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No Goodbyes

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“I think I miss you already.”

 

Those words had cut through Emily like a knife just as much as they had taken an invisible weight off her shoulders. The knowledge that this was the right decision warred with the knowledge of all the potential futures she was giving up for a fresh start. The team was as close to a family as Emily had ever had, and to let go of them was like losing a part of herself. But Emily was tired, the kind of tired that sleep couldn’t fix. It had sunk deep into her bones and began poisoning her soul. All she had wanted since she had returned after barely escaping her encounter with Doyle in one piece was to feel like her old self again. Thus far, that had proved to be unrealistic. The problem went deeper than that, and Emily wasn’t entirely sure that she would ever be her old self again. London wasn’t just a job, it was the chance for a new beginning, an opportunity to find herself and maybe, just maybe, hope that one day she would feel the sun start to shine on her again. But that didn’t mean it would be easy, saying goodbye to her friends, the only family she had ever known.

 

To say goodbye to Derek.

 

Derek Morgan. Sweet Derek, funny Derek. Her best friend and confidante, the one person on the team, maybe the world, who really truly got her. The guy who endured all her childish pranks, who always brought her a triple chocolate cake on her birthday and claimed he had called in a favor with a friend who was a professional baker, then pretended not to hear her when Emily told him he thought this “friend” was actually him getting step by step instructions from his sister Sarah over the phone. Derek Morgan, who knew how lonely the holidays were for Emily and invited her over to his place to watch old movies every single Christmas so she wouldn’t have to spend it alone. Derek, the man who, after being skeptical of her at best in the aftermath of Matthews death had had her back when it came down to it, and who had found her later in the wee hours of the morning and apologized for not giving her the benefit of the doubt, then listened without judgment when she fell apart in his arms, shaking and crying, and told him the whole story. He was the guy who knew she was ticklish on the backs of her knees, and that she had a mild allergy to pistachios. He was the person who had held her hand when she thought she was as good as dead, and who managed to look both completely broken and like his world had been made whole again when she stepped back into that conference room after seven months. He was the guy who always hugged her like he would never let her go again, the kind of hugs that made her feel like she could sink into his chest and live there.

 

He was the guy she had fallen desperately and hopelessly in love with somewhere along the way.

 

She supposed it had been in the aftermath of what happened in New York that Emily had realized that her silly little schoolgirl crush on Derek had turned into something deeper and much more meaningful. They had all almost died on at least one occasion during that case, Derek had gone on a suicide mission in an ambulance rigged with a bomb set to blow up a hospital with all of them in it, and he had driven it to an empty clearing, seemingly content to sacrifice his own life to save his lives of his team and a hospital full of innocents. After that night, Emily had looked at him a little differently, seen him with new eyes. After that night, he would never just be Derek Morgan to her. Yet she had known that despite their near constant flirtations in the years that had followed, despite their growing closeness and the fact that they trusted one another on a level that went far beyond just basic camaraderie, Emily knew that anything more between them could never be. She was smart enough to know that though Derek would have never shied away from her if she had made her feelings known, that though he might have even returned those feelings in some capacity, Derek Morgan was not at a place in his life where he was ready to settle down and get serious with someone, and Emily knew that she would never be content with a series of endless hookups that never lead anywhere, feelings with no future. 

 

So she had kept those feelings buried deep down inside her, even when she had desperately wanted to reveal herself to him. It had taken everything in her not to tell him during the whole Doyle fiasco after his speech in the SUV about how she could trust him, how she had wanted to tell him everything and tell him how she loved him and that that was why she couldn’t let him help her because she would never forgive herself if her past got him killed. She had nearly given in and told him when she was lying on that warehouse floor, convinced by the way he clung to her hand and begged her to hold on that he was as far gone as she was, but she couldn’t get the words out. They stayed lodged in her throat as she struggled to breathe, to stay conscious and she would have gladly used her last breath to tell him she loved him but she was so cold and so tired and all she could manage was to squeeze his hand until the medics came. The words had nearly come out so many times after she came back and saw just how deeply her supposed death had changed Derek. Emily had wanted to more and more every moment they were together again, but she feared that the words would seem hollow in the face of everything they had been through, so she contented herself with trying to infuse the meaning of the words in her every interaction with Derek, as if she could will him to understand with every look, every touch, every inflection of tone. It never felt like enough.

