Title: Sometimes we fall
Fandom: Criminal Minds
Disclaimer: No I Don't own them but I sure wish I did
Summary: First Time Story set after Birthright in season 3.
***"Prentiss - Hey Preeentiss" Emily finally heard Morgan calling to her and her eyes lifted up from where they'd been staring sightlessly off into space.
"Where were you girl? You were miles away there!" Emily looked along the bar to see Morgan and Reid looking at her with similar questioning expressions on their faces.
"Oh sorry guys" Emily rapidly flicked through a dozen excuses she could use to explain where she kept drifting off to cause she sure wasn't about to tell them the truth.
"Um..." Emily trailed off without saying anything, she couldn't actually think off anything plausible, these guys were to clever to fall for some random excuse and she sure wasn't about to tell them that she couldn't stop thinking about JJ.
She should have tried harder to persuade her to come out for a drink. She shouldn't have let her stay at the office. She shouldn't have let JJ palm her off. She had a bad feeling growing in her gut and it was all to do with JJ and whatever was up with her. She knew JJ had had a hard time with this latest case. She hadn't spent much time with her on this one. But the few moments she had spent around JJ she'd seen the haunted look in her eyes and all she'd wanted to do was to put her arms around her and hold her tight so that nothing could hurt her. But obviously she couldn't do that even if JJ would want her to, which she wouldn't cause god knows she certainly didn't feel for Emily what Emily felt for her.
So she'd settled for just glancing over at her and smiling hoping it would make JJ feel better hoping to see an answering smile in return that would mean that yes she was ok. And she did get a smile back but it hadn't reassured her, it hadn't made her believe that JJ was ok because it never reached her eyes. But she hadn't had the opportunity to talk to her to see if she was ok until they were on the jet on the way back home.
"Hey" Emily said gently to JJ as she came to sit opposite her. This was the first chance Emily had had to talk to her alone since they'd wrapped up the case. None of them had wanted to hang around so they'd pretty much just packed up and left straight away so there'd been no time for anything. But now they were all on the jet and once they'd gotten underway they'd all settled in to do their own thing. JJ had immediately taken herself off to the back of the jet saying she was going to get some sleep. Rossi and Hotch were discussing the case and Morgan, Emily and Reid had just been making some casual conversation about nothing in particular. Emily had kept sneaking glances over at JJ and she could see that JJ was still not right though she was doing her best to hide it. She didn't think the others had noticed except for maybe Hotch, but she who watched JJ so much, though in secret - she couldn't risk letting the others see just how much JJ had come to mean to her. She had noticed that JJ was not ok and she desperately wanted to be able to help her if JJ would just let her. So when the conversation ran down and Morgan went to settle himself down to listen to his music, and Reid asked her if she would like to play some chess, she declined saying she was going to go get some sleep. So here she was sitting down next to JJ hoping that she would talk to her and that maybe she could help lift that haunted look from JJ's eyes.
JJ looked up surprised at the sound of Emily's voice. She hadn't heard her come over she was so lost in her head. Trying desperately to lock away all the horrible visions she had of the various different cases that she saw everyday. They were all different and yet the same, each one was a horrifying picture of what human beings could do to each other. The ways varied but the result was always the same, innocent people getting beaten, tortured, raped, killed. Whilst their families and if they were lucky enough the survivors, were left to deal with the aftermath and she had to deal with them. Which she didn't mind, she liked knowing she could help these people through what was the worst time in their lives, liked knowing she made a difference, that she could help, help them deal with a horrific ordeal and maybe make it that little bit easier so that they could see a way through the horror that had become their lives. But sometimes, sometimes it was just too much. She couldn't box off the nightmare things that she saw, that she read in the hundreds of case files that she received. Sometimes a case just got to her so that she struggled, struggled to stay calm, to stay focused, to keep her cool and most of all to do her job. And this was one of those cases, there was nothing particularly worse about this one, yes the victims were all similar to her, but so were most of their cases, it was no different really to the countless others they'd had to deal with. But for some reason this one had been hard, she hadn't been able to box away her feelings, every time she'd tried they just fought their way back out. She'd so very nearly lost her composure on this one and in front of Hotch too. And that, that couldn't happen. She didn't want anyone to know just how much she struggled sometimes with the things they saw everyday. And if it wasn't for the fact that the thought of not caring about the horrors was so terrifying then she might think it was better not to care. It just showed how much it was getting to her this time that she'd actually considered not caring. The horror of it nearly overwhelmed her terror of not being bothered by everything she saw. Enough so that she'd actually asked Hotch about it and fortunately he'd given her the right answer, it was better to care, even if it hurt so very much. That had been enough for her to gather herself together again, to pull the lapels of her psyche back together, to hold all the horror in again for another day. But now, now she had time to think again, now when she was so so tired, it was all flooding back and she was struggling to hold it all in, which was why she'd taken herself off to the back of the jet with the excuse of being tired. Which she was but there was no way she'd be falling asleep not with her mind swirling in a jumbled mass of confusion, of caring, of not caring and caring too much. She needed to find her balance again; she just didn't know how she was going to do it.
