Dave and Morgan left Emily, JJ, and Garcia in Savannah, shopping for a wedding dress. In Dave's opinion, only one thing marred this being the perfect wedding--Jimmy had been unable to fly down to marry them. Commitments kept the priest in DC, so he'd put Dave in touch with a friend in Savannah.
Then again, Dave reflected, he probably wouldn't care about anything but Emily this evening.
He and Derek met Aaron, Spencer, and Sean for lunch, where Dave found himself getting nervous. Aaron nudged him at one point and Dave realized he was drinking his beer too fast. He cleared his throat and set his glass down.
Derek laughed. "Man, what's up? You've done this how many times now? And you're still nervous?"
"None of those marriages were to Emily," Dave said simply. Morgan stared at him for a moment, then his expression softened and he nodded.
"You're going to do just fine," Aaron said. "Emily's strong enough to handle you, and pretty soon you'll have a son or daughter to wrap you firmly around their little fingers." He grinned. "And then we'll just be holding out for Derek to find someone."
"Oh, hell, no," Derek exclaimed, shaking his head. The other four laughed.
"Just wait," Dave promised. "It'll happen when you least expect it."
Derek glared at him.
Dave spread his hands. "Hey, when I came back to the BAU, I was going to keep my nose clean and my pants zipped. I'm a different guy than I was fifteen years ago. Sure, I still enjoy female companionship, but I intended to stay away from romantic entanglements entirely, at work and at home." He shrugged. "And then I met Emily."
Derek shook his head. "You just better treat her right, or you know exactly who'll come gunning for you."
Dave smiled, and he knew the expression probably made him look stupidly in love. "You'll all be in line behind the woman herself. Remember, I'm marrying a woman who carries a Glock."
Emily let out a frustrated groan and shook her head. "Too long. I don't want anything to drag in the sand. Besides, I already picked out what Dave's wearing, and I don't want to be overdressed."
"You're the bride, my sweet baboo," Garcia said, setting the ruffles and lace aside with a pouty lip. "You're supposed to be overdressed."
"No," Emily said firmly. "Come on, I'm going to look at something less expensive." She headed to the back of the store, where she'd noticed some tea-length dresses. She had to buy something off the rack and fairly inexpensive, and she didn't want something that would be impractical or ridiculous for a beach wedding. They were going to be barefoot, after all.
They'd been shopping for two hours now, and she could just imagine Dave getting twitchy and anxious waiting on them. She wanted to buy a dress and head out to the island, where she intended to break the rules about seeing him before the wedding.
Her gaze fell on a sleeveless white chiffon. It had a handkerchief hemline and a deep v-neckline. "Oh," she breathed. It was elegant, but simple and not too fancy for a beach wedding. She bit her lip against the smile that wanted to take over her face. Oh my God, I'm getting married, she thought, and swooped the dress off the rack.
It wasn't that the thought hadn't occurred to her before. It was just that it kept taking her by surprise somehow. They'd been talking about getting married for months, but it seemed incredible that in less than twelve hours she would be someone's wife. She would have a husband. She would have a family.
Swallowing hard, Emily looked for the tag. The dress was even her size. Fortunately she wasn't far enough along in her pregnancy that she was even remotely showing yet.
"This one," she said, holding it up for JJ and Garcia to inspect. The salesgirl hurried over to let them in a fitting room, and the minute the dress slid over Emily's head, she knew it was the one. Less than $200 later she had the dress and a short veil in a garment bag and they were heading out in JJ's rented convertible to the island.
Aaron came up behind Spencer, sliding an arm around his waist and looking over his shoulder through the window. "You look pensive."
"They're so happy," Spencer said. He leaned back against Aaron. "I'm glad. It makes me realize how much I doubted this would ever happen for me."
"You don't regret that we can't get married?" Aaron murmured.
"No. Not really." Spencer glanced back at him. "I don't like that it's not legal, but I also don't know if I would want to makes this that public. Like it or not, homosexual relationships are given much more scrutiny than their heterosexual counterparts. And I don't really like being under scrutiny."
Aaron smiled faintly. "No, I know that." He kissed Spencer softly.
"Do you?" Spencer asked. "Regret that we can't get married, I mean?"
Aaron hesitated. He'd loved being married to Haley, but he'd also sometimes felt like they both stayed together longer than they should have because of those words. Then again, he never would have left her. She was the one who'd had to do the leaving. "Yes and no," he said finally, pushing down the sadness that still welled up when he thought of his ex-wife. "For those same reasons."
Spencer nodded. "Sometimes," he said, and cleared his throat. "Sometimes I almost...I almost feel lucky." He tensed in Aaron's arms. "I know I shouldn't. I know I only got you because of horrible things that happened. I mean, I shouldn't feel lucky that H-Haley filed for divorce, and everything that happened was--"
Aaron slid a hand up to gently cover Spencer's mouth. Despite the flush of sorrow that went through him, he didn't think Spencer should be nervous about saying that. "I understand," he murmured. "Spencer, it's okay to feel lucky. I...I feel so blessed that you found me worthy of love and happiness. I know I made mistakes, but I can't change what happened in the past. So...I've learned to be grateful for the grace I've been given afterwards."
Spencer relaxed back against him, then turned and wrapped his arms around Aaron in a fierce hug. "You are worthy of all that. And I'm glad you've finally allowed yourself to have this."
