Title: The Liar, The Bitch and The Crime Scene
Author:elekanahmen aka Jax
Fandom: Criminal Minds
Disclaimer: I don't own them, as they're clearly NOT chained up in my closet.
Warnings: Puking (i know some people are squeamish), swearing, crime scene talk
Summary: Sequel/Companion to 2000 Miles. At a crime scene in another city, Hotch begins to sense that Emily is keeping a secret from him.
Author's Note: Written from an RP with mcgarrygirl78 , the companion to 2,000 miles... I would call it a sequel but i hate that word. Anyway... Enjoy my fine furry friends :) Oh, and PS, if any of you are wondering where this came from, I reference this strip (click after reading to avoid story spoilers) from my favorite webcomic, Girls with Slingshots by Danielle Corsetto.
SSA Emily Prentiss glanced down at the decomposing remains of what was, assuming the same profile, probably once a woman who looked a lot like JJ. Nausea washed over her at the thought of her friend being the one cold and rotting in the middle of a city park. Her head started to spin as the feeling worsened and she grasped for a small tree near her, steadying herself.
Hotch looked up just in time to see her stumble and reached for her arm to help right her. “Prentiss, are you alright?”
“I’m fine sir…” She looked up at him, a little pale. “I’m fine.” She straightened, glancing around, as if nothing had happened. “This doesn’t look like the primary scene.
“It’s not, this is definitely another dump job.” He stroked her arm gently once he was sure that no one was looking, lowering his voice as he spoke. “Are you really alright?”
Emily looked up into his eyes. “I’m fine... I think the smell just bothered me, that’s all.” She crouched down, hoping he believed her as she pulled on a rubber glove, sifting through the branches and twigs near the body.
Folding his arms, SSA Aaron Hotchner watched the younger agent, not believing her for a second. He put on his gloves and started walking around the body. “There isn’t going to be much here but he may have slipped up. He had to drive out here, there could be anything.”
“Sir?” Prentiss pushed aside some leaves kneeling down to look closer. “I have some thin tire tracks here. It almost looks like a dolly… If he had to use a dolly, he could be lacking in upper body strength… or not even a he at all.” She sifted more leaves aside, the smell hitting her harder, feeling almost as if she’d been punched in the stomach.
Hotch crouched beside her, examining the tracks. “You look quite ill… you’re white as a sheet. Maybe you should get behind the line.”
“Aaron,” she said sharply, “please, I’m fine. We need to catch this bastard.”
“We won’t be able to if one of my agents passes out or worse. Behind the line, Prentiss.” He lowered his voice, “Just this time. Talk to the witnesses, they may have seen or heard something.”
“Hotch… I can handle this.”
He hung his head with a sigh, Please don’t make me sit you out, Emily, he thought I don’t want to do that to you. What is going on in there? This is not the first time I’ve seen you like this… “Witness statements are vital to an investigation. This is not a punishment.” She turned, her eyes cast down on the ground, when something caught her eye. She reached gingerly under the arm of the decomposing victim, grimacing at the feeling of the rotting flesh on the other side of her glove, pulling out a cigarette butt with lipstick on it. She shoved it into an evidence bag and handed it to Hotch, standing quickly, tugging off her glove as she pushed past Morgan, ducking under the tape to run past the witnesses. She only just made it to the metal Parks & Recreation garbage can before throwing up violently a few feet past the tape. She cursed herself silently, trying to will away the nausea that had been plaguing her for the better part of two weeks. She was sure now that if Hotch wasn’t going to put her on a desk job before she would now. She had a sinking feeling that she knew exactly what as wrong, but didn’t want to think for a second what that would mean. Denial was a great river to wade in for Emily Prentiss, and one she knew well. Hotch muttered under his breath, ignoring the strange look Morgan gave him as he crossed the line, walking over to Emily. He put his hand on her shoulder, rubbing it gently. “Prentiss. Something is wrong.” He had a feeling that she wasn’t going to say anything but he wished that she would open up to him.
