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It Was Always You

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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.

Chapter Text

The helicopter settled on the sand with a soft thump. JJ peered out at the base before her. A week ago she was working a case with the BAU, now she was being dropped at a classified location in Afghanistan.

Erin Strauss, BAU section chief director, greeted her upon arrival. Strauss had explained to JJ that her transfer to the Pentagon was merely a backstop for a top secret operation to track down Osama Bin Laden. JJ was sworn to secrecy and whisked away to the middle East to help her country before she even had time to process. It was a far cry from her position at Quantico. Strauss had explained that the higher-ups took notice of Agent Jareau's work at the BAU and she had been hand selected for this mission.

"You will be in charge of interrogating female suspects," Strauss explained. "Your years of talking to victims and their families have prepared you for this, Jareau. You are the best we've got."

JJ was introduced to the team she'd be working the operation with. Mateo Cruz, Michael Hastings and translator, Tivon Askari. Hastings and Askari had just finished interrogating a man who was suspected of knowing key information about Bin Laden's plans. Unfortunately, the man had mysteriously died during interrogation. JJ stood in the medic tent staring at his lifeless body, covered in abrasions, bruises and burns.

"This man was tortured to death!" She angrily shouted. "This is not what I signed on for!"

"If you can't stomach our techniques then why the hell are you here, princess?" Hastings replied sarcastically.

JJ clenched her fists.

"Calm down Jareau," Cruz intervened as he took her by the arm and lead her out of the tent. "This isn't what you're used to, but this is how things are done here. I need you to stay focused. Your job is to get the information we need but if you're as good as I've heard, you shouldn't have to resort to that." He nodded at the direction of the tent.

"Yes, sir. I'm sorry," JJ sighed. She had dealt with the absolute worst kinds of killers, rapists, and sadists over the years, but nothing had prepared her for the months ahead. She was going to have to learn to play nicely with the boys.

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JJ sat on the edge of her cot listening to the sounds of the desert. She had been in Afghanistan for five months. She made a couple of trips home, but she missed her boys desperately. She missed the BAU too, but mostly she missed Emily. They had only talked once since the confrontation. JJ had called a couple of weeks after arriving to wish Emily a happy birthday. The conversation was strained and short.

JJ wished she could talk to her friend now more than ever. She just found out she was pregnant with her second child. She wanted so badly to share the news, but also knew it would be painful for Emily to hear. Since her arrival in the desert JJ often thought of Emily, mostly wishing she could get advice on the current interrogation she was working on. The wife of one of Bin Laden's informants had been detained. JJ had been working tirelessly trying to gather intell, but the woman refused unless JJ sent a team to rescue her daughter in a nearby camp. Being a mother herself, JJ knew that reuniting mother and daughter could give them the leverage they needed. However, convincing Strauss and the rest of the team was proving difficult. Emily would have known what to do.

The once caring, empathetic blonde had been hardened after months in the field. Will had noticed almost immediately. They had a catastrophic fight during her recent visit home. Things had only become more strained as time passed. He blamed the stress of the operation and the fact she wouldn't or couldn't give him any details as to what she was working on. She knew he was partially right, but he had no idea the strain was also coming from her doubt of their relationship. The doubt planted when Emily confessed her love, the doubt that had been plaguing JJ for years. She knew she loved Emily, but she had been too cowardly to admit it. Her time in Afghanistan had changed that part of her for the better. She had witnessed a new level of horrible. She had been quickly reminded how dangerous this mission was and that any wrong move could be her last. There was no room for cowardice here.

Her thoughts were interrupted by Cruz as he entered her tent.

"How was your visit?" He asked cheerfully.

"It was good," JJ lied. "Actually, I found out I'm pregnant."

"Wow! Congratulations Jareau!" He smiled as he hugged her

JJ forced a smile, she wished she was happy about it. The thought of a sibling for Henry was wonderful, but she knew it only bound her to Will further.

"Yeah, I guess so. Its just bad timing, you know?" She tried to rationalize.

Before Cruz could respond Hastings joined them.

"Jareau, you have a phone call. Something about an emergency involving Emily?" Hastings stated urgently.

Emily. JJ's heart sank.

Chapter Text

Emily blinked slowly as she tried to regain focus. Her head pounded from a hard blow from the back of a gun. The light made it nearly impossible for her to open her eyes completely. She pulled at the restraints around her wrists, nothing. She tried her ankles, but they were bound even tighter. She took a deep breath and replayed the message Garcia left right before she bombarded Doyle's convoy.

You are not alone. We are in that dark place with you. We are waving flashlights and calling your name. So if you can see us, come home. If you can't, then Then you stay alive, because we're coming.

Emily regretted going after Doyle alone, but it was the only way to protect the team. To protect her family. A lot of good it had done, she thought. There she was tied to a chair in an abandoned warehouse about to die at the hands of one of the worst men she'd ever put away.

"Where's my ring?" Doyle quipped.

Emily thought back to the gold engagement ring he had presented her with years before. She lost so much of herself as Lauren Reynolds, had done so many unspeakable things to play the part, but she had vowed never to let herself get lost in the evil. The ring had been a reminder of that.

"I flushed it," she replied with a smile.

"I spent 7 years in hell because of that ring. So now I'm going to give you another gift, one you won't get rid of so easily. A four-leaf clover should be a nice addition to your other tattoos. You still have two, right?"

"Yep. And that's enough ink, thanks," Emily added.

"Ink? North Koreans can't afford ink. No, no.They brand themselves. The more you fight, the more this will hurt."

Doyle pressed the solder iron into the skin above her breast. She tried her best not to scream as the pain shot through her body. She smelled the stench of burning flesh and blacked out before Doyle made a final pass to complete his work.

When she came to Doyle grilled her about his son, Declan. Emily was the only one who knew Doyle was the father of the boy that the house maid had been raising in Tuscany. She had included the information in her profile and North Korea used it against Doyle in his interrogation.

Emily knew Declan was Doyle's weak spot. She knew if she could keep him focused on his son it would buy the team time to locate her.

" The north Koreans used everything you gave them against me. It wasn't until they showed me these," he showed the pictures to Emily. The small blonde boy she had met was lying on the ground, blood caked over his face.

"They laughed at me as I wept. And you caused all of this, didn't you?" Doyle rolled with anger. "That corner right there, that's where he died. And that's where I'm going to kill you."

Doyle released her from the chair and made her gte on her knees facing the wall.

"There's something you don't know about those photos," Emily chimed. "I was the one holding the gun. I wouldn't let them use him as a pawn. I took care of him, gave him a better life."

"He's alive?! Where is he?" Doyle threw her against the wall.

Emily rushed him and tried to get the gun, he dropped it in the struggle. He landed a closed fist across her cheek as she hit him with a piece of wood. Emily landed a few more blows before Doyle went down.

Suddenly she heard footsteps and Morgan's familiar voice calling her name. She looked over her shoulder towards the sound. Her breath caught in her chest as Doyle lodged a spike of wood into her abdomen. Her hands groped at the stake as she gushed blood. Crimson pooled beneath her as she fell to them ground.

"Goodbye, Lauren," he whispered as he made his escape into the darkness.

Morgan rushed to her side. "Prentiss! Hey, it's me, I'm right here. You're gonna be all right. Stay with me, baby. Come on, stay with me."

Emily squeezed his hand as she lost consciousness.

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"Emily? Em, can you hear me?"

Emily opened her eyes, trying to place the voice calling her name.

"Oh my god, Emily. I thought we'd lost you. I thought I'd lost you." JJ whispered.

"Jayj?" Emily asked weakly as familiar blue eyes came into focus. "What are you doing here?"

"Emily, as soon as I heard..." JJ took Emily's hand and rubbed it with her thumb, "I came as quickly as I could. I couldn't bear the thought of losing you. Why did you go after him on your own? Why didn't you tell me?"

Why didn't you tell me? The last time they had really spoken, JJ had asked her the same thing. Emily had spent the last five months trying to push JJ out of her mind. She had been spiraling out of control since JJ took her new job. When she heard about Doyle's escape she had nothing left to lose, she didn't care anymore.

"Jennifer, we haven't talked in months. You took your fancy new job and moved on. I have been left to pick up the pieces on my own. You would be the last person I contacted if I needed help." She regretted it as soon as them words escaped her mouth.

JJ fought back tears. It was harsh but true. JJ had cut ties with the team once in Afghanistan. It was too hard for her to keep contact, knowing anything she told them would be a lie. How could she stand here and judge Emily for doing the same thing?

"You're right, Em. I'm sorry. I wasn't there for you and I should have been. The truth is, my transfer to the Pentagon was a backstop. I've actually been working on a covert operation in the middle East. I wish I could tell you more, but you know I can't. It's not an excuse for abandoning you, I know that. I have wanted so badly to talk to you. I wanted to tell you..." She trailed off as she stared longingly into Emily's dak eyes, "And then I got the call from Strauss. I came as soon as I could."

Emily sat for a moment weighing JJ's words. Emily of all people knew what it was like to have to keep secrets from those you cared about. She knew it must have been next to impossible for JJ to be away from Henry and to have to keep Will in the dark. Emily sighed, how could she possibly stay mad? She was sure the team felt the same betrayal towards her after her manhunt for Doyle went awry.

"It's okay, Jennifer. Looks like we've both been keeping secrets. I'm just glad you're here now. Did we get Doyle?"

JJ's thumb stopped its methodical movement against Emily's hand. She shook her head.

"He escaped after stabbing you," she watched the color drain from Emily's already pale skin.

"Emily," she continued,"Hotch and I have talked. We think it's best for you to lay low for a while. Doyle is going to hide as long as he knows you're looking for him. But if he thinks you're dead... Well, now that he knows Declan is alive he'll logically go after him. We'll catch him when he does, Em. Let us help you this time."

Emily contemplated what JJ was saying. She didn't want Declan to be any part of this. After staging his death she had arranged for him to live I'm Virginia with his nanny, Louise. Emily had rented a house for them, provided new identities and visited as often as possible. She had watched Declan bloom into a bright young boy and the thought of Doyle harming him put a knot in her stomach.

"I can handle it, I'll find him myself. I did it twice before, I'll do it again." Emily replied.

"And it almost got you killed, Emily! Jesus, you are so damned stubborn. Are you willing to put yourself at risk like that? Don't you see? If you die, I have nothing!" JJ quickly corrected herself, "I meant... Declan. If you die, Declan has nothing."

Emily's head was spinning from the pain medication, but she knew she heard JJ correctly. She looked down noticing JJ's hand in hers for the first time. When their eyes met JJ pulled her hand away and brushed away tears. Emily reached out and touched JJ's cheek.

"Okay," she agreed. "I'll do it. And Jennifer, i want you to know that I still love you."

JJ blinked back tears and whispered, "I love you too, Emily."

Chapter Text

Emily sat in a chair in the corner of her hospital room gazing out the window. As of this morning she was officially deceased. Her friends were attending her funeral while she secretly sat in the hospital awaiting discharge. She couldn't help but feel guilty for lying to them, but Hotch had assured her they would understand.

She imagined their faces. Morgan trying to act stoic and unphased, while dying inside. He had promised he would save her and had failed. He would be broken and guilt ridden. Reid the young boy genius, coping with losing the woman he admired like an older sister.  Penelope with her soft eyes and usually uncontrollable smile, engulfed in reality and darkness. Rossi laying to rest another casualty from this awful job. Hotch and JJ playing their part to convince the team. Emily knew JJ would have a hard time standing before a coffin and headstone marked with Emily's name, even if JJ knew it was merely a show.

Emily couldn't imagine losing JJ. She shuddered thinking of laying a white rose on top of Jennifer's coffin, never being able to tell anyone how truly devastated she was. It would be a new level of hell, to go on living alone while having to silently grieve the loss of her true love. It'd be worse than any torture Doyle could have put her through. Emily shook her head and brought her thoughts back to reality.

