Okay, this is the sequel to "Closer", a Prentiss/Doyle story I wrote a while back, and this is for everyone who ever asked me for Prentiss/Doyle babies in a review or PM. This is the first half, and I'll post the second half, hopefully next week. There will be more author's notes when I post that part as well. Thank you for reading and reviews are always welcome.
Hotch eyed the woman through the two-way mirror, a woman he'd seen only in pictures many years ago. He'd been working security for her mother than, and she'd been off at some Ivy League. He'd assumed it was a privilege thing that got her in, but then he'd seen the perfect GPA in her current transcripts. But even with that knowledge, he can't help but feel that he might have underestimated her.
"What do you think, Hotch?" Morgan moved his eyes from the glass.
"I think we need to tread lightly, and I think you should start."
The other man's eyebrows shifted. "Me?"
"She'll see me as an authority figure and nothing else. You can be personal and friendly," he said.
"Are you tellin' me that I don't seem authoritative, Hotch?" Hotch turned to his colleague to see a teasing grin.
Hotch sighed. "Let's just go in there."
It wasn't that he disliked his colleagues joking, he just didn't want to be working on this case. It brought up too many questions that he couldn't answer. Still, he pushed open the door, and entered the room.
Emily Prentiss looked up at them, but she appeared completely unbothered. In fact, she seemed almost peaceful as she cradled the child in her arms. It was a tiny thing, and Hotch would estimate that it couldn't be more than a month. He stood with his back against the mirror, allowing Morgan to sit at the table across from her.
"So, Ms. Prentiss, I'll try to make this quick so you can get back to your other children," Morgan began.
"I appreciate that, Agent Morgan."
He smiled. "So four, huh?"
She offered a strained smile. "Yes, four."
"And how old is this little beauty?" He chanced pulling the blanket away from the child's face with a finger.
"She's only two weeks old." Her body was tense, but she kept her voice level.
"That young? Wow. Isn't that a bit too young to travel?"
"There's no minimum age for travel, and unless you brought me here to arrest me for that, cut the chitchat. You said this would he quick, so make it quick. I don't like leaving my boys alone."
"They aren't alone, one of our civilian employees is with them." That had been at her insistence. No cops alone with the boys.
"They don't know anyone here, and that's alone enough. Now move on, please."
Morgan ran a finger over the newborn's tiny fist. "Are they why you stayed with him?"
She scoffed, but her expression was no longer kind. "What are you talking about?"
"From our calculations, your middle boy, you had him only a few months after you disappeared. That means you must have been pregnant before you disappeared, and Doyle must have known. Did he find out, Emily? Have you stayed with him all this time to protect your children?"
Prentiss shifted in her seat. "This isn't relevant to any crime that I know of, either ask me something relevant or let me go."
"You aren't under arrest, you can go whenever you want." Morgan moved back out of her personal space.
She smirked. "I used to do this for a living, Agent Morgan. I know that move. Either say we're done, or ask me something relevant."
Morgan sighed, but his voice remained soft, gentle even. "We can protect you and your children, Ms. Prentiss. Just tell us where Ian Doyle is, and we'll hide you and the kids. He'll never find them."
"What makes you think I want to leave him?"
Hotch moved from the wall. "Because he's a killer and a psychopath, and you're not."
She actually smiled at him, but it wasn't friendly. "Wondered when you'd open your mouth. Welcome to the conversation, Agent Hotchner."
"He's evil," Hotch said. "And he will raise your children in his likeness."
Prentiss didn't speak.
Hotch moved to stand beside her, and brushed a finger over her daughter's cheek. "Is that what you want for her? Do you really want that man to turn you beautiful, innocent little girl into a killer? Do you want to see her slaughtering people over gun deals in a few years? Do you want your three boys to do that, even sooner than she will be?"
She pursed her lips. "Agent Hotcher, you must know that I was trained by the CIA. You must also know that I received training to stand-up to interrogations. It's going to take more than a little emotional blackmail to break me."