"JJ?" Emily questioned gently. Though JJ had looked up when Emily had greeted her there was no real recognition in her eyes. "You ok?"
Oh God, not Emily. She couldn't deal with facing Emily right now. She didn't need the added confusion that her feelings for Emily would bring. Feelings she shouldn't be having for a colleague, a friend and a straight friend at that. Looking at the concern shining in Emily's eyes she felt her composure crumbling, all she wanted was for Emily to wrap her up in her arms and tell her it would be ok that'd it would be alright. She wanted to be able to lose it for once and have someone there to pick up the pieces and tell her it would be ok and she wished more than anything in the world for that person to be Emily, but she had to face facts. Emily was straight and so not interested in her, not that way. They were just friends and she had to be content with that.
Emily's brow furrowed slightly as she saw the look of panic that crossed JJ's face as she finally recognised Emily sitting across from her. Why would JJ panic at seeing her? She lifted her hand from her lap and started to reach for JJ but stopped halfway across the gap between them when she saw the look in JJ's eyes harden and an almost visible barrier come down over her face hiding any emotion she might have been feeling.
JJ slammed up every wall she had in defence. She was not going to let Emily see her lose it cause she just knew she wouldn't be able to hide her real feelings from her if that happened and that wasn't an option there was no way she was going to risk losing Emily's friendship it meant way to much to her. She felt bad when she saw the flash of hurt in Emily's eyes before it was quickly hidden and saw her abort her attempt to reach out to her. She wanted to shout out no don't stop, she wanted nothing more than to feel Emily's comforting touch, but that was the one thing she couldn't have not in the way she wanted it and anything less would just tear her apart right now so she did the only thing she could and that was to retreat right back into herself and put up every barrier she'd ever been able to create to hide herself from the world, to protect herself from the world so that people didn't see who she truly was, see how she truly felt.
"I'm Fine" JJ's voice was hard, flat emotionless. Emily was thrown, not once had she ever seen JJ shut down like that. She didn't know how to respond. She'd never seen JJ so emotionless. She looked so cold, so hard, so unlike JJ that if she hadn't seen it happen herself Emily would never have believed it. If someone had asked her 5 minutes ago if JJ was capable of being cold and hard and emotionless, Emily would have laughed in their faces and yet here she was faced by a JJ that was exactly that.
"JJ?" Emily's voice and face were full of confusion as she looked at JJ. JJ knew she had just thrown Emily for a loop but it was the only thing she could do, her emotions were so raw she couldn't do anything other than close off everything. She just had to hope Emily would understand when she could explain it to her another time when she didn't feel so close to losing it.
"Emily, I just want to get some sleep ok" JJ wanted Emily to go; she didn't know how long she could keep a hold on her emotions. The concern that shone in Emily's eyes made her want to open up made her want to tell Emily everything but she just couldn't not here, not now. If she let just the smallest bit of emotion out then she would shatter into a thousand pieces.
Emily was trying desperately not to show the hurt she was feeling from JJ shutting her out. She wanted to be the one that JJ turned to when she was hurting when she was upset. She knew that she had to accept that she was never gona be that person for JJ no matter how much she wished for it. No matter how close they got how many smiles they shared she knew JJ wasn't seeing them the same way she did. She knew although she'd never actually seen them that JJ smiled like that at everyone. JJ was just that sort of person. Gentle, compassionate and caring with everyone she ever met. And as much as Emily wanted to believe that JJ saved her sweetest smiles for her she knew it was just wistful thinking and those moments when she almost thought JJ could be flirting with her was just her fanciful imagination running away with her, imaging all those things she could only hope for.
The more she thought about it the more she realised that this JJ in front of her now wasn't the real JJ. This cold emotionless person wasn't JJ. Emily stared into JJ's eyes searching for some sign of the JJ she knew. JJ looked back at her impassively not moving just letting Emily stare into her eyes. She was just about to give up and leave JJ alone when she finally saw a flicker of emotion quickly masked but there all the same.
"JJ" JJ very nearly crumbled at all the care and concern she heard conveyed in that one word from Emily's lips. At the love she was surely imagining in that voice. And that thought was enough; she steadied the walls that had been wavering in her mind. If she was hearing love in Emily's voice then she was definitely losing it. Because the Emily that loved her lived only in the deepest reaches of her mind locked away only let out when she just couldn't help herself. That Emily didn't exist in the real world. The Emily in the real world was just a friend, and yes she could see that friend was concerned for her but that's all it was just concern for a friend, nothing else.
As soon as JJ's name left her lips Emily knew she'd made a mistake. She'd let everything she felt for JJ show in that one word. But she hadn't been able to help herself knowing JJ was hurting, she just wanted to help her and she let slip just how she felt. She saw any emotion that had been present in JJ's eyes vanish leaving only a cold hard stare.
