Emily surveyed her surroundings with trepidation. There was almost nobody at all waiting at her gate. It felt weird, sitting here, knowing that she was about to take a commercial flight for the first time in years. How her life had changed.
She allowed herself no time to lament over her past mistakes and regrets however, as the message over the loud speakers asked her to board her plane headed for Germany. She picked up her bag and headed for the gate. It was then she heard a man’s voice call her name and she spun around quickly, not able to recognise the voice immediately.
Was that Gideon waving at her from the adjacent gate? A quick glance at the screen over the counter informed her that his plane was headed for Egypt. What the hell was Gideon doing in Egypt? She wished she had the time to go over to him and talk. She hadn’t seen him ever since he disappeared after the case with Tubbs.
“Emily!” he called again and as she waved back, she made a split-second decision. Surely she had a few more minutes before she ‘had’ to board the plane. After all she was Emily Prentiss, the plane would wait for her. It never entered her consciousness that the pilot would take off without her, so un accustomed to commercial air travel was she. As she neared the spot Gideon stood, she noticed he was not alone. He stood with his arm affectionately draped around a woman Emily took another moment to recognize- Her mother.
“Mother?” She asked incredulously. “What are you doing here?” And it took her a few seconds of dumfounded staring to realise she probably should at least say hello to Gideon. When she finally opened her mouth again to greet him, he had the kind of calm smile on his face that told her he knew exactly why it had taken her so long to so much as acknowledge him.
“Emily, Your mother and I…” He trailed off
“Yes?” Emily challenged, uncertain she really wanted to hear the rest of this explanation.
“Emily.” Her mother spoke abruptly, commanding her instant attention. “Jason and I are engaged.”
Gideon leaned forward as if on cue, and kissed the Ambassador. He saw the horror in Emily’s eyes, but he had to play along for now. Besides he didn’t know if he could trust Emily. He had heard rumours about the incident at the BAU. For the moment, he saw no option but to continue with the charade that he was in love with Ambassador Prentiss. After all, that was what he had to do.
In the back of his head, Gideon was glad to notice that Emily was about to leave the country. When all of this blew up, he didn’t think he really wanted Emily to live through all of that. She deserved better, he thought. Even though the incident at the BAU made him wonder how much of the Emily Prentiss he’d known was left in the person standing in front of him. With all that had happened, he realised she must have been affected deeply. But to point a gun at one of her colleagues? He wondered what had driven her to that point.
“Emily dear, you look pale. Are you all right?” Asked the Ambassador.
“Uh, well..”Emily stammered, thinking she was not really all right at all.
“Don’t you have a plane to catch?” Prompted Gideon, not wanting to prolong the uncomfortable encounter.
“Yes.” Emily answered. On one hand she was glad to get away, on the other she needed some answers. As Emily looked over her shoulder, she saw it happen. Her plane. Taking off. Without her in it.
“Oh fuck.” Emily muttered.
“Emily, That’s unladylike.” Her mother reprimanded.
“Was that your plane?” Gideon enquired, having noticed Emily’s last look as her plane took off without her.
“Uh, yes.” Emily murmured, somewhat reluctant to admit it.
“Oh.” Was all the Ambassador had to say. “What did you want to go to Germany for anyway?” She added dismissively, and Emily could tell she wasn’t really interested in the answer. But Gideon looked at her intently and it was for his sake that she actually tried to formulate some sort of response
“Visiting some friends.” She said vaguely. The Ambassador stared at her, Gideon nodded.
“I know!” The Ambassador exclaimed suddenly, “Come to Egypt with us. We can all catch up, And you can catch a connecting flight to Germany in a few days. You must help with the wedding preparations. Isn’t that right Jason?”
“Umm, I’m not sure Emily wants…” His voice trailed off as he was overpowered by the Ambassador pushing past him and taking Emily’s hand
“Yes, let’s get a ticket.” The Ambassador exclaimed.
As she was dragged away by her mother, Emily cast a look over her shoulder at Gideon, the expression on her face somewhere between resigned, apologetic and disbelieving. Gideon just nodded at her, knowing how the Ambassador could be once she set her mind to something. It wasn’t Emily’s fault things had turned out the way they did. He just hoped that connecting flight would leave soon; he didn’t want Emily to get caught up in everything that was happening around her mother. But on the other hand, Gideon was curious and couldn’t wait for a chance to talk to Emily about what had happened at the BAU. He wondered if she’d come to terms with everything yet. How she was handling the aftermath of what had happened in Georgia. In Georgia, when they’d nearly lost JJ because someone had spiked their drinks and Emily had been too drugged to realize that JJ was being taken.
