Title: How we lose, how we win
Fandom: Criminal Minds
Pairing: Emily Prentiss/Jennifer Jareau with a bit of JJ/Will relationship
Disclaimer: No, they are not mine….“Criminal Minds” belongs to CBS (unfortunately). Otherwise I would have given them a different storyline and would get rid of Paget Brewster’s bang.
Spoilers: Up to Season 4.
Summary: JJ is around 6 months pregnant, leaved the BAU and moved to New Orleans. Established relationship with Will, however something kicks in and she finds herself back in Washington D.C.
Authors Note: Huge thanks for my beta, audiopineapple.
A/N 2: I had a hard time with Hotch’s character, he is absolutely pain in the ass to write so don’t expect too much. J
During the night and most of the next day I kept thinking why I needed that kind of intimacy from Emily. Well, I had just left my child’s father, came back to D.C. alone to an empty apartment and wanted some comfort, right? Then why did I need that comfort from her when I could get the exact same thing from Garcia? Why did I want her attention, warmth and silent companionship? Why did I want her touch, telling me that everything will be okay? Why do I trust her that much?
Of course, we were friends even before I left. I thought of her as a loyal, passionate friend, who knew what’s important in life and how to handle tough cases with as much sanity as one could. I told myself that our joking and light touches were simply an affection of deep understanding towards each other and that we had to lighten up the mood from time to time. Sometimes I would caught Prentiss look at me when she thought I didn’t notice, other times she would say such things that I would believe she was flirting. I liked our times together, more than I’m willing to admit. We have never crossed any lines what friends wouldn’t and she never implied anything more. She was just there every time that we needed each other.
But yesterday something changed, and I’m not so sure that it was as a new feeling for Emily as it was for me. I have to talk this out, so I dial the number for the first person that comes to my mind: Penelope.
“Well, well, I knew that you couldn’t go through a day without my lovely voice! How are things, Missy?”
“You are a tease Garcia! As irresistible as you are, how could I miss a day?” – Two can play this game.
“Yeah, I’ve been told! What’s up my very pregnant friend? How’s baby boy? Misbehaving?”
“Not at all, actually he is quite quiet today, thank God!” – I laugh and then I pause…don’t know how to bring up the subject…
“Hmmm, what’s on your mind? Your silence tells me everything. Spill!”
Has she become a profiler in my absence or what??
“You know me too well, sometimes it’s horrifying…ermmm, something happened yesterday. By the way, I heard that you talked to Emily about me being settled back?”
“Oh, that one, yeah, sorry, but we were really worried and it just slipped…wait a minute, Emily went there? And something happened?? No wonder why she was so distracted all day.”
“She was?” – I don’t recognize my own voice…gosh, get a grip!
“Yep, she didn’t even mention that she stopped by your place. So? What is going on?”
“I don’t know. I…she appeared in front of my door with Chinese takeout and I invited her in. We had a great time, joked around as always but then baby boy was kicking and I took her hand to my belly and then everything was like I’m in a different universe. I noticed her warm hand, her piercing, sharp eyes and…” – God, I’m ranting…
“What??? Are you telling me what I think you are telling me? “
“Ah, yes, Garcia, yes. I don’t know how it happened or why. I just know that I wanted her to…be there, focusing on me. I’m…she gets me, affects me in a way nobody ever did. Uh, I wanted her to care about me although I don’t know if she is even open to…this, to me. But I saw something there and I want know what it means. For both of us…” – I take a deep breath and wait for the tech’s answer but it’s not coming…”Hey, you still there?”
“…Umm, yes? I mean, yes! Good Lord, I’ve never seen this coming…I mean that you would finally get to this point. Wow, it took you what, 2 and a half years?”
“Garcia, what? Wait, what are you talking about?”
“Honey, I think I’m pretty obvious here! I’ve seen how you two always acted around each other like you have some secret thing going on that I would never understand…truth be told, I so wanted to talk to you or Emily about this because it was driving me nuts! Finally!! Ah, congrats! Welcome to Realizations Town!”
