Hello everyone! This is my first English fanfiction and since English isn't my first language, I'm already sorry for any mistake I may have made. I did my best though and I think it's not that bad :D Any help or advice is very welcome.
This is a collection of unconnected oneshots, so pairings will change (their will be chapters without pairings as well) and there might even be chapters with slash. Also there might be some pretty dark chapter. The respective warning will be at the beginning of those chapters.
I can't promise regular updates, especially since it isn't long until my finals, but I'll update whenever I've got time.
Disclaimer: I do not own Criminal Minds or any of it's characters. I'm just playing with them for a little while, before giving them back (relatively) unharmed.
This first installment is an episode tag to the end of 7x24, after Hotch and Emily agree to talk in the morning. Beth doesn't exist in this one.
Okay, enough talking. Enjoy!
Hotch didn't need to wait until the next morning to know, what had gotten Emily upset. He kept an eye on her over the course of the evening and at some point it just hit him. She was obviously enjoying the wedding like everyone else, dancing, joking around with the others and having one or two drinks. But he could see it in her eyes. See how she was distancing herself from her friends. And he knew she wanted to leave.
He couldn't risk waiting till morning. Because he knew she probably would have made up her mind by then and there was no way of making her stay once she did. But he also knew that she wouldn't be willing to talk about this right now, so he decided to show her. Show her, that she belonged here, with them. That this was her home. That the team needed her. That he needed her. He already lost her once. And even though he knew that whole time, that she was alive and well, it was the worst thing in his life since Haley had died. He couldn't lose her again. It felt like they had just got her back a few weeks ago and he wasn't willing to let her go again.
When the next song started to play, he went over to her, took her hand and led her onto the dancefloor. It was a slow song and after just a few moments Emily leaned her head against his chest, while they were gently swaying to the music. He had never been this close to her. Sure, they had shared short hugs before or supported each other, when one of them was hurt, but this was different. Actually holding her in his arms was something completely new, something that had only happened in his mind till now. But it felt perfectly right and he wished he would never have to let go of her again.
Although it had seemed to him, that Emily enjoyed their dance too, she slipped from his arms as soon as the song was over and left the dancefloor. Had he missed something in her body language? To him she seemed completely relaxed and content during their dance. Why would she lean against him like that, if she wasn't? And yet she was gone now. For a split second the thought of Cinderella crossed his mind. A girl fleeing, because she knew that she couldn't keep up the pretense. He quickly wiped this thought from his mind. Emily Prentiss was known for always keeping her mask of stony perfection in place. But that didn't mean she wasn't hurting behind this mask. He knew she was and he also knew that this was the reason why she wanted to leave.
Since Hotch couldn't see her in the backyard anymore, he stepped into the huge house. If she didn't want to be found, it would take him a small eternity to find her. He didn't want to call for her, knowing that she had her reasons to leave him on the dancefloor and probably wouldn't respond, so he just started wandering through the first floor of the building. It didn't take him long to hear the soft sobs coming from the library-like den in the back of the mansion. He knew she wouldn't want him to see her cry, but he couldn't bring himself to leave her there like this either, so he carefully pushed the slightly ajar door open. He found her sitting in an armchair, her knees pulled up to her chest and her arms hugging them even closer to her. It looked like she was trying to hold herself together, but judging by her tears she was still falling apart. He felt his heart break for her and wanted to just rush over and hug her so tight that her broken pieces would just stick back together. But he knew that wasn't how it worked, especially not with Emily Prentiss. She would push him away and distance herself even further, not wanting anyone to see her this weak. So instead of rushing over, he approached her slowly and squatted down in front of her.
"Emily?" he gently addressed her, when she still didn't seem to notice him. She glanced down at him and quickly wiped her tears away and he could see how she tried to get her perfect mask back in place. "Don't," he said and softly put his hand on her forearm.
"I'm fine." She tried to smile at him, trying to convince not only him but also herself. She stood up, straightened out her dress and went for the door, but Hotch was faster than her, stopping her before she reached it.
