Guilt: Part 2 (7x15)
Guilt – Part 2
A Thin Line 7x15
"My sleep wasn't peaceful, though. I have the sense of emerging from a world of dark, haunted places where I traveled alone."
― Suzanne Collins, Mockingjay: The Hunger Games Trilogy
Emily had tried everything on the plane to help Derek's guilt go away. When humor hadn't worked, she tried for a softer and more serious approach. Derek seemed to open up a bit more after this and so then she reverted back to humor – except she still couldn't decide whether it was too soon to joke about Doyle. But joking about it was one of the only ways she knew how to drive away the haunting darkness that always visited her when she was reminded of what Ian had done to her. She needed a way to cope for herself and knew, after their training sessions and constant time spent together, Derek needed it too.
He was the only one she could talk to about Doyle, no matter how painful the memories were for them both, they were always able to comfort one another through the pain they both felt. He comforted her when Doyle haunted her nightmares ever since she returned and she comforted him simply by being alive again. Sometimes she would catch him staring at her – at the round table, on the jet, out to dinner with the team or even when they watched movies together at one of their places – it was like he was trying to reassure himself that she really was back and then memorizing her in his mind so that if she ever left again, he would have her with him forever; even though he would die himself before ever letting her go again. So after this all too familiar close call with death, they both knew exactly what they wanted, but they were both just too stubborn to say it out loud.
The plane landed and Morgan had already made it clear to the rest of the team that he would see to all of Emily's needs. They all began to exit the plane, each with knowing glances back at the long-time partners, understanding the deep emotional connection that was reforming after the tragic events of last year. Exiting the plane last, Rossi and JJ shared a knowing smile, each perceptively understanding that this relationship had always held something more but that these two would have to figure out for themselves when the healing process was over and the time was finally right.
Derek however was oblivious to this, as he had stood up immediately after the plane landed and stepped over to wake Emily who had fallen asleep. He bent down close to her face and whispered her name ever so softly as he touched her uninjured arm. Emily stirred slightly, eyes opening to look up at him as her lips upturned into the smallest of smiles. She slowly stood and stretched her aching body before reaching for her bag. But Derek was too quick and had already grabbed all of her things along with his own. Always the independent, she was about to argue but Morgan sensed her intention and gave her a challenging look.
"You're coming with me, and don't even think about arguing with me Princess," he began. "I'm taking you home and I'm going to make sure you do everything Dr. Ramsey told you."
Inwardly Emily couldn't be happier Derek would be with her tonight and perhaps even longer. She had always been taught to squelch and hide her emotions while appearing strong on the outside but ever since Doyle, she had lost track of the number of seemingly endless nights in Paris in which she had cried herself to sleep in terror from her memories, desperation over the loss of her family, and self-loathing because of the lies that always seemed to saturate her life. Yet while some found escape in peaceful sleep, the nightmares that she knew would soon come to haunt her only filled her with a dread that disturbed her to her very core. But tonight, Derek would be with her and the nightmares were always bearable with him.
When she had finally returned and Doyle had been killed right before her eyes, the nightmares still didn't go away but she realized one particularly difficult night, that she wasn't the only one whose sleeping mind was a prison of painful memories that played tricks on her. So though she knew the nightmares would surely visit her tonight, Derek would be there with her, as he always was just when she needed and she had nothing to fear.
They made their way to Derek's car. Her own car was already at her home because she and Derek had agreed to carpool and grab breakfast together before their training tradition the morning they received the case. It had been months since he first requested they train together again but their training had never ended, and neither one of them wanted it to. After all, it was what had lead to the closeness of their current relationship in the first place.
Derek had helped Emily into the car after loading both of their things and drove in the direction of her home. However Emily couldn't help but notice Derek's detour to a Target store. She looked at him quizzically and he immediately sensed her confusion.
"You have to eat before you take your medicine and seeing as how I know the only food you have in your apartment is poptarts and food for Sergio, I thought I might grab us something to cook for dinner." He explained. "And I'd like to buy you a few staples all normal people have in their home so you don't starve!" he added with a wink.
"Oh what would I do without you?" she remarked sarcastically towards him. A short silence followed as they simply looked at one another and smiled softly before Derek made his way into the store alone. They both knew the answer to that question and were thankful for their second chance with one another – both resolving to make the best of the rare opportunity they had been blessed with.
They arrived at Emily's home a short while later. Although Emily offered to help with the groceries, Derek wouldn't hear of it. He made sure she was settled inside and proceeded to make three trips back and forth bringing in the luggage and his purchases.
"Well cooking can't be that dangerous so at least let me start preparing part of dinner," Emily requested. "I need to do something!"
"And you can," Derek began. He reached into one of the bags of purchases and pulled out a book he had seen Emily looking at in the airport earlier. She couldn't hide her smile and reached out for the gift. "Come with me." Derek beckoned her.
He moved swiftly towards her bedroom and made his way towards her bathroom. Emily was unsure of what to expect but followed him in blind trust. "You can do something – relax in a hot bubble bath with this book." Her face began contorting into a look of protest but he quickly continued before she could voice her objections. "I'm making dinner and there is nothing you can do or say to change that. You are resting and that's the end of it."
