"Hey, Em, do you want to share some noodles?"
It was the first honest-to-god thing he'd said to her since that day that's not, 'go around back', 'wait for my signal', 'don't move' or 'ask Morgan'. They went from 'nice dress' whispered in passing to formalities in the space of a week. They'd gone from her kissing him behind closed doors to him acting as if there were a three foot restraining order standing between the two of them.
And it was killing her.
His question caught her off-guard. Leave it to Aaron Hotchner to practically not speak to her for seven days and then ask if she wanted noodles. Not only was the question absolutely absurd, but he was asking her the question as if she might draw her weapon at any second.
She might. She hadn't decided yet.
She raised her eyebrows at him, placing the ballpoint pen down and folding her hands on her desk, leaning forward. "Are you talking to me, then?" She wasted no time in asking.
Hotch pulled the chair away from Morgan's desk – he and the rest of the BAU had long since left for home – and pushed it in front of Emily's desk. He was always there this late; she was only here because there were several files that needed to be completed and leaving them for another time was not going to do anybody good. The dark haired profiler sunk into the chair.
"Excuse me, did I give you permission to sit there?"
"It's not your chair." Hotch answered her cheekily. "Technically, its Morgan's chair." There was a smirk on his lips. Where did he get off with having a smirk on his lips? Her blood boiled. "He won't mind if I borrow it for awhile."
"Good. Brilliant." She remained bitter. "Keep it." Maybe the chair and Aaron's behind could have a long and happy life together. Maybe, when the UnSub they were chasing pointed a gun at the chair's head and came beyond close to pulling the trigger, he wouldn't pretend the chair didn't exist for seven days before asking if it wanted to share a dinner of noodles.
"Don't Em me." She snapped, pushing the chair away from her wooden desk and stepping around it. Her heels made a hollow sound on the tile floor of the bullpen as she took several steps away.
He caught her wrist.
"Please." She paused at his word, not struggling. There was something very vulnerable in his voice when he said that word, there was something frightened and lost in that single syllable. "Emily," He said. "Let me explain."
"You have a minute." She said, even though she would really have liked to tell him that he's had six days. She'd give him that first one.
"Prentiss." He said, slipping into formalities, protecting himself.
"I'm serious. You have a minute to explain to me why you haven't spoken to me for seven days. Starting now, Hotch. Right now." She clenched her jaw, unrelenting. She wasn't giving in to this one without some sort of excuse: an excuse that was something like he'd temporarily misplaced his brain.
The profiler took a shaky breath. "Emily, I am so sorry."
She raised her jaw and clenched her teeth the smallest bit.
"I sincerely mean it, Emily. I didn't mean to hurt you like I did."
Prentiss leaned back against the desk, bracing her arms against the edges. "Why haven't you been talking to me?" She hated how she sounded like a child and wished that she could take her words back inside. What, was she in second grade now?
"When that man had his gun pointed at your head, everything was dark."
She tilted her head, looking at him steadily.
"I saw my life flash before my eyes, Emily. I wasn't able to think past that second. Everything was gone."
Her breath caught in her throat. "I don't-"
"I was afraid to come near you. I was afraid that if I talked to you, that if I touched you, we'd be back there. And I know that it's ridiculous but it doesn't change it." He sighed, running a hand through his hair. "It also doesn't change that I hurt you."
Gently, she reached out a pale hand and touched his cheek. He closed his eyes, leaning into it. "I'm not going to shatter, Aaron. I'm right here." With nobody else in the building, she sat on the end of the desk, facing the dark eyed man. She ran a hand tenderly through his hair, her hand still on his cheek. "I'm not going anywhere."
He opened his eyes and stood, pushing back Morgan's chair with a foot and drawing her close. "I know that now." One hand rubbed her back and the other ran through her hair.
She smiled against his shirt. "I'm glad."
He pressed his face against her hair. "Me, too."
"I'll take those noodles now."
This one goes out to bbt_criminal, who gave me the prompt on livejournal. This is the third in the line of one hundred one shots that I'll be writing during the year of 2010. I'm six or so behind, because to do this I need eight or so a month, but I only started in the middle of this month.