calleigh_j: (Default)
[personal profile] calleigh_j
Title: On A Burning Beach
Author: [livejournal.com profile] calleigh_j
Artist: [livejournal.com profile] aoibhe
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: none
Pairing: Emily/JJ
Summary: AU fic; when CIA Agent Emily Prentiss and FBI Agent Jennifer Jareau meet on a case in Boston, a connection is forged which may be more than just professional
Notes: thanks to [livejournal.com profile] racethewind10 for being the best beta in the world even though she's hideously busy with awesome things; idea for the case from [livejournal.com profile] jujuberry136 so thanks to her and everyone else who offered suggestions for exactly how to get Emily and JJ to Boston; title and first quote taken from the Crowded House song 'Nails In My Feet'; second quote from 'Fingers of Love' by the same



Chapter Seven:

Emily sighed and rubbed her eyes. She'd been staring at the same few pieces of paper for what felt like hours and getting nowhere with them. The suspect list had been narrowed down to two men: Kirk Ortiz and Guy Foster. Both men had worked with relatives of all the missing women on the same operation and both lived in Boston. Kirk Ortiz was married with two children from a previous marriage, while Guy Foster had lived alone since the death of his wife some years previously. They both worked in Boston and had failed to turn up to their jobs for the past two days.

The real kicker was that, despite numerous phone calls, no-one had been able to get hold of either man, or even anyone who knew where they were. Emily had been searching the information they had on the two men, certain that she was missing some clue which would help them work out which of these men they ought to be looking for. She'd briefly considered the possibility that they were on completely the wrong track and that the kidnapper was someone else entirely, and then dismissed it - that way lay madness. These men fit the profile, they had connections to all the victims, and they were currently, for unexplained reasons, not able to be contacted.

Emily was an action person. She liked getting out there and getting things done. Being stuck in a stuffy office searching for a lead was exhausting her. She just wanted something to happen so they could go and find the missing women and she could get back to DC. She missed her apartment, she missed the little coffee shop that brewed what was, for her money, the best coffee in the city, and she missed her own office. She missed the space she'd carved out for herself among the testosterone and politicking, and she missed working with people she knew. It was great having Matt around, but there was nothing like having a whole team around you who understood your thought processes and working methods. Which wasn't to say the other people working on this case weren't perfectly nice. Maybe more than nice, one part of her brain intoned. That was the part that had dedicated itself over the past few days to the study of Jennifer Jareau.

Jennifer Jareau was, her brain had apparently decided, nothing short of intriguing. Emily knew better than to get involved with people she worked with - it had never worked out well for her, or anyone else she knew - but there was something about JJ that she just couldn't ignore. Something about the way she laughed at the things Penelope Garcia said and the calm, assured way she dealt with civilians and agents alike. There was something that said that JJ was someone who could be trusted, and people like that were hard to come by, from Emily's experience. It didn't hurt that JJ was gorgeous too. It didn't help either though, did nothing to stop Emily from glancing across the room and catching sight of blonde hair or that dazzling smile.

Emily sighed again and reorganised her pile of papers. She needed to be working, not idly daydreaming about a woman she barely knew. She managed another fifteen minutes and then closed the file with a sigh. She was still no closer to an answer than she had been when she started sifting through papers earlier in the afternoon and at this time of night, she knew she wasn't likely to accomplish anything else. Emily dropped the file into a desk drawer and stood up, picking up her coat and bag. As she headed across the bullpen towards the elevator, she caught sight of a light on in the side room. She changed direction and looked in through the open door.

"JJ, what are you still doing here?"

JJ, clearly startled by her presence, sat upright in her seat and stared at Emily.

"Sorry," Emily said apologetically, "I didn't mean to scare you."

"I just didn't think anyone else was still here," JJ said.

"I didn't either. Have you made any progress?"

"Not really," JJ replied, "I stayed because I thought I was getting close to something, but it turned out to be a false alarm. What about you?"

"I can't help but feel like I'm missing something," Emily admitted, "I'm sure there's something among all this information that can tell us who we're looking for, but I cannot for the life of me find what I'm looking for."

"I know exactly what you mean," JJ said sympathetically, "It's so frustrating to be stuck like this. I just wish we could get out there and find these women."

"That makes two of us," Emily agreed.

JJ stared at the paper scattered across the table in front of her and shook her head.

"Look," Emily began, taking a deep breath, "I was just about to call it a night and I think we could both use a change of scenery. Do you want to grab dinner or something?"

A strange expression, a mixture of surprise, pleasure, and worry, crossed JJ's face, but only for a moment.

"That would be great," JJ said quickly, "I think the restaurant at the hotel we're staying at is open pretty late, and the food looks half decent."

"Sounds good to me," Emily said, breathing a sigh of relief. She wanted to tell herself that she would've asked any colleague out to dinner if she bumped into them late in the evening, but if she was being truthful with herself, she probably wouldn't have. And there was something in JJ's response - something about the too brief and too quickly hidden expression on her face - that suggested to Emily that maybe, maybe she wasn't the only one thinking about more than just a professional relationship.

***

"Shit," Emily exclaimed, picking up the now almost empty glass and setting it upright.

JJ thrust a couple of napkins in Emily's direction but they had no visible effect on the wine soaking into the fabric of her shirt.

"I'll just go home," Emily said, staring down at the darkening red stain on her white shirt.

"Look, it'll stain," JJ insisted, "You should soak it straight away, and I have some club soda up in my room." Sometimes, JJ mused, she really sounded like her mother. But she pushed her chair back from the table and stood up, "Are you coming?"

