DISCLAIMER: Criminal Minds and its characters are the property of CBS. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SEQUEL: To 5 Times The World Explodes
SPOILERS: 3x20 Lo-Fi

After The Explosion
By gilligankane



She drops to the hot cement, her knees hitting the pavement first, followed by her hands digging into shards of broken glass. Her throat is clogged with unspoken words and tears and smog and smoke. Flames lap at her from all directions, and she can feel the fire tongues pulling at her clothes, pulling her in so many different directions.

Hands – real hands – wrap around her waist, hoisting her up a few feet into cool air. Her hands are throbbing in dull, aching pain, but she welcomes the rush of cool air that overcomes her intensely. She sucks in a sob, turning to bury her face in Morgan's strong shoulder. The arms wrap around her tighter and she lets out a strangled cry, trying to force air down her liquid fire throat.

"Jay-jay, it's okay, you're okay," Will is wrapping his arms around her now and for the first time since Will, she doesn't feel like it's the right fit. Maybe it's because he's too overbearing, or because he squeezes her just a little too hard. But subconsciously, she knows it's because for the last year and a half, she had been waiting to fit into someone else's arms, and it just hit her that she may never know that feeling.

"Emily," she croaks out, but Morgan is already racing away, back toward the fiery inferno, his lithe frame moving between flames. Garcia sidles up next her and takes her swollen hand, cradling the broken flesh.

Morgan is digging through rubble, trying to keep himself as low to the ground as possible, but he can't see the brunette profiler anywhere. JJ can see him yell in frustration as a stray piece of scorching metal grazes his arm, singeing a hole in his shirt. She can see him stop suddenly and then burst to life, digging furiously. The fire trucks that JJ didn't notice before are pumping water into the melted cage of the SVU, soaking Morgan to the bone and blocking JJ's view.

Will's arms are still wrapped around her and she finds herself suffocating.

Morgan rises out of the ashes, a limp broken body hanging between his arms, struggling under the dead weight.

"Emily," JJ croaks out again, moving to the blonde. She finds herself stopped short by restricting arms. The look in Will's eyes is different. It's…jealous and cold. Will is jealous of the brunette, JJ can see, but it doesn't stop the blonde from pushing his arms away and trying to run to Emily.

"Emily!" The scream surprises her, but she needs the brunette to know…to know. Emily's eyes roll back into her head as fire trucks squawk around her, men in bulky yellow uniforms yelling out to each other.

"Get a stretcher!"

"Someone put that out!"

"Where's the medic!"

"She's fading!"

The last statement sends JJ to her knees, figuratively. Literally, she's still propelling herself to Emily's side, her voice screeching and high-pitched and so unlike her.

"Emily!" She's being restrained by hands she's not familiar with, hands that are pushing her back, away from Emily.


The only sound she's rewarded with in response is the sound of a man yelling "Charge! Clear!" and another yelling back "No change!"

And then – silence.

No more yelling, no more beeping, no more sirens, no more noise.

She's still screaming Emily's name, hoping that if she keeps yelling it, everything will disappear and she'll be back in the precinct in Miami, and she won't chase Will, and instead, when Emily tells her to "go for it," she'll actually go for it with the brunette. She keeps hoping that she can just close her eyes tighter than she's ever closed them before and make everything around her disappear in one instant.

But when she opens them, the world is still smoldering and smoking and her hands still ache and Will is still staring a hole into the back of her head and Garcia's sobs are still quiet and reserved.

The only thing that's different now is Morgan whispering into her ear: "She's gone, JJ. She's gone."

She's still screaming Emily's name.

The End

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