JJ half carries a man into the opposition camp. "MEDIC! HE NEEDS HELP!" she screams.
A harried man points to a place she can set the wounded man down. Alex Blake runs over to help triage him.
"My husband has his hands full," she tells JJ. "Tell Angus any help he can spare is needed."
JJ nods and follows the walking wounded towards an opening near a small incline. A cave up the way has a flickering light reminiscent of a fire pit. Everyone seems to be staring up at it. After a few minutes, Angus steps out.
"Eat. Drink. Rest. If you have simple wounds tend to them. Help each other out."
"ANGUS!" he looks at JJ. "Dr. Blake needs help with triage and treatment."
Angus nods. "Anyone able to help the doc get your ass over there. We'll have more information for you as soon as possible." He turns and goes back in.
JJ runs a hand through her hair. She feels like crap. She grabs someone passing by.
"Do you know Emily Prentiss?" The woman shakes her head. "Shit. Where would children be kept?"
"Follow the path around the base of the hill. They are on the other side."
"Thanks," JJ says as she starts along the path.
As she walks she notes her right eye is blurry. She carefully touches it and feels it is swelling. She shrugs, figuring if that's her worst injury it's not too big a deal. As she comes around the base of the hill it's as if she's entering a different world. The other side had been full of walking wounded and dirty, bloody combatants. Here the people are untouched by battle. Hoping she doesn't scare anyone, she walks up to the tents, scanning the area for her kids, her mother or Garcia. They see her first.
She spins and sees Henry running towards her, Declan right behind him. She drops to her knees and he launches into her arms. She holds him close with one arm, opening the other for Declan who also latches onto her. She lets their love start to heal her heart and mind. She eases them back and kisses them, ignoring the pain in her lip. Henry brings his hand to her face.
"You gots boo-boos, Mommy."
JJ smiles at him. "One or two. I'll be okay."
"You're stinky, too," he adds.
She starts to laugh. "I have to agree with that assessment."
"Where's Mommy?" Declan asks.
JJ looks at him and shakes her head. "I don't know. Yet. I'm sure she'll be here soon."
"When we going home?" Henry asks.
JJ's smile fades. "I…I don't know, Henry. Things are…are different right now. But we're going to camp out here with Aunt Penny and Declan and Grandma. Won't that be fun?"
Henry shrugs. "Don't know. Never camped before."
JJ strokes his cheek. "Well, then this will be extra fun because it's your first time." She stands. "Now, I need to go get cleaned up. So you stay here with Aunt Penny and I'll be back as soon as possible, okay?"
"Okay, Mommy," Henry agrees.
"Alright, Mommy," Declan adds. He thinks a second. "Um…am I allowed to call you Mommy?"
She ruffles his hair. "I think that would be great, Declan."
Declan looks at Henry. "And maybe we can call my Mommy Mama so we don't confuse them."
Henry nods. "Yeah, that would be good." He looks up at JJ. "Tell Mama we love her."
JJ drops down and hugs them both again. "I love you two so, so much! I will tell Mama you love her."
She kisses them again and stands. She takes their hands and leads them back to Garcia. "The plant is under heavy guard. Reid is fine and is going to work to get it running so Zeke can't use it as a bargaining chip anymore. Where's Mom?"
"She went to help with the wounded."
"Okay. I'm going to go clean up. If you see Em tell her to come find me. I'll be near the leader's cave. I want to have a word with Angus."
Garcia nods. "Will do. And Jayje?" JJ pauses. Garcia pulls her into a hug. "I love you."
JJ hugs her back. "I love you, too. Everything will be okay soon. You'll see."
Garcia just nods, one of her hands rubbing her stomach as she can't help but wonder will her child ever get a chance to know his or her father.
Emily needn't have worried about finding her way to the opposition encampment. Battle weary townsfolk, some still in their pajamas, are making their way through the woods. Seems like quite a few knew where to go, making her wonder if the blindfold for her had been a measure in case she wasn't as trustworthy as JJ had said. She is cradling her right arm. Pain radiates up and down, telling her what she thought was just a graze may be worse. She suddenly stumbles and grabs a tree to give her support.
"Whoa! Easy, Emily."
Emily looks up as James slides an arm around her waist to help her walk to the camp.
"How the hell can an arm wound make me so dizzy?" she mumbles.
"I'd say it's the wound in your side to be honest."
Emily stops walking and looks down. She frowns as she sees the dark wet patch on her shirt. She eases her duster back and sees the gash in her side.
"Son of a bitch. When the fuck did that happen?"
James chuckles. "Another good reason not to have you down in the mines. You lack powers of observation."
Emily gives her would-be boss a weak smile. "Smartass."
He gets her to the triage area and helps her sit down. "Doc! Got another for you."
A woman Emily hasn't met comes over and helps her out of her jacket. "Well, you certainly are a mess. Let's get your arm and side cleaned up, shall we?"
Emily studies the woman. The eyes are unmistakable. Even with gray streaking it, the golden hair is familiar, too.
"You're Jen's mother."
