PROMPT: What Happens in Vegas, Dies in Boston (Crossing Jordan)

Chapter 1


They'd gotten four brutal cases in a row and she was broken. Between her personal and professional lives, Emily was completely on the verge of losing it. And that was the last thing she knew she could afford to do.

It was a compound thing, something that she had felt coming for a while. Their case in Las Vegas had pulled the team closer together and, with a little bit of alcohol, the little dance that she'd been doing with her supervisor had ended. She'd woken with a brutal hangover in her bed, but with none other than her boss wrapped around her body. Much to her surprise, it had only led to good things. More than that, she'd been floored when Hotch cornered her at her apartment a few days later only to tell her that not only could he not get her out of his head, but he wanted her like he hadn't wanted anything in a while.

Things had started off tentative. They both knew the perils and pitfalls of the job, but it seemed so much easier to overcome them with someone who knew. But lately, in the last couple of months, they'd grown apart. And really, when she looked at it, that was an understatement. Then they'd been slammed with their last four cases. One with the highest number of victims of a case Emily had ever worked, another one where JJ and Dave had been held captive for three days, a third that involved playing hide and seek with a pedophile and child-killer, and then this one. Boston had a serial killer that enjoyed breaking each and every bone in his victim's bodies. Even now, she shivered as she walked the hall to her boss' room.

She knew there would be no comfort from him. There hadn't been for weeks. Hotch had pulled away from her completely and she couldn't fight anymore. She was finished, that's all there was to it. She'd already talked to Dave and Derek, and had Penelope file for vacation effective immediately. She'd take a few weeks, decide what she wanted to do, then maybe she'd come back. But there was something else she had to do first, and it was important. So she carried her go-bag down the hall with her, her plane ticket tucked safely in her purse. She'd go home for a few hours before packing up for her vacation. She was leaving Washington, getting away. She needed it.

He opened his door with dark, lifeless eyes, that broke Emily's heart despite her resolve. He ran a hand through his hair. "Emily, I can't."

His use of her first name twisted her gut painfully and she had to fist her free hand so her nails dug into her palm to keep herself from showing any emotion herself. "I know," she replied. "So I'm doing what you can't. I can't do this anymore, Aaron. I'm tired of fighting to pull you back to reality. I don't have the energy to keep fighting anymore."

He looked confused. "What are we talking about?"

"Us," she answered honestly. "You've been pulling away from me and I can't fight you anymore. I can't hold on, not to someone who so obviously doesn't want to open up and let someone else shoulder some of the burden, not to someone who can't notice when I'm struggling too so we can struggle together."

He looked so stunned, so surprised and it actually strengthened her resolve.

Still, she looked down, unable to tell him that she'd gone above his head to his face. "Garcia put in for my leave time. I'm getting on a plane tonight. You guys will be fine without me to finish this. I just… I'm going to break Aaron. Between us and the cases… I can't take it. I need to get away."

She stood there awkwardly for a few minutes, waiting for him to respond. When he didn't she nodded once, swallowing the emotion creeping up in her throat. "It's three weeks leave." She felt obligated to tell him that. "Goodbye."

She listened closely for anything, for his footsteps, for the door closing… Nothing. She was breathing shallowly when she reached the elevator and struggled to hold it together as she descended to the lobby. She couldn't make it any further than that, and found herself ducking into a back corner and sliding down the wall as tears overtook her. She cried painfully, without making a sound.

Slowly, her sobs died down and she sat there for a few more minutes, taking deep breaths. The pain wasn't gone from her heart, but there really was nothing left in her. Double checking that she didn't look completely terrible, she stood, shouldering her bag and hailed a cab. It was time for Emily Prentiss to take a vacation. God-willing, she'd be able to straighten herself out and remember there were good things in the world.

And she knew there was only one place she could do it.

Partially inspired by ThnksFrThMmrs87, so thank you!

This is 6 chapters in total and yes, I have finished them all, so there shouldn't be any sort of major waits in between updates. Most of them are pretty short.