DISCLAIMER: Criminal Minds and its characters are the property of CBS. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Losing Your Bearings
Emily dove out of the bed and stumbled onto the floor clumsily. Clad only in her underwear, she felt around in the dark until her hands felt the edge of her umbrella. Brandishing her weapon of choice, the profiler crept over to the window that was closest to the blood curdling sounds. Surely something was being killed or maimed.
"What the hell is that?" JJ asked nervously, her voice thick with sleep. She was contemplating whether or not she wanted to actually get out from under the covers- it was cold in the wilderness, and the small cabin did little to keep it out, even with the heater on full blast.
Emily pulled back a curtain to glance out the window. She was greeted by a large pair of yellow eyes. Emily yelled as it startled her.
*SCREEEEEEEEEEE!* Frightened by the sudden movement, the little owl flew away from the window sill.
"You've got to be kidding me." Emily groaned as she tossed the umbrella by her bag and hurried back under the warm covers.
"What was it?" JJ had visibly relaxed and gotten comfortable again.
"An owl." Emily chuckled. "Not just an owl, but an itty bitty, cute one." She sighed and said with a pout in her voice, "Now I can't be mad at it."
"God, I miss the city." JJ laughed. "And what were you going to do to it, Em- bash the little cutie over the head with your umbrella?" The press liaison slid her arms around the profiler's waste and snuggled into her soft, warm body. Emily generated more warmth than the furnace in the room.
"I dunno." The brunette muttered tiredly into her pillow as she drifted back off. She could tell it was morning time, even though the sun hadn't come up yet. Thank god they would be leaving later that day, weather permitting.
They had just got through wrapping up a case in Alaska. Apparently an unsub had been killing people and framing the local wildlife in the process- namely, bears. The team had flown into the main airport at Juneau. Soon after which, they were stuffed into a relatively unsafe prop plane like sardines, and flown into the small mountain community. Most of the people that lived there were scientists and researchers, and given the handful of people they had to profile, the unsub was placed into custody relatively quickly. He, along with Hotch and a local sheriff, were flown out the day before, while the rest of the team waited for their plane to arrive that afternoon. That meant that they had another day of waiting in their cabins in the Alaskan wilderness.
The second time that Emily awoke, it was to the sound of birds chirping and the smell of fresh mountain air. Emily quickly got out of bed and shuffled through her bag until she found some Claritin. She'd learned the hard way the day before- touching and smelling every flower in sight. "Why does nature hate me?" The brunette groaned as she started dreading her shower. It was a rickety, old thing. The water was an annoying luke warm- warm enough to be tolerable, but not hot enough to actually feel warm. The profiler grumbled as she made her way into the small bathroom. But at least they weren't communal. She really didn't need to accidentally see Reid naked.
After her hasty ablutions, Emily came out and got dressed, while JJ took a turn with the shower from hell.
Emily put on a pair of black jeans, and a snug white t-shirt. She sat down on the bed and began the task of lacing up her sturdy, black hiking boots.
"Hey babe." JJ came out of the shower wrapped in a towel.
"How was your shower?" Emily smirked knowingly.
JJ just rolled her eyes. "I was almost going to wait until we made it back to DC. That's how bad."
Emily laughed. "Can you believe that people do this for fun?"
JJ smiled as she started getting dressed. "My dad loved camping. But really Emily, camping can be a lot better than this."
"I know. It's been years for me though. Last time was when I was a kid, and everything is great when you're a kid." Content with the status of her shoes, Emily got up and made sure she had everything packed.
"Not to mention the 'no-serial-killer' factor." JJ's voice was strained.
Emily quirked her eyebrow at Jennifer as she wiggled into a pair of snug blue jeans. "May I help you?" Emily inquired playfully.
JJ shot her a mock glare as she pulled a pink woolen sweater over her head. "I don't think I can take any more of your kind of help today, Em." They'd already probably missed breakfast.
Emily feigned hurt as she closed the distance between them and pulled JJ in for a kiss. Half way into it, the press liaison tensed and pulled away uncomfortably.
"What's wrong?" It hadn't been the reaction Emily was hoping for- or expecting.
