Author's Note: This is a one shot, another flashback offshoot of Falling in Love with a Girl. But, again, if you haven't read Girl you can still easily follow this one. Though I make some veiled references to prior events in the larger story, basically just consider it a missing scene early Season 4, post Angel Maker/Minimal Loss.
And at this stage in the story this would still just be considered a close friendship piece.
If you are reading Girl, consider it a follow up from a few days after chapter 67 (Airport Pickups).
Prompt Set #8
Title Challenge: There Might Be Blood
Cadence & Noise
Emily looked over in alarm at Hotch's howl.
"What's wrong?" she looked around their bench worriedly, "did you get stung?"
They were sitting in the park having a nice quiet lunch. Or at least they were until he started yelling in pain.
Her brow wrinkled . . . why is he holding his face?
Still grimacing in pain, Hotch's gently palpated the side of his jaw as he said in disbelief, "I think I just broke my tooth."
Furrowing her brow in confusion, Emily looked down at the peels on the bench between them, "you broke your tooth on an orange?" she frowned at him, "is that even possible?"
His face was beginning to throb so Hotch really had no patience at all for a discussion about the mechanics of the incident. So he shot her a look, "what can I tell you Prentiss? I'm eating an orange and now I have a broken tooth. I'm no mathematician but I think that one plus one equals two."
And then he moaned as he felt another stab in his face.
"SHIT that hurts!"
The pain was definitely getting worse.
He scowled at the ground . . . why was this happening to him? Did he not have enough crap going on already?
Completely ignoring his pain fueled sarcasm, Emily instead focused in on the pain that she could now clearly see that he was experiencing.
"I'm sorry," she said sympathetically as she rubbed his leg, "you're right, that's the only thing that makes sense."
Though it didn't actually make any sense at all, this clearly wasn't the time to have the physics discussion about the general malleability of a piece of citrus. It was obvious that he was in agony. So she patted his knee one last time before she pulled her phone from her pocket and looked up at him.
"What's your dentist's name? I'll call and make you an appointment."
Hotch's eyes widened in alarm as he quickly shook his head, "no, no it's fine. Really," he grimaced as he took his hand down from his face, "really it's not that bad at all."
It was actually the about the worst pain he'd ever experienced. And he'd been shot AND stabbed.
Not to mention that there was definitely blood in his mouth, and that really couldn't be a good sign of anything. But he absolutely HATED the dentist!
They were sadists.
Plus, really, how could you trust a group of people who chose to make a living by putting their hands in people's mouths? That's just disgusting, unsanitary behavior!
That was also why Hotch didn't trust proctologists.
Emily stared at him for a moment, and then . . . despite her best efforts . . . her mouth started to quiver.
But when she saw the look he was giving her she quickly clamped down on her lip before she asked with nary a perceptible snort, "I'm sorry, are you afraid of the dentist?"
'Oh my God, that was hilarious! Hotch could kill a man with his pinky finger! How could he possibly be afraid of the dentist!'
Hotch shot a scowl back at her, "I am not AFRAID of the dentist Prentiss. I just told you that it's not that bad. And you know I'm a busy man. I don't have the time to take out of my very full schedule to take a completely POINTLESS trip to the dentist."
Afraid of the dentist . . . he scoffed to himself . . . how ridiculous could she be?
Emily just stared at him throughout his little diatribe. And when he stopped she raised her eyebrow, "you done?"
"Yes," Hotch slapped his hand across his jaw again, "OW!"
'GOD DAMN IT!'
"Good," she put her phone on the bench before she began gathering up the remnants of their lunch, "because you," she shot him a look, "busy man with your very busy schedule, are almost in tears."
Seeing him about to open his mouth in protest she put her hand up, "somehow," she shook her head as she stood up to dump their trash in the barrel, "some WAY, you managed to break your face on a piece of orange. A substance almost as soft as a baby kitten."
Hotch interjected drolly, "and why exactly would I be eating a baby kitten Prentiss?"
