Yeesh. It's been a long time since I've tackled these characters and I'm still refusing to watch the end of this past season because, heh, no Emily. To that end, I guess there are LAUREN SPOILERS within this. Somewhere. I think. And please, WATCH THE RATING. No kiddies please. Thanks!

He waits eight months.

It's not out of a twisted feeling of decorum or giving her time to settle in. It's more about the fact that he can't wait any longer. First Haley, then Emily and he's discovered, had pounded in his head, that life is short. Someone's always losing and historically, it's been him.

The eight months have been… tumultuous at best. The team's mad, upset, betrayed, untrusting, not that anyone can blame them. She doesn't blame them, and he knows that, and she's been the same person she was before Doyle. He's surprised, to a certain extent, because it's a novel approach. She's not seeking forgiveness or trust, she's letting them decide and he knows it must be a lonely battle.

He leans his forehead against her door, spreading his palms against the wood. It's funny, that show of weakness, because she's always seen through that tough exterior. She's never forced him to be strong when he doesn't have to and he's always valued that. He's given her the space she wants to take too, and he's not so surprised to see that she doesn't take much of it.

But this is crossing even that boundary line. She's a beautiful woman, objectively speaking, and subjectively speaking. She grew on him, and then became a part of him. Between the explosion and Gideon and Haley… And she's been there. She's been the maternal influence on his son, she's been his rock. He knows, by the number of times she comes to his office just to escape the tension of the bullpen, that he's hers too. He values that, more than she could ever know, because it feels like it's been so long since he's had someone rely so personally on his strength. He's touched she thinks he has that strength.

This is something else entirely. This is a reaffirmation and he knows that. Before Doyle they were shifting, moving, sliding into something that wasn't entirely platonic and he's pretty sure it shocked her as much as it shocked him. He didn't figure he'd ever want anyone after Haley, wouldn't need anyone after Foyet's brutality. She's different, though, and he's different and it's kind of surprising that they're both different together. So he knocks.

She's in soft pants and a loose shirt and he's noticed she's been wearing looser things recently. If it wasn't for the fact that he sees how much food she can pack away he'd be worried she's losing weight. But he's not worried and he wonders if it's more a habit born of injury instead of a hiding mechanism. That's his last thought, though, because then he's all but launching himself through the door, cupping the back of her head and the muscle of her hip to keep her steady. He gives her a split second to shove him away – for her, he knows, it would be enough – before his mouth meets hers.

Her surrender is partially shock, partially calculated. He's not there to let her take the lead, he's not there for anything other than to feel her. She's not sure if she's completely okay with that, but he's got her locked against him and his tongue is doing very nice things to her mouth, so she slides her arms around him and hangs on. He plunders, takes, thrilling at her give, and her response.

When he pulls back, they're both breathing harshly in the quiet of her foyer. He's pushed her up against the wall for leverage and he rests his forehead against hers now, taking in glazed eyes, pink cheeks and swollen lips. She's beautiful, gorgeous, and he swallows thickly.

"I need you."

There's a part of her that wants to ask what that means. It could mean anything, considering it's him she's looking at. She's thought about this, about his kiss and the feel of his body against hers. She's not blind and they're so close, so she figures, to a certain degree, it was a natural progression. She's not sure how much it changes things though.

"You need me?" she manages to whisper back, just enough inflection in it to make it a question. He's vulnerable, and she's a little terrified at the concept.

He turns to close the door, realizing belatedly that in kissing her senseless they'd both forgotten it was open. He keeps one hand in her hair as he slides the chain across and bolts it shut, pleasantly surprised when she doesn't move. She watches him with sharp eyes, but otherwise, she stays against that wall, waiting.

"I've lost a lot of people," he says finally. "I've let days and weeks go by forgetting people."

He's not making sense, but she's coming to the realization that this isn't about her. It's about him or it's about them, but it's not about her, so she waits him out. She's not the one that needs to understand what this is and what this means. Not right now.

"I didn't expect you. I didn't expect to start… leaning on you, relying on you, because I've never relied on anyone in my life."

