Spoilers: Lauren and in to Season 7 (some spoilers, but not all because I only know the big one)
Author's Notes: A long, long, LONG time ago, smacky30 won me in a fandom charity auction. I can't remember which one...it's been so long it may have been Help Pompei or Stop Atlantis From Sinking or something. She gave me a gorgeous prompt: Prentiss/Rossi and Brandi Carlile's The Story. I have just been suffering from horrendous writer's block. I suck, she's wonderful and this story is nowhere near good enough for her, but she's going to roast me on a stick if I don't post something for her soon.
This would never have seen the light of day if it weren't for microgirl8225 and wojelah. They are wonderful women, amazing cheerleaders and superlative betas. Though all mistakes are mine.
There's a coffee shop across from the church; he sits at one of the tables outside and watches. The twelve o'clock Mass is in full swing and even from this distance he can hear muted music from the pipe organ. He watches people pass by and tourists disembark from buses while he listens to the slow clop of giant Percherons pulling carriages while their drivers talk about Lafayette Square, the French émigrés who established the first parish at the end of the 18th century and how the spires of the church stretch over 200 feet in to the sky. He's just another tourist, admiring the cathedral, enjoying the sun and an espresso; if he's sitting with his back against the coffee shop and his eyes move over every person that approaches the church, nobody seems to notice.
The doors are thrown open and people, more than a trickle, but not quite a wave, exit the cathedral, probably exactly the right amount for a lunchtime Mass on a Friday at a church that is a major attraction in a tourist city. Some people stop to shake hands with the priest, others skirt the clergyman and the knot of people he's greeting. Dave waits and watches until the faithful have dispersed and the priest has gone back inside. Then he waits some more and he watches as more tourists enter the church in groups of twos, threes and fours.
He waits until the first tourists he'd seen go in to the church come out, three middle aged women gasping and babbling about the beauty of the church and dragging a lanky teenage girl behind them. As they stand waiting for their tour bus to arrive in the square to pick them up, he stands and makes his way across the street and up the church steps.
Anyone else would probably feel relatively safe in such a public place but this many years on the job have stripped away any illusions Dave ever had of there being any safe place. He thinks about Paul Collins dying in a church pew beside his wife and daughter. He gives an almost silent snort as he enters the sanctuary; Jimmy Davison would certainly find a good deal of irony in David Rossi dying in church.
As much reading as he's done on the building over the last few days nothing prepared him for his first view of the interior of the cathedral. The soaring arches and the marble underfoot are just a frame for the magnificent art of the stained glass windows and the carved wooden sculptures of the stations of the cross. He understands why so many articles and people online raved about the beauty of the cathedral and he thinks he might, at last, understand what the phrase "built to the glory of God" means.
But he's not a tourist. He's not sure exactly why he is here, but he knows it's not to admire the art and the architecture. As unobtrusively as possible he stands in the corner and lets his eyes sweep over the people who are here sightseeing. Maybe two dozen men and women milling around the church, heads tilted back, raptly absorbing the beauty around them, speaking in hushed tones in deference to the sacred space, all under the watchful eye of the elderly docent who is likely a volunteer from the parish. There are another dozen people scattered amongst the pews, some on kneeling benches, rosaries slipping through their fingers as their lips move in silent prayer, Hail Mary, full of grace. Our Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women.... Others sitting in silent contemplation, hands folded and heads bent. One or two appear to simply be resting as they sit with their heads tilted all the way back, studying ceilings, walls and windows.
Everyone, as far as he can tell, are exactly who they appear to be, tourist or penitent. Of course he's not exactly sure what he expected to see, but someone wanted him here. So, here he is.
He slides in to a pew to the right of the center aisle, roughly halfway between the font and the altar. He's not sure what he's feeling; he should be on high alert, but he's not. Truth be told, despite all of his careful observations of the buildings entrance and all of the tourists coming and going, he gave himself over to fate when he bought his plane ticket. There's a certain peace, here in this moment, in knowing whatever happens, he's done the best he can do and everything else is out of his hands.
It's fifteen minutes before he hears someone moving at the other end of the pew; he doesn't want to look, but all of that peace is gone as his heart suddenly begins pounding and his stomach is doing flips. When he feels someone sit beside him it takes all of his courage to turn his head.
His body doesn't seem to know what to do with the rush of emotion pushing it's way through his system. From a surprising emotional distance, his brain observes his body's response; it seems to be torn between throwing up or bursting in to tears. Though from the rushing in his ears, passing out may not be entirely off the menu. He swallows hard, blinks harder, then inhales, long and slow, through his nose.
She's dressed in jeans and a red t-shirt; she's thinner and her hair is shorter, but other than that, she looks the same. "You look pretty good for a dead woman." He tries for flip, but the shaking in his voice gives him away.
One of her eyebrows quirks and she gives him a half smile. "Really? Because you look like hell for a live man."
The bark of a laugh that escapes is short before he bites down on it, but it's enough of a disruption in the quiet space that a dozen people look their way. "God, Rossi, I had no idea you sucked so badly at stealth." She's making a joke but he can tell she's uncomfortable with the attention.
"Sorry," he says, voice significantly lower. He takes a minute, takes a breath, takes stock. He can feel his pulse beating in his ears, his throat is dry, and he's pretty sure his hands are trembling. Not reactions he's aware he's had in dreams; besides, he can smell the lingering incense from Mass and the scent of jasmine is just reaching his nose.
Slowly, so as not to startle (though he couldn't say who he was more afraid of startling, himself or Emily) he reaches out and touches her arm. The smile he gets in return is shaky.
Then, I must be dreaming.
He's had so many dreams where she's not dead, from the mundane "the hospital made a mistake" to
the more bizarre "she was dead, but the death reversed itself and she's alive and healing." He doesn't think this is a dream, it feels so real, but if it is, he knows he's going to be so heartbroken when he wakes.
A heart attack would not be out of the question at this point, he thinks as he slides his fingers down her arm, feeling her warm, soft skin beneath his fingertips. His hand slides over hers until he can thread his fingers with hers, palm to palm.
