DISCLAIMER: God knows, if I owned them, there would be no debate over whose hands those are in the “Penelope” promo. All herein belong to CBS and its affiliates, not me. Not profit was made, no disrespect intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: My deepest gratitude to Rachel, the world’s most supportive and wonderful of beta readers. Not to mention, the Queen of All Femslash. All honor to you, my Queen *g*. There are no spoilers in this one. Nor are there any case references or descriptions of killing or dismemberment. This is purely a romantic, first-time tale and as close to fluff as I can manage. I am hoping that this will secure a few more converts to the wonder that is Emily and JJ. If it does, Rachel owes me a couple of toaster ovens *g*.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
All for Believing
Sometimes it seemed to her that only a thin wisp of string, no wider than a child's strand of candy floss, kept the whole damn world from spinning off its axis; like a green, white and blue top sent spiraling crookedly into the blackness of space. Emily Prentiss knew that it had always been this way, the gilded surface of life hiding beneath its exterior a hideous amalgam of hate and fear, of greed and corruption. Still, she wondered wearily, were war and disease, famine and flood, death and more death the only great constants? Was there nothing more?
On days like this, having witnessed yet again the depths of depravity to which one more person had devolved, Emily couldn't imagine that humanity had ever been or ever would be much more than this; a race still trying to crawl and claw its way out of the primordial swamp, menaced at all turns by monsters of its own making. There was no other explanation for the hundreds of case files that poured into the offices of the B.A.U. on a daily basis, each an indictment of failure against their self-deluded belief in the inherent nobility of man.
Spending the day in the National Gallery usually made her feel better. It was difficult to comprehend that a people capable of producing such immense, complex beauty could also produce such incomprehensible horror. She could almost convince herself that she had imagined it all; the tortured, dead eyes of the victims, the tortured, living eyes of the killers and rapists; that she had imagined the fear, the anguish, the evil scattered among the jagged wounds and the blood.
She paused in front of Winslow Homer's Breezing Up (A Fair Wind). Even as a child, brought to the gallery by her nanny, because heaven knows her mother didn't have the time to spend dragging an over-curious child around a museum, Emily had loved this painting. Anytime they were back in D.C., Emily would find an excuse to visit.
For some reason she couldn't express, she had always ended up here, caught up in the sound of the waves rushing past the prow of the small sailboat, in the feel of the cold spray against her face, in the taste of the salt and brine on her lips, and in the vast, indescribable smell of the sea.
If asked, as she had once been when she had mistakenly brought someone along with her, what it was about the painting that captured her imagination so, Emily was hard pressed to respond. It certainly wasn't the most beautiful work of art in the museum. The colors weren't the vibrant primary shades that glowed like jewels from the canvases in the Renaissance galleries. There was no call to worship, no religious fervor to be found in its subject. There was none of the transparent, gauzy light of the Impressionists.
It was simply a painting of four fragile souls in an equally fragile construct of wood and metal and canvas, able to transcend for a brief moment in time their fears, their doubts, their limitations and in so doing, to know the freedom of surrendering to the unknown. There was an optimism, a love for living inherent in the painting that had cheered her in the past. The idea that the future was as unlimited as the broad horizon.
But gazing at it today, all that she could see was the folly of it, the ignorance of the perils that lurked just under the swelling surface of the waves. There was no bravery, no glory, no grand adventure waiting for them along the edges of the shimmering horizon. There was only misfortune, only loss, only the promise of an end, not a beginning.
Sighing deeply and shaking her head, Emily walked slowly from the gallery, exiting the museum into the frigid air of a January day. The Mall was teaming with tourists, even on such a damp, cold afternoon, and Emily paused on the marble steps to watch them.
Groups of schoolchildren, some bundled against the chill, some sporting only light jackets designed not to obscure the latest fashions they wore, raced, slouched, milled and loitered around the entrance. Their voices were the loud, shrill cries of magpies, echoing off the granite and marble buildings.
Among and around them, tourists came and went, digital cameras clutched in their hands, hats pulled down low, cheeks red with the constant slap of the wind. They all looked so normal, so benign, and yet Emily knew that somewhere here, perhaps within a few feet of her, some sort of predator was lying in wait, anticipating just the right moment to strike, to grab a purse or bag, to lift a wallet, to approach a child.
She had an almost overwhelming urge to yell out to them, to warn them, to chastise them for being so apathetic, so complacent, so ignorant of what evils stalked them.
