Phone Call (7x01)
[7x01 – It Takes a Village]
Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind.
"Pooh!" he whispered.
"Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's paw.
"I just wanted to be sure of you."
-A.A. Milne, "Winnie the Pooh"
The team had all gone to JJ's house to celebrate their reunion after the hearing. Everyone was still trying to get used to having Emily back, it was strange and it was a shock, but they wouldn't trade it for the world.
They all sat around her living room, some on the chairs and couches, others on the floor. But all eyes were on Emily, each in amazement that it was actually her sitting on the floor before them, not simply a figment of their imagination. They all tried to catch up on life, to get back to the place they used to be – as a team, as a family. They all knew it would take awhile, but it was a start nonetheless.
The hours passed into the night and each of the profilers remembered that they were all expected back at work the next morning. Each made their way to the door, saying their goodbyes to Emily simply grateful that it wasn't goodbye anymore but merely, see you tomorrow, just like old times.
Derek was the last to leave. He hadn't spoken much that night. He had just sat there, never taking his gaze off of Emily. He kept remembering the first time he had seen her and realized she was alive.
He turned and followed Garcia's gaze, shocked at the figure standing in the doorway. It couldn't be. It was impossible. But there she was. Emily Prentiss was standing there, alive. She was finally back in his life.
His heart began pounding, he was breathing in deep breaths but still felt like he wasn't getting any air – it was like he was drowning. He was immediately back in the warehouse and he was preparing himself to wake up from what he thought had to be a dream, no… a nightmare: and the worst kind. He had them all the time: images of her coming back to them, back to him – only to have Doyle rip her out of his arms as he would wake up in tears, realization always hitting him like a ton of bricks that he would never see her again. But here she was, and try as he might, he couldn't wake up, because this time he wasn't dreaming.
He felt the tears in his eyes, he knew he must look like a deer in headlights but he didn't care because all that mattered was that she was here, even more beautiful than he remembered, but he still noticed her tired eyes. She noticed his stare and began to make her way to him – and she felt like she couldn't move fast enough. This was one of the moments she had prayed for over the past seven months – the day she saw him again, the day he found out the truth, the day their worlds were both set right again.
She reached out to hug him, to hold him after she told him she was sorry, that he didn't deserve any of this. She knew it wasn't enough but she had to try. And when their bodies met, it was like magic – the warmth she felt, the smell she had missed, the feel of his heartbeat – now she felt like she was home – and she didn't want to let go. She closed her eyes for a brief moment to take it all in, but she had to force herself to let him go. She didn't understand this feeling, this charge of energy she had never felt with anyone before, but she knew she wanted to feel it again.
The moment he finally felt her, Derek realized he wasn't dreaming. It had only felt this real once before – when she was alive. And now he knew it was true – she was home. When their bodies touched, he felt his heart start beating again and he could finally breathe again. He didn't want to let her go, he wanted to hold her for seven months and then an eternity to make up for the time they had lost, but he had to let her go. But that is when his suspicions were confirmed, he knew why the past seven months had been the most miserable of his life other than when his father had died – he was in love. And now he had a second chance – and he wasn't going to let it this opportunity pass this time.
Derek made his way to the door and said his goodbyes to Garcia who was just leaving with Kevin. He turned to Emily, whose eyes were filled with tears and face filled with the emotional exhaustion this experience had inflicted upon her. Even the hint of pain in her eyes made his heart begin pounding loudly in his chest. "I'm so happy you're home…" he began. "Words cannot even begin to describe how much…." Derek choked on his words, "how much I missed you Em. I thought it would never be this way again…"
"I know" Emily began, reaching to place a hand on his shoulder. "But I'm home now. And I'm here to stay… always." Emily said softly, they smiled at the word that had come to define their relationship and they reached to embrace one another in a hug once more. This time they were alone on the porch, no one watching and so they stayed that way for minutes, but it still felt too short a time for both of them. They finally pulled apart, both with tear-filled eyes.
"I'll see you tomorrow?" Derek said, as he looked deep into her eyes, still afraid she might disappear again.
"Of course," she said, knowing he needed the reassurance but realizing so did she.
She watched him make his way to the car and made her way back inside. JJ had insisted she stay in her guest room rather than spend one more night in a hotel after seven month of living in them and hospitals.
Emily finally put herself to bed but her mind was racing with the events that had occurred ever since she had returned. She felt her exhaustion in every bone in her body, but as always, she was terrified to let herself fall asleep. Every night since she'd left, and sometimes before that, Doyle had haunted her dreams. She tried to keep herself awake but her body finally gave over to sleep, and her mind to her horrible memories.
