A/N – this is only set in a broad time line, whereby JJ and Emily are both back at the BAU set after the Doyle encounter. It is a stand alone piece, not intended to be paired with Against the Odds, which I've also written.

Disclaimer: I don't own Criminal minds, CBS do, blah, blah, yada, yada, wish I did, and so on and so forth.


Chapter one

JJ and Emily met up at the coffee machine after a full weekend off.

"Good weekend?" Emily queried, having already poured her coffee, which she was now stirring as JJ poured out some in to her mug.

"Yeah. Henry and I spent time at the park, and Will popped up to spend some time with us." JJ smiled at the memory. "How was your weekend?"

Before Emily could reply, Hotch appeared. "Can I see you both in my office now." and without further comment, he turned and walked away from them.

"Why do I suddenly feel like the kid who has just been summoned to the Principals office for something I know I'm going to get chewed out for, but I've got no idea what it is." Emily muttered.

"I don't ever remember having to do that." JJ admitted, earning her a genuine look of surprise from Emily. "What?" JJ gestured, "I admit, I stuck my head down and avoided trouble. I was the model pupil. It was my ticket out of that town."

"I don't think I've ever met anyone so straight laced." Emily teased.

"I'm not as straight laced as you might think." JJ winked, before swaying her hips as she walked through Hotch's door, as Emily followed behind dumbstruck. Both were brought up short by the man already standing in the room.

"Close the door please." Hotch asked as he sat behind his desk. He waited for Emily to reach across and pull it too. "Let me introduce to you Donald Fearman." The man standing, reached out a hand, that Emily and JJ both shook, looking at Hotch with questioning expressions.

"Please, sit down." Hotch requested, and they pulled up chairs and all sat opposite him. "What is about to be discussed here is, for now at least, to remain confidential. I will only bring the rest of the team in if agreement is reached."

Emily and JJ couldn't help but look at each other, their confusion increasing.

"If I may?" Donald directed his question to Hotch who merely nodded his agreement. Donald then looked back at Emily and JJ. "I'm from the CIA, and we have a situation, and because you both have experience with the workings of the CIA and Pentagon, we thought you would be the best people to approach. That, and you're both women." JJ and Emily's eyebrows both went up at the last comment.

Donald reached down and pulled a couple of files out from a bag neither had spotted when they first walked in, and he handed them across.

"This case is one we've been pursuing for nearly two years. " He admitted as Emily and JJ began to skim read the files. "But, despite all the time and effort, having people in deep undercover, we need help. Specifically BAU type of help. As you can see, we are after a female terrorist. Someone who was originally from Russia, and once the Berlin wall fell, became a mercenary for hire, using her extensive KGB training to that end. She was only 20 at that point so now has years of experience, but also has evaded us for that long. She then also became a paid assassin and has participated in known terrorist attacks, and quite honestly doesn't seem to have any morals or even political ties. She will do whatever is asked, as long as the price is right. We know all this, we know her code name is Athena, but we know very little else." Donald stopped talking letting JJ and Emily take stock of what he had told them.

"Athena, the Greek goddess of war." Emily spoke up first, "Nothing like inflating your own ego. So, why and how do you need us exactly?" Emily looked up from what she had been reading.

"We would be asking you both to go pretty deep undercover." Hotch took up the explanation. "JJ, we wouldn't expect you to separate from Henry, but you would have to cut off all contact with everyone else. Family, friends, the lot. We believe Athena is in the DC area, and has been for some time. Naturally, we don't expect immediate decisions on this, however we would need to know by the end of the day."

"I sense a but here." JJ spoke for the first time.

"Very perceptive." Donald looked and sounded impressed. "Because of Athena's known preferences in lifestyle, we would need you to become mercenary's for hire, looking for work."

"And?" Emily prompted.

"We would require you to be in a gay relationship."

"Whoa." JJ exclaimed. "Gay relationship?"

"I understand completely if this is going to be problematic for you both." Hotch said sincerely, "And this is why we're taking the opportunity to ask you privately before considering involving anyone else from the team, but Athena is a known lesbian, and its the only angle we know of to get close."

"I..." JJ looked across at Emily wide eyed before looking back at Hotch. "I don't have a problem with gay people, I just don't know if I could... I'm straight with a son." JJ knew it sounded rather pathetic as she spoke, but she didn't know what else to say.

"Emily?" Hotch asked.

Emily looked uncharacteristically uncomfortable. "Why a relationship?" Emily finally managed to ask. "Why not just go in as lesbian women in general?"

