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The Secrets Held in Silence
"No?" Dave repeated incredulously, his dark eyes flashing. The hell! Mind working quickly as he tried to tamp down on his initial anger at her tersely delivered denial, he reminded himself that Prentiss had never responded to threats. But, damn, he tried logic. Obviously, he'd struck out. But they'd be lowering his decaying carcass into a pine box before he'd willingly allow her to give up on them. "What do you mean, 'no', Emily?" Dave questioned, his voice stark in the now dimming room, shadows cast as the sun slowly set outside.
"No," Emily said again, finally meeting his gaze, soft brown eyes colliding with glittering black orbs.
"You're gonna need to give me more than that, Prentiss," Dave ordered roughly, tensing beside her as visions of a life without her presence coloring his world flitted through his mind.
"I don't want you to quit," Emily clarified softly. "The team needs you. Your experience, your intuition...that's an invaluable resource. Look at what happened this year with Hotch, Dave. If the team hadn't had you..."
"They would have had Derek," Rossi interrupted immediately, refusing to allow her to spin the past to meet some convoluted form of logic that only made sense in her mind. "He was the interim Unit Chief, Cara, not me," he said carelessly.
"Maybe on paper," Emily mumbled, her lips twitching. "But, Dave, each of us knew who he came to with questions...when he wasn't certain. You were the role model. You ARE the role model."
"Then they can find a new one. Trust me, Emily, without you in my life...I wouldn't be anyone's ideal anything," Dave snorted derisively, tightening his fingers around her slim hand, rubbing his thumb against her too-cold wrist. "It doesn't mean anything to me at all if I don't have you."
"I never said that you wouldn't have me, Dave," Emily countered softly, turning her hand to lace their fingers together, the connection tightening.
"Em," Rossi said deeply, tilting her chin to stare into her bottomless eyes, eyes he could easily become lost in, "I don't think I like where you're headed."
"Someone has to go, Dave, and since I'm not any more capable of giving you up than you are me, I think that someone should be me," she explained quietly. Seeing his lined face clench, Emily quickly shook her head. "Listen to me, Dave. Hear me out."
"I don't think there's any argument you can voice that's gonna influence what I end up saying, Emily, but give it a shot," Dave replied, his voice even in spite of the inferno threatening to rage inside.
"I love you, David Rossi. YOU. The man. Not the agent. Not the author. THE MAN." Pausing, she turned to face him fully as she continued, adamantly, "And I understand that all the things you do create the person that you are. But for me, it isn't like that. I wanted this job to prove to myself...to my parents...hell, to the world, that I was capable of doing it. That I was tough enough, ambitious enough to succeed. I've done that."
Pausing for a moment, Emily took a deep breath, her fingers clenching tighter around his. "But, I don't want to spend the rest of my life chasing after unsubs. I want a home. And, eventually, a family. With you. If we both remained at the Bureau, somewhere down the line, we'd be sitting here for different reasons anyway. I hate the fact that Strauss put us here...that she forced our hand. But, sooner or later, we'd have still arrived at this same destination."
His lips lifting in a crooked smile as he let his mind attempt to process that stunning revelation, Dave raised one eyebrow. "Really?"
"Really," Emily nodded, her own smile starting to tilt the corners of her mouth. "This might have been your dream, but it isn't mine, Dave. My dreams are much bigger than this. Aside from that, I've received an offer from the State Department. They need an Arabic translator. It appears that chatter has increased over the last few months and they need somebody that's been vetted."
"And this is what you truly want?" Dave asked, cocking his head as he tried to read those famous Prentiss eyes. While he had been well-prepared to sacrifice everything for her happiness, he wasn't sure if he had actually considered what would make her happy. And now that he knew that path, he wanted to give her every opportunity to travel it. For them to travel it. Together.
"I want you," Emily replied solidly, her voice firm and her eyes clear. "Everything else is just stuff, Dave. As long as at the end of the day, we're together, I've got everything I need."
"Me, too," Dave said, swallowing past the emotion clogging his throat. "You know, I've had three wives, countless lovers..."
"Are you trying to endear yourself to me, Rossi," Emily asked dryly, cocking one eyebrow at him, "or see how fast I'll pull my gun?"
"Just listen," Dave muttered, dropping his arm around her shoulders and nestling her against his side as he settled them both deeper into his sofa. "Nobody...ever...has tried to put me ahead of what they wanted. Not once in fifty-four years."
"Then I'd say that you were long past due. And it isn't as though you weren't willing to make the same sacrifice for me, Dave. That means a lot," Emily murmured fitting her head into the crook of his neck, letting out a sigh that had been held too tightly. "But this is best...for all of us."
"You think so?" Dave sighed, toying with a loose strand of her hair, the silky smoothness slipping against his skin.
"I do," Emily replied with a certainty he'd never heard in her voice before. He could hear the future ringing in every syllable, those simple words suddenly filled with more meaning that diatribes and perfect prose combined.
And, like most things in his life, Emily Prentiss knew exactly what she was talking about.
She had chosen him, hadn't she?