A/N: Sometimes a story just gets under your skin and even if it doesn't make perfect sense you can't get rid of it any other way. This is one of those. I really, really appreciate Mingsmommy and Losingntrnslatn ...not only for their beta skills but for their patience and the fact that they let me live through this one.

Disclaimer: Not mine.

Maybe it was the way his voice broke or the pain in his eyes. Maybe it was that his hair was a little too long or that he seemed so lost. Maybe, just maybe, it was the thought of him going to bed alone in a place that had haunted his nightmares for years that broke her heart just a little. Or maybe it was that somehow, in some way, she realized David Rossi was a decent human being, despite all evidence to the contrary.

Whatever it was that had brought her there, it wasn't doing anything for her nerves. Her hand actually trembled when she raised it to knock on his door. She hesitated, wiping her damp palms on her thighs, brushing her bangs out of her eyes, taking a deep, relaxing breath and blowing it out slowly. Finally, before she could change her mind, she raised her hand and knocked.

"Emily?" Rossi had one hand on the door knob, the other hanging loosely at his side. With his shirt untucked, his hair mussed, and his shoes and jacket gone, he looked better than she had ever seen him look before. And she was glad she had taken a minute to change into jeans and a sweater.

Blushing, she simply stared at him. Oh God, what the hell are you doing here, Prentiss?

He tilted his head, his eyebrow climbing his forehead. "Emily? You okay?"

"Um…yeah. I'm fine." Great. Now you sound like an idiot. "I just wanted…wanted to make sure you were all right."

A tight smile pulled at the corners of his mouth. "I'll be okay. I've been dealing with this for a long time."

Not sure what she expected him to say or do, Emily stood there fidgeting. "Well, okay then. I'll just go. As long as you're good." She gestured awkwardly toward the bank of elevators.

"Emily?" His voice stopped her as she turned away. "Did you want to come in?"

Head down, eyes closed, she weighed the options. She could keep going; no harm, no foul. Or she could turn around. With anticipation and nerves warring inside her, she said, "Got any beer in that mini-bar?"

That time, his grin was real. Opening the door wider, he gestured for her to enter. "I'll just bet I do."


"I never imagined you having nightmares." Emily takes a swallow of beer and cradles the cold bottle in her hands, sinking back into the corner of the loveseat.

"How often do you imagine me sleeping?" His face is serious, but the gleam in his eyes gives him away.

Emily dips her head, hiding behind the curtain of her hair. "You know what I meant. You just seem so," she shrugs, "above it all."

Rossi leans back in the chair, his feet on the ottoman, his toes flexing in these unconscious movements she finds strangely sensual. He takes a sip of scotch and, frowning, shakes his head slightly. "Is that really how you see me?"

Emily tucks her hair behind her ears and searches her brain for the right words. Finally, she settles on honesty because the moment seems to call for it. "When I got to work this morning? Yes. Right now? I don't think I know you at all."

"Do you want to?" His voice is low and smooth and she shivers a little at the double meaning.

Nervously, she takes another sip of beer. "That's why I'm here."

"Here in Indianapolis, or here in my room?" He smoothes a hand over his beard his eyes boring into hers.

"Both, I guess." Emily shifts under his gaze.

Rossi shakes his head. "You're a nice girl, Emily Prentiss," he drains his glass. "You need to stay away from guys like me." He stands then and walks over to the mini-bar. Setting his glass on the countertop, he turns and lets his eyes slide over her slowly.

Emily feels his gaze like a physical touch and desire coils low in her belly. Sitting there, in his room with her shoes under the coffee table and his eyes undressing her even as he warns her away has her stomach in knots. She hadn't been sure why she came up to his room, not really. But as soon as he opened that door, she knew what she wanted.

And what she wants right now is David Rossi. "I'm not a girl, Rossi."

"No," he murmurs, a smile tugging at his lips. "No, you're not."

"Besides, I don't think you're as bad as you'd like people to believe." Emily pushes up off the sofa and walks over to where he's leaning against the bar.

His gaze is tender and a tad amused. "Oh, I am a bastard. But I never set out to hurt anyone."

