Author: Carly Carter
Fandom: Criminal Minds
Pairing: Emily JJ
Summary: ~~~~"Please Emily. Understand there is nothing I can do for you if you don't give me some sort of reason. Some explanation."
It chills you to hear him call you 'Emily." It's almost enough to break you. You want to ask him why he looks so distraught. It's you that been shattered by this, not him. Not his precious team. Things will go on just as they always did before you joined the BAU, it will be like you were never here.~~~~
A story for Emily and JJ. A story about loyalties, priorities and choices. What could be so important that Emily chooses to sacrifice her career in the BAU? Her decisions threaten to shatter the team forever. Will JJ discover where her true loyalties lie in time to save Emily?
Disclaimer: I don't own anything!
Authors Note: Set early Season 3, However in my 'magical story world' there is no JJ/Will! I confess that I adore Emily/JJ Fan Fiction and have little experience with the actual happenings on the show. Also (as I'm sure it will become abundantly clear) I have no understanding of the FBI and apologise for any inaccuracies.
"Standing tall while the world crumbles around you"
You realise something is wrong as soon as he speaks your name.
"Agent Prentiss, May I have a word?"
"Of course." You answer.
What else can you say? He is your senior agent, you take orders from him. You follow obediently as any good employee would do. Calmly. As if nothing is out of the ordinary.
"Sit." He commands when you reach his office.
You analyse his voice, his mannerisms. He is uncomfortable, but kind. Almost as if he is trying hard to sound angry, authoritative, but he can't quite make it convincing. Like a father figure wanting to scold a young child for touching a hot stove, when all he really wants is to wrap his child in his arms to protect her, keep her safe, never let anything burn her again.
He speaks to you in a different manner than the way you are used to. You didn't realise how much respect Agent Hotchner had for you until this very moment. The moment you hear something missing in his voice. That respect. It's gone. You feel like you've lost something precious. How can you miss it so much when you weren't even aware it was there to begin with?
"I'll stand." You answer. Because it feels right. You feel like rebelling against this instruction, shattering his expectations. You don't feel like playing the part of the perfect agent anymore.
You force yourself to look him in the eyes. You can't stand to see that in his eyes. What is that? Almost like kindness, almost like regret. Is it pity? You despise pity. You'd rather see anger and disrespect.
"I said sit, Agent Prentiss." He repeats, in his hardest, most unfriendly tone.
"I said I'll stand." You challenge him.
What difference does it make now? He has made up his mind, You've made your bed. Get it over with.
You've challenged him before, you've disagreed with him and fought with him. But you've always been able to find some common ground, some place where he is the leader and you submit to his requests. He respects your opinions, and you respect that at the end of the day the final say is his. You've never challenged him over something so trivial. You feel powerful somehow. Childish, and victorious. You look straight at him. Challenging him. Go on, Do it. I'm waiting. Your gaze never wavers, your hands don't tremble, Not like his. He clasps them quickly behind his back, out of your sight, so you can't see that he is shaking.
You wonder for a minute if you've gone too far? If this will cause him to raise his voice? To pull rank? Threaten you with...with what? What's left to threaten you with? He seems to know he is defeated. That no threat or promise or plea could contradict your stubborn will at that moment. He sighs.
He sits behind his desk. And you feel strange, towering over him, as if he were your subordinate. As if it was you who held his life in your hands and not the other way around. You can see your calm manner un nerves him. It always has. And that makes you feel better somehow.
"Please, Emily." He begs after minutes of silence.
Please what? You want to ask him. It chills you to hear him call you 'Emily'. Despite the closeness of the team you are known as 'Agent Prentiss', or just 'Prentiss'. Never have you heard him use your first name in such a familiar. It's almost enough to break you.
You want to ask him why he looks so distraught. It's your career in jeopardy, your reputation and professionalism in ruins. And yet you stand, strong and firm, prepared for what will come. And he sits, uncomfortably. Squirming in his chair, nervously playing with his pen. Why?
