The next two weeks passed by like a dream for Emily. There was another case, but there was always another case. There was always another sicko, and there was always another innocent person, whose life would be lost to someone’s sick perversion. The world didn’t change, but Emily had. She couldn’t explain it, she couldn’t put it into words if she even wanted to, but after the family annihilator case, something was different for her. Every second that she didn’t have to be at work or on a case, she visited Archie’s group home. She didn’t even know why she felt the need to visit him, morally she knew she wasn’t responsible for the child, but she couldn’t stand the idea that he had no one in the world who truly cared about him.
“Sorry i’m late! I had a coffee incident this morning.” Emily lied, rushing to take a seat at the round table. In reality, Archie had been gassy and had spit up on her shirt. “What did I miss?”
“Garcia just finished presenting the case. It’s a bad one so we need to hit the ground running, we’ll fill you in on the jet. Wheels up in twenty.” Hotch replied, dismissing the team. “Prentiss, can I speak with you for a second?” He asked after everyone else had trailed out of the room.
“Look, Hotch, I'm sorry I was late today, it won’t happen again.”
“I’m not too concerned about you being late. I’m more concerned with why you were late and why you decided to hide it. I know you’ve been visiting the baby from the Andrew's case. Why?” Hotch asked quizzically.
Emily sighed, “First of all, his name is Archie. Second, what I do off of company time is none of your business.
“You see, I disagree. What you do in your personal life has an affect on this team. I need to be sure that you can do this job impartially.”
“Hotch, are you seriously questioning my judgement?” Emily asked, irritated. She’d never given him a reason to question her judgement.
“After Elle Greenaway was shot, I didn’t want to seem as if I was coddling her. I wanted to give her space and time to deal with her trauma on her own. That was a mistake, a mistake that cost this team dearly. I don’t want to make the same mistake with you.”
“I’m not Greenaway!” Emily exclaimed. What was with people comparing her to other women. She wasn’t her mother, she wasn’t Elle Greenaway. She was Emily Prentiss. “Hotch, I promise you, i’m dealing with it okay? I visit Archie because the kid has no one, and I know what that feels like.” She admitted.
Hotch cast his eyes downward for a split second, before nodding. “Okay, but if you feel yourself not being able to deal with it, let me know, please. This team almost lost you once, we can’t go through losing you again.”
Emily nodded, “You have my word, sir.”
“Hey Cassie, how is everything going? Is Archie feeling better?” Emily whispered, in the kitchen area of the jet. So far only Hotch knew she visited Archie, she wanted to keep it that way.”
“He’s fine, like I said earlier, he was just a little gassy.” Cassie, the group home runner, said.
“I know, I know. I just know he had a cold last week, and I wanted to be sure that he was okay.” Emily replied, glancing towards the rest of the jet. “Has his social worker made any progress locating his relatives?”
“Unfortunately, no. Both of his parents were only children, his paternal grandmother is too sick to take him, and his other grandparents are dead. His social worker is looking into foster homes to place him in, but no one either has the means or the wants to take in a newborn.”
“Damn. It’s been two weeks, I'm starting to think he might never find a home.” Emily replied nervously picking at her fingernails. Her therapist would probably have a cow, but she was stressed.
“Actually, that’s what I wanted to talk to you about. How would you feel about taking him in? Even if it’s just temporary.”
Emily froze. She hadn’t expected that. She couldn’t take care of a child, let alone a baby. Hell, she couldn’t even take care of herself. “Cassie, i’m honored, seriously, but I don’t think i’m qualified to take care of Archie. I mean I work long hours, I'm single, and I’m not even a registered foster mom.”
“Emily, you work for the FBI, you have the funds, you have your mother, who is a diplomat, and you rescued Archie. You’re the only person who has consistently checked in on him. Everyday that you don’t work, you’re here with him, and even when you’re working you call to check in.” Cassie paused for a few seconds to see if Emily would respond, “Plus, the way you described your team let’s me know that you have a strong support system backing you. I know this might seem like a big ask, but could you atleast think about it?”
“I’ll give it some thought, but I, um, have to go, we’re landing.” Emily lied, quickly hanging up the phone.