I think the hardest part about forgiving Emily was the fact that she didn’t trust me.
I can still remember that day clearly. It had been vividly burned into the back of my mind.
It all started when Emily started acting strange. She even started chewing her nails again. We all knew (Derek Morgan, Penelope Garcia, Jennifer Jareau, Aaron Hotchner, David Rossi, and me, Dr. Spencer Reid) that something was wrong. But of course, we were too afraid to ask, and even if we did, she only brushed it off.
You see, we were all in FBI in the same unit, the BAU (Behavioral Analysis Unit). But not only were we team members, we were also family. So it really concerned us to see Emily in such a state. We couldn’t help analyzing her behavior; it’s just what we did.
What we didn’t know, was that before Emily joined the BAU, she had been an undercover agent in Ireland, and had been on the case of a gun-runner named Ian Doyle. She had gone by the name of Lauren Reynolds, and had been in a ‘romantic relationship’ with Ian. Ian also had a son named Declan he had wanted Emily to raise, but she had told him she couldn’t, and after that everything went downhill.
Doyle was captured and taken to North Korea. Emily tried to make a profile for Doyle, but it was rejected. She knew that if the North Korean’s could find Declan, they would do horrible things to him to make Doyle talk. So she had to pose a fake death for Declan, and relocate him somewhere secret.
After all this was done she moved to Quantico, Virginia, and joined the BAU. She thought she could settle down and start a new life. But then she learned Doyle had escaped from North Korea, and had started killing off all the other undercover agents she had been working with. She knew Ian was coming for her, and he couldn’t be reasoned with. So Emily decided she would kill him, and as long as she struck fast, she could pull it off.
So one day, when we were all at work, Emily walked out, ready to confront her nemesis. She didn’t want him to do anything to us, because she loved us more than anyone in the world. So she didn’t let us know she was going; she just left.
When we found out what was going on, we knew we had to find her fast. We didn’t know her plan, but we knew she was in great danger.
However, she found Doyle first. He was with some of his thugs at a local bar. She waited for him to leave the bar, and when she thought he had entered the SUV, she ran up to it and threw a smoke bomb in. She ran to the window and yelled in,
“Doyle, I just need Doyle.” Then someone shot her from behind.
“Right here, Love.” Ian said to her, a gun in his hand.
But Emily was cautious enough to have worn her bullet-proof vest, and she had hardly been hurt by the shots. But now Ian had her, and we had to work fast, before it was too late. This was his last target, and he wanted to make Emily suffer for the pain she had caused him. So he would not kill her yet, but soon; very soon.
We did our best trying to find her, but we were hopelessly lost in our search. When we thought there was no hope left, we found a few pictures that had been taken of the ‘dead’ Declan. I suddenly noticed that the hand holding the gun had chewed up fingernails.
“Morgan, look!” I exclaimed, “The fingernails.”
“Emily shot him?” Garcia said.
“Well, it sure looks like it.” said Rossi.
We got the address of the warehouse that the pictures had been taken in, and were on our way immediately. When we got there, Hotch gave the commands.
“If they find out we are here, Emily doesn’t have a chance. The order is to shoot anyone on sight. Remember, we want Agent Prentiss alive.”
Before that, Emily had asked Doyle to bring her to the place Declan died. When they got there, he reminded her of the time she told him she couldn’t raise Declan for him.
“‘Go to your father’ that is what you said to him!” Doyle yelled, “And now, you are going to die!”
“You know what his last words to me were?” Emily asked in between kicks from Doyle. “I looked pretty good for a dead kid.”
“He’s alive?” questioned Ian.
At that moment she had tripped him and started hitting him. She got him on the ground, and started whacking his face with a piece of wood that had splintered in the fight. Suddenly she dropped the wood and he picked it up and stabbed her with it.
“Emily,” he said, as she fell to the ground, “where is Declan? Where is he?”
At that moment, he heard us coming, and being a coward, he ran away.
Morgan was the first to find her, bleeding and half-conscious. He called for the paramedics and knelt down beside her.
“Listen Emily,” he said, “I know what you did for Declan, and I am so proud of you. I am proud of you because you’re a good person, and you’re my friend. But you can’t leave us now. You’ve got to hang on.”
Emily started fading out, but Derek kept her going.
“No, no Emily! Stay with me! Come on, you’ve got to hang on!”
By the time the rest of us got there, she had been loaded on to an ambulance, and was on her way to the hospital. So we all went there and waited. After what seemed like hours, JJ came out, and we all knew what she was going to say by looking at her face.
“She…….never made it off the table.” She said.
At that moment, I thought I was dreaming. My first reaction was to leave the room, so no one would see me cry. But as I tried to slip past JJ, she grabbed my shoulder.
“Spence,” she said.
“I never got a chance to say goodbye.” I said, to afraid to look her in the eyes. Then, not being able to hold it in any longer, I burst out crying. JJ held me for a while, and then left the room to talk with Hotch. And I, well, I went home.
At Emily’s funeral, I was one of the pole bearers. I guess that day was the day I finally realized she wasn’t coming back.
“If only,” I said, “she had asked for our help.”
“Reid,” Morgan said, “all the ‘if onlys’ in the world can’t bring Prentiss back to us.”
And so I was quiet, that is, until we were laying our roses on her coffin. Then I leaned down and whispered, “I just wanted to let you know, Emily, you were one of the best friends I ever had. I wish we could have had just a little longer with you, but fate said otherwise. I only hope you knew how much I really loved you. And love you still.”
As I pulled back, a tear slid from my eye and landed on the rose. I felt a hand on my shoulder; it was David Rossi.