"Emily, the curtains are open." JJ chastised her.
"We could close them?" Emily said suggestively. Fortunately, they had gotten stuck in the cabin with only one bed, for some reason it was more 'okay' for two women to share a bed than two men. But it all worked out perfectly in the end.
"We've already been in here too long."
Emily rolled her eyes. "Why don't we just tell them? I mean if they haven't figured it out by now, I'd seriously have to question their profiling abilities..."
"Em!" JJ whined, "I'm not ready to tell them yet."
"Why?" Emily shrugged, "Now or later... they'll still find out."
"I'd rather it was later."
"You said that last month."
"And the month before." The profiler was getting frustrated. They'd talked about it many times. "Putting it off won't make it easier."
"I never said it would." JJ was not in the mood to have this conversation. "Can't we find a better time to discuss this?" JJ coaxed gently.
"It's never a good time, Jennifer." Emily crossed her arms.
JJ was getting frustrated now too, "Look, I'm not as comfortable with this as you are, okay? I'm not like you, Emily, I'm not a..." JJ paused, "Lesbian."
Emily burst out laughing. "Well that's obviously not a requirement." Then Emily became serious, "And honestly, what the hell does that have to do with anything, Jennifer?"
JJ berated herself, that hadn't come out right. "I mean, that's not what I mean. What I mean is that I'm not... good at being a lesbian."
Emily blinked, "So I'm like what, an expert? Do I have a PhD in lesbianism?" Emily said sarcastically, "Jayj, you spent half the night going down on me, as far as I'm concerned you've got all the right credentials."
JJ frowned and felt idiotic, "No, no it's just... well... I don't know how to explain it!"
Emily rolled her eyes, "No, I get it, Jennifer. I understand perfectly." She marched over the closet and grabbed her light blue fleece jacket and pulled it over her head. "You're ashamed of us." She punctuated the last part of her sentence by quickly zipping the collar up.
Jennifer was mortified. "I am not ashamed of you, Emily."
"Then why else would you be so terrified of being associated with me in that way?" It sounded like a rhetorical question.
"Why can't you just wait until I'm ready?" JJ raised her voice.
"There's no such thing as 'ready', Jennifer." Emily ground out.
The blond crossed her arms. "Maybe you're right, Emily. Maybe I'll never be ready. Maybe that's something you'll just have to accept."
"Yea, and maybe I'm tired of being your dirty little secret." Emily nearly yelled.
"So what are you saying?" JJ said angrily. "You want to break up?"
Emily couldn't stand it anymore. She yanked the door open painfully.
"I'm going for a walk," she snapped without casting a glance at the press liaison. Maybe she was over reacting, but her emotions were getting the best of her. She knew she needed to cool off before she said something she'd permanently regret.
"Oh fine, run away, Emily, it's what you're good at." JJ's temper flashed as she stood in the doorway. Fortunately there was quite a bit of space between cabins, and everyone was mostly likely in the main building having breakfast, making the rest of the team far less likely to witness their tirades.
The profiler practically spun on her heel to face JJ, "I'm not the one that keeps running away-" Emily caught herself, "I can't talk to you like this." She just shook her head and marched off towards the tree line.
Morgan saw the look on JJ's face as she sat at the table with a cup of steaming coffee- it had been one of the few redeeming qualities about this region. The coffee and the scenery.
"Rough night?" Derek asked, as Spencer and Dave watched her with interest.
Jennifer sighed tiredly. "Morning really," she wrapped her cool hands around the warm mug and took a sip.
She chuckled and rolled her eyes, but it was devoid of any mirth. "You could say that Emily and I had a... disagreement." It wasn't a total lie...
Derek smirked, "What'd she do? Use your hair brush or something?" He tried to joke. Then on seeing her dejected look, "Wow, that bad, huh?"
JJ just shrugged and stared absently at a small basket filled with cinnamon rolls.
Dave was skimming a fish and game magazine he'd probably found somewhere. "Do you like hot buns, JJ? I like my buns hot," the senior agent asked calmly.
JJ almost choked on her coffee. Had he heard them having sex? Jennifer must have looked slightly horrified because everyone burst out laughing.
