This is based off a prompt from greengirl82. This is my first attempt at Hotch/Prentiss, which is not a pairing I ship, so it was rather difficult for me. I've love to hear what you all think, and greengirl, I hope this was what you were looking for and worth the long wait. Thanks for reading!

FYI for those who follow my writing, this is going to be my last update until after Christmas, maybe longer.


Emily had no idea how she'd gotten to this place.

Less than six inches from Ian Doyle, their eyes burning into each other's as he searched hers for something she couldn't figure out. His left arm was around her, his palm flat against her lower back, holding her close. In his other hand was a small handgun, probably a 38. Ian had never lacked confidence in his manhood, never needed a massive gun or a massive car to prove he had a dick.

That was one of the things she'd actually liked about the man.

Hotch's Glock was tucked into his waistband, close enough for her to reach, but still too risky right now.

Hotch was halfway to unconscious on the concrete behind them. He'd followed her, like the over-protective idiot he was, and Doyle had beaten the hell out of him for his effort. It was part to punish her, and part because he didn't want to share her. Women were the one thing Ian got caveman over, and apparently, he was still hung up on her. Hotch showing up, trying to play white knight had sent Doyle into a fit of rage.

Lauren was his, and always would be his, even if she wasn't real.

"Ian," she breathed, trying to think of what to say.

Hotch grunted and shift behind them. Doyle ignored it, still searching her face. Maybe he was trying to find Lauren, trying to see if she still existed. "You sent me to prison for seven years."

"I was doing my—"

"Job. Yes, I've heard that before, but you and I both know it was more than that, wasn't it, Love?"

She inhaled as his arm tightened around her. "If you want me, let's just go. Okay? Before anyone else shows up trying to play hero."

Emily didn't want to think about what Hotch thought of her at that moment. She wondered if he was even aware enough to understand what they were saying.

"Just like that, you'd leave? I don't buy it, Emily. You forget, I'm not stupid."

She snorted. "I've never believed you to be stupid, Ian."

He scoffed. "I was fool enough to fall for you, wasn't I?"

Emily bit her lip and looked away, realizing what she gave away too late when she heard him inhale sharply.

"But, perhaps I'm not the only fool. Can't imagine that would get you a promotion."

She sighed. "What are you doing? Why do you want me back?"

He moved the hand holding the gun to gently brush the side of her face. "I'm a bit of a masochist maybe."

Emily relaxed then, mind whirring as she found her in, and brought up a hand, running her fingers over his stumble. She could almost smell the freesia, and hear the sounds of Tuscany around them "Yeah, maybe so am I."

She leaned in close, and pressed her lips to his, tracing his bottom lip with her tongue. He opened his mouth, bringing her closer, flush against his body, his free hand traveling up and down her back possessively. Emily kept one hand on the side of his head, and let the other travel between them. She felt him getting hard against her, and allowed her fingers to dance over the fabric of his jeans. He moaned and ground into her, spinning them so he could back her up against a wall. She let Lauren take over for the first time in seven years, and she was hungry to come out and be with Ian.

His free hand moved from her back to find her waist, clumsily working her button and zipper, pushing her slacks down her legs. His hand moved to her chest then, groping her over her bra, and Emily tried very hard not to think about Hotch possibly watching this. His fingers found her bra clasp, and she took the opportunity to go for his pants, undoing the button, pulling down the zipper, and grabbing Hotch's glock. He unlatched her bra, and his hand moved toward her breasts, cupping one, completely oblivious to what he'd just let her do. Prison must have done terrible things to him, eight years ago, he'd never have been that careless.

Emily held him with one hand, feeling him grow impossibly tight against her palm, and leveled the glock between them with her other hand. He found her mouth again, and she kissed him with every ounce of passion she had. Then she fired.

Four oppressively loud bangs.

He went impossibly still. Two little coughs, spitting blood into her mouth, and then he grew limp, sliding down her body. His eyes were shut by the time he hit the floor.

Emily was shaking, chest heaving as she stared at his blood-covered corpse. He was dead. Just like that. She'd just shot the other half of the longest relationship she'd ever had while his tongue was in her mouth, and his cock in her hand.

She wiped his blood from her mouth, and kicked the 38 away, before yanking up her trousers and fixing her bra. She ignored the fact that she was covered in his blood, and rushed over to Hotch, falling to her knees.

