[7x06 – Epilogue]
""I have spied for you and lied for you, put myself in mortal danger for you. Everything was supposed to be to keep Lily Potter's son safe. Now you tell me you have been raising him like a pig for slaughter – "
"But this is touching, Severus," said Dumbledore seriously. "Have you grown to care for the boy, after all?"
"For him?" shouted Snape. "Expecto Patronum!"
From the tip of his wand burst the silver doe. She landed on the office floor, bounded once across the office, and soared out of the window. Dumbledore watched her fly away, and as her silvery glow faded he turned back to Snape, and his eyes were full of tears.
"After all this time?"
"Always" said Snape. "
-Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, J. K. Rowling-
Morgan wrapped the blanket around Emily's soaked body, rubbing his hands up and down her shoulders to attempt to comfort her obvious shivers – mostly from the chill of the water, but also from the memory of her own encounter with death. He thought of when she mentioned it in front of the team. They hadn't talked much about that night, so he had no idea she remembered that moment in the ambulance – because he remembered it as well as she did – he was there too. Morgan knew her so well; he instantly knew what was affecting her. But he wouldn't bring it up – not yet – not here in front of the team.
But he knew where she would be tonight, where he had been so many nights since she returned. They never started out in the same bed – but at some point or another in the night, a scream or a cry would bring them together. Sometimes they would just lie there, comforted by the other's presence; and every now and then, he would just hold her in his arms, so that when the nightmares of that awful memory plagued her mind, she wouldn't wake up scared and alone. And when he remembered her slipping away from him, he would wake up with relief at her alive and safe in his arms.
So he drove her to her apartment after the case was over. It was getting late and all the agents really wanted to do was sleep. So Derek made soup, for them both as Emily showered the remains of the river off of her. And she emerged, of course not at all to Derek's surprise, in his old FBI shirt – the shirt he knew he would never get back.
They ate together, conversation present but all surface and small talk. They cleaned up the kitchen and Emily stood rather awkwardly in the doorway. But Derek spoke her thoughts before she mustered up the courage to voice them. "Can I stay tonight? This case just brought back to many memories," he said gently, sadness in his voice.
"I was hoping you would," Emily replied. They made their way towards the bedroom, and Derek lingered in front of his usual arrangements in the guest bedroom. "Will you stay with me?" Emily asked shyly. "You know you'll just end up there anyway. You always do..."
"I wouldn't have it any other way." He replied, grateful she had wanted him with her the way he wanted her to be with her – the memories of that horrific night playing like a cruel movie on repeat in his mind, and he didn't want to face them alone.
So they made their way into her bedroom. Derek slipped off his shoes and had thankfully changed into sweatpants and another FBI t-shirt before, so he climbed into bed. Emily did the same, and to his surprise and enjoyment, scooted as close to him as she dared. It was only then that he noticed the tears running down her face. He reached over and wrapped his arms around her. "You okay?" he whispered.
"Can you just hold me?" she asked softly, afraid to answer his question. Sure it was unprofessional, it was against protocol. But it was the only way they could survive anymore – because it was the only way they had survived that night to begin with. After the absolute hell they had been through – and because they had been through it together - that was the only way they could get past it now.
"It still feels so real," she said in a scared and shaky voice and he was instantly brought back to that terrifying ride in the ambulance and he remembered the comment she had made on the case.
"You still remember some of that night? The ambulance ride?" he asked, pain in his voice as fresh and as clear as it was in his own heart.
"I remember everything." Emily said, looking straight into his eyes. "I remember everything up until I was brought into the operating room. I remember Doyle, I remember the pain, but more than anything else, I remember that you were with me, you stayed with me the entire time."
They both just stared at each other, a million words, a million emotions and a million memories all running through their minds and into their hearts at once as they remembered that night out loud to one another. It was Emily who spoke first, recalling the most horrific day of her life – of both of their lives – as if it had only happened yesterday.
She remembered lying on the ground, the cold, hard floor – so much pain filled her body but nothing compared to the pain in her heart. She felt so alone, helpless and scared. But she didn't regret what she had done – she had to protect Declan. And that is what she had done – and she knew she would die here doing it. She thought of the young boy she loved so much and then, she thought of her own family.