Instead she slipped quietly down the steps. She paused on the sidewalk, milling bodies weaving around her as she stood for a moment and looked at the snow white dome of the Capitol building rising majestically up against the cold blue of the winter sky. More illusion.
With a grimace, she turned to head towards 7th Street. Tucking her chin down against the wind, she nearly missed the chiming of her cell phone.
"Prentiss," she answered loudly, trying to be heard over the rushing of the wind.
"Hey, it's JJ. Where are you?" Agent Jennifer Jareau asked, her voice sounding tinny to Emily's ear.
"Um, downtown. I just left the National Gallery. Why? Please don't tell me that we have another case, JJ. We just got back last night," Emily knew she sounded a little whiny, but she couldn't help it.
"No," JJ laughed at the tone in Emily's voice. "I'm just in DC and I wondered if you had any dinner plans?"
Emily ducked into the shelter beside a staircase.
"Now I do," Emily smiled into the phone. Odd how the day suddenly seemed a little less bleak, and the world a little less weary.
"Seriously," JJ chuckled, "if you've got plans it's no big deal. I was just in town to run a few errands and I thought that we could grab a bite."
"I was serious," Emily replied, turning her face to the silver freckled granite wall of the building sheltering her from the wind. "I'd love to have dinner with you. Did you have anywhere in mind?"
"No. Anything is good with me. You know when it comes to food I have learned not to be picky," JJ's voice, despite the hollowness of the connection sent a tingle of warmth through Emily's body. "What were you planning ?"
"To be honest, I went to the grocery store the day before we left for Ohio, so I have stuff that needs to be cooked. I was just going to stay in and make something. Are you feeling brave enough to try my cooking?" Emily asked, almost hesitantly, not certain that having dinner at her apartment was what JJ had in mind.
"You cook?" JJ was clearly amused at the idea, and not a little incredulous.
"Hey!" Emily replied with mock indignation. "I'm hurt that you think that I can manage to fire a gun and carry a badge, but not boil water."
JJ's laugh sounded rich and golden, even with the distortion of wire and wind.
"Well, it's a good thing that I am feeling particularly courageous today. I do reserve my apology until after I've actually tasted your cooking, however," JJ responded, the laugh still evident in her voice.
"You don't have to brave my cooking. We really can go to a restaurant," Emily told her, a smidgen of her confidence slipping.
"No," JJ replied quickly, before Emily had quite finished, wanting to reassure the brunette, "dinner at your place sounds great. Honestly. That is, if you're sure you don't mind the company?"
"I'd really like the company." Now it was Emily's turn to reassure. "I don't have people over all that often, so it will be really nice to have someone to cook for. You know where I live, right?"
"I do indeed. Apartment 300?"
"Great, then," JJ replied, her tone suddenly softer. "What can I bring?"
"Just you will be perfect," Emily told her, hoping that her voice didn't betray how much she meant that. "Say around seven?"
"You really can be sweet, Emily Prentiss. I'll see you at seven," JJ said softly, hanging up quickly before she said anything else.
Leaning back against the cold granite wall, Emily found that the feeling of despair at the fate of the human race that had nearly overwhelmed her just minutes ago had lifted. The sky was the same thin silvery blue, the tourists rushing past were still overly complacent, and humanity still hurtled towards its inevitable self-destruction, but for the moment, Emily could live with all those things, because for a few hours she was going to be able to gaze uninterrupted into JJ's crystal blue eyes.
And Emily was quite certain that fact made the rest a little less important.
The lights of the city were glimmering as JJ made her way across the street to Emily's apartment building, her coat collar turned up against the bracing wind. The golden yellow of street lights, the pale, anemic white of a million lamps illuminating a million different rooms in a thousand different buildings, the reddish glare of taillights and the unyielding beams of headlights, all drowning the gentle glow of an almost full moon in a sea of garish radiance
Knocking on Emily's door, JJ felt the faint whisper of doubt tickle at her mind. Calling Emily had not been a spur of the moment thing. In fact, being in the city at all had been entirely about this moment. JJ had used the excuse of having to return a gift to one of the large retail stores, but she had passed not one, but two of them on her way from Quantico to DC. She had simply wanted to see Emily.
It didn't matter that not twelve hours ago they had sat across from each other on the plane back from their latest case. That wasn't the same. That was work, and there was no time to really be alone, to talk, with four other people always present.
