What to Regret
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Spoiler: Set in season six
Summary: After almost getting killed in the line of duty, Prentiss visits Hotch at his hotel room with an unusual request.
Thanks to flashpenguin for getting rid of my spelling-mistakes as well for correcting my misinterpretations of the English language. Note to self: There's a difference between "laying" and "lying". I still don't know when which to use, but luckily, flashpenguin does!
Feedback: Always appreciated.
"Sometimes the best things in life come unexpectedly."
There were two things in Hotch's life that robbed him of his sleep. The first thing that kept him awake at night for years was his job. An UNSUB was killing people and he lay awake, wondering if he'd missed the one thing that could crack the case.
This night it wasn't his job that kept him from sleeping. It was hot tonight. But it was always hot in Florida, wasn't it? Hotch looked up from his files to stare at the white walls of the anonymous hotel room he was in. The only light in his dark room was the lamp on the desk he was sitting at. The case was closed, the UNSUB was behind bars and she was safe. All he had to do now was fill out the paperwork. Of course he could do that tomorrow on the plane on their way back home, but he couldn't sleep. It wasn't his job that kept him awake tonight. Tonight his job was just something to distract him.
He had tried to sleep, he really had. But lying in his bed all he could think of was Emily Prentiss. The other thing that kept him awake at night was her.
Today she almost died. Now he couldn't sleep because he would dream about her. And in his dreams he lost her. He always lost her in his dreams. He screwed it up every time. Thanks to his pessimistic sub-consciousness, he screwed it up every time. Either because he got to her too late, or he kissed her.
Today he almost came too late. He had fired his gun a mere split second before the UNSUB could. Split second. Faster than a heartbeat. A blink of an eye. The woman who had held Emily at gun point had blinked once and he had shot her.
After lying in his bed for an hour without feeling anything else than hot, uncomfortable and anxious, he had accepted defeat and stood up again. He had put his clothes back on which had been lying on the desk chair he was now sitting on. Wearing only boxer shorts like he had in bed didn't feel right now that he was working. His jacket hung on the back of the chair. His tie lay next to his right hand besides the papers, and the first two buttons of his shirt were unfastened. His sleeves were rolled up. It was just too damn hot.
Hotch looked back on his files and turned a page when a knock on the door broke the silence. For a moment he thought of ignoring it, because – Who could it be? It was past midnight and after the long day they all had, his team was either still out dancing the stress off or already in bed to catch some long needed sleep. It was probably somebody knocking on the wrong door anyway. And the last time that happened he almost got punched for being the wrong man in the right room by a man looking for his girlfriend who was incidentally staying in the room across the hall.
The knock came again and he stood up, made the two steps to the room door and opened it.
"Emily." Hotch's eyebrows hitched up his forehead. He held on to the doorknob with his right hand while he placed his left one on the doorframe.
She looked beautiful, even in the unflattering electric light of the hotel-floor. She stood in front of him dressed in only a long black T-shirt and orange flip flops, her long brown hair fell around her face in messy curls. She must've had showered because her hair was still a bit damp on its ends.
Hotch gulped. He shouldn't have opened the door. It was late, he was tired and all he could think about since he shot the UNSUB holding Emily hostage, was how badly he wanted to hold her, to feel her heart beat so he'd be sure she was alive.
And now she stood in front of him dressed in only everyday attire that now seemed sexier than any lingerie. He wanted to touch her- her face, the lock of hair that curled up behind her ear…her arms, her legs… The hem of her shirt only went to the middle of her thigh and he was her superior and would under no circumstances continue to fantasize about kissing his way up from her calf to her thigh while she was standing in front of him, or ever again. And then she spoke.
"You are still awake." She sounded confused by that, as if him opening the door was as much a surprise as her appearance was to him.
Frowning Hotch nodded. "Yes. Why…"
"…am I here?" she completed his question.
"Yes." Hotch nodded again. She paused for a bit, nibbling on her bottom lip. He wanted to kiss her. It had been so long since he had kissed anybody and he'd wanted to kiss her for even longer.
Gosh, they were close enough that he could smell her. Orange and something else. Something spicy. He wanted to kiss the dip of her neck, he wanted to kiss her just above the collar of her shirt, to nibble on her ear and find out if she tasted as good as she smelled. He wanted to pull her close to him and carry her into his room, to his bed and… His hand clenched around the doorknob. The wisest thing to do now would be to ask her to leave and discuss what ever she wanted to discuss with him next morning when he wasn't as tired and she would wear more clothes.
"May I come in?" she asked.
Answering a question with a question. Interesting. He was intrigued, he wanted to know what she– He just didn't want her to leave. He shouldn't invite her in. He trusted himself with her here in the openness of the hotel-floor. The thought that somebody could come by and see them any time was enough to remind him of the standards he set for himself: Don't kiss her, don't touch her too often or too long and try not to be alone with her, because being with her alone made the not-touching-not-kissing-part so much harder. Easy rules.