Like she didn't already know that. She's a better profiler than some of them give her credit for sometimes. She's just also really good about being subtle when it comes to what she knows. She adjusted for him, partially out of habit – because it's ingrained – and partially because she wanted to. She knows he puts a lot of pressure on himself and she long-ago figured if she could lessen it, why shouldn't she?

"Then Gideon, the divorce, Foyet…. And you stayed."

Of course she did, where else was she going to go, but she's not sure he's going to listen to her so she keeps her mouth shut. Instead, she just watches him with wide eyes, waiting for him to come to the conclusion he's looking for. Because she's pretty sure as long as he's looking that emotional, as long as she can read the want and need and desire in his face, she's not about to say 'no' to anything.

He leans into her, his nose brushing hers, body pressing against her and her eyes flutter closed. "You stayed. You didn't see… broken, damaged-"

She takes a chance, shutting him up with her mouth against his because she doesn't want to hear what he thinks of himself. "Stop it."

He sucks in a deep breath. "I should have done this a long time ago. I should have done this before Doyle. Then maybe you would have come to me, come to us." He's a little betrayed that she didn't, but he knows, given the circumstances, that he would have made the same decision. He has no doubt that if she had to repeat those moments, she wouldn't change anything.

She doesn't bother to point out the truth because they both know what it is. Instead, she watches him with earnest, dark eyes. "So what do you want, Aaron?"

He shivers at the use of his given name and wraps an arm more firmly around her. She's flush against him, his arm between her and the wall and she's pressing into him in all the right places. "This."

She watches and waits, because she wants him to make the first move. She's more than willing to go along because damn if this isn't something she's wanted forever, but he has to take those first steps. He has to prove that this is what he wants because this could explode and she wants to make sure he's completely aware of the decision he's making. He nuzzles along her cheekbone, letting his tongue play with her earlobe before pressing a gentle kiss just beneath it. Her body jerks at the feeling and her eyes slide closed. Her hands clench in the sweatshirt at his hip and she's a little surprised it's not his suit jacket. Huh. And she calls herself observant.

But then the thought his lost in a haze of tongue and teeth because he's sliding along her neck, paying special attention to any spot that gets a reaction out of her. She's quivering by the time he pulls away, sliding both hands up to cup her face as he fuses his mouth to hers. This time, she gives as good as she gets, responding and twining her left hand through his hair. She holds him to her mouth and he stumbles them back through the hallway. He's never been here and she knows, eventually, he's going to have to give her the chance to lead them to bed, but for now, she's happy where she is. Hell, she's living a dream, in so many ways.

They stumble when she hits the arm of her couch and she laughs slightly against him. He smiles back, dimples and all, taking the break of their kiss as carte blanche to look. His hands help, guiding along the outside of the shirt. He could take it off, they both know that, because she's given her permission, but he doesn't. Instead, he takes her in. Whole. Alive. And even though it's been eight months since she returned full time to the BAU, it's still almost surreal.

He could have honestly lost her without even having her in the first place.

Of course, that's why he's here. He's here to fix that, to show her that she means so much to him and next time – if there is a next time and he sure as hell hopes there is – she'll come to him first. Next time she won't leave him suffering and grieving over a woman he cares so deeply for. Maybe it's emotional blackmail, but he can't lose her again. He's lost too many.

Her hand on his cheek brings his focus back to her face. "You don't just have to look, you know," she says softly. Her free hand picks up one of his, slipping beneath her shirt. She settles it on her stomach, on the wound and the scar there. It's her own reminder of how alive she is, about how close to death she was. Her smile shakes a bit. "I'm right here."

His hand feathers over the raised skin, finding its edges, tracing the jagged peaks. It's evidence she's alive and whole and healthy. He slides the shirt up until he can see the wound, fixing his eyes on it as he tugs the shirt over her head. He keeps his focus there for a few moments, looking at it, taking it in. Then he kisses her, slow, gentle as his thumb rubs over the broken tissue. Then his hand is sliding up and around, his other still settled on the arm of the couch at her hip. He's going to be patient about this, he's going to take this slow, because it's what they both need, want and sure as hell deserve.