She stared at him open mouthed as the older agent calmed down. "I'm sorry, I couldn't help it. You're so easy."
The press liaison allowed herself a smile, feeling some of the morning's angst drift away. Now the guilt was making itself known. She would figure out how to apologize to the brunette once she came back from her walk.
Emily had been following a small trail for about fifteen minutes. She had been completely lost in her thoughts.
"I'm not good at being a lesbian..." She imitated JJ irritably, "Unlike you Emily, cause you're a fucking professional." She thought aloud.
It was a cold day, but between Emily's trek over uneven ground and the intensity of the sun, she was starting to feel over heated. She unzipped her fleece jacket at far as it would go.
"...You've got some nerve." She grumbled in between labored breaths. Then Emily heard a loud cracking sound come from behind her. She froze immediately and turned around slowly. She prayed that it wasn't what she thought it was. Low and behold, Emily was now standing face to face with an enormous, dark brown grizzly bear- its head was level with hers. The two stared at each other, it seemed as shocked to see her as she was to see it.
Emily just stood there, paralyzed, by... terror? Yes, she was terrified. "Um, hi." Emily muttered at the animal. Deciding that it didn't appreciate the brunette's presence, the gigantic bear reared up on its hind legs and let out a deafening roar that couldn't possibly mean anything less than 'fuck off!'.
"Fuck." Emily did exactly what the park rangers had told them not to do, she ran like hell, flailing her arms wildly as she shrieked in terror.
Emily followed the pitifully small trail as best she could, but she knew that there was no way she could out run a grizzly. The only way she could stand a chance was if she could get out of reach somehow. She studied the trees as she was running, but the branches of the pines were too high up to make them climbable. Scant seconds had passed, but she could hear it charging up behind her. She could practically feel the impact of its feet pounding the dirt trail.
Seeing her only opportunity, Emily veered off the trail to the right, just as she sensed the bear was going to snap at her. It roared angrily as she stumbled through a large, tree-like bush. She kept running, until she was jogging down a steep incline. She glanced up to see the agitated bear thundering down the hill. The small trees and shrubs buckled and snapped effortlessly in the creature's wake.
To add to Emily's problems, the nightly rain storms they'd been having had left the slope muddy and slippery. Then, much to Emily's chagrin, her foot slipped on a moist rock that was jutting out of the incline slightly. The profiler tumbled painfully to the bottom of the mountain side.
"Ah!" She clutched her chest soon after she hit the bottom. She had heard her ribs snap somewhere along the way, forcing the air out of her lungs. But Emily didn't have time to access her injuries properly. Big, brown, and beastly was baring down on her. Apparently the mud had gotten to the bear as well. She watched in horror as it slid down the hill on its' backside, gaining speed with the approach. Had she witnessed this scene at a safe distance, or under just about any other circumstance (preferably on TV), she would have considered the bear's antics cute and entertaining. However, the creature did seem quite intent on killing her.
Emily forced herself to her feet. It was a miracle that she was even able to stand, she attributed her response to the adrenaline. She turned and jogged towards the middle of a clearing. A clearing with a single, leafless tree in it, and luckily, it wasn't a pine tree. It would be a good sprint to any tree line, so running as fast as her battered body would move her, she used all her momentum to jump up to the lowest branch. She grabbed it, her ribs screaming at her as she dangled pathetically. Then, using a strength she didn't know she possessed, she hoisted her legs up and wrapped them around the branch.
She was suddenly struck with an intense bout of vertigo. It probably had something to do with her fall, but she didn't have time to worry about that. The bear was approaching fast, and it wouldn't be much trouble for him to stand up and grab her while she hung there. She was able to shift her body so that it was on top of the branch, but she wasn't fast enough; her legs were still dangling off the side.
