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Not So Alone

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cm fics: season five series, my fics: criminal minds, pairing: hotch/reid, pairing: rossi/prentiss

FIC: Not So Alone, Rossi/Prentiss & Hotch/Reid, PG
Title: Not So Alone
Pairings: Rossi/Prentiss, hints of Hotch/Reid
Rating: PG
WC: ~2200
Summary: After "Faceless, Nameless", there are some things that need to be cleared up.
Notes: A coda to "Faceless, Nameless" -- therefore spoilers abound Betaed super quickly by the lovely [info]resolucidity.

Emily went home.

She was exhausted and miserable and wanted something hot to drink and strong arms around her. She had a feeling she wouldn't get that for a long time, considering Hotch didn't look like he'd be out of the hospital any time soon, and Dave wasn't going to leave Hotch alone at the hospital. For that matter, she wasn't even sure they were at that stage where she could look for comfort from him. They'd been good friends even before they fell into bed together, but she'd been very careful not to ask him where this was going--if it was going anywhere--and he hadn't volunteered that information.

But she knew, very clearly, that his longest-standing friendship was more important than whatever this was with her. She didn't have a problem with that. After all, she hadn't been able to leave Hotch alone either, even though they weren't close. She admired and loved Hotch, but they were too similar to feel comfortable spending much time together.

Despite that, it still stung that he'd been dishonest with her.

She recognized the way he was falling back into memories of what had happened with Foyet. She could tell he remembered more than he admitted. She just wished he'd told her he didn't want to talk about it, instead of saying it was blank.

When she got home, she stared dully at the boxes of tea in her cabinet before deciding on a makeshift toddy. Hot lemon tea, honey, and rum...and then a pair of Dave's flannel pajamas that he'd left there. Maybe that said something about the nature of their relationship. He at least felt comfortable leaving a few clothes and a toothbrush.

With a sigh, she propped herself up against a raft of pillows and pulled the fluffy down comforter up around her shoulders. She cradled her mug, letting the steam rise up and hit her face, and wished her throat didn't ache so badly.

She hadn't felt so alone in a long time. The bottom had dropped out of her stomach when she'd heard Hotch's cell phone ringing from outside his apartment, and she'd had a horrible swoopy feeling in her stomach from then on. She'd had to clear his apartment alone, then call Garcia to get assistance and ask her to lie to the rest of the team. And then she'd had to profile her unit chief's apartment, knowing how much he would hate it. Then she'd been stuck at the hospital, unable to leave and unable to do any good. Having to listen to Reid's confrontation with the unsub, not knowing if he'd been hurt or killed, had been the last straw.

"God," she whispered, and it was a prayer for something, but she wasn't sure what. Peace? Comfort? Protection for the team? Miserably, she curled her knees up to her chest and finished her drink, wishing she didn't feel so damn guilty.

She closed her eyes but didn't bother turning out the light. If she slept, she didn't want to wake up in the dark. It had been a miserable week, and she was still worried about Morgan's state of mind as well as Hotch and Reid's injuries. And she hated feeling like this, with all these emotions swirling around and refusing to be put in their proper places.




"How is he?" said a soft voice. Dave jolted out of a restless doze and lifted his chin from where it had drooped to his chest. As he jerked awake, his book slid to the floor with a reproving slap. He glared at it, then automatically looked at Aaron to make sure he wasn't awakened by the noise. When Aaron didn't stir, Dave turned to glare at Spencer.

The gangly genius was propped awkwardly on crutches, lines of pain written into his face and his hair a mess. He was missing the tie he'd had on earlier and was wearing blue scrub pants with his pink shirt and the vest. He looked ridiculous, but Dave had never wanted to hug him as much as he did right now.

"What the hell are you doing here?" he growled softly. "You're supposed to be in a hospital in McLean, Virginia."

Spencer shrugged, then had to catch himself from falling when the movement shifted his balance on the crutches. "I released myself," he said. "AMA. I had to see him."

Dave could understand that. Emily hadn't left until Dave caught her yawning and sent her home. He hadn't been able to make himself leave, even though he knew Aaron was mostly going to sleep. "Well, sit the fuck down before you fall down," he grumbled, standing to give Spencer his chair. He was glad to see him, actually. He wanted nothing more than to be with Emily right now, because he knew, he could tell, her walls were cracking.

He had to go to her, even if she pushed him away. He hoped she would let him in, but he could understand about not wanting to be vulnerable. It was part of the reason he hadn't asked what they were to each other. He knew there were things she wanted that he never had; he'd never expected to want them, even if he was willing to give them to her now. Still, he was afraid she didn't want that from him, didn't want commitment, didn't want family, with him. So he'd never said anything.

But things had hit too close to home. Two of their team had ended up in the hospital, and Dave had been sitting here thinking about how close he'd come to losing his best friend. It made him realize he couldn't waste any more time.

He watched Spencer settle into the chair and sort himself out. The pained lines in Spencer's expression didn't smooth out as he sat, but his shoulders slumped a little.

"What are you taking?" he asked. He started to fold his arms across his chest, then wondered if Spencer would take that as an accusatory stance, so he dropped them and shoved his hands in his pockets instead.

Spencer didn't pretend not to understand. "Toradol," he said. "It's an NSAID. Also Tramadol and Flexeril. I refused the narcotics."

Dave nodded. "You understand, I had to ask," he said gently. " vulnerable right now. I like you, and I trust you. But my first responsibility is to protect him."