"Just leave me alone Emily" JJ couldn't believe the venom in her own voice. Venom that was directly wholly at herself for almost letting herself believe that Emily felt for her what she felt for Emily. She was not allowed to feel this way. Emily was her colleague, her friend and she wanted nothing more than that from her. This wasn't right; Emily was just a friend nothing more. If she ever realised that what JJ felt was more than friendship then JJ could lose everything her friends, her job. And for the first time she also had something to lose that meant more to her than her job. Her career had been everything to her since she was in high school, it was what she spent years working for, shunning a social life so she could get herself out of that tiny town so that she could make something of herself, alienating herself from her own family because she couldn't be who they wanted her to be. She wanted more than to grow up, marry the quarterback and produce 2 to 10 kids. And she'd gotten exactly what she'd wanted and it had been enough until she met Emily. But now, now she wanted more, now she wanted her job and the girl and she was amazed to realise that somewhere over the last few months that Emily had come to mean more to her than her job. That she would risk everything for Emily other than her friendship. Because she couldn't imagine her life without Emily in it and if she could only have her friendship then that would have to be enough. And so in order to protect that friendship she had to shut Emily out. She couldn't believe the irony of it, she had to shut her out to save the chance to keep her in. But this was something she knew Emily would forgive her for, she wouldn't forgive her for being in love with her.
Emily recoiled at the venom she heard in JJ's voice. What the hell had she done? She never would have believed that JJ was capable of sounding like that let alone to have it directed at her. She'd known that if JJ had been to find out how she felt about her then she would probably lose her friendship, though she had had the smallest hope that maybe they could have remained some kind of friends. But she'd never thought for one minute that JJ would hate her for it. She hadn't thought JJ capable of hate for anyone. But there was no disguising the hate she had just heard in JJ's voice and the only explanation for it was that JJ had heard the love she had for her in her voice and she did not like it one little bit.
Emily hurriedly stood up, she could feel the tears welling up in her eyes, she had to get away, away from JJ, away from everyone. She looked wildly round the interior of the jet, feeling a tiny bit of relief at the fact everyone was absorbed in their own pursuits and didn't seem to be noticing what was going on in the corner. What the hell they would make of it she didn't know but it probably wouldn't take them long to figure it out, they were profilers after all. And she knew her every emotion was displayed on her face for anyone to see. She had to get a grip, there was nowhere for her to run, nowhere to hide. She had to compose herself.
JJ refocused on her surroundings when she heard Emily move. She looked over to see Emily standing up moving her head around jerkily. JJ looked around to see what Emily was looking for. She could see Hotch and Rossi chatting, Reid was reading and Morgan looked like he was asleep. There was nothing she could see that would make Emily react the way she was reacting. She reached out and grabbed Emily's sleeve.
"Emily" Emily looked back down at her as she said her name, the look in her eyes indescribable. They were so hurt so bewildered that JJ couldn't believe it. She'd never seen Emily show such emotion, when she'd first met her she even wondered if Emily was capable of it she seemed so cool and calm all the time. JJ gasped as she realised looking into Emily's eyes that she was the one who'd done this, she was the one who'd put that look in her eyes.
"It's ok JJ, Don't worry. I'll leave you alone" Emily pulled herself together and did what she always did locked her emotions away in a nice little compartment inside her head, thanking her childhood again for at least teaching her that much. For teaching her the ability to lock everything she was feeling away and only letting the world see what they wanted to see, a calm sensible well behaved perfect child. Not ever seeing the real Emily, the real Emily that just wanted her parents to love her for who she really was not for who they wanted her to be.
JJ saw Emily retreating back into herself saw that calm passive expression find its way back across her face. She wanted to take back what she'd said but it was too late. She wanted to pull Emily back down and beg her forgiveness, tell her she was sorry, that the hate that was in her voice wasn't directed at her but at herself. But she couldn't do it, because then she'd have to explain just why she'd directed that hate at herself and that she couldn't do. Emily could not find out how JJ felt about her. She couldn't risk it.
"I'm sorry" was all she could find to say. She knew that didn't come anywhere near to explaining it. Knew just how much she'd hurt Emily by the fact Emily wasn't showing anything other than an easy calm in her demeanour. The sparkle in her eyes was missing and it was her that had taken it away and she didn't know what to do. They'd been getting closer these last few months and both of them had begun to confide in each other sharing their horror at what they saw. Even though JJ had tried to back herself off from Emily because of the way she'd felt about her from the first moment she'd laid eyes on her, she hadn't been able to help herself, they just got on so well. Even though they were from completely different backgrounds they were very much the same. And slowly but surely Emily had worked her way right into JJ's heart. Emily had become her best friend and she thought Emily saw her the same way. Just without the added extra of being in love with her. Emily knew her and had seen she was struggling with this case even though she had tried to hide it. So she did what she should have known she would do and tried to help and JJ had thrown it back in her face by shutting her out completely. If it had been the other way around she would have been crushed if Emily had done that to her.
JJ couldn't take it anymore knowing that though Emily wasn't showing it anymore she was still hurting inside at what JJ had done. She would try to explain. She had to she couldn't be the one responsible for hurting Emily. She used her hold on Emily's sleeve to try to pull her back down onto the chair opposite so she could look into her eyes properly and try to convey to her just how sorry she was. But Emily resisted and pulled her arm away from JJ's grip.
