Disclaimer: I do not own Criminal Minds.

Author's Note: Sorry for the ridiculous length. It seemed too choppy if I split it into a bunch of chapters. Hope it doesn't deter readers. I love reviews so if you have an idea of where the story should go, let me know.

Rating: M for abuse and language

He waited silently inside her front closet. He had followed her for months. He knew to expect her random schedules, so he patiently waited for her to return. She hadn't been home in days; this fact would prove to be in his favor because his plan hinged on her being exhausted and weary. It would be even better if her team had the next few days off; no one would think anything of not speaking to her for a few days, except maybe the blonde. He saw the relationship that they easily kept from everyone else. He figured a night apart wouldn't worry the blonde and when she realized her lover was missing, he would have his dear Emily Prentiss far away. He looked at the brunette and he knew he had to have her. If he couldn't he would die trying.

He felt like he waited a lifetime but he knew she was worth it. As soon as he heard her front door open and listened to the single set of booted heels against the hard wood floors, he knew this was his chance. He waited for her to remove her gun and holster before he silently left his hiding closet and quickly covered her mouth with a cloth.

The case had been a tiring one, but they were only off the clock for the evening, or what was left of it. Emily had finished her paperwork in record time to get home in the prospect of a very hot shower and her comfy queen size bed. Though she and JJ had been dating for months and the team knew about their relationship, each woman needed her space after certain cases. This case had been one of those, and despite its intensity, the team already had another case requiring urgent attention. They were all supposed to be in the bullpen by 7 AM the next morning, and Emily groaned thinking of another early morning. Opening her apartment door, she could barely keep her eyes open as exhaustion overtook her. Before she could realize what was happening, someone had come from behind and covered her mouth with a cloth. She smelled the sweet scent of chloroform and the room started to spin before turning to darkness completely.

She woke up with a splitting headache and tried to remember where she was. The events of the previous night flooded her memory as she tried to move her arms, only to realize she was handcuffed in place. The sound of handcuffs clanking together alerted her captor.

"Well there you are Sleeping Beauty. I was almost afraid I wouldn't get to have any fun with you."

"Who are you? Where am I?" Emily asked trying to regain her composure. She looked around and realized she was in some sort of basement. Looking down, she became aware of her lack of clothing. She sat leaning against the base of the wall in her underwear with her hands handcuffed slightly above her head. She could not think of any sort of an escape plan. She just had to hope that her team would find her.

"I get to ask the questions," he replied softly but forcefully. "When were you supposed to meet your team?"

"7 AM today. You know they will notice I'm gone and come looking for me." She was finding it hard to profile her attacker with her headache threatening to burst her skull.

"It's okay. I've already left them clues to find you. They shouldn't be receiving the video until a little after 7 anyway. We have some time to ourselves." He responded and he walked closer to her. "What should we do to occupy ourselves? I have a few ideas but I'd prefer to have the audience. I guess we could always start them off in suspense though." With his remark, he quickly drew a knife and easily slid his way across Emily's pale stomach. He watched as the blood appeared around the recent wound and then lifted his face to watch her grimace in pain. "This way," he whispered into her ear as he ran his hands gingerly up her sides, "they will know I'm serious. If I can't have you, no one will."

"Guys, conference room in 5. Where's Emily?" JJ questioned the group as she balanced 7 extremely large case files. It was 7:05.

"I don't think we have 5 minutes. Let's start now. We can catch her up later." Agent Hotchner spoke from the ledge above the bullpen. The group piled into the conference room as Garcia pulled up her laptop in case she needed to immediately pull up information pertaining to the case.

"Okay, we have nine missing women, all kidnapped from their homes in the middle of the night. All nine women are in high professions located in the DC/Georgetown area and were kidnapped 3 days before they were found dead. All were found in basements with evident handcuff bruises as well as evidence of torture and rape. All are brunette women with brown eyes, ranging in height from 5'7" to 5'9"."
"Wow, they all look exactly like…" Reid interjected before Garcia shouted, "Oh no! Emily!"

"Yes, the victims do resemble Emily, but there have been cases in which we have all fit the victim description."
"No, Hotch, Emily is… she's been… Sir, Emily looks to be the tenth victim." Garcia managed to get out. "You need to see this."

Hotch and Rossi leaned over and gasped at the video on screen. Emily sat against a brick wall in her underwear with her hands handcuffed and her stomach bleeding. "Morgan, get her out of here." Rossi said motioning to JJ, who stood stunned at the opposite end of the conference table. Morgan rose to try and coax the blonde from the room, but JJ ran to see what was on Garcia's screen.