The shirt she was wearing exposed the soft skin of her legs. Maybe he should wonder why she knocked on his door while dressed in only a T-shirt. It wasn't really the smartest way to dress for an encounter with a superior agent. But he didn't care. Not really, because all he could think of were her naked legs. Although he kept his eyes strictly on her face, his thoughts drifted back to her legs. Her face didn't really help him to focus on his easy rules either. Because in her face were those eyes that always saw more of him than he liked and the lips that he wanted to kiss. He couldn't focus on his rules. He really shouldn't let her in.
Hotch took his hand from the doorframe and stepped back. Smiling she walked past him into the room and he closed the door behind them. Now they were really alone. He was making a mistake, he knew it. He was tired and wanted to be with her and she wanted to talk to him, and he was making a mistake. So what?
And now Emily Prentiss stood in his hotel-room next to his desk with her back close to the wall and facing his bed. Emily Prentiss was just a few feet away from his bed. He should stop thinking about Emily and his bed. About Emily in his bed and him above her, kissing her while her black T-shirt laid next to them on the floor. He should really stop thinking about that.
Hotch cleared his throat. "So why are you here?"
She seemed a bit unsure. Probably she was wondering the same thing. "Do you remember what Mora asked all her victims in her warning letter?" she asked.
Mora Brightman- the UNSUB- had sent a letter to every one of her victims one week before she executed them. How could he forget? "What would be the one thing you'd regret you never did?"
"Yes." Emily nodded and came a bit closer. "That question." In the letter she had sent she had emphasized that the victims had seven days to do that one thing. Then Mora would kill them.
Emily took one more step in his direction. Now they were only one arm's length apart. "She said she would've let all the women live if they'd just do the thing they wanted to do the most, instead of alarming the police and wasting precious time being scared of something as certain as death." She took a breath. "I almost died today, Hotch."
He was aware of that. One blink of an eye. This time the shiver running down his spine had nothing to do with her legs.
She paused and he waited for her to continue. Damn him. She had come to him for some consolation after having a bad day and he stood here fantasizing about her legs. Fantasizing about her body, her breasts, about how her skin would feel on his… And he did it again. Damn him.
"She was right, you know?" Emily interrupted his thoughts. "Life is short, death is certain and in our job the chances to die are pretty good." She gulped. Her gaze wandered from his face to his bed and back to his eyes again. "I want to kiss you."
Wow. His heartbeat quickened. He should say something, he knew. But he couldn't. He just stared at her.
"Just once," she said. "Please. Just one kiss and I'll leave you alone."
He wasn't able to move. Not when her hands reached out for his face, nor when she caressed his cheeks, nor when she tiptoed and gently placed her mouth against his. She kissed him. Emily Prentiss was kissing him. She caught his bottom lip between hers, let go of it and was gone. Pressing his lips together, he opened his eyes. He didn't even remember he closed them, but he must have, because now he was opening them again. A blink of an eye.
Her right hand was still on his cheek, while her left one was now playing with the collar of his shirt. She was so close. Her scent filled his nostrils and her mouth looked delicious. Then her gaze caught his and he snapped. He wrapped his arms around her waist, crushed her to his chest and kissed her back.
Without hesitation she opened her mouth to his. She tasted good. So good. He should stop. He was her superior and he should stop that immediately. Her right hand wandered from his cheek to his neck while her left one crept under his shirt and he knew, he wouldn't. Not until she'd tell him to stop. As long as she allowed him to touch her, there was no way he would take his hands off her.
Their lips broke away and he buried his face in the crock of her neck, inhaling her scent. Moaning, she pressed her hips into his.
"Don't stop", she whispered and he was lost.
"It's better to regret what you did than to regret what you never tried."
Three years ago when he got served with his divorce-papers, Emily wanted to touch him, maybe just place her hand on his arm. Something. Of course she did not. It would only make them both feel awkward. Hotch was always keeping his distance to the team, to her especially. No wonder, she was the new one.
After Haley and Jack had to go into witness protection, she wanted to connect with him, maybe just hold his hand so he'd know he wasn't alone- that he still had his other family,- his team to cling on to. Of course she did not. Because if she would take his hand, it wouldn't be about their team, it would've been because she wanted him to think about them. Aaron and Emily. She liked his first name. She never got up the courage to use it though.
She wanted to hug him after Haley died. He looked so lost and she wanted to hug him so bad. Of course she did not. Over the years of working with him, it became her habit to suppress the urge to touch him. To reach out and touch him because she wanted to. Oh, she was good at making excuses for touching him. She just touched his hand, to get his attention. She just brushed her fingers against his arm to make him turn to her. Something like that but never for the purpose of simply touching him. And of course she never kissed him regardless how much she wanted to.
