Summary: Neal Caffrey has a surprise for his longtime girlfriend, Sara Ellis; her sister. Total AU.
Warnings: None. There are no spoiler alerts for either television shows.
"Where are we going," Sara Ellis, a tall insurance investigator, asked. Her shoulder length, straighten dyed red hair jolted as she walked blind down the Washington D.C. streets, a large cloth folded over her brown eyes, her longtime friend and mostly on-again boyfriend Neal Caffery guiding her along the unknown journey. The two had just gotten out of the hotel they had rented for the week, leaving the accompanying Peter Burke and his wife, Elizabeth, to do their own biding for the small vacation. Sara wore her favorite blue dress and black high heels that did nothing to help the ever present pain in her foot as they walked at an average pace. Her black purse added to her outfit, and her posh sunglasses sitting atop her head finished her style.
"I told you," he said, amusement in his smug, handsome tone, "it's a surprise." He wore a vintage black suit and light blue silk tie that were both slightly wrinkled from earlier activities. Sara could imagine his blue eyes dancing at her frustration. Their clearly earned and long overdue vacation was a celebration of sorts. It was Peter and Elizabeth's wedding anniversary later that week, and Neal had just finished his seventh year at the FBI. Her boyfriend had been a free man for over two years, yet their work had practically forbidden them from doing anything to celebrate it until now. She knew they were going somewhere important. Neal had told her to dress up, and she was almost sure he might propose to her later in the night. The couple had been going steady for over three years, and had often talked about marriage.
"Damn it, Neal," she said, brushing a free hand through her hair. She felt a need to look more than perfect for her surprise event. She wanted to remember the moment for the rest of her life.
The two walked side by side, their arms intertwined, her right wrapped into his left for several more minutes. She truly loved walking without the fear of Neal being arrested for strolling out of his set perimeter. Over two years and she still couldn't get used to the feeling. The two continued to walk for more than what seemed to be nine minutes, leaving Sara to wonder if they were coming close to their destination. She may look good, but her expensive, hand tailored outfit was not made for a long, walking day out on the town. Her feet had long begun to hurt.
"We're here," he told her after three more minutes. Instinctively, she grabbed for the blindfold, only to have Neal push away her hands. "Wait until we're inside," he insisted in a whisper. A minute later, she sat in a rather comfortable leather booth of what she believed to be a small, cozy restaurant. A radio played in the background. Wherever she was, it was not where she expected her boyfriend to take her. To surprise her even more, Neal sat down next to her.
"What are we doing here," she asked, more than entirely confused.
"Waiting," he answered with his normal, conning charm.
"Waiting for what," she asked in a tone that mocked Neal's own, feeling herself beginning to lose patience. She looked blindly towards her boyfriend with an annoyed expression, her thin eyebrows frowning at him.
"Waiting for who would be the better question," he said, taking a soft artistic hand to caress her long cheekbones.
"Your blindfold is going to ruin my makeup."
Neal kissed her, lovingly. "You'll be fine." He removed the cloth despite his words. It was a red bandana, she realized as he folded it into his pocket, and she was finally able see. They were, in fact, seated in a small dinner, booths lining the large windowed walls. Sara and Neal sat opposite of the door, a large window to her left. To Neal's right was a long counter that was practically the same length of the entire room.
The diner was packed with the D.C. lunch crowd, with only four women, three of average height and weight with differing coloring of hair and one smaller, heavier, young female to serve the entire place. The women all wore ill-fitting and matching light blue colored dresses that reached their knees. The largest of the four women was their waitress.
"I'm Rosanne," she informed the couple. "The lunch special today is the buffalo chicken wrap with fries and a drink. Here's the menu."
"Actually, Roseanne," Neal said in a dashing tone, blinking innocently with his ever bright blue eyes. Sara rolling his eyes at his antics. "Do you think we could have three menus? An…acquaintance should be joining us shortly."
"Of course, doll."