Emily shook her head in amusement, and then followed JJ out into the lobby and across to the elevators. It wasn't until they were actually in one of the elevators and on their way up to the tenth floor that JJ realised she'd just invited Emily Prentiss up to her hotel room. It shouldn't have been a big deal, shouldn't have meant anything more than the overt facts of the invitation, but it felt like more than that. JJ wasn't blind: she'd caught Emily looking at her in a way that maybe wasn't entirely platonic, and she would've been lying if she said she hadn't caught herself looking at Emily in the same way. What was confusing her was what that meant.

JJ had always thought of herself as straight. Bar a few drunken games of 'Spin The Bottle', she'd never kissed another woman, let alone felt this sort of visceral attraction. But it was there, drawing her to Emily and making her think about how long Emily's legs looked in the dark jeans she was wearing and how the wine stain was turning her shirt see-through and making the edge of her bra visible.

She kept thinking she should talk to Garcia about it. Besides being her best friend, Garcia knew everything, or so she would have people believe, which made her the ideal candidate to help JJ deal with her...whatever it was. But every time she stopped at the desk where Garcia was working while they were in Boston or found herself alone with her friend for a few minutes, she found she didn't know what to say. Everything sounded so foolish. JJ had never had a particularly successful love life, but at thirty, she felt she at least ought to know which gender she was attracted to. That was an absurd thought, she realised, but to go from straight to having thoughts which bordered on X-rated about a woman she barely knew was more than a little confusing. Or maybe she was completely overreacting. Maybe she was just tired and lonely and mistaking a normal curiosity about a person she'd just met for something more.

The elevator doors opened on the tenth floor and JJ stepped out, heading down the corridor to the right. She was intensely aware of Emily following a step behind and when she stopped outside the door to her room, she found her fingers fumbling with the key as she tried to get it into the electronic lock the right way round. After a few tries she managed to get the card in. The door clicked and JJ pushed it open, stepping to the side to allow Emily to enter the room.

"The mini bar's underneath the television," JJ said, gesturing across the room. As Emily walked past her to the mini bar, JJ switched on the bathroom light. In the small bathroom, she moved her make-up and other products from around the sink and rinsed out the basin, wiping it clean with a towel. She turned when Emily stepped into the bathroom clutching two bottles of club soda.

"Give me your shirt," JJ instructed, taking the bottles and twisting off the plastic lids.

"What?" Emily asked, bemused.

"Give me your shirt," JJ repeated, "It needs to soak."

JJ poured the water into the sink and, when Emily handed her her shirt, immersed it in the liquid.

"Does this really work?" Emily asked from being JJ's left shoulder, "The club soda, I mean."

"I have no idea," JJ admitted, moving the shirt around in the club soda, "It's just something my mom always did. It's never made anything worse, at least. Right, we should probably leave it to soak for a while."

JJ turned around and found herself staring straight at Emily who, having taken off her shirt, was standing just in her jeans and bra.

"Oh," was all JJ could say as she fought to keep her eyes on Emily's face and not on the narrow strip of lace trimming the edge of her white bra.

***

Chapter Eight:

It was still early when Emily awoke. Through a crack in the curtains she could see that it was just starting to get light outside and guessed it was probably a little after four. She started to roll away from the window and then became aware there was another person in the bed with her. Turning her head a little to the left, she could see JJ's blonde hair fanned out across the pillow and Emily fought the urge to hit her head against something hard. What had she been thinking, sleeping with an FBI agent, especially one she was working a case with?

Moving as quickly and quietly as she could, Emily picked up all her clothes from the floor and went into the bathroom. Her shirt was hanging over the shower rail, though Emily couldn't remember when JJ could have put it there as Emily knew she hadn't done it herself. She pulled it down and turned it over: the stain was certainly gone. It was still a little damp but she didn't have any choice but to put it on. She quickly finished dressing, crept out of the bathroom, and opened the door slowly. Thankfully it was silent and Emily managed to get out of the room without, she hoped, waking JJ up.

The hotel was quiet and Emily made it down to the lobby without bumping into anyone else. The receptionist stuck on early morning duty gave her a funny look which Emily ignored. She headed out through the large revolving door onto the equally quiet street outside. The CIA office was only a few blocks away and Emily started to walk, pulling her jacket tighter around her to ward off the chill morning air. She stopped to get a cup of coffee from the cafe across the street from the office before going inside.

The building was manned at all hours so there were two uniformed men working the metal detectors, two seated at the main desk to check and issue passes, and a couple of others Emily could see through the security checks. None of them showed any surprise at her early arrival and Emily supposed that, just as back at the DC office, they were used to people coming and going at all hours of the day and night.

The elevator was blissfully empty and took her straight up to the floor she and Matt were working on. The bullpen too was empty and Emily was grateful for the time to collect her thoughts. The previous night had clearly been a massive lapse in judgement, so why had it felt so wrong to be leaving JJ alone in her hotel room? Why had Emily wanted to lie there in that huge, warm bed and wait for JJ to wake up?

The sensible thing to do would be to chalk it up to loneliness and simple physical attraction, but Emily knew there was more to it than that. JJ was intelligent and interesting to talk to. They seemed to have plenty in common without being so similar they would drive each other insane. Emily was slow to really trust but prided herself on making fast and generally reliable opinions about peoples' basic characters. When you moved around as often as she had done as a child, it was necessary to work out which people you could talk to and which you ought to avoid. JJ had struck her immediately as belonging to the first group and more than that. Logically, Emily knew a part of that was probably due to JJ's job - she had to get people to trust her in order to do her job successfully - but Emily was used to that too, used to people who were expert at manipulating others for their own ends and used to seeing through them.

