A/N1 – Well, the chapter that a lot of people have been waiting for…Operation Henry. Hope it's worth the wait.

A/N2 – Thank you for all the kind reviews and PMs. Almost 300…maybe I'll reach that mark with this chapter. I appreciate everybody that takes the time to read my story. Thanks for your patience and waiting for my story to update.

And, as always, I don't own these characters but I do enjoy writing them.

"You should go, Em. Go check on the baby."

Emily heard her phone's ring-tone chime indicating that she had a text message. It read: Operation Henry in progress

Emily smiled. "A few more minutes, babe. You just woke up." Wild horses couldn't drag Emily away from JJ's room at this moment.

Emily turned as she heard the door to JJ's private room open and then turned back to watch JJ's face as Elizabeth carried their son into the room.

JJ looked confused, as if she were wondering if she were dreaming. She looked at Emily and then to Elizabeth. A sob escaped from her.

The baby strained to reach his arms across the room to his mother, his pacifier falling from his mouth. Elizabeth struggled to hold onto his wiggling body so Emily took him from her and brought him closer to JJ. JJ moved suddenly to try and sit up and winced in pain. Tam and Jackie had both followed Amanda into the room and immediately went to the other side of JJ's bed.

"Easy, JJ, you need to stay calm," Tam said

Jackie raised JJ's bed a little so she could sit up better and then adjusted her oxygen to help her breathe easier during her excitement.

"We're all here to help you visit with your baby, JJ but you need to relax," Jackie said

Emily brought Henry to the edge of JJ's bed. JJ held the little hand that he offered her and gently squeezed it. Emily kissed the top of his head. "Good boy. You've missed your mommy," she said as she stroked his hair.

"Not as much as his mommy's missed him," JJ said quietly through her tears. "Sit him here." JJ patted the bed beside her.

Emily thought about it and then reluctantly placed Henry over the safety bar and sat him on the bed beside JJ. JJ reached out with her hand and traced it over her son's face. Henry was grabbing for his mother, grabbing at the leads that ran from the various machines to JJ's body. Emily did her best to keep his hands at bay.

"He's sitting better," JJ said, tears continuing to fall down her cheeks

"His motor skills are rather remarkable," Amanda replied from the back of the room near the door.

"Hi Amanda," JJ said

"Hi JJ. How are you feeling?" their son's nanny asked

"Much better now," JJ said as she ran her hand through Henry's soft blond hair.

Henry laughed and raised his hands and brought them down, unfortunately he lunged forward a bit and brought them down on the incision left after the removal of JJ's drainage tube. JJ cried out in agony, startling Henry into crying.

Fearing this was going downhill fast, Emily did her best to stop her son's tears while looking out for JJ at the same time. JJ tried to smile through the pain so that Henry wouldn't be frightened. They both whispered words to soothe him so he would stop crying.

"Bring him closer, Em" JJ told Emily through gritted teeth.

"Are you sure?" Emily asked. "He doesn't understand."

"I know," JJ whispered, "And I'm afraid I scared him. I don't want him to ever be frightened of me."

Emily nodded and lifted Henry to reposition him closer to JJ.

"Hang on," Tam said as she scurried over to the chair that Emily had called hers since JJ had been in this room. Grabbing one of the pillows Emily normally used for her back, she placed it to the side of JJ to protect the sensitive area.

Emily placed Henry closer to JJ and the inquisitive little boy lurched forward again as he attempted to climb towards JJ. Emily placed her hand under his tummy and helped guide him to his destination. He rested once he reached the crook of JJ's arm, nestled between her armpit and her breast. Amanda handed Emily Henry's pacifier and Emily slipped it back into her son's mouth.

"God he sure knows how to get where he wants to go," Elizabeth commented

Emily raised her eyebrows and nodded.

Noticing that he was very close to where the tube had been removed, Emily asked JJ if she wanted her to move him.

"Not on your life," JJ replied

Emily watched her wife and son lying in front of her, neither of them moving, both content to lie closely to each other.

Emily looked to the others in the room and exhaled, happy that both JJ and Henry seemed to be settled. Emily smiled and mouthed "thank you" to her co-conspirators.

Now that everything seemed to be in hand, Tam and Jackie excused themselves. Tam was off-duty and had done this little espionage exercise on her own time, Jackie needed to get back to ICU. They both informed Emily that JJ's current charge nurse, Natalie Duran, was also in on their little plan and wouldn't disturb them unless they needed her.

Amanda handed Emily Henry's "baby go-bag", as they affectionately called it, and told Emily that there was a fresh bottle for him. "He had a little a couple of hours ago," their nanny told them. "He will probably be hungry again soon."

Emily thanked them all again and kissed her mother.

"We'll be close for a while before we take off," Elizabeth said as she left.

And just like that, the three of them were alone for the first time in a week and a half.

Henry rested his head on JJ and pulled softly on his pacifier. JJ held one of his socked feet in her hands, rubbing lightly. Emily kissed JJ on her forehead.

