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9 Crimes [4/5?]

 Title: 9 Crimes [4/5?]
Author: Alsike
Rating: PG-15
Fandom: X-Men/Criminal Minds
Pairing: Emma Frost/Emily Prentiss
Disclaimer: I do not own X-Men or Criminal Minds.  Title stolen from the song by Damien Rice.
Apologies:  This is really short, but she sh*t doth hit the fan.  The next bit is nearly twice as long already.

Summary: Takes place a few weeks after Commodum Ex Iniuria ends.  Recovery is slow, and we walk with our past upon our shoulders.

 

It hadn’t felt like this before, not for a long time.  Emma scrubbed her face viciously and then hurled the washcloth at the mirror.  The wet trail it left distorted her reflection.  It seemed more recognizable that way, lumpen and swollen, with gaping jagged chasms, where important parts, like honesty, forethought, and self-respect, were missing.

Scott nodded to her in the hallways and she was revolted.  Him and his masculine hypocrisy, did he think he owned her now?  That was what the others had thought, that once she had touched their magical tool, she couldn’t betray them, couldn’t fuck them over, like they planned to do to her.  And she hadn’t even touched Scott.

They were still playing the game that this was therapy, that living the fantasy would make them easier to resist.  Catharsis had been disproven years ago.  If you hit a pillow when you’re angry, the next time you’re angry you are more, not less, likely to lash out with your fists.  And Scott, living the sick little fantasies his mind created and hers brought to life, was being trained in patterns of response that could turn him from a man, nobly in control of his lesser urges, into a monster.

She had made it his idea: as long as it was only in his head, it wasn’t cheating.  That was bullshit.  But she couldn’t bring herself to let him touch her.  Just feeding the fantasies into his mind, passing him in the school and knowing that he thought he had some right to look at her, was enough to make her sick.

It hadn’t felt this way before.  No, that was a lie.  It hadn’t felt this way for a long time, not since she had beaten down her humiliation at taking her clothes off for strangers.  She had turned their eyes, blank, staring without feeling as they rubbed their crotch and tried to get off on these moving meaningless bodies, into some kind of worship.  Any kind was better than none, and none was what she was used to.

She had taken their money, every last cent, as vengeance.  It hadn’t felt like much.  It hadn’t made it worth it to know that they walked away smiling, penniless, but thinking that she had gotten on her knees for them.

But that training had been her in with the Hellfire Club.  It had given her real power.  And after a few months she had stopped feeling much of anything.  It had been easy to kill in those days, because she had so much anger ready to be let out.  And after she lashed out, she felt nothing.

But this time there was no anger.  She had chosen this course.  It was her fault.  And she waited for it to end.

*            *            *

Another dead children case.  Too many memories, faces, were overlaid on the images.  Stories cut off at the first line, those surrounding warped into twisting shadows.  There were no happy endings, just tugs on the reins of tragedy.

Emily stared at the slides of the children, kidnapped and kept captive for weeks, raped repeatedly, left alone in their own excrement until they died, usually of dehydration, and tossed into the river.

She wished she could think, wished she could let the facts click together like an erector set.  She would be clambering up the scaffold, working it out, solving the problems.  But the grim fog that had closed around her wouldn’t let her out.  All she could do was wonder why none of this surprised her anymore.

Children were just symbols, the symbol of the freedom that we have all lost.

She didn’t feel shock, didn’t feel horror at the visuals, just a general numb melancholy.  She glanced around the room and wondered who else was faking it.

JJ’s brow was furrowed, with the wide tortured gaze that meant she didn’t care.  When she cared, she got angry, impassioned.  This expression only meant that she was afraid of what living in this world meant for her.

Reid’s eyes pierced the screen, but it was only his intellectual curiosity that fueled him.  He wanted to see patterns, to put the pieces together.  She wondered if he ever looked into himself and saw them there.

She relaxed when she saw Morgan’s expression.  He was truly seething.  He wanted this guy.

Emily just wanted action, pain, anything to shock her out of this stupor.  She’d try to get paired with him

*            *            *

“We found the warehouse!” Emily hissed into the phone.  “We’re going in.”

“Do not, by any means, go into that warehouse.  We don’t know where he is.  We don’t know what he’s capable of.”

“The girl could still be alive.”  Her mother was a local cop.  She had seen the photos of the other children, and Emily would never forget the look on her face as she sank into the chair.