Hotch moved from the table, and knocked on the two-way mirror twice, signaling their companions to come in.
The pushed open the door, and the Scottish one spoke first. "Hello, Emily."
Then she froze, the slightest sign of weakness showing as her tongue flicked out over her upper lip. The first traces of pain appeared in her eyes, before it abruptly vanished. She exhaled. "Sean, Clyde. How are you?"
"What the hell happened to you?" Clyde demanded.
Prentiss turned to Morgan. "I'd like to go now."
"Oh like Hell, Emily. You aren't running away this time."
She glared at him. "I have nothing to say to either of you."
Easter chuckled. "You can just listen then, because I've got a bloody lot to say to you."
She leaned back in her seat, not intimidated at all. "Go ahead then."
Clyde stared at her, before practically erupting. "What the fuck got into you, Em? You ran away to live with him? You've been sleeping in his bed, giving birth to his children? Exactly when did you stop being an operative and become his whore?"
"Don't you dare call me that! When I was spreading my legs to get information for Interpol, maybe you could have called me that. But now? I'm a wife and a mother, and I love my children and wouldn't trade them for Interpol or the CIA, or any other damn thing in this world!"
"He's a fucking psychopath, Emily! You're bedding down and creating a family with a man capable of atrocities that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemies!"
She laughed through her nose, and lips turned up in a smug smile. "And you put me right into his arms, Clyde. You assigned me as his love interest, and you couldn't wait to get me in there."
"I didn't think you'd go mental, and start procreating with the man!"
"I was having sex with him, Clyde! It was always a risk!"
"The mental part or the babies part?" He snapped. She didn't respond, so he continued. "How many of the little bastards were you planning on have, Em?"
Hotch tensed in surprise when her hand made a loud "smack!" against Easter's cheek. She snarled. "You son of a bitch, you don't call my children names!"
Hotch watched her eyes blazing with fury. Again, she turned to Morgan. "I'd like to go now, Agent Morgan."
"Em, wait a minute," Sean said, trying to placate her. "You know Clyde can be a jackass when he's upset."
She stopped her motions, standing at the table, her daughter cradled in her arms.
"Let her go," Clyde said, still rubbing his cheek.
"Wait, what?" Morgan said.
"Let Ms. Prentiss leave if she wishes, but detain the children until Social Services can come and get them."
"What? You have no right to keep my children!" Hotch watched her grip around her daughter tighten, and recognized the change in her big, brown eyes. Mama bear.
"You are clearly mentally unfit to be a mother. Perhaps you'll get them back after some extensive counseling," he said.
She backed away. "Clyde damn it, you touch any of my kids, and I'll kill you, I swear it."
He nodded at her. "Threatening law enforcement too, she could be very dangerous."
"I don't think this is necessary," Morgan said, standing, eyeing the Brit warily.
"I agree," Hotch said. "Morgan, escort Ms. Prentiss to the conference room with her sons, please."
He nodded and held out an arm, motioning her toward the door.
"Agent Hotchner—" Clyde began, but Hotch cut him off.
"This is my house, in my jurisdiction, and my rules. I don't condone threats to separate mothers from their children."
"You and Clyde slept together when you worked together."
Emily's head whipped over to look at her escort, her eyes wide. Then she sighed. "Very perceptive, Agent Morgan."
"In my experience, people are never that angry with each other unless they've loved each other." He said.
She snorted. "I don't know that I'd say love."
He suddenly grabbed her arm and stopped her. His face was open and honest, and his eyes were so gentle, it almost took her breath away. "Just hear me out for a second, okay?"