 

Now here she was, about to start her life over miles away from everything she knew and everyone she loved, including Derek Morgan. It felt as if the time for confessing her love had long passed her by and Emily would be lying to herself if she said she didn’t have even a sliver of regret. But it was JJ’s wedding, a night for happiness and celebration, so Emily decided that whatever was waiting for her in the days and weeks that followed, she was going to make the most of the night. She spent a fair bit of it with the rest of her team, her found family, but it was the moments she spent with Derek that meant the most to her. Any other time Emily’s cheeks would have burned with shame at the way her hand clung to his, but that night she allowed herself to feel everything she had held back for nearly four years free of embarrassment. She found herself getting lost in Derek’s smile, in the music of his laugh. When they danced Emily found herself melting into him, content to be in his arms as if they were the safest place in the world. And to her, they were. She laughed freely, was openly affectionate, and she drank probably a little more than she should. 

 

Enough that Derek insisted on driving her home and seeing her safely inside her apartment and into comfortable clothes, averting his eyes out of respect when Emily began stripping down without waiting for him to leave the room, though it certainly wouldn’t have been the first time either of them had accidentally seen the other one in various states of undress. The job had insured that they had all seen a little more of one another than they had maybe wanted to, in some cases. Emily fought back tipsy giggles when a particular memory bubbled to the surface as she pulled a faded Yale sweatshirt over her head. Derek quirked an eyebrow at her as he reentered the room, placing a glass of water and two aspirin on her bedside table.

 

“What’s so funny, princess?” He asked. “You look like the cat who ate the canary over there.”

 

“Remember when Hotch lost that bet with Garcia?” Emily said by way of explanation. “And he had to wear that godawful Speedo to the beach with the team?”

 

“The one with the words ‘hot stuff’ written across the ass in neon blue?” Derek said with a grin. “How could I forget that? Believe me, I’ve tried.”

 

“Makes you wonder how long Garcia had been waiting to coin the term ‘Hotch rocket’ huh?” Emily replied, bursting into laughter anew.

 

Derek grimaced. “I think I could live the rest of my life without ever hearing those words next to each other ever again.” He said. “Or having that mental image.”

 

“Oh come on, Morgan.” She teased. “Not everyone can be packing a Saturn V like some guys I know.”

 

“And just how do you know what I’m packing?” He quipped. “You surveying the goods, princess?”

 

“We’ve kept each other company on a few bad nights lately.” She said. “Morning wood is pretty hard to ignore when it’s pressed into your back, pal.”

 

“You’re the one who always winds up curled up into me like a cat.” Derek said defensively. “I never pegged you for being such a cuddle bug, princess.”

 

“Hey.” Emily said with a wink. “I think I’m supposed to be the one doing the pegging in this scenario.”

 

That made Derek throw his head back and laugh. If Emily had been any less buzzed, she would have turned bright red and been mortified by her own brashness, but as she was she felt no shame. Just an unwillingness to let the moment end.

 

“You’re a little saucy with some alcohol in you.” Derek said after he had gotten ahold of himself. “I should probably let you get some sleep before you give me more ammo to tease you with tomorrow.”

 

“Yeah.” Emily said, not bothering to mask her disappointment. “We wouldn’t want that.”

 

“I’m gonna miss giving you shit all of the time, you know.” He said. “I might even miss you giving it right back to me after a while.”