Emily ignored the question as she picked up her cell phone again, "if you're in this much pain there's no way that you're going to be able to work. You won't be able to concentrate on anything. And you certainly won't be able to go into the field," she rolled her eyes as she scrolled down her phone directory, "God help you if you tried to fly with a toothache. Your head could explode," she simultaneously hit a number as she shot him a look, "so you, Aaron Francis Hotchner, are going to the dentist today whether you like it or not."
Hotch started to sputter in protest, but it was a little hard for him to do it effectively when his face kept contorting in pain. So Emily just rolled her eyes at his stubbornness as she turned away to finish making an emergency appointment for him with her own dentist.
If he wouldn't give her the name of his then he could just go see hers.
After she hung up, Emily turned back around to see Hotch glowering at her, "I'm not going."
Just because she made an appointment didn't mean he was under any legal obligation to keep the appointment. She wasn't the boss of him.
HE was the boss of HER!
Though . . . he frowned slightly . . . it seemed that more and more lately that she was wearing his chief's hat when they were off duty. Perhaps once upon a time that might have bothered him, but he liked what their relationship had evolved into and he had no desire at all to change it back.
Spending time with her made him happy. Why would he give that up?
That said . . . he shot her another scowl . . . he most definitely did NOT like the fact that she thought she was hauling his ass off to the dentist. Because that was just not happening!
Unblinking, Emily stared down at him, refusing to cower under the full wattage of one of his nastier glares. The look wasn't quite UNSUB worthy, but it was almost as bad as one she'd once seen him shoot at Strauss as she left a meeting.
Once upon a time those scowls actually scared Emily. But now she held complete immunity with Hotch. After all, it was barely three days ago that she'd picked him up at the airport. He'd crushed her to his chest as he told her how much he missed her. And then he had his arm around her for basically the rest of the day as they went to dinner and then back to her place to watch a movie. So she knew that she wasn't crossing any lines with him right now.
There were no longer lines to cross.
God, he was being silly about this though. And she would have thought that after all of the melodrama out in Ohio over his hearing, that he'd have learned his lesson about taking chances with his health.
She scowled back at him . . . men.
But then she looked again at his eyes watering and her scowl changed to a slight pout . . . even if he was being stubborn, she hated to see him in so much pain. Sometimes he just didn't know what was best for him.
And that's where she came in.
So with a weary sigh, Emily crouched down in front of him. But unfortunately the nasty look was persisting even at eye level, and she realized that a different approach was required here.
There was a wall being built up and she had to knock it down.
To that end, she put her hands on his knees and said sympathetically, "I hate to go to the gynecologist."
The scowl instantly vanished as Hotch's brow instead rose in pain tinged amusement. Then he scoffed slightly, "though I personally cannot make a direct comparison between the two, I hardly think that those would be comparable visits Prentiss."
Relieved that this approach was having the desired effect . . . she was making a connection . . . Emily's lip quirked up, "either way you've got a strange man poking his fingers around somewhere you don't want them."
Hotch's mouth started to quiver, "I can't believe you just said that."
Every time he thought he'd reached the point where she couldn't shock him anymore, she'd come out with something even more outrageous.
He huffed to himself . . . his life with Emily in it certainly was never boring.
She stood up, "believe it mister. But even though I hate the gynecologist, I still have to go," she put her hand out to him, "just like you still have to go to the dentist."
He might be one of the most stubborn men she knew, but he certainly wasn't stupid. And now that she'd broken through the 'being stubborn for stubborn's sake' barbed wire fence he'd erected, she knew that if she just gave him a minute he'd accept that there really wasn't a Plan B here.
Hotch stared at her for a moment and then he winced as another stab of pain went through his nerve endings.
She was right. This really wasn't a problem that was going to go away simply by ignoring it.
So he put his hand out and accepted the wriggling fingers in front of him, "fine," he sighed as he hauled himself up, "I'll go."
She gave him a soft smile, "good choice sir."
His eyes crinkled as they turned to start walking along the tree lined path out of the park.