She shrugged his hand from her shoulder, shaking her head. “I’m fine. I guess the smell was just stronger than usual…” She laughed a little, trying to disguise the strain in her voice. “It was pretty awful.”
“It wasn’t stronger than most. Prentiss…”
“Then maybe I’m just sick. I don’t know, Hotch.”
He backed off, hearing his name called from the other side of the tape. “Alright. Well, get those statements,” he looked at her with pleading eyes, “please.”
She clenched her jaw. “Yes, sir.”
“Stop calling me sir. We’ve worked together for two years. My father is sir, remember?” He attempted to put a reassuring look on his face.
“Sorry, sir.” She turned on her heel, tugging the notebook out of her pocket.
Hotch rolled his eyes and headed back under the tape. The whole team had started to notice Emily’s intense mood swings, everyone walking on eggshells, trying not to flare her up the last couple of weeks. What had he done this time, wondering what had come over her since their road trip back from Arizona, she seemed fine at first, but she’d become increasingly temperamental and distant. And this, losing it at a crime scene was just not like her.
Morgan walked over, gesturing at Emily. “The hell was that?”
“I don’t know. She’s sick I think but pretending she isn’t…. which we’ve all been guilty of from time to time. We don’t have time to pick it apart. Do you have something for me?”
“Yeah, there was a hair on the vic, a long red one. Doesn’t match the vic or any of the previous victims.”
“That’s certainly something. It needs to be examined immediately. Lets get things back to trace and wrap it up. I’m going to check on the others.” He started to walk away but paused. “Oh, and Morgan, don’t say anything to Prentiss. Don’t even tease. Losing it or thinking you lost it at a crime scene is no laughing matter.”
“Yeah, well, just remind her to take her Midol before we go into the field, her attitude isn’t very funny either.”
Hotch couldn’t help the small smirk from crossing his lips. “I’ll do that when you do. Don’t worry, I’ll have a talk with her.” A serious one, he thought to himself, because something is not right and I’m seriously starting to worry about her.
Meanwhile, Emily finished taking statements and went to sit on the tailgate of the Tahoe, leaning back against the doors, glancing over her notes. She sighed, unable to concentrate on her notes. She pulled out her blackberry, dialing Jordan, the younger agent that she’d grown closer to in the weeks that JJ had already been on maternity leave. It also helped that Jordan was alone at the precinct and could do her a huge favor.
“Todd.” Jordan’s voice sounded how she felt, exhausted and drained.
“Hey Jordan, it’s Emily… I need you to do me a favor but I need it to stay between us…” she lowered her voice, quietly asking Jordan to pick up a pregnancy test, wanting to know once and for all if her suspicions were correct. She had to know why she was feeling this way.
“Of course. I’ll have it by the time you’re back at the station. And don’t worry… no one will find out from me.”
Emily thanked her, hanging up, looking back at her notes, not hearing Hotch come from around the side of the SUV. “You’re with me, Prentiss.”
She jumped, startled. “Jesus…” she gasped, tucking the notebook back into her suit jacket pocket.
“I didn’t mean to scare you. You’re with me, we have evidence to take back to the precinct and run for trace.” He walked around to the driver’s side, climbing in as Prentiss climbed into the front passenger seat. “Were you on the phone?”
“I was,” she replied curtly.
Hotch clenched his jaw. He was done playing this game. “What is the matter with you?” He turned to look at her. “I am not the enemy. If you are sick, I want you to get better.” He started the Tahoe, lowering his voice. “I want to help you get better.”
“Just forget about it, okay? It’s just some stupid stomach bug or something, I’ll be fine. I promise not to embarrass you at anymore crime scenes by losing my lunch.” She folded her arms indignantly, glaring out the window at the passing scenery, annoyed at what felt like her mother chastising her. I’m not the enemy, Emily almost laughed to herself as she thought through his words, a page right out of the Ambassador’s book… not his. She wondered for a moment if he was having second thoughts about their relationship.