 

Emily gave him a sad little smile but said nothing further, which Derek seemed to take as his cue to leave, nodding at her and then turning to head towards the door. He hadn’t taken more than a few steps when the words came out without her meaning for them to. They had bubbled up her throat and out her mouth before she could stop them.

 

“I’ve been in love with you for years, you know.”

 

Derek stopped, stood stock-still with his back towards Emily for a long moment before slowly turning back towards her. Emily was shocked by the pained look in his eyes, the one thing Derek couldn’t control as he forced his face into a neutral expression. He swallowed hard, his  Adam’s apple bobbed visibly in his throat. When he spoke, it was in the softest, quietest voice Emily thought she had ever heard from him.

 

“Why, Emily?” He asked. “Why now?”

 

Emily blinked back tears. “I didn’t exactly plan it.” She said hoarsely. “I know that it’s too little, too late by pretty much everyone’s standards. It just sort of slipped out, Derek, I’m sorry.”

 

“Too late.” He said with a dark laugh. “Yeah, I’d say so, princess. Considering you’re getting ready to leave the country, I’d say you forced the clock to read midnight.”

 

“I didn’t mean…” She began.

 

“How long?”

 

Emily frowned. “Excuse me?”

 

“How long have you felt like this?” He said. “You said it’s been years, how many?”

 

“Four years.” She replied quietly. “Ever since New York.”

 

Derek clenched his jaw. “Jesus, Emily! Four years? He exclaimed. “Four whole years and you never said a word to me?”

 

“I’m sorry.” She said again. “I never wanted you to find out like this. I never meant for you to find out at all.”

 

“How is that supposed to make me feel, Emily?” His voice rose. “That you’ve felt this way about me all this time and I was never supposed to find out?”

 

“Derek…”

 

“How am I supposed to live with that?” Derek continued, his voice breaking. “How am I supposed to move on when I have to spend the rest of my life knowing that I could have had you?”

 

Emily paused, stared at him with her lips parted and tears streaming down her face in complete and utter shock. It felt like she had just been slapped.

 

“What?” She asked, certain that she couldn’t possibly have heard him right. 

 

“Did it ever occur to you,” He said slowly. “That maybe I felt the same way you did for just about as long?”

 

“You’re angry.” She said. “People say things they don’t really mean when they’re angry.”

 

“And why do you think I’m angry?” He asked. “Emily, I have loved you for so long and I didn’t say anything because I never thought you would go for me. I’m mad at myself for being too afraid to even try and I just found out that we could have been something!” 

 

“Okay, when?” Emily said. “If you’re serious and this isn’t some way to get back at me, when was it? What made it happen for you?”

 

“You’re not gonna believe me.” Derek said, laughing humorlessly. “Miami. That friend of Will’s?”

 

“You’re right, I don’t believe you.” She said as she wiped her eyes. “No offense, but you were pretty into that detective. I think I was even a little jealous.”

 

“That was the point, Prentiss.” He sighed. “And Lopez called me on it. Asked me if I realized that when I flirted, I’d look to see if you’d noticed.”

 

“So you wanted to make me jealous.” She said. “No offense but that doesn’t necessarily mean…”

 

“I’m not done yet.” He said. “On the plane ride home, Reid asked JJ how she knew she loved Will. Do you remember what she said?”

 

“That she thought she’d known for a while.” Emily replied. “She was just too scared to admit it. Even just to herself or to him.”

 

“Exactly.” Derek said. “That was when I realized that I had been doing the same damn thing with you. Then New York happened, and Colorado, and if I had needed any confirmation, I sure got it.”

 

“Dave told me how you’d looked so helpless listening to Cyrus.” She said. “I could never figure out what he meant by that. I’d never seen you look helpless.”

 

“I felt helpless.” He said. “It’s funny, when I think of all the times in the past few years when I’ve felt that way, they all involved you being hurt or in danger and me not being able to do anything to help you.”

