DISCLAIMER: Criminal Minds and its characters are the property of CBS. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

By Kristina K


Gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love.
      Albert Einstein


Emily felt the mattress shift and she groggily opened her eyes. Through haze of slumber and semi darkness of the room she saw JJ slowly get out of the bed; it was obvious she was trying her hardest not to make a sound or stir the other woman awake at any cost. JJ brushed her disheveled hair away from her face, smoothed it out, and then tucked a few strands behind her ear to keep it in place. She tiptoed a few feet farther to pick up the discarded clothes she left in a pile earlier that evening on the floor of Emily Prentiss' bedroom.

Picking her underwear from the pile first, she quickly slid it on – panties in one motion, her bra in barely three – and when she went for her pants, the belt buckle clanged a little, making her cringe, then freeze for a moment. She closed her eyes and clenched her jaw as if annoyed at her own inability to carry out this task as stealthily as possible, and when there were no other sounds, specifically from where Emily lay, JJ exhaled slowly and continued getting dressed, a little bit more at ease.

Putting on her shirt took a bit more effort because of the thick bandage that was wrapped around her entire forearm and she inched her left hand slowly through the shirtsleeve until her fingers wiggled freely on the other end. Before she could button up the front of the shirt, there was a rustle behind her back and JJ guiltily bit her lip when she realized that Emily was indeed awake.

"You're leaving?" From behind the covers came a soft – maybe even slightly accusing – sound of Emily's voice.

JJ swallowed and took a moment before she replied; her back still turned away from Emily. "Yes," she said clearly, without bothering to whisper, like it's usually the case when people speak at such a late hour. "Go back to sleep."

The sheets rustled some more and JJ now imagined Emily propping herself up in the bed, her dark eyes focused on her, asking a silent question. When JJ didn't respond to it, Emily voiced it:

"Why don't you stay here? It's the middle of the night. By the time you get home, you'll have barely time to change before you have to go to work."

"I shouldn't have been here in the first place," came JJ's response and she could almost hear the sound of Emily's surprised gasp, the short exhale from behind those slightly parted lips, the ones she so eagerly kissed only hours ago.

With now uncertain fingers, JJ fumbled over the buttons to push them through their tiny holes when Emily slid over the bed, stepped across the soft carpet and stopped short from where JJ stood. Her fingers gently touched JJ's shoulder, traced the hem of the fabric there, went down JJ's left shoulder blade, all the way to her waist. There, Emily's left arm wrapped itself around JJ's abdomen and captured her, close. JJ's eyes stung with tears as she felt Emily bury her face into her hair, when Emily deeply inhaled her scent and said:

"Don't go. Stay."

There wasn't much JJ could do, not now that Emily was awake, when her naked body was pressed against her back, warm and soft. She inhaled and spun, meeting Emily face to face. She didn't expect to see her smile, but that's what Emily did.

"You're so beautiful," Emily said, tenderness lacing her words. She looked into JJ's hesitant eyes and then reached up to brush a thumb over her face, to tuck JJ's hair gently behind her ear. "I could just…" Emily shook her head as if she couldn't believe the sight before her eyes, "look at you the whole day."

Accepting the affection, JJ closed her eyes and leaned into Emily's touch. She hoped Emily wouldn't notice how guilty she felt because of this, because of how she tried to leave without a word, cowardly.

Soon, she felt Emily's breath on her lips, a warm waft of air bidding her lips apart in a longing gesture for a new contact. She couldn't resist that invitation and, as soon as both of Emily's hands cupped her face, JJ gave in and surrendered to the kiss.

Just like everything else about Emily – apart from her tough resolve and the commitment with which she carried out her job every day – the gentleness of their connection instantly soothed JJ into tranquility. Gone was the urgency to mend things even before they broke, because if this broke then slowly everything will start losing its importance and meaning. She would finally and completely fall apart.

If only Emily wasn't as kind, it would all be so much easier. Cleaner. Safer. If only she didn't know how badly JJ needed reassurance and something solid to hold on to after acting on impulse to save her own life, regardless of how hard she tried to conceal it. If things were a little simpler, then JJ wouldn't hold herself back from falling as fast as she was, and she wouldn't have to fear so much that the ground from under her feet would simply disappear if she gave in to her feelings.

Slowly, JJ's shoulders relaxed, her arms moved around to encircle Emily's waist. It was just like at the beginning of the evening when Emily reached out and JJ compiled – admitted that she didn't want to be alone that night. In the back of her mind, JJ allowed herself the thought of exactly how bad would it be if she really allowed herself to fall for Emily. As if she already hadn't.

With a bit of a whimper, JJ broke the kiss, finding herself slightly lightheaded. There wasn't a single shred of uncertainty in Emily's eyes or doubt or unease or anything else that JJ fought so hard not to convey. There was just calmness, like still surface of the lake, and warmth of Emily's proximity which silently promised to put all of JJ's doubts to rest.

Finally, she said, "Fine, I'll stay."

The End

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