The other family she was dying to protect, and her heart became even heavier. What she wouldn't give to have one more moment with them, with each of them: to talk about girly things with Garcia in her lair, to have one more heart-to-heart with Hotch in his office, to gain another piece of fatherly advice from Rossi, to go shopping with JJ, to play chess with Reid, and to be with Morgan. She couldn't figure out what activity she would havewanted to do with Morgan, she simply wanted to be with him – to be near him, just to feel his presence, his comfort once more. But in her mind, her memories were all she had to dwell on for the very little time she had left. So she closed her eyes, preparing herself for what she was sure to come, and she thought of her family.
But a voice, so familiar, comforting and warm, broke through her thoughts as it called her name. And when she opened her eyes, she saw the man she had just seen in her own mind – and her heart fluttered with joy, knowing of anyone she would hope to see as she drew her final breaths, Derek Morgan was that man.
"Prentiss!" he yelled again as he bent down beside her, but this time with a tone of relief and also horror that he had found her, found her like this.
"Morgan," she cried weakly, reaching up her hands for him, only to be reminded of the handcuffs still pinning her down. But Morgan beat her to it, he reached for her hands, compromising by holding them when all he really wanted to do was scoop her up in his arms, squeeze her tight and hold her forever and always.
"Hey, it's me! I'm right here. You're going to be alright." Morgan says soothingly as he holds her hands even tighter. "Stay with me, baby! Come on stay with me!" he says, louder this time.
"Let me go," she whispered, though her heart was fighting the very words coming out of her mouth. But she knew she was dying, and she knew Derek Morgan sometimes better than she knew herself, and she had to make him let her go, or he would live with pain and guilt for the rest of his life.
And exactly as she had expected, he refused to let her leave him." No, no I am NOT letting you go!" he demanded. He had to keep her alive, just long enough to get the medics to her, long enough to keep her with him because she was struggling so hard to keep her eyes open. So he began to share his heart, "Listen to me I know why you did all of this, I know what you did for Declan. I'm so proud of you!"
And finally, her eyes shot open to look into his eyes once more. And she knew if she died with this as her last vision as he spoke these words to her, she could die happy." Do you understand that?" he prodded. "I am proud of you because you are my friend and you are my partner!" At that, Emily's strength began to waver and she closed her eyes as she smiled slightly.
"No! Emily! Come on stay with me! If you can hear me please just squeeze my hand." Her eyes remained closed but Emily squeezed his hand, with such force he knew she could stay with him for just a while longer. "Yes… there you go there you go Em! Just keep squeezing…" he said, willing her not to let go.
"Where is my medic!" Morgan yelled at the entrance, furious at the valuable time being wasted. "Emily," Derek said, as he looked back down at his fading partner. He bent down, putting his face only inches away from her own as he reached one hand forward to stroke her cheek. "Come on Princess, you've got to stay with me. I'm not giving up on you! You've got to hold on!"
Emily's eyes fluttered but Derek could sense her breathing become even more labored. He lifted his head, looking around for something, anything, to help remove the handcuffs still on her. He spotted what looked like a bolt-cutter in the corner of the room of the old warehouse. "Emily," he whispered. "I'm not leaving you, I'll be right back. I promise," and as he let go of her hand, he felt as if his heart was being ripped from him.
He moved as quickly as he could to the other side of the room and grabbed the cutters. "Princess, it's okay. I'm going to get these handcuffs off of you." He reached gently and cut the handcuffs, freeing her hands. He immediately reached to hold them once more, but Emily struggled to pull up one of her hands to touch his face for only a moment, and he closed his eyes, imprinting the feel of her touch in his mind forever. But before words could be spoken, the paramedics moved into the room.
They told him he needed to move away but soon realized, their requests were futile – this man was not leaving her side. They moved Prentiss onto the stretcher, working around the interlocked hands of the agents, and began to roll her out to the ambulance.
Morgan held onto Emily as though it were his own life on the line. And just as he never let go of her hand, he never stopped talking to her – never stopped telling her to hold on.
They were beginning to load Emily into the ambulance, Morgan by her side, and Hotch quickly made his way over to them. Before he even spoke, Morgan turned to Hotch. "Did you find Doyle?" he asked worriedly.
"No," Hotch said. "He escaped."
