Author's note: *This is important!* This is following directly after my story, "Late Bloomer", just this time, it's in Hotch's point of view. I hope it's an okay addition. :)


And when the future hinges on the next words that are said, don't let logic interfere, believe your heart instead.


Secretly, I was listing off things I didn't know about Emily that I was already beginning to love. I wonder if she could tell. For instance, I loved the fruity fragrance of her hair; or was it her neck? I couldn't seem to tell which from the other. I liked the way her lips curved when she was about to make a joke, or the way her gun clung to her hip. Or the way she put her hands on her hips firmly and defiantly whenever she had a point to make. Or how a piece of her bang would fall directly above her eye, tickling her eyelid, and she'd roll her eyes and brush it away carelessly and fairly annoyed. Things I'd barely noticed before, but was all of a sudden falling in love with. She looked back at my tie too, saddened, a frown on her face.

"Do you really want me to go get it?" she sighed through her closed lips. I swallowed my grin. I couldn't care any less about that tie. What did it matter now? We'd already crossed boundaries, so it's not like her seeing me out of my suit was going to tarnish anything. I laughed and unbuttoned the cuffs on my sleeve, then rolled them up. She folded her arms, amused, then her mouth gaped open. I couldn't help but notice the shape of her lips when they dropped to an O-shape. I wasn't being a pervert, really; but those lips looked teasingly inviting. I had to keep rolling my sleeves to keep from my own jaw falling.

"I cannot believe this!" she clapped excitedly. "I am so proud of you, sir!"

I ignored the fact that she just called me "sir." I unbuttoned the top button of it next, enjoying my audience, then smiled proudly. Then, I felt like a complete idiot, so I laughed out of embarrassment. She still looked proud. And again, her mouth fell open. I had to bite hard on my bottom lip to keep from engulfing it with mine.

"You know?" she squinted her eyes and then readjusted my collar. "I think this look works for you."

I looked down, eying myself only briefly, then looking back into her glistening eyes. God. I can't explain what I was feeling at that moment without sounding like an 80s' chick flick. I felt a roaring of chills, then I breathed in a scent of coconut and my head felt like it was spinning wildly. Each time her fingers accidentally brushed against my neck as she fingered my collar, I felt more chills. Warm, intensifying chills.

I wanted to stop myself. I wanted to remind myself that she's my colleague, my teammate, and that this is beyond wrong. But God, I just couldn't. I didn't have enough strength to say no. I wrapped my arms around her back and pressed her against me, her chest squeezing hard against mine. She closed her eyes almost automatically, like she had been waiting for me to touch her first, then pulled her face to mine.

I felt the chills again. My heart rate was speeding rapidly. Instantly, thoughts of Reid spieling off statistics of heart attacks involving lovesick middle-aged men filled my brain, and I buried my face in her neck to keep from laughing. The coconut scent filled my nose and then my brain, and I lost all control. Any sense of clarity thrown out the window. All those years of being the responsible guy, the do-as-you-should guy gone up in flames. I had to kiss her. Her skin tasted soft and sweet on my tongue, and it only made me crave her more. I felt her lips press against my earlobe, and she grumbled into it teasingly. I closed my eyes and just held her. I squeezed my eyes shut, straining my thoughts to remember a time when I felt like this with Hailey. Certainly I had, I told myself. I must've. But I couldn't remember a single time. And that pained me. I felt a sharp pain fill me head-to-toe guiltily. How could I? The woman that gave me my son, that loved me and put up with me for years, never made me feel this indescribably good. I hated that. I hated myself for that.

Emily pulled away, like she was bloodhound and could smell my discomfort, then pulled apart far enough to see my face covered in disappointment. "What's wrong?" she asked.

I shook my head. "It's- I'm not," I stammered. I scratched the back of my neck forcefully; what the hell is a matter with me? I was ruining everything. I was going to lose her. I didn't want to lose her. God, I needed her.

Emily shoved her long hair off of her shoulders, sighed, then stared me down. "Seriously, Hotch, what's wrong?" she asked, more sternly the second time around.

How do I explain this? I thought over my choices as quick as I could. Should I take the honest route? Explain my guilty conscious then rightfully ask her to leave? But how could I do that? Not just because I wouldn't want to see her hurt, but I wouldn't have the willpower to say no to her. So I decided honesty just wasn't going to cut it tonight.

I inhaled sharply and grasped for my tie so I could play with something as I spoke, but I forgot it was off of me. I looked over at it pitifully. I would've strangled myself with it if I thought she would've let me. "You know everything I've gone through." I whispered under my breath, but I knew, she could hear me just fine. She nodded softly so I knew I had the green light to continue.