"It's ok JJ, Don't worry about it" Emily repeated her earlier words. She couldn't face JJ right now. She was too close to losing it and that was the last thing JJ needed right now. She obviously had enough on her plate that she didn't want or need Emily to help her with. Emily was so desperately trying to keep her own composure that she missed the genuine sorrow in JJ's eyes, missed the lowering of all her barriers, missed seeing that JJ was letting her in after all. She turned away and headed for the couch on the other side of the jet where she could lie down and pretend she was asleep so that no one could bother her and she could get her emotions back under control. Bury her feelings for JJ back in the dark recesses of her mind.
JJ watched Emily walk away, she wanted nothing more than to pull her back, sit her down and try to put that sparkle back in her eyes, but she couldn't do it not with the others around. She slumped back down in her seat, struggling again to keep the tears away. This time she didn't succeed and she let them flow knowing that no-one would be able to see them in the dark.
***"Prentiss?" Oh crap, she'd done it again, got lost in her thoughts of JJ. The guys were gona think she was crazy. She couldn't stay here not like this.
"You ok? Reid asked the beginnings of concern starting to show in his eyes.
Yup there you go, they're already picking up on the fact that no she wasn't ok, but she wasn't about to tell them that, so she needed to leave.
"I guess I'm just not in the mood anymore, after Hotch..." Emily trailed off. She didn't really know how to finish that statement. She knew under normal conditions the news that Haley was divorcing Hotch would have affected her but not tonight. Tonight she could think about nothing but JJ.
"Yeah I know what you mean, it did kinda kill the mood there didn't it?" Morgan replied. "I knew they were having problems and Hayley had left him, but I didn't realise it had come to this"
"What you knew Hotch & Hayley had split up?" Reid turned to Morgan in indignation that he knew something that he didn't. "And you didn't say anything!"
Emily tried this time to look like she was listening to their conversation but she still couldn't get JJ out of her thoughts. After her disastrous attempt at talking to JJ on the jet, Emily had taken herself off to the couch and tried to get a grip on her emotions. She'd tried locking away every thing that she felt for JJ and everything that had just happened. But she couldn't do it. It had hurt so much when JJ had shut her out. She hadn't expected that, they'd been getting closer and closer and she'd come to consider JJ as her best friend and she'd thought JJ saw her the same way. And so for the first time in a very long time Emily had something she couldn't lock away in one of the boxes in her mind, she'd had to think about JJ and what had happened. And as she'd analysed what had happened she'd come to the conclusion that JJ wasn't shutting her out cause she didn't want to talk to Emily but because she couldn't talk to Emily. She just didn't know why she couldn't talk to her. She'd just have to wait until JJ was ready to talk to her, no matter how long that took. Emily would be there waiting when JJ was ready to talk. It was the only conclusion Emily could live with. She couldn't face thinking that maybe JJ didn't see her as someone she could turn to, that they weren't as close as she thought. It was bad enough knowing JJ would never love her the way she loved JJ without thinking that maybe they weren't even as good friends as she had thought. So she came to the only conclusion she could that JJ was just not ready yet to talk yet and that maybe on the jet surrounded by the others wasn't the best place to talk about something that was obviously upsetting her a great deal.
"Guys, sorry but I think I'm just gona head home, I'm really not in the mood for this now" Emily gave up on trying to be sociable. She just couldn't get her mind off of JJ. And she didn't want to be around two very good profilers when she was thinking far too much about another one of her colleagues and one of her female colleagues at that.
"No worries, we'll see you tomorrow then." Morgan replied as Reid smiled his goodbye.
Emily breathed an internal sigh of relief when the boys didn't question her about leaving. She stood up and put on her coat and made her way out of the bar to her car.
Emily groaned and banged her head lightly against her hands where they rested on her steering wheel; she didn't know what to do. She was sat in her car outside JJ's apartment trying to decide whether or not she was going to go and knock on JJ's door.
After leaving the guys at the bar she'd initially started driving home but that had lasted all of about 5 minutes before she'd changed direction and headed back to the BAU. She'd decided she had to see JJ to see if she was ok, it was the only way she was going to be able to stop thinking about her. Plus she was hoping that she was right and that JJ had only not talked to her on the plane because the others were around. Cause the more she thought about it the more she thought JJ needed someone to talk to. She hadn't noticed it so much at the time cause she was hurt again at JJ's brush off when she asked her to come out for drinks with them but thinking back she could remember the lost look in JJ's eyes as she said maybe some other time and the way she'd leant into Emily's touch. So Emily had headed back to the BAU with the excuse ready that she'd left her bag behind, which she had. But if JJ wasn't there at the BAU then she would have just left it till the morning. There was nothing in there that couldn't wait for tomorrow.
But when she got to the BAU JJ had already left. So now Emily was really worried. JJ had said she still had lots of work to do so she was going to stay at the office for a few more hours to try and catch up on her backlog of cases. And if there was one thing JJ was, it was that she was scrupulous about trying to stay ahead of the mountain of cases that got sent to her all the time. Emily didn't know how she did it; she worked so hard, she was always the first at the office in the morning and the last to leave at night except for maybe Hotch. Emily had offered to help her no end of times but JJ always said no, said that Emily had plenty of her own work to do; she didn't need to have to do hers as well.
