I know, I'm deviating, but this has been floating around in my brain for what feels like ever, so I finally had the chance to jot it down, and by that, I mean write out all 2 766 words of it.

Really, Rossi and Prentiss are just a playground for me, so before my loyal readers get up in a fit (because it's happened before and that doesn't mean I don't love you all anyway) we all know I'm not going to be spending a lot of time with the romance between these two. I'm a Hotch/Prentiss shipper, ladies and gentlemen. That is my home.

But! I wrote this anyway!


She's dated in the office before. There was a brief stint with a guy from Cyber Crime while she was in Chicago, and a guy from Missing Persons when she had been stationed in Philadelphia. So David Rossi is not her first crack at an office romance. But as she sits on her couch, Discovery Channel on softly in the background, she realizes that though he may not be her first time at an office romance, he's the first one that's really mattered. She's actually invested in the outcome of this relationship, and more than just whether or not it will work between them. She actually cares what the outcome is going to be.

And after three days of being in captivity, she's actually comforted by the knowledge. For as she sits valiantly trying to fight off the headache that inevitably comes on the heels of days of concussion, she knows that it's different now. This isn't her first foray into the realm of office romance, but it's the first time she's not only actually worked alongside the man, but been in such danger on a regular basis. And really, this has driven the point home not just for her, but for him too and that's the only explanation she can find for the fact that he hasn't been by to visit and hasn't called to check on her since her abduction and everything else.

Which, she knows now, is endlessly frustrating when the only thing she wants is to be wrapped up in his arms, to get some reassurance that not only is she okay, but they're okay. She has yet to feel comfortable enough both with the faded bruises and the rest of her injuries to leave the house or she would have dragged her exhausted body to him, just for a moment, just while she continues to heal. Which is why the first thing she does when the phone rings is groan loudly.


"It's Dave."

Her breath catches in her throat at his voice floats over the phone line, and for the first time she finds herself comfortable with the reaction and not simply terrified and confused by it. Her time in captivity and her time alone has given her more than enough space to come to terms with all of her new revelations. "Hi."

"How are you feeling?"

"Like a punching bag," she replied, that blatant honesty that has gotten her in trouble so many times before coming out. She's still on pain pills and she's still against trying to do anything other than be herself. It took too much effort, effort she'd rather put into getting rid of the nightmares and battling the rest of the pain.

There was a harsh breath released on the other end of the phone and it sent a thrill through her before she knew what it was for. "Can you move?"

"I'd rather not," she admitted, her eyes falling closed.

"Okay," he said. "Okay."

Then there's a scratch of a key in her lock and her back automatically stiffens before she realizes that he's actually there, walking through her front door. And she hasn't brushed her teeth. But there's no time to do anything about it because Dave's in the room, by her side, crouching down and using her knee as a balance. The heat of his hand sears the skin of her knee. She's hyper aware of his presence.

He doesn't look at her for a while, and she tries to force herself to be patient. Patience has gotten her this far in this… whatever with him, and she's banking on it turning out in her favour now

"You're really okay."

It's not a question, and she knows it, but she opens her mouth anyway. "I'm here, aren't I? Breathing."

"Sarcastic," but there's a smile in his voice that she can hear, even though his eyes seem to be fixed on her thigh. She doesn't know why since most of her bruises seem to cover her stomach, ribs, arms and neck. Plus, it's not like he can see anything through the sweats and t-shirt.

"Do you mind?"

He's waving to the cushion beside her, and Emily nods before he's pushing himself up.

"My knees weren't made for that," he tries to explain, tries to lighten the mood. It doesn't work as well as he'd like, and she can tell by the way he sits beside her, but away from her.

Something's wrong and she has a pretty good feeling about what it is. It's the white elephant, the thing they've been feeling, been knowing, but have never discussed. Because after months of seeing each other, pretending it was all casual – though it did start out that way – she knows that it's not that simple anymore. Which is why neither of them moves, even though they're as close as they can be without touching. Neither one of them wants to be the first to step over that boundary.

"They released you?"