JJ knew that she could have admitted that she had driven up just to see the brunette agent. After all, they were colleagues, friends even, and it wasn't unheard of to want to have dinner with a friend. And if that was all that it was, the desire to share a meal with a friend, she might not have felt the blood pounding against the slender bones at her temples, or the slight tightness in her chest as she heard footsteps approaching to answer her knock.
But it wasn't all. Not by a long shot.
The question was, did she have the nerve to find out all that it really was, and more importantly, if Emily felt the same?
The clicking of the lock left those questions hanging in the air. Glancing sideways, JJ was surprised not to see them, like cartoon character balloons, floating un-tethered, laying bare her soul. She turned her head as the door swung open, meeting Emily's expressive brown eyes.
"Hey," JJ smiled shyly, taking in the uncharacteristic short sleeved sweater Emily wore, the lovely crimson of the mock turtle neckline disappearing beneath a layer of dark brown hair.
"Hi. Come in," Emily responded, stepping aside to allow her guest to enter, her own smile almost as timid.
JJ slipped past her into the warmth of the apartment, the delicious aroma coming from the kitchen weaving into her senses. She turned to Emily and handed her the package, wrapped in a length of green paper, that she held in her arms.
"I told you that you didn't need to bring anything," Emily murmured, laying the gift on the counter and slowly removing the thin paper covering.
Inside lay a dozen calla lilies, their stems long and willowy, curling leaves wrapping around like the curving fingers of a lover. The blooms were a lush, creamy white, each flower like a modernist sculpture, perfect, complete.
Emily drew in a breath, one finger gently tracing the curve of a blossom, dark head bending to inhale the heady fragrance.
When she met JJ's eyes, her smile was no longer shy, but sweet and warm.
"How did you know that I love calla lilies?" She asked, her tone surprised and just a little teasing.
"I didn't," JJ admitted, "I just saw them in the window of a florist on the way here and they reminded me of you."
"Of me? Why?" Emily asked, her fingers still moving gently along the green stalks.
"They're slender and graceful and elegant. Like you," JJ's voice was low and hesitant.
Emily felt her cheeks begin to glow at JJ's compliment.
"Talk about being sweet," she murmured, trying to hide her pleasure at the blonde's words. "Here, let me put them in some water."
JJ watched the wash of color stain the perfect line of Emily's cheekbones, breathing a little easier at the pleased look in Emily's eyes at her words. The moment they had left her lips, she had felt a wave of dread, fearing that she had stepped over the line between friend and something more and that Emily would retreat. She hadn't.
"What smells so amazing?" JJ asked lightly, crossing into the living room area of the large open space to perch on the arm of the couch, intentionally putting some distance between them.
"Um. Let's see. Chicken Piccata, roasted rosemary potatoes, and grilled asparagus. And there are Melted Chocolate Cakes for dessert. Well, if I get them in the oven, that is," Emily answered, coming around the kitchen island to place a simple vase of crackled glass containing the lilies on the dining table.
"My God, Emily, you really can cook," JJ laughed, her smile crinkling the corners of her eyes. "I apologize for casting aspersions on your abilities."
"I thought that you were going to hold off on the apology until you actually tasted my cooking?" Emily teased, her sense of balance momentarily restored at the less personal topic.
JJ's earlier compliment, and the look of intensity that had accompanied it, had sent her heart racing at a disturbing rate and Emily was grateful for the few moments it had taken to place the flowers in water to calm her shaky nerves.
Now meeting those brilliant blue eyes, Emily was more than a bit disconcerted to see the faint traces of emotion, as yet unnamed, that lingered in them, like swirls of oil in clear water, before JJ turned away and paced slowly to the wide glass doors that led to the balcony.
Beyond the panes, the illusory beauty of the capital city gleamed in the distance.
"The view is amazing," JJ murmured, her eyes focused less on the city sprawled before her, and much more on Emily's reflection in the thick glass.
She knew that she had thrown the brunette off balance, and she wasn't certain what to do about it. Some inner voice told her to take advantage of Emily's uncertainty, but JJ knew that she couldn't do that. Either they both reached the same point in the road together, or not at all. Games were for children and JJ was long past childhood. She refused to manipulate or pressure the other woman, even if it meant that Emily might never know how she felt about her.
There was far too much vulnerability in those dark eyes for JJ to ever do anything to make Emily uncomfortable. Still, she couldn't help but sigh at the expression of puzzlement and confusion on Emily's face, reflected in the light from the kitchen against the balcony doors.