"Hi," he says at last, voice soft, the tremble lessened but not completely gone.
Emily, oh, God, it's really Emily, lets out a shaky breath of her own. "Hi."
Dave looks around, then quickly back to her, almost afraid she'll disappear. "Is there some place we can go? To talk?"
He's not a fool; just because she's revealed herself to him, he knows it doesn't make it safe for her to be out and about.
She nods, standing. "We can go to my hotel."
There's a donation box near the front door. Dave stuffs most of the money he has in his pocket into the slot with the silent, ever repeating prayer, Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Then they're out on the steps and the sun is glinting off of Emily's dark hair, shining on the glossy strands and he feels weak in the knees and he can't believe this isn't a dream.
She hands him a tour bus badge and he clips it on to his jacket; she lifts an eyebrow at him and
he realizes how out of place a jacket is here; he's not on a case. His smile is self-deprecating as he slips the jacket off and clips the badge to his shirt instead. Still, probably too formal, but better than before.
The sun is almost too bright; he feels as if he is, for the first time in his life, perfectly present in a moment. It's overwhelming, exhilarating and completely unnerving at the same time.
The bus stops in front of the church and several people get off, then he and Emily get on. He follows her down the aisle to the back of the bus, torn between looking around for suspicious people and not wanting to take his eyes off of Emily. At the rear of the bus is a bench seat that takes up the width of the vehicle. There's plenty of room, but he sits close anyway, against her side, thighs brushing. She doesn't look at him, just gives a tiny smile and leans in to him a little.
The tour bus driver sets up a running commentary as they pass various buildings and sites of interest, but Dave doesn't pay any attention; he just lets the prattle wash over him and sets these moments in to his memory, set in stone, in concrete, in granite. The way her thigh is pressed against his, the way he can feel the warmth of her leg through the twin layers of denim. The faint smell of jasmine and, God, yes, Emily. The way her chest and stomach rise and fall with each of her breaths; he concentrates and thinks if he could close his eyes and listen very hard, he might just be able to hear her as she inhales and exhales. But closing his eyes, taking his eyes off of her, even for an instant, is not an option.
The bus stops at several of the city squares and the riverfront. People get on the tour bus and people get off the tour bus, and David Rossi never takes his eyes off Emily Prentiss.
Finally, they reach what must be both the start and end point for the tour and Emily stands and
makes her way to the exit. The bus driver tells them to have a good day and Emily slips a folded bill in to his tip jar. They step down in to a parking lot and see a line of eager tourists ready to replace them on the circuit around Savannah.
Emily leads him to a non-descript rental car; when he's safely buckled in she pulls out in to traffic. "The hotel is just a few minutes away," she says, glancing at him. The look she gives him has a touch of both shyness and apprehension to it. He nods and doesn't say anything.
He doesn't know what to say. And if he did know what to say, he's fairly sure he wouldn't have the first clue how to say it.
I was drinking myself to death before the first postcard.
Why didn't you ask for help?
Why did you let me think you were dead?
Where have you been?
Are you okay?
But mostly, just...
I love you. I love you. I love you.
The hotel is a chain, appropriate for either business travelers or tourists, not too different than the kind of hotels they used to stay in when they were on the road with a case. The lobby is bright and gleaming; there are a few people scattered around but no one seems to pay any attention to them as they head for the elevators. A rather harried woman with a fussy toddler on one hip and a little girl of about six join them in the elevator. Emily pushes the button for the third floor and the little girl stands on her tiptoes in bright pink tennis shoes and pushes the button for the fifth floor.
With the exception of the occasional fretful complaint from the toddler, the ride is silent and awkward in the way that only short elevator rides with people you don't know and people you thought were dead can be. They exit the elevator and he follows her down a thickly carpeted hallway. He can feel her getting more tense, probably afraid of the silence and what it means; she probably thinks he's angry.
He's not. It might come later, but right now he's still in shock, still too stunned to even attempt small talk. He keeps catching himself reading signs and postings, even the brochure for the tour company he had picked up off the bus. Didn't Reid tell him once that human beings couldn't actually read in dreams, that you might know what something says, but you couldn't actually read in the dream? If he's reading, he's not dreaming.
She has a hard time getting the key card to work, her hands are shaking. He curves himself behind her and steadies her hand; he feels her nervousness dissipate as they open the door together.
He waits for her to throw the deadbolt and flip the security brace, but as soon as she turns around, he's crowding her up against the door, hands sliding in to her hair, feeling the soft strands against his fingers, some slipping through freely, some catching against his fingers before they fall.
Her face has gone from guarded to soft in a matter of seconds. "Dave," she starts, but he stops her, running his thumb across her bottom lip.
"I...I just need to touch you, okay? I dream..." He swallows. "Since Boston, I've been dreaming about you. I wake up ready to swear you're alive, I wake up with your voice in my head, so right now, I just need to touch you. Is that all right?"
Her eyes are wide and dark, but she nods.
"Thank you," he whispers, fingers stroking through her hair again.
He's surprised she hasn't bleached or colored it, but it's the same dark, rich color it's always been, only it's chin length now instead of brushing over her shoulders. Hooking the strands behind her right ear, he traces the ridges and waves of her ear with his index finger; he notes the tiny freckle on her earlobe and he wants to cry.
This is Emily's ear.
This is Emily's freckle.
He traces a finger over her eyebrow.
This is Emily's eyebrow.
His thumbs stroke across her cheeks.
This is Emily's face.
His hands cup her jaw, and he kisses her. Nothing passionate, just a simple press of mouths, so his lips can feel her lips and know these are Emily's lips.
He feels her hands come up, sliding up his chest, over his shoulders, one curving around his neck, the other cupping the back of his head, sliding through his hair. He feels the press of each finger against his neck, against his scalp. Emily's fingers.
When he's able to move his mouth away from hers, he rests his forehead against hers. His knees are weak and his hands are shaking and his heart is jumping and dipping.
Still he stands there with her, forehead to forehead, feeling the warmth radiating off of her, breathing her in, his hands against her face, her arms around his neck.
Finally, when he's afraid his knees are going to give out on him, he moves away from her just enough to be able to twine their fingers again.
