Title: Dust in the Wind
Rating: R
Fandom:
Criminal Minds
Characters/Pairing:
Emily Prentiss/Clyde Easter
Genre: Romance/Drama
Summary:
In Prague, Clyde Easter saved Emily's life. Spoilers to 6x16, but Pre-series.
Author's Note: Yes, I know. It's been forever since I've posted anything. Life has been busy (and in all honesty, it's only going to get busy). I'm pretty sure I only wrote this story because Sebastian Roche is awesome.

Prague was a complete clusterfuck.

There were more polite words to describe the situation – the kind of words that Emily would be using in her report, for instance – but clusterfuck was the only one that really captured the way that almost everything had gone completely wrong.

They didn't usually get involved in the investigation so much. Usually, they were there to ensure that all the right international laws were being followed, and a whole lot of other boring stuff that didn't really necessitate carrying a nine millimeter strapped to your hip, but for some reason, they did anyway.

Prague was different.

In Prague, their suspect was a local crime boss, who, according to intel, had a headquarters with Fort Knox-like security, and a penchant for high-class hookers. Sleeping with someone they were trying to take down wasn't something that Emily made a habit of doing, but it was their only way in. When it was all over, she'd push it all away, and move on.

That would have been the easy, option.

But no.

No, it had to go completely pear-shaped, and end with Emily trying to find her gun before the shots started. Being undercover, her weapon was in a thigh holster. Aside from being completely impractical for quick-drawing, the thigh holster was ridiculously uncomfortable, and made it a pain in the ass to walk without looking like she had a Glock 19 hiding beneath her three thousand dollar designer dress.

Find cover, then deal with the gun, Emily told herself. She rounded the corner, and found herself face to face with a guard. She saw the look in his eyes, and she heard the sound of a gunshot, and felt the blood splatter hit her, but it took her at least three seconds to realize that it wasn't her that had been shot, but the guard.

He crumpled to the ground, dead, and Emily wasn't entirely sure that she hadn't gone into cardiac arrest in the meantime.

She cringed at the blood splatter, and not just because she was upset about the dress. No matter who the guy worked for, she wasn't exactly ready to see him gunned down in front of her.

That was something she would never get used to.

'You alright?' Clyde had his gun out, and kept a cautious eye out for any more sentries.

Emily nodded, even if it was kind of a lie. 'Thanks.' It felt really weird to be thanking someone for shooting a man, but that was the job.

'We're done here,' he said. 'BIS's show now.' Emily knew that he only wanted to get her out of there, but in all honesty, she wasn't going to protest that fact.

They stopped briefly to pick up the inevitable paperwork, and then continued onto the three-star hotel that had been out of double rooms. Considering the fact that she and Clyde had spent three months undercover as a married couple while helping take down arms dealers in St. Petersburg, it was not a new experience.

For as long as the team had been together, it was Clyde and Emily, Tsia and Jeremy. Sean fit into his own little enigmatic bubble that he didn't like to talk about and nobody ever seemed to ask about.

'Sometimes,' Emily said, wrestling with the little black dress that normally, she wouldn't have been caught dead in. 'Sometimes I hate this job so much.'

'Really?' Clyde asked, in the kind of voice that made it abundantly clear that he was staring at her ass. 'Well it wouldn't be very fun without you, now, would it?'

Emily threw her dress at him. 'I can't imagine why.'

Clyde examined the dress, or, more specifically, the dried blood that was almost unnoticeable against the black. 'Laundry?' he asked.

'Bin,' Emily replied. She didn't care how expensive the dress was – it wasn't one that she'd be wearing again.

'What a waste,' Clyde said with an overdramatic sigh, as he scrunched the dress into a ball and made a perfect shot into the wastebasket on the other side of the room. Impeccable aim with more than just a pistol – a fact for which Emily was very much grateful. If he'd missed, the dress would probably have a bullet-sized hole in it, and Emily herself would either be in a hospital or the morgue. Neither option was particularly comforting.

'Don't be sad,' Emily told him. 'You've seen me in much less.'

'Believe me, I remember,' Clyde smiled. 'But there's just something so titillating about taking off a little black dress.'

Their relationship, for lack of a better term, was a casual one. The instability of their job meant that Emily wasn't quite ready to settle down yet, and she was fairly sure that Clyde wasn't going to argue with the situation. He'd been married once – how and why it had ended, Emily didn't ask, but it didn't take a genius to know that he wasn't ready to settle down either.