“I love you.” Hotch reached over taking her hand, knowing he had to speak up, he didn’t want her to think he was pushing her away or smothering her, he just wanted to let her know that he was there for her, as her boss and her lover. “Whatever it is, whatever is going on, I still love you. And you can be mad at me and want to kick me in places that will probably cause me pain. There may be tension between us because you think I’m making you look bad, but I love you.” He offered her a terse smile, “And I can see it in your eyes, you want to kick me. Admit it.” He nudged her playfully.
She smiled slightly in spite of herself. “I don’t want to kick you.” She paused. “Morgan, maybe. But not you.” She sighed, looking over at him, her eyes weary. “I just… I don’t know. I feel like shit, I don’t feel like myself. I’ve felt like this for a week or more already, I just… want it to stop. And I love you too, Hotch.” She shifted her hand in his, lacing their fingers together.
“Well, everyone is allowed to be sick. You don’t have to pretend you’re not. And I’m not saying this to upset you but have you considered…” he cringed at what he was about to say, knowing how she’d react, “maybe sitting out on the crime scenes?”
“Hotch, I’m not going to stop being a team player because I had bad Thai or whatever this is. I’ll be fine.”
“I trust your judgment, Emily. We’ll call it a bad night. You’ll probably feel better in the morning. Oh… and you are not allowed to kick Morgan until we get back to Quantico.” He pulled into the sheriff’s station lot and turned off the car.
Emily nodded, pausing as she closed the door, feeling another twinge in her stomach, groaning. “Oh god, I think I’m… I gotta… shit.” She darted into the sheriff’s station, barely making it into the ladies’ room before vomiting again.
With a serious look on his face, Hotch walked into the station, turning to his team. He nodded for Jordan to join them and when he did he spoke in a low tone. “Between us, has Prentiss mentioned anything about being sick? Anything at all?” Hotch frowned as the team collectively shook their heads. He glanced at Jordan, knowing that Emily had been closer with her than anyone else on the team but she held her poker face. She wouldn’t reveal her hand to him and break her new friend’s trust. Hotch signed, knowing that someone had to be lying to him, praying that of all of them, it wasn’t Emily.
Reid looked up. “The number of flu cases in this part of the country are at an all-time high right no, maybe she really did just catch something?”
“Yeah,” the older agent nodded absently. “Alright well, lets wrap it up, there’s nothing more we can do tonight and we should have everything back from trace in the morning. Let them be the ones staying up all night. I’m going to go check on Prentiss, you guys finish up whatever you’re doing and we’ll meet back up first thing in the morning.” He walked to the bathroom, rapping lightly on the door. “Emily?” She opened the door, wiping her hands with a paper towel. “We’re wrapping it up.”
Emily nodded and spoke softly. “Can I stay with you tonight? I mean… that’s why we have adjoining rooms right?”
“You never have to ask.” He lifted his hand to her face, caressing her cheek. “I admit to wanting to keep an eye on you.”
She nuzzled into the touch, her eyes sad and weary. “I’m sorry.”
“Snapping at you? Being a bitch?”
“You’re sexy when you’re angry.” He moved back before she could react.
She simply rolled her eyes, shaking her head. “To the hotel!”
“Yes. This day needs to be over.” Hotch stood to the side, letting Emily walk ahead of him. He watched her as Jordan flanked her and handed the older agent her bag, the two of them speaking quietly as they walked together. He frowned, having a sinking feeling that Emily was, in fact, keeping something from him.
Emily discreetly took a paper bag from Jordan, slipping it into her shoulder bag. “Thanks Jordan, I owe you.” She slipped her arms around her, hugging her tightly.
“Alright,” Hotch spoke up, “we need to be bright and fresh in the morning. This guy stops being ahead of us now.” He nodded at the team and stepped outside into the cool night air, taking a deep breath.