"Everything I've done, everything I've seen," my words were rattling out carelessly, each one stumbling upon the other, barely making any sense. Or so that's how it sounded to me. But again, she nodded, so again, I continued. "Things haven't been easy for me. Not for a long time." I swallowed harshly. "Long before Hailey died."

She nodded again, then glanced down at the wood floor. I felt an ache in my chest for what I was putting her through. She didn't ask for this. But my ache softened when I remembered that she decided to stay. I straightened up and continued. "I've just been going through a lot, needless to say," I was tired of beating around the bush. I was tired of feeling guilty for every single thing. Things I had no control over. "I really would like you to stay if you want to." My words jumbled together like a poor circus act.

She scrunched up her face and then paused, just staring at me dumbfounded. "What?"

I sighed. I really didn't want to repeat that. It sounded stupid the first time, and to put it blankly, it sounded kind of creepy. I shook my head, deciding against it. "It didn't matter."

Her lips curved up invitingly. I dug my fingernails sharp into my other hand to keep from tackling her. God, she was driving me crazy. But each time I thought how sexy she was, an overpowering amount of guilt tumbled on me.

She turned around and to my surprise, headed for the door. "Alright then, I guess I'll get going." she said nonchalantly.

My mouth drew open in shock, only about a few seconds, then I slammed it closed the second I realized the reality of the situation. I was denying myself of something I really needed. Badly. I didn't just need someone to love me, or kiss me, or say things I needed to hear. That's not all I needed, anyway. I needed her. Not anything else. Not then.

She was heading toward the door miraculously slow. And I caught on, thankfully. I knew what she was doing. I paused, then crossed my arms. "Are you really going to leave?" I asked.

She whipped around super-fast, her smile wide and proud. "Of course not!" she winked at me. "I just wanted to see if you'd try and stop me."

I wanted to be mad for about a second. What if I hadn't stopped her? Would she have left? Didn't she need me as much as I needed her? But the anger I felt flushed away, and I felt like squeezing her. I charged up to her, slammed the door she opened during her tease-exit, and held her. I squeezed her so tight in my arms, she groaned. I felt a wave of exhilarating chills as her mouth explored within mine. I had a funny feeling in the heels of my feet, and my head was blocked of all thoughts. All I could think was how funny I was feeling. And how funny it was that it felt amazing.


We didn't talk much as we stumbled our way to the room in the far back of the apartment. My bedroom. Where I've been residing lonesomely for quite a while. Afraid I might tumble over our feet, I found an empty spot in the wall that wasn't filled with a framed photograph or a coat rack, and pressed her back up against it. She ran her fingers through my hair and traced circles on my neck, and I had to pull away to breathe. Not just because we were both lacking oxygen, being locked in each other for so long, but because everything was moving so fast. I wasn't used to this. I hadn't done anything like this since Hailey. I looked soulfully into her eyes, begging for help. Help with what? I didn't know.

But Emily being Emily, knew right away. I smirked at the realization that she knew me better than I knew myself. "Your afraid." she whispered, panting hot breaths into my mouth.

At first I was offended. But she was right. I nodded. I felt like I had just shrunken six inches. I had left my dignity out in the hallway of my apartment, apparently. My walls were all tumbling down while she was here. She finger-combed my hair momentarily, probably deciding on which words to use, then spoke to me.

"You don't know if you can love without her." she spoke softly, her breathing returning to a normal pace.

I paused and considered her words. True again. I swallowed. If that's true, then what does that mean for me? Or better yet, for us? I nodded again, my face sour and drained. "What does that make me?" I asked foolishly.

She slid her fingertip down the side of my face. The chills returned, but I ignored them. I was hanging on every word hopelessly. "That makes you unafraid."

I furrowed my eyebrows. At first, that didn't make much sense. Let me rephrase that: that made completely no sense at all. My face must've said my thoughts aloud.

She shook her head. "Your here with me, exploring your feelings and emotions, in spite of your fears."

I pondered her words. Possibly truthful, but was that it? She gave the pep-talk another go. "How do you feel right now?" she asked therapeutically. I had to strain to keep me from rolling my eyes. I didn't ask for a therapist.

I looked down, the space between our bodies about half-an-inch. I inched closer until her stomach met mine and her belt buckle fought a war with mine. Until her chest was pressed hard against mine and I could feel the warmth of her body heat, and if I listened hard enough, I could hear her heart beat pounding. That comforted me. I closed my eyes. "I feel..." I had forgotten my words. I felt like slapping myself over the head. God, I was such an idiot around her. I was afraid to open my eyes, to see her jogging down stuff like a therapist; but when I opened them, she was just staring right back daringly.

I looked down at our bodies pressed together. "I feel warm," I began with a heavy sigh. "I feel comfort. I feel safety. I feel tingly."

