Summary – Emily tells the short version of the story of her and Gideon. Written for the CCOAC challenge! Warning – character death.

Rarely do I like to completely ignore things happening on Criminal Minds, but I'm going to make an exception for this fic. Doyle never happened but Gideon had indeed left. I'm not going to lie, when I was given the challenge all I could keep thinking was 'Gideon? And EMILY? No, no, no. Not gonna happen.' But… here it is. And I actually enjoyed writing it. Oh! And I also have never seen the movie The Story of Us, but I figured this stays within the guidelines.

Just so everyone is aware, I'm putting Emily at 40 and Gideon at about 58.

Warning – Mild sexual content, character death.

It had started many, many years ago, when I had finally gotten the time off for my Sin to Win weekend in Atlantic City. I hadn't expected it to be so lacking, but I just wasn't the same woman anymore. My mental stability was questionable at best, the last case we'd had weighing on me so heavily Hotch had told me to take a week off. I refused, but he threatened to suspend me and I don't blame him. I had nearly killed the entire team, my inability to control myself after seeing the things our latest sicko did to twelve young girls left us in a shootout situation because I went in running even though I'd been told to stand down. I didn't know what had happened to me, but all I saw was red before I went in with my gun drawn, ready to shoot the bastard if I got the chance. Luckily, Morgan saved my ass by tackling me to the ground just as a bullet went soaring past us before hitting Reid directly in the chest. Thankfully the Kevlar vest prevented any real damage.

So when I found myself a little tipsy off too many vodka and cranberries, as well as losing horribly at a hand of blackjack, I realized how pathetic I was. I hadn't been having fun, nor had I been sober for more than a few hours at a time. I threw my hand down, not caring whether I was supposed to walk away or not, and left the table to return to my hotel room. I tried to call the airport to reschedule my flight for as soon as possible, but the loudness of the casino prevented me from doing that. I was nearly to the doors of the filthy, retched place when I slammed right into someone. Intent on cursing them until the cows came home, I heaved out a breath, but the angry words died on my tongue as I met familiar eyes.

"Emily? Emily Prentiss?"

"Gideon!" I breathed out, sure I had had to be imagining things.

"My, my, look at you," he chuckled.

I shrugged, not even considering the fact that I was in a red dress skimpy enough that even a hooker would turn her nose at. He didn't look different, though. Still the same Jason Gideon I remembered. His face was kind and his eyes were twinkling with happiness, his body still in good shape for someone who was nearly sixty. I took a deep breath through my nose, his familiar manly scent instantly calming the anxiousness I had felt only a few moments previous. There were no fireworks or big shebang, but that was the moment I had realized how much I missed him.

Jason had guided me to a table in the back corner of the casino bar, ignoring what he'd later tell me were jealous looks from all the men we passed. He hadn't offered to buy me a drink, but I ordered one anyway. He asked a lot about the team, but I only gave him short, non-descriptive answers, more curious about his travels than anything. He told me he'd gone here and there, but never settled for too long. I tried not to press, but I eventually asked him how he could have just left the way he did. He told me about Sarah, from beginning to end, and my heart broke for him.

He'd long since moved past the guilt, but I could still see the hurt set deep inside his lovely eyes. I had reached across the table and covered his large hand with my own, smiling a sad smile as he bowed his head at the end of his story. We sat there in silence, me allowing him to take comfort in the simple gesture. He eventually sat a little straighter, but turned his hand to hold mine as he continued to tell me that he hadn't called Reid because it would only bring back bad memories for the both of them. I explained that Reid was a completely different person; he'd grown from boy to man right before our eyes, and only once I'd made Jason promise to make that phone call did I relent on the subject.

I've never claimed to be a lady, nor had he ever claimed to be a gentleman, so it was that night that we shared a bed. It wasn't magical, but it was comfortable and easy, like we'd been together years rather than just slightly drunk and needy. He was passionate and sweet, gentle and kind. Emotions had run high for hours and I can't even remember now who made the first move, but I woke up feeling better than I had in years. It wasn't about the physical aspect, but that feeling I had when I woke up with his arms wrapped tightly around me, the warmth of his bare skin pressed against my back. I had never been one to stick around after the very few one-night-stands I'd had, but something about this felt different.

It felt like home.

"Good morning," he'd mumbled against my neck, nuzzling his face into my hair and breathing out a deep sigh.

"Good morning," I had replied, not really sure what else to say.

We didn't speak for hours, we just stayed like that until I finally couldn't hold the urge to use the bathroom anymore. Even after, he'd welcomed me back into his arms and held me while I told him why I had gone to Atlantic City. He didn't say anything as I cried for the young women, he just stroked my hair and let me soak his chest with my tears. I had brokenly told him I had to look horrid, but he'd just tilted my head and told me I'd never be less beautiful than if I were all dolled up. He hadn't given me a second to protest before he made me forget what I'd been so upset about in the first place by exploring every inch of my body. That was the beautiful thing about Jason; he always knew just how to make me forget.

