Summary: One-shot; left open for possible follow-up. Emily and JJ have a falling out over their feelings for one another because neither is willing to be the first to admit how deep their feelings run. Mentions of JJ/Will, but he sucks so he makes no actual appearance.
Author's Note: In my sleepy state, I felt inspired to write, and proceeded to listen to a song on repeat (as is usually the case with everything I write) and this is what resulted.
*** To those of you who have previously messaged me about the way I sometimes portray Emily or JJ in a negative light (either as needy, arrogant, immature, or insert other unflattering adjective here): then either click the Back button or consider yourself warned that you may not like them this time around either. They're characterized in a way that people can relate to, so I'd suggest getting over it. ***
It's a cool, autumn afternoon. In fact, it's the last day of autumn. Tomorrow is the winter solstice and four days after that, Christmas.
Sitting on a bench in the heart of the shops at Georgetown Park, JJ watched random people wander aimlessly amongst the stores through the steady white cloud of her exhaled breath as it dissipated into the atmosphere. She watched the faces of passersby, trying to see through the façade of unsuspecting patrons. Assumptions were made that many shoppers were doing a bit of last minute Christmas shopping for the hard-to-buy-for loved one and maybe even that wish-to-forget-about, not-so lovable relative. She wondered if any of these strangers were experiencing similar inner turmoil to her own.
Not usually one to leave home without her gloves, she jammed her uncovered hands into her pockets in an attempt to shield them from the elements. She heard the sound of crumpling paper in her pocket and pulled out the offending object.
A note that Emily must have left tucked into her jacket on the back of a Levante's Café receipt.
What time is it? What day is it? You should smile; it makes you look beautiful.
Furrowing her brow, JJ flipped the receipt over to look at the date; almost a month ago. She remembered the day vividly:
She had spent an hour following Emily around like a lost animal just so she could hear her voice. They stood outside in the unseasonably cold, thirty degree weather with gale force winds because it was the only place they could have any privacy. Emily had curled her arms inside of JJ's jacket and clasped them behind her back so she could keep warm.
She was telling Emily about how tired she was and how she used to be happy and how nothing was going right anymore. All she seemed to do those days was complain. Emily looked up at her with a small, pink smile and put her ear to JJ's chest, "Baby, I love the sound of your heartbeat." Then Emily snaked one of her hands into JJ's and it put it up against her heart and continued, "Things aren't so bad when you really get down to it."
She knew that Emily was right. Because she was so important to her and she felt so God damn lucky to have her in her life. At the time, Emily was so beautiful, so soft, so fucking perfect. Standing outside with her hand on Emily's chest, she had this perfect heartbeat and this perfect mouth turned up into a perfect smile and all JJ wanted to do was freeze frame the moment because its moments like that which make everything else seem worth it. Make everything else so tiny and trivial by comparison.
Looking back, it was an unsubstantiated mess. Emily was everything to her, yet they were nothing. They were friends. Friends. Really? That's it?
Growing agitated with the flood of memory and emotion, JJ hastily grabbed her cell phone and speed dialed Emily.
Emily answered professionally without checking the caller ID, "Prentiss."
Bypassing pleasantries, JJ questioned, "Twenty seven days ago. Twenty seven. Do you know what happened on that day?"
Unsure where this conversation was heading, Emily responded the only way she knew how. "Um, no, not particularly."
JJ unleashed the fury that had been building inside of her, "That's so like you. I told you that I'm in love with you and you threw it in my face with some 'how could you possibly be in love with me?' bull shit. Obviously you don't feel the same way, but I thought our friendship was strong enough for me to be honest with you. And for some crazy, fucked up reason, I assumed you had a heart inside of you."
Trying to think rationally, Emily queried, "What are you talking about? Where is all of this coming from? What do you want from me, anyway?"
JJ spat in accusation, "Well, for starters, I want you to act like you give a fuck what happens here. We've hardly said anything substantial to one another in weeks."
Emily admitted, "I want you to do what you want. I've told you that."