When Mora held her at gunpoint, scolding her for not living enough, Emily regretted not touching him, not holding his hand, not hugging him when she had wanted to. In retrospect, they both could've needed that. Human contact. If it would be only that to him, she could handle it. At least she would know then. She regretted to never have kissed him even more. She saw him sneaking up behind Mora, his gun in his hands, his face a mask of concentration and she thought how much she would regret it to die without never even kissing him once. Without even trying to get what she wanted. If she'd died in that moment, she would die having only excuses to not touch him. He just got divorced, he just had to part from his son, he just lost his former wife. He was her superior. Excuses.
Then Hotch shot Mora and Emily was save. He asked her if she was ok, she nodded and his eyes…
When she lay in bed later that day, she had thought about his eyes. How he had looked at her. Sometimes she caught him looking at her, felt his eyes lingering on her. Sometimes she thought, he wanted her to touch him too. Tonight she would find out. She wouldn't spent another day without knowing what it was like to kiss him.
So she went to his room to ask for her kiss. Maybe she should've put some pants on before she crossed the small space between their room-doors. Maybe wearing only the black T-shirt she usually slept in was a bit too much, but maybe her naked legs would be just enough to distract him long enough so she could get her kiss. And maybe, if she'd misread his looks, she could argue sleepwalking for her behavior. Sleepwalking. Ridiculous. She was acting ridiculous. But it's better to make a fool of one's self than to let life pass by, right?
She felt foolish when he opened the door. She knocked, he opened and he was so… kissable. He wasn't wearing his tie and his shirt was open at the collar. Just kissable. And she felt foolish, because she wanted to kiss him, planned to kiss him and now with him looking at her, she felt like a coward. Because she was surprised he was still awake, because he looked so loosened up and so vulnerable and because actually standing in front of him meant she had to come up with a damn good explanation for knocking on his door in the middle of the night while wearing just a T-shirt.
He was calm and controlled as ever, his eyes strictly on her face and his brows drawn together as an only sign of confusion. His left hand leaned against the doorframe, his right one, she couldn't see. Judging from the angle of his shoulders, he was holding on to the doorknob.
Moments like that, she wished she had his pokerface.
He tilted his head like he always does when he suspects something is up. "Why…"
"…am I here?" Emily tugged on the hem of her shirt.
Hotch nodded. Standing in the open of the floor, she asked herself the same. There could be someone coming down that floor and see them like that any moment. She didn't even want to imagine the embarrassment if she'd be caught by one of their team. How was coming here a good idea again? Well, she would've time to curse herself over the newest stupid idea of hers when she was save in her room again. Preferably without screwing everything up with Hotch before. Now she owed him an explanation. Maybe she would think better, if they wouldn't be so much on display any longer.
"May I come in?"
Hotch took his hand from his doorframe.
And two hours later she was lying in his bed. After she had entered his room, she had tried to explain how she felt since he had saved her today. He had focused on her, had listened to her words and the whole time they had been standing in front of his bed. She had wanted to kiss him so much… So she asked if she could. And now she was lying in his bed, his arms wrapped around her, her head resting on his chest right above his heart and next to her left hand that was stroking his sweat covered skin.
They had been silent for over ten minutes. First they both had tried to catch their breath, then she just lay in his arms and listened to his heartbeat slowly calming down to normal speed. Talking would only ruin everything.
"I shouldn't have done that," he said.
"If you don't even try, you already failed."
"I shouldn't have done that," he said and regretted his words as soon as they slipped him. What a stupid thing to say. He shouldn't have done that? He should have come to that conclusion before he screwed her on his bed. And the thing that annoyed him the most was, he did knew. He did know he was making a mistake. He knew he was making a mistake when he invited her into his room. He knew he was making a mistake when he kissed her back. And he knew he was making a mistake when she maneuvered them to his bed. Stupid.
So where would they go from here? He couldn't lose her completely. Before, at least he could see her at work every day.
He would miss her so much. The team would miss her if she'd quit. And he? He couldn't quit. Next to his son the job was everything he had. And now he had jeopardized everything because he couldn't keep his hands to himself. Stupid. She flinched at his words. Her whole body, which was so relaxed against his a few moments ago, tensed.
Emily propped herself up on her right elbow, her left hand stayed resting on his chest. "Are we already there yet?" she asked, looking down to him. He put his right arm at his side. He expected her to be angry with him but all he could see in her eyes was understanding.
Unfortunately he didn't understand anything. "What?"
"Is this the moment where your rationality will try to ruin this for me?" she specified her question.
Hotch frowned. "Prentiss, you're not making sense." She really wasn't and still she managed to look at him as if he was the one behaving silly.