The grizzly reared up on its hind legs and bit down on her left foot. Fortunately, the boot was extremely sturdy and steel tipped, so the damage to her foot would be kept to a minimum, but there wasn't anything Emily could do about the pulling. The bear tugged her off the branch easily. As Emily slid off of it, she clung to the branch for dear life. She'd managed to hook her arms over it as the bear nibbled on her shoe. She struggled, until finally he let go of her foot, but soon after he released it, he bit down on her left calf. Emily screamed and nearly let go, as pain ripped through her appendage. She used her other foot to kick the bear in the nose as hard as she could. He grunted agitatedly and released her. Using that window, she hauled herself back up onto the branch, and forcing herself into a standing position, she hoisted herself higher into the tree, until she was sure it couldn't reach her.
Now that she was relatively safe for the time being, Emily took a moment to properly access her injuries. "Damn." Emily was afraid to even look at her leg. She could tell it was a mess. The lower portion of her left leg, was soaked in blood. She could feel her socks become squishy from the shear volume of it. There were two major puncture wounds, and several smaller ones, although they were all serious. Not to mention the risk of infection.
Emily felt nauseated and dizzy. She took a deep breath as she considered how to deal with her wound. She didn't have much to work with, and she was stuck up a tree. She needed bandages, and a tourniquet.
She unzipped her jacket pocket and smiled gratefully when she felt her swiss army knife there. Her grand father had given it to her when she was a little girl and it seemed like it might come in handy. She carefully unfolded the blade and proceeded to carefully cut the lower portion of her left pant-leg off. With the jeans pushed open, and to the side she could really assess the damage. The injury was severe, but she would survive if she could stop the bleeding until she found help.
"Tourniquet..." Emily mumbled aloud. She glanced down at her shoe laces. They'd take so long to unlace, and besides, she needed her footwear to stay on. Her eyes eventually came to rest on her belt buckle. She reached down and removed her belt and wound it tightly just under her knee. She hissed as pain ripped through her. She just needed one more tie for her tourniquet to be complete.
She briefly considered her hair, before she shook that off as just plain stupid. Then she remembered the string on her jacket. The base of her jacket was lined with an elastic string that was designed to help keep the cold and snow out of the bottom of the garment. She cut one end of it with the knife and slid it out, securing it around her leg near the ankle.
"Bandage." The only thing that came to mind was her shirt. Emily grimaced as she realized she'd have to pull her fleece over her head. Steeling herself for more pain, Emily held the knife in her mouth as she carefully extricated herself from her coat. She secured it on a branch beside her.
Then she used the knife to cut her t-shirt off. There was no way she'd be able to get it over her head. It would have been too hard on her. Once her shirt was off, she secured it around her leg as best she could. It would protect her leg from the elements at the very least.
She frowned as she noticed all the bruises and cuts for the first time. "I must look like hell," She mumbled to herself. "But I already feel that way so..."
With that settled for the time being. She used the knife to cut the elastic at the base of her sports bra- the pressure was wreaking havoc on her ailing rib cage. Then she pulled her fleece back on and secured her knife in her pocket once more. Now where was the bear? The grizzly had stopped pacing and was now lazing about in the clearing as it watched her with mild interest.
Emily reached into her other pocket and pulled out her cell phone. She wanted to cry when she saw that she had no reception. It wasn't a surprise really. None of them were able to get any out here so they had relied on walkie-talkies during the case. But now that the case was over they had been deemed unnecessary. Hell, she didn't even have a gun.
Emily wondered if she'd dislocated or injured her right arm during her fall. It wasn't as strong as it normally was and her mobility seemed affected as well. But she also knew that could also be attributed to a head injury. She felt so tired. The profiler elevated her leg slightly and positioned herself in the tree that made it less likely for her to fall out should she lose consciousness. Fortunately this tree had a lot of branches. Too bad it didn't have any leaves on it to shield her from the sun, but it was better than freezing anyway- assuming they found her before nightfall. Emily's last thoughts were of Jennifer as she allowed sleep to take her.
Feeling a little better after her nap. Emily waved her phone around praying for a bar- any bar. "If you hadn't made me so angry. Then I would have brought my gun- no, I wouldn't have even wandered in this direction at all. This is all your fault Jennifer! I don't even have any mace... or a taser! Although, I suspect that would probably just make you angry..." Emily said matter of factly to the large grizzly. He poked out his lips and grunted angrily at her remarks.