Emily resisted the urge to thump her head against the desk and instead folded her arms over the files covering it and laid her head down. She was tired and she ached all over and she wanted more than anything just to go home to DC and lock herself in her apartment until she could sort through all the thoughts piling up in her brain. That was completely out of the question though and, taking a few deep breaths, Emily resolved to put all thoughts of JJ and the previous night from her mind until this case was finished.

She sat up straight and turned on her computer. With an empty bullpen, there would be nothing to distract her and maybe she could find something that might help find Guy Foster or Kirk Ortiz. Nothing to distract her but her own thoughts and if there was one thing Emily Prentiss was good at, it was compartmentalising and she was determined that this...situation would be no different. The job took precedence and until this case was closed, it deserved her full attention. There were still five missing women to find and a lot of angry former CIA agents to placate. For now at least, Jennifer Jareau and her fascinating blue eyes would have to take a back seat.

This approach worked well for almost two hours when other people started arriving. Emily had moved into the designated side room and had been staring at the white boards for fifteen minutes when Matt knocked on the door.

"How long have you been here for?" he asked.

"A while," Emily replied vaguely, "Couldn't sleep, so I figured I might as well put my being awake to good use."

There was a pause before Matt asked, "Come up with anything?"

Emily knew that wasn't what he wanted to ask but was grateful he'd decided to stick to business.

"Maybe something," she said, handing Matt a piece of paper she'd just printed out.

He scanned it quickly and then looked at her with a raised eyebrow, asking, "Where did you find this?"

"Garcia sent round a list of all internet forums and chatrooms and the like the suspects had accessed," Emily explained, bringing up a window on her computer screen, "She and a couple of other analysts started going through them yesterday, but there were a lot and they didn't get to all of them. I picked this one at random from the list and after a couple of dead ends, this is what I found."

***

JJ knocked furiously on the door that connected her room to Garcia's.

"I'm coming, I'm coming," came the voice from inside and JJ felt guilty for getting her friend up when they didn't have to be on the clock for another hour and a half. She desperately needed someone to talk to though and Garcia was the best and closest person for that.

It was a sleepy looking Garcia who opened the door a few minutes later, looking at JJ with a mixture of concern and irritation. She had a bright orange robe pulled tightly around her and green sleeping mask resting on the top of her head.

"Where's the fire?" she asked.

"I need to talk to you," JJ said.

"At...5:30 in the morning?" Garcia questioned disbelievingly.

"I slept with Emily," JJ said and quickly covered her hand with her mouth: she hadn't meant to blurt it out quite so abruptly. It was almost worth it though for the shocked look on Garcia's face: her eyes were so wide they reminded JJ of the eyes of cartoon characters when they were supposed to be surprised.

"Okay, yeah, I can forgive you for the early wake up then," Garcia said, backing into her room and pulling JJ with her. She crossed to the desk and switched on the coffee machine before slumping onto the bed and gesturing for JJ to do the same. Awkward even with her best friend, JJ perched on the edge of the second bed in the room, fingers playing with ragged sleeves of the old sweater she'd thrown on.

"What happened?" Garcia asked, her voice softer now.

"I don't know," JJ replied, "We were downstairs getting some food, and then she spilled red wine on her shirt, so I said she ought to put club soda on it and I had some in my room so she came up with me and then...you know."

Garcia was silent for a moment, clearly trying to process the long stream of information JJ had dumped on her.

"So, you invited Emily up to your room to put club soda on her shirt," Garcia clarified, "And this somehow led to you sleeping with her."

JJ nodded and rubbed her eyes with her heels of her hands.

"The stain was high up," JJ explained, "So she had to take off her shirt so we could soak it..."

"And then you jumped her," Garcia interrupted.

"No," JJ protested quickly, "Well, maybe, kind of, god, I don't even know. She was just there and I couldn't help it."

"And now?" Garcia prodded, "I mean, did you leave her in there?"

"She was already gone when I woke up," JJ said and was surprised by how much it hurt to say that out loud. The hurt clearly showed on her face because then Garcia was sitting on the bed beside her and hugging her.

"I don't know what I'm doing," JJ said quietly, "I'm straight, or at least I thought I was, and then she appears and I just don't know what to do." JJ knew she was repeating herself, but she just couldn't stop.

The knock on the door was spectacularly badly timed and Garcia uncharacteristically cursed under her breath as she got up to answer it.

"We have a lead," Rossi said, his expression set and serious, "Have you seen JJ?"

"I'm here," JJ called from inside the room, "Give me a second and I'll be out."

"Meeting in the lobby in ten," Rossi announced and Garcia said they'd be there, before shutting the door and turning back to JJ.

"JJ..." Garcia started, but JJ was already up and halfway to the connecting door.

"We'll talk about it later," JJ said firmly and she went back to her own room, scant minutes left to prepare herself for the day, and for facing Emily.

***

Chapter Nine:

The roads were quiet as the team raced to the CIA buildings. JJ was in the passenger seat of one of the Suburbans with Hotch driving and Reid in the back. Morgan, Garcia, and Rossi had taken the other and were just ahead of them as they drove across the city.

JJ was grateful for the short drive and the time it gave her to think. Her brain was working overtime trying to sort through the events of the past twelve hours, with relatively little success. She tried making a mental list of how the previous day had gone - her usual trick for organising her thoughts when she was struggling with something - but kept stalling on 'Slept with Emily Prentiss' and getting no further. All JJ could think about was how soft Emily's lips had been and how lost she'd felt when she'd awoken in an empty bed, not so much as a note to show that Emily had ever been there.

"I just don't know what to do," was what she'd said to Garcia earlier and it was so very true. JJ, who prided herself on being organised and in control, had absolutely no idea how to deal with her situation.