A week before her funeral JJ had admitted she loved Emily.  Emily had waited so many years to hear the younger agent say those words and mean them, truly mean them. They hadn't had much time to discuss things that night due to the elaborate details that had to go into convincing the team Emily was dead.  After agreeing to the plan, Emily had been whisked off to another hospital under an alias. JJ had delivered the crushing news to the team and set the plan in motion.

Today would be the first time the two women were reunited after that night.  Emily had thought about nothing else in the last seven days. She had weighed her options meticulously.

She knew very well there was a high probability she would be hurt in the end. She knew in her heart that JJ would never be fully happy in a relationship with her. JJ would worry about what others thought, she'd feel guilty for betraying Will, even if it meant denying her own happiness. JJ was stubborn like that.

Emily had listed all of the pros and cons. She had decided on one outcome, she would wade into it slowly to protect herself from getting hurt. She half expected JJ to deny the whole thing but JJ had insisted she come pick Emily up from the hospital so they could discuss their feelings.

Emily had been single for the better part of a decade. She didn't count her time with Ian Doyle as an actual relationship, that was work. H lonevmHer feelings for him were complicated but she had genuinely enjoyed the companionship,  even if it was from a monster. Before being recruited by Interpol Emily had been in a five year relationship with a fellow agent she met during training. 

Leslie was a quirky red-head who had a passion for Vonnegut and golf. Emily had been smitten with her almost immediately. The two were inseparable over the next five years. They had a nice town home outside the chaos of the city and spent their time off wrapped in each other's arms, exploring museums and traveling. Leslie had tried to teach Emily how to golf but Emily was too impatient for the sport.

Everything seemed perfect back then. Before JTF-12, before the BAU and before JJ. Emily had been happy with the relationship but Leslie wanted more. She wanted to settle down and get married, have a family. Emily wasn't ready. She had worked so hard at the Bureau and wanted to move up in ranks. At the time, she chose her career over domestication.

Leslie left in 2001 leaving a gaping hole in Emily's heart. When Emily was approached by Clyde Easter she took the job without hesitation,  seeing it as a way to compartmentalize her loss. If she filled her time with work she wouldn't have to feel the pain.

Emily stood in front of the mirror in her hospital room. She turned around and slipped her gown open around her shoulders. "Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt" was inked between her shoulders. She stared at the faded tattoo in the mirror. It was a reminder of the love she lost and the pain she'd never allowed herself to feel because of it.

"You look beautiful for a dead woman," JJ announced as she entered the room.

Emily blushed and closed her robe. Strong arms wrapped around her waist and her heart fluttered. She turned her face to meet piercing blue eyes.

JJ pulled her close and rested her head on Emily's shoulder. Emily hesitated before wrapping her arm's around the blonde's waist. The simple touch was desperatelyneeded.

"Em, it was so hard," JJ admitted through silent tears. "Everyone was to crushed and I knew the truth, but I couldn't tell them. I had to watch them lower your casket in the ground. Emily, I don't know what I'd do if..."

She stared sobbing into Emily's shoulder. Emily tightened her grip. She laid a tender kiss on top of JJ's head.

"I know. It's okay JJ, I'm here now. It's going to be okay," she wasn't sure who she was trying to convince. She was still reluctant to dive head first into anything with JJ. She had spent ten years putting up walls and putting her feelings into compartments to avoid the pain that love inevitably leaves behind. Yet, her guarded heart had also made it impossible to feel the hope and joy love could also bring. It was a risk she wasn't sure if she was ready to take.

"Emily, I love you. I have loved you for so long," JJ looked into Emily's dark eyes to try and let her know she was being honest. "I never knew how to tell you, I was scared. I was convinced you would never feel the same. Then you were so supportive of me and Will. I just thought I had made it all up. But when you told me how you felt in October, I panicked. I've seen how precious life is and we have both experienced first hand watching life slip away in an instance. I'm just tired of wondering 'what if?', you know? I spend nights awake thinking of you. Of us. When I got the call, I was so worried I'd be too late. I couldn't live with myself if I didn't tell you now."

JJ took a deep breath and waited for Emily to react. Emily was pensive as she stared into those familiar eyes. The eyes she'd been longing to gaze into for so long. This was everything she ever wanted, so why did she feel so uneasy?

"Jennifer, if we do this," Emily searched for the right words before continuing gently. "If we try and make this work...make us work, there'll be no turning back. It will either be everything we could have hoped for or it will be the end of us forever. There is no in between. I need you to understand the severity of this if things fall apart."

JJ hadn't thought that far. She knew she wanted to be with the brunette engulfed in her arms, but she hadn't thought of the possibility of losing her for good if things didn't end happily ever after. They had waited so many years for this moment and she decided the benefits outweighed the risks.

"Em, I cannot promise things will be perfect. I cannot promise we won't hit road blocks and difficulty. Honestly, I cannot promise that I'll never hurt you," JJ looked thoughtfully at Emily. She took Emily's face in her hands and smiled. "I can promise that I will love you with all of my heart and that I will stand by your side through the difficulty. I'm willing to accept our fate, no matter what it holds. Because I'd rather be with you and know we tried our very best than to go another day without you."

JJ pulled Emily closer as she licked her lips. Emily gave in, finally letting her walls come crashing down around her. The moment their lips met a tingle ran down Emily's spine. The first kiss was chaste, just a brush of the lips but that one touch awakened a need from deep within.

Emily pulled JJ close as her lips parted, she drank her down. Emotions passed through her that had been dormant for years. She kissed JJ with such passion that the blonde went almost limp in her arms.

When they parted for air there was a new fire in JJ's eyes that convinced Emily this was real. JJ meant what she said and Emily agreed. Emily knew from years in the BAU to hope for a miracle but to expect the worst case scenario. However, in that moment she couldn't help but feel optimistic.

Chapter Text

The jet slid silently through the clear night sky. The two women had never had the entire jet to themselves. Nor had they ever had eight and a half hours uninterrupted. Since the kiss at the hospital JJ had been uncomfortably silent. Emily was worried she had made the wrong decision but she had to trust JJ.

"The first thing I'm doing when we get to Paris is having this removed. How could a brand hurt more than getting staked?" Emily asked as she rubbed the branding over her left breast.

"Maybe it's a psychosomatic itch you're scratching? The brand left an emotional toll, Doyle established dominance over you by marking you as his. A stake--I mean you overcame death. The ultimate victory over your foe. Why suffer a pain you're proud of? Or you could always get another tattoo," JJ teased as Emily rolled her eyes.

"Oh Yeah, something transformative, like a phoenix," JJ continued. Emily glared at her unamused. "Or a blackbird?"

"I love the song. But something tells me I shouldn't tread in your waters. Come on, JJ. Something's obviously different about you. Why didn't you say your transfer was a backstop?" Emily decided now was as good a time as any to talk about the elephant in the room.

"Oh, I know that look," she continued as JJ avoided her eyes. "The 'I can't trust anyone but myself' look. I invented it."

"Do you ever feel like you're in way over your head?" JJ asked honestly.

"Jayje, everyone I know thinks I'm dead while in reality I'm jet setting to Paris with a beautiful blonde who just declared her love for me," Emily retorted with a snicker.

JJ rolled her eyes and smiled, "Well, when you put it that way, it does sound a little crazy."

"I enjoy being crazy sometimes, especially if I have such wonderful company." Emily gazed into JJ's eyes and reached her hand out. JJ instinctively took it and snuggled in close to Emily. Emily laid a protective kiss on JJ's forehead and put her arm around the smaller woman's shoulders. She wanted so badly to keep JJ safe. She knew things were going to get complicated when they landed but for now she just wanted to savor the simplicity of holding her lover close without a care in the world.

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JJ checked them into the hotel as Emily tipped the cab driver and made small talk with the bell boy. JJ looked at Emily from the front desk and smiled. She loved how Emily felt so comfortable no matter what country she was in. Of course, it helped that she was fluent in six languages and traveled to more countries before the age of 20 than JJ had in her whole life.

"Shall we?" JJ jest offering her arm for Emily to take.

"Mais bien sûr, ma chérie," Emily whispered into JJ's ear. "Je ai attendu ça depuis si longtemps."

JJ only spoke minimal French but any words lost in translation were made obvious by the feverish look in Emily's eyes. JJ blushed as the continued towards the elevator.

The elevator arrived on their floor and they walked down the hallway hand in hand. JJ squeezed Emily's hand before letting go to place the key card in the door.

The room was spacious with beautiful dark wood furniture. A king size bed dominated the back wall, decorated in a sage green comforter and black sheets. An armoire, a desk, and large flat screen television finished the room. A large window overlooked the street below and off in the distance twinkled le Tour de Eiffel.

"It's spectacular," Emily entered the room. "You sure go all out for the first date, Agent Jareau."

JJ scoffed playfully, but was secretly overjoyed with the romantic setting. She closed the distance between them and wrapped her arms around Emily's neck. Their lips met and Emily let out a soft moan. Their tongues danced in rhythm as they kissed.

"I love you, Em."

"I love you too, Jennifer," Emily let her hands slip to JJ's waist. The cupped her hips and pulled her in as close as she could, she had spent years imaging this moment, she wasn't going to let JJ get away.

JJ moved her hands timidly to the hem of Emily's sweater. She slid her hands underneath cupping Emily's breast in her hand. Emily let out a moan and JJ froze for a moment.

"Is this okay?" She asked shyly.

"It's perfect. I want to explore your body," Emily whispered in between kisses. "May I have the pleasure?"

JJ nodded and allowed Emily to remove her top. Then slowly she reached behind her and removed her bra. She stood before Emily and blushed, her perked, dark nipples stood out on her supple bare breasts. Emily took in the sight, memorizing every inch of the blonde's perfect body.

Emily leaned in and took a nipple in her mouth, flicking her tongue over it and rolling it between her teeth. JJ ran her hand through Emily's hair as her breath quickened. She shivered as she became very aware of the growing pulse between her thighs.

JJ fought to keep her balance as Emily lowered herself to her knees, kissing trails down JJ's stomach. She stopped at the top of JJ's jeans and checked with her partner for permission. JJ nodded and Emily unbuttoned the fly and slid the jeans to the floor. Emily was instantly aware of the scent of JJ's desire permeating through the black cotton boy shorts. Emily kissed JJ's center through the fabric. JJ moaned as her eyes rolled back.

The two made their way to the bed as JJ tore off Emily's clothes with a primal need. She was momentarily taken aback at Emily's smooth skin, scared with a four leaf clover. She ran her hand over the scar gently, she watched Emily's eyes fill with pain. SheJJssed the rough shape and whispered in broken French, "Tu es tres jolie."

JJ let their hands explore Emily's bare skin, never letting their lips part. She slowly ran her hand down Emily's hip and leg, tracing the inner thigh on her way back up. She was met with arousal as she slid her hand between Emily's thighs. She suddenly recoiled as if she'd laid her hand on a hot stove.

"I'm sorry," she admitted through uneven breaths. "I've never done this before."

"I know baby, its okay. We will only go as far as you're comfortable with. I promise," Emily replied.

"Can you," JJ bit her lip in embarrassment, "show me?"

Emily nodded and rolled over on top of the smaller woman, she lowered JJ's underwear and tossed them aside. She took one hand and laced her fingers with JJ's, kissing JJ on the lips. She began placing lazy, wet kisses down JJ's naked torso. The paused momentarily over soft blonde curls before meandering her way to JJ's lower lips. The blonde squeezed her hand as Emily breathed slowly, exhaling over JJ's sensitive folds. Emily looked up to meet blue eyes alive with fire, their message was clear I need you.

Emily let her tongue explore JJ's folds. She took her time, taking in the sweet taste and smell. She moved north and found her lover's clit. She gently nibbled making the tiny pearl erect. JJ was squirming with pleasure. Their fingers still intertwined, JJ tightened her grip. Emily continued slowly, savoring her partner's increasing pleasure.