"I don't know what made you run away with Ian Doyle, and I frankly don't care. I do know that you love your children, and I know Doyle isn't good for them. He will corrupt them, Ms. Prentiss. He will corrupt them and destroy them, so they're like him. I know part of you knows that, probably fears it too. Whatever went on between you and your old team, whatever went on between you and Doyle, it doesn't matter. What matters is doing what's best for those kids, and that isn't going home to Doyle. You have a chance here, you help us nail Doyle for the murders here in D.C., and I give you my word, I will personally protect you and your children."
She rested a hand on top of his. "I believe you, Agent Morgan. And I know you and Agent Hotchner are good men, trying to do your job and keep people safe. I'm not unsympathetic, but…" Emily looked away, and ran her tongue over her lips. When she met his eyes again, she exhaled. "You don't choose who you fall in love with."
"But you can choose the life you want your children to have," he said.
She broke his gaze. "Can I please just see my children?"
His ensuing nod was heavy with disappointment, but he gestured her forward anyway. When they got to the room, he opened the door, and let her inside. The boys turned and scrambled toward her, Declan helping two and half year-old Ronan off the chair on which he'd been sitting. Conall got to her first, wrapping his little arms around her waist. At five-years old, he already looked very much like his father, but with her dark hair and eyes. Ronan and baby Moira had her dark features as well. Ian loved that Moira looked like her.
"Mamai!" Ronan squealed when he got to her. Emily crouched and kissed each of son's foreheads in turn.
"Can we leave now?" Declan asked.
"Yeah, sweetie. We're going to go back to the hotel now." She ran her hand lightly over nine year-old's cheek, and straightened up to address the woman who'd babysat her boys. "Thank you for watching them."
"Oh, not trouble at all," she said. She smiled and it seemed to beam, a perfect match to her colorful, almost outrageous outfit and pigtailed hair. She stuck out a hand. "Penny Garcia."
"Emily – " Emily froze, then sighed. "Doyle. Emily Doyle."
They didn't live under their real names, but they'd been married for almost five years, shortly after Conall was born. Ian had been very firm in that he wanted to be married to the mother of his children. He loved her and wanted their children to have married parents. Emily had seen no reason not to do it.
The other woman's smiled softened. "My team, they're not bad people. They just want to give you and your children a way out, and put a bad man in place where he can't hurt more people. I know he's your husband, and that you probably don't want to hear that, but I've dug up enough dirt on you to know you're anything but stupid. You know exactly what he is, and I don't claim to understand how you can ignore that, but there will be a day when you can't deny it any longer and it may be too late for these beautiful children then."
"Do you know what his birth name means?" Emily nodded to Declan. She and Ian still called the boy by his given name, but to everyone else, he was Finn.
"No." She shook her head.
"Declan means full of goodness. And it's very fitting." Emily inhaled. "How can a man who'd name his son something like that be a bad man?"
The blonde seemed to sadden. "Well kitten, I'd say he didn't bother to look up the meaning."
Emily nodded. "Yeah…probably."
She shook herself. "Nothing to be sorry for." Then she turned to the kids. "Come on boys, time to go."
Emily ushered her sons out the door, Moira still tucked safe in her arms. Liam would be outside somewhere watching for them, ready to call the car to get them the minute they appeared.
At the door jam, she turned back to the colorful woman. "Ms. Garcia, do you know what cognitive dissonance is?"
She shook her head. "No…why?"
"Ask one of your colleagues, they should know." Emily left her there puzzling the cryptic message, and steered her children to the elevator and then the ground floor of the FBI building.
She had never been so grateful that Ian had regular access to a private plane than she was right now. Emily had discarded her sweater as soon as they were over the ocean, and now pulled up her t-shirt, much more appropriate for the climate of Mauritus and unhooked the cup of her nursing bra, freeing her breast for her hungry daughter.
She was alone except for the pilots. She'd sent the boys on ahead yesterday with Liam, knowing it would be easier to get them out of the country if she was still at the hotel, distracting the FBI and Interpol agents watching her. She and the children had been the distraction for Ian's escape, and yesterday she'd snuck the boys out to Liam in a housekeeping cart. Declan had not been impressed. Conall and Ronan were fortunately young enough that they thought it was an adventure.
