Author: elekanahmen aka Jax
Fandom: Criminal Minds
Disclaimer- I don't own them, as they're clearly NOT chained up in my closet
Warnings: As the title implies, there's alcohol consumption aplenty.
Summary: Emily has the team over for Thanksgiving and an unexpected visitor turns her world upside-down.
Author's Note: This takes place in the W-W-W? Universe, translation: Will? Who's Will? (Will doesn't exist here). This is fic #6 in the "All Your Bunnies Are Belong To ME" Challenge, tranqui wanted CM: JJ/Emily, Ambassador Prentiss outs Emily to the team and betrays her prediliction for blondes, Crack/Humor, PG-13. We discussed it and decided there's no time like Thanksgiving to get Elizabitch Prentiss drunk. Happy belated Thanksgiving, Americans... Happy watch dysfunctional families time, everyone else. Special thanks to babyfirefly for being my most amazing gf ever, pina_spence for Alcoholic Beverage Reference time, lostnfoundcause for the spectacular last minute beta of win and awesome. Sorry it's so sporadic, me writing lately. A combination of suddenly having a life *points at JJ*, having school and having responsibilities has left my fic writing well rather dry. I'll be trying to write more over Christmas, no promises, but there IS a fic that I wrote for the exchange at cm_exchange that my beta mcgarrygirl78 says is freaking awesome and hot and amazing, so take her word for it. Not saying anything else about it because it could be for one of you! O.o
It seemed like a good idea, at the time… Invite the team over for a Thanksgiving dinner. Emily had everything planned, table set for seven, and the perfect turkey in the oven. It was a picture-perfect snapshot of the team… Garcia and JJ were in the kitchen arguing over how much stuffing to cook in the bird and how much out. Morgan was perched on the couch in a Lions jersey, proclaiming that this would be their year—as long as they weren’t playing the Bears, naturally; happy that for once JJ and her Redskins obsession weren’t dominating game time. Reid was scribbling perplexedly in a notebook as Morgan tried to explain what each player was doing and why, though it was quite evidently not sinking in. Rossi was sitting back in the armchair beside them, stroking his goatee as he chuckled. Hotch was poring over the New York Times, checking and scowling at stock prices, skimming over politics with a distasteful shake of his head.
Everything seemed perfect. The team was buzzing with life and for once, during one of their rare solaces of holiday, they all seemed at ease. Then the doorbell rang. Everyone looked expectantly at their hostess who raised a cool eyebrow, just as baffled as them, making her way to the door. Much to her surprise, and slight dismay, it was her mother on the other side of the door. Ambassador Elizabeth Prentiss, dusted with snow, held out the bottle of Glenfidditch 1937. “May I come in, Emily?”
Emily stared at her mother for a moment, unsure if it was her mother or some cleverly disguised sheep in wolf’s clothing. She gave her mother a curious look before stepping to the side, gesturing for her to come in. Elizabeth dusted the snow from her shoulders and stepped in, pressing the bottle of scotch into her daughter’s hands as she breezed past. Emily glanced down at the bottle, surprised simply because she’d always seen this bottle shrouded in dust at her mother’s estate. She didn’t even open it for the highest of dignitaries and yet she pulled it out for Thanksgiving of all days.
The team sat motionless for a moment. Hotch made the first move, glancing up from his paper with a nod. “I wasn’t expecting to see you today, Ambassador Prentiss. How are you?”
The older woman nodded curtly. “I didn’t expect to be here but plans changed. I thought surely my only daughter wouldn’t mind a visitor. I didn’t know she already had six!” She chuckled, the sort of laugh that the profilers knew was hiding something else, something that the woman before them was not hiding as well as she convinced herself she was.
JJ spoke up next, smiling from the kitchen. “We could use some help stuffing the turkey, why don’t you come get your hands dirty with us.”
The Ambassador laughed. “Oh, Jennifer. You are a card. I’ve never stuffed a turkey in my life, I wouldn’t know where to begin.”
Garcia grinned, waving her over with a soggy stuffing-caked hand. “No better time for your first time, then, I think.”
Glancing back at the bottle of scotch Emily was still holding, an eyebrow arched in amusement. “Let me have a glass of scotch first and we’ll talk.”
“Pour me one and in a few glasses, the turkey will be the one talking.” Garcia laughed, turning to the sink to rinse her hands off.
Emily shook her head, setting the bottle on her counter, pulling out two low ball glasses for her mother and Garcia before pulling out dishes and flatware to set another place at the table for her new guest.