"I'm going with her Hotch. I'm not letting her leave us for good," Morgan said, Hotch noticing the tears in his eyes.
"Go," he said with understanding. "The team will meet you at the hospital."
Morgan climbed into the ambulance behind the paramedics, "I'm here Em," he said, reaching for Emily's hand to comfort her in the new surrounding of bright lights and monitors.
The paramedics got to work: placing a breathing mask on Prentiss along with attempting to get her pulse stabilized. But suddenly, Derek's heart plummeted when he heard the paramedics voices rise and realized Emily's breathing was becoming quick and strained.
"I've lost the pulse!" one of the medics screamed, sending Derek into a panic.
Another paramedic moved his way to check her heartbeat with his stethoscope. "I don't have a heartbeat!" he cried.
They moved to open her shirt – delicately, as not to disturb the stake in her stomach – and brought the defibrillator down to her chest, but not until Derek caught a glimpse of the reddened wound on Emily's chest – it was in the shape of a clover, and his hatred grew even stronger than he thought possible for Doyle. But right now, all he cared about was bringing Emily back.
The paramedics attempted to restart Emily's now quiet heart but to no avail. "No, Emily!" Derek yelled, tears running down his face, but she still wasn't breathing. So he bent down beside her, his cheeks touching her own – wetting them with his tears - as he placed his mouth directly on her ear and simply breathed her name, over and over and over again, pleading and willing her to come back, to stay with him.
And suddenly, her breath caught in her throat as she took a deep gasp of air as her eyes fluttered open again. "Derek…" she whispered weakly, as she squeezed his hand holding her own.
Morgan began to cry even harder, head still inches from hers, but this time with tears of joy and he smiled wider than he ever had before. He had hope – he knew if she could pull through this then she could pull through anything. Derek felt sure in his heart that she would survive – and she would – only, he couldn't know until months later, months filled with agony and regret – for both of them.
Minutes later, they arrived at the hospital. Derek dismounted the ambulance along side Emily's stretcher, running with the paramedics towards the operating room as he held her hand. They made it to the doors when an older nurse stopped Derek in his tracks and began to speak. "I'm sorry sir but this is as far as you can go."
"No, I have to stay with her. She's my partner." Derek argued.
"You have to let the doctors do their job."
"Make sure you do all you can for her. Anything. Everything." Derek sighed.
"I promise you we will. You know, she's lucky to have you," she said with a sympathetic smile. "We'll keep you updated." The nurse said gently, placing a tender hand on his shoulder in a motherly gesture.
"Hold on, Emily." Derek said as she was being rolled away. But he was able to make eye contact with her one last time, knowing she heard his words, knowing she had held on this long and she could for even longer.
And then the adrenaline was gone, and Derek's body began to shiver with heart-wrenching sobs. He fell against the wall and to the floor outside of the operating room. He put his head in his hands and began to pray harder than he ever had before. Praying he would be able to look into her eyes once more, praying to feel her touch once again, and praying he would just see her beautiful smile.
And it was Derek who spoke the last memories of that night. The story was over. It had happened long ago. But the memories it held in their minds made them feel as if they were back in that situation on that very night. They looked at each other, not caring about the tears running down their faces.
"You remember all of that?" Derek asked Emily.
"Every moment. Every word." She said. "I remember thinking that I had to hold on so I could tell you I did – for you. Derek, you are the reason I'm alive right now. I had given up but then you came. You told me to hold on, you told me you wouldn't let me go, and I knew you wouldn't. So I held on. And I'm so sorry you couldn't know until now."
"Hey," he soothed. "It's okay. They had to keep you safe." He began warily, "But JJ told me about the day you woke up…"
"She did?" she asked in shock.
"I was upset when you came back. I thought you still didn't trust me. But she pulled me aside and she told me the truth. The way you screamed for the team, the way you wanted to tell me you were alive so I didn't carry any guilt. And now I know it's because you remember that night. I know that you did want us to know the truth."
"Thank you," she began. "Thank you for never letting me go. For fighting for me even after you thought it was over."
"Always," he said into her eyes. "But thank you for holding on," he added as she smiled.
No more words were spoken, they pulled one another just a bit closer and fell into a peaceful sleep, thankful because they knew they would always have each other…