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: Includes NSFW sketch of Emma that I did during Syntax!
“Look, lady.” The detective had called her in, saying he had some information about the girl, and he was holding an official looking piece of paper. But he was eyeing at her with that be careful with the crazy ones look.
“Agent,” she said. It didn’t hurt to remind people of things like status hierarchies.
“Agent. You probably won’t like this, but… the kid’s yours.”
Emily stared at him. “What?”
“The DNA matches, even the mitochondrial DNA. You’re her mom.” He frowned at scratched his head. “It’s sort of late to be suffering post-pardom, but if it went undiagnosed…”
The little girl pouted and tugged on her pantleg. “Mommy, I want to go home.”
Emily stared blankly at her. “I’ve… I’ve never had a kid. This has to be impossible.”
“You have an identical twin somewhere who could have dropped her off?” The cop snorted, but patted her shoulder. “I’m going to assign a caseworker, just to make sure everything’s okay.”
Emily looked up. If what the note said was true, she didn’t need a social worker nosing around. “No! No. I’m sure… I’m sure it’s all explainable. My… twin.” She winced at the lie. “I forgot about her. We haven’t been in contact. Um, you know, since she became a drug addict and all that. I’ll just… call my mom. She keeps better tabs on… Bethany.” (God, names!) “I just didn’t know she had a child.”
He was an old cop and knew well when he was being bullshitted, but he nodded and let Emily take the little girl away, then called his subordinate and put him on protective detail to make sure she didn’t drop the kid in the river. He’d assign a caseworker tomorrow.
Deirdre fell asleep on the seat with her head in Emily’s lap as they rode the bus home. Emily unfolded the note and read it one more time.
“This is impossible.” She whispered, staring out at the dark city as it passed by outside the windows of the bus. Worst of all, no one would ever believe her.
* * *
You do not know me, and it would be presumptive of me to say that I know you, for we have never existed in the same world. But I believe I know enough of your character that it would not be a mistake to entrust our child into your care.
Our world is currently preparing its own apocalypse and it is not safe for her to remain. If we survive, we shall endeavor to relieve you of Deirdre’s care, but if not, I hope you have the honor to care for her as if she were your own.
Grand Duchess Emma Grace Frost
How odd this is to be addressing myself, but you are not me, although enough alike to make me worry about Emma’s insistence on sending Deirdre to you. First, the important information that she has no doubt forgotten to include:
Deirdre Victoria Frost, four years and 28 days old. She can use the toilet on her own, although she needs assistance in remembering to wash her hands. She can read short books of simple words. She dislikes cabbage and is allergic to nuts. She will not go to sleep without a story and when restive likes warm apple juice mixed with orange.
I have no idea how you will react to this. It was both something I wanted and was petrified of. I would never have gone through with it without Emma, nor survived it. Please, do not be afraid to ask for help. But please look after her, if only because you could have been me, and could have known what sending her away feels like.
Emma is brazen and daring as usual, but I doubt we will survive this war. So please take care of her, and remember, we are not our mother. I hope Deirdre becomes as much yours as she will always be mine.
Emily Elizabeth Frost
* * *
The next morning, with a hyperactive four-year-old running circles around the house and complaining loudly about her missing toys, Emily called into work and asked for time off.
“It's a family emergency,” she said. They gave her a week.
On her way to take Didi out to breakfast she tripped over the police officer who had fallen asleep against a tree in her yard. He was young and dorky looking with a close clipped haircut that set off his large ears.
“It’s just like in Star Trek!” he exclaimed over his pile of pancakes.
“I don’t think anyone ever had a child from an alternate timeline arrive on their doorstep in Star Trek.”
Benji (for that was his name) frowned. “Are you sure?”
“Maybe in Enterprise.”
“You’re going to want to find her, aren’t you?”
Benji pointed to the note. “Emma Frost.”
Emily frowned. “I guess.”
Benji surreptitiously slid a napkin across the table. “This is the number you should call. The woman on the other end, she can find anything and anyone. She exposed Project Mkultra… and is, um, wanted by the FBI, so not letting on you’re a Fed, is probably your best bet.”
* * *
There was something about the second letter that broke her heart. But she couldn’t understand it, couldn’t believe the implications.
The paper fluttered in the wind as she read it again, standing on the bridge over the Mississippi in the center of the Minneapolis University campus. Didi peered through the bars at the water deep below, and then started off. Emily caught the back of her shirt and pulled her back, not even looking away from the page.
This was so not okay.
* * *
Emily wasn’t going to call. It was stupid. She didn’t need to try and convince another person that she wasn’t insane, and some poor random woman was not going to jump at the chance to help her because her name was on a note.