JJ's body tightened as she reached climax, Emily thrust her tongue inside and JJ fell over the edge. She clenched the bed as her body spasmed, letting out a loud scream. Emily kissed JJ's intimates as the tension eased.

JJ frantically tried to catch her breath as tears began running down her cheeks. Emily looked frightened when she realized JJ was crying.

"Oh god! Jennifer, oh god. I'm sorry, did I hurt you?" Emily frantically asked between ragged breaths.

JJ's face went scarlet as she covered her face with a pillow.

"Fuck, baby. I'm so sorry!" Emily felt the heat rising to her face as she tried to kiss her partner.

JJ removed the pillow to reveal a smile, she reached for Emily's face and brought her in for a kiss. Emily relaxed against JJ's lips. They embraced for a moment before JJ had gained enough composure to speak again.

"Baby, you didn't hurt me. You, actually brought me to orgasm!" JJ stated without trying to hide her surprise. "Em, that's never happened..."

Emily attempted to hide her shit-eating grin. She suddenly understood very clearly and couldn't help but be proud of her sexual prowess.

"Never?" She repeated to be sure she heard correctly.

JJ shook her head and started giggling. Emily couldn't help but laugh too. She wrapped her arms around JJ and smiled. "Well, guess you're going to have to get used to that from now on."

"Yeah, I could definitely get used to this," JJ confirmed as she snuggled into Emily's chest.

Chapter Text

Emily woke up and blinked at the light beaming in from the window. She glanced around the room to be sure it hadn't all been a dream. She smiled as she felt a warm breath against her chest and felt the rise and fall of JJ against her body. It was already 11:00. It wasn't surprising since neither of them had slept in almost 20 hours,not including the time difference.

She kissed JJ softly on the cheek and spent a couple of minutes watching her lover sleep. After all these years all she had to do was get abducted and staked in order for JJ to admit her affections. Women. she chuckled to herself.

JJ started to stir and Emily pulled her close. "Good morning, beautiful."

The blonde seemed to have the same questioning reaction upon awakening. Her eyes wandered the room and landed on Emily. She smiled into those deep brown eyes.

"Hi," she whispered raspily. "How long have you been watching me sleep?"

Emily blushed a bit, "Who said I was watching you sleep?"

"That dopey grin did," JJ smiled as she raised her lips to Emily's.

"I can't help it!" Emily admitted in defeat. "But now that you're awake what do you want for breakfast? I'm starving!"

JJ grinned slyly, "I have something in mind."

She ran her hand down Emily's torso. Her lips kissed bare breasts while her tongue teased sleepy nipples. Emily groaned with every touch. JJ began leaving a trail of open mouthed kisses down the brunette's abdomen. She paused here and there to nibble at the smooth flesh as she lazily worked her way to Emily's center.

Emily unconsciously spread her legs to make room and JJ caught the first scent of her partner's growing arousal. She stopped suddenly as her eyes grew wide. She tried to swallow, but she wasn't going to be able to hold back. She jolted from the bed and made it to the toilet just in time. She heaved into the cold porcelain.

Emily rushed after her in shock. "Jesus Jayje! Are you okay?"

A sudden wave of embarrassment passed through her. First JJ recoiled from touching her and now right before her first taste, she had to vomit. Emily was feeling very uncomfortable in her own skin, this was not exactly something she had dealt with before. She grabbed a nearby towel and wrapped herself in it as an attempt to hide her shame.

She wet a washcloth and held JJ's hair back to keep it from being soiled. When JJ was done, Emily dabbed her forehead with the wet rag. JJ turned scarlet as she caught the terror on Emily's face. She shot her eyes in the other direction as she failed to hold back sobs.

Emily wrapped her arms around the smaller woman and tried to comfort her. The first thoughts of regret crept through her as JJ sobbed silently.

"Jennifer, it's okay. It's okay. I mean, it could have been worse. You could have lost it on the bed," Emily joked, trying to lighten the mood as she rubbed JJ's back. JJ sobbed harder. Fuck! Way to go Prentiss she mentally admonished.

"Okay, that was bad. I'm sorry. It's okay, babe. Please try and breathe, it's really okay," she tried her best to convince the blonde to look up at her.

When those teary blue eyes met hers they were filled with shame and sorrow. Emily's heart sank, she hated to see JJ hurting. They sat in silence for what seemed like forever before JJ finally caught her breath.

"Emily," her voice bounced off the walls in the cold bathroom. "I'm pregnant."

Emily felt dizzy as the words echoed through her head. She must still be dreaming. She closed her eyes and blinked hard trying to wake herself, trying desperately to wake up back in bed with JJ wrapped around her. She opened her eyes to the stark white walls of the bathroom as she felt the cool tile underneath her for the first time.

"Jennifer, that's wonderful!" Emily forced a smile, but knew JJ would see right through it. She clung to the towel around her body, trying to shield herself from reality.

"Thanks," JJ replied. She opened her mouth but her words availed her. No matter what she said next, the damage had already been done. Emily had moved to stand against the counter, leaving JJ in a heap on the floor. She took a deep breath and tried again. This time all that escaped was the bittersweet sound of "I'm sorry."

Emily nodded, afraid to say anything she would later regret. She walked back into the room and sat on the bed while she slipped into the clothes abandoned in passion the night before. She wanted so desperately to hide behind her walls, to block all of this pain, but she was so raw from letting her guard down. She had allowed herself to be vulnerable and it had crushed her.

"Emily," JJ started as she sat down on the bed. She had put on her clothes at some point while Emily had been lost in her thoughts.

"Emily, I know this is terrible timing. But you need to know, everything I told you still stands. I love you. Will doesn't know... about the baby," she clarified as she weighed in her mind he didn't know she loved Emily either, but one thing at a time. "I just found out before I came back to DC. I never meant to keep it from you. It doesn't change how I feel. You have to believe me. Please, please Emily. Please, believe me"

She reached for Emily's hand and laced her fingers with the brunette's. Emily either didn't notice or didn't care. She continued to blankly stare out the window, wishing with all of her heart that if she ignored JJ she would simply disappear. Of course, that was not the case and after another long stint of painfully awkward silence Emily finally spoke.

"Look, above everything you're my best friend. Always have been. When I look at this from that stance, I'm overjoyed for you...and Will," she added with a small wince,  as if just the sound of his name from her mouth was a torturous feat. Emily continued, searching every fiber of her being for the next part.

"However, we aren't just best friends anymore. We crossed that threshold into something else, something more. I know this is partially my fault," JJ attempted to interrupt but Emily shook her head. She knew if she took a minute to pause she wouldn't be able to be honest with herself or with JJ. She knew that if she stopped to think about her next sentences she wouldn't be brave enough to say them at all.

"Jennifer, I know this is partially my fault because I let you get caught up in this without discussing Will. I'm not the type of woman to get involved in another couple's relationship. I don't know what I expected honestly. But you and I both know neither of us would be okay with me being your... mistress"

The word sounded vulgar, even to Emily,  but it was exactly what she would be. What the hell had she been thinking? As a profiler, she was an expert at staying objective. Trained in facts and evidence. She knew better than to let her heart get in the way of logic, but she had and it did.

Emily had seen first hand what getting overly emotional could do to a relationship. Fueled by desire and indifference towards consequences, her mother had cheated on her father when Emily was a teenager. The Ambassador had an affair with one of her aides, foolishly falling for the younger man. When her father found out, he left,  taking the blame for the failed marriage with him, in order to save her from scandal. Emily had watched as her father walked out of their lives and into a drunken stupor, eventually leading to his death. Her mother's beau got bored eventually and left too. Leaving Elizabeth with a mountain of regret. Emily had vowed to never let her emotions get the better of her as her mother had done.

She taught herself to keep everyone at arm's length and compartmentalize to avoid getting hurt. The few times she let her guard down had all ended in heartache.

Emily kicked herself for believing JJ would be any different. She took another moment to clear her head and give herself a break from self loathing. She was disappointed in herself and that hurt more than anything JJ could throw at her at this point. Emily managed to cage her emotions and turned on the cold detachment that allowed her to be the best at what she did.

"You have to go back to Will, to DC. You have to go back to the State Department. Go back to Henry. That was always going to be the end game, Jennifer. It doesn't matter how we feel. It was never going to work out. Logically, it's not who we are. As much as I love you, I just cannot be the one to ruin your family. I'm sorry. "

Emily knew that this was the only way she would be in control of the pain. It was the same logic of a person quitting their job in order to avoid getting fired. Either outcome hurt, but this way she was inflicting the pain on herself.

JJ had been patiently listening as Emily struggled through her decision. JJ couldn't comprehend what she had heard. She had finally found her long sought happiness and lost it in less than 24 hours.

The rest of the afternoon was excruciating as JJ finalized the plans on Emily's new life. She handed Emily an envelope with three new identities and bank accounts as they said their final goodbyes.

"Emily, please be safe. No matter what, I'll always be here for you. I left a note in the envelope, read it when you're ready," JJ said sincerely.

"Take care, Jayje" Emily replied she couldn't bring herself to say Goodbye, knowing it would possibly be the last words they ever exchanged.

No tears, no hugs. They shook hands and Emily disappeared into the Parisian strets.

She was glad to get away, it was a chance at a new start. Her heart was heavy but she knew she had done the right thing. She suddenly understood what it meant to love someone so much you had to let them go.

She reminded herself of her favorite quote, For the truest truths, are what hold us together, or keep us painfully, desperately apart. And in that moment of clarity, she found peace.

Chapter Text

"Bonne soirée, madame. Voulez-vous un verre de vin?" A young man asked as Emily approached the bar.

"Non, merci," She replied as she placed her regular order. "Je vais avoir un double scotch soignée. Se il vous plaît."

The man paused for only a moment before catching the seriousness in Emily's eyes. He poured her drink and she handed him payment plus tip. He nodded and left her to it.

Emily stared out the window as the night whipped by the train. She hadn't been to Switzerland in years and she looked forward to hiding out in Bern for a while.

She sipped the scotch slowly as she thumbed over the envelope JJ had left her. Inside she had found passports with multiple identities, bank account information, a cell phone and as promised, a letter from JJ herself. The letter was folded neatly with Emily scribbled across the front in familiar lettering.

She sighed and fished out the letter. She hadn't read it yet, she was almost afraid to. It had been an emotional tornado over the last few days. Her heart was stripped, her mind numb, her body exhausted. She analyzed the letter in her hand and decided it would take a bit more scotch to calm her nerves enough to open it.

She didn't rush her drink, she appreciated the taste as the liquid warmed her from inside out. JJ had always made fun of her for drinking a 'man's drink'. It was what her father had drank to ease the pain after being shot in the line of duty. The incident caused his retirement when Emily was only an infant. She only remembered him as a devoted father who went to any length to make his daughter happy. When he left, Emily was in high school. It was too painful for him to see her after that and eventually they became estranged.

Emily never healed after her father, her inspiration, had walked out. She hardened herself to the world and put all of her focus on becoming a federal agent, despite her mother's wishes for her to be a doctor. She studied language and criminology at Yale and went on to join the FBI in 1996.

In fifteen years with the bureau she had accomplished amazing feats. Her work in the field lead to recruitment by Interpol on the Valhalla case. Then eventually her career lead to the BAU where she first met JJ. It was hard to believe it had almost been five years.

Emily set aside her second empty glass and took a deep breath. She had to take a moment to focus on JJ's sloppy cursive.

March 5, 2011

My darling Emily,

There are so many things I need to say to you. And now, I pray that it is not too late. I'm stuck on this plane completely helpless, while God only knows where you are and what you're going through.

I mean, the fear in Hotch's voice...damnit Emily, you've got to be okay. I'm on my way, you've got to hold on. Please, hold on. You're the strongest woman I have ever met.