I can’t believe it. Penelope can freak me out, when she knows things even before I find them out myself.
“Listen, just talk to her. It doesn’t have to be anything, but as you said earlier, you should find it out yourself. Do you really think you are ready for this?”
“I have to be, Garcia…I need to be.”
I haven’t spoken to Emily since our last fiasco and I don’t know how she will react to me again. However, I’m back in town and I was thinking about my previous position at the BAU because Hotch said that if I ever want to come back to the team, I am more than welcome. And I’m considering it.
Of course, I have three more months till giving birth, and I need time after that, but I loved the job, the team, they were…are my family.
And that’s why I find myself in front of the FBI building in Quantico. Going up, looking through the glass door that separates the bullpen, I can see Reid, Morgan, Emily and even Garcia, talking, sharing information, probably about a case.
I can’t describe the emotions that I’m feeling right now. I’m home. It’s like I have never left, knowing that me, being here, is just right. Oh, how I missed this, them, my family. So I open the door, wondering what reaction I will get but I shouldn’t have been worried, because the moment everyone notices me, smiles spread across their faces and they pull me into hugs.
“”Hey JJ, what a nice surprise! What are you doing here? A bit of vacation before the baby is born? And how’s New Orleans treating you?” – a grin on Derek’s baby face, all smiley. I don’t want to bring down his good mood so I tell him and the others just half of the story.
“Yeah, New Orleans is not so bad but I missed you guys. I thought we could grab dinner after work and catch up a bit? My treat!”
“Oooh, you are spoiling us here! Sure thing, I’m in, just tell me where and I will be there!” – he says and I hear everybody’s acceptance to the invitation. As much as I want to stay with them here, I know I have to talk to Hotch too and time is the only thing that they are always short on.
As I give them the details about the restaurant, say my goodbyes for now, and start to walk to my ex-boss office, I give a slide glace to Emily. She has the perfect poker face, as always, I can’t read anything off of it and it irritates me a bit. I want to know what she thinks, what goes through her mind, I need to understand her. I want to know how she feels about that night. This insecurity is killing me and I can not do anything about it right now. I hope after dinner, we will have some time to talk. I will make sure of it.
I’m almost at Aaron’s office and during my steps I can feel the brunette FBI agent’s intense look on my back. I hate it when she does this, avoiding eye contact face to face but not afraid to stare when you are not looking.
Yes, I’m pretty sure we have to talk. Soon.
“Jennifer! It’s great to see you again! How are you?” – one of his rare smiles appear on his face and I feel more relaxed than a minute ago.
“Pregnant, that should tell you everything, I think.” – I laugh and not waiting for his answer I continue with a more serious tone “Listen, I assume we both know why I came here today. I want to be back to the BAU after the birth.”
He processes my information and replies “You know it will be harder as a parent, right? Days without coming back, long hours every day, responsibility…”
“Yes, I know that but I want to be part of the team again. I want to be back.” – I emphasize it with a firm voice because I need him to understand.
“And how did Will react to this? What did he say?”
“We are separating…this is my decision, my problem to solve. I’m damn good at my job and you wouldn’t find anyone as qualified as I am to do this.”
“JJ, you’ve already proven yourself…I’m sorry about you and LaMontagne…I really wished it could work out for you.”
“Well, yeah…mmm, I invited everyone to dinner tonight and it goes without saying that I expect you to see there too.”
“Count me in…” a short pause – “I think that’s it then.”
“Yes, and…thank you.” I start for the door but he interrupts me in my movement “Jennifer, it’s good to have you back.”
“It’s good to be back, Hotch.”
As I walk out of the office, I’m surprised to see that the bullpen is nearly empty, probably everyone went out to get their lunches. I make my way to the elevator, get in and that’s when I hear a shout.
“Hey, hold the door please!” – I would recognize this voice everywhere. She catches her breath as she realizes that it’s me, gets in and pushes the button.
