Jennifer Jareau sat in a quiet office. She was still attempting to process her departure from her family at the BAU. Strauss had not left room for discussion, JJ was leaving for a job in the Department of Defense at the Pentagon. She stared blankly at the exit survey she was required to fill out.
After almost seven years it comes down to one form. She thought begrudgingly as she tried to focus. Hotch bought her a week before she assumed her new role. She'd spend it with Will and Henry, she smiled as she touched a picture of them she kept on her desk.
A knock at the door made her jump. "Come in," she replied without looking up.
"Hey," Emily quietly started, "I'm sorry. If you're busy... I'll come back."
"No, it's fine," the petite blonde replied as she shuffled the survey out of sight. "What's up Emily?"
Emily Prentiss was a strong, level-headed agent. Her deep chocolate eyes sparkled under the fluorescent lights in JJ's office. She shifted her weight as she took in the beauty of the woman in front of her. Emily loved the way blonde strands framed JJ's face after escaping the binds of her ponytail. She loved the way those blue eyes made her heart quicken. The way JJ chewed her bottom lip, meaning Emily had interrupted a deep thought. She had imagined this moment for years. She was going to do it. Now or never, Prentiss!
"Em?" JJ asked, still awaiting an answer.
Prentiss snapped back to reality. "Oh, I ummm, I just wanted to talk to you about," she drew a deep breath and let it out slowly, "Your, ummm, chair?"
JJ stared quizzically. "My chair?"
"Yes! You know, since you're leaving and all," Emily frantically tried to piece words together to avoid the real reason she had requested an audience with Agent Jareau, "I was wondering, if I could have your... Chair?"
JJ didn't believe for a second that's what Emily had come to ask, but she was exhausted. She wanted to finish her paper work and head home to her boys.
"I'm being forcefully whisked away to the DOD and you want my chair? Geez, thanks Em," she retorted with thick sarcasm. "I don't care, I'm sure I'll have a chair in my new office..."
JJ let herself trail off as she got lost in her thoughts again. New job. New office. New team. New chair. It was all so overwhelming.
"Yeah, erm. Okay, thanks," Emily ran her hand through her hair. JJ was the only person who could make her so nervous, so self-conscious.
JJ noticed Emily's terrible poker face and knew there was something else. She and Emily had become close almost immediately after Emily joined the team. Being the only two female agents on the team, they looked out for each other. Emily was one of the first people she told when the pregnancy test came back positive, she was the first one JJ told about Will proposing and how she turned him down. Emily had been there through all of the ups and downs. JJ cherished their friendship more than she could express.
"Look, Em, you know I love you. But I've got some paper work to finish and my head is killing me. What's going on? Really?" She flattened her tone as if she were addressing the press.
"I love you too," the anxious brunette murmured without thought. Her cheeks flushed bright red. Okay Emily, just like you've rehearsed so many times. Just tell her the truth.
"That's what's wrong," she admitted sheepishly, "I, well, I love you. I mean, I'm in love with you Jennifer. I never meant for it to happen or anything. I tried to ignore my feelings, tried to rationalize. You know I'd never want to jeopardize our friendship, or your relationship. But it's how I feel and you need to know."
JJ sat for a moment, trying to comprehend. She knew Emily was a lesbian, she was the only one on the team that knew. They were best friends, they had no secrets, or so she thought.
"How long?" JJ replied sharply.
"What?" Emily was taken aback by the blonde's reaction.
"How long have you," JJ looked her best friend in the eyes, "been in love with me?"
"I guess I realized it a few years ago," she paused to study JJ's reaction before continuing. "We were on the Hankel case in Atlanta. You almost shot me, remember? We were all so shaken up after what Reid went through, but I knew you were beating yourself up. I just wanted to hold you and tell you everything was going to be alright after that."
JJ thought back to that night. She and Spence had split up and he ended up getting abducted and tortured. She still struggled with the guilt. Suddenly JJ realized the timeline.
"Em, that was before I met Will. I mean, a year later, a YEAR, you told me to go after him!? Why would you say that? Why didn't you tell me then?"
Emily bit her lip and tried to stay calm. She had known JJ and Will were together before they had gone public. She was a profiler after all. She watched for months as JJ would take secret calls in her office, blush at text messages and return from weekends with a smile that a woman only dawns after amazing sex. Yet, Emily sat by and observed her best friend's happiness without saying a word. She had thought about telling JJ the truth, but it didn't matter. Emily knew from experience that women didn't leave their boyfriends for a hot brunette with a badge. She had decided to save her friendship and support JJ's relationship, rather than risk it all.
"I just want you to be happy Jennifer. I knew that I couldn't be the one to make you happy," Emily shifted again. She was feeling so vulnerable, she hated feeling vulnerable.
"How could you know that? You didn't even give me a chance!" JJ stood behind her desk clenching her fists to keep from raising her voice.
Emily paused for a moment. She attempted to process JJ's reaction. Give you a chance?! She thought heatedly. In what universe would JJ even consider giving her a chance? The JJ she knew was always talking about her past conquests, all with men. JJ used to go to frat parties at PITT to pick up guys. One night, after a few drinks, the two agents had played a friendly round of never have I ever. JJ giggled drunkenly as she said, "Never have I ever, kissed a woman." Emily had slowly lowered a finger and in turn, ended up coming out to JJ.
"So, say I had told you. Say you had given me a chance," Emily spat out the words. "Then what? Would you have done anything? Would you have truly considered a relationship with me?"
JJ eased back into her chair. They both knew the answer.
Emily's shoulders sank as she tried to absorb the blow. She thought she had prepared for this, but JJ's eyes were full of so much pain. She fought back tears as she nodded.
"Yeah. I didn't think so. Goodbye, Jen...JJ" Emily couldn't bring herself to say her full name. The syllables were like acid on her tongue. She turned and left the office as calmly as she could.
Hotch looked up from his position in the bullpen to see Prentiss take off down the hallway, JJ stood at the door in bewilderment. Her eyes caught his as he raised his eyebrow knowingly, she faked a smile and shrugged.The office door closed behind her as she turned her blinds closed.
JJ again was alone in silence. Her head was pounding, it was all too much to think about. Tears streamed down her cheeks as she sobbed in silence. The knot in her stomach made her double over as she fought with her emotions. Its not like she had never thought about it. Emily was amazing, but JJ was with Will. Her loyalty was to her son and to his father. She couldn't let anything get in the way of that. It would never work anyway. What would the team think? Or her family? How would she ever explain it to Henry? No, she had to ignore her feelings. Even if that meant having to hurt the woman she cared for. There was no other choice, she was leaving, and for the first time that thought offered a tinge of relief.
After what seemed like forever, she picked up her pen and added her final remarks to her survey.
This isn't what I want, but I'll take the high road. Maybe it's because I look at everything as a lesson, or because I don't want to walk around angry, or maybe it's because I finally understand.
She paused looking at what she'd written. She knew her remarks were fueled by the confession Emily had just laid on her. She knew she had no right to be angry, but she didn't know what else to feel. After all of the time they had spent together, the time before Will, why did she have to finally confess now? JJ added one last line, mainly for her own reassurance.
There are things we don't want to happen, but have to accept. Things we don't want to know, but have to learn. And people we can't live without... but have to let go.