"Oh god. EMILY!" JJ screamed.

"Come on, baby girl. You don't need to see this. Let's go get some coffee. Get some fresh air."

"By now, your family has received a link to watch our fun. See that camera over there? They are watching you now and there is no way they can find you." He walked over to the camera and maliciously spoke to the team, "Your dear agent is my final act. She is the one for me. This, all of them, they were for her. I've perfected my techniques and starting 8 hours ago, you have 3 days to find her. Or she dies. And tell her precious blonde that I will be very loving and fulfilling. Yes, I do think that's the correct word. She will be very fulfilled after I've had my way with her. Oh, and don't expect me to go down without a fight. If I can't have her, no one can." He moved back to Emily and violently kicked her before stepping out of the view of the camera.

"Garcia, is this a live feed? Is there sound? Is there anyway we can track where it's coming from? Do we have anything?" Rossi questioned, flustered by the images of the agent he viewed as a daughter.

"I… sir… it's a live feed. I can't run visual programs because there are no windows. It seems like it has the capability for sound, but the bastard controls when and what we hear. I can record the bits he does let us hear and scan it for surrounding noise. Other than that, sir, we have nothing."

Reid sat staring at the screen. "Wait, there he is." The team sat in silence as they listened to the UnSub speak directly to them, threatening their family member.

"By fulfilled, he doesn't mean…." Reid asked.

"Yes, Reid. He means fulfilled sexually. Evidence of rape was present in the last nine victims. Garcia, get that video on the screen and take JJ to your office. We need Morgan in here. Guys, grab a file. We need to figure out who he is and where he is keeping her. And we need to do it soon." Rossi instructed and everyone quickly went about his or her assigned tasks.

Garcia found Morgan and JJ sitting at a table with two untouched cups of coffee. Morgan looked at Garcia and knew something had happened. "JJ, honey, let's go to my office. Rossi needs Derek in the conference room. We will find her, okay? We will bring her back home," Garcia spoke trying to soothe the obviously distressed blonde. Seeing she had zoned out, Morgan quietly whispered into Garcia's ear.

"What happened?"
"He's sending us a live video feed of Emily. She's handcuffed to a wall in her underwear and her stomach is bleeding. He kicked her after telling us that she was the object of his desire the whole time and all the other women were just trial runs more or less. He sent a special message to JJ about how he will be loving and fulfilling. I'm scared, Derek. We need to bring her back. This will crush her." Garcia whispered, nodding her head slightly to the blonde, who still was lost in her own thoughts.

"We'll bring her back. You hear me JJ? We will bring her back." Morgan spoke, now directly to JJ, though it was equally for Garcia's benefit.

"Go save our princess," Garcia told Morgan as he left to review files in the conference room.

Two days later, the team still had yet to locate the Unsub or where he was holding Emily. The live feed still continued to show a bruised, bloodied, barely conscious Emily handcuffed to the wall.

"How are these victims connected? We need to figure out how he had access to his victims. He barely has any time between the murder of one victim and the kidnapping of the next." Hotch questioned, his frustration evident in his voice.

"He's back." Morgan announced. "God, I don't know how much longer I can stand this. Wait, he's uncuffing her from the wall." The team watched helplessly as the Unsub pulled a semi-conscious Emily to her feet and dragged her closer to the camera lens, reactivating the sound for the video.

"Wake up, Emily." He shouted to the brunette's weak form. "Get up. You are supposed to be a fighter. Come on. Get up." He pulled Emily to her feet and her head hung as he dragged her to the camera lens. "Okay, your so-called family sucks at their job. It has been two days and they still haven't found you. Do you think they stopped caring about you? They gave up on you. You are a helpless case. You are better off with me. I care about you. Wake up!" He shouted again, this time letting her fall to the ground. Pulling a bag of smelling salts out of his pocket, he held them under her nose until she suddenly took a deep breath, regaining her consciousness with the strong scent. "Now, get up," he ordered pulling her to her feet. "You have 20 hours to find her before she dies, and since you have nothing, I'm going to have her say her good-byes."

"What?" Emily mumbled, trying to remain conscious. "You want me to say good-bye to them?"


"I… okay. Could I please have some privacy?" She pleaded with the nameless man.

"You have been good up to this point, so I will oblige and bring you a chair. You have two minutes." He said before going up the stairs and bolting the basement door.