For now, it was a night in Brussels, or Paris, or wherever else they happened to be working. Sometimes, if the occasion called for it – if they were on sabbatical, or if things were starting to get tense, or any other number of reasons. "Fuck buddies" might have been an appropriate term, but Emily respected Clyde too much for that. She wasn't sure what their nights together meant, but it was sure as hell something more than just gratification.

Maybe it was about being with someone who knew the job. Maybe it was about being with someone she trusted enough to pull the trigger in time.

'I'm thankful it was just the dress that was ruined.' Emily had gone braless underneath the dress, and she was glad to discover that none of the blood had soaked through to the skin. She'd shower thoroughly anyway, of course; more things than blood needed washing away.

She headed towards the bathroom, stopping briefly as Clyde asked, 'Do you want company?' Emily hesitated. She did want company, but she also wanted some time alone.

'Give me a bit,' she told him, and Clyde nodded, understanding. He'd no doubt been in her shoes before – though the shoes probably weren't three inch stilettos, and he probably wasn't wearing a little black dress.

The hotel shower only seemed to be able to manage ice cold or boiling hot; Emily chose boiling hot, relishing the needles of pain against her skin that made it so much easier to forget about the day's events. Each assignment took her closer and closer to the edge. One day, she might not come back.

'Everything okay?' Clyde asked, and Emily jumped.

'Christ, Clyde…You scared the crap out of me.' She kissed him hungrily, ignoring the droplets of water that still cascaded down her face.

'Careful, now. Not paying attention could get you killed.'

'Really? Then I guess we shouldn't do this.'

'Well let's not be hasty.' He pressed her against the cold tiles, hands moving down to cup her ass. 'You were in here for almost twenty minutes, you know.' He let his forehead rest against hers. 'I was starting to get worried.'

'I was just…not thinking about it,' Emily shrugged, finding it difficult to avoid his gaze in such close quarters. 'Today…I…Thanks, is what I wanted to say, I guess. For saving my life.'

'Think of what I'd miss out on if I hadn't.'

'I fucked up,' Emily admitted, which wasn't the way she'd planned on letting the conversation run. It was the thought that had been sitting at the back of her mind, the thought that she'd been trying to push away, to compartmentalize, but she didn't.

'He was jittery,' Clyde argued. 'He was looking for an excuse to believe you were out to get him. It wasn't your fault, Emily.'

'I know,' she sighed. 'It just sucks, you know?'

'I know.'

For a long time, neither of them said anything more, just relishing in each other's embrace. It was nice.

'Sean wants us back by tomorrow night,' Clyde said eventually. 'Sounds like it's a big one.'

'He give you any details?'

'Nothing solid, but from what I gather, it sounds like you might be going undercover again.'

'Oh,' was all Emily said, not particularly sure how she felt about that.

'Relax,' he assured her. 'You'll be fine. Sean wouldn't give you another undercover assignment if he thought you couldn't get the job done.'

Emily smiled. Beneath the innuendo and the sex drive, Clyde was a genuinely good guy. That made her decision that much harder.

'I'm leaving Interpol,' she told him, and a raise of the eyebrow was the only show of surprise that he gave. 'You knew?'

'Sean told me,' he admitted. 'He wanted me to try and convince you otherwise.'

'Well you're doing a hell of a job,' Emily quipped, hyperaware of the way his fingers were inching towards a more intimate area.

'If you don't want to be here, that's your call.' Emily arched her back as his fingers explored her.

'God, Clyde…'

'Where will you go?'

Emily didn't answer straight away, partially because she was still catching her breath, and partially because she wasn't entirely sure of the answer herself.

'Back stateside, probably,' she told him. 'Do something a little more domestic.'

'FBI?'

'Maybe. Maybe dog-walking. Burger flipping.'

'You could be a meter maid.'

'I haven't fallen that far.'

There was a long silence. 'I'm going to miss you, Emily.'

'It's not like I'm going deep into the Amazon jungle,' she told him with a snort. 'You can still see me. Just…not like this.'

'I'm sure the horror of it will truly sink in when I'm sharing a hotel room with Sean.'

'Well, you never know,' Emily said with a grin. 'Sean might be up for some shower shenanigans.'

'Perish the thought.' He kissed her, and it was a long, slow, passionate kiss. The kind of kiss they'd shared so many times in Russia. The kind of kiss that said "I love you," even when their words didn't.

Their last kiss.