We the Living

A/N: Part of the Pieces series which is a series of (unconnected) one-shots, written in a self-imposed challenge of chronicling every pairing in the CM universe. This one can be set any time after Rossi arrived.

You feel her head on your lap. The slow shallow breathing that lets you know she's still alive. You're glad. You know her blood is soaking into your shirt, but you don't care. You can buy a new shirt. You can't buy a new Emily.

The explosive device had detonated not long after you had entered the house. It wasn't a big explosion, but enough to ensure that you wouldn't be getting out of there for a while. In any case, there was still an unsub for you to apprehend.

You had taken him out with your second shot, but not before Emily had taken a hit to her right clavicle. It had missed the vest by barely an inch, and you are sure that it cracked the bone. You've got your shirt pressed against the wound, and it's beginning to wet your fingers.

It's been over an hour since the bullet struck her. Over an hour since they started trying to dig you out.

'Dave?' her voice is filled with a fear and pain that not even her legendary compartmentalizing can disguise.

'I'm here, Emily. It's okay.' The hand that isn't holding the shirt against the wound grips her left hand tightly.

'Please…don't let go.' You squeeze a little tighter, letting her know that you're still there. 'Why is it so dark?' You can see her blinking back tears. You know that she'll be embarrassed somewhat later, not wanting anyone to see her so vulnerable. At least, you hope there will be a later.

'We'll be out of here soon,' you tell her, but you don't actually answer the question that she asked. You don't tell her that it's dark because you're trapped in the wreckage of a building that's still burning. The fire isn't severe – you can barely feel the heat – but it's becoming more and more difficult to breathe.

'Rossi? Prentiss?' You can hear the voices calling out, but they're faint, as if calling from another world, another time.

'In here!' you call back, hoping that they can hear you. She flinches slightly at the loudness of your voice. Her breaths are becoming more ragged, fewer and further between. She's fading. You find yourself panicking – you can't let her die. You squeeze her hand again, trying to draw out every drop of life she has left.

'Stay with me,' you tell her. 'Come on Emily, you can do this.'

And then, a light shines down, as if from the heavens. Bits of wood and brick are being taken down, thinning the barrier to the outside world.

'Hotch,' you say. 'Morgan.' You know it will be them. They're always the ones at the forefront. It surprises you to find that your own voice is haggard, hoarse with the smoke and dust you have inhaled.

'We're almost through, Dave.' It's Hotch's voice. He's trying to maintain a calm façade, but even in your weakened state you can tell that it's slipping fast.

'Make sure the EMTs are ready.' You can't hide the fear and the pain from your own voice, and you know you're not nearly as good at composing yourself as she was – is. She's still hanging on, but you can tell that every breath, every beat of the heart, is a struggle.

The multitude of thin, shining rays turns into one big one. You're momentarily blinded, but as your eyes adjust to the light, you can see two figures rushing in. You extricate her fingers from yours when Hotch assures you that he's got her, that he won't let go.

Barely satisfied, you let yourself be overtaken by the darkness.


The first thing you do when you regain consciousness is find her location in the labyrinth that is the hospital. Nobody is stupid enough to try and stop you; they know the wrath that can be brought down upon them by David Rossi.

She smiles when she sees you. You realize that if she is already conscious, already out of surgery, then you were out for a lot longer than you expected.

'Hey.' Her voice is slurred from the morphine that's being pumped into her veins; she looks a lot more relaxed than you've ever seen her. Her right arm is in a sling, so you take hold of her left hand. She rubs against your fingers. You give her a smile.

'Thanks,' she tells you. She doesn't have to elaborate.

'Thank-you,' you tell her, and she looks at you, confused.

'For what?'

And the answer comes easily. 'Living,' you say.