"Talk to me, Emily!" He could barely keep his voice from sounding like he was actually pleading her, but he knew his desperation to help her would only make it harder for her.
"We agreed to talk in the morning, remember?" she reminded him softly, although this conversation was only a few hours ago and still very fresh in his mind.
He chose to ignore, what she just said and instead asked: "Why did you run away from our dance?"
She barely hesitated, before answering him. "I didn't run. Our dance was over and I needed some alone time."
"Why are you leaving?" He didn't need to ask her if she was leaving, he already knew. She looked at him surprised.
"Why do you think -"
"Emily, I'm a profiler. You're not as hard to figure out as you'd like to think." He smiled at her for a moment before returning to his serious side and waiting for her to answer his question.
"I just can't take it anymore." Her voice was barely above a whisper and he could hear all the pain he'd seen in her eyes for the last couple of weeks.
"Can't take what?" he gently probed.
"Any of this!" Now her voice was much louder, her desperation more obvious than he'd ever seen it. But instead of asking more questions, he just waited for her to continue whenever she was ready. And after about two minutes of silence she finally spoke up again.
"I tried, Hotch! I didn't expect it to be so hard. Of course I knew it wouldn't be easy. I knew my friends would be hurt and it would be hard for all of them to just accept, that I'm back. But even after I fixed my relationship with the team, it was still hard for me to be back and I certainly didn't expect that. The seven months I spent in Paris changed me and I just don't feel at home here anymore. All those months I wanted nothing more than to come back. Come back to the team, come back to… But it's different now. The time spent alone made me think about all the people that are part of my life and made me see the relations I had with them in a different light. I love every single member of the team. You are my family! But I can't work with you anymore. It's too much. I can't take this…" Emily looked at him a moment longer before starting another attempt to leave the room.
Hotch didn't know if she had actually meant the whole team or if she had rather meant that she couldn't work with him. He had noticed slight changes in their relationship. Longer looks than before, some coincidental brushes of her hand against his, when she was handing him a file or a cup of coffee, more frequent smiles. Just small things and when he stepped forward he just hoped he didn't imagine all of this.
He gently grabbed her wrist, turned her around and finally pressed his lips against hers. They were even softer than he had dreamed it and for a second he could taste the strawberry on her lips from the cocktail she had been drinking earlier. But she didn't return his kiss and after a moment she pulled back.
"Aaron, don't." She sounded sad, disappointed, but he still liked the sound of his name on her lips.
"Emily," he started, trying to explain, but she didn't let him talk.
"I can't do this, I'm sorry." This wasn't quite what he'd expected to hear. He'd expect her to tell him that she didn't feel the same, but maybe he didn't misinterpret the signs she had been sending.
"Why not? I saw the looks and felt the small touches. Why can't you give us a chance?" he inquired, not completely able to conceal that he was hurt by her rejection.
"I'm your subordinate. You could lose your job. You know Strauss would love to have a reason to get rid of you. People would start talking; you wouldn't just lose your job, but your reputation as well. You…"
"Stop, Emily. I can take care of myself. A moment ago you wanted to leave, which would mean you wouldn't be my subordinate anymore technically. Those are just excuses and you know it. What is it, Emily?"
He fell silent, studying her face for a few moments. When she didn't respond to his question, he spoke up again.
"You're scared, aren't you? Why?" He could see her eyes fill up with tears again.
"Because I'm not made to get a happy ending," she whispered, her tears spilling over and running down her pale cheeks.
Before he could protest against her words, she continued: "Every time I'm close to being happy, no matter in what form this happiness comes to me, something terrible happens and destroys everything. Being with you would risk everything I have. If this doesn't work out I could lose the whole team, my family. I just can't…"
"You can't just keep running away from your happy end. You deserve to have it and it will be beautiful if you allow yourself to actually let it happen." His words were gentle and he carefully reached out his hand to caress her cheek, relieved when she didn't pull away.
"I've never really loved someone before. I'm scared…"
"It's been awhile for me too. We'll figure it out together, okay?" She just looked at him, not answering. But when he carefully leaned in and kissed her again, her kissing him back was every answer he needed for the moment.