She shoots him a wry smile at the question he already knows the answer to. "I'm not stupid enough to leave a hospital AMA when I have a concussion."

"Need someone to wake you up every few hours?" he asks, and she's surprised at how easily she sees through the request. Dave is rarely this open to her, rarely this unguarded and she isn't sure what to do with that kind of trust and vulnerability. She knows she should say 'no'. She also knows she can't.

"I'm sure the doctors would appreciate not seeing me again," she says instead. She closes her eyes and pillows her head on her arm. That headache hasn't dissipated and now, with him here, with the subject matter she knows they have to discuss, she doubts it's going away any time soon.

"Did they give you painkillers?"

She nods. "They're in the bathroom." Then she's reaching out for his leg, putting her hand on it to keep him in place. "I don't want to take one."

"You're in pain," he argues. "Don't be stubborn."

"It's just a headache," she snaps because he's here and the last thing she wants to be while he's sitting on her couch is drugged up. But she knows snapping at him isn't a help either and sighs. "Sorry."

Dave's looking at her dubiously. "Are you sure you don't want them?"


Then his hand's covering hers, turning it palm up on his leg so he can trace the lines of her palm. He's done this before, when they're in bed and it's a terribly intimate gesture. "Emily…"

And she knows this is going to be The Conversation.

"This is complicated."

"It's always been complicated," she points out, for the first time realizing how true it is.

He shakes his head. "Not like this."

She's still not meeting his eyes, her head still resting on her arm on the armrest of the couch. "So what do we do?"

"We walk away."

The suggestion hangs in the air and Emily feels her chest tightening. She's well aware that means she won't be the one to walk away. She can't be the one to walk away. He has to be the one to say the words, to end it between them. But the words haven't come and Emily is struck with the idea that they never will. Finally, she raises her head, looking at him and realizing that all of the proof is there in front of her. He can't say the words either.

So she moves, gingerly and carefully, but she moves until she's straddling his legs, sitting back on his knees. Her hands come up to his shoulders and she forces him to meet her eyes. Neither of them say anything, but she knows her mind is an open book to him. It's all there in her gaze, everything she can't say and everything she wants to.

"It's a monumentally stupid idea," he warns, as if she's not aware that he's David Rossi and though many of the stories about his sexual escapades are exaggerated, many are true. The fact that he's been married three times also works in his favour.

She shrugs, feigning indifference, even though she knows she's not fooling him. "Tell me you can walk away and I will too."

Instead of answering her, he kisses her, and she revels in the feelings once again. She knows that the events of the last week has scared them both, and she is thankful for the reprieve of normalcy. Or at least, whatever normalcy she and Dave could ever have. His hands are intensely delicate when they ghost up her sides, curving along her back. She knows he's being gentle to take into consideration her injuries, but she also knows her torso is basically one big bruise. So she pulls away.


"Emily," he responds, and the intensity he manages to infuse into the simple three syllables of her name makes her re-think the arguments she was about to put up. He leans forward again, his mouth meeting hers in an intense kiss. He sweeps through her mouth with his tongue, telling her everything he wants from her. She can't do anything but respond in kind. This is too important, too many forms of important considering the circumstances.

She doesn't even feel him remove her t-shirt, but she hears him gasp and she knows it's because of the bruises their UNSUB left behind. Her usually porcelain skin is coloured by black and blue, but also deep purple, yellow and green. She knows it's ugly, knows that she's not up to snuff. And by the look on Dave's face, the extent of her injuries is a surprise to him. He gingerly supports her back, managing to find areas of her skin that isn't mottled with the evidence of her ordeal. He urges her to arch her back as his mouth finds each of her bruises, kissing them delicately in turn. It warms Emily as much as it arouses her.

Finally, when he's pressed his mouth to every part of her bruised body and she can't take any more, she cups his head, lifting his mouth to hers. Her fingers are steady enough to make quick work of his own button down – his jacket had been discarded by the door – and she takes immense pleasure in the feeling of his warmed skin against her aching body. He simply holds her for a minute, kissing her slowly. She feels his hands on her hips, urging her upright and he makes quick work of both her sweats and her underwear, leaving her naked.

