Fandom: X-Men/Criminal Minds x-over
Pairing: Emma Frost/Emily Prentiss
AN/Disclaimer: Not my girls.
Word Count: 1951
Prompt: 045. VoyeurismApologies: Putting off getting started on my Syntax homework, what I wrote last night. I'll call it a 1984 AU, like the last one was an Aladdin AU.
Big Brother is Watching You
It was the sign over the office that Emma Frost walked out of every morning. It never made her laugh. That was her job, surveillance of possible terrorist cells within Genosha, and what she did, all day, every day, was watch.
She had seven targets. Generally she was supposed to switch randomly between them, but she had been following them for long enough to know their schedules. While they were at work or asleep she would put on one pattern, which would flick quickly through the boring ones at three minute intervals. If one was not where they were supposed to be, Emma would go back and check, otherwise she would follow her actives.
She worked the night shift, 6 to 6, one half hour break. It wasn’t the most challenging of jobs. It was watching. The hard part was being able to detect criminal activity. But Emma was good at that. That was why she only had 7 targets, instead of the eight she had originally been assigned.
She always checked the targets in a particular pattern. 1-7. One was generally entertaining, a mother, pretty, young and blonde, looking after her child. Her husband worked nights, so she was often awake. She would bustle about, cleaning, doing laundry, making dinner. Sometimes she would watch late night television, and it always made Emma wondered if someone was watching her watch them. She wouldn’t be surprised if there was, but she pitied the poor shmuck with such a boring job.
Two was a man, living alone. He was divorced, it seemed. Sometimes a small boy would be staying with him, and he would look almost happy, sitting in his room, watching him sleep, but he wasn’t often there. Emma wouldn’t be surprised if this man did end up in a terrorist plot, but he never made any plans for it at night, at least not aloud.
Three was another young woman, a night owl, affixed to her computer. Emma had a special bug that would show her what was on the woman’s computer screen. Sometimes she wondered if the woman had found it and was feeding it other information, because it tended to be a stream of gossip sites, RPGs and the occasional pornographic video, but the woman always seemed so intent. And she was always on her computer, she must have some ability with it.
Emma had written a lot of reports about her, but nothing had panned out. That was probably a good thing. Otherwise how on earth would she catch up on the activities and outfits of Ororo, Queen of Wakanda?
Four was a young black man, a fireman. He was one of the best to watch, sometimes joking around with other guys, playing practical jokes, and sometimes fighting fires. The camera in his protective gear was often nauseating to watch, always bobbing around and usually obscured with smoke. Sometimes, when he was off duty, he would bring someone home to fuck. At first it had been always girls, and after the first few times, Emma had memorized his technique and it had gotten boring. But then he brought home a boy. It was clear he had never taken it in the ass before, and he was far too tense. The time had flown that night, and Emma had laughed the entire time. Now he brought home both boys and girls. Sometimes Emma would watch, but only for nostalgia’s sake. (It always reminded her of that first time, and she couldn’t help but laugh at the memories of his facial expressions and the noises he had made.)
Five was an older man. He was full of suspicious activity, but otherwise he rarely did anything interesting. He was a therapist, and occassionally had patients over at night for emergency sessions. Sometimes they led to sex. Emma found him physically repulsive and thought that his exploitation of suicidal young girls ought to put him in a work camp, but so far none of her reports had been followed up on.
Six was an odd one. He was a young man who lived with his mother and spent most of his time reading. She couldn’t say he ever did anything, but once in a while the way he looked at himself in the mirror made Emma wonder what was going on in his head.
And then, her favorite. Number seven was a woman, pale skin and dark hair, a night worker, like herself. She worked swing shift at a government morgue. It wasn’t what she had trained for, but she had a strong stomach and steady hands, and the work was one of her few opportunities after being fired from her job as a psychiatrist for anti-government views. That was why she was being watched. She was one of the only ones who knew she was being watched, by some sensitivity that the others in Emma’s target group did not have. Sometimes she would turn around and look straight at the camera. Emma always felt pinned when she did that, caught. But it was just a lucky guess at where the camera was. There was no way she could know.
But whether or not she knew, she and Emma had a schedule. Number seven technically got off of work at midnight, but there night shift was thin at the morgue and she often had to stay late. She always made it home by four am though. She would come in the door and take off her coat and shoes, then pad into the kitchen in her socks. She would look into the refrigerator and then glance back over her shoulder at the camera, as if she could feel someone watching. Sometimes Emma wondered if she glanced back on the days she missed it or was off, but there was no way to tell.
