DISCLAIMER: Criminal Minds and its characters are the property of CBS. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Thanks to John Fogerty for the title idea and allowing me my own interpretation of his lyrics. Special thanks to atfm for returning the favor with her wonderful beta, suggestions, and vote of confidence.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SPOILERS: Reference to 3x11, Birthright.
Who’ll Stop the Rain
Agent Jennifer Jareau sat on the leather sofa in her darkened den and sipped from a glass of wine, her thoughts jumbled and confusing. This last case had wormed its way under her skin. She wasn't able to grasp exactly why she'd suddenly become so distracted by it all; she just knew she had been, and that'd been why she'd turned down the invitation to join the rest of the team for drinks. Still in her funk, JJ didn't want to bring anyone else down with her.
As she savored her last swallow, her words from earlier pushed their way into her thoughts 'You stop caring, you're jaded. If you care too much, it will ruin you.' Hotch's reply to her words, meant to make her think, had done just that. Despite it never being perfect, it was definitely still better to care. And she did, care that is. She cared for the victims, she cared for her teammates, and most of all, she cared for Emily, and she had to wonder if her current distraction hadn't been somehow triggered by the confusing feelings she had towards the dark-haired agent.
At first, JJ had been curious about Emily, not understanding how someone of her background could possibly want to work in the B.A.U. She'd been certain that Emily wouldn't last a day, but here she was, almost a year later, performing her job masterfully. Not once had JJ seen a kink in the other woman's armor. Emily had found a way to keep the monsters away or, at the very least, not obsess over them. The 'compartmentalize method' Emily employed was certainly working, and JJ wondered if perhaps Emily wouldn't mind giving her a few pointers.
Placing her empty glass on the coffee table, JJ leaned her head against the back of the couch and concentrated on the music playing softly in the background, John Fogerty's lyrics so appropriate to her mood.
Long as I remember the rain been comin' down
Clouds of mystery pourin' confusion on the ground.
Good men through the ages tryin' to find the sun.
And I wonder, still I wonder, who'll stop the rain.
A light tapping on the door pushed the melody to the background as JJ lifted her head and stared at the wooden structure. She sat perfectly still, hoping that the intruder would just go away and allow her the peace and quiet she so desperately needed, but another round of knocking signaled that her wish was not to be. She sighed and rose, changing her focus to getting rid of the person as quickly as she could. Turning the deadbolt, she flung the door open.
"Hey, JJ." Emily lifted a bottle of wine. "Thought if you wouldn't come out for drinks, then I'd bring the drink to you." She smiled.
"Well, um," JJ nervously glanced back towards the empty wine glass, sitting on the coffee table, "won't you come in?" She stepped back to allow Emily to enter her domain.
Emily brushed past JJ, the slight contact causing both women to shiver. Her eyes immediately tracked to the empty wine glass. "Oh, am I too late?"
"No, I only had a little less than half a glass," JJ replied over her shoulder as she closed and locked the door. "Let me get another glass." She scooped up her glass from the table and headed towards the kitchen.
Emily hesitated for only a moment before she followed JJ into the other room. She was surprised to find JJ leaning against the counter with her head bowed. Emily suddenly began to wonder if perhaps she'd made a terrible mistake. She moved further into the kitchen.
"JJ, we can do this some other time. I didn't mean to intrude."
JJ never looked up; she just gripped the counter tightly. "Emily, how do you make it stop?" Her words were whispered so softly Emily almost didn't realize that she'd spoken.
Emily stepped closer. "Stop what, JJ?"
"The monsters from invading your every thought." JJ paused slightly before continuing. "I deal mostly with the survivors day in and day out, offering them hope in any way I can and then comfort when the hope has been extinguished by the unspeakable acts of the unsubs." She finally looked up at Emily with tear-filled eyes. "I'm losing my perspective, Emily. I can't keep the balance between caring and not caring." Her last words were a whispered plea for help. "I don't know what to do."
"Oh, JJ." Emily did the only thing she could, the one thing that had filled her dreams as of late; she drew JJ into an embrace. JJ slid her arms around the other woman and placed her head on Emily's shoulder, her tears dampening the cotton of Emily's blouse.
"Let it out, JJ, just let it out," whispered Emily, her voice soft and gentle as she slowly drew comforting circles on JJ's back.
JJ never uttered a sound, but the subtle shaking of her body let Emily know that she'd heard her words. Holding on tightly, Emily waited until the storm had passed.
Two women sat quietly on the couch, sipping from their glasses of wine, each completely comfortable with the silence.
JJ had shed her tears and given Emily a light squeeze before stepping out of the embrace. Without a word, she'd retrieved an opener and another glass from the cabinet, filling each with the wine Emily had brought. She'd then taken Emily's hand and led her to the den. Emily had respected JJ's unspoken request for silence; she was just pleased that JJ had chosen to sit next to her.
"Hotch said it's never perfect, that it was still better to care," JJ began, the words sounding so loudly in the empty silence they startled Emily. She turned towards JJ and offered a smile, encouraging her to continue. She did. "I don't want to become some unfeeling person who just lives from day to day without emotion."
"You don't have to, JJ; just live in the moment, whether it be happy or sad." Emily took JJ's hand. "Find someone to talk to, someone to confide in, someone who understands the job and all it entails, someone who can show you the beauty this words still holds," she hesitated, adding softly, "someone like me."
JJ stared into dark soulful eyes, finding nothing but concern and sincerity. Placing her glass on the table, she reached out to do the same with Emily's before turning back to face her. She lifted a shaky hand and touched Emily's cheek gently and reverently as if it were made of the finest porcelain.
"You show me beauty everyday, Emily; you are the most beautiful thing this world has to offer." Emily's eyes fluttered closed as she leaned into the touch. No longer able to resist the temptation, JJ pressed her lips against Emily's.
The two women took their time, exploring the newness and reveling in the sweetness of their first kiss, a mix of wine and a taste uniquely their own.
Very slowly, JJ eased away and opened her eyes, waiting for Emily to do the same. She had to know that this wasn't a mistake, that the two of them hadn't been carried away by the moment. The smile directed towards her by Emily cast all her doubts aside. JJ returned the smile and placed her head comfortably on Emily's shoulder as she snaked a hand across the other woman's waist. Emily drew her arms around JJ and held on tightly.
Wrapped safely in Emily's arms, JJ's worrisome thoughts eased into the background. She knew the rain would return again someday, but for now, there were no more clouds, no more rain, and no more monsters.
Hotch had been wrong. Sometimes, it was perfect.
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