Pairing: Emily Prentiss/Emma Frost
Summary: The members of the BAU are faced with hunting down a mutant killer. Other people may also be in pursuit. And Emily finds out that where there are mutants, divisive politics follow close behind.
Apologies: JJ bashing increases, although not permanently, and I make no claim to accurately representing either fandom universe or any character. Actually, if someone does know both universes well and is willing to beta read, that would be great.
I said a third, but this one is multi-part (probably only 3 or 4 parts) and i have a bunch of one-shot style short scenes already written. So if you like it, that's good, right? And if you are incredibly irritated by the whole concept, i apologize.
Emily didn’t realize how much she had changed in those two short weeks until the first mutant case landed on the conference table.
Before she had barely registered it if a mutant was involved, no more than she would have if it had been a woman, an Asian, a gay man: interesting for its novelty, but not important. Her method was still the same. Serial killers liked ritual, they had tells, had tastes and she could pick them out. One murdering, raping psychopath was much like the other. It was only the details where she could tell them apart.
In the meeting, looking at pictures of mutilated bodies as usual, Reid spoke up.
“It’s a mutant,” he said, and Emily froze.
Someone else, Rossi, asked the necessary question, “Why do you think that?”
Reid explained what he had noticed about the burn patterns on the bodies. No two were exactly alike, but their positioning was telling, as was their size. None were larger than a handprint and none smaller than a fingertip.
“So, a mutant with glowing hands,” muttered Hotch.
Reid sighed. “What I wouldn’t give for a mutant registry right now.”
“What!” The word shot out of Emily’s mouth before she could stop it.
Everyone looked at her.
“If we had a registry we could just look up the locality and heat manipulation and be able to start knocking on doors,” explained Reid, as tentative as if he were treading in a minefield.
“But… but it's stomping all over civil liberties,” Emily tried to cover. The reaction had been automatic. Spending any time with Emma left no doubt that registration was one step away from concentration camps, and after seeing Genosha with her own eyes, she couldn’t question it.
“Well, I don’t think so,” said JJ. “Mutants are dangerous. We don’t let people with guns just wander around up here, but a telepath or someone like that magnet freak. They’re loaded guns.”
Emily slipped her gun from its holster and set it on the table. “You mean like this loaded gun, which I wander around with?”
JJ’s eyes darkened. She didn’t like this Emily, the one who disagreed with her and mocked her.
“Yeah!” Reid cut in, obviously not wanting them to fight. “That’s why a registry would be good. So we can authorize people to use their powers.”
“You mean the powers they’re born with? Authorize them to exist?” Emily’s voice rose.
“I don’t see what's wrong with that,” interjected JJ. “Will and I had Henry tested for the X-gene before we were sure we would go through with the pregnancy. Luckily, Will’s good stock.” She made her new-mother smile, and Emily wanted to hurl.
“You would have killed your baby rather than raise a mutant? You sound like a Nazi.”
“All right! All right! Everyone! Let’s have a break.” Morgan smiled desperately, waving his hands. “Usually two hot girls and a cat fight is good stuff. But not when the n-word’s floating around… Any of the n-words.”
Reid caught up with Emily in the hall. He waved his hands ineffectually when he saw her thunderous expression. “I don’t, I mean, I’m sorry, I mean, I don’t want you to think I’m anti-mutant.” He whimpered. “I think mutants are amazing. And I didn’t mean … kill them, if they had dangerous powers. Just teach them how to deal with them.”
Emily sighed as she relaxed. “I believe you. Registration is just such a hot-button topic with… with a friend of mine. And that was what the sentinels were built for, to eradicate the mutant threat to humanity. The sentinels don’t care about humans though. They killed my mother, who was as human as we get.”
“It is really a hard topic. But I can’t help but think about how amazing it would be to have that much data. You could really see patterns, and genetic or environmental factors on mutation. Just for science. Even if it were anonymous.”
Emily nodded. “I understand. But I’d go for anonymous.”
Reid chuckled. “It’s kind of crazy though. I’m weird, right? When people see what I can do, they automatically assume I’m a mutant. I was mocked and bullied, both for being a nerd, and for being a mutant all throughout school. I finally got tested, and I don’t have the X-gene. But sometimes I wonder if I might have a different mutation, a different gene, somewhere else that they haven’t noticed yet.”
Emily stared at Reid for a long moment, and then nodded. “I wouldn’t be surprised.”
“Neither would I.”
Morgan was waiting for Emily beside her desk.
“Can I talk to you for a sec.”
“Yeah, sure. I’m sorry about throwing around abuse like that. I just was kind of shocked, I guess. I didn’t believe JJ could say something like that.”