 

“Do you remember when I told you about Rome?” She asked. She moved across the room until they were standing face to face, took his hands in hers, looked up at him shyly. “I was so ashamed of my past, of what I had done, and you kissed me on the forehead and told me that you were proud of me. You told me you didn’t know many teenage girls in my position who would have been able to make such a level-headed decision, even if it meant walking around with a scarlet letter for it. You told me that I was brave.”

 

“I meant it.” He said. He ran a thumb across her knuckles. “In that moment, Emily, I don’t think I had ever loved you more and the fact that you were able to trust me with something that personal…”

 

“I always trusted you.” Emily said. The tears were flowing freely once more. “I didn’t tell you about Doyle because I knew you would go after him yourself and if you had gotten killed for me, I would never have been able to live with myself.”

 

“See, that’s how I felt about you.” Derek said, kissing her hand. “A piece of me died when I thought I’d lost you and even though I knew it would never bring you back, I wanted to make Doyle pay for killing you.”

 

“I put you through so much.” She whispered. “I don’t know how you were able to forgive me so easily.”

 

“Hey now.” Derek lifted Emily’s chin, wiped away the tears on her cheeks. “What I went through was Doyle’s fault, not yours. You did what you had to do to survive and no matter how it made me feel, I’m glad you did. Just because you’re mad at someone or you don’t understand why things had to happen a certain way doesn’t mean you stop loving them.”

 

“You love me.” Emily breathed. “You love me and you were ready to let me go to London.”

 

“I want you to be happy, Emily.” He said. “Even if that means it’s not with me.”

 

“You know what would make me happy right now?” She said, looking up at him. “Kiss me.”

 

Derek grinned. “You got it, princess.”

 

Their lips melded together, seeming to fit perfectly as if they were made for one another. The butterflies in Emily’s stomach that she tried to ignore all took flight at once, leaving her feeling dizzy and lighter than air. Derek’s hands reached up to cradle her face, a thumb running along her jaw as he coaxed her mouth open with his. Emily swore she felt her eyes roll back in her head when their tongues made contact and she couldn’t hold back the low moan that escaped her, which only encouraged Derek to pull her closer and probe her mouth further. It was soft and slow and sweet, Derek was so gentle with her that it was almost painful and it only made Emily want him more. She had imagined how this moment would go between them a million different times in a million different ways, but she hadn’t anticipated the grunt of surprise that came from Derek’s throat when she pushed off his jacket and loosened his tie from his neck nor the way his hands stilled hers when she went to undo the buttons on his shirt. Emily was confused, to say the least.

 

“Em…” Derek muttered between kisses. “Emily...we can’t…we can’t do this…”

 

“Why not?” She replied. “Do you not want to? I mean, it sure feels like you want to…”

 

Emily pressed her body against Derek’s, relishing the feeling of how hard he was for her almost as much as she relished the low groan he let out in response to the contact. Derek nipped at her mouth.

 

“You’ve had a lot to drink.” He said against her. “I don’t want to take advantage of you. It’s not right.”

 

“I didn’t drink that much.” She said. “I’m sober enough to know that I want this.”

 

“I don’t know, Emily…”

 

“Derek, please.” She hated how her voice came out in such a needy whine. “I love that you’re being a gentleman, but I need this. I don’t know if I’m ever going to have another chance, and I need to know how you feel in me. I need to know that this was real.”

 

Derek kissed her again, more aggressively this time and Emily knew he was losing his resolve. “I don’t have a condom on me.” He said, his voice a low rumble.

 

“I have an IUD.” She said. “You’re not going to get a phone call from me in a few months to tell you that I’m late, and I get tested regularly, same as you.”

 

“I want to.” He said. “You know I do…”

 

“Then do it.” Emily said. “We’ve wasted too much time already. I want to know what it feels like to love you like this, I want to know how it feels to have you moving in me, I want to feel you come and know that I was the reason why you did. I need this and I think you do too.”

