Fandom: X-Men/Criminal Minds
Pairing: Emma Frost/Emily Prentiss, other Emma Frost/Emily Prentiss
Disclaimer: I do not own X-Men or Criminal Minds. I owe wizened_cynic for the concept of quantum babies. She does it much better than me. Title stolen from the song by The National.
I got up at 6:30 and had a slow morning at work, so i was actually able to write today! And since i don't know when I'll have a chance to write more, I'm posting it, even though it's probably disjointed and shoddy. And I know you all wanted Emma's reaction, but not yet!
Fake Empire 1 (Queen Emma)
JJ wasn’t sure what to say. In fact, she wasn’t actually sure if thinking was occurring either. Perhaps she had turned to stone with the sight, and all brain function had ceased to exist.
She had checked her phone that morning and frowned while listening to the desperate and cryptic message Emily had left at three in the morning. And then beg, wheedle, and vow on everything most sacred to her to Will and Henry that she would be back in time for their Saturday trip to the park.
Henry, four and chubby, (looking far too much like baby pictures of herself for comfort) was incredibly talented at extracting the most epic and complex promises. His sullen, suspicious angel expression was one of someone who had heard it all before. He had been made to understand about how mommy and daddy’s work was very important, and that sometimes unexpected things would happen and they might be a little late. Henry was really very good if he had to stay overnight with the babysitter, or play by himself after nursery school if he was late being picked up. But there were certain things that were completely untouchable, and one of those was Saturday=park.
The drive into DC was just normally busy, and JJ kept an eye on the opposite route, which looked nice and empty. She showed up at Emily’s apartment at 8:05, rang the buzzer, and waited.
Oddly enough, it was Garcia who opened the door.
“What? Where’s Emily? Is something wrong?”
The message had sounded more frantic than pained, and JJ hadn’t started to worry until that very moment. But Garcia just grinned and pulled her inside.
“Be quiet. It’s the cutest thing you ever saw.”
Emily was in bed, asleep. So was a tiny child, half draped over her shoulder, flat on her back with her arms spread out. Where their hair fell in the same place, it was undifferentiable. She looked from the sleeping tableau to Garcia, who hadn’t lost that irritating grin.
“Oh, it’s no joke. Wait ‘till you see her smile.”
And that was when the mysterious creature sat up, rubbing her eyes. And then she opened them.
For a moment, JJ was relieved. There was no way Emily could have a blue-eyed child, no way on earth; it was basic genetics. And then she recognized the eyes, and realized that basic genetics probably had very little to do with it.
“JJ!” the creature spoke, raising her arms. “Take me to the bathroom.”
That was when JJ turned to stone. She took the child to the bathroom, made sure she washed her hands, put on the coffee, found the juice, threw the empty wine bottle into the recycling, and made Emily get up, hungover or not.
She gave one mental apology to Henry and Will, because it was pretty certain that she was going to be late getting back. Especially with the way Emily scrunched herself into the farthest corner of the couch and eyed the small child, sitting in Garcia’s lap, with obvious fear.
That was when she woke up again. It was hard to be locked in her own mess of disbelief, jealousy and self-pity, when Emily was so obviously not taking this well.
JJ pushed the mug of coffee into her hand. “Relax, Emily.”
“Relax?” Emily looked up at her, desperate and unhappy. “I can’t do this. I can’t! But they didn’t give me a choice.” She scowled and looked away. “It’s all Emma. She doesn’t like to give people a choice.”
After three years, JJ had learned to hold her tongue when Emily got going on how irritating, frustrating, and generally dissatisfying any involvement with Emma was, regardless of whether they were in one of their ‘on’ periods or currently ‘off.’ Luckily Garcia assisted her in staying quiet by passing her the letter, which she read with increasing disbelief.
Emily buried her face in her arms. “I don’t know what to do with her! I keep on waiting for someone to tell me it’s an elaborate hoax, but she’s not going away! How long does an apocalypse usually take?”
Garcia patted her on the head. “Usually until the end of the world.”
JJ shrugged uncomfortably. “Is this really so out of the blue? You were going to take that girl…”
“She wasn’t four! If they’re older it’s different. Thank fuck I don’t have to…” She eyed the child suspiciously. JJ, knowing what she was thinking, shook her head.
“You have no idea how lucky you are.”
Emily sank into the couch. “But god… everything else.”
Emily wasn’t a precognitive. If she had been, she probably would have drowned the brat then and there.
JJ checked her watch. If she left now, she wouldn’t be too late. “Henry will have someone his age to play with?”
Emily frowned. “You know that if this kid is Emma’s, she’s got to be a mutant.”
And the words had been said. She had been expecting them, but they still hit hard. JJ scowled. “That’s your problem, not mine. You have to make sure that she doesn’t abuse her powers, like some people.”
Emily buried her face in the cushion and groaned.
* * *
Somehow (and for a reason JJ could not consciously understand) she managed to convince Emily to get dressed and get the small child into her car. (Garcia came too, because she loved the park), and JJ drove (through the increased traffic) back to her house.
Will and Henry were having breakfast, and when she came in the door, followed by a large group, both of her boys stared with wide eyes. Will focused right on the dark-haired girl Emily was carrying, and as he opened his mouth to ask, JJ wished she had had time to come up with a cover story. (Having mutant friends was one thing, dimension traveling children was quite another).
“Is that your…”
Garcia stepped between them and smiled. “Her niece! Isn’t the family resemblence strong?”