"Yeah, it is. Sometimes, at night like this, when everything is lit up and it all looks so pristine and beautiful, I can imagine that it's like Brigadoon, you know. A magical place that only appears once every hundred years or so, because that," Emily said softly, gesturing with her hand as she came to stand beside JJ, "that isn't real.
"That's just an illusion, a trick of the light. What's really out there is poverty and ignorance and crime and desperation, tucked away in alleys and side streets and outlying areas, just a stone's throw from the seat of power of the richest nation on earth."
JJ turned so that she was facing Emily, needing to see her, not the blurry image in the glass.
There was nothing she could say, so JJ reached out carefully and took Emily's hand. At her touch, Emily's head dropped and she shook her head sharply.
"I'm sorry. Really. I just get in a funk sometimes," she apologized, squeezing JJ's hand before releasing it and moving back to the kitchen. "Hey, how about a glass of wine?"
"That'd be good," JJ assured her, coming over to lean on the counter of the island as Emily took a bottle off the wine rack that rested there.
"Red, okay?" She asked, clearly trying to restore a lighter mood.
"Red's great," JJ told her, smiling gently at Emily until the brunette smiled back, chuckling softly.
"I'm sorry, JJ. I don't know what's gotten into me lately. I just seem to get on these jags and I have trouble shaking them," Emily tried to explain, all the while efficiently removing the cork from the bottle. "I promise, no more melancholy tonight."
"Emily, you can't do what we do and not be affected by it. I have the same funks, the same feelings of despair and hopelessness at the world. If we didn't, we couldn't do our jobs," JJ said gently. "You can be whatever you need to be with me. Sad, angry, happy, bitter, morose, whatever you're feeling is okay, you know?"
Looking into the azure depths of JJ's eyes, Emily could not only see, but feel the truth of her words.
This time it was Emily who reached cautiously across the counter to cover JJ's hand with her own.
"Thank you," Emily said simply, the sincerity in her tone matched by the look in her eyes.
Neither of them moved for a long moment, until the sound of the stove timer going off shattered the silence.
JJ felt the loss of the warmth of Emily's hand on hers as the brunette straightened and, with an acknowledging smile, turned to the stove to pull out a heavy cookie sheet filled with gorgeous red potatoes, sizzling and crisp.
"What can I do to help?" JJ asked, taking in a deep breath redolent with garlic and rosemary.
"Nothing. Well, actually, you can refill the wine glasses and put them on the table," Emily answered, her attention fixed on placing the chicken, potatoes and asparagus on heavy Italian ceramic plates.
Dinner was incredible, the chicken lemony and tender, the rosemary roasted potatoes providing a creamy, sweet complement to the tang of the lemon and capers. JJ watched as Emily's straight white teeth bit into a crisp green stalk of asparagus, unable to tear her eyes away as the tip of her tongue ran along her full bottom lip.
"Okay, I officially apologize for any doubts that I may have harbored about your cooking skills," JJ grinned across the table at Emily, before heaving a very contented sigh and pushing back her chair a few inches from the table. "I am so stuffed. That was truly incredible, Em."
Emily smiled her pleasure at JJ's compliment, another faint blush stealing up her cheeks.
"It was really great to have someone to cook for," she said sweetly.
"Well, please, feel free to cook for me anytime," JJ rejoined, her voice teasing, the corners of her mouth tilting up in a sweet, inviting smile.
"I'd like that," Emily said softly, her eyes holding JJ's for an instant, before she stood suddenly, jerkily, to begin clearing away the dishes.
JJ rose quickly, clearly intent on helping, but Emily motioned her to sit down.
"Sit. I've got these. Go relax on the couch and I'll be there in a minute. There's dessert still, you know. I haven't put them in the oven yet, but if you're interested, I will," Emily told her, her back to JJ as she placed the dishes in the dishwasher.
She needed the time to recover. The sudden onslaught of emotion that had swept over her at JJ's thoughtful words and the flirty tone of her voice had left her feeling unsteady. Again.
"How long will they take?" JJ asked, standing to stretch, the motion sliding the edge of her green sweater up just enough to reveal a line of honeyed skin, a motion that didn't go unnoticed by Emily, who had turned back toward the table at JJ's question. She forced her eyes away from the silk of JJ's skin and tried to answer as normally as possible.
"About forty-five minutes or so."
"Hmm. I should be hungry again by then," JJ laughed, crossing over to the small sound system that rested on the bookcase. "Do you mind if I put some music on?"