"You okay?"

"Never better."

"Never?" Emily laughed, "Really?"

JJ smiled, "Funny how having him next to me has made the pain fade."

Pulling her chair close to JJ's bed again, Emily dropped Henry's bag to the side and flopped into the seat. "That was nerve-racking."

"Emily?"

"Yeah babe?"

"Thanks for arranging this. I've missed him so much."

"I know you have. I'm glad I could get him up here."

"How long do I have him?"

"We'll see. As long as he stays like this, he could be here all night. My mom and Amanda are going back to the hotel in a bit but will come get him if he fusses too much."

"He's such a good boy," JJ said, patting her hand on his bottom.

Emily smiled, "He is."

After a few minutes, Emily reached into his bag, grabbed his bottle from its insulated case and placed it in JJ's left hand. She helped JJ position it since use of her left arm was limited due to the exit wound of the bullet. JJ was able to hold the end of it and Henry took the bottle immediately, sucking vigorously.

"He's always had such a good appetite," Emily said watching Henry down his bottle

"He takes after you," JJ joked

"I hope so, it'll be nice to have someone to share a steak with every once in a while."

"I eat meat…sometimes,"

"Yeah, when you're pregnant," Emily bantered back. "I'd like meat a little more often than that."

"I just want to eat normal food again," JJ lamented

Emily kissed the top of her head, "Soon baby, hopefully really soon."

JJ tilted her head upwards and Emily kissed her lips. Emily watched their son as he slowed down. Slowly his eyes started to close, lids getting heavy with sleep. She went to say something to JJ and noticed that JJ too looked tired again. A few minutes later Henry was out. Smiling softly, she took the bottle away and rinsed it out in the bathroom in JJ's room. When she went back both of them were fast asleep. She grabbed one of Henry's baby blankets out of his bag and covered him. She ran his fingers through his fine, wavy hair and sighed, marveling at the little life that she and JJ had created together.

"What did I do to deserve this? You're amazing," she whispered quietly. "You both are."

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

It took a few more weeks to learn how to balance home and work. Amanda was truly a godsend and Emily found herself really liking the girl. She felt comfortable having Amanda around even when they were home, comfortable enough so that Emily wasn't embarrassed when Amanda would catch her and JJ making-out or groping one another around the house. Amanda would just chuckle and leave the room.

JJ still tended to Henry most of the time when she was home with Emily doing her part too. Amanda used this time to make sure she was getting the work done to fulfill her masters and to have some sort of social life.

All in all, things were going pretty well…until they weren't.

The team hadn't had a case since they got home from Dallas the week prior. Emily and JJ had been relaxing at home after work, playing with their son, getting him ready for bed. The only thing on Emily's agenda after that was getting JJ into bed and messing around for a bit. That plan changed when the phone rang.

Emily answered the phone in the kitchen where she had been tidying up. She felt the blood drain from her face when she heard who was on the other line. The conversation was brief; she couldn't even remember what was really said. JJ walked into the kitchen and almost immediately a look of concern crossed her features.

"Em?" JJ asked as she gently laid her hand across Emily's arm. "You okay? Who was on the phone?"

Emily struggled to answer that question, especially not knowing what he wanted.

"Jen, do you trust me?"

"That's a loaded question, Emily."

"Jennifer?" Emily said pointedly

"Of course I do, Em but you're scaring me."

"I don't mean to," Emily said walking over to JJ who was standing near her, "but I need to go out for a little bit. I have to see an old friend."

"It's pouring outside, Emily."

"I know but I need to see what he wants."

"What who wants?" JJ asked

"Can we talk about this when I get home?"

JJ stared at her, her blue eyes dark with concern. "Okay," she said hesitantly.

Emily pulled JJ close to her and kissed the tip of her nose, "I love you,"

"Be back soon, Em"

Emily threw on her Burberry raincoat and head out in her Lexus.

"Shit, fuck," Emily kept muttering to herself on her way to the specified bar in the pouring rain. "Haven't seen the dude in years and yet he fucking tracks me down."

On her way to meet him, Emily ran over all the possible reasons her old friend, John Cooley, would have for reaching out to her. Once at the bar, finding out that their mutual friend Matthew Benton was dead, wasn't one of them.

Emily was numb. The questions started flooding her mind. She knew Matthew had struggled with drug addiction since they were teens growing up. She suspected this is what caused his death; she was surprised when John said that Matthew thought someone was trying to kill him. Emily agreed to see if she could find something out about it.

Emily called Garcia as she made her way to the BAU. She was thankful their tech genius was working late at the office, assisting Hotch with some research. Despite being busy, she managed to throw in a query for Tommy V, a name John had said that Matthew had mentioned to him.

Hotch gave her some leeway to look into Matthew's death, even brought the team in to help investigate. Emily had never before felt so unstable in her job; she lost her objectivity and her ability to compartmentalize. Dave tried to help and even got her to open up about what had happened in Rome more than half a lifetime ago. She wasn't sure what happened or how Matthew died but she was determined to find out. Matthew had been there for her during her darkest hour and she was going to find out how he died come hell or high water.

