The Downward Spiral

If you love somebody, let them go, for if they return, they were always yours. And if they don't, they never were.

Kahlil Gibran

SEVENTEEN

Morgan ran down the hallway, his weapon drawn. When he got to the door, he saw that it had already been torn from its hinges. He stepped inside cautiously.

He couldn't quite place the emotion he was supposed to be feeling when he saw Chris Solove's body. Should he be feeling relieved? Happy, even? Was it wrong to be thankful for another person's death?

He pulled out his phone, dialed Hotch. 'Hey, it's Morgan. Yeah, Chris is dead. I think Hassan killed him.' But even that was part lie – he didn't think Hassan had killed him. He knew that Hassan had done this.

Garcia had followed Hassan through the security cameras; he had finally stopped at the apartment in which Morgan was standing. Both he and Garcia had the feeling that Hassan knew they were tracking him, that if he wanted to lose himself in the crowd, he could have. He wanted them to see this.

'He's long gone,' Morgan told Hotch. He wondered if Hassan was now killing every other member of the Circle cell. His own form of revenge. The man was nothing if not unforgiving.

His eyes scanned the room, looking for anything out of place. There, on the table, was an envelope that seemed to have avoided the blood splatter, as though it had been placed there afterwards. Emily's name was written on the front in a careful hand.

Morgan pocketed the envelope; this wasn't something that the crime scene techs needed to see.


He tried to open the door to his apartment as quietly as possible. Whatever Emily's state of mind, whatever condition she was in, he didn't want to exacerbate it.

JJ greeted him silently. Her eyes were fixed on the couch where Emily lay with Henry in her arms. Both of them were sleeping peacefully.

'It seemed to calm them both down,' she explained.

Though he had been as quiet as possible, Morgan's entrance seemed to have drawn both individuals from their slumber. Henry had a look of bewilderment on his face; he didn't know where he was, but it didn't necessarily scare him that much.

'Hey.' He sat down next to her on the couch, unsure of what to say, what to do.

'Hey,' she shuffled over, as to give him more room. There was a long silence, but it didn't seem to be awkward. 'JJ, could you…?' JJ took Henry from Emily, allowing her to turn and face Morgan properly.

'He killed Chris, didn't he?' It couldn't really be considered a question; already she knew it to be true.

'I couldn't stop him…' He didn't even know if he wanted to stop him. Did that make him a coward? Not strong enough to kill for her, but perfectly happy to let someone else do the work? He didn't know. He reached into his pocket and pulled out the note.

'He left this. I don't know where he went.'

She nodded. She was fighting back tears. She knew that he wouldn't be coming back this time.

'I'm sorry,' Morgan said. 'I know you loved him.'

He got up to leave, only stopping when Emily said, 'Wait.' She put the note in her own pocket, unopened.

'You're right. I did love him. But now…every time I look at his face, I see the past. All that pain. I loved him once, and nothing will ever change that. But I can't love him now.' She grimaced at her own words, as if they hadn't quite come out like she had suspected.

'Let me try again,' she started again. She would have gone further, but was silenced by a kiss. She pulled back, surprised.

'I'm sorry.' He apologized for the second time in the space of as many minutes. 'I have no idea what came over me.'

'No,' she said. 'No, don't apologize. You just caught me off guard.'

'I'm not rushing you?' he asked her softly, taking in her scent.

'No.' Her past was behind her now; she would never forget the tragedies, the delights, but neither would they interfere with her life.

The second kiss was longer, deeper.

In the background, JJ patted Henry on the back. 'It's about time,' she whispered into tiny ears.

A/N: I wasn't happy with this chapter, but go figure. I wanted to finish it before I went to work.

Well, almost 50,000 words into the AFF series, and you finally get your first kiss. Now that, M/E shippers, is dedication. This one is now finished, but the story will be continued in Angels Fall First IV: Bittersweet Symphony, which will be started when I've got my other stories under controls.

Peace out, and thanks for enjoying the ride – tfm.