Emily came back into her own mind slowly. The first thing she sensed was light, followed by the suffocating feeling a plastic tube shoved down her throat. Her eyes flew open, and she began to gag. A hand came to rest over her chest. Rossi.
"It's okay. I've called for a doctor, she'll get the tube out," he said. He moved his hand to take hers, and gave it a squeeze.
She tried to relax back against the bed, but found it impossible. Her throat ached and she felt like she might vomit.
The door to the room blew open, and a redhead walked in, walking to the side of the bed opposite Dave. Her voice was firm, but kind when she spoke. "Welcome back, Emily. I'm Dr. Compton, and I need you to just relax for a minute, then we can get that tube out, okay?"
Emily tried to nod, and then grunted at the discomfort of the movement. The doctor shut off the ventilator, and unhooked the hose from the mouthpiece.
"When I tell you to, I need you to breathe out as hard as you can, okay?" She asked.
Emily offered a half nod, as Compton removed the tape from the sides of her mouth. When she heard the doctor say, "Now," Emily breathed as hard as she could, and squeezed Rossi's hand. The sensation of the tube being pulled up her throat made her gag slightly as it was expelled, and her throat stung from it.
"Easy, you're okay. Lie back now," the doctor said.
Emily fell heavily back onto the bed, chest heaving from the effort. Her voice was hoarse and throat achy as she spoke. "Not d-dead."
"No, you aren't." Rossi smiled. "You seem to be perfectly normal as well."
She frowned at that, not sure what he meant. Dr. Compton commanded her attention then.
"Can you tell me your name, date of birth, the name of the current president, and where you are?" She shined a small flashlight in Emily's eyes, and handed her a cup of ice with a spoon, presumably delivered by the nurse suddenly standing beside her.
Emily swallowed some of the chips, but when she spoke her voice was still raspy. "Emily Prentiss, October 12, 1970, Barak Obama, and a hospital."
Compton smiled. "That's great." She looked up at Rossi. "I'm still going to send a neurologist in, just to be thorough, but I don't expect he'll find anything."
"Neurologist?" Emily rasped, wincing as the incision in her leg began to throb now that she was fully conscious. She forced herself to suppress the pain.
Rossi looked back at her. "You lost a lot of blood, Emily."
She released a tired breath as realization hit. "Brain damage."
Dave smiled. "Should have known better with that hard head of yours."
Emily smirked, but it was quickly replaced by a grimace of pain. Then another thought struck her. "Morgan?"
"He's okay, though it looks like you two will be in the hospital together." When she opened her mouth to ask, he continued. "He has Grade III muscle strain in his shoulders, and Grade II strain in his elbows, knees and back, along with some swollen tendons. They're doing ice therapy and steroids right now for the pain. After a week they said he can switch to NSAIDs, and can start physical therapy."
Emily wanted to cry. Morgan had nearly destroyed his body to get save her life. She blinked away the tears pricking her eyes, and removed her teeth from where they sat in the flesh of her bottom lip. "How far…" She coughed and swallowed. "How far did he carry me?"
"With that driveway, we're estimating just under six and a half miles."
Tears pricked her eyes again. "Can I see him?"
She began to cough soon after speaking, and Rossi waited until she'd stopped and was sipping water to speak. "Not just yet, kid. You're in ICU, you aren't going anywhere until they move you out, and Morgan isn't allowed to move. You know that whole rest, ice…" He waved his hand in an "and so on" motion.
"Well, you guys caught the unsub, so we're just finishing up paperwork now. You and Morgan will stay here overnight, and as long as your doctor okays it we'll have you transferred to D.C. in the morning. Be warned though, in an ambulance it's going to be a four-hour drive back."
Emily swallowed some chips to lubricate her throat, the increasing ache in her leg making the pain in her throat harder to ignore. "With Morgan?"
The older man smiled. "Yeah, cramming two beds in one ambulance will save the Bureau insurance carrier some money. Now, you really need to get some rest, and I need to find your doctor to start you on pain meds."
Morgan woke in the morning to the ache returning to this body. The steroids were wearing off, and without those his whole body ached. Last night he'd needed the drugs just to be able to move his arms enough to eat. He almost couldn't believe how much damage he'd done to himself, and did not look forward the necessary physical therapy to get himself back together.
It was worth it though. More than worth it, really.
Emily was okay. It would take awhile for her leg to heal, but she was alive and could go back to active duty in year, even less if she was lucky. And there was no sign of brain damage, a possibility he was informed of only after a neurologist gave her a clean report last night. He was still a little pissed at the team for not telling him.
The ache got worse, and he punched the button for the nurse. It felt like all his joints were on fire. He appeared quickly with a little paper cup, and a little plastic pill cup.
"Hey man, sorry for the delay. I had a patient go into a seizure." He was tall and dark-skinned, and always walked like he had music in his head.
"Give me that pill, and all's forgiven." Morgan said.
The nurse smiled and handed both cups over, and Morgan made quick work of them. "It'll take a minute to kick in, just take deep breaths until then, alright?"
"Easy for you to say, man." Morgan tensed against the pain, but that only made it worse.
