DISCLAIMER: Criminal Minds and its characters are the property of CBS. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SPOILERS: 3x17 In Heat, 3x20 Lo-Fi
3 Times Emily Waits (And 1 Time She Doesn't)
The bullpen is dim and you think the entire team has gone home, which is where you're headed, so you grab the last file off of your desk when the light in the conference room catches your eye.
"What the " you mutter under your breath as you put the file down and climb the stairs, grabbing hold of the railing and swinging yourself around. You discarded your heels a long time ago and your nylon feet pad against the carpeted floor, making almost no noise.
You're not sure who could be in the conference room right now, at you check your watch 5:30 on a Saturday morning, especially when you just landed an hour ago after a two week, no-sleep case.
But there she is, hunched over the table, manila folders covering every inch of the tabletop, eyes furrowed in concentration. She comes early and stays late and it seems like no one recognizes it, and here she is again, playing the silent hero.
"Hey," you say softly, because she's chewing on a pen and if you were to scare her and she chocked on it, you'd never forgive yourself.
She looks up, startled anyway, and when she recognizes your face in the shadows, she smiles.
"Hey you." She tilts her head to the left. "Why are you here so late?"
"Why are you?" you shoot back, the smile on your face softening your tone of voice.
"Really though, I thought the case was wrapped and ready to file?" She shakes her head and waves a slender hand over the table.
"The case is never over," she says so softly, you almost miss. She clears her throat. "I've got to start picking a new case. People are dying every day you know."
You do know.
Which is why you pull out your usual seat and look at her expectantly and when she looks back at you, confusion etched into her features, you smile wide.
"We'll grab breakfast when you're done." She double takes.
And when she smiles, you settle back in your chair and let yourself wonder about the possibility of waiting with her forever.
You should have known that something was going on. You should have known she was seeing someone else, because there were just too many signs.
She stopped meeting you for breakfast.
She stopped smiling at you across the bullpen, winking when no one was watching.
She stopped immediately seeking you out when you came out of buildings bleeding from the forehead or the arm of favoring a shoulder.
You should have known and yet, you didn't, and now you're standing in this precinct, in this godawful heat, and all you can think is that you should have known something was going on and you should have known it would be with him.
"Emily," she starts to say, reaching a hand out towards you.
You find yourself recoiling, because she's used goods now and it feels wrong. "What?" you ask, your frown as harsh as your words.
"I'm sorry," she tries to tell you, and you know this next line: she's going to tell you that's she sorry, she's oh so sorry, but you weren't going to work anyway, and being with him is better for everyone. You've heard this once or twice or five times before but you know that if she says it, it's going to hurt more than ever before.
She has the decency to look taken aback, eyes wide in disbelief. "Excuse me?"
"Don't tell me we should end it," you tell her, gesturing between yourself and her. "You know what we have is good. It's great. And whatever you have with him it doesn't matter what it is. You and me, we're better. We're always gonna be better. So don't tell me we should end it." You take a deep breath. "I respectfully refuse your rejection."
"I'll wait," and when you say it, you almost sound pretentious, but it's the truth and you're anything but a liar.
She opens her mouth to say something maybe protest but you shoot a pointed glance in his direction and then look back at her. She shuts her mouth and you resist the temptation to smirk. Instead, you head for the plane, brushing by him without flinching, because you're going to get her back.
There was no time to react. You were on your way out of the hospital, and the next thing you know, you're sitting in the cold plastic chairs in the waiting room, staring at your hands and listening to your heart beat in time to the beeping echoing in the halls.
Garcia blows by then doubles back when she sees your slumped form.
"Oh sweetie " she drops into the chair next to you, and takes one of your hands, gently stopping you from tearing your fingers to pieces. "Have they come out yet?"
"She's in surgery, and they haven't they haven't " but you can't bring yourself to say anymore. You can't bring yourself to say "they haven't told me that she crashed yet" or "they haven't told me if she's alright yet."
He's slumped in the chair across from you and the guilt is etched into his face, mixed with soot and tears and you almost feel sorry for him, but you can't bring yourself to. You can't bring yourself to feel bad because you might have been able to get to her sooner, if she had been with you than with him.
When he looks up, he sees you staring at him, and you watch as he tries to find something to say, his mouth opening and closing like a fish out of water.
"Don't. You. Say. Anything," you growl out. "Don't you say a goddamn word you son of a "
"Jennifer Jareau?" The three of you stand as one and when he goes to step forward because the Doctor's face clearly says "I only want to talk to one of you" you shoot him a withering glance and he backs down.
It's worse than you thought it was, and there are so many wires and so much blood and so many machines that as you look over all of it, you almost can't see her. And when you do, you feel like dropping to your knees, and crying out to God, cursing him and yelling at the top of your lungs.
Instead, you sit down cautiously in the chair by the bed and you take her soft, cool hand in yours, running your fingers over the little vein in her hand that is throbbing under your finger pad so subtly. She's alive and she might not ever be the same, but right now she's alive and you're going make sure she wakes up.
"I'll wait," you tell Garcia, hours later, when the tech analyst yawns for the hundredth time. "I'll wait until she wakes up," you whisper, and Garcia doesn't hear you over the beeping of the machines, but she's already leaving and patting him on the shoulder on her way.
He stares at you, the glass window of the door separating you, and he won't come closer, because he blames himself a little too, and instead, he watches you while you both wait for the love of your lives to wake up.
You can't believe it.
You're in complete and utter denial and as you pace the hallway, growing wearier and wearier with each step. It just seems impossible and illogical and completely turned around and the thought of him in there with her, smiling and laughing and planning a future hits you so hard you feel like you can't breathe.
Morgan watches you silently from where he's leaning against the wall, and every so often you look up and glare at him as if you're daring him to say something.
You speak first. "Unbelievable."
He waits only a second before he agrees. "Things happen "
"Not like this they don't." You look down and scuff your sneaker against the linoleum of the hospital floor. "Why does it seem like nothing ever goes right?"
It's a rhetorical question so he makes no move to answer it, just claps a hand down on your shoulder and pulls you into his embrace, like he expects you to cry.
Which is what you do.
But only for a minute, because you're "big, bad Agent Prentiss" and you're so much stronger and you can't break down because you're better than that and because you won't give her the satisfaction.
If she wants to spend the rest of her life with him, that's her own damn prerogative.
It's not like you spent three months holding her hand, waiting for her to wake up, waiting for to open those beautiful blue eye, waiting for her to realize that you're the one she should be with forever.
It's not like you spent three months waiting for her.
It's not like you're going to wait for her forever, because you're not. You're done waiting and she's planning her life with the man who slept in his own bed every night while you slept in a hospital chair.
You catch her eye as you stalk past the glass window, but you don't hold the gaze, because you're done waiting for the girl who never waited for you.
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