This is my first Criminal Minds fic, I'm still trying to get a handle on the characters (I probably should have started with a case-fic, but this came into my head first), so criticism and reviews in general are welcome and encouraged. Thanks for reading!
They'd split up to search the unsub's mother's house, JJ, Rossi and Hotch on the ground floor, and Morgan, Reid and Prentiss upstairs. It was dark, the power to the old house, having been cut ages ago, so they were practically blind, except for flashlights. But, they knew he was killing his victims elsewhere, so they didn't even entirely expect him to be at the house. They were wrong.
One minute they were all moving stealthily through the house, clearing rooms, guns drawn and ready for battle, the next a shout was drawing everyone to the grand staircase in the center of the house. Prentiss's gun landed midway down, seconds before the unsub practically threw her down it. She tumbled violently down, trying to protect her head, before finally coming to land at the feet of her colleagues.
Hotch ran up, and assisted Morgan and Reid in disarming the unsub. Rossi and JJ knelt beside her, trying to examine her through the darkness.
"Oh shit," Prentiss muttered. She could already feel some of those bruises; tomorrow it was going to be even worse.
"Are you alright?" Rossi took her arm, ready to help her to her feet. Emily held a hand out stopping him, the other holding her head. She needed just a minute before she tried standing up.
"We got him!" Came Morgan's shout from upstairs, shortly before Hotch came back down.
"JJ-" He started.
"I've already got paramedics on the way. Are Morgan and Reid alright?" She asked, snapping her phone shut.
"They're fine. Morgan's pissed, but that's about it...Prentiss?" He turned toward her.
Now she accepted Rossi's assistance getting to her feet. "I'm fine. No paramedics necessary."
"It's either that, or a hospital emergency room."
She actually scowled at him. "Fine."
"If you bumped your head, a hospital might not be a bad idea," Rossi suggested, trying to examine her head through both the darkness and her hand that was still covering it.
"I bumped everything, Rossi. None of it was that bad."
"Prentiss, you'd be saying that if your head was on fire," Morgan commented, leading a handcuffed unsub down the stairs, Reid behind them.
She was about to retort when sirens sounded nearby, and an amused JJ grabbed her arm. "That's the paramedics, come on, let's go meet them."
JJ slowly came out of her dream, the image of Will and goats dissipating as the darkness of the hotel room took its place. She blinked, wondering at first what the hell that dream was about, and ultimately deciding that it wasn't important. She reached out for her phone, squinting at the bright display, frowning as she noted the time-12:07. She'd barely been asleep for an hour, this was very unusual. And, then her sleepy mind cleared, and she felt it.
Something was wrong.
Maternal instinct, her mother would say; that feeling you get when you wake up, and just have to check on the baby. That sixth sense that tells you not everything is right. Except that she wasn't even home, Henry was a half a country away. Then she heard it. It wasn't a moan or even a groan, but a quiet, restrained noise, almost whimper-like. JJ sat up, and turned to face her roommate.
It was a small town with one motel, and not a lot of vacancies. They'd split up into three vacant rooms for their stay, with only minimal fuss. It was only a minor inconvenience considering how little time they actually spent in their rooms while on cases.
Emily was on her side, facing away from her, curled tightly into herself. The noises were definitely coming from her. JJ quickly jumped out of bed, and flipped the lights on, earning a groan from Emily. She rushed over to her colleague, noting her chalky pallor, and little beads of sweat just beginning to dot her forehead.
"Emily, what's wrong?"
"Nothing, I'm fine, it'll stop." This she said, while her eyes were squeezed shut, and her teeth gritted.
JJ rolled her eyes. "What will stop?"
Emily did look up then, eyebrows raised, looking almost amused through her pain. JJ realized she'd used a warning tone generally reserved for petulant teenagers.
"You earned it," she told her friend.
"Go back to sleep, JJ. It'll go away."
"Not until you tell me what you're expecting to go away."
Emily sighed. "Abdominal pain. It's almost like really, really bad cramps."
JJ frowned, searching through her mind for what could be wrong, for complications from a dive down a staircase. It was no use, she wasn't an encyclopedia like Reid.
"Get dressed, Em. We're going to the hospital."
"What? No, we're not." At that moment a particularly strong wave of pain must of struck her, because she tensed, curling into herself tighter, and giving a little groan.
"Oh yes were are," JJ insisted.
"I'll be fine, JJ."
