DISCLAIMER: Criminal Minds and its characters are the property of CBS. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Huge thanks for my beta, audiopineapple. Feedbacks and comments are appreciated!
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SPOILERS: Up to Season 4.

How we lose, how we win
By frenhu


Part 3

During the night and most of the next day I kept thinking why I needed that kind of intimacy from Emily. Well, I had just left my child's father, came back to D.C. alone to an empty apartment and wanted some comfort, right? Then why did I need that comfort from her when I could get the exact same thing from Garcia? Why did I want her attention, warmth and silent companionship? Why did I want her touch, telling me that everything will be okay? Why do I trust her that much?

Of course, we were friends even before I left. I thought of her as a loyal, passionate friend, who knew what's important in life and how to handle tough cases with as much sanity as one could. I told myself that our joking and light touches were simply an affection of deep understanding towards each other and that we had to lighten up the mood from time to time. Sometimes I would caught Prentiss look at me when she thought I didn't notice, other times she would say such things that I would believe she was flirting. I liked our times together, more than I'm willing to admit. We have never crossed any lines what friends wouldn't and she never implied anything more. She was just there every time that we needed each other.

But yesterday something changed, and I'm not so sure that it was as a new feeling for Emily as it was for me. I have to talk this out, so I dial the number for the first person that comes to my mind: Penelope.

"Well, well, I knew that you couldn't go through a day without my lovely voice! How are things, Missy?"

"You are a tease Garcia! As irresistible as you are, how could I miss a day?" – Two can play this game.

"Yeah, I've been told! What's up my very pregnant friend? How's baby boy? Misbehaving?"

"Not at all, actually he is quite quiet today, thank God!" – I laugh and then I pause…don't know how to bring up the subject…

"Hmmm, what's on your mind? Your silence tells me everything. Spill!"

Has she become a profiler in my absence or what??

"You know me too well, sometimes it's horrifying…ermmm, something happened yesterday. By the way, I heard that you talked to Emily about me being settled back?"

"Oh, that one, yeah, sorry, but we were really worried and it just slipped…wait a minute, Emily went there? And something happened?? No wonder why she was so distracted all day."

"She was?" – I don't recognize my own voice…gosh, get a grip!

"Yep, she didn't even mention that she stopped by your place. So? What is going on?"

"I don't know. I…she appeared in front of my door with Chinese takeout and I invited her in. We had a great time, joked around as always but then baby boy was kicking and I took her hand to my belly and then everything was like I'm in a different universe. I noticed her warm hand, her piercing, sharp eyes and…" – God, I'm ranting…

"What??? Are you telling me what I think you are telling me? "

"Ah, yes, Garcia, yes. I don't know how it happened or why. I just know that I wanted her to…be there, focusing on me. I'm…she gets me, affects me in a way nobody ever did. Uh, I wanted her to care about me although I don't know if she is even open to…this, to me. But I saw something there and I want know what it means. For both of us…" – I take a deep breath and wait for the tech's answer but it's not coming…"Hey, you still there?"

"…Umm, yes? I mean, yes! Good Lord, I've never seen this coming…I mean that you would finally get to this point. Wow, it took you what, 2 and a half years?"

"Garcia, what? Wait, what are you talking about?"

"Honey, I think I'm pretty obvious here! I've seen how you two always acted around each other like you have some secret thing going on that I would never understand…truth be told, I so wanted to talk to you or Emily about this because it was driving me nuts! Finally!! Ah, congrats! Welcome to Realizations Town!"

I can't believe it. Penelope can freak me out, when she knows things even before I find them out myself.

"Listen, just talk to her. It doesn't have to be anything, but as you said earlier, you should find it out yourself. Do you really think you are ready for this?"

"I have to be, Garcia…I need to be."

I haven't spoken to Emily since our last fiasco and I don't know how she will react to me again. However, I'm back in town and I was thinking about my previous position at the BAU because Hotch said that if I ever want to come back to the team, I am more than welcome. And I'm considering it.
Of course, I have three more months till giving birth, and I need time after that, but I loved the job, the team, they were…are my family.

And that's why I find myself in front of the FBI building in Quantico. Going up, looking through the glass door that separates the bullpen, I can see Reid, Morgan, Emily and even Garcia, talking, sharing information, probably about a case.