She was running towards her team, but no matter how hard she tried, she couldn't reach them. She knew Doyle was there, and she had to stop him. She spun around as she heard him behind her – she saw him holding Declan in his arms. She yelled for him to let him go but then he came after her. She saw Morgan yelling for her, Declan was looking on as the terrified little boy she had rescued so many years ago, her best friend JJ was reaching out for her but she couldn't get to any of them. Try as she might to fight him off, Doyle began all his best efforts to break her.
Just as a searing pain shot through her abdomen, she shot up in her bed – she was in a cold sweat, tears running down her face, and her heartbeat was trying to catch up with her breathing. She brought her knees up to her chest and rocked herself back and forth, fear had taken over her body. The room and house was too silent and so she jumped at the sound of her cell phone ringing from the bedside table.
He was running through the dark, gun drawn even though he couldn't see anything. But he could hear her screams. He ran frantically, calling out her name into the darkness, willing her to hold on for only moments longer, until he could save her.
He turned the corner and his heart broke painfully within his chest as he realized it was too late. He saw Doyle hovering over an injured Emily, but then disappeared too quickly. He ran to her, calling out her name and she answered him weakly. She was covered in blood but he picked her up and held her in his arms as tightly as he could, willing her to stay alive as he whispered comforting words in response to her whimpers and cries. Her eyes were closing and she was fading quickly… he begged her to stay with him as he delicately placed a hand on her face but she whispered her final words, "I'm sorry Derek" and closed her eyes forever… He cried and screamed, looking around for help but was only met with Ian Doyle, standing before the completely broken man, laughing at his pain.
He shot up into a sitting position, shivering from the memory of the dream, looking around and registering his surroundings, realizing the nightmare had come again.
He started to go back into his voicemail messages. It was like clockwork, he dreamed of losing her and would torture himself even more by listening to the message he had on his phone from her that she had left about a month before she had 'died.' It was nothing special, a message to tell him she had finished the book he had leant her and that she had loved it so she wanted to see the movie now too. It was a short message, but she was happy, he could see her one thousand watt smile in his mind as he heard her laughing and as she said his name. He couldn't bring himself to delete it – for the past seven months, it had been one of his final ties to her. He felt if he deleted it, he might forget her forever, and he just couldn't let that happen.
But realization dawned on him when he remembered the change in the tide of his life over the past few days. He reached for his phone but not to retrieve the message this time… he had to prove to himself that his nightmare was now only that, a lie and no longer the truth. So he dialed the number…
"Hello?" she answered, her groggy voice indicating the lateness of the hour.
"Emily?" Derek whispered softly.
"Derek…" Emily said, even the sound of his voice helped her heart begin to slow its pace.
"Emily… I'm sorry, I didn't mean to wake you… I shouldn't have called." Derek said, hating himself for what he interpreted as his weakness.
"Derek… stop. You didn't wake me. I haven't been able to sleep since that night. What is it? What's wrong?" she asked him sincerely.
"Nothing. I just… I needed to hear your voice. I needed to know that it's real – I needed to know you're really alive again. You're not the only one whose had trouble sleeping these past few months…"
Her heart caught in her chest when she heard his words. She smiled at his caring nature, but she wasn't at all surprised – it was one of the things she loved most about her partner, and one of the things she had missed most when she was gone. "It's okay… It's really me. Like I told you, I'm back for good. I'm here… always."
They stayed on the phone for awhile, both not speaking as they still tried to adjust to their new situation. "So you can't sleep either?" Derek asked, as he was the first to break the silence.
"Never," she began, laying her head back on the pillow. "But now I'm home, now he's gone for good. Maybe they'll finally leave me alone… You have them too?"
"More than I care to admit. But like you said, maybe they'll finally leave me alone because now you're here."
She smiled at his comment, hoping for both of their sakes that they were right but she still wasn't so sure.
"Well I should let you get some sleep." Derek began, a bit embarrassed in himself at what he had done. "Thank you for your help, really. I didn't mean to bother you… you should get some sleep…"
"Derek…" she cut him off. "You could never bother me. You saved my life. And you just saved me from having to finish my own nightmare… Thank you…. for everything."
"Always" he replied, and they both smiled into their phones. "Well I should let you rest, you're back where you belong tomorrow."
"I can't wait," she said genuinely. "Goodnight Derek."
They both laid back in their beds, smiles still on their faces as they drifted off to sleep, a sleep free of nightmares…