"Jesus Emily, you could be bleeding internally or god knows what. Either we go to the hospital, or I wake Hotch, and you have five of us in here, nagging you until you agree." She stood hands on her hips, refusing to back down.
Emily scowled. It was often easy to forget that the media liaison was just as tough as the rest of them, she tended to be so mild-mannered most of the time. Really, she was just far more diplomatic than most of the profilers. Though JJ certainly had her moments.
"I really hate you right now." Emily said, yanking back the bed covers and climbing out.
"You'll get over it." JJ turned and walked to her side of the room, grabbing her bag.
Being that it was such a small town, the ER was relatively calm. And, when the staff heard 'FBI Agent', 'tossed down a flight of stairs', and 'worried about internal abdominal bleeding', they'd hopped into gear, and taken Emily in right away. Which was a good thing, because the pain had been getting worse. JJ had been waiting for almost an hour, her cell phone in her hand, instinct telling her to call Hotch. The team was very close, they'd want to be there, but Emily had made her promise she wouldn't call them unless it ended up being something serious.
Because an ER visit wasn't serious. According to Emily, it wasn't worth them all losing a night's worth of sleep for, so JJ waited.
She'd amused herself by flipping through the pictures of Henry stored on her phone. But, no matter how cute he was, or how much she loved him, that could only last so long. She'd resorted then to staring shamelessly at the other injuries coming in: the kid who'd fallen off a bunk bed and now looked to have a broken arm to show for it, a minor car accident with some tipsy teenagers, and the twenty-something guy with a nasty-looking bite from his pet snake. She was still bored and nervous.
"Agent Jareau?" JJ turned to see a nurse in light purple scrubs looking for her.
"You can see Agent Prentiss now. And, you need to turn that off." The nurse gestured her to the cell phone, and then for her to follow. JJ complied, and followed her.
"Did you figure out what's wrong?"
"Yes, you can ask her yourself."
JJ frowned that seemed a bizarre thing to say, but she trailed the nurse away from the ER to a hallway with actual rooms. They stopped outside of one, and JJ was left to go in, and find Emily in much the way she'd been at the hotel. Curled into herself, eyes squeezed shut against the pain. Except this time, she was in a white and blue hospital gown, and surrounded by sterile white. It was at least a private room, and Emily didn't appear to be hooked up to anything.
"Hey, Em." She maneuvered around the tiny room, to the chair beside the bed.
"Hi." She didn't open her eyes, her mouth pressed into a tight line.
"Did they tell you what's wrong?" JJ tried to keep her voice level, which wasn't easy when her worry was only increasing.
"Yeah, I-" Emily curled her arms tighter around her abdomen as the pain intensified briefly. When it passed, she opened her eyes to see JJ staring at her, tense with concern. "I'm pregnant."
JJ blinked, mouth opening slightly. "I...I didn't know."
"Neither did I. They said I probably won't be for much longer. The fall down the stairs triggered a miscarriage."
"I'm so sorry, Emily." As a mother, JJ's empathy was etched almost painfully into her features. "How far along...?"
"Nine weeks, they said," Emily said, giving a bitter little laugh. "Apparently, I'm not as observant as I thought."
"And, they can't stop it? The miscarriage?"
Emily shook her head. "No, once it starts they can't really do anything to stop it. They're just going to keep me to make sure there won't be any other complications from the fall."
The media liaison nodded. "Uh, do you want me to call anyone? The team? The father?"
Another bitter laugh was cut off by another burst of pain. It had been getting steadily worse, and the doctor said it would do so until her body expelled the fetus. When it subsided, Emily was able to speak. "The father was a one-night stand."
Her eyebrows inched up toward her hairline.
"Dating was hard before I started in the BAU, the last few years it just became impossible. It's been mostly one-night stands for a while."
JJ nodded in understanding. She'd met her significant other on the job, if she hadn't, she'd probably be doing the same thing. Telling dates your job was chasing serial killers usually didn't elicit positive responses, at least for the ladies of the BAU. With guys it was different, it was impressive, instead of weird. JJ was not about to judge.
Emily shook her head. The team didn't need to know every detail of her life, not that she didn't trust them, but just...no. "I don't want them to know."
JJ had expected that, and honestly, understood it. Involving other people complicates things, and this was complicated enough. And, as long as one of them knew what was going on, JJ would allow the profiler her reluctance to let other people in. "If we're still here in the morning, we'll just tell them it's a female thing. They won't ask any questions."