I can't describe the emotions that I'm feeling right now. I'm home. It's like I have never left, knowing that me, being here, is just right. Oh, how I missed this, them, my family. So I open the door, wondering what reaction I will get but I shouldn't have been worried, because the moment everyone notices me, smiles spread across their faces and they pull me into hugs.

""Hey JJ, what a nice surprise! What are you doing here? A bit of vacation before the baby is born? And how's New Orleans treating you?" – a grin on Derek's baby face, all smiley. I don't want to bring down his good mood so I tell him and the others just half of the story.

"Yeah, New Orleans is not so bad but I missed you guys. I thought we could grab dinner after work and catch up a bit? My treat!"

"Oooh, you are spoiling us here! Sure thing, I'm in, just tell me where and I will be there!" – he says and I hear everybody's acceptance to the invitation. As much as I want to stay with them here, I know I have to talk to Hotch too and time is the only thing that they are always short on.

As I give them the details about the restaurant, say my goodbyes for now, and start to walk to my ex-boss office, I give a slide glace to Emily. She has the perfect poker face, as always, I can't read anything off of it and it irritates me a bit. I want to know what she thinks, what goes through her mind, I need to understand her. I want to know how she feels about that night. This insecurity is killing me and I can not do anything about it right now. I hope after dinner, we will have some time to talk. I will make sure of it.

I'm almost at Aaron's office and during my steps I can feel the brunette FBI agent's intense look on my back. I hate it when she does this, avoiding eye contact face to face but not afraid to stare when you are not looking.
Yes, I'm pretty sure we have to talk. Soon.

"Jennifer! It's great to see you again! How are you?" – one of his rare smiles appear on his face and I feel more relaxed than a minute ago.

"Pregnant, that should tell you everything, I think." – I laugh and not waiting for his answer I continue with a more serious tone "Listen, I assume we both know why I came here today. I want to be back to the BAU after the birth."

He processes my information and replies "You know it will be harder as a parent, right? Days without coming back, long hours every day, responsibility…"

"Yes, I know that but I want to be part of the team again. I want to be back." – I emphasize it with a firm voice because I need him to understand.

"And how did Will react to this? What did he say?"

"We are separating…this is my decision, my problem to solve. I'm damn good at my job and you wouldn't find anyone as qualified as I am to do this."

"JJ, you've already proven yourself…I'm sorry about you and LaMontagne...I really wished it could work out for you."

"Well, yeah…mmm, I invited everyone to dinner tonight and it goes without saying that I expect you to see there too."

"Count me in…" a short pause – "I think that's it then."

"Yes, and…thank you." I start for the door but he interrupts me in my movement "Jennifer, it's good to have you back."

"It's good to be back, Hotch."

As I walk out of the office, I'm surprised to see that the bullpen is nearly empty, probably everyone went out to get their lunches. I make my way to the elevator, get in and that's when I hear a shout.

"Hey, hold the door please!" – I would recognize this voice everywhere. She catches her breath as she realizes that it's me, gets in and pushes the button.

"Oh, hi…again…umm…everything went well with Hotch?" – she asks uneasily. I don't want this to be so awkward, I miss the times when it was so comfortable to be around each other.

"Yes, in fact, I want to announce my decision during dinner."

"Hmm…your decision? Which is?"

"That I'm coming back after the baby is born."

"Wow…I…it will be great to see you back again."

"Thanks..." – now we both stay silent but I still want to clear the air between us, so I start…



We start at the same time, smile a bit but then I pause and let her continue.

"JJ…listen, I'm sorry about the other night, I shouldn't have left so suddenly. Mmmm, do you have time after dinner? Or you already have something to do?"

"No, no, that would be fine. But you know I don't bite, right?" – a smirk crosses my face and she laughs.

"I know and I'm really sorry, I will make it up to you." – the elevator stops at her floor but before that, she raises her hand, slightly touches my arm for a moment and says "I'm looking forward to the night. Bye."

Those eyes. How can someone say something like this with those chocolate-brown, sad eyes? With that silken voice? How can she say so much with only a light, brief touch?

I'm so captivated by her that 'I want to find out. I want to know everything that is Emily Prentiss.

That much I know.

Part 4

Return to Criminal Minds Fiction

Return to Main Page