A/N: This was one of those things that popped into my head. Let me know what you think. I listened to a couple of songs while I wrote this but the title of this story is from a Rosie Thomas song: "Tomorrow."
DISCLAIMER: I don't own Criminal Minds. or "Tomorrow."
Hotch ran down the hill towards the path, Morgan and Dave not far behind. He slid on a patch of mud and cursed the Seattle weather. Why did it always have to rain? Especially when they were chasing an unsub… through the forests on the outskirts of Washington's capital. They ran down the path a little and tracked the footsteps. A size 13, narrow: the unsub. And an 8 ½: hers.
"Garcia, position?" Morgan said quietly into his mic. "You're about 15 feet from where they are. Her GPS isn't moving," Garcia replied frantically. Morgan held up his hand to stop the guys and they slowed to a brisk walk. Hotch poked his head around the corner and pointed to Morgan, then pointed in the direction of a patch of shrubs. Morgan nodded and ducked around from their position and, keeping his eyes in the direction of the unsub, made his way around to the spot where Hotch had pointed.
Hotch waited and watched Morgan sneak through the bushes. "Hotch's he's got a knife out," Morgan said quickly and quietly into his mic. Hotch's eyes almost burst from his sockets. "Do you have the shot?" Hotch replied into his mic. Morgan's voice came back crystal clear. He didn't have the shot. He had her held against his body, too close to take the shot. Hotch's shoulders sagged. "We go in," he said into his mic. He took a deep breath and held his gun out from his chest.
"FBI Howard, you've got nowhere to go," Morgan said loudly as he came out from the bushes and Hotch and Dave emerged from behind the tree. Howard's eyes darted around like a frightened animal. Hotch looked at her. She looked calm, as though she knew what was going to happen and had accepted it. Without taking her eyes off Hotch she called out. "Morgan, if you have the shot, take it." Howard held the knife to her stomach and she flinched. "Morgan," she called out again.
Before Hotch knew what was happening Howard pushed the knife into her stomach and pushed her to the ground. Morgan fired his weapon and watched Howard fall to the ground next to her. Hotch wasn't thinking. He was just running. He ran to her side and put his hands over her wound. "Emily, Emily. Look at me. Don't close your eyes," he called out. He used one hand to take his jacket off and used it to cover her wounds.
She looked up and frowned. "What are you saying Hotch?" She took a deep breath as she felt the pain start to subside. Hotch held onto her stomach, placing as much pressure as possible on her wounds. She started to close her eyes and Hotch screamed out to her. "Emily! Don't. Stay with me Emily!" She opened her eyes for a second, smiled slightly, then closed them again and she fell into the dark. As she went limp in his arms Hotch couldn't stop the tears that started to fall.
Morgan had kicked the knife away from Howard's body. He knew the man was dead but needed to be safe. When he looked over at Hotch and saw Emily's eyes close again he ran over. He looked up at Hotch and he nodded. Dave took the jacket from Hotch's hands and put pressure on the wound. Everything moved in slow motion as Morgan started to pump Emily's chest, trying to get her heart started again. Hotch leant over her head and breathed into her mouth. After two breaths he ran his fingers through her hair as Morgan started to pump again. "Emily, please wake up Emily," he whispered in her ear, "Please don't leave me."
They went back and forth, pumping then breathing, each time Hotch whispered in her ear, hoping to will her back to life. Dave stepped back when the paramedics arrived. They wrapped her waist to try and stop the bleeding. One medic took over from Morgan, who stepped back, blood on his hands. When the other medic tried to pull Hotch away from her, he pushed him away. Morgan and Dave stepped in.
"Hotch, she's gotta go. Let them do their job," Morgan said quietly. Hotch stopped struggling as they pulled him back. He fell to the ground and watched as they placed the ventilator over her mouth. They quickly lifted her onto the stretcher and carried her to the medi-vac that was waiting in the nearby clearing. Dave looked at Morgan and nodded, the latter running over to the helicopter. He jumped in and buckled up as it took off from the ground, the trees bending under the force of the blades.
Dave watched and waited. He stood up from the ground and Hotch stood up next to him. Hotch looked down at his hands, covered in a mix of mud and Emily's blood. Dave touched his shoulder and Hotch looked at his friend. "I'll drive," Dave said quietly. They took off, running up the muddy hill as fast as humanly possible. When they reached the SUV Dave jumped into the driver's seat. They quickly drove down the short access road from the park, passing the crime scene investigators and detectives from the local PD.
When the helicopter arrived at the hospital she was taken straight to surgery. Morgan was lead down the hall from the OR's to a nearby waiting room. He sat down on the chair but immediately jumped back up again, unable to sit still. So he paced.
He thought about Emily, praying that she was alright. He thought about her face, when she was lying on the ground in the mud. She looked so pale, paler than normal. She had a smear of mud on her face and all Morgan could think was how embarrassed she would be. He thought about Hotch's face when he'd been holding that jacket to her stomach. He thought how broken Hotch looked.
Everyone on the team had seen them growing close. After Hayley's death, Emily had made it her personal mission to make sure the Hotchner boys were ok. She spent time with Jack, spent time with Hotch, made sure they ate, made sure they slept. She was the greatest support they'd had during that impossibly difficult time in their lives. She was the reason they both made it.
Morgan huffed, she was the reason they ALL made it. Emily was a ray of sunshine on the team. She always had a joke or a story to share, something to make them realize the world wasn't just serial killers. Her laugh, her smile, was enough to brighten anyone's day. Even Hotch. And she had. Morgan was sure there was nothing more than friendship between the two of them, but that was exactly what Hotch needed. He needed a friend.
