I'm working on a sequence of stories that belong together but still stand for themselves.
Thanks to Flames101 for Beta Reading. You are a great help!
Criminal Minds is not mine.
It was one of those lazy days for Emily. For once, they hadn't been called in on the weekend and Morgan had been gone basically all day, leaving her all alone. She couldn't hide the fact that she was bored. She had nothing to do; late Friday she had finished her book. She had cleaned the kitchen right down to polishing the handles of the drawers. When she'd asked Morgan what his plans were, hoping she might somehow get involved, he hadn't really responded, besides telling her that he was in a hurry.
She sighed; she had checked the clock twice in the past minute. She had considered calling JJ or Penelope but both of them had a spouse that was probably more than happy to have them home for once. She really needed to get herself a life. Maybe she could convince them to go out sometime during the week, like they'd done before she had "died".
"Arrrgh," she sounded her frustration.
The brunette got up from her position on the couch and began pacing through the living room. If it was her house she would have started rearranging things at this point of being bored, but she couldn't do that to Derek. Plus, she worried that he might kick her out, and that was an option she would rather not consider.
Emily started to seriously consider a workout DVD when the doorbell saved her. Although she wasn't expecting anyone, she was glad to have something to do, even if that something was just sending a stranger on their way. Just in case it was some good-looking friend of Derek's—which she doubted since she hadn't seen any of his friends, yet—she checked herself before opening the door.
"Hi, how are—"
The rest of the words got stuck in her throat as she came face to face with her mother. Although she had promised Hotch that she'd talk to her, she still didn't have the guts to do so. On top of her reluctance, her mother hadn't called her either.
"This is your father's idea. He is finding a parking spot," her mother announced in greeting. Emily, perplexed, stepped to the side to let her in.
Emily watched her mother take in her surroundings. "You have a nice place…" She followed her mother into the living room. "… though, the couches are arranged horribly."
Emily winced at the comment, reminding her of her own similar words to JJ a few weeks ago.
"Actually, this is not—" She got interrupted again as the doorbell rang for a second time. Not sure what to make of the situation, she fled from the room, opening the door.
She couldn't hide her joy. To her dislike she had always spent more time with her mother, her dad constantly away for work. And when her dad finally did make it home, her mother had taken him from one charity event to the next.
"Hey Pumpkin. You look very good for the dead." A smile spread across his face, showing her that he was joking. He took the last step to face her, before pulling her in a tight hug. "I didn't expect to have such a hard time with you being gone."
For the shortest time she pressed her face against her father's chest, breathing in his cologne. It was really weird hearing him talk about missing her. They hadn't seen each other for about two years and only half of that was due to her situation.
"Howard, the food is getting cold."
The older man sighed as he loosened the embrace and then finally let go of her. He reached for some boxes that sat on the porch steps, Emily hadn't registered previously.
"I hope you still like sea food. It was the only thing I knew you liked that I could agree on with your mother."
He gave her a tired grin, before following her into the house. She hurried to get plates and silverware from the kitchen, now glad that she had put all her free time into cleaning. As the family sat down for dinner, silence spread.
"I'm sorry for not calling. I was just so busy," the young woman finally started.
Emily knew that neither of them would buy it, after all, they had raised her, which was the main reason why she hadn't called her mother.
"Of course, you needed the time to reintegrate. I don't see any of your old furniture," her mother stated contemptuously. Her mother glanced up from her food, changing the subject and making clear that she didn't approve of the disappearances of the old family furniture Emily had received.
The brunette was stunned for a moment, trying to collect her thoughts. "They're in storage. This actually isn't my place," she explained.
As soon as the words were out she heard the key in the door. If this night could get any worse it was about to happen. She listened as Morgan closed the door and for the familiar fall of his keys hitting the cabinet in the hallway.
"Em, I'm back."
She covered her face with her hands. Why did he have to choose today to announce himself being home? Any other day he would just walk in, but today he needed to yell through the house, not knowing who he was hosting. At least he didn't call her princess that would have been the only thing that would make the situation even more awkward. She kept staring at the table as she heard him come closer.
"Are you having a feast without me?" she heard him joking, as he must have spotted the light coming from the dining room they usually never used.
She held her breath as he entered the room. She finally looked up at him with pleading eyes. She wasn't even sure what she wanted him to do, just the right thing, would be perfect. His eyes wandered between her and her parents a little confused at first, but then he took over.
"Ambassador, it's a pleasure to see you again. Derek Morgan, I work with your daughter," he reintroduced. Then he focused his attention on her father.
"Howard Prentiss, I don't think we had had the pleasure yet," her father added. The older man had risen, extending a hand to the agent. "Please have dinner with us. We should have more than enough."
Out of the corner of her eye Emily could see her mother grimace. Derek was in his overalls, clearly showing that he'd been at manual labor all day. His attire wasn't really fit for the formal get together Elizabeth had been hoping for.
"I'll get a plate," Emily offered quickly.