Then suddenly the tree branches shook, the pain it caused her injuries made her fumble the phone. "No! God damn it!" She yelled as the PDA clattered to the ground.
The bear had taken up to shaking the tree in the hopes that she would come tumbling out of it. "Don't you have anywhere else you could be?" she barked angrily at the blob-like critter.
Standing on its hind legs, it cocked its head at her inquisitively.
Then she heard something. Her cell phone was ringing.
"Oh my god!" Emily reached towards the phone as though she could magically will it back into her hands.
The bear heard it too. He ran over and scooped the small black object into his mouth and swallowed. Emily could still hear the ringing from inside the bear, although it was significantly muffled.
"You greedy bastard!" Emily chastised the animal. "When I get my gun I swear to god..."
"Fuck you and fuck PETA!" Emily broke off a small stick like branch and tossed it at the bear, clobbering it on the head. "I am never giving them any money ever again!"
"That was an expensive phone! And I just got it two weeks ago... I hope the vibration function gives you diarrhea." She continued to pelt the animal with sticks and twigs.
It roared at her resentfully. It moved back over to the tree and continued to shake it with renewed vigor.
"Why can't you shake me out of this tree? I know why. It's because you suck!" Emily continued to yell and taunt the dumb animal until her voice became hoarse from vocalizing. After what felt like hours, an exhausted Emily finally passed out again from the pain.
"Where the heck is Prentiss?" Rossi glanced at his watch and directed his question to the press liaison. It was now a little after 1 PM. "The plane will be here in a few hours."
JJ had moved her bag along with Emily's, to the common area where everyone else was waiting. "She isn't back yet?" JJ said through labored breaths as she placed the sturdy bags on the floor.
"Nope. Do you know where she went?"
"She said she was going for a walk, but she should have been back by now- she didn't even have breakfast!" Jennifer knew Emily well enough to know that the profiler would never miss two meals in a row unless something was wrong...
Derek raised an eyebrow. "You think she could've gotten lost?"
JJ scoffed, "Are you kidding? Emily is smart enough to know better than to wander off a trail."
"I'm not saying she's not smart enough-"
"She's not one of those people that just gets lost in a forest." Jennifer said defensively.
Derek was taken aback by her passionate response. He put his hands up apologetically. "I didn't say that, JJ."
JJ was contrite, "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to snap at you. It's just," Jennifer let out a worried breath, "It's just... she wouldn't have even gone for a walk if we hadn't fell out this morning."
Derek tried to calm her down, "It's not your fault, JJ. Prentiss is a big girl. She can take care of herself." He thought JJ was taking the situation a little too seriously.
"But what if she fell and hurt herself or something?" Jennifer paced the room nervously as every worse case scenario raced through her mind.
"You said yourself that Emily isn't the kind of person to get lost." Reid chimed in.
Jennifer sighed, "Yea, I know. I'll just grab a radio and go have a look anyway."
"Alright, we'll let you know when the plane arrives."
"I'll be on channel two."
JJ decided that she had a good plan, assuming she found Emily of course. She'd borrowed a blue Jansport backpack from one of the researchers. She had it slung over her shoulder as though she were still in college. She'd taken the liberty of packing two water bottles, a pair of binoculars, a small first aid kit, a walkie talkie, and most importantly, a sandwich. She assumed Emily must've worked up an appetite by now, but maybe the profiler was too mad at her to go into the commons.
"Real mature, Em." JJ mumbled to herself. Either way she was sure it would be a pleasant surprise for the profiler, while creating the perfect atmosphere for JJ to apologize to her lover. Emily was always in better spirits when she was eating. Not to mention that it would be harder for the brunette to talk back with a full mouth...
The press liaison marched off in the direction that Emily went. There was only one trail on that side of the camp site so she followed it. She walked for what felt like a ways before something shiny on the right side of the trail caught her eye. JJ knelt down for closer inspection. It was Emily's sunglasses. And they looked like they had been stepped on.