She seems to understand he doesn't want to talk just yet, that words would be too much to process at this point and she doesn't speak either.
He's been in hundreds of permutations of this same room all over the country. The cream and sage patterned bedspread matches the drapes and the carpet is neutral. There's a kitchenette in the corner, better than the average for this type of place...better, actually, than the first apartment he'd had on his own. There's a desk and a couple of chairs and something that looks like a glorified ottoman that's probably supposed to be a settee and there is no way he is sitting on it. So, he leads her to the bed. He really has no intention of putting any distance between them, even as little as the space between two chairs.
He sits on the edge of the bed and tugs on her hand to get her to sit beside him. She gives a tiny laugh; such a light, careless sound and his heart jumps in response. Kicking off her shoes, she climbs on the mattress, not to sit beside him as he'd intended, but to stretch out in the middle.
When he cranes his neck to look at her, she's on her side, a small smile on her mouth. Mentally shrugging, he kicks off his boots and arranges himself against the pillows, with only enough space between them so that he can easily see her face. She flings an arm over his hip and he matches the movement.
He looks at her face and lets his gaze linger on everything he thought he'd never see again. The new haircut frames her face, somehow making her look smaller, more delicate. Her skin is the same, pale and soft. Her eyes are bright, with just a trace of anxiety and the lines at the corners of her eyes seem to be a little deeper than the last time he'd been this close to her. Without thinking, he raises his hand and with a light finger soothes over the lines, then he pulls her a little closer and sets his mouth to them, kisses soft and gentle against her skin.
She makes a sound, something between anguish and relief, then her hands are against his cheeks and she pulls his mouth to hers. Her lips are warm, opening against his with a breathy sigh.
His eyes close and he let's himself believe, let's himself fall in to the kiss.
Mouth on mouth, he finds himself relearning the tastes and the textures of Emily Prentiss. She tastes of mint and under that coffee. Some things never change, he thinks, then her tongue swipes against his and he stops thinking altogether.
She's pulling him closer as she kisses him and their bodies are pressed together; there's heat and pressure between them, though not nearly enough of either. Emily, thank God, seems to feel the same way since she breaks the kiss, sucking in breaths, and she begins unbuttoning his shirt. Once she has enough buttons free and enough air, she shoves her hands inside the shirt and presses her mouth to his again. The feel of her hands on his bare skin causes a sound he's never heard before to push itself up from the base of his throat and out against her lips. Her hands are hot and her mouth is hotter and he wants to taste and touch every bit of her.
Her mouth is moving against his like kissing him is water and she's been lost in the desert. She's greedy and thorough, and just a little bit frantic. He knows the feeling he thinks as he draws away from her mouth, both of them pulling in gasping breaths.
Making himself go slowly, he kisses across her face, gentle lips on her eyelids, the tip of her nose, one cheek, then the other. He lets his lips graze the corner of her mouth, then her lower lip. Her eyes are closed, but she smiles and pulls him a little closer. His fear of never having an erection again has been thoroughly banished in the last fifteen minutes and he gives a small groan at the increased contact and friction.
Emily, he thinks and the shock washes over him again. She's alive, here, with him, soft and warm under his hands. He draws back to look at her, struggling between the desire to stare at her forever and the need to kiss her again. He leans forward, eyes still open and swipes at her lower lip with his tongue. Her mouth opens a little and he feels the rush of her breath, but he concentrates entirely on her lower lip, the plump curve of the outside, the wet heat of the inside.
He lets his eyes slide closed as her mouth opens, but he doesn't move further than her upper lip. He lets the tip of his tongue trace lightly against her and concentrates on the feeling; the texture of the outer lip, the smooth, slick skin of the inner lip. He breathes in the scent of her, and lets his hands slide through her hair. He cups the back of her skull with one hand and glides the other one down to her neck, deliberately searching for the pulse point there. He feels it there, under his thumb, the steady thump of her heart.
He runs his tongue against her teeth and against her tongue. It's deliberate and it's slow and he can feel her beneath him, muscles bunching, body arching. He moves his leg between hers and she immediately presses against him; he smiles against her mouth and kisses her more deeply, thoroughly tasting her and she's kissing him back, open and eager, hot and dirty. She shifts under him, pressing up hard against his leg and moves her mouth away from his. "Jesus, Dave, touch me."
Biting back a laugh, he kisses her neck. He's pretty sure a dream Emily wouldn't be nearly as demanding as the real Emily. Kissing her ear, then gliding his tongue around the ridges, he slides his hands down her arms, moving from the skin-warmed material of her t-shirt to the actual skin of her arms. His touch is light at first and she makes a whining sound in the back of her throat so that he chuckles as he sucks her earlobe in to his mouth. He smoothes back up her arms with just a little more pressure and Emily makes an impatient noise, twists and grabs his hand, pressing it against her breast. He laughs aloud and rubs his thumb over the hardened nipple he can feel even through the layers of her t-shirt and bra.
"God." She throws her head back and he is briefly distracted by the long line of her neck. "Harder." Despite what every superior officer and boss he's ever had might think, there are some orders he can follow. He cups her breast in his palm and presses. Emily hisses out some gratified noise, but he knows it's not enough. He needs to feel her skin under his hands, feel the pebbled nipple under his fingers, to touch it with his tongue, to take it in to his mouth.
He pushes the hem of her t-shirt up and goes to pull the shirt off, when he feels her tense against him. For a minute he wonders if he's read this wrong, because Emily isn't shy in bed, she isn't hesitant and she doesn't tense up at the thought of taking off her shirt. But even though this is Emily, his Emily, she's been through things he hasn't been a part of. He draws back a little and looks at her. "Everything okay?"
There's a high flush on her cheeks that has nothing to do with arousal and it takes her a bit to meet his look. When she does there's something in her eyes, something a little like fear or shame and he feels a little clench in his stomach wondering what else he doesn't know.
Silently, she takes his hand and pulls it across her stomach until he can feel the raised skin of a scar.