"He said you all could hear me and see me. If so, please get JJ out of the room. She doesn't need to remember me like this. You are all my family, and I don't know what I would do without you. I know I rarely show my emotions, but I love each and every one of you. Morgan, you act as my older brother and my best friend. It is your support that gets me through each day. Reid, you are phenomenal. I don't think you understand how amazing you are. Your sweetness and your quirky factoids keep me smiling through the toughest of cases. Hotch, you look out for me and give me freedom to learn. It's your paternal nature that holds this family together. Please remember to smile and if you can't, remember I love you and you have a smile that comforts those around you. Rossi, your caring nature comforts me. You are a confidante and a friend and I've always wanted to thank you for your support in everything I do. It means the world to me. Pen, you are something else you know. You have an energy that invigorates the room and hearing your voice can always put a smile on my face. Please take care of JJ. I don't want to leave her; I don't want to leave any of you, but it looks like I may not have a choice. Jennifer, my love, my life, please forgive me. I never meant to leave you with these memories. You are my rock and my anchor. Your smile never ceases to amaze me and your eyes give me comfort when nothing else can. I want you to know I love you with my whole heart always. Move on and be happy. You don't need to die with me." As she spoke these final words, tears cascaded down her face. "Here he comes. I have to go. I love you all."

"Say goodbye," came his harsh voice from the stairs.

"Good bye my family. I love you."

He walked behind her and dragged her up, pulling the chair out from underneath her. "Now your family can watch us really have some fun. I'm sure they've enjoyed the torture and the beatings. I hope your dear JJ is in the room to watch you get pleasured like you have never been pleasured before."

He dropped her on a mattress in the corner of the basement, handcuffing her to the wall again. He returned to the camera and refocused the lens on the mattress.

"In my excitement, I've decided to reduce your time limit. She has 8 hours to live."

Garcia gasped as the Unsub dragged Emily closer to the camera. Emily's wounds looked much worse close up. She glanced at her JJ's sleeping figure and pulled out a set of headphones. Garcia had given JJ a few sleep meds to help the younger blonde. Garcia listened to Emily's goodbye and was silently sobbing by the end of her speech. Garcia helplessly watched as Emily was dragged to a mattress and handcuffed to the wall. She couldn't watch this. She couldn't watch this ultimate violation.

She tried to regain her thought. She felt so angry. I don't know where to start. I don't know where I haven't looked. How could he get in past her security system? How could he take an FBI agent? Her train of thought was broken by a loud sob.

"What's he doing to her?" JJ shouted through tears as she stared intently at the monitor. "Garcia! What is he doing to her? Please tell me."

"He made her say her good byes to us. He changed the time limit. He's giving us 8 hours."

"What's he doing now? Is there sound? Give me the headphones," JJ demanded.

"Precious, that's not a good idea. You don't want to do that. Think about it first."

"I know what I want. Give me the headphone Penelope," JJ responded furiously before ripping the headphones out of Garcia's hands.

The noises she heard broke her heart. She listened to the love of her life plead with her captor, begging him not to touch her, not to penetrate her. She listened to him ignore Emily's pleas and her subsequent crying.

"Who is this son of a bitch," shouted Morgan. "He's raping her and beating her and there is nothing we can do about it. We still can't find anything."

The room was filled with the sound of Emily pleading and crying.

"Shut up, Emily. Enjoy this pleasure." James shouted. "You needed a man to fulfill your sexual needs. Stop crying." But Emily couldn't stop.

Morgan and Reid stared at the screen helplessly as he reached for the knife next to the mattress. He sliced her stomach and when she continued to cry, he punched her, effectively silencing her. Reid ran from the room and expelled the contents of his lunch into the nearest trashcan as Morgan furiously paced around the conference room cussing. Morgan's phone rang; he answered with a surly "what" without checking the caller id.

"Were you watching the feed?"

"Yes. Every single bit of it. God damnit why can't we find this bastard?"

"I think I did." Garcia responded.

"She got him. She found him. Garcia knows who this son of a bitch is. She's trying to get us an address right now."

"Who is he?" Rossi shouted, anxious to find his missing agent.

"James Anderson. Four of the nine victims have the same security system at their work place. Two others have that same system at their homes. The other three have security systems that were purchased by the expanding security company in the last couple of months. And this company purchased Emily's security company over a year ago. James Anderson, who's badge picture could be a match to our Unsub, made visits to all locations either to fix the systems or install new software."
"I got an address. 489 Elm." Garcia sang out through the speakerphone. "Bring our princess home."

Hang on Emily. We are coming to get you. Garcia thought to herself.

