"Come this way! Hurry! Come on!" Morgan yelled in the direction of the EMTs. As Rossi told Reid and Hotch through the ear piece that they were on the way, and the two agents and four EMTs ran into the shrubs.
Reid's head shot up when the sound of six voices came broke the near silence between the three of them. "Over here!" he called when he realized that Hotch hadn't even pealed his eyes away from Emily's still limp frame upon hearing all the commotion. It had seemed like hours since he had first found her, but his logical mind told him that it had only been thirteen minutes. His logical mind also started telling him the statistics of getting Emily to the hospital in time to save her. He somehow managed to keep those thoughts inside his own mind though, mainly of fear that the broken man sitting next to him would decide to rearrange his face.
The EMTs gently pushed Hotch out of the way and began to work on Emily, checking her vitals, and picking pieces of debris from her wound. Reid cringed as they rattled off blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration numbers in a foreign code to everyone else on the team but him. Gently but quickly, the EMTs lifted Emily onto the stretcher and started to carry her out the way they came.
"Is she on any medication, have any allergies, or previous health issues?" Reid could have given all the medical information on Emily from reading her file, but Hotch started talking first.
"She, uh, doesn't take any medication or have any health concerns, but um, she's allergic to penicillin, and uh – strawberries," he barely managed to say without his voice cracking. The EMT nodded and soon they were finally out of the forest and were loading Emily into the ambulance. There was no room for anyone but the EMTs, but they were told they could follow them to the only hospital in Alexandria, Alexandria General. Rossi and Hotch jumped into one SUV, Morgan and Reid in another before they too put on their lights and sirens and raced after the ambulance already half way down the street.
"Don't give me that look Dave," Hotch whispered as he looked only at the road straight ahead of him. Rossi took a moment before responding.
"My third year of college, I was lab partners with a girl named Abigail. We always got good grades, worked well together, and even talked a little outside of class. But one day, our professor said that Braden was going to be my new partner. Turns out Abigail switched majors and wasn't in the class anymore. I remember going back to my dorm and that's the first time I had a drink alone." Rossi looked over at Hotch and raised an eyebrow, hoping that the younger man was seeing the point of the story.
"You see, Aaron, sometimes you don't know what you have right in front of you until it's not there anymore."
"Are you saying that my Emily is your Abigail?" Hotch was not particularly a fan of Rossi's stories that turned into long serious talks about him. He really wasn't in the mood for that right now.
Rossi let the story sink into Hotch's mind and sat back in his seat, reflecting on how his best friend just referred to his coworker at his Emily.
By the time Morgan and Reid made it to the ER waiting room, Rossi and Hotch were already seated. Rossi was leaning back in his uncomfortable hospital chair, obviously contemplating something serious. Hotch, on the other hand, was barely holding it together. His elbows were on his knees with his left hand running over his mouth and chin. He was staring at a spot on the wall directly across from him, and his eyes were slightly glazed over.
Hotch's subconscious recognized that Morgan and Reid had just walked in and were waiting for an update, but his mind was directed somewhere else. Somewhere much better…
Hotch groaned and lifted himself up off the couch after the third round of knocks. The pounding was only adding to the horrible headache he was having, and when Supervisory Special Agent Aaron Hotchner was sick, he was extremely irritable. Whoever was on the other side of the door was going to wish they were never born.
"What the hell do you want?" he called out in a raspy voice as he swung the door open, fully expecting to see Dave on the other side of the door.
"Someone to share some homemade chicken noodle soup with, maybe?" Emily Prentiss replied in an even tone, showing him that she wasn't going to say anything about his cheerful greeting. Hotch stood in the doorway shocked for a minute before he gave her a slight nod and stepped back and opened the door wider to let her in.
"I didn't know you cooked Prentiss," Hotch said.
"I don't. However, my eighty-two year old neighbor does. She always makes me something after we get back from a case, and yesterday, it just happened to be chicken noodle soup," she said, already walking over to his pitiful excuse for a kitchen and opening up the microwave, putting the bowl she brought over in and turning it on. "You are sick and should lie down," she said in a bossy tone while pointing her finger at Hotch. He rolled his eyes but wasn't in the mood to argue. He walked back to his couch and laid back down, unconsciously using his left hand to rub his throbbing temple. He didn't know he fell asleep, but apparently he did. Hotch awoke to feel his head propped up against something soft but firm and a warm hand gently rubbing his headache away. He opened his eyes and blinked a couple times to focus on the face of Emily Prentiss resting his head on her lap and massaging his head and face.
"Your soup is cold," she whispered when he caught her eyes.
"What's on your mind Hotch? Have they said anything about Emily?" Morgan's voice brought Hotch back to the surface.