"Don't 'Prentiss' me when I'm lying in your arms," she scolded him. "Especially not when we both are naked." Her hand felt warm against his skin.
He wished she would stop touching him. He wished she would touch him more. He couldn't think like that. "You're right. We should get dressed and–" Focusing on a spot at the wall he tried to sit up but she held him down with a little pressure of her hand. That was all she needed to render him motionless. A little pressure of her hand. He looked at her again.
"Can't you just tell me why you are freaking out now?" She sounded calm and reasonable.
"I am not freaking out."
"Yes, you are. In that controlled, rational, no bullshit way of yours."
He sounded calm and reasonable just like her, so how did she know that? But then again he felt silly for being surprised by that. If he had learned anything about Emily Prentiss since he met her it was that she was a damn good profiler and that if coming to him she always saw more than he wanted her to. He was good at his job. He was. He had caught killers all over America and he was chief of the best profiler team and still, when he looked at her now, it was hard for him to believe that she was lying here, naked in his bed with him.
"Why are you here?" His voice was steady while his thoughts stumbled over each other.
Maybe she just came here for the sex? They were so busy all the time, he doubted she could find the time for a proper romantic relationship. Maybe she just came to him, because she was lonely. Maybe he fell asleep at the desk two hours ago and all of this was just a dream.
"Because I wanted to be with you."
She wanted to be with him. She came here because of him. She came here to kiss him. Him. As the night progressed he had listened to her saying those things and he felt grateful and honored and– Right now she was totally focused on him. Her eyes… Sometimes at work he felt her gaze on him. Just quick glances really, but enough to make him shudder. But now she looked into his eyes and he wondered how much she could see and if she liked it. And her hands, her body pressed alongside his. He imagined he would still feel her skin touching his long after they were in another city, on another case.
"What about our jobs?" he asked.
"I'm not letting you break up with me because of our jobs, Aaron."
She called him by his first name, but he would obsess about that later. Now he had other things on his mind. "Break up?"
"Aren't we…?" She paused. Suddenly, for the first time since she kissed him, she seemed insecure. "Was it just sex for you?" she asked. And then he did something wrong, maybe a muscle twitched on his forehead, maybe he pressed his lips together too long, because she flushed. Not like she had before when he could feel her pulse under his lips as he had pressed his mouth to her throat. She pulled her hand away, pulled herself away from him. "Oh gosh, I'm making a fool of myself while all you want is kicking me out politely. I'm sorry, I–"
Before he could think about it, he sat up and grabbed her arm in a smooth move. Another mistake he made tonight. Why was he constantly pulling her back to him? Then again, he already ruined their relationship by sleeping with her, the least thing he could do was letting her leave with a good feeling. Yeah, like he was doing that for her.
"Don't leave. I'm sorry. I'm clumsy when it comes to–" Gosh, he was rambling bullshit, but he must've said something right because she was sinking back into her old posture. He hadn't even noticed how much he had missed her warmth against his skin until she was back. "I suck at this," he said. No kidding. He took one deep breath. "You want a relationship with me?"
"I think, I was pretty obvious about that." She frowned. "You sound startled."
He sounded startled. Tsk. How could he not be? "You have a sense of humor."
"I have not."
Her left hand found it's way back to his body. "I don't mind-"
"I am a drill sergeant," he reminded her. Like she could forget. "I have no sense of humor and I don't trust women as much as men. Your words."
This time his words made her smile. "You remember that?"
"Yes." He remembered most things she said to him. He remembered most things about her. That was something he noticed about himself after he met her. For a married man he had paid far too much attention to her. Of course that hadn't changed after his divorce.
"Do you regret it?" she asked then. "Sleeping with me?"
"No." He shook his head. It was true. He didn't regret it. He regretted what would follow now. "I just don't want either of us to leave the team."
Her smile faded. "I know you are famous for your rationality, Hotch, but you are not making sense."
"I don't want to screw us up." He meant it. He just didn't see a way to make them work.
"So you won't even give us a chance?"
A chance… Was there any chance that they could make it as a– Hotch gulped– a couple? He could not think of a way how. It was all so complicated. He was her boss, a single father. He wasn't really boyfriend material. But then again he had never been a man of great imagination. For example he had never even dreamed about the possibility that it would be her that first kissed him. "Do you want a chance?"
"Yes." She nodded. "I like you, Hotch. Much more than what's appropriate for a subordinate. Hence this." She smiled and waved at both of them. "I want us to try."
"Okay." He inhaled deeply.
Smiling, she bent down to him and kissed him.
His arms closed around her back. "We should get some sleep now," he whispered into her ear. "Our plane will start early tomorrow."
"Such a drill sergeant." Her lips sought his again and he smiled against her mouth.