"I hear you. Alright, how about I tell you about the fine-looking brunette they moved onto my friend's rotation late last night?"
Morgan nodded, already appreciating the distraction.
"He said that she's on morphine, so she mostly sleeps, but she's a thing a beauty even with her eyes shut. Said she kind of reminds him of Snow White, skin light like one of those fancy dolls, hair dark, but not quite black, and deep, coffee-colored eyes, at least when she has them open. It's a bit hard to judge a figure under a hospital gown, but according to my buddy, it doesn't look like it would disappoint." He grinned again.
Morgan frowned at the familiar description. "You know what she's here for?"
"He works post-op, I think he said something about her leg."
Morgan chuckled, wincing when it shook his body. "I think you're talking about my partner."
"Your partner?" The nurse frowned. "Is your partner hot?"
He went to respond, but froze when he saw Hotch at his door, eyebrows raised at the other man's question. "Hey Hotch," he said instead.
The nurse whipped around. "Oh hey there, I was just giving Derek here his meds. I'll leave you two, I've got other patients to see anyway."
He disappeared and Hotch approached the bed, giving Morgan a look. "Did that nurse just ask you if Prentiss was attractive?"
"Uh yeah…how is she doing?"
"Good. She sleeps mostly since they have her on morphine, but she's well enough for a trip back home. How about you?"
Morgan glowered. "That damn doctor says I can't move."
A smirk tugged at the corners of Hotch's mouth, but it never broke through. "You don't have to move. You and Prentiss are both being loaded into an ambulance for the drive back to D.C."
Part of him cringed at the idea, and part of rejoiced at the opportunity to see his partner. "Is she well enough to travel, Hotch?"
"The doctor said as long as she's stable we could transfer her, and she's better than stable." He paused. "Of course, that doesn't mean that it will be a pleasant ride for either of you."
"Yeah, no bathroom," he muttered.
Hotch shrugged. "Could be worse." When Morgan didn't comment he continued. "Prentiss has a catheter."
Morgan cringed, and was relieved when his whole body didn't ache with the movement.
It wasn't more than an hour or so later when a couple of orderlies showed up, and loaded him onto a gurney. They adjusted the top of the bed so he was slightly elevated, and repositioned the pillows under his knees, which was almost as painful as removing the pillows had been. Earlier the doctor had confirmed that all his medical files – including the results from half a dozen MRIs – had been emailed to his doctor.
They wheeled him through the hospital to the loading bay outside the ER, where they were met by two EMTs, and most of the team. When Reid appeared with his headphones and Ipod, he was so grateful he almost kissed the kid. "Man, you area a lifesaver."
Reid smiled. "I assumed you wouldn't be allowed to read a book."
Morgan scoffed. "I'm barely allowed to wipe my own ass."
Hotch appeared, mouth set into a deep frown. "You have severely damaged most of your joints and several muscles. If the doctors thinks wiping your ass might increase the risk of permanent damage, I suggest you suck it up, and let a nurse do it."
"Yes, sir." If he'd been allowed to move for anything less than necessities, he'd have saluted.
Hotch rolled his eyes. They wheeled him closer then to the ambulance, and when JJ backed away he saw another bed was already in back.
"JJ," he called. "How is she?"
The blonde smiled. "She's fine. The meds are pretty strong though, so I don't think she's quite processing everything."
Morgan nodded. He kept his eyes on the other bed as they loaded him on, his focus slowly changing to the figure in the bed. Her dark hair was splayed over the white pillow, and he smiled as he reflected on the nurse's description. She did kind of look like Snow White.
She turned, blinking her eyes open at the clatter of the second bed arriving. Emily smiled at him, and drawled, "Hey."
"Hey. You have no idea how happy I am to see those beautiful brown eyes of yours."
"Mmmhh," she agreed. "Can we grab some coffee after we talk to that witness?"
He started at the sentence, but soon relaxed again. "Yeah, sure. I think I saw a place not far from the police station."
"Oh good…" Her eyes were already drooping again. "Gonna need caffeine to catch this bastard."
"Yeah," he said. "Me too."
Morgan watched as she drifted back into her drug-induced sleep. Their beds were only inches apart, barely inches. He reached out, wincing at the action, and let one finger run over her arm.
She was really there. She was alive.
He wondered how many more lives she had left. This was her second time in a year to have major surgery. Morgan hadn't thought much about it, hadn't really wanted to, but it stuck with him now. She would have been drugged like this then too, except he realized, she wouldn't have woken up to friendly, familiar faces. It was some stranger who she saw then, and he knew she must have been afraid.
She'd been so paranoid before she'd gone after Doyle, that with the drugs, she must have been a mess then. He was glad he was with her now, he was glad they were together. This, however, wasn't going to help his issues with her in the field, his overprotective feelings.
Whatever, he thought, they'd get through it. Though it hurt like hell, Morgan reached over and took her hand in his. He brought it up to his mouth and pressed his lips softly to the back of it, before returning it to her bed.