Emily Prentiss has a body that, in his opinion, could rival a supermodel. She's got long legs and a small waist and a perfectly proportioned chest. He's spent a lot of time familiarizing himself with every square inch of her porcelain skin. Now, he can feel the ridge of a considerable mark on that perfect landscape and he understands. "Hey," he says, looking into her eyes, "it's okay."
She swallows hard and shakes her head, not meeting his eyes. "It's ugly; it's awful."
Dave moves his hands up to cup her cheeks. "Hey," he repeats. "Listen to me. Listen." When she finally looks at him, he strokes his thumbs across her cheeks. "The alternative to this scar is you rotting in a casket that I helped carry." He's trying to speak gently but even he can hear the rough around the edges of his voice. "Up until an hour ago, that's what I thought was going on. Just so you know, I'm all kinds of grateful for that scar. I'd take a dozen more if it means you're alive. Hell, I'd take a thousand more."
Emily looks half moved and half doubtful until he pulls her into a sitting position and without warning or permission, brings her t-shirt over her head. She makes a noise of protest that somehow ends in a watery laugh as she pulls her head free of the cotton garment. The sleek hairstyle is shot to Hell, wisps falling across her eyes and cheeks, but Dave isn't paying attention anymore. Instead, he tugs on her hips until she's flat again, her legs on either side of his hips. She struggles against the mattress and comes up on her elbows as he bows over her, setting his mouth to the raised skin on her stomach.
It's not a small scar, and it's still pink. He can easily imagine how red and angry it must have looked just after her surgery. But he can also tell the surgeon did a good job and it will fade with time. It won't ever completely disappear, but given time it will get smaller, it will stand out less against the plane of her stomach.
At this point, he doesn't care if it flashed neon profanity at him for the rest of his life. Right now he's so overwhelmed and amazed to have Emily under his hands and under his mouth, he's willing to build a monument to the most beautiful scar he's ever seen.
He kisses the length of it, then he traces each side of it with his tongue. Emily protests with a weak "Dave," but he doesn't stop. He keeps kissing, he keeps licking, until he feels her relax under his lips, until he feels her body unclench and sink into the bed. Then he moves to other areas, relearning the taste of Emily's skin. He kisses his way across her stomach as he pops the button on her jeans and slides the zipper down. Mouthing at her hipbone, he breathes in, the slightly salty tang of skin and beneath that the smell of arousal. He kisses his way up her side, despite her shrieking giggles and protests of "Tickles!" until he reaches her bra clad breasts.
Despite orders, he knows they've all looked at the medical reports, so he's expecting to see the shamrock brand on her left breast, but there's only a small patch of skin that's redder than the rest surrounding it and he knows she's had some sort of plastic surgery. It looks a bit tender still, so he aims his mouth lower, kissing across the tops of her breasts with slow deliberation.
Her hands are fluttering around his head as if she's not quite sure where she should touch him or even if she should. Finally, her hands settle against his shoulders with a gentle pressure, urging him closer as she arches and sighs under his mouth. It may have been several months since he's used the skill, but he's still able to multi-task enough to simultaneously lick at the exposed skin between her breasts, apply a little pressure between her legs with his thigh and unhook her bra with one hand. When he pulls the skin-warmed material away from her chest and slides it off her arms though, he becomes singularly focused on her breasts. Paying close attention to the way she feels under his hands and mouth, he cups her left breast in his palm, thumb rubbing across her nipple as he kisses the curve of it. He tells himself to remember, remember all of it, the way she tastes, the way she smells, the soft skin under his mouth and the pebbling flesh under his thumb, the little tiny gasps she gives with each exhale, the needy sound she makes at the light pinch to her nipple.
He remembers the last time they'd been alone, just a few minutes together in the elevator at the BAU. He'd been concerned about her, how tired she seemed, how stressed. They'd been working back-to-back cases and they hadn't had any time together in weeks. He'd suggested she take a vacation; what he'd really been asking was if she'd like to go away with him. He'd remembered thinking he'd love to take her somewhere sunny and laze around for a week or more, what it would be like to set his mouth to her skin when they weren't waiting for the next psychopath to disrupt a night or a weekend. If he'd known that was the last time they'd be alone, he would have done everything he could to remember the way she looked, the way she smelled, he would have abandoned their rules about no personal contact at work and he'd have held her hand, touched her face, kissed her.
While he has no intention of ever letting her go again, these past months without her have been an excruciating reminder about not taking anything for granted. So he's setting every sight, scent and sensation into his mind.
"Dave," she groans, pressing her hands in to his shoulders.
Smiling against her skin, he massages her breast and she arches. "Dave," she complains again so, he finally gives her what she wants and takes her nipple in to his mouth. He doesn't recognize the noise she makes, but it's pretty clear from the way she's simultaneously trying to pull his mouth closer and push his shirt off that at least as far as Emily's concerned there needs to be a whole lot more bodily contact.
He ignores her attempts to undress him and pays intimate attention to every millimeter of skin on her left breast, massaging and pressing, licking and sucking. Then he does the same to her right breast. Beneath him, Emily alternately writhes and curses. "Damnit, Rossi, get your clothes off."
He wants to; he's hard and she's hot and the thought of driving in to her makes him rub against her. But he's not throwing this experience away, not for anything, so he keeps his hands and mouth moving across her skin. Still when he manages to move away from her breasts enough to tug at the sides of her jeans, she won't let him pull them off until he allows her to remove his shirt. Her jeans aren't clear of her feet before she's working on his belt, the clink of the buckle and their excited breathing the only sounds in the room.
It may have been months since they've had sex, but he hasn't forgotten how determined she can be so he lets her undo the belt and divest him of his jeans. Then it's skin on skin and Emily's big wide eyes and he has to remind himself he wanted to take this slow. She's tugging him down on top of her and he allows himself to fall between her spread thighs. She's reaching for his cock, but he bats her hand away and slides his hand over her, tracing the outer lips of her sex in a slow swipe that makes her eyes close and her hands fall to the covers. He bends to kiss her, open mouthed, hot and dirty, as he strokes lightly against her and she opens to him in clear invitation.
