DISCLAIMER: Criminal Minds and its characters are the property of CBS. No infringement intended.
SPOILERS: 2x15 Revelations, 3x09 Penelope, 3x17 In Heat, 3x20 Lo-Fi
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

5 Times The World Explodes
By gilligankane


The world explodes around her, coming down in an instant. Blue eyes sparkle in her direction, matching an amused grin, and Emily can feel her heart beat quicken instantly, sending her heart right out of her ribcage.

She might be standing in the middle of the hallway, in awkwardly uncomfortable clothes, holding a box of her belongs like a damn fool, but an angel just walked by her and she can't feel her toes. The loss of feeling spirals up her legs and she knows she's going to turn to Jell-O if this woman – this perfect blonde woman – doesn't stop smiling at her the way she is.

The angel is coming back, coming closer and closer to her, her smile getting wider and Emily wants to die right here on the spot.

"Hi, you must be Agent Prentiss." The angel speaks.

"Uh, yeah. Emily. You can call me Emily," she stupidly explains, enjoying the way the blonde smiles just a little wider.

"Well then Emily." She's rewarded with smirk. "I'm Jennifer Jareau, but everyone calls me JJ. Hotch wanted me to brief you on procedures, 'as soon as humanly possible'," JJ explains to her, using air quotes and scrunching her noise slightly. "So let's get started on that."

JJ takes off; glancing over her shoulder once to make sure the new Agent is following her. "This is your desk," she says, pointing to an empty cubicle in the middle of the room. "The other Agents will be here soon, but for right now, it's just you and me."

The smirk she gives Emily makes the brunette's knees tremble.

Working here is going to be an adventure, Emily tells herself as she follows the blonde to the briefing room, trying not to make a complete fool of herself.

The world explodes around her, and she struggles not to notice the way JJ's eyes are feral and wild. Morgan can't get the blonde to put her gun down, and she just can't stand seeing JJ like this: so upset and possessed with fear.

"JJ, look at me." The blonde starts at her voice and Emily is even surprised at the firmness of her tone. "JJ, look at me."

The blue eyes she can't stop losing herself in finally come to focus on her, latching onto the security and warmth and trust in her own chocolate orbs.

"Where's Reid?" It's the only thing she can think to ask, and she regrets it the second she opens her mouth. JJ needed to hear something other than that.

JJ needed to hear that she was safe. Resisting the urge to wrap the tiny, shaking woman in her arms, she settles for taking the gun from JJ's trembling hands, dropping it into the dirt by their feet.

Reid is missing, along with a psychotic killer, and Emily just wants to wrap her arms around JJ and make those blue eyes shiny new again.

The world explodes around her, just at the rushed tone of JJ's voice. Her cell phone had been beeping at her for the last thirty minutes, but she ignored it at first, finally getting annoyed with the disruptive sounds.

"Em, it's JJ. Garcia…" Emily couldn't breathe as she heard JJ's sob coming over through her cell speaker. "Garcia's been shot. I'm at the hospital and…just get here as soon as you can."

Emily ignores her mother's state of shock and rushes out into the dark blue night, breaking at least four speeding laws on the way, swerving from lane to lane, trying to navigate D.C. traffic as best as possible. Running into the hospital, she collides with Rossi, but tunes him out.

JJ, Garcia, JJ, Garcia, JJ, Garcia, JJ, Garcia. Images of the two women race through her mind, like a picture show on fast forward, repeating over and over again. She skids to a stop when she catches sight of a blonde head ducked low, pacing back and forth across the small hallway.

"JJ…" It's all she has to say before the blonde launches herself into Emily's arms, holding on.

Later, as they sit and wait for news – sit and wait to make sure that Garcia is alright – she grabs JJ's wrist and slides her hand into a warm embrace. JJ clutches her fingers tightly, but Emily doesn't flinch.

She simply squeezes JJ's fingers in response and prays that Garcia will make it.

The world explodes around her, white-hot heat building up inside of her, threatening to blow her cool, detached demeanor.

JJ is standing in the middle of the Miami precinct, necking with that backwoods wanna-be like she's still in high school and Emily can't see anything but red. She wants to run over there and strangle that sweet-talking, crawfish son of a…

"Well, finally." Morgan's voice snaps her out her rage and she struggles to try and respond to the statement. All she can think about is how JJ is with someone else, how JJ was supposed to be hers, how she can't believe what she's seeing.

"Mmm…thought she was never going to admit it," is all she can come up with, and she tries not to sound too bitter about it, even though JJ is still wrapped in the wrong arms, sticking her tongue down the wrong throat.

And it occurs to her: JJ wasn't ever going to admit it. JJ was going to drag her along like a little lost puppy; let her nip at her heels, begging for attention and affection.

JJ was going to let her go on making a fool of herself, and what was even more upsetting to the brunette was that she was all for it. If it meant she could have JJ, even for just mere moments, she would follow the brunette to Thailand, barefoot.

But she realizes now, even if she doesn't want to, that she'll never get a chance – not anymore.

The world explodes around her. This explosion is different from the others; she can feel it in her bones. Heat engulfs her body and she thinks to herself: there was a chill in the air just a minute ago. She wonders briefly where the chill disappeared to, but the heat is so hot, so overbearing, that she can't think about it too long.

Sirens are ringing in her ear, a mix between the hustle and bustle of the New York City night life, and squawking car alarms. She hears confusion and Morgan's voice is booming across the night sky.

Then she hears the screams.

JJ's scream is piercing and stands out above every other sound that rings in her ears. JJ's scream is loud and clear and Emily can hear the distress and fear laced in the high-pitched, blood-curdling sound.

Emily is frozen in place, but her eyes swivel in the blonde's direction and it's just like every other time their eyes met: Emily can hardly keep herself from collapsing in wonderment. But JJ's eyes aren't sparkling in amusement this time. Instead, they're screaming as loud as JJ herself, screaming in fear and disbelief and horror. Emily wants to make the hurt disappear, but she. can't. move.

Her heart grows heavy in her chest and it feels nothing like when she saw JJ for the first time. This heaviness settles in the darkest parts of her and spread and soon, she feels like she'll fall over in grief.

She imagines JJ's hand in hers; their fingers intertwined and clasped tightly together, each holding each other up by the tiny connection of warm skin.

The world is exploding around her and all Emily wants to do is get to JJ. But she's frozen in this spot, watching JJ scream for her desperately; watching Morgan stand by helplessly; watching Garcia sob into Reid's sweater.

JJ screams for her, and around her, her SVU, the one she just got into moments ago, after checking up on Cooper, burns brightly, like a torch in the night.

The world explodes around her – for the last time – and the hair on her neck bristles at the way JJ screams her name.

The End

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