“Oh, hi…again…umm…everything went well with Hotch?” – she asks uneasily. I don’t want this to be so awkward, I miss the times when it was so comfortable to be around each other.
“Yes, in fact, I want to announce my decision during dinner.”
“Hmm…your decision? Which is?”
“That I’m coming back after the baby is born.”
“Wow…I…it will be great to see you back again.”
“Thanks…” – now we both stay silent but I still want to clear the air between us, so I start…
We start at the same time, smile a bit but then I pause and let her continue.
“JJ…listen, I’m sorry about the other night, I shouldn’t have left so suddenly. Mmmm, do you have time after dinner? Or you already have something to do?”
“No, no, that would be fine. But you know I don’t bite, right?” – a smirk crosses my face and she laughs
“I know and I’m really sorry, I will make it up to you.” – the elevator stops at her floor but before that, she raises her hand, slightly touches my arm for a moment and says “I’m looking forward to the night. Bye.”
Those eyes. How can someone say something like this with those chocolate-brown, sad eyes? With that silken voice? How can she say so much with only a light, brief touch?
I’m so captivated by her that ‘I want to find out. I want to know everything that is Emily Prentiss.
That much I know.
The dinner is so enjoyable with everyone around here that I forget for a few minutes about my absurd situation. Everyone is so comforting, understanding, loving. I don’t know how I deserved this but I will never ever let it go again. They are truly my family.
A few hours later, when we are about to leave and start to move outside, Emily excuses herself to the restroom.
As I put on my coat, I hear some woman from the other side of the place says loudly “Hey, Sweet Cherry, don’t you try to take one more step!” and I wouldn’t even pay attention to this but I see Prentiss suddenly stop and grin at the mysterious, tall blonde. Hmm, Sweet Cherry?? That’s interesting…
“Oh my God, Zsófia!!! Is that you? I can’t believe it! How long has it been? 12 years? You look fantastic! How are things back in Europe?” – they hug tightly.
“Emily, wow! I just arrived yesterday from the old continent…never thought I would run into an old….friend… I still can’t believe this! Look at you, you are glowing! Well, well, I think you found your happiness here, so tell me, who makes you so happy?” I can see a wink on the blonde’s face and I know in that instant that I don’t like this woman.
I can’t hear the rest of their conversation because they move a bit further away but their body language indicates that they are close…very close. I don’t recall seeing Emily with anyone that close…hey, what was that? Why did the blonde raise her hand to brush Emily’s hair behind her shoulder? Why did she touch her arm? Why…., oh, I realize just now: they were lovers.
The talking continues and I see them hugging again, this time a little longer than it would be necessary, they part and Emily’s new friend hands over her business card. The brunette agent takes it elegantly and is on her way to the toilet again but when she is almost at the door, she looks back to the younger woman. And the blonde hasn’t even taken her eyes off of Emily.
I must be seeing things. No, it can’t be. I thought…I have to get out fast, I need to breath, need some fresh air. So I stumble through my way to the front of the restaurant where the team has already gathered up, puzzled looks stare into my face and all of a sudden I can’t meet their gazes so I rest my eyes on the pavement. It is safe.
“JJ, you okay? You look flushed a bit.” – a concerned Garcia asks…not so safe after all but I answer.
“Yeah, sure, I’m just completely full and tired. I should get home.”
I answer with a rapid, uneasy jabber and I know she sees right through me but I’m grateful that she lets it go this time “Do you want me to take you home?”
“No, no, I will just wait for Emily, um, you go home.” – a forced smile here, an agonizing look there…Who am I trying to kid anyway?
“Oookaay…you take care, right? Now, you Guys on the other hand…let’s go because this girl needs a little loving tonight, so please decide which one of you will be my partner in billiard…I’m gonna kick ass! And the loser is paying…” – she smiles wickedly, leading the boys to the car.