His tongue is stroking against hers, his chest pressing in to her breasts as he slides two fingers up in to her. She's wet and warm and just a little bit frantic as he glances his thumb over her clit. He can feel her moving against him, straining to get more pressure on her clit as he begins fucking her with his fingers. The rhythm he sets is deliberate, not too slow, just enough to have her whimpering in the back of her throat with each glancing touch to her clit. She's getting wetter with every stroke of his fingers into and out of her. When he curls them in just the way he knows she likes and finally lets his thumb press into her clit, her body bows.
"God, Dave, god." She's practically sobbing. "Please, please, God, please."
Continuing to finger fuck her, he uses his thumb to circle her clit, applying pressure and a matching rhythm to his fingers. He can feel her muscles beginning to ripple and her breath starting to hitch and he knows she's close. Balancing carefully on his knees, he keeps his fingers moving as he bows over her and sucks her nipple in to his mouth.
He wouldn't technically call it a scream, because Emily is not a screamer, but the sound she makes as she comes is the loudest thing he's ever heard from her. Absorbing every shuddering shock wave, he rides the orgasm out with her, against her, his cock pressed between them, his fingers inside her, his mouth on her.
As she shudders through the last waves, he gentles his hands and changes the suction of his mouth to tender kisses. She's not breathing so much as she is sucking in air and he can feel a light film of sweat on her skin; he feels fairly confident that it was a rather intense orgasm. Emily has always required a recovery period between orgasms, the more intense it is, the longer she usually takes to come back into the moment. So, he's genuinely surprised to see her eyes open when he moves to kiss her face. He's even more surprised to find himself flipped on to his back with Emily straddling him.
She's still breathing hard but the way she cants her hips against him is a clear indicator she's looking for pressure and ready to begin round two. That, of course, is fine with him.
The look on her face is a little wild but her hands are surprisingly slow and gentle as she runs her palms up his arms, to his shoulders. Her touch is tender, almost reverent and he finds his eyes are stinging. Leaning forward, she fits her mouth against his. Bringing one hand up, he slides a hand in to her hair, cupping her skull, and kisses her with abandon. Her hands are smoothing over his shoulders and arms; he closes his eyes, letting sensation overtake him, letting Emily lead him.
If the world ended right now, Dave thinks, he'd be okay with that. Here in this hotel room with Emily, the feel of her hands against his skin, the feel of her breasts against his chest, her lips against his. She keeps kissing him, over and over, lips and tongue and teeth. Gentle, playful, then hungry, then demanding, until her hips are starting to make little jerky movements against his and she's making needy sounds against his mouth. He wraps his arms around her, preparing to roll them again, but she sits up and takes his cock in hand.
Her eyes are glazed and her hair is wild, her lips are red and swollen from kissing and she is the most gorgeous thing he has ever seen and he never wants to stop looking at her. But when she starts stroking his cock he has to close his eyes, there's just no way to fight it.
Emily has always had a way of touching him that makes him fight between fully falling in to the feeling and reminding himself not to get so caught up in it that he lets go too soon. He's fifty-five years old and when she has her hands on his cock he feels more like he's fifteen.
He draws a long breath in through his nose and lets himself feel everything, the pressure of each of her fingers, the smooth expanse of her palm, glide of her skin against his cock. She's moving with her hand, the long deliberate strokes echoed by the bounce of her ass against his thighs.
Finally gathering enough strength, he opens his eyes and looks at her; she's watching him, eyes half open, but gaze shifting back and forth between his face and his hard-on in her hand. Feeling the muscles in his stomach start to tighten, he reaches out his hands, one cupping her breast, the other cupping her pussy.
"Fuck," she hisses, her head falling back. "Fuck." Then, never breaking the rhythm of her strokes, she rises onto her knees and positions her body over him until his cock is brushing against her wet folds. She sinks down on to him, moving her hips as she lowers herself, until she's completely impaled on him. Chest heaving, eyes wide, she holds there without moving. Damn good thing, too, because now that he's inside her, he's about one hip wiggle away from shooting his load. He'd forgotten how tight she is and dear God, he don't think he's ever felt anyone so wet.
They're both still, listening to each other breathe.
He can't believe he's here, in some anonymous hotel room, balls deep inside a woman he'd thought was dead up until an hour ago.
He's never felt more alive.
Something must show on his face, because Emily gives him a trembling, tentative smile. He raises up as much as he can and wraps his hand around the back of her neck. "C'mere," he murmurs and pulls her down for a kiss.
The change in position makes them groan against each others mouth and what had been a tender salute becomes a kiss that borders on obscene. It's sloppy and hot and when Emily moves her hips, he's pretty sure the top of his head is about to come off. But he doesn't have the attention span to worry about anything so mundane as the structural integrity of his skull, because Emily is rolling her hips with his cock inside her, and he really doesn't care what happens beyond this moment.
She sits up and thrusts against him, and he's not sure if she's fucking him or fucking herself on him and he doesn't care. All he cares about is the way she feels around him, wet and tight and so fucking good, he's not sure he's going to remain sane. She's riding him now in a steady rhythm, hips rising up then pushing down, gripping and sliding down the length of his cock, her breasts bouncing with every move. Her eyes are glassy and she increases the speed of her hips, skin slapping wetly against skin with every down-thrust. He slides his hands over her breasts and lightly pinches her nipples, which only causes her to move faster. Faster, he thinks, is good, because he doesn't know how much longer he can last. Everything is tightening up, his stomach, his thighs, his ass, his balls. Every nerve ending is chanting in voices of fire, come, come, come and he wants to answer, he does. He slips one hand down and delves against her, trying to touch her clit.
"No," she pants, pushing away from his hand. "This." She leans over him, grinding against him hard. "Just this." She entwines their fingers and begins fucking him, hard and fast, pressing her clit against his pelvic bone, her inner muscles rippling against his cock. He arches, fucking up in to her as her hips drive down against his.