Jennifer frowned as she stepped off the trail to pick the fractured glasses up. Even more disconcerting were Emily's footprints heading further off trail. She followed the profiler's footprints until they eventually exited the tree line. There was a steep incline down the side of the mountain, at the base of which there was a small meadow. JJ pulled out her binoculars and scanned the slopes for any evidence that Emily may have fallen. Eventually her binoculars caught sight of a barren tree. Jennifer zoomed in. "Emily? What the hell are you doing?" JJ rolled her eyes. Was the profiler reliving her childhood or something. How weird. JJ sighed as she psyched herself up for the trek down the mountain side. After about ten minutes of half running/walking down the incline, she headed towards the clearing.
"Emily!" Emily was moving slightly, but she hadn't acknowledged the blond. "Emily Prentiss, don't make me come up there!" JJ yelled across the clearing as she came closer.
As she arrived at the base of the tree, she softened her tone, "Please come down, I want to talk to you." JJ sighed exasperatedly. JJ pulled out her phone, it was worth another try anyway. She was at least getting a little reception in her current location. She smiled, when she saw that her call had gone through.
Then JJ heard the profiler's phone ring, but it was coming from behind where JJ was standing. She turned around to determine where the ringing was coming from- somewhere out in the tall grass. Jennifer realized that something was very wrong. "Emily, you dropped your phone..." JJ yelled up to the profiler as she headed towards the noise. Then she heard a cracking sound and a loud roar.
"Holy hell..." Jennifer didn't need to see it, to know what that was. Rather than waste time figuring out where the bear was at, JJ sprinted over to the tree and hauled herself into it quickly. Not long after she'd made it to a comfortable height, the large grizzly came barreling out of the brush, incensed by her presence.
"Em?" The profiler slowly peeled her eyes open. She could feel something cool and moist on her face.
"Jennifer?" Emily's voice was hoarse.
"Oh my god." JJ was on the verge of tears. She was so relieved when the profiler had opened her eyes. "Are you alright?" Jennifer finished wiping the blood and grime off the profiler's face.
"I've been better." Emily slurred slightly as she tried to wake herself up more. "The b... bear?"
"I got lucky." JJ had positioned herself close to Emily in the tree. She'd secured her backpack to her chest as she felt around in it for a water bottle. She quickly unscrewed the lid, "Here, drink this." The profiler opened her mouth and drank greedily until she started coughing. "Slowly now." Eventually Emily took the bottle from her and JJ went into her bag for that first aid kit.
"Please tell me," Emily's voice was much clearer now. "That you have a radio or something."
"Yep, but I want to stop your bleeding first, Em. God you're bleeding all over the place." JJ bandaged a terrible gash on the side of Emily's head.
"He chased me... I ran and I fell down..." Emily gestured absently towards the slope, she sounded concussed. "And he... bit me." Emily sounded absolutely pitiful as she said the last part. JJ almost half expected her to say that he'd 'hurt her feelings' or betrayed her on a deep personal level.
JJ could tell that her lover was in shock. She'd seen it in enough of the victims they'd spoken too. "Sounds like you definitely have a serious head injury, Em." JJ put the finishing touches on the bandage. She glanced at the profiler's leg. The blood had soaked through the makeshift bandage. JJ sighed worriedly as she pulled out her radio.
"This is Agent Jareau to Agent Rossi, do you read me?" JJ frowned, he'd better pick up. "This is Agent Jareau, do you copy?" JJ checked the volume on the device.
Emily held her hand out to Jennifer and said calmly, "Let me try it."
JJ handed her the radio. Emily clicked the button, "Pick up the god damned radio!" She shrieked hysterically into the speaker. JJ and the bear were both startled by the sudden racket.
"Emily!" JJ grabbed for the phone and Emily held it out of reach, "Em, please give me the radio."
"Pickup! Pickup! Pickup! Pickup... Pick it up or I'll-"
"Derek! Derek I need help. I'm in trouble!"
"Emily? What's wrong!?" Derek's voice gave away his confusion.
"A bear chased me up a tree!" Emily's concussion made her slur.
He laughed, "Say what?"
"Let me run it by you one more time, Agent." Emily said through gritted teeth, then she started yelling, "I am stuck up a fucking tree and there is a fucking bear trying to fucking eat me!" The fat grizzly glanced at her lazily in response to her tirade.