Before anyone else could say anything she had fled the room. In the silence of the kitchen she took her time to grab the plate. All that was going on in her head was how this must look to her parents. For sure, they were thinking something was up between her and Derek. And she was pretty sure they wouldn't believe her explanation.
When she finally returned to the dining room, Derek had somehow managed to break through the tension and was chatting with her father.
"There she is," Morgan said with a smile. "I was just telling them that you were living here until your house was ready." She had a hard time holding her face still as he mentioned her house. They hadn't spoken about the house anymore, especially after her finances had said that she couldn't afford the house without her parent's support, which she didn't want.
"Yeah, I couldn't stand the hotel rooms anymore," she went along. She handed him the plate and went back to her own dinner.
Thankfully the two men took over the table conversation while the women preferred to eat in silence. The time passed and soon Elizabeth reminded her husband of another appointment they had made weeks ago.
They guided them to the door, Derek inviting her mother over for dinner as soon as she had moved to her new place. She didn't have time to protest since she was pulled into a hug from her dad.
"Your heart made a good choice," Howard said quietly, before releasing her. Seeing her face he couldn't help but smile. "I know it's not like that."
He let go of her and then went to say goodbye to Derek. She couldn't hear what he was saying since he kept his voice down, but she suspected that it was nothing she would like.
As soon as the door had closed she snapped from the tension. "What were you thinking inviting her over to my house? If you haven't noticed, I don't have one."
"Wow, slow down princess." He raised his hands in defense. "I was just trying to fix that little bit of relationship you two have left."
She stared at him, not able to respond with anything reasonable.
"Why didn't you tell me that they were coming over in the first place? I would have dressed up a little more than this." He pointed at his work cloths.
"They just came, my father's idea."
He nodded slowly. "He is a great guy, you never mention him?"
She shrugged, it was possibly because it hurt too much, but she didn't feel like bawling her eyes out again. "I'm sorry." She finally murmured, nearly impossible for him to hear. She knew that her snapping at him wasn't really because she was mad at him, but more because of the tension her mother always left behind. His edgy expression immediately softened.
"I have a surprise for you. Get a coat on." She blinked at him at the sudden change of topic. "And don't argue, please." He grabbed his own coat and his keys as he waited for her to move.
"Where are we going?" she asked as they set out in his SUV, driving down the street.
"Surprise," he answered.
She could see the grin on his face indicating that he wouldn't tell her. So she stared out of the window trying to make out familiar buildings. But besides the street lights it was a lot harder to find her way in the darkness. She looked back to him as he pulled into a driveway barely two blocks from his house.
He left the car, indicating for her to follow him to the porch. As she got closer she recognized the house as the one they had been working on.
"What are we doing here?" She approached him, but he didn't answer just handing her a set of keys.
"The alarm code is 2873."
"What is this about?"
"Just trust me, nothing bad is going to happen and it isn't a surprise party either," he added with a grin. She kept staring at him for a couple of minutes, before she gave up and unlocked the door. Derek stepped in next to her turning the light on. The hallway didn't look a bit like the last time she had seen it.
The wood of the floor and on the wall panels was replaced and the upper part of the walls was painted in a soft crème.
"What?" She stared at him.
"The alarm," he reminded her, pointing at the wall behind her. She nodded typing in the code as she had turned. The irritating strumming stopped.
"The newest system on the market; the doors have new looks as well as the windows. You already know this part, so if you would follow me upstairs." He put his hand on her back, softly pushing her towards the stairs. The hallway upstairs had the same make-up as the bottom one, besides the slightly different shade of crème.
"When did you do all of this?" He didn't answer but opened one of the doors.
"I was thinking a library?" he suggested as she stepped in. The room was kept simple, exactly what she needed for a good reading. He next steered her to a room across the hallway. "The guestroom," he continued to postulate. She was surprised to actually find a mattress as well as a bag in this room. The walls were a light blue, besides one that had a huge writing in a dark blue on it.
The following rooms were similarly amazing to her. Finally they had reached the last room, which she knew was the master bedroom. The painting she had started was finished now with little decorative, golden elements on the edges. Here as well she found a mattress, with a pile of papers on it and a bag.
"What's this about?" She turned to face him, but he only gestured towards the bed. Unsatisfied, she followed his command and picked up the paper. What she saw on there put her into shock. It was him giving all his property rights to her. "Derek you can't do that. I can't do this."
"You just have to sign it. It's not that hard," he told her, amused. He stepped closer, handing her a pen.
"But all the money you're losing…"
"There are more important things. I got you back and you need a place."
"Derek, I can't…" she tried again.
"If you really want to, pay rent each month, but you are moving in here."
He cut her off, "Sign it or I'll invite your mom to dinner tomorrow."
She glared at him and slowly reached for the pen. A smile overcame her face as she hesitantly put her signature to the paper.
"Welcome to your new home, Miss Prentiss. I was thinking you should spend your first night here. I hope your travelling bag holds everything you need."