The woman stops what she's doing and looks at the woman in front of her. "Are…are you Emily?" Emily nods. "I'm Sandy Jareau."
"Yeah. Figured that one out. Why are you here?" she asks suspiciously.
Sandy takes a deep breath. "My husband tried to kill Jenny and ended up killing our Rosaline. He's still trying to kill Jenny and any chance Jenny has for happiness by killing you. I may not be a fighter but I can offer my healing skills and cooking skills to the cause of stopping him. I just…wish I had done so years ago. I can't bring my Roz back. But I can keep my Jenny alive."
Emily studies the woman's expression. She is telling the truth. "I swear I'll do my best to keep her alive, too."
Sandy smiles and pats Emily's leg. "I know, dear. I know. Lay back now. Let's get you treated. I'm sure Jenny is around here somewhere."
"Do you…do you know for sure?"
Sandy takes a deep breath. "I haven't seen her but…but I know in my heart she is okay. I just know it."
Emily's eyes drift closed. "I hope to hell your heart is right. Not sure what I'd do without her."
Sandy smiles. "Nor she without you," she says to the woman who has passed out.
Sandy starts to clean and bind the wounds of the woman her daughter loves.
Emily's eyes flutter open. It takes her a second to get them to focus. When she does she can't help but smile.
"You're really here."
Morgan smiles and pulls her up into a hug. "Thought you might have missed me."
She laughs. "More than you know, my friend. More than you know." She sits back and stares at him. "But why?"
He brushes a lock of hair out of her eyes. "Your father sent me."
Emily swallows a couple times before she can speak. "Hotch? Really?"
Morgan nods. "Would have been here himself but Gibbs demanded he stay. Em, he's changed. Hotch has been kicking himself for what he allowed you to do; what he knows happened to you. He knew, in his heart, that JJ and Garcia didn't need to go with us. He knew letting them go was the right thing. He ordered an assault on Doyle's stronghold. But by the time we got there the place was a smoldering ruin." Morgan shakes his head. "We must have interrogated 20 men in one day trying to find out what happened to you. It ate him alive not knowing."
"He…he came for me?"
Morgan nods. "Of course he did." Morgan tells her about the coalition Hotch created and the work it is doing in New Frontier. He then explains Gibbs' demand and Hotch's final acceptance of the situation. "But to prove to you he never stopped loving you he made me bring this for you."
He reaches into his pocket and pulls out a slightly battered white box. Emily takes it and slowly opens it. Her eyes well up with tears when she sees the ashtray.
"He…he still had this? Really?"
Morgan nods. "Really." He lifts Emily's chin. "Anytime you want to come home, you'll be welcome with open arms. And he hopes…maybe…maybe if it would be okay he would like to come to see you so he can apologize in person for what he's done."
Emily is too choked up to speak. She pulls Morgan into a hug. He pats her back, letting her get control of her emotions. Finally she takes a shuddering breath and eases back.
"Thank you so much for bringing his words and his gift. Tell him I'm not sure when things here will be…settled but when they are I would love for him to come and meet his grandsons."
Morgan smiles. "He'll love that, Em."
The two hug again.
"So, should I be jealous?" a voice asks from behind Morgan.
The two Fidelis soldiers look to see the beautiful African-American woman who had saved Morgan standing nearby. Emily sees the change in her friend's eyes and grins as he stands. Morgan shakes his head.
"She's like a brother to me."
Emily chuckles. "Gee. Thanks, I think."
Jordan smiles. "Good to know."
"Uh, Morgan, why don't you let this nice lady take you somewhere to get a bite to eat? I need to go find Jen."
Morgan's eyes never leave Jordan's. He nods. "Yeah, I think that might be a good idea."
Jordan nods her head and starts to walk. Morgan quickly falls into step beside her. Emily just chuckles. She looks back down at the ashtray. She turns it over and reads the inscription, running her finger over the letters she had carefully cut into the wet clay.
"I miss you...Dad."
She carefully tucks the gift back into its box. She uses some discarded bandage scraps to cushion it some, lest it take another blow and break. She would ask Garcia to hold onto it for her. Suddenly she stiffens. Her box of mementos. In the rush to protect the boys and Garcia it was doubtful JJ would have thought to grab it. The box Emily holds in her hand may be the only thing left to remind her who she used to be. She tucks it into her coat pocket and stands. She winces as the stitches in her side pull a little. After taking a few deep breaths she sets out to find Garcia and the boys. She needed to know they were safe…and she needed to leave this box with them until the end of this civil war.
JJ sees Alfred making his way towards the cave. She chases after him. "ALFRED!"
He turns, smiling when he sees who it is. "JJ! Marcus was ready to bring you fully into the resistance. I'm sorry that he didn't get to do it but damn glad to see you here."
"My father has to be stopped, Alfred. He…" she stops a second as she puts two and two together. "Son of a bitch…it's you! You're the leader here, not Angus!"
Alfred chuckles. "I help run things, yes. There are several at the top who keeps things running smoothly. You'll probably meet the others soon."
