Fandom: Criminal Minds/X-Men Pairing: Emily Prentiss... eventually Emma Frost
Rating: PG-13 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: Small cameo by a character from Charmed. O.o
No italics because LJ hates me.Chapter 5
Chapter 6: Emma's POV
The phone call should have been a warning, but it was Saturday, and still warm for fall, and Didi wanted a picnic. So they had a picnic.
It was the unremitting conventionality of it that had Emily’s stomach tied up in knots, well that and Emma in blue jeans and her faded old Columbia sweatshirt. (It was entirely obvious that this sweatshirt, no matter how ratty or faded it became, was not ever going to be thrown away. It had been washed, and it had become actually a ubiquitous fixture in the house. If Emma was not wearing it, it was lying over the back of the couch or hanging off a chair in the kitchen. Emily had worn it once, without thinking, on a shivery-cold early morning. It had been at hand and she put it on and had gone about making breakfast. And then Emma had come downstairs and just looked at her. She had paled at the ferocity of it and quickly wriggled out of the sweatshirt and handed it over. Emma had folded it carefully and taken it upstairs, giving her a sharp glare as she left.)
Didi had been very strict about tea pouring protocol and about sitting, mainly making Emily do most of the work and requiring Emma to provide appropriate conversational topics, and every few minutes, they would look over at each other and laugh silently about what they were doing for this slave driver of a child. It felt like telepathy. And even though it really wasn’t that warm (almost November) Emily couldn’t help tugging at her collar as her face seemed to be radiating heat.
After lunch Didi announced that it was her naptime and Emma took her in. Emily had a little work to do and lay out on the blanket, marking up her poor translations of the section of the Arabic-language newspaper she had been assigned. She thought the article was probably an amateur poetry contest and was vaguely wondering why her boss needed it translated when Emma came back out and dropped on the blanket next to her. She had a book, and they lay there quietly, the slight breeze sending an occasional leaf fluttering over them.
Emma refilled her teacup from the thermos and Emily chuckled. “I thought it was inappropriate for you to have to fill your own glass.”
“I think she may have some status issues that need clearing up.”
“Well, I suppose I did take your name there. I’m… not sure what that means, exactly.”
Emma laughed at her.
A clicking sound intruded on the conversation, and made them glance up. There was a woman coming down the sidewalk, a young woman in a crisp suit and high heels, and carrying a briefcase, pausing at every house and checking the number. Emily blinked.
“What do you think… Avon lady, or…” She suddenly felt cold, “or social worker. Shit.”
Emma dropped her book and quickly got to her feet. She started for the house.
“Hey!” Emily yelped. “You’re abandoning me?”
She didn’t even glance back as the door slammed behind her.
“Hello. I’m Miss Matthews. Are you…” She looked at her notebook. “Emily Prentiss?”
Emily made a face. “Yes, that’s me.”
“And is Deirdre still with you?”
“She’s having her nap.” Emily looked around herself for something innocent. “We had a picnic today.”
“So… everything’s fine?” Miss Matthews asked suspiciously.
Emily smiled as best she could. “Yeah. She’s, uh, been going to pre-school, and… drawing lots of pictures.” That sounded best, better than ‘making a mess of my things’ or ‘dictating my free time.’ She wasn’t going to mention that she actually had clothes now either. That would probably not go over well.
“And this incident where you called the police and tried to have her taken to a home, that was… an anomaly?”
Emily winced. There really wasn’t any way she could get out of this looking sane, was there?
“Hello,” Emma strode up. Emily blinked at the sight. She had changed out of her jeans and sweatshirt, and was dressed in a knee-length navy blue skirt, a conservative blouse and low black pumps. At first Emily didn’t recognize the clothes, and then remembered that they had been stuffed in the boxes they had moved out of Didi’s room. She hadn’t worn them since she stopped working at the UN.
“I’m Emma Frost.” She shook Miss Matthew’s hand before it was even offered.
Even Miss Matthews was slightly put off by the business formal attitude.
“I’m Emily’s sister-in-law.” She placed her hand on Emily’s shoulder with exaggerated sensitivity. “It’s been a very rough time for us, these past few months.”
Emma shook her head, looking disturbed. “It’s against our pride, sharing family troubles with strangers. But I know you only have Deirdre’s very best interests at heart.”
“Of course.” Miss Matthews was looking more and more curious. Emily was also quite curious to know what bullshit Emma was going to feed the caseworker.
“It was… a tragedy.” Emma looked away, bringing her hand to her face. “My dear brother, Deirdre’s father, passed away suddenly.”
“Oh!” Miss Matthews looked honestly shocked and sympathetic.
“It was completely unexpected, and back at home, in Massachusetts, we were in such shock that we entirely ignored the plight of his wife and daughter. The grief must have been overwhelming, leaving my dear sister-in-law with no strength to care for her traumatized and abandoned child.” Emma looked intently into Miss Matthews’ eyes. “Calling the police was a cry for help.”
“When I heard, I immediately leapt to assist. My departed brother’s child is as dear to me as any of mine own would be.”
Ms. Matthews looked stunned.
Emma smiled tightly. “So, as you can see, everything is under control.”
After a quick glance around, ‘for her report,’ and carefully guided to the display of crayon drawings, the artfully opened (and entirely unused) cookbooks on the counter, and directed to notice the tragically bare mantelpiece, all the pictures having been put away until ‘dear Emily could bear to look upon the face of her beloved husband once more,’ Ms. Matthews left.
Emma expelled a huge breath and flopped into a chair. “God. I thought she would never leave.”
Emily grinned at her. “Have you ever thought of a career in theatre?”
“Fuck off.” Emma chuckled. “I’m just good at lying. God knows I’ve had the practice.”
“Sexy outfit,” Emily commented as Emma got up to make more tea. Emma glanced back with a mock glare.
“What did I tell you about hitting on me?”
“You said I was allowed to look. Surely I can appreciate verbally as well, can’t I?”
* * *
It was a Thursday night and Emma was pulling on her coat, getting ready to go. Emily watched her for a moment, confused and then opened her mouth.
“What… what are you doing?”
Emma blinked. “Oh, Benji asked me to go to this… uh, exhibit with him. It’s on communications technology or something equally boring. You’ll be home, right?”
“Are you… dating Benji?” Emily made an odd expression. It felt impertinent to ask, but she couldn’t really believe that someone like Emma would date someone like Benji. If it were true, the world was just not a rational place.
Emma blinked. “What? No. He thinks I’m with you.”
“… Why does he think that?”
“I…” Emma looked shifty. “Implied it. Heavily.”
“… Why did you do that!?”
Emma grinned. “I like the way his face turns red when he’s fantasizing about us having sex.”
“Actually, we’re… ‘buds,’” she said with an odd tone that seemed to be imitating Benji imitating someone cool. “I’ve never had a ‘bud’ before, it’s sort of an intriguing experience.” She frowned. “I’m not sure if Benji’s ever had a ‘bud’ before either.”
Emily, rather confused by this, absently reached out and wound Emma’s scarf properly around her neck. Emma stiffened, jerking back, and Emily dropped it quickly.
Emma made an odd expression that was almost apologetic, and she ducked out the door. Emily let her go, but she couldn’t focus. She kept on trying to find an innocent way to ask the question that had come immediately to mind. “Do you ever imagine us having sex?”
A little quieter and farther down was the follow up. “Is it a nightmare?”
* * *