"No you don't. You take every opportunity to reiterate how I threw a wrench into this," JJ said moving her hands in a circular motion as if Emily could see. Realizing she couldn't, she continued her thought, "whatever this is between us. How I fucked it all up. How I couldn't possibly love you. How you're still mad at me for having deeper feelings for you than you do for me."
Emily responded exasperatedly, "You were being selfish. You couldn't possibly be in love with me. We've never even dated, JJ. You're with Will. How can you be with him and be in love with me?"
Hiding the hurt in her voice, JJ bit back venomously, "Selfish? I fell in love with you. I don't know about you, but when I said that I thought our situation was kind of like building a puzzle without a finished picture to compare it to; I meant it. I genuinely thought you wanted to do this with me. As friends, or as more; whatever happened, we were doing this together. Here I've just kind of been scrambling for the pieces that look like they fit together, but you meticulously kept all of yours safely to yourself. I can't do this alone, Emily."
Genuinely curious, Emily demanded, "If you want me so badly, then why are you still with him?"
JJ rebutted, "Why am I with him? You're playing this game of hot and cold with me and totally toying with my emotions."
"I toy with your emotions? You can't possibly be serious." Emily chuckled to herself before realizing several seconds later that she was the only one laughing. "You're serious? Jesus fuck, JJ, you tell me one thing and do another. Do whatever the fuck you want, but I'm not going to tell you what to do."
JJ sighed in defeat, "And you're obviously not going to tell me anything else either."
"I," Emily felt her voice begin to crack. Unable to compartmentalize her emotions further, she continued "I can't JJ. I just can't do this. Everything happens for a reason, right? Well, I just don't see a reason for this, anymore."
"Yeah. Clearly. Because you couldn't give a fuck less about this." And with that, JJ pressed the red END button on her phone to end the call before a calculated response came.
Early the next morning, long before the sun came up, Emily awoke feeling an unfamiliar, disturbingly sore pain in the pit of her stomach. She padded her way to the master bathroom with her left hand across her stomach attempting to alleviate the ache. She emptied the partially digested contents of her stomach before pressing her hands against the counter top to hold herself upright while looking in the mirror. Her hair mussed and slightly damp from the cold sweat she had awoken in. Her face flushed; the eyeliner she'd failed to remove the night before smeared across her skin.
"You look like hell, Prentiss," she told herself.
Her face unconsciously contorted, tasting the remnants of bile in her mouth while beginning to feel it in her nose as well. Emily brushed her teeth, twice, before blowing her nose a handful of times, unable to fully remove the unwelcome taste in her mouth and burning of stomach acid left behind deep in her nose.
She went home from work early that day; partially because there was nothing pressing to do, but mostly because she was so sick that couldn't stand being there. On her way out of the door and toward her car, as steadily as possible, she heard someone call her name.
JJ looked like she was confused, concerned, and happy all at once just to see Emily.
"Are you on break?" JJ asked politely.
Emily responded quietly, "No, I'm going home. I don't feel well."
Solicitude evident in her voice, JJ stated, "Oh. I'm sorry. Do you need anything?"
JJ walked over while pulling her leather gloves off and tucked them effortlessly into her purse. She felt Emily's forehead with her left hand before cupping both cheeks in her hands. Her hands were cool and wrists smelled like the familiarly feminine scent of Into the Blue. Emily leaned into the touch. It was all she could do not to pass out from the touch and the sudden dizziness that either the scent or the cold had produced.
Not receiving a response to her question, JJ spoke once again. "Do you want me to do anything for you?"
JJ was so ready to help, even after everything that had transpired recently.
Several hours previous, Emily had seen her inside of work and JJ could barely look at her. Her eyes downcast and her voice turned sad when she'd realized Emily was entering the bullpen at the start of the day. Yet there she was, offering to help in any way that she could.
Emily told her that it was okay; she didn't want her to get sick too. Even though what she really wanted was for JJ to come to her condo and wrap herself around Emily's sick, lifeless body. She wanted for JJ to come over and make her homemade chicken noodle soup. She wanted JJ to hold a cup of 7up in an outstretched hand whilst positioning the straw to Emily's lips. She wanted JJ to tell her that, no, she couldn't have Oreo's and milk because they'll make her stomach even more upset. As much as she hated to be coddled, she longed for JJ to take care of her. She needed JJ to keep pushing through her defenses, even if she couldn't say it. Aside from everything she wanted, she needed JJ to figure it out on her own.