 

This final plea seemed to be all Derek needed to put aside any reservations he still had, because when he lowered his head to kiss Emily once again, there was a heat behind it that hadn’t been there before and when Emily reached for the buttons on his shirt, Derek didn’t stop her. No sooner had she pushed the last of the fabric off of his shoulders and began fumbling with his belt did Derek stop her. Emily looked up at him questioningly and was rewarded with a quick kiss on the forehead and Derek reaching to pull her sweatshirt over her head. Emily arched into him when Derek kissed down her jaw and neck, pressing her breasts to his bare chest and loving the way it felt to be skin on skin with him. She kissed down his chest and did away with his pants at the same time he slid both pajama bottoms and underwear down her legs. This was a far cry from anything Emily had ever experienced with a man or woman before; it was nothing like John’s sloppy teenage kissing and nervous fondling, or Fiona’s hushed admonitions to be quiet or her father would hear them, it was certainly held nothing of Ian’s aggression that bordered on violence. This felt softer, more reverent and gentle, more passionate.

 

This is what it felt like to be with someone you love.

 

She led Derek by the hand toward the bed and he lowered her onto it with such gentleness, you would have thought that Emily Prentiss was made of glass. Derek’s hands roamed her body with equal parts hunger and adoration, taking their time to learn her every curve and commit each one to memory, only allowing himself a moment to linger on the freshest of Emily’s scars, the one across her lower abdomen where Doyle had staked her, before moving on. Derek’s fingertips skirted her thighs and Emily shuddered at his touch when he dipped between them. He gave a sharp intake of breath when he touched her.

 

“Holy fuck, princess.” He said. “How the hell are you so wet already when all we’ve done is kiss?”

 

“I’ve been fantasizing about this for four years.” She said. “I’ve had plenty of time to get all worked up.”

 

“Oh?” He raised an eyebrow. “And in these fantasies of yours, what did I do?”

 

“Who cares?” Emily laughed. “I’ve got the real deal right here. What do you want to do?”

 

“I want you to feel as perfect as you are to me.” Derek said, kissing down her body. “I want to make you forget every bad thing that ever happened to you in bed or out of it and replace it with just how much I love you.”

 

When Derek’s tongue hit her clit, Emily arched and bucked her hips in pleasure. She had always been self-conscious when it came to oral sex, especially with men, but Derek managed to banish her every fear by not only seeming to know what he was doing, but the fact that he seemed to actually be enjoying himself. So instead of worrying about how she tasted or smelled, both of which seemed to be a non-issue judging by the way Derek moaned against her, or about her grooming or lack thereof in recent months, she was able to lose herself in the moment and give herself up to the sensation of heat between her legs and the knot that had formed in her stomach. Truth be told, she was a little embarrassed at how quickly she came, her first orgasm needed little to no coaxing but it had been a long time and Derek was very good. He inched back up to kiss her, mouth tasting of her, and Emily found herself gripping his cock, noting with surprise that in addition to being gorgeously hard and as smooth as fucking velvet, he was uncut. Derek seemed to sense her reaction and looked at her.

 

“Everything okay, princess?” He said. “I know we didn’t really- it’s a long story but...is this okay?”

 

“Yeah! Yeah!” Emily said. “It’s fine, it’s not my first rodeo it’s just...not so common this side of the world.”

 

Derek laughed. “Fran Morgan took ‘all natural’ to a whole new level in the seventies.” He said. “I know for some women, that’s a non-starter but…”

 

“Derek, I’ve spent half my life in Europe.” Emily said, a small laugh escaping her as she pumped him experimentally. “A little extra skin doesn’t bother me.”

