Hellfire 11

Feb 07, 2010 22:07

Title: Hellfire (11/12) (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 sorry. This chapter is the end. 12 is a short epilogue. And... yeah, sorry, there are funny bits, buried between the utter misery.

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?

Emma was asleep, naked in bed, the sheets around her waist, her skin smooth and cool in the dim room. Her hands were underneath her head and her shoulder blades rose up at an angle from her back.

Emily sat beside her, knees tucked up to her chest, watching her back rise and fall. She was shivering, running her fingers over the burns the ropes had left on her skin. She remembered too much: Emma’s ferocity, the violence, her own vulnerability, and of course, her own easy submission. But she also knew the difference between what could have happened to her, and what had happened.

Finally she stretched out her hand and ran the pads of her fingers along the hollow of Emma’s spine.

Emma turned her head, blinking up at her, not as asleep as she had seemed. “You still want to touch me? After what I did to you?”

“You didn’t let them hurt me.”

“No,” Emma turned her face away. “That right is reserved for me alone.”

Emily was still too tangled up. She couldn’t quite find words to say what she needed to say. Her fingers ran over the curve of Emma’s ear and she pressed something that wasn’t words towards her, wishing that that would work, and she wouldn’t need to explain the bundle of trust and fear that made her need to know. “Why?”

Emma glanced at her. “Why do I have the right?”

Emily shook her head. She knew the answer to that one already. “Why don’t they?”

Emma stared for a moment. “I used to think that everyone deserved to suffer that, because I had.” It was almost a challenge.  Emily didn’t break the eye contact.  “But you don’t. I… I may have gained something from it, but not enough to make it worth it, not for you. They have nothing that you need.”

“Tell me.” It was a command, though Emily hadn’t intended for it to be.

Emma turned away with a huff, half laughter half anger, understanding her, too easily and too unhappily. “You want to know all the secrets of my dirty bloodstained body?”

Emily slid down and curled into her, wrapping an arm around her waist to keep her from running away. “Only if you want to tell me.”

Emma stared up at the ceiling, cradled in the comforting warmth of Emily’s body, and lost in memories that she wished she could lock back up and never feel their presence again.

She started slowly, meditatively. She was stating facts, not things that had happened to her, not things that she had done. “The reason why the Hellfire Club is such a popular place isn’t because of the parties, or the business deals. It’s because you can always have sex there without giving up your power. The employees… the captured enemies, the pleasure room. They’re all made so that you can take exactly what you want. Your partner doesn’t even have to remember it in the morning. And if you want someone tied up and aroused to the breaking point, all you have to do is ask. If you want someone to hurt, if you want someone to hurt you, if you’d rather a hologram do it, so no person can ever say they broke you, not even for the thirty seconds before their mind is wiped, all of these things are here. The real entry fee is your shame. I don’t have any of that left.”

Emily’s fingers were twisted in her hair and she slowly adjusted their positions until Emma’s head was resting on her chest.

“I didn’t have much left before the initiations. I had been working in one of their strip clubs. It seems absurd now, that I would ever have needed to do that, but my powers developed slowly enough that I needed the environment to make it easier for me to make them give me their money. Sebastian, a poor telepath himself, noticed my potential in… more than one way, and thought that I could be useful in his plans, and his marriage bed.”

She felt Emily sigh under her. “You knew that already.”

“He mentioned it.”

“I’m not ashamed of that. I’m ashamed of being a foolish, manipulable child, but I’m not ashamed of what I have done. And in some unsettling way, Sebastian truly did love his wife, and was devastated when she was killed. He lost much of his connection to reality when that happened.”

“You won’t ever convince me to forgive him.”

Emma snorted. “I’m not asking you that. But at least for him, sex was always just sex. For some of the others, it was a way of asserting control, and was inextricably linked with violence.”

“Them as well?”

“I didn’t really have a choice. I was a powerful woman: not powerful enough to control them, but not weak enough to make them feel safe. I had to make them feel safe in other ways.”

“Why did you need to be part of that group so much?”

“Why?” Emma let out a soft breath. “Perhaps I thought they would give me the power to truly destroy my father, or at least show him that I could be better than he would ever be, without his help, do it all without his help.”

But they didn’t, she didn’t say, that was you.

“I think I understand now, why you wish he were dead.”

Emma smiled, but it faded. She pulled away, supporting herself, but not yet sitting up. “I hate looking like this in front of you. My shields are all gone.”

Emily nodded. She knew that weakness, the fear of having someone inside, who opened the doors you always kept closed, who could steal all your secrets and know all your hurt.

“Why don’t you blame me for any of this? I feel like a criminal when you look at me, possibly because I am. But you won’t punish me for it. And you don’t pull away from me, even when you know how much of a monster I’ve become. Sebastian said you’d remember everything. You know everything.”

