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An Ounce of Blood, and a Pound of Friendship

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One week after Emily joins the BAU, her cousin Joan slides into the seat opposite her, steals a french fry, and says: "You didn't come to us first? I'm hurt, baby."

“You don't know the meaning of the word," Emily says, and steals half the french fry back. "Besides, after the whole being knocked up by Clyde thing, I thought it might be awkward.”

"Living in a glass house, as I do, I am unwilling to throw stones," Joan says primly, and steals a fistful of fries, and a slice of tomato.

"How is Arthur?"

"His wife's a bitch," Joan sighs, and eats the tomato.

According to all the family, Joan is the good cousin, the one Emily should imitate: good job, obedient daughter, actually comes home. One day, they are going to find out that she is just as deep in as Emily is, and Emily only hopes that she will be there, because she wants to see if Uncle Mark falls down and has a heart attack right there and then.

"No, seriously," Joan says through the tomato. "We'd have fucking loved you. You speak Arabic, Russian, French, German, Spanish, Italian-"

"Portugese," Emily agrees, "And it would be awkward, working with family."

"And failing to put into your personnel file that you have kids isn't? How are my darling godchildren, by the way?" Joan was there when Emily picked Declan up, and flew in three days after Ron was born, and she adores them, and spoils them hideously. Emily can’t decide whether she’s awaiting or dreading the day Ron realises that she can get almost anything out of Aunty Joan, because Joan has no concept of ‘age appropriate’. She gave Dec the unexpurgated Catullus for Christmas, for fuck’s sake, and Emily ended up forwarding all Dec’s queries to her. Her only reply was “Ha, ha, ha!”

"Thriving," Emily says drily. "Come round and see them."

"Can I bring Arthur?" Joan says, not wasting time with hedging.

"Yes," Emily says immediately, because she really wants to meet the man who can tempt her cousin Joan into sin. Joan's always been the good one of the Prentiss family, the Example, the way Emily's the black sheep. Confession regularly, Mass every Sunday...

Uncle Mark is going to shit a brick.

“We’ll fix a date,” Joan agrees, and smiles at her. “Will Clyde be around?”

“Clyde is in Kandahar. So, maybe yes, maybe no.” Emily has always been grateful that the relative she’s closest to has the same clearance level as well.

“Oh, yes, with Anderson,” Joan says immediately. “They should be back before the end of the fortnight, so Saturday the 18th?”

“Cases permitting,” Emily says.

“It’s always cases permitting. So, how is the infamous Agent Hotchner?”

“He distrusts me. Thinks I’m a plant.”

“Hurrah for Aunt Betsy,” Joan says. She’s never liked Emily’s mother: nothing personal, she’s Emily’s father’s niece, daughter of her-uncle-the-lawyer (as opposed to her aunt the Senator, and her father the head of the Fortune 500 company) so she’s never really met her, only known her when she blows in, fucks everything up, and blows out again.

Emily nods, and tries the burger. Morgan recommended it, and she thought it was worth a try, and the burger is good. She wouldn’t be willing to try the pasta, which looks sad, and a little crunchy, but the burgers will definitely be repeated.

The waitress comes over, eyeing Joan, who orders a caesar salad, and a glass of prosecco. Emily raises an eyebrow, and Joan grins.

“Afternoon off. Boss’s orders.”

“Have you been terrifying your minions again?”

“That’s the whole point of minions, isn’t it?”

Emily shakes her head, laughing, and drinks her orange juice. “I miss having minions.”

“If you worked for us,” Joan says, suddenly serious, “You would have minions. If you worked for anyone on the globe except for Erin Strauss, you would have minions. I don’t know why you went back to the FBI--”

“Because I am sick and fucking tired of hunting down terrorists, and it never fucking ends, like a hydra.”

“---so you hunt serial killers? And I saw the Guantanamo file, half the department saw the Guantanamo file. I think my supervisor and Siri Almgren are plotting to kidnap you.”

“It is, terrifyingly, a more regular life for raising the children with. I’m not likely to be called out of the country, they will always know where I am for contact purposes, and most days, I will be going desk work and getting out at five thirty to six.”

Joan’s prosecco arrives, and she takes a judicious sip. Emily eats some more burger.

“If you need help, you call me,” Joan says firmly, and Emily knows it’s as close as she’ll get to a benediction.