Title: Lycanthropy (Part 6) CONCLUSION
Fandom: X-Men/Criminal Minds x-over
Pairing: Emma Frost/Peter Parker, Emma Frost/Emily Prentiss
AN/Disclaimer: Not my girls.
Word Count: 3052
Prompt: 034. Animalistic
Apologies: The end. Now off to drink tea and attempt to be productive for a little while.
Summary: Love is just a symptom of a disease, a disease that makes you want to kill.
Emma couldn’t get away from her scent. She couldn’t run fast enough to forget the way she felt while touching her, petting her fur, nuzzling between her shoulder blades. She had never felt like that, like she couldn’t have enough of touching someone, like touching someone was enough to bring her off.
She hated this, hated that whatever she did she couldn’t control this. She hadn’t planned on finding her, but she had let her feet take their own path and they had sought her out, she had let herself laugh when Emily had been acting crazy, let herself comfort her. She had hated it when Emily had been ashamed of her beautiful fur, and she couldn’t let her stay that way, and then it had gone too far, and fine, if she had made a decision she wouldn’t have stopped it, she wouldn’t have regretted it, but her body had made the decision for her and she was not okay with that!
She didn’t go home that night. She didn’t remember that night, except for anger and frustration and guilt, and cool air.
* * *
Emma had taken her shirt. Emily picked twigs out of her hair and pressed her face against the abandoned clump of sweaty tank top, breathing it in and trying not to cry. Her neck was raw and her fingers came away bloody, and she still had to fucking go back to work that afternoon!
Jubilee spotted her trying to sneak back to her office, her hair down to hide the marks on her neck, the tanktop barely preserving decency. For once she wouldn’t have minded the fur. From a distance it would have looked like she was wearing a black shirt, but between Emma fleeing and leaving her unsatisfied and Emily managing to bring herself to get up, it had retreated back to just a trail running down the back of her neck, like a shadow. The student had given an amused wolf-whistle and then luckily let her crawl in through the window of her office in peace.
Miss Hartley walked in right as she was trying to do something about the open wound on her neck. Emma clearly did not hold back when she bit, and she had sharp teeth! The secretary gave her a sharp look.
“Sit,” she said, and turned and walked back out. Feeling weak but sort of careless, as she was leaving tomorrow anyway, Emily obeyed. Miss Hartley came back with disinfectant and bandages, and started cleaning up her neck.
Miss Hartley harrumphed.
“So you… you know?”
The secretary didn’t answer. She just cleaned the wound and Emily winced at the sting.
“You’re staying, I suppose,” she finally stated. Emily stared at her, the words a heavy sledgehammer blow, or tried to, as Miss Hartley was keeping behind her and out of sight.
“What?” she asked weakly.
“She’s marked you. Is she still denying that you’re hers?”
She wasn’t denying that. It was the reverse that was in question. Emily glanced down. How did she know all of this? But she had been there, for everything almost, every time Emily had rushed in, scattered and panicked, every time she had gotten angry. She had even brought her tea after Emma had fled her office, mouth kiss-bruised and scared. It was her St John’s Wort tea, one of the few things that could calm her down. Tessa Hartley knew everything. She had arranged the temporary substitute counselor to fill in for the rest of the year. “I’m leaving tomorrow,” she said, though she knew she knew it already.
“And when the bond calls you back?”
Emily jerked her head up. She had never heard it said like that before. “We’re not bonded. She was very careful not to do anything she can’t take back!”
Miss Hartley paused in her bandaging. “And you’re just going to accept that?”
Tessa looked at her with those same narrowed eyes that she always had used when Emily was about to be too lenient with a student, or turn everything upside down because someone had asked nicely. “You’re just going to roll over and let her use you when she wants to and ignore you when she’s too busy with her perfect life and perfect fiancé? I thought you were the wolf.”
“What right do I have?”
“You have this right!” The secretary jabbed her wound fiercely. Emily yelped and felt her hackles rise up, the fur on her neck bristling. “She marked you. She came to you.” She frowned, eyeing Emily suspiciously. “But you still feel like you coerced her. You feel like your disease coerced her.”
Emily watched her nails turn dusky and sharp. “Didn't it?”
“You told your friend-” Tessa frowned. “The… interesting one, that it wasn’t love. It was a biological bond, against your desire and against your will. Is that still true?”
Emily wanted to cry now. She hated crying. The wolf in her hated it more. “I just… I hoped that… I was so happy. I thought finally that maybe she had chosen me. I couldn’t hold back feeling that way anymore. I just wanted it to be okay for us. I’m so tired of being lonely. I’ve been lonely for my whole life and just for a moment it was possible, possible that I could have someone, something that I could trust. And she’s kind, and too pretty, and I want to bring her coffee, and touch her face, and make her laugh, and I want her to want me back. But if she doesn’t I can’t make her.”
Tessa gave her a hard look. “You need to discount your guilt for a moment. She’s not the one who’s being manipulated by her hormones. That’s you. But you weren’t the one who came to her. You weren’t even the one who used her teeth. You didn’t bite her, did you?”
