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Date in Calendar: 24 December 2009
Fandom: Criminal Minds
Pairing: Emily/JJ, with a mention of Will
Word Count: 3185
Summary: There's some cuddling, some dinner, both women on Emily's bed. That's pretty much it.
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Disclaimer: "Criminal Minds", the characters, and situations depicted are the property of The Mark Gordon Company, Touchstone Television, Paramount, ABC, and CBS. This piece of fan fiction was created for entertainment not monetary purposes. Previously unrecognized characters and places, and this story, are copyrighted to the author. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author. This site is in no way affiliated with "Criminal Minds", CBS, or any representatives of the actors.
Author's Note: Nothing, really. This was...a product of one stormy night.
Quantico was buzzing. Ever since the most recent run-in with the UnSubs, it was all hands on deck. And it was majestic, almost an art form the way they responded. They would not rest until the score was settled.
There were, however, repercussions for the targeted team. Bodies were battered and hearts were broken. A device no bigger than their BlackBerry began the avalanche. And now, they stood at the threshold of a new era.
Life in the BAU would never be the same again.
The insistent beep woke her up. Belatedly, Emily realized it wasn't her alarm clock. I don't use an alarm clock. She flew up from her bed, disoriented at the unfamiliar sensations. She tried to blink away the confusion.
Emily froze. She knew that voice. "What are you doing here?"
A slight chuckle brought her up short. Emily frowned. "No need to mock my query, Jennifer."
"We're in the bedroom and you're asking me what I'm doing here?" JJ hid her worry. Maybe Emily was injured and kept it from them.
She sat up straight, her back against the headboard. JJ moved next to Emily. Her hand rested on Emily's knee. "Up for some fresh air?"
"What?" Emily inched her knee away from JJ's hand, her eyes rooted on JJ's swollen belly. What is JJ playing at?
"I thought we could have a nice picnic, maybe stroll around DuPont Circle," JJ shrugged. She didn't care as long as she could spend time with Emily. "Or we could finish up the Christmas cards and send them out."
"Don't you have to be with Will or something?" Emily blurted out.
JJ flinched at the mention of Will. She began to caress her belly unconsciously. "He left, remember? That day when ..."
Right on cue, flashbacks of that fated day crowded her conscious. "The attack."
"Yeah," JJ slowed her breathing to offset the oncoming panic attack. "So, what do you want to do today?"
Emily shook her head in confusion. There were too many unanswered questions. Her eyes still were stuck on JJ's swollen belly.
"Emily?" JJ followed the woman's gaze to her belly. She reached for Emily's hand and rested it on the bump. "Still fascinated with it, huh? I'm not surprised, he behaves himself whenever you're near."
Her hand was unmoving, the mere contact stirring the voices in her head. In an instant, she squeezed her eyes shut at the piercing headache. Just as quickly, JJ leaned closer to her, cradling her face in soft hands. "What's wrong?"
"Hurts," Emily grounded out. The pounding continued, and her breaths began to shorten.
"You're hyperventilating, Em," JJ reached for Emily's hands and coached the woman through the ordeal. "Deep breaths, sweetie. That's it."
The wreckage was akin to a scene out of a horror movie. The bits and pieces, charred, scattered on the road. In the midst of it all, the FBI agents stood in a tight circle. There was, however, an addition to the group despite missing an agent.
As the hysteria churned into controlled chaos, it was still Code Red for the team. Neither of them knew what to do. Hotch's cell phone was attached to his ear, as was Rossi. Even when they moved to the mobile command unit, neither of the agents let up.
Except, the newest addition to their group milled about slightly irritated. He understood the connection, but his concern lay within the blonde who stood not too far from him. Press liaison Jennifer Jareau, the mother of his unborn child. He needed to get her to a safe place, but to no avail.
"JJ," he exasperated, earning a glare in return. Will wisely shut up.
They've had this conversation, all sorts of variations, before. Silently cursing the missing Emily Prentiss, Will schooled his expression. He was at a disadvantage here and it did him no good to jeopardize his fragile hold.
Hours later, when the wayward agent reported back to them and their blood pressure lowered to a safe level, Will grumbled as JJ insisted on going to Emily. He had questioned her motives, and they had separated with the argument hanging between them.