Emily watched her silently. If she knew everything, why did the facts still not fit her intuitions? But it was so clear that there were a hundred things Emma couldn’t say because she felt that she didn’t deserve forgiveness, didn’t deserve understanding. Emily sighed. It was her turn to be honest.

“I might have been drugged and easy, but I did nothing more than what I always do around you.” She wouldn’t look her in the eye, couldn’t. She spat out the rest of it, half ashamed of feeling it, and half ashamed of saying it at all. “I hate the way you make me feel out of control. I hate that I like the way it feels to give myself up to you. I hate that the fact that I can’t trust you, shouldn’t trust you, makes me want you more. Even your power, that I’m always at your mercy…” She glanced back, and Emma was watching her as if she knew everything she was going to say, as if none of it was a surprise, just a confirmation of something that had been said before. “It terrifies me, but I still can’t pull away.”

“Would it be absolutely absurd if I say it feels exactly the same from this direction?”

Emily laughed with relief and rolled over on her stomach to look her in the eyes. “Do I terrify you?”

“You have no idea how much.”

Emily almost leaned forward and kissed her right then, wanted to kiss the wry self-mocking grin right off her face. It turned into a warm genuine smile, and Emily just smiled back, even thought it made her feel like an idiot.

* * *

A noise came from without that sounded suspiciously like an explosion. Emily pushed herself up into a sitting position and looked over at the shaking wall. Emma grimaced and covered her eyes.

“Did you by any chance let anyone else know about this party?”

Emily looked hesitant. “A couple people.”

“Any X-Men?”

Emily looked at her in horror, and then down at her nakedness. “It’s Ro’s team, isn’t it?”

There was another noise that echoed like a crack of lightning. “Highly likely.” Emma met her eyes in a sideways glance. “Sneak out the back?”

“You're on.”

Emily’s clothes had been seriously mislaid, so she wrapped herself in Emma’s cloak. They peeked into the hallway, checking if the coast was clear, and sped towards the back exit. It was a fire escape down into a disgusting alley. Emma proffered an arm and a shoulder so that Emily could maintain some dignity getting down the ladder.

“I thought you’d be here, sneaking out the back like the rat you are,” came a voice from nowhere. And Ororo stepped out from where she had been lying in wait behind the dumpsters.

Emma groaned. Then Ororo spotted Emily and gaped.

“You! What are you doing here? You told me that you weren’t going to go!”

Emily scratched her head and smiled. “Plans change. You know how it is.”

Ororo narrowed her eyes and glared at Emma. “This is your fault. You got her into this.”

“Hey! I don't claim that it’s not my fault, but she came on her own.” She glared at Emily. “I would never have told her to come here. It was lucky that I was here, to save her ass.” She placed a possessive hold on the indicated location.

Emily rolled her eyes, but didn’t disagree.

“How does saving her result in her wearing nothing but your cape?”

Emma snorted. “The hero deserves favors.”

“Emily?” Ororo requested a second opinion.

Emily bit her lip. “I was already naked before she rescued me?”

Ororo just groaned. “Come on. I believe we have some extra clothing in the jet.”

* * *

Emma was highly amused by the way Emily looked in the dark leather jumpsuit, and had to keep her hand cupped over her mouth to suppress her mirth as they walked the last block back to her apartment. Ororo had offered to take her back to the mansion, but she hadn’t even missed her flight yet, and it was probably better to give this trip some semblance of normalcy.

“Cut it out,” Emily glared at her, as she unlocked the door.

Emma laughed aloud and then twisted Emily’s hair back from her face, holding it in various styles, and ignoring the eyes of death. “I never considered what you would look like as an X-Man,” she said, laughter still in her voice. “It’s quite fierce.”

“Shut up.” Emily jerked her inside and shut the door behind them. “And unzip me. I really, really need a shower.”

“Mmm,” Emma pressed her nose into her hair as she found the completely inconvenient zipper and dragged it down slowly. “Sounds perfect.”

* * *

Emily made coffee Sunday morning, while Emma was calling her PA to have her pack up her hotel room. It was so easy to slip into old habits while she was here, but it never hurt any less when she had to leave.

Emma came in, her phone at her ear, took a sip of coffee and flashed her a brilliant smile. Emily leaned weakly against the wall.

Emily drove her to the airport and parked in the small private lot, then walked with her out to the private airfield. Astonishingly, the PA had managed to get her stuff out of the hotel and it was being loaded onto the plane.

They stood with their coffee by the hangar, and Emily felt sick.

“I don’t know if I can keep doing this.”

Emma turned and gave her a sharp confused look. “What?” Her eyes widened as she realized what was happening. “What are you doing? Didn’t I already break up with you like three days ago? Not that it stuck.”