Emily shook her head. But she was beginning to feel angry instead of sad. Perhaps she should have bitten her, given her a taste of what this felt like, how this ripped her apart.
“If you weren’t sick, would she owe you an explanation for what she did today?”
Yes! Emily wanted to yell. “I was trying so hard to do what she said! I was staying away from her because she told me to! I wasn’t even loitering in the hall outside her classroom. She came to me.”
Why? The question hit her like a punch to the face. Why had she come? If nothing had forced her, than she had to have wanted it. Emily understood feeling guilty for wanting something, but you couldn’t take it and then give it back. Deny the pleasure or take the blame.
Miss Hartley smiled tightly. “You need to ask her what she’s thinking, before you leave town forever. Perhaps, even, you need to take what’s yours.”
* * *
Peter wanted to do something nice for Emma. He knew she hadn’t been feeling well, and had been unhappy with him, for reasons that seemed unclear. He slipped into her house, pudding and movies in a bag, and readied things, doing a quick clean up, warming up some dinner.
She didn’t come home when he expected her to, and she wasn’t picking up her phone. He frowned, wondering where she could be. But perhaps she had an appointment that she had forgotten to tell him about. He put in one of the movies and watched it half-heartedly, glancing between the door and the clock more than at the screen. Unexpectedly, he fell asleep. He woke up groggy and miserable at three, to a blue screen, and dragged himself into Emma’s bed.
In the morning she still wasn’t home and Peter called the police.
“Did she say she was going to meet you?” the officer asked.
“I was going to surprise her.”
The officer grunted as if to say, and now you caught her spending the night somewhere else, poor boy. It sucks to know you’re not the only one. “It’s too early, but we’ll send someone over anyways, ask around.”
A few minutes later Peter thought of the market on the corner. Maybe they’d have seen her recently. It was worth a try. He hurried out the door.
There was a woman leaning against the wall, facing away from him, looking tense and rather worried. He didn’t recognize her, but she was pretty enough, dark hair, slacks and a jacket with a bandage on her neck. He trotted down the stairs and she looked up, surprised.
“You smell like her.”
Peter blinked. He had never been accosted by a crazy person before. “Um, sorry.”
“You’re her fiancé, aren’t you?”
“You’re talking about Emma? Yes,” he said, suddenly threatened. “She’s my fiancée.” He stepped forward a little, challenging the slight woman to question that.
She didn’t. She bared her teeth instead, and Peter felt a sudden flush of fear before she was flying at him, growling, teeth, claws, and all he remembered after that was screaming.
* * *
Emma saw it happen. She had woken up in the woods, cold and confused, and hurried back to town. She was almost home when she saw Emily, tense and unhappy, clearly waiting for her, and she froze. She couldn’t face it, asking her why she had done what she had done. She couldn’t face her. And then Peter, worried and innocent of all of this, stepping out of her house, and spotting her. She watched the two halves of her life collide, not nearly as afraid as she should have been.
She didn’t hear what they said, but she saw Peter feel threatened, saw him challenge her. And Emily didn’t look like anything much, but she was so much stronger and more dangerous than she seemed. Peter spoke, and Emily’s face contorted into an ugly inhuman scowl. And then there was blood, and screaming, and she ran. She ran towards them, needing to stop this, save them from what was entirely her fault. She had hardly taken three steps before a police car appeared, and screeched to a stop double parked outside her house. Two officers jumped out. Emily whirled on them, dropping Peter, who crumpled like a rag doll, half woman, half fur, all claws. One grabbed her. The other pulled a tranq-rifle out of the car. Emma heard the shot, and dropped jarringly to her hands and knees. Two bodies lay slumped on the ground.
* * *
Peter looked awful, lying there, his face, arms and chest bandaged, and this was her fault. She had fought herself for too long, when there was no other choice, no way not to hurt someone, instead of just hurting him she had nearly gotten him killed.
“I’m sorry,” she said, knowing he couldn’t hear her. She slid off the ring and clenched it tightly in a fist. “You told me, told me I shouldn’t fight it, didn’t need to fight it. But I could have, and it could have been okay. We could have been okay. I didn’t though. I didn’t choose. Not because I didn’t know, but because of my stupid pride. I couldn’t have you both and now I can’t have either of you.” She drooped, “Fuck!” She threw the ring. It clinked violently against the window and then dropped to the floor. She turned swiftly and walked out.
Emily was in a holding cell, drugged to the gills, and guarded at all moments by a policeman. She ducked through the station, trying to find her way there, and ran smack into Dr McCoy. He grabbed her arm when she tried to push past him.
“Stop,” he hissed at her. “You shouldn’t see her. You’ll only rile her up.”
“I need to see her.”