But then Didi started screaming at her. It was one thing after another, getting soap in her eyes while giving her a bath, not having any crayons, having to wear one of Emily’s FBI t-shirts while the clothes she arrived in were in the wash. And Emily couldn’t take it anymore. She banged her fist on the window. Where was that damn social worker already? Turning the brat over to child services was looking better and better, even if it meant being committed. Psych hospitals had to be better than close proximity with a four-year-old!
God, maybe she would be quiet with candy. Emily rummaged through the box of pens next to the phone. She couldn’t even find a cough drop!
Her hand landed on a crumpled paper napkin. The phone number Benji had given her.
“Hi. I was told to call you. I need to find someone.”
“This is the information goddess speaking. I can find anything you need.”
Emily blinked at the liltingly cheerful tones of the woman on the other end. She hadn’t expected a federally wanted hacker to sound like that. “I need to find a woman, for, er, personal reasons.”
“Tell me more.”
“It’s sort of a long story,” Emily said hesitantly.
“I have time.”
Emily cringed. “You’re going to think I’m crazy.”
“Try me.” The woman sounded amused and not in the least put off.
She took a deep breath and dove in.
“All right… I got home from work last Friday night, and there was a child, a kid, asleep on my porch. She was freezing, so I took her inside and called the police, who did nothing. They’re like, ‘she’s not like any of the missing kids, maybe she’s yours,’ as if I wouldn’t know if I had effing given birth.”
“You swear like a mom.”
Emily glowered. “Seriously, I do not have a kid! I have not had a relationship with another human being that lasted longer than three months! (And that was long distance!) I don’t have kids!”
“You know, relationships, not technically necessary.”
Emily groaned and the hacker laughed.
“Don’t worry. I believe you. The kid’s not yours.”
“You do?” Emily asked weakly. “It’s just… the DNA report came in, and I’m a match.”
“The DNA says you’re her mom?”
There was a long pause. “Do you think it’s a mistake? Or some… weird plot, like, are the Feds gaslighting you?”
Emily blinked. She hadn’t actually thought of that. “Um, it’s possible.” She didn’t really think her colleagues were creative enough (or knew enough of her neuroses) to figure out such an effective gaslighting maneuver. “I don’t think it’s a mistake though.”
“So… you’re saying that you and this child’s mother have exactly the same DNA?”
“I’m getting the feeling that you’re not about to reveal the existence of your identical twin.”
“I’m an only child.”
“I would have guessed that.”
Emily frowned into the receiver. Why was no one ever surprised that she was an only child? “Um, that’s not really relevant. I…” She bit her lip, unsure on how to approach this. “How do you feel about alternate universes?”
“… What does that even mean?”
“So you’re saying that she’s an alternate you’s child.”
Emily hadn’t ever phrased it quite like that to herself. It was clear that the Emily who had written the letter was similar to her, but it was ‘another Emily’ not ‘another herself.’ The letter had said that her alternate had been terrified of the thought of having children, but she had had the thought. The thought had never even crossed this Emily’s mind before the brat showed up on her porch.
“Yeah… she wrote me a letter. Both parents wrote me a letter. I’m… I’m looking for her… dad.”
“You said you were looking for a woman.”
“Yeah, well, I don't really understand that bit either.”
* * *
“Emma Grace Frost. Born… 1974, Boston General, to Winston and Hazel Frost. Educated at Snow Valley School for Girls, enrolled at Columbia in 1992, withdrew in 1995 citing financial difficulties. And…” There was a long pause and some clicking. “Dropped off the face of the earth.”
“Hey, I’m not done. That’s just the top layer. I just need to look for where she’s been in the last two years. Bank records… identity sales… Oh.” The hacker’s voice sounded suspiciously not thrilled. “I found her.”
“Is she dead?”
“No! No, nothing like that. She’s… she’s a stripper.”
Emily covered her eyes with her hand. “Fuck my life.”
“I have the address and everything. Headshot if you want it.”
“I’m probably chasing rabbits, but…” She looked down at Didi, still thrashing on the floor and sobbing. “Fucking hell. I don’t have any other rabbits to chase.”
* * *
The headshot showed up in her email inbox. The woman looked slyly at the camera, her platinum hair half concealing her face, big sparkly earrings, heavy eye-makeup, oddly pale lipstick. Garcia had written a note in the email. “Attachment is semi work-safe. Here’s the link to the original! O.o”
Emily blinked, uncomprehending and clicked the link.
“Lady Emma (23), our sexiest bad-girl vixen, a blonde blue-eyed bombshell. But there’s nothing sweet about her, she is pure sex, wielding a riding crop. Don’t tell me you wouldn’t bare your ass for this girl, but see her bare hers instead!”
* * *