The first thing she felt was pain. All in all, it was the obvious reaction to being shot. Of course, she didn't know she had been shot, because all she felt was the pain.
'Emily! Emily, can you hear me?' Emily. That was her name, wasn't it? Just one moment of excruciating pain, and then everything came rushing back. New York. Serial shooters. Multiple victims. Cooper. They were chasing an unsub, weren't they? He had just shot someone, broad daylight, the middle of the street.
They were chasing him.
'Talk to me Emily.' His hands were on her chest, stemming the blood flow. It didn't seem to stop, and yet she lay catatonic, eyes boring into his. Conscious and yet unresponsive, he wondered if she was staring at a white light, a white light at the end of a tunnel.
She tried to talk, but all that came out was a gurgling sound. It wasn't reassuring to either of them. She tried again. 'Still here,' she managed, though her voice was strained and just a little bit slurred.
She remembered pushing him out of the way as the unsub shot. No thinking about it, no big list of pros and cons. She knew, right at that moment, that she needed to push Cooper out of the bullet's path. But why?
The same question seemed to be on his mind. 'Why? Why'd you do that?' His voice was panicky, his hands soaked with blood. He knew that if she died, he'd feel the guilt every day thereafter. The blood would never come clean. Out, damned spot.
The answer, when it came, seemed so obvious to her. 'You have a wife. Kid.' She took a deep breath, ignoring the all-consuming pain. The words more than anything hurt her. 'I've got nobody.'
'What about parents? Siblings?'
She thought about it. She'd seen her mother once in the past four years, and even then, it was only because the ambassador had wanted a favor. She didn't even know where her father was now; she vaguely recalled him mentioning Moscow in his last mass-mailed email. Though her parents had raised her, they had never truly been parents.
She closed her eyes just for a second, as if falling asleep. When she opened them, she was surrounded. Increasingly worried faces, spread out along the sidewalk. She was still there, on that New York street, bleeding to death.
'She's awake.' She was vaguely aware of a voice to her left, and even less aware of the defibrillator paddles that had just left her chest.
'Get her up on to the gurney.' A second voice, this time from her right. It was as unfamiliar as the first.
'Can someone ride with her?' A third voice. This one was familiar. That first time she had entered his office, nervous as hell. The confusion in his voice when he told her that the paperwork must have been screwed up. Hotch. How far they'd come since that day.
'Just two,' the second voice spoke again.
'Morgan, Reid, go with her.' Rossi. He'd managed to replace Gideon so quickly, so efficiently. Already she trusted him to make the right decision, asked him for advice.
She blacked out again, woke up rolling through the halls of the hospital.
'It's going to be alright.' Morgan. He tried to hide that panic in his voice. It seemed so warm, so comforting. And yet, he could be so aggressive when he needed to be. She wouldn't have it any other way.
She must have been through surgery, because when she woke up, the pain had all but gone. She was hooked up to an IV, which she assumed was at least partially responsible for the reduced pain. She heard voices.
'…percentage of gunshot wound victims end up permanently disabled.' She caught the tail end of Reid's statistic, and was thankful for it. She really didn't need to know what that percentage was. Still, she found his presence comforting. There was just something about having a fountain of knowledge around that made things so much easier.
'Really don't want to know, Reid,' she muttered. She tried to drag herself up, and three pairs of hands moved to stop her.
'Just lie down, it's okay.' JJ's soothing voice. It calmed her down considerably, like it always did. JJ always had that knack.
'I…Is Cooper okay?'
'He's fine. He's a little shaken up, but he's fine. He'll be glad to know you're awake.'
'Hey, Emily the Strange.' Garcia's hand on hers. Concern encompassed the tech's face. 'We're here for you - remember that, okay?'
'I remember.' The team's presence made her feel safe, whole. She remembered her words to Cooper. Then, she realized. Maybe there was a family after all.
A/N: Here's a holiday souvenir for you all. I didn't have time for a full chapter of my other fics. I have spent some time planning them out though, so I won't leave you hanging. Greetings from Los Angeles! Cheers, tfm.