And since it was less an hour since they'd all left the office Emily was extremely shocked not to find JJ there. And so now here she was sat in her car outside JJ's apartment. She hadn't intentionally set out to come here, this was just where she'd driven to and now she didn't know what to do. She desperately wanted to see if JJ was ok, but this time she'd have no excuse, there would only be one reason she was at JJ's house and that was to see JJ. And after what happened on the plane earlier she was afraid JJ would see right through her and know exactly the way she felt about her. But she was so worried about her that she was pretty much prepared to risk JJ knowing. She'd never know JJ to shirk her work, not that she would be, if anyone deserved some time away from the job it was JJ, but Emily knew JJ didn't see it like that, so if she'd left when she thought she had work to do that couldn't wait then Emily knew JJ was not herself and that something really wasn't right with her.
This was crazy she had to do something she couldn't just sit out here in her car. She had to do something and so she did the only thing she could.
JJ closed her eyes took a deep breath and then slowly opened them again. She tried to look down at the case file opened on her desk but she couldn't bring herself to actually see the words on the page. She couldn't do this not tonight. She couldn't read about more people getting hurt and killed. It was all too much. She'd been trying for the last half an hour to read what was on the page in front of her but she hadn't made it any further than the first few lines. Every time she tried she just got lost in the tangle of her emotions.
"Fuck" She slammed the case file closed. She couldn't do this. She stood up and grabbed her coat and bag. She couldn't stay here not like this. She'd tried to lose herself in her work, tried to batten down her emotions in the hope that if she ignored them they would go away. But it just wasn't working. She felt too raw, too exposed. She was walking along a knife edge, trying not to shatter into a million pieces and it was getting harder and harder to stop from going over that edge. And if she did fall then she didn't want it to be here in the BAU, where anyone could come in and see her.
There was only one more thing she had left in her arsenal to try and stave off the fall she felt coming and that was to go home and get blind stinking drunk so that she could no longer think, no longer be tormented by her own thoughts. She knew it wasn't a very good idea cause it could very likely just make the whole situation worse but there was a chance though a small one that it could work and the way she was feeling right now even a small chance was good enough for her and it was the only one left that she could see.
She left a note for Hotch telling him she wouldn't be in the next day. Whatever happened with her plan whether it worked or not she'd be in no fit state to come into work tomorrow. She knew Hotch would understand. He knew just how hard she'd been struggling the last few days, he'd even said to her that she could take a few days if she wanted to. She'd said no at the time, said that she was alright. So she knew he'd be ok that she'd changed her mind. None of the others would be in either, Hotch had told them all to take a couple of days if they wanted.
When JJ arrived home she dropped her bag by the door and headed straight for the kitchen. She opened the fridge and put all but one beer inside. She grabbed the bottle opener out of the draw and opened the beer. She didn't even care that it was still warm and she hated warm beer, she just wanted a drink, wanted to forget, wanted to be numb, wanted the thoughts in her head to shut-up. When she looked at the bottle after her first drink she gasped, she'd pretty much finished the whole bottle in one drink. What ever happened this was not going to be pretty. She finished off the bottle in her next swallow and threw the empty in the bin. She grabbed another bottle before heading off to her bedroom to change into something more comfortable.
JJ was on her fourth beer now and it wasn't having any effect. Yes she could feel herself getting a bit light headed but it wasn't having any effect on her emotions, she still felt raw, was still fighting to keep a hold of her composure. Still trying to lock away the horror caused by the unsub's, the damage they left behind, the pain they caused to the victims, to their families. Part of her just wanted to let go, to stop fighting, to let it just consume her. But she couldn't do it, it would be like letting the unsub's win if she let what they did consume her, plus she wasn't sure she'd be able to climb back out on the other side and then they truly would win.
'Knock, Knock' JJ turned her head and looked at her front door at the sound of someone knocking on it. Who the hell would be at her door at this time of night? Well whoever it was could go away; she didn't want to see anyone. She took another swig from her bottle and looked away from the door and hoped whoever it was would just go away.
'Knock, knock' No such luck, this time the knock was louder. JJ considered just ignoring it again, but whoever it was would know she was in, all her lights were on and her TV was blaring out sound. She'd hoped having it loud would help drown the thoughts in her head. It hadn't worked and now the sound would be just advertising the fact she was in.
She got up and walked over to the door. She didn't even look to see who was there. She didn't care whoever it was she was just going to get rid of them as soon as possible. She opened the door and was opening her mouth to say 'what' when her words died on her lips.
Oh my god it's Emily. JJ stared open mouthed at her. What the hell was she doing here? Oh god no, she can't be here. That was the one bit of her emotions she'd managed to get a handle on. She'd been panicking after their conversation in the plane, knowing she'd hurt Emily, hoping beyond hope that she'd not damaged their friendship too much. But when their eyes met as they left the plane, Emily had given her, her usual gorgeous smile, the one that made JJ go weak at the knees and JJ knew that they would be ok, that Emily had forgiven her. JJ had had to look away from her the relief she felt from that smile was so great she'd been afraid it would show on her face. And that knowledge that Emily had forgiven her had been enough for her to be able to get a handle on her feelings for Emily or at least she had until she'd opened the door and seen her standing there. Now it all came flooding back, everything she ever felt for the gorgeous brunette.
