A/N: Okay, loyal Hotch/Emily devotees, this oneshot is designed to follow "The End of the Delusion". There will be one more additional oneshot in this arc. Thank you for reading. And to those of you reviewing, your thoughts are truly appreciated. As ever, I don't own Criminal Minds.
Not Without a Fight
Staring blindly at the bedroom door Emily had just vacated, Hotch swallowed. Hearing the audible snap of his front door closing galvanized him into motion, his legs falling over the side of the bed and his feet hitting the floor within seconds. And all the while his body was moving, his mind was moving even faster, the questions flowing in newly forming synapses. What the hell exactly had just happened? What changed?
Glancing at the flashing alarm clock on his nightstand, he grabbed absently for the shirt on the floor as he tried to create a battle plan in his mind. But at that moment, he was only recognizing one very important reality: Aaron Hotchner knew that couldn't let this happen again. Not again. Because somewhere in his soul, he knew he wouldn't survive a second desertion by a woman he loved. And whether she knew it or not, he loved her.
He loved Emily Prentiss.
Shaking his head, he reached for his slacks, asking himself again, what had happened. Replaying the last few hours in his mind, nothing seemed to jump out and give him a reason for her sudden departure. They'd shared another fantastic night together. Any night that she slept beside him in his big bed was a miracle for him. Any night he got to hold her in his arms, he felt himself becoming whole again. With her. When Emily Prentiss was at his side, his world changed from monochrome blandness to a bursting kaleidoscope, a pulsing aliveness that just could not be explained.
And, now, she was gone? Just like that. No discussion. No chance for an explanation. Just gone. And without her, in this cool dark room, he suddenly felt the color gradually seeping away, leaving him in a world filled with overwhelming grayness. Again.
No. Dammit, not again.
He'd let that happen once before. He'd watched as a woman he loved just walked away from him. And he hadn't fought. He wasn't making that mistake again, he thought determinedly, reaching for his socks, his motions precise but filled with a sense of urgency. Not when so much was on the line.
He knew what he'd told her in the beginning. That it could only ever be sex and friendship between them. And he'd actually been deluded enough to believe the hastily spoken words that had flowed from his lips. A part of him had been instinctively protecting what was left of his heart. While he wanted what Emily was offering then, he was just jaded enough to know then that he couldn't give her a whole man. And the pragmatist in him thought that it had recognized a kindred spirit in Emily Prentiss. He thought, foolishly, that they could settle for parts rather than the whole.
That was then. This was now. And now, however, was a different story.
After nearly two months of holding her, tasting her…loving her…. he knew those words had been a lie. And, if he was honest with himself, they'd been a lie even as he'd said them. Because she was his other half.
She understood him…accepted him. At least, he thought she had. No other woman had ever completed him the way Emily did. Not even Haley and he'd thought she was the end of the rainbow. And maybe for the man he had been then, she actually had been. Haley had fit into the mold that he had built around his life, attempting to fill the corners and lightening some of the darkness. And he had loved her in a fashion. He had loved what he had with her. He had loved her for giving him a son.
But the man he was NOW….this man belonged to Emily. This man loved Emily, unconditionally. And this man….this Aaron Hotchner….knew that there wouldn't be another chance after this.
And he couldn't let her go, he told himself, slipping on his shoes as he made a grab for his keys on the dresser.
Not without a fight.