"I will not abandon a member of my team during this critical time," JJ said as she walked toward the group. "Especially when it's Emily."
"Emily?" No answer. She tried again. "Emily?"
The brunette slowly came to consciousness. "Yeah."
"Get dressed. We're going to the hospital," she said as she helped the woman sit up.
"Why? Is something wrong with the baby?" Emily asked, her eyes glued to the belly.
JJ shook her head. "The baby is fine."
"Then why do we need to go to the hospital?"
"I'm worried about you," JJ scooted closer to Emily and gently caressed her cheek. "We should've gotten the medics to check you out."
"I'm fine," Emily insisted. She opted not to shake her head; her ears were still ringing.
She leaned in till they were sharing the same air. "Please."
Emily immediately pushed back against the headboard. She offered a small smile and said, "We'll go if it gets worse, ok?"
"You have all the signs," JJ insisted. "Loss of consciousness, lack of concentration, memory loss, and don't even try to deny the nausea you're trying to hard to hide from me."
She chuckled. "When did you get your MD?"
"Emily," JJ chastised the brunette. "Let's go."
The nausea all but gone, Emily shook her head, slowly. "I promise to let you know if it gets really bad. Then we'll go, ok?"
Sufficiently tired of their aimless argument, JJ nodded. With her hand in Emily's, they both got up from the bed and headed for the kitchen. She made a beeline for the coffee pot, while an amused JJ began rummaging through the fridge.
"Grilled fish?" JJ popped her head out of the fridge when she realized Emily had not answered her. "Emily!"
"Hhmmm?" she looked up from her coffee cup.
Frowning, JJ closed the fridge and regarded the brunette. "I asked if you wanted to have grilled fish for lunch but you didn't hear me."
The woman smiled sheepishly. "Sorry. Fish sounds good. What can I do to help?"
"Just rest," JJ tiptoed to plant a quick kiss on Emily's lips, then all but chased the woman out of the kitchen.
With the shock of the kiss still lingering, Emily headed to the living room. Everything felt out of place to Emily. It was her apartment, but everything was just a tad different. The wall colors were a shade lighter, and there were far more photos littered around the room.
Emily picked up the photo frame nearest to her, intrigued by the faces staring back at her. The background was familiar; it was the family estate in Martha's Vineyard. Except that the people in the photo, the two Prentiss women and JJ, confused her even more.
Mother is smiling? She studied the photo closely. The dipping sun peeked behind them, and they had champagne glasses in their hands. If she had really examined the photo, she would find the rest of the team milling about in the farground.
Unfortunately, Ambassador Prentiss had always hosted a string of parties at their family estate's rose garden. Emily had no way of recalling at which party the photo was taken. The summer dress on JJ, the breeze in her own hair, and the setting sun provided visual clues, yet she still was nowhere near to figuring it out.
She placed the frame back on the table and moved on to the ones above the fireplace. They were all black-and-white portraits of her and JJ, taken at various locations. Emily thought it odd. All the thinking was making her head ache.
Groaning in frustration, Emily plopped down on the couch. She reached for her coffee, letting the warmth comfort her. They were friends, damnit, not lovers. Liar, a little voice inside her head echoed in far too many languages. You want to be more than that with her.
It was at this point that her head began to really hurt. The faintest of migraines, and her beloved coffee could not exorcise the growing pain. Still, she gulped down the lukewarm liquid as though it was her lifeline.
Everything began to spin uncontrollably, much to Emily's dismay. She put down the cup haphazardly on the table, spilling some on the coaster. The migraine had gone, but the room just would not stop spinning.
Emily curled up on her side and laid down on the couch. The labored breathing leveled her racing heartbeat, and her body relaxed. With the immediate crisis abated, she opened her eyes minutely. No point being hasty in light of what just happened.
"Lunch should be ... Em?" JJ rushed to her side. "What's wrong?"
He bit down the angry retorts and chased after JJ. "I'll drive."
"Don't bother," JJ replied. His possessive streak was chomping at her patience.
"You shouldn't be running around town," Will tried again. Not when you're carrying my child was left unsaid.
