DISCLAIMER: All herein belong to CBS and its affiliates, not me. Not profit was made, no disrespect intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I am not a scientist. I know only a rudimentary amount about physics. I am fairly certain that JJ knows equally little about physics. Well, except for these three things…which aren’t really about physics. Not completely anyway. This is unbeta’d, so all mistakes are mine. Also, I do not recognize the last part of Season Three as having happened, so this takes place either pre-the debacle or in my own little reality. This is for Ann, who had to evacuate twice. Two hurricanes are more than enough for anyone, darlin’….next year, try not to be so greedy *vbg*
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Three Things That Jennifer Jareau Learned About Physics
I. Visigoths and Newton's Law of Universal Gravitation
It wasn't that JJ didn't like history; it was that Mr. Cooper managed to make even the riotous events of the fall of Rome sound like her Aunt Helen's knitting club: dull, stale, and smelling vaguely of wet wool and peppermint tea. Today, just as he did every afternoon from one until two, Mr. Cooper stood in front of the flat plane of the green chalkboard, wearing the same once white shirt and brown tie. His glasses slipped precariously towards the tip of his nose, like a skier flying off the end of a particularly pointed alpine jump; while in a droning timber that always reminded JJ of the mawkish voice of the adults in Charlie Brown cartoons, he would meticulously recite the dates and names and battles, a rosary of history, for which he seemed, to JJ at least, to be disturbingly penitent.
JJ once overheard Mrs. Hampton, the Assistant Principal, declare, in an almost awed tone, that Fred Cooper could manage to make even Caligula sound pedestrian, so JJ knew it wasn't simply her own lack of intellectual interest. Besides, there were so many other things to occupy her thoughts these days that something so minor as the collapse of a long-dead empire caught no more of her attention than the yellow jacket that crawled lethargically along the windowpane beside her desk.
The deadline for college applications had just passed and soon slender white envelopes would be arriving; envelopes that she prayed held inside them the answer to all of her dreams; dreams of a future that did not include a track house out on the new highway, a station wagon in the driveway and her husband's steel-toed work boots tossed carelessly into the corner of 12x12 master bedroom with an attached master bath and whirlpool tub. Surely there was something else out there, some life that didn't consist of carpools and PTA, of deer season and football season, of laundry and dishes and late night whispered arguments so you didn't wake the kids. Something other than trying not to count the days until you died.
"Miss Jareau?" The name seeped into her brain with the speed of maple syrup into pancakes.
"Um, yes, Mr. Cooper?" The snickers of her classmates confirmed her suspicion that this wasn't the first time her name had been called.
"What toppled the Roman Empire?" She was asked, watching in fascination as the glasses edged slowly down the sharp incline of Mr. Copper's nose.
She knew he had asked her because she always had the correct answer; because she was one of the "good" students, the ones who studied hard, played sports, ran for student council and Homecoming Queen. The ones who married their high school sweethearts and lived out their days two streets over from the house they grew up in; who took the family on vacation to Disney World and manned the booths at the county fair. The ones whose souls shriveled up more and more with each passing year, like the corpse of the spider in the dusty corner of the windowsill; empty and desiccated.
"They were bored to death by Visigoth historians?" The words left her lips before she could stop them, and she watched the faint flush steal across the teacher's face, saw the widening of surprise in watery blue eyes, before the roar of laughter from her classmates swept over her. In his shock, Mr. Cooper failed to push his glasses back up his nose and they slipped with a startling clatter to the desk in front of him.
"Or maybe it was just gravity," JJ stated solemnly, meeting Mr. Cooper's glance with a knowing look in her bright eyes. "If you think about it, Mr. Cooper, gravity gets us all in the end."
II. Paperclips and Newton's First Law of Motion
JJ could see the bullpen from her office. Granted, she had to stand in the doorway, one shapely hip forming an ellipse against the hard metal frame, but she could see the desks of her colleagues. Tonight, only one of the desks was occupied, the one belonging to Emily Prentiss. The overhead lights were off, and only the softer buttery glow of a few desk lamps lit the area, throwing ungainly shadows along the grayish floor and up the glass of the windows and door.
In the dimness of the room, Emily's hair shone with the gloss of moonlight on black water. Garcia said that the brunette agent looked like an Egyptian princess, and to be honest, JJ had been having a hard time disagreeing. There was something about Emily, a subtle hint of melancholy that lingered along the edges of her full lips, a trace of resigned disappointment that colored the dark irises of her eyes, a faint swirl of cream in espresso.
Right now, that dark head was bent over a stack of folders, the fall of hair obscuring the profile which JJ had found herself studying more and more of late. It had been months since the brunette had joined the team and still, JJ couldn't quite pinpoint the reason for her fascination with the older woman. In the end she simply gave in to the tugging sensation, like a hand on her sleeve, insistent and vaguely frustrating. There was something about the careful, covert glances, the studied nonchalance of her interactions with the other agent that sent a thrill of excitement through JJ's body; she imagined herself as a spy, slowly, inexorably gathering secrets, storing them away to be used at some future date.