"The nurse said she'd come out if she heard anything. I was thinking about-" the moment I fell in love with her, he said to himself. He couldn't form the words.
"Family of Emily Prentiss?" a short blonde nurse said stepping into the waiting room. All four men stood up and took a step forward. "I'm sorry, I can only give information to family members," she said apologetically.
"We are family," Morgan said in a slightly menacing voice.
"I-I'm sorry, it uh- it's protocol," she said, obviously scared by Morgan's appearance.
"I'm her fiancé," Hotch said. Where the hell did that come from?
"Okay, if I could talk to you in private sir," she said, taking a side step away from Morgan and towards the door.
Once Hotch and the nurse walked away, Reid and Morgan immediately turned their bewildered expressions to Rossi. "Did you know man?" Morgan asked incredulously.
"Relax hot shot, it was the only way the nurse was going to tell anyone anything, and there are no legal documents to prove if they are really engaged or not, unlike marriage," Rossi said with a huff.
"I don't know – the way he was with her in the woods was…and not like I know a lot about that kind of stuff, but it seemed pretty intimate," Reid said , looking at his two colleges.
"Well of course genius. They don't need to be engaged to love each other," Morgan said slowly shaking his head. Hotch must be going through hell right now. The silence between the three continued as they waited for Hotch to come back into the room.
"Has anyone called JJ and Garcia?" Reid asked. Both men's eyes widened before they both pulled out their cell phones. Rossi had called JJ before the EMTs got to the scene so she wasn't blind spotted by the media's questions, but he hadn't thought to update her since. Garcia, on the other hand, had only been told by Morgan to give him the coordinates on Reid before he hung up. He cringed when he saw that he had nine missed calls and seven voicemails. He had a lot of explaining to do.
"Agent Hotchner," Hotch said quietly, expecting the worst. The head wound was deep, and she lost a lot of blood.
"Agent Hotchner, your fiancé lost a lot of blood through the blow to the head, and a small piece of her skull broke off. She has a level two concussion, but other than that, there isn't any more damage to the brain. The doctors are done with surgery, and she had been moved to room 236 on the second floor if you'd like to see her. She should wake up shortly."
"Ye-yes. Thank you," Hotch said letting out a breath he wasn't aware he was holding and going back into the waiting room to give the good news to the rest of the team.
Emily's eyes fluttered open a few times before she could keep them open. Everything around her was bright and blurry, and for a minute she began to wonder if this was heaven. Nope, she thought to herself as her body registered a massive amount of pain. Definitely hell.
Her hearing was amplified, and she could hear everything from the beeping of the machines next to her head to the occasional drip from the faucet in the bathroom to her left. She heard the faint sound of footsteps outside her room, getting closer and closer. Moments later, the doorknob was turned and she heard the shushing three voices, and the high pitch squeak of a fourth. Reid.
It took a lot of strength and energy, but she managed to turn her head slightly to the right to get a look at her visitors.
"Hey," she managed to croak out. It was meant for all of them, but she was only looking at Hotch. Reid gave his trademark awkward wave, a small smile graced Rossi's lips, and Morgan let out a sigh of relief. Hotch, however, took the first steps towards her bed, picking up her hand and very gently squeezing her fingers. "Hey," he whispered back. They both barely registered the other three men slipping back out the door to give them some privacy.
"You scared me 'ya know," he whispered after a short silence, brushing the hair out of her face and tucking it behind her ear. A sad smile flashed across her lips as she nodded her head the best she could. "Please don't scare me again," he said, leaning closer to carefully press his lips against her forehead. Ignoring the searing pain her head gave in protest, Emily pushed herself upwards and slammed her mouth onto his as he pulled away. Being caught off guard, it took Hotch a moment to respond, but when he did, he gently cupped her cheek and eased her back down onto the hospital bed, careful not to put any of his weight on her.
They pulled when air became necessary, but it still seemed too soon. Resting their foreheads against one another, they steadied their breathing as Hotch ran his hand along the back of her head, which was encased by a large bandage.
"Chicken noodle soup," he said, a genuine smile on his lips. Face still slightly flushed from the kiss, Emily raised a questioning eyebrow. "When I was sick and you brought over that soup. I woke up and you were rubbing my headache away, and just then I realized that you always take all my pain away. It was the moment I fell in love with you," he declared.
Tears welled up in Emily's eyes as she searched for words. She only found four. "I love you Aaron."
A/N~ Ok so that took so much longer to write then I thought it would! Not one my favorites but eh, I still like it. If you are like me, you are SUPER excited for next week's episode of CM with Emily undercover at the bar (again!). Hotch's face as he was watching her was priceless! Please review!