A Day To Remember
Disclaimer: I own nothing connected to Criminal Minds or CBS. I only own these stories.
Summary: An important day has arrived but Emily wants no part of it...
Timeline: Alternate Universe, Season Seven Finale
A/N: This came to me and when you all read through it completely I hope you won't be angry. Enjoy.
Thanks for reading, don't forget to leave a review.
"Life is like a bicycle. To keep yourself balance you must keep moving." Albert Einstein
Dave stood in the church vestibule pacing back and forth looking at his watch every few minutes.
He felt his stomach tie itself in knots as he turned and nearly bumped into Morgan.
"She's not here yet?" Morgan asked, turning to the full pews of their loved ones.
"No" Dave said watching as guests made their way into the church, "She won't even answer the door. And she changed her answering machine so now it says, 'I'm not coming so leave a message'."
The older man peeked his head into the main room to the church, and looked at the awaiting guests, watching as Hotch made his way over to the two profilers.
"Where are the kids?" Dave asked, looking into the open room.
"Will's watching them in the back" Hotch said, running his fingers through his hair, "I'm going to check on them."
Hotch quickly passed by Garcia who rushed over to the men, "Did you convince her to change her mind?"
Dave shook his head, "Sorry kitten, but she won't even pick up her phone."
Garcia's face broke at that, "I knew today would be hard with everything, but she's really going to regret it in the end if she doesn't show up."
"Well it's not like we can just kick in her door and drag her down here" Morgan said, "I mean this has to be her choice whether to be here or not."
Garcia sighed, "If you two can't convince her then maybe our friend can."
"What did you do?" the two men asked, looking at the technical analyst.
"I had to be creative" Garcia said wandering over to the bench, "I mean when she announced that she wasn't coming, I totally understood where she was coming from but..."
"But?" Dave asked.
"But" Garcia said looking up at the two men, "I know that she needs to see this for her to move forward in life."
"What was the creative thing that you did?" Morgan asked staring at the white program on the floor.
Bending over the athletic profiler picked it up, going over the outline inside when he heard Garcia inhale sharply.
"I sent in reinforcements" Garcia said, turning and going back into the chapel.
"What the hell does that mean?" Morgan asked Dave.
"I have no idea" he replied with a shrug, "Come on, lets go check on the others."
Emily walked into her living room, grabbing her fresh laundry basket and took a seat at her dark couch setting the basket on the coffee table in front of her.
She looked over at her cell phone, the multiple beeps and vibrating come from the device alerting her of the calls and text messages but she chose to ignore it.
It may seem petty or just down right disrespectful to some people, but Emily couldn't go down there and face the change in her friend's life. Hell in all their lives.
She already felt empty inside, and now all her friends want her to go to that church, sit there and watch their whole world change.
And there was nothing she could do to change any of it, except not be there. And that's what she was doing.
The brunette agent was already on the verge of losing it, and to spare everyone else she decided to stay inside to avoid the hassle of an embarrassing public meltdown.
She rolled her eyes as her cell phone lighted up again with yet another voice message.
"Probably Garcia." she muttered to herself.
Grabbing her laundry basket she walked half way to her bedroom when she stumbled into her bookshelf causing her basket to tip over while several of her framed photos of the team fall to the floor.
"Goddammit!" Emily shouted, throwing the basket across the room and kicking the freshly folded clothes.
Emily rubbed her forehead, trying to ward off the oncoming headache, as her resolve faltered. Her breathing becoming shallow and erratic, she felt like hyperventilating.
A surge of anger course through her making the agent throw her books and magazines off her shelves bringing her once clean home into complete disarray.
Emily tossed the rest of the books and magazines onto the floor, venting her anger as she replayed her worst moment in her mind.
Falling to the floor, she felt the tears fall down her eyes as she stared at the team photo.
Her happy, smiling image was reflecting back at her as she stood between her two favorite BAU people.
Taking a deep breath she turned around and was surprised to see JJ standing before her stunned by the brunette's apartment.
"Whoa, who pissed you off?" JJ asked walking into the living room and bending over to pick up the discarded items, "Emily?"