As if knowing how the muscles in Emily's throat rippled rhythmically when she drank her coffee, the skin smooth and pale, or how her fingers, long and slender, beat out an unnamed tune on the edge of her desk, would give JJ access to the mysteries hidden behind those dark eyes. As if by sheer accumulation of information, JJ could ferret out all the clues to who Emily Prentiss was. Perhaps if she did, she could finally render Emily powerless; could stop, once and for all, the sizzling jolt of awareness that traveled torturously under JJ's skin whenever the brunette was near.
A few weeks ago, JJ had watched in terrified awe as Emily had interviewed Jane, the obviously confused and frightened object of a serial killer's affection. There had been no judgment, no anger, no distaste in Emily's eyes; only pity and kindness and a depth of understanding that astonished JJ. Days later, she could still her the gentle tones of Emily's voice as she reassured Jane that we don't get to choose who we love, the expression on her face at once resigned and accepting. JJ couldn't stop the fierce rush of pride at Emily's treatment of Jane. Nor could she stop the swell of panic that accompanied it.
Even now, even across the solid gray concrete of the floor, among the commonplace, pedestrian reminders of who they were and what they did-- the case files, the coffee cups, the paperclips-- JJ could sense the potential danger, the danger that lay in a lingering glance from those brown eyes. She smiled wryly, remembering being a girl in Pennsylvania, standing on the front porch of her aunt's house and sensing the storm approaching, smelling the sharp odor of ozone in the air, feeling the sudden dampness of the wind against her face.
In Emily's hesitant grin and shy glance up through long lashes, JJ could almost feel the changing breeze and the sharp tang of the coming storm. She just prayed that she could outrun the coming tempest; after all, that was what she did best: keep moving.
"I didn't realize that anyone else was still here," Emily said, her tone measured and calm. Always calm, JJ thought, her mind snagging as usual on the smooth edges of the brunette's voice.
"Just trying to finish up a few things for tomorrow," JJ replied, forcing a practiced, impersonal smile on her lips.
"Me, too. I guess I lost track of time," Emily answered evenly, raising her arms over her head in a languorous stretch, pulling the edge of her cotton shirt up, revealing a narrow strip of creamy flesh from which JJ found she couldn't look away.
"Well," JJ stammered just a little, dragging her eyes from the silken expanse of skin, edging into the safe confines of her office, completely aware as she spoke of the utter inanity of her words. "I should get back to work. Hotch will be less than pleased if I don't have all the files together for the briefing. I'll see you in the morning."
"I don't suppose that you have any extra paperclips, do you? Reid seems to be building a warp core or a Death Star or something with all the ones I had," Emily forestalled her, chuckling. She motioned with an upward tilt of her chin to a complicated mass of paperclips and erasers that held place of honor on their young colleague's desk.
"Um, yeah, I think I have half a box of them," JJ smiled grimly. Stealing unnoticed glances at the brunette across a darkened office was one thing. Being alone with Emily in a darkened office was something else entirely.
Rummaging through her desk drawer, JJ pulled out a rectangle of cardboard, the sloshing of metal against the sides of the box unnaturally loud in the small office. She turned to make her way back toward the bullpen, only to collide with the soft curves and solid muscle of Emily's body as the brunette stopped in the doorway. The box of paperclips clattered to the floor, a casualty of gravity as all of JJ's forward momentum dissipated, her hands automatically grasping for purchase along the warm skin of Emily's arms.
JJ found it impossible to lift her head, her gaze fixed on the subtle beauty of her fingers wrapped gently around Emily's forearms, the bronze of her own skin against the paler white of the brunette's. She could feel the steel of tendons just below the skin, could hear the slow, steadying exhale of her companion, could smell the lingering traces of the rich spice of perfume and the lower, citrus notes of shampoo and soap. An almost laughable moment, clichéd and mundane, and absolutely glorious because of it.
"Why don't I wait for you to finish your files and then we could grab something to eat?" Emily asked, the faint tickle of her breath against JJ's hair stirring a few blonde strands.
Looking up finally, meeting Emily's patient, knowing look, JJ remembered something else she had learned all those years ago, the breeze sending the same goose bumps along her flesh as she waited for the storm to break: sometimes, the safest shelter to be found is in the center of the storm.
