AN: I know it's been four months since the last update but this was another chapter that had to be rewritten due to a hard drive wipe out back in June. Hope it's good. I am moving forward but the two part episode in season 2 (The Big Game & Revelations) was important to me in the development of the JJ/Emily dynamic. So I used it in this chapter. Enjoy!
It was Superbowl Sunday and Emily had been coerced into joining the team at a local sports bar for drinks and dancing. It was a way to blow off some steam and also to get to see each other in a non-work setting.
Hotch had even brought his wife along and if Katie had been 21, Emily might've brought her along as well. As it was, her daughter was at the dorms tonight enjoying a superbowl party. So Emily found herself at a small table with Hotch, his wife Hailey and Garcia while Morgan danced with three women at once. Emily had just come back from making a drinks run and she handed the drinks to Hotch and his wife.
Hailey Hotchner took this opportunity to ask, "So how are they treating you at the BAU Emily?"
Before Emily could answer, Hotch spoke up, "She means am I being nice to you?" He knew his wife, being the kind hearted person that she was, would be concerned about the newest agent on his team.
Hailey just nodded, agreeing with her husband's 'translation' of her question.
Emily, diplomatically because she did indeed learn from the best growing up, simply said, "Actually, everyone's been incredibly nice."
"Good." Hailey said, turning to reward Hotch with a kiss for not being mean to the new girl.
Garcia took that moment, back to the table and eyes glued to Morgan on the dance floor, to comment, "Just look at him. He's like a cat."
Emily and Hailey turned to look at Morgan then and they both grinned but it was Emily who said, "More like a dog!" She was getting back into the groove of the team after the news about Daphne and her withdrawal from the usual team social events.
Garcia felt the need to defend her not-so-secret crush, "He did not ask them to dance. They asked him."
Emily, knowing the futility of arguing with Garcia, conceded, "Okay, he's a cat."
"An alley cat!" Hailey chimed in, not yet willing to concede to the perky tech goddess.
Hotch just laughed as he grabbed his wife's hand lead her to the dance floor, saying something about showing them how it's done.
Emily watched them go, a feeling of wistful longing blossoming in her chest as she realized how much she wanted someone in her life. "That is so sweet."
Garcia pretended not to hear the longing in Emily's tone and just turned to the dark haired agent and said, "I'm going to the loo. Do not let anyone steal my seat."
"I'll guard it with my life."
Garcia left then, needing a moment to figure out if the tone of Emily's voice was about Hotch in specific or just the general sweetness of the moment.
Emily's attention wavered away from the dance floor as her gaze scanned the room until she noticed JJ in the corner by the restrooms playing darts with two guys who looked to be in college. She allowed herself a moment to just watch the blond as she played, the red shirt and jeans combo she was wearing was giving Emily's imagination a very NC-17 rated kick start. Before she could get to the really good images though, she felt her cell phone vibrate in her pocket. She took it out and noticed she had a text from Katie. Emily smiled as she opened the text and read her daughter's question asking if she was having fun. Emily quickly typed in her reply and before too long she was immersed in a texting conversation with Katie.
Out of the corner of her eye, JJ noticed Garcia walking into the ladies room that was next to the dartboard but she didn't think about it as she let her dart fly. It unerringly found its proper target and she won yet another game against the once-cocky college guys who had challenged her earlier.
"Oh yes! Another one bites the dust!" JJ raised her arms in the air in victory, rubbing it in just a little bit.
One of the guys, already thoroughly relieved of any cockiness, from having lost five games in a row to the petite blonde just asked, "How'd you get so good at this?"
JJ turned to him as the other guy went to collect the darts from the board, "Where I'm from darts is like a national pastime."
"Yeah we were too small for a bowling alley." JJ liked to joke about the small town she was from but she loved her hometown. She just didn't want to spend her whole life there like everyone else she'd ever known.
JJ looked around the bar at that moment, looking to spot the rest of her team. She easily spotted Morgan, Hotch and Hailey on the dance floor, Reid was sitting with some people and looked to be having fun. JJ's eyes soon landed on Emily sitting alone at a table, obviously not being one to join the dancing and instead keeping an eye on the drinks the others had left behind. JJ frowned though, when she noticed that Emily was focused on her cell phone, JJ surmised the dark haired agent was probably having a texting conversation with someone and she was surprised when she realized she was a little jealous of the person who had captured Emily's attention so completely even during a fun night out. JJ was about to go over there and find out who the other woman was talking to when her phone chirped at her. She lifted it and checked the caller ID and sighed as she saw it was from work…that usually meant their fun time was about to end.
JJ turned to the guys she was playing with, the second guy getting ready to take his turn. She wrapped her arms around them, to soften her words, as she said, "Sorry boys, you're gonna have to find someone else to humiliate you. Duty calls." With that she walked away heading for the main doors to find a quieter place to take the call.