"I love you," Aaron whispered. "We don't need a ring to prove that."
Spencer smiled. "And you'll have me forever," he replied. "Because I love you too."
The sun was low in the sky as Father Wentworth took his place beyond the reach of the waves. Dave, Morgan, Hotch, Reid, and Sean lined up facing him. Dave wore a light blue hemp shirt and sand-colored cotton pants, sleeves and legs both rolled up. He was barefoot, and the cool evening breeze sent a shiver through him, even though the temperature was comfortable. He'd seen Emily earlier, and they'd even had time for a short walk on the beach a few hours ago.
They hadn't spoken much. She seemed preoccupied, even though she was brimming with joy. They'd held hands and walked, shoulders touching, and occasionally he'd pointed at a freighter cruising past, in-bound for Savannah Harbor, and sometimes she'd shielded her eyes to watch a pelican fly overhead.
Dave shifted in the sand, glancing down at his bare toes. He knew she wouldn't change her mind, but he couldn't help fearing, just for a few moments, that she would come to her senses and realize she deserved someone better.
Then JJ and Garcia came across the dunes, wearing dresses and carrying hurricane lamps that flickered and danced. Behind them was Emily. Dave's heart surged.
She was perfect. Her dark hair was pulled back from her face but fell over her shoulders. Her veil lifted on the breeze. She clutched a little white basket in her hands, and when she got closer he could see it was full of the seashells she'd gathered on their walk.
Then he lifted his gaze, and all he could look at were her eyes.
Dark, wide, glistening with emotion, they were focused on him. She wasn't smiling, exactly, but there was so much joy on her face--the serious sort of joy that he was feeling right now. Dave felt his own eyes fill with tears.
He barely listened to Father Wentworth's brief words. He couldn't look away from Emily's face. She was the mother of his child. They were going to have a family. How could he have gotten so lucky?
He squeezed her hands as they said the traditional words of love and commitment and cherishing. He'd said them before, and he'd meant them every time, but suddenly they meant something more, when spoken to Emily.
Then her ring was on his finger, a solid weight of reassurance and promise. He lifted her veil away from her face and kissed her. Her lips were warm and sweet against his. Garcia let out a whoop and the whole team cheered and clapped. It was real. They were married.
Instead of a reception, Emily had suggested to Dave that he take the team to dinner. They ate at a nice Italian restaurant in Savannah, where Emily indulged in a single glass of champagne as everyone on the team took a turn at toasting the new couple. Garcia wished for them to have lots of babies and grow old and fat together. Hotch and Reid both wished them happiness. Sean told Dave that as long as he cooked, Emily would stick around, which made them all laugh. Morgan, in a serious moment, said that he looked at Dave and Emily and saw an example of finding happiness despite their job. Then JJ took Dave's hand and looked seriously at him.
"I'm letting you have my best friend," she told him. "You've worked hard to deserve her love, and she's worked hard to deserve your love. I think you'll be happy together. I can't wait for our kids to grow up as best friends. And I hope you'll take good care of Emily." She smiled, her eyes bright with tears, then lifted her glass. "To a long and joyful marriage."
Emily was sniffling, trying not to let herself actually cry. She knew these people were her family, but it was so wonderful to share this happy event with them, as well as the hard things they usually shared.
When dinner was over, with hugs and kisses all around, they parted ways. Reid and Aaron went back to Tybee Island. JJ and Garcia headed for their hotel. Morgan and Sean went out in search of Savannah's night life. And Dave escorted Emily to the Olde Harbour Inn, where he'd managed to get a balcony suite through a last-minute cancellation.
When they got to their room, he swung Emily into his arms. She laughed as he kissed her, then fumbled with the key card. Finally she took it from his hand and swiped the card for him. Then he carried her across the threshold into their room.
Inside, they shared slow kisses and soft touches. Dave slid her dress off her shoulders and down her body, kissing all the way down to her sandy toes. When she stepped out of the dress in nothing but white lace panties, his expression was appreciative and hungry. Moments later his clothes were draped over a chair with hers as they stumbled together to the bed.
Late, late that night, Emily was still awake. Dave's arms were secure around her, his beard tickling her shoulder. She gazed contentedly at the light coming in from the river, listening to the river traffic.
Dave shifted against her. "Still awake?" he murmured.
"Mmm. Just trying to take it all in," she said. "I want to remember all of this." The warm glow of happiness as well as the toe-curling pleasure, the anticipation of every day of her life spent with Dave, the hope for their baby, the way her wedding ring still caught her eye every time she looked down.
"I love you, Mrs. Rossi." His arms tightened, then he pulled away. "Let's go sit on the balcony."
She sat up, her hair tumbling around her. She felt beautiful when he paused to watch her, his expression rapt. He always made her feel beautiful. But he made her feel strong and smart and capable too. She'd never known anyone like him.
He pulled his wedding pants on and gave her the shirt. Buttoned, it hung halfway down her thighs. She found her panties halfway across the room while he started brewing them tea. It all felt new somehow, but so familiar it made her chest ache. She watched him pouring the hot water and dunking the tea bags from a nearby plantation. She'd never had a more perfect day.
Wrapped in each other's arms, they sat on the balcony, drinking tea and watching the ships, until dawn touched the eastern sky.