3 Weeks Prior
Emily could hear the sound of her heart beating. It was all she could hear. The rest of her world was deadly silent. She looked around the room; Hotch, Rossi, Reid, Morgan, Garcia, JJ. Her team. Her family. Then back to the document in her hands. She stared at the words, blinking, not able to take it in. Her team waited for answers.
“Well, Prentiss?” Hotch demanded to know. “Have you anything to say about this matter?”
Emily could not answer, she had no words to begin.
Rossi spoke “I think it’s quite clear these are the facts. Do you deny that, Agent Prentiss?”
Emily wanted to scream ‘No! It’s not true!’ Trouble was – it was the truth. Most of it. There was no point lying to her colleagues, they would see right through it. She knew she had broken some very important rules. But she had no choice. It was her fault JJ was in danger in the first place. She had to make sure nothing happened to her ever again. That’s why she had done it! But how could she explain that she just could not live without JJ? That JJ meant more to her than her job, the FBI, the law, her own life?
She couldn’t. And so all she did was shake her head mutely until Rossi’s sharp gaze finally pulled an answer out of her.
“No, I don’t deny that.”
After those words, silence fell again and she knew they were waiting for some kind of explanation. When none was forthcoming, Hotch finally cleared his throat and said “Well? Why did you do it, Agent Prentiss?”
The silence Emily met that question with was solid like a brick wall. He felt as if his words were like little stones flying towards it, hitting it and then falling to the ground without leaving so much as a scratch. It angered him, her impassive, expressionless face angered him. He was putting so much on the line for her to keep this a secret from Strauss, they all were. And she didn’t even have the decency to tell them why she’d gotten them into this position in the first place. He could feel himself getting more and more worked up. He was just about to demand some kind of answer in a less than friendly manner, when instead, JJ’s soft, caring voice broke the silence.
“Emily?” she prompted.
Emily turned her gaze to JJ, unable to look away. They all stood, waiting for answers, expecting some sort of justification. They deserved it. Emily had never felt like such a failure in her entire life as she did in that moment, unable to give them even one simple answer. But as soon as Emily’s eyes locked with JJ’s, the others disappeared from her consciousness. Emily took a hesitant step towards JJ, searching her eyes. If JJ had smiled at her, or looked at her kindly, given her the slightest hope that she might still be able to respect her, then maybe, she would have answered. While JJ’s words were kind, her eyes were cold.
Emily realised in that moment, she had lost JJ already. Besides, what good would an explanation do? To drag JJ into it? To make her feel guilty? Emily had put her own needs above the law and Hotch would be right to dismiss her. And she could have lived with that. Barely. But to go through all this and lose JJ too? No. Emily turned, slowly, confidently, calmly walked out of the door.
It took Hotch a moment to react. She had left so naturally, so elegantly, that for a moment, he didn’t realise what had happened. The others stood, looking to him. He reached for his phone, calling security. It broke his heart to do it like this – but she had broken his trust and the law, and offered no explanation, no reason, no apology to her team. She must realise what would happen if she tried to leave the building now, with her gun, her badge, the classified information in that document.
Hotch turned to follow - motioning for the rest of the team to stay put. Why put them through this ugly scene? Why humiliate Emily more than necessary? He had wasted his words, the others followed him swiftly down the hall.
Emily stood trapped. To her left, four security guards stood with their guns pointed at her, demanding she hand over her weapon, badge and the document. To her right her team – shocked, disappointed, angry, afraid.
“Emily, please.” Garcia begged, tears in her eyes, worried her stubborn friend would get herself shot.
Emily looked to them, unable to live with their condemnation and pity. There was only one way out. What kind of life would she have? In jail? Her team hating her? JJ hating her? She slowly pulled her gun, but instead of handing it to security she picked it up and aimed it at her head.
It was Garcia. Emily could hear her sobbing, but her eyes were fixed on JJ. Wide, clear oceans of blue stared at her, tears pooling in them, spilling over and running down her cheek. Involuntarily, slowly, she raised her hand, as if to touch Emily. Emily could almost feel the touch of JJ’s hand on her arm even though she was standing at the other end of the room.