Minutes passed and Sara felt her heart beating faster than her normal pace. She was curious about the mysterious guest, and why Neal felt the need to bring the person on the first real vacation they've ever had together. Neither of the two had spoken since the kiss, and the silence began to smother Sara.
"Sorry I'm late," a woman who appeared seemingly out of nowhere said in kind voice. She collapsed into the booth before Sara could even think. In front of her sat a tall woman with broad shoulders and short, straighten brunette hair. She had thin eyebrows and a small forehead, with long cheekbones and nose. Her makeup, obviously not as well applied as Sara's own, highlighted the stranger's face nicely. She did not dress as stylishly as the insurance investigator, the other woman wearing a cheap store bought black button down and pants.
Sara blinked at the familiarity of the woman.
"My team just got off a case. We were all lucky enough to get the rest of the day off," she told them with a relaxed, educated smile. "Neal Caffery, was it," she asked as the two shook hands.
"Yes," he smiled, turning to Sara. "This is Emily Prentiss, she works for the FBI here in town for the Behavioral Analysis Unit."
Sara blinked a total of eight time in confusion. She stared deeply into the stranger's large, familiar brown eyes. Then, it hit her. She knew this woman. She had met hundreds of Emily's in her career and lifetime, and remembered each and every single one of them, but she only actually knew one of them; her older sister. Emily, the confused, angry teenager who ran away at the frighteningly young age of fourteen and never looked back. Her sister sat in front of her, with a large, knowing smile on her face.
"You grew up so much, Sara," she said kindly.
Neal put an arm around her numb shoulder. Her heart was beating fast, a cold sweat breaking out of her body. She didn't feel very hungry anymore. She suddenly didn't care if Neal would ever propose to her, or if he would to be arrested again, or if she didn't hit her aim mark with the firm. Her sister sat in front of her. The woman she hadn't seen since she herself was a young, needing child relying on her older sister for advice on clothing and boys and school and –
"Emily?" Her voice cracked. She hadn't heard from her sister in decades, though she thought of her daily. Anger and denial hit her system. Sara had thought she was dead for years, lost to the world and never to return. Yet, she sat calmly, elegantly, at the same booth as her. How many times had she longed for such a moment?
"I've missed you so much," she said, taking her hands from over the table. Unshed tears were in both women's eyes. "I see you've followed your dreams."
To have a successful career with a handsome prince charming who loved her for her intelligence rather than her looks. She had not thought of her ambitions in years. "And you…dyed your hair," Sara muttered in shock at the entirety of the situation and spoke without even considering a thought.
"Always a woman of fashion, I see," her sister said approvingly. Her sister. How Sara had once longed for the approving tone in her once gothic, angry teenage sister, who was now a sorta lady-like FBI investigator.
"Where have you been in the last twenty-eight years," Sara demanded, her voice shrieking. Neal squeezed her shoulder. She did not feel him, nor did she care. She had tunnel vision resting only on her sister.
"Ah – well – when mom found me, I was working to get through college –"
"Mom knew where you were since college?!" Another shock hit her system. What was going on today? Emotions traveled through her brain like a racecar track. How was she supposed to feel about the situation? Happy, angry, joyful, to find her lost sister? She ignored the voice in the back of her mind demanding she called her mother.
"I had already changed my name from Ellis. My rent was skyrocketing – I could barely pay for food, I sucked at my job – it just didn't look good. Then mom found me."
"Does dad know?"
"No! Mom…she wanted to pretend I didn't exist, all while keeping me safe. She said you were better off without me."
"She was wrong, Em. She had no clue what you leaving did to dad and I – we – we weren't the same for years. God, when I get ahold of mom," she said, shaking her head, feeling anger pour from her. Steam flood freely from her ears. Her mother had hid her sister's existent from her for years. Damn woman.
"Don't blame mom. I agreed with her. I – I was always a bad example on you, always creating trouble for dad. When you turned eighteen, you were going to college and you were already so successful, I didn't want to get you off track."
"What? No! I was miserable the entire time. I missed you, dad missed you. Home wasn't home! I moved to New York to get away from mom!"
