Missing Moments

Guilt: Part 1 (7x15)

"Guilt – Part 1"

A Thin Line 7x15

"Guilt upon the conscience, like rust upon iron, both defiles and consumes it, gnawing and creeping into it, as that does which at last eats out the very heart and substance of the metal."

–Bishop Robert South-

All she could hear was her own rapid heartbeat in her ears. Gun pointed… eyes trained… she'd done it a hundred times. Yet it never failed that when pursuing an Unsub, her blood started pumping and the adrenaline rush began. And ever since her run in with Doyle, she couldn't help but experience an extra dose of fear in the pit of her stomach, ironically right where an encounter with a certain table leg had left an almost fatal wound.

Standing in the night air, she knew something was amiss. It was far too quiet and dark within the residence to be a simple invasion. The power seemed to be out in the house, throwing her senses into overdrive for what she knew had to do. She looked at JJ and signaled her plan. As point, she would move in first. She breathed in deeply, suppressing the demons that still arose within her ever since her traumatic experience with Doyle, and entered the house; unaware she was about to relive her fears.

What happened next was a complete blur. She opened the door, gun trained into the dark abyss. As her eyes adjusted, a figure emerged and the gleam of the metal of a gun flashed before her eyes. The protocol words of "FBI" had barely left her mouth when a burning pain seized her arm accompanied with the deafening sound of a gunshot. She fell to the ground, attempting to simultaneously regain control of her breathing while telling JJ to move on in after the attacker.

Emily's arm continued to burn. She wrapped her hand around the wound, hoping to stifle the blood as she heard the events unfold upstairs. In her mind she prayed Morgan and JJ would come out unscathed. The gunshot she heard and the captive woman's screams did not ease her fears until she heard Morgan's voice speak to JJ as quickly as he could about looking over the scene.

"Where's Emily?" he immediately asked. Prentiss heard his urgent concern and couldn't help but smile.

"He shot her. But she said she was okay. She's downstairs." JJ replied.

Practically a millisecond later, Emily heard what could have been a herd of elephants descending the stairs at rapid speed. Morgan reached the bottom step and frantically looked around for his partner.

"Morgan…" Emily called to him, sounding a bit more whiny than usual – both because of the loss of blood she was experiencing but also because of her fluttering heartbeat at the sight of Derek Morgan rushing to save her, as he always did.

"Emily!" Morgan yelled as he rushed to her and crouched down by her side. He put his hand behind her shoulder and looked at her wound. When she cringed a bit from pain as she removed her hand, he rubbed circles in her back to soothe her. He moved his other hand over her own and squeezed tightly. Once again he looked up into her eyes, "We'll just keep the pressure on it. The medics will be here as fast as they can."

"Okay. I promise it's really not that bad," Emily said. Admittedly she had been through worse, but the pain in her arm certainly wasn't going away.

"Well we aren't taking any chances. I'm not leaving your side the entire time," Morgan replied in all seriousness. The concern in his voice overwhelmed Emily.

"Thank you," she said, as she looked deep in his eyes; thinking of another time when he stayed by her side but the outcome of that story was much more bleak. She knew he wasn't taking any chances by letting her out of his sight this time. Emily knew Derek trusted her again, but losing her was not something he would let happen now that he had another chance with her.

"You've really got to stop getting hurt Princess. It's like you're a magnet for it. My nerves just can't take much more," Morgan said in an attempt at a joke, but they both knew just how serious he really was. So Emily simply smiled apologetically back at him.

"Well I will try but you know how these UnSubs just have a mind of their own."

Derek shrugged a laugh but his worry still consumed him. Thankfully for Emily, two paramedics emerged through the doorway at this moment. They looked after her wound, Morgan hovering over them as he kept a watchful eye on his partner. Though she practically refused a ride on the stretcher, she was placed on it at Derek's insistence and wheeled to the ambulance and he walked with her every step of the way until Hotch appeared and Derek informed him of the situation as well as the fact that he would be riding with her to the hospital.

Hotch nodded immediately as he looked between them both, knowing the bond these two members of his team had and how it had grown in the past year. Hotch understood the importance of Morgan's involvement in Emily's recovery ever since Morgan had given his statement to Hotch about his time with Prentiss in the warehouse the day Doyle had ruined all of their lives. It had taken over an hour for Morgan to make it through the story in between his heart wrenching sobs and angry outbursts about what he witnessed.

Hotch knew his team was affected, but it was then that he realized just how special and deep the bond between these two partners really was, and that was one moment he was the closest to spilling the secret truth to Morgan about Emily and then personally buying a plane ticket to Paris for him. But protocol won out in the end, and Hotch hoped for the day when Morgan could free himself from the guilt of that dreadful night – as he still hoped to do for himself after Haley's death by Foyet.

Emily was reluctantly loaded into the ambulance and Derek crawled in directly behind her. Her shirt was promptly cut off at the arm and the paramedic began cleaning her wound and prepping it for a shot of painkillers. Always tough as nails, Emily attempted to hide her painful discomfort but Derek saw right through her.

