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SPOILERS: 3x01 Doubt
Don't Think I Don't Think About It
1 YEAR, 2 MONTHS EARLIER
She packed up the car quietly, purposely not making eye contact with the curious neighbors who poked their heads out of their doors and remarked to themselves: "There goes that FBI Agent, leaving for good, thank God."
When there was nothing left in the place she had called home for the last ten years of her life, she stood in the middle of the giant room, awed and appalled at how easy it had been to just pack up and leave. It had taken less than five hours. She stood at her giant window, tempted to throw something at it, to break the metaphorical (literal) glass holding her in.
But she had one more stop to make on her way out of town, and only checking her watch an hour before the team was in "wheel's up" action mode. The less time the better, she mused as she started her car and headed to the Bureau.
Pulling her car in sharply, she almost ran into the one Agent she had been hoping to avoid. JJ stopped in front of her, motionless and surprised, and Emily only realized how close she was to hitting the younger woman when the blonde reflexively placed her hands on the steaming hood. Emily locked eyes with JJ and felt the air leave her body in one giant rush, pouring out of her and fogging her vision of the angel in front of her. She jumped out the car suddenly, almost forgetting to take off her seatbelt.
"Are you okay?" Grabbing JJ by the shoulders, missing the amusement sprinkled across blonde's face, Emily let her eyes roam for any physical injuries. JJ let her continue until Emily searched her face and began to frown as the blonde openly smirked.
"I'm fine," JJ said, waving away whatever Emily was going to say next. "Now, you on the other hand. Where the hell were you going in such a hurry?"
Emily struggled for words. This wasn't how this was supposed to go. JJ wasn't supposed to be here, in front of her. She wasn't supposed to have to confront the blonde at all today. Or ever, Emily added.
"Just thought I was going to be late for the plane," she muttered miserably. Lying was not the way she wanted to be remembered. She was pulled back into reality by one of her favorite sounds in the entire world: JJ's laugh filling the empty space around them. She knew they were in the middle of a parking lot, at the Bureau, in open air, but whenever she was with JJ, she felt like the world disappeared in twinkling lights.
And then the world the honking horns and the sirens and the sound of children yelling fell back onto her, crushing the smile that was beginning to form.
"Well, you won't. See, here comes everyone else." JJ gestured towards the entrance to the parking lot where Garcia's orange convertible headed the line, followed by Morgan and Reid, and Hotch.
It was now or never and Emily's feet her brain, her hands, her entire body were stuck in cement, and she was frozen.
Now. Or. Never.
"I'm so sorry Jennifer," she whispered softly, pulling the confused blonde into a tight embrace.
JJ laughed nervously in her arms, returning the hug nonetheless. "It's fine Em, you didn't even hit me. I was kidding." Emily pulled back and JJ couldn't stop her mouth from forming an "o" shape. Emily, her strong, brave, composed Emily was falling apart in her hands, slipping through her fingers like sand.
And Emily made up her mind. Surging forward, throwing caution, hope, and dignity to the wind, the brunette pressed her mouth against JJ's open one, swallowing the next thought and taking control.
And as soon as it had started, it was over, just like that. The warmth and security and happiness both women found in that one kiss was ripped from them, violently and abruptly. Reflexively, JJ stepped back, ran her hands through her hair and closed her eyes, trying to remember, in detail, everything about the kiss. Her cobalt blue eyes opened to the sound of squealing tires and her hand covered her mouth, trying to minimize the dust inhalation. Blue eyes and brown eyes locked in the rearview mirror before Emily pulled her gaze away and focused on the road ahead.
"Where is she going?" Morgan sidled up next to her so stealth-like, she probably would have never noticed he was there. JJ shook her head.
"I have no idea." Reid frowned slightly and followed Morgan to the stairway, stopping when he realized JJ wasn't following.
I'm so sorry Jennifer. JJ mulled the words over in her head: I'm so sorry Jennifer.
Then she realized that Emily had said something else: I can't do this any I've had enough. I'm sorry.
And Emily Prentiss was gone in a cloud of taillights and dust.
JJ couldn't do anything but stand by and watch.
11 MONTHS EARLIER
She still woke up in a sweat, fists clenching innocent sheets, hair plastered to her forehead.
Same nightmare. Every night.
Emily can see herself standing in the Bureau parking lot, and for some reason, she's the only one there. The white light of the sun is so bright, so blinding, that she has to use her hand to shield it. And when the light disappears, when she can see again, there's nothing there. It's vast nothingness, stretching for miles upon endless miles, originating in her heart and continuing on forever.
There's no JJ. No nothing. Chief Strauss' voice is ringing in her ears, asking her to feed information about her team her family. She can't do it. She couldn't do it, she reminds herself, as if it will help her sleep.
But the voice only gets louder, and then someone takes her hands and whispers in her ear: "You were never sorry, were you?"
Emily reaches out, tries to touch JJ's face, and tries to press her own lips against the younger agent's. But JJ gets farther and farther away and her voice gets louder, taunting Emily, accusing her.
You were never sorry, were you?
She tries to tell JJ what happened, how Strauss threatened them all, and how she was doing this for them team for her family. The voice gets even louder.