The guys grumbled good naturedly and said their goodbyes as the cute blonde walked away.
JJ called the number back to find out what was going on. She was still in the bar when the call was answered and when she managed to get outside she said, "I'm sorry, can you repeat that? Okay um…have the police fax over everything they have so far…I'll take care of the notifications, most everyone is here with me now…thanks."
JJ hung up the phone and sighed, she really didn't want to go back to work tonight. It was Sunday for crying out loud! She took a moment to prepare herself to deal with a team of profilers who weren't going to be too happy at having their good time cut short. After a moment, JJ reentered the bar and within five minutes she had everyone rounded up and ready to leave.
Hotch put Hailey in a cab first then he joined the others to head back to the BAU. On the ride over, JJ noticed Emily sending one more text and she had to stop herself from asking who she was texting even now. It was none of her business but she couldn't help but wonder if Emily was involved with someone.
Emily sent Katie one last text stating that the team had been called in to work and she might have to go out of town for a few days. Katie quickly replied back, 'okay. Stay safe and get the bad guys. Love you! I'll be waiting when u get back.'
Emily smiled, her daughter was really the best kid a mom could ask for, she always knew what to say.
When they got back to the BAU, the rest of the team went to the conference room for coffee and to wait for the briefing. JJ went to her office to pick up the faxed over files and to call Gideon in from wherever he was, since she didn't have a moment to do it on the way over.
The team was in the conference room, basically picking on Morgan who complained about having his groove thing interrupted by work. Gideon walked into the room and without missing a beat jumped right in with the teasing.
Hotch, in an effort to maybe keep it from getting worse, asked him, "where were you tonight?"
"I told you, I went to the Smithsonian." Gideon explained, almost feeling like a teenager who broke curfew, which was quite a feat seeing as how he was older than Hotch by several years.
Emily chimed in, "You missed a good time."
"I had a good time." Gideon shot back, defending his decision to spend superbowl Sunday at the Smithsonian with an old friend and some liquor rather than at a loud bar.
JJ walked in then, having programed all the pertinent information into the computer system that controlled the flat screen television on the wall where the case files would appear. "Well that's definitely over."
JJ called up the photos in the file and began to brief the team about their next case. A couple in Georgia was killed in their home. Even though it was only one couple, they were a high profile couple and thus the local cops asked for help.
Hotch announced they would be wheels up in an hour and then went to call the on-call pilot that would fly them to Georgia to get the jet ready.
Everyone nodded and then went off to grab their go bags and get to the airport. They could already tell this one was going to be a bad one.
The plane ride was spent working and devising a plan of attack. Once assignments were handed out, Hotch told them all to get some rest, they were going to need it.
It had been an intense few days as their unsub continued to kill people he deemed to be sinners, each time calling the cops before committing his crime. By the time they had figured out that their unsub was a man named Tobias Hankel, it was too late to warn Reid and JJ who had gone out to his address earlier thinking he was just a witness.
Emily was silently freaking out at the thought of JJ out there with the unsub with only Reid as back up and protection, she silently willed Hotch to drive faster.
When they arrived at Hankel's place, Emily and Derek broke away from the main contingent of local cops and went to search the barn. They took a few locals with them but the bulk of the officers went with Hotch and Gideon to search the main house. Emily's heart was pounding with adrenaline as she followed behind Derek as they entered the barn.
Guns drawn, flashlights out searching the darkened barn, Emily couldn't help but notice the stench of blood in the area and she had to work hard to keep the panic at bay and focus on the task at hand, which was to find JJ and Reid.
Suddenly, JJ popped up from behind some barrels, gun drawn and aimed at the cops and Derek, "FBI! Don't move!" JJ shouted in her most authoritative voice.
Everyone turned towards her and pointed their guns upon seeing hers pointed at them. There was a moment of chaos as Derek started shouting over JJ's repeated orders to drop their guns, trying to get the cops to stand down and get through to JJ that they were on the same team.
Finally, JJ calmed down enough for Derek to step closer and Emily came around on JJ's left side, slowly approaching the blonde who was obviously still in shock.
JJ lowered her gun and said, "Tobias Hankel is the unsub. We thought he was just a witness…"
Derek tried to talk her down, "We know. It's okay. JJ, where's Reid?"
JJ wasn't listening to Morgan anymore, she was recounting the horror of the dogs and having to kill them.
Emily stepped closer, not truly knowing what she could do but determined to break JJ out of her shock. "JJ, look at me. Look at me." Emily waited until JJ had turned her head to her, her eyes registered recognition and she came out of her shock just a bit. "Where's Reid?" There was more Emily wanted to ask but that could wait, right now they had to find Reid.
JJ took a moment to look into Emily's warm brown eyes full of concern and she started to come out of her shock a bit more. "We split up, h-he said he was going to go around back."
Derek took off, determined to find the young profiler.