“Goodbye, Emily.” He whispered. And then, she was gone.
The summer after Emily’s death was an eventful one for the BAU. Derek and Penelope were secretly working on finding Doyle, and making sure he was securely behind bars. They knew he was looking for Declan, so if they found Declan first, they could pin Doyle down.
Meanwhile, I was having a miserable time coping with the tragedy. At work, I usually spent my spare time in the firing range. I had never really been strong in that area; after all, I was the genius of the team. I mostly read books (average thirty a month; I could read twenty-thousand words a minute), and so I had hardly any time left for exercise, although I had always been as skinny as a bean-pole. So I decided, seeing as I was an FBI agent, I should work on my aim a little. Okay, maybe it was more than a little.
But when I got home in the evenings, I was all alone. I usually tried reading, but I couldn’t concentrate. My mind would always wonder back to that last picture of Emily, her face so pale, and yet stained red by the blood she lost.
I felt so sick, so nauseated. My heart felt like it had been thrown on the ground and trampled over. And then some one had picked it up and ripped it in two until it was hanging by a thread, ready to break at any given moment. I wasn’t sure if that person was Doyle, or Emily herself, but I knew the pain was too much.
I often went to work tired and sleep deprived. Sometimes I would have nightmares so disturbing I would wake up screaming her name. And when it came to food, well, lets just say I lost more than a few pounds.
Once every week I went to JJ’s house to confide in her, but it usually ended up as me crying on her shoulder. She had always been like a sister to me, so I didn’t mind her seeing me cry, and she could usually comfort me.
Weeks became months, and months piled up until eight months had passed since Emily’s death.
Morgan and Hotch finally had Doyle in custody, but Declan had been kidnapped by one of Doyle’s enemies. Our new focus was to find Declan before it was too late. However, no matter how hard he tried, Morgan couldn’t break Doyle. Hotch and JJ knew there was only one way to save Declan now.
So that day we were all called into the confrontation room, where Hotch started talking.
“Eight months ago, I made a decision that would affect the lives of everyone on our team. As you know, Emily lost a lot of blood, but the doctors were able to stabilize her. After the surgery, she stayed in the hospital for two weeks, after which she was given several fake passports, none of which we had access to for her safety.”
At this news we were all stunned, all of us, that is, but JJ, who had known the truth all along.
Penelope was the first to speak up, “She’s not dead?” she whispered.
“But we buried her.” I concluded, not knowing what else to say. Everything was silent, as Hotch looked around the room at all our faces.
“If any of you have issues,” he said, “please direct them towards me.”
“Issues?!?” Morgan questioned, “Oh, I’ve got issues!!” But he was interrupted by another voice, one I hadn’t heard in a long time.”
“I am so sorry it had to be this way.”
We all turned to see Emily standing there, in the doorway. She slowly started walking towards us.
“I missed you all so much, and I am so glad to finally be back with my family.”
First she hugged Penelope, and then Derek; they were quick to forgive. But then she turned to me.
“Reid…” she began.
I turned away, hot tears streaking down my cheeks. I had always dreamed she would come back, but I never thought it would be like this.
“You….you lied to me.” I said, looking up at JJ and Hotch.
“Spencer, come on.” JJ said, surprised I would act that way.
“I cried on your shoulder for eight months,” I said, directing my attention to her, “and not once did you have the decency to tell your friend the truth!”
“Spence…” JJ said, stunned.
I stormed out of the room, slamming the door behind me. But once I was in the hall, I burst out crying. Suddenly, I felt a hand on my shoulder; it was Emily.
“Reid,” she said, “you must understand. We really couldn’t tell you. Please don’t treat JJ like this on account of me. I wanted to be here with you guys, I wanted to…..see you. I missed you all so much. But a time comes when you have to let it all go. I had to let you guys go. Reid, that day you lost a friend, but I lost six.”
I looked at the floor, too ashamed to look her in the eyes. She lifted my chin and said,
“Spencer, please. It’s not that I didn’t trust you, in fact, I trust you more than anyone else I know. But the information would have been too dangerous, and such a burden.”
“Yes, but why didn’t you let us help you with Doyle?” I said, before I knew I was opening my mouth.
“Spencer…. I know you think I didn’t trust you then. But that was between me and Doyle. I didn’t want him getting near you guys. You are the only family I have.”
“Yes, but maybe none of this would have happened if you had just let us help!” I said in frustration, “Do you know how much pain you…. you…” I stopped short, too afraid to say those last words.
“I caused you.” Emily said softly. I could see a tear dripping down her face, and watched as it dropped to the floor. I suddenly realized what I had said.
“Emily, I didn’t mean it, really. I was so alone without you. And they all told me you were dead. So, I couldn’t help but act this way when I learned they were lying to me all along.”
“None of us got out of it without a scar, Spencer, whether it was a physical one, or maybe a matter of the heart. But look at me now; hear this. I may have let you down; I may have let you all down. And I am so sorry. I never meant to hurt anyone. And I know I lied, but now I am back; back for good. So give me a chance.”
Suddenly I realized that I wasn’t the only one hurt, I realized I was a blind fool, and I realized everything was going to be okay. Yes, there was still a scar, but I was no longer broken. And some scars heal with time.
Then for the first time since she had come back, I looked Emily in the eyes.
“You can have a thousand.” I said. And then she hugged me. How long we stood there holding each other, I don’t know. But afterwards, we started heading towards the confrontation room to ‘save Declan from the fate of his father’, as Emily liked to put it. However, just as we got there, Emily paused and looked at me.
“One more thing, Spencer.”
“I love you.”
And then she kissed me, and I kissed her too.