You were never sorry, were you?
Emily scrambles towards JJ, tripping over loose rock and debris that seems to have appeared out of nowhere, running hopelessly, relentlessly, after the blonde. The words morph. JJ is no longer saying "you were never sorry "
Instead, her voice is dismissive and tired; humiliated and overdrawn. "Don't you even miss me?" The voice begs Emily, who can only nod, her throat closing quickly.
"Don't you even think about me?"
She wakes up, her screams muffled by her face turned into the pillow, sweating like mad in her boxer shorts and tank top, her fingernails slicing the tiny threads on the sheets.
Her nightmare is JJ; wanting JJ, having JJ, losing JJ, thinking about JJ.
She always wakes up screaming: It's all I think about!
NINE MONTHS EARLIER
She glances at the paper, briefly, as she eats her breakfast. She gets the Post delivered it costs extra so that she can be reading the same news as her team. Her former team.
Emily has to look at it twice before she comprehends what it says, and then, then the words burn into her mind, impress themselves on her eyes, and every time she turns a corner too fast, she sees those words, like acid scarring her skin.
Jennifer Jareau and William LaMontange Jr. were married May 21, 2008 in a private ceremony with a later date set to
If she weren't sitting at a table in a high scale brunch facility, with her mother across from her, she would probably knock something over. Instead, she hides the tears threatening to cascade down her cheeks, wipes her shaking mouth on her napkin and politely excuses herself from the table, heading to the bathroom.
It's not until she's safely in a cubicle that she feels like she can cry. But she can't. The tears refuse to fall now, oddly enough, and she sits there five minutes, ten minutes staring at her hands, imagining how her slender fingers would look with a ring. She wonders what JJ's ring looks like.
Probably some old family heirloom, rusted and worn with age, she muses bitterly.
The bathroom doors opens violently and Emily hears the familiar 'click-clack' of heels against the tiled floor.
"Emily, do come out of there please." Emily's breath hitches in her throat and, reluctantly, she exits the stall, head held high.
Except that her mother has a human emotion on her face pity and she's holding the Post in one hand.
"Oh Emily " is all it takes for Emily's façade to crumble and for her to collapse in her mother's waiting arms. Her mother's slender fingers, replicates of her own, run through her hair, soothing her in a way she didn't think was possible. Through her gasping breaths and sobs, Emily catches words: "so much better" and "too good for her" and "what's she missing." Emily has never felt more love from her mother in her entire life.
"She married him, mom." Elizabeth Prentiss nods, her chin pushing down on Emily's forehead.
"You know what you need to do now?" The younger Prentiss pulls back from her mother's embrace and stares at her, waiting for the continuation. "You just need to hope that he's a good man."
Emily shakes a little more as a new wave of tears hit her.
A good man.
Emily stands on the stoop; her hands forced in her pocket to keep them still, her brow furrowed, her shirt sticking to her in the New Orleans heat. Its been 1 year, 2 months and 17 days (441 days in total) since she's seen JJ in some place other than her dreams.
Hotch calls her on day 436, out of the blue, and asks her for possibly the biggest favor in the entire world: Go to New Orleans and convince JJ to come back to Washington, to take back her readily available job, and fast. (On day 437, Hotch calls again to tell her, if she didn't know, the invitation the request was also directed at her.)
So she stands on the stoop, hoping to high hell that shudder that pig of a husband of hers doesn't open the door.
Wishes do come true, and Emily is standing face to face with JJ.
"Em?" The brunette smiles recklessly, and her hands twitch involuntarily in her pockets.
From within the house, Emily can hear the TV droning and the sound of someone moving around in the kitchen. "Who is it Jen?" Mouthing 'Jen' to the blonde, she raises an eyebrow in question.
"Uh, sorry, let's go out there," JJ stands aside and pushes the screen door open. That's when Emily catches sight of the child in JJ's arms, smiling and oblivious. The baby squirms in his mothers embrace and reaches two tiny, almost pink hands towards Emily. With a smile, JJ happily deposits her offspring in the Agent's waiting arms. Emily can feel JJ staring at her and, for some reason, she feels like she could rule the world.
"His name is Brody, he's almost a year and oddly enough, he seems to really like you," JJ says so softly that Emily strains to hear the words. JJ's eyes shift and Emily notices that Brody has his mother's eyes. "You should go."
Emily glances up abruptly and almost gives herself whiplash. "Excuse me." But JJ is pushing her out the door, Brody still in her arms. The blonde guides her to her car and stops short of tossing the brunette into the metal frame. "What was that all about?"
JJ looks back at her house nervously, but can't help but smile at the faces Emily is making. She bounces Brody in her strong arms arms that once held JJ close and blows raspberry kisses on his smooth forehead. The younger ex-Agent wonders how those lips would feel against her, against her lips, her hands, her body.
"Will let's just say, he's not your biggest fan. Or anyone who has to do with the Bureau really." Emily looks sharply at JJ, the intention to show Will a piece of her mind burning in her mind. A warm hand on her arm stops her fury and the anger melts away faster than snow in Ecuador. The look in JJ's eyes is pleading, begging Emily to drop the topic, to get to the point, and (possibly) get the hell out of here. The blue orbs are indigo with fear that Emily will do something irrational, something that should have been done long ago. Her eyes are wide with hope.
