Timeline: post "Demonology"
Summary: As "Demonology" closed, Prentiss was left standing alone in the snow. What if someone followed her, and she wasn't alone after all? Inspired by Kavi and Sienna's tv episode title prompts on ff.net.
a/n: I was inspired by Kavi and Sienna's December/Holiday prompts to write this quick lil one-shot. One catch, though: it's not a holiday story! I read the prompt and immediately thought of Prentiss at the end of "Demonology," so that's when this takes place.
Enjoy! And toss me a review or two; it's the holidays! ;)
Disclaimer: I don't own Criminal Minds in any way, shape, or form. Thanks for Jeff Davis, et al., for creating them and letting me play. :D
The Sound of Snow
Prompt: Millennium - "The Sound of Snow"
The Eskimos had fifty-two names for snow because it was important to them: there ought to be as many for love.
Cold, drifting quiet. A silent melody of white, of crystal, of simple, plain water frozen into astounding, unique shapes. Mother Nature at her finest.
But the exquisite sound of snow was lost on Emily Prentiss as she stood covered in it, her dark eyes swimming, crimson blood dripping from her nose, the church rising like a strangely mocking haven in the night. She was lost in the picture, a photograph of three smiling children; children with their innocence still intact. The little girl she’d once been. The adored boys she had thought would always be there for her.
The one who hadn’t been.
The one who had.
Her contemplation was abruptly shattered by the sound of his voice. It was a violent word for such a warm, gentle noise, but she felt jagged. Edgy. Rent. He spoke only her name, one soft, tender word in a sea of icy dark. She turned to him, surprised but not, and he reached out a strong, blunt-fingered hand to cup her cold face for a single heartbeat. “Prentiss,” he repeated hesitantly, his eyes – that nameless shade wandering somewhere between brown and peat-moss green – worried and penetrating.
“Sir,” she whispered, wondering why he was here, where he’d come from.
“I followed you,” he said in answer to her silent question. “It’s cold, Prentiss; you need a hat, some gloves. Let me buy you a cup of coffee at least.”
Her face creased as new tears fell, scalding and humiliating, in the wake of his concern for her, of the compassion she saw in his eyes, heard in his voice. “I’m fine, sir,” she managed through a throat gone thick. “It’s not that cold, really.”
His mouth quirked, briefly, and he brushed some of the powdered white from her shoulders. “You look like Frosty.” He glanced down at her cold-reddened fingers and caught sight of the photo she was clutching. He gently took it from her, his brow creasing as he studied the happy young faces. “You?”
She nodded, sniffling. “John Cooley and Matthew Benton,” she supplied, pointing at each boy flanking her younger self in turn.
“I’m sorry about what happened, Prentiss. I’m sorry we couldn’t do more.”
She shook her dark head. “You called the Vatican. You didn’t have to do that. It was a huge risk. I hope you know how much I appreciate it, sir.” She was rambling a bit, but once the words started, she couldn’t stop them.
He hesitated, frowned. “I’m here as a friend, Prentiss. You don’t have to call me ‘sir.’”
She eyed him warily. “I…it’s habit, si – Hotch. Aaron?”
“Emily,” he confirmed quietly. He pushed a lock of long, sable hair off her face and smiled a little. Brushed the tears from her cheeks with his thumb. “How about that coffee?”
She shivered as though just now noticing the frigid air. The heat of his skin against her cheek was a shocking contrast, and she wondered if she were really that chilled – or if he were simply that warm. The silence stretched between them, filled with the hush of dancing snow; he waited it out, patient as always, and after a few more moments’ consideration, she nodded. “Coffee.”
He slid the picture into one of her coat pockets before carefully taking her stiff, cold benumbed hand in his. He laced his fingers through hers; pressed his palm against hers. “I’m fresh out of gloves,” he said by way of explanation, dimples flashing like a constellation of joy across his normally stoic face.
Her own mouth curved in response. “Let’s hurry,” she urged quietly. “I just realized I’m rapidly approaching popsicle status.”
He tugged at her hand, and they set off down the sidewalk in a rush, like two giddy children let out early from school.
The only sounds left in front of the church were the silence of falling snow, and a faint ripple of a woman’s laugh drifting among the swirling flakes.
Wrote this one very quickly; hope you like. :D
In a side note, there simply aren't enough words for "snow" in the English language.