"Come," she orders. "Come. Come with me." He groans and arches again, ready to let go. She bears down again, moving her hips frantically and he thrusts up in to and they're both moving hard and fast, hands clasped, bodies connected. There's no technique, no finesse; it's animal, it's instinct. It's so fucking good; they're moving against each other and he feels her start to come around him and then he's gone, thrusting up in short, sloppy strokes as his cock spasms. It feels as though every muscle in his body is releasing after being tightly contracted. It feels a little like he's been turned inside out, every nerve ending sizzling with fire and ice. He comes for what feels like a week. He comes with a strangled noise rising from his throat and tears leaking from his eyes.
He's gasping for air, yet, oddly, feels as though he's finally able to breathe again.
"I really did have surgery in Boston; it was evidently a pretty elaborate charade faking my death on the table. But---" she shakes her head as if trying to shake something loose. They've managed to rearrange enough to get under the covers, though they'd tossed the comforter on the floor since they'd made quite a mess of it. Her head is pillowed on his shoulder and he's drawing wide, slow circles on the skin of her back. "---I don't remember any of it. I remember the warehouse, but things get fuzzy after that. I remember being moved, riding in an ambulance, but I'm not sure if that was before the surgery or after. All these people talking around me, but nobody talking to me."
He squeezes her shoulder and tries to imagine how it must have felt, reminds himself how close she came to actually dying when feels the surge of anger over his anguish at hearing she was dead.
"Then nobody talking but engine noise and I opened my eyes and Clyde was there and I realized I was on a plane before I passed out again. Then, I woke up in an army hospital in Germany. My mother was there."
He makes a small noise of acknowledgment. The Ambassador hadn't been at Emily's funeral; she'd made the arrangements, but according to Hotch she had been too distraught to travel.
"It was a week, maybe a little longer, after...I was hurt."
He presses a kiss to her hair, holding her through whatever memory is making her pause. There's a bitter taste in his mouth that he didn't get to be there with her when she was hurt, when she was recovering. After a minute, he hears her swallow and she continues, "She told me what had been done." He feels what must be a one shouldered shrug. "Clyde had convinced them that if Doyle wasn't dead, then I had to be. It was the only way I could live and the only way the team would be safe."
Her hair bunches and rubs against his skin as she tilts her head up; it's not exactly the best position for eye contact, but he's able to see enough to make it worth not moving. "When I found out you thought I was dead...Clyde said if they'd known about us beforehand they could have---" She appears to be searching for a word, but then she makes a face. "---You could have been in on it? But by then they said it was too risky to let anyone else know."
His hand stills. "Anyone else? Who else knew?"
There must be something in his voice, because she rises up on her elbow to be able to look at him fully. "You sound pissed."
"I've been drowning in Scotch and self-pity for the past six months." His voice is sharp and there is nothing but anger in the tone. "You bet your ass I'm pissed that somebody knew and didn't tell me."
Her mouth turns down; not in answering anger but, it seems, in dismay. "They were sworn..."
"Who are 'they'?"
She shifts and pulls the sheet up to cover her breasts as she moves in to a sitting position. "My mother. Clyde."
Defensive position, he thinks and pushes. "Maybe on that end, but there had to be some significant strings pulled on this side of the Atlantic to pull this off before it ever got that far. Who else?"
"Only those necessary to pull the whole thing off." She pushes her hair back from her face. "It wasn't just about me."
"I know that, Emily." He's trying to be reasonable but he can hear the aggression in his own voice. Don't be an asshole, the reasonable part of his brain pleads. Sadly, he's never been very good about listening to that part of his brain. "It was always about protecting the team." Pushing himself up, he moves to rest against the headboard. "But I'm fairly capable of protecting myself."
"What about Jack? Or Henry? Or Diana Reid? Or your sisters' families?" The color is high in her cheeks, her voice is starting to rise and she's starting to drawl in the way she does when she is beyond pissed off. "Are you capable of protecting them, too? All at once? Do you know what Ian Doyle would do if he knew I was alive? If he thought any of you were standing between him and me?"
"Henry." He pounces. "You said Henry. JJ's not on the team any more."
"She's one of my best friends." If it were anyone else, they might not have known she was deflecting. "Trust me, there was very little he didn't know." Her shoulders hunch and her voice cracks. "I'm still not sure how he didn't know about us."
"You avoiding me for weeks probably helped." Until he hears the bitterness, he doesn't realize how much that had hurt.
Emily blows out a breath. "Dave...I didn't...I should have fought harder to get them to tell you as soon as I woke up." Her fingers are tangled in the sheet and she looks stricken and guilty.
There's so much he wants to say, so much he wants to ask. He wants to yell at her for not trusting him, he wants to shake answers about who else knows out of her, he wants to question everything about their relationship, but at the look on her face, it all fades away.
She didn't have to let you know she was alive now. But she did. Thank God, she did.
It's that thought that has him reach out to her; his hand touches her arm, fingers curling lightly against her bicep, skin warm and alive under his palm.
"Em." His own voice cracks. "C'mere." He tugs gently and she comes easily, folding herself against him, molding herself against his side as his arms go around her.
They're quiet for awhile, pressing against each other, sunlight sneaking in to the darkened room through the cracks in the heavy hotel curtains. He closes his eyes and listens to her breath, feels the steady rise and fall of her chest against him.
It's not an irrational thought or a foolish hope. It's a fact. She's alive, here, pressed against him, breathing the same air he's breathing.
Finally, he clears his throat. "It's a lot to process."
He feels a short, sharp nod against his shoulder. "I know." Her lips press against his skin. "I understand." There's pain and sadness and regret in her tone.
"Hey." He moves, maneuvering down in a half jerky, half sliding movement. "It's a good thing."
Her eyes are damp and her lashes are spiked with tears. "I want it to be."
"God, Emily." He presses a kiss to her mouth a little frantically. "There's never been anything better."
She looks as if she doubts him and he wonders at what makes her hesitant to believe her lover isn't happy to know she's alive.
Pulling her as close as he can and still see her face, he cups her jaw, stroking his thumb across her cheek. "Emily." He searches for words. "I know...I know we started out saying no strings, but I..." The right words don't seem to exist. There are others he could use, of course, but they all seem too trite, too ordinary and he's said them to other women before. He wants new words for Emily, a new way to say how much he's feeling, to let her know it's more than he's ever felt before.