Searching his face, Emily sees the something tentative in his eyes. This man, who has been married three times and had more lovers than she even wants to think about, is worried she'll get hurt if things go where they both obviously want them to go. Or maybe he's worried we'll hurt each other?

"Look, I've heard the stories. You are legend. But Hotch trusts you and Strauss hates you and you've carried this case around with you for over twenty years. Those things say a lot about the kind of man you really are." She lays her hands on his chest, his heart beating steady and strong under her palms. "It's just a little comfort between…friends."

"Are we friends?" Rossi's voice is lower, rougher than she's ever heard it and the sound slips over her, slides along her spine and settles between her thighs. His hands find her waist, his fingers warming her through the fabric.

Emily steps a little closer, her body barely brushing against his, and something inside her goes hot and liquid. "I think we can be," she whispers.

Again, he searches her face, looking for…something she hopes he finds. "What about work?" The tone is serious, but his lips quirk up in an amused smirk.

Shaking her head, she smiles back. "Rossi, I'm not going to fall in love with you. I promise. No matter what happens right now, I'll get up and go to work tomorrow and behave like a professional." She slides her hands up his chest and slips her fingers into his hair. "I grew up in politics, remember?"

He chuckles. "How can I argue with that?"

She kisses him then, a soft press of her lips against his. His mustache tickles and she tries to remember if she's ever kissed anybody with one before. Then his lips part and his tongue touches her bottom lip and she forgets everything except Rossi. The warmth of this mouth, the slide of his tongue against hers, the faint bite of scotch, the glide of his hand over the curve of her ass. Every taste and touch seems almost overwhelming and Emily gives herself over to the moment. Then his hand cups the back of her head and he's kissing her slow and deep and she's not sure who's doing the seducing.

Emily's hands shake as she finds the buttons on his shirt and fumbles the first one open. By the time she gets to the very last one and pushes the fabric out of her way, she's feeling much more sure of herself. She swallows his quiet groan when her hands touch his skin for the first time. His chest hair is soft against her fingertips and she tugs gently on the curly strands just to hear him moan again. Slowly, she slides her hands over him, learning his body through touch. The flat disks of his nipples, the smooth skin of his shoulders, the slight roundness of his stomach, the silky trail of hair that disappears into the waistband of his jeans; all of those things pass under her hands.

Dave's mouth (she can't possibly think of him as Rossi when he's half naked and kissing her) is sliding away from hers, along her cheek and the line of her jaw where she's so very sensitive, down the side of her throat and she throws her head back just to give him better access, just to feel the warm wetness of his mouth on her skin. And his hands are under her sweater, pushing at the fabric and skating over her sides until he has to pull away to lift it over her head.

Her hair settles around her shoulders and she feels every strand as it brushes over her skin. It's only been a second, a heartbeat, but she misses his mouth on her. With an urgency she can't explain, she reaches for him, but he leans away.

Dave's hands are gripping her upper arms, holding her still. His eyes are on hers. "Are you sure, Emily? Because now is the time to tell me if you've changed your mind."

"Rossi," she licks her lips. "Dave," it's the first time she's called him that and she can tell by the way his fingers twitch against her that he likes it, "Do you think this is some whim? That I do this kind of thing all the time?"

He hesitates long enough that she's beginning to be afraid of what he's going to say. Finally, when she's decided this really is a horrible mistake, he says, "No. I don't think you're the kind of woman who takes this lightly at all."

Pulling her against him, Dave buries his face in her hair and just holds her. "Thank you." She wants to ask if he means for showing up and bringing the others, for coming to his room, for talking him into taking her to bed. But she just threads her fingers through his hair and nods, because deep down she knows he's thanking her for all of those things and none of them at the same time.

It doesn't last long, that embrace. Probably not even a minute. But it surprises her and touches her and the way it makes her feel scares Emily more than a little. That feeling isn't part of the deal though. She made a promise to both of them, so she tucks away the longing for something he isn't offering and concentrates on the here and now. And right here, right now, he's warm and solid and he wants her.

