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 gets some POV in this chapter! How strange!
When Emma rolled over and tugged her in for a sleepy kiss that was only slightly rough, but made her very aware that last night hadn’t been particularly gentle, Emily forgot everything again.
“My back is all sweaty, I forgot how you like to glue yourself to it.” Emma blinked drowsily, but her sarcasm was already awake.
“Africa is nowhere near as warm at night as one would think,” Emily mumbled.
“God, it’s strange to be sleeping with you again.”
Emma didn’t respond, she just looked at her and frowned. Then she slid out of bed and stretched. “First shower’s mine,” she said blandly, and walked into the bathroom. Emily leaned back, wincing as her raw skin made contact with the sheets. Whenever Emma closed up like that, it was because she was thinking too hard about something. But this time she had no idea what it was.
* * *
JJ was not interested in waking up Agent Prentiss. She had not volunteered to do so; in fact, she had vehemently requested that someone else be charged with the duty. But the boys all slunk away, and since Emily had disappeared and missed the team dinner, it was JJ’s responsibility to make sure she knew what they were doing today.
JJ didn’t really know what had happened to her relationship with Emily, except that once she announced that she was pregnant, Emily had suddenly become awkward around her, and kept her at arms length. She had supposed that there were some issues causing that, and she wasn’t going to press it. But if anything, when she came back to work after her maternity leave ended, it had gotten worse. Emily either ignored her, or when forced to interact was formal and cold. The blatant fighting was new, and worse than the freeze-out. If things didn’t change, she was going to have to ask for a transfer. She never thought she would consider leaving her family in the BAU, but it was too hard watching someone who had been one of her closest adult friends suddenly reject her for no reason at all.
“Emily?” JJ tapped on the door. There were noises from behind it, but they didn’t seem to be responding to her. She knocked again and leaned on the door handle to try and hear what was going on. It wasn’t locked. The handle bent and the door swung open.
“… what you did to my back!”
JJ stared. The blonde mutant was facing away from her, wearing a white half-corset and leather pants, but it was Emily who caught her attention, barely dressed in black jeans and trying to fasten her bra over nasty red scratches running down her back. JJ’s eyes jumped from the mutant’s fingernails, to Emily’s back, to the rumpled bed.
Emily turned around and saw her. Her eyes widened. JJ stumbled back.
“We’re, we’re meeting at the cars,” she managed, and then ran away, but not before noticing that the blonde mutant was smirking at her.
* * *
“Hi.” Emily walked up to the group standing by the cars. Everyone looked normal and didn’t make any comment, except for JJ, who sidled away from her and looked pale and uncomfortable. She sighed. She hadn’t expected anything different really.
Morgan came jogging up after a second, and Hotch noted that they were all present. He handed out sheets with the names and addresses of the potential suspects. There were only three cars available and one was a donated pickup truck. Morgan hopped in that one and Hotch took Rossi in his. JJ found a spurt of energy and darted for the pickup, but Reid, not noticing, slipped in and shut the door in her face.
Emily sighed, and waited for JJ to get up the nerve to climb into the car. She slid in, not looking at her. Emily put the car into gear and started towards the driveway, as per the Google Maps directions.
Emily glanced over. “What?”
“I’m sorry, for barging in like that.”
“I didn’t lock the door, apparently. It wasn’t your fault.”
JJ was silent as they started into the national park. “The… um…”
“Woman?” Emily guessed. At JJ’s wide eyed acknowledgment, she added, “Emma, her name is Emma.”
“Do you know her?”
“Biblically?” Emily arched an eyebrow. She hadn’t really expected this sort of interrogation, but she wasn’t letting her guard down.
“I mean, before.”
Emily rolled her eyes. “Yeah, we’re old friends.”
JJ froze, probably unsure of whether or not she was being sarcastic. “Are you… really…?” She shook her head, getting rid of the stutters. “Are you really gay?”
Emily was surprised. “You… didn’t know?”
“How was I supposed to know?!”
“I thought if Morgan worked it out, it was pretty much common knowledge.” And the way JJ had flirted, and looked at her… And she was an idiot. Emily would have banged her head on the dashboard if she weren’t driving.
“Not a profiler!” JJ pointed emphatically to herself.
“Not really relevant to profiling,” Emily said, chuckling, mostly at herself.
JJ frowned, sitting back and furrowing her forehead. “Are you… okay?” she asked after a long pause. “Those were really nasty marks.”
“I’m fine.” Emily grinned to herself. Fine was a little bit of an understatement. “Par for the course. Emma’s one of those ‘if you can’t handle my fingernails, you can’t handle me’ type of girls.”
“You have been with her before.”
“Yeah, old friends, like I said.”
“Did you go to school with her?”
“Huh?” Emily glanced at JJ, slightly bewildered. “No.”
“Oh, she just seems, sort of your class. Except for the mutant thing.”
“Mutants come in every economic sphere.”
JJ stiffened at the wryness of her tone. “Don’t get like that!”
“Like everything I say is stupid. I know you’re smarter than me, better brought up, more worldly, more everything, but you can’t treat me like dirt.”
Emily sat back, somewhat stunned. “I’m sorry. I didn’t realize I was doing it.”
“You’ve been doing it all year. You used to like me.”
Emily saw JJ pause as she reviewed the words she had just spoken over in her head. She shot Emily a hunted look. Emily felt herself turning red and wished she could stop it.