"Anyway," JJ changes the subject with a smile a fast, quick, reassured, disarming smile. "What brings you to New Orleans."
JJ's smile shatters into pieces, and the fear doubles. "Excuse me?"
"Hotch sent me, to get you," Emily clarifies, holding Brody close to her. The breath in JJ's lungs expelled through her nose in relief. "He wants you back JJ, he wants the team back together."
"Oh, really?" The blonde's voice is defensive, angry. "The 'team' spilt up months ago Emily. I'm not sure what team you're talking about, but I'm sure as hell not going back there. There is no team anymore."
"Don't 'JJ' me, okay? I didn't leave first, does anyone realize that? Everyone keeps calling me saying 'JJ, come on, let's get the team back together' or 'JJ, why won't you just come back to Virginia?'" The fear in her blue eyes is replaced by something Emily doesn't like an unnatural anger that makes the air hot and heavy, makes Emily try to breathe deeper, even though she can't.
"I know," is the only response Emily can mutter. In her arms, Brody is giving her a look that clearly says, "wow, way to be eloquent."
And suddenly, it's her nightmare coming true.
"You were never sorry, were you?" The question is rhetorical, and JJ is leaning in way too close for Emily to focus on how much panic is rushing through her at this very moment.
"I was," she protests weakly, hoping she doesn't sound as small as she feels.
"If you were sorry " JJ is shaking and it takes all of Emily's willpower to stand perfectly still and not reach out and grab JJ by the sides of her face and pull her into a soul-bruising kiss. "If you were sorry " JJ repeats.
"I am." Emily holds Brody even closer, as if the small child is their relationship, so fragile and new and so, so, so precious, that even one tiny shift can bring the entire thing to an end.
Emily has gone 441 days with memories, and it's starting to seem like memories aren't enough anymore.
"No you're not. If you had been, you wouldn't have waited until Hotch sent you out here. You would have been at my doorstep the night I moved in. You would have been at my wedding, for God sakes! If you were sorry, you wouldn't have left."
"I had to!" Emily's voice is rushed and unnaturally high. "If I didn't, Strauss was going to wipe out the entire team. If I had stayed, do you think you would have honestly stayed too?" The question hangs in the dead air, the only noise being the drone of New Orleans and Brody, gurgling away happily.
There is silence, nothing but.
"I figured as much," Emily whispered, completely disheartened. "Me leaving had nothing to do with you leaving. Just because I decided to leave the BAU didn't mean that ''
"Did you ever think about me?" The question is so soft that Emily's ears strain to hear the six simple words.
Every day, Emily wants to say. But her mouth stops working and her eyes suddenly feel tired and heavy. All she wants to do is make the hurt go away, make the bad memories fade into the black hole in her mind and to forget JJ ever entered her life. So, she does the only logical thing; the only thing that seems like it would rid her of this plague cast upon her.
She kisses JJ, hard, fast, and desperate just like the last time. She wraps her arms around the blonde's waist and hold on for dear life just like the last time. It ends to soon just like the last time.
What's different this time is that Will is probably watching this from the house.
What's different this time is that Emily lets go and doesn't let herself (tries not to) feel pain.
What's different this time is that JJ doesn't stand there life a wax statue.
When Emily pulls away, JJ follows, fingers digging urgently into Emily's waist, clutching hope and faith and trust. Emily's senses are on overdrive, and she think, no, she knows, she's about to pass out from pure exhilaration. Brody kicks in her arm, the one that isn't tangled in corn silk hair, and reluctantly, Emily pulls back, only to see JJ breathing as hard as her.
"I couldn't stop thinking about you." Emily's admitted whisper makes JJ's mouth curve up slightly at the ends. "I still can't."
The sound of a screen door being kicked open brings them back to harsh realities. "Well, look at what the cat dragged in." Will is angry, unshaven, and looks as if he's aged ten years. He glares at the brunette, but the two women don't move apart, don't make any attempt to make the situation look any different than what it is.
"Come back to Virginia." Emily's voice is strong and resolute, but her eyes are pleading and frantic.
"She's not going anywhere," Will demands from the front step. He knows not to come any closer Emily could have him shot down in the time it would take him to move an inch.
"Come back to Virginia." Now, Emily's voice is as pleading as her eyes.
"I said she ain't "
"Okay." That one word shatters the atmosphere, sending waves of relief down Emily's body, suddenly making her want to cry tears of joy. It sends anger into Will, who growls and races back into the house, kicking and screaming the whole way in.
"I'm sorry that I left." Emily pulls JJ toward her, whispering into her forehead.
And again, it's her nightmare coming true, coming to life.
"Did you ever even think about me?" But Emily knows, this is life, this is real, and in a moment or two, JJ will be leaving with her, coming home with her, not staying in Crawfish county with Will.
So she answers her this time, not silently, but out loud, for the both of them to hear, so that they can make it real, so they can make it a new beginning.
"It's all I ever thought about."
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