Emily stroked her daughter's head and tried not to think about what Agent Morgan or Penny Garcia had said to her. She focused instead on her daughter. Moira already had a full head of hair that was downy soft and unruly as hell. She was a good baby, pleasant temperamentally, a healthy sleeper and an enthusiastic eater. Emily could not have asked for better, especially given her age.
This year she would turn forty.
It was a time to take inventory. At some point in the last several years, her life had taken a 180 turn. Emily had always been successful and confident in her career, and an utter failure in her personal life. It was why the life of a spy had suited her. She'd been sleeping with Clyde when she went under, and knew that that contributed to his rage. It wasn't a relationship though, it was close friends and partners, who sought physical fulfillment in each other. They had a close emotional bond, so it could fill the relationship void in their lives, but it wasn't romantic. They didn't love each other that way.
Then she'd gone undercover and fallen head over feet for Ian Doyle and the life he offered her. Emily Prentiss, failure had relationships, had become a wife and mother of four. But her husband was a psychopath and criminal, and had every intention of raising their children to be the same.
And yet, she loved him.
The co-pilot came into the back, instantly shielding his eyes with his hand. "Oh my…uh, sorry ma'am."
"It's fine, James. You don't have to cover your eyes."
"If it's all the same to you, I think I'd prefer to do so. If Ian found out I saw your bosoms, I doubt they'd be able to find all the pieces."
Emily rolled her eyes at the young British pilot. "Fine then. What do you need?"
Truth be told, Ian was territorial enough that he might kill a man just for watching her breastfeed.
"Just wanted to tell you that we're about to land. We can circle a while though if you need to uh…" he waved vaguely in her direction.
"It's better that she's drinking when we land, so go right ahead."
He nodded, and hurried away, his hand still over his eyes.
Moira continued sucking away as they landed, and wasn't bothered by the pressure change. Emily sat for several minutes after landing, allowing her daughter to finish her supper, and then got herself back together and headed off the plane with her bag in one hand, and the other around Moira snug in her sling.
Ian was waiting for them with a wide smile on his face, and open arms. Emily set her bag down, and held him as close as the baby in between would let her.
"Welcome home, Love."
She murmured against his neck. "I missed you."
'The feeling was mutual, mo ghrá." Ian pulled back a bit, and pressed his lips to hers, his hands sliding into her dark hair.
Emily reciprocated fully, her hands cupping his face, tongue fighting for entrance before his even had a chance to try. Ian broke the kiss and slid an arm around her waist. He gently pulled back the edge of the sling and smiled.
"How is mo stóirín? Did you miss your papa, love?"
"Your little treasure is just fine. She finished dinner as we landed."
Ian slid his hands into the sling, and delicately maneuvered them around the baby, lifting her out and cradling her in his arms. "Hello, mo stóirín."
Emily smirked. "If you keep calling her that, she's going to think it's her name."
Ian swayed gently with their daughter in his arms. "There are worse things in life."
She pecked him on the cheek and grabbed her bag, carrying it to the waiting car, where the driver quickly took it from her hands and set it in the trunk. He opened the door for her, and Emily let him, having long been accustomed to the luxuries Ian favored.
"The car seat is set up for the baby already," he said.
"Thank you. We can handle the rest from here." He nodded and headed back to his seat.
Emily watched Ian slowly amble toward the other side of the car with Moira cuddled against his chest. He was speaking softly to her in Gaelic, and when he opened his door, she closed hers.
Ian pressed a kiss to the infant's head, and then carefully set her in the car seat. Emily buckled Moira in while Ian climbed in himself. It was a town car, not a limo, but roomy and with an expensive interior of leather seats and dark wood trim. It was completely unnecessary, but Ian liked showy, even when he was just picking up his wife and daughter.
