A/N: Again,I tried to reply to all as you reviewed; if I missed you, I'm so sorry but my dad just lost my job and now I'm working to try to find something new for him.
To HPforever-after, CriminallyCastle, HGRHfan35, sarahb2007, charmony, renruta, emmasong95, Guest, NicknHotchfan, and greengirl82: My faithful reviewers! :) You guys are my inspirations and I love you all. Thanks for sticking by me, even though the not so warm or smutty chapters!
To Michelle: My beta. My friend. Thank you.
This is set after 4x17 "Demonology".
READ AND REVIEW PLEASE! I'd love to hear where all of you feel this should continue to go. Any ideas or themes you feel like throwing my way or anything in particular you wish to see, is always welcome. I love that some of my readers are able to look at the chapters and see their own input reflected, if you'd like to be one of them, don't be shy. :D
Let me just say that this chapter took a lot out of me. Lots of crying. Lots of emotions. Demonology is one of my favorite Prentiss episodes, but it's also one of the hardest to watch. I hope you enjoy this.
Disclaimer in Chapter 1!
"He who has faith has an inward reservoir of courage, hope, confidence, calmness, and assuring trust that all will come well- even though to the world it may appear to come out most badly." - B.C. Forbes
Something was wrong.
Something was very, very wrong. He had never seen her like this. Emily Prentiss was her own woman; stronger than any other woman he'd ever come in contact with. She could handle herself in a gym opposite Derek during sparring practice. She could take on Jason Gideon in a game of chess and win. Often times she served as the translator for the team when they encountered various languages, or when Reid would ramble off some random facts that only she ever seemed to comprehend. She was the pillar that they relied on, the glue that held their small family of agents together; and right now, he knew he was witnessing a moment of overwhelming and devastatingly raw vulnerability and break down for that pillar. Blows had been dealt to her that had rattled her and shattered her to the very core of her own person.
That fact had been evident from the very moment she'd started explaining the case to him in his office. 'Just found out that an old friend of mine died.' The pain that had been etched into her dark eyes, and had echoed from her voice as she'd spokenhad given him all the clues he'd needed to know that whatever they were about to face would change the entire course of their future as a couple. This case, more so than any they'd faced before, was personal. It was something that meant a lot to her and he knew that he'd give her anything he could to help her fix this. Then he'd met John Cooley. The leather of the steering wheel creaked beneath his hands as his grip tightened on it hard and fast. He didn't know her past with him but he'd seen enough to know that whatever history they'd had had not ended well. He'd seen it in her eyes and the way she behaved with him. Emily wasn't comfortable with John Cooley being exposed to the team, especially not him. Aaron released his grip and turned off the heat in his truck, the jealousy and anger he felt beginning to warm him in the cruelest of ways as he followed behind her slowly.
Whatever history existed between Emily and John wasn't any of Aaron's concern. He knew what he needed to know. They'd grown up together. They'd known Matthew. Matthew had meant something to Emily; had meant a lot to Emily. Ergo, Matthew's case meant a lot to Aaron. He stopped and parked in the parking lot on the opposite side of the street from her. She was standing in front of a church. He tilted his head and narrowed his eyes as he watched her while muttering softly to himself in the quickly cooling interior of his truck, "What are you doing, Emily?"
He couldn't stop staring at her from his spot in his dark car while she stood in front of the church in the falling snow and freezing temperatures. He knew her well enough to know that a contemplative stare was occupying her large brown eyes as she looked up at the three round stained glass murals and large stone pillars. He sighed and pursed his lips in thought before drumming his fingers on the steering wheel. This case had been hard for all them; had taken a lot out of every single one of them. Even the ones strongest in their faith were questioning their beliefs by the end of it and he couldn't help but wonder if any of them were going to be able to come out on the other side of this one without some kind of emotional scar.
Dave had shot Aaron a text as he'd left her at the back of the ambulance; a text that informed him that the brunette was going to 'go for a walk' and that it would probably be a wise idea to keep an eye on her. Aaron had immediately turned his vehicle around and began following her at a safe distance. There was no need for him to infringe on her private moments, as she very clearly needed the privacy and space to deal with her own feelings in her own way in her own time; but he'd be damned if he wasn't going to be close enough to hold her should she need the support and strength that they so readily gave to one another when it was needed.
She slowly began the ascent into the building and he quickly shut his car off and climbed out. Snow began to drop onto the backof his coat and settle into his dark strands as he followed her in, running silently up the stairs and catching the door as it almost shut. He slid into the shadows of the back of the church as she made her way up the main aisle. Her footfalls were silent on the red carpet that led up to the altar and he followed along behind her, hugging close to the wall and staying out of her view. She stared up at the large sculpture of the resurrected Christ hanging from behind the altar and he was struck at how child-like she appeared. She slowly shrugged out of her coat, letting it fall to the ground behind her and set something down on step in front of her.