"Don't touch that" Emily barked out, making JJ's blue eyes widen in surprise.
"Em?" JJ asked, "What's the wrong?"
"You know what's wrong, JJ" Emily said, "You of all people know what I'm feeling."
"Emily I know, but you have to go" JJ told her, "You have to do this, you can't just run away from it."
"I know that if I go to that church and sit there, then it's real" Emily told her, "And I won't be able to stop myself. It's safer for everyone if I stay here, away from everything and everyone."
"Including me?" JJ asked her.
"That's not what I meant and you know it" Emily told her, "But I can't be there, I just can't I can't go down there and watch that."
"Emily, you know you have to do this" JJ told her, "I mean we can get through this together. You can't just run away from it."
"I can't do this" Emily shook her head backed away from the blonde, "All I feel like doing is screaming and I don't think I could ever stop."
A knock pulled the two women from their conversation, and JJ sighed, "I'll take your laundry. You can't avoid this forever."
Emily walked over to the front door, while JJ walked towards the bedroom.
"Emily?" Reid's voice said, "I know your home, open up."
Opening up her front door, she leaned against it, "What?"
Reid's eyes flinched at the harshness of his friend's tone, "I came to take you to the church."
"Well you made a trip for nothing" Emily told him, "In fact everyone did, because I'm not going. So you can all go back to that church and watch that disaster by yourself because I'm not going."
Starting to close the door, Reid placed his hand on it stopping it, "Emily, I love you."
That caused the brunette to look up at him, "Don't Reid, just save it. I'm busy and I have a million things to do..."
"I can't let you do this to yourself" he told her, "We all know how you feel about..."
"I said no" Emily said sharply, "You don't know how I feel. Why won't you all just leave me the hell alone?"
Slamming the door in his face, she closed her eyes resting her head against the door frame while Reid stood on the other side.
"I know you're hurting" Reid said, "But we're not going away."
"Everyone goes away" she murmured to herself.
"Emily please let me in" Reid said, "We can help you together."
Lighting banging her fist on the door, all she could see in her mind was the hurt and betrayed looks.
"Just go Reid" she told him, "I told you I'm not going and I mean it. So go the fuck away."
She opened her eyes, and turned around to see JJ glaring at her, but Reid's voice pulled her attention.
"Ok" Reid said, "I know you're going to regret not being there but I'm going."
Emily looked back at JJ who headed over to the door a pure look of anger on her face.
"What?" Emily asked folding her arms across her chest, stubborn as ever.
"Was it necessary to be mean?" JJ asked, raising an eyebrow at the brunette.
"Made my point" Emily shrugged walking away from the door.
"I get that your pissed and hurting" JJ said, watching the brunette move to her couch, "And screaming, yelling and breaking everything is your way of coping but taking it out on Reid and the team isn't going to change anything."
Emily kept silent as the blonde wandered over to her, "Pushing people away is what got you into trouble remember? You've got to accept this and start moving forward."
"How the hell can I let go when my heart is broken?" Emily asked her.
"Because this is a part of life" JJ told her, "People move in and out of your life like the seasons change, and some people aren't meant to be with each other for more then a minute."
"When the hell did you turn into a fortune cookie, JJ?" Emily muttered.
"Irregardless" the blonde said ignoring the comment, "I want you to think about this, and ask yourself 'Is this how you want them to remember you at this moment?' because I don't think you do, you need to just accept the fact and move on."
Emily bit her lip, but look up at JJ who gave her an imploring look.
"You're not going to give up are you?" Emily asked her.
"I'm going to be at that church, I hope I'll see you there" JJ told her, "It would mean a lot to everyone if you showed up and lent your support for this important day."
"What if I can't do it?" Emily asked, "Seeing them, seeing everyone accepting it..."
"Come on Emily" JJ told her, "You know you could do anything, including this."
Emily leaned back on the couch, closing her eyes. Her mind at war with each other, one saying listen to JJ, the other telling her that she shouldn't be there to witness it.
JJ turned around, "I'm going to be down at that church, and hopefully I'll see you there. You need to stop making this about you, Emily."