JJ went back into her office. She sat for over an hour, just looking around. She pictured the memories she'd made since joining the BAU. The best, most memorable times were those shared between her and Emily.
Grabbing a pad of paper from her top right desk drawer, she started writing two letters. Once completed, she folded them and stuffed them each into an envelope. JJ walked through the bullpen, dragging her fingers along every surface she could reach along the way, receiving peculiar glances from the agents currently in the office. Upon reaching the open office door of their unit chief, she heard him talking on the phone, and silently placed one envelope onto Aaron Hotchner's desk.
He looked at her with quizzical concern and mouthed "what's this?"
Choosing to remain quiet, the only way to keep her composure, she retreated toward her office.
JJ made the same leisurely trek back through the bullpen. She grabbed a few of her personal items and stood at her own office door staring at how it was now devoid of character. She noticed how it no longer had any personal touches other than her nameplate before closing the door to head home. Glancing into Hotch's office to see him still on the phone, their eyes met briefly before she looked away. He had opened her letter; that much she could see. JJ felt the need to be away from this place. She needed that immediately.
JJ drove well below the speed limit; her mind everywhere but concentrating on the road. She drove by the same Levante's Café that her and Emily had shared many a lunch at and she couldn't help herself from stopping. She ordered a bowl of chicken and rice soup to go, extra crackers, and a bottle of Naked orange juice.
JJ stopped by Emily's condo and left the small care package with Jeffrey, the doorman. She'd met him several times previously and advised him that Emily was sick and she didn't want to disturb her. He smiled at her kindness and advised that he would be pleased see to it that she gets the items and letter.
He phoned Emily before carrying the items to the elevator and walking them to her door.
Emily was lying down, half asleep on her sofa when the phone rang. She dragged herself off of the sofa, using her socks as fuel to slide her feet across the floor. Lifting her legs felt like it'd take far too much effort at the moment.
She smiled at the gifts before closing the door and easing herself back to the sofa. She discarded the soup and crackers to the table before flipping over the envelope to unseal it. Inside she found an unsigned letter:
I don't know what to do about this anymore. Don't think I gave up without a fight; I tried, I really did. At the end of the day, I don't have you and I never will. I can't do this over and over again. I spent a year of my life chasing after a girl who wanted nothing more than to toy with my heart. I won't do that again.
And you can say that's not what you are doing, but it's too late for me to believe that. It's too late for me to believe anything except that I am doing the right thing by leaving.
It is taking everything in me to forgive and forget. I've come to realize that the hardest part wasn't the hurt, the hardest part is moving on. You never know what kind of ground you'll be landing on when you finally take that leap.
I really could have loved you; that's all I am sorry for.
Emily felt the instant urge to vomit after reading those words. Several thoughts ran through her mind in quick succession. 'How can she really think she was the only one making an effort? What the fuck is that? She's with Will and I'm just supposed to put myself out there? For what? So she can make a choice then? Fuck that. If she cares so god damn much, she could have made the choice and told me she wanted to be with me. She's leaving? What the fuck? Talk about childish.'
Feeling livid, Emily located her cell phone. She looked through the contacts, hovering over the JJ's name for twenty, maybe thirty seconds. Finally having the courage to make the call, she hit the green SEND button. Two rings later, and halfway through the third it went to voicemail. That's odd, she thought, it never goes to voice mail before 29 seconds.
Recognizing that JJ had probably purposely hit 'Ignore,' she left a message depicting the thoughts that swam through her mind. "You have some nerve Jareau. I can't even get in that damn bed because you've been in it. We've been in it. The blankets are still turned down on your side. The pillow still has traces of your eye makeup and perfume. The sheets are still tangled where your legs were. You're everywhere in traces and doses, but I'm not whole because you're not with me and I am so angry at you right now; it's not even imaginable. How can I fucking hate you so much when I love you so much?"
A/N: Take ten seconds to review because you're awesome and I want to know what you think. Oh, and because you want to make my day. :)