"No, please do. I don't know if I have anything that you'd want to listen to," Emily explained, an embarrassed expression on her face. "The iPod's plugged in right now. I was listening while I was cooking. Feel free to change it. I doubt it's really anything you'd enjoy."
"You might be surprised, Emily. I have hidden depths," JJ replied teasingly, her blue eyes darting sideways to see Emily's reaction.
JJ pressed the power button on the display and the room was suddenly filled with the brassy, brazen sounds of trumpets and cornets, the deeper, mellow chug chug of the trombone, the soaring, sweet lilt of the clarinet, the rich, heady sway of saxophones and the charming, dulcet tones of Ella Fitzgerald.
JJ smiled, turning to face Emily as Ella sang about wishes, of stars and dreams and love and an impossibly high moon.
"I can't help it, I'm a nerd. I love big band music," Emily admitted resignedly. "There's some Glenn Miller, Artie Shaw, Bennie Goodman, even some Andrew Sisters. I told you I didn't know if it would be anything you'd like."
"Who says I don't like it?" JJ asked, walking across the room to settle on the couch, slipping off her shoes to tuck her feet up under her. "I think it's incredibly romantic music. There's no thumping beat and indecipherable lyrics, no twangy lament about lost loves or lost dogs. It's rich and glamorous and full of the joy of life. What's not to like?"
That feeling of teetering on the edge of a precipice washed over Emily again as she met JJ's eyes. This is getting ridiculous, Emily thought. She's just being sweet and kind and genuine. She's just being JJ. Nothing more.
And yet. As Ella's voice lingered in the air like a curl of smoke in the darkness, JJ's eyes never left Emily's.
"I looked for every loveliness/ it all came true/
I wished on the moon for you."
Finally JJ spoke, her voice soft and husky.
"So, why don't you put those chocolate thingies in the oven and come sit down with me?"
Emily didn't answer, merely turning to open the pewter colored door of the refrigerator and taking out a small tray that held two small white casserole dishes. She bent to slide them into the oven, then set the temperature control. Straightening up, she stood woodenly for a moment, the urge to bolt, to get away from the intensity of the moment nearly overwhelming.
"Em?" JJ's voice was uncertain, a small frown creasing her forehead as she watched the clear play of emotion across Emily's face.
"There. Forty-five minutes to chocolate," Emily said, her tone just a little too robust, the smile on her lips a touch forced.
Steeling her nerves and making her legs move, she flipped off the overhead light in the kitchen and walked slowly to the table, picking up her abandoned glass of wine and crossing to the couch to drop down onto the cushions within arms length of JJ.
The room was partly in shadow now, the only light coming from a brass floor lamp on the far side of the room. The music had shifted to an old Artie Shaw tune, with Helen Forest's sweet, silken voice singing about so many things. Emily allowed her lids to flutter shut for a moment and let the words seep into her.
"The dearest things I know, are what you are / Some day my happy arms will hold you / and some day I'll know that moment divine / when all the things you are, are mine."
She opened her eyes to be met with one of the loveliest sights she could recall. JJ's eyes were melted pools of blue ice, a tender, indulgent smile just gracing the corners of her mouth, her head tilted to rest against the back cushion of the sofa.
"I like that song," JJ said quietly, her arm lying gracefully along the back of the cushion, her hand close enough to Emily's face to reach out and brush back a strand of dark hair that fell across her brow.
"Me, too," Emily managed to utter, her breath coming rather too erratically to allow for a great deal of talking.
Neither of them moved, their eyes locked, JJ's fingers tracing down the high curve of Emily's cheekbone.
Suddenly, JJ chuckled softly, her head dropping down so that long blonde tresses momentarily obscured her face.
"What?" Emily asked uncertainly.
JJ didn't respond immediately, although she lifted her head and looked around the room, at the simple but expensive furnishings, the deep claret of the walls, the mellow hue of the wooden floor, the brilliance of the city that lay beyond the thick glass door. Finally she looked back at Emily, dark hair framing a gorgeous face, dark eyes, now a little troubled, focused on her.
"If you'd asked me ten years ago if I would be an FBI agent, working for one of the most elite departments in the Agency, I would have laughed at you.
"And if you had asked me if I would be sitting here, in this classy apartment overlooking the Capitol, with a beautiful, brilliant woman who takes my breath away and sends my heart racing when she smiles, I would have said that you had lost your ever-loving mind," JJ stated slowly, her jaw clenching as she swallowed hard, her expression unreadable.
