/***NOMINATE, NOMINATE, NOMINATE YOUR FAVORITE STORIES AND AUTHORS IN THE SECOND ANNUAL PROFILER'S CHOICE CM AWARDS HOSTED BY CHIT CHAT ON AUTHOR'S CORNER FORUM! DON'T KNOW HOW? SEE AUTHOR'S NOTE AT THE END OF THIS CHAPTER!***/
BIG ANNOUNCEMENT: In an effort to encourage our fellow authors and readers to take a moment and nominate their favorite fics and authors in the Profiler's Choice CM Awards hosted by "Chit Chat on Author's Corner", we will be offering two $10.00 Amazon gift cards to two randomly selected nominators. The only rule is that you must nominate in at least TEN categories! Winners will be announced October 16! So put on those thinking caps and NOMINATE!
To Thine Self Be True
"Yeah," Dave snorted, slamming his fist against the table, the lamp rattling against the wood, "because it's THAT fucking simple, JJ! There's more than just you and me to consider here. There's Henry! Walking away from you means I lose you BOTH! And I'll be fucking damned if I do what his father did," he said furiously.
"Then what do you propose we do here, Dave? Because I can't take back the choices I made," she said softly, shifting her weight from one foot to another as she tried to find her balance, "and if I'm completely honest with you now, I wouldn't if I could."
His eyed narrowed dangerously as he felt his blood pressure raise another few notches. "You know, for somebody that appears to want this relationship to work, you have a funny way of showing it."
"I told you after we got back from the airport tonight that I was through lying to you. Doyle's dead...Emily is finally home safely. My job is done," she said bluntly, forcing herself to maintain eye contact with him no matter how piercing his gaze became.
"Not here it isn't," Dave warned, his eyes narrowing dangerously as he stared into her baby blues. "If you don't want me to walk out the front door, you'll explain what you meant by saying that you don't regret your actions. You fucking lied, JJ. To me. The guy that you've been sleeping beside for months."
"I know what I did!" JJ exploded, months worth of tension finally bubbling over and overtaking her normally well-heeled control. "I also know that I wasn't given a choice."
"There are ALWAYS choices, Jennifer," Dave said flatly, planting his feet squarely against the floor as he leaned forward. "The only people that deny that are the ones that didn't like the options they were given."
"That isn't true," JJ denied sharply, pushing her hair behind her ear. "I knew Emily was alive, Dave. That's a fact that I can't deny. But here's another...if I had opened my mouth...if I'd let one tiny thing slip, Emily's entire future could have been jeopardized. But not JUST her future...everyone that had any ties to her ass well. That meant Declan...Hotch...YOU! It was made crystal clear to me from the powers that be that they would have absolutely no problem pulling the support they'd offered Emily. They would have left her at Doyle's mercy! Is that something YOU could have lived with? Because I couldn't! I knew what I was risking by going along with it all, but I prayed that one day you could look at all the information and at least understand a little bit."
"And another thing!" JJ bit out as she took a step forward, gaining steam as all the emotions she'd kept bottled inside her for months rose to the surface, "If you think that staying together out of some misguided sense of obligation is the answer, then you're insane. I already tried that with one man. As you can see, he's not around any longer. Why, you ask?" she laughed hollowly. "Because it doesn't work, Rossi!"
"You're confusing obligation with love, JJ," Dave corrected her in a low voice, pushing up from the chair. "I love you. I love Henry. I'm here because no matter how much you hurt me, I'm still in love with you. I'm here because even on our shittiest day together, there isn't any other place that feels like home. But all of that doesn't mean that I don't feel like you betrayed me."
"Makes sense." JJ nodded stiffly as her nails dug into her arms, the pain somehow centering her in the midst of the sudden storm. "I did betray you. But not because I ever wanted to. Every day since Emily's alleged death, I've lived with the icy cold fear that when you learned the truth, I'd lose you," she whispered. "Every single day, I'd wonder if this was the one where I was going to watch you walk away from me," she forced herself to continue. "And every day, I knew that if you did, I'd deserve it," she sighed almost helplessly.