“Yeah.” Emily forced herself to breathe. “I thought you knew. I thought you were… sort of interested. It blew me out of the water when you were suddenly pregnant plus fiancé.”
JJ sank back into her seat. “You thought I…” She closed her eyes. “Was I sending really mixed signals?”
“They didn’t seem mixed at the time.”
JJ groaned. “I am such a slut.”
Emily couldn’t help but snicker.
* * *
Emma did not like the feeling she had when she realized that she had slept with Emily more nights than with anyone else in her entire life. She had gone through her history, trying to find someone, anyone, whom she had been with more than fourteen times. The trouble was, even if they had sex, she would kick them out. She had kicked everyone out before Emily. But with Emily it was the sex that was incidental. The important thing was to have someone there in the morning, to remind you that you were alive.
It had been so long since she had had someone to talk to like Emily, someone who wasn’t suspicious, wasn’t competitive, and wasn’t secretly plotting against her. It was almost like having Christian back. But that thought was frightening in itself. Confiding in Christian was pouring her thoughts and her trust and her need into a delicate human vessel, and it had shattered. He had become someone she didn’t even recognize. The last time she had visited him, he had grown fat and lank from the sedatives. His clear blue eyes had been glazed over, and he hadn’t remembered her name. Her family had addictive personalities and always balanced on the razor’s edge of insanity. Far too many fell off. She could not allow herself to rely on anything or anyone. It would be too easy to depend upon it.
And if it broke, if she broke, it would be too hard to pluck the shards from what little remained of her soul.
“All right, Emma? Jean? I’m sending you in separate directions and I want long range scanning. We were all at the briefing; we know what kind of mind we’re looking for. Is that doable?”
Emma let Jean respond, and glanced around mentally for the BAU. Only the lanky nerd and the cheerful black man with almost campy masculinity remained in town, knocking on doors. The rest had headed out for parts unknown.
Hank was going to double check for the possibility of trace evidence, Xorn as his lackey. Logan waved at Emma. “You’re coming with me.”
He gave her a sidelong glance and a sniff as she climbed into the cab of the truck. “Seems like you did find a warm place to spend the night,” he said with a smirk.
Privacy was an unheard of concept among the X-Men. “Did you imagine it would be a challenge?”
Logan snickered and put the car into gear, easing up on the clutch. “The brunette, eh? Good choice.”
Logan’s amusement and vicarious enjoyment filled the mental plane, and Emma dropped out of the conversation, beginning to scan. The subtle wrongness that she was looking for would be difficult to find, but Emily’s profile rang true. This man was mad, but he wasn’t angry anymore. He had taken his revenge and grown to like it. It was a feeling she was intimately familiar with, and because of that, she knew just what to look for.
* * *
“I hate the woods.”
Emily nodded at JJ’s remark. They really were in the deep woods too. The highway had turned into a service road and then into a dirt track, before it stopped a few feet from a beat up camper with a pile of logs outside. It was still morning, but the trees were thick enough to not let much light through.
Emily strode up to the camper and knocked. “Anyone home? FBI.”
No one answered. She knocked again.
“Maybe he’s not home?” offered JJ. Emily rolled her eyes.
“You don’t have to sound so hopeful.”
“Look! This case is terrifying me! We’re in the woods, thirty miles from the nearest house, looking for a mutant with undefined but pretty incredible powers, who murdered ten people, some of whom regularly carry guns!”
“If this place is in any way like where I grew up, hunting has got to be a favorite pastime. But right now, I feel like game.”
“You may have a point. But this isn’t really different from any other case we’ve been on.”
“You could be a target for him.”
“What do you mean?” Emily frowned.
“You and your… friend. Mixed couples.”
“We’re not exactly a couple.”
“Somehow, I don’t think he would stop to think about the difference between friends with benefits and full-fledged couple status.”
The narrowness of JJ’s eyes and the stiffness of her stance were a little off-putting after the remnant of their old friendship they had revisited in the car. JJ was thinking something, but Emily couldn’t tell what, so she stuck to facts.
“He targets locals. Tons of people come to this area to hike, I’ll bet mixed couples among them, but he’s only gone for locals.”
Emily nodded. The warning was statistically valid. She banged on the door again. “FBI.”
“Hold on, what’s going on here?”
She heard JJ gulp and spin, and turned herself to see a tanned, sun-wrinkled, bearded man come up through the trees, carrying a pile of wood.
“Are you Cedric Anthony?”
The man dropped his wood on the pile. “Depends on who’s asking.”
“Then no. I’m Daphne Fairbanks.”
“Pleased to meet you, Mr. Anthony. You live out here alone?”
He shrugged. “More or less.”
“Have you heard anything about the murders that have been happening lately?”
“Hard not to. The town’s not talking of much else.”
“What have you heard?”
He shrugged again. “Just that some city folk’s been picking off our kids.”
Emily nodded. “Any idea about the methods?”
“How old are you, Mr. Anthony?”
“Older than you, I’d reckon.”
“And where were you last Friday night.”
“Down at the Diamond Bar in town, like every Friday night.”
“The barman can vouch for you?”
“Thank you for your time, Mr. Anthony.”
He shrugged, and started back into the forest. Emily glanced at JJ and shrugged, the tic was contagious. They got back into the car.
* * *