He breathes deeply and tries again. "It was always more than I pretended it was; maybe I didn't realize how much more until you...until I lost you, but it's more than we agreed to." Her lip is trembling and she's looking at his face but not meeting his eyes. "Hey." He tilts her chin and gets her to look at him and he tells her the truth. "It's more than I've ever felt for anyone."
Her lip trembles shakes and he lets his thumb graze against it. "I imagine I'll have a lot of processing to do and yeah, I'll probably be pissed off about six months of Hell, but it will never, ever mean I'm not grateful that it means you're alive. Okay?"
Emily blinks and a tear overflows and rolls down her cheek as she nods. "Yeah." She sniffs and nods again. "Yeah."
"Good." He swipes at another tear and kisses away another. Knowing full well she hates to cry normally, he'd ignore her tears to let her save face, but today he's pretty close to tears himself and really there's no reason to hide anything from each other any more.
"I love you," she chokes out and presses into him.
He doesn't answer, just fits his mouth to hers and puts all of his feeling in to kissing her.
It's dark by the time they come up for air and he's pissed off again.
"You can't just come back from the dead for a weekend," he snarls at her reflection in the mirror.
"The same problem exists that existed before," she raises an eyebrow at him as she dabs at her face with some sort of sponge thing. "You knowing I'm alive doesn't change that."
She's right, but it doesn't piss him off any less. "I could..." he begins, but she shakes her head.
"This is enough of a risk." It ticks him off that she shoots him down before he's even had the chance to offer; it ticks him off even more that she's right about this, too. If Ian Doyle is still watching the BAU, any sudden change will throw up red flags.
There's a real temptation to argue, but he knows it would be useless. Besides, she's had longer to think about this than he has. He also doesn't want to press her so much she disappears again and this time, stays gone. His stomach tightens at the thought of it.
He watches her stroke a red lipstick against her mouth and finds his irritation lessening; it's hard to believe he'd worried about never being hard again. He feels like he's been nothing but varying states of hard since they closed themselves in to this hotel room. He's already fucked her twice and he's hoping for round three when they come back from dinner.
"Somewhere crowded," she says. "Touristy."
On the recommendation of the desk clerk, they end up at a restaurant that's really a series of shacks and sprawling patios thrown up along four acres at the waters edge on Tybee Island just south of Savannah. There's a gift shop, an aviary with tropical birds and a man-made swamp where tourists can feed the alligators with fishing poles (exorbitantly priced chunks of something that Rossi strongly suspects is dog food). The decor is tacky and the atmosphere is festive, the food is amazing and under the strings of lights criss-crossing the deck where they're seated, Emily Prentiss is utterly gorgeous. He's not sure he's ever been happier.
"Tell me," she says, sliding her fingers through the condensation beading on her wine glass. "How is everyone?"
He takes a sip of his beer, because really no amount of really good seafood is going to get him to drink a wine with no more distinction than "white" or "red". He knows he's a snob, but this is more of a beer place anyway. He contemplates that for a minute as he idly rearranges the condiments in the center of the table.
"It's been hard," he allows. "On everyone." An expression of discomfort shifts across her face and he holds up a hand. "Don't. No matter what we've been through, I know everyone of them would say they'd rather it be this way, if it was the only way to keep you alive and safe."
Still, she worries her bottom lip with her teeth. "I hope you're right. Because if the positions were reversed, I'm not sure I'd be as understanding."
"You would be." He quirks a grin at her. "You'd be pissed off, but you'd understand."
Emily gives a little laugh and grabs his hand. Her expression eases and her tone is a little bit lighter. "I hope, if I'm able to get back there, eventually, that they'll find a way to forgive me."
"They will," he says softly. The range of emotions he's experienced over the past ten hours should be enough of a warning against making such promises when it comes to things so volatile as emotions. He knows he's still got quite a range to go through; but now that he knows their time together is limited, he's not going to waste it being angry with her. He's perfectly capable of processing that when time is not quite so precious of a commodity.
"I hope so." She takes a sip of her wine and gives him a smile.
Moving his chair a little closer to hers, he leans in. "When do you think that will be?"
She shrugs and doesn't meet his eyes. "No idea. Doyle is still out there. Clyde has people tracking him."
"He's in Alaska," Rossi says bluntly.
Emily gives him a shocked look. "I know. How do you know?"
He allows a small smile to touch his mouth. "How do you think?"
Closing her eyes, she shakes her head. "Garcia." Her eyelids raise and she squeezes his hand. "She shouldn't be tracking him."
He quirks an eyebrow at her. "Have you ever known Penelope Garcia to shy away from anything she shouldn't do?"
The snort she gives is inelegant and full of understanding. "Good point." Sobering, she spears him with a serious look. "Make sure she doesn't do anything stupid, okay?"
Shrugging, he makes a helpless gesture. "Not sure if I would even know what that is at this point." He motions to the waitress for another beer. "But I will do what I can."
"No, really, Dave. Even knowing where he is is dangerous; he's not a fool." Her look is earnest and and her voice is sincere and it sort of makes him want to punch the nearest wall.
"Neither am I." It comes out as a snarl and he sees her head go back, so he makes himself take a deep breath of the salty air before he adds, much more calmly, "Neither is Garcia."
"Dave---" she starts, a little sharp, but he holds up a hand.
"I get it. I get it. He's a criminal mastermind and you know him---" He starts to say intimately, but even he knows he can't play that off without starting an out and out brawl and that's not what he wants. He wants her to be safe, he wants her not to disappear again, he wants her to come home. "---Better than anyone. I am not arguing that; I know he's smart and I know he's dangerous; all the more reason to keep tabs on his whereabouts."
While better than anyone was the better choice in his mind, he still sees her mouth tighten at the words, tiny creases in her lips and lines bracketing her mouth, as if she could read his original thought and is debating the merits of kicking his sorry ass.
He heaves out a breath and says a quick prayer for patience. "Look. I get that you're scared for us, probably more than you are for yourself. But Garcia doesn't know you're alive." Neither did he this morning and he's doing his best to remember to be grateful she's alive instead of pissed off about his own pain. "Garcia is doing what Garcia does. If he really is as thorough and smart as everyone says, then can you imagine a bigger red flag than Garcia not tracking him?"
