Second Chances (7x18)
[7x18 – The Company]
"Well, it seems to me that the best relationships - the ones that last - are frequently the ones that are rooted in friendship. You know, one day you look at the person and you see something more than you did the night before. Like a switch has been flicked somewhere. And the person who was just a friend is...
suddenly, the only person you can ever imagine yourself with."
- Gillian Anderson -
Emily had just finished filing her case files in her desk when she made her way back to Derek's office. Tonight they had continued their tradition of working late together while ordering dinner in. And in keeping with tradition, Derek had fallen asleep on the couch while working. Emily had finished the few remaining files and taking her own back to her desk was the last step she had to make before they could go back to their homes.
She walked back into Derek's office with the intention of waking him up but was startled to see him standing wide-eyed before her, phone in his hands. Emily saw the tears in his eyes, heart instantly plummeting at the pain in his eyes. "Morgan?" she began, walking towards him, but he still stared at her with a stunned look on his face. "Derek, what is it? What's wrong?"
"It's my sister," he choked out. "She was in a bad car accident and she's in the hospital."
"Oh Derek, I'm so sorry," Emily began as she reached up to rub his arm gently.
"I need to go to Chicago," he said.
"Of course," Emily nodded. "Come on, I'll drive you to the airport."
"Thanks," Derek replied.
"Always," Emily responded simply with the word that had come to define their relationship.
After stopping by his house to get his things, she drove Derek to the airport through the stormy city. The ride was quiet from Derek's hovering worry. So Emily reached over and squeezed her best friend's hand. "She's going to be alright," she whispered.
"That's what they told me about you…" Derek instantly countered as he looked over at her; but he instantly regretted the words that came out of his mouth when he saw the hurt look on her face. "Oh Em… I'm sorry. I didn't mean that."
"No, you're right," Emily said as the guilt crept in. "And I'm sorry. I wish every day that I could go back to that time and tell you the truth. But you know… that was partially the truth…"
"What do you mean?" he asked with confusion.
"When they told you that I would be alright. It took too long for you to find out but it was true. I wasall right because of you – you told me to hold on and you're the reason I'm alive today. So that's how I know your sister will be okay too. Because she has you – just like I had you," Emily said as she smiled over at Derek and he returned her smile as he squeezed her hand tighter.
"Thank you…And I promise, you'll always have me," he whispered.
In just a few short minutes they were inside of the airport booking Derek a red-eye flight that was leaving in half an hour. Emily walked with him as far as security would let her. At the gate, Morgan turned to her and began to speak, "Thank you again Em. I don't know what I would do without you. I've tried that once before, and I know I don't ever want to do it again."
Emily's eyes filled with tears despite every effort she made to keep it together. "I promise you won't ever have to," she managed to get out. "You should get going," she nodded towards the security line. "You don't want to miss your flight."
"Okay. Hopefully I'll be back soon," he said.
"Don't worry. Take all the time you need. I'm sure Hotch will understand. Just take care of your sister and make sure she gets well. And just text me when you land okay? The weather's not too great out there," she added, hoping not to show her worry over the stormy weather too much.
"I will," he responded, standing awkwardly in front of her, wanting desperately – needing desperately – to hug her and find the comfort he always did when they were together. But she was one step ahead of him.
Emily leaned in and wrapped her arms around his body. He exhaled and seemed to melt into her as his arms enfolded her and he pulled her against his chest. It was a short hug – a hug between friends. Even though deep down, they each longed for so much more. But it was time for Derek to leave. "Bye," she said as she stepped out of the hug.
"Bye Princess," Derek smiled with thanks and made his way to the gate. But just before he walked out of view, he turned to wave goodbye once more to the woman he knew would always be there for him. The woman he had finally realized was the one person on earth he never wanted to live without. It might have taken him a while to fully understand it – and perhaps even longer to finally act on it. But Derek Morgan had finally begun to recognize just how deep his feelings for Emily Prentiss really were.