She started to laugh, but she made a choking noise. I furrowed my eyebrows. "What?"

"You just said tingly." A smile drew large on her face. I wanted so bad not to smile back, but I couldn't help it. I just had to.

"What do you want me to say?" I defended. "You asked me how I was feeling."

She nodded. "Your right, I did," she pulled my face closer to hers. She lowered her voice into a soft, sexy whisper. I felt zaps of excitement race through my veins. I pressed my forehead against hers. "Now ask me how I'm feeling."

I swallowed. I was trying desperately to keep my imagination in check. I didn't think I could stand still another minute. God, her voice. So soft, so tempting. "How," I swallowed again. I wasn't completely focused. I couldn't even say what she told me to say. "How are you feeling?" I managed to sputter out.

She cupped my face with her warm, delicate hands. "I'm feeling the exact same way."

Something broke inside of me. Something snapped. I couldn't control myself anymore or physically stop myself from doing what I had to do next. I picked her up, and carried her to my bed, letting her fall onto it. She didn't refuse or urge me to stop. I couldn't stop myself anymore. I tore off her black blazer, and she stretched out on the bed like a cat, closing her eyes. My fingers fumbled with the buttons of her shirt, but eventually I got the hang of it. She sat up, pulling the rest of the shirt off of her arms and tossing it over the bed. I lowered myself on top of her, her bare stomach hot through my shirt. My lips met hers again, but that wasn't enough. I wanted to kiss every part of her.

"You need to take this off." she mumbled between kisses. I paused, confused, then it registered. My shirt. Right. She pulled away long enough to unbutton it. It was taking too long. She slid it off of my arms, tickling it's way down, then tossed it on the floor alongside hers. When I fell back on top of her, my first thought was: "Wow. Our bodies are really warm pressed together." but the more I laid on top of her, the more I found desire and strength in that warmth. The more I realized how much I wanted her. But it was impossible to have her anymore than I already was. But I still ached for more.

I felt she felt the same way, because she pulled apart from our kissing and stretched out again. I could just tell what she wanted me to do. I kissed my way down her stomach, each time she'd shift slightly and make a noise, then I got to her pants. I ripped off her gun carelessly, tossing it aside. Not something I'd recommend unless you just cannot wait. I just couldn't wait. I needed to feel more of her. I unbuttoned her pants, unzipped them and slid them down. When I looked up at her face, her eyes were sealed shut and she was nibbling on her bottom lip.

That sight was beyond sexy. My hands trembled excitedly as I stroked her thighs, little groans escaping her mouth each time I stroked upward. I realized mid-stroke, my fingers planted gently on her inner thigh, of what all of this meant. I brought myself on top of her again, staring at her closed eyelids. She eventually opened them, then stoked my chin with her fingertips.

"Why'd you stop?" she asked breathlessly.

I brushed a piece of bang away from her eye. "I know what this is." I whispered.

She looked confused. I moved my hand to her waist, drawing invisible lines each time my fingertip stroked up and down repeatedly. "What do you mean?" she asked, her eyes falling closed. I could tell she was enjoying this.

"I know how I feel now."

"Mmm?" she mumbled.

"I feel like you saved me," I began slowly. "From the downward spiral I was heading into."

Her eyes opened slowly, and the corners of her mouth curved upward. But I wasn't finished.

"I feel like only you were capable of doing that. And I know that how I feel with you isn't like anything I've ever experienced with anyone."

She looked surprised by this, her eyebrows raised. I knew what she wanted to ask me.

"No, not with anyone." I repeated certainly. "With you, I'm-I'm just different."

She broke into a large, beaming smile. "Well, I already knew that," her eyes flickered in the ceiling light. "I already got you to take off your tie and say the word 'tingly.'"

I had to laugh at that. But also at how incredibly adorable and sexy she was being. She began fumbling with my belt buckle, bringing me back to the situation at-hand. I rolled over on my back, and she climbed on top like helping a guy out of his pants was an everyday occurrence. I hoped it wasn't. Now it was my turn to close my eyes and lay back, enjoying the moment for what it was.

Yes, I'd done things in my life I regret, and even more things I blame myself for. I'd lost Hailey, the only woman I was certain was right for me. And I'll always love her. She vowed to spend the rest of her life with me, and thanks to everything I'd put her through, she couldn't stick with it. She brought my son into this world and raised him into the strong, friendly and lovable little guy he is today. I think I'll always find ways to put the blame on myself when things go badly. But finally, I found something inside, that I believe Emily helped dig out that was hidden beneath large patches of dirt. I'm strong enough to forgive myself. I'm strong enough to love again. And most importantly: I'm unafraid.


Author's note: Reviews? Thank you guys!