A/N: Hello my lovelies, I'm back. It's been a crazy week and this is the first time I've been able to sit down and write. I'm back with more JJ/Emily. (Anyone surprised?). However, this one's a little different, as I play on some fears I think Emily has when it comes to past team members. I don't know if this makes any sense or not, but let's hope its not too terrible.
Once again, I don't own Criminal Minds. CBS, Viacom, and whoever else lays claim to it does. I just like to have my JEmily together and pretend that Will does not exist. Keep in mind when reading this that I actually did like the character of Elle Greenaway. I just never thought she fit into the team all that well. Which is why I adore the character of Emily Prentiss and the actress who plays her, the talented Paget Brewster. And this is also dedicated to my faithful reviewer, odunit, who has reviewed everyone of my stories and who I get the feeling wants me to write an Emily/JJ epic and do unspeakable things to the character of Will.
~ Don't be afraid of taking my beating, I showed what I made
I'm strong on the surface, not all the way through
I've never been perfect, but neither have you
So if you're asking me, I want you to know~
Linkin Park, "Leave Out All The Rest"
How you are so tired of being strong, of being the one behind the walls that no one can get through. How you wish you knew how to let your walls down for a moment, just one moment, so that you could let someone in. How the thought of letting anyone in makes you afraid. Afraid that they will leave you once they see the real you. You're team, they see what they think is the real you, but they really don't. They only see what you want them to see.
You are still an enigma to them. You came in out of nowhere, replacing their beloved Elle Greenaway, whose shadow you feel like your following. You feel like you could never quite measure up to Elle, even all these years later. You have dreams where you're missing, but no one cares to find you, because they would rather have Elle there than you. You never met her, yet you fight with her memory every day.
Even the woman you're in love with, the woman who means everything to you, you sometimes wonder if she wishes Elle was back. You know of the relationship between the two of them and you can't help but wonder if she is trying to replace Elle with you. You know that the two of you are best friends, yet, in your mind, you wonder if she wishes you were Elle. You know that you could ask her and she would tell you the truth, but what if the truth is not what you wish to hear?
You're a profiler. A damn good one at that. You know that the team values your skill, they say that your family, but really, are they? They love you, but do they love your skill or do they love you? Does JJ love you? Or are you a replacement for what could have been between her and Elle?
Sighing, you roll over and look at the clock. 2 Am. You sigh and realize that you're up for the night. You go and do your nightly routine of coffee and grabbing a cigarette. You don't have many vices left, and occasionally, when you can't sleep, you smoke. You step outside and light your cigarette, letting the cool night air wash over you as your thoughts still race in your head.
Who are you? Growing up, you were the Ambassador's daughter, placed on a pedestal and groomed for a life you hated. Politics corrupt people, you saw this first hand with your parents. Always have a smile on your face and never let your emotions show. So, you went against what your parents wanted for you and became an FBI profiler. You've dreamed of having a family since you were young, yet that dream has always been beyond your grasp. So, you've relegated to hiding behind walls and never letting anyone get too close. Now you're Emily Prentiss, FBI profiler and….and what else?
You know you would like to be able to tell JJ how you feel. Yet, you know, deep down, she will never feel the same way. You want to hold her and kiss her and tell her everything that goes on in your mind, but yet, you know, you can't. She wouldn't understand. So, you stay strong. But you're only strong on the surface, not all the way through. You're not perfect. You just like everything nice and neat and compartmentalized because it makes life easier.
Sighing, you walk into the kitchen and pour yourself a cup of coffee, wondering why the nights have to be so damn long. You hear a knock on the door and you jump, startled. You make your way to the living room, wondering who it could be. You look through your peephole and jump back, startled, unlocking the door. "Can I come in?" she asks, looking nervous.
"Its 2am, what are you doing here?"
"Couldn't sleep. I knew you'd be up. You sleep as well as I do anymore."
You smile slightly at that, keeping your guard up. "I don't know; if anyone finds out about these late nights…."
