[4x14 - Cold Comfort]
"It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves."
Lisa Mantchev, Eyes Like Stars
Derek Morgan knew something was off with his partner. After years of working together, he could read Emily like a book. He knew when she was happy, sad, frustrated, and angry. He even knew when it was her time of the month. Ever since the beginning of their current case, Prentiss just hadn't been herself and Derek had made it his goal to find out why.
They travelled along on the long road toward the airport in the SUV. The car gently rocked back and forth as it drove through the steady rain. As Morgan was attempting to come up with a plan of how to approach Prentiss, he found himself stealing glances her way beside him in the passenger seat. She was staring out the window at the passing landscape but could barely keep her eyes open.
"Prentiss?" Derek began softly.
"Hmmm?" she mumbled, still gazing out the window.
"Are you alright? You've been pretty quiet lately."
"I'm fine," she began in her usually guarded manner as she turned to face him.
"Emily," Derek cut her off in a knowing tone.
"Really. I'm okay. I still don't feel very well. My head hurts. It's just been a long week. I'll just be happy when we get home."
"I'm sorry. What do you need? Should I stop and get you medicine? A soda? The caffeine might help your head."
"Derek stop, I'm fine. Look, I'm just tired. Don't worry okay?" she comforted.
But her partner still was not convinced. Though he remained quiet about the issue, he kept a watchful eye on Emily throughout the rest of the car ride. As soon as the plane had taken off, she had instantly fallen asleep in the farthest corner of the jet. Derek had quietly made his way near her sleeping form and sat across from her. He quickly noticed her flushed cheeks and chest; this, coupled with the fact that she was clutching a blanket around her shoulders and shivering from what was clearly the beginning of a fever, helped Derek realize how sick Prentiss was truly becoming.
Just as the plane landed with the sunrise, Morgan followed Emily out to where the team's cars were parked. "Are you sure you're all right?" he asked one more time before she got into her car.
"I'll be fine. At least we have a long weekend. I'll just finish off these case files and get some rest," she forced a smile as she tried to get him to stop worrying.
"You better," Derek smiled, still not convinced.
Later that afternoon, Prentiss moped her way towards the door to answer the knock she had heard. Every part of her body ached and her nausea felt like it would never go away. She was not in the mood to entertain guests. But when she opened the door, she couldn't help but smile as she saw Derek Morgan standing before her holding a bag from the pharmacy in his hands.
"What are you doing here Morgan?" Emily asked.
"Can't a guy take care of his partner?" he smiled as he reached for a bottle of medicine in the bag. "Because I know you certainly aren't." She began to protest but he cut her off. "I know you too well Em. Am I right?"
"Well," Emily answered, knowing he was right. "Come in," she conceded.
Derek walked with Emily to the living room and glanced around to see case files strewn over every surface available. "I knew it! Don't you ever stop working?"
"These files have to be completed by Monday," she protested.
"Emily you're sick!" Derek said.
"I'm not that sick!" Emily exclaimed before the only sound she made was coughing.
"Right," Morgan responded with a look of disbelief. "Come on Princess, give it up. You are going to take this and sit right here and get better," he continued as he handed her the bottle of medication and moved to clear off the many manila folders covering the couch. "These case files can wait."
Emily stood looking in mock annoyance at the man before her. "You're never going to stop worrying about me, are you?"
"Never," Derek winked and pointed to the medicine she held in her hand. "Oh and taking that was not a request; because if you do," he said as he held up a movie he knew she loved and wiggled it in his hands.
"Now that I cannot argue with," Prentiss smiled as she moved to take the medicine while Derek put in the movie.
After she had taken the pills, Emily made herself comfortable on the couch under a blanket. Derek moved to hand her the remotes and grabbed his coat. "You should rest. Let me know if you need anything, okay?"
"You're leaving?" Emily asked in surprise as she looked up at her friend.
"Well I've bugged you enough. I know you don't exactly like being told what to do and you'd kill me if I tried to babysit you anymore. I don't want to bother you," Derek explained. He clearly didn't want to leave but he couldn't impose on Emily any more. Luckily, she had the same sentiments.
"You could never bother me Morgan. I would really love if you stayed. Only if you want to though," Emily added with nervousness.
"Are you sure?" he replied hopefully.
"Of course," she smiled. "And it's not like I could really enjoy this movie alone anyway. I just hope I don't make you sick."
"I've been around you this entire week. If you were that contagious, I would already be sick. Or maybe my immune system is just as strong as I am," Derek laughed as he showed off his arm muscles.
"Oh my," Emily laughed. "Sit down before you trip over your oversized ego and hurt yourself."
Derek was thankful Emily had let him stay. So he sat down beside her and they spent the rest of the afternoon watching the movie but simply enjoying being with each other. Morgan made soup for Prentiss before he went home for the night.
"Thanks for this. I really needed it. It's been a rough week," Emily offered as she watched Derek clean up the dishes. She had offered to help but he wouldn't hear of it.
"I've noticed," Derek smirked in her direction, both instantly remembering Emily's bad mood the first morning of the case in regards to Penelope's horoscope predictions. "Are you sure it was just being sick?"
"No," Emily rolled her eyes. "My landlady has been dying to set me up with her nephew so after months I finally agreed to go out with him just to finally stop hearing about it."
"And?" Derek prodded.
"Well let's just say, I still don't believe in the things, but the horoscope was right about a supposed 'slight hitch in my romantic opportunity'" she mocked as she threw up her hands to make quotations.
