Hellfire (1/6?)

Oct 02, 2009 20:27

Title: Hellfire (1/6?)  (Sequel to Human)
Author: Alsike

Fandom: X-Men/Criminal Minds x-over

Pairing: Emma Frost/Emily Prentiss

Rating: R

AN/Disclaimer: Not my girls. 
Apologies: I'm pretty sure that no one wanted this.  But I have found a new way to advertise this part of the story: Will contain Prompt 039. Position 69, eventually!  I will not edit out the smutty bits!

Summary: Emma's an X-man now, but she wasn't always fighting for truth, justice, and peaceful-coexistence. Emily has had a taste of her past, but is she ready to meet the White Queen?

Images of Emily Prentiss flashed across the screen, the first few blurry, her figure half obscured by crowds of people in evening dress.  In one she was glancing over her shoulder, face turned toward the lens, but looking past it.  At that one the series stopped, and the watcher, a shadowed silhouette in a darkened room, leaned back in his chair.  He didn’t speak, didn’t move for minutes.  When he did, he pressed a button, and the screen went black.

*            *            *

Emma gave up on sleep when the clock showed 5:30am on its display.  It was too easy to fall into old habits.  Emily’s voice on the phone, clear, and teasing as they drifted easily from subject to subject, avoiding anything serious, anything difficult.  It was easier to let your guard down when someone was too far away to cut.  And those were the rules of the game.  The phone was where they pretended they were friends, where they could flirt without consequence, where nothing meaningful was said, because the meaning was trapped in the act of dialing the phone, and anything else would be a surfeit.

Emma knew what it meant when she scrolled down to the D’s.  Do NOT Dial was what she had labeled Emily’s number as when she couldn’t bring herself to delete it.  It was a good reminder that every time she highlighted it and pressed send, she was submitting to a weakness, an addiction she wasn’t strong enough to break.

She didn’t know what it meant when Emily called her.

She hated telephones.  She hated Washington DC, because her mind couldn’t reach that far.  She didn’t have the ability to reach through telephone wires and take the answers to the questions she didn’t know how to ask.

The telephone was a place for lies and inconsequentials.  It was sex, letting their voices touch when their bodies couldn’t, as fleeting and meaningless as that.  The only difference was, when she heard Emily yawn and roll over, her half whispered, “goodnight, Emma,” (never goodbye) and the cut connection, she was gone, as if she had never been there.

It wasn’t enough.  This time Emma hadn’t even been the one to submit and make the call, but it still wasn’t enough.  There had been too many questions asked that weekend that hadn’t been given answers, too many confessions and not enough absolution.

She could still feel Emily’s narrow shoulders and smooth neck under her hands, the flutter of her pulse, and she wondered how badly she would take it when Emily finally rejected her.  Emily had been the one pursuing her from the beginning, never pushing too hard, but pressing forward, coming into her space, willing to ask for help when she needed it.  She didn’t know Emma, not all of her, as Tony had so kindly reminded her.  And when Emily finally knew too much, and didn’t need her help anymore, it would be so easy for her to turn away.

Emma had never been very good at asking for help.  And she doubted Emily was the most broken and needy one out of the two of them.

She couldn’t stay in bed any longer, mulling over the look of disgust Emily had given her when her hands had been around her throat.  She needed to go over lesson plans anyways, and coffee was a necessity for survival after three hours of sleep in the last 48.

Jean was in the kitchen.  Emma ignored her and the mess she was making at the stove.  She banged through the cupboards, looking for the coffee grinder that was never put back in the same place.

“You saw Emily this weekend.”  It wasn’t a question.  The smirk in Jean’s voice was too blatant for that.

Emma glanced at her reflection in the window, but couldn’t see anything that would make it obvious.  The circles under her eyes were disgusting though.

Jean laughed at her and tapped her temple.  “You’ve been getting twitchier and twitchier these past few months, so much I can hardly be in the same mental space as you.  But now you’re all calm again.  So either you saw Emily or you did some Zen Meditation over the weekend, and with the way you checked for love bites, I’m going all in on the former.”

Emma cringed at the term ‘love bites,’ ‘bite marks’ or ‘hickies’ was perfectly descriptive.  “Fabulous,” she replied.  “I’m glad it’s that obvious to you.  I could have been with someone else.”

“No, you couldn’t have.”

“Why not?”

Jean gave her an innocent smile that made Emma’s skin creep.  “Because I forgave you.  And if you blow it again, I might forget that.”

Emma leaned against the counter and swallowed hard.  It was always good to get a reminder that Jean really was a crazy bitch underneath.  “I’ll… keep that in mind.”  She looked down at her hands.  She didn’t feel less twitchy.