Emily and the rest of the team started to dig into Matthew's life. His recent trip to Spain brought some surprising questions. Were Matthew and John involved in a murder of another priest while there? The thought was too painful to think about. The found a name, Father Silvano, and Emily knew he was responsible for what happened to Matthew; she believed that with her entire being. His exorcisms had led to the death of three men including her friend. She became a little aggressive when questioning the priest and Hotch actually removed her from the case.

She was angry at Father Silvano for his involvement in Matthew's death, angry with Hotch for taking her off the case, angry with Rossi for making her relive her painful memories, angry with Morgan for not backing her up, and angry with herself because she hadn't been there for her friend that had been by her side all those years ago.

After they caught Father Silvano trying to perform his final exorcism on John Cooley, Hotch and Morgan arranged for the priest to be turned over to the Italian authorities. They had discovered earlier in their investigate that he had diplomatic immunity, even for the possible murder of three men, and the worse they could do was have him deported. After the ordeal was over, Rossi offered to give Emily a ride back to the office but Emily needed to walk, she needed to process everything that had transpired since she'd left her home to meet with John the night before. She needed to become less angry before returning to her family.

As the light snow got increasingly heavier, she walked aimlessly down street after street until she found herself in front of a church. She stared at it and remembered back to the days when she used to believe so strongly in it. The church was a big part of her childhood. Alex had been an alter boy on more than one occasion, the memories of catechism and communion replying in her mind. Her mother had turned to the church for strength when Alex died. Emily realized that was the beginning of her turning away from it; she found comfort and solace in other places.

Emily had kept an old picture of the three of them tucked in the back of a drawer at work. She kept it there as a reminder of just how far she had come since that darkest time of her life. She dug it out after hearing of Matthew's death. Emily took it out of her pocket while standing in front of that church. A drop of blood fell onto that old faded memory. She realized her nose was bleeding and she wiped it away with the back of her hand and then her fingertips.

"Are you okay?"

Emily was startled out of her thoughts by the sound of a familiar voice. She turned to find JJ walking towards her.

"I don't think so," Emily said crying into JJ's shoulder as she felt JJ's arms wrap around her. The anger had long subsided and had given way to hurt and remorse. Emily felt like that confused and lost fifteen year-old again.

JJ held onto her, snow falling all around them as they embraced. When Emily was able to finally speak again she asked, "How did you find me?"

"Intuition?" JJ replied, "I don't know how else to explain it. When I got to the crime scene, Dave told me you wanted to walk so I just drove down different streets until I saw you standing here. You were on foot, I knew you couldn't have gone far."

"I didn't even hear you pull up."

"You're in your own head again, Emily." JJ said. "Let's get you home."

Emily sniffled and wiped away the remaining blood. JJ reached into her pocket and pulled out a clean tissue.

"I probably got blood on your jacket."

"It's black, you'll never be able to tell. Besides, Henry's covered this thing with more stuff than I care to mention. Good thing we have a good dry cleaner."

Emily chuckled softly.

"Why is your nose bleeding, Em?

"I'm not sure. Hopefully from stress and not from anything that priest had that Holy Water."

They walked over to JJ's Lexus, "You're driving your SUV."

"Yeah, I figured you'd need to go home after this. No point going back to the office," JJ replied. "Like I said, let's get you home."

Exhausted, Emily tried to fall asleep during the ride back to DC but her mind kept replaying everything in her head. She kept thinking about what happened over twenty years ago, how Matthew had been there for her; she wished she could have been there for him, that they hadn't lost touch. She thought about her life and the various relationships she'd sabotaged between then and joining the BAU. She thought about the beautiful woman who was here for her now and was ever so grateful. The last thing she felt before sleep finally won out was JJ reaching for her hand and interlacing their fingers.

After pulling into their garage, JJ had to help Emily to the house. Emily felt frozen, both physically and emotionally. JJ helped Emily shirk off her coat and then hung them both in the garage to dry before guiding her into their home. JJ left her on the couch as she ran upstairs. It was late, the house was quiet and Emily assumed the baby was asleep. Emily was fixated on a red spot on a painting that hung in their family room. It reminded her of the blood that had dripped onto the picture of her, Matthew, and John. It was all she could think about. She thought she heard the distant sound of running water and voices from atop the landing but she couldn't pull them to her conscious state, instead they were like figments playing on her imagination.

JJ's gentle hand on her arm brought her out of her trance.

"Em, let's get you upstairs." JJ said softly

Emily let JJ lead her up to their bedroom and into their bath. JJ had left both rooms quiet and dark, with only a few candles lit for lighting rather than for romantic ambiance. JJ slowly undressed her, careful not to startle her. Once she was naked she felt alone and vulnerable despite the love of her life standing before her.

JJ must have sensed this because she pulled Emily to her and wrapped her in her arms. Emily couldn't stop her body from shaking in spite of the warm body pressed against hers. Without realizing it, tears were falling uncontrollably from her eyes.

