PROMPT: There Might Be Blood (House)
Everything in their relationship was still new and shiny when the case came about. It was stupidly clichéd and they were left without much choice. To top it off, neither of them were happy with it. The last time she'd done something like this, there hadn't been a necessity for anyone on the other end of the wire. She had Jordan Todd with her and Viper, as she'd pointed out herself, was perfectly harmless. This time, she was going to be by herself. With a wire, yes, but by herself. She was uncomfortable with it and she knew that could only mean that Hotch was extremely uncomfortable with it.
She tried not to bite her lip as she put the final touches on her makeup. God, why didn't they have someone trained for this type of thing anyway? Sure, she had plenty of years with bad pick up lines and octopus hands in her past, but VICE existed for a reason. She hated undercover work with a passion, but she understood the need for it. Or she wouldn't currently be wearing exactly what she was.
It wasn't that she looked like a prostitute. On the contrary she looked like any regular clubber out for a night on the town, but Emily Prentiss had too much of her mother in her to feel comfortable in something so revealing. Her skirts were usually at least two inches longer than this one and though she didn't mind wearing a low-cut top or two – she had the assets, after all – one that just brushed the small string that held her bra cups together was not usually her cup of tea. She was glad to have Dave and Derek going in as back up too, because the heels she wore were not meant to be used as anything other than torture devices. Emily liked dressing up as much as the next normal woman, but she'd been to too many galas to ever think of wearing the shoes she was.
But at the same time, she was well aware this was their last hope. She sighed, fluffing her curls, double checking the corners of her dark, smoky eyes. She wanted to be doing this for a different man, a man she was actually attracted to, rather than some guy she'd never met. A guy that could easily take her out. And kill her.
She stepped out of her bathroom, readjusting her skirt. If there was one thing she needed at that moment, it was reassurance, both that she could do this and that he was going to let her do her job. During regular cases, everything was fine, they managed not to step on each other's toes and he was very good about letting her do her job without his alpha protective instincts skipping in. Here, now, away from all of that and with her putting her life on the line, she wasn't sure what was going to happen, regardless of how much he knew that this was something she could do.
She heard him sigh and looked up, forcing a smile onto her face. "What? You don't like it?"
There was awareness in his eyes that told her the flippant words hadn't done anything to change what he was feeling, to downplay the nervousness that was evident in the lines of her body. He held out his hand. "It's not you."
She slid her hand into his, absorbing the strength of his fingers for a moment. "Well, this is his type."
They stood there, some sort of stand-off tableau. Finally, he sighed. "I wish there was a better way."
It was the perfect opening. "Are you going to be able to do this?"
"Are you?" he replied, his fingers unconsciously tightening against hers.
"I have Dave and Derek. I'm going to be fine." She wasn't sure if she believed it, but she was willing to say it if he needed to hear it.
His thumb started stroking across her hand. "Emily…"
"Don't," she interrupted. "Everything's going to be fine. I'm going to be fine. You're going to be fine. We're going to be fine. That's it."
"It won't," she interrupted again, knowing what he wanted to say. But she didn't want him to say things he was only feeling because she was going into a dangerous situation. "It can't."
"Emily… You could get hurt."
"We can always get hurt," she replied. One of them had to be strong. They couldn't both lose it. Her makeup had taken too long to get right for her to lose it. Someday, she was going to invest in waterproof mascara.
He stood then, taking a moment to pull her to him, holding her tightly. She wrapped her arms around him just as tight, taking the time she needed. Eventually, he pulled back, taking a deep breath and she literally watched his Agent Hotchner mask, fall into place. "Let's roll out."
She smiled slightly, just barely. "Yes sir."
The next time he saw her, she was sitting on the back of an ambulance, hissing as an EMT applied antiseptic to her scraped knees. She'd had to run in the shoes after all and tripped, scraping open the skin on her hands and knees. He was going to kill Derek or Dave for letting that happen to her. Their UNSUB shouldn't have been able to get her out of that damned club, let alone into a situation where she thought all she could do was run. He was going to rip that UNSUB limb from limb if there was any more serious or lasting damage. Her mouth quirked up when she saw him.
"The fishnets took more of a hit than I did," she quipped. "This is a surface wound."
He was glad that was all it was. Their UNSUB had not been kind to his previous victims. There were probably bruises that hadn't come out of hiding too, but he was just happy she was still in one piece.
"All done, Agent Prentiss."
Emily smiled her thanks at the EMT, taking his hand as she slid her feet back into those death traps that had injured her in the first place. She hissed slightly as she placed weight on her left foot.
