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Footsteps in a Snowstorm
By Kassandra Luem


It's been five months. Five months since she worked her last case at the BAU. Five months since she quit because she just couldn't take it anymore. Couldn't take the memories, couldn't take pretending everything was still the same when in truth nothing was the same anymore.

And so she left. Just upped and left, no word to anyone, no explanation, except for her resignation letter sitting on Hotch's desk. Somehow she feels like everbody knows anyway. Because these people are her friends. Were her friends. They were the people that really knew her and accepted and loved her the way she was. Her family. That's what they were to her.

And still, here she is, looking out the window at the Capitol, but the angle is slightly different from the one her former apartment had. Somehow she thinks she preferred the old view. But that doesn't matter, she tells herself as her hands wrap themselves even more tightly around the cup of coffee she holds in front of her chest, even though the black liquid has lost its warmth long ago.

It's been a cold day and she wouldn't be surprised if it started snowing one of these days.

Even as a child, she has always liked the snow, the way it covers everything, turning the whole world into a single, white blanket. And snow meant that maybe today mommy and daddy wouldn't have to leave for work. Because there was this one day, when she was eight, when a snow storm hit, a snow storm so severe they couldn't leave the house for two days. And even though she didn't really see her parents any more than she'd normally have, since they spent the whole day on the phone, her eight-year-old mind had come to associate snow with her parents being home.


Today, as a grown woman, she thinks that it's the purity that makes snow so appealing to her. Snow doesn't pretend, it doesn't struggle to be something else than it is.

Snow doesn't turn out to be something else than it seemed to be.

At this she sighs and locks her gaze even more firmly on the Capitol in front of her, silently pleading with herself to just not go there.

She thinks she likes the snow because it's just there in all its immaculate coldness, covering hurt, disappointment, fear and betrayal alike. Freezing the world until everything suddenly seems possible. Surrounded by snow that swallows every sound until everything one says has this certain, dull quality to it, all the rules normal life sets up suddenly don't seem to apply anymore. In this half-world of white and grayish brown, everything could happen.

And that's why she dreads the first snow far more than she's ever looked forward to it. Because this time snow won't remind her of chances to take, it'll remind her of lost chances. It'll remind her of Christmas spent without the people she really cares about. It'll remind her of the calls she never took, the cards she never wrote on birthdays, all the stories she never caught up on.

It'll remind her of her.

Of blue eyes sparkling in laughter, of golden hair, as crisp and clean as the first snowflakes melting in the palm of her hand. Of a smile, as bright and wide as the sun spreading over a glistening white plain covered in snow. Of touches, as warm and tender as the soft rays of heat radiating from the fire in the oven on a cold day in December.

It'll remind her of lingering glances and of casual touches, turning into so much more (at least for her, because prove says loudly and clearly that she never felt any of that).

So, yes, snow will forever remind her of the second the ground was pulled from right under her feet and the world started spinning off its axis. Snow will forever remind her of the determined gait with which she walked over to where he was standing without a backwards glance to her.

How she practically glowed in happiness as she told her she was pregnant. How she herself just knew her heart had died right then on the spot even though her mouth kept on smiling and congretulating. Snow will remind her of how her life ended when she announced she was getting married. Getting fricken married to that Southern boy that had just come along about five minutes ago.

Emily sighs again and leans her head against the window. It's cold against her forehead, even colder than she would've thought, but she welcomes the chill seeping through her. She wants to go back to her childhood days when some part of her still thought that it just had to snow and then her parents would be staying at home, her mother would tuck her in goodnight and maybe even tell her she loved her just before turning off the light.

If she still had that belief, maybe then she could hope. Could hope that the first snowflakes would bring not only bitter memories but a knock on her door, honey hair flowing ever so smoothly around a perfect face with blue eyes looking at her with that tender, soft expression she had been so sure she'd already seen directed at her.

Maybe then, she could believe that the first snow would bring perfect lips telling her "I love you" and strong, slender arms wrapping around her to replace the all-encompassing chill that had seeped deep into her bones, slowly freezing her up from the inside, ever since she saw all her dreams shatter right in front of her eyes.

But she's seen too much and she's lived for too long to still have that belief. And that's why Emily Prentiss just continues to stare out of the window as night slowly falls on Capitol's streets, the silence of her dark apartment becoming more and more deafening, more and more oppressive with every second.

The End

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