"No" Emily heard JJ gasp as she saw her standing in her doorway. Shit, she knew she shouldn't have come to JJ's. She could see in JJ's eyes that she wasn't happy to see her.
"JJ look I'm sorry to disturb you, but well I just wanted to check you were ok, I know this last case bothered you, and then you weren't at the BAU so I tried your cell and you didn't answer and well you always answer your cell so I got really worried and so I came here and now I can see your ok and that you don't want me to be here so I'll go now" Oh god what was she doing, she was babbling at like 90 miles an hour, she didn't babble, she'd never babbled in her life. JJ was going to know she was crazy now but she couldn't stop, her mouth was still talking without permission from her brain. "I just want you to know if you want to talk I'm here, I know you probably don't wana talk to me but well if you do you know where I am but well um I'll leave you alone now so um well bye" Emily turned to run away before her mouth said something that would really get her into trouble.
JJ had seen a lot of things that had shocked her, but nothing had shocked her quite as much as seeing Emily Prentiss babbling. Cool calm composed Emily Prentiss was babbling and it was adorable. She didn't even know what Emily was saying she was so amazed at what she was seeing. It wasn't until Emily turned to leave that what she was saying finally sunk in and all at once JJ realised she didn't want Emily to leave and that maybe what she needed was what was right here in front of her.
"Emily wait" Emily turned back to face JJ, there was an apprehensive almost scared expression on her face and JJ realised as she looked into Emily's eyes that Emily was scared of her, or rather of what she could do. And no wonder all day JJ had been rejecting Emily's offers of friendship, she probably thought JJ was rejecting her. And she knew that would hurt Emily, she didn't know why she hadn't realised it before. Because though Emily Prentiss was the tough dependable nothing can faze me FBI agent, the real Emily wasn't like that, the real Emily was kind caring soft and very vulnerable and it was the real Emily that JJ had been getting to know more and more of and it was the real Emily that had been reaching out to her all day and who had finally braved coming to her house to see if she was ok and she had pushed her away because she was scared of just how much she wanted the real Emily to make everything right again.
"Do you want to come in?" JJ whispered softly almost tentatively. She wasn't sure if she'd already done too much damage to their friendship, she could see the barriers that were beginning to come back down in Emily's eyes, battening down her feelings so she couldn't be hurt. But as she spoke she saw her fears were unfounded as a breathtaking smile crossed Emily's face as she nodded her acceptance.
JJ opened her door wide and stood aside so that Emily could come in. She held her breath as Emily brushed past her on her way through the door, she couldn't believe the effect this woman had on her. No-one had ever affected her like this. She saw Emily glance around the room and linger for a split second on the beer bottles lined up on her coffee table. She stiffened and was about to defend her self when Emily spoke.
"You got anymore of those?" Emily had felt JJ stiffen beside her as her glance had settled on the beer bottles and she knew she had to say something so that JJ wouldn't get all defensive, especially when there was no need. Alcohol was also a friend of hers when she had had a really bad day. Though JJ was obviously going for it in a big way, she can't have been home long and there were already three empty bottles on the table.
"Sure" She knew she'd said the right thing when JJ relaxed and headed off into the kitchen and returned carrying 2 bottles. She smiled and handed one to Emily. Emily followed JJ as she moved to go and sit on the couch. She sat down at the opposite end to JJ and lifted her legs up and tucked them underneath herself as she turned to face her. Now she was here, she didn't really know what to do or say. She hadn't actually thought any further than getting to see JJ.
JJ watched Emily as she played with the bottle in her hands. She could see that Emily was nervous and was trying to work out what to say to her. She knew Emily would want to talk about why JJ had been so upset these last few days but she didn't want to, she just wanted to forget everything for a while.
"So how come your not at the pub with the guys?" JJ wanted to distract Emily from asking her questions and she figured the best way to do that would be to ask some questions of her own.
Emily raised her head and looked over at JJ "O um, I just wasn't in the mood I guess"
"How come? I thought you were up for some drinks"
"Well I was" till you said you weren't going to come out, Emily continued on in her head.
"But?" JJ questioned when Emily didn't continue.
"After seeing Hotch get served, well it kinda just killed the mood. I wasn't really up for it after that" Emily was starting to feel really bad about using Hotch for an excuse, that was twice now in one night, but she couldn't exactly tell the truth, especially not to JJ. And well if it wasn't for the fact she was worried about JJ then the news of Hotch and Haley's divorce would upset her, so it wasn't that bad really was it?
"JJ, Are you ok?" Emily couldn't take it anymore. She had to know if JJ was ok. She knew JJ was trying to distract her by asking her own questions and that in itself told her JJ wasn't ok. She knew instinctively that JJ did want to talk, needed to talk, she wouldn't have let her in otherwise. She was just delaying the inevitable by asking questions that didn't really matter right now and Emily didn't want to see the haunted look in JJ's eyes any longer.
Emily sighed in disappointment when she saw JJ turn away. She was going to shut her out again. No, she wasn't going to let her, not this time. She shifted closer to JJ on the couch. When JJ turned back to look at her she reached out her hand and caught hold of JJ's fingers.