"Whoa, um okay." Derek pulled the speaker from his ear for a sec. Then he put his hand over it and walked into the room where Dave and Reid were at. "So where is this tree at?" They listened to the exchange as Derek held the radio out.
"I... I don't know! I'm in a forest! And... and..." Emily wanted to cry as she was struck by a sense of utter hopelessness. She had completely lost her sense of direction when she'd fled.
"And there's a bear? Like a furry big-"
"Bear! Yes, a bear, like Yogi, but angry and hatless."
The bear rolled over and scratched its butt calmly.
"So he's wearing a tie then?" Derek wasn't sure if she was serious or if they were playing a prank. There was this one time in Dakota where Reid faked a snake bite... "Prentiss are you drunk?"
"You heard me. JJ told me you two had a fight. Maybe you had a few drinks and went for a stroll and-"
"Drunk on what? Fresh mountain air? Sunny meadows? Of course not! I'm-stuck-in-a-tree-" She hissed angrily.
JJ was finally able to snatch the device from the profiler. "Derek!"
"Yes! We're in a tree. Emily's been mauled by a bear. She's bleeding all over the place. We need help! Emily needs an ambulance- now."
"Alright, but this better be for real!"
Emily tried to make out their conversation, but she had been too busy trying to get her bearings during another bout of vertigo to fully pay attention. She could tell JJ was describing their location. It sounded as though the rangers knew where they were.
"Over." JJ hooked the radio carefully to her hip. About a half hour passed, and Emily had become very quiet again. Jennifer was worried she might lose consciousness. Then the brunette suddenly became animated.
"You used to play sports! You can run, can't you?" Emily said with a crazed look on her face.
JJ tried to calm the brunette, "Emily, listen to me, you're in shock. You're not thinking clearly." She spoke slowly, "I can't outrun a bear. I don't think anyone can."
"But but but..." Emily motioned at the furry brute as it circled the tree for the umpteenth time. "I don't know how to profile a bear, Jennifer," she said with awe in her voice.
JJ reached out and gently stroked Emily's face in an attempt comfort the other woman. It was a good thing JJ had come along when she did. The blood loss and head injury had obviously taken a toll on the profiler's mental state. Emily was just a few steps away from painting her face with mud and worshiping the moon.
"Now we wait, Em. Help is on the way. You just have to hang on for a bit longer, okay?" Then JJ remembered. "Did you want some more water?"
Emily didn't have time to respond to Jennifer's question because they were both startled by gunfire. The bear roared angrily. Then after a few more shots it took off at full speed and disappeared into the forest. The last thing the brunette saw was a group of people approaching the clearing.
Emily slowly peeled her eyes open. The first thing she became aware of, was a rhythmic beeping. She was in a darkened hospital room.
"Hello?" Emily called out, but something felt very wrong. The brunette shifted in her bed. She heard a sound coming from the restroom. "Jennifer?" She turned towards it. Then sensing movement on her other side, she turned, a large grizzly roared and lunged at her.
"Emily!" Jennifer was more than a little startled when Emily, who had been sleeping peacefully seconds before, called out and sat bolt up right screaming. "Emily! It's me, JJ. It was just a dream, baby. You're safe now."
Emily tried to take in her surroundings. She was still in a hospital- although the room was slightly different. And most importantly, there were no bears. "I... what happened?" She slowly lowered herself back onto the bed as her body screamed at her in protest of her sudden movements.
"What's the last thing you remember?" JJ brushed a few stray hairs out of the brunette's face.
"I... we... there was gunfire."
"Yea, when I described the location to the rangers, they knew the area and it didn't take them long to find us. They shot the grizzly with rubber bullets to run it off."
"Well I hope it left a big fat whelp!" Emily pouted. "How did you get me out of the tree?"
"You were conscious when we helped lower you down. You don't remember at all?" Emily shook her head, "You don't remember the plane?" Emily shook her head again. "You were awake the whole time- well most of the time. We decided you would get to a hospital faster if we all left with the original plan, rather than wait for a medical transport. Once we landed in Juneau, Hotch had an ambulance waiting."
Emily was baffled, "And I was awake the whole time?"