Emily laughed through her nose. "Reid might even blush."
"Or Hotch." Their fearless leader was very discrete and proper, neither woman could picture him making it through a conversation on cramping and bloating.
Emily's face turned serious then. "JJ, I'm not even sure what outcome I'm hoping for."
JJ took one of her hands then, giving it a gentle squeeze. "You don't have to know."
"You love being a mother, don't you?" It was three-thirty in the morning, and neither woman had slept at all. At first, Emily would start to drift off, but then a wave of pain would wash over her. She stopped trying to dose. JJ was running off adrenaline, still worried watching her friend struggle.
She smiled. "Yeah, I do. Sometimes, I feel like I'm going crazy, I just can't get him to behave, but then other days, he does something," she shook her head, "I just feel like I'm going to explode with...pride, love, joy...whatever."
"And then you text us all photographic evidence," Emily teased her.
"Oh, you love it."
"I do. I got the one of his first steps while I was on a date. I did the awe thing in that really high pitch, and he asked me what it was about. I showed him the picture, the poor bastard was staring at me like a deer caught in headlights."
JJ laughed. "I was crying that day, I was so happy I was actually home to see it."
Emily didn't get a chance to comment, as the stabbing pain in her stomach had her gasping. Her body tensed through it, and she held her breath and JJ squeezed her hand until it was over.
When she caught her breath, her voice was heavy. "I got pregnant when I was fifteen."
JJ's eyebrows lifted toward her hairline, her mouth opening in surprise.
"We were in Italy. I was terrified, and didn't know what to do. Mathew-" she looked at JJ, who nodded in recognition, "he found a doctor, and he held my hand the entire time there and back."
"Was it his?"
"No...John's. He was even more freaked out than I was." She wiped furiously at the tear that tracked out of her eye.
JJ started to nod, but suddenly stopped. "Wait, you're not thinking this is some sort of karma, are you? You're more rational than that."
"No, I know. I guess I'm just wondering how many chances you get..." The sad look in her eyes disappeared as her eyelids snapped shut, and her face scrunched up. Emily cried out as pain rippled through her abdomen, worse than it had been yet. She knew what this was, what it meant.
JJ tightened her grip, wincing as she watched Emily try to curl her body up impossibly tight. It was strange to see her so vulnerable, to see her so child-like. For a moment, she had a vision of a frightened teenager in a similar position, too young to really understand the pain in her abdomen as her body recovered from the procedure.
Then the pain broke, but Emily remained curled into herself. She didn't need a doctor to tell her what just happened. She pushed her face deeper into the sheets, but didn't bother to wipe the tears off her face. JJ shifted closer to the bed, stroking a hand along the profiler's head, trying to offer what little comfort she could.
At 6:00, Emily's tears had dried, and the pain grown less severe. The doctor came back in, grabbed the ultrasound machine by the bed, and dragged the wand across Emily's flat stomach. She confirmed that Emily was no longer pregnant. She also determined that the level of bleeding was normal, and she saw no evidence of complications on the ultrasound.
They were free to go.
The aches from the fall had hit overnight, and that combined with the soreness from the miscarriage, made even changing painful. Emily didn't want to move any more than necessary, and didn't have the energy to anyway. For the first time in her life, she genuinely felt weak. She barely paid attention when the doctor spoke to JJ and handed her some papers.
Emily didn't fight the wheelchair, much to JJ's surprise, and increased concern. The profiler simply slid into it, looking somewhere past exhausted, and let JJ wheel her out of the hospital just after seven.
She left Emily sleeping in the car when she ran into the nearest drugstore, and handed over the prescription, pleading for a rush. It was a mom and pop shop, so the pharmacist was only too happy to help, especially considering the store was empty at such an early hour. It was just almost seven-thirty when she hopped back into the car with the prescription and a package of maxi-pads.
Morgan must have seen them first, and came racing out of the hotel, looking a little panicked. "Where the hell have you two been? We've been calling you!"
He was by the driver's side, as JJ was getting out, frowning. She pulled out her cell, and realized it was still off. "Shit. I forgot they made me turn it off at the hospital."
"Hospital? What happened?" He backed up, and began looking between them, noticing for the first time, that Prentiss looked like hell. "What's wrong?"
"Shh, Morgan. Don't wake her up." The rest of the guys were joining them by now, as JJ quietly shut the door, trying not to wake Emily.