Completely defeated but reveling in the idea of getting lost in her new book, Emily reverted to a smile. Derek turned to begin filling the tub with water. When he stood back into place for a few moments and finally turned around to a sound of a throat clearing he found Emily staring at him expectantly.
"What?" he asked.
"Well I can't exactly start your job for me until you leave."
"Oh! Right!" Derek started, almost jumping towards the door. Emily couldn't help but smile when his protective side took over every other thought within him. "Are you sure you don't need anything before I go?"
"I'm good. Really. Just let me know when dinner's ready and I'll be there!"
"Ok, will do. Now just relax and enjoy yourself Princess. It's the only way to heal the fastest." Derek added as he made his way to exit.
"Derek…" Emily called after him before he closed the door. "Thank you."
They shared another moment of smiles and both went to their tasks – never once losing the smile the other had brought out within them. Emily thought Derek's guilt was finally wearing off and hoped it would stay that way. They had worked so hard the past few months to rebuild their relationship and she didn't want anything to affect it negatively.
About an hour later, Emily was emerging from the bathtub more relaxed than she had been in a long time. Pulling on a pair of sweatpants and a loose fitting FBI t-shirt along with her swing was immensely more difficult than she had expected. After about 15 minutes of maneuvering and discovering contortionist skills she had no idea she possessed, she finally managed to get dressed and proceeded to make her way to the kitchen where an array of smells and sounds enticed her eager senses.
As she turned the corner she couldn't help but smile at the sight before her. Derek had found her Michael Buble playlist on her iPod and was dancing to the music in the background as he put the finishing touches on their dinner of salad and pasta. She gazed at Derek as he danced his way to the parmesan cheese and gracefully tossed the salad but was startled when he suddenly turned around and stopped in his tracks the moment he saw her and a wide embarrassed smile quickly crept its way onto his face. "I didn't know I was going to get dinner and a show" Emily quipped quickly.
"Ha Ha, very funny Princess" Derek retorted, still embarrassed Emily had caught him. But she just smiled in return and he could do nothing but smile back. "You got here just in time. Dinner is ready. Just go on and sit right over there."
Derek brought their food over to the table where they talked as they always did – comfortably and for hours. They talked about the case and Emily gave her opinion on how she believed that politics destroys people. Derek agreed and told her stories of old cases he worked in Chicago where politics got in the way of justice. But then she told him all about the book he had bought her after he asked her about it. So they decided to both read it and go see the movie that was made based on the book together.
Hours had passed into the night but neither of them noticed until Emily stifled a yawn, which she instantly regretted because it put Derek into overprotective mode once more. He immediately made his way into the kitchen to get her medicine, which he made her take in front of him and then insisted she go straight to bed. Though she protested like a child he simply wouldn't back down. He told her that her health was the most important thing and she knew not to argue with him.
She hated being told what to do but she secretly relished how he took care of her. She was used to disappointment but couldn't help but get her hopes up that he would stay longer. Emily felt safe with Derek. They had always been partners but their connection ran deeper than most. He was always there to protect her and watch over her when she was hurt or in danger. Ever since Doyle, Emily had lived in fear but it seemed to dissipate when she was with him. So when she thought of the nightmares that would surely revisit her tonight she could only hope he would be there to comfort her as he had in the past. As if reading her mind, he told her he would clean up in the kitchen and sleep in the guest room – still there but out of her way – so he would be here in the morning to see she was fed and ensure took her medicine. Then Derek walked Emily by the arm to her bedroom.
"Are you sure you don't need anything else?" he asked for what, to Emily, felt like the millionth time.
"Derek, really, I'm okay." Emily responded. But her face betrayed her as she looked into the dark bedroom and pondered a night alone with only her memories to haunt her sleep.
"You're still having them, aren't you?" Derek instantly asked, his voice full of concern.
Emily didn't respond, still afraid to fully open up to anyone – even him. She simply looked down at the ground and obviously avoided his intense stare. But Derek wouldn't let her off that easy. He gently lifted her chin up with his hand to meet his gaze. "You know you aren't the only one who still has them."
Emily's eyes widened at this. Derek had told her about his own nightmares before but the way he always only paid attention to her own haunts, she thought they had finally gone away for him. She didn't know how to respond. As if sensing her uneasiness, Derek simply pulled her into a deep and tight hug and they instantly melted into one another – finding comfort in the other's mere presence.
Derek finally pulled away from Emily but tenderly reached for her hand and led her to bed. It had all happened before. They slept in her bed or his, barely touching but utterly aware of the other's presence – bringing a comfort they dismissed as a product of their situation as partners who got a second chance with life but always suppressing the hopeful thought it could be something more.
So when the nightmares visited that night, waking them in gasps of fear and tears – when Derek saw Emily on that cold warehouse floor being pulled out of his grasp by Doyle or when Emily saw Ian everywhere she turned, hurting Declan, Derek and the rest of her team but unable to help or even scream – they both took comfort in the steady heartbeat of the other beside them, knowing that now real life was better than any horror a dream could bring their way. And through the night, as Derek's arm snaked it's way around Emily, bringing her as close as he dared and as she snuggled deep into the crook of his neck, inhaling his scent they reminded themselves that above all else, they had a second chance with each other and each secretly wondered where it would take them next.