Morgan's flight landed with ease and he instantly made his way to the hospital. But he didn't forget to text Emily the moment he had landed safely. Emily smiled at the text she had waited up all night for and so she finally made her way to bed as her nerves were finally able to subside.
Early the next morning, Derek called Emily to tell her the truth about the situation – to which she comforted him again by telling him he did what he thought was best and he should call Hotch so the team could help him find the truth. So he did and the team flew out and they all finally put the case to rest.
The entire team flew back together after a wonderful visit with the Morgan family. The landed late that night but still all went to their offices before heading home for a much needed few days off. Emily was Derek's ride home but she knew that Garcia would never forgive him if she didn't get a chance to see him after all he had been through. Emily had been so busy on the case, she was thankful for the friendship her two friends had – especially when she was gone. She knew Garcia would take care of her partner when she couldn't. Emily told Derek she was going to work on case files so he should take as much time with Garcia as he needed.
As much as Derek loved spending time with his "Baby Girl," he didn't stay with her too long – only long enough to drink the coffee she had made him – because honestly, he realized that at that moment, the only person he really wanted to spend time with was waiting for him at her desk.
They walked through the parking deck towards the car. However, just as they got to their destination, Derek stopped and turned to Emily. She looked into his watering eyes and suddenly; he stepped in, engulfing her completely in his arms.
She hadn't been expecting it, but she didn't mind. She wrapped her arms around him, remembering the moment they saw each other for the first time after that night – the moment they both felt like they could breathe again after the most miserable seven months of their lives. Prentiss felt Morgan relax against her as he just exhaled, releasing what seemed to be the weight of the world after the very difficult and personal case. Though even as he exhaled, his arms continued to pull her closer.
After several minutes, the partners pulled away but not before Emily noticed the tears in Derek's eyes. "Hey," she whispered softly, "What is it?"
"It's just…" he began, his voice cracking with emotion. "I just realized how lucky I am. I felt like my life ended when I thought yours did. And then we lost Cindy... I couldn't do anything to keep the people I cared about safe. I prayed every day for a second chance, or at least a chance to make my family proud through my job, and to make you proud by protecting Declan even if I couldn't save you. But then I got the greatest gift I ever could," he smiled though still completely overcome. "I got you back. And I couldn't have asked for anything more," he choked out. "But then we got Cindy back too, and my family is complete again – both of them" he added, overcome with emotion. "I really am the luckiest man in the world."
"No, we're just lucky to have you to protect us all." Emily smiled as she leaned in to hug him once more. "Come on, I know you're exhausted. I'll cook you dinner," she offered. "But only if you are up to it. I'm sure you just want to be alone right now though…" she started to ramble. "I'm sure your tired and…"
"Hey Hey, slow down Princess. Why would I ever turn down dinner with you?" he winked. "But come on… You? Cook?" Derek laughed.
"Hey now…" Emily countered with a giggle. "Well… maybe my cooking could use a little work."
"A little…" Derek smiled.
"Okay, so maybe I can buy you dinner." Emily conceded. "Deal?"
"Deal." Derek smiled.
So they picked up their favorite Chinese food and made their way to Derek's house. They made themselves at home. They had dinner and a movie in front of the TV. As they sat there together and stole glances at their partner, they both realized they couldn't think of anywhere else they would rather be.
When the movie was over, Emily offered to drive home but Derek wouldn't hear of it. He insisted she shouldn't drive home so late at night but it was really just because he wanted her there. So though they didn't start off there, they ended up in the same bed, simply protecting each other from the nightmares, just like they always did.
Anyone who saw them would think they were a couple. But of course they would both deny it, calling it simply time spent between best friends. Even though deep down, they each wished the assumption were true. The tension and the connection had been building for years however they continued to put it off. But the time was coming when they would both finally have to face the feelings between them and nothing would ever be the same…