Leaning against the window, JJ tried to focus her thoughts away from Emily and towards the case. It was Hotch who had received the call - from Hamilton, he'd said, though JJ guessed Emily was probably there as well - but even he didn't know the details of what was going on. They were simply under instructions to get in as soon as possible, and that there would be a full briefing there when everyone involved in the case had arrived. JJ assumed some information had been found to eliminate either Kirk Ortiz or Guy Foster. Running over the case in her head once more, JJ was taken by surprise when she realised they'd arrived.

On autopilot, she followed the rest of the team to the elevator. When they made it up to the bullpen, Hamilton was waiting for them and ushered them through into the side room. There were a couple of empty seats left and JJ snagged one as Garcia took the one next to her. They had to wait a couple more minutes for the last few people to arrive but soon enough, Emily was moving to the front of the room and motioning for everyone to stop talking.

"This is what we found," Emily began, and JJ reached eagerly for one of the piles of print-out being passed around.

"Guy Foster's wife, Annalise, was killed in a car accident four years ago, just after Foster quit the CIA," she explained, "He quit because some questions were raised in his last psychiatric evaluation and he didn't want to attend counselling. The psychiatrist noted that he was becoming increasingly paranoid and that before he returned to field work, he needed to complete a programme of mandatory sessions with a shrink. He refused and, before he could be fired, he quit."

"Hamilton, call for you on line one," came a call from outside the room. Muttering something to Emily that JJ couldn't hear, Matt left the room.

"Since he left the agency," Emily continued, "Foster's been working as a freelance security consultant. By all accounts, he's a good, reliable guy; a bit of a workaholic, according to a couple of his friends. No other psychiatric problems had been reported. However, over the past couple of weeks, he's become increasingly erratic - started turning up late for things, missing appointments without giving any reason. However, because he's self-employed and works with different companies all the time, no-one realised he was having problems. We called around to a few of the companies he consults for again today. Apparently none of them had mentioned his late arrivals and things to us because they didn't believe he could possibly have done anything wrong."

JJ winced: there was nothing more dangerous to an investigation than people who just didn't believe that a suspect could be involved in any wrong-doing and thus neglected to pass on potentially important information.

"Around the same time," Emily added, "he started paying more frequent visits to a number of internet forums. As the print-out shows, this is the kind of thing he was posting about."

JJ turned her attention to the pile of papers in her hand. They were printed copies of posts Foster had made on a variety of internet forums, mostly related to conspiracy theories.

"As you can see," Emily said, "Foster believed the CIA was responsible for his wife's death. He stated in a number of separate posts that he thought the CIA had his wife killed in order to exact some kind of punishment against him. He also believed that the psychiatric reports had been fabricated in order to remove him from his position."

JJ, flicking through the pages, came to the last document. Most of the page was covered with dense text with little visible attempt at dividing it into paragraphs or even sentences.

"Let me clarify right now, in case anyone has any doubt," Emily said seriously, "Annalise Foster died in a car accident. The CIA was in no way involved in that accident, nor were Guy Foster's psychiatric reports falsified in order to get him out of the CIA."

"It's Foster," Matt announced, coming back into the room, "Kirk Ortiz just called in. His mother died two days ago and he and his family went to Oklahoma, where she lived, to arrange the funeral and sort out all her affairs. He did call in to work to tell them he had to take a few personal days, but somewhere along the way, the message got lost and the guy who took it was out sick yesterday."

A murmur rippled through the room and Emily raised her hand to quiet it.

"Guy Foster has been spotted three times this past week in Roslindale. There's a warehouse there which has been leased under the name Brian Young - an alias Foster was assigned when he worked for the CIA. We believe that he's been holding the women there. We're heading out as soon as everyone's geared up."

Emily began to call out names and divide people into groups. JJ gathered with the rest of the BAU as they waited to get moving. Try as she might, she couldn't get Emily to catch her eye. She was all business and if she could be like that, then JJ could too.

***

Emily hovered by the door, eyes wide as she waited for the signal from Hotch. He counted down on his fingers - three, two, one - and Emily stepped forward and turned the handle as quietly as she could. The door was blessedly silent as she pushed it open and stepped inside the warehouse. It took a few moments for her eyes to adjust to the dim light. When they did, she could see that, as the plans procured by Garcia had indicated, she was in a narrow corridor. She couldn't see the end but knew that the corridor ran all the way along the east side of the building, paralleled by a matching corridor on the west side. Above this corridor would be offices on a mezzanine floor. To her right was the staircase leading up those offices, and through the door on her left would be the main warehouse space.

Carefully, Emily crept alongside the wall until she was at the door. Like its predecessor, this door too was silent as it opened. Hidden by shadows, Emily was able to slip into the huge room, pressing her back hard against the wall as she shut the door. The room was rectangular but all the overhead lights were on and Emily could see that it was empty.

"Prentiss?" came Hotch's voice through her earpiece.

"The main room is empty," Emily whispered.

She could hear all the communication between the various people within the warehouse. Most of the team were upstairs checking the many offices. There were other people posted at all the doors and along the other corridor, but Emily was the only person in the main space. She held her position, waiting to hear if anything had been found upstairs.

"Found one," said a voice Emily couldn't immediately place, "Office five, west side."

Over the next thirty seconds, the other four women were found in offices adjacent to the one where the first woman had been found.

"Shit, he's up here," exclaimed Morgan, adding, "East side offices heading towards the south stairs."

That was Emily's cue: east side, south stairs. She could hear Morgan yelling for Foster to stop as she kicked open the door and stepped back into the corridor. Footsteps on the metal floor above her told her someone was running and Emily positioned herself at the bottom of the stairs. She raised her gun just as Foster appeared at the top of the stairs.

"CIA, freeze," she yelled and saw his eyes widen.

"Put down your weapon," Morgan said clearly, his voice travelling down the stairwell from the floor above.