“You can’t. You don’t have permission.” He gave her a cold look. “This didn’t have to happen this way. I told her that she could stay in control. But you threw yourself at her. Do you think it matters if she finishes? It’s about scent. You left her bound to you and helpless and walked away! No wonder she couldn’t control her anger, no one could, not like that!” He grabbed her shoulders and shook them. “I wanted her to survive this!”
“Do you think I didn’t?” Emma growled.
Dr McCoy’s eyes widened. He grabbed her arm, shoving up the sleeve of Emily’s stolen shirt and exposing the thick white fur just prickling up from her wrist. “You- you’re positive too?”
Emma jerked her arm away. “Don’t touch me!”
“Are you medicating?” he asked, horrified.
“It’s not a disease,” she hissed, only half believing it herself. “It’s a gift. I tried to fight it. I tried to throw it out. But I’m not going to drug myself sick because I’m afraid of it. I can control it, even if all that means is knowing when to let it control me.”
“You can’t walk around un-medicated!”
“I can and I will! Hundreds of carriers do it, like the student who bit me!” She should have been a carrier, she thought. She might have been, if it hadn’t been for Emily. But carriers aren’t immune from triggers. She could have never known.
“But you-“ Dr McCoy seemed to realize something, something terrible. “When they send her away, you’re already bonded. You could die. You need to tell someone. They might take you with her.”
“When? I thought there was going to be a trial?” The thought of volunteering to be shoved into a mental institution horrified her. But it made her sick to think of Emily there alone.
“She attacked someone. Police officers pulled her off. If we’re lucky they’ll send her to an institution.” And not kill her, went unsaid.
“And they’ll keep her full of drugs. Keep her inside.”
Dr McCoy nodded. “Keep her away from you.”
* * *
Emily was sitting in the dock, her clothes still dirty and stained with Peter’s blood. There were hollows around her eyes that matched Emma’s. She looked ratty and drugged and weak. Emma just hoped that she would have enough time. Emily’s hands were cuffed behind her back, a guard standing tense at her side, but she didn’t look strong enough to hurt anyone.
She sniffed the air once and glanced up, towards Emma, her eyes empty and yet begging. “I’m sorry,” she mouthed, but Emma shook her head. It wasn’t she who needed to apologize.
“She is a danger to herself and others. The State of New York requests remand.”
It was a small arraignment in the small local courthouse, but these cases were thrilling to reporters. Emily’s mother had sent a lawyer, who seemed to be more terrified of Emily than the prosecution, but she hadn’t come herself. The reporters were snapping pictures, and interviewing each other. They were too afraid to approach Emily, Peter was still unconscious, and Emma just gave them a look that would make a grown man wet himself if they tried to talk to her.
“Counselor? Do you oppose the request for remand?”
“No,” the idiot of a lawyer said. “Her mother would prefer it if the state would assist in keeping her from doing an injury to herself. It has become apparent that she has not been taking her medication, and she is not to be trusted independently.”
Emma wanted to kill him, but that would be a waste of time. Right now everyone was focused on the bench, and she breathed out, letting the wolf take over. This is what she realized she could do last night, realized that she couldn’t fight it, didn’t want to fight it. There was nothing more real than this.
It wanted, so badly, to go to its mate, to mend her and comfort her, and it saw the threat that was this whole room, these stinking humans keeping them apart. She gathered herself and leapt, falling like a bomb from the balcony, a wolf landing on the prosecution table, scattering papers and pens under her paws. The young assistant DA screamed and fell over backwards. Emma lunged for the guard standing beside Emily and he jerked back, terrified of the teeth and of the disease they carried. She twisted into the dock, grabbing Emily’s pant leg, tugging. Emily staggered to her feet, and then fell a little. Emma bit her leg harshly and she howled, but it worked, she changed, her paws slipping out of the cuffs and they ran.
They burst out of the courtroom and loped through the halls, two wolves, one dark, one light. They charged past the stunned security guard, knocking him off his feet, and fled down the street towards the edge of town and the forest, leaving the sounds of pursuit far behind.
Emily was weak. The drugs made it hard to maintain the change, and they had only made it a few miles into the woods when she was staggering, half human on her hands, half wolf on two feet. Emma found a fallen tree and scrabbled away at the dirt, clearing out the burrow beneath it. She led Emily in, pushing her with her nose and tugging with her teeth when she hesitated, but she was too tired, too weak to resist, or question why, and she drooped into the burrow, on the cool moist earth, already fading. Emma tugged boughs in front of the opening, guarding it, from passing eyes, and then moved inside the darkness. She curled up, a hot furry mass on Emily’s stomach.
Tomorrow, Emma thought, when the drugs had worn off, they would head into the mountains, get far away until she was healthy again. Then, who knew? Go back to a different town, a different city? Try to pass? Cross the border into Canada? Or stay in the forest, find a place outside of society. She would explain too, ask forgiveness for the lies she had told, for how she had been so stupid to fight this tooth and nail because she thought it wasn’t real, thought that anything that strong, that overwhelming could never be read. But that was tomorrow. For now, at least, she could curl up in the dark little burrow and feel the heat of her mate’s body against her own.