She grins at that and you step aside, letting her in. She studies you with those eyes you could so easily get lost in. "I know I could have just texted or called, but, I wanted to see you."
"Because I had a feeling you need a friend."
Friend. That word cuts like a knife deep in your heart. It's taking all your willpower not to shove her against the wall and kiss her. "I'm okay."
"Really, JJ, I'm fine. Just insomnia."
She shakes her head and says quietly, "What's really going on?"
"Why does everyone think there is something going on? There is nothing. I just can't sleep."
She shakes her head and looks up at you. "You don't have to hide behind your walls with me."
"I'm not hiding."
"Yes you are."
Tears suddenly come to your eyes and you blink them back, letting your dark hair fall in front of your face, hiding. "I'm scared, okay?"
"Scared of what?"
"That all I am to everyone is a replacement. That I don't measure up to what everyone wants. I feel like I'm living with the ghost of Elle Greenaway living over me. That every time the team looks at me, they want her back instead of me. Even after all these years, I feel like I'm competing with a ghost."
She pushes your hair out of your face and you shrink back. "I know that you two had a relationship that went beyond team members."
"Two dates, Emily. We went out on two dates and kissed once. She couldn't hold a candle to you."
You blink at her and smile slightly. "So, when Morgan mentioned her today, I felt like I wasn't good enough. Like he wishes she was back instead of me. Like Reid can't handle any reminders of her and Garcia wishes that she had the other one back for your girls' nights. I feel like a ghost is haunting me at every turn. Do you know what it was like growing up? Always feeling like you were never good enough? Getting pregnant at 15 and all your parents did was sweep it under the rug so that it wouldn't cause a scandal? I hated being the Ambassador's daughter. I still do. I wanted a nice, normal family. Not a political family that valued the opinions of the masses, who ignored their daughter to further their career."
She strokes your hair and you look at her. "Then I joined the team and I finally felt like I found a family. I even resigned my job because I didn't want to do anything to damage the team or hurt Hotch. Now, now with one comment, I'm wondering if I'm good enough for anybody." Your voice drops to a whisper as you let out the last part, "especially you."
She puts her hand underneath your chin and says quietly, "Elle was a damn good agent. However, Elle couldn't handle the pressures of the job like you can. She never quite fit in like you. You, when you came along, it were like we all finally found the missing piece of the puzzle."
You look at her and say quietly, "But what about us? You're my best friend, but I know that there is more here than that. I don't want to be a replacement for her in anyone's life, especially yours."
She looks at you, blue eyes locking onto your brown ones. "Listen to me. Elle and I went out on dates, yes. We kissed, yes. But, she was not you. You, you make me complete. I was never in love with Elle. I thought I was, but the couple dates we went out on made me realize that she wasn't for me. She was too high strung, too about the job. Yes, you are about your job, but you also know how to let loose and have fun when need be. You care about our victims. I never worried about Elle the way I worry about you."
You turn your head slightly, your face mere inches apart from hers. "So if I said right now I wanted to kiss you?"
Her eyes grow a shade darker and huskily she says, "I wouldn't be opposed."
You move in towards her and she covers your lips with her own. In that moment, everything you've dreamed about since you were a child seems tangible, seems real to you. You think maybe with her, you could have it all, but you wonder if this is too much. As your mouth melds to hers, lips parting and tongues fighting for dominance before leisurely settling into a rhythm like none you have ever known before.
Pulling back, you rest your forehead against hers, breathing heavily. She smiles and says quietly, "You're not fighting Elle's ghost with me. You're the one I want. I think about her time to time, but never for too long. That's in the past, but you, you are the present and my future."
You kiss her again, this time with more fervor and passion than before. She whimpers when you nibble at her lower lip and you smile against the kiss, pulling back and taking her hand. "I love you."
"I love you too."
In that mere slice of time, you realize that the ghost of yesterday has finally been laid to rest.