Spencer's lips twisted. "It's sort of ironic to have someone protecting someone from me, instead of protecting me." He sounded wry and not at all offended.

Dave shrugged. "You get enough of that from Morgan and JJ. And Aaron, to be honest. But he doesn't have enough people protecting him."

Spencer licked his lips and looked at Aaron. "If I thought..." he whispered, then trailed off for a long time. Finally he shook his head. "I would leave. If I thought I would hurt him more by staying, I would leave."

Dave kept looking at Spencer until Spencer looked back to meet his gaze. They looked at one another for a long moment, then Dave nodded. He knew they weren't just talking about here and tonight. Dave's trust was well-founded.

"Okay. The watch is yours," Dave said, leaning down to pick up his book. "Take care of him." He paused, then rested a hand on Spencer's shoulder. "And make him talk to you. He wouldn't tell Emily anything, and he didn't tell me much more."

Spencer's eyes seemed a little shiny as he looked up at Dave, but he just whispered, "Thank you," and let Dave go.




Emily hadn't expected the doorbell to ring.

She wasn't sure how long she'd been huddled in the pillows, contemplating a second rum toddy but unwilling to put forth the effort to fix it. She straightened and held her breath, her heart pounding. The doorbell rang again and she threw back the comforter, then grabbed her Glock off the nightstand.

She ran down the stairs, then moved more stealthily to the door. She checked the peephole, gun at the ready, then exhaled shakily as a wave of relief left her weak-kneed.

It was Dave.

She put the gun on her coffee table, then threw open the door just as he rang the bell again. He stood there and stared at her for a long moment, his expression a mixture of unreadable emotions. Finally he said, "You're wearing my pajamas."

She looked down in a rush of embarrassment, then, to her horror, started crying.

"Hey, hey," he said quietly, stepping forward and wrapping his arms around her. "Hey." He kissed her hair and moved them enough to shut the door behind him. She heard the deadbolt, and then he just held her, rocking her slightly.

She was appalled at herself. She hated crying. She hated showing emotions. She'd shown them to Dave often enough, but never like this. She'd fought back the tears even when she was telling him about the worst time of her life. It made no rational sense, because she knew he wouldn't take advantage of her vulnerabilities, but it was a habit far too ingrained for her to be at all comfortable with it.

But somehow she found herself clinging to him, leaning into his strong embrace and unable to do anything but sob.

Eventually she felt him shifting and he carried her into the living room, where he sat in the recliner and settled her in his lap. He rocked them and stroked her hair and didn't shush her, which, absurdly, made her both angry at him and stupidly grateful.

When she was finally able to catch her breath, she whispered, "I'm sorry."

"Emily, you don't have to--"

"Not...that," she interrupted. "For lying to you. For making Garcia and Reid lie to you. I'm so sorry, Dave."

He was silent for a time, but she felt him draw in a long breath. Finally he pressed his lips to her hair. "I'm not angry about it," he said quietly. "You did the right thing. I know it was a difficult decision for you, and I hate that you had to make it. But you did the right thing."

She curled her fingers in his shirt and inhaled his scent. "I haven't felt so alone in years," she said, her voice small.

His arms tightened around her. "I can't imagine," he said quietly. His lips pressed against her forehead. "Thank you, Emily, for being relentless about why Hotch was missing. I can't ever tell you how grateful I am that you found him."

She sniffled and made a self-deprecating noise. "Penelope found him."

He chuckled, and the warmth of the sound made her feel a hundred times better. "She wouldn't have been looking except for you." He rubbed her arms for a few minutes. "Would you like to go to bed?" he murmured.

Without lifting her head from his chest, she nodded. "With rum toddies?" she asked. She hated how needy she sounded, but at the same time she couldn't help relishing how strong Dave was.

He laughed outright. "Of course," he said. "Want to wait while I make them, or go up without me?"

"I'll wait," she said, and slipped off his lap to let him up. When he was standing, she took his hand and walked with him into the kitchen. She leaned against the counter while he boiled water. His gaze on her was frank and warm.

"You look good in my pajamas," he said quietly. "What are we doing, pretending this isn't important, Emily?"

She froze, caught off guard, then felt a slow trickle of warmth build into a flood through her entire body. "Is that okay with you?" she finally asked.

"Okay? Hell yes." He moved closer and brushed his knuckles against her cheek. "It's everything."

She swallowed and licked her lips. "I...wasn't sure..." She trailed off and looked up at him. "You left your pajamas here."

He moved closer still, cradling her face in his hands and leaning down until their foreheads were brushing. "I've known for a long time what I wanted, Emily." He sounded confident, but there was a hint of uncertainty in his gaze. It tugged at her heart. "With you."

She nodded and lifted her face to kiss him. After a moment she pulled back. "Who's with Hotch?" she asked, concerned. She knew Dave wouldn't have left him alone. But there was no one better than Dave to be with him.

He smiled faintly. "Spencer. Aaron talks to him. And I needed to be here."

She frowned. "Dave, if you--" He cut her off with a gentle finger against her lips.

"I needed to be here," he murmured. "As much for myself as for you. You had a worse day than any of us, but my day wasn't so great either. I needed the comfort of your company."

It made her smile. "I needed yours," she admitted, fingering the soft flannel of his pajamas. "I just wasn't sure I ought to ask."

He pulled her into his arms. "Ask me anything, Emily," he murmured. "Ask me anything."