A/N: This is my take on what happened to the team following the events of the episodes "100" and "The Slave of Duty". Taking some major liberties with Criminal Minds in this one as I'm referencing the event of those two episodes as part of my story. No offense intended. Just playing with their emotions a bit. It's kind of short and a bit different from my others. Hope y'all enjoy it.
They had pulled away from each other. More than once Emily had flashed back to her lament on her wedding day that things had been too good. Had she known the karmic flip could be this dire, this rending she never would have let her mother calm her nerves. But the events of the past two weeks had driven a wedge between her and JJ, her and the team, between them all. They were planets orbiting around a sun, able to see each other in the distance but unable to catch up to each other, to support each other as their sun imploded.
George Foyet had invaded their solar system and decimated it.
Sitting in the back of the SUV as Morgan drove as fast as possible towards the Hotchner residence Emily had gripped JJ's hand, drawing and giving strength in equal measure. They had arrived too late. Foyet killed Hailey. Hotch killed Foyet. But the bastard had still won. Somehow Foyet had killed them all.
Emily turns from stirring her coffee. She looks out of the kitchenette towards the bull pen. Hotch's office was dark. It would be for a while. She could just barely make out Rossi in his own office, staring off into space as he did most days.
Her gaze drops down to Reid. She knows he runs stats through his head everyday, trying to figure out what they could have done differently; how they could have saved Hailey. He no longer reads for fun. Everything is studies on serial killers and psychopaths. He has systematically gone through every case study ever done by the BAU, wondering what they had missed in studying "The Reaper."
Because when it all came down to it, they all knew they had killed themselves. They had missed the clues, missed the mistakes, missed the inconsistencies. They had failed all the people Foyet murdered. It wasn't the first time that people had died before they stopped a killer they were tracking. But it was the first time they felt the burning sting of failure so deeply. It was a festering wound with no sign of healing, or even scabbing over, anytime soon.
Her eyes move to the door as Morgan barrels into the office. Without seeing the gym bag in his hand she would have known he'd spent two hours that morning working out. That evening he would spend 2 hours at the shooting range. She knows this because she keeps the opposite schedule to avoid seeing her best friend.
Her best friend. Did she have a best friend any more? Did she have any friends any more? Did she have a wife any more? A son? When was the last time she'd actually spoken to JJ; reallyspoken to her? When was the last time she'd looked into Henry's eyes and imagined his future? It just all hurt too fucking much.
Emily had stopped building compartments. She had opened herself up to emotions. And she had been shattered by them. Now she fights to remember what she has forgotten. How do you build the compartments back up? How do you shut out the pain? How do you make yourself take breath after breath when all you want to do is let the pressure suffocate you and put you out of your misery?
Emily stares down at her coffee. She had nearly shot a man. She had watched her arm shake against the overwhelming urge to shoot him in the face. The team should never have gone to Nashville. Fuck Straus and her whole "no other team is available" line of bullshit. This team is walking wounded and they never should have gone.
If they hadn't gone, Emily wouldn't have to regret not ending Joe Belser's life.
She tosses her coffee, mug and all, into the sink. People hear the clatter and look up in time to see her storm out. In the past, Reid or Morgan or Rossi would have chased her down to see what was wrong. But they know. And they are hurt too much themselves to try to heal the dark-haired profiler, too.