The ride back to the hotel was silent and Emily slipped into her room before anyone could say anything to her. She pulled the paper bag from her bag and opened the adjoining door ajar for Hotch before ducking into the bathroom. She took a deep breath before taking the pregnancy test, her eyes closed as she snugly capped it.
Hotch opened the door, walking in. “I brought some beer… Em?”
Emily sat silently, watching the little blue plus sign appear. “I’ll be out in a sec, baby.”
“Alright… you okay in there?”
“I… I hope so.”
He sighed and set the six-pack on the table before sitting in one of the less than comfortable hotel chairs. He flicked on the TV, hoping some petty crime procedural could take his mind off of the case and what was happening behind that door, though he was sure he had an idea.
Grasping the doorknob, Emily walked out of the bathroom, not making eye contact with Hotch as she set the pregnancy test on the table beside him. She laid on the bed, curling up facing him. Without even a second thought, Hotch got up, walking over to the bed, spooning beside her. He sighed, kissing her neck gently. “I had a feeling you weren’t going to need beer tonight.”
Her voice was soft as she replied. “So what do we do now?”
“We have a beautiful baby with my eyes and your cheekbones… My nose and your ears. And you marry me.”
She smiled. “What if she has my eyes and your ears?”
“She will still be arguably the cutest kid on the planet, though her brother might want to fight her for that crown.”
“Mmm… marry you, huh?”
“I was going to ask you anyway. I don’t know if that’s believable now, but I was. Because I am tired of you going home… I’m sick of separate lives. We’ll do what we have to but I want us to be together.”
She turned in his arms, looking into his eyes. “Ask me anyway.”
He leaned against her, his nose brushing hers in the sweetest of Eskimo kisses. “Emily Prentiss, will you marry me? Will you wake up next to me every morning, share my joy and my sorrow, hold on when times are tough and laugh when things are great? Will you let me love you, keep you and touch you like the magnificent woman that you are? Let me bask in your glow where it’s warm and soft and beautiful?”
Tears welled in Emily’s eyes as she bit her lip, nodding. “Yes, but on one condition?”
He laughed, kissing her lips gently. “Now that will be easy with you.”
“So… when are we telling the team?”
Hotch rolled his eyes, “I guess never is not the right answer. We need to get you to a doctor first, when we find out everything is OK, how far along you are, then we tell.”
She nodded, running her fingers over her stomach. “And when are we telling them about us?”
“This time I am going to say never.” He smiled.
“Mmm then I guess I get to tell them I’m having an alien baby who looks remarkably like you.”
“How do you know she’ll look like me? She might look like you.”
“God I hope not, I was the most awkward kid you’ve ever seen!”
He put his hand over hers on her stomach. “I wasn’t exactly Mr. Universe. You’re beautiful now… so beautiful now.”
“Congratulations, Agent Hotchner, you’re going to be a daddy again.”
The grin that spread across his cheeks was irresistible. “Damn, I love you.” He kissed her tenderly. “I…” His voice trailed off, choked with tears.
She kissed him back tenderly. “You…?”
His voice came out in a hoarse whisper. “You what?”
“You said I,” she laughed and cupped his cheek. “You know, I’m supposed to be the emotional one here…” She kissed him again, gently, tangling her other hand in his hair.
“I wasn’t supposed to get this second chance. I wasn’t supposed to get to feel this way again.” He deepened the kiss.
“Oh, Aaron,” she gasped, hugging him close, kissing his neck gently.
“Mmm?” She pulled back looking up into his eyes.
“We are going to be so happy, you know that right?”
“Happier than we’ve ever been.”
“I get to make you breakfast and argue over the Times… wait… we do that now. Well, I get to… no, we do that now too.” He laughed, kissing her gently. “How did I get so lucky?”
“Mmm,” she replied, cupping his face. “Because one day on a long drive, you got boned up over my nipple ring.”
He covered her mouth, laughing as she bit at his fingers. “Watch your language, there’s a child in the room!”