"Mom loves you, Sara," Emily said just before her cell phone rang. "Prentiss. Yeah, I'll be right in." She looked to her sister apologetically. "We've got another case. I'm sorry," she told her, standing from the booth.
"Wait," Sara said, her body pushing Neal out of the way to stand up without her mind even thinking. All three of the adults stood in a circle, her boyfriend's arm once again on her shoulder. She felt panic at her sister leaving. "How am I going to get ahold of you again?"
"Here's my business card." Emily was going through her purse, grabbing the small square of paper within seconds. Sara followed her in suit. They traded cards, smiling sadly as they did so. "I'll try to finish this case before the end of the week. Maybe we could all have dinner again."
Sara hugged her, moving before her mind could catch up to her body's movements. She was doing that a lot lately. "It was so good to see you," she told her with truth. Her soul felt lighter than it had been in a number of years.
"You look so beautiful, Sara. I'm proud of you," Emily said, hugging her back. Both hesitated to retreat from the contact. Her older sister was the first to pull back. "I have to get back to work now."
"Bye, Emily." Sara had barley found her small, broken voice when she spoke, tears tracing her brown eyes.
"I'll see you before the end of the week," her sister told her before leaving the diner. "Call me tonight," she added from over her shoulder. Neal shifted her weight, setting her back into the booth. The lunch crowd had mostly all left along with Emily, the waitress standing to take their orders within minutes. Both members of the couple decided they would not be eating lunch. Two vanilla milkshakes sat on their table moments later.
"Thank you so much," Sara told her boyfriend, whipping her brown eyes with the back of her hands and leaning into his touch. "How on earth did you find her?"
"It was all Peter," he said, as if avoiding blame. "Well, mostly all Peter. The FBI database helped, too."
"God, I love you."
"I know," he told her with a kiss on the top of her forehead. "Do you want to go back to the hotel? Peter and El should be gone for another couple of hours…"
"You ruined the moment," she hissed without venom, slapping his chest with the back of her hand. He left cash on the table for eaten milkshakes, both standing over the table. Sara was supported by Neal, too emotionally drained from the last half an hour.
"You wound me," he said dramatically as they walked towards the door, Neal rubbing his chest. Once the two were three feet out of the doors, he kissed her passionately against the brick of the building.
"Save it for the room."
"I have a feeling you would rather have this now," he said with mischief, sinking to one knee, pulling a small velvet box from the inside of his perfect suit pocket.
"No," she whispered, placing her hands on her face at yet another shock for the day. Her heart raised. She wondered if it was possible to have a heart attack at a young age. She's had too many surprises in the last twenty-four hours.
"I hadn't even asked yet," he exclaimed, looking to her with wide, nervous blue eyes. It was the first time she had ever saw him sweat in public. "You're my other half, Sara. I love you."
"You're so cheesy."
"Let me finish."
"Neal," she said with a sigh. "We've dated for over half a decade; I'm going to say yes."
"Let me finish," he urged pressingly, his full eyebrows raising to his forehead. His suit was wrinkled at his kneeling position. His eyes were more dashing than she had ever saw them, twinkling in the afternoon light. "Sara Ellis…will you marry me?"
"Yes, Neal," she squealed happily, hugging him tightly when he stood up. The perfectly sized golden ring with one small, sparkling diamond was placed onto her left ring finger within seconds. He twirled her twice before his arms held her strongly against his chest, her own arms around his neck. People around them clapped. "You ass," she whispered into his ear. "You were planning this all along, weren't you?"
"I plead innocent," he smiled, the two sharing one last, long and loving kiss.
To anyone waiting for the NCIS and Criminal Minds crossover, Who's Your Daddy chapter three update, I promise it will be published on time. I just saw this little and sad plot bunny in my old laptop storage, and well…this just happened.
Please point out any errors and whatever I could do better on. I love all reviews and criticism.
Thank you for all of the future reviews and support,
The Reading Elf