She arches when he spreads his palm over her back, covering her bra clasp as his gentle kiss turns dark and tempting. But she's willing to be tempted and seduced so she's letting him run the show. This is, after all, for him. His hand fists over the clasp and for a split second she's both thrilled and afraid that he might just rip it out. Then his hand relaxes, the moment of tension passing and there's a piece of her that wants to know what's wrong. She pulls away, cupping his face at the surprisingly needy whimper he releases. She peppers kisses over his cheeks, his nose, his chin, then opens her eyes. He takes a second to meet hers and she holds his chin as his other hand rises to join the first, unhooking her bra with ease.

He holds her eyes while he slides the straps down her bare arms and the bra drops away quickly. It joins her shirt on the floor. His hands stroke over her shoulders, then her collarbone, then down and she knows the minute he meets the raised skin of Doyle's mark because his hands stop. This hadn't been something any of them were aware of.

Her breath catches, but it doesn't deter him and he leans away slightly while his fingers trace the clover.


She shakes her head. "Don't. Don't dwell." She survived and that's miracle enough and she knows it. She's long ago had her cry over her scars, over what her life had become and she's forced herself to stand tall again.

He's awed by her, and it's not the first time. It's not the second or third either but this… What she must of endured, the thought of his mark on her skin forever… He leans down, brushing his mouth against the scar, tracing each line against her skin. Her breath hitches again, this time for an entirely different reason and her hands slide into his hair. His mouth feels good against her, brilliant against her, really and it's been so long since someone's treated her like glass. She'll let him for now, but she knows that it won't be forever. She's going to make him take her, because that's what she wants, and she wants him to know that she's normal again. She's fine, she's recovered, and whether he knows it or not, the fact that he's there, that he's here is enough to soothe the restless parts of her soul.

And had she known almost-death would have her waxing poetic, she'd have avoided it. But as corny as it sounds, it's also the truth and she figures, one day, she'll tell him. She'll help him see that he's the one that pushed her recovery, that he's the one that made the BAU bearable in those early days. She's distracted from her thoughts by his hand sliding up to cup the breast he's already worshipping and her head tilts back as he kisses around its peak. She's primed for it, waiting for it, but she still cries out when he licks her. He laughs, low and dark and her entire body shivers. Then he's paying homage to her right breast before switching to the left, and the heat in her abdomen curls tighter.

She whimpers when he pulls away and he grins down at her flushed face, the red hue of her chest and the glazed expression. When her eyes focus again, she's tugging at his sweatshirt, then his t-shirt, tossing them aside without a care as to where they land. He yanks her off the support of the arm, whirling them until he's sitting and she's standing over him. She's quick, though and smiles as she slides a knee on either side of his hip. They're in direct contact now, and she can feel the bulge in his pants pushing against the softness of hers. It's so right that she gasps and slides, spearing heat through her veins. He looks shocked when she finally meets his eyes, but the shock melts quickly and he grasps her hips. His hands make sure she's lined up correctly and his mouth goes to work at her neck and shoulder as she moves against him.

Who knew dry humping could feel so good? Except there's nothing dry about the cotton of her panties and all she can feel is the heat sliding over her skin. She wants the clothes off, wants bare skin on bare skin, but she'll have to take it where she can get it because she's sure as hell not getting off him just to deal with pesky pants. She presses her breasts against his chest, and her forehead into his neck as he guides her along the hard length of him. It's hard on her back, but she doesn't care because it feels so damn good. Then she's flying, and maybe it's her that's keening and he's still moving her over him through the unbearable heat of her climax.

He doesn't give her time to recover. He slides his hand into the elastic waist of her pants and panties. She's sensitive when his fingers reach her and so damn responsive. Her body bows, her eyes open and her breath catches. It's a thrill, to him, that he can make her do this, respond like this. He takes his time exploring, stroking, rubbing, circling, discovering what she likes and what is still too sensitive. Eventually, he comes up with a pattern that has her gasping above him.

"Aaron. God."