Having nowhere to really call home, he offered to drive me back to Virginia the next day, and I couldn't find a single reason to tell him 'no'. We stopped a lot, having more than enough time to explore little places that we thought might be interesting. Three days and two hotel rooms later, we were in my bed, both of us on our backs, just staring at the ceiling in comfortable silence. He reached for my hand, which I gave him willingly, and he told me he wasn't interested in long distance relationships, but wanted to explore whatever it was that we had going. I had laughed and rolled to my side in order to look him in the eyes when I told him I'd never let him leave my apartment if I had my way about it.

He moved his things in two days later.

Knowing the job, Jason never once complained when I'd be gone for days or weeks at a time, just greeted me with a tight hug and wide smile, his eyes crinkling with happiness, something I'd grown to look forward to. Only a few months in, I'd come back bruised and my wrist in a cast, putting me out of the field for close to a month, and that was when he first told me that he loved me. He had been icing my blue and purple cheek, his fingers gently tucking my hair behind my ear, and he blurted it out. I nearly laughed at the look of shock on his face at the proclamation. Instead, I pulled away his hand with the icepack and kissed him gently, whispering back the sentiment that I meant wholeheartedly.

It was hard to keep my relationship with him a secret from everyone for nearly six months, but I wanted to wait until he spoke with Reid before I even brought it up. To say the team was shocked would be a huge understatement. They were more surprised to see him than they were of our relationship. Garcia told me it only took two seconds of seeing us together to realize how perfect we were together. The guys were a little slower to accept it, but they eventually came around.

He'd proposed a year later in an old fashion way, taking me to our favorite place to walk in a quiet park before stopping midway and dropping to one knee before me. He hadn't made a big speech, no proclamation of undying love, but what he said what just what I needed to hear.

"Emily Prentiss," he'd said with a smile, pulling a small black velvet box from his coat pocket, "you showed me that I'm able to be human, to love and be loved, and I would less of a man without you. Would you do me the greatest honor of being my wife? Will you marry me?"

I couldn't come up with anything other than a simple 'yes' as he opened the box to reveal a beautiful gold ring with a decent sized diamond on it, my mind racing so quickly I couldn't keep up. Tears welled in my eyes as he took the ring from its box and slid it onto my finger, where it would stay until the day I took my last breath.

Rossi was the first to leave the BAU, but I followed closely behind, wanting a steady life with the man I quickly realized I wanted to spend my life with. It just so happened to be eight days before our wedding, and three days before I found out I was pregnant. Jason swore he was going to have a heart attack, but he scooped me into his arms and spun me in a huge circle, both of us smiling like idiots. Our wedding was a small event, only close family and friends, no big ceremony or reception, but it represented our love perfectly. It wasn't showy and loud, but intimate and comfortable. Even Jason's son, Craig, came to the wedding. He was so sweet, much like his father, but had mostly his late mother's features. Even at twenty-five, my stepson had his life together much more than I did by that point.

"Can I call you 'Mom'?" he'd joked, smiling the same crinkly eyed smile as his father.

Craig took the news of me being pregnant rather well and actively took a role in wanting to know how things were progressing. There were a lot of concerns, what with our ages, but we had a perfectly healthy baby girl just before my 43rd birthday. We named her Lillian Patrice Gideon, after Jason's mother and my grandmother. She grew up fast, going from infant to child to teenager in felt like minutes rather than years. She grew to be as tall as me with light brown hair and deep green eyes. She was so beautiful that Jason threatened to keep her locked in the basement, and I nearly let him when she brought home a boy for us to meet when she was fifteen. She ended up marrying Charles Michaels eight years later and both Jason and I were able to see the birth of their twin girls. Sadly, my husband was not around to see their precious baby boy, Jason Gideon Michaels.

I lost the love of my life on a Tuesday at five in the morning. He'd been slowly going downhill for months, but I had refused to believe that my strong husband would leave me so soon. We'd been married for nearly 30 years, but it suddenly felt so short. I held his hand as he slipped away from me, his heartbeat slowing until it stopped completely. I will never forget his last words.

"You are stunning, my wife." He was on painkillers and groggy, his speech a little slurred but I heard him loud and clear.

"Don't leave me," I'd begged selfishly, stroking his cheek and watching his face intently, wanting to see his eyes one last time.

"I'll always… be here," he whispered. "My soul, my heart, resides in you, Emily. I love you, sweetheart."

"Jason, I love you," I said hurriedly, and I could hear the panic in my voice as the beeps from the monitor became less and less. "I love you so much."

I watched as a slight smile appeared on his face and he spoke no more. It was only a little while later that he passed on. I didn't cry for hours, my heart not believing that he was really gone. I knew deep down that he'd lived a good life, that ninety years was a long time to keep going, but it didn't feel long enough. Forever wouldn't be long enough. But I'd take our story with me for all of time, and I'd tell it over and over, to anyone who would listen, because it was the best story. It was a story of friendship, of love, of family, of everything I'd ever dreamed of and more. It was the story of us.

A/N – Please take just a moment out to review! Thank you!