Could silence kill you? Lying in hospital for weeks, struggling to get even a fraction of her strength back, Emily was sure it could. There were doctors and nurses sure, the incessant bleeping of machines and she was dimly aware of JJ’s presence but between that were long stretches of nothingness.
Emily Prentiss hated nothingness. Nothingness was too close to loneliness for Emily’s liking.
In Paris she would eat in restaurants and hear Rossi’s voice critiquing the food. She would wander round the museums and Reid would explain the stories behind the different paintings. Derek admired the architecture with her and Garcia oohed and ahhed over the French fashions. When Emily sat in the park and watched families playing she could hear Jack and Henry laughing while JJ and Hotch cheered them on.
It was partly a coping mechanism and partly a way to distract herself. The nothingness was at the door. There were only so many places Emily could visit and JJ’s work in the Middle East meant that they were restricted in how much time they could talk online. There was only so much online Scrabble one person could play anyway. Hotch was busy with the team and with Jack though he made a point of calling her at least once a month but refused to discuss cases with her.
JJ suggested starting a hobby but apparently going to the shooting range didn’t count. Knitting, cooking, reading, soccer, salsa dancing, painting. Nothing appealed, nothing set off that spark inside her. The only thing that had was working at the BAU. The thought made Emily want to cry and scream for a number of different reasons and she said as much to Hotch when he called to check up on her. The phone went quiet for a moment.
“I have an idea” said Hotch slowly.
“I’m not making any promises but I may know someone who can help. Just let me make sure it’s safe.”
Emily didn’t hear anything for a week. She was lounging in her apartment, working her way through a stack of Godard movies and wondering if it was worse than Doyle’s torture when her phone beeped. It was a message from Hotch.
May have solved your problem. Can you meet a friend of mine tomorrow at 10am at the Café Victoire? He’s 100% trustworthy, I promise.
Emily swallowed, her fingers shaking. After a moment she texted back a yes and tried to settle back down to finish the film, her mind whirring.
The Café Victoire was quintessentially French. It was cosy and quaint and the coffee was good. Emily arrived an hour early, making sure to get a table at the back where she could see all the exits. By the time the tall man approached her table she was on her third cup of coffee.
“Are you Aaron’s friend?” he enquired in accented English. He had a soft voice and a laid back manner that put her almost at ease. Emily nodded and gestured to the seat in front of her. A waitress came over and he ordered a small white wine. Emily couldn’t help but chuckle. The man smiled back.
“You are still not used to wine in the morning?”
“Not so much” said Emily “Plus the coffee reminds me of home.” He nodded.
“I was in New York for work a number of years ago” he explained, “The coffee was amazing.”
“Hotch didn’t explain anything about who you are or why…” Emily wasn’t sure how to finish that sentence.
“Apologies, I wasn’t sure how much he explained. I’m Major Louis Daniel, of the Direction Centrale de la Police Judiciaire but I am hoping that will change soon.”
“How so?” asked Emily, her interest piqued.
“How much do you know about the ICC?” asked Major Daniel.
“The International Criminal Court? They prosecute war crimes don’t they?” said Emily with a frown. She couldn’t see where this conversation was going but she felt better already sitting there, talking with someone else in law enforcement. It was the first time in a long time she felt normal.
“They do” nodded Major Daniel as he wine arrived “I have an idea to form a task force that is based at the court and can specialise in cross border crimes. Michel Dorne, the chief prosecutor at the court is on side and we are hoping to get the idea off the ground.”
“I believe my mother worked with him a few years ago,” said Emily “He’s a good man but doesn’t Interpol deal with those sorts of crimes?”
“Yes but I hope a team of detectives and investigators from all over the Eurozone could be more direct and bring a different kind of expertise.”
“It sounds like a great idea but I don’t know how I can help,” said Emily “You know why I’m here right?” Major Daniel nodded but said nothing. “I’m still healing and there is a psychopath after me.”
“I know” Major Daniel’s voice was gentle “I am not here to put you in danger and I can’t offer you a space on the team though someone of your calibre would be invaluable.” Emily wasn’t sure how to feel. On the one hand she knew that would be the case but she couldn’t deny that she wanted a purpose, to be an agent again and to help people.
“So what do you need?” she asked, trying to shake off the disappointment she knew she shouldn’t feel.
“I would like to draw on your profiling skills,” said Major Daniel “Firstly as I select people to be on the team I would like your help vetting them, ascertaining their skills and identifying what role they could fill. After that I was hoping you could maybe consult on a case by case basis?”
It took every ounce of composure Emily had not to leap across the table right then and there. Instead she took a sip of her coffee and pretended to consider the offer.
“I do have a lot of spare time at the moment” she said with a small grin “And honestly I miss my work.”
“Is that a yes? We can take things at your pace, no pressure”
“That’s a yes Major”
“Fantastique! Now you need to have wine, we can’t toast with coffee,” grinned Major Daniel, waving the waitress back over. As they clinked their glasses Emily felt a glimmer of something familiar. It wasn’t quite home and it definitely wasn’t family but it was a sense that the nothingness was finally receding slightly.