Whether this is good for her bruised and battered body or not, she knows she needs this, that they both do. The reaffirmation of their relationship and their admissions are fresh and driving them as much as her kidnapping, abuse and beatings. She waits for him to deal with his own pants before she's back straddling his naked body, pressing herself as close to his heated skin as she can. This is what she wants, what she needs.

They deal with protection quickly, without their usual teasing touches, because they're too focused on being together to care too much about it. He slides into her and she curses herself for the little whimper she lets escape. He slows down then, aware that she's hurt, and manages to find places at her hips for his hands where he isn't pressing on bruises. His hands guide her body up and down, slow and steady, a burn that she can feel coiling in her stomach. This is beautiful, and it brings tears to her eyes, but since the worst of her bruises are on her torso, she tries to push harder, to make him move faster.

His hands soothe the increasing need, one brushing across her breasts, the other slipping between them and her splayed thighs. His speed, friction and pressure on her sensitive spots makes her less hungry for the delicious push of his body into hers and part of her brain knows that had been his exact intention. A bigger part of her brain, quite frankly, doesn't give a crap because she knows he's cherishing her, trying to show her all of the concern, all of the fear, and while most people probably assumed he wasn't a gentle lover, but a possessive one, Emily knew her Dave had more than one side of him.

There's no real sound between them except the ever increasing pace of their breath. His is much slower than hers and though she wishes she could change that, she's too focused on his fingers and his gentle glide in and out to really care at the moment. When he's done, she'll take hers, and they both know the way it's going to end. Fireworks start to shoot off in her brain, coating the back of her eyelids with white light and she knows what's coming next. Her whole body tenses, her neck arching backwards at the sheer feeling of this.

When she comes down, she can still feel him moving in her slowly. But she's done with slow. She let him have his fun and as she tilts her hips she knows he knows it too. His grip shifts to her rear and her hands rest more solidly on his shoulders as they work together to increase the pace. His mouth attacks her neck, her collarbone, her lips as her hands continually brush through the hair on his chest. She can feel it as he falters, as the pace becomes more and more erratic and she has to start doing more and more of the work if this is going to end. She ignores the pain in her legs to do it, bruises stretching across muscles, and it's easy to do. Because Dave has the ability to make her forget those types of things, forget the horrors, the pains, the daily grind in favour of this and whatever it's now come to mean.

She sees it when he climaxes, but only for a split second, for his last thrust brushes against her insides just right and she's toppling over with him in a surprising finish. Her head comes to rest on his shoulder as they wait for their breathing to mellow out and she can feel his fingers ghosting over her back. Eventually though, she has to pull away, because her headache is back and her muscles ache and she needs to just lie down and sleep for a year. The scary part is that he seems to know this and actually scoops her up in his arms, carrying her up the stairs.

Still, it's fifteen minutes before they're actually curled under the covers. Dave's hand is sifting through her hair, lulling her to sleep more effectively than any drug could. She's not going to pass out in a drug induced coma tonight because he's here, and she's suddenly comfortable with the idea that she can have nightmares, she can shift restlessly, and he'll still be there in the morning. Which is why she tilts her face up, angling for a kiss he willingly provides.

Suddenly, he pulls away. "I know it's the job, and we both know neither of us can walk away, but I was damned scared."

"You were scared?" she says with a shaky laugh and both of them know it was equally as terrifying to both of them, though she'll carry more of the scars. "All I could think about in there was that you were going to come and get me. It was the only thing that kept me… me."

He kisses her rather than responding, conveying his gratitude at that kind of trust. Then he's tucking her tighter against him and pulling the blankets up around them, creating a warm cocoon for her battered body. She drifts off to sleep with his skin against her cheek and his smell in her nose and knows that when she wakes, he's still going to be there. Things have changed between them now and for the first time in a while Emily's not scared, not ready to run at the first opportunity. Instead, she's safe, and she's warm and even though neither of them have ever said it, she knows that she's loved.