“Neither did I.” Morgan’s face was sterner than Emily had ever seen it. “But you can never really know someone’s feelings on mutants, any more than you can know their feelings on race or sexual preference until you see it in action.” Emily nodded. “So you can never be too careful about what you say. Any type of person could be listening.”
“I- I guess that’s true.” Morgan was acting very strangely, and Emily was getting nervous.
“Come with me.”
Emily hesitantly followed him into Garcia’s office. Garcia was in her usual chair, and Morgan went to stand behind her. On the computer monitor was the conference room where the fight had occurred. Morgan was right. You really didn’t know who was listening.
“Emily,” Garcia greeted her.
“Penelope.” Emily matched her level of formality.
Garcia moved towards the computer and hit a few keys. Suddenly the image of Emma Frost waiting in the lobby filled the screen. “Your friend.” The footage started to play. Emily came into the screen, their interaction: sarcasm and irony at its pinnacle, the glance that lasted just a moment too long.
And then, suddenly, the screen changed to news footage of a burning building, a monkey-man leaping from a window, Emma, a glittering diamond, carrying a child out of the flame. Alive she had heard. The child had been alive.
“The same woman.” Garcia’s voice was too flat to deny it. “A member of the notorious terrorist group, the X-Men.”
“They’re not terrorists!” Emily hissed before she could stop herself.
Garcia rolled up to her and prodded her in the chest. “I know that. And you know that. But do you think our beloved Mrs. LaMontagne knows that?” Emily’s shoulders sank. “I can wipe all evidence that Miss Frost was ever here.”
“Why would you do that?”
“Because it’s illegal to allow a telepathic mutant into a government building.” Garcia’s eyes were a challenge. But why would she be offering to erase it if she were going to prosecute?
“I didn’t know that.”
Morgan smiled. “Well, now that you’re one of us, there might be a few things you should pay more attention to.”
And Emily had missed the boat again. “One of…”
“The Mutant Human Alliance,” said Morgan, with another bright grin.
Garcia rolled her eyes at Derek’s eager expression. “I’ll wipe her for you,” she said. She nodded to the computer, which suddenly began flashing through screens at an amazing rate, code and images streamed across. The images of Emma flicked away, disappearing into the void.
“You didn’t… you didn’t touch it.”
“I’m a Cyberpath,” said Garcia, her eyes still a challenge. “I can communicate with computers without a programming language intermediary, without any intermediary.”
Emily gaped. “You never said anything.”
Garcia just flicked her eyebrows and her pen before turning back to the computer.
“Well,” Derek glanced at the monitor, which was now displaying JJ’s office. “You can never know what someone’s loyalties are. But if you have a friend in the X-Men, you’re a friend of ours.”
And finally it all made sense.
“Friend might not be the right word,” Emily muttered.
Derek’s face lit up. “You shagged her, didn’t you! God, Prentiss, you rock!”
Emily hadn’t exactly meant it that way. It had been three months since Emma Frost had walked out of her life, after two weeks of the most weirdly intimate connection she had ever known, sexual or otherwise, and not a word since.
It had hurt for a while, but depending on someone that much made her feel dangerously weak. She had to put herself back together on her own. And she had done it. Still, even an email would have been nice. She would have felt slightly less like a post-traumatic hookup.
* * *
Emma hated X-men. She wondered why she felt surprised by this revelation, as she had always hated X-men, and enjoyed her tenure as their sworn enemy like few other times in her life. But now she was surrounded by them for sixteen hours every day, more if they had a mission, and it had started to grate on her nerves. It wasn’t their naïveté or their charming hypocrisy for once. It was the endless drama.
She had expected them to hate her. And when they remembered to, they did. But the rest of the time they tried to elicit her support in whatever was going on. Summers, the so-called leader, was going through a depressive period that he wanted to make as dramatic as possible. Her students had him pegged when they called it his “Emo” stage. And really, if possession were that big of a deal, Emma would have found out by now.
Grey was feeling abandoned, and rushing around waving her hands, and looking pathetically at everyone with glistening green eyes, trying to elicit their sympathy. She had tried it with Emma exactly twice before she took the hint that Emma's cold stare usually elicited on the first impact.
The Chinese whack job, Emma was thinking alien rather than mutant, kept following her around and sharing pieces of fortune-cookie wisdom. He was both ingratiating and an idiot, also clearly bullied by his students. But if she couldn’t see where he kept his emotions, she wasn’t going to empathize with them.
Wolvie found everyone irritating as well, but two feet away and she was nearly knocked over by the scent of his cigars. So Emma spent what little free time she had in the med-lab, ignoring Hank as he chattered on about whatever disgusting liquid he was dribbling on the floor. But he was used to people not understanding what he said, and she never asked him to back up or explain himself which he seemed to appreciate.