“Emily” Morgan said firmly and took a step towards her. Her eyes ripped away from JJ’s and focussed on the man that had been like a brother to her for the last two years. And now, she could see the plea in his eyes, the plea not to put all of them through this, the plea not to do what she so desperately felt was the only way out at that moment. She didn’t know how to give him what he was asking for. He’d been so angry, he’d shouted and lashed out at her. And now here he was, coming towards her, asking her in the name of all of them to keep going even if she didn’t have anything left to keep going for.
The gun in her hand trembled, she could feel her insides clenching and from the corner of her eye, she could see Hotch gesticulating wildly to someone. Garcia was still sobbing and Reid just looked too shocked to react in any way. Her team. Her family. The people she had lost. The people she had given up because she’d thought it was the only way to keep JJ safe. And now here was JJ, safe and sound but with a look of utter terror on her face that Emily knew she would never forgive herself for. She took another step back, needing to put some distance in between herself and those people she cared for so deeply. There was no way back. She pressed the gun more firmly against her temple, the more she felt her hands shake, the harder she needed to feel the cold mouth of the gun against her skin.
“Emily.” a trembling voice whispered.
“JJ…” Emily said, her voice breaking in between the two letters.
“Please, Emily, put down the gun.”
“I can’t.” Emily answered helplessly. ‘How can I?’ she thought. ‘It’s all that I have left.’
“Please, trust me, Emily.” JJ said, stepping closer. “Please.”
“Please step back.” The security guard ordered JJ, but Hotch sent the man a look that silenced him. This day had been gruelling enough, he didn’t want any blood shed. He trusted JJ was the best person to get through to Emily in that moment.
Morgan watched on, as JJ moved closer, he saw Emily stiffen in fear. He pulled his own gun. He took aim before Hotch noticed, Hotch was too focussed on the girls. Morgan was a good shot. He would just aim for the gun, shoot it down away from Emily’s head. He was confident she wouldn’t be badly injured. And then, something happened.
Emily’s eyes widened in fear. She was longing for JJ, but frightened too. She pointed the gun at the blonde woman still metres away from her. She would never hurt JJ. She just couldn’t bear her to come any closer.
The security guards drew their weapons, Morgan aimed his gun and Emily held her own gun pointed at JJ. Then, there was a shot.
On a plane somewhere above the Atlantic, Gideon noticed Emily starting to fret in the seat beside his. At first, he was inclined to ignore it, knowing how embarrassed she’d be if he actually woke her up now. But when she started thrashing around and kicked him in the sides with her elbow for the first time, he decided it was probably better to wake her up. She was moaning and whimpering in her sleep and her whole face was one of helpless terror. For a moment, it threw him to see Emily so different from the way she usually presented herself to the world. When she was sleeping, there was no compartmentalizing to hide behind, no Prentiss-mask to keep up. And somehow it scared him. He’d never seen this side to her and he was so used to cool, calm and collected Agent Prentiss that he didn’t quite know how to deal with emotional, troubled and unguarded Emily.
The second blow to his sides threw him out of his reverie however and he knew he just had to wake her. Slowly, cautiously, he reached over and lightly touched her shoulder.
“What are you doing?” the Ambassador inquired suspiciously, looking at him with a critical eye.
“I’m trying to wake her. She’s having a nightmare.” He explained, not sure if Emily would actually want her mother to know. But he couldn’t have the Ambassador being suspicious and withdrawing from him. Not now, when he was so close to completing his assignment and finally getting back to his life – a life that didn’t involve Ambassador Elizabeth Prentiss.
Deep inside her troubled nightmare, Emily stood in the hall of the FBI building.
One second she had the gun pointed at JJ, scared of her coming closer, of her breaking through the wall of finality she had erected in between herself and this cruel reality she saw herself confronted with. And the next second, the gun was ripped from her hand by a sharp, hot jolt of something against the metal handle. It happened so fast she only noticed she wasn’t holding the gun anymore when it scattered across the floor and came to a stop somewhere between her and Garcia’s feet. And she only fully realized she hadn’t been able to prevent her stiff index finger from pulling the trigger when the second shot rang through the deathly silent hall.
Her hand hurt like hell, she’d probably sprained her wrist. But her hand was the farthest thing from her mind as she raised her gaze from the gun on the floor and looked up into JJ’s wide open eyes, her face frozen in horror, her entire frame starting to shake.
Emily’s gaze moved slightly past JJ’s head and with her heart dropping into a bottomless abyss she noticed the tiny, circular hole in the glass wall, mere centimetres beside where JJ was standing.