"Ssshhh, ssshhh," JJ whispered. "I got ya. It's going to be okay."

"I can't stop shaking," Emily was finally able to say.

"I know. Come on, let's get you in the tub."

Emily hadn't noticed before but JJ had run the tub and it was warm and waiting for her.

JJ helped Emily slide into the sunken bath and get settled. The warm lavender scent of the bath salts filled the large bathroom.

"I'll be right back, babe."

When JJ returned a few minutes later, Emily noticed she had changed into a tank top and sweats. She also came bearing two glasses filled about halfway with an amber liquid. Carefully handing one to Emily, JJ said "All whiskey, no soda."

Emily was sitting in the warm, almost hot, water with her knees up to her chest. She took the glass from JJ and took a sip, feeling it burn all the way down.

"You take good care of me," Emily said

"We take good care of each other."

Emily started to cry again. JJ grabbed a bath sponge and slowly ran warm water down Emily's back then used it to gently wash her skin.

"Wanna talk about it?" JJ asked

"I don't think I can."

"Come on, Em. Just a couple of months ago I sat on the edge of this tub and you asked me to talk to you. It was the start of my healing process to rid myself of the baby blues." JJ reminded her. "You helped me then, let me help you now."

"It just, I don't know." Emily started. "It's too painful."

"We've talked about it before, Em. We've talked about what happened between you, John, and Matthew. This isn't anything new."

"This brought back all the demons I've been fighting my whole life."

"You don't have to fight them alone anymore, Emily. I'm here for you."

"It's too painful."

"And telling you about Ashley wasn't?"

Flashback

Emily had just told JJ about Alex and afterward she had asked JJ to make love to her. They were lying on the couch in each other's arms as they both caught their breaths. They heard the alarm go off upstairs and headed back to Emily's bedroom to get ready for work.

Emily was talking about the case file she had been reviewing before her mother had shown up at the BAU the day before. She asked JJ a question about it and it went unanswered. She asked again getting the same results. Emily walked out of the vanity area where she'd been applying her make-up to check on JJ. She found her lover sitting on the bed, head down staring at her hands in her lap.

"Jen?"

"I get why you never mentioned your brother before," JJ said softly

"Some things are just too painful to talk about," JJ continued, finally looking up to meet Emily's eyes

Emily kept quiet, afraid if she said anything JJ wouldn't be able to talk about whatever it was that was troubling her.

"I've been keeping something from you,"

Emily walked over to JJ and kneeled in front of her. "You can tell me anything, JJ." Emily watched JJ's blue eyes fill with tears. "Jennifer, talk to me."

JJ closed her eyes and all Emily wanted to do was hold her the way that JJ had held her just a few hours before. She hated to see her lover in such pain. She took one of JJ's hands in hers and held it tightly.

"I haven't been completely honest with you as to why I'm afraid of the woods," JJ said finally.

"It's okay, JJ. You don't have to tell me if you don't want to."

Emily immediately thought that someone had hurt the woman that she loved and was almost afraid for JJ to continue. During her career, she'd seen way too many pictures and case files of what could happen to little girls.

"You told me about Alex, I need to tell you about Ashley."

"Who's Ashley?"

"My sister."

"I never knew you had a sister."

"I never knew you had a brother. Like I said, some things are too painful to talk about."

"What happened, JJ?"

JJ thought for a moment, then told Emily a very long story.

"I wasn't kidding about being lost in the woods when I was six, Em. When that happened, I stopped playing in the woods because I was scared. My sister, Ashley, was the oldest of us Jareau kids; she was six years older than me. Six years is a big difference. Some days she would look out for me and others I was the pesky little sister she couldn't be bothered with but I looked up to her so much, Emily."

Emily smiled and nodded; her relationship with Alex could sometimes be the same way.

JJ continued, "She felt bad she was with her friends the day I got lost and she tried very hard to help me get over my fear of the woods. You've seen where I grew up; the place is lousy with trees. I felt safe with her and she was really the only person that I would let take me into the woods after I'd gotten lost. We had our secret spot where we would sit and she would tell me stories. Things that happened at school, things about her friends, things that had to stay hidden in our secret spot."

"As we got a little older, and Ashley got interested in boys, we didn't go there as often but she still made time for me. My dad let Ashley have a boyfriend when she turned 16, though I knew she'd already been dating him in secret for almost a year. I was insanely jealous of the amount of time that my sister spent with Doug and his family."

JJ smiled at the memory.

"She was the first person to tell me about sex."

"What did she tell you?"

"That it hurt the first time she did it. That is wasn't everything it was cracked up to be. That I should wait until I really loved the person before I had sex with them."

"Smart girl," Emily said, holding JJ's hand tighter

"About six months after Ashley turned 16, she and Doug broke up. My sister was devastated to find out that he was sleeping with a couple of her friends, her so-called friends. They were all cheerleaders for East Allegheny High and I guess it was a very uncomfortable situation."