He tapped on the partition to let the driver know they were ready to go, and focused back on Moira. Ian ran two of his long, calloused fingers lightly over her chubby cheek and slipped her pacifier between her lips.
Emily wondered how a man so loving and affectionate toward his baby daughter could be the same man wanted by law enforcement in several countries.
She continued to wonder it that night in their bedroom as he pulled her close and pressed an affectionate kiss into her hair.
Several weeks later, Emily was sitting in a rocking chair on the porch, watching as Ian, Declan and Conall engaged in target practice with a BB gun. Moira was sleeping in the baby sling, and Ronan was playing with his trucks and occasionally glancing at his brothers and father. He wouldn't be allowed to handle a BB gun until he was five. The loud noise scarred him, so he wasn't too bothered about being excluded. Louise suddenly appeared with a pitcher of coconut water and a glasses, and set it on the small table next to Emily. She was still their housekeeper, and seemed to have taken well to the island.
"Thank you, Louise."
The woman nodded. "Of course, dear. How's the little one doing with the heat?"
"She's fine. I may take her inside soon though."
Louise smiled. "I've never seen Ian as happy as he was the day you gave birth to her."
Emily grinned. "So much for parents not playing favorites, right?"
"Can't really blame him, she is a little beauty." The housekeeper paused. "Lunch should be ready in about an hour."
"Thank you, Louise." The other woman nodded and headed back inside.
Emily went back to watching her older sons fire BB guns. The damn rifle was almost as big as Conall. Ian helped him hold it while he showed Conall how to aim, pointing toward the target and talking to the boy. Declan fired away with his own weapon, each hit not more than an inch away from the center of the target. In months he would be ten, and Ian would put a real gun in his hands.
She had been dreading that day for a long time. She didn't want her children anywhere near guns, BB or real; she wanted them to be doctors or teachers or scientists. She wanted them to understand that their father was a bad man, and not want to be like him. Emily wanted her children to understand that, but forgive him for it. She wanted them to forgive her too.
Suddenly, Ian was beside her, kissing her cheek and pulling back the edge of the sling so he could see Moira. "Hello Love," he said.
Declan was pouring the coconut water into the glasses, and handing them to his brothers. Ronan sat patiently and drank his, while Conall was more active. The younger boy was still learning how to use a regular cup, and knew that he had to be still and careful or he'd spill. Declan handed a glass to each of his parents.
Emily sipped hers. "Ian…do you want more children?"
His eyebrows kissed his hairline. "You almost killed me when you found out you were pregnant with the last one, Love."
"I know. Just answer the question."
He shrugged. "I could be happy with this lot, but I wouldn't say no to more. Did Moira make you want more?"
"No, but…" She looked up at him. "I have a proposition."
"Declan will be ten soon…you promise not to teach them how to use real guns until their 18, and I'll give you as many children as you want." She would gladly give him a TLC TV show-sized family if he'd promise not to put a gun in her baby's hands.
Ian sighed and shook his head. "We've discussed this, Emily. My sons will be fighters, you knew this. It's time Declan learned how to fire a real gun, he isn't a baby anymore, Love."
"He hasn't even hit puberty, Ian. He is not a man yet either."
"No, not yet. But he's getting there. And even if I were to wait until he was twelve, this would still upset you. No point in delaying the inevitable, is there?"
Emily didn't answer him. Instead, her eyes drifted over to Declan. He sat with his brothers, telling them a story about one of Ronan's trucks, his head moving as he spoke, shaking his blond curls. Ian was right, of course, Declan wasn't a baby anymore, but neither was he old enough to use a gun. And he certainly wasn't old enough to learn about the harsh realities of life, to take the first step to becoming a criminal, like his father.
Ian finished his water, pecked her cheek, and motioned the boys to go with him again. A resigned sigh escaped her throat, and her eyes burned slightly from the tears she held back. Emily began to formulate a plan in her head, a plan to save her children, but that would ultimately betray the man she loved.