AWAY FROM HEARTACHE

PROMPT: One Breath (X-Files)

***

Trust in me and I will never let you down
Trust your soul when there's no one else around
Trust in love 'cause it'll always heal your heartache
And we always learn 'em better from our mistakes

***

Emily Prentiss had always lived one breath away from heartache. Her constant moving as a child had, in many ways, stunted her social growth. She didn't keep friends for long. She didn't make friends quickly. She was overly careful with her heart, her emotions and had lived her life utterly terrified of being hurt. She'd relied on herself for everything in her life because it always seemed the minute she trusted someone else with a part of her, they took great pride in throwing it back in her face.

Matthew had been the first one to shatter those walls. He was the first person Emily had truly trusted, probably the first person outside of her family she'd claim to love. He was her rock through a time she still considered the worst in her life, and there was nothing that could make her forget that. He'd loved her despite what she'd had to go through and there was nothing in the world that felt better.

And at the same time, it had skewed her outlook. She loved and loved deeply and yet, she could never find the right people to place that affection on. It was probably why she fit so well in Aaron Hotchner's island of misfit toys. Or, as the FBI preferred, the Behavioural Analysis Unit. Much to her surprise, Emily had been introduced to a handful of people as screwed up as she was. They all had their vices, each of them their own battles to fight, and yet, any battle one of them decided to take on, they all absorbed and took on, fighting silently from the sidelines until the battle was won.

They'd done it for Morgan in Chicago.

They'd done it for Dave in Indianapolis.

They'd done it for her when Matthew died.

They'd done it for Hotch when his divorce papers came through.

***

There's nothing we can't overcome
We're staring at a bright new sun
We'll take it day-by-day
And stay one breath from heartache

***

Her trust issues and his innate understanding for behaviour kept them apart for ages. Sure, they were friends, especially since Hotch didn't have Haley to go home to every night. Usually they took turns trying to pull him into doing something that wasn't work, but more often than not, it was Emily that convinced him it was time to leave the office. So the first time they kissed, it blindsided them both. It was effortless, as if it couldn't have happened any other way.

But that wasn't to say their relationship was effortless. Emily fought tooth and nail for every advancement she'd made after that night and he'd had to fight just as hard. Her walls were strong. His resilience was stronger, and Emily had always known that once Hotch found something he liked, he held onto it with both hands. Sometimes they were terribly alike.

They took things slow, one step at a time, trying to keep their relationship outside of the Bureau. But, inevitably, because they lived their jobs and their jobs were lifestyles rather than careers, play bled into work. Little things got done without being asked. He brought her chocolate or candy, she replaced his coffee with tea when she noticed he was drinking too much. She cajoled him out with the team, with their family, with an effortless ease. He could nudge her out of bad moods in the middle of cases.

***

We'll touch the earth and kiss the sky
As the same moment passes by
Then we'll be sure to stay one breath away from heartache
One breath from the heartache

***

She was the first woman he took a vacation for. It was Mexico, a seven day trip, and she'd convinced him with that effortless ease. He never realized he was being duped until it was already done, and the Mexico trip had been exactly that.

Then he'd gotten to Mexico, to the sand and the sun and any petulance had been forgotten. Between Emily wearing a bikini and actually taking time out of his life to read a book, Hotch found relaxing wasn't the most terrible thing in the world. And they'd both needed the time off too. It was time to regroup, to realize that what they did, they did for the betterment of humanity.

***

Touch my hand if I ever feel you're weak
Lay your head here on my shoulder when you need
Tell your secrets to me when they get too heavy
And I'll make sure I'm always there for you

***

She'd cried like a child at her father's funeral, clinging to his hand with everything in her. He'd sat catatonically strong at Reid's beside when the poor genius got kidnapped for the second time and only the brush of the back of her hand against his cheek had shifted him out of his trance.

She slept on his shoulder on the jet, her self-proclaimed place and, as she put it, the most comfortable pillow at all. Now, no one commented. No one had to. Things had shifted. They just were.

It didn't bother the team. In fact, if anything, it made them stronger. Now there was someone who tempered Hotch's outbursts. Now there was someone who could get past Emily's formidable armour. Now there was more wordless conversation, and less necessity for commands. It had taken adjusting – working together, sleeping together, and having the team know they were doing both – but it didn't matter. They worked better now, than ever before.

To this day, they both swore it was the only reason the Bureau overlooked some of their more blatant, if accidental, displays of both domestic disturbance and domestic bliss.

***

There's nothing we can't overcome
We're staring at a bright new sun
We'll take it day-by-day
And stay one breath from heartache

***

Now, she danced with him, dressed in a stylish and practical white sundress, the colour contrasting sharply with the dark of her hair. They swayed back and forth to the light music, not paying attention to anything else around them. There was nothing else but the two of them and how far they'd come.

Because today was their wedding day. Today was the day they'd pledged their love and devotion in front of all of their families, their biological and non-biological alike. Today they promised to love each other for the rest of their days.

Emily hadn't been sure they'd make it this far. After Haley, she knew Hotch was reluctant to marry, to put himself in a situation where he could be hurt again. But Emily was different than Haley, and not only because Emily knew the job he did, and how important that job was to him. Emily knew him. Emily knew that he hated white socks. Emily knew that his favourite guilty pleasure movie was Willy Wonka. Emily knew that despite his constant complaining about why they couldn't have a small, intimate wedding, he loved being able to show as many people as possible that she was his.

***

Trust in me and I will never let you down.

***

Trusting him came easy.

Trusting him came naturally.

And Emily Prentiss – now Hotchner – found that she now had no reason to live just one breath away from heartache.


Lyrics are Adam Gregory's One Breath. I Googled the phrase and it gave me Adam Gregory lyrics, and it just kind of fit with the fluffiness I was seriously in the mood to write. It's what happens when you get the warm fuzzies because boys are doing things right. If you'll excuse the 12-year-old girl moment.

Reviews are, as always, highly appreciated!