A soft and ragged breath echoed through the church, followed by a sharp hiccup then anaudible sob. He watched helplessly from the shadows as he stood even with her, his eyes watching her profile as she dropped her head into her hands and wept openly for the friend she'd lost. She sat back on her haunches and continued to sob before leaning back and wiping at her eyes. For the first time, he noticed the red on her face, just below her nose. She had a nose bleed. Stress. It was an physical reminder of just how hard this case had been, and the kind of toll it had taken on her body. She sniffled lightly and wiped her nose on her sleeve, the black fabric hiding the smudge of red that he was certain would've been visible on any other color. He licked his lips as she folded her hands and soft words in a language he couldn't understand sounded through the space.
She was praying.
He'd never even heard her say she believed in any religion, but here she was praying in Latin in a deserted church. He bowed his head, but kept his eyes on her as he folded his hands and sent up a silent prayer or two of his own for her friend that she'd fought so valiantly to vindicate. He lifted his head as her voice went silent and watched as she stood up, grabbed what he now saw was a picture from the step in front of her then slid her coat on. She rubbed her bump and he stifled the urge to gasp. Matthew. She had wanted to name their son Matthew. Finally, all the pieces began to click together and he almost wanted to smack his headagainst the marble that covered the wall he was up against. She'd wanted to name their son after this man. He ran a hand over his hair and followed her quietly to the large display of lit candles in red glass jaws that were situated beneath a prayer for the souls of those departed from this world. He watched as she lit one of the spare wicks then guided it to an unlit candle and murmured softly, "Goodbye, Matthew." She blew the spare wick out then tucked her hands into her pocket.
It was silent then, as she stood watching the flame flicker and lick the sides of the glass jar before settling into a soft glow. She tilted her head then tucked her hair behind her ear, "Are you just going to stand there?" Aaron's attention stood on high alert and he tilted his head before she continued in her soft, shaky, heavily coated with emotion voice, "I may have had a nose bleed but I can still smell your cologne and after shave, Aaron." She turned her head and her eyes locked on his as she turned her body to face his, "What are you doing here?"
He stepped out of the shadows and shrugged, still staying several feet from her and still trying to give her distance. She eyed him carefully then took a step toward him, "You followed me?" He nodded and she visibly gulped then took another couple steps toward him, closing the distance enough that he could see the bright red smudges beneath her nose, "You didn't have to do that. I would've come home. I wasn't going to run away and disappear on you." He raised his eyebrows and she scuffed the toe of her boot along the edge of the carpet and the tile that laid beneath the rows of pews, "You don't need to always worry about me."
He finally broke his silence and fisted his hands inside his pockets, "I think I do, Emily." He glanced at the candle then back at her, "I think Matthew did too." Her eyes shot to his and he felt the hair on the back of his neck start to rise at her dark glare that she was sending him, "DO NOT talk to me about Matthew. You don't know anything about him." Aaron worked his jaw for a moment, "I would if you would tell me about him." She shook her head then looked down at her feet, "I don't like talking about it, Aaron. I've already had to hash it out enough. Go talk to Rossi." She turned and started away from him before Aaron spoke in a firm, clear tone, "So you'll tell Rossi about your past but you won't tell me." She froze mid-step and released a sigh before lifting her head and speaking in a tone that matched Aaron's, "I'm not marrying Rossi. I don't care if Rossi judges me for the stupid shit I did as a kid."
Aaron took long strides to catch up to her and stepped in front of her, locking eyes with her, "When have I ever judged you?"
Her heart began to race and she stared into his questioning eyes for several moments before nodding, "You'd judge me for this."
He shrugged, "Try me."
She shook her head, "Not here. I can't..." her voice cracked and she looked to the ceiling trying to keep her tears at bay, "I can't do this here." He nodded and reached forward, pulling her into his arms and embracing her, "Then we'll go home..." She shook her head again and he spoke softly by her ear, "Emily, listen to me, I'll take you anywhere you want to go, but I'm not dropping this. If we're going to get through this, I need to know what I'm up against."
She nodded weakly then spoke in a harsh whisper, "I want to see Jack." He grinned and leaned back, pushing her hair back and wanting to remind her of the time and that his boy was probably asleep, but seeing the look on her face he nodded, "Then we'll go see him." He took her hand, holding it gently and she squeezed it, "Thank you." He looked down at their hands then up into her eyes and echoed a sentiment that Derek Morgan had spoken earlier, "Always."
... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...
