PROMPT: What Happens in Vegas, Dies in Boston (Crossing Jordan)
"What does that… I don't…"
Emily looked away again. "I figured getting away… It would be what was best. But then… I couldn't get you out of my head and I… I missed you. And I hated myself for it because you broke my heart. I tried everything I could, every behavioural trick I could come up with and you still shut me down."
"I was hurting," Hotch said quietly. "And you… you're too beautiful to have to shoulder my burden and yours at the same time. And I was too busy making sure you didn't take on my burden to see that you were having your own problems. I should have been there for you, Em. I should have let you be there for me."
Her eyes locked onto his. "Why didn't you? Who else is going to know exactly what you're going through?"
Finally, he sat down beside her and delicately took her hand. She didn't pull away. "The last thing I ever wanted to do was hurt you and I thought… I thought if I added my own stress to yours that it wouldn't do any good."
"You need to talk to someone," she reminded him. She couldn't stop herself from reaching up to cup his cheek. "You need to relieve stress or you'll break. And what are we going to do when you break?"
"Lean on you," he replied. "We've all been a mess this week. You're integral to the team, Emily. We need you. I need you."
"I don't know if that's good enough."
"I can't take back the past," Hotch said, his hand coming up to cover hers. "I can only tell you that I'd like to change things. But I need you to give me the opportunity to do that."
"I want to," she admitted. "More than anything. And I knew going into this that it wasn't going to be all romance and flowers and adorable picnics in the park. I should have known it was going to be difficult."
"Emily, stop. This… this is my doing. You didn't deserve to be shut out I just…"
Her finger pressed on Hotch's lips, stopping him from talking. "Let's just… Let's start with a clean slate, okay? Because I can't imagine kicking you out of my life."
"And I need you in mine," he agreed, gently grasping her wrist to take her hand away from his mouth. "No more apologies."
"No more past. Just…. Forward."
"Forward," he agreed, a contented smile stretching over his face. "I can do that."
Emily nodded, shifting as he pulled her closer. For the first time in a long time, she felt more stable, more like she could go back to some sort of sanity in her life. She didn't feel like crying, she didn't feel empty. All she felt was his warmth on her side, and the way his head rested against hers as she settled her head on his shoulder.
"I took a week of leave," he said quietly, interrupting the quiet serenity.
"You took holidays?" she asked, wrinkling her brow. "You don't take holidays."
Hotch blew out a breath. "You were worth it. I didn't know how hard I was going to have to fight for you. It was a precautionary measure."
She shifted. "You were willing to stay here for a whole week to fight for me?" she asked in awe.
"I was willing to do whatever it took. It isn't the same without you around. The BAU isn't the same without you sitting outside my window. I was willing to drop everything to fix this."
She curled tighter to him, tickled pink that he really was willing to fight almost tooth and nail to make things right again. "What are you going to do with your week off?"
"My flight doesn't leave here for another week. What about yours?"
She grinned. "My flight doesn't leave until the end of the week either."
Hotch nodded, and she watched another smile spreading across his face. "Do you think your uncle would mind another guest for a week?"
Emily shook her head, looking back out into the fields. "Not at all."
And that's it!
I've been looking forward to writing a prompt like this for a while, so finally I gave in and included it in this third set of prompts.