Morgan kicked down the door as the agents quickly cleared the first story.

"Guys, basement door. Garcia, look at the feed. Where is she? Does he have weapons?"

"She's slumped against the wall in the corner handcuffed. She doesn't look conscious. I don't see him and SHIT my feed went blank."

"He knows we are here. GO!" Hotch spoke, motioning for his team to enter the basement.

"FBI! James Anderson, put the weapon down. Step away from her."
"Well look at that," James replied smugly. "It took you long enough. Did you enjoy the show? Is that what took you so long to find us? You were too entertained. I meant what I said earlier if I can't have her no one can."
"Last time, put down the weapon and step away from her."

"In the time it takes you to shoot me. I will have already killed her." As he spoke he prepared himself to stab the brunette. Two gunshots fired and James' body covered Emily's, the knife skidding off to the side.

"EMILY!" Morgan shouted as he rushed towards her. Hotch pulled James away from Emily checking his pulse, relieved to find the man dead.

"Reid, call the paramedics. We need to get her to a hospital now. Rossi, call Garcia; have the girls meet us at the hospital." Hotch ordered as he watched Morgan uncuff Emily.

"Come on Princess. Wake up for me baby girl." Morgan cradled her body close to his. "Stay with me, Emily." Morgan frantically called out to the brunette, who had yet to open her eyes. "Princess, JJ needs you. I need you. You have to wake up for me. Come on; show me those gorgeous eyes."

The paramedics arrived and put Emily on a gurney while rushing her to the ambulance. Morgan looked down at his hands, realizing they were covered in his best friend's blood.

JJ was frantically pacing Garcia's office.

"Give me good news." Garcia pleaded as she answered her cell.

"She's not dead and James Anderson is. He stabbed her as he went down. We are on our way to the hospital now. Morgan is in the bus with Emily. It's serious Garcia. She's lost a lot of blood. You both need to get to the hospital now. Before you leave double check Prentiss' next of kin. If she changed it to JJ, JJ might have a challenging decision to make."

"Is it really that bad, Hotch?"
"Yes. There's a possibility and we need to know in case the Ambassador decides to grace us with her presence." Hotch responded only half-sarcastically.

"Okay. We'll see you there."

"What? What happened? Is she alive? Is she okay? Did they shoot the bastard?"

"She's alive kitten, but her condition is serious. I said we would meet them at the hospital."

Morgan was pacing the waiting room when Garcia and JJ arrived. His breathing was erratic and he still hadn't changed clothes. Emily's blood was covering his shirt and jeans.

"How is she? Where is she? I need to see her. I need to see her now." JJ demanded as she ran into the waiting room. Morgan turned to see her when the two walked in, temporarily stopping his pacing.

The team looked around at each other, silently deciding who should speak. "She's in surgery. It's pretty bad- deep lacerations, dislocated arm, and bruises everywhere. There was evidence of sexual assault. She's still unconscious. I'm sorry, Jayje. Hotch just stepped away to call the Ambassador."

"Oh fantastic. I can't wait to see her. My intense love for one of my best friend's family is terrifying," Garcia said sarcastically.

"Is she really that bad?" Reid asked, "I mean the Ambassador, not Emily. I mean… um… I'm sorry. Never mind." JJ had walked away to go talk to a nurse. "I really should learn to filter before speaking," Reid muttered to himself.

"Kid, she's just stressed. We all are. And to answer your question, yes, the Ambassador is that bad. To say she and Emily have no relationship maybe an understatement, and speak of the devil, here she comes."

"My God, that was quick," Reid muttered again to himself.

"Where is Agent Hotchner? Where is my daughter? Where is the surgeon in charge? Where is the head nurse? I need information and I need it now." Ambassador Prentiss shouted as she strode into the waiting room. She looked at the team sitting in the waiting room. "Why are you all just sitting here aimlessly? I need answers. Go get them for me."

"Ambassador, we've received all the information possible at this moment as your daughter is undergoing surgery, and we would be willing to share it with you if you would sit down calmly and lower your voice." Rossi spoke directly to the Ambassador, not shirking away from her menacing, powerful stature.

"Willing to share it with me? Excuse me, Agent Rossi, but do you know who I am and the powerful connections I maintain? As soon as my daughter's state is strong enough, I will be moving her to a private facility where you all will be able to visit during visiting hours with my approval. Is that understood?"

"Excuse me, Ambassador, but you know longer have the power of attorney over your daughter. She changed her next of kin. If you continue to cause a ruckus, I will have security remove you." Hotch had reappeared, immediately taking charge of the situation before the stress of the elder woman's presence added to the stress of having one of their own in such painful circumstances.

