Title: From the Darkness
Rating: NC-17
Criminal Minds
Genre: Romance/Angst
Post 7x06. Rossi gets an unexpected visitor at the cemetery.
Author's Note: This has been sitting on my hard-drive half-finished for months. I thought I'd better give you all some kind of fix.

The funeral comes – and goes – without Rossi saying a word to anyone on the team. He's sure they all know by now, between what Emily knows, and from the fact that Garcia no doubt has a system in place that flags any 911 calls that involve the team in any way.

After thirty years in the Bureau, he doesn't really give a shit how vague his annual leave requests are. This is probably the most painful death he's had to deal with in a long time – there's another one that almost vies for the top spot, but that doesn't really count since she show up alive and…well, alive a little over two months ago.

Still, he's not surprised when he hears the footsteps against the grass, and even less so when Emily Prentiss sits down beside him.

'Want some company?' she asks, lightly. There's an edge of sympathy in her voice. He imagines that it will increase tenfold when she notices the second gravestone.

'Do I have a choice?'

'Not really,' she answers, matter-of-factly, sitting down beside him. 'I'll admit, though, out of all the lies you could have used to cover what you've been mulling over, Rock Band was a pretty good one. It's not as though I can just pick up the phone and call Ringo Starr to confirm your alibi.'

He laughs. 'No, I suppose you can't.'

'Though I can't imagine he takes it very well when you beat him at his own songs.'

Rossi gives an almost negligent shrug. 'Well, it's not exactly the same with fake drum kits.' His words hang in the air, like the start of some melancholy silence. In his periphery, he can see her eyes drifting. The positioning of Carolyn's grave, in a mostly filled area of the cemetery, is definitely no coincidence.


'I hadn't thought about him in a long time.' A pause. 'I guess you already know that it's a loss you never really forget.' Emily's eyes widened at those words, and immediately, Rossi feels like a dick. Because she does know, and now he's brought it up, it's not going away, for either of them.

'I feel like I don't have the right to mourn the way you do,' she admits. 'After all, I chose…' She stops, choking out a sob. 'Sorry, I—'

'It's my fault,' Rossi says, quickly. 'I shouldn't have brought it up.' Yet he did, and maybe it makes him selfish to need someone who knows that loss.

Not the same loss that he's mourning today, though.

He's not sure who can relate to that loss. Haley's death was far too different, yet still far too fresh in Hotch's mind for Rossi to broach the subject with his friend.

'Whatever else happened, I loved her for a long time after we divorced,' he admits. 'In another lifetime, we might have been soul-mates, as cheesy as that sounds, but in this one…it wasn't meant to be.'

'I can definitely relate to that,' Emily says, but she's grimacing, which means she's probably not talking about some ex-boyfriend who used to work as a pastry chef. There was a long pause. 'I went to Ian – to Doyle's funeral.'

He gives her a sad smile in return. 'I know. Hotch managed to put two and two together. We – I – wanted to come, and see if you needed back-up, but we got that case in Louisiana.'

He realizes suddenly that she does understand; whatever else had happened between them, Emily Prentiss had felt something for Doyle. A cemetery probably isn't the best place to have this conversation, though, so he grabs the bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, and stands. Emily looks up at him.

'It's getting late,' he explains. 'If you were interested…I make a mean Lasagna.'

'I wouldn't expect anything less,' she tells him frankly, accepting the arm up that he offers.

Dave's had a little to drink, but not enough to impede his driving in any way, so they take separate cars. She follows him fairly closely, even though she's been to his place a few times before. It's a big house, but it feels way too empty with just him and Mudgie living there.

The dog greets him at the gate with a lick, and a happy bark. His ears pricked up at the sound of Emily's handbrake, and he ran to the driver's side door of her Prius. 'Hey, buddy,' she says, scratching his head as he jumps up at her. 'Have you been a good boy?'

Rossi gives a sad smile that is almost certainly hidden by the darkness of night that swallows them. Mudgie had been an overwhelming force of comfort in the days after both Carolyn's death, and Emily's. Good boy doesn't even begin to cover it.

Mudgie tears inside the moment Dave opens the front door. 'I'm coming, I'm coming,' he calls out, after the dog gives an impatient yelp from the kitchen. To Emily, he says, 'Pets these days. Food is all they ever want.'

'I hear you,' she grins. 'The day I got Sergio back from Garcia, the first thing he did was hound me for dinner. Granted, he wouldn't even let me go to the bathroom without leaving my side for a full week after that.'

'You know, I'm pretty sure that that would have been Garcia, too, if we hadn't talked her out of it,' Rossi says, grabbing a can of dog food from one of the cupboards.

Once Mudgie is happy, he returns, and finds Emily leaning against the breakfast counter, eyes scanning his kitchen. The last time she'd been here, it was with the rest of the team. In fact, he's not sure if she's ever been here by herself. The few times they've had Rock Band sessions, Morgan and Garcia have come along.

'Wine?' he suggests, gesturing towards the door that leads down to his basement. There's a semi-respectable wine cellar down there, and if he's going to be cooking, then it's important that they're drinking the right stuff.

'I suppose a glass or two won't hurt,' she agrees.

He picks out a nice Chianti, and makes a mental note to put some music on when he gets back upstairs. Any other woman, ant this might have been a pretty good date.

He likes Emily – way more than he's willing to admit – but he respects her too much to put her in the position where she might feel uncomfortable.

Of course, if she expresses interest, then that's another matter altogether.

'I don't have any Manilow,' he says apologetically, 'But what do you think about Sinatra? Or were you too goth for the Rat Pack?'

'I haven't been a goth for a really long time,' Emily tells him, an arched eyebrow raised. 'But seriously, I don't mind.' With a smirk, she adds, 'I trust your judgment.'