Emily's first couple days at the hospital in D.C. were a blur, and in fact she was almost certain she spent them sleeping. She had vague memories of the team visiting, of talking to Derek, who was on the other side of the room, and of doctors telling her things, not one of which she could clearly recall.
Now though, she was finally lucid. She must be on a lower dose, because the pain was, while still there, pretty dulled. She coughed and reached for a glass of water, sipping it as the voices on the other side of the room came to a screeching halt.
"Oh, look who's awake!" Garcia squealed, suddenly appearing.
"Hey Pen," she managed.
"Hey yourself. How're you feeling?"
Emily shrugged. "I've felt worse. How's work?"
Garcia waved her hands. "Oh who cares, it's just nice to hear you talking about something other than coconuts."
The tech nodded. "Yep. When you've been awake, you've mostly been talking either like you were on a case, or about coconuts. I asked you why coconuts yesterday, and you told me that you wanted a pina colada."
Emily smirked. "Well, can you blame me?"
"Nope, I say we all get pina coladas after you're both off drugs," she said.
"I second that," Morgan called from his bed.
"Oh!" Garcia said. "I was just telling Derek the plan after you two get out of the hospital, which should be in four days by the way."
Emily raised her eyebrows. "Someone made a plan?"
Garcia smiled. "Yes, I did. We're all going to bunk for a bit at Derek's house, so I can nurse you both back to health. You'll be in the guest bedroom, and I'll be on the pullout downstairs. I've already done a ton of research to get prepared. I stocked Derek's freezer with frozen berries, because they have antioxidants to help with inflammation, I picked up this joint supplement thingy and some probiotics, also good for inflammation, and a for you honey, pinapple, ginger and orange juice for vitamin C, all to promote healing. And lots of whole grains and I'll pick up fresh fruits and veggies too to give your battered bodies good fuel to burn And, I'm starting a big batch of chicken noodle soup, it always makes Kevin feel better."
Emily looked over to Derek, who just gave her sort of a helpless look. She turned back to Garcia. "Right…are you planning on being out of work?"
"I can work from a couple laptops for the first week, then I'll do half days for the second week. I have to keep my babies healthy."
"Strauss okayed that?"
"Well, the wicked bitch of the greater Washington D.C. area was quite stunned by Derek's heroic rescue of his partner, and the press got wind of what he did, so she wants the Bureau's resident hero to be well-cared for."
Emily smiled at that and looked at Morgan. "He deserves it."
"Yeah, I couldn't agree more – " Her cell phone buzzed then, and Garcia glanced at it quickly, then sighed. "Of course, count on some damn psycho to ruin my fun. At least I don't have to worry about you two getting yourselves injured."
The tech offered her and then Morgan a pointed look, before kissing his cheek, then hers, and heading out, leaving them alone and Emily lucid for the first time since Pennsylvania.
"How're you feeling?" He asked.
She shrugged. "Alright…how long was I out of it?"
Morgan smiled. "This is day three. You were damn determined to get that pina colada by the way. Never saw you as a tropical paradise drink kinda girl."
"I'm not usually." She flicked her tongue over her lip. "When I was thirteen I was in some island country with my mother, I can't even remember which one now, and I saw people at the hotel drinking out of coconuts. I thought it was fascinating. So I stayed by the pool bar, and when this woman ordered one, and then turned her back, I stole it. I ran off, and hid behind some plants, and drank the whole thing. Then I threw up, a lot. When my mother found me, she was furious. I thought she was going to kill me. Haven't even been able to stomach the smell of a pina colada since."
"Isn't it funny what kinds of things strong painkillers bring up?"
"Yeah, I guess it is…" She cleared her throat. "How are you feeling?"
"I've been better. In all honesty I'm alright, I just busted up so many places on my body, they figure I'll only get rest for everything if they have me here."
"I'm so sorry, Derek. I – "
"I'm not. You're alive. I'd be sorry if you were dead, and I could have helped you." Emily bit her lip, but didn't respond, so he continued. "Does this suck? Yes, very much so, but it's a small price to pay to have you here talking to me."
She was silent a moment longer. "They're sure you're going to be alright? That eventually you'll go back to being Derek Morgan, superhero?"
He nodded. "As long as I do what they tell me, and get myself some good rehabilitative therapy, I'll be back to kicking down doors in no time." Then he smiled.
Emily did too, more in relief that at the joke. "Derek, what you did…I don't think I could ever thank you enough or even repay you."
"You want to repay me," he said, "Get yourself better, and back in the field by my side. I miss you when you're not there."
She smiled. "I miss you too."
He smiled back, all his teeth showing. "Good then, I guess it's a blessing in disguise that we're laid up. I get the feeling we're going to be spending a lot of time together. We may even get sick of each other."
Emily let her smile open wider. "Oh, I doubt that."
Sorry this was delayed. My shoulder injuries are flaring up at the moment, and typing is a huge trigger for pain and inflammation. Since a friend wanted to see Morgan and Prentiss recuperating together, I'll write a follow-up oneshot, but that may be a while coming. As with my other promised stories, the more you nag, the sooner it will come, because that will put it on my mind.
Thank you so much to everyone who read and reviewed this story!