"Hospital," he murmured immediately, looking back to see if he could find that EMT again.
"It's probably just a sprain," she replied flippantly. "I have something to wrap it with at home and we're on our way out anyway."
He didn't like that idea one bit and continued to look around for the EMT, muttering and grumbling distractedly. Her hand on his cheek startled him a little.
"Aaron," she said quietly, eyes sincere and tired. "I don't want to go to the hospital. I want to go home." I want to be in your arms.
She didn't have to say it, but he understood it, and nodded absently, wrapping her arm around his shoulders under the pretence of helping her limp away. They took a few awkward steps – she was, after all, still a little bit shorter than him and their torsos didn't line up in a way that allowed for much comfort – before he huffed and swung her into his arms. She squeaked, but held on until they reached the SUV. Derek was there, with an arched eyebrow.
Emily sighed, answering before Hotch could. "Ankle. I'm sure it's not a big deal."
Derek immediately turned to Hotch who shook his head. "No hospital. We'll keep an eye on it."
Derek shrugged. "You're the boss. I'll ride back with Rossi."
Reid and JJ had gone back with the surveillance team while Dave, Derek, and Emily – all of whom had to give statements – waited around. He didn't have to explain himself. He waited for his agents and if it looked like he hovered over the injured one, well, he'd deal with it. Because for that split second when she tripped, when he'd thought the UNSUB had her, he'd wanted to share a few choice words with her about fighting and promising her they'd find her. He climbed into the driver's seat as she clicked her seatbelt into place. She leaned her head back against the headrest, closing her eyes.
"Well that was an eventful evening."
He had no idea how she could make light of this. Part of him was still freaking out. He had a white-knuckled grip on the steering wheel for Christ's sake. She couldn't have been seriously hurt. Or worse. And here she was, talking about it like she'd just gotten her tonsils out. Or her wisdom teeth. "Em…"
"I was right, wasn't I? We're all okay."
"Speak for yourself," he muttered, scowling when she laughed. He wasn't sure what to do, how to tell her about the fear that had lanced through his system when he'd thought she was a goner. When he thought they couldn't save her. The drive back to the hotel was made in a tense, but remarkably not uncomfortable, silence. When he put the SUV in park, she reached out, resting her hand on his thigh. He looked over at her, but her eyes were still closed, head still leaned back, exposing that elegant neck.
"I wanted to, too," she murmured. "I wanted to tell you everything but… if I can't do it now, here, when there's no threat, I shouldn't do it in the heat of the moment. You deserve better than that. We deserve better than that. And I'm okay. A little banged up, but I'm here and I'm in one piece."
How she managed to read his mind like that he never quite understood, but she'd become more adept at it over time. Some days he cursed it. Today, he welcomed it. Because despite their growing relationship, they were both protective of their hearts. They didn't want to set themselves up for a world of hurt that seemed prepared to happen, regardless of how much they fought it. If things fell apart between them, it was no obvious that the pain would be…. Well, at the very least, tough to handle. They were both in their new relationship one hundred percent and in deep.
He hopped out, coming around to her side of the SUV, she'd opened the door and swung her legs around, but waited as patiently as he knew Emily Prentiss could. Her shoes were in her hands and he arched an eyebrow at her. She quirked her lip.
"Well, I can't walk on it, and I might as well not wear the shoes if you're going to carry me."
He sighed, huffed a little, but turned his back, wrapping his hands around her thighs and trying to avoid remembering how short her skirt was. When they were in her room, he lowered her gently to the ground, turning and wrapping his arms around her as he did so. Finally, now that they were alone and behind a solid locked door, he leaned down to kiss her, pouring his fear into their meeting. She kissed back, but eventually pulled away. He rested his forehead against hers. He was going to say it, just put it out there. One of them had to and this time, he was willing to be the vulnerable one.
"Emily…. If you had-"
She stopped him with a finger on his lips. "I understand," she said quietly. "I know, because I feel it too."
For now, for this moment in time between them, that was enough.
I have to admit, there are some benefits to being one of the ones to pick the prompts. You get a little bit of a head start, and that's why this one's done! Really, I should be sleeping because I have to be up to register for my courses in the morning, but who needs sleep when you can have a worried protective Hotch and a reassuring Em? Not me!
And I kept the case deliberately vague because I didn't want to think it out. I'm sure I could come up with something, but... it really wasn't relevant for the story?
Review! And while you're at it, go check out the new prompt list, okay? Sienna and I would appreciate it!