4x18 - Omnivore
"If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger."
― Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights
"He's going to be okay," Rossi said with a father-like assurance as he noticed Emily nervously picking her fingernails in the passenger seat beside him.
"Promise?" Emily asked with the tone of a scared child.
"I promise kiddo," Rossi comforted his favorite agent as he reached for one of her hands. To him, Emily was the daughter he never had. They had deep conversations, similar interests and temperaments… so he knew exactly why she was as nervous as she was. "You know he's lucky to have a partner like you. Someone who cares."
"Thank you," Emily said in Rossi's direction, but her voice was still weak. "We have to catch him Rossi. He hurt Morgan, who knows who he'll go after next… We can't let him rip our family apart."
"And we won't. We're going to hunt him down no matter what," Rossi assured as they pulled into the driveway of the house. They alighted from the car and Hotch pulled in directly behind them.
The three agents walked up to the house, Emily's stomach still churning with nerves – all she wanted to do was make sure her partner was all right – she hated to think of him hurt in any way. In her mind, Derek Morgan was invincible, she couldn't bear to think of losing a single one of the team members, but she knew losing Derek would be the worst of all. He was her partner and they protected each other, but even more than that, he was one of her best friends and she didn't think her heart could handle losing one more person in her life.
"Dave, you and I can assess the situation out here. Prentiss, why don't you go check on Morgan? I can only imagine how difficult he is being for the paramedics," Hotch added with a rare but guarded smile.
Emily nodded and practically ran into the house to find Morgan. Soon she heard his curses, no doubt at the poor paramedic, and moved quickly toward the sounds. "Morgan?" she said with a breathy tone of both worry and relief as she saw her partner sitting before her. She wasn't sure what made her breath quicken more: the injuries covering his body, the fact that he was actually alive or simply his perfectly sculpted body… she would have denied the last reason to her grave but she knew it was a combination of all of those reasons.
"Hey Em… Ouch!" Derek exclaimed, glaring at the paramedic. Emily walked over to him; thankful she could finally see him alive and breathing in front of her.
"Hey," Prentiss said, placing a hand on his shoulder as Morgan looked up to meet her gaze. "How are you feeling?"
"Like I got thrown through a window," Derek began, receiving a less than amused glance from Emily. "But once they get this glass out of me, they say I should be ready to get back to work."
"Good, but you're going to need to take it easy." Emily said softly, regretfully taking a step back to let the paramedic do his job.
"I'm going to catch this guy Emily," Derek said with obvious determination.
"Yes you will. We will. Together. But right now just be thankful you're alive." Emily said, trying to calm herself down from her previous thoughts of possibly losing a partner.
But at that moment, Hotch entered the room to evaluate the situation. The three agents discussed the events of the last hour, particularly the actions and motivations of the UnSub. However Morgan's anger didn't go away and neither did Prentiss' worry. Hotch excused himself to continue investigating the scene, knowing he had left Morgan in his partner's capable hands.
The partners discussed the case a bit further but Prentiss really didn't care at this point, she was just happy Morgan was alive and she tried to remind him of that. But he was still angry… angry and confused – not at her of course, but at the fact that his pride had been hurt far worse than his body.
So Derek stood up and left the room before the paramedic could tell him about the pain medication he would need. Luckily, Emily quickly asked on his behalf and proceeded to dash after her partner. "Morgan!" Emily called after him.
"You forgot this," Emily said, handing Morgan the small pack of pain relievers. "The paramedic said to take two every four to six hours."
"Thanks but I'm fine," Derek said, defeat still clear in his voice. Emily was trying to be understanding but her patience was wearing thin. Yet when she looked into the eyes of her partner, all she could ultimately think of was her gratefulness that he was simply still there.
"Morgan, if you want to catch this guy, you'll need your strength," she said softly. "Go on, take them," she nudged. And as always, he couldn't say no to her so he reached for the medication. "Now, you're going to take those and get better and we're going to catch this guy," Emily said with a purpose she hoped would rub off on Morgan.
"But we don't have any more leads. He could just go kill someone else tomorrow."
"Morgan," Emily whispered soothingly; trying to pull him out of this line of thinking.
"But nowhe has my credentials and he could do anything…" he continued.
"Derek," Emily still trying to cut him off, attempting to reason with him; but he continued.
"I just don't understand why he didn't kill me when he had the chance…" he responded, head down deep in thought. And for her it was her emotional undoing.