"Emily." He says your name again. "I'm speaking to you, right now, as a friend and not a colleague."
Somehow this disturbs you. Given a choice, you'd prefer his chilling professional manner, not this friendly voice that calls you Emily.
You respond with silence. Silence is best defence, you've learned, and the best attack. The best all round policy, to stand calmly and say absolutely nothing.
"Understand there is nothing I can do for you if you don't give me some sort of reason. Some explanation." He proceeds.
"I don't believe I asked you to do anything for me, Sir.' You reply, respectfully.
"Emily, You're a valued colleague, a vital part of this team, a friend. I want you to know that you can confide in me. And whatever you say to me, I will do my best to help you. But you have to trust me, and I need to know I can trust you."
"You've never trusted me." You answer softly. Because you can't hold your tongue any longer. because your 'silence is the best defence' theory just isn't going to cut it when he is standing there calling you 'Emily', calling you 'friend'. "I've never been part of this team. And that's the way you always wanted it. From day one you suspected my motives, Agent Hotchner. Please don't waste my time with these insincerities."
You see a flicker in his eyes, anger at your accusation. You know you've hit a nerve. He waits a moment before answering you. Its a hard thing for him to admit he was wrong. "Yes at first I doubted you, your ability, your loyalty. I was wrong, I admit it."
"No, You weren't wrong." You whisper softly. "You should trust your instincts."
"I do." He answers immediately. "In this job, sometimes my instincts are all I have. You want to know what my instincts tell me? My instincts tell me you're one of the best agents the department has ever had, they tell me that there is some reason, some explanation behind these allegations." He motions to the report lying on his desk. You haven't read it, but you know what it says. "But they are serious allegations made against you, Emily. And I need more than my instincts to go on once my superior colleagues hear of this. We all answer to someone- and right now, you answer to me."
"If you meant that, if you trusted me, if you knew me at all then you wouldn't need to ask these questions." You realise you're being unfair. The mountain of evidence against you surely entitles him and the entire FBI to ask a whole lot of questions of you. It's his job. He has to think of the team as a whole. He has to answer to his senior colleagues. You can't expect him to trust you implicitly in the face of everything that has happened.
Your words wound him, you can see it, and it satisfies you somehow- This final parting blow. Satisfies you and yet still leaves you feeling hollow and empty inside.
"Emily, you don't leave me any options, do you understand that? It's not about me. I trust you. I know you. But the department will need more than that." He talks slowly, as if you were a small child not capable of understanding.
It's not exactly how you'd pictured this encounter. You'd pictured anger and accusations and doubt, you'd pictured being dismissed on the spot. And somehow that would have made it easier. You didn't even expect Agent Hotchner to give you the courtesy of his personal attention. You expected to be hauled away by someone more senior, publicly facing a panel of the FBI's highest ranking officials who would accuse you and find you guilty and make the rest of your existence a living hell. You had heard the stories of things that happened to crooked agents. But he stands here offering you kindness.
"Do what you have to do." You tell him, hearing someone else's voice in your mind telling you that same piece of advice. 'Do what you have to do, Emily."'
"Don't make me do this ." He pleads with you. "We can work something out. Juts tell me the truth. Don't walk away, that's the wrong choice Emily, you'll regret it." He tells you chillingly.
His words are unfair too, you're not making him do anything. And suddenly you want out of this place where your actions impact so deeply on other people.
"There is no choice." You reply. And for a minute you consider telling him everything. It's tempting, his offer, his extended hand of trust, not to mention employment, financial security, professional pride . But you know better. Besides, you have nothing to offer him in the way of excuses or explanation. Nothing that would satisfy. You are guilty.
"Emily. If it's going to come down to this, then please consider something."
You make no response to him, but stand still, listening to his considerations. "Resign now," He tells you. "No questions asked. I have it from Agent Strauss that this matter won't go any further if you hand in your resignation today. There will be no formal charges laid, no criminal case to answer to. I will make certain."