Emily looked down at the coffee in her hands. She had made a stupid decision and it had nearly cost her far more than she could pay. But she knew she couldn’t let it keep going like this and trust herself not to make the same mistakes again.

“I can’t make it go away,” she said quietly. “There will always be a time when you were all I had, when all I knew was that you were angry and grieving, just like me. But that’s not enough. I know what you can give me, and I care about you. But we’re always going to be in different places, with different needs. It’s probably best to let it go.”

“Why are you saying this now? You were the one who wouldn’t let it go. You were the one who basically forced me to call you!”

“You needed to call me! You needed to have some way to make sure I was alive! Don’t think I couldn’t tell when I woke up with your fingers pressing against my pulse.”

“Maybe I still need you! Maybe I’m not okay with letting you go!”

“You never claimed me! If you want me so much, claim me!”

“What the fuck do you think, ‘you’re mine,’ means?”

“Tell me you love me! Tell me I make you feel something besides anger and fear and lust and desperation!”

Emma stepped back and looked away. “What else is there?”

Emily felt herself starting to cry and hated herself for it. “This isn’t healthy!”

“I don’t…” Emma started, looking winded. “I don’t want to let you go.”

Emily hadn’t expected the hurt to be so visible on Emma’s face. “Why? Why do you need me so much? Wouldn’t it be better for you if I was dead, if you didn’t have to try and chase after me and protect me?”

“I wouldn’t be chasing you if you didn’t stalk me!”

“Maybe I wouldn’t stalk you if you ever gave me a chance to tell you how much I hate you. You make me feel like shit! You tell me how much I deserve, but you’ll never give me that. When you’re here it’s so easy, but then you just throw me away when it’s not convenient. Can’t I… can’t I ask anything of you? It would be so easy to let myself need you, but I can’t trust you.” She laughed. “And it has nothing to do with trusting you to not turn violent or evil, or any of that crap that everyone else is worried about. I can’t trust you to give more than phone calls and occasional sex. And I need to be someone in your life. If I’m not, if I can’t be anyone to you, if we can’t have anything real, then I need to let you go.”

Emma just watched her, blindsided and so blatantly unhappy. It gave Emily an uncomfortable repulsive little thrill that she had the power to make her look like that. It was only fair, the selfish part of her mind thought, after she had been made to feel that same way so often. And she had said what she needed to say, without dropping to her knees and begging. She knew what the answer would be, and she would never beg.

“I can’t give you that.”

At the blank hopelessness in her tone, Emily stomped fiercely on the vindictive sprout. “I know.”

Emma reached out, cupping the backs of her arms and sliding her hands down them to curl around her elbows and draw her closer. The guilt made her sick, but this was about power in the end. It was always about power.

“I think we’re just seeing the same thing from different angles. There’s no future here. It’s not safe for us to be together. I do…” She looked away, mouth twisting. “…love you, even if all that means is that you make me crazy and paranoid. But I can’t keep you. God knows I could never live with you. I need to let you go, if only to find out if I can.”

Emily nodded and stared at her feet. “I owe you my life. More than that now, I think. You brought me back from the dead, and in some ways that means my life will always belong to you. If you… if you want to call in that marker, you can. But I can’t stop living. You gave me a taste of what it would be like to be your girlfriend, and it was wonderful. I love being the center of your attention. But I’m not. I’m a distraction. I make things more difficult for you.”

Emma swallowed hard. She had said these things to herself over and over again. Before she had never wanted to say, “None of those things are as important as you.” The worst thing was that it felt true. Rationally it was garbage. But it felt true.

Emily moved in her loosened grip and pulled her in, kissing her roughly. Emma opened up and let her in, choking back a rough lurch in the back of her throat, her fingers digging deeply enough into her arms to leave leopard-print bruises.

“I don’t know if I can ever change the way I feel about you. But I need to find out if I can.”

“Just,” Emma glowered at the tarmac. “Be careful. I’m always going to worry about you. You always say you have those profiling skills, use them sometimes.”

“Right back at you,” Emily couldn’t laugh. “You risk yourself too often, and I don’t know if you always understand what you’re looking for.”

“And if I’m looking for you?” Emma’s fingers caressed her jaw and Emily lifted her head, letting her fingers brush against her cheek, over her mouth, gently, more gently than ever before.

“I’ll take your calls. But speak. I don’t know if my phone can take being thrown at the wall again.”

Emma nodded. “If you need my help… you had better call, or I will be very unhappy with you.”

This time Emily was the first one to turn away. Emma stood in the shadows of the hangar, watching her leave.

Emily wondered if her shoulders had ever burnt like this while walking away. It was easier to keep moving if she kept them straight and strong. It was a lie, but she didn’t think she could survive letting her body tell the truth.

* * *

Part 12

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

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