DISCLAIMER: Criminal Minds and its characters are the property of CBS. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: So, some of you might know me from my CSI: Miami fic, but for you Criminal Minds fans, this is my first foray into the fandom. I hope I can do it justice. The characters of Emily and JJ have a depth and a humanity to them that truly intrigues me. (On a less introspective note, this is basically what happens when I listen to “Unbound,” on endless repeat after spending 3 days working on research papers non-stop, so I apologize) Thank you: To my main source of *Squee* serenitymeimei
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

The Gift
By racethewind10


"You move around enough you get used to being whoever people expect you to be." I'd meant the sentiment; I just hadn't meant to say it out loud. She has that affect on me and, try as I might, I can't seem to escape it. The realization was neither sudden, nor powerful, just a slow, wonderful growth somewhere deep inside me, in a place I thought long dead. It took me months to even recognize it for what it really was, so subtle was the change.

The feelings themselves are startling. That I feel them for her, is not. From the start I admired her. Not just her professionalism and competence, but her confidence: in herself, and the people around her. It was a confidence that can only come from knowing who you are, and that you are appreciated, valued, a part of something.

I envied her for so long, that when I first noticed my guard dropping, I rationalized it. I so wanted to be part of this team, I was just emulating her, trying to build a rapport. But slowly, gradually, I began to understand that the warmth I felt when she smiled at me, or when her sparkling sapphire eyes met mine across the table, had nothing to do with the team.

George Washington, in his farewell address to the newborn country of America once said, "avoid entangling alliances." He could have been referring to me. My whole life I have built walls; armor, to protect myself from others. And yet that night, walking on that college campus, I let slip a truth of my life. I let it slip for the simple reason that I wanted JJ to understand; to know that about me.

She terrifies me. The way I feel around her terrifies me. She makes me want to throw open the shutters of my heart. The irony of being a profiler when I guard my own soul so jealously isn't lost on me, but when I'm around her, for the first time in my life, I want to stop hiding. I want another person to know me, because for the first time in my life, I believe that there is a person who, in knowing, would truly accept me, and if there is one thing that my life and this job have taught me, its that such acceptance is the most precious gift we can ever receive.

The End

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