AN: Yes, this story has been done before, several times, and very well (go read EmilyFan6's stuff!). But inspiration struck, and since it has been so long since that has happened, I decided I had to write this. I hope it's different enough from the others to be worth reading (and reviewing? Please?).

Disclaimer: The show and related characters, setting, plot, etc… are not mine. If they were, we would have seen a whole lot more of the actual wedding in "Wedding Bell Blues". grumble grumble

Rating: Really, mostly only T. Only one paragraph—and actually only one line at that—rates an M, but I like to be safe.

Come Home

"Come home," she said, her voice wavering but strong. He turned to face her and their eyes met. Silence passed, but volumes were spoken in their gaze. They closed the distance between them and met in a kiss, passionate, desperate after so long apart.

When they broke apart, tears were streaming down her face. "Richard, I'm so sorry." She spoke the words that she had been holding onto for four months.

His hands rested on her neck, thumbs grazing her jaw. He shook his head, tears welling in his own eyes. "No Emily, you have nothing to be sorry for. I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I can't say it enough. I stopped talking to you. You were right, that night after we came back from the inn. I wasn't respecting you. I stopped treating you like my wife."

Emily shook her head through his speech. When she could stand no more, she stretched onto her toes and pressed her lips to his again. His hands slid from her shoulders around her back, pulling her to him, as if afraid he might lose her again if he held her too loosely.

They pulled apart again, breathing heavily. He dared to move one hand to wipe the tears from her cheek. More tears followed, but she was smiling, and so was he, eyes sparkling. "I missed you so much," she whispered. He nodded, words failing him. He pulled her closer, tucking her head under his chin, and they both reveled in how well they still fit together, as if it might have changed in the past four months. In the quiet that followed, the ticking of the clock didn't sound of emptiness, but of home.

She pulled away from him, taking his hand. She gazed up at him, then glanced up the stairs. He smiled and led the way.

He approached the bedroom—their bedroom. The room he hadn't entered in months. He stopped outside the door. She gazed up at him, curiously, and saw the apprehension. She squeezed his hand and opened the door.

Her heart beat rapidly in her chest. She hadn't been this nervous since their wedding night. Their eyes met and they both smiled shyly, as if this was all new. And in a way it was. They shrugged off their winter coats, and Richard quickly gestured to take hers. He draped them both over a chair and turned back to face her. Silence.

She laughed softly. "It's silly." She was whispering, for some reason unknown to her. He nodded, chuckling as well.

They each took a tentative step, closing the distance between them. His arms wrapped slowly around her waist, and her hands skimmed up his arms to rest on his shoulders. Their lips met again, hesitantly, as if it were the first time.

It got easier after that.

They made their way to the bed, moving slowly, both wanting to savor each precious moment. They undressed each other, kissing exposed skin and delighting in the gasps and sighs that came from each other's lips. Hands skimmed over skin, cupping, caressing. He covered her mouth with his and tasted her moan as they became one. They moved together, breathy sighs and desperate touches. She came with a moan and he followed, whispering her name.

They lay together, clutching one another and catching their breath. Her emotions overwhelmed her and, to her surprise, tears sprang to her eyes and she gave a shuddering sob.

"Emily? What is it?" He pulled her closer to him, and she buried her face against his chest.

"It's… I…" She struggled to find the words. "I am so in love with you," she breathed shakily.

He smiled, his own eyes filling. He lifted her face to his and kissed her gently. "I love you, too, Emily."

ticktockticktockticktock

It was still early, but they both dozed lightly, worn out from the night's events, both physical and emotional. Near midnight they found themselves talking quietly over the strawberries and bananas that Richard had liberated from the kitchen. They were curled together sitting in their bed, enjoying the feeling of being close to one another.

Emily took advantage of a moment of quiet. "Richard, I am sorry, you know."

He tightened his arms around her waist. "That makes us a pair; I'm sorry too. I was mistreating you. And I should have told you about Pennilyn Lot."

Emily nodded. "Yes. And I should have told you about Simon McLane. I'm sorry you found out during a meeting."

"And I am sorry I hit your car." They both chuckled at the absurdity of the statement.

Emily bit her lip, then pushed on. "Do you want to hear about my date with him?"

Richard hesitated. "Not really."

"Well, I'll tell you." She ignored him. As long as his hands were wrapped around her, she was in no danger. He had to hear this anyway. "Simon and I had a lovely evening. We had a wonderful dinner, we talked about the symphony and art, I had too much wine. He drove me home and walked me to the door. Shook my hand." She rubbed his arms for comfort; she could feel him tensing. "And I went inside. And started to cry."

Leaning against him as she was, she actually felt Richard's demeanor change. "Why?"

She twisted to face him. "I stood in the foyer, and looked around, and I felt so alone. He wasn't you. I had had a lovely evening, but he wasn't you. And I realized that no matter how wonderful any date was, he would never be you, so I would always come home to that feeling of alone."

Richard smiled slightly, watching her eyes as she explained. He chuckled when she finished. He chuckled again at the look of shock on her face; it clearly wasn't the reaction she'd been expecting. He caught her face in his hands and kissed her again, deeply. "I am so in love with you," he explained.

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She awoke the next morning, alone in their big bed. For moment she was horrified that it had all been a dream, but she was naked, and she could see, even from the bed, Richard's and her clothes strewn across the floor. So where was he?

As if in reply, the door opened and Richard entered, carrying a tray laden with food. He smiled when he found her awake. "Ah, Emily. I hoped I'd be back before you awoke." He set the tray down on his bedside table before taking a seat on the side of the bed. "I had to make a few phone calls, to let the office know I wouldn't be coming in today," he offered as an explanation. "Good morning." He leaned over to kiss her.

She smiled and kissed him in return. "Good morning, Richard." Her gaze fell on the tray. "What's all this?"

He glanced at the tray himself. "Ah, yes, well, it would appear we were not as stealthy as we had hoped." She raised her eyebrows. "As I was coming out of my study, I ran into the maid headed up here with breakfast for two all prepared."

Emily smirked. "That girl has promise." She turned her gaze back to her husband, who was watching her steadily. "I'm not really hungry right now, though," she said quietly.

"I quite agree." He pulled her against him and kissed her deeply

ticktockticktockticktock

They lay against each other afterwards. She ran her hand across his chest. "That was very nice." She pressed a kiss to his shoulder.

"Marry me," he said.

His response caught her off guard. She picked her head up off his shoulder. "What?" she asked, half-laughing.

"Marry me," he simply repeated.

"We are married, Richard."

"Marry me again. Let's renew our vows." She raised her eyebrows. "It will allow us to officially mark our reconciliation, and it will also put to bed any rumors about our relationship that may have sprung up." She was smiling now, considering. "Plus, it will give me a second chance to stand up and announce how much I love you."

She smiled broadly now, and kissed him. "That's a wonderful idea, Richard. Of course I'll marry you again!"

"On our fortieth anniversary."

She nodded, then frowned. "That's next week."

"Emily, if anyone can put together a vow renewal in one week, it's you."

She smiled, and they kissed again. Only to be interrupted by the growl of her stomach. They chuckled and sat up, carefully arranging the tray so they could enjoy their breakfast together.

AN: My desperate plea: As this is the first thing I have posted—or indeed completed writing—in over six months, I would really appreciate any feedback you have to offer. I literally felt creaky when I started to write this, as if the creative writing part of my brain had actually rusted over. Bizarre, huh?