Title: Living on a Prayer
Rating:
PG-13
Fandom:
Criminal Minds
Universe:
Living
Characters/Pairing:
Rossi/Prentiss
Genre:
Romance/Angst
Summary:
Emily and Rossi deal with the consequences of an unexpected confession.
Author's Note:
This was supposed to be a smut-fic, but the muse apparently wanted to stop right there, so there will probably be a smut follow-up, if anyone's interested. Betaed by Windy City Dreamer.

Living on a Prayer

Emily curses her own idiocy sometimes.

Almost forty years on this Earth, and she still hasn't quite figured out the idea of love. For a long time it confused her, because after Matthew, there wasn't really anyone in her life that didn't have their own agenda.

In the past few months, David Rossi had been there for her almost unconditionally, and she just had to go and ruin it all by telling him that she loved him.

She knows for a fact that she isn't the first woman that David Rossi has been with, or even the tenth. He's not a one-woman kind of guy. The three sets of divorce papers sitting in his filing cabinet can attest to that.

He hadn't responded negatively when she'd said it. He'd widened his eyes in shock, and then nodded slightly. Only then had Emily realized what she'd done. She'd gone and put her foot in it. More relationships than she can count, ruined by her propensity to blurt things out, and she still hasn't learned to keep her mouth shut.

For the next twenty minutes, he had been strangely distant, until Emily decided that she should cut her losses and back out right then and there. The fact that he had made only a half-hearted attempt to stop her lets Emily know that she has fucked up.

Again.

***

David Rossi has been married three times. Some people put that down to his suave attitude, before he reminds them that he has also been divorced three times. He'd like to lay the blame on his choice of companion, but then, when it comes down to it, Rossi knows the truth.

He can be a bit of an ass.

Sometimes, that's an understatement. Sometimes, he can be a completely insufferable, self-important jerk who doesn't appreciate a good thing even if he's looking right at it.

It's been two weeks.

Two weeks since she rushed out of his house, blushing madly, as if she'd actually done something worthy of embarrassment. Of course, he hasn't exactly had the chance to tell her that there was nothing to be embarrassed about. Two full weeks during which they've been bogged down with casework; pedophile killing boys in Idaho, sexual sadist in Austin. They're all at the end of their rope, and his asshattery isn't going to help matters.

So when he sees her in the elevator alone, he's hesitant to join her. After all, he doesn't trust himself not to fuck things up even more. But then, another part of him simply wants to take her into his arms, and tell her that she's not the only one with unexpected feelings.

There's one simple reason why he hadn't said anything, the one simple reason that would always be the white elephant in the room.

The job.

Because admitting it to her is almost the same as admitting it to himself, and if he admits it to himself, then he's never going to be able to do the job properly with her at his side. He's never going to be able to retain that objectivity. He'll pretend of course, but as legendary as David Rossi is, he's not God.

With courage that befits his reputation, he slides into the elevator just before the doors close. They've been in this situation before; alone in this enclosed space, tension running high.

She's opening her mouth to speak, but he beats her to it. 'I can be a complete ass sometimes,' he says, as if that explains everything, and it does in a way. He almost wishes he could go back to that night and stop her from walking out that door. 'And for what it's worth, I'm sorry.' He doesn't expect to be able to fix things with a single apology, no matter how suave he is. That's not the way the world works.

***

Emily doesn't speak for a moment. She's still processing his words.

He thinks this is his fault. 'Why are you apologizing?' she asks him brusquely. 'You're not the one who screwed things up.' It had started off as just companionship, as knowing that there was someone to help her through those dark times. Somewhere along the way, it had gotten bogged down by intimacy. Emily would be lying to herself is she said she didn't love that intimacy, but at the same time, she's hyper vigilant of just how much it complicates the situation. The look in his eyes as he tells her that he is an ass is all she needs to see to realize that she's not the only one in this crazy, fucked up situation.

That's the main reason why, when he asks if she's interested in having dinner, she says yes.

Maybe she can redeem herself after all.