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Between Birth and Death

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The case was solved sooner than Emily really wanted. Cassie had given her a week to decide if she wanted to apply to be Archie’s temporary foster-mother. The answer should’ve been simple, no. She had long hours and no support system, not to mention the fact that she was still dealing with the whole Doyle situation. She was in no position to take care of a child, even if it was only temporary. Or was she?

“What’s on your mind, Emily?” Her therapist asked.

“Hm? Oh, nothing.” Emily waved her hand dismissively. 

“Come on, you may be a profiler, but i’m a psychiatrist. It’s my job to know when people are lying to me. What’s up with you? Is it about a case?”

Emily lolled her head forward with a groan, “Kind of, but not really.” She really didn’t want to get into the whole Archie situation with her therapist, but her therapist wouldn’t let go that easily. “You know that case I had a while back, the unsub that killed two families?”

Her therapist nodded, “You were able to stop that man from killing a little baby boy.” 

Emily nodded wistfully, her therapist, Dr. Berkins, had made it her mission to remind her that she was a hero at all times, much to Emily’s annoyance. “Yeah...well we weren't able to save his parents, and child protective services have been having a tough time to find a family for him, so he’s been staying in a group home.”

“You’ve been checking in on him.”  Dr. Berkins stated accusingly.

“Why do you say that like it’s a bad thing? I thought you wanted me to make connections?” 

“I do.” She agreed, before giving Emily a pointed glare, “Healthy ones. I just want to be sure you’re not holding on to past demons.”

“I’m not. Do I feel guilty that I couldn’t save his parents? Yep, but I feel guilty for every victim I can’t save.”

“But you don’t keep in contact with the families of every victim who’s case you’ve worked, what’s so different about this one?” Berkins countered.

“He’s a two month old little boy who is totally alone.”

“And you know what that feels like.” Emily’s therapist finished. 

Emily nodded. Those seven months had felt like hell. Sure, she’d been able to play scrabble with JJ, but she’d grown so accustomed to Reid’s facts, Hotch’s frown, Garcia’s infectious laughter, and Rossi’s snark. “Yeah, I do know what that feels like.”

Dr. Berkins leaned forward in her chair, her face growing serious, “Emily, you are not alone. I know it may not have always seemed like it, but you’ve never been alone. You have your mother and your team, you are not alone.”

“I know, I know. It’s just sometimes I find myself back into that warehouse with Doyle and I-” Emily’s voice cracked, as she choked back tears. She didn’t want to cry about Doyle, she’d done enough of that. She took a few seconds to pull herself together.  “I just don’t want Archie to ever feel like I did.”

“His name is Archie? Is there more to the story that you haven’t told me?” Dr. Berkins asked softly. She knew better to dwell on the subject of Ian Doyle. If she pushed too hard Emily would shut down. 

“Nope.”

“Emily…”

“Fine. I’ve been spending sometime with him, just see how he’s doing.” Emily conceded. “Now can we move on?”

“I would’ve said yes if you hadn’t just gotten defensive, and you only get defensive when someone stumbles upon something you don’t want them to know. What are you hiding Emily Prentiss?” 

“You’re not going to move on until I tell you, are you?”

“No I am not.”

Emily groaned, “It’s nothing really. The owner of the group home where Archie has been staying, Cassie, suggested that I apply to become his temporary foster mother.”

Dr. Berkins was speechless, she had come to expect the unexpected with Emily Prentiss, but this was completely out there. “Wow. That’s definitely not nothing. When did she ask? What did you say? Do you even want kids?”

“This is why I didn’t mention it before. You want to analyze everything.”

“That’s my job, and yours too by the way. Also you’re deflecting, answer my questions. All of them.”

“She asked me four days ago, I didn’t give her an answer, and honestly? I don’t think I do.” Emily answered.

“You don’t think so or you know you don’t want kids?” Dr. Berkin inquired.

“Aren’t they the same thing?”

“No. People either know they want kids, know they don’t want kids, or they’re unsure. And by the fact that you didn’t give Cassie an answer, means that you either want kids or you don’t know. Which is it?”

“You know you’re kind of annoying.” Emily quipped.

“I get that a lot. Stop deflecting.” 

“I don’t know. On some level I want kids, but with my job and lack of love life, I just don’t see it happening, which is why I'm going to tell Cassie no.”

Dr. Berkins nodded, “That’s completely rational and a load of crap. You’ve obviously thought about having children and you came up with all of those reasons why it was a bad idea, yet you didn’t tell Cassie no. You want to say yes, but you don’t think you should and you want me to affirm that thought.”

“You know, you should become a profiler. One hour with you and the suspect will admit to kidnapping the Lambert kid.” 

“The FBI couldn’t afford me if they wanted to.” Berkins joked, “Emily I think you should say yes. You are both mentally and physically capable of caring for a child, there’s no reason you shouldn’t at least consider it.”