"Would you stop it!?" Emily practically yelled; his final words her breaking point. He looked up, utterly startled and then he could see that she was trying to fight the tears welling in her eyes. "I know you're angry but you are alive, and that's all that matters. I promise you we will fight until we catch this guy – he has hurt enough people and now he is messing with our team," she said, her voice cracking but she carried on. "But Derek, right now you just need to remember how lucky you are to still be here to fight at all."
Emily stormed off before a very confused Derek could even process what she had said. "Don't be too hard on her," a voice said from behind him. Derek turned around to see Rossi walking up to him. "Think of how you felt when she took that beating from Cyrus," Rossi continued, noticing the pain of the memory on Derek's face. "You wanted to run in there and protect her the minute he laid a hand on her. It was written all over your face, even if you did tell me anyway. Why? Because you're her partner, and more importantly, you're her friend… So imagine how she felt when she found out you were hurt, and possibly killed; and she wasn't there to protect you… her partner… the way she feels like she should have been."
Derek looked at the older agent, stunned but strangely not at all surprised. He knew the way he and Emily had both felt after she was held hostage by Cyrus – and there was no amount of money in the world that would cause him to go through that again. He was still upset but now, he finally realized just how selfish he was being.
"She'd kill me if I told you this: but I'm going to tell you anyway because you obviously need to hear it. Do you that that she was a nervous wreck when we heard you had been hurt," Rossi continued, trying to help Morgan see past his anger to the pain of his partner. "You know Emily is a guarded person, she's been raised to act like she has it all together all the time and so it takes a lot to affect her; it's hard for her to trust anyone. But when she does let someone in, it's wholeheartedly. And she has let you in Morgan. You don't have to be a profiler to know you two share a special bond. You're partners, you put your very lives in the hands of the other every day. You are two of the closest members on this team because not only do you protect one another out of duty to your job, you do it because you care about each other. This team is the closest thing we all have to a family. So don't let her think for a minute that it isn't worth it. Don't make her regret opening up to you," Rossi concluded with a sharp but sympathetic look in Morgan's direction.
Morgan stood open-mouthed at David Rossi. Derek Morgan didn't usually like being told what to do, but this time, he knew the other agent was right. He had just been to upset to realize it. Sure he had every right to be angry; to want to take revenge on his attacker; but he couldn't forget about the ones who cared about him – the way Prentiss did.
"Thanks Rossi," Morgan said with sincerity. To which Rossi simply responded with a nod of his head in the direction Emily had wandered. And at that, Morgan rushed to find her, pain still shooting through his body, but still only focusing on finding her. He finally saw her small frame and dark hair by one of the ambulances. She had just finished talking to another agent. He made his way to her, Rossi watching with a knowing smile on his face from his place on the steps.
"Emily…" Derek began softly as he reached for her arm to gently turn her around to face him. "Emily, I am so sorry. I shouldn't have acted that way. I was being selfish and I didn't even stop to think about anyone else's feelings."
"Derek, I'm fine. Really."
Morgan gave her a look that conveyed every form of disbelief possible, causing realization to finally dawn on Emily. "I'm going to kill Rossi…" she huffed as she put her hands on her hips while still trying to hold it together.
"Look, I was just angry… I still am. But don't think for a minute I'm not happy to be alive. And more than anything else, thankful to have a partner who cares so much."
"You don't have to be sorry. You have every right to be angry. It's just that after I heard you were hurt, I realized how close this guy came to tearing this team apart. When I heard he had gotten to you," she said, taking a shallow breath as she attempted to maintain her composure. "I realized how close I had come to having to bury a partner… a friend… to almost losing you."
"Hey, I'll always be here," Morgan said gently, pulling her into a hug that she instantly melted into. Emily tried to be careful not to hurt his injuries, but he couldn't feel anymore pain, he could only feel her warmth. "You know you can't get rid of me that easy, Princess. I'm too stubborn, just like someone else I know," he added with a wink as they pulled back to meet one another's gaze, but were still locked in an embrace and both oblivious to the fact that David Rossi was looking on with a knowing smile.
So though Penelope brought Derek homemade soup, it was Prentiss to checked on him the most. Falling asleep on his couch after taking care of him the way he had taken care of her after her beating from Cyrus. They always spent time together – both at work and outside of it – so it wasn't really anything new or uncommon. But every instance like this, brought a new appreciation for one another, as partners, as friends, and though they didn't know it yet, as something even more…