"I am her mother. I have the right to take care of my daughter. Right now, she is obviously not being taken care of as all of you are sitting around the waiting room doing nothing."

"I will warn you only once more. If you continue to cause a disruption and do not lower your voice, you will be removed. You are no longer your daughter's next of kin, and, thus, have no further say over her hospitalization accommodations."

"Whom is her next of kin listed as?" JJ inquired quietly, the stress of having her girlfriend in surgery added to the presence of the Ambassador and her intense exhaustion finally taking its toll.

"You are," Hotch responded. "She spoke to me about changing it a couple of months ago. I had Garcia check and the paperwork has been filed."

The Ambassador huffed her disapproval before turning on her heels to leave. "Agent Hotchner, I expect a phone call immediately after any news is discovered." The woman didn't leave time for a response.

"You weren't kidding. That woman is like a tornado of hatred, stress, and Chanel No. 5." Reid commented after the retreating form.

"I'm sorry, Reid, but how on Earth do you know what Chanel No. 5 smells like?" Garcia questioned, still trying to lighten the mood in the waiting room.

"Hotch, if I'm her next of kin, does that mean I will have to make a decision on pulling the plug or not?"

"Baby girl, don't think like that. She's strong. She'll pull through. She loves you too much to give up."

"God I hope so Morgan. I don't know what I would do without her." Morgan pulled the blonde into a tight hug, placing a gentle kiss on her forehead.

"I'm going to go change. I'll be right back. Anybody need anything?" Morgan asked before turning to find his go bag and same much-needed caffeine.

The hours passed slowly with the team leaving in bits and pieces and then returning. JJ, however, was a fixture in the waiting room. There were so many thoughts swirling around in her head. She needed Emily to wake up and she needed to hold her lover, kiss her, talk to her, and see her smile. She needed to tell Emily something important. Instinctively, the blonde ran a hand over her stomach, thinking of the great news she needed to tell Emily… if Emily pulled out of this. When Emily pulled out of this, she scolded herself for thinking such thoughts.

"Whatcha thinking about, kitten?" Garcia asked.

"Just something I need to tell Emily about when she wakes up."

"Is she out of surgery yet?"

"No. I haven't heard anything else. It's driving me crazy."

"So talk to me. Get your mind off things, or at least try."

"I'm pregnant. Emily and I found a sperm donor. We are starting a family. We bought a house and we need to pick out paint colors, so we can move in."

Garcia sat stunned, "You're pregnant? As in with child? As in with Emily Prentiss' child? As in my future niece or nephew? Seriously?"

"Yeah. You're the only one who knows. God, Emily doesn't even know we're pregnant. She needs to wake up, and it needs to be now." JJ sat with her head in her hands.

It was early morning, and all six members of the team sat in the waiting room with fresh cups of coffee. It had been hours since they had heard anything. A doctor in a white lab coat came towards the group and asked for the family of Emily Prentiss. All six people shot up and immediately started bombarding the doctor with questions.

"I can answer all of your questions in a moment. Emily is in recovery now. She had internal damage to some of her organs due to the knife wounds. She flat lined once on the table, but we were able to bring her back and repair most of the damage. We preformed a rape kit and it's being sent for processing. She's yet to wake up, but she should wake fairly soon. I can only allow two people in the room at once until further notice. Now for your questions."
"Are you saying she will make a full recovery?"

"Yes, she will be fine. Some physical therapy and a couple of months for her wounds to heal entirely and she will be ready to reenter the field. Mentally is another story entirely, but that's not my specialty. She's in room 304."

JJ walked towards the room; letting the other five decide the order they would get to visit the brunette.

As she walked in the room, JJ gasped. Her beautiful girlfriend lay on the bed with wires feeding out of nowhere and bruises everywhere. There was a steady beeping, which provided JJ comfort that her girlfriend was, in fact, still living. The blonde made her way carefully over to Emily's side and picked up her hand, holding it between hers.

"Emily, baby, I was so worried. I need you to wake up now. I have some great news for you. We're going to have a baby; the two of us, we are going to have a family. You need to wake up, so I can see your gorgeous eyes. I love you so much, Em. I can't lose you." JJ put her head down placing a gentle kiss on Emily's hand.

There was a knock on the door as Morgan stuck his head in.

"Hey baby girl. Can I come in?"

"Of course Morgan. You know how much she looks up to you? In this weird little family of ours, you are her big brother. She cares so much about you and what you think."