"I can imagine,"

"My sister was different after that. She withdrew; she rarely interacted with my brothers or me. My parents tried to help, tried to find out what happened. It's a small town, Em…it wasn't hard for them to hear what happened but I had no idea until much later."

JJ swallowed hard before continuing.

"Ashley hadn't been herself. We hadn't gone to our secret spot for months. One afternoon, just after she turned 17, she knocked on the door to my bedroom. She told me that when my mom was pregnant with me all she wanted was a sister; that my brothers were fine but she really wanted a little sister. She told me that she loved me; that she always would no matter what happened. That I was the best little sister a girl could ever pray for. Then she gave me the necklace that my parents had given her as a Sweet 16 present."

"How old were you?"

"I was eleven,"

"What happened JJ?" Emily asked. She already knew where this was headed but JJ needed to get it out.

"I didn't want to take the necklace, it was hers but I was secretly happy that she'd given it to me because I had wanted one just like it for a year. She kissed me on top of my forehead and left my room. As I gazed in the mirror at the necklace hanging around my neck, I looked through the window and saw Ashley as she headed for the woods; she was carrying a brown grocery sack. I thought she was going to our secret spot. I ran downstairs to follow her, hoping we would get to spend some more time together."

Tears flowed freely from JJ now, she didn't even bother to try and stop them. Emily got up from her knees and sat on the bed beside JJ, pulling her into a tight embrace. "It's okay, JJ, you don't need to finish. This is too hard for you."

"I was half way there when I heard the shot,"

Emily closed her eyes, "Oh god,"

"I stopped in my tracks, fearing where the shot came from. I hoped the woods were playing tricks on me. I ran to our spot and Ashley…was there, it was already too late."

"I'm really sorry, JJ."

JJ took a minute to compose herself before continuing.

"I didn't really understand what had happened. I just knew my sister had shot herself and that I found her body. I ran back to the house and got my brothers. I took them to Ashley's body. Andrew was 15 and learning to drive. He told Paul to call 911 and to wait at the house for people to come. Andrew took one of my dad's cars and drove to the shop. My mom was there working on the books that afternoon. No son should ever have to tell his parents that their daughter killed herself. It's all a blur from there."

JJ cleared her throat

"I guess that's when my mom started to really change. She was tough on me before, but after my sister's death she became nearly impossible. You see…Ashley was the pretty one, the petite cheerleader that my mom lived vicariously through. Ashley took that away from her."

"Death changes people, JJ."

JJ nodded her head and sobbed into Emily's neck. Emily could feel JJ's body shake as the emotional memory rolled through her.

"Did you ever find out why your sister did it?"

"Yeah, I found out a few years later from Andrew. Doug and her 'friends' had spread rumors all over school about Ashley. That she was a slut, that she slept with nearly every guy on the football team. Guys believed the rumors and asked her out for the wrong reasons. And when the guy wanted sex and she said no, she was a cocktease. Andrew didn't really know about it while it was happening, he was a couple of grades behind her in school. He'd heard some guys talking but he had no idea they were talking about his sister."

"Crap, I bet he wanted to kick Doug's ass after that."

"He did, about 10 years later. Doug had gone off to college and came home one for the holidays one year. Andrew saw him in a bar and kicked is ass. Andrew spent the night in jail but Doug refused to press charges and the matter was dismissed."

"Bastard probably felt guilty about Ashley."

"He did. He actually told Andrew that…afterwards. He told Andrew that he was sorry and that he thought about Ashley every day. That she didn't deserve that. He was a stupid kid and he didn't think it would cause her to kill herself."

"He didn't think at all," Emily replied

"No he didn't. Emily you have no idea what it is like growing up in a small town, everybody knowing your business. There is no place to hide. Ashley felt suffocated by the rumors, suffocated at school, she had nowhere to turn. She might have been able to talk to my parents."

"Could they have done anything?"

"I'm not sure. Not a lot of options. They knew that she and Doug broke-up, they knew that he was sleeping around town, but they didn't know about the other guys. I think that's where the real pain was coming from. The rumors were worse after she killed herself. I could never find out for sure, but I think one of them may have date-raped her."

"Oh god," Emily said rubbing her hand across her face. "Poor kid."

"She was sweet, Em. All my memories of her are good ones, even when she was treating me like I was a pain in her side. I missed her so much growing up."

"There were no pictures of her at your parent's house, were there?"

"No, they took them all down a long time ago. It's too painful. But her room is still intact; I checked when we were back there. If I had taken you upstairs, you would have seen pictures of her. I'll show you next time you're at my house. I've got pictures, lots of them over at my place."

Emily ran her hand up and down JJ's back trying to soothe the pain her love was feeling.

"It's gotten easier as time has gone by…it is a great healer."

"This is the true source of your nightmares isn't Jayj?"

"Yeah. Some nights I just hear the BANG; some nights I see her face half blown away."