 

Whatever Derek chuckled in response was lost as he guided his length between her legs, pressing into her, the head of his cock seeming to break her open and make her feel whole all at once. Even with how wet she was, it was a tight fit but then he was in and she felt gloriously full. He gave her a moment to adjust to the feeling of him inside of her and then he was moving in her and oh, oh, oh, he felt so good. Emily felt like she was reduced to being a virginal teenager again, always hyping up the act beyond the point of any realistic expectation but it was really that good with Derek, it was pure ecstasy. She didn’t know when the tears had started falling again, hadn’t been aware that they were present until Derek wiped them away, kissing her and looking so adorably concerned for her.

 

“Hey.” He said softly. “What’s wrong? Did I hurt you?”

 

Emily shook her head. “You didn’t hurt me.” She said with a smile. “I’m just happy.”

 

She could have laughed at how unconvinced he seemed, he was so cute, but even more than that it left a warmth in the pit of her stomach that she had never felt before. That someone could care so deeply for her was a concept so foreign to her that for years she hadn’t believed that such a thing existed, at least not for her. Yet it did, the proof of it resting in the eyes of the most beautiful man she had ever known. Emily pulled his face down to hers and kissed him again and again and again until his fears were banished and they had lost themselves in their own rhythm once again. They moved together like stars in the night sky, like memories on the wind. Derek stroked her face so tenderly with one hand, tracing the pattern of her mouth with his thumb while the other hand slid down to rub her clit. Emily came within minutes, unsure how much of it was stimulation and how much of it was the sensation of being truly loved and wanted. When she cried out, Derek captured her lips with his own and then pressed his forehead to hers, his own release close. She came for a final time seconds before he did and for a moment, it felt like time had stopped.

 

They stayed like that, a tangle of limbs, for quite some time until their breathing evened and they could tear their eyes away from one another. When they finally parted, their souls having come back down to earth or so it felt, Derek pulled Emily close to him and she laid her head on his chest. Neither of them spoke, neither of them wanted to break the spell that had fallen over them by what had just transpired. In that one, long, infinite moment they were just Emily and Derek. They didn’t have to think about how this one night, this one act of love would change them. They needn’t think about what would come after, whether they would let what was between them grow as best it could given their circumstances or let this night fade to memory, the placeholder for all the years they could have spent together. Emily wanted to freeze that moment, trap it in amber, capture it like a snapshot. If she could stay in this moment forever she wouldn’t have to think of tomorrow, wouldn’t have to think of the future. She had been so sure of what she wanted just a few hours before, so certain that London and a new life, a fresh start, was exactly what she needed to become who she was supposed to be in the aftermath of what had happened to her. Now her certainty had wavered, wiped away by something less tangible, more abstract. Love, hope, the promise of something more, something you couldn’t will into existence and that if lost, you might never find again. It occurred to her that running off to London might not give her what she was looking for and that just because the BAU wasn’t going to give her what she wanted either didn’t mean that she had to untether herself completely to be free.

 

But all moments must come to an end, and this one did like all moments. Derek broke the silence first, his voice so strong and quiet in the dark. It offered hope and betrayed an unwillingness to let this one night be the birth, life, and death of their relationship.

 

“I could come visit.” He said. “Every weekend I can manage to get away and Skype when I can’t. I have a lot of PTO stored up, Hotch won’t mind me taking some time off, not if he knows it’s to see you.”

 

“You deserve more than that.” She murmured against him. “A million stolen moments, never standing still.”

 

Derek looked at her then, his dark eyes gleaming in the moonlight, as serious and beautiful as the night itself.

 

“Emily.” He said. “I would take a lifetime of stolen moments with you over a life of unbroken years with anyone else.”

 

With those words, something inside Emily broke free and she had made her decision before the words were out of her mouth, before she could talk herself out of it.

 

“I’m not going to London.”

 

Derek shifted then, sitting up to look at her.

 

“Emily, you told me you couldn’t stay.” He said. “I don’t want you trapped in a life you don’t want because of me. We can make this work.”

 

“You told me to trust my gut.” She said. “What it was trying to tell me. I thought it was telling me to go, but now it’s telling me that if I walk away from this, even if we make the distance work, I’m going to end up hating myself for not taking that full leap of faith.”