If I don't make it in time, I just don't know what I'd do without you. These past five months have been so lonely, I've wanted to reconnect with you but I'm such a coward. And now I may never have the chance.

Emily, I need you to know that I'm sorry. I'm sorry that I responded so harshly that night in my office. I'm sorry I haven't known how to reach out to you since then. I'm sorry I never told you the truth, until now.

Do you remember the night we got drunk and played that stupid game? The night you told me you were gay? That night changed everything for me. I have known I was bisexual since I was a teen but I never dated a woman. I was always too afraid of disappointing people, too worried about what others would think. Not like you, brave and courageous.

I guess I've had a crush on you since you told Strauss to stick it and resigned instead of spying for her. I've always had a thing for rebels, you know that. Then we started to get to know each other and my feelings grew. I fantasized about telling you, imagined some happy fairy tale ending where you'd feel the same way.

Then I met Will. He was funny and kind. He made me feel beautiful. He filled a void I hadn't even realized existed. I wanted to tell you we were dating, but it was long-distance and I never really felt too seriously about it.

Maybe we're just not right for each other, maybe I was still holding out for you I wasn't sure what I felt. Then you told me to go for him, encouraged me to date him. I just assumed that meant I had misread you. I mean I'm not a profiler, but I didn't think I was that thick either.

You are by far the most complex, stubborn woman I know. Why didn't you just tell me? Em, I wish so badly you would have told me sooner.

Now we're stuck in this difficult position and I never told you, I love you. Emily, please come back to me. Please give me a chance to tell you. I know we keep missing each other in all of this commotion, but I'm tired of running in circles.

You've always tried to profile everyone close to you, get into their heads before they got into yours. Just like when you play chess, you're always two moves ahead. You'd sacrifice your queen to shield yourself from defeat. I know you've been hurt. I know you always want to be in control, but what if this time you just let someone else take a turn?

Emily, I know that we wouldn't have an easy path ahead of us. I know people will get hurt and delicate decisions will have to be made. I know that you'll try and be chivalrous and push me away in order to save Will the pain. I know you'll do whatever you think will make me happy, even if it's self sacrifice.

But listen, you don't understand that the only thing that will make me happy is you. Damnit, you have to survive this.

You are the one I want to be with. You have to give me the chance, give me the chance to love you.

I can do this,  Emily. I'm stronger than you think.

I love you. I pray that wherever you are you know all of this already, but in case you don't I pray I have the chance to prove it to you.

It has always been you.

Forever yours,
Jennifer

Emily watched the ink bleed as tears hit the paper. She was so exhausted of the back and forth. She hated that JJ knew her so well,  knew that Emily would try and ruin a good thing because she was arrogant enough to believe she knew what was best for JJ. That was what it boiled down to, Emily was arrogant to a fault. She always thought she knew what was best for everyone else, but she had really blown it this time.

No wonder JJ hadn't argued when Emily told her to go back to Will. JJ had been anticipating that exact reaction. She let Emily feel like she was in control, even though JJ had ulterior motives all along.

Emily hated being proven wrong. She had done everything JJ had predicted. All the way down to sacrificing her potential happiness because she had never truly considered that JJ would want to be with her. She hadn't even given JJ the chance to chose at all.

It was a harsh realization and the alcohol wasn't helping. Emily's plan had backfired. She thought she was being righteous in letting JJ go, but she had been wholeheartedly selfish.

It was all such a mess. Both women had made assumptions for the other and totally missed the mark. Emily thought of how much easier this all could have been if they had both been honest from the start.

"Never have I ever, kissed a woman," giggled JJ drunkenly.

Emily smiled,  "I could change that, if you'd like."

Emily chuckled, yeah maybe that would have worked in a fictional story on TV. Now, as it stood, she had forcibly turned away the only person who ever saw through her bullshit.

Emily finally realized she had decided their fate before she even walked into the office that night...

"I just want you to be happy, Jennifer. I knew that I couldn't be the one to make you happy," Emily explained.

"How could you know that? You didn't even give me a chance!" JJ replied angrily.

Suddenly everything was making sense and Emily felt extremely idiotic. She had been so wrapped up in her preconceived notions she never noticed JJ had been fighting for this all along.

It was an uncomfortably humbling experience for Emily to realize she had missed blinding, neon signs at every turn. For a profiler, she was extremely terrible at picking up romantic cues. Fuck! Is this how Reid feels? she thought, regretting how hard she had always been on him.

Emily pulled the cell phone out of the envelope and powered it on. She opened the contacts to find two numbers pre-programmed, JJ and Clyde. JJ had truly planned for everything.

Emily fumbled with the keypad before pressing send. She waited nervously as the line rang before finally connecting.

"Check mate," JJ answered smugly.

Chapter Text

JJ came to in the medic tent. She felt like she'd been through twelve rounds in the boxing ring. Her body was sore from head to toe. She became aware of the familiar sting of open wounds on her face.

She winced as she gently touched the cut over her eye. Pieces were suddenly falling into place. JJ's ears were ringing and her head pounding. How long had she been out?

She focused her eyes on Cruz who seemed to have survived the blast with minimal injury. A few superficial cuts and scrapes, but he would heal.

"What happened?" JJ asked weakly.

"The convoy was attacked," Cruz replied. They had been on a mission to rescue their informant's daughter when the first humvee hit a land mine. The explosion was followed by a series of automatic gun fire from the insurgents that had swarmed the convoy. JJ remembered Hastings being knocked unconscious from the blast. She flashed back to Askari escaping with the armed men, he had been a mole all along.

"Hastings?" She asked, though she knew the answer.

"Taken by Askari's men," Cruz confirmed. He shifted before continuing. "JJ, there's something else..."

JJ watched his face turn from agent to friend. She knew what he wanted to say. Her hands instinctively gripped her stomach. She clenched the gown and began to sob.

"Oh god, no. No!" JJ cried trying to comprehend the news.

Cruz and Emily were the only ones who had even known she was pregnant. She and Emily had decided that JJ would tell Will after the first trimester, which would have been the week following the rescue operation. Now it didn't matter. She planned on leaving him when she got back to DC. It would be too painful to have to break that news and the news of a miscarriage.

Once Cruz left the tent JJ picked up her phone which was lying on a table next to the bed. She and Emily had set rules to only communicate through the chat feature on Scrabble unless it was an emergency. Emily was, in fact,  supposed to be dead. Ian Doyle was still out there and they wanted to minimize any digital trace that could lead him back to Emily. It was also a nice way to unwind after a long day. Playing Scrabble together felt normal and safe, something neither of them ever had in their daily lives.

JJ opened the app, typed in their code word and pressed send. Within minutes her phone rang from an unknown number.

"Jennifer, what's wrong?" Emily rushed.

"Em, I'm okay. But, there was an ambush. And, god Emily. I lost... I lost the..." JJ couldn't bring herself to finish the sentence. But she didn't have to. She heard Emily let out a deep breath and choke back tears.

"Jennifer oh my god. I'm so sorry," Emily could hear her voice tremble but she tried her best to stay strong for JJ. Emily thought about the abortion she had when she was younger. Losing a child, even by choice, was not something a woman soons forgets.

JJ recounted what had happened and although Emily was worried sick, the brunette didn't try to talk her out of continuing the operation. Askari had escaped and it was now up to JJ and Cruz to find him. What started out as a simple fact finding mission had turned messy rather quickly.

"Strauss said no matter what we have to pull out next month. With or without Askari. That gives us another four weeks," JJ finished, trying to keep her mind on the job.

Emily cringed at the thought of JJ being there for another month. She wanted so badly to comfort her lover and help her grieve the loss of her unborn baby. They hadn't seen each other since Paris and neither of them knew when their next rendezvous would be. It was so difficult living in the unknown. Years of missed chances, mixed emotions and personal struggle had finally lead them into each other's hearts, but secrets and distance kept them from each other's arms.

No matter how long they had to wait to be together physically, it would be worth it. Emily looked forward to JJ returning to DC and hopefully to the BAU. Chasing serial killers seemed falsely safer when surrounded by the BAU team. If Emily couldn't personally protect her partner, she knew Hotch and the others would.

The payphone beeped to insert more money and Emily fumbled in her pockets. She came up empty.

"I love you. Stay strong my little black bird," Emily whispered into the receiver.

"I love you too, Em," JJ sighed.

The line went dead and JJ deleted the call from her history.

She drifted off to sleep with visions of the day she and Emily could stop hiding. She smiled at the idea of a normal relationship with the woman she loved,  although in her heart she knew what they had would never be normal.

Chapter Text

It was the end of April, seven months had come and gone since JJ had arrived in Afghanistan. She couldn't help but feel disheartened upon leaving. In her time there she had gotten her informant and an innocent girl killed, her convoy was bombed and she hadn't realized the man she had been working with had been a mole all along. JJ felt like every part of the mission had been a failure and it was her fault. She was ready to get out of the desert and back to DC.

She had never doubted herself as an agent, she put pride into what she did and stood by her decisions when they were questioned. However, the past seven months had shaken her to her core. She wasn't sure if she had it in her to return to the DOD. It was a huge compliment to be chosen for this operation, but JJ knew her heart always laid with the bureau.

She sat on the plane, wondering what her career had in store for her upon her return. There was no guarantee she wouldn't be recruited for another mission overseas, there was no guarantee she would. She had accepted the position at the State Department as a way to spend more time at home with Henry, turned out she was further away than ever. She missed her little man. He had turned 3 while she was away, Will had sent videos from the party. She would eventually reconcile her pitfalls of the operation, but she would never forgive herself for missing Henry's birthday.

She lived for her son. Now, she was planning to leave Will and the only regret she had was what it would do to Henry. She loved Will, but she wasn't happy with him. He gave her a child and she would always be forever grateful for that, but he was no longer the one who lit her heart aflame.

Emily lit that flame, JJ smiled at just the thought of her name. She couldn't believe this was really happening. After spending five years together at the BAU, they were finally exploring a more intimate relationship. JJ thought about the first night in Paris and felt heat rise to her cheeks. Even though they had started off a bit rough, she had high hopes for what lied ahead. Once Emily had been convinced JJ was willing to go to any length to make this work, the relationship began to flourish.

Once the operation had wrapped up, JJ had made a backstop of her own to Switzerland. It was the first time she and Emily had seen each other since the confusion in Paris. She had been met at the station by a beaming Emily and everything fell into place from then on.

They had spent the week exploring the local culture nestled in the foothills of the Alps. Emily had rented a small flat which was perfectly cozy and romantic.

They spent a lot of time in bed or on the couch, simply enjoying the company. Emily held JJ after she had nightmares about the attack on her convoy and losing the baby. Emily knew exactly what to say to put JJ at ease.

Of course, they also spent plenty of time exploring each other's bodies. The hours spent in the throes of passion had been indescribable. JJ had never experienced more pleasurable sex. Little did she know, neither had Emily.

Everything seemed so right now that they were together, JJ felt like the void in her heart was finally waning. She had always been attracted to both men and women, but she had never explored the feminine side of her sexuality. She was both angry that she hadn't tried sooner, but content that her first had been Emily.

Her heart fluttered just from reminiscing about her time in Switzerland. She made a point to remember every look, every touch, every kiss. She didn't know when their next opportunity would be to be together, so she guarded the recent memories with all her might.

She would need those memories to remind her why she was doing what she was about to do. She knew it would be heartbreaking to end her relationship with Will, but she also knew it was the right thing. She wasn't the type to be content on having an affair behind his back. She had already been unfaithful but she didn't want to continue to lying.

The porch light was on when the cab pulled up in front of the brownstone. JJ smiled at the sight of Henry's toys in the front yard, it felt good to finally be home.

She unlocked the door and walked inside to a quiet house. She set her duffel bag in the foyer and continued into the living room, brushing her fingertips over the furniture to say hello.

