Fandom: Criminal Minds
Summary: Coda to "Today". Rossi deals with the revelation that Emily Prentiss is alive.
David Rossi stared at his drink.
He wanted nothing more than to toss it back and then pour himself another one, but he couldn't quite bring himself to do it.
Emily Prentiss was alive.
Of all the things that he'd expected to hear after being called to Hotch's office, that was not one of them.
He'd expected "Dave, you can't keep doing this to yourself," or "Emily would want you to be happy," but not this. Never this.
He wouldn't have expected his best friend to have been lying to him for six months. He wouldn't have expected the woman that he loved – that beautiful, intelligent, honorable woman – to have run away from him like that.
Deep down, he knew the reasons why, but it didn't seem like enough. Didn't seem like enough to justify the months of drinking, of mourning, of sleepless nights. Didn't seem like enough to justify his empty bed, or his empty heart.
He didn't give a shit if it sounded cheesy, or cliché. Finding out that his girlfriend had faked her death to get away from an Irish psychopath intent on killing her was already melodramatic enough.
For the first time in his life, David Rossi didn't know what to do.
In the end, he made a phone call.
It wasn't to Hotch, not to Strauss, or to JJ. Not to anyone who could have answered his questions about why this had happened.
'Hey, Jimmy,' he said with a sigh, when the priest answered the phone.
'Why do I get the feeling I'm going drinking tonight?'
'Because you are. Same place as last time, as soon as you can get there.'
Last time being the time that Jimmy had spent several hours consoling Dave over Emily's death. He wondered how to explain this one.
"You know the woman I've been mourning for the last six months? Well it turns out she faked her death to hide from a terrorist-cum-serial killer."
Because that was something that people in grief went through often.
Jimmy, to his credit, took the news surprisingly well. As an aside, Dave wondered just what kind of ridiculous things that the other man had heard from his side of the confession booth.
'I haven't…I haven't seen her yet. I don't even know where she is.' Rossi shook his head, fingers wiping the moisture from his glass. 'I don't even know what I want to say to her?'
'Do you love her?' Jimmy asked simply.
'Yes,' Rossi answered, without hesitation.
'Then you know what you're going to say to her.' Rossi felt like telling Jimmy that it wasn't that easy, but he didn't. He did love Emily, but he didn't know if he could forgive this. Not without hearing what she had to say first.
That confrontation didn't come until almost a week later. He'd gone over so many possibilities in his head. He would tell her that he loved her, that he missed her, that he couldn't imagine life without her. And then, sometimes, the anger would take over, and he would instead imagine asking her what the hell she thought she was doing.
The reunion wasn't, as he had imagined, at the airport. The team, save JJ, had been called in on a last minute case, and no matter how much he argued, Hotch wouldn't let him stay behind. Rossi had come close to just resigning, but he figured that Emily would be pretty pissed off if he did that.
She faked her death without telling you, part of him said, and he tried to ignore it. But when they returned, and he saw JJ's office door shut, blinds pulled closed, he knew what he had to do.
He walked straight up there, and pushed the door open without knocking. JJ and Emily both stood, startled, but David Rossi only had eyes for one of them.
She was thinner, almost gaunt, but somehow she looked more beautiful than ever before. A look of uncertainty crossed her face, as though she wasn't quite sure how he was going to react.
He kissed her. No words, no arguments, just a single, wonderful kiss. He wrapped his arms around her neck, and she sunk into his embrace.
David Rossi wanted so much for that to be enough, but it wasn't. He wanted – he needed – to know why.
It wasn't a conversation to be had in JJ's office, though. It wasn't a conversation to be had in the BAU at all. It was a conversation that needed time, not to mention comfort food.
'I missed you,' she murmured, with tears in her eyes.
'I missed you too,' he replied. The words did nothing to convey the anguish he'd felt at her absence, the raw, stabbing pain in his heart every time he thought about her.
'I'm so, so, sorry.' Out of everything that she had done, he wondered which bit she was trying to apologize for.
'I know.' He held her close for as long as he could, which wasn't long, all things considered. He wanted to hold her for an eternity, but that probably would have pissed them both off after a while.
'Not here,' he interjected. Her eyes widened, and then narrowed, as though she were unsure of his motives. 'Tonight,' he continued. 'My place – I'll cook.'
She grinned at that. 'It's been a long time since I've had home cooking,' she conceded, but they both knew that she wasn't going to show up for the cooking.
But, she did show up.
A few minutes before seven o'clock, no less, but then, she'd always been one of those people that showed up early and with wine.
She was dressed simply – a black button-up top, and jeans – but with a Prentiss kind of flare that added untold sophistication. He greeted her with a kiss to the cheek; affectionate, but not suffocating.
'Drink? I was just about to open a bottle, but seeing as you brought one…'
'Please,' she agreed, and Rossi pulled two glasses from the cupboard, as well as a corkscrew from the drawer.
'So where are you staying?' he asked casually, even though the question was anything but.
'I got a hotel room for the next couple of weeks,' she told him, accepting the glass that he passed over. 'It should be long enough to get settled.'
'You know, you can stay here if you want,' Rossi found himself offering before he gave the idea that much consideration. Before…everything, she'd stayed there a lot, but it wasn't something that they could just jump right back into. He'd been in enough failed relationships to know that much.
'I don't think that's a good idea,' Emily said softly. The same thoughts had evidently been running through her mind. 'There's something I need to show you,' she continued. Rossi said nothing. Emily stepped forward, setting her glass down on the breakfast counter. He could see the hesitation on her face. 'Two things, actually.' Before he could respond, she was unbuttoning her shirt.
He didn't even need to ask what she wanted to show him. There was no way in hell he could have missed it. The scar was dark and jagged and ugly. It almost looked as though someone had tried to slice her open. Rossi let his fingers brush over the wound, and Emily shivered in response. The wound was real – of that, there was no doubt.
'It's just…' she started, and he didn't even need to look up to know that she was biting her lip. 'I need you to understand that…this whole "death faking" thing? It came really close to not being fake.' She took his hand and led it upwards to the crest of her breast. Rossi gave a sharp intake of breath at the second scar.
It was smaller, and it wouldn't have been anywhere near as lethal as the first, and yet somehow, it was so much worse. The four-leaf clover was crudely drawn at best, but it didn't need to be a work of art to be a mark of ownership.
'Please, Dave…Just let me get this out. I joined JTF-12 to save lives. Whatever his cause, Ian Doyle was responsible for a lot of deaths, both directly and indirectly. After everything…After living with him…after loving him, I knew I had to do whatever it took to make sure that nobody else got hurt. And that would have been so much easier if he didn't know every single damn thing about the team. If he knew that I was alive, he would have tortured or killed any one of you – without mercy – just to find me. I couldn't let that happen.'
By the time she'd finished talking, there were tears trickling down her cheeks. Rossi felt a rush of anger flare through him. It was almost a pity that Ian Doyle were dead, because he wanted nothing more than to choke the life out of that bastard.
'I will remember what Ian Doyle was to me – what he did to me – for the rest of my life. It's a part of who I am. But he doesn't own me. I want to move on with my life, but it won't be easy, and I need to know…I need to know if maybe one day you'll be okay with this.'
'I don't think I'll ever being okay with Ian Doyle having done what he did to you,' he told her matter-of-factly. 'But if you're asking whether we're okay…It's probably going to take some time.'
Emily gave a shaky smile. 'Thank-you,' she whispered. 'I guess I should put my shirt back on,' she added with a sad laugh.
'I'm not complaining,' Rossi said, with a grin. As he'd hoped, it diffused the tension a little, and he saw the smile reach her eyes.
It would take time, but it would be worth it.