Emily closed her eyes at the thought that JJ had to see her sister like that. She remembered all the blood that covered Alex when he had crashed into that tree. That had been bad enough; this had to be so much more tragic.

"Where'd she get the gun?"

"My dad. He has a lot of them. Taught us all to shoot and handle them when we were little so that we felt comfortable around them."

"No wonder you ace all the firearms tests."

JJ laughed lightly

"Did your sister's death prompt you into going in to law enforcement?"

"A little. My sister was the first dead person that I ever saw. As I got older, I didn't want it to be the last. Given everything that I'd been through, I started to think that I could help others get through it. Every time a friend lost someone, I was the first one they called. It was just kind of a natural progression."

"I understand why you didn't want to tell me. It still hurts, I get it."

"I know you do…now. When you told me about Alex last night, I knew you knew exactly how it feels, how much it hurts to lose someone you love."

JJ finally lifted her head from Emily's shoulder and kissed Emily.

"Thanks, Em," JJ said after parting. "We'd better get going, we're already late for work."

"Crap! We'd better call Hotch."

"He won't be in until after 11, he's going with Haley to take Jack to the doctor."

"If he remembers,"

"I reminded him before I left for the restaurant last night and I programmed a reminder text to be sent to him this morning," JJ said knowing their boss' tendency to focus only on work. "He'd better remember."

Emily kissed JJ again this time deeper and they then both finished getting ready for work. They arrived over an hour late. Good thing Hotch remembered and everyone else was too busy to notice.

XXXXX

Emily sat shaking in their bathtub as she remembered the morning that JJ told her about Ashley. Ashley was the unspoken ghost that haunted the Jareau family. Emily had helped JJ work past the pain then, could Emily let JJ help her work past her own pain now?

JJ continued to run the sponge across Emily's smooth back and shoulders, waiting patiently for her wife to speak.

"I tried to push this all behind me," Emily said softly

"Sometimes our past is dragged out into the light no matter how hard we tried to hide it,"

"I feel like I don't deserve this,"

"Deserve what, Em?"

"You. Henry. I never thought…" she started then stopped.

"Thought what, Em?" JJ prompted

"I never thought I'd get a chance to have a family. I didn't think that God would allow it after what happened in Rome."

"I think you've beat yourself up enough about this. My parents raised us to believe that God is forgiving."

Emily sat silently in the tub.

"I've never said I love you to anyone," Emily began tentatively

"You tell me you love me all the time, Em."

"I mean before you," Emily corrected.

"Okay," JJ said. "Why?"

Emily was silent again for a long time.

"I don't think I ever really felt it before. Or maybe I didn't think I deserved to feel it."

"Em, we all deserve to be loved."

Emily started to sob and JJ dropped the sponge preferring instead to use run her bare hand across Emily's skin.

"This whole mess brought back all the feelings of unworthiness that I felt as a kid; the self-loathing, the self-doubt. Do you know how many times I wish it were me that died on that mountain instead of Alex?"

JJ leaned over to add a warm trickle of water to the bath, which was growing tepid. Standing, she stripped out of her clothes and climbed into the bath behind Emily. Once settled, she drew Emily to her and let her lover settle into her. Emily sighed heavily once she was safely ensconced in JJ's arms.

"I hate that you feel that way, Em," JJ said kissing Emily behind her ear. "If that had happened, I would never have met the fantastic woman that I share my life with."

"That one incident created a snowball of different sorrows in my life." Emily swallowed hard, "Alienation from my parents, seeking comfort in the wrong places, my pregnancy, my abortion, the alcohol."

"Alex's death was a tragedy."

"So was Ashley's and you didn't fall apart."

"Well, we all handle things differently and I was a lot younger. My mother may have been tough on me but she did care, maybe too much but she cared. I was always kind of daddy's girl but, after Ashley died, he and I were even closer."

"I didn't have that."

"I know."

"So I had Matthew, John, and a few other friends. We all drank and hung out, goofed around. I needed to feel like I belonged somewhere."

Emily raised her glass to her lips and took a drink.

"The other friends were a few of the local kids, mostly the kids of people that worked with my mother or for the Italian government. Spoiled, wealthy. Arturo, Mia, Marco, and…Paola."

Emily sat up and turned off the water before the tub overfilled, then settle back against JJ.

"Paola and I were really close friends. I started to have these feelings toward her. My stomach would ache and I couldn't wait to see her. Sometimes I caught her looking at me. I didn't get it. I was fifteen; I didn't know what I was feeling. I just thought we were friends."

JJ drew her arms tighter around Emily.

"Once day it was just the two of us and she kissed me…and I freaked. I didn't know how to react. I didn't know how I felt about boys much less girls."

"What did you do?"

"I ignored her, shut her out, and pretended it didn't happen."

"Ick."

"I would only hang around her if it wasn't just her and me. Until one day she came to our villa, confronted me about what had happened."

"What happened then?"

"We talked, yelled, ended up making out. She was about a year and a half older than I was. She had a little experience. She touched me places I'd never been touched before, rubbed me through my jeans. It was the first time I ever came."

