Author: Sara Nublas
Character: Emily Prentiss main, all team involved
Warning: SPOILERS to Lauren (6x18), this story is the third part of my post-Lauren series which is organized as follows 1-Asteriscus hierochunticus 2-What’s left of me, 3- E.P. all of them are posted on my profile and on www.fanfiction.net/~saranublas and archiveofourown.org/users/Sara_Nublas
Disclaimer: I don’t own the characters of the show ‘ Criminal Minds’, I’m just borrowing them. No infringement intended.
A/N: -thanks to mia29 for poking my curiosity and setting my muse on this path
-No beta even for this story, but I'm always happy to read your comments
1.The room is perfectly silent and still, the rhythmic tick of the clock is the only clue of the time flowing.
The man sitting at his desk raises his head from the file he’s reading, he puts off his glasses and looks at the woman sitting in front of him “So Agent Prentiss, I read here you had an excellent physical evaluation”
“I kept myself in shape” she answers politely, but not kindly. She’s never liked shrinks.
“Well, I’m sure the results of our session won’t be less brilliant” he leans toward her offering candies from a silver box that she refuses.
This room is quiet and still, a faint aroma of lavender is floating in the air, a shelf beside the window displays a selection of psychology essays; some pictures of natural landscapes are hanging on the wall together with the framed diploma which reassuringly certifies that I’m speaking with Doctor Malloy, a real professional straight from Yale. This fake neutral atmosphere is managing to make me feel more and more uncomfortable, like if I was in the waiting room of my dentist.
‘And you WILL attend physical and psychological evaluations’, Hotch’s demand rings loud in my head.
I’m complying with that request, I’ve already spent half of the scheduled hour in the studio of a perfect stranger mainly staring at the walls or answering his questions with yes, no, and occasional shrugs.
After all I haven’t been required to be cooperative.
“Agent Prentiss, is there something you want to talk about?” he catches her attention again, hoping an open question can loosen her up.
“I don’t know. Nightmares, difficulty to concentrate, flashbacks, irritability, insomnia… It’s been one month since you came back to the BAU, you’ve mainly been assigned to a desk job and joined your team on the field a couple of times. How did it feel?”
The doctor arches his eyebrow like a disappointed teacher “Can you elaborate the notion of good?’
“It felt good” she elaborates “As if I was doing my job and not wasting my time finding synonyms for the word good”
“I understand your frustration Agent Prentiss, but it’s my task to evaluate if you’re ready to go back to your original assignment or if..”
“or if I’m suffering from PTSD.” She completes his sentence, “the answer is no. I sleep quietly and regularly; I don’t have flashbacks, outbursts or difficulties to concentrate. I eat healthy and I don’t hug the bottle when my day’s over” she answers coldly, not a twitch to betray the truth.
The doctor stares back at her with curiosity, then he leans on the back of his leather chair and lets a deep breathe out “Emily, I read your file, all of it. I know your curriculum and I frankly find it… impressive; deep undercover work, excellent compartmentalization skills, the confrontation with Ian Doyle, the months on the run. Even for a tough cookie like you it’s a lot to take in…”
She stares back at him, not exactly flattered by the definition ‘tough cookie’. Malloy senses her diffidence and chuckles while he wipes his glasses with the rim of his shirt “Agent Prentiss, I promise I don’t want to challenge you or to add troubles to the pile. I’m here to help you” he reassures with a frank expression, then he checks his glasses and, satisfied with his cleaning job, put them back on his desk “As far as I’m concerned you can come here and stare at the wall or use this time in a more valuable way. It’s up to you, but it doesn’t change the fact that at some point you’ll have to talk to me” It’s always tough to evaluate an agent, especially a profiler and truth to be told Malloy likes this one, but she’s not making his job any easy.
Emily, unimpressed by the friendly talk, watches at the clock: twenty minutes to go.
She actually doesn’t dislike this man, he’s just doing his job and he really seems motivated in assessing her psychological fitness without prejudice, but there are some things that you just can’t say, especially when you know that the final report will be handed in to Strauss.
So far Emily’s plan is to watch her words carefully and stall him until this session is over, until he decides she’s fit to go back to work and frees her from this torture. So far it’s working out fine. More or less.
Finally a response to her prayers comes in the form of a call. Hotch.
“It’s work, I have to take this” she jumps up from her seat with a bit too much enthusiasm.
The doctor stares at her while she walks toward the door “How many times did you visit your grave?”
She freezes with her hand on the doorknob.
He got her - sneaky son of a..- he waited for the moment her defenses would be low to strike and score.
“Do you panic when you don’t have work to do? Do you identify with the victims or the unsub? Do you ever think you came back broken?”
He doesn’t expect a reply, he doesn’t need it. He just wanted to remind her she’s not the one calling the shots in this game and he succeeded.
Her hand is clenching the doorknob so hard that her knuckles turn white; to fight back the fear when it nags her and to deceive the uneasiness in front of her friends is one thing, but to hear those dreaded questions voiced out loud by a stranger is a noxious feeling, it makes her feel weak, exposed, vulnerable.
“If the answer to even one of these questions is yes, I suggest you to find someone to talk to, either me or someone else. Because it’s not going away, it’s just going to get worse”
She turns to him regaining her cold demeanor, “Thank you for your time, Doctor Malloy” she leaves the room with a feeling of defeat; tricked in such an elementary way.
Emily Prentiss, you’re a stupid woman in a sea of troubles.