Even before they became lovers, it was not a common occurence for him to think of something Emily Prentiss had not already covered. Rare as it was before, recently he'd thought the sensation was extinct, so he lets himself feel every ounce of satisfaction when her eyes widen with realization and her mouth rounds to give voice to a soft, "Oh."
He savors it until the waitress slides into the space between them to pour his beer. When Emily refuses another glass of wine and the waitress saunters away, Emily leans forward. "The supposition is he's going to cross to Russia and regroup there."
Dave wipes at his mouth with a cheap paper towel, torn from the roll in the middle of their table. "The question I have is, if they know where he is, why haven't they done something to either arrest him or take him out."
Sighing, she pushes her plate away. "They're fairly sure he's going to revive some old contacts when he crosses. It might be a chance for them to stop the flow of weapons to quite a few terrorist cells."
Frowning, he crumples the paper towel and drops it on his plate. "It's not enough that he killed all those people in DC? Families? Kids? They're going to let him run loose? For intel?"
Emily gives him a look; he's sure it's one she learned on the Ambassador's knee and it's not a look with which he is entirely unfamiliar. It's a look that covers a range. It could be asking a question, like did you really just say something that asinine aloud? or it could be making a statement, such asyou're being an ass and occasionally it functioned as a command, don't be an ass. He doesn't like the implications but he's grateful he's able to still receive the look.
"We're talking the difference between him being tried for a dozen lives versus saving thousands, maybe tens of thousands of lives." Her mouth turns down fiercely. "If there's some good that can come out of all the mess, I'd like to see it." She looks down. "I'd like to know my...actions could somehow lead to something good."
Open mouthed, he stares at her for a moment. Then, he shakes his head and throws some bills on the table. "C'mon." He stands and holds a hand out to her, but instead of heading to the parking lot, he leads her down a short set of steps out on to the dock.
The lights from the restaurant and the shops reflect on the dark water, images distorting over the gentle ripples. It's quiet on the dock with only distant sound of laughter and conversation floating across from the dining areas. There's the smell of the ocean and under that, the smell of fish and other dead sea-life. It's not a particularly pleasant smell but it's a part of life on the water. Her hand is still clasped in his and he can feel her waiting for him to speak but he's not going to hurry, not when it's this important.
They reach the edge of the dock where a boat is bobbing gently, almost imperceptibly, barely rising and falling with the motion of the water. Dave leans against one of the wooden posts at the end of the pier and pulls Emily toward him.
"I don't like this," he says baldly.
"Dave--" Her eyes are sad and her tone is disappointed.
Holding a hand up, he shakes his head. "Let me just say this." He runs his thumb over her knuckles, listens to the gentle lap of water and Emily's quiet breathing. "I don't like it, but it's a helluva lot better than the way I thought it was this morning."
She gives a small choked laugh and moves a little closer to him as he continues to speak. "I could say a whole lot about the way things went down, about trusting the team, about trusting me but the truth is I'm too damned grateful you're not dead. As for your actions counting for something?" He bends his head and looks directly into her eyes. "There is no counting the number of lives you saved by helping put him away the first time. And what you did for Declan? You not only saved his life, you changed the course of it forever."
She blinks and tries to look away.
"Hey." Dave slides his hand across her cheek and into her hair, moving his head so she can't look away. "Hey. And I get it; not only was this the only way to keep you alive, it was the only way to keep the rest of us safe. Doing things this way saved my life, Hotch's life, Reid, JJ, Garcia, Morgan. Henry. Jack. Probably Reid's mom's life and Morgan's mother and sisters." His fingers stroke against her scalp and he savors the soft feel of her hair under his palm. "I might not like this, but I understand it. What I don't understand is how you can doubt for a minute that what you've done is a good thing. You're alive. The rest of the team is alive. Jack and Henry are alive. Declan is alive. And if that's not good Emily, I don't know what is."
Taking in a deep breath, she releases it in a slow, loud sigh. Then she lays her head against his shoulder; he turns his head and kisses her ear. They stand like that for a long time, there on the edge of the water that somehow felt more like the edge of the world.
His body is flush against hers, his front pressed against her side. He's tracing his fingers over her collarbone, down her arm, over and around each finger. There's a slight red glow from the fire detector on the ceiling, but the room is still so dark her face is only a shadow in a room full of shadows.
"Mmmm?" The hum of her voice is heavy, like it takes all the effort in the world to make the sub-lingual sound of inquiry.
"Don't go to sleep."
She takes in a deep breath and shifts. "What?"
He kisses her shoulder. "Don't go to sleep."
Her camisole is still obscuring the numbers on the bedside clock from when it had landed there when he'd peeled it off of her and tossed it away. But he's sure they have moved from one day into the next.
Smoothing her hair down, he sets his lips against her ear. "Stay awake with me. You can sleep later."
"But I'm tired," she sighs. "I had to hang out in that church for two and a half days with jet lag."
He kisses her ear. "You." He kisses her cheek. "Did" He kisses her neck. "Not."
"I did, too." She yawns as she rubs her head against the pillow.
He raises up on one elbow and looks down at her, focuses on her face in the darkness. Her hair is dark against the white pillowcase, and he can make out her pale features in contrast to the fall of her hair. "You thought I'd show up after one postcard?"
"I wasn't 100% sure if they were taking one or two days to get to you." Her eyes shine and she gives him what he can tell is a sleepy smile even in the minimal light. "And you have always been utterly unpredictable. I wasn't sure if you would come at all."
"What?" He smoothes a few wayward strands of hair off of her cheek. "How could you think I wouldn't come?"
She shrugs. "I didn't know if I'd put the whole message together well enough."
"It got me here." He lets his fingers stroke over her forehead. "I wanted you to be alive so much, I would have followed a lot fewer clues." Swallowing hard, he spares a moment to be grateful for the dark.
Grabbing his hand, she pulls it to her mouth, kisses it, then pulls it to rest against her heart.
Her beating heart.