She huffed in annoyance and continued walking. Emily needed her more.
"JJ," he kept up with her, and reached out for her arm. "Let me."
Her body went still. Instantly, Will loosened his grip. JJ turned to face him, effectively breaking his hold on her. "Emily needs me."
Not as much as you need her, apparently. He could not help but allow the thought some merit. Wordlessly, Will watched as JJ drove away.
"Room ... spinning," Emily grounded out.
JJ helped steady the brunette. Her eyes scanned the woman's body, checking for signs of any injuries. Head wound, JJ thought absently. Her own hands were shaking, JJ realized, so she quickly stilled it.
"Stay here, ok? I'm just going to put lunch in the warmer. I'll grab some shoes for you on my way back," JJ was about to get up when Emily stopped her. She was at an odd angle, and their knees were touching.
"I'm ok," Emily said softly. "Just got lightheaded."
"Emily, you might have a concussion," JJ reasoned.
"I'm not trying to be difficult. I just ..." her voice trailed off. "I think it's been awhile since I had something to eat."
She eyed the woman skeptically. The pleading look she received went against her better judgment. "Ok, lunch will be ready in 10 minutes."
"I'll go set the table," Emily offered, but JJ wouldn't have any of that.
"Don't worry about it."
Emily nodded in defeat. Pick your battles, they always say. She sat back and allowed the comfort to wash over her. JJ there, so close, had a curious calming effect on her. JJ stayed in her seat, not wanting to leave Emily any time soon.
They were silent, letting the moment linger as long as necessary. JJ leaned into Emily, her pregnant belly resting on Emily's thigh. She felt the body in front of her stiffen, and that confused her. She brought a free hand and rested it on her belly, the life within their connection.
She tried to pull her hand away, but JJ held on. With their hands entwined, JJ began rubbing her belly. The unborn baby sensed their touch, and a flutter followed their movement.
"He's getting more attached to you every day," JJ beamed. She looked down at their joined hands. "Pretty soon, he'll have you wrapped around his fingers."
Try as she might, all Emily could picture was a miniature Will running around. She immediately withdrew her hand, as though she was burned. At JJ's confused look, she replied: "Let's have some lunch first. Maybe I'll feel better after that."
A small nod and both women made their way to the kitchen. Emily retrieved the plates, and JJ carefully served the food. They proceeded to eat. In silence. Nothing but cutlery scrapping the plate every so often.
Finally, when lunch was over and they both retreated to the living room, JJ made her move. She tugged Emily onto the couch, sitting with barely an inch between them. She rested her head on Emily's shoulder, and sighed when strong arms automatically encircled her waist. As though they had done so often.
JJ's hand rested on Emily's thigh, staying still for the time being. The muscles beneath her hand was tensed, so it was a good call to uphold the status quo. She sighed, both in relief and worry. Things were never dull with Emily.
"I'm sorry I worry you," Emily said softly. "There's so much ... confusion right now."'
She pulled away slightly to regard Emily. "What's confusing?"
Emily closed her eyes. "Everything."
"I'm fine," she answered, opening her eyes to meet JJ's. "No matter what, I'm glad I get to hold you."
The woman went back to her original position. Emily tightened her hold on JJ. This time, JJ sighed in contentment. At least some things never change.
She was a woman on a mission. Or rather, a woman possessed. Emily was the only thing on her mind. As she reversed into a spot a few doors away from Emily's place, she realized that she had no idea what to do. JJ stayed in the car, mentally composing herself. Too late to turn back now.
Taking the few steps to the door with her ready bag in hand, JJ rang the bell and waited. When there was no answer, she tried again. She stepped back and peeked at the windows. There was light in the living room, which meant Emily was home. JJ charged ahead and banged on the door.
"Emily, open this door right now!"
She continued knocking, not caring when the neighborhood hounds started barking. "Emily!"
A shuffling sound came from behind the door, and JJ unconsciously squared her shoulders. The door opened and Emily came into view. JJ simply barged her way into the house. She left her bag in front of the hallway closet.
The sight of the ready bag piqued Emily's curiosity. "Going somewhere?"
JJ followed the woman's line of sight. She turned to look at Emily. "I'm staying here."