He couldn't believe that they were actually here. In Jack's bedroom at Jessica's house, his small moon night light giving the room a dim yellow coloring as she sat on the edge of his son's bed and stroked her fingers through his hair gently. She took several slow breaths and tried not to think about the anger that had been on Haley's face as she'd listened to their request. She tried not to think about the warning that if the boy woke up, there'd be hell to pay. She instead focused on the downy softness of his sandy brown hair and how beautiful he was when he was asleep. She thought back on the child that she'd aborted at 15. It'd be over 18 now. She wondered about whether it would've been a boy or a girl; would it have had her eyes and John's hair; would it have been smart like her or a rebel like it's father; would it have found love in an adoptive home in Italy or back here in the states; would it have wanted to meet her?
She didn't realize she was crying until she felt Aaron cup her cheek and swipe his thumbs just under her eyes, "You ready?" She nodded and leaned forward, pressing a tender kiss to Jack's hair before standing and leaving the room. Haley was waiting for them by the front door, a disgruntled look on her face as the two adults passed her and headed back out into the snowy night.
The majority of the ride back to their apartment was silent, until she reached over and touched his knee, "Pull over here." Aaron looked around then pulled over to the small park off the side of the road. She stared out the windshield as he turned to face her. She glanced out the corner of her eyes and dropped her head, picking at her nails as she began to speak, "I met Matthew when I was 14. My mother had just gotten stationed in Rome and I didn't know anyone. First day of school, Matthew and I were the new kids. Fast friends." She licked her lips, "I met John when he moved there a year later. I was 15 and a year in the school hadn't really helped. I was still an outcast, this wiry little freak that none of the girls wanted to associate with and that none of the boys found attractive. John quickly made friends with Matthew and I. A few months later, I got into some trouble. Bad trouble that I couldn't tell my parents about and I didn't know what to do." She stroked her bump then spoke softly, "I was pregnant."
Aaron's heart stopped and he eyed her hands on her bump and opened his mouth to speak but she held a hand up to ask him to allow her to continue without interruption, "I was 15 and pregnant and absolutely terrified. I had no idea what I was going to do or how I was going to fix it." She bit her lip then looked at Aaron with glassy, tear filled eyes, "Matthew found a doctor." She shrugged, "He went with me. He held my hand and stayed in the room as the doctor..."
She trailed off and pushed her hand back through her hair, screwing up her bangs but not caring. She took a slow breath as she let the information settle in for Aaron before she swallowed and continued, "He was my friend. He was the first boy to ever make me feel like I was good enough to deserve a friend and to be loved." She watched as Aaron's eyes stayed on the bump then lifted to her face, his own dark eyes glassy with unshed tears that matched hers, "You never told me that you-"
"Aaron, I didn't want to. I didn't want you to think that it would ever be a possibility with us. I was 15. I was dumb and scared. You know my mother. If Matthew hadn't helped me then it would've been my mother having me do it." She shook her head, "There was no other option." She took his hands, "Aaron-"
"Were you ever going to tell me?"
She rolled her lips into her mouth at his clearly hurt demeanor and she thought for a moment before shaking her head side to side slowly, "No."
He pulled his hands back, "You would've kept this from me? For the rest of our lives?"
She felt her tears begin to slick down her cheeks as she looked at him, "Would knowing really have been that important? Does knowing about my abortion change anything, Aaron?" He was silent and she asked again in a near sob, "Does it?"
Aaron shrugged and shook his head, "I don't know." He swallowed, "I honestly don't know. You expect absolutely honesty from me. No secrets... and yet you would've kept this from me; forever. I never would've known if he hadn't died."
She dropped her head and nodded as she stared at her hands, "Aaron, please... please try to understand. This isn't something that I like discussing..."
He shook his head, "I didn't like discussing my secrets. I don't like talking about the shit I've been through Emily... but I did it. I did it because I wanted to be honest with you about my past and here you are, keeping secrets from me. BIG secrets." He slammed his hand on the steering wheel for a moment and dropped his head back to the head rest before closing his eyes and taking a deep breath, "I don't know where this leaves us, Emily."
She nodded and started to reach for the ring on her finger. He covered her hand with his, "Don't." She looked up at him and he shook his head, "Just because I'm not sure about things right now, doesn't mean I want to throw everything we have away." He rested his other hand on her bump, "We do have a future together, Emily. I'm just not sure about the details of that future."
She blinked as another tear slipped from her lashes and dropped onto their joined hands. She couldn't help but feel like for the second time that week, that she'd lost a man that she loved so dearly.
Oh no! What's going to happen? Are they going to get back together before Foyet? If you want to give me your feedback and tell me what you think, then please type me a review in that cool little box then click that cool little blue button down there! I love to hear from you, and if you have anything you want to see happen, that's welcome too! Thanks! :) xx-babygurl0506