DISCLAIMER: Criminal Minds and its characters are the property of CBS. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This fic is set at the very end of the above-mentioned episode.
SPOILERS: Season 3, episode 2 "In Birth and Death".
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To ceej4[at]yahoo.com

By Cj


Walking into her apartment, Emily threw her keys on the counter and dropped her ready bag on the floor. She was drawn to the large windows that took up one wall of her apartment, the landscape of D.C. laid out before her in a radiance it lacked during the day.

A knock pulled Emily from the view, and she glanced at the clock as she made her way to answer the sound. Her movements became rushed when she checked to see who was on the other side of the door, golden hair and blue eyes making her hands clumsy.

"Jennifer," she said on a breath as the metal and wood finally opened to fully reveal the team's communications liaison.

A shy smile was her greeting, and Emily watched in rapt fascination as a strand of platinum-infused hair fell forward across a honeyed cheekbone. When J.J. pushed it back into place, Emily realized she was staring.

"I…Come in," she said, taking a step back to allow J.J. to enter. She shut the door behind her and turned to face the woman who was waiting patiently in her hallway.

"I was on my way home and wanted to check on you," J.J. said. "I don't think you should be alone."

Emily's smile was genuine and met with one of J.J.'s own. "I'm okay. I don't have a concussion." She motioned toward the living room. "But, do you have time for a drink?"

"I'd like that," J.J. said.

"Have a seat."

J.J. ventured further into the room, her focus on the scene Emily had been studying only moments prior to her arrival.

"I always forget how beautiful it is," J.J. said. "I just keep thinking how darkness covers a multitude of sins."

Emily watched her from the kitchen, her attention caught by the figure illuminated by the faraway lights of the capitol building. Two wine glasses and a bottle of red in her hands, she approached J.J. slowly.

"You know as well as I do just as much can happen in the daylight."

J.J.'s smile was brief, but she joined Emily on the couch without an argument.

"Are you sure you can have that?" she asked instead as Emily poured the wine.

Emily shrugged. "I didn't take the meds, just a couple of Tylenol."

"You're not in pain?"

"It's down to a dull ache now. I've had worse."

J.J. smirked. "I don't believe you, but I'll let it go for now. We have other things to discuss."

Emily sighed and placed her glass on the low table in front of her. "Yeah."

J.J. took another sip of her wine and seemed content to wait for Emily to start their conversation. Emily glanced at her after a long few moments of silence, but J.J. just looked at her with a steady gaze. Emily had to turn away.

Leaning forward, Emily put her elbows on her knees with her eyes on the floor. "How much do you know?" she finally asked.

"That you resigned in order to protect the team, especially Hotch, from Strauss. That you were just going to leave without a word to anyone. That you swore Garcia to silence and wouldn't allow her to even tell me she spoke to you." She saw J.J.'s glass join hers on the table and heard J.J. lean back into the couch. "That you were going to walk away from me."

Emily turned to look at J.J. then, her tone more pleading than she would have liked as she said, "No! I…" She shook her head but then turned her attention back to the rug decorating her floor. Taking a deep breath, she exhaled deliberately. "I'm sorry. I didn't know what else to do."

"Trusting your team would have been a good start."

Emily's shoulders slumped. "Yeah," she said, standing and making her way to her kitchen.

J.J. watched her walk away, following her every move as Emily opened one cabinet to grab a crystal tumbler and then another to pull out a bottle of vodka.

"Don't," J.J. said as she stood.

Emily froze, the bottle in her hand forgotten as J.J. approached.

"Have you listened to your voicemail?" J.J. asked. Emily shook her head.

"I knew you were just trying to find me."

"I call; you answer. That's the way it's supposed to work. That's the way it's worked since you joined the B.A.U. That's the way I want it to work. When it didn't…"

J.J. stepped around the island separating her from the other agent and took the bottle from Emily, placing it on the counter and putting on its lid.

"You scared me," she said to the granite countertop.

Emily hesitated, her hands wrestling each other to prevent them from reaching out to the younger woman. Finally, her words came out in a rush.

"I'm sorry. I never meant to frighten you. I was…I told Hotch that Garcia had tried to talk me out of resigning and that if she couldn't no one could, but the truth is I knew you could. I didn't know what else to do. I had to protect you, all of you, and I didn't want you involved with what was happening."

Again, silence settled over them until J.J. nodded and met Emily's eyes. "Promise me you'll let that be my choice next time."



Emily stared into the serious gaze in front of her. "I promise."

"Good," J.J. said and then leaned forward to press her lips to Emily's.

The older woman was momentarily surprised but didn't hesitate as she returned the kiss with vigor, drawing J.J. closer and deepening it with an intensity that should have alarmed her. When they parted, Emily couldn't stop a goofy grin from forming.

"I've wanted to do that for months," she said.

"What took you so long?" J.J. asked.

Emily shrugged. "Fear. I'm not exactly suave when it comes to matters of the heart."

"I've noticed," J.J. said. "But, you've been flirting with me since you joined the team. I've been waiting for you to make a move."

"You just decided to make it for me?"

"Someone had to do something."

Emily pushed a strand of J.J.'s hair behind her ear, her hand coming to rest on J.J.'s neck.

"I think you should stay here tonight," Emily said. "You know, to keep an eye on me."

J.J. laughed. "You said you didn't have a concussion."

"Well, better safe than sorry," Emily teased, her fingers intertwining with J.J.'s and tugging the younger woman closer.

"I have a feeling, Emily Prentiss, that security is not your number one priority."

Emily leaned forward to gently touch her lips to J.J.'s, a kiss so soft all J.J. could do was sigh as it ended.

"You're very perceptive, Agent Jareau."

"Yeah, well," J.J. said as she followed Emily up the stairs, their hands still locked. "That's why there's an 'I' in F.B.I."

Emily's laugh echoed off the walls, breaking the silence from the city outside the window.

The End

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