 

“You’d be giving up running the London office.” Derek said. “Opportunities like that don’t come along every day. Are you sure you want to give that up?”

 

“I can find another job.” Emily said, reaching up to stroke his cheek. “I can’t find this.”

 

“Emily, I told you I would do whatever it takes…”

 

“I know.” She said. “And I love you for it. You were willing to let me go because you love me, now I’m telling you that because I love you, I’m willing to stay.”

 

He looked at her for a long time before he said anything more. Then finally, “What are you gonna do?”

 

“I have enough in savings that I’ll be alright if I don’t find something right away.” She said, sitting up. “I was thinking maybe I could get my certification to become a teacher. French, maybe, or Italian.”

 

“You think you could be happy doing that?” He asked.

 

Emily smiled. “I think I’d like working with kids.”

 

“Is that something you’d want us to think about someday?” Derek said, his voice betrayed his embarrassment but his gaze held steady. “Kids?”

 

“I mean,” Emily gave a cheeky smile. “I figured we would save that conversation for at least a couple more weeks. I don’t mind moving fast, Morgan, but it’s only been what? Three hours?”

 

Derek rolled his eyes but couldn’t hold back the grin spreading across his face. “Come on, I’m serious.” He said. “You know, if it wasn’t you I was talking to, I’d think I was losing my mind or something.”

 

“You might be losing it anyway.” She said. “I don’t think I’ve ever dated anyone who was all in on day one.”

 

“Get used to it, princess.” He said. “When I’m serious, I’m all in, and I’m serious about you.”

 

Her expression softened. “We’re really doing this, huh?” She said. “You and me. Who’d have thought?”

 

“Pretty much everybody.” Derek chuckled. “Reid was giving me a hard time about you a few months after you joined the team, I think there was a pool.”

 

“They were betting on how long it took us to get together?” Emily said indignantly. “Jerks.”

 

A beat passed. Derek waited. 

 

“Okay.” She said. “Who won?”

 

“At last count?” He said. “I think Hotch still had the closest guess.”

 

“Ugh, seriously?” She exclaimed. “Even Hotch was in on this?! Remind me to give him an earful later.”

 

“I’ll make a note of it, princess.” He said. Derek went quiet for a moment, then kissed her so softly Emily  could have melted. “I love you.”

 

Emily smiled. “I love you too.” She replied. “God, I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of hearing you say that.”

 

“Well then allow me to repeat myself.” He said. “I love you, I love you, I love you.”

 

Each declaration was punctuated with a kiss to her lips, and Emily found her cup of joy overflowing. They stayed up long into the night, talking, kissing, making plans for the future and kissing some more. When Emily finally did drift off to sleep in the early hours of the morning with Derek snoring softly by her side, his arms holding her close even in sleep, she found herself amazed at how one moment had changed the entire trajectory of her future. She had gone into the night convinced that getting a fresh start meant leaving the BAU and everything in her old life behind, the good with the bad, and she ended it with the realization that that wasn’t so. There was none of the hesitation she had felt about going to London in her decision to stay and try to make a new life with Derek, maybe it was foolishness but in the face of love her certainty felt unshakable. There would be questions of course, and incredulity at her willingness to give up such a lucrative job offer for something as difficult to quantify as love, she knew that. But Emily also knew that to love and be loved so unconditionally and without reservation was something she had longed for since childhood and until very recently had felt the absence of in her life. Foolish to some, perhaps, but she knew she could make a name for herself in other ways and she knew that all the money and recognition in the world wouldn’t mean a damn thing to her in the end if it came at the cost of her own personal happiness.

 

Emily’s final thought before falling asleep was to remember something that she had once heard said many years ago: ‘Every ending is also a beginning, we just don’t know it at the time.’

 

She smiled at how true that had turned out to be in the most unexpected yet most wonderful of ways.