III. Trenton and Newton's Third Law
They were in a hotel room in Trenton. Against the yellowed walls, the neon sign glowed pink and green and orange, the light seeping in around the stiff edges of the floor length curtains. JJ watched, her head resting against the silken skin of Emily's thigh, as the colors washed over the taut planes of Emily's stomach, a kaleidoscopic flood that one moment reached to the sharp line of her jaw and then the next receded, only to be replaced, again and again, until JJ could have sworn that the skin beneath her lips and tongue took on the flavors of the lights: strawberry, lime and tangerine.
The case they had been working on for the past two weeks was over and they were scheduled to fly out in the morning. Normally, they kept their lives separate, had learned quickly the need for an impenetrable barrier dividing their jobs and the fragile thing that had sprouted and grown between them. But this case had been anything but normal. The level of sheer malignity, the depth of savagery had left the entire team reeling, unable to find their bearings in the midst of so much evil.
Which was why, if just for tonight, the barrier had been breached, and JJ allowed the feel of Emily's skin under her cheek to cleanse her mind of everything but the woman lying beneath her. She could feel Emily's fingers tracing the seashell curve of her ear, slipping along the fine, soft hair of her temple, smoothing over the tender skin of her eyelids. She didn't need to look up through the wash of colored light to know that Emily's eyes were closed, that she was learning, as a blind man would, the contours of her lover's face, the corners of her lips turned up in a melancholy smile.
JJ lay still, allowing the brunette to complete her study, before slowing turning her head so that her lips just brushed along the satin skin beneath them. Pushing up on her elbows, JJ drew a detailed, intricate map up the length of Emily's leg with her lips and tongue, tracing down to the small indentation behind Emily's knee and then making her way north, lazily, meandering, following a path she already knew by heart. The brush of springy hairs against her forehead slowed her, and she mapped the last few inches cautiously, careful not to miss even a centimeter of creamy skin, as her tongue moved to tangle in soft, damp curls.
Against her closed eyelids, the neon lights continued to flash in slow succession, as she painted her mouth and chin with liquid silk the color of watermelon and lime and mango. Emily's fingers were in her hair, strong, fiercely holding on, urging her closer. Her hips moved in a rhythm that seemed to match the sway of lights across the bed; languid, undulating, growing faster, pushing harder against JJ's mouth. JJ opened her eyes, her gaze sweeping up the glorious length of Emily's body, watching with the same wordless wonder she always felt as waves of sensation overtook the older woman.
JJ wrapped her arms around Emily's hips, her hands slipping under the other woman to grasp the firm, rounded globes of her ass, her fingers kneading, pulling Emily to her, attempting to control the now almost frantic thrust of her hips against JJ's attentive mouth. JJ dragged her full bottom lip across the raised bundle of nerves, moving it slowly, torturously back and forth, her arms stilling all but the most determined thrust of Emily's hips. Taking Emily's clit between her lips, she swirled her tongue around it, lost in the feel of tender flesh, and in the taste and smell of watermelon and green apple and tangerine as the lights flashed in time to the flick of her tongue.
JJ didn't stop as Emily's orgasm swept over her, her mind absently hoping that the boys were drunk or asleep or both and didn't hear the cry that Emily couldn't quite mange to muffle with the pillow, even as she twirled her tongue in one last circle, drawing out the last shudder from the brunette's body. She had been the one determined that no one, not even Garcia, know what was happening between the two of them. Emily had merely deferred to her wishes, with that smile that didn't ever reach her eyes, and JJ had been content. Until now. Now JJ didn't really care if they heard. She didn't really care if they knew. If anyone knew.
Not now, not after this case. For some reason she couldn't quite articulate, it seemed important that the rest of the team know how she felt; it seemed important that the whole world know.
More than anything, it seemed imperative that Emily know. JJ raised her head to meet Emily's eyes, to say the words that she knew she needed to say. They stared, not talking, for long minutes, until JJ finally gathered her nerve to speak. Emily silenced her with a finger across her lips.
"Don't say it now. If you still want to say it, then tell me tomorrow, when the world has righted itself and everything is back to normal. Tomorrow it will mean something. Tonight it's only the trick of a neon sign and an ugly world," Emily told her gently.
She reached down to draw JJ up along the length of her body, holding the blonde tenderly against her as JJ balanced her chin on her hand and tucked a strand of dark hair behind Emily's ear. JJ shook her head slightly, a smile just touching her mouth as she looked at Emily.
"What if I say it now, and again tomorrow? Because I need to say it, Emily, even if it's only the case or the world or that damn sign. And I promise to say it again tomorrow. And the next day. And maybe even the day after that," JJ stated solemnly, her fingers tracing the soft curve of Emily's face.
"Maybe?" Emily smirked, one eyebrow nearly touching her hairline.
"I love you," JJ said simply, as the room slipped from pink to green.
"I know. But I still want to hear it tomorrow. It'll be a lot easier to take you seriously when you don't look like an orange smurf," Emily grinned, falling back against the pillows, her laughter soon muted by JJ's kiss.
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