The four men turned toward the passenger's side, where Emily was still passed out, her head against the window. She had her sunglasses on, which only made the contrast with her sickly pallor more pronounced.
"What's going on?" Hotch asked, professional mask only betraying a hint of concern.
"I woke up around midnight, Emily was experiencing abdominal pain, so I dragged her to the hospital. Complications from the fall down the staircase.
"What kind of complications?" Rossi asked.
JJ gave a nervous chuckle. "Uh, the female kind."
There was a moment where all four men seemed to straighten up and immediately seal off their curiosity. She was so telling Garcia about it.
Hotch spoke with his typical serious demeanor. "She's alright, though?"
She offered non-committed nod. "Alright enough to be released, but feels lousy enough that she actually got into the wheelchair and let me take her out of the hospital without a single word of argument."
The guys exchanged incredulous looks, before Morgan turned back to her. "What did they put her on?"
"Not a thing."
"She must feel like shit then," Rossi commented, with a quiet snort of amusement.
"And neither of us slept, so..." JJ waved them back toward the hotel, hoping Emily would stay asleep until they got to the airport. She'd barely have time to pack if they were still leaving at 8:30.
"Hm? JJ?" Emily mumbled slowly coming awake as someone shook her gently. She turned to see JJ watching her.
"We're at the airport. Time to go home."
Emily looked around, squinting even through her sunglasses. "What? Did we come here straight from the hospital?"
"No, you slept through stops at the drug store and hotel. I packed up our stuff, the guys are loading it now. And, I picked up the prescription the doctor wrote you, it's painkillers-you will take one-and these," she held up the box of pads. "She said to keep on eye on the bleeding, and if you think you're losing too much go back to the hospital."
Emily took a minute too look at JJ, the items she was tucking back into the drugstore bag, and process what she'd said. "When did all this happen?"
JJ smiled. "You were pretty out of it at the hospital, I don't think you were paying attention to the doctor."
"Apparently." She shook her head to clear it.
"We better go. The guys are starting to look nervous, and I think any minute now Morgan's going to come over and offer to carry you on the plane."
Emily's eyes widened. "That is not happening."
JJ chuckled. "Didn't think so."
JJ hopped out of the SUV easily, and walking to the other side while Emily was still cringing and easing her way out. Much to her embarrassment. Everything hurt. Her movements walking to the plane were stiff and slow, nothing like the team was used to seeing. This was reflected in the guys' faces, which looked increasingly worried the more she moved.
"If all of you don't stop staring, I'm going to find enough energy to hurt you," Emily warned them.
The relief they exhibited was almost comical; she might look like hell, but she was okay. The family was still in tact, and no one would have to give Garcia unpleasant news. Or rather, more unpleasant news. The tech had already give them an earful on speaker about going into dark houses.
Emily went straight for one of the couches when she got on the plane, intending to spend the flight sleeping off the night. She sat heavily, and winced even at that. She wasn't sure she'd ever bruised her ass before, but it wouldn't surprise her if she had now. This would be the third time she went home from a case polka-dotted with ugly purple and blue bruises. That she could live with, it was the loss that really hurt.
As everyone shuffled on the plane, taking seats, JJ headed toward the little fridge in the back. She grabbed a bottle of water, and headed back toward Emily. The guys were already settling themselves in, Reid pulling out a deck of cards, and roping Morgan and Rossi in to join him. Hotch pulled out a case file, a legal pad, and a pen; if he got some work done now, he'd get to spend more time with Jack.
JJ handed the bottle of water to Emily with a look. The profiler didn't bother to argue, but accepted the water and dug into the bag for the orange prescription bottle. She swallowed one of the painkillers with a swig of water, before setting both bottles on a nearby table. She added her sunglasses, and yanked off her shoes, feeling every movement with the exaggerated clarity of pain.
She watched JJ reach into one of the planes compartments and come back two blankets. The media liaison handed her one, and when she started to move away, Emily stopped her.
"JJ?" The blonde immediately stopped and turned around. "Thank you...for...everything."
She gave Emily's hand a squeeze. "Any time."
Emily gave her a tired smile, and then curled her exhausted, sore body up on the couch. JJ noted that she still kept an arm around her abdomen, as if somehow still trying to protect what wasn't there anymore.
JJ followed her example, taking the couch across the aisle, and falling quickly to sleep, images of Henry dancing through her head.
A/N: I am not a doctor, nor have I ever had a miscarriage, so this involved a lot of creative license.