She watched as her two best friends attempted to domesticate her mother, a woman who had never cooked her own meal, relying on Gert, the cook who’d been on the Prentiss family payroll since before Emily was a thought to be considered. The more glasses of scotch her mother had, the more fun she seemed to have. Unfortunately, the more scotch her mother had, the more stories she told. Emily ducked out of the kitchen, carrying a fresh bowl of chips and a beer for each of the boys. Reid was still scratching in his notebook, mumbling something about determining the physics of the ideal field goal kick that would ensure the Lions victory over the Titans. Morgan’s face was buried too deep in his hands, already regretting his attempts at teaching the genius about football. Emily walked back into the kitchen, her mother’s voice growing louder with each stride. “… and then she ripped off her diaper and threw it at the French representative’s feet and tore through the UN building. To this day, there are some former UN Ambassadors who call Emily ‘Streak.’”
Two heads turned to Emily as she walked in on the tail end of one of Elizabeth’s favorite stories, smirks growing across the blondes’ faces. “Streak, eh?” Garcia grinned wickedly. “Oh, that’s better than that senior picture.”
“Oh for Christ’s sake,” Elizabeth groaned, “Of all of Emily’s phases, I was the most relieved when she grew out of that horrible goth phase. I mean, really, Emily.”
Groaning, Emily leaned against the counter on her elbows, burying her face in her hands. “Mother… I’ve spent the last two years trying to convince them that I’m a serious agent, can we please not undermine that with toddler streaking stories?”
“Stories plural, Em?” Garcia’s grin grew wickeder. “Oh, Elizabeth, you need to tell us more streaking stories.”
“Oh God…” Emily sunk further into her hands. “Mother, don’t you dare.”
“Oh, don’t worry, Emily. I was just going to tell them about the time—“
To Emily’s relief, the tail end of her sentence was cut off by the loud beep of the oven announcing that the turkey was cooked. JJ jumped off of the counter, donning oven mitts. Emily smiled, watching the younger agent. Her heart fluttered watching her and a tiny part of her wished that the two of them could spend this holiday alone, curled up watching cheesy holiday films and cooking dinner together. But that would require Emily telling the blonde how she felt, explaining that over the past two years she’d fallen hard for her… not to mention the handful of department policies it would break and how quickly Erin Strauss would be breathing fire down her neck if she even hinted that she had feelings for her teammate. Emily turned her head, catching her mother’s eyes, the older Prentiss having caught her daughter’s longing glance. She smirked, shaking her head. A mother always knows, they say.
The phone rang and Emily couldn’t help but marvel at her luck—saved by the bell not once but twice. She answered the phone quickly, still watching her mother. “Prentiss,” she quipped.
“Miss Emily, dear, it’s Nathan.”
Emily smiled; she hadn’t seen her mother’s butler in months. “Happy Thanksgiving!” She said cheerfully. “How are you?”
“Oh, I’m well, Miss Emily… I was just wondering if you’d seen your mother? She said she was going for a drive some hours ago and hasn’t come back. Her cell phone is going directly to voicemail.”
“Yes, I have… she’s here. Is everything alright?”
“Oh, yes, Miss Emily, now that we know she’s safe, of course. We were just worried of course, what with the State department’s letter last month…”
Emily frowned, glancing at her mother, laughing and glowing from the liquor and the company, watching as Rossi carved the turkey. “A letter?”
“She didn’t tell you? She’s been relieved of duties indefinitely; there are no posts for someone of her… age. Involuntary retirement, I believe it’s called.” His voice was quiet and grave.
Suddenly it made sense to Emily. Most years, the Ambassador couldn’t see her daughter on the holidays because she was throwing some party or another for her colleagues, entertaining diplomats and heads of state, working her charisma and politics for the crowd. It was unusual, at best, for her mother not to have plans on Thanksgiving, much less show up at Emily’s house while they were still trying to find a stride rebuilding their tenuous relationship. “No,” she said softly, “she hadn’t said anything but thank you… Things make a little more sense now…” She trailed off before taking a deep breath. “Thank you, Nathan. Could you send a car around 9? She’s had a bit to drink and I don’t think she’s fit to drive back to Spring Valley in her condition, even later.”
“Certainly, Miss Emily. Take care and have a happy Thanksgiving.”