Emily nodded at JJ as the rest of the local cops left the barn and they were soon alone. She held out her hand to the blonde, "Okay, come with me?"
JJ started at Emily's hand for a few moments, her face still showing the fear she felt when the wild dogs had attacked her. Finally, she slowly reached out and placed her hand in Emily's.
Together, they slowly left the barn, Emily making sure to avoid the spot where the dogs were lying and also the blood soaked mattress where they had killed the unsub's latest victim. Soon, they were out in the open air and Emily carefully led JJ over to one of the SUVs parked by the house. She sat JJ down in the back seat, facing out of the car and took her hands. "JJ, are you hurt anywhere?"
By this time, JJ had recovered enough of her senses to really look at Emily and she smiled at the genuine concern in the other woman's eyes and in her voice. "Just…just my arm." JJ held out her arm and Emily saw the blood that was seeping through the white fabric of JJ's shirt sleeve.
Emily nodded, "Right. I'll get a paramedic, I'll be right back , okay?"
JJ nodded, needing a moment to calm herself before she said or did something that she would regret.
Emily was only gone ten seconds, the paramedics had already arrived and were just waiting for someone to need them.
It didn't take them long to patch up JJ's arm and wrap a bandage around the wound.
After Hotch and Gideon cleared the house, Emily led JJ inside. They settled into the living room with all the computer monitors when Morgan walked in and confirmed that Reid was nowhere in the area. He was missing and it didn't take a profiler to realize that Tobias Hankel had taken him.
All that remained now was to find where Hankel would have taken Reid and find them before it was too late for the youngest profiler on the team.
A whole day had passed and Garcia had been flown in to help with Hankel's computer system. It was in the evening that they finally found a lead in the form of Hankel's former NA sponsor. Emily agreed to talk to him in the morning and she decided to take JJ with her. She saw how Derek was avoiding JJ, blaming her in a way for Reid getting taken. Emily didn't blame JJ for that, after all it had been Reid's idea to split up but it had been Hotch's decision to send them out here alone in the first place.
Emily slowly approached the bathroom where JJ was splashing water on her face and staring into the mirror. Emily tried not to startle her but JJ was so deep into her own thoughts that the small sound Emily made had JJ turning around with her gun drawn.
Emily lifted her arms and said, "JJ it's just me. Are you alright?"
JJ put away the gun and secured the holster back on her hip before she looked up at Emily, smiling to cover for the fear the lingered. "Yeah, I'm sorry…you scared me."
Emily gave a small nod, "I'm sorry." Emily paused a moment before she said, "I'm talking tomorrow with some guy who knew Hankel from Narcotics Anonymous. Why don't you come with me? Get out of the house."
JJ nodded, "Yeah, okay."
Emily turned and began to walk away from the small bathroom when she heard JJ calling her back. "Emily?"
"Yeah?" Emily stepped back into the doorway as JJ walked closer.
"How come none of this gets to you?" JJ asked, genuinely curious about how Emily could look at what they all saw on a daily basis and not get flustered or anything.
"What do you mean?" Emily was a bit confused, thinking it was a good thing that she was able to handle the horrors of the job.
"You came off a desk job. Now suddenly you're in the field surrounded by mutilated bodies and you've never even flinched." JJ maintained eye contact, hoping to see the truth in Emily's eyes.
Neither of them noticed that Hotch was nearby listening until he spoke up in agreement, "She's right, you've never blinked." Hotch had a feeling that Emily's stoic façade was more about proving she belonged in the BAU than it was about actually being able to deal with what they had to see every day.
Emily wasn't ready to explain to them that she had been preparing for this job since she joined the FBI, that losing Daphne had somehow prepared her for the horrors of the job. Since learning the truth of what happened to Daphne, Emily had somehow managed to harden her heart against the images she had to see every day. She didn't know how to begin to explain that she had done plenty of flinching and blinking, she just saved that for when she was alone. Having Katie in her life to remind her of the good that still existed in the world kept her balanced and able to do this job. Each serial killer/bad guy she helped take off the streets was one less that was out there preying on other innocent girls and women. She had no way of explaining all of that just then so she settled instead on, "I guess I…compartmentalize better than most people."
They seemed to accept that and before either could say anything else, they heard Derek calling for them and they all ran off towards him, hoping it was a lead on Reid and Hankel.
Emily knew JJ's curiosity wasn't satisfied and that she would have more questions but for now, they were all focused on finding Reid and stopping Hankel. Later, when the young genius was back safe, Emily knew JJ would ask her again. She just hoped she'd have the answers the blonde was expecting.
Emily's ability to handle the BAU was something I wanted to address because her line about compartmentalizing gets used way too often in fanfics and to me it never really rang true. So I put forth this theory which fits nicely with the AU I created by having her keep the baby and by introducing the Daphne storyline. Hope that makes sense.