Emily looked up and saw the closed door. She took a deep breath and got up off her couch walking to her bookshelf, bending over to pick up the team photo.
Looking down at the once smiling team, her eyes wandering to the face of the cause of her heartbreak.
"I'm sorry" she said softly, her thumb tracing over the smiling image, "I'm so sorry."
Grabbing her cell phone she knew what she had to do.
Reid walked into the church to see the anxious face of Garcia, Morgan and Dave.
"No luck?" she asked.
"No, sorry" Reid told him, "Hey, where's..."
"It's going to be starting soon" Hotch interrupted, walking out from the back, "Will needs a hand grabbing Henry and Jack."
"I've got it" Garcia said, walking towards the back.
"She didn't show up?" Hotch asked, "Did you all try calling her again?"
"Maybe she'd take your call?" Reid offered.
"I'm the last person she'd want to hear from" Hotch said shaking his head, "I know she hates me, but I had to do this and move on with my life."
"Morgan, try again" Dave told him.
"I'll try" he said, walking away with Reid.
"You still love her?" Dave asked his younger friend.
Hotch sighed, pointing to the small bench beside the doors, "I'll always care about her Dave. But I can't live like this anymore. I've moved on with my life. I needed to, and so does she."
Dave swallowed, and said, "It's not as easy for her as it is for you."
"If she doesn't want to show up, that's her choice and we need to respect it" Hotch told him, "But today isn't about her, and this is happening with or without her."
The two hear Will and Garcia with the two young boys rush through the church, "Boys slow down."
Garcia looked over at the two profilers who shook their heads and went over to them while Will walked into the church.
"It's time" she told them, as the two men took her arm she looked up at Hotch, "Are you ready?"
"I'm ready" he told her as the two men walked her into the church.
Emily leaned against her car, staring at the white building in front of her. She felt as if it's presence was mocking her.
The sound of the church bells, alerting her that it was now or never. It was go time.
It was time for closure and comfort all around. And to face her own future alone.
That's why she made one stop before she came to the church, one that no one was going to like. But like everyone had told her, she needed to let go, move on. So she planned to.
"You came" JJ said, walking out of the church, "I had a feeling you might show up."
"Not sure I'm wanted here" Emily said, walking up the steps, "I mean if the positions were reverse, would you?"
"Yeah, well that's just the pain talking" JJ told her as the two stood in front of the doors, "But you came and it's for the best."
"Look, just because I'm here doesn't mean that I accept this" Emily told her, "And even after listening to everyone's little words of wisdom about accepting this change, I can't just do that without saying what's really on my mind."
"What do you mean?" JJ asked, watching the brunette move to the entrance quickly, "Emily..."
Emily stood in front of the door, listening as the organ music end, and she watched the minister begin.
"Friends and loved ones, we're gathered here today to celebrate the life of Jennifer Jareau..." he began, "Jennifer was a loving and caring woman. A mother, daughter, a partner and a friend."
Emily stood in the doorway, willing her eyes not to tear up as she stared at the smiling image of her friend next to the polished casket.
"Jennifer lived a full and happy life" the minister began, "And she loved her son Henry and his father Will with all of her heart. Will asked if anyone wanted to come up here and share a memory of Jennifer."
Hotch got up, and walked towards the pulpit looking up in surprise to see Emily standing in the doorway.
"I've known JJ for nearly eight years" Hotch began, "I watched her go from a young, fresh face media liaison into a brilliant profiler. She once told me to never regret a moment with the people you love. And I know I'll never regret bringing her on to my team, because of that she became the little sister I wish I had."
"Will" Hotch said, looking at the teary eyed officer, "JJ loved you with all of her heart and I want you to know that every time we had to fly out for a case, she always thought of you and knew that you would take wonderful care of Henry. Keep that memory of her alive, not just for you and Henry but for JJ too."
Hotch shook the younger man's hand and whispered in his ear before returning to the front row next to the team.
Will gave him a small nodded, while the minister returned to the pulpit, "Anyone else care to share a memory of Jennifer?"
"I would" Emily said, not caring that a pew full of people were staring at her as she made her way to the front of the group.