Emma was tired. New lesson plans, a whole passel of out of control teen telepaths, and extracurriculars involving violence and terror were a lot to adjust to. Especially since the previous semester had been cut short so suddenly and horrifically.
Sometimes Emma wondered if the intervening time had only been a dream.
* * *
“On first glance it seems pretty simple,” said Reid. “It’s a mutant killing humans. There are no other patterns of ethnicity, of gender: four women and six men. The mutilation seems to be random. This man had his tongue removed. This one had his feet taken and a quarter of each leg stripped of skin. Here no mutilation except for the burns. But this woman had her ears and fingers removed.”
“Remind me of the COD again?” asked Rossi.
“Asphyxiation due to smoke inhalation and/or internal burns.”
Morgan shook his head. “Shit, it’s like someone fired a flamethrower down their throat.”
“And then they suffocated trying to breathe their own incinerated organs.”
The table as one turned to look at Emily. Then they all turned back to their papers. Emily grimaced. That was the treatment she had gotten ever since she came back from Genosha: half, “wow you must have seen some shitty things,” and half, “I’ve got the doctors in the white coats on speed dial.”
“You said asphyxiation,” Emily muttered.
“Is this not serious enough?” snarked JJ. “We have another mutant killer on the loose. There’s no need to be gruesome.”
“What we don’t have is a profile,” Hotch said sharply. “Can we stay on track?”
“From the timing of the reports, it looks like the murders happened on Friday and Saturday nights. Two a week, usually a woman and a man, but once two men.”
“Couples?” asked Emily.
“He said two men, Emily, weren’t you listening?”
Emily turned to JJ. “Has the word homosexual ever been spoken in your presence?” There was probably a little more bitterness than there needed to be in that sentence. But that business had been a merry chase that she was glad was over.
“Some people have the tendency to jump to conclusions like that, all evidence to the contrary.”
Replying that ‘some people just didn’t know what sort of signals they were sending,’ would have made the case entirely irrelevant, so Emily was grateful when Reid cut in.
“If it were couples, that would be sort of strange. I mean, usually you pick on one side or the other, gayness or straightness is your target. And if it were an anti-human sentiment motivating this, a genetic attack, why attack gay men? They probably have the least genetic threat of any couple.”
Emily frowned. “Unless there’s a motive we're not seeing.”
“We need more data,” said Reid, pushing back his hair and rubbing the center of his forehead.
* * *
Emma also decided that she hated teenage telepaths. If they were ingenuous and made honest mistakes, like the ones she had at their age (cheating on tests, exploiting professorial crushes, and the occasional act of necessary vengeance), that would be forgivable. But the Cuckoos and Quentin seemed to have an average age of forty-five. The petty selfishness that for others came with competing in the workplace for another worthless promotion or a raise that was merely keeping score came naturally to them, as if they were born with it. And the sly, manipulative maneuvering that, admittedly she was guilty of on occasion, was so irritatingly pervasive that she had taken to relaxing in her diamond form, just so she didn’t have to deal with the headaches of them picking away at the barriers of her mind.
She wasn’t afraid of them actually finding a way in, but the time she had spent surrounded by non-threatening humans had acclimatized her to lowering her barriers and staying sensitive to the quiet whispers of their minds. Emily’s shields were actually rather impressive for an untrained human, and sometimes, even when she was physically emoting, her thoughts were hard to hear. In this house, surrounded by incredibly powerful telepaths, and others who were used to communicating on that level, the decibel levels tended to resemble a rock concert.
There was a thudding on her door, and Emma sat up, confused as to why someone was using such an archaic form of summoning.
Xorn was at the door. He bowed oddly. “A change is as good as a rest,” he said. Emma scowled at him, before remembering her diamond form. “Over the earth, the lake: The image of gathering together. Thus the superior man renews his weapons, in order to meet the unforeseen.”
Emma rolled her eyes as she dropped out of her diamond form and winced at the shouting that filled her head once more. “You could just say ‘team meeting’ you know.”
Scott was at his most officious as he introduced the threat.
Emma sighed in exasperation. “You mean we’re going to fly all the way to Utah to deal with a PR threat?”
“A mutant serial killer is not just a threat to our image!”
“Isn’t this what we have the police for?”
Jean gave her an odd look. “Are you actually saying that you’d trust the human authorities to deal with this? Not that I disagree, but are you?”
Emma stiffened. “Did it ever cross your mind that I might have plans for this weekend?”
The room relaxed.
“Well, the human authorities have called us in to help,” continued Scott. “One of my contacts in the police called me.”
“Did they call anyone else first? Like the FBI?”
Scott frowned. “Not that I know of. Mutant threats are our jurisdiction.”
Emma shrugged. As long as they hadn’t called the FBI, she would go.
* * *