I'm not sure if the number 13 is the best number for a last chapter (a little supersticious, right?) but that's the way it is. I want to thank everybody who read, reviewed and alerted this story. I had a great time writing it and would love to hear what your opinion about it.
Another big thank you goes to my loyal beta Gemenied. She's been very patient with me and has a added more than she thinks.
Sometimes our fate resembles a fruit tree in winter. Who would think that those branches would turn green again and blossom, but we hope it, we know it. ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
When he entered her room, he had almost hoped she'd be asleep. He wasn't sure if he wanted to know how she felt or if she was going to survive this emotionally. From what he heard she had good chances to recover physically. That meant she would be able to walk again, but did she want that? Her husband had done and had watched people doing unspeakable things to her and she had survived it. Then she had to learn that her daughter did not only betray her country, but had become so enslaved by her father that she had tried to kill her. No one would take this lightly and he wondered how a person with Erin's views and values would move on from this mess.
He knew thinking about the future right now wasn't realistic, but it kept him from asking himself questions, he couldn't answer anyway. So just for tonight, he tried to focus on the things as they were, disastrous but not that hopeless. As proof he was armed with a bouquet of flowers. After spending half an hour of undecided shifting from one foot to the other in front of the flower shop he had settled for gerbaras, instead of roses or lilies. He had skipped the roses, because he wasn't her lover and lilies, because this wasn't her funeral.
"Hey," he greeted her lowly, when he reached her bed.
"David?" she greeted him, a little surprised. Her face was pale and there was still the annoying beeping sound of all the machines she was tied to via dozens of cables, but she was alive, awake and that only after 24 hours after she had almost died in his arms.
"Flowers?" was her next question when she saw the bouquet in his arms.
"Yes, that's what people bring with them when they pay friends a visit," he said and realized that he sounded a bit nervous.
"Friends?" she asked doubtfully and coughed.
"Well… we can argue about it another time, if you want to. Right now you should rest. You gave the doctors a hard time, you know. But that's what you do, isn't it?"
He gently placed the flowers on her belly and took her hand into his.
"You're safe now. Your husband and Rachel are under arrest… they confessed… William killed Tiffany to cover their traces. Not the best news, I know, but that's all I can tell you. Just don't shoot the messenger." The joke was lame, considering her condition, but they weren't used to lead normal conversations. He took some training to be casual around her.
She shook her head, too weak to articulate herself, but he saw a tear running down her cheek and reached out to touch her face.
"Ruben is fine though. Gideon found him, but I guess you already know this."
"He was here."
Erin nodded and added with a faked smile, "Told me everything… well, what he thought I could stomach."
"He's the sensitive kind," Dave agreed dryly. "But he means well."
"Who called you when you were in the car before the bomb exploded?" he asked.
Dave nodded. No wonder Rachel had to take the risk and try to kill her mother under his eyes. She couldn't risk for Erin to wake up and remember what had happened before the explosion almost killed her.
Dave turned and grabbed the chair underneath the window. If she was surprised by his obvious wish to stay longer, she didn't show.
"That's why I asked him for help."
She closed her eyes again and Dave gave her time to rest. After a few minutes, when he found her eyes searching for him, he asked lowly. "And why did you ask me for help? You should have gone to Hotch with your request."
Erin subtly shook her head, "I wanted you…"
"Why?" he asked again, more insisting this time.
"Just because… Aaron's so… I didn't quite deserved his help."
"That didn't keep him from tearing your husband apart today… he fought tooth and nail to get a confession out of him. I know it isn't easy to trust, when your own flesh and blood betrays you like this, but you can trust the BAU… us… and me. I wish I had known the CIA was running the show."
"I had to promise Gideon to keep my mouth shut," she answered. "We couldn't risk that they discover what we're planning… not that we knew that they would make a test run with their bombs in my car."
"I'll remind you about that when the time has come…" his voice trailed off and he squeezed her hand a bit. Her eyes closed slowly.
"You should get some sleep now."
"I guess I'll get as much sleep as I want in the next few months," she mumbled, her eyes still closed.
"Do you think I should apply for your job, as long as you're in here?" he asked jokingly. "The vision of me sitting behind your desk should be a good motivation for you to come back asap!"
"You won't dare."
Probably he wouldn't. The mere idea of occupying her position made him squirm. He was too much of a maverick to play politics.
"You need to come back," he told her lowly, unsure if she was still awake. When she didn't answer, he knew, she hadn't heard him and he was relieved.
There were things that needed to be said, but sometimes it was better to hear them rather later than sooner.