"If I fucking have to stay awake why can't I be in the surgical waiting room? It doesn't fucking make sense!" Emily bitches.

The charge nurse stares over her glasses at her. "I may not be able to sedate you but I can restrain you. And if you are wondering if I am bitch enough to do it I assure you I am. Now shut your damn mouth, Agent Prentiss, and let me check your vitals!"

If he wasn't so scared about the rest of his team, Morgan might have laughed. He had finally found a nurse as formidable as Emily Prentiss. Emily stays quiet only because it means the woman leaves sooner. As soon as they are alone she glares at Morgan.

"Get me the hell out of here and up there, Morgan," she demands.

He walks over and takes her hand. "Emily, as much as I hate to say this, there is nothing you can do in the surgical waiting room." He points to the machine monitoring her blood pressure. "But here you can keep an eye on that for Rocky's sake." She starts to protest but he raises a hand to stop her. "And look me in the eye and tell me what Jennifer would want you to do."

Emily stares at him. "That's not fucking fair, Derek," she whispers.

He nods. "I know. Sometimes the truth isn't fair, Emily."

He watches as she starts to tremble, fighting the tears welling in her eyes. He steps closer and pulls her into a hug.

"Let it out, Emily. It's okay to let it out."

And she does, sobbing into his shoulder. Crying out her fear that JJ could have been killed. Crying at the thought that one errant shot had missed Rocky by inches. She cries because she hurts. She cries because…

"I'm so fucking scared, Derek."

He kisses her temple. "I know you, Emily. I know you are."


Garcia is holding Reid's hand. He looks at her in confusion. "So…what exactly happened?"

"What is the last thing you remember?"

He frowns. "I…I picked up my earbud. I couldn't wait to hear what Emily thought of my performance." He sighs. "I guess she missed it."

"Yeah, she did. But I didn't. You were awesome, Reid. You so would have won if you hadn't gotten snatched…and if the owner of the bar hadn't been shot trying to avenge his psycho brother."

Reid smiles. "Maybe. Emily was really good, too." He looks into Garcia's eyes. "Can…can you go check on them?"

"Are you sure? I don't want you to be alone."

"I need to know. Right now I have some really negative stats racing through my head. I need something positive to counter them."

Garcia smiles and kisses his cheek. "Be back in jiff with the riff."

He chuckles. "I…I'm not quite sure what that means but okay."

She heads out to see what news she can find out about their friends.


In the surgical waiting room, Hotch sits in a chair, his elbows on his legs and his face buried in his hands.

"When the fuck did the op go all to hell? How the hell did I let it get to that point? What the fuck did I miss?"

Rossi lays a hand on Hotch's head. "I can guess what you're saying to yourself. There is nothing any of us could have done to predict the outcome of this case. It was hell from the start. Seems only right it ends in hell."

Hotch slowly looks up. "Three of my team down. One NCIS agent down." He sits back in his chair. "Straus is going to get her wish. My ass is going to get ripped for this one."

Rossi sighs. "I wish I could tell you differently but, yes, I have a feeling they will convene a committee on this one. But, Hotch, you know we will all have your back. This was a solid plan. It just…we got…" he shakes his head. Sometimes there are no words.

"I won't be surprised if Emily and JJ don't have my back. They—"

"As soon as I figure out which one of you is the real Aaron Hotchner I'll kick your ass for that comment," Emily states from the wheelchair she had been finally approved for.

Hotch looks up. Brown eyes lock with brown. "Emily…I am so sorry."

"Not your fault, Hotch. The Beamer brothers are to blame. I am okay. Rocky is okay." She reaches out her hand to take his. "And Jen will be okay. If someone tries to screw you with this case we will have your back."

He nods. "Thank you."

Twenty minutes later Reid and Garcia join them. Emily looks around. "Is anyone with Brewster?"

Rossi raises an eyebrow. "Worried about her?"

Emily sighs. "Only in that she nearly got us out of there. One more minute and maybe this would have ended differently."

"Her boss is with her. She's not alone," Rossi confirms.

Emily looks at Reid. "Sorry I missed your performance."

He gives her a half smile. "It's on video."

Emily nods. "Good. Look forward to seeing it."

Another excruciating half hour passes before a doctor walks into the waiting room.

"Mrs. Prentiss?"

Without thinking, Emily leaps to her feet. "That's me-ohhh…"

Morgan and Hotