Title: Breaking Inside
Summary: The friendship/relationship/whatever you want to call it between Emily and JJ (and others) in the weeks before she gets sick effectively destroying her future plans, through the finding out, and the subsequent emotional and physical recovery.
Inspiration: Finding out 3 months ago that I have cancer and the Shinedown songs "Breaking Inside" and "The Crow & The Butterfly" that I've listened to every day since.
Author's Note: Don't even think of judging this story by telling me that I don't take the subject seriously. I'm choosing to approach this situation like I have every other hardship in my life, with a little humor.
Emily Prentiss wandered into UltraBar several minutes after 8 pm, intending to spend a low key evening with her colleagues. Aaron Hotchner, David Rossi, Spencer Reid and Derek Morgan were seated together, and appeared to be talking amongst themselves. From her position across the bar, she could only see two of the four male's faces. Hotch's stoic expression gave nothing away in regard to the nature of their interaction and Spencer wasn't much more help, though for an entirely different reason. He seemed lost, and wholly out of sorts, but as Emily slowly approached, she could hear Derek's throaty laughs emanating from his frame, carrying over the music.
Emily nudged Derek away from an open barstool he'd been crowding while hunched over laughing, "Hey guys, sorry I'm late. I ran into a little traffic on 14th."
Spencer concluded, carelessly revealing the previous topic of conversation, "Its fine. We figured all of you ladies had ditched us anyway."
Hotch echoed the first sentiment with as much of a smile as he's capable of, "We're glad you could make it."
"What do you mean? It's just me." Emily looked around as if she were going to see hidden cameras before fully parking herself on her stool, "So no Garcia or JJ yet?"
Several no's we're heard, before Reid added, "Statistically speaking, 52% of car accidents happen within 5 miles of home and 69% occur within 10 miles of home."
Derek looked at him with a 'what the fuck' face and turned his palms up as a silent but animated question as to why he would say something like that. Then, as quickly as his face contorted, it normalized; after all, it is Reid.
Prentiss asked with mock seriousness, "Spence, what's with the negativity tonight?"
"I'm… I'm… I'm not being negative. I was just… I…," Dr. Reid paused to catch a glimpse of Emily's cheeky grin before continuing, "nevermind."
While laughing, Emily advised, "It's probably a good thing that they're not within 10 miles of their home then, huh? Anyway, I'll call to find out what's going on. Maybe they're still on 14th too; it's quite backed up."
Emily sifted through her phone contacts before hitting the green call button. Two rings later, JJ answered professionally, "Jareau."
Emily spoke playfully, "Miss Jareau, what's up? You're late!"
"Am not. I'm at 911 S Street! Now, unless we're planning on drinking at this elementary school; your directions are a bunch of sorely mistaken liars."
Sighing belligerently, "JJ. No. We're at 911 F… as in fool. Got it? F Street?"
JJ giggled, "Oh, well yeah, that would probably help. You know, being on the right street and all. We'll be there in however long it takes to go backward alphabetically from S to F. So maybe five to seven minutes."
Emily hung up before staring blankly at the group of men at the table, her expression clearly wondering if that conversation just transpired.
Rossi was the first to speak in his typically snide fashion, "That good, huh?"
Prentiss furrowed her brow in mock anger, "Gosh. I told them 14th to F then hang a right, in Downtown DC. What part of 14th to F sounds like 'just kidding, I really want you to take 14th to suburbia and play house with the soccer mom's?' I mean, seriously, what the fuck ladies?"
Derek laughed amidst noticing the playfulness laced with more hostility than normal and offered while pushing back from the table, "Let me get you a drink Prentiss, you sound like you could use one."
"Thanks." Emily acknowledged while reaching into her purse for two $20 dollar bills. "A shot of Goldschlager please. You know what, make that two. And toss in a Jägerbomb, too. I've had these headaches for weeks; I may as well give myself a reason to wake up with one, right?"
Cataloging the drink information along with the need to make sure Prentiss had a designated driver to get her home safely, he proceeded toward the bar. He passed Garcia and JJ on their way in and opted for ordering a round of beers in addition to Emily's drinks.
Hotch only stayed long enough to finish his beer from Morgan before heading home. Afterall, what kind of person turns down a free beer? Rossi left as well, but neither gave specific reasons as to why, nor did they need to.
During some friendly conversation a few minutes later, Reid announced, "I'm going to head out too, guys."
Mischievously interested as to why, JJ perked up before grabbing the plastic stick from one of Emily's drink and proceeded to glide it across her bottom lip, "oh yeah? You got a hot date or somethin', Doctor?"
Reid answered sincerely, "Nope, but I finally saved enough money for the three volumes in the set of The Encyclopedia of Espionage, Intelligence, and Security, and it should have been delivered today."
Eager and interested to ask where he ordered it from, Emily began speaking, "Oooh! I've wanted…"
Oblivious to Emily currently talking, JJ questioned, "You're serious, aren't you?"
Spencer deadpanned, "Of course I'm serious. Why would I make that up?"
Morgan continued the questioning with a query of his own, "Do you ever wonder why you can't find a date?"
Pondering the question for several seconds, he finally replied, "no, not really. Why should I be fake for someone else to like me? There's a girl out there that's interested in these things too, but until she finds me or I find her; I'll make do."
Morgan continued with genuine interest now, "How do you expect to find her when you're holed up in your apartment forever?"
Disregarding the future line of negative questions, Reid chose to make his exit. Politely, he made eye contact with the three women and offered, "Good night ladies," moving his eyes to Morgan's, "and you too Derek," before heading toward the exit.
JJ stopped drinking at two beers in order to see to it that Emily, Garcia, and Morgan made it home safely.
Two hours and several drinks by her colleagues later, JJ could be seen escorting her friends to her vehicle in order to drop them off at their respective homes to sober up overnight. Opting for taking care of Emily for the remainder of the evening, JJ dropped Morgan off at home first, before taking Garcia home and ensuring she made it inside safely. JJ walked Garcia up to her door and gave her a hug before retreating slowly. After Penelope was shot at her own doorstep, JJ refused to take any additional chances with something as precious as human life.
Garcia called after her quietly, "Honey, is everything okay with Emily? She seems a little, I don't know, off lately. And the drinking tonight, what's that about? She never drinks."
Crossing her arms over her chest, JJ secured her hands tightly atop her shoulders, "If I'm honest, I'm not really sure, but I wanted to try to talk to her, that's why I am dropping her off last. I know she's seeing someone new, so maybe it's related to that."
"I hadn't thought about that, but I could see it. Just promise me you'll try to fix our precious girl."
JJ assured, "Of course I will, Pen."
Garcia closed and locked her door before peering through the curtains. Once satisfied that Garcia was safe, JJ proceeded back to her vehicle and headed toward her own home to grab a toothbrush and some attire to sleep in. Garcia watched until JJ drove away before turning out the porch light to get some sleep.
A/N #2: Don't hate on The Encyclopedia of Espionage, Intelligence, and Security. It's fucking brilliant and I own it, so that makes it even more awesome. Oh, and I know you want to tell me how awesome I am, so by all means, go ahead and review.