Jean laughed.  “You shouldn’t be ashamed of it.”

“I shouldn’t be ashamed?”  Emma closed her eyes, trying to let the tension release from her brow and shoulders.  “There’s nothing to be more ashamed of.”

“I don’t understand you.  Why can’t you just let yourself be happy?”

“She doesn’t make me happy.”

Jean turned away from the cupboard to look at her in shock.  Emma wished she hadn’t let so much honesty into her tone.  She sighed and glanced down.  An egg carton was sitting out next to the sink.  She picked a cool egg out of it and curled her fingers around it.

“She doesn’t?”

“That was never part of the bargain.”  Emma almost laughed.  “She makes me horny and angry, irritated and frustrated, tired and overwhelmed, but not happy, never happy.”

“You need to relax, Emma.”

“How am I supposed to do that?” Emma glared at her.  “How can I relax?  How can I be anything but ashamed and afraid when someone I don’t trust, someone like Tony Stark, just looks at me and can tell.  He knows that everything important to me, everything I can’t survive without is stored in this.”  She twisted her hand, and presented the egg to Jean’s eyes.  “’That’s all well and good,’ he says.  ‘It’s healthy to have something precious.’  But this thing, this precious object doesn’t give a damn about me or about herself.  She just wanders off.”  Emma made the egg walk along the counter.  “Dodging bullets, poorly, and chasing habitual murderers.  But that’s just fine too, because ‘you shouldn’t be so controlling, Emma.’

“And then my untrustworthy friend saunters into a meeting of people who hate me and fear me, but are too impotent to attack me directly, and mentions, off-handedly, to everyone the existence of this precious object.”  Emma looked down at the egg cupped in her hand.  She turned over her fist and held her arm out, pointing it at Jean.  “And then I just wait.”

Her hand tightened until she felt the shell tense with pressure.  She gripped harder and it cracked, the innards oozing out, and shards crumbled in her hand.  The fragments of shell dug into her palm, the unfertilized embryo running out between her fingers and dripping glutinously into the sink.  She turned her hand over and displayed the shattered mess.  A trace of blood ran through it from where a sharp shell had cut her hand.  “Wait for it all to fall apart.”

“Emma,” Jean’s voice was too gentle to be anything but an insult.  “You can’t just expect the worst.  Bad things don’t always happen.”

“To you.”  Emma shook her head, still watching the mess in her palm.  “They don’t always happen to you.  They do to me.  I can’t afford to just sit back and hope that everything will turn out all right.  Ask Jubilee how well that works.  Ask her if the scar that runs from her neck to her hip means things turn out all right!”  She swallowed hard, remembering them laughing together, Emily, almost hers, and Jubilee, making fun, probably of her.  But Jubilee was the one who had told her…

“I just want to be allowed to stop feeling so much, so that when it happens, when I finally have to bury her, I won’t…”  Emma turned away and scrubbed at her hands under the faucet.  The smell of raw egg was making her want to vomit.

“Emma, you can’t stay closed off forever.”  Jean was coming towards her, and the red glow was filling her eyes again.  Emma had managed to put her mind back together, had managed to stop seeing the phoenix every time she looked at Jean, but it was so much harder to stay in control than it used to be, and when she was agitated she could feel her carefully sealed cracks begin to reopen.

“Save your platitudes for someone who cares!”  Emma shoved a chair in between them.  She couldn’t let her get too close.  This was her fault.  It was obviously Jean’s doing that she couldn’t keep Emily out of her head.  Obviously… because she hadn’t felt like this before, she hadn’t.  Except when Emily was dead, when all the stupid lies of pride, and identity, and self-preservation had shown themselves to be mere cobwebs clouding her mind.

“Stop pushing me toward her when it’s obvious that she doesn’t feel like this.  I have no idea what she sees when she looks at me.  She knows too much of what I’ve done, and I can’t stop thinking that she’s just waiting for me to show my true colors and become one of her precious unsubs, waiting for me to try to hurt her.”

“Would you?”  It wasn’t rhetorical, but for a moment, Emma could see the old Jean, the one that really did want to believe the best of people, the one that didn’t have blood on her hands, that could still believe the best of herself.

Emma had never been that girl.

She looked down at the red traces on her wet hands.  “Never say never,” she said, brusquely drying her hands and starting for the stairs.

“Weren’t you going to have breakfast?”

“I’m not hungry anymore.”