"Hotch? Hotch…jesus," she muttered taking in the extent of his injuries. He was in bad shape.

Emily searched for his phone, prayed it would work, and nearly cried when it did. He groaned, and she ran her hand over his face, squeezed his hand, anything to reassure him. Rather than bother with 911, she called Garcia, instructing the tech to get everyone but the National Guard out to the shit-hole warehouse in Maryland. Penelope Garcia was much faster than some overworked dispatcher.

"Prentiss," Hotch muttered, barely audibly.

"Right here, help's on the way," she promised. Then sighed. "God Hotch, what the hell were you thinking? Doyle could have killed you."

"Couldn't lose you again. Team wouldn't survive it."

"Right, cause they'd survive losing you," she grumbled. "I mean jesus Hotch, what about Jack? What would he do if something happened to you?"

He coughed. "I didn't think about him. I just couldn't let you do it again."

"Do what again? What could have possessed your mind to the point where you didn't think about your son's well-being?"

He didn't respond. He was having trouble breathing around the sick wheeze that made his chest shutter like a failing car engine. His hand tensed in hers, and Emily's eyes widened and her pulse rocketed.

"Come on, Hotch. Hang on a little while longer, Garcia is sending the cavalry." She squeezed his hand, and begged.

He continued struggling to breathe around the damage Doyle had inflicted on his body, too weak to respond verbally to her words.

In that moment, watching him struggle, fearing that he wouldn't make it, Emily hated Doyle, but she hated herself even more. She brought Doyle into his life, and she took off to face Doyle by herself without realizing that Hotch had followed. She glanced at the dead man, and then back at the man who was struggling to keep living.

The wheezing suddenly got worse, and it was clear he was barely holding on. "No, no, no. You can't do this, Hotch. Not today, not like this, and sure as hell not over me. You've got to hang on for Jack. He lost his mom, he can't lose his dad too."

She ran a hand over his face, tears welling in her eyes. The doors burst open then, the team filing in, weapons drawn, two paramedics rushing in behind them. Emily waved them over, still squeezing Hotch's hand, and relayed what had happened. The team cleared the room, Morgan and JJ carefully checking Doyle, making sure he didn't have a pulse.

"You need to get him to a hospital fast, he can barely breathe," Emily told them as one strapped an oxygen mask over Hotch's face, and the other examined him.

It felt like forever before they got him on the gurney, and started rushing out of the warehouse. Emily then found herself surrounded by the team, JJ resting hand on her shoulder to try and anchor her to reality.

"What the hell happened?" Morgan demanded.

"Doyle contacted me, I didn't know Hotch had followed me. He attacked Doyle before I could…" She shook her head. "Doyle's a better fighter, he had to know that. What the hell was he thinking?"

"I was going to ask you the same thing." Morgan was not happy, not hiding it, and completely oblivious to the 'cool it' looks JJ and Rossi were shooting him.

Emily glared at him. "He gave me a choice. Either I come to meet him alone, or he starts going after all of you. He planned to start with JJ first. Do you want me to repeat his plans for Henry?"

"No," JJ quickly said. Emily shot her an apologetic look.

"You could have taken back-up, we could have pulled it off without him knowing."

"I couldn't risk it."

Morgan's eyes widened, and he seemed to nearly laughed. "You couldn't risk it? From what I've seen Emily, all you do is risk it."

Rossi suddenly through up his arms. "Now's not the time. Bitch at each other later. Hotch is fighting for his life, we need to get to the hospital, and someone needs to call Garcia."

"Already done." Reid held up his phone. He didn't meet her eyes. He didn't meet anyone's eyes.

They drove to the hospital in silence fraught with barely contained tension, and plagued with worry. None of them had commented on the fact that she was covered in blood, mostly Doyle's but also some of her own and Hotch's. When they arrived, Rossi forced her to see a doctor, who examined her and noted only superficial minor injuries. Then they waited.

Garcia eventually joined them, giving Emily a hug that was nearly strangling, and a look that suggested they were going to have a talk when Hotch was out of the woods. She was not looking forward to that, nor resuming her conversation with Morgan.

It was hours before the doctors stabilized him, and sent them all home. He wasn't conscious, and may not be for a while. A rib punctured his lung, they had him intubated, but he'd live. He'd also walk out with another scar on his chest. Because of her.

