Fandom: Criminal Minds/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: I haven't actually been writing fic lately (in the past 3 days O.o) (except for a mildly embarrassing plot outline for the sequel to The Princess Protection Program), but I've been sitting on this. So, what the hell. I need affection.Chapter 5
Chapter 6: Emma's POV
Didi had been in Pre-K for a week and was coming out with ten small friends hanging off of her and begging to arrange a multitude of play-dates and sleepovers. Emily had instructed Emma to screen the parents carefully. Emma had given her a long look. “I’m an stripper. How much worse can it get?”
But she came back with a list of names and phone numbers, plus pertinent notes that made Emily laugh.
“Ms. K is desperate for friends. Invited me to join flower-arranging group. Mr. Z is a pervert, looked down my shirt the whole time. Sutton F is a crazy brat. Do not invite over for play-dates. Mrs. F needs a valium.”
On Saturday Emma announced that Didi was having some friends over for a play-date.
“I don’t know what to do with multiple small children!”
Emma rolled her eyes. “God, you keep on saying you can’t do this, and it is such a lie.”
“It is not a lie!”
“Then why do you do it to me all the time?”
Emily blinked. “What?”
Emma rolled her eyes and walked into the kitchen. Emily followed her. “Do what?”
“See if we have cookies.”
Emily looked blank. Emma pointed to the cupboard, a fierce look of her face. “Cookies!”
* * *
It was sort of astonishing to watch the four assembled four year olds play. Emily sat on the porch in her coat and wondered why Didi was always whining about wanting more toys when it was obvious that she was completely able to entertain herself without them. And apparently was going to rule the world some day. She was instructing her fellows in the rules of whatever exercise they were beginning. They were listening eagerly.
There seemed to be a lot of gesturing and various athletic events involved. First the troupe of kids hopped along the path from stone to stone. Then they wriggled under the fence and then leapt from crack to crack on the sidewalk. One little boy missed, and performed an elaborate death scene. They rubbed their hands on the grass and then on their face and snuck across the lawn to the tree. Then they darted around the tree and ducked under the porch. Didi came out with a large rock and they all celebrated for a few minutes.
Emily laughed and heard an answering chuckle. She glanced up. Emma was standing behind her and, seen, she bent down and gave Emily a hot mug of tea. Emily took it, surprised, and opened her mouth to thank her, but the screen door was already banging shut.
Emily cupped the tea between cold fingers and glanced back to her charges. They seemed to be mounting an invasion of one side of the yard from the other.
Sometimes children were a lot more comprehensible than other people.
* * *
The mother of the blonde pigtailed child was the first to show up to retrieve her offspring. She was a small, nervous looking woman with straw-colored hair and a handmade cardigan.
“Mrs. K,” Emma mouthed at her, slipping back into the house to find the child.
The woman paused on the path, looking at her oddly. Suddenly Emily had an idea of how awkward this was going to be.
“Um, hi,” Emily waved nervously. “Jillian’s… uh… inside.”
Didi pushed out onto the porch and pulled on her jacket. “Mommy! I don’t want Jillian to go yet!”
Mrs. K stared, her eyes flicking up and down. Emily winced. “Why… why don’t you come in and have some tea?”
Mrs. K didn’t change her expression but she nodded slowly and accepted the invitation. Inside Emma was interrogating the pigtailed child. “Did you bring a coat?” She nodded. “Where did you put the coat?” The child stared blankly.
“We’re going to have some tea.”
Emma glanced up. “That’s good.” She nodded to Mrs. K. “I’m just going to run up and see if it’s in Didi’s room.” She moved towards the stairs, two small girls racing after her to find the others and continue their game.
Left alone with the silent woman again, Emily fussed with the tea cupboard. “So, black, green, red, uh, mint? I think we have chai somewhere too.”
“Are you lovers?”
Emily dropped the box, spilling individually wrapped packets all over the floor.
“I mean,” Mrs. K quickly covered her mouth with both hands, turning pink. “I- I just couldn’t help but… she looks so much like both of you.”
Emily, scrabbling on the floor for the dropped tea, had no idea how to respond to this. “Well, it was just…” she winced, “you know, um, Emma’s… brother?” she tried, recalling the lie Emma had fed to the social worker.
“Oh!” Mrs. K seemed to be enlightened. Emily had no idea what she understood, since she hadn’t even understood her own sentence. “You mean he… donated…”
Emily realized what she had implied and her eyes widened. This involved words she could not say.
“And he’s not… involved?”
“He’s dead,” Emma said flatly, dropping the small coat over the back of a chair. Both Mrs. K and Emily looked vaguely mortified.
Emma shrugged. She took the box of tea from Emily with a ‘why are you so incompetent look’ and put the water on. Emily sagged where she knelt. Emma shook her head and mussed her hair as she turned to find mugs.
“So, how is the flower-arranging going?”
Mrs. K was looking at them with an odd expression on her face. It was soft, almost affectionate, and highly unnerving. “It’s quite interesting actually. If you’ve reconsidered… either of you, there’s still room.”
* * *
“You do know that you’ve just outed us to the entire preschool, right?” Emma inquired, after the visitors had left, and an exhausted, teary Didi had been banished to her room for a nap.
Emily cringed. “I didn’t say anything.”
“No,” Emma snorted. “It was what you didn’t say.” She prodded her chest. “I gave you a perfectly serviceable lie, but did you use it? No.”
It was a lie that involved her pretending to have been married, which everyone was obviously going to see through right away. It was the same as the only child thing. People just had to look at her to know she was single. She was certain that if Emma had given the social worker a chance to think she would have seen right through it. “I didn’t-“
Emma placed a finger against her lips, cutting her off. “If you want to be my lover, tell me before you tell the rest of the world, all right?”
She sauntered out. Emily pressed her hands to her hot face and groaned.
* * *