Mercifully, the profiler in her told Emily to be silent and let JJ continue, despite the flare of emotion that her words had triggered.
"I grew up in this incredibly small town in Pennsylvania. There was nothing in the world that I wanted more than to get the hell out of there. And the only way out was to pray that some college offered you a scholarship. I was lucky. I was given a full ride at Pittsburgh and I never looked back.
"When I go home, my family ," she hesitated for a moment, clearly searching for the right words to describe something she didn't understand, "I know that they love me and that they're pleased for me. I mean, here I am, an FBI agent. Most of the people I grew up with never make it out of East Allegenhy, so I know that they really are proud of me, and yet. Sometimes I'll catch them staring at me as if I was an alien life form, you know?
"Almost as if they can't quite fathom why I wanted to leave, why I didn't just do what they expected of me. Marry the captain of the football team, cause, God knows, there's nothing bigger than that, and have three or four kids and do the whole PTA, football mom thing. And you know, I think that if I had, they would not only be proud of me, but happy for me. Isn't that strange, to be what the rest of the world would consider successful and still be a disappointment to your family?"
Emily sat up and set her glass on the wide oak coffee table. Sliding back on the couch, she edged sideways until she was much closer to JJ, her calf bent and pressed up against the warmth of JJ's thigh, her arm overlapping the blonde's as it rested along the back cushion.
"Not that strange at all," Emily answered, the shallow light from the floor lamp throwing part of her face into shadow. "I know I'm a disappointment to my mother. I am never going to be what she wants me to be, and that is a source of immense displeasure to her."
"What more could she want you to be? You went to Yale, worked your way up the ranks of the Agency, landed this position in the B.A.U. I think you've done pretty well," JJ responded, running her hand along the length of Emily' arm, still a little amazed at the shift in the dynamic between them.
It was as if, in that instant in the kitchen, Emily had made some sort of decision, and the confusion and trepidation that she had exhibited earlier had altered into a shy resolve that JJ found utterly endearing.
"I was supposed to follow in her footsteps. Be a career politician, join the diplomatic corps. Not be a run of the mill agent with the Bureau. I mean, it's not even the glamour of the CIA," Emily explained, her other hand dropping to rest on JJ's thigh, the tip if her index finger tracing patterns only she could see along the dark fabric.
"Emily Prentiss, there is nothing even remotely run of the mill about you," JJ stated firmly, enjoying the sensation as goose bumps rose along the skin of her leg. "Nothing."
"I wasn't expecting this," Emily admitted in the silence that followed JJ's pronouncement, her reference clearly taking in the entirety of the evening. "I didn't know I mean, I had no idea that you might be feeling the same thing."
Her voice trailed off, and JJ took the opportunity to slip her hand under the thick hair along the nape of Emily's neck and urge her gently forward, her lips claiming Emily's almost reverently, a soft sigh escaping her as she felt the unimaginable softness and tasted the sweet flavor of the wine and something that was completely Emily.
JJ felt fingers caressing gently in the fine hair at her temple, as Emily reached up to pull her closer, the kiss they shared growing deeper, the slow, languid slide of their lips punctuated now and again with a low moan.
Emily pulled back first, her eyes black in their depths, her expression a combination of sheer wonder and amusement. She smiled at first, the grin growing broader, until she began to chuckle.
It was JJ's turn to ask the question.
"What?" She implored, one hand still tangled in Emily's hair, the other in a less than circumspect position along the inside of Emily's thigh.
"I guess I'm not much of a profiler, am I, if I didn't see how you felt?" Emily laughed.
"I'd like to think that not being able to tell that I've been falling for you for months now has more to do with my ability to be professional and control my emotions and less to do with you being a lousy profiler," JJ teased. "After all, normally you're dealing with sociopaths and miscreants, and I'm hoping for both our sakes that I don't fall into either category."
"True, you don't. So, does this mean that I get to cook for you on a regular basis?" Emily queried, her eyes dropping of their own volition to the full softness of JJ's lips.
"Only if it means that you'll talk to me and not keep everything so, ah, compartmentalized, I believe you call it," JJ replied, her expression suddenly serious, her voice amazingly gentle. "You don't have to bury it all inside and wait for it to build up to a point where you can't hold it in anymore, you know? There is nothing you can't tell me, Emily. Just talk to me. Promise?"