You continue staring at him. You want to badly to turn your eyes from him, to turn and run from this mess you've ended up in. But you can't. Why is he doing this? Doesn't he know you need him to fire you? To send you packing. How can he ask you to turn your back on the BAU? Doesn't he understand you could never do that?
You realise he is trying to be kind, to keep you out of prison, to save your reputation, your dignity. You wonder what kind of strings he has pulled to make that happen. You feel like you should be grateful. But you're not. You want to tell him where to stick his deal. That you, Emily Prentiss, will go down fighting.
"Think about the others." He adds quietly. And you do think. About the people you've dragged down with you. You think about Garcia. You know she has covered for you. More than once. You never asked her to, but she did. You realise you owe it to her if no one else. You have to take the fall for this.
Without a word you reach forward and take the pen from his desk, signing the papers he has put in front of you, papers he obviously prepared before hand. You look back at him, as you hand the papers to him. You can't stand to see the look of torment in his eyes, and once again it makes you bitter. It's you that been affected by this, not him. Not his precious team. Things will go on just as they always did before you joined the BAU, it will be like you were never here.
You turn and calmly walk out of his office heading towards your own desk.
"You want coffee Em?" You hear JJ offer.
"No thanks." You answer calmly, and smile at her sweetly as if nothing was out of the ordinary. You force yourself not to think that this is the last time you'll ever see her. You can't stand it. The FBI, the BAU, your career- you could survive without it all. But JJ? How can you walk out the door knowing you'll never see her again? You can't. But you have to.
You pick up your coat from where it hangs on the back of your chair, along with your car keys. Everything else you leave behind untouched on the desk. And you casually walk out the door without looking back.
'Standing tall while the world crumbles around you.'
The others follow you into the room for what they assume is briefing on a new case. It's still early and you can feel the lack of energy in your colleagues. Rossi enters last, closing the door. You exchange a glance with him, wishing that he would take the unpleasant task of making this announcement. But somehow you feel it has to come from you. It's your team. Your responsibility.
"Should we wait for Emily/?" JJ asks.
You ignore her question and begin "Guess not." You hear her mumble as she and Garcia exchange a puzzled glance.
"Agent Prentiss has resigned from the FBI and the BAU, effective immediately." You say in an emotionless voice. You tell yourself that if you remain calm, the other will react calmly too. You can just sweep this whole occurrence under the carpet, the team will go on as if Emily Prentiss was never even here.
There is a confused chorus of questions from your team. "What, Why, How, Huh?"
"Personal reasons." You continue. "And I'm sure we wish her all the best in her future. I have to inform you that due to circumstances beyond my knowledge or control, and for strict security reasons, I have been advised that no one from this department is permitted to communicate with Former Agent Prentiss in any way. Former Agent Prentiss has been advised of this. Any Agent found breaching this order will be brought forward on disciplinary charges and face instant dismissal from the FBI. Is that clear?"
Most of your team are stunned into silence. Just as you'd hoped. It's Garcia who speaks first. “Uhm, No.” She answers.
"Excuse me?" You say calmly.
"I'm afraid it's not that clear, I don't understand. Are you talking about Emily? Our Emily? You make it sound like you're talking about some criminal. Emily is gone? Just like that? What happened? You can't just tell us she's gone, with no explanation, that we can't contact her. You can't do that."
You're grateful when Rossi steps in, You're not sure how you would have answered. Perhaps it's somehow easier for him, he is relatively new. He didn't know Emily as well as you did. Thought you did. "Garcia, the FBI says we can. We are all professionals, we need to leave our personal feelings aside, we have a serious job to do. It's imperative that we follow protocol. People's lives are in our hands. I realise it may be distressing, but we deal with horrendous things day in day out, that's just the way it is. We all have a job to get on with. Agent Hotchner and myself are acting on the instruction we have received from above, and we expect it to be obeyed by every member of this department. Anyone found breaching regulations will be punished accordingly, and I strongly advise you all to follow every procedure to the letter. Furthermore this issue will not be permitted as a topic of conversation either inside or outside the walls of this building. Is that understood?"