Will had fallen asleep on the couch with Henry in his lap. She paused and took in the sight of them. It felt so right, just the three of them. She shook her head and flashes of Emily's naked body danced through her mind. The contrast between perfect domestic bliss and passionate forbidden love made her dizzy.

On one hand she had a nice home with a handsome son and his loving father, on the other she had her own happiness. She had been struggling between the two ever since Emily said I love you.

Emily had assured her she could have both, happiness and a family. JJ hated hurting people she loved, but she knew in the end it was better for everyone if she ended things with Will before getting any further into a relationship with Emily.

JJ had a new found ability to disconnect herself from her empathy, she had learned it almost immediately in Afghanistan. She hadn't imagined she would have to use it in her personal life. She had changed exponentially since she left, she wasn't sure if it was for the better or not.

JJ walked to the couch and ruffled Henry's long blonde hair. His tired eyes opened as he smiled up at her.

"MOMMY!" he shouted, startling Will awake. He jumped into her arms and clung to her like the drowning cling to life preservers. She kissed him over and over and cried through her smile.

Will stood up and embraced them both. He kissed JJ on the lips and smiled. He had the kindest eyes but they now looked tired and empty from months of little sleep.

This was going to be a lot harder than JJ had imagined. She let herself get lost in the warmth of the moment, knowing disaster would soon follow.

Two hours later she had finally gotten Henry to sleep. She was jet lagged and exhausted from the emotional war raging inside of her, but she knew she couldn't delay the inevitable.

She joined Will in the kitchen where he had finished steeping her a hot cup of tea. He had offered to cook, but she wasn't hungry. They sat in silence for a moment before he approached her and wrapped her up in his arms. JJ suddenly started crying. He never asked, he just tightened his grip and held her against his chest. He reassured her it was going to be alright and kissed her gently.

"Will," she whispered between ragged breaths.

He looked down into her blue eyes with an unspoken understanding. He nodded and let her go. JJ took a few steps toward the counter and continued with her back turned.

"Will, I need to tell you something," she took a deep breath and steadied herself against the cool granite. She turned and found his eyes, so full of love.

"JJ, let's just enjoy tonight. Whatever it is can wait until tomorrow. Why don't you go upstairs and I'll draw you a bath before bed?" He replied softly, attempting to shield himself from the possible devastation she was about to bestow upon him.

"No, Will. I've had to wait long enough, another moment would be too much," she continued without leaving him room to argue. "Will, my time in Afghanistan changed me. I was forced to realize that life is fragile and temporary. No one knows how long they have, we're all just living on borrowed time. That's why I have to do this now, because we're not promised there will be a tomorrow."

Her voice shook as she crossed her arms over her chest, as if she could protect herself from the world around her. She wasn't sure if she was strong enough to go through with this, Will was sitting there so patiently. He had kept everything in order and taken care of Henry while she had been away. All he had ever done was love her, he didn't deserve this. JJ's mind raced. She caught her breath and heard Emily's calm voice, "I love you. Jennifer you can do this". The thought calmed her momentarily as she found the words.

"I can't do this anymore, Will" her voice sounded far away and unfamiliar.

"Okay, so quit. We can figure something out, I could go back to being a detective. You could stay home," Will began to spit off ideas. JJ's stomach clenched, knowing he wasn't comprehending her meaning.

"No, Will. I can't do us anymore. I'm sorry. I'm just so tired of pretending" she collapsed against the counter, feelings of freedom welled up inside of her once she had gotten the words out.

Will took a moment to collect his thoughts before he replied. At first he just stared at her, those loving eyes filled with fear and pain.

"JJ, you're tired. You don't mean it. Whatever it is, whatever is wrong, we can work through it together. Please, give us a chance to work this out. I'm begging you," he began to cry. JJ could never handle seeing him cry. It broke her on a spiritual level, but she had to be brave despite his pain. She felt the walls pull up around her heart, figurative shields to keep her mind focused and disengaged from the all too human emotions building behind them.

"It just isn't that simple. It's over, Will" she still felt like she was unconvincing. She had to really make him understand that this was the end. "I just don't love you anymore."

The moment she said it, she regretted every syllable. Although her romantic feelings for him were fleeting, she knew she would always love him on some level. He would always be Henry's father and that love would never fade.

She stood and watched him weep. She showed the same detachment she used towhen she had to tell parents their child was never coming home. She hated that she had the ability to be so impartial when she needed to.

When she couldn't take the silence anymore she left him alone. She wanted so badly to cradle him and tell him it was going to be alright, just as Emily had done for her. But she knew nothing would be the same after this and to fill his head with empty words would be adding insult to injury.

She sank into bed alone, letting her true exhaustion finally rush over her. She knew she wouldn't be able to sleep, but she closed her eyes and hoped for the best. Despite her racing thoughts and broken heart her body eventually obliged, relaxing the tension in her muscles. She smiled softly as visions of Emily came into focus as she finally drifted off into stillness.

Chapter Text

The BAU had still been trying to find a replacement for Emily when JJ returned home from Afghanistan. Rossi had contacted her about the position and she had accepted without reservation. However, when she returned the unit had completely changed. She had taken for granted knowing Emily was safe and on assignment in Paris. Emily's loss had affected each agent more than JJ ever imagined. Penelope put on a brave face, but spent her lunch break hiding tears in her office. Morgan had poured himself into every case, filing every waking moment with the job in fear of a free moment when he might have to face the void Emily left in his heart. Reid had never gotten over JJ's transfer, he never was good with change. When Emily died he was devastated he never got to tell her goodbye. He emotionally detached himself from the team to protect his fragile psyche from the possibility of losing anyone else. The young agent had spent hours over the last ten weeks at JJ's house crying over the loss of his friend. Rossi was the only one who seemed the same at first, but after a couple of weeks back JJ noticed the difference. He was overly cautious and more protective of the team than ever. Especially since Hotch had taken an assignment in Pakistan, leaving Rossi in the protective father role.

Everything had changed, including JJ. Her time on assignment overseas had made her a better agent in many ways. Her new skill set had not only gotten her reinstated at the Bureau, but had also earned her a promotion to profiler. Will had moved out and she had to adjust to split custody. She hated the nights she'd come home to an empty house, but she didn't regret her decision. No one at the BAU knew about the separation. JJ knew they would wind up profiling her to get to the cause and would end up finding out much more than she was willing to share.

In the three and half months she had been back, she and Emily had communicated minimally. The team never asked her questions about her time at the State Department, but she also didn't want to raise any reason for them to be suspicious of her time away. The women took every precaution to avoid detection. Messaging through the Scrabble game was untraceable and had worked well for short conversations. Once a week Emily would call from a pay phone so they could hear each other's voice, but even then the conversations were an hour at best.

Until Ian Doyle was caught there was no way for Emily to return. She had been placed on assignment in Paris and was adapting to the new role, but fervently missed the BAU. After Agent Seaver was transferred and Hotch reassigned, the BAU just did not have the man power to devote to the Doyle case. It left Emily's return indefinitely on hold. JJ knew the longer Emily was gone, the harder it would be for the team to accept her return but there was no other option. She had to bear the secret alone until the time was right to bring Emily home.

Much to her surprise, that time came sooner than expected. It turned out that Morgan and Garcia had been secretly tracking down Declan Doyle, in order to find Ian. Months of dead ends finally lead to a break in the case when they located the fake identities Emily had set up for Declan and his nanny. The two decided to set up surveillance on the boy until they had proof Ian was out of hiding. Morgan knew when his private investigation was brought to light Struass would have his head, unless it lead to Ian Doyle's long overdue arrest. Sure enough, Morgan's hunch paid off when his surveillance captured images of Ian Doyle casing Declan's home.

The team moved in without hesitation or approval from the higher ups. There would be no time to waste if they wanted to take down Doyle once and for all. Morgan called Hotch overseas and filled him in on the case, Hotch informed him to take the shot if he had the chance. There was nothing Morgan wanted more than to take out the man who had murdered his best friend, but when he and JJ stormed Doyle's apartment Reid called with troubling news. The young agent and Rossi had arrived at Declan's house to find the protective detail and the nanny slain. If Ian Doyle was killed, they would likely never find Declan.

Much to his dismay, Morgan took Doyle into custody unharmed. During the interrogation the team learned that Doyle had no idea Declan had been abducted, leading them to believe an old nemesis of Doyle's had taken the boy out of revenge for an old feud. Unfortunately, without much more to go on the team hit a dead end.

Hotch arrived back in DC late that evening. He confirmed what JJ had been suspecting, Emily was already on her way back. She had boarded a flight immediately after she received a call from a trusted friend whom she had enlisted to watch over Declan. JJ knew Emily would be the only way they could get information out of Doyle and hopefully track down Declan in time.

Hotch had summoned a meeting in the conference room to prepare for her arrival. He and JJ had previously discussed how they would reveal the news when the time was right and unfortunately this was in no way what they had prepared for. A young boy's life was on the line, leaving no room for pleasantries.

"Seven months ago, I made a decision that affected this team," Hotch began to explain. "As you all know, Emily had lost a lot of blood after her fight with Doyle.But the doctors were able to stabilize her."

He paused for a moment as the team took in the information. They looked perplexed but remained silent and waited for Hotch to continue.

"And she was airlifted from Boston to Bethesda under a covert ex-filtration. Her identity was strictly need-to-know, and she stayed there until she was well enough to travel. She was reassigned to Paris where she was given several identities, none of which we had access to for her security."

JJ breathed slowly and kept her best poker face. Hotch had no idea she and Emily had been in contact the whole time. He was taking full responsibility for the cover up to avoid her taking any backlash from the team. She felt bad for betraying his trust, but now was not the time for amends.

"She's alive?" Penelope was the first to break the silence.

Morgan and Reid shot looks between each other and Hotch. Hotch again insured that he had acted alone in the cover up and concluded than any issues were to be taken up with him directly. Before anyone had a chance to argue, Emily Prentiss appeared in the doorway alive and well.

JJ felt her heart quicken and her cheeks flush at the site of the beautiful brunette. She wanted so badly to wrap her arms around Emily and never let go.

"I'm so sorry," were the only words Emily could say. She took in the looks of shock, betrayal and relief. It would take time to mend the bonds she had broken, but there would be plenty of time to catch up after Declan was safe.

After their initial surprise had worn off the team got down to business. Emily was able to deduct the second abductor was most likely to be a woman seeking revenge. She had Garcia compile a list of Doyle's past female companions.

JJ and Emily left Garcia's office and found themselves together for the first time since Paris. There was so much to say.

"How mad is the team?" Emily asked truly concerned.

"They're in shock," JJ deflected. She paused and looked at Emily, really looked at her. Those brown eyes had been all she had thought about for months. She gazed longingly and smiled, "It is really good to see you,"

Emily wrapped her arm around JJ's shoulders and squeezed slightly. Her head was focused on finding Declan but her heart belonged to JJ. She leaned in and planted a chaste kiss on JJ's lips before realizing what she'd done. JJ froze before they both started laughing. It It was a welcomed escape from the serious atmosphere, but they both knew any further affection would have to be postponed for the time being.

They rejoined the rest of the team in the conference room to go over the information Garcia had complied. After running over the details they deducted the second abductor was Declan's mother, Chloe, who Doyle had told Emily was deceased. Morgan made a sarcastic comment about people returning from the dead that made Emily bite her tongue. She did not look forward to having to explain herself to him later, or any of the team for that matter. It had taken her some time to gain the trust of her fellow agents when she transferred to the BAU. They had become a family over the past years but now she had committed the ultimate betrayal and would have to accept the consequences.

"Hotch, we have to do anything we can to save Declan," Emily pleaded. She had staged Declan's death and relocated him in order to give him a life free from his father's violence. Yet it was her actions that lead to his abduction. She would survive if the team never forgave her, but she would never recover if she lost Declan. He was the son she never had. She had watched him grow up and loved him as her own. It took great strength for her to stare into those blue eyes, seeing so much of his father's features staring back at her. Declan was the reason she had joined the BAU to begin with. She moved to be close to him, to protect him. She couldn't imagine what he was going through, she only knew she would do absolutely anything in her power to save him.