"Did you like it?"

"Um," Emily thought about it. "I didn't dislike it but it confused me. She left after she rubbed me out. I didn't know what happened. She just stopped, got off me and left. After a few minutes, I took off to try and find her. I found John instead."

"Oh?"

"I never meant to sleep with him. I was looking for Paola. We didn't have any protection. We made out, he felt me and I was wet. He thought it was because of him. I didn't want him but it's not like I stopped him either. Next thing I knew he was inside of me, pumping like a jackrabbit. It was awkward and clumsy. He came, I didn't."

"And that one time you got pregnant?"

"No, we did it a few times after that. We were always careless so I'm not sure exactly when it happened." Emily laughed mirthlessly. "I was afraid. I had no one to talk to so I turned to Matthew."

Emily took another sip of the whiskey

"I regret ever sleeping with John…and not just because I got pregnant. I was just confused about Alex and Paola, I just felt so alone."

JJ ran her hands along Emily's arms.

"After Matthew found the doctor and helped me through my abortion, he started using drugs more. He felt he had sinned because he helped me end my baby's life. I'm not sure he ever forgave himself."

"Emily, you can't blame yourself for Matthew's messed up life."

"He was already so messed up when I met him," Emily said. "He was so smart and had so many questions about the Bible and God that people wanted to answer by telling him to pray. Not really the answer he was looking for. I think the abortion exacerbated his issues. I also think he had questions about his own sexuality but he would never talk to me about them."

Emily downed the remainder of the amber liquid that was in her glass.

"Those were his demons, Em."

"I didn't help and then I left Rome."

"You didn't leave Rome voluntarily, Emily. Your mom made you leave. You were a kid; you didn't have the ability to help him. You could barely help yourself."

"My mom had to get me out of Rome because I was drinking a lot and I think down deep she was worried about my relationship with my friends especially Paola."

"What happened with Paola?"

"Nothing. She felt I had made my decision when she saw me kissing John. She called me a coward and never really spoke with me again."

"My mom brought me back here to the States," Emily continued. "I threw myself into the music scene. Acted out, was a general pain in the ass to my mom…typical high school stuff. I didn't know what I was going to do after I graduated so I applied to Georgetown. Did my general ed."

JJ laughed softly, "Crazy how we both went to Georgetown at some point."

"Yeah. I wonder if you would have liked me back then."

"Of course I would have, Em."

"I'm not so sure JJ. I was a loner in high school, didn't go out with anyone. After I started Georgetown I dated a couple of guys just because I don't think I wanted to admit what my true feelings were. Then one of the waitresses where I worked started to flirt with me. I found myself gravitating to her and, after a while, we ended up having sex in the storeroom at work one night and nothing had ever felt so right."

Emily grabbed JJ's glass of whiskey from where it had been resting on the edge of the tub and took another drink.

"After that I knew, I knew and I never looked back. But I was still a little fucked in the head. All I was interested in was hooking up with girls in bars, in clubs, or at parties. Never taking them back to my place, never going to theirs. Just random meaningless sex."

"It was college, Em. It's like that for a lot of people not just you."

"I didn't feel anything for any of these women, Jayj. Nothing. I was empty inside. If anything, I wanted to hurt them because I was hurting."

"Did you?" JJ asked, "Hurt them I mean?"

"No. I mean I got a little rough, biting, bruising but nothing like I wanted to do."

"What did you want to do?"

"I'm not sure. I tried to keep the dark thoughts away, I was afraid to explore them. I just knew I wanted it to hurt."

Emily took another drink

"I even went to a couple of S&M clubs. At least there the random sex came with the pain I was seeking."

JJ kissed the back of Emily's neck. "You don't seem to need that anymore."

"When I left for Yale, I told myself I was going to leave that dark passage behind me. I wanted more. I needed to feel something more than just the void inside of me. I think that's why I decided to study psychology. I wanted to understand myself."

Emily sighed, trying to figure out if she should continue, "Veronica is the first person that I ever felt anything for."

Emily felt JJ's hands tighten around her again.

"I know I've never really discussed her before. I'm sorry."

"Em, we all have a past. You don't really talk much about yours. Maybe you need to get it out because this has obviously been eating at you."

"Did you know she was the first person I ever had sex with in a bed," Emily said, her voice shaking. "How ridiculous is that?"

"Did you love her?"

"Maybe, I'm not sure. I do know that you are the first person I ever loved with any certainty."

JJ kissed the back of Emily's neck again. Emily settled deeper into JJ, she felt her chest constrict as she thought about just how deep her feelings for JJ ran. Emily shivered and not just because the water was growing cold again, she felt JJ's hands as they slipped down her torso to her thighs.

"I love you too, Em." JJ whispered as she slowly began to move her fingers along the tops of Emily's upper leg. Emily grabbed JJ's hands and, after intertwining their fingers, placed JJ's hand where she needed to feel her the most.