"Someone needs to," JJ moved closer.
A raised eyebrow followed the remark. "Bet you guys drew lots, didn't you? And you got the short straw."
The slight waver in Emily's voice did not go unnoticed. JJ was pained to hear those words. All this while, and still Emily was made to feel like an outsider.
"Have you had dinner yet?" JJ slowly made her way to what looked like a living room. A wine glass, half full, sat on the coffee table. There was no music, nor was the TV on.
The way JJ cautiously wandered around her house was amusing, Emily thought. She never bothered to invite anyone over. It was her domain and no one from BAU, save Hotchner, came close to it.
Yet somehow, having JJ in her domain wasn't such a big deal after all.
"I'm not hungry," Emily replied succinctly.
"I can see that," JJ looked at the wine glass pointedly. "But you do need to eat. So, what's it going to be?"
She decided it was easier to go along with JJ. "Let me see what I have."
Without waiting for JJ to reply, Emily hurried to the kitchen. She knew her kitchen was stocked; the recent delivery from her grocer saw to that. Unfortunately, JJ was hot on her heels. Emily opened her fridge and pretended she was studying the contents.
"Is leftover lasagna ok? I have enough to make other things if you don't want it," Emily peered over her shoulder at JJ.
"Love lasagna," she answered simply. "Need any help?"
"No thanks. Would you like something to drink? I've got some juice. "
JJ nodded. "Thanks."
"Ok, I'll bring it out once I get the lasagna into the oven."
Clearly dismissed, JJ made her way back to the living room. They were cordial, and the blonde hated it. She missed their easy banter. And JJ suspected at the other FBI agent's uneasiness with her appearance.
When Emily did not return to the living room after more than 10 minutes, JJ went in search of her. A quick check of the kitchen hit pay dirt. Emily leaned against the countertop, staring into nothing in particular. The oven timer was ticking loudly. A glass of orange juice sat on the countertop.
JJ headed for the woman and engulfed her in a hug. Her arms snaked around Emily, but the woman did not move. That worried her. She gently rubbed Emily's back, hoping it would help.
Emily blinked, then turn her attention to JJ. Slowly, she brought her arms around JJ's waist. The woman settled depper into the embrace. It was comforting, JJ thought, even though it was for Emily's benefit.
The timer buzzed, and they separated reluctantly. Emily switched off the oven and brought the lasagna pan straight to the dining table. When she returned, she pulled out plates from one of the cabinets and then the utensils.
They moved to the dining table and began to sort out their dinner. JJ smiled at Emily, grateful to sit down. Her back was aching and her ankles were beginning to swell, but she would never show it. Emily was more important.
Many times JJ tried to start a conversation, only to hold her tongue in the last minute. The silence gave them space to contemplate their situation. A talk was inevitable.
Emily took a sip of the wine, letting the flavour fill her mouth. They were at the end of the meal, and she had so many questions for JJ. Finishing off the wine, Emily stood and began to gather the empty dishes.
JJ immediately followed, but Emily stopped her. "No, let me. You can watch TV or something."
She wanted to argue, then decided against it.
JJ was just about to tighten her hold on Emily when a sharp shrill interrupted her. She jerked her head toward the offending noise, realizing belatedly that she was alone. The ringing stopped, but the house was abuzz.
"Emily?" she called out to the woman. There was a nagging thought at the back of her mind, and JJ did not hesitate to shove it aside. She stood and started looking for the brunette. She didn't need to look far.
The brunette walked into the living room, her face a shade paler than before. JJ was beside her in seconds. "What's wrong?"
She regarded the woman and made a decision. It was selfish of her, but Emily very much wanted to enjoy what was left of the night with JJ. She shook her head, hoping JJ wouldn't pursue further.
"Are you sure?" JJ asked, having detected the slight waver in Emily's voice.
"Nothing that can't wait until tomorrow," Emily smiled as she said it.
When tomorrow really came, JJ was left with a visibly disturbed Hotchner briefing the team about the resignation of one Emily Prentiss. When she would hurry over to Emily's place with Morgan at the wheel and Garcia beside her, she would find nothing but still air waiting for them.