A moment of stalemate. Foster looked back and forth between Emily and Morgan, clearly weighing up his options. Within seconds, three other agents were standing around Emily with their own guns pointed up at Foster. With a look of utter defeat, he bent slowly to his knees and laid his weapon on the ground.

***

A few hours later, the ordeal was over. All the woman had undergone medical checks and been pronounced fine, if scared and a little undernourished. Their families were on their way or had already arrived and after being debriefed, the women would finally be able to go home. Guy Foster was in custody awaiting a psychiatric appraisal. The main body of the case was closed with just paperwork left to be finished. They were all back in the underground parking lot now as the BAU prepared to leave.

"I'll call you, okay?" Emily said uncertainly to JJ as they stood behind the car, hidden from the view of the rest of the BAU and other CIA agents.

JJ opened her mouth as if to reply but was preempted by Reid calling for JJ and then appearing around the front of the car.

"Hey, we're going," he said, clearly unaware of the tension surrounding Emily and JJ; tension so palpable Emily felt it might suffocate her.

"I have to go," JJ said apologetically, following Reid around to the other side of the car. Emily stood motionless for a few moments, half relieved that she and JJ wouldn't have to have any sort of awkward conversation mere feet away from two dozen government officials, and half terrified she would never get up the courage to call JJ and would never see her again. She headed round the car in time to see JJ climb into the backseat of the second car and shut the door. Hotch was speaking to Director Benson but after a minute or two, he joined JJ and Rossi in the far vehicle. Then the two cars were pulling away and out of the underground parking lot and JJ was gone from Emily's sight. She watched the now empty lot for longer than she should have and sighed before heading back to the elevator.

Matt was the only other person left and he was waiting for her, holding open the elevator doors.

"You want to tell me what happened?" he asked as she stepped inside and he hit the button for their floor.

"I slept with JJ," Emily said bluntly.

Matt snorted, "Yeah, I guessed that much."

Emily started to protest - she hadn't mentioned anything about what had happened between her and JJ - but Matt cut her off with a wave of his hand.

"Em, I know you. You were already in by the time I got here, the two of you were awkward today after being chummy ever since the BAU arrived, and before they all left, you and she were having some kind of secret discussion behind a Suburban. Maybe no-one else noticed, but I know you."

"I slept with her and left before she woke up," Emily elaborated, and she felt horrible just saying the words out loud. One night stands weren't her style, especially not one night stands with people she worked with and actually liked. She wished she'd had the courage to just lie there and wait for JJ to wake up, or at least wake her up to say that she had to leave, rather than just sneak out like a thief in the night.

The expression on Matt's face told Emily that he was as surprised by her actions as she was. That didn't make her feel any better.

"Why?" he asked.

"Because I shouldn't have been there in the first place," Emily snapped, "I don't get involved with people I work with. Not any more at least. It doesn't end well for me, and I don't want to hurt her. And besides, she's straight."

"If she slept with you," Matt pointed out, "That does suggest that she's maybe open to the possibility of not being entirely straight."

Emily sighed and, as the elevator chimed to announce their arrival on the correct floor, she stepped out.

"Call her," Matt suggested, following her off the elevator.

"I will," Emily said, but she wasn't fooling herself with the unconvincing tone, and she wasn't fooling Matt either.

"Call her," Matt urged again, "Even if it's just to say that you're sorry for ditching her in the morning, you should call her."

Ignoring him, Emily crossed the bullpen to her desk. She picked up her bag and the few things on the desk that belonged to her. The case was closed now and the rest of the paperwork could be sent in from DC. She and Matt were supposed to be going back to the hotel to pack up and be on a flight in four hours. She'd never been so glad to be going home.

***

Chapter Ten:

Emily stood on JJ's front porch looking nervously at the door on which she'd just knocked. She'd spent a week starting e-mails and not sending them, dialling JJ's number and not calling it, and finally, as she left the office earlier, her hands appeared to have taken it upon themselves to steer her car not towards her own apartment, but to JJ's house. She'd looked up the address late one night in the week, entertaining a wild fantasy of driving over there and sweeping JJ off her feet, but she'd never actually intended to do that. Clearly her subconscious had powers beyond her knowledge.

When JJ opened the door, the look on her face told Emily that JJ was more than a little surprised to see her.

"Emily, what are you..." JJ started, but Emily cut her off. If she didn't speak now, she would never say what she wanted.

"Look, I should've called," Emily said, stepping closer to JJ, "I said I would and I didn't and I'm sorry. But you have to understand that I'm not good at this. I'm really not good at this, and I like you and the last thing I would ever want to do would be to hurt you." Emily knew she was rambling but now that she'd started, she was determined to finish. "But the thing is, I like you and I'm tired of running away from things in case I get hurt and..."

"Jen, what's going on?"

Emily heard the voice from inside the house and her eyes widened.

"Jen," said the voice again, closer this time, and then a woman appeared in the doorway. Emily experienced a brief, blinding flash of jealousy, and then looked at the woman properly. She was a little shorter than JJ but had the same hair and the same facial structure and the confused expression on her face was one Emily had seen on JJ's face.

"Emily, this is my sister Allison," JJ said, failing to keep a smirk from her face, "Ali, this is..."

"Emily Prentiss," Emily interrupted, extending her hand to JJ's sister, "From the State Department."

JJ raised an eyebrow at that statement, but Emily knew she wouldn't say anything about it. Technically, she was allowed to tell people that she worked for the CIA, but she and her colleagues were 'encouraged' not to, and on the few occasions when she had told the truth, the questions had been interminable.

"The State Department?" Allison repeated, shaking Emily's hand.

"Yeah," JJ said, fixing Emily with an amused stare, "Emily and I worked together a couple of weeks back and she just came over to give me a few things to sign."