Then he's kissing her, his hands sliding over her back, her breasts pressing into his chest, her heart hammering against her ribs. And she's fighting with his shirt, shoving it off his shoulders and down his arms until finally it's in a puddle at their feet.

They leave a trail of clothes across the small sitting room and over to the bed. Her bra, his jeans, her socks. Like breadcrumbs laid down so she'll be able to find her way back to the door. But when he lifts her in his arms and lowers her onto the mattress it doesn't feel like he wants her to leave. No, the press of his erection against her thigh feels like he definitely wants her to stay.

Face to face, nothing but the smell of sex between them, they explore each other. His hands are on her breasts, fingers teasing her nipples. Her foot glides along his calf, the soft hair tickling her just a little. His is cock hard and insistent against the plane of her stomach. His fingers brush between her thighs, soft as a feather against her clit. Her hand slides along his erection, the skin hot and velvety against her palm. He's whispering to her. Telling her she's beautiful and sexy. She knows no man has ever done that before. And she knows that it's something that she likes…a lot.

Rossi is looking down at her, his eyes searching her face in the darkness. He pushes forward and he's inside her, stretching her, filling her and it is better than she ever imagined. Better than she can ever remember it being with anyone else. When he groans out her name, she has to close her eyes against the absolute perfection of the moment, because she can't let him see what he does to her. Can't let him know how the feel of him inside her is almost more than she can stand. Still, she tilts her hips up to his and tightens around him and moans when he starts to move.

Clearing her mind of all doubt, all worry, she simply exists in that moment. The air whispers in and out of his body as he breathes in time with the slow, steady thrust of his hips. His chest rubs against her aching nipples and she imagines that she can feel each individual piece of hair as it brushes across the hard tips. The smooth skin of his hips rubs against the insides of her thighs, his muscles flexing and bunching as he moves. And, as she focuses solely on her body, she feels every inch of him as he slides in and out of her.

Emily concentrates on that feeling, on the slow glide of his smooth cock, on the slight grind he makes with his hips when he's completely buried inside her. Every nerve is on fire. Her need becomes a physical ache between her legs.

"Dave," his name hisses out on a rush of breath and she wraps her legs around his hips, pulling him deeper.

With a moan of approval, he slides his hand between them. His touch is sure, circling and pressing against her clit. She can feel it now, the tightness low in her belly. Coiling and expanding until her entire body feels like it's on fire. She can hear the slick squelch of their bodies moving together and the soft grunts she can't seem to stop making and the ragged breathing of Rossi as he pushes her closer and closer to the edge.

When she comes it's like flying. Soaring and dipping on the night sky, riding the wind. And she knows that David Rossi has just ruined her for all other men. He might be the bastard that he claims to be. He might be arrogant and annoying. But he's also kind and gentle and the best lover she's ever had.

Spent, Dave rolls to the side and pulls her close. "You are an amazing woman, Emily." His voice is filled with such honesty that she has to swallow the lump that forms in her throat.

"And you're not as damaged as you think you are." She presses a kiss to his chin.


It's dark when she wakes. Rossi is snoring softly beside her. For a moment, a single instant in time, Emily snuggles just a little closer to him, letting him warm her, letting herself become lost in the idea of sleeping with David Rossi. Then, with as much stealth as she can manage, she slips from the bed and begins gathering her clothes. It's not that she doesn't want to stay. She wants that more than anything. To wake up next to him, to have him look at her the way he did last night, would be the best way to start what could turn out to be a really long day. But no matter how intimate they were in the dark, no matter that he has seen and touched every inch of her, waking up next to him is a kind of intimacy that scares her.

The door closes quietly behind her and Emily squints against the bright lights of the hallway. Glancing at her watch, she realizes it's much later than she thought. Four thirty in the morning doesn't allow much time for sleeping in her own room, even if she could sleep. With shoes in hand she heads for the elevator and a shower and the first pot of coffee she'll drink today. When the team meets downstairs for breakfast at seven, she'll be ready to go. Ready to look Rossi in the eye with that cool detachment she promised him last night. But first, she needs some time alone, some time to do a little damage control.