"That bad huh?" he asked. Deep down, very deep down although he could never admit it, Morgan secretly relished in the fact that he was the only man who was constant in Emily's life. Even if they were only partners and best friends, jealousy still existed in each of them.
"It was a total disaster. He was completely freaked out about my day job. I should have stuck with my mother's rule: serial killers are not suitable dinner conversation. He only mentioned he was a strict, convicted vegetarian after I ordered one of the best steaks on the menu. Then he proceeded to glare at me with every bite I took. I was so nervous I spilled the red wine and ruined a brand new silk blouse. Oh and last but not least my nerd side came out within the first five minutes. The guy didn't even know who Kurt Vonnegut was, can you imagine?" Derek couldn't help but laugh as his partner dramatically described her unfortunate evening. "It's not funny," Emily continued, contradicting the smile on her face.
"No, no. Not funny at all," Morgan chuckled. "Well perhaps the stars will realign in your favor very soon."
"I think the stars should just stay out of my love life completely." Emily laughed.
The kitchen was clean and Derek insisted Emily get some rest. Morgan also insisted he take the stack of case files he had found so he could finish them for his sick partner. She tried to protest but naturally, he wouldn't hear of it. They said their goodbyes and Emily could already tell she felt better.
The next day, Emily felt infinitely better than she had the previous day. She wasn't sick anymore but rather, sick of simply sitting around doing nothing for hours on end. So she thought she would take Derek up on his offer of a workout date he had mentioned if she felt up to it. She reached for the phone and pressed the speed dial for her partner.
Only a few moments later, Emily heard a raspy voice mutter from the other end of the line, "Hello?"
"Morgan? Hey. I was just calling to see if you still wanted to go to the training gym this afternoon."
"Well… actually," Derek began, but was cut off by a bout of coughing.
"Oh no," Emily breathed as realization dawned on her. "You're sick now too?"
"You know this is all your fault, don't you?" Derek joked; but his laugh quickly became another coughing fit.
"Oh Derek I'm so sorry," Emily responded with sympathy.
"Hey, it's okay. But yeah, maybe we could reschedule? I'm pretty sure all I'm going to do today is sleep."
"Of course. Well I hope you feel better."
"Thanks Em," Derek replied sincerely.
"And I really am sorry," Prentiss added.
"Don't be. Look I might have gotten sick but at least I got to spend time with you in the process. I'd say it was worth it," Morgan responded and suddenly Emily was thankful they weren't talking face to face as she felt her face begin to flush.
"Alright, well feel better." With that, both agents hung up their phones with a smile on their face. Derek made his way back to the couch, lacking any energy to tackle the case files he had brought home and even lacking the energy to pay attention to the football game playing out on his television screen.
About an hour later, Morgan was pulled out of wallowing in his self-pity by a knock on the door. He pulled himself up off of the comfortable couch with a moan of frustration and stomped his way to the door. He yanked the door open with incredible force but was stopped from beginning a raging tirade when he saw Emily Prentiss standing before him with a smile on her face. He had to admit, that smile could make him fall weak at the knees every single time he saw it.
"Em," he exclaimed as his anger instantly dissipated and was replaced with excitement. "What are you doing here?"
"I thought I would return the favor," Emily stated as the held up a container of soup in one hand and a handful of medicine in the other.
"You didn't have to do that."
"Neither did you," Emily countered with a wink.
"Touché," Morgan responded as he opened the door further and gestured for his smiling partner to come in.
"So I guess your immune system isn't so tough now is it?" Emily couldn't help but joke as she giggled and led him to the couch.
So the process repeated itself, only this time in reverse. Derek took his medicine at Emily's insistence and they watched a movie while they at the soup Emily had bought, since she hated cooking anyway.
"Oh look your favorite thing, horoscopes," Derek smiled as he sat in the living room and he read the paper that had just been delivered as Emily was gathering her belongings.
"Oh gosh not that again," Emily moaned with sarcasm.
"You're not scared are you Princess?" Derek winked towards his partner, only to earn an eye-roll in return.
"Let's just get this over with," she conceded.
Morgan cleared his throat rather dramatically with a flourish of the paper in his hands before he began to read "Okay, Libra. Do not be discouraged about your past misfortunes. Your world will turn around sooner than you think. Just follow your heart and your true destiny could be right before your eyes."
"Ridiculous," Emily instantly offered to cover the fluttering feeling creeping into her heart with the last phrase. "Like I said before, it's gibberish."
"I agree; but you have to admit it is a little fun." Derek smiled only to be met with a roll of the eyes from Prentiss. "You're right though, I think I would rather control my own destiny."
"Thank you," she nodded in agreement, but still unable to shake the feeling she had when the little bit of words had hit closer to home than she had expected.
"Do you need anything else before I go?"
"Now that I think of it, Momma always gave me a Vicks vapor rub down when I was sick like this. So tell me, want to take a feel Princess?" Derek smiled as he raised his hands by his chest in a questioning gesture.
Although for a split second, Emily couldn't think of anything she'd love more than getting her hands on her partner's perfectly sculpted pack of abs, her FBI instinct kicked into high gear with a guarded response. "Oh keep dreaming mister."
"Oh I will. And maybe the stars will realign in my favor," he winked.
"I think you might need the universe to realign before that happened." Emily joked right back earning a pout from her partner.
They walked to the door and said their goodbyes once more. "Thanks for this Em. I know I can count on you."
"Always," Emily winked. "Feel better," she said as she turned and made her way to the car, mind still on the previous topic of discussion as she tried to rationalize her way out of the growing feelings she had for her partner. For now, she could. But soon, they would both realize that no matter how much they tried to fight it, the universe had other plans. They were made for each other.