This shocking nature of the announcement, and the unvoiced allegation- that Agent Prentiss must have been involved in serious misconduct- seems to have silenced most of your team, and Rossi's harsh words seem to have silenced anyone who would have dared to question you. You hastily make your exit, heading for the sanctuary of your office.
You sit at your desk, taking a deep breath, grateful that it's over. But you're waiting for the knock at your door.
"I don't understand" She tells you, as she stands at your door, pale and shaking. You invite her in. You don't want to have this conversation with her, but you can't have her stirring the others up. You really need this whole Emily mess to go away. You don't want Strauss looking over your shoulder, or any other prying eyes from other FBI departments. This is a nightmare, and you're well aware that if you don't move carefully it will tear the rest of your team to pieces.
"Sit." You tell her. And unlike her colleague, Agent Jareau does it unquestioningly. "JJ I have no answers."
You wonder about these two women, Agent Prentiss and Agent Jareau. So different. One stood here an hour ago, refusing to give an inch, challenging and defying you at every turn when you put your own job on the line to try and help her. She refused to answer even one simple question. As if her very existence depended on keeping you in the dark. Refusing to flinch as you looked deep into her eyes, refusing to show even the slightest flicker of emotion.
The other sits before you now, shamelessly crying right here in your office. Begging, pleading, for answers. Telling you things you already know about her personal feelings for the Former Agent Prentiss, but are decidedly uncomfortable discussing with her. JJ begs you for help. To help her, to help Emily. You had offered help to Emily and she threw it back in your face. Here JJ begs you, and you have nothing to give her. You don't know what to say.
"There has been some kind of mistake. Emily wouldn't..." her voice trails off, she is uncertain how to finish. "Emily just wouldn't! Hotch, Please!"
"JJ Stop." You order. You can't stand to hear it. That desperation. Besides, she is wasting her breath defending Emily to you. You know Emily. Know she wouldn't have done it without a damn good reason. You wanted desperately to help her, there was nothing you could do if Emily wouldn't let you. You have to think of the team, the others. The best way to help JJ now seemed to help her, like the rest of the team, put it all behind them. A serious security breech like this, right from the inner core, had potential to shatter the most cohesive of teams. It was the best way to divide, right from the inside. To divide and to conquer. You won't let that happen to your team. team. There is nothing you can do for Emily now. It grieved you. But Emily wasn't your responsibility anymore. Your responsibility was, always had been, the BAU. You owe it to those left to make something positive out of this. To somehow pull together and go on, stronger than before.
"JJ. " You begin gently. "The best thing I can tell you. Forget her. Put your personal feelings and beliefs aside."
"You cant tell me that, you cant expect..." She stops, unable to speak she is crying so hard. It shocks you to see your usually calm collected colleague this distressed. You feel uncomfortable. You've seen the chemistry between these two women, the touches and glances. You know that feelings run deep. But this job, this department, in your mind it has to come first. Above all sideline issues.
"JJ, I cant tell you what to do. I can tell you this. If you care about your job, You will forget Agent Prentiss and get on with your work. Believe me when I tell you that I know what it is to sacrifice something precious..." You stop, not wanting to make this about you. Not wanting to remind yourself again of the way your job somehow cost you your family. You take a breath "I know It's not easy. But, this team can't afford to lose two agents. "
With that you place a hand on her shoulder, an attempt to comfort her, to let her know you're sorry, that you wish it hadn't come to this, but it has. You're not sure what to do or say, and you understand how much she felt for Emily, how upset she is. You understand it better than anyone. So instead of ordering her out of your office and back to work, you quietly leave, closing the door behind you so you won't have to hear her softy crying, as she sits at your desk with her head in her hands.
- Current Location:South Australia
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