Author's Note: Okay. This is my first Prompt Challenge fanfiction but I'm definitely going to write more. This is really fun. I really enjoyed this one. Please read and review it. I hope I did it right and if anyone has any comments etc, please review or send me a PM. Thanks.

DISCLAIMER: I don't own either of the characters of Criminal Minds.

Prompt Set #3

Show: Deadwood

Title Challenge: Tell Your God to Be Ready for Blood

Out and Into the Light

Emily pulled her hair back into a pony tail and tied it with an elastic band. She tucked a stray strand behind her ear and reached for her Kevlar. She touched the material hesitantly. She'd never had to take a bullet in the vest and she'd hoped that she'd never get in the position. But tonight, it was more than a possibility. She'd go as far as to say that it was almost certain that one of them would take a bullet tonight. She hoped she was wrong and she hoped that if she was right, that the vests would protect them. They were thick, presumably thick enough to slow and stop a speeding bullet and she could remember complaining about how hot they got when they were in more humid States but tonight, she was glad. She hoped it would be enough. She slid it over her head and pulled her hair free of the collar. As she was strapping it on, Hotch came through the door to the locker room. He stopped abruptly.

"Sorry, Prentiss, I didn't realise you were changing." He went to leave but Emily called him back.

"Don't worry. I'm almost done. You can come in." She smiled at him as she fastened the last strap.

"Thanks." Hotch closed the door behind him and walked over to his locker, out of which he pulled his own Kevlar. "We're moving out in five minutes."

Emily recognised his tone. "You think it's gonna be bad, don't you?"

Hotch looked up from putting on his bullet proof vest and met Emily's eyes. She recognised that look too. She'd been right. It was gonna be bad. But then she'd figured that already. She'd just wanted someone to tell her she was wrong.

"Prentiss... Emily... we've got a group of six men, all of whom care nothing for life. We're about to surround them and they are all heavily armed. They're going to fight their way out. It's going to be a blood bath."

Emily winced at his blunt delivery. His words, his insinuation sounded so heavy, so assured. He was convinced that that was what was going to happen. He was sure that one of them was going to get hurt, that maybe he'd get hurt. And he was still going. He was still sending them to the front line. Because it was the job. That's what he had to do as the boss. Emily had never appreciated how hard his position was so much. She wasn't sure that she could've done what he had done.

"Why do we do this?" she asked suddenly, more to herself than to Hotch.

"Because once we start, we just can't stop." Hotch replied.

Emily nodded. "It's in our blood."

"You could be right." Hotch agreed as he strapped on his Kevlar.

"Not how I envisioned dying though." Emily commented, picking her gun up off the bench and checking the safety.

"What do you mean?"

"Well, as nice as I'm sure it would be to go down fighting in a blaze of glory, as it were," Emily rolled her eyes sarcastically, "I kind of liked the idea of dying of old age. You know, with a couple of grandkids. I like the idea of actually hitting the average life expectancy but I've got a feeling that I'm not gonna get there."

Hotch regarded her for a second. "You said once that you wanted to be cremated."

Emily nodded, not sure if there was a question somewhere in that statement. She returned her attention to her gun. She checked the clip: full, as she'd expected. Checking the safety once again – she'd didn't want to blow her leg off before they even got to the car and she could've, considering her tightened nerves – she holstered her gun carefully. She clicked it in and then looked up at Hotch again, dusting her hands off on her trousers.

Hotch met her eyes. He smiled a rare smile and Emily thought how ironic it was. He barely ever smiled and this one was in the face of such potential trauma.

"Me too." Hotch watched her face twist in confusion. "I want to be cremated too."

Emily laughed slightly.

"I always knew I'd go down on the job. That was always the way it was going to be."

"Well, we'll see, won't we?" Emily cocked her head and he regarded her with a frown. "It might not end tonight. We might go on to fight another day, catch another serial killer."

"You're right. We might." Emily could see that he didn't take much stock in her words. But that was the way it was. She couldn't change his mind. Either they'd live or they wouldn't. That was just the way it was. Maybe they'd survive, and if they did, well then, they'd keep doing what they did.

"Well," she sighed, half melodramatically, half sadly, "it was nice knowing you, Hotch. And if we die tonight, it was a pleasure to serve under you." She held out her hand.

Hotch shook it, and smiled ironically. "It was nice knowing you too, Prentiss... Emily."

"Thanks, sir." Emily grinned.

Her grin suddenly faded. She shook her hair out of her eyes and sighed, glancing up at the ceiling. "I didn't think it would be this hard."

Hotch raised his eyebrows, bemused. "You didn't think walking out to a blood bath was going to be easy, did you?"

Emily shrugged. "I don't know."

"We'd better go."

"I know."

"Are you okay?" Hotch asked.

Emily snorted derisively. "Yeah. I'm fine." Hotch didn't need a truthful answer. He knew exactly how she was feeling. Because he was feeling it too. But she could keep her dignity this way. That was one thing she could keep. It was hard enough to go out and do what they had to do even with a mask to slide in place. So he would let her keep hers. She deserved it. She'd done enough for the team.

"Yeah. I'm fine too." Hotch smiled at her. "Shall we?" he gestured to the door.

"Yeah." Emily nodded and moved forwards.

Just before she reached the door, Hotch put his hand on the handle but didn't turn it immediately. He met her eyes and smiled at her. Emily's eyebrows scrunched as she looked at him.

"If we get out of this, would you like to have dinner one night?" Hotch's face was serious as he regarded her. Emily wanted to smile at the intensity in his eyes.

"Yeah," she tried to agree nonchalantly but she was pretty sure that she looked very enthusiastic. "I'd like that. That would be nice."

Hotch smiled at her. Smiled at her properly. That was something she could get used to. A real smile from him, that is. It felt nice to see him in a state where he felt that he could relax, send a smile her way that bared his soul. She could get used to that.

"Let's go." Hotch reminded her.

For a moment, Emily had forgotten about what they were about to do. She'd been lost in a world of a date with Hotch. It was a nice world where she didn't have to walk out into a world of battle and bloodshed. She tucked that little daydream away in a box for later.

She sighed. She didn't want to let go of it. "Okay. Let's go."

Hotch smiled at her, aware of how she was feeling. He opened the door and followed her out. The door clicked shut behind them, leaving an empty and silent room.