Emily felt tears prick at the corners of her eyes at JJ's words and the caring look on her face.
"I swear," Emily managed to say finally around the lump in her throat. "You have to do the same. Promise?"
JJ leaned forward, clearly intent on reclaiming Emily's lips when the oven timer began to buzz frantically.
"Chocolate?" Emily grinned.
"Split one with me?" JJ asked, smiling.
Emily closed the distance between them and gently brushed her lips along JJ's.
Then without another word, she got up and crossed to the kitchen. Soon the timer ceased. A minute later, she reappeared beside the couch, a ramekin cradled in an oven mitt and two spoons in her hands.
JJ turned and edged back along the couch, so that her back was to the kitchen, propped up on the end of the sectional, a few overstuffed pillows behind her. She smiled invitingly, patting the space in front of her, and Emily grinned at her before settling down, leaning back between JJ's legs.
JJ wrapped her arms around the lanky brunette and pulled her against her, bending her head forward to bury her face in the fragrant dark hair, gently nuzzling the side of Emily's neck, her hands moving slowly along Emily's stomach.
"If you don't stop that, you're going to make me drop the chocolate cake and that would be a really bad omen," Emily laughed, not doing a great deal to move away from JJ's wandering hands or the lips nipping at her neck.
"You have a point. Starting a relationship by spoiling perfectly good chocolate has to be a definite no-no," JJ agreed, reaching around to take one of the spoons from Emily's hand.
She scooped up a bite of the cake, the molten chocolate middle drizzling over the edge of the spoon. Leaning forward as far as she could, she wrapped her lips around the utensil, a distinctly satisfied moan escaping her.
"You know, I don't know if I should be hurt that you moaned louder for the chocolate than you did kissing me," Emily complained jokingly.
"Will it make you feel any better if I promise you that after we finish the chocolate, I'll show you just how loud I can moan?" JJ whispered in Emily's ear, her breath warm against her skin.
A sudden gasping release of air met her question and JJ chuckled.
"I guess that I could live with that," Emily replied, leaning back against the warm body surrounding her, a decidedly content smile on her face.
Funny how a day that had begun so dismally could end like this. Because at this precise moment, Emily Prentiss didn't care if the world was hurtling towards imminent destruction and dangers lay waiting beneath every wave. The horizon suddenly looked shimmering with promise again.
The sultry sound of Ella's voice filled the darkened room, as she crooned knowingly, "it had to be you, wonderful you, it had to be you."
Neither of the women snuggled on the couch would have dreamed of disagreeing.
Author's Note: The lyrics quoted in the story are listed below.
I Wished on the Moon
(Dorothy Parker/Ralph Rainger)
I wished on the moon for something I never knew
Wished on the moon for more than I ever knew
A sweeter rose, a softer sky
An April day that would not dance away
I begged of a star to throw me a beam or two
Wished on a star and asked for a dream or two
I looked for ev'ry loveliness, it all came true
I wished on the moon for you
All the Things You Are
You are the promised kiss of springtime
That makes the lonely winter seem long.
You are the breathless hush of evening
That trembles on the brink of a lovely song.
You are the angel glow that lights a star,
The dearest things I know are what you are.
Some day my happy arms will hold you,
And some day I'll know that moment divine,
When all the things you are, are mine.
The title of this story comes from Missy Higgins' song, All for Believing, which I found entirely appropriate to these two and which will, I hope and pray, will be featured in a gorgeous video by Lysachan.
"All For Believing"
Pull back the shield between us, and I'll kiss you,
Drop your defenses and come, into my arms.
I'm all for believing, I'm all for believing.
I'm all for believing if you can reveal the true colours within.
I know you blanket your mind so much that I am blind, but I,
I see you've painted your soul into your guard,
I'm all for believing, I'm all for believing
I need to know just how you feel, to comfort you;
I need to find the key let me in, into your heart, to find your soul.
Pull back the shield between us, and I'll kiss you,
Drop your defenses and come, into my arms.
I'm all for believing, I'm all for believing.
I'm all for believing, if you can reveal, the true colours within,
And say you will be there for me to hold,
When the faith grows old (I'm all for believing)
And life turns cold, (I'm all for believing)
When the faith grows old, (I'm all for believing) and life turns cold.
So if you're cold I will stay, maybe fate will guide the way.
I believe in what I see and baby we were meant to be,
Just believe. Just believe. Just believe.
Trust in me.
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