Emily wrestled with the jogging stroller, singing softly to Isadora who was fussing in her carseat. "Stupid fucking stroller," she muttered under her breath between verses. Much as she appreciated JJ lending her the stroller, she would have appreciated it more if it had come with instructions.
A hand landed on her shoulder and she whirled around, fists at the ready, barely stopping herself from punching Morgan square in the face. "Jesus Christ, Derek! You nearly got your ass kicked!"
He laughed heartily. "It looked like you were having some trouble, I just wanted to help..."
"So, you decided to scare the shit out of me?" With a huff, she finally got the stroller to click into place. She moved to puck the baby up from her carseat, but Morgan stopped her.
"Let me get her," he said, moving past her to get Isadora from the car. "Hello, Baby Girl," he cooed. "How's my favourite little strawberry doing today?"
Emily smiled softly as he bounced the baby. "She's doing fantastic – if fantastic includes spitting up all over her mother and sneezing in her face..."
He snorted with laughter, but wisely said nothing as he buckled her into the stroller. "Well, are we ready to go?"
"I don't know – are you ready to eat my dust?"
He rolled his eyes. "Big talk...but can you back it up, Mama?" He stuck his tongue out childishly.
She shook her head at his immaturity. "You'll have to go easy on me, I haven't worked out since she was born."
"Then this is going to be a great time for me," he said with a smirk.
She glared. "I may still have my baby belly, but I can still kick your ass," she warned.
"So, when are you coming back to work?" Morgan asked as they jogged through the park together. "Things aren't the same without you around..."
"You're just saying that because Rossi isn't as easy on the eyes," she teased.
He laughed. "Don't tell him that, he's very sensitive," he joked. "I just wondered if you'd heard about the ten hours of take-down and arrest procedure training you need to recertify."
"What?" she asked, nearly tripping over a rock on the path. "Since when?"
"Since the hearing," he said with a shrug as he ran alongside her.
She frowned, chanced a curious glance over at him, searching for some kind of tell. "Am I the only one?"
"Prentiss, you've been away," he pointed out, giving nothing away with his expression.
"Oh, yeah..." She shrugged one shoulder in concession. "I guess I can't complain..."
His level expression broke into a grin then. "Especially not to your trainer..." he informed her, almost teasingly.
Her eyes lit up in echo of his enthusiasm. "Oh! You're doing it?"
He jogged a little to get in front of her, turning to run backwards. "Don't get too excited," he warned, "I'm about to put you through the wringer, you can believe that."
"I can't believe he'd do this!" Emily growled as she hung up the phone, shoving it into her pocket like it had personally done her wrong.
Erik glanced up at her from the floor of Rossi's living room where he was lying on his stomach, making the little metal pacifier clip adorned with various brightly coloured silicon teething beads dance in the air in front of Isadora's face to coax her to enjoy her tummy time more. "What happened?" he asked, curious as to the source of her sour mood.
"Hotch didn't order my take-down recertification, apparently," she informed him.
"That means Morgan decided all on his own," she elaborated. "Which means he obviously doesn't trust me anymore."
Concentration broken, the pacifier clip fell to the floor and Isadora protested with a petulant whine. Standing, Erik picked up the baby and moved to rest a hand on Emily's hip. "Why are you so bent out of shape over this?" he asked gently.
"We used to be partners!" she said, perhaps a little desperately. "No matter what, we had each other's back. He was the one person I could always always trust and now, he looks at me like he doesn't even recognize me!"
"Em," he said gently, "You have to know that he's been through a lot with your disappearance and sudden reappearance. He's had to acclimatize himself to a new partner while also feeling like your so-called death was his fault. He's probably worried that he was going to let the team down again and now, he's likely worried about letting you down again."
She nodded slowly, chewed her lip. "I hate it when you're right," she grumbled, which only made him laugh. She leaned in to kiss him. "Maybe some practice couldn't exactly hurt..."
Emily was sitting on the edge of her old desk in the bullpen when Morgan flicked off the light in his office and emerged upon finishing the paperwork from the latest case. He stopped in his path when he saw her there. "What are you doing here, Em?" he asked, "Shouldn't you be home with your baby girl?"
She stood, crossed the bullpen to walk with him down to the parking garage. "It's bath time," she explained, "It's Erik's turn to wrestle her into the tub – she's surprisingly strong when she wants to be."
He laughed a little, waited for her to explain her presence. When she didn't offer anything further, he asked again, "So, to what do I owe the pleasure of your presence?"
Giving him a chance to explain, she said, "Hotch didn't order my take-down recertification... Do you want to tell me what's really going on?"
He sighed, having guessed this might come up sooner or later. "I just thought we both could use a refresher," he said.
She raised a pointed brow. "You mean, you thought I could use it – you're nervous about me being back."
"You think I'm going to mess up the team's rhythm," she continued, apparently forgetting the promise she'd made to herself to keep calm. "I get it, but just come out and say it." When he didn't say anything, she pressed, "Morgan..."
"Okay, fine, yes," he relented. "I am nervous – but not about you, about me. Emily, I thought I lost you and I blamed myself. Now you're back, but I don't want to be worried about losing you again and get distracted."
She nodded slowly, tongue flicking out over her bottom lip. "So you wanted some reassurance," she finished for him.
"Yeah, something like that," he agreed.
"Morgan, I cannot imagine what you went through..." she whispered.
He sighed, shook his head. "It was seven months of hell."
"How can I make it up to you?" she asked, almost desperate to make it up to him. "I will do whatever it takes."
He smiled softly. "Just give me ten hours of training."
"Okay, you got it."
"Shooting range on Sundays," he added.
"I'm there," she consented.
Then, unable to resist being a little cheeky, he said, "And my morning coffee and a neck rub everyday..."
She scoffed, rolled her eyes, "Oh buddy, you are really pushing it."