He squeezed her hand into his as she transferred her gaze from her wounded arm to his face, transporting them both back to the night in the warehouse when his solid hold on her had been her lifeline. They didn't speak over the paramedics, but simply held each other's gaze on the short ride to the hospital.

Emily's pain was already disappearing. Though she could have easily attributed it to the shot of painkillers she had been injected with, and if asked that is certainly what she would have said had done the trick. But inside she knew the real reason. Derek's presence, his hold on her, and finally his smile had made her feel better than any medicine could. After all, it's why she was alive today. That same special medicine is what kept her on this earth that day in the warehouse and though she had thanked him, she resolved to finally tell him the truth after tonight. Near death experiences seemed to be the best way to sort out your priorities and come clean with the truth. And she had certainly had her fair share of them.

Emily wasn't surprised when Derek followed along side her stretcher into the examination room. She would have told him it wasn't necessary but knew how important it was to him to protect her. She didn't want him to blame himself the way he had before so she would make every possible effort to ensure he didn't feel that way. And though she would never admit it, she did enjoy his concern because it was just for her. And she knew she would have done the same for him.

Derek continually asked if she was comfortable or if she needed anything. Before she could respond to his tenth question with a sarcastic remark, a short knock was heard on the door and a woman about Emily's age entered the examination room. She introduced herself to them both as Dr. Kate Ramsey and assessed Emily's wound. Derek watched with concern even after she had finished.

"Well Agent Prentiss, the bullet seems to simply have made a puncture wound and left no permanent damage. However it is still lodged in there so I will need to remove it. It will be a quick outpatient procedure in which you will be awake but we'll load you up with pain meds and you should only feel a bit of discomfort. After that we'll stitch you up and Agent Morgan here can take you home to rest. But you'll need to be in a sling for at least two weeks for a complete recovery." Naturally, Emily rolled her eyes at that but before she had time to issue a retort, Morgan stepped in.

"I'll make sure she does exactly what you say Doctor" he said.

"Well you better," Dr. Ramsey said with a smile. "Well Agent Prentiss, if you don't have any questions, we can get you prepped and perform the procedure right now."

"That will be fine. Thank you Doctor."

Dr. Ramsey left the room and a nurse was sent in to administer more painkillers to Emily and then informed her she would need to change into a hospital gown for the process. Morgan took that as his cue to leave the room.

"I'm having Garcia bring you some clothes. The team is waiting for us so we'll just go straight to the airport from here."

"Alright. And Derek, thank you" Emily responded. Derek just nodded as he looked at her with pain and worry on his face and Prentiss' mind went into overdrive attempting to figure out how to make sure he stopped blaming himself for what happened to her. But the drugs took over and clouded her thoughts. The nurse soon left the room and Derek returned with Dr. Ramsey and her assistant close behind.

"Now Emily I'm going to begin the procedure. The pain meds should have kicked in by now but you will still feel pressure and probably a good amount of discomfort. So I would advise you to hold Agent Morgan's hand if it feels to uncomfortable so the pain won't cause you to jerk your injured arm while I make the incision."

Emily cautiously reached out to take hold of Derek's hand once more, and instantly felt a calm wash over her body: His comfort still as strong as it had been that night in the warehouse.

"Good," Dr. Ramsey continued. "Now it shouldn't take long, but I need you to keep your eyes and mind off of my operating area." At this Emily turned her head to Morgan. Soon she felt the pressure of the incision and the tools reaching for the bullet lodged in her arm. Though she tried to hide it, the pain was clear on her face as her eyes scrunched together and pressed her lips together; her hand squeezed Derek's hand rather tightly and he never stopped squeezing back.

Less than five minutes later, Dr. Ramsey announced that not only was the bullet removed but the stitches were in place as well. Though Emily was clearly the patient, she told Morgan that she had prescribed Emily pain medication and well as anti-infection antibiotics and it was ready to be picked up at the pharmacy. The nurse then returned and put Emily in sling Dr. Ramsey said needed to be worn for at least two weeks but Emily swore in her mind she would removed the minute they got in the car. As if reading her thoughts, Derek told the doctor he would ensure Emily not only took her medication but also stayed in the swing as long as prescribed. After thank-yous and goodbyes were exchanged, a male nurse brought in a wheelchair for Emily while Derek signed the discharge papers for her.

But as the nurse went to push Emily out of the room, Derek made his way over to them and stated, "I'll take it from here." The familiar words rung in Emily's mind and she couldn't help but smile a little.

"Oh yes, you do like pushing me around" she quipped with a grin.

"Always Princess" Derek whispered as he leaned down with a wink. But as he stood back up, his smile vanished and his look of guilt and concern covered his face once more. Emily knew she was going to have to do something to pull Morgan out of his constant struggle with the guilt that always accompanied her getting hurt. And she knew she couldn't wait long.

…To Be Continued…

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