*            *            *

Psychological counseling sessions were Emily’s least favorite activity for early Monday mornings, but the Federal therapist had decided that she was less likely to miss an appointment due to work obligations if that was when they scheduled them, and then weaseled her into it by reminding her that if she didn’t miss half of them and have to reschedule, they would be over much sooner.

George was like that, too young to be as confident as he was, with one of those irritating psychologist smiles that said your bullshit wasn’t fooling him one bit.  That was why Emily had decided to not go into therapy after graduating with a degree in psychology; she wasn’t very good at the smile.  If she didn’t let what she was thinking show on her face, she usually looked tense and irritable, which had a tendency to put off patients from issuing a confidence.

“So, I heard you had an exciting weekend.”

Emily dropped into the couch and rolled her eyes.  Score one for the FBI gossip mill.  “Thrilling.  Especially spending five hours with the NYPD, that was fun.”

“The party was in honor of your mother, wasn’t it?  How did that make you feel?”

Emily covered her face with her hands.  “It’s eight o’clock on a Monday morning.  Can’t I get more than one sentence of small talk?”

“Well, you could ask me how my weekend was, but I’d have to deduct that from your appointment time.”

“You mean taking an interest in my therapist’s personal life doesn’t signify a healthful and sane reengagement with the world?”

“Not if you’re doing it to avoid questions on why you decided to pursue a serial killer on your own, rejecting offers of backup, and apparently thought it was a good decision to bring your gun on vacation with you.”

Emily looked away from him and scowled at the wall.  “I wasn’t trying to set up a suicide by unsub situation… again.  I had backup.  And…” she glanced back at him, frowning, “to tell you the truth, I was more afraid of some of the other people at the conference than I was of the killer.”


“It felt like being back at Liberty Ranch.  Everyone was so strong in their beliefs, in their sense of morality, and you can almost understand, almost agree, until they say something that is completely appalling to you, and you realize that their lines are nowhere near yours.  Crooke was normal, just another madman and fool.”

“You were uncomfortable back in political society?”

Emily frowned.  She hated the politics, but that wasn’t what made her uncomfortable.  “It was just so clearly a mutant party.  The mutants full of the arrogance and the entitlement of politicians, but worse somehow.  There were humans there, but the humans were lackeys and dummies, being used as a front.”

“You’ve always said you don’t have a problem with mutants.”

Emily froze.  She hadn’t meant for it to come out like that.  She had jumped on her entire team for being anti-mutant.  Was she a hypocrite?  But no.  She had just not spoken clearly.  It was their morality, not their politics, that she couldn’t stand.  She had seen too many deaths caused by people fighting for good causes in the wrong ways.  The young man with explosives strapped around his waist, who tripped over a stone and exploded in front of the market…  It wasn’t the mutants’ powers she feared; it was their minds.  “I don’t.  I just found them unscrupulous, not mutants in general, but some of the people there.  And when someone is that powerful but you can’t predict what they’re going to do with that power…”

All of a sudden she thought of Emma, of her anger, her readiness to kill, of her sudden explosive violence.  Jubilee’s nonchalant words, and Emma’s lack of denial…

“Do you really think they’re going to do something drastic?”

Emily was startled by George’s response and had to remember what they were talking about.  “No.  Not obviously drastic.  They’ve been domesticated.  They’re so used to working the system they’ve forgotten that they could even try to overthrow it.” She frowned as she thought of Emma, of Tony, Sebastian and Lorne, who had watched and waited, but not involved themselves.  They didn’t play the games.  They waited for the decisive moment to act.  “Most of them, at least.  Some, even some humans, aren’t fooled.”

“What do you think about mutants in power, having more of a presence in government?”

Emily looked at him steadily.  “I’d rather have a mutant president than a human one put in power by a cabal, whether of mutants or of any interest group.  Are you checking my loyalty now?”

George laughed.  “I’m always checking your loyalty.  It goes under column five of mentally competent for continued employment.”

“Do I still have a job?”

“Hmm,” George glanced down at his paper.  “Shows admirable loyalty to the American ideals of popularly elected government.  What do you think?”

Emily frowned.  “Depends on who you show it to.  This weekend someone told me I was a hero, because I could see the big picture, and did what I could to make it better.”

“That must have made you feel good.”

Emily looked at George’s psychologist smile and wondered if he expected her to deny it.  She really couldn’t.  “It made me wonder whether it was possible to be an adult and a hero at the same time.”

“What does being an adult mean to you?”

She had expected that question, and given it some thought, but she still didn’t have an answer.  “I don’t know.  But it’s more than what I have.”
*          *            *
Part 2

criminal minds, hellfire, x-men, emma/emily

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