Two days. It was two days before she walked into his hospital room to see his eyes open. Jack had come and gone, looking bummed that Daddy was in the hospital again. The team had all paraded in and out, but she'd waited. She needed the time to speak with him, to finish the conversation they had in the warehouse. She'd already finished her conversation with Morgan, and sat through a tongue-lashing from Garcia, both pissed she'd gone off and nearly gotten herself killed again.

Now it was her turn to berate someone for being stupid and reckless.

"Hey Hotch," she said, sliding into the chair by his bed.

"Prentiss." He turned to her, looking tired, but alive and much better than he had in the warehouse.

"How do you feel?"

He nodded. "Not bad considering. Must be the painkillers."

"I'd say it probably has more to do with seeing your son," she said.

Hotch offered a small smile. "Yeah, maybe."

Then it was silent. She didn't know if she had it in her to yell at him today. He'd been trying to protect her, same as she'd been trying to protect the team. She inhaled and blew into her hands.

"Why not you?" He spoke quietly.

"I'm sorry?"

"In the warehouse, you said I couldn't die not then, and not for you. Why not you?"

Her mouth fell open. "I…I…because I don't want you too."

"I don't want you to die for me either, but that hasn't stopped you. This time or last time."

"It's different," Emily insisted. "You have a son that needs you, while I have a cat that's just as happy with Garcia."

Hotch responded, the same calm, neutral expression he always wore not falling from his face. "You also have a team that needs you."

"So, do you. And they need you far more than they need me, Hotch."

Hotch looked at his hands then, before his gaze drifted back to meet hers. "What if I need you?"

"Excuse me?"

"What if I need you," he repeated. She searched his eyes, finding the confirmation she'd been afraid of seeing, and bit her lip.

She sighed, and began uncertainly. "Hotch…"

"I wouldn't have chased after just anyone." He tentatively reached out, and took her hand in his, holding it gently. Emily didn't pull away, but ran her thumb gently over his knuckles.

It wasn't that she'd never considered Hotch that way, he was a catch, but there was more to think about than that. There was work, he was her boss after all, and Jack, the poor kid didn't need anymore chaos in his life. And, then there was her.

Hotch cleared his throat, his eyes fixed on their hands until he finished speaking. "Dave said I should starting dating again."

"You couldn't have picked someone less messed up?"

"Maybe I want the challenge," he said jokingly.

Emily sighed. "Hotch, you don't want me. You've already seen some of the crap I come with, you should be running for the hills." God knows, every other guy did.

"I have at least as much baggage as you, Emily." His use of her first name made her start. It was so rare he ever addressed her as anything other than Prentiss.

Her eyes softened, and she squeezed his hand. "I find that seriously hard to believe."

"If you aren't interested, that's okay." He graciously gave her an out.

"I'm not saying I'm not interested. Just…" What was she saying?

"I feel better after talking to you," he said suddenly. It was so simple and honest, it nearly threw her off.

Not for long though. She sighed. "You feel better after talking to Rossi."

The smallest of smiles turned the corners of his lips up. "You're nicer to look at."

That did catch of off guard. She deflected it with a nervous, flirty smile. "Did you just objectify me, Hotch?"

He straightened as much as he could while lying in a bed, put on his Unit Chief expression, and mocked himself. "Of course not. I'm the Unit Chief, all my team members are asexual to me."

She smiled at that. "Right..."

He focused on their hands again. "You make me want to smile more."

Emily opened her mouth, but seemed to be at a complete loss. It was maybe the sweetest thing a guy had ever said to her, and she was floundering. She offered a nervous laugh. "Is it weird that puts bubbles in my stomach?"

He relaxed again, and then smiled. "Do you understand then?"

Did she understand what? The massive step he was taking in her personal life? The way he was completely exposing himself to her?

Emily ran her tongue over her bottom lip. "Yes, I do. I just…I'm not sure how I feel about it."

He nodded. "Then think about it. Take your time."

She released a grateful sigh. "So we'll table this conversation until you're not on loopy on painkillers?"

Hotch held her hand tighter, and fixed his eyes on hers. "It's not the painkillers taking."

"I know, I just need to be certain that you're sure." When he nodded his understanding, she rose from her chair, and released his hand. Feeling suddenly brave, Emily leaned over and pressed her lips to his forehead, and ran her fingers down his cheek.

"Get some rest, Hotch."

"You too." His voice followed her as she walked out the door. She had a lot to think about, but felt just the tiniest tinge of happiness.

This could be a good thing, for both of them.