Emily was quiet for a moment before she whispered, "just be glad you didn't break an ovary."
It took all of Hotch's self control not to laugh out loud at that one. As it was he had to bite down hard on his lip, the pressure of which caused another stab of pain in his face.
With a grimace, he slid his arm around her shoulders before whispering back, "Prentiss?"
"Kind of hurts to laugh right now."
Her nose wrinkled as she looked up at him, "right, sorry." She tipped her head onto his chest, "I'll be quiet."
They had chosen a secluded area to eat so they had a few minutes along the footpath until they'd be back out where they'd run into anyone. She was taking advantage . . . as obviously was he . . . of the opportunity to be a bit more demonstrative than they could usually be during the day.
And then, realizing that if she didn't feel well that a hug from him would be welcomed, she decided to slip her arm around his waist.
Even if he probably wouldn't admit it, a hug most likely would make him feel better too.
He patted her arm, "I don't want you to be quiet."
Emily's chatter was a lovely white noise. It was like the ocean . . . and it had become a comfort to him. And right now he could use a distraction from the throbbing in his face so as they walked along he ran his fingers along her shoulder, "tell me what you bought at the shoe store."
She looked up at him in astonishment, "really!"
God, did he break off a piece of his brain too? Not once in her thirty-nine years had a man ever asked her to tell him about her trip to the shoe store. Except of course when she was sixteen and her father wanted to know how much of his paycheck was left after she came home with six pairs of Doc Martens.
That was the week she'd entered the Goth phase and tossed out everything in her closet that wasn't black.
He nodded, "yeah, really. What did you buy?"
Once she saw that he was indeed serious in his inquiry, Emily shrugged before she leaned back against him again, "okay, well, there was a sale. And just last week I was cleaning out my closet and I noticed that I didn't have one pair of black heels that weren't scuffed so . . ."
Hotch's eyes crinkled as he pulled her in tighter, focusing not so much on the words . . . though he really was listening . . . but more on the cadence of her voice. The slight lilt when she got excited over the half price pumps, the scoff at the saleslady's bad attitude . . . all of the little parts of the story that he could now see in front of him. In the picture that she was painting around him. And his pain faded to a dull throb as he escaped into that picture.
It was a world she was creating simply with the sound of her voice.
Emily paused and looked up at him, "are you sure I'm not boring you?"
His face didn't look quite so pinched but given the obvious physical pain he was in she really didn't want to torture him with the details of her shopping exploits. But, to her surprise he actually gave her a little smile before he kissed her temple.
"You are never boring Prentiss," he touched his cheek again as he felt another twinge, "okay, back to your story. Did they have them in navy?"
And to his relief she started talking again . . . and again the rest of the world faded away.
He sighed . . . what a lovely noise.
A/N 2: When this suddenly came to me yesterday it was supposed to just be a funny little one shot of them arguing about him going to the dentist, but then as I was wrapping it up it became a much sweeter story. The ending just popped into my head, but if you're reading Girl, you might recall that it falls into line with a scene from a September chapter where she's telling him about dress shopping with JJ and he's thinking to himself how much he just loves to listen to her talk no matter how mundane the subject. And I personally know that the perception is that things seem to hurt more if you don't distract yourself from the pain. So I figured Hotch would focus on the one pleasant thing he'd have available to him . . . Emily :)
I once broke my tooth on a tootsie pop. That was embarrassing because I was like 26 :) And before anyone yells at me ;) that it's unlikely Hotch could "break" a tooth on an orange, picture it more that it was a weak tooth and he bit down on a little orange seed. Teeth are funny things. They'll serve you well for years, let you eat steak and raw vegetables and every manner of crispy, delicious tortilla and corn chips and then one day, bam, they'll just throw up their hands like "okay I'm out!" and they'll totally leave you in the lurch with a tootsie pop injury!
There should be a new Communication Breakdown up tomorrow. And at some point this week there will be another Girl (sequential) and also, for a change, a new story added to Universe C! That's the Epiphanies one where they got together after the shooting. This will be a Halloween chapter for them.