Anathema

overture
[oʊvərtʃər, -ˌtʃʊər]
–noun

1. an opening or initiating move toward negotiations, a new relationship, an agreement, etc.; a formal or informal proposal or offer: overtures of peace; a shy man who rarely made overtures of friendship.

2. Music.

a. an orchestral composition forming the prelude or introduction to an opera, oratorio, etc.

b. an independent piece of similar character.

3. an introductory part, as of a poem; prelude; prologue.

4. (in Presbyterian churches)

a. the action of an ecclesiastical court in submitting a question or proposal to presbyteries.

b. the proposal or question so submitted.

verb (used with object)

5. to submit as an overture or proposal: to overture conditions for a ceasefire.

6. to make an overture or proposal to: to overture one's adversary through a neutral party.

Chapter One

She's sleeping blissfully when the doorbell wakes her. It's not often she sleeps this well, alone or otherwise, so the fact that she was torn from it so mercilessly has already put a damper on her mood. She groans, a hand reaching to the other side of the bed.

'JJ?' she mumbles. She can't remember – did JJ stay last night? The emptiness beneath her fingertips tells her that, no, JJ didn't stay last night. It takes her a few seconds to remember, mind still catching up. JJ had gone to her own apartment last night – they know they'll end up smothering each other if they spend all their time together.

She sits up, yawning and stares out the window of her apartment. A quick check of the clock tells her that it's almost five a.m, but she didn't really need to clock to know that. The sky is just the right shade of color to let her know that the world is on the cusp between night and morning. The light of the sun is just starting to creep in from below the horizon, stars beginning to fade.

She blinks once. Twice. Why did she wake up? It wasn't the nightmares. She has become so used to the nightmares now that they are just like any other dream. She might shift a little in her sleep, but she doesn't wake up screaming in cold sweats anymore. They have become just another one of those things that happens, like a serial rapist in Michigan, or a phone call from her mother saying that she'll have to skip their lunch date (a date that's already been rescheduled four times).

Doorbell.

The word flashes in her mind, as if she's only just realizing what the noise was. She stands, body fatigued in spite of the six hours of sleep she's had – already, that's five hours more than any other night this week.

'Who the hell calls at this hour?' she wonders. Part of her hopes that it's JJ, but the rational, logical part of her knows that Jennifer Jareau would have called before ringing her doorbell at five o'clock in the morning, and besides, JJ needs her space. Thinking back, she knows there wasn't so much malice in the word, but it certainly feels that way when she's waking up to an empty bed.

She knows she's like a puppy sometimes – a little bit overzealous in her willingness to please. It's a character trait she had adopted a long time ago, moving from place to place, having to forge new friendships. It's something that's hard to let go of when you finally find a niche in the world.

She retrieves her service weapon from the nightstand; a doorbell at four o'clock in the morning is already suspicious enough, but she's seen enough death, enough horror, to know that terrible things can happen at any time. She holds the weapon in a practiced grip, realizing only then how comically underdressed she must be. Gun or no, it is never a good idea to answer the door dressed in panties and a tank top. She shrugs the pale blue silken dressing gown on, tightening the belt around the waist.

She descends the staircase like a somnambulist caught in limbo, not quite committed to either the waking world, or the dream world. There's that silence, downstairs, the kind of silence that only occurs when she's alone. It is so still, so lifeless. She hates that silence.

She checks through the peephole, and sees that there is no-one there. She swears. If someone is going to go to and ring her doorbell at five o'clock in the morning, they should at least have done her the courtesy of sticking around a little longer than thirty seconds. Anything that justified such an early visit was surely worth that much.

Of course, they could still be out there, walking away even as she's standing there, thinking. She grips the gun just a little tighter, and opens the door. There's no-one there. She looks to the left. She looks to the right. No-one. Then she looks down.

And she sees the envelope.

***

Emily Prentiss thinks about the first time she met Jennifer Jareau. It's been almost three years now; three years that she has kept this desire hidden from her co-workers. Hidden from everyone. Everyone except JJ, that is.

She has just left Agent Hotchner's office for the second time when she sees the blond woman at the end of the hallway. They share a glance, and the blond woman gives her a small smile. This is all it takes for Emily Prentiss to become smitten.

She got off to a bad start with Agent Hotchner – it's the kind of start no loyal, hard-working agent wants. It's a start that is fraught with suspicion, with mistrust. For a moment, Emily wonders what she has done in life to deserve this sort of treatment. Since before she had even joined the Bureau, before she had finished school, she had been trying to prove herself, and, though the results were exemplary, no-one seemed to care.

