto her hip, and taking Declan's hand. She nodded at Clyde and offered him a soft "Thank you". He squeezed her shoulder, and she inhaled and walked toward the BAU team.
"Hi," she said.
"We didn't mean to intrude," Garcia quickly said, her usual vibrancy subdued by sympathy.
Rossi nodded. "We thought you could use a few friends."
"It was very thoughtful, thank you. All of you, thank you for everything."
"There's a restaurant a few blocks away, best Manicotti you'll ever taste this side of the Atlantic, and you look like you could use a meal and some time to decompress." The oldest profiler eyed her.
Emily turned to the kids. "Are you guys hungry?"
They both nodded, so she looked back at the team. "Guess that's a yes. Lead the way."
Charlotte picked her head up from Emily's shoulder as they began to walk, and greeted JJ and Morgan enthusiastically. She nearly gave Emily and Morgan both heart attacks when she leaped into his arms. He managed to catch her with a quick of look of panic directed at Emily. She shrugged, as Charlotte hugged him and began to babble away.
Garcia nudged her, and nodded toward Declan. "You're right, that one is smart. Only gave him one lesson, and he asked a lot of really good questions."
Emily ran a hand over his head. "Yeah, he definitely got his dad's brains."
Declan looked up at her. "That's one of his good parts, right?"
"Yeah baby, that's one of his good parts," she said.
They came to the edge of the cemetery, and Emily's chest tightened. She glanced back at where they'd walked from, and felt a breath catch in her throat. Clyde stopped beside her, and put a hand on her arm.
Emily nodded and began to walk again. As she passed through the gate to the cemetery, the tightness around her chest began to loosen. She left her tortured past in a box in Mount Olive Cemetery, and found her future in an Italian restaurant, among the wonderful people who'd already become a part of her life.
And this story is now complete. Apologies if the editing is a poor, I'm exhausted from being buried in school work. That's also the reason I didn't update until now, accelerated summer courses suck.
So, this is my last and final piece of the requests I got from when I wrote "This Must be Hell". Of course, this will not be my last Prentiss/Doyle fic.
Per a request, I'll be doing a being doing a series of oneshots (twoshots and threeshots also possible) about the Prentiss/Doyle relationship while Em was undercover. These will be posted together, like chapters in a long fic.
I also have a oneshot from a prompt that should be posted some time this month. As always, you can find info for whatever I'm working on in my profile.