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ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SPOILERS: Season 3 Episode 9.
It was the shot heard round the world, or at least, that's how I imagined it. My legs felt as if they were made of rubber, and my vision swirled in a kaleidoscope of colors when I first heard the news. In that moment, I imagined that I'd actually heard the explosion of the gun as the bullet exited the barrel and ripped into Garcia. I fought hard to keep my composure and perspective and not let my emotions get the better of me, especially in front of Hotch. I needed to focus, I needed to be at Garcia's side, I needed Emily.
The ride to the hospital was a blur; the street names all looked the same, the scenery never changed. Not until I stepped into the sterile, white environment did I actually realize where I was and why I was there. I looked around for the others, finding only Hotch and Reid. Where was Morgan? Where was Emily?
Blindly, I followed Hotch through the maze of corridors until we were directed to a small area to wait. Tears filled my eyes as I numbly took a seat and stared at the pattern-less floor, the stark white linoleum almost blinding. Only the rich, smooth tones of the voice I so desperately needed to hear pulled me from my trancelike state. Emily was here.
I looked up into dark eyes and silently pleaded for her to comfort me, to help me through this very difficult moment. Wordlessly, she took the seat next to mine, offering support initially with just her eyes, and then with a soft touch as she slid her hand into mine. I stared down at the link and lightly squeezed her hand, not so much as to return the gesture of support, but rather to confirm that this was real, that she was truly sitting next to me, that this connection to Emily wouldn't be broken. She seemed to understand my need as she interlaced our fingers together and leaned in close, the warmth of her body against my own blanketing me with comfort.
Endless hours later, the door to the operating room finally opened. My earlier fears and anxiety rushed through me at the sight of the red stain on his scrubs. Had it not been for Emily, I would never have been able to push to my feet. She gently pulled me up with her and placed her hand on my back to guide me forward. The tired smile offered by the doctor told me all I needed to know. Garcia was going to be just fine.
In my office, I poured over the facts we had and agonized over the ones we didn't. This guy was a loose cannon, and his focus, for some reason, was on Garcia. We had to find him before he found her. If I could, I'd blow the son of a bitch away myself.
The ringing of my cell forced my thoughts away from the files, and mindlessly, I flipped it open, my eyes still on the papers in front of me. Morgan's voice was filled with excitement, but I detected a hint of something foreign to him, fear. Quickly and efficiently, he alerted me to danger in the building.
I checked the clip of my gun and chambered a round before exiting my office. Pointing the weapon towards the floor, I worked my way down the hall, keeping close to the wall; I couldn't chance calling Hotch or Rossi for fear that I'd tip off Baylor. Reaching the end of the corridor, I took a deep breath and turned the corner, my gun in the ready position. Seeing Fuchs held at gunpoint wasn't exactly what I'd expected to see. I tightened the grip on my gun and crept forward until I had Baylor in my sights.
I couldn't hear what was being said, but I didn't need to. Baylor's body language said it all. He thought he was in control, and instinctively, I knew he wouldn't hesitate to shoot Fuchs if he was provoked. I moved forward, setting my stance, and waited for the right moment. It presented itself almost immediately. I didn't hesitate to blow a hole between the asshole's eyes. He wouldn't be hurting Garcia, or anyone else, ever again.
I sat alone in the dark of my apartment, staring past the frost-covered window. I knew I'd done the right thing, and I wouldn't think twice about doing it again. The problem was that I felt absolutely no remorse at all. Shouldn't killing another human being warrant some type of feeling? I was so lost in my thoughts that I almost missed the light knocking at my door. I briefly considered not answering, but my curiosity got the better of me.
When I peered through the peephole, Emily Prentiss stood, patiently waiting. She was the last person I expected to see. Of course, if I thought about it, I would've been surprised by anyone standing on the other side. I flipped the deadbolt and opened the door. The smile which greeted me made me happy I'd decided not to ignore the knock.
"Hey, mind if I come in?"
I returned the smile and stepped back, allowing Emily to brush by me and move further into the apartment. Closing the door, I gestured towards the sofa. That's when I noticed she was shivering, pulling her coat around her more tightly.
"Why don't you have a seat? I could whip up some hot chocolate if you'd like."
"That would be heaven. I can't seem to get warm."
"Grab the afghan on the back of the couch and bundle up. I'll be right back."
Emily was already reaching for the blanket before I reached the kitchen. Turning, I headed for the pantry.
When I returned, Emily had the afghan wrapped around her and was looking around the room. I briefly wondered exactly how she'd profile me, but the thought quickly passed when she noticed my approach and turned towards me. I offered her the mug.
"Here you go."
"Thanks." Emily edged to the other side of the couch and leaned against its end. She patted the cushion next to her. "Sit."
I glanced at the chair and then back at the couch. The sofa definitely looked much more comfortable. I had barely taken a seat when Emily scooted closer.
"JJ? Is it wrong that I'm happy that bastard is dead?"
"Probably not as wrong as me being glad I was the one who killed him."
Emily placed her mug on the coffee table and reached for my hand. Our fingers interlaced as easily as they had the first time.
"Oh, JJ, that was thoughtless of me. I'm so sorry you were placed in that situation."
"Someone had to do it, Emily. I'm just glad it was one of us. We're family, and family takes care of its own."
Emily looked down at our joined hands. "This is the first time I've ever felt part of something."
"Em, I'm . . ."
"Don't, JJ." Emily lifted her head and stared into my eyes. "Don't apologize for my parents." She reached out with a shaky hand and touched my cheek. "This feeling is totally foreign to me. I don't know how to react to it."
Slowly, so as not to frighten her, I moved my hand to my face, softly touching the back of hers. "Just feel, Emily. Don't think about it; just let it come."
Emily continued to stare at me, almost as if she was at war with herself until she smiled slightly. Inching forward, she lightly touched her lips to mine for the briefest of moments before she pulled away and laid her head on my shoulder.
Wrapping my arms around her, I pulled her close. Together, we'd figure out the meaning of family.
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