Fandom: Criminal Minds
Summary: Some relationships don't take the conventional path. When an unsub threatens JJ's life, Emily pulls out all the stops to protect her, even if it means sacrificing her own life.
–noun, plural -mas.
1. a person or thing detested or loathed: That subject is anathema to him.
2. a person or thing accursed or consigned to damnation or destruction.
3. a formal ecclesiastical curse involving excommunication.
4. any imprecation of divine punishment.
5. a curse; execration.
She puts her fingers to her side, and they come away stained crimson. It's at that point she realizes something that has been haunting the back of her mind for a long time now.
She's doomed to be alone.
As though there's some kind of curse, that someone had put upon her – cursed with unhappiness.
It seems almost a relief then, that she's not destined for this world. It's sinking away, darkness and light grappling for dominance at the edge of her consciousness. Dark edges. White spots. She lets her head falls sideways, seeing the man in his blood-stained shirt. She thinks she should remember who he is, but that memory is slipping away.
It's all slipping away.
She's holding on. She isn't sure why. There's still something she needs to do. Someone she needs to see. In her mind's eye, she sees the blond hair, the blue eyes. The smile.
Who is it?
The name seems familiar in her mind, but other things, things like fear, and pain, and anger cloud it over.
Don't give up, Emily.
Don't give up.
* * *
JJ jerks awake at the sound of the first gunshot, immediately regretting the sudden movement. Her body aches all over, both from the car accident that had resulted in her capture, and the pain their unsub had inflicted upon her since then.
She tests the ropes that bind her wrists together – they're coming loose. She thinks that he must have wagered on being around to stop her from escaping, because the knots aren't particularly good ones. She hears the second gunshot, and panic overcomes her, because really, there's only one reason bullets should be flying.
Someone's here. The team, maybe. Hotch, Morgan, Reid, Rossi. Emily.
I'm so sorry, Emily.
She wonders if it's too late to reconcile her mistakes. Too late to tell Emily how she really feels.
Her fingers scrabble at the knots frantically, and she winces as she feels her fingernails tearing. Her breath comes in short, fast gulps, and she's fairly sure that at this point, adrenaline is the only thing that's keeping her from passing out all over again.
It feels like hours later when she finally manages to pull her hands free. They're dripping with bloods, and her fingernails are raw. All in all it could be much, much worse.
Of course, it still could be – Emily's dead for all she knows. Gunshots aren't traditionally associated with sunshine and happiness. It takes several frustrating minutes to deal with the ropes at her ankles, and when she stands, she almost falls down from lack of strength.
Failure is not an option today.
She pushes forward, but then everything comes to a screeching halt. The door swings open.
Her heart skips a beat.
* * *
The house is isolated – the perfect place to keep a victim without alerting any neighbors to suspicious goings-on. It's good in a way, because it means that their unsub – Alex Collins – won't have anywhere to run to, but at the same time, it's bad, because he really could have been doing anything here, and they won't know until they go inside and find out.
Morgan's heart is beating at double-speed. Being out in the field is like a second home to him – he takes to it like a fish to water – but right now, he'd rather be anywhere – anywhere – else, as long as he had JJ and Emily with him.
They'd be in a bar somewhere, with Garcia, and, if they're lucky, Reid. JJ would be kicking ass at darts, and Emily would be on her fourth Daiquiri, and pretending that she isn't already completely wasted. Or maybe, taking recent revelations into consideration, JJ and Emily would be out on the dance floor, their slow movements the perfect expression of intimacy. He'd never considered it before today, but now he knows about it, it just seems to work.
Or it did, anyway. After today…
They're about a mile away when he hears the gunshots. They strike at his very core, but he's not ready to give up just yet.
He's at the front of the group when the door gets kicked in. His eyes dart from one corner of the room to the other, and he moves to the next door, directing half the S.W.A.T. team to go in the other direction.
The door swings open, and his finger almost tightens on the trigger, but he stops.
She seems to fall into his arms as he puts away his weapon. As though his presence is the excuse she needs to shut down completely.
'JJ, where's Emily?' he asks, urgency streaming through his voice. The words seem to jerk her into action.
'I don't…I don't know. God, Derek, what if she's…?' Her eyes are wide. Fearful.
'The rest of the house is clear,' someone tells him, and suddenly Hotch and Rossi and Reid are there, and they all seem to come to the same conclusion at the same time.
* * *
The world is enshrouded in balls of cotton wool. White. Fuzzy. The fall into unconsciousness seems to half ceased, but she's not in any position to get up, either. Stuck in some kind of psychosomatic limbo.
Then she hears her name. It's clearer now, than it had been before, and it takes a split second to realize that it's not her imagination, and then another second to realize that it's JJ's voice.
There's a second voice – Morgan's – telling JJ to stand back. Part of her wants to punch Morgan in the face and tell him to get lost, because she really, really needs to see JJ right now.
'He's dead.' It's Hotch's voice, coming from behind her. He should be angry. She had disobeyed an order after all. She's not going to apologize. She'd put the lives of any single one of her co-workers before work itself any day of the week. If he wants her badge, then so be it.
Losing your job and the woman you love all in the one week? her mind says. Sloppy, Prentiss.
'It's just a graze,' Morgan announces, his hands at the wound on her stomach, only that can't be right. She's dying, isn't she?
But then Morgan's not there anymore, he's been pushed out of the way by a whirlwind of blond hair and blue eyes.
'You look like crap,' Emily bursts out without thinking, but it's not really true, because even past the blood and the bruises, and everything else, she is still the most beautiful person that Emily has ever seen. The only person she wants to see.
'Why did you do it?' JJ asks, and there are tears in her eyes.
'You know the answer to that,' Emily says, but it's all she gets a chance to say, because the paramedics are here, and even though both she and JJ are arguing against their need for medical assistance, somehow they end up in separate ambulances anyway, and Emily finally gives way to darkness.
* * *
Several hours later, JJ's acquired stitches, bandages and painkillers, but she hasn't spoken to anyone about what had happened in the house. She needs to speak to Emily first.
Her wish comes sooner than expected – surgery had gone without a hitch, the bullet having just nicked the edge of the abdomen. JJ's entirely sure that her own wounds had required more stitches.
Emily's blood loss had still been severe enough to keep her in bed a little longer though, which is why it's JJ who's commandeering the wheelchair, or, more accurately, Hotch pushing JJ's wheelchair. He leaves her at the side of Emily's bed, giving them both the Southern gentlemen nod. Reprimands will come later, apparently.
'Hey,' Emily says, and while she sounds tired, she's still all there, which is good, because JJ has something she needs to say. 'I'm sorry I got you into this, Jayj, I-'
JJ hushes her, letting her hand touch Emily's. 'This wasn't your fault, Em.'
Emily's eyes are filled with tears and disbelief. 'He hurt you.'
JJ shakes her head, because that really doesn't matter right now. What matters is what she'd come so damn close to losing. It had taken this much for her to realize just how lucky she is. She has someone who loves her, and she's being completely and utterly honest with herself when she says that she's in love too.
The disbelief in Emily's eyes seems to triple when JJ leans down, even though the pain receptors are telling her that it's a very, very bad idea. She lets her lips press up against Emily's, and they're dry, but kind of soft at the same time.
'I love you, Emily,' she says, and in that moment, it really doesn't matter that they've been through hell, because right now, there's no place that she would rather be.
a/n: Okay. That's finished, I guess. What now?