"That's why you pulled away from me, wasn't it? It's why you were so distant. You were trying to brace yourself for what you thought would happen," Dave said, all the pieces slowly falling into place as the events of the last seven months began to slide into position.
Dropping her gaze to the floor as she felt herself suddenly flush, JJ nodded tensely. "Sometimes I thought about just ending things. But..."
"But, what?" Dave questioned, his voice softer than it had been earlier.
"But I loved you, too, and I selfishly wanted every moment I could get," she admitted with a cracking voice, her attempt to stop the tears failing drastically. "I wanted every memory I could make."
Releasing a heavy breath, Dave grimaced as he watched JJ's shoulders shake, her silent sobs rocking her small frame. "Damn it, Jennifer," he muttered tightly, his body already moving up and out of the chair toward her. Unable to watch her cry, he pulled her against him and held her tightly as she buried her wet face against his neck.
"I am sorry. I'm sorry for what this has done to us. But, I couldn't risk innocent lives. I just couldn't," she cried as her fingers dug into his shirt.
Closing his eyes as he heard the raw pain reflected in her statement...the utter despair clouding every utterance, he sighed, resting his chin against her head while his arms tightened reflexively around her body. "Shhhh," he soothed, rocking her in his arms.
"You don't understand!" JJ shook her head against him, squeezing her eyes closed as she tried to stop the flood that was overtaking her. "I'm horrible, Dave," she choked. "Today...when I found out Emily was coming back...I wasn't happy...I was terrified. I tried telling Hotch no. All I could think is what it meant for me...for us...and I wanted to stall it as long as I could. What kind of person does that make me?" she asked hoarsely.
"Human," Dave replied wearily, winding his hand in her hair, wrapping strands around his fingers. " It makes you human."
"How can you say that?" JJ asked, leaning back to look up into his shadowed face. How had she ever thought she could live without seeing that face every morning…every night…every moment?
"I can say it for the same reason I can still say I love you. Because it's true," Dave offered simply, drawing her closer.
Leaning heavily against him, JJ inhaled deeply, his rich masculine scent comforting her. "I glad you didn't give up on me."
"One thing I've learned after three marriages, JJ, is that you have to be willing to fight for the people you love. Walking away would have been the easy choice. That doesn't mean it would have been the right one. Staying and fighting for us might be hard, but it's worth it."
"Because of Henry?" JJ whispered hesitantly.
"Henry's a part of it," Dave replied honestly, his words coming out as a sigh. "But the bigger part of it is that I love his mother more deeply than I ever remember loving three wives before her. I think that's worth fighting for."
He wasn't offering his forgiveness. He wasn't absolving her of her transgression.
But what he'd given her was infinitely more precious.
Because she had his heart.
Author's Note: Hello, Friends. A couple of announcements for all of you. First, you still have approximately ONE days to sign up for "The Masquerade Challenge" for October's on "Chit Chat on Author's Corner" forum. We also have a "Freaky Friday" mini-challenge in progress for those interested. Details for both can be found at the forum. We'd love to have all of you sign up. I think we'll have a lot of fun this Halloween Season.
Second, you all have a little less more than three weeks left to nominate stories for the second Annual Profiler's Choice CM Awards. The nomination ballot, rules and category summaries can be found at "Chit Chat on Author's Corner" forum. To reach that post please either take a trip to the forum OR links are provided on the profile pages of ilovetvalot, Profiler's Choice CM Awards AND tonnie2001969. Nomination ballots should be PM'd to the Profiler's Choice CM Awards ONLY. That link is also provided on the forum or the profile pages listed above. PLEASE REMEMBER, WITHOUT NOMINATED STORIES, THERE CAN BE NO AWARDS! SO, PLEASE, COME OUT AND SUPPORT YOUR FAVORITE FANFIC AUTHORS AND NOMINATE THOSE STORIES.
ALSO, we would love for our fellow author's to assist us in advertising these awards! Please feel free to copy and paste anything in this author's note or contact us for a pre-written blurb if you like.
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As ever, we appreciate every single one of you that takes the time to read and/or review our stories. Your valuable feedback is deeply appreciated and we love hearing from you!
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