We said our goodbyes and after a few minutes they drove away, I felt someone standing behind me.
“Ow, where are the others?” – I turn around and try to hold my anger inside. Right now I just want to swallow Emily in half.
“I told them I’m a bit tired so we should call it a night. Shall we go?”
“To my apartment, if it’s not a problem.”
“Not at all.” – we head for the car and the tension is so thick between us that I can almost touch it.
She doesn’t know that I saw them.
I’m not even supposed to feel this way but I just can’t stop myself. I feel like I’ve been betrayed and I know it’s silly and not fair…I can’t stop thinking about the other woman, jealousy rising heavily in my chest and I’m fuming inside, almost revealing my inner turmoil, although I know I must stay calm. Yeah, right, easier said than done with all these damn hormones…
During the drive we don’t say a word and she must sense my ‘don’t-you-dare-talk-to-me-mood’ because she doesn’t even try to start a conversation. Pregnant woman with raging hormones? You better not mess with it…
When we arrive at my condo, I get out from the car silently, go to the door, unlock it and invite her in. In that moment, I see that the answering machine has a new message for me, so I start to listen to it in order to cool myself down but the voice just shakes me up even more because it’s Will. The minute I hear his tone I slam the phone down and Emily snaps her head up, questioning me with her look.
I can’t control myself anymore so the words come out of my mouth like gun-fire: “You couldn’t have been more obvious at the restaurant. God, and I thought that we…oh God, I was so naïve.”
“Jennifer, what – what do you mean?” – she asks blankly but it doesn’t stop me to let out the steam.
“What do I mean? Are you serious? You were the one who was all flirty with that blonde over there and I so stupidly thought that the other night….it meant something. Obviously it didn’t and I was mistaken” – I’m pacing up and down as my nervousness and unfortunately, my pain gets the worst out of me – “I shouldn’t have thought that maybe you felt that as well, that everything that happened last year and…”
“No, no, no, you can’t do this. You just fucking can’t do this!! You can’t accuse me of anything because you were the one who hooked up with the convenient, handy guy, the good man. You were the one who got pregnant and married in the first place and then moved to New Orleans with, assumingly, the love of her life. You were the one. And you don’t have the right to say anything at all because you left. You left and I fucking stayed. You found your man, settled down, got your ideal life with a husband.
You were the one who wasn’t here when my mother had a heart attack or when I needed someone the most. Because you chose otherwise. You. So don’t you ever tell me what I should or should not do because it’s not your goddamn business!”
“Yeah, that’s what I thought…well, I think we cleared that up just fine…pull yourself together JJ and leave my private life alone.”
She says the last word with so much force that I flinch. She is totally right and I know that. She knows that…I can’t argue with her: I wasn’t here, I simply ran away. I was afraid to face what was right in front of me, so I gave everything up, my life, my job, my team for….what exactly? For an idyllic life? For an illusion? I was so engrossed in my selfish little life I didn’t even notice….but I do now. We are right here, in front of each other, in my apartment, just a few steps between us…I’m just as ready as I ever will be. I’m jobless, I’m pregnant, I abandoned a husband and a father. And have feelings for my colleague. The perfect moment.
So I step closer to her, our mouths are inches apart but she doesn’t back away. Eyes on eyes, daring me, waiting for the first move…I don’t care anymore: I lean in and I kiss her. It’s just a short, light movement but I know I want more. When we part I hear her asking:
“What was that??”
“I don’t know.”
“What does this mean?”
“I don’t know.”
“D-d-do you want me to leave?”
“No…” – my heart pounds, my blood rushes through my body as she captures my mouth, claiming it like she has every right. We crush together again so hard I’m afraid we will shatter, break down into pieces. However, we don’t fall, we don’t tear apart despite the fact that my legs shake and my hands tremble…we explore each other… her delicate tongue dances with mine… I still don’t know what this is but I don’t want her to stop. She makes it so easy, I just want to be lost in that feeling…so with all the power I have left, I give in…
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