'Food, music, wine, and good company,' he smiles. 'The perfect evening.' He's perfectly aware that he's overcompensating for the melancholy of the afternoon, but at this point, he doesn't really give a crap. He enjoys Emily's company, and as someone that's spent a respectable amount of time in Italy, he trusts her to help him in the kitchen with more expertise than anyone else on the team.

They laugh, and they drink, and they cook, and Rossi would be a fool not to notice the charged sexual tension that's built up between them.

He'd also be a fool if he didn't know the reason why it seems so much stronger, today of all days. Maybe that makes him selfish, but from the look in Emily's eyes, maybe she's feeling a little selfish about it, too.

After dinner, they migrate to the living room. It's not cold enough for a fire, but already, there's an unquenchable heat. The CD has finished playing, and they revel in the silence, and in each other's company. Emily's head rests against the sofa, just inches from his shoulder.

'Here's to us lonely hearts, huh?' she says, a little bitterly. Rossi frowns slightly at her choice of words. Yeah, the house is a little too big, but is he lonely? He turns to the side, and she lifts her head, the question still lingering in her eyes.

Probably, is the answer that his brain comes up with. After all, there'd been a reason why the thought of bringing Carolyn back into his life had been so appealing. For Emily, it's probably just as bad. Hell, she'd spent at least six months alone in Paris – it's probably worse.

'I…Can we…not talk about it?' he says, softly. She's so god damn close, and he's not sure if this warmth, this spark, is the result of genuine attraction, or the fact that he's in mourning. It doesn't really seem to matter. His hand brushes against her cheek, and half a second later, they're kissing like there's no damn tomorrow.

Then, she pulls away. 'Rossi…' Her eyes are a little wide, and he sees the spark in them that's so often been missing lately. 'Are you sure about this?'

'Yes.' He kisses her again. 'No. Maybe. I just…' There's a slight sob in his voice, and she'd have to be a really shitty profiler not to notice. She gives him a look. That broken look of sympathy that makes him remember that she's been through a hell of a lot of stuff in the last year as well. The kind of look that makes him think that maybe he's not the only one who needs it. 'God, you're beautiful,' he says, all of a sudden. He's not entirely sure why it's taken him so long to realize it. Maybe he's known it all along.

'So are you,' Emily murmurs, pressing her forehead against his. The moment is somehow more intimate than anything else they've done so far, and that, more than anything, confirms what his answer is.

'Yes,' he says. For clarification, he adds, 'Yes, I'm sure.' She seems to hear the truth in his voice, because her body relaxes in relief. It's not just about sex. It's about warmth, and companionship, and closeness. All the kinds of things that should accompany making love in that sense.

He leads her upstairs, wishing that he had candles to light, the right kind of music to play. He hasn't done the whole "seduction" thing in a long time. She doesn't seem to mind that much. Her fingers alternating between trying to tear off his shirt, tear off her pants, and running through his hair.

All of a sudden, Rossi's own pants are way too tight. Without looking down, he unbuckles his belt, and pulls his pants off. Foreplay seems like somebody else's luxury. Already, he knows that whatever this is, it's going to be hard, and fast, and probably cathartic.

'Just a sec,' he breathes, pulling away slightly. At first, she has a look of worry on her face, but then he says, 'Condom,' and her whole body seems to relax.

'Pill,' she counters, pushing him backwards onto the bed. His pants are still halfway caught around his ankles, which starts him tripping, but he recovers quickly and kicks them off to the other side of the room.

'Good.' He prefers it that way, even though he's not going to tell her that at this precise moment, especially not considering the conversation that they'd had just hours ago.

When she leans down to kiss him, he rolls to the side (that's going to kill his back in the morning) and Emily makes a small sound of surprise as he hovers over her. 'Is this okay?' he asks, suddenly concerned that he might be making her uncomfortable.

She gives him a decidedly Emily look that might well say, "Hurry up and fuck me before I burn your latest manuscript," and he opts to believe that given the right stimulus, she might well follow through on that promise.

He slips her shirt over her head, and stops. She closes her eyes, lips pressed together tightly. His fingers run across the scar, and she shivers.

'I hate it,' she whispers, taking his hand, and moving it up to her chest. His heart seems to stop. The four-leaf clover that's burned there is somehow ten times worse than the scar that had, for all intents and purposes, taken her life. It's a mark of ownership – Doyle's mark of ownership.

He kisses both scars, not trivializing them, but making her understand that he finds her attractive because of them, not despite them. That's not to say that he wouldn't do anything to turn back the clock and change what had happened in the warehouse that night.

Her hand goes to his erection, pumping him slowly. He takes the hint, adjusting his position, and letting her guide him inside.

'Oh, God,' she murmurs, body arching as he quickens his pace. Usually, he'd make a joke in response to that comment, but his body is far too invested in what's happening to let him talk. Her legs curl around the back of his, her arms around his shoulders. She moans with each thrust, torn nails clenching at the skin of his back.

When she comes, it's with a scream, followed by a shuddering gasp.

Le petite mort.

Normally, his stamina is a little better, but tonight he comes quickly, and he's glad of it. The tension that has wrought his body over the days since Carolyn's death has been eased. He still feels the sorrow in his heart, but at the same time, maybe there's a little light at the end of that tunnel.

For a few minutes, the only sound is breathing. Emily leans into him, and he wraps his arms around her. The warmth it gives him is something that can't be replicated by a blanket, or a heater. It's a warmth in his heart.

'This is nice,' Emily murmurs. Rossi can hear the yawn in her voice. He presses a soft kiss to her neck.

'It is,' he agrees. A beat. 'We should do it again, sometime.'

For a long while, Emily doesn't answer. Finally, she says, 'I'd like that.'

And just like that, things seem a little less dark in the world.