"Yeah," Emily agreed, playing along, "I was just driving past and I had the paperwork in my car and figured I'd see if JJ was around. I'm sorry, I should've called first." Emily put as much emphasis as she could on the last sentence, on 'I'm sorry, I should've called', because she was sorry and she had meant to call but the best intentions in the world couldn't erase a lifetime of being let down by the people she cared about.

"Jennifer, is there someone at the door?" A third woman stepped into the doorway.

"Mom, this is Emily, a colleague of mine," JJ said, and Emily was reminded of being back in college and the Christmas when her first girlfriend took her home to meet her family.

"She just stopped by to give me some paperwork," JJ was saying.

"You girls work far too hard," JJ's mother said and the look on JJ's face told Emily that she'd heard that statement more than once before.

"I'm sorry," Emily said again, "I'll swing by your office on Monday with the papers." She started to back down the path towards the front gate, but JJ reached out a hand and stopped her.

"You could stay," JJ suggested softly, "My mom cooked and she always does enough to feed at least twice as many people as are actually around, and we could go over the papers afterwards?"

"Of course she'll stay," JJ's mother scoffed as she leant forward to take Emily's hand and pull her into the house, muttering something about 'far too thin' under her breath and calling out, "Henry, set another place at the table."

Allison followed her mother down the hallway and into what Emily presumed was the kitchen, and she and JJ were left alone. They looked at one another and laughed.

"I'm sorry about my mom," JJ said apologetically, "She can be a bit overbearing sometimes."

"She just cares about you," Emily said, not quite managed to keep the sadness she often felt when confronted with parents who clearly put their children first out of her voice. JJ heard it and looked with concern at Emily.

"Sorry," Emily said quickly, "My parents and I don't have the best relationship and sometimes it...gets to me." It was a poor explanation but JJ didn't seem to mind, simply squeezing Emily's hand before releasing it.

"I should introduce you to the rest of the family then," JJ suggested and Emily felt her nerves from earlier reappear in full force as she followed JJ down the short hallway.

There was one room on either side of the hallway, both with closed doors. The hall led into a large, open-plan kitchen and lounge. In the kitchen itself, JJ's mother and an older man who Emily assumed was JJ's father were bustling about with dishes of food. Allison and another man - Allison's husband, Emily guessed - were setting places around a large table, and Emily could just see the tops of three heads on the couch facing the TV in the lounge area.

"Guys," JJ said, raising her voice a little. That got the attention of everyone and Emily could see now that the three heads on the couch belonged to three teenage girls she guessed were probably around the same age as Rachel.

"Guys, this is Emily, a colleague of mine. Be nice to her, please."

The three girls were eyeing her with open curiosity and Emily felt painfully out of place.

"Emily, this is my mom, Marie, and my dad, Henry," JJ said, pointing out the two people in the kitchen

"Hi," Emily said and cursed her sudden return to teenage awkwardness.

"You met Ali already and that's her husband, Dave."

Dave was tall, easily over six feet, but he had a warm, genial smile and Emily felt herself relax a little.

"Over there, on the couch, the one in the middle is Janie, my niece and Ali's oldest," JJ gestured to the couch and Emily could see the resemblance between the various members of the Jareau family.

"The others are her friends Lacey and Dana - Lacey's on the left."

The girls were still watching her as Emily followed JJ into the kitchen area.

"Can I help with anything?" Emily asked, eyeing the various pots and bowls covering the counter.

"You can help by sitting down and letting me get you a drink," Marie said, gently pushing Emily in the direction of one of the chairs around the table.

Making a vague attempt at protest, which was immediately shot down, Emily obediently sat down. Dave put a glass of orange juice down in front of her. Emily sat back and, for the first time since she'd gotten back to DC, she relaxed.

***

"Bye guys, I'll see you Sunday."

Emily hovered in the kitchen and listened to JJ call out her goodbyes to her family. They were staying in a hotel, JJ explained, because there wasn't enough room for them all to stay at JJ's house without some sort of family argument erupting.

"We get on great," JJ had said earlier, "As long as we have enough space. The minute you shut us in anywhere together - like a house at Christmas or Thanksgiving - it gets a little fraught. It's fine; we never argue over anything big, but something about those confined spaces and multiple families leads to the stupidest things getting blown way out of proportion."

"I can imagine," was all Emily could say.

"So," JJ said as she came back down the hallway, "We need to talk."

"We do," Emily agreed. JJ grabbed a half full bottle of wine and a couple of clean glasses from the kitchen counter and motioned with her head for Emily to sit down. Emily perched at one end of the couch and watching JJ fill up the two glasses.

"I'm sorry I didn't call," Emily said once more, "I meant to, I really, truly did, but I have this incredible ability to screw up things that are important to me."

JJ snorted and ran her finger up and down the stem of her wine glass.

"I could've called you," she offered, "And I would have, but I've spent the past week questioning everything I thought I knew about myself and I still don't know what I'm doing."

"I know all about that," Emily said ruefully, but sat back a little more comfortably on the couch to let JJ continue.

"I have no idea what this thing between us is," JJ said bluntly, "If you'd asked me three weeks ago, I would've said I was straight. And then you appear and now I'm questioning all of that."

"That's okay," Emily offered, trying to be supportive, "You don't have to give yourself a label or define yourself in any way you're not comfortable with. Sexuality isn't a black and white thing: it exists on a spectrum." JJ raised her eyebrow and Emily blushed, "I have a friend who lectures in gender and sexuality at Bryn Mawr. I'm interested and she likes to share her knowledge. By this point, I'm pretty sure I could give a decent lecture on the topic."