Emily Prentiss is surprised then – relieved, even, when Jennifer Jareau introduces herself with a warm handshake.

'…I spoke to Section Chief Strauss,' Agent Jareau is saying. 'It seems that there was a mix-up with the paperwork, or at least, that's her excuse.'

'What do you mean?' asks Emily, even though she's half mesmerized by the woman before her.

'She doesn't like our unit very much,' is the answer, accompanied by a forced smile. Despite its origins, Emily thinks that it is a smile she could get used to. 'Or rather, she doesn't like Agent Hotchner. I think she thinks he's looking to take her job. But – and don't get me wrong, he would make a good Section Chief – I think leaving the BAU would kill him.'

It's an honest, matter-of-fact assessment, and Emily really appreciates it. All too often she is brushed off, ignored. With some hint of nervousness in her voice, she informs Agent Jareau of this gratitude.

'Please, call me JJ. And effective communication is part of my job, so there's no need to thank me.' Emily nods, but the first impression she has of the media liaison remains intact.

Agent Jareau – JJ – then offers to give Emily a brief tour, and Emily is quick to take her up on it. She finds herself eager to spend time with the other woman.

Emily watches for a few seconds as JJ continues down the hall, blond hair shining against a dark suit jacket. Then, she follows.

***

It's off-white, a little thicker than regular paper. A No. 14 envelope; 5 x 11 ½ inches. "Special Agent Emily Prentiss" is written on the front in neat capital letters. No address. No stamp. No postmark. Left at the door at five o'clock in the God damn morning.

Or, she reasons, it could have been left at the door any time in the past eight hours, with the doorbell being a completely unrelated event, but she doesn't think so. She has the gut feeling that this is important, and not in the sunshine and daisies kind of way.

The Special Agent inside her kicks in. She grabs a Kleenex from the kitchen bench, and picks the envelope up by the corner. She puts it down on the coffee table, and shuts the apartment door behind her.

There's a pair of dishwashing gloves in the cupboard beneath the sink. She wonders briefly the last time she used these gloves; the last time she did the washing up. It has been months, at least. Next, she takes the paring knife from the cutlery drawer. It's made of a high carbon stainless steel, and she paid a fair bit for the set. She uses the knives a little more often than she does the dishwashing gloves, but not nearly enough to justify the exorbitant price tag.

With the gloves on, and the knife in her right hand, she slices underneath the flap of the envelope. She wonders briefly if she should invest in a letter opener, but she knows that it will just become another one of those household objects that sits around gathering dust while she's in a hotel room in California, or Texas, or Illinois. The cut is neat, testifying to the quality of the knife.

Gloved fingers extract the envelope's contents. They're photographs, she realizes instantly. There are at least two dozen of them. She frowns, noticing the subject of the first photograph.

It's JJ.

She remembers that day; they had just gotten back from a case, and JJ was exhausted, but she didn't let that get her spirits down. The media liaison had dragged her, Morgan and Garcia out to a bar she couldn't even remember the name of, and proceeded to trounce them all thoroughly in a game of darts. She was wearing a black singlet that contrasted nicely against her hair. She looks good in black.

Brow furrowing, she flips through the rest of the photos. Some of them are of JJ. Some of them are of her. Some of them are of her and JJ together. Some of them are of her and JJ "together." She knows that whoever took these photos is organized. Organized enough to take a photo when they're six states over on a case, organized enough to take a photo of things that no-one else was ever meant to see. Shit. That probably means there are cameras in her apartment. She gets the shivers just thinking about it.

Her first thought is to call someone – someone on the team, preferably. She thinks that maybe Garcia will be able to do something about the cameras, that maybe Reid might give her some disturbing statistic about stalkers that comforts her nonetheless. Before she can decide on whom she wants to call, though, she is pre-empted. The harsh ringing sound cuts through that deathly silence, and if it wasn't for the fact that she has an idea of who is going to be on the other end, she would be grateful.

Gun gripped in one hand, she answers the phone. She's still shaking, but she doesn't want to admit it.

'Hello?'

'Did you get my little gift?' The voice is distorted. Already, that tells her something – that the person is someone whose voice she might recognize.

'I did. What do you want?' It's an open-ended question. She needs to find out as much as possible. God knows this person already has enough information about her.

'All in good time, Agent Prentiss. All in good time.'

A/N: The muse has grabbed me pretty tightly on this one, so I'm posting it now. Emily/JJ is one of those pairings that I've never really seen happening, so, of course, I was forced to take it upon myself to attempt to write it in such a way that would make sense. Maybe. I don't know. There are a couple of chapters of this already written, so the more reviews, the faster they'll go up.