A/N: Thank you to everyone who is following these crazy little stories of mine. It means so much to me. Thank you for the reviews and the PMs. I really appreciate all of them. Y'all (like Garcia) rock! Kind of like "Testify" this story will feature flashbacks, which will appear in bold. If they reference a particular episode, I'll note it at the bottom of the chapter. Some flashbacks may just be my warped little mind at work. Enjoy!
Kind of like "Testify" this story will feature flashbacks, which will appear in bold. If they reference a particular episode, I'll note it at the bottom of the chapter. Some flashbacks may just be my warped little mind at work. Enjoy!
Emily hurries to her SUV, struggling to maintain her emotions in a way she never has before. As she leaves the secure gates of Quantico it flashes through her mind that it could be for the last time. She takes a deep breath.
"Control your breathing, Prentiss," she warns herself.
Instead of heading for I-95, she turns right up Route 1. At the first mini-mall north of MCB Quantico, she turns in. She parks in a space far away from the building and finally lets her emotions loose.
She cries for 2 boys who will not grow up to become men.
She cries for a little boy who lost his mother and his innocence to a madman in Texas.
She cries for a baby who never had a chance to be born.
She cries for a girl who was so alone in the world.
She cries for a woman who is finally getting to know parents that had essentially been absent her whole life.
She cries for the young woman who had to prove to her professors and other students that she had earned her place at Yale, not just bought a slot.
She cries for the Interpol agent that broke laws to bring one man and his network down.
She cries for the nameless, faceless people affected by that agent's weapons sales.
She cries for the FBI agent who has basically been accused of murder by the person that should have her back.
She cries for the FBI agent who had aimed for the BAU her entire career and may be getting it stolen from her by an egomaniac.
She cries for the victims and their families she's worked with over the years.
She cries for her friend's wife, cut down by a monster while they all listened helplessly.
She cries for her wife, who bears the pain of the latest case.
She cries. And cries. And cries. And cries until finally her head and eyes hurt. She reaches into the armrest storage compartment and pulls out the tissues that JJ keeps there. She wipes her face and blows her nose. She glances at the clock and is surprised to see she's been there for an hour.
She takes another deep breath and pulls out her phone. Speed dial 1. It rings only once before it's answered.
"Emily, are you okay?" JJ asks.
Emily blows out the air she had sucked in. "That's a loaded question. I didn't deserve the suspension, Jen. And when Straus finishes her 'investigation' she'll see that. And I may consider a complaint with HR. This is completely and utterly wrong."
"I know, sweetheart. We all know." JJ pinches the bridge of her nose. "She's interviewing each of us individually about what happened in Texas. She's even planning to fly to Texas next week to interview the IAB detectives, some of the vice guys that knew the junkie, and the commissioner who held up your release."
"Fuck," Emily mutters. "This isn't about that shooting, Jen. She's been trying to destroy the team for a long time. And she's been after me since…since I wouldn't be her stooge."
"I know. We all know. Emily, we've got your back. The Dallas PD IAB guys have your back. And if that commissioner knows what's good for him he'll have your back, too," JJ tells her with confidence. To herself, she thinks, "And if he doesn't, I'm sure Elizabeth will be glad to remind him what's good for him."
"You don't know how much that means to me, Jen," Emily whispers. She rubs her face in shame. "I, uh, owe you an apology. I was upset and I slipped up. I called you JJ instead of Jennifer when I was talking to Hotch. I swear I didn't mean anything by it. I was just busy trying to separate my emotions, my identity from the job. Somehow you slipped into that and I called you JJ. I'm sorry, Jennifer."
JJ smiles. "It's okay, Em. Thank you for telling me. Look, I hate to do this but Reid just signaled me. It's my turn with Straus."
"Okay. Look, just…be honest. Things will work out, right?" Emily says hopefully.
"Right. And don't forget: I love you, Emily Prentiss," JJ states.
Emily smiles. "God, I love you so much, Jennifer Prentiss. And I swear I'm going to get my head back on right so I can be a person worthy of your love."
"Oh, sweetheart, you already are. See you tonight, baby. Love you."
"Love you, too. Bye."
Emily hangs up the phone and sits there a moment longer. She considers heading home but just can't face Francesca or Henry yet. Not with her emotions still somewhat raw. She taps the steering wheel. On a whim, she drives to the neighborhood where they will be moving. She hopes the security guard working the gate is the same one as before since she doesn't have her credentials. Hopefully her license will be enough to get her in.
For once that week, luck is with her. He is the same one that was working the first time she saw the house and the time she came with the reps from the playground company. She can't get into the house, but she can at least walk around, remind herself what her life is and what it will be.
As she pulls into the driveway, she stares up at the two-story home. What does it mean to her? She feels a stirring in her heart.
"It means love and family," she whispers in answer to her own question. "It means peace."
She gets out of the Lexus and walks up the brick walk. In her mind she pictures the walk trimmed with small gardens on each side. Maybe flowering plants alternating with non-flowering plants for contrast.
As a bitter wind blows, she pulls her coat tighter to her and slips on her lambskin, fur-lined gloves. Wishing she'd remembered her scarf that morning, she walks around to the back of the house. She walks past the small garden area to the swimming pool, now covered for winter. She smiles as she imagines teaching Henry how to swim.
"Henry and maybe a little sister or brother," she whispers, unconsciously rubbing her stomach as if already carrying a child in her womb.
"Emily Elizabeth Prentiss, this is what you want. Thisis what is important. Family, love, children. If Straus torpedoes your career, you will still have this. Your wife and son are all you really need," Emily reminds herself. "Get your head on straight, Emily. Don't do something to lose them."
Taking a deep breath of the crisp winter air, she turns and heads back to her Lexus. As she gets in, she lifts up her phone…and calls Dr. Lara Westfallen.