"So I don't know if I'm gay or straight or somewhere in between," JJ said, "But what I do know - and this is me putting all my cards on the table because I think I'm probably just as good as you at screwing things up - is that I like you."

"I like you too," Emily said softly, surprised but happy about to hear JJ so openly express similar emotions to those Emily herself was feeling.

JJ looked at Emily and Emily looked back. JJ had a slightly goofy smile on her face and Emily was sure her own smile looked equally dazed.

"So," Emily started, "Where do we go from here?"

"I think we start with dinner," JJ suggested.

"Dinner?"

"Well, our last...date wasn't exactly conventional," JJ pointed out, "And even though it feels like so much longer, we've only known one another a couple of weeks."

"We need to get to know one another," Emily summarised, and JJ nodded.

"So, dinner?" JJ suggested again.

"Dinner sounds good to me," Emily agreed, recalling a similar conversation little more than a week previously and how that had ended up.

"How about Wednesday?" JJ suggested with a smile, and suddenly Emily couldn't help but feel that Wednesday was far too far away.

"Monday?" Emily countered, shuffling along the couch.

"I'm going to see a show with my family tomorrow evening," JJ suggested, closing the gap between her and Emily, "But we should be finished around eleven if you wanted to grab a late dinner?"

"But, you know," Emily started, feeling bolder as she and JJ got progressively closer, "we just had dinner."

"That's true," JJ agreed, her face just inches from Emily's now. Her eyes were impossibly blue and Emily didn't think she could've looked away from them if she'd wanted to, which she really didn't.

"So..." Emily began, and then JJ was leaning in and kissing her hard.

"Fuck dinner," JJ mumbled as they separated.

"Dinner's overrated," Emily agreed in between short, passionate kisses.

"Will you stay?" JJ asked, pulling back a little. Emily knew what JJ wasn't saying: will you be here when I wake up?

"I'll stay as long as you want," Emily said.

JJ kissed her again and Emily's heart beat fast and strong. Her hand slipped up the back of JJ's sweater, fingers splayed across warm skin, and Emily felt alive. JJ was right - they needed to get to know one another, and there would be time enough for that. For now, Emily knew all she needed to know: she wanted JJ and JJ wanted her and for now at least, that was enough.

There is time yet
For you to find me

(no subject)

Date: 2009-09-19 07:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] darkhawkhealer.livejournal.com
I liked this. It was so slow-burning and understated in a beautiful way. I think my two favorite parts in all of this were when Emily met Rachel for the first time (I love X-Men, too!), and when Allison came up to the door. ♥ Brilliant, thank you for sharing that with us.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-09-20 10:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] calleigh-j.livejournal.com
Thank you so much! I really enjoyed writing Rachel (and may have been watching X-Men at the time...) and JJ's family, so I'm glad they worked. Glad you enjoyed it (and thank you for pointing out my fail!!).

(no subject)

Date: 2009-09-19 09:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] llyfrgell.livejournal.com
!!!!

I didn't know this was existing, and I've been bemoaning the lack of decent, long fic all week, and now you've single-handedly remedied the situation - with long fic that is far more than decent. :-)

I like that the scenario, while AU, was still totally plausible for the characters - and it removes a lot of the angst and difficulty that they have in the canon situation. The glimpses into Emily's backstory were really well-thought-out, and I like that JJ wasn't really freaked out or angsty about any of it (besides Emily leaving). Basically, hooray for a serious Emily/JJ fic that's almost angst-free! Who knew it was even possible? ;-)

(no subject)

Date: 2009-09-20 10:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] calleigh-j.livejournal.com
Yay - I'm glad I managed to unexpectedly satisfy your craving for long fic!

I think removing the angst was half the reason why the AU idea appealed to me so much - angst is great but kind of draining after a while. I'm thrilled you think it worked so well!

(no subject)

Date: 2009-09-20 05:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jujuberry136.livejournal.com
Small confession: I'm not a huge JJ/Prentiss fan.
Big confession: I really enjoyed this :D

I think you did a great job created a believable AU here, and I loved the back story you gave Prentiss. I felt so bad for her throughout the story, her crappy family life giving her a complex- poor baby!

I really wonder how this Prentiss will interact with the other BAU agents. Will she and Reid still have their dork!luff? Will she and Morgan still tease each other about their social lives and compare book recs? Will she and Rossi still have theological conversations?

Nice job combining plot and personal background (loved Prentiss' training scenes). Thanks for sharing!

And YAY! You did it! You finished a bigbang!!!

(no subject)

Date: 2009-09-20 10:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] calleigh-j.livejournal.com
Awesome - it's always good to hear when you can get someone to enjoy a pairing they wouldn't normally go for.

I kind of have sequel ideas because there's definitely potential for this AU Emily and the BAU guys. It's on my list of stuff to write! And thank you for the comment about plot and personal stuff - I was really worried about making that work.

Yay - I finished! And so did you - your fic is on my list of things to read when I have time to sit down and focus on it properly.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-09-20 11:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] addicted-mb.livejournal.com
I really enjoyed reading this story and I have to agree that I also liked the scene where Allison came to the door! :D

I'm glad you have some sequel ideas, I would love to see how this progresses and how you tie Emily in with the team.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-09-25 08:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] calleigh-j.livejournal.com
Hee - the Allison scene was a lot of fun to write!

Sequel ideas are very vague and will probably be a long time coming, but I promise to try and get to them!

(no subject)

Date: 2009-09-20 03:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] talos13.livejournal.com
his is very good indeed. I love discovering quality and lengthy JJ/Emily stories! You write the characters we know very well and I'm impressed how well you crafted the original characters, Matt in particular. Your writing flows well and is enjoyable to read, so I hope the sequel you mentioned appears soon.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-09-20 03:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] carinjo.livejournal.com
i really like your icon talos13! wanted to make sure this story is finished, it is, so now off to go read.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-09-20 08:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] talos13.livejournal.com
Thanks!