It was discovered Chloe had struck a deal with Lachlan McDermott who was out to kill Doyle. Chloe had convinced him she could draw Doyle out of hiding by abducting their son. The team tracked down the pair attempting to flee on a charter flight with Declan. Doyle was offered as trade for the boy, but Chloe was apprehensive. McDermott ignored her plea to save her son and shot her when she tried to stop him.

With guns leveled at McDermott, Ian Doyle was produced as collateral. Before the trade was made, Chloe stumbled from the plane firing at McDermott. Reid opened fire and shot her square in the chest, killing her immediately. Emily rushed to Declan, relived he was unharmed.

Ian Doyle laid on the asphalt in a puddle of his own blood. He had caught a rouge bullet to the neck in the chaos. He looked into his son's eyes and apologized before darkness consumed him.

"It's okay now. I'm here. I've got you," Emily wrapped her arms around Declan as tears streamed down her face.

Chapter Text

Ian Doyle was an international criminal who specialized in trafficking weapons. He had fallen for Lauren after she sought his help on tracking down the weapons dealer, Valhalla. She quickly earned his trust by producing high quality weaponry for his business. Although his men were hesitant to bring her in, Doyle's emotions clouded his judgment. Blinded by his love, he ignored the warnings which allowed Emily to infiltrate the operation further.

Emily had been undercover for sometime before engaging in a romantic relationship with Doyle. She constantly assured herself Lauren Reynolds was allowed to pursue the relationship, as long as Emily Prentiss remained focused and unbiased.

He had taken her to his villa in Tuscany where she first met the rambunctious blond haired, blue eyed boy named Declan. He was five years old and belonged to the live-in house keeper, Louise. The small boy had stolen Emily's heart immediately. She loved spending time with him, they would often play games of hide and seek throughout the house. Declan's innocence kept her grounded.

Time passed and the line between Emily and Lauren blurred. She had never meant to fall in love with the mark, it was against everything she had been taught, but at some point her alter ego became so convincing she lost herself in the act.

One afternoon, after a successful delivery, his men had warned him she was too good to be true, but he was too far gone to heed their advice. He escorted her into their SUV and Emily planted a celebratory kiss on her partner's lips. He smiled and stared into familiar but guarded eyes.

"I need to ask you something," he started. "

You never ask me about my, you know, about my business, about Valhalla. Why is that?"

She smiled and simply replied, "I just assume you'll tell me when you're ready to tell me."

"Well, there is something I want to tell you," he continued, stumbling over his words. "I was gonna get you the ring, but, uh, you said you're not the marrying type."

He produced a traditional Gimmel ring on a gold chain.

"It's It's beautiful," she gasped as she accepted the gift. She leaned in and kissed him softly.

"Look at me," he stated seriously. "I am Valhalla. I have no idea what kind of life we're gonna have, but I just want you in mine."

Emily ran the ring between her fingers silently. Her objective had been to find Valhalla and she had succeeded. Yet she couldn't help but feel conflicted. She knew Ian Doyle was a criminal mastermind, he was a monster. How could she have let things get this far? She had to detach herself emotionally from Doyle to complete the operation. It was easier said than done.

Weeks passed at the villa. Emily counted slowly while covering her eyes with her hands. Declan giggled as he ran to hide. Emily warned, "Ready or not here I come!" as she chased him around the room. Ian entered to find them playing and beamed proudly. He called for Louise and she quickly collected the youngster.

"You ever think about that?" Doyle asked her nodding in Declan's direction.

"Having kids? Be a little hard with what we do, don't you think?" she replied honestly.

"Maybe you need the right man to do it with," he hinted with a wink, "And a son who's crazy about you."

Emily paused," I thought he was your housekeeper's."

"Louise raises Declan so no one can use him against me," Doyle confessed. "But he's mine and he needs a mother."

If things were different, she may have considered it. She left Leslie because she hadn't been ready to settle down at the time but being around Declan had ignited a primal maternal urge. She shook her head for even considering it, she was undercover. She was not Lauren Reynolds, she was not really in love with Ian Doyle, but this boy was being used as a pawn.

"I can't do that. Not here," she stated.

"Then I'll get you out," he offered.

"Or I could get you out," Emily countered. "I have resources, contacts. He would be safer and he'd have a father."

"You know what I am, Lauren. A warrior. I lead warriors, I raise warriors. I can't just leave."

"You want me to raise your son, so he can have your life?" she asked.

"Is it that bad a life?" he asked genuinely.

She scoffed at the idea of Declan growing up in his father's business, "There are so many things I would do to make you happy but I can't do this."

In that moment the confusion between where Emily ended and Lauren began was shattered. She knew she had to save that boy from the abject horror his current life would lead to. Any notion of romantic feelings towards Ian Doyle lifted as Emily vowed to save Declan, no matter what

_______________________________________________

 

Emily had spent the better part of the last eight years keeping Declan's identity a secret. After her information lead to the successful arrest of Ian Doyle, she followed through with her personal promise. She had included details about Ian's son in her final report but knew that put him in the cross hairs of any of Doyle's enemies.

She knew there was only one way to keep the boy safe. Emily staged the assassination of Declan and Louise, documenting the occasion with photos. She then had new identities created for the two and moved them to the United States. She found a nice house on a cul-de-sac in Virginia where Declan made new friends and adjusted to a normal life.

Emily resigned from Interpol and took the job at the BAU in Washington, DC to be close to him. She knew she could never commit to being his mother full time, so she posed as his aunt. She limited her visits, to protect his identity, but they often talked on the phone. She loved him as if he were her own flesh and blood.

Once he was a bit older, he was enrolled in a nearby boarding school. He excelled in school and was even on the honor roll. Emily was so proud of who he had become. He was free from his father's world and was just another happy teen.

When Ian Doyle escaped prison and resurfaced in the states, Emily knew she had to get to him before he found out about Declan. He was under the assumption his son was dead and he would be seeking revenge. She had seen what he had done to the others involved in her operation, no life was spared. She put her promise to protect the boy ahead of anything else and forged a mission to kill Doyle.

Her team didn't comprehend why she would go after him alone because they had no idea what was really at stake. After everything she had witnessed and learned through her time as Lauren Reynolds, Emily was confident she could handle him herself.

After Doyle escaped and she was forced into exile, Emily enlisted her friend Tom to watch over Declan and Louise. Unfortunately, he was often on assignment out of the country leaving the young boy and aging woman vulnerable.

It was that vulnerability that lead to Declan's abduction. He tried to call Tom when he heard gunshots downstairs, but Chloe and McDermott had gotten to him first. When Tom called back and the line was dead he immediately contacted Emily. Other than JJ, Tom was the only one who knew how to contact Emily while she was in Paris.

Fearing the worst, she had dropped everything and raced back to the states. She knew if it came down to it she would die to keep him safe from Doyle. Seven months prior, she nearly had. She didn't care about how the team would react to her return, nothing mattered to her except Declan.
--------------------------------------------------------------------

A decade had past since Emily first met that carefree youngster in Tuscany, she only ever wanted to save that innocence. Now his whole life had been torn apart directly because of her actions.

Emily had been the one who tipped Doyle off that his son had survived. JJ had tried to assure her that she had been buying time for the team and no one expected Doyle to escape. But Emily knew she had told Doyle because she wanted him to know. Deep down she had wanted him to know his son was leading a better life without him. It was her cockiness that had almost gotten the boy killed.

After the incident, Emily knew it was too dangerous for her to be around Declan. Even with Ian dead, he could still be a potential target. She wouldn't take the risk and ultimately made the hardest decision of her life.

Since that day in Tuscany, she had always promised to put that little boy first and she followed through on her promises. With Louise deceased, he had no other family.

Heartbreakingly, he had begged Emily to be his guardian. She wanted absolutely nothing more than to give him the world, but she knew she couldn't be the mother he deserved. She had allowed herself to get too close, too attached and it had cost so many lives.

She knew that it would be selfish to keep him in this life of death and destruction. She had saved him from Doyle, it was time for them both to move on.

Emily choked back tears as she saidnher final goodbyes.

He hugged her tightly and whisped, "I'll never forget you."

She tussled his hair and kissed his forehead. She helped load his bags into the car and shut the door behind him.

The social worker waved as they pulled off down the street. She would never see him again, but Emily knew he would finally have a chance at a brighter future.

Chapter Text

Proceeding the events of the Ian Doyle disaster, the BAU team was summoned in front of a disciplinary committee.

Senator Cramer was on a witch hunt to blame someone for the egregious misuse of federal expenses and time that went into the unauthorized operation. Never mind the fact that the operation had successfully lead to the arrest of Ian Doyle. Although it had also lead to the death of six people, including two agents and Doyle himself.

First to testify was JJ, she had only been back with the BAU for three and half month before the weeks leading up to Doyle's capture. In her brief time back in the states she had been reinstated to the bureau, promoted to profiler and now suspended. She had to focus and remain objective, it was time to put all of her feelings aside and just relay the facts. She had been through hell in her time away but couldn't discuss it with the team. The secrets had been eating her alive. Of course, her backstop was not the only thing that she kept secret. She was one of a handful of people that knew Emily had survived the attack, though her team didn't know of her involvement she knew it was only a matter of time before they figured it out. She understood why Hotch was taking full responsibility, it had been his idea after all but the team was brimming with distrust now. It didn't fair well for them to be at each other's throats. She knew the team was fragile right now and the outcome of this hearing would have lasting effects. Once the committee was satisfied they called the next team member.

Agent Morgan knew when he started his search there would be consequences, no matter how things ended. He didn't care, he had to avenge his partner's death. When Emily had died, Morgan had snapped. He loved Emily Prentiss as a sister and he hated that he couldn't save her. She had essentially died in his arms and it was not an image he would ever forget. No one was looking for Doyle after that night, so Morgan had set out to make him pay.

Morgan had not regretted any of his decisions, until of course Emily had returned. He had struggled with his feelings about her death for so long, when she returned it had turned his entire world upside down. Of course he was so grateful to have her back but at the same time he felt totally betrayed. How could she not have trusted him enough to tell him the plan? He logically understood, but on a personal level his ego had been severely bruised. It had been a difficult year between the two friends. First Emily had gone after Doyle on her own, then he found out she had a relationship with the madman. Now he had spent the last six months believing she had died and he felt remorseful for not ever telling her how proud he was of her or how much he truly cared.

He was now on trial for going after the man who had killed a woman, who was in fact alive. It really put a complicated twist on things. It would have been so easy to throw Emily to the wolves and originally he had thought about it, but he was better than that. This team was a family and they had to stick together. Morgan recounted his side of the story for the hearing committee, they were not happy with his rouge actions. Yet they couldn't ignore the fact Doyle had been eliminated, which was better for everyone.

Next to testify was technical analyst Penelope Garcia. She had been in on the operation with Morgan from the beginning but she wasn't facing the same consequences since she had dealt with everything from the comfort of her office. Sometimes Garcia was grateful she was merely a mystical cave dwelling genius. She didn't have much to add that the committee hadn't already heard so she was let go after a short time. Out of everyone on the team, Penelope was the only one who had already forgiven Emily. Penelope knew all too well that personal choices could put the team in danger. She had made multiple bad decisions in the past that lead to consequences for the entire team. So she definitely understood Emily going solo, although she wasn't happy about it. Now that Emily was back she was just ecstatic. She wasn't nearly as close to Emily as she was to JJ, but the three women had to stick together in such a testosterone fueled environment. She didn't care about the circumstances she was just happy to have her friend back.

Finally the council called Emily Prentiss in to testify. Although she wasn't part of the BAU anymore, she still had ties to the bureau. Looking at the facts, Emily had started the manhunt for Ian Doyle on her own, the actions of Morgan and consequently the rest of the team were directly related to her original decision. The hearing committee was not about to let her forget that.

