An Act of Contrition
Pursing his lips, he stared coldly across the room at her. "You countermanded a direct order this afternoon, Agent Prentiss. You confirmed that you heard the order over the commlink and then you directly disobeyed my decision. Is there any explanation that you can offer me that's going to indicate a reason I shouldn't write this up into your permanent Bureau file?"
"Write me up?" Emily asked incredulously, staring in absolute amazement into his flashing dark eyes. Was he kidding here? A flag on her file for saving an innocent life? Wasn't that something that other agents had received medals of honor for?
"There are consequences to ignoring a direct order, Agent Prentiss," Hotch replied evenly.
"I realize that," Emily replied carefully, her hands curving into fists where they rested against the chair., telling herself not to let his "boss voice" throw her at this moment. "But I made a judgment call. Our unsub had a knife trained on a seventeen year old girl. All our team needed was a window of opportunity which, coincidentally, I provided."
"And you were stabbed for your efforts," Hotch countered, his normally neutral voice not able to maintain the even keel throughout that entire sentence.
"You weren't going to be able to successfully negotiate with the unsub. We both know that he'd escalated beyond the point of no return," Emily replied, satisfied that she'd done the right thing, even if the man in front of her still couldn't understand that. Watching his lips tighten, she added, "If that girl was going to get out of that situation alive, I had to act. I believe I stated as much in my written report. And to my knowledge, Section Chief Strauss agreed with my suppositions."
"It wasn't your Section Chief's orders that you disregarded, they were mine, Prentiss," Hotch returned in a hard voice.
"It was an unfortunate circumstance, Hotch. But I do not regret my actions," Emily replied formally, refusing to respond to his stone tone. Clenching her fists in front of her, she added, lifting her chin slightly, "Given the same situation again, I would repeat things exactly as they occurred."
"Yes, I'll be sure to note that in my Official Findings Report," Hotch retorted with a wave of his hand.
"Do what you need to do, Agent Hotchner. I'm sure I'll recover from my slap on the wrist," Emily replied sarcastically, narrowing her eyes as she watched him drop his hand to his hip. Shaking her head, she said with a sigh, "I'm not really interested anymore in what my Unit Chief has to say. He's been very clear. Perhaps, you'd like to allow me to speak with the man that professes to love me now."
Eyes narrowing, Hotch shook his head. "I'm not entirely sure that's a sound idea right now, Prentiss. That guy is still fairly unstable."
"I don't care," Emily stated with a certainty she wasn't sure she actually felt, hearing more in his tone than his words conveyed. "I want him."
"Fine. You want him, you got him, Emily! The man that loves you wants to shake you until your teeth rattle and your head bounces around like a ragdoll," Hotch growled, taking a step in her direction. "How could you make such an impulsive decision?"
"Aaron, I made the only decision I could," Emily said gently, seeing the panicked glint in his eye. And while she didn't regret her actions, she didn't want to see him in any more pain than he was apparently suffering. She continued, her tone still soft, "And it worked out okay, didn't it?"
"No, Em, it most certainly did NOT work out okay! You took a knife in the belly," Hotch retorted, his hand unconsciously covering his own stomach.
"Which two medical professional have assured you was not a serious wound," she reminded him slowly, keeping her eyes trained on him the entire time. While she had realized that his reaction would be visceral, she hadn't exactly considered every nuance of the situation.
"There but by the grace of God!" Hotch threw back, dark eyes dropping from hers to stare at the floor. "Do you have any idea how I felt when I watched him plunge that steel into you? I lost my perspective, Emily! Hell, Dave had to step in and take lead. You have no idea how powerless…how unbelievably scared I was. And yet, here you sit, telling me that you'd do it all again."
"And I would," Emily replied gently, pushing out of the easy chair to slowly cross the room to stand in front of him. His nearness was a comfort, his warmth literally seeping from his stiff body. Cupping his taut cheeks, she urged him to look at her. Her voice a bare murmur, she said, "You would have done the same thing, Aaron. To save that girl, you would have, no matter who'd have been watching."
"Emily," Hotch whispered in a raw, pain filled voice as his eyes finally settled on hers, "I thought I'd lost you. I watched him stab you and I thought I'd lost you."
"You didn't," Emily whispered, shaking her head, her fingers starting to stroke his stubbled cheek. Her words flowed from her mouth as she tried to assuage his fears. "I'm a capable, trained agent…the same as you. You've got to trust me to do my job."
Dropping his forehead to rest against hers, Hotch closed his eyes, breathing in the scent of coconut and lime that was uniquely Emily Prentiss. "I do trust you to do your job…too much sometimes, I think," he grumbled.
Feeling his warm breath fanning her face, Emily wrapped her arms around his narrow waist, her head finding her favorite spot, nuzzled between his neck and collar bone. Sighing, she muttered, the feel of his shirt rubbing against her cheek, "I really am sorry that I scared you. You know that was never my intention."
"I know," he rumbled, his voice muffled as he buried his face in her dark hair. "I know," he repeated, reminding himself to breath as he turned his head and rested his cheek against her head in the still room.
"Are you and I going to be okay?" Emily whispered, feeling her stomach clench as she waited for his answer. His body pressed heavier against hers, and she welcomed the weight, the slight burden, the security it provided.
"You and I, on a personal basis? Yeah, we'll be fine. You and your boss, I'm not sure about. But if you're VERY repentant tonight, I'll try to talk to the hard ass in the morning," Hotch offered with a half-smile.
"Oh, I do a very good remorseful," Emily said quietly, lifting her head to stare into those now warm eyes. This was the Aaron that she had been hoping would make an appearance tonight, and she was not going to waste this visitation. "Very, very good," she murmured against his lips, kissing him gently. Feeling him sigh against her mouth, Emily smiled as his arms tightened around her, drawing her to him.
"I love you. You know that, don't you?" he muttered, dropping a kiss against the column of her neck.
"Yes, I do. You'd never have been this angry, otherwise," Emily replied, drawing him with her as she walked backward toward the sofa. Even while they were moving, his fingers never left her, the connection obviously necessary for both of them. Pushing him down to the cushions gently, she slowly straddled his lap.
Reclining back against the cushions, Hotch raised an eyebrow. Cocking his head as he watched her peel her shirt over her head to reveal braless, flawless breasts, he asked, "Exactly what do you think you're doing, Emily?"
"It's not obvious?" she chuckled, grinning wickedly down at his dark, handsome face. His voice might have flickered between boss and lover, but his eyes were definitely flashing the latter.
"Evidently not," he returned huskily, lifting a hand to stroke gently against the taut peak of one breast.
Feeling the shudder flow down her spine at the mere whisper of his touch, Emily fought to keep her eyes open at the emotion. The entire day faded into her memories as she stared at the wonderfully complicated man before her, the man that had been truly frightened on multiple levels by her actions today. And while she wouldn't have changed her choices, she did wish, somewhat, that he didn't have to suffer for them. But at least she could ensure that he didn't suffer any more this evening, couldn't she?
"I'm showing remorse," she whispered, leaning forward to claim his lips in a deeply erotic kiss.