Author's Note: Hello, all our fanfic friends! Several announcements today, so, hang on tight!
This is the fourth in our new "Shakespeare Series" based off the 6x02 episode "JJ". This will be a series of post-eps related to that episode covering, hopefully each of the characters. We really hope you like it! Hold on to your hats and find out what happens between Hotch and Emily after the events of the 6x02 episode.
Please, please, please don't forget to get your nominations in for the first EVER "Profiler's Choice Awards. Nomination ballots and rules are at the forum. Don't forget, I'm (ilovetvalot) still willing to write a oneshot of your pairing choosing to the next five people to complete a ballot. This is a wonderful opportunity to give your favorite stories and authors the recognition that they deserve on ff. net. Also, please remember, in the interest of just saying "no" to self-promotion, ilovetvalot and tonnie2001969 are NOT eligible for nomination.
Also, readers & authors, please come sound off on our newest discussion thread. Tell us how you'd feel about the idea of a fanfic based CM Christmas Gift Fic Exchange. We're eagerly soliciting opinions and ideas!
So, please, drop by and get a blank ballot and tell the fanfic community who YOUR favorites are! We'd love to have you!
From Day To Day
Pausing outside the closed office door, Emily looked around self-consciously. All she needed was for someone to see her going in to check on the boss. With the day they'd all seen, one inappropriate comment might very well send her hurtling off the deep end, her control already frayed and ragged.
And if she felt that way, God only knew how the man sitting on the other side of the closed door felt.
Drawing a deep breath, she lifted her hand to knock. And as her hand fell within an inch of the wood, she stopped. Second guessing herself, she momentarily waffled, uncharacteristically. After all, a closed door generally meant the person on the other side didn't want to be disturbed. And Aaron Hotchner had seemed anything but chatty when he'd slammed it shut half an hour ago.
On the other hand, Emily realized how much this had to have hurt him. JJ had been with the taciturn man for years, often predicting his movements before he even thought of making them. It was a unique relationship, but it had worked out well...for all of them. And now, despite his best efforts, it had dissolved around him.
And try as he might, he couldn't change those events.
And if she knew him at all, he was inside the room in front of her, sitting alone and brooding. And THAT simply didn't bode well for any of them left behind. The least she could do was offer a sympathetic ear, right? Hadn't she offered him that on more than one occasion since all their lives had been disrupted by George Foyet? He'd never reacted negatively to those friendly overtures, so perhaps this was yet another time she could extend friendship.
Oh, get real, Prentiss, her mind scolded her sternly. There's nothing friendly in your motivations here. You want him. Plain and simple. And with JJ gone...perhaps, you could fill that void that she left behind. At least be honest with yourself. This isn't some selfless act...it's selfish.
Grimacing as she heard herself in her mind, Emily faltered. She loved JJ like a sister, but she couldn't deny the jealousy she'd felt over the relationship that had developed between her and their boss. Oh, she knew it wasn't romantic...JJ had Will, after all. But, Hotch's feelings for the blonde media liaison remained a mystery, his stoic face and demeanor offering not a single clue.
Except that slamming door half an hour ago, her mind chided. That certainly had spoken volumes, hadn't it?
"Stop it, Emily," she whispered aloud, sternly. You were angry, too, she reminded herself. No one wanted to watch JJ leave the unit. As Garcia had said earlier, they were a family. Hotch had every right to whatever he was feeling right now. But….she couldn't help but wonder if it had been her on the chopping block, would those emotions of his have been quite so volatile.
Shaking her head, she straightened her spine, pulling her jacket together before lifting her hand and resolutely knocking on the door. Releasing a relieved breath as she heard his terse voice call out, "Come in," she twisted the brass knob and walked into his office.
"Hey," she said, lifting her lips in a half smile as she promptly closed the door behind her, aware that privacy was a valuable commodity at the BAU. "I just wanted to see if you were okay."
"Okay?" Hotch repeated, dropping his fountain pen on his desk blotter. Snorting, he shook his head in disgust, his dark eyes flashing as he let out a deep breath. "Not really," he answered her truthfully.
"You did everything you could, Hotch," Emily defended him easily, moving toward the chair in front of his desk. "Everybody knows that. Especially JJ."
"It wasn't quite enough though, was it?" he asked, his voice faintly tinged with bitterness as he met her eyes across the polished surface of his desk. "Sometimes it feels like I never quite get there in time to make a difference, you know? If she'd have just confided in me earlier, then maybe..."