He grins, full-on with dimples, because it's a flattering comparison, but she's so hot and wet against his hand that he doesn't voice the comment. Instead, two fingers slip easily into her depths and her body bucks then stills. She waits, paused impaled on his fingers, trying to figure out what he's going to do next. He holds still, despite the ache in his wrist because he knows she'll get impatient eventually. Sure enough, a breath later and she's twisting on his fingers until she gasps, then his hand cups her rear as he searches rubs, and finds the spot inside her that sends her careening over the edge of orgasm.

"Huh," she says when she catches her breath and it's like she's surprised. His hand slides out of her and her eyes close when they do. She pouts, but it shifts quickly to a smile as she meets his gaze again. "I have a bedroom."

The statement makes him chuckle as she climbs off his lap. He takes a few moments to deal with his sneakers and socks before following her. She's left her pants and panties in a pile in the middle of the floor and she's climbing on hands and knees to her pillows. It's a sight that makes him hard as granite and he actually pauses in removing his belt and jeans to watch. She's smirking when she turns to face him and his fingers fumble on the button of his jeans. She gets a thrill from that because he's so damned controlled and yet the sight of her, completely naked, makes him tremble.

She sits up once his pants and boxers are off because he's climbing onto the bed and she wants to kiss him. He follows when she falls back to the pillows, her hands cupping his cheeks while his support himself above her shoulders. He settles comfortably against her, feeling the curves and dips of her body against his and absorbing the fact that he's here, she's here and it's something more than anything. They both let their hands wander at the same time, stroking bare skin, arousing again, not that he needs the help. He's already hard against her and she's slick against him and now, really, he just wants to be inside her. She reads him well because she spreads her thighs, cradling him in the arc of her pelvis. She reaches over her head to the bedside table and pulls open the drawer. He catches on quickly, trailing his fingers along her arm to make her shiver before removing protection.

Apparently, neither of them are that out of practice because the condom's on in a moment and he's sliding into her the next. It's a warm, wet glide that has her throwing her head back, panting harshly while he just tries to remember how the hell to breathe.

She starts to move against him when she's adjusted to the feel of him and he realizes that he's got his own part to play. He pins her hips to the bed, chuckling at the little mewl that escapes her throat. Then he's thrusting in earnest, adjusting until she's gasping beneath him. She's meeting every thrust with one of her own and he knows neither of them is going to last that long. His vision is already going grey around the edges, but it doesn't matter because it's him, it's her, it's them and it's a dream come true. He's going to do this again, he decides, because he can feel her, see her, hear her, smell her and God if he's ever going without that feeling.

"Aaron," she whispers as she clenches around him. "Aaron."

"So good, Em," he whispers back against her ear. "You feel so good."

Her breath stutters, then her eyes open wide and her body tenses and she's over the edge for a third time. She takes him with her and they're clutching each other by the time he manages to gather his head again. She whimpers when he pulls away, but doesn't move from her limp position as he heads to her bathroom to clean up.

"Hi," he says when he returns, climbing in beside her and throwing an arm across her stomach.

"Hi," she whispers back, stroking his cheek. Then it's her turn because, well, nature's calling. She smiles because he's already fading and she moves smoothly, trying not to disturb him. But he feels it, or senses it, or something because he manages to snag her wrist.

"Don't leave."

She looks down, surprised at the whisper, but then a soft smile spreads across her face. She brushes her fingers in the hair at his temple. "I'm just going to the bathroom," she whispers. "I'll be right back. I promise."

Yeah, like she'd just leave him in her apartment.

She does her business and then returns quickly, sliding beneath the covers. He's managed to keep himself awake long enough to wait for her and he wraps an arm about her as she shifts and settles. Once she is, on her side, away from him, he wraps her up in his arms. He rests his palm on her stomach, fingers brushing the scar and settles in. She smiles as she drifts off because she's here, he's here, and it's a hell of a reason to be alive.

Well huh. This bit me over Cheerios one morning while I was on holidays. Don't know if I'll be able to look at them the same way, putting aside the awkwardness of somehow Cheerios being the cause of this insanity. Or not-so-insanity. I finally watched "Lauren" about two weeks ago and I've been itching to do post-Doyle stuff since. It's been bad for everything else, let me tell you 'cause I don't want to write any of it. So you get this. Hope it was enjoyable.