JJ nodded, "You were very quiet, but you seemed to understand what was happening around you. You ate a whole sandwich on the plane."
"Wow," Emily chuckled disbelieving. "My leg?" Emily glanced towards the other end of of the bed.
"You'll recover, but it did quite a bit of damage. You'll be off it for at least five weeks. Luckily it wasn't broken. You had a minor surgery on your leg- one of your veins was damaged. You also had a blood transfusion. And two broken ribs, cuts and bruises..." JJ sighed, "A concussion- You are one lucky person, Emily Prentiss."
The brunette sighed tiredly, "I don't feel so lucky."
"Oh," JJ blushed, "I need to tell you something."
"I told them... about us." JJ said nervously.
She smiled, "They already knew."
Emily chuckled, "I told you."
"About this morning-"
Emily stopped her, "Don't. It was silly. Lets just forget about it." Emily smiled at JJ, "I love you."
"I'm love you too." JJ leaned in and kissed Emily gently on the forehead. "I'm going to tell them you're awake now."
"Jaybear!" The large dark-haired grizzly charged over to the fishing stream.
"Embearly?" The blondish grizzly glanced up from her pile of fish.
"You won't believe it!"
"I almost ate a human! I almost ate two!" She quivered with excitement as she reared up on her hind legs several times.
The blond grizzly stared at her friend and laughed as she obliterated a salmon. "Yea right," she grunted.
"No really. They were in a tree, but I couldn't shake them down. I even took a bite out of one!"
"The probability of a grizzly encountering humans in this region is less than 1,000 to 1. Not to mention that the odds of surviving such an encounter are even less likely." An offensively scrawny bear climbed out of the water. His dampness only added to the raggedness of his appearance. "You remember what happened to your brother after he rampaged through that campsite..."
"Shut up, Spencebear! Don't you dare bring Hotchbear into this!" Embearly growled, "What do you know? You weren't there." Embearly paced agitatedly as Spence shrank away.
"He's right, Em. If you bit into a human than you would've ended up like Hotchbear. You don't want to end up like that, do ya?"
"Hello my lovelies," A rolly polly blond bear came over. Her hair was matted and tangled in grass. "Why so sad, Em?"
"Penelobear will believe me!"
Jaybear rolled her eyes, "Embearly 'thinks' she almost ate a human today."
"Not one, but two!" The dark grizzly declared adamantly.
The matted blondie chuckled, "Aw, have you been eating those little pink berries again? You know they play tricks on the mind..." The two blond grizzlies giggled at her.
Embearly snorted aggressively and threw a tantrum, taking out her frustration on an unsuspecting log.
"Go get 'em, tiger." Penelobear chuckled, "Show it who's boss."
After several more minutes of unnecessary posturing, the dark grizzly gave up and rolled around on the ground pitifully. "Wow, that was almost impressive." Jaybear tossed a fish at her. "Here, have a fish and stop fantasizing about eating people. You know where that'll get you..."
"So, assuming that you're not insane, why didn't you gobble these two unsuspecting humans up?" Penelobear rolled around in the mud as she directed her question to Embearly.
"I..." She wasn't sure what had happened, but her butt still hurt a little. "There was a killer bee."
"Oh! A bee!" Jaybear's eyes lit up with mirth. "Just the one, huh? Must've been a really big one!"
"Yes, yes it was big! A big killer bee! It stung me right," Embearly frowned as she realized the entire watering hole was laughing at her, even old gray Rossibear had almost choked on his trout, "You know what? Forget you! And you!" She motioned towards Spence and Jay. "And all of you!" Embearly huffed.
"What's that noise?" Jaybear's ears perked up.
Then, Embearly paused as she felt a strange tickling in her hind quarters.
"Get it it out! Get it out!" Embearly cried hysterically as she ran towards Jaybear.
"Stay away from me!" Jaybear panicked and disappeared into the brush after Spence.
Penelobear laughed at the other bears as they all ran away, "Embearly, your butt is singing!" She called after them.
"What was all that crazy?" Derbear was startled awake by all the noise.
"Oh, nothing, my love. Embearly's been eating the pink shrubs again."
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