“Wait for the swat team.”

“We don’t have time!”

“If you go in that warehouse alone, Prentiss, you’re fired.”

“I’m not alone.”  She glanced over her shoulder and grinned at Derek.  “Got my back, Morgan?”

“You bet I do.”

*            *            *

The little girl was cowering under the bench.  Morgan stood at her back, steady and on guard in the warehouse.  Emily crouched and whispered to the child.  “Hey, hey, are you hurt?”

The child looked at her with wide blue eyes.

“We’re going to take you home.  Come out, please?”

She shook her head.

“Don’t be scared, please come out.”

Finally the little girl started moving.  She crawled slowly out and put her arms around Emily.  Emily held her, getting to her feet.  “Okay, let’s go, Morgan.”

Then she looked up and saw the glint of the shadowed man’s smile and the click of the gun.  “Too late,” he said.  “Game over.”

Emily spun protecting the little girl with her body.  The killer fell, riddled with bullets from Morgan’s gun.  Emily was on her knees, gasping.  She let the child drop to the ground.  She touched her shoulder, at the edge of her vest, and her fingers came back bloody.  She swallowed hard.  Not again.

Morgan said, “Emily…”

The little girl started to cry.

“Oh no, no, no, girl.”  He picked her up awkwardly, keeping his gun out.

Emily sat back slowly, trying to breathe calmly.  She was all right, she told herself.  She was fine.  Her knees shook slightly as she got to her feet.

“You okay Prentiss?”

“Yeah,” she said, her voice breathier than usual.  She gulped.  The world was starting to spin and weird electronic trombones were playing in her ears.  “Yeah… I think I’ve been shot.”

And the world went black.

*            *            *

She had looked at Scott, just once, and he looked right back.  It was so easy that it was disgusting, like he had been waiting for the opportunity.  She gave him every fantasy he was too ashamed to speak of to his wife, and more, in his head.  She fattened his mind with better sex than he could imagine.

Jean had never understood how to really use her powers, not like this.  But Emma had years of training, prepackaged Hellfire fantasies, and total disregard for ‘comfort level.’

Emma could drive someone crazy in four easy steps.  She could inflame a person’s pleasure centers until they died screaming their release.  She could pick apart the differences between reality and fantasy until her victim couldn’t trust his memories to warn him that he really couldn’t fly.  People tried to imagine the threat an unscrupulous telepath could be, but they didn’t know.  No one really knew.

And when Jean found out, stumbling in upon one of poor Scott’s hilarious fantasies about being dominated by his possessed genocidal wife, she was devastated.

Scott’s infidelity was painful and shaming, but Jean felt even more humiliated and betrayed because her idea of the person she believed Emma was, or at least was becoming, had been proven a naive fantasy.

Jean ripped her apart.  If Emma’s power was a diamond-tipped scalpel, Jean’s was a flaming broadsword.  She peeled open her sealed places, shredded the latticework that locked back unruly emotions, and pillaged her memories for sins and shame.  The rawness and horror Emma kept locked inside spilled out, and the phoenix danced in the charred wreckage of her mind.

Then Emma screamed, crying out for Emily, and Jean stopped.

*            *            *

It took three days of lying in a dark room for Emma to put her mind back together.

<< Why did you do that to her? >>

Jean was sitting in midair, nearly invisible in the shadows, just a glint of red hair or of fire.  Emma couldn’t tell if it were Jean or the Phoenix, if she were really there, or just a construct created by her own mind.

<< You wish you just had shitty luck or bad karma, which you deserve, but you don’t even need that.  It’s you, you’re the poison.  You destroy and kill everything good in your life.  It’s your fault, Emma, face it.  Everything is your fault. >>

When she staggered out of her room, still pale and nauseated, with unrelenting headaches, she found out that Jean had left immediately after the incident to join up with Storm’s team, and the only person in her head had been herself.

*            *            *

“What did you really want, Scott?  Did you want someone safe to play with, because your wife is the most fucking terrifying woman on the planet?”

Scott blinked, and looked serious.  She thought he might be about to say something about her helping him, about not calling it a mistake, and turned away.  She couldn’t stand him.  The only person who repulsed her more was herself.

*            *            *
Part 5

 

Tags: criminal minds, emma/emily, x-men
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