JJ wanted to tell Emily, yes she was fine. She didn't want to talk about it not yet, she wasn't ready, wasn't prepared. But she couldn't do it. The concern and care that Emily was radiating toward her was so great she couldn't turn her back on it again, couldn't shut her out again. She looked down at Emily's fingers holding hers every so gently and slowly brought her eyes up to meet Emily's.
"No, no I'm not ok" JJ could feel the tears start to form in her eyes as the horror overwhelmed her again and her head was filled with images of blood, pain and death.
"Oh JJ" Emily could feel tears prick at her own eyes as she saw the anguish in JJ's gaze.
"How can they do it Emily? How can they cause so much pain?"
"I don't know sweetie, I don't know" Emily had no answer for JJ, not one that would help her. She knew there was no reason to it, most of the unsub's themselves couldn't tell you why they did it, other than that they wanted and needed too.
JJ choked back a sob, she was not going to break down, she wasn't. She tried again to push out the images that crowded her mind, images of broken families that had lost someone very dear to them, images of the mothers, sisters, brothers, fathers, sons and daughters that they hadn't been able to save. All of them fighting for dominance in her mind refusing to be buried, tormenting her.
"How do you do it? How do you cope so well with it all?
Emily considered JJ's question for about half a second before she made the decision to tell the truth. She knew the answer she'd given JJ when she'd first asked her that question wasn't the answer JJ wanted or needed now and it while it was sort of true, she did compartmentalise things easily, it wasn't the whole truth. She wanted to be honest with JJ, wanted JJ to know her true self.
She put her bottle down on the coffee table to give her some time to try and work out what she was going to say.
"I don't, not really"
"What? But I've never..."
Emily interrupted JJ "I know you haven't. I've learnt when I was a kid how to hide what I'm really feeling and how to lock away all my emotions. But it does get to me and every so often it does get to be too much and I either go out and get blind stinking drunk or I just run away somewhere where no one can find me so I can lose it completely and fall apart or more often than not I do both."
JJ stared open mouthed at Emily. She hadn't been expecting that answer. She'd hoped for something more than her usual answer about compartmentalising easily but she had not been prepared for that. She was amazed at Emily's answer, she realised just how much it meant that Emily had told her something like that. As she'd gotten to know Emily more and more, she'd come to realise that Emily didn't trust just anyone and if she'd admitted to JJ something that was extremely personal to her, then JJ knew it meant that she trusted her. And that knowledge was enough for JJ to let go. If someone as strong as Emily could break down, then surely it was ok for her to.
Emily immediately gathered JJ into her arms as she was overcome with racking sobs. She took the beer bottle out of JJ's hands and placed it next to hers on the table. Then she pulled JJ into her lap and held her tight. Tears tracked down her own cheeks as she whispered words of comfort into JJ's ear and stroked her back soothingly. She was relieved that JJ was finally letting all her emotions out. She knew it would be the only thing that would help. There were certainly no words that could make it feel better, how can you make sense of something that was senseless. She'd certainly never been able to. She knew some people could explain it away by saying that it was God's will or that things always happen for a reason. But that had never seemed like a reasonable explanation to her, what decent God would want horrific things to happen to his supposedly loved subjects and what reason could possibly be worth the horror that she'd seen inflicted on people.
JJ burrowed herself further into Emily's arms. She'd never felt as safe as she did right now. It felt so right to be held in Emily's arms. She knew she could just let go, could fall off that knife edge because Emily was there to catch her. She felt all the images that were swirling around in head disappear one by one with her tears, leaving her with only her exhaustion and a lingering ache of remembered horror.
Emily could feel JJ's tears slowing and she knew she should probably let go of her tight hold on JJ, but she really didn't want to, it felt so good to have JJ in her arms. She knew it was probably wrong to be thinking that when JJ was so upset, but she couldn't help herself. She'd been dreaming for months about having JJ in her arms, though if it meant JJ would be ok she would sacrifice this moment.
She reluctantly pulled herself away from JJ as she felt her tears finally stop. She couldn't relinquish her hold completely though, she kept one arm wrapped around JJ's back as with her other hand she brushed JJ's hair behind her ear.
JJ wanted to shout out no when she felt Emily pull away from her. She wasn't ready yet to face the world. She didn't feel strong enough yet, she still felt fragile, like the slightest thing would set her off crying again and she just didn't have the energy for any more crying, she was exhausted. She breathed a sigh of relief when Emily didn't let go of her hold of her. She looked into Emily's eyes and was astounded at the caring and compassion she could see in Emily's gaze. There were even tears in her eyes, tears for her. What had she ever done to deserve a friend as wonderful as Emily Prentiss? She was crazy to ever hope for more. Emily was far too good for her.
Before she could stop herself Emily reached out her hand and gently wiped JJ's cheeks of her tears with her thumb. She was relieved to see the hurt and despair that had filled JJ's eyes earlier was gone replaced with a look of amazement. A frown of confusion crossed her face as she tried to work out why JJ would be amazed.
JJ saw the furrowing of Emily's brow and realised that Emily had seen her wonder in her eyes. "What did I do to deserve a friend as wonderful as you?" She spoke before she could think about what she was saying.