"This team took many unprecedented risks. None were approved. The  Domestic Intelligence and Operations Guide has rules, and you chose to ignore every last one. That's blatant disrespect to the bureau and to authority of law in general. What I find interesting is that you are the experts in behavior but find nothing wrong with yours," Cramer admonished.

"May I?" Emily interrupted calmly.  "The journey was not traditional, but this team neutralized and saved the life of a young boy in the process."

"You started a war with Ian Doyle years ago that this team and the US government had to finish," Cramer continued.

"The only people I know who could accomplish that mission just walked out of this room. They do their jobs with integrity, and most importantly, they honor their oath," Emily added. "I will support and defend the constitution of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic. I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same, that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion."

When she was dismissed she returned to the BAU to await the verdict with the rest of the team. She stood silently in front of her picture on the wall of fallen agents. There was a knot in her stomach thinking of her friends passing that memory every day. The thought of JJ having to play like she was oblivious, hiding the truth from the ones that trusted her most. Emily snapped back to reality when Strauss called them all into the conference room. The verdict was in.

"The committee made it clear they will not support a rogue team. Agent Prentiss convinced them you were not that. They will be watching you closely so I suggest you play by their rules." Strauss warned.

"So we're ok?" Garcia clarified.

"Suspension is lifted for everyone," Strauss turned to Emily, "There may be more paperwork, considering your situation, but the team is lucky to have you, if you're interested."

"May I think about it?" Emily hadn't really considered being offered her job back. She had been so caught up in the case, in the team and in Declan there hadn't been time to be optimistic about the future.

"Of course," Strauss nodded.

She looked around the room at the team, her family. Her eyes ended on JJ, who smiled hopefully. What was she thinking?

"I'm in," she answered hastily. It would take time to heal the relationships she had ruined, but there was no where else Emily belonged more than the BAU.

After an exhausting day in court Emily unlocked her front door of her sizeable loft apartment. She was still getting used to being back in the city. She paused briefly to take in the view, she was glad to be back where she belonged.

Sergio greeted her with hungry mews and swarmed around her feet. She set her keys and newly returned badge on the counter and fed her black furry friend who had been anxiously awaiting dinner. She took her gun from it's holster and secured it in the top drawer of the desk next to the fridge.

It wasn't until she started to make her way to the bedroom did she notice the rose petal trail up the stairs that lead into the bathroom.

She smiled, excited for what awaited her at the end of the trail. She reached the landing and found the bathroom door ajar. JJ was soaking in a bubble bath in the large garden tub with steam still rising from the hot water.

"Breaking and entering is a crime, Agent Jareau," Emily laughed as she dropped her clothes on the floor and slid into the tub. She had given JJ a key when she went into hiding, someone had to watch her apartment after all. Garcia had taken care of Sergio but Emily had wanted someone to have access in case of emergency. JJ was the only one she had trusted enough not to go through all of her stuff. Or at least, she really hoped JJ hadn't gone through her stuff. Especially not the show box in the back of the closet.

Wordlessly, the blonde began to massage Emily's back. JJ used a sponge to wet her lover's body and kissed her along the shoulders. Emily purred under her lover's touch. She loved that JJ knew exactly where to touch to drive her wild..

Finally, breaking the silence Emily turned and kissed JJ's perfect lips and whispered,  "I love you."

JJ smiled. She squeezed Emily tight and kissed her passionately, "I love you too, Em"

The two soaked in the tub silently, kissing and cuddling until the water turned cold and the frothy bubbles had long been turned to suds.

They drained the tub and Emily helped the smaller woman out of the tub. She dried her off and took her by the hand to the bedroom.

Emily lead the way to the bed. She sat JJ on the edge of the bed and gently pushed her back. JJ followed her lover's lead and laid back. Legs positioned over the side of the bed.

Emily lowered to her knees and began to kiss her partner's thighs. She licked a trail from the inner thigh up to JJ's center. JJ was still wet from the bath but Emily could tell there was a growing arousal.

Emily traced a symmetrical line up the other thigh. Still stopping just short of the gold. She kissed JJ's sweet little pearl, taking it in her mouth and nipping at it gently. JJ's fists grabbed the bedding as her breath quickened.

Emily continued her exploration. She licked each fold individually. Making symmetrical lines and taking her time.

She rimmed the opening but gently avoided it. Emily loved playing with her prey. She loved to take it slowly and take in every bit of her lover.

Emily continued slowly lapping up the sweet taste of JJ. The blonde ran her hand through Emily's hair and moaned a bit.

Emily finally decided that JJ had been patient enough and began making the rounds with her tongue. First the clit, then the folds, then the opening. Over and over she made this pattern. Watching her partner squirm with desire.

Emily worked the opening with her well-trained tongue. In and out with ease. She continued to watch as she worked. JJ was biting her lip and gripping the bedding white knuckled.

Emily loved to watch as she worked below. It turned her on so much. Maybe even more so than the actual act she was performing.

She regained focus. She worked fiercely to make her partner climax. And so she did.

JJ grabbed the brunette by the hair as her back lifted off the bed. Her body tightened, Emily's head still between her thighs. She moaned as her muscles contracted. The shockwave spread from head to toe and she collapsed backwards.

Emily came up for air, wiped her upper lip and smiled, "You're so beautiful, Jennifer."

She was overwhelmed to be back and grateful to have her job reinstated but most of all she was besides herself to finally be with the love of her life after so many months apart. Everything was falling back into place.

JJ pulled Emily to her and planted a fervent kiss on her lips. Their mouths worked in harmony as JJ switched places to be on top. She pulled away and smiled down at the perfect body of the brunette. The clover scar had healed but was still visible and slightly raised. She leaned down and kissed it softly.

JJ let her hair so fly tickle Emily's smooth torso as she trailed downwards. While Emily was away JJ had spent a lot of time in the apartment. It had been so hard for her to adjust to sleeping alone since Will moved out. On the nights Henry was with his dad, JJ snuck to the loft to sleep in Emily's bed. Some nights she would snuggle with Emily's old T-shirt and take in deep breaths of the lingering scent of perfume. She had stumbled across the box by mistake. It had fallen off a shelf from the back of the closet and when she went to return it to its place she had gotten a glimpse of its contents.

The first time she had put in one of the DVDs she wasn't sure what to expect. She was surprised at how aroused she had become watching the women on screen pleasuring each other. JJ took the new found movie stash as a learning experience, now she was ready to put her knowledge to the test.

The blonde slid silently down to her destination. She wrapped her arms around Emily's thighs and propped them on her shoulders. She glanced upwards deviously to meet Emily's questioning brown eyes.

She took her time, tasting Emily for the first time in months. It was her favorite flavor. She let her tongue trail lackadaisical along Emily's folds. She lapped up the warmth at the center as her partner moaned, tightening her thighs around JJ's neck.

JJ worked slowly to pleasure her lover. She had dreamt of this moment for so long. Her studies paid off as Emily expressed her approval through moans and continuous breathy whispers of "Yes Jennifer, god yes"

The pleasure became too much and she was thrust into ecstasy. Her hand grasped locks of blond hair as her entire body tightened. JJ smiled proudly.

"Where did you learn that?" Emily asked, once when she could speak.

JJ smiled and decided to keep it her little secret, for now.

"I'm glad you enjoyed it," JJ deflected the question although Emily frowned at the response.

She kissed her partner and snuggled in closely. Emily wrapped her arms around JJ and smiled, enjoying every moment of it. They were finally together and she wasn't going to let anything tear them apart this time. No more stubbornness, no more keeping secrets and thinking for others. No more old Prentiss, she had been given a second chance and she would do anything not to blow it.

Chapter Text

"Shit, I'm not so sure about this," JJ frowned looking at the sizable stencil drying along her left thigh. Emily laughed and pulled JJ into her lap, kissing the blonde flirtatiously.

"Come on, babe! It doesn't hurt," Emily cooed into her lover's ear. JJ sighed, eyes still fixated on the black lines along her muscular leg. "Really, Jayje. You just need to breathe and it'll be over before you know it!"

JJ's phone chimed and she left the comfort of Emily's lap to see who was trying to reach her. She typed in a few words and hit send before returning to her spot in front of the mirror, "That was PG. She'll be here soon. At least she'll hold my hand!"

"Oh, you don't want me to hold you hand?" Emily questioned jokingly. She knew JJ would rather have Penelope next to her at a time like this, Pen was much better at comforting than Emily.

The team had recently found out about the women's relationship shortly after Emily's return to the BAU. At first they had tried to keep it secret but it's hard to keep things private around a team of profilers. Derek had figured it out first, catching them canoodling in the elevator one morning. He had been sworn to secrecy but despite his promise Garcia had prayed the information out of him once she realized he was keeping gossip from her. Next was Hotch, who admitted he had suspected there had been something between them even before JJ transferred out of the BAU. Rossi wasn't too surprised either and had happily congratulated them. The only one who had taken a while to come around had been Spencer, who was still upset that they had kept Emily's staged death a secret from him. Over time he had eventually forgiven them for their deceit and came to accept their new relationship.

Penelope arrived as the artist was situating the inks and making the final preparations to the chair. JJ felt her pulse quicken, it was her first tattoo and she was going big. The outline of a blackbird in flight adorned her otherwise flawless thigh, tail feathers tracing her musculature perfectly.

"Oh my god, Jayje! It's beautiful!" Penelope remarked as she saw the outline for the first time.

"Thanks, we'll see how far I get without crying," JJ squeeked as she hugged Pen's neck. "I'm so glad you're here! Emily is just going to laugh at me."

"I'm not going to laugh! I just know you're over reacting!" Emily reminded, having two tattoos herself.

The artist helped JJ get situated on the chair. He pressed the pedal and the needle came to life. JJ reached for Penelope's hand and squeezed it firmly.

"It's alright, just breathe. I'm going to start with a small line so you get the feel," the artist reassured. The needle met her flesh and JJ felt a slight sting. Emily had been right, it was almost comforting. An indescribable ease passed through her as she let out the breath she had been holding and let up on Penelope's hand.

"See baby, it's just fine. You're doing great," Emily chimed as she leaned down and kissed JJ's cheek.

The women chatted as the artist worked,  only stepping away to grab coffee for everyone around the two hour mark. JJ's artist was grateful for the boost. Three things artists love, coffee, cigarettes and tips.

All in all it took four hours and JJ sat through the whole thing like a champ. She had decided on an intricate outline with shading, from fear of a solid black tattoo permanently engraved on her thigh to fade and stretch over time. Her artist was very happy with her decision and she was overjoyed with the finished product.

Emily kissed JJ eagerly, "You know love, this is going to make the rest of your birthday present a little difficult." JJ smiled slyly and pulled Emily in for a long kiss.

"Ugh! You guys! Get a room!" Garcia joked covering her eyes as if she was offended. Now that the team knew about their relationship they had admittedly gotten worse about their public displays of affection."Happy birthday, Jayje. And thanks for inviting me!"

"Garcia, thanks for sitting for four hours watching me get inked! I'm sure you have a lot better things you could be doing," JJ smiled warmly. She knew Penelope had been bored to death after the first thirty minutes but she stayed for moral support.

JJ paid, leaving a hefty tip for her artist who had put up with the threesome for hours on end without complaining and the women headed out. JJ and Emily said goodbye to Garcia and left for the second part of JJ's birthday. Emily had planned a special surprise for her partner and was giddy to get to the good stuff. They got in the car and JJ begged to know where they were going.

"You'll see! Just be patient!" Emily urged as she plugged an address into the GPS. JJ made note that they were heading somewhere Emily wasn't readily familiar with. She tried to figure out their final destination for a good thirty minutes before she no longer recognized the area. Where were they heading?

Finally after an hour's drive Emily pulled up to a small cottage set off of a country road in the woods. JJ looked around, not knowing what to expect.