Just as he started to think about Hotch, he and Dave walked through the door of the elevator. Morgan looked up and called out. "She's still in surgery, they haven't told me anything." He cringed when he saw his boss, his friend. Hotch's face was stained with tears, his eyes were rimmed with red and his jaw was set. He walked over to the nurse's station and said just two words.
"Emily Prentiss." The nurse looked up and it was clear she was taken aback by Hotch's appearance. She typed on her keyboard and winced. Hotch's heart fell as he saw her reaction to what was displayed on the screen. "She's still in surgery. I… I don't know anything more…" she paused when Hotch walked away from her to the waiting room. She looked over at Morgan and Rossi and mouthed, 'I'm sorry." Rossi held up his hand to assure her. She nodded and turned back to her notes.
Dave walked into the waiting room and tried to calm Hotch down. He was pacing so fast Dave was sure he'd make himself sick. Hell, he was making him sick just watching. Dave tried to put his hands on Hotch's shoulders. "Aaron, you need to stop. You need to take a deep breath and calm down." Hotch looked at him, his jaw still set. "She's… she's…" he couldn't put the words together. "She's with the people that can help her. They need to do their job. And if she…" he took a deep breath, feeling the tears start to form. But he needed to be strong for Hotch. "If she doesn't make it, it won't be because we didn't try."
Hotch looked at his feet to try and pull himself together. He knew it wasn't healthy to bottle these feelings up but he also knew he had to stay positive. If not for himself, at least for her. He nodded and looked back up at Dave. He took a deep breath and rubbed his face in his hands. "I need to… I'm gonna go to the bathroom," he said as he walked away. Dave turned to watch him leave and sighed. He prayed she would make it. Because after everything they'd gone through already this year, they couldn't lose her too. He walked over and patted Morgan's shoulder and both men sat down to wait. As Dave had said, she was with the people who could help her. They'd done all they could for now.
Hotch walked down the hall and saw the sign for the bathrooms. He walked down and pushed the door open with a thump. He turned and locked the door behind him. He was about to lose it and didn't want anyone to witness him breakdown. He leant against the door and slid to the floor, his head in his hands as the tears fell. He sat there for God knows how long, his body shaking as he sobbed.
He couldn't lose her now. Not after everything they'd gone through. He knew that he wouldn't recover. They'd never said "I love you," but that's how he felt. It had started just after Foyet's attack, when he'd been injured. She'd been checking in on him, making sure he was ok, then supported him when he'd decided to return to work. She kept an eye on him in the field, dropped around when they were home, and they'd spent enough time together that he valued her as a friend.
After Hayley died, she did it again, dropping by to check in on him and Jack, taking Jack on excursions when Hotch wasn't feeling up to it. He had grown to really care for her. Then it happened. One night after a case in New York. She'd been in a car accident. When they got home he had taken care of her. And it wasn't out of a need to reciprocate, to pay her back. He took care of her because he wanted to.
He drew her a bath, adding rose-scented bath wash. He helped her up the stairs and smiled when she said she could undress herself. And while she soaked, he'd made her dinner. After dinner they sat on the couch. He reached up and put his arm around her, pulling her against his chest. He sat there with her while she cried, trying to absorb some of the pain. When she'd exhausted her tears she fell asleep. He gently picked her up and carried her upstairs to her bed.
He lay her down and reached down to brush her hair behind her ear. She opened her eyes and looked up at him. He leant down and gently kissed her. She deepened the kiss as she ran her fingers through his hair. He put his hands on the bed, on either side of her. He slowly lowered his body over her and kept her lips in his as he felt his weight on top of her. He pulled back and looked down at her, hair mussed and splayed across her pillow, her lips red and swollen. Then he looked into her eyes, her red-rimmed, blood-shot eyes. And without thinking he kissed her again. That night they made love. She gasped when he touched her, and he felt a release he hadn't been expecting.
That was the first time, but not the last. Over time, what had started as a way to comfort her became something more. He found himself thinking about the future with Emily. He found himself falling in love with her. And here, now, he found himself in love with her. He adored her. He loved holding her as they slept, he loved waking up next to her, he loved making her breakfast and laughed when she read the paper, meticulously, leaving no page un-read.
Hotch sighed and sat back, leaning his head on the bathroom door. He pushed himself up from the floor and walked over to the sink. He rinsed his hands, washed his arms, washed the blood off his arms, washed Emily's blood off his arms. He splashed the cold water on his face and looked up in the mirror as he reached over to grab some paper towels. After he'd wiped his arms and face he looked down again, looking at his blood-stained shirt. He felt the anger start to boil up again and threw the wet paper-towel against the wall across the room.
He leant on the sink and tried to get himself together. He knew, at any moment, one of the guys would come looking for him. And he had to be alright. He had to get it together. Because he had to be Agent Hotchner. Aaron couldn't be in charge right now. Because the woman Aaron loved was, at this very moment, fighting for her life.
Hotch looked up in the mirror again and sighed. Who was he kidding? Hotch loved her too. He took a deep breath, walked over to the paper-towel on the ground, and picked it up. He threw it in the trash and unlocked the door. Whoever he was in that moment… he had to be alright. For the team, for himself, and most importantly for Emily. As he walked into the hall he reminded himself: just breathe.
A/N: So what'd you think? FYI I was listening to "9 Crimes" by Damien Rice when I was writing this, and though the lyrics aren't really fitting, the tune just fit when I was picturing of them trying to resuscitate her in slow motion. Please R and R.