“You too, Nathan.” Emily replied softly before hanging up. She watched her mother helping JJ set up the makeshift food buffet on her kitchen’s island and for possibly the first time in her life, Emily felt a pang of remorse for the woman. If anyone had any idea what it felt like to suddenly be standing at the edge of an abyss, staring into it, it was Emily. She’d been there just over a year ago, just like her mother she had a bottle of scotch not far from hand until Hotch showed up at her door and convinced her to get on that plane to Milwaukee. After a few moments lost in thought, Emily turned, going to the sitting room to rouse the boys and herd them into the kitchen to fill their plates. In the confusion of eight people milling around her tiny kitchen, Emily slipped behind her mother, taking the scotch and stashing it away.
Once everyone was settled, Emily pulled out a bottle of Merlot that she’d been saving for a rainy day. Garcia, JJ, Hotch and Reid all nodded that they’d like some, Rossi and Morgan seemed content with their beers and Elizabeth held up the empty glass, sloshing around the ice. “I’ll take a refill, Emmy, dear.”
Emily took the glass and shook her head. “No, mother, no more scotch for you. You’ll have wine with dinner and then it’s water until Nathan picks you up.”
Morgan snickered, “Aww, c’mon Emmy, you’re spoilin’ your mama’s fun.” He shot her a playful wink as the older agent rolled her eyes, turning to the bottle of wine, getting six wine glasses out, filling them quickly.
Garcia was quick to fill the boys in on the “Streak” story, which had Elizabeth grinning mirthfully. Hotch smirked against his wine glass. “Never thought you’d have something in common with Jack, Emily… though his was the MacLean mall Macy’s, not the UN.”
“Oh, Emily has always been a handful.” Elizabeth took a big swig of her wine. “I mean, none of us expected her to show up to Christmas dinner her junior year of college with some pink and blonde haired lit major named Amber with a pierced eyebrow saying ‘Oh, by the way, Mom, Dad, assorted diplomats. I’m a lesbian!’” Silence fell over the table as all eyes turned to Emily. Elizabeth continued on, hardly noticing the sudden awkward shift in dynamic. “Oh, Emmy, you always have had a weakness for the blondes.”
“Mother!” Emily cried out.
“Well,” Garcia quipped, pushing her glasses up, “at least that explains that horrible man-watch.”
Elizabeth looked up, her eyes baffled. “What, they didn’t know? For God’s sake, Emily, they’re profilers.”
JJ looked over at Emily, her eyes a strange mix of hurt and curiosity. “Why didn’t you tell us? I mean… Em, Penelope and I are your best friends…”
Emily grabbed her glass of wine, standing up abruptly. “I need some fresh air.” She walked out onto the balcony of her apartment, leaning on the wrought iron railing, her eyes grazing over the city’s blinking, flickering lights as a light snow fell around her, covering the city in its cozy blanket.
She was lost in her thoughts, wondering what would happen now, who in the team would push her away, how JJ—her beloved JJ—would take the news. She wondered if it would make Hotch scrutinize her even more, now wondering what other lies she kept beneath the surface. The haphazard line of thought left little silence for Emily to hear the sliding door open behind her and she didn’t even notice that another body had joined her on the balcony until she felt the soft down jacket come to rest on her shoulders. She looked up, her brown eyes meeting sparkling blue as snow came to rest in long, dark eyelashes. “Em…” Emily looked away from JJ, eyes cast back over the city like a safety net, hoping it could catch her this time. JJ reached up, grasping Emily’s chin, turning her head so that their eyes would meet again. “You never answered my question… Em, what made you think you couldn’t trust me?”
“JJ… you mean the world to me… I couldn’t risk losing that, losing you.” Her eyes were soft, vulnerable, and sad.
“Emily…” JJ lifted her other hand, running it through the soft brown curls that delicately framed the other woman’s cheeks. “Nothing you could say or do would push me away. So you’re gay, you’re still the same Emily Prentiss I trained two years ago, I just know more about you.” She shifted, moving closer to Emily. “Now, it’s your turn to learn more about me…” The blonde trailed off, leaning in to Emily, pressing her lips tenderly against the soft pink lips before her. The wind picked up, swirling the snow around them, the cold causing Emily to involuntarily pull her only source of warmth closer, the kiss deepening. Suddenly, nothing mattered, not the team, the biting cold ,or the awkward silence awaiting them inside. The only things that mattered to Emily Prentiss were the mouth against hers and a reminder to thank her mother, very much, for having had that much whiskey.