"We're here!" Emily exclaimed as she cut the ignition and watched JJ amusingly.

"And where exactly is here?" JJ quipped getting out of the car, pulling her jacket around herself in the brisk autumn wind. Emily simply smiled and pulled both of their go bags from the trunk, confusing JJ further.

Emily pulled a key from her pocket and opened the door. The cabin was beautiful. Wood floors, a large stone fireplace in the spacious living room, cozy furnishings and a modern kitchen. There was a trail of rose petals and an ice bucket of champagne awaiting the couple on the kitchen table, with a large bouquet of freshly cut flowers. Emily beamed at the nicely added romantic touch as JJ opened the card laid between the two champagne flutes.

"What happens at the cabin stays at the cabin, ladies! I don't want to know how you spend your weekend. Just lock up when you're finished. -Dave"

"This is Rossi's place?" JJ asked looking around the cozy home. Emily nodded and wrapped her arms around JJ's waist, pulling in the smaller woman for a passionate kiss.

"And it's all ours for the entire weekend. I packed hiking gear if you want to explore, or we could just...stay in be all weekend," Emily smiled as she pressed her lips to JJ's. JJ grinned at the suggestion. A weekend away was exactly what they needed after such a long week. The case had exhausted them both and it had been almost a month since the team had a weekend off. The trouble with the BAU was that crime never rested and often neither did the team.

Emily started a fire as the sun set and the temperatures dropped. The cabin was even more comfortable as shadows flickered across the wood paneled walls and dimly lit the open living room. Emily and JJ settled onto the couch in each other's arms, simply enjoying each other's company.

"Thank you," JJ whispered.

"Happy birthday, love. I wanted it to be memorable," Emily admitted. She had been brainstorming ideas for weeks before Rossi had offered up his cabin as the perfect private getaway. Truth was the team was actually on call that weekend but Hotch and company had made sure to convince JJ otherwise. Emily was grateful for the time off, even if it meant telling JJ a little white lie. She knew JJ would have never taken time off otherwise.

They popped open the champagne and toasted to the occasion. It was their first extended period alone since Emily's return and they both looked forward to catching up for lost time. Emily had packed a little something special for the occasion as well. She was excited to show JJ exactly how memorable the weekend would be.

The night waned on, the bottle emptied, and the embers glowed dim in the fireplace. JJ had long fallen asleep in Emily's lap, crashing from the adrenaline rush of her hours of tattooing. Emily rubbed her back and smiled down at the snoozing blonde. It was moments like this which she cherished the most. She loved the simplicity of it all, that certain domestic quality.

As midnight rolled around Emily yawned, closing the book she had been reading. She gently woke JJ and suggested they move to the bedroom. JJ rubbed her eyes sleepily and nodded. The bedroom was just as  somber as the rest of the cabin. Heavy wooden furniture, probably hand made with rustic decorations on the walls. Emily had to admit, Rossi had taste. They changed out of their clothes and climbed into the king sized bed. They had been spending equal time between Emily's apartment and JJ's brownstone, both which furnished queen beds. The large mattress felt too big and JJ cuddled into Emily's chest leaving half of the space empty.

Morning rolled around and JJ awoke to an empty bed. She wandered downstairs towards the kitchen as a delicious scent filled the air. She found Emily dancing to her iPod, headphones in her ears, wearing nothing but her underwear and an apron. JJ grinned at the sight and snuck up behind her partner, startling the brunette.

JJ pulled Emily in and kissed her, "I love you, do you know that?"

"I had an inclination," Emily smiled. They had been together only six months but JJ never got tired of seeing that beautiful smile. "I love you too, Jennifer"

"What smells so good?" JJ asked as she poured a cup of coffee which had just finished percolating.

"Biscuits with gravy, bacon and eggs!" Emily replied as she flipped the bacon in the pan. She was grateful to have the apron to protect her from the spattering grease. JJ sat at the table and watched Emily cook. The timer went off and Emily pulled the biscuits from the oven. JJ was so appreciative that Emily knew how to cook. Will had always been the chef in the house and since they split up, JJ had struggled to make any home cooked meals. She lived off of take out on the few evenings she spent alone. Emily made their plates and joined JJ at the table.

They enjoyed breakfast and JJ headed upstairs to change. Noting their beautiful surroundings,  Emily had convinced her to go hiking. JJ loved the outdoors and had been complaining that they hadn't spent much time in nature lately with their schedules. Emily was happy to have a chance to rectify the situation.

They took their time getting ready and finally headed out to the trail that lead to the woods from behind the cabin around noon. Emily took JJ's hand and lead her through the secluded path, JJ couldn't help but feel like Emily had been there before. She knew exactly where the rough patches were and would support JJ over the steep embankments. The path opened up to an open area, where JJ found a blanket laid out and a picnic basket awaiting them. Her suspicions that Emily had made the hike before were confirmed. Emily lead her into the clearing and sat down on their little picnic blanket.

"Wow! You're just full of surprises this weekend!" JJ exclaimed as she joined Emily on the blanket. Emily nodded and pulled JJ in, kissing her fervently. JJ responded and pushed Emily gently back on the blanket. Emily pulled JJ on top of her as they kissed. JJ sat on top of Emily and smiled down at her as she straddled the older woman's waist.

"You're so beautiful, Emily. I want to remember this moment forever," JJ admitted, leaning down and pressing her lips to Emily's again.

You're not going to forget this anytime soon Emily thought as JJ pulled her own shirt off. Emily adored the sight of her partner topless on top of her. She sat up halfway and took off her top as well, shivering slightly. It was a sunny afternoon and unusually warm for the season but there was still a bit of a chill to the air. However she wasn't fully convinced the weather was the only thing giving her chills. JJ tightened her thighs around Emily's lower half, suddenly feeling something hard against her leg. She grinned from ear to ear knowingly. She had secretly been hoping Emily had noticed her hints of taking their sexual relationship to new levels. JJ was excited to be rewarded for her patience.

"Oh my, are you happy to see me?" She asked mischievously. As her hand wandered down towards Emily's pants. Emily grabbed her hand suddenly and rolled over forcing JJ to her back. JJ loved it when Emily used her strength to take control, it was one of her biggest turn ons.

"Umm...Something like that," Emily whispered, leaning down to get close to JJ's ear. She nipped at it slightly as she kissed JJ down the side of her neck and made her way back to JJ's mouth. She took a moment to collect her thoughts and decided she needed to clear the weight of her thoughts before continuing down their current path towards intimacy.

"Jennifer, I love you. I am so lucky to have you in my life. Even though it took us so long to finally get together, I wouldn't change a thing. Our lives shaped who we are today and I'm so grateful we eventually found our way to each other's hearts," Emily said softly.

"I love you too, darling," JJ replied, reaching up to wipe away a tear that had formed at the corner of Emily's eye. "Emily, what's wrong?"

"I am just so madly in love with you. Its not something I had expected to find again. I've been so shut off for so long then you came along and my walls came crumbling down," Emily shifted moving off of JJ and sitting next to her. JJ propped herself up on an elbow casually as she slightly frowned trying to decipher where this sudden confession was leading to.

"I love what we have but I don't know that I can be happy continuing on like we have been," Emily finally admitted. JJ's heart skipped a beat as we now felt tears welling up in her an eyes. This couldn't be happening they had been so happy enjoying breakfast just hours earlier. How could this possibly be happening?

"Emily, please don't do this," JJ begged through tears. Emily looked at her confused, frowning slightly before she realized what JJ was thinking.

"Oh shit! Jennifer, I'm not breaking up with you!" she exclaimed, laughing at the very idea. "I meant, I can't go on just being your girlfriend." She finally pulled out the small velvet box from her pocket. JJ froze, frowning ever so slightly. A ring box was far from what she had expected to find in Emily's pants. Emily seemed to notice JJ's moment of hesitation and paused.

"Okay, we can pretend this didn't happen. I was worried it was too quick," Emily rushed fumbling with the box. JJ blinked a few times before finally laughing at what seemed to be a constant state of misunderstanding between them.

"Don't you dare. It's just not what I was expecting," JJ raised her eyebrow suggestively. Emily suddenly realized what JJ had been expecting Emily to have concealed in her jeans and blushed profusely. JJ reminded as she wiggled with excitement, "Emily, hurry up and ask me before I change my mind!"

"Jennifer Jareau, would you do me the honor of becoming my wife?" Emily finally asked shyly, opening the box to present a beautiful halo diamond ring.

"Yes! Yes! A thousand times, yes!!" JJ gasped, kissing her new fiancee. Emily took the ring out and slipped it on JJ's finger. It was the perfect fit and looked stunning in the afternoon lighting.

"It's absolutely perfect!" JJ sighed as she admired the gorgeous setting. Emily pulled JJ to her and kissed her deeply as they cried joyous tears. Once the shock had worn off, they unpacked the basket and enjoyed lunch in the fresh air. After lunch they finished what they started before the proposal. They took the time to explore and linger during the course of intamcy, ultimately leading to both of then climaxing and falling back onto the blanket in complete euphoria. There was something exciting about making love in the middle of the woods.

Emily wrapped them in the blanket as they lay spent on the ground. Due to their surroundings they had opted out of full nudity and they had both slipped back into shirts to keep from freezing. Pants and shoes laid forgotten next to the blanket. They snuggled in the sunlight until a stirring in the nearby brush perked their ears. They both sat still as their eyes focused on the location of the sound, not wanting to be discovered in their current scantly clad situation. A young fawn came into the clearing and they laughed, startling the poor deer. It took back off into the woods and the women decided to redress before anyone or anything else could interrupt them.

Upon returning to the cabin Emily found multiple missed text messages from Derek and Penelope, who had helped her pick out the ring. She sighed, "Babe, you better call PG. She's dying to know the outcome of our hike."

"Of course she was in on it," JJ laughed, imagining how hard it must have been for her best friend to keep the secret while they had been at the tattoo shop. JJ called Penelope from Emily's phone.

"Jesus Emily! We've all been awaiting your call! Derek is over, I'm putting you on speaker phone!" Penelope answered happily.

"Hey Pen, its JJ," JJ decided to play her cards close to her chest. "Why would you be awaiting a call?"

Emily raised an eyebrow, understanding what JJ was doing. She nodded in encouragement.

"Oh, umm, hey Jayje. We were just, ummm," Penelope stumbled trying to recover.

"We were just making sure that you guys were safe at the cabin," Derek chimed in from the background.

"Oh, yeah. We made it but that's sort of why I called," JJ joked, trying to keep a straight face. "We went hiking today..."

"And?!" Penelope interrupted.

"Well Emily slipped..." JJ answered as Emily doubled over from laughter. JJ shooed her away to keep from laughing herself.

"Oh shit! JJ is she okay?" Derek asked.

"Yeah, but when she slipped...well," JJ paused for effect, languishing in the silence on the other end of the receiver. "You see she slipped....a ring on it!!"

Screams came from the other end of the phone as JJ pulled it a way from her ear laughing hysterically. "Congratulations!" Penelope squealed.

"Thanks for the help you guys!" Emily yelled from the background.

"Oh my god, you had us going! We have to start planning when you get back!" Penelope gushed.

"Slow down, baby girl. They JUST got engaged! Give them some time to enjoy it!" Derek laughed. JJ finished filling them in on the whole ordeal, excluding the details of their post proposal romp. Their friends congratulated them again before hanging up.

JJ grinned from ear to me at staring down at her ring. She was overjoyed at the thought of becoming Mrs. Jennifer Jareau-Prentiss. Their years of playing tag had finally paid off. JJ knew that three letters had changed everything from that moment forward. She looked forward to navigating the ins and outs of wedding planning with Emily, though she secretly knew Penelope would most likely Want to take over that aspect. Henry was already wild about Emily and vice versa, yes JJ finally had everything her heart desired. It was a birthday she would never forget and she looked forward to all of their future years together.