JJ nods. "Makes sense. If one of you was caught others could keep the movement going."
"Exactly. Did Emily make it back from the mercenary camp?"
JJ's eyes widen. "Their camp? What the fuck was she doing there?"
"Finding proof your father was working with them," Emily says from behind her.
JJ spins around. She launches herself into Emily's arms. Emily stumbles back a step but manages to remain standing. She breathes deeply, smelling her love even below the hastily cleaned off smoke and other battle scents. After a second they ease their hug and study each other.
"You're hurt," they say simultaneously.
Emily grins. "I'll be okay. Just need to rest up some."
"Same here. What proof are you talking about?"
Emily pulls the papers out of her pocket. Though a little bloodier than when she started they are still legible. "No names on them but I figured someone would know his writing. There were others papers burned, too, and a map showing targets he wanted the mercenaries to take out, including the electric plant." She takes a deep breath. "And…your house, Jayje. They burned it down."
JJ's knees wobble. "They…he…but…"
"I raced in. I didn't know if anyone was still in there. I killed the 3 bastards that torched it but…I'm sorry I couldn't save it."
JJ pulls her close, imagining the danger her lover had put herself in just to make sure the boys and Garcia were safe. "Thank you for trying. I love you so much."
"I love you, too."
Alfred had been studying the papers. He lets out a low whistle. "JJ…I'm sorry but…"
"Yeah, I know. I saw. Fucking bastard." She takes a deep breath and looks at Emily. "My mother confirmed he tried to get them to kill me. They killed Roz by accident," she explains with tears in her eyes. "He is…is a monster, Emily. He has to be stopped."
Emily takes a deep breath. "Yeah, well, about that..."
Before she can explain a horn sounds. Alfred looks up at the cave. "That's my cue. We're about to get some instruction."
He climbs the path to the cave and stands at the opening looking in. He nods a few times then turns to the gathering crowd.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, tonight the first real battle for our town was fought. We were unprepared and yet we stand here today able to fight again. Some have remained behind to defend our power plant. Our enemies, both behind the wall and outside of it, have made it a target. Without full electricity the dictator running our town can dole out power as if he is a benevolent father to us all. But he is not." He holds up the papers Emily had given him. "Tonight we have found proof that he worked with the mercenaries to keep us scared, to keep us in line, and to further his dictatorial agenda." Murmurs start through the crowd. "Now we stand at a crossroads. We can sneak slowly, one by one, back into our town and surrender to his rule. Or we can stand together, fight together, and take back our homes and start to live like a true society."
"HOW CAN WE BEAT THEM? THEY HAVE MORE WEAPONS, MORE SUPPLIES, AND REAL HOMES! WE'RE LIVING IN THE DIRT WITH NO WAY TO REARM OURSELVES!"
Alfred nods. "I know it looks bleak but- -"
"BLEAK? IT'S FUCKING HOPELESS!" another man yells.
Now people are starting to argue among themselves. Some want to retreat. Others want to fight. A few fights break out. JJ shakes her head. She won't see people give up so soon. She pulls away from Emily and walks up the path.
"HEY! ALL OF YOU! STOP! STOP IT NOW!" It takes a few minutes but people finally get quiet. She takes a deep breath. "You are doing exactly what Ezekiel Jareau wants you to do. You're doubting yourselves, you're doubting each other. We will not survive and our home will cease to exist if we fall into his trap!"
"BUT IF WE FIGHT OUR TOWN COULD FALL TO THE MERCENARIES!" someone yells as a few people shout agreement.
JJ steps higher on the path. She gives a humorless laugh. "I have news for you. Society fell long ago. My father has allowed our town to stagnate in the gutters because it suits him. Well it doesn't suit me and it doesn't suit those of you here tonight. If it did, you wouldn't be standing here in the woods trying to figure out how to beat seemingly impossible odds. There are others out there who are as tired as we are of this depressing status quo we have been forced to live in. How long are we expected to live in squalor while a select few luxuriate in homes with electricity? How long are we supposed to just stand by and act pleased with the scraps thrown down to us by Emperor Jareau? How long do we lie in the gutters getting stepped on by a murderer?" She pauses a moment. "I say NO LONGER! Tonight…Tonight we started to climb out of the gutters. Tonight we started to fight to live again, not just exist. And now tonight we say the fall is behind us. Tonight…Tonight we start TO RISE!"
She throws a defiant fist into the air. Those gathered, Emily included, cheer the words coming from the feisty blonde. JJ is a born leader and her words have convinced many that following her is not a death sentence but instead a chance to get out from under tyranny once more.
Yes indeed…tonight they start to rise!
JJ slowly turns and looks up at Alfred. "What do we do next?"
He smiles and answers so only she hears. "We tell our true leader she has a warrior to be proud of to lead her army."
As he finishes speaking a woman steps out of the cave behind him. JJ's legs buckle and she drops to her knees. The woman is badly burned on one side of her face but her blue eyes are unmistakable. She stares into JJ's eyes.
"Roz…" JJ breathes incredulously.
THE END…for now