Before Will could finish his confused thought (which was certain to have something to do with Emily being an only child because he remembered things like that), Henry started to cry.
“I don’t want other people! Saturday is family day!”
JJ cringed. Will hurriedly tried to hush him. Garcia started going through her bag for candy. Emily looked like she might be sick. But Deirdre sat up straight on Emily’s hip and glared.
Henry shut up.
“You’re a brat!”
This made Henry indignant. “You’re a brat!”
“You’re a sapiens brat!”
Garcia smiled forcedly. “And now it is time to move the combatants into separate rooms.”
Garcia’s wise counsel was soon followed, JJ following Emily and Didi into the living room and proceeding to flip out.
“A sapiens brat! She called my kid a sapiens brat? That is so not okay. Not, not okay, Emily!”
Emily sat on the couch, Didi cowering in her lap. “Technically, she called him a wise brat, not incredibly insulting.”
“It's mutant supremicist language!”
Now Didi was starting to cry. “Don’t be mad, JJ.”
It looked like Emily’s headache had gotten the better of her and she was attempting to disassociate with her body. JJ stared at the kid. “How does she know me? How do you know who I am?”
Deirdre tipped her head to the side. “JJ’s mine.” She crawled off Emily’s lap and walked over to hug JJ’s leg. “M’ma says JJ belongs to me.”
“Somehow, I really don’t like how that sounds.” But Didi looked like she was about to cry, and Emily was comatose on the sofa, so JJ picked her up and gave her a hug. “Hey, you smell like you could use a bath.” She had an odd flavor of sulfur and smoke to her. “And if you’re nice to Henry, maybe he’ll let you have some of his old clothes, yeah?”
“I don’t like Henry.”
JJ shook her head, starting to carry her into the bathroom. “Why not?”
“He cries loud.”
This was true enough. JJ shrugged, and set Didi on the floor before she started running the bath. Deirdre was surprisingly docile in the bathroom. While Henry resisted with every ounce of strength in his bones, Didi stuck her hands up for JJ to pull off the top, and even unfastened her lower garment herself, which was good, because JJ had no idea what it was nor how it fastened.
“I do smell bad.”
“The cave smelled bad too.”
Didi nodded and climbed into the tub, JJ steadying her, but letting her do it on her own mostly. “I came through a fire cave to get here. It was scary. There was a scary lady who was all fire. She laughed at me.” Deirdre splashed into the water, spraying JJ, and grinned up at her. It was obviously on purpose.
“You’re a little monster.”
* * *
Eventually they did make it to the park. Didi, clean, and smelling like a child and not a dragon, was wearing some of the clothes that Henry had grown out of but JJ hadn’t been able to bear to throw away yet. Even Henry had allowed Garcia to bully and bribe him back into a good mood. Emily had borrowed a pair of sunglasses from Will and was asleep under the tree.
Before lunch, Deirdre managed to lead Henry, Garcia, and Will on an imaginary adventure game that got Will stuck up a tree, Garcia mud up over her ankles, and Henry a skinned knee. He started to cry, but Didi gave him a stern look, and he gulped, and stopped. JJ’s jaw dropped. Henry always cried when he got hurt.
After lunch Deirdre managed to get Henry into a bush, climb on a pile of rocks, and fall off, remaining unscathed, and then both she and Henry collected various enticing leaves and berries and would have eaten them, had JJ not been watching. She grabbed them both by their collars and dragged them back to the blanket. Emily was just waking up. She looked less nauseous, but vague and confused. JJ dropped the kids on the blanket and told them to play quietly or it was time to go home.
Around 3 they left Emily, Deirdre, and Garcia at the metro station. While Garcia was with Didi in the bathroom, JJ pulled Emily aside with a firm hand on her arm.
Emily smiled worriedly at her.
“Okay, if that kid survives tonight, we are going to have a long talk tomorrow.” She shoved a bag into Emily’s hand. “Here are clothes. Make sure her hands are clean before she eats. And don’t let her sleep in her clothes again. Four year olds are hard. You keep her in sight and out of trouble. Okay?”
“Okay.” Emily seemed to sag under her harsh look. She glanced sadly towards the door to the bathroom. “I really have no idea what I’m doing.”
JJ felt tired rather than angry. “You have to care. You have to care about her more than about yourself. Even if you can, it’s too hard to do it alone.” It felt like she was swallowing a sea urchin, shell and all, but she said it. “Maybe you should call Emma.”
Emily chuckled. “Not that easy. The last time I saw her… we had a fight that ended with her throwing her cell off a cliff into the Pacific Ocean, and telling me to never call her again. I’m working on it.”
JJ rolled her eyes. “Good luck,” she said, and started back towards the car. She glanced over her shoulder before she left the station. “I mean it,” she said, “good luck.”
Didi and Garcia came back, and Emily glanced down at the child and gave her a look. “Did you wash your hands?”
Didi nodded. “Garcia held me up!”
Emily frowned. “You… you can’t reach the sink on your own?”
The look Deirdre responded with spoke volumes. JJ laughed to herself and stepped out the door. Oh, this was going to be fun, though probably not for Emily.
In the car, Will gave her a worried look. She was going to have to explain this to him, wasn’t she? But Henry was the one who spoke first.
“I want Didi to come to the park with us every Saturday!”
JJ chuckled softly and closed her eyes, leaning back in the seat and letting Will drive home. “We’ll see about that.”
* * *