Emily tilted her head back as JJ's deft fingers slowly worked her towards climax. She was vaguely aware of the soft whispers JJ said into her ear, words of love, of devotion, of encouragement and of lust. Emily came hard and fast and then just cried as JJ held her.

After a few more minutes the water was too cold to sit in it any longer and JJ coaxed a spent Emily out of the water. Emily felt JJ slowly towel her dry and then lead her to their bedroom, sitting her down on their bed.

When JJ turned to retrieve a pair of Emily pajamas from the dresser, Emily stopped her by wrapping her hand around JJ's wrist. Emily pulled JJ towards her and then placed her hands on JJ's naked waist.

Emily gently kissed between JJ's breasts and then pulled her down onto the bed. She rolled on top of the blonde and kissed her mouth.

"Thanks again for taking care of me tonight, Jayj. I think it helped to talk about things. About Matthew and John. Paola and Veronica." Emily started softly.

JJ placed her hand gently on the side of Emily's face.

"I think I thought I loved Veronica, and maybe I did. I think she stirred something in me that hadn't been felt since Paola. I'm not sure what would have happened if my mother hadn't interrupted us that day," Emily said as she pulled herself away from JJ a little to look her in the eye. "Where we would have ended up. After Veronica, it was random lovers again and I sort of fell back into my old college habits. Thank god joining the Academy stopped most of that. There were random lovers but not quite like before. Never any relationships, I didn't have the time or desire for them or their complications. I didn't think it was in the cards for me. "

"But there has never been any doubt in my mind that I love you, Jen. I fell in love with you from the start, if I think about it hard enough it was probably from the very first day you introduced yourself to me. And from our first kiss, I knew right there in your living room I was in this forever. I love you Jennifer, you are everything to me, you and Henry. I don't need anything else. I'm not sure what I ever did to deserve this, I'm not even sure I do deserve this but I have it and I'm never letting it go."

JJ pulled Emily lips to hers and they kissed passionately; tongues entwined together and moving as one. They only stopped when the need for air became greater than their need for each other.

After a minute or so to catch her breath, Emily said "I promised myself, Jen, when we first started this relationship, I wouldn't hold anything back from you. That you would always know how I felt. That's why I tell you all the time that I love you, because I do, I do so much. You are my world, you are my lover, you are my wife, you are the mother of my child," Emily said kissing JJ's neck as she spoke.

Emily stopped kissing JJ's neck to look her back in the eye, "Jennifer, you are my life."

It was then that Emily saw that JJ had a tear rolling down her temple and into her hair. She wiped JJ's tears away and kissed her again. After that, there was nothing left to say and the two of them then made love to one another.

The two lay wrapped in each other's arms, both spent by their lovemaking. After a short while, JJ sat up a bit and kissed Emily gently. "You do deserve this, Emily. Everyone deserves to be loved, no matter what happened in their past, no matter how guarded their hearts are. Know that I love you, Em and I always will. You are my world too."

JJ kissed Emily and then settled back into her arms. Soon Emily could hear the soft rhythm of JJ's breathing that usually indicated her wife was asleep. She held onto JJ and thanked whatever god led her to this person, her lifeline that had become everything to her. The person that had help slay the demons of her past and had made her life better than she ever imagined it could be.

Just as she was about to fall asleep herself, their son began to cry in the other room. She heard Amanda's door open and, just as she started to drift off, she realized JJ must have asked their nanny to tend to their son that night.

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Emily was pulled from the memory by the very real cries coming from her son. She picked him up before he woke the entire ward.

"Is he okay, Em?" JJ asked sleepily

"Yeah, he's probably just hungry. I'll fix him a bottle."

Henry had calmed down a bit and Emily placed him next to JJ while she quickly fixed him a bottle. She was in the bathroom when the night charge nurse came in to check on them.

"Everything okay?" Natalie Duran asked

"Sorry," Emily said coming out of the bathroom, bottle in hand. "He's fine, he's just hungry."

"Are you going to make him leave?" JJ worried

"No, it's okay," said Natalie as she assessed the situation. "I've got a 11 month old at home. I think I'd want her here with me too."

"Tam knew that didn't she?" Emily asked. "That's why she waited for you to come on shift. Knew you'd empathize."

Natalie smiled and nodded, "She's a smart one."

"Very," Emily replied

Emily picked Henry up and gave him his bottle, which he greedily accepted.

"He's adorable," their night nurse said

"Thanks," both Emily and JJ replied in unison.

Natalie checked JJ's vitals while she was there and made sure the injured agent was comfortable. She left the family alone again once she was done.

After Henry had settled a bit and had stopped crying, Emily burped Henry and then placed him beside JJ again so she could give their son the remainder of his bottle.

As Emily watched the two of them again, she couldn't help but think just how truly blessed she was to have these two angels in her life.

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Oh in the real world I realize that there is no way Henry would be allowed to stay with JJ but this is my world and I didn't have the heart to separate them.

If you liked this chapter, I hope you will take a couple of minutes to let me know.

Thank you for reading!