"DOD had already made their mind up, Hotch," Emily shook her head, well aware of the political machinations of the federal government. "None of us are in a position to say no to the Secretary of Defense. Not even you," she pointed out gently.
"Maybe not," Hotch frowned, his tone relaying that he still doubted that statement. "Doesn't make the end result any more palatable though."
"No," Emily shook her head in silent agreement, "It doesn't. Do you think you can get her back eventually?" she asked, searching his face for some sign of hope.
"I hope so. Dave and I are working on it. Between our connections, maybe one of us can make a difference. But as soon as the executive branch sees what JJ can do..."
"They'll hold on with both hands," Emily sighed, leaning back in the visitor's chair she sat in.
"Exactly," Hotch nodded, the one word filled with resignation and disgust.
"I'm really sorry, Hotch," Emily offered quietly as she leaned forward. "I know you two were close."
Shaking his head, Hotch's mouth twisted in a grimace. "She was the first person on the team when I took over. Gideon brought her in...we clicked," he shrugged, his lips pressing tightly together as those early memories invaded his overly active mind. "We all click. Or we did," Hotch muttered. "But now, we're missing an integral part of our machine. It's going to take us a while to get things together."
"We can all pinch hit where we need to," Emily volunteered, desperate to alleviate some of the misery clouding his dark eyes.
Smiling slightly, Hotch cocked his head. "Willing to use those breasts as weapons of mass distraction in front of the television cameras, Agent Prentiss?" he asked, his eyes twinkling in spite of the sadness still lingering at the edges.
"You said to present myself as a woman to the potential unsub," Emily grinned back, remembering her girlish act in front of the young man suspected in their case earlier in the day. And while she may have told herself that her act was all to further the case and benefit the justice system, she had known full well that her audience was comprised of far more than just two young men.
"I think you definitely accomplished the directive," Hotch chuckled, leaning back in his seat as he let his shoulders relax. "You should have seen the look on the Detective's face when you took off your jacket. I thought his eyes were going to pop out of their sockets."
"A girl's gotta do..."Emily shrugged, laughing as her words trailed off, her grin growing wider.
"Well, you certainly did it," Hotch said with an approving nod. "You did a good job today, Emily. I suppose I need to do a better job of letting each of you know that," he sighed, his smile drooping as his thoughts returned to the present. "JJ's departure just goes to prove that you never know if you'll get the chance to tell someone how much they mean."
Seeing Emily cock her head, Hotch added quickly, "To the team, I mean. If you'll get the chance to tell someone how much they meant to the team."
Lips twitching, Emily leaned forward in her chair, whispering conspiratorially, "It's okay to have personal feelings, Hotch. It doesn't make you a pushover...it just shows that you're human."
"Yes, well..." Hotch trailed off self-consciously. "Hopefully, if we're very efficient, they'll leave the rest of our team alone for the time being." Lifting his eyes to meet Emily's gaze for a charged instant, he admitted huskily, "I don't think I could handle losing anyone else."
Emily's mouth went dry as his words hung in the air between them, the charged sentence speaking volumes.
"I mean it, Emily," Hotch said softly. "No one else can leave."
Tilting her head, Emily swallowed painfully. "I can tell you that I don't intend to go anywhere, Hotch. I'm happy here." I'm happy with you, her mind screamed.
"Good," he said huskily, letting his gaze linger on her solemn face for as long as he could. Glancing at his watch, he winced. "I've kept you in here almost an hour, Emily. I'm sorry."
"You're not keeping me from anything," Emily denied. "Maybe you'd like to let a girl buy you a beer. I think we could both use one after this kind of day. Unless you need to get home," she quickly added, astonished at her show of emotional courage. Where the hell had that come from?
Smiling gratefully, Hotch nodded. "Jack's staying at Jessica's tonight, so if you're up for it..."
"Let's go," Emily winked, rising from her chair and preceding him out the door.
And as they walked, side by side, toward the elevator, Emily began to believe that maybe, just possibly, there was hope after all.
For all of them.
Author's Note 2 - Also guys, please don't forget that if you'd like to advertise the awards on your own profile pages or stories, there's a short blurb on my (ilovetvalot) and Tonnie's (tonnie2001969) profile page for you to copy and paste if you choose!
Again, thanks to everyone reading, reviewing, alerting and favoriting this story!