A/N: I've been avoiding spoilers, so I have no idea how they're going to write off Prentiss.
The glass of merlot helped ease the tension of the day only slightly. This morning, she'd told the team she was resigning in the morning meeting, and barely an hour ago, she'd pulled her badge, cuffs, and gun off her belt and handed them to Hotch. She wasn't sure which moment brought her closer to losing her stomach contents all over the BAU.
The team had been pissed they were only finding out the day of her departure, but she hadn't wanted an awkward week of Garcia's tears, Reid's silence and Morgan's brooding. She hadn't wanted questions or pleadings to come back. Maybe she was a coward, or maybe she just couldn't fight anymore.
So Emily sat on her sofa, nursing a glass of wine. She sighed and let her gaze drift to the window, wondering just what the hell she was going to do with herself now.
As fate would have it, now was already figured out. The slow, heavy knocking on her front door told her exactly who it was, and he was all too capable of kicking it in if she didn't answer it. With a sigh, she set her wine on the coffee table, and toed to the door, pulling it open and giving her visitor a questioning look.
Morgan looked like hell. His face was drawn and tired, and he was leaning on the doorframe with one arm. He looked at her with deep brown eyes swimming in pain, anger, and confusion. "So, that's just it?" He asked.
"If you're referring to my resignation, then yes. That's it." She didn't move to let him in, didn't back off in anyway.
"Are you going to let me in?"
"Depends. Are you going to lecture me?"
His laugh came out in one, bitter sigh. "Lecture you? No. I kind of want to throttle you, but no, I hadn't thought that much about lecturing you."
"Oh well, in that case," she finally moved and let him inside. He walked in, but didn't go to the dining set or sofa to sit down. He just stood there as if he was frozen. "My furniture doesn't bite, Morgan."
He turned to face her then. "I'm so angry with you right now, Emily. So furious, I just…"
"Want to throttle me?" She asked, cheekily. He shot her a tight-lipped look. "Sorry," she said.
"After everything we've been through, after six years, all I get is one day notice before you walk out the door for good? Not even a day, it was more like seven hours. Five years, Emily, I think I deserve better than that."
"This wasn't about you, Morgan. This is a choice I made for me."
"And, to hell with the rest of us?" He demanded. "We just got you back, Emily!"
Her jaw tensed and she bit her lip. "And, you did okay without me before."
He scoffed. "Really? You think we did okay? Reid spent the first two and a half months crying on JJ's sofa! You have any idea how many times I found Garcia staring at the damn photo of you on the wall? And, Rossi acted like he was fine, but he wasn't, his eyes, his voice, something was gone."
She schooled her reaction, kept every feeling buried. "And, what about you, Morgan?"
"Me," he said. He looked away, body tensing even more as he turned back. "It felt like I'd had my goddamned heart ripped out. I failed you, Prentiss! You died!"
"No. I spent a month on lockdown at a military hospital, where some stranger told me that my family believed I was dead and that I may never get to go home! Then I was shipped to Paris, and told to sit on my ass until I was called to duty. I was alone, Derek, for six months. I played online scrabble with JJ when she had the time, but even then, we couldn't have a conversation. It was a tease, she was right there, but I couldn't get near her! I had to sit there for seven months knowing what you were all going through, because of me, and I couldn't life a finger to help." She took a breath. "So yeah, it sucked, but we all survived it. And, I'm not dying this time."
"But, you're still leaving. And it still hurts."
"I'm sorry for that, but I need to think of myself now."
His jaw tensed. "I've never seen you be selfish."
She got herself all ready to deny it, but then she changed her mind. "You know what, you're right, you haven't. My entire goddamn life I've done what's best for other people, no matter how much it hurt or what it did to me. The last time I made a selfish decision was when I made a career choice. I was 24 when I joined the CIA, Morgan. That's almost twenty years of putting myself second. I'm tired. This is for me. And no matter how much that may piss you off, you do not get to lecture me about it."
He looked toward the floor, suddenly finding the hardwood interesting. Then as suddenly as his gaze shifted away, it shifted back, and he met her eyes. "Why didn't you tell us sooner? Why didn't we deserve to know about this?"
"Okay first, you know why I did it that way. I couldn't deal with everything, and didn't want to in my last week with the team. I wanted to enjoy it." She paused. "Would it really have made things better or easier if you knew Monday that today was my last day?"
"Yes." he said, eyes as full of emotion as his words. "It would have been time to process, it wouldn't have been you're there and then you're not."
Like she died, Emily filled in mentally. She rested a hand on his arm. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean it to be that way, I just couldn't take a week of everyone upset."
Morgan nodded. "I get that, I guess, but…" He looked away for several seconds before coming back to her. "Emily, why are you leaving?"
"I told you, I just can't do it anymore. The work got to be too much."
He shook his head. "No. That's what you told Strauss when she needed an answer. You talk to me for real, be honest."
