Mount. Vesuvius

Walking in to her lonely apartment, Emily Prentiss dropped her keys on the coffee table and collapsed on the soft couch behind her. Groaning, she buried her head in a throw pillow and screamed in frustration. When would she ever learn? Hadn't her distant parents taught her anything? Of course not! No, she had to go and fall for a man that could give even her mother lessons. His "I am an island" routine should have been nothing new to somebody like her. And it wasn't. It was just far more irritating this time around.

You'd have thought she'd have made her peace with the uncommunicative spiel. After all, she'd had enough practice with her parents, their primary means of communication being piercing glares and disdainful looks. But Hotch's emotional shutdown still smarted. She'd wanted him to open up to her. God knows, she'd tried to break down his walls over the last month. All of them had tried. But the man was a stone wall, carefully masking his feelings behind a shield of indifference.

She knew the powerless rage he must be feeling. If she hadn't, she would have seen it today. It had been reflected in his eyes right before he'd gently shoved her out of his way and went into Call's house unarmed today. For the first time in her career, she'd panicked in the field today. She'd been desperate to get Hotch out of that house. The risk he'd taken with his own life had all but paralyzed her, especially when she'd heard those shots fired.

As she'd looked at him in the aftermath, she'd been torn between wanted to protect him and berate him. Seeing the look in his dark eyes, however, she'd done neither. She'd simply stood beside him, hoping desperately that he'd reach out to her. She tried to tell herself that it shouldn't hurt that he didn't. He hadn't sought anyone's help. Not even Rossi's.

One thing had been certain, watching Aaron Hotchner today. The man she'd often thought of as unshakeable was actually more like a dormant volcano. Eventually he'd erupt. The warning tremors had already been felt. May God help them all, when that toxic lava began to flow. She knew, there'd be nowhere any of them could hide.