Summary: She can almost pretend that everything is as it was, as it’s meant to be.
Prompt: "The Last Time" for angst_bingo
Note: Season six spoilers. Also, I don't think Reid is actually schizophrenic on the show, but I was doing a song-shuffle meme, and this fit into that song, so I decided to play around with it.
It makes you sad but you can't fill the gaps
And I don't want to see you like this
- “I Don’t Want to See You Like This”, The Joy Formidable
Emily can see him from where she stands in the hallway, but he can’t see her. If she blocks out the nurses and doctors, if she tries not to feel the visitor’s pass clipped from her jacket, she can almost pretend that everything is as it was, as it’s meant to be.
He’s talking animatedly, his hands making sweeping gestures and his eyes alight with excitement. She imagines that he’s explaining some new physics trick he’d worked out, or telling a joke that only other triple PhDs would understand. She can almost hear his words stumbling over each other in his haste to get his thoughts out. She can almost imagine the way his voice raises and drops on certain words, can see the way he emphasizes his points by throwing his whole body into what he’s talking about.
But Reid’s words are aimed at someone who isn’t there, and that’s something she can’t ignore.
“Ma’am? Is everything okay?” A young nurse stands next to her with a clipboard, her red hair struggling loose of its ponytail.
“I…” Emily looks from the nurse to Reid, shaking her head. “How is he?”
The nurse gives her a sympathetic smile. “There are good days and bad days,” she says. “More bad days as time goes on, but that’s normal. You can sit with him, if you’d like? It would be good for him.”
Emily doesn’t know how to tell the nurse how incredibly bad for him it would be to see her. It’s like her words cut off somewhere between her brain and her mouth and she can’t begin to verbalize the guilt that she feels.
She knows this isn’t her fault. The last time that they’d had a real conversation, he’d told her about the headaches. She can remember his sad smile, his stubborn refusal to tell the others because he didn’t want to be babied—a resolve that broke shortly after her staged death, according to Morgan. Reid had been spiraling months before Doyle came back into her life, even longer before he thought she’d died. This isn’t her fault, but it takes a lot to convince herself.
The nurse glances at her name tag and mouths the name, looking back up at her with new confusion. “You’re Emily Prentiss?” she asks. “Agent Hotchner said that you…”
“It’s… It’s a long story.”
“He talks to you,” the nurse says, nodding to Reid. “Right now, it’s probably you that he’s talking to, or he thinks it’s you.”
Emily clenches her teeth because God she is not going to start crying in a room full of psychologists, but it’s hard. And she can’t do this. She can’t see him like this, can’t see her brilliant friend talking to ghosts, can’t see her guilt brought to life and played out in front of her.
She walks away. She’ll be back—she won’t be able to stop herself. But for now, she walks away.