Emily raised her eyebrows in shock at JJ's question. What did JJ do to deserve a friend like Emily? Surely it was the other way around. What had she ever done to deserve a friend like JJ?
Oh God. What have I done? JJ could see the shock written all over Emily's face at her question. She could feel tears start to form in her eyes again. She had to get away, she didn't want to see the rejection in Emily's eyes when she realised just what JJ felt for her.
"Whoa JJ" Emily grabbed hold of JJ before she could get up.
"I'm sorry Em, let me go please"
"JJ? Sorry for what?" Emily was confused now. What the hell had just happened? JJ looked terrified, terrified of her. What had she done? JJ was refusing to look her in the eye, she was looking down at their hands, looking at Emily's hand holding hers, trying to stop her leaving.
"JJ, look at me" When JJ wouldn't lift her head, Emily reached with her free hand and put her hand under JJ's chin and tilted her head up so that she could look at her. JJ was still trying to look everywhere but at Emily. "JJ"
JJ finally looked straight at Emily when she heard the panicked tone to her voice. She could see nothing but confusion in Emily's gaze.
Emily was shocked at the fear she could see in JJ's eyes. What was she afraid of? She slid her hand up along JJ's cheek. "JJ?"
JJ couldn't help but lean into Emily's hand cupping her cheek. She didn't know what to say, didn't know how to explain away what just happened. She couldn't exactly say oh sorry Em, but I thought you'd just realised just how I felt about you and I had to run away before you told me I was crazy, you could never feel that way about me.
Emily was relieved when she felt JJ lean into her hand. She'd had a terrified moment herself when she thought that maybe she'd shown too much of her emotion when it came to JJ, that maybe JJ had seen that Emily loved her. She kept her gaze locked with JJ's; she could see the gears churning in her head trying to find a way to explain just what had happened. She tried to convey with her eyes, that whatever JJ had to say it would be ok, she would be here for her no matter what.
JJ was exhausted, she couldn't do this any longer, she didn't have the strength to keep up the barriers on her feelings for Emily, didn't want to have to make up some excuse for what had just happened. She just wanted to tell the truth, she didn't want to hide anymore. And looking into Emily's eyes she felt something snap inside of her as she saw the love that was reflected in those eyes. She was tired of holding in everything she felt for Emily, tired of denying all the feelings that Emily brought out in her.
Emily looked on in amazement at the emotions reflected in JJ's gaze. She saw the precise moment when JJ gave up and let everything she was feeling show in her gaze. It couldn't be, could it? Emily gazed on in wonder at the love she could see in JJ's gaze. She must be dreaming there was no way she could be seeing what she thought she was seeing.
As JJ opened her heart to Emily and stopped denying her feelings, she felt like a veil had lifted from her eyes. All of a sudden she was seeing things differently, the friendship she'd always seen in Emily's gorgeous brown eyes suddenly took on a whole new dimension as she saw the real emotion behind that friendship, saw that the love that Emily had for her was exactly the same as the love that she had for Emily.
"Emily" JJ breathed her name in amazed wonder.
When Emily heard the emotion behind that one whispered word, she finally believed that what she was seeing and hearing was real. And with that she leaned forward and did what she'd been dreaming of doing ever since she'd laid eyes on the beautiful press liaison.
JJ closed her eyes as Emily's lips gently brushed hers. She couldn't believe this was happening. She'd been dreaming about this moment from almost the first time she'd met the beautiful agent. And the reality was even better than her dreams. She moaned as Emily's hand slid around to slide through her hair and she deepened the kiss.
Emily was in heaven, she was kissing the girl of her dreams, life could not get better than this. She shuddered as JJ's arms slid around her neck. They kissed for what felt like forever, but eventually they had to stop when the need for air overcame their need for each other. Emily leant her forehead against JJ's as she looked into JJ's eyes and tried to catch her breath.
"Wow" JJ breathed when she could finally talk.
"Wow indeed" Emily replied. She continued "That was everything I've ever dreamed of"
"You've dreamed about this?" JJ questioned nervously, her fears that Emily didn't feel for her what she felt for Emily suddenly returning.
"Oh just a few times" Emily chuckled, trying to lighten the mood that had suddenly got heavier. She could see JJ was starting to question what was happening between them. She was relieved that she seemed to have said the right thing as JJ broke into a big smile. It lit up her whole face and took Emily's breath away.
"You're so beautiful" Emily traced JJ's face with her fingers as she spoke. "You take my breath away you know"
JJ gazed at Emily in stunned incredulity. She couldn't believe what her ears were hearing but she could see Emily believed wholeheartedly in what she was saying. No-one had ever affected her the way Emily did. She only had to open her mouth and speak to send shivers down her spine. She couldn't believe that this incredible woman could want her.
"I love you" JJ spoke from the bottom of her heart.
Emily gazed in awe at JJ. She couldn't believe what she just heard. There was no way this wonderful woman in front of her had really just said that. She must be dreaming. There was no way she deserved this, but she could see the truth of JJ's words in her eyes, could feel it in the hands that were gently caressing her skin where they were still clasped around her neck.
"I love you too" she replied before she bent her head and found JJ's lips with her own.
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