"Because we know Athena views any single gay woman with suspicion, and we also know she tends to accept couples who are in a committed relationship far more readily." Hotch explained. "If you want to get close, it has to be this way or it doesn't work."

"It doesn't sound as if its worked so far." JJ argued.

"Your right." Donald acknowledged. "But that is as much in part to getting to a point in the investigation where the couple who were undercover just couldn't read the situation, behaviourally that is. They were a genuine couple, both working out of Langley in separate divisions, but neither particularly practised out in the field under any condition. Prentiss, with your experience, plus what you have done out in the field Agent Jareau, we are already on better territory. Include your profiler skills..."

"Hold on, I'm not a profiler." JJ reminded him.

"I understand that, however, I've been assured that your work here means you have to have some understanding of the field. And quite frankly, there is no other female agent in these offices remotely qualified like you are."

"I don't know." Emily looked back up from the file. "You said we have until this evening?" and she let out a deep breath when Hotch nodded. "Guess we need to read more about this." Emily directed the last comment at JJ.

"Inside the files are more details about where the operation would be based from, and also the clubs that we narrowed down as being good points of contact for Athena." Donald stood up as he spoke, closing his bag at the same time. "I have to get back, I expect a call from you later." He looked across at Hotch who stood up.

"Of course." Hotch shook hands with him across the desk. "Thank you for bringing this to our attention."

"Yeah, really great." Emily murmured to herself, trying to get her thoughts together.

Feeling slightly stunned, JJ and Emily walked out of Hotch's office where they headed across to JJ's office, just saying hello to Reid and Morgan as they went, but not stopping.

"Strange." Reid commented as they walked off. "They seem rather preoccupied."

"Probably talking about a possible case since they came from Hotch's office." Morgan said as he sat down at his desk. "And wondering, like I am, how in the hell when I left on Friday, my desk was clear." Morgan swept his hand around in front of him. "Now look at it! Its like Mount St. Helen's has erupted all over again." Morgan then looked up, just as Reid was about to say something. "And I don't need a lecture on Mount St. Helen's either." He warned, and noted with satisfaction that Reid immediately closed his lips and sat down without another word.

Emily closed the door as she followed JJ in to her office, before sitting down. "Are you okay?" she asked, as JJ put the file down on her already overflowing desk.

"I don't know." She looked up, and just shook her head. "Apart from anything else, who would do all this? Look how many files I've got!" She threw her hands up in frustration. "I didn't even think to ask Hotch if he'd considered that!"

"I'm sure he's considered all that." Emily sighed. "Lets get this over with." and opened her file up to begin reading it all properly. After a few minutes, her thoughts were interrupted by JJ.

"Well, it appears as if there is only really one main venue that Athena goes to. I've never heard of this place, Lace?"

"Its on Rhode Island Avenue." Emily replied without thinking.

"What?" JJ looked up, shocked. "You know this place?"

Suddenly realizing what she'd said, Emily kept her face down, as if reading so JJ didn't see her reaction. "Yeah, I've been with a couple of friends." she said, trying to sound non-committal.

"Might that be a problem if we did this?" JJ asked, eyebrows knotted together. "If you're known there?"

"I don't think so," Emily did finally look up, "If I go to bars or clubs, its not Lace. I've only been for meals out a couple of times because it serves food upstairs, and the dance area is downstairs, its only been open two or three years and I haven't been since before Doyle so its quite a gap, where a lot could happen. I'm pretty sure no-one knows my name, even if they did remember my face." she added. "Does this mean you might consider the assignment?"

"I don't know." JJ sighed, "I guess I could do this, but I'm more worried that Henry could be involved, also that I won't see anyone else if we did it. You've done this sort of thing before, and I know its taken its toll. Honestly, I have no idea if I have this in me, its not what I signed up for."

"We wouldn't be completely alone." Emily reminded JJ, "Hotch has said if we did this, he would bring in the rest of the team and I'll be there."

"I'm not sure if that makes me feel any better or not." JJ said, with a wry smile. "So you would do this?"

"Yeah." Emily nodded slowly after giving it some thought. "I'm not saying it would be easy, but this woman is dangerous and needs to be stopped. If we can help, then I have to say yes. Its in my nature." She said with a self deprecating smile.

"Our very own Morgan." JJ said with a smile. "Always the first to kick down a door or break a window."

"Hey, what can I say." Emily laughed and shrugged her shoulders. "I'm a kick ass kinda gal."