Fandom: Criminal Minds (eventually X-Men)
Pairing: Emily Prentiss (eventually Emma Frost)
Summary: When one person travels into an alternate universe a thousand others are created. What if Didi showed up without a time slip on Emily's doorstep, in a world without mutants? What would a twenty-five year old Emily do?
Apologies: Everything I write is technically AU just because I'm writing it, and not the people who own it. This is just another branch of my AU universe. I just wrote it one night, and i wasn't going to post it until i had things more sorted out, but i thought i had lost it forever, so I'm sharing instead.
Emily had been working for the FBI for barely a year, and she was already starting to hate her job. It had been a stroke of luck, she thought, that there was a sudden need for Arabic translators right as she was desperate to get out of the UN sound booth. Her mother had gotten her the job when she graduated from Yale, and she hadn’t had any other plans, except a vague inclination to enter the police academy (which her mother had told her in no uncertain terms that if she tried it, she would be cut off without a cent and she would never speak to her again), so she had taken it. It wasn’t the job that was bad. Her Arabic and Persian both got stronger and she even had a little practice with Russian, although her Ukrainian was slipping away. (The Ukrainian delegate spoke perfect Russian and ignored her whenever she said hello in Ukrainian). The only problem was that everyone knew her mother, and she couldn’t stand it. Being disinherited was starting to sound like a boon. And in fact, she was just about to hand in her notice and had signed up for the first exam required to enter the police academy, when someone mentioned that they were looking for Arabic translators at the FBI.
It had seemed like serendipity. But that was before she had been sent to Minneapolis.
Seriously, she wasn’t complaining about the location. Minneapolis St Paul was a beautiful set of cities, urban and cosmopolitan with a rich history of manufacturing, polite drivers, good public transportation, a beautiful river walk, and apparently, a multitude of terrorist cells.
But Emily was starting to realize that the plus of having all her colleagues know and respect her mother was that they all automatically wanted to be her friend. At her new office, the field agents despised the agents with desk jobs, and the agents with desk jobs had built cliques with more solidity and higher barriers of acceptance than the worst Emily had seen at any of her high schools (and she had seen quite a few). It also turned out that Emily wasn’t any better at making friends than she had been in high school. She still managed to come up with the nerdiest comments at the most inopportune moments. And it didn’t help that everyone figured out how much she desperately wanted to be a field agent on the first day (when she tried to eat lunch with a group of field agents who ignored her utterly). And even worse was the bullying.
A few months in, just when she was starting to settle down, and learn who to avoid and who might be win-over-able, she had received a collection of notebooks that she had to translate. They were difficult, full of colloquial and technical words, but quickly she realized they were about making a bomb. She worked overtime and without sleep for two days until she had the whole thing translated and understood the outlines of the plot. She hurried to her supervisor’s office, desperate to give him the information. The head of the clique that owned her office stopped her on the way. She took the papers from her hand and shredded them.
“Do it again,” she said. When Emily finished printing them out again and brought them to her boss, he was ready to leave for the day. He gave them a passing glance and frowned at her.
“Why would Muslims want to bomb a Muslim church?” he asked, and then ignored her explanations of rival sects, historical and political differences, picked up his golf clubs and walked out.
The next morning a mosque in St. Paul was blown up, killing fourteen men, women and children and injuring another forty-nine. Emily was reprimanded for working too slowly. She called in sick the next day. She couldn’t face them. Even desk agents were licensed to carry a gun, and she honestly didn’t know what she would do with it. Instead she went to the mosque in Columbia Heights and muttered along under her breath to the Salat al-Janazah.
O Allah, if he was a doer of good, then increase his good deeds, and if he was a wrongdoer, then overlook his bad deeds. O Allah, forgive him.
O Allah, forgive me.
She went back to work the next day, with a pale face and stiff shoulders. She didn’t smile at anyone. She didn’t try to make friends. She did her work, efficiently and responsibly, and she went home. At home she buried herself in her books. They were the only things that could make sense of this mad world.
She read Slaughterhouse Five over and over again, and cried every time.
Her mother called her from Chernobyl and Emily cried on the phone. Elizabeth informed her that it was time to quit her job and come home. Emily wouldn’t, so Elizabeth set her up with a counselor. She didn’t go. Instead she walked along the river and wondered if anyone would care if she drowned.