"My name is Emily, and I was one of JJ's colleagues, and her best friend" she told everyone, "I'm also the reason she's dead."
Hotch and Morgan moved to stand up, but Garcia and Dave both shook their heads, allowing Emily to vent her feelings even if it wasn't an appropriate time.
"Two weeks ago we were out on a case in Baltimore" Emily said, "You know after so many years you never get surprised at what kind of depravity lives amongst us. But JJ and I were partnered to take down a serial killer who liked to... Well he was a bad one."
Looking over at Will, "It's my fault that JJ was killed. She died protecting me. We went around back to try and catch our fleeing unsub and when we separated, I ended up with a two by four to the head and she came up to stop him from stabbing me. I was in and out of consciousness but he grabbed my gun and shot her."
As the tears flowed down her face, Emily's voice cracked, "JJ may have said to never have regrets but there are a lot of regrets around us. I regret not killing that bastard myself and I regret that I can't go back and fix this or be the one in that casket instead of her."
"Miss, please believe in God, and that he has a purpose for everyone..." the minister started, trying to comfort the brunette.
She turned to the minister, "Then what good is he? Because I regret that there's a God out there who lets psychotic serial killers walk on this Earth who would rip amazing people like JJ from it. I just don't see the point of sitting here when we all know the reason that JJ is gone is because of me."
Hotch wrenched himself free from Dave's grip and moved to pull Emily towards him but she recoiled from him, "Don't. I don't need your comfort and I certainly don't deserve it. You should've never allowed me back on the team. I came back and look what happened."
Wiping her tears, she looked over at the small family of two, and said, "I'm so sorry Will. This was all my fault, and you have no idea how much I wished that it were me in their instead of her."
The detective gave her a look and shook his head, "Don't ever say that, JJ wouldn't have wanted that and neither do I."
"I wish... I wish I could bring her back but I can't" she said taking a deep breath "And I know that she'd want me to move forward so after this announcement I'll leave and let you all mourn her how you choose."
"Emily" Hotch asked, "What are you doing?"
"The right thing" she told him, facing the mourners "I've handed in my letter of resignation to the FBI."
She could hear the murmurs from the agents in the pew but looked over at the small family, "I'm sorry."
Will gave her a small nod, while she slowly left the pulpit she looked over at the stunned faces of her team and Strauss sitting behind the team.
"Ma'am" Emily replied, walking pass the mourners.
Walking out the door, she could hear Hotch calling out for her and she paused turning around to look at the man who effectively broke her heart because she couldn't get past the anger stage of her grief.
"You can't just quit the team" he told her walking over to her.
"I already did before I came here" she told him, "You'll find someone better to replace me Hotch, not just on the team but in your life. Everyone told me that I needed to move forward and so I'm taking everyone's advice."
"We need you on the team" Hotch told her, "We're already one agent down. We can't afford to lose two agents. You're irreplaceable."
"No" she said, shaking her head, "JJ was irreplaceable. You'll all be fine without me. This is my choice."
He saw the determination in her eyes and knew there was no talking her out of this decision.
"What do you plan to do with the rest of your life?" he asked, "You're not just leaving the BAU but the FBI right?"
"I don't know, Hotch" she said shrugging her shoulders, "There's a big world out there and I unfortunately have all the time in the world to figure it out."
Turning away from him, she heard him say, "Don't leave like this."
"I love you, and who knows maybe we'll see each other again in the future" she said glancing back at him, "But right now I need to get away from everything and everyone that reminds me of JJ."
Slowly walking to her car, she paused touching the door handle and turned to look at Hotch.
"I never knew how Gideon could just leave like this, but now I get it. He did it for his own sanity" she said, "And I need to do this for my own peace of mind. Goodbye Aaron."
As she got into her car, she turned the engine and drove off, vowing to get some time for herself to clear her head.
If she wanted to come back someday she needed to do it with no regrets and right now all she had were regrets.
William Penn said, "I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again."
I hope you all enjoyed this take on Emily's departure. Sorry it was at the cost of JJ.
Don't throw tomatoes, just leave a review.