Stroke of Midnight

It was several days before he was able to visit the hospital again. The twenty ninth of December was bitterly cold, but no snow fell that day. Even though she was indoors, Emily Prentiss could sense the cold as if she was outside. She could see the frost that was pressing against her window that morning.

David Rossi had been released the day after Christmas with a cautionary tale of what could happen if he refused to take it easy. She only knew of it because he'd visited her before he left (JJ insisted on driving him home) and told her so. He'd only left after she'd insisted several times that she didn't need anything, that she was alright, and that he didn't need to apologize. From what she knew, Reid was still there and would be until the New Year.

Though Hotch had not been able to make a trip to the hospital since Christmas Day, Emily Prentiss was not without visitors. Morgan was constantly visiting the hospital, jumping rooms from her to Reid.

In the past few days he'd brought several more books for her and – though she hadn't known it at the time – paid for the TV in her room to be turned on for the remainder of her stay. She'd only paid for it through Christmas Day and when she attempted to chew Morgan out for it, he'd only rolled his eyes and left the room. Truly, she couldn't complain.

JJ, too, had visited several times – sometimes bringing along Henry – but she always offered just what Prentiss needed. Usually it was just silent companionship, the presence of another person, but the liaison seemed to be able to sense when she needed conversation as well. It was one of the things that made her essential as a friend. Prentiss made a note to buy the woman a bottle of wine some day soon.

Garcia usually came at the same time that Morgan did, and Prentiss didn't need a profiler's eye to tell her that something was going on there: that, from the first day she'd known the two of them, something had to be going on there. Garcia tended to always bring flowers, cards, or some other extravagant thing that never failed to be as eccentric as she was. The analyst was always dotting, always asking if she needed anything more.

She took a deep breath on her own for one of the first times in what felt like forever. Earlier that morning, the doctor had come and removed the chest tube that had been ensuring she was breathing alright. He'd warned her several times that it would be an experiment – if something went wrong, they'd have to go back a step. But he also had said that she was doing exceptionally well: better than they'd thought she'd do so early on.

Hell, she'd always been a fighter.

So when Hotch had called her hospital phone earlier that morning – something else that Morgan had insisted on paying for and not hearing a word about it in response- and told her that he'd be visiting that day, she couldn't help but smile in response. He'd chosen the perfect day to return to the hospital. The doctor wanted her to get out of the bed and into a wheelchair so that she wasn't in the same position for such a long time.

She lifted her eyes to the doorway, wishing that she was able to wear something besides the hospital gown she was currently in – but the cast on her leg and the fact that she couldn't lift her arm above her head severely hindered any possibility of that happening.

She could no longer see it as surprising that she wanted him there. It had ceased to be a new development around the time when she'd felt that stifling fear after the accident when he wasn't in her line of view anymore. It had ceased to be surprising when he'd shown up on Christmas.

Emily ran a hand through her dark hair, trying to ignore the painful twinge in her previously dislocated shoulder when she moved it. She was trying to ignore a lot of those things today: the pain in her ribs that was caused when she sat up against headboard, the twinge in her shoulder when she moved and the muscle ache when she turned her head were only a few that she was consciously trying to ignore. She refused to be invalid when he showed up.

She'd had enough of that in the past few days.


"Are you sure?" The dark haired profiler looked towards the door and then back to the wheelchair sitting next to her bed.

"Aaron, I've been here since Christmas Eve. And by here, I mean this bed." Emily Prentiss raised her eyebrows. "Please."

"And the doctor okayed you moving?" Hotch questioned.

"Yes. I don't think this quite qualifies as moving. I'll be sitting in that wheelchair the entire time."

"You promise that." He questioned again, his dark eyes flickering to the wheelchair. He could see it already: her insisting, somehow, that she could get up and walk from the chair, though the cast on her leg prevented it.

"I'll be golden." She promised, the ghost of a smile twitching her lips. "No funny business." Prentiss teased, watching as he ran a hand through his hair.

"Alright." He finally consented, noticing the ghost of a smile turning to a full one. "But at the first sign of trouble, we're turning back."

Author's Note:

Yes, I do promise that you'll get to see this mini adventure of them, the wheelchair, and the halls of the hospital, but it deserved its own separate chapter. I'm so sorry that updates have been sparse: I promise that they'll get quicker, for this story and The Art of Butterflies if you're following that one as well.

Also, if you've been following my profile page, there are a few things that I want to say.

I'm currently doing a challenge for the year of 2010. During this year, I'll be doing one hundred one-shots based on the prompts that the community at the criminal minds livejournal have given me. Currently, there are only two up: Headache and Drowning.

The second thing is that I have a blog. The link is on my page: I'd be ecstatic if you were to follow it. Basically, it's all about writing – insights on it, insanity from it, and other such things.

Other than that, all I can say is … please review. I need to know that there are people still reading it after all this time that I haven't updated in.