A/N – Hope you all enjoy this installment. Postings over the next several days will be erratic. Real life is taking a front seat for now. My major stories "In Sickness & In Health" and "In the Shadows" will be updated by Friday (I hope). Thanks for being patient. And guys, let me know what you'd like to see in this series. I'm writing the H/P "date" now. But tell me, what would you like to see for H/P and JJ/Rossi?
The Way Home
"No," Emily replied, quietly shaking her head. "You shouldn't. How could you not have told me though? We're best friends, Jayje! I'd have been there for you."
"I know that," JJ said evenly. "But, with Hotch and Foyet…Em, you've had your hands full. A blind man can see how in love with Hotch you are."
"Great," Emily muttered. So much for her honed skills at masking her feelings.
"That isn't what I meant. I just didn't want to burden you," JJ said firmly. "Besides, it isn't like I haven't had some support," she murmured, her eyes lifting unconsciously to find the older profiler's form.
Following her friend's eyes, Emily grimaced. "JJ," Emily said warningly.
"Nothing's going on, Em," JJ said quickly, easily following her friend's thought process. "He's just been a willing ear."
"And if the rumors are true, he'd be willing to do a whole lot more than just listen," Emily said gently.
"Maybe so…but he's been a perfect gentleman," JJ shrugged, biting her lip as she remembered how easy it had been to confide in the enigma known as David Rossi.
"Uh huh," Em grunted. "That man is a bigger risk than Aaron Hotchner ever thought about being. Be careful, JJ," Emily advised.
"Like I said, there isn't anything illicit going on, Em. He's just been a friendly shoulder to lean on. I swear," JJ vowed sincerely.
"You like him," Emily accused softly.
"I'm comfortable with him," JJ corrected, shooting her friend an irritated glance. "Just like you are with Hotch."
"And as you've already pointed out…I want a lot more with Hotch than mere friendship," Emily stated flatly. "Is the same true for you and the legendary Rossi?"
Sighing, JJ's eyes drifted toward the window again. "I don't know, Emily. With Dave, I don't feel inadequate. I don't feel like I have anything to prove. And I couldn't see him asking me to give up something I feel passionately about. Unlike Will, HE actually seems to have some faith in me."
"I'm not saying to stay with Will," Emily said quickly. "You can't force yourself to be happy with someone. And if you aren't, you need to get out. I AM saying that David Rossi has been around the block more than once. Granted, he's not the cocky bastard that I initially thought, but still…"
"It's strange that two completely different men can be such close friends, isn't it?" JJ asked, watching Hotch and Dave quietly talking.
"They've known each other a long time," Emily shrugged.
"I know…I just mean…Hotch is so staid and dependable and Rossi…"
"Isn't?" Emily suggested with a wry grin.
Smacking Emily's arm lightly, JJ shook her head. "I was going to say that he's more impulsive."
"He's a cowboy," Emily said easily. "When he started out, he had to be. Hotch is more team centric. But I'll give Rossi credit for trying to conform. Personally, I like staid and dependable. There's a hell of a lot of comfort in it. Hotch has staying power. At least I know that if he says he wants to try with us…he'll give it his all. Right?" Emily asked, hoping that JJ would confirm her analysis.
"Hotch doesn't like to fail, Em. At anything. Relationships included," JJ said loyally. "So, when are you two going to attempt this tete a tete?"
"I offered to cook him dinner tonight," Emily confided, cheeks warming as she remembered the grateful look she'd received from Hotch at the prospect of a homemade meal.
"And?" JJ prodded, grinning at Emily with a twinkle in her eyes.
"He said he'd be there at six," Emily continued.
"I suggest a dish that includes oysters," JJ teased.
"You really need to get your mind out of the gutter, Jareau," Emily laughed. Although, an oyster appetizer did have its merits. God knew, the thought of Hotch's hands on her body was enough to cause her internal temperature to spike.
"Oh please! Tell me you haven't thought about it, Prentiss," JJ snorted. "Tell me I'm wrong. I dare you," JJ smiled.
"I can't," Emily groaned, leaning her head back against the cushioned seat as the plane dipped. "And you know me entirely too well, JJ," Emily admitted grudgingly.
"It's not as though it took any special skill, Em. I've been watching this repressed sexual tension unfold and unfurl since what feels like the beginning of time. I'm just glad to finally see you two getting on with it," JJ sighed, honestly happy for her friend. No one deserved it more. Except perhaps for Garcia. Those unrequited feelings she had for Morgan might end up killing them all one day.
"Maybe," Emily murmured, cautious of being overly optimistic. That way led to madness. Right now, slow and steady might just win the race. And she was more than willing to follow Aaron at whatever pace he chose to set.
"No maybes, damn it," JJ groaned. "Three years, Emily! Three years, I've watched you pine for that man. He's right there in front of you…FINALLY! Don't you dare balk now! Swear to God, you do and I'll find another shovel and hit YOU with it!"
"You know, I'd seriously advise you to seek therapy for these violent tendencies of yours IF I thought it would actually do any good," Emily laughed. "And, furthermore, I'm NOT balking! I'm simply reserving my right to exercise extreme caution."
"Regardless, I expect a phone call with details tomorrow morning," JJ warned, fixing her buddy with a hard stare.
"That works both ways, you know," Emily replied softly. "If things get too rough with Will, you come to my place. NOT Rossi's," Emily said firmly.
"Ha! And wreck your evening with Hotch? Not freaking likely. Besides, I'll be fine. And Rossi is not as bad as the picture you're painting, Emily. I mean it…perfect freaking gentleman!" JJ hissed.
"You almost sound disappointed about that," Emily murmured, looking at JJ closely. "You are, aren't you? Disappointed!"
"He doesn't see me that way," JJ said slowly.
"But he knows you aren't available yet…I'd be willing to place a cash bet right now that all that changes if you decide to end things with Will," Emily responded evenly, certain she was right.
"Maybe, maybe not," JJ shrugged. "But, I'd also be willing to bet that before this night is done, you have carnal knowledge regarding our beleaguered co-worker up there," she grinned, nodding toward Hotch.
"A girl can hope," Emily sighed, a wistful smile playing against the edges of her lips.
"Yeah, she definitely can," JJ agreed, trying desperately not to allow her soft blue eyes to meet the penetrating stare of one very magnetic man.