Morgan smiled in spite of the situation as he thought back to the teasing, nagging times between him and Emily. To anyone just walking in off the street, the two looked to be flirty. Yet to those who knew them, to their family, the two acted like the closest of siblings, always trying to outdo the other and jumping in on jokes and teasing.

"You know, before the two of you started dating, you had her stomach in knots. My god, Jayje, she was head over heels from day one. I don't even remember which case it was, but she and I went out for drinks afterwards. It was just the two of us, and I definitely encouraged her to have one too many drinks. But anyhow, this blonde chick walks in the bar and saunters over to the bartender. Princess, she nearly choked on her beer thinking it was you. I started teasing her about it and she let something slip about those baby blues of yours. It didn't take a profiler to tell she was hooked. The next day, she was so embarrassed, but threatened to shred me to pieces if I told anyone. I might have been equally as happy as the two of you when you finally got together." He smiled genuinely at the blonde who was blushing. She didn't interrupt him, so he continued. "She called me after you decided to come out as a couple. I could hear the smile in her voice; I had never seen or heard her so happy. And yeah know, JJ, this girl right here- she knows me better than anyone ever has. She's my best friend."

"You shot him, didn't you?" JJ asked.

"Twice in the chest, and I didn't even blink. A wise woman once said, you do what you have to do to protect your family. I just wanted to get to her side and get her back to you. I would have faced an army just to see a smile on her beautiful face. She's going to be okay. You are her whole world, and she would never give up on a love like that." He smiled at JJ, placing a supportive hand on her shoulder while placing a kiss to her forehead. "Now you, Princess, when you wake up, you own me new a shirt, but Emily, I want nothing more than to see you smile. I'll be here when you wake up; all of us will. You're strong, and you can pull through. Taunting Reid just isn't as much fun with the amazing back up you provide." He squeezed the brunette's hand and closed his eyes, praying that Emily would wake up.
"I'm going to head outside, so Garcia can come in. That woman, love her to death, but she almost handcuffed me to the nurse's desk so she could be in here first." JJ smiled at the image Morgan's words brought to mind.

"Thanks, Derek, for everything." Morgan tilted his head in a nod and slowly walked back out of the room.

"Okay, Emily. You have a room full of people waiting anxiously for you to wake up. Now would be an amazing time for you to wake up. God, I miss you so much it hurts." She was brought from her thoughts when the energetic blonde knocked and slid into the room.

Garcia's gasp was similar to that of JJ's when she had first seen Emily. "Oh kitten."

JJ wasn't exactly sure who Garcia was talking to, but at the moment it didn't seem to matter one way or the other. The rest of the team came in and out, but it all seemed like a blur. JJ never let go of Emily's hand; she was afraid if she let go Emily would no longer be laying there.

It was long past visiting hours, and the blonde had yet to go home. She continued talking to Emily rambling on and on about anything and everything. She didn't want to sleep in case Emily woke up; she didn't want the brunette to wake up and be alone. At one point, however, her eyelids became heavy, and despite her desire to stay awake and watch over Emily, she fell asleep with her head awkwardly leaning against the hospital bed, her hands still intertwined with Emily's.

Emily slowly came to her senses, not wanting to open her eyes in case she was still in Anderson's basement. First, she noticed she was not restrained, and then immediately she felt a warm hand holding hers. Struggling to open her eyes, Emily was blinded by the light in the hospital. When her eyes adjusted, she smiled down at the blonde, asleep against the bed.

"I love you, Jennifer. You pulled me through," Emily whispered hoarsely, trying to regain her voice while not waking the slumbering woman.

As she spoke she started to realize what hurt, and despite the pulsating aches and pains, Emily knew she would refuse the meds. She took a deep breath, noticing the sharp pain in her ribs followed by a similar ache in her stomach. Other than that, everything seemed to hurt simultaneously, and she couldn't discern what hurt where or why. She suddenly coughed and her rib cage felt like it was on fire. The blonde woke up with a start and looked on at the brunette wincing in pain.

"Is this a dream? You're awake. You're alive."
"Hey Jayje. Sorry I woke you. You looked… comfortable?" Emily joked sarcastically. "Come here," the brunette continued. She pulled JJ's face up to her own, placing a soft kiss to the other woman's lips. "This is not a dream. I'm awake and I'm here. I would never leave you."

"I love you, Em." JJ responded, tears shining in her eyes.

"Look who has decided to join us," joked a nurse, who popped her head in. "I'll go grab a doctor."