(no subject)

Date: 2009-09-25 08:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] calleigh-j.livejournal.com
Thank you so much! I'm glad Matt worked so well for you - I was concerned about putting a bunch of OCs in but I knew they were important for the story so I'm happy people liked them.

As for a sequel, my ideas are very hypothetical at the moment. I really do want to get back to this AU at some point, but I can't promise it'll be any time soon!

(no subject)

Date: 2009-09-20 05:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lovepb.livejournal.com
I just read the whole thing, it was so brilliant. Something beautiful to cheer me up when I needed it, thank you! It's nice to read some good Emily/JJ fic, it's so rare.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-09-25 08:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] calleigh-j.livejournal.com
Thank so much! Glad I could make your day a little better!

(no subject)

Date: 2009-09-20 06:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] freakykaethe.livejournal.com
I enjoyed reading this a lot! It was very interesting finding out bits about Emily's past with the CIA and Matt.
And I loved the scene with Emily and Rachel watching X-Men in the morning :D
All in all very well written, I love Emily/JJ :)

(no subject)

Date: 2009-09-25 08:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] calleigh-j.livejournal.com
Ah, I was on a huge X-Men kick when I wrote this so there absolutely had to be a mention of it there and I love that so many people have liked that scene. Thanks so much for the lovely review.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-09-21 12:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mudpiegirl.livejournal.com
I really enjoyed this story and your writing style.

I love Emily/JJ fic, but I wish there were more stories like this that have more going on than just introspective thoughts about why they can't be together, or what-have-you.

I think writing Criminal Minds case fic would be hard to write, but I appreciate when authors try. And though this story wasn't real focused on a case per se, I still enjoyed that there was a plot and other interesting characters and developments.

I read your other Criminal Minds fic and enjoyed those as well and wish you would try a more involved case fic. Or even expand this story with Emily and JJ trying to have a relationships while doing their respective jobs, etc.

I also liked the Contraints story, but wow, what a place to leave it. :) I would think that there would be a great follow-up there, even though I get why you wrote it that way.

Anyway, thanks again for the geat story.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-09-25 08:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] calleigh-j.livejournal.com
Thank you - it was important to me that there was stuff going on other than just thinking about stuff (even though that's the part I find easiest to write!).

I would love to try more case fic because I think good case fic is a brilliant thing. The thing is I'm just not that good at though and I don't enjoy writing it that much - I'm all about the characters and the relationships and as bad as it may sound, for me here the case was mostly just a device to get these characters where I needed them to be. Besides, I think the writers on the show do an incredible job with case stuff and whatever I came up with would never match up with that. I would like to do a sequel to this fic one day, but it's probably going to be a while coming!

(no subject)

Date: 2009-09-25 04:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mudpiegirl.livejournal.com
Let me rephrase ... I don't necessarily mean a "case fic" per se. What you did in this story was fine; it just gave the story a little more plot than most CM fics have. Also, I would enjoy a CM fic which was plot-driven about their romance, or their relationships with family, other people. I guess what I'm saying is I personally just prefer stories that have some sort of story/plot beyond introspection.

I think having Emily and JJ in your A/U set up be with different agencies would make the opportunity for more stories possible. Their respective agencies could butt heads over something which could create tension between our girls, or in Emily's line of work with CIA she could go undercover or have other assignments that she can't talk about or have to leave at a moment's notice. In that respect, their jobs would be part of the story, but but the cases themselves wouldn't be the focus, just how it affects them. Does that make sense?

Anyway, I like your writing style so I'm sure I would enjoy any further offerings you do for this pairing in whatever format you prefer.

Thanks again.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-09-21 02:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] amichevole.livejournal.com
I don't review nearly as much as I should, but I'm making it my mission to read and review all of the big bang fics, even if I missed the deadline for mine.

Great stuff. As has been said, getting rid of the angst of them working together, and the preconceptions about what the team would think work well for the story. I don't ship Emily/JJ, though I do dip my toes into the pool every now and then, but this is a well-constructed, believable story.

Kudos, and thanks for sharing.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-09-25 08:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] calleigh-j.livejournal.com
I know what you mean - I'm a hideous review. Thank you for including me in your read and review mission though!

I really enjoyed getting rid of the angst and having basically a clean slate to start with. Glad it worked so well for you!

(no subject)

Date: 2009-09-21 06:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mozzdi.livejournal.com
Oh wow, that was fabulous - for a start it was well written, nice to have a different kind of story about them and I like the way they got together....love this couple! Hope you have more stories like this to come.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-09-25 08:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] calleigh-j.livejournal.com
Thank you so much! It was nice getting to think outside the traditional Emily/JJ box for a while and I'm glad so many people have enjoyed it.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-09-22 05:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] malexfaith.livejournal.com
I love this. It has been an amazing ride. I love the pace of it, the length. I love how you explained the thoughts and feelings, and the way you described everything was brilliant. I am definitely a fan of yours now. I cant wait to see what you come up with next. Thanks heaps for sharing

(no subject)

Date: 2009-09-25 08:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] calleigh-j.livejournal.com
Thanks so much for your lovely reviews on each section! Explaining thoughts and feelings is what I live for so I'm happy it worked so well for you. Thank you!

(no subject)

Date: 2009-10-12 07:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lysachan.livejournal.com
It took me forever to actually get round reading this, but it was definitely worth the wait! A really wonderful story with a lovely AU twist. Also, developing their relationship through a case = BRILLIANT. I love fics with actual cases, so major bonus points for that!

Anyway, a great read, thank you!

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