She would eat something, usually cold, not even bothering to warm it up, and make tea. Sometimes she would turn on the television while she finished the tea, just informercials, or the presidential chats which played on repeat all night, but sometimes she would talk to the camera.
It had started out as anger.
“Aren’t you fucking bored!”
The words had shocked her. There was something safe about watching from behind a screen, something sneaky and anonymous. She hadn’t expected to be spoken to.
“Do you really think you’re doing the right thing? Do you really want this world to be this way?” She shook her head. “Maybe it doesn’t matter. Maybe you just know better than to try and fight this.”
It was naïve of her to jump to that conclusion. There were plenty of people who were fooled by the idea of safety, the idea that the government was there to protect them, by spying and disappearing the ones who disagreed. Emma wasn’t one of them, but she definitely knew better than to fight.
A few nights later she spoke again. “I had to do an autopsy today… on a girl, twelve years old.” She shook her head. “She had been raped and strangled, death by traumatic asphyxiation. I had to write down accidental asphyxiation. It was clearly murder, but no one can know that happens here. Isn’t that what makes it easier? If we know that people disappear, but we aren’t told why, there’s no panic, there’s no anger, there’s no resistance.” She bit her lip, hunched over her tea for nearly a minute. “Maybe it’s better for us too, if we don’t fear the killer coming in the night.”
Sometimes it was still like that, when something particularly bad had happened, or she had heard rumors of things covered up, but sometimes number seven just talked, about her day, about something she had seen or read. It was almost like she saw the camera as a friend. Emma wondered if this was a form of insanity. The former psychiatrist seemed to be wondering the same thing, reflexively grumbling about night shifts causing psychoses.
But the next part of the schedule was what Emma never missed. Number seven would put her mug in the sink and go into the bathroom, slowly stripping as she went. The camera in the bathroom would usually steam up, and the angle was terrible to begin with, but afterwards…
It had started oddly, the woman in her pajamas, under the covers, face buried in the pillows, but her hips moving just enough for Emma to know what she was doing.
It wasn’t hot. It wasn’t anything. But it was strange to have someone who was just speaking to you, turn around and do that. If they had been in the same room it would have been very strange, and as it was, it still seemed exhibitionist, even if it was the least exhibitionist sexual activity that Emma had seen on her screens.
Number seven seemed to feel the same way. After the second time she had spoken, and then touched herself, she rolled over, looking sleepily up at the ceiling. “Like that? Skeeve.”
“Oh, come on. As if you showed me anything worth watching!” Emma retorted before she remembered that the microphone only worked one way.
It got better, if better was the right word. The covers came down; the shirt came off. It was all done so carefully, so pointedly, and when number seven took off her shirt for the first time, turning enough towards the camera so it got a good view of her breasts, Emma flushed.
It was almost like watching pornography, but worse. With porn there was always a diffusion of responsibility. You weren’t the one holding the camera, you weren’t the one who paid, swayed, or convinced the players, your eyes did not make this happen, even if, considering about market forces, supply and demand, they kind of did. But this…
Emma watched every day, save weekends. It was her job. She kept her eyes on the screen, monitored the cameras that this woman hadn’t had any ability to say no to.
And it wasn’t spying.
If anything it was whoring. There was a little desperation in it, a little ‘don’t tell on me, don’t have me killed, and I’ll do this for you. Keep me alive, and I’ll do anything for you.’ It was like the Arabian Nights, one more story, one more night, one more flash of breast or unsuppressed moan, one more day to live.
Sometimes Emma wondered if she was obsessed. She would always switch to channel seven around three am. She hated it if she missed any of the ritual, even watching the woman take her shoes off. She interrogated the weekend sub who had her console. He had no idea what she was talking about. Apparently number seven slept most of the night on the weekends.
It shouldn’t have been as much of a relief as it was.
And then came the day where number seven turned towards the camera and started to strip. It wasn’t the absent tossing aside of the day’s soiled clothes. It was purposeful, a show. And she looked straight at the camera, and Emma froze, unable to tear her gaze away, to press the button to change the channel.
She watched her touch herself, her fingers sliding over her breasts, between her legs. Emma leaned on the volume button until it was like being there, hearing the skin rumple the sheets, her breathing, sometimes she even thought she could hear the slick slap of her fingers moving inside of her.
Then she turned the light off, and Emma stumbled into the staff bathroom and brought herself off in one of the stalls.
It wasn’t like watching pornography; it was better.