Emily opened her mouth to object, but then just sighed, and waved him toward the sofa. "I feel like I've gone from one darkness to another through my entire life. A couple of times I got so far down the rabbit hole, I wasn't sure I'd make it back out. But, I always did."
"Doyle," he filled in.
"Both times. There were other things too, but yeah, Ian Doyle will forever be a mark on my soul." Before he could comment, she pressed on. "But every time, every darkness, came with it's own brand of emotional pain. And, I'd suppress it and continue fighting for whatever I was fighting for that time around…" She trailed off, trying to think of words to describe her feelings. "I'm tired of collecting pain, and I'm tired of fighting."
"Has it really been that bad these last five years?" The hurt in his eyes made her gut twist in knots.
"Not all of it. I love the team, you know that. They're my family, but the work…I guess I don't have Gideon or Rossi's stamina. I just want to wake up one day, and not think about sadists, rapists, child killers or whatever horror awaits the BAU. The work isn't fulfilling to me anymore, it just feels suffocating."
"So, you're going to stop fighting the monsters?"
"Yeah, I'm going to stop fighting, and hopefully, I'll start living again. Hell, maybe I'll even get really crazy and go on a date."
He smiled. "You have a gentleman in mind?"
She shook her head. "Someone who can deal with a lot of scars, I guess."
He nodded, and turned toward the movement on the other side of the room. She followed his eyes. Sergio was stretching in his patch of sunlight, awake now, and quickly gave one leg a bath before trotting toward the kitchen.
Emily turned to tell Morgan that she had to feed him, but was stopped by soft lips meeting hers. He wasn't insistent or pressured, rather his lips slid over hers slowly, almost lazily, as if he had all the time in the world to get to know her mouth. She was certain she'd never been kissed quite like that, and found herself responding, shifting closer to him.
Then she abruptly realized she was kissing Derek Morgan, and pulled away, her lips still tingling from the sensation of his. Her voice was soft, barely audible when she asked, "What was that?"
"Testing that old theory about silver linings."
Emily frowned. "I'm sorry?"
"I had two reasons to come over here. One was to get answer, the other was to find the silver lining to the storm cloud you dropped on the BAU today," he said.
"And, that involved kissing me?"
Morgan offered her a charming, little smile. "When you walked out of there today, you were not my partner, not my teammate, and not even my coworker. That means, I can kiss you or ask you out for Thai food without worrying about Hotch or Strauss reading us the riot act on fraternization."
"I quit the Bureau, and your first thought is to kiss me and ask me out?" She was sitting back from him, far too confused and tingly from that kiss to risk being closer.
"February 2007, you pretended to accidentally drop a book in front of me. It was cute. I thought about it then, but I wasn't ready. Two years ago, you were almost shot by an unsub from the swinger scene. I realized that I was ready then, but you were off limits. Now, you're not."
"What if I'm not ready?" She asked, not even sure what she wanted.
"You did kiss me back."
"That doesn't mean I'm ready, that means I haven't been kissed in…well, let's just say an embarrassingly long time."
He grinned, but grew serious quickly. "Do you want this, Emily?"
She bit her lip. Not ten minutes ago, she said she wanted to live her life, go on a date. She said she was going to stop fighting. She continued to worry her lip for another minute, before reaching a conclusion. She stopped fighting. "Can we go slow?"
He grinned, full of charm. "Of course, though maybe a tad bit faster than the last five years?"
She smiled, and let out a breath. Then she smirked. "Thai food, huh?"
"Well, I know you like your food spicy."
"And where is this Thai food?"
He smiled. "Well, it just so happens some of the best Thai in the city is only blocks from here."
"And this would be like a date-date?" That idea maybe her throat tight. It was Morgan, he was very important to her, and frankly, she hadn't been on a date in over a year.
"It can be a low-key date. I thinking maybe a little hand-holding, but we can save the feeding each other bit for like the fifth date."
Emily smiled at that and bit her lip. "Okay, how about we comprise. We have the Thai food delivered, and I let you get past the hand-holding stage."
Morgan looked at her seriously, and held up his hands in a stopping motion. "Alright, so which base are we talking specifically?"
Her mouth fell open, and then she realized he was kidding and began to laugh. "Very cute."
"Don't I know it."
She rolled her eyes and got up. "Alright, you order the food, I'm going to feed Sergio, and girl-up a bit."
"Can't wait." He gave her one of his fullest smiles. Emily turned and headed toward the kitchen when he called for her again. She turned back. "And don't worry, I love Kilgore Trout."
Emily bit her lip, and could hardly hide her smile as she followed Sergio into the kitchen.
She felt like she was living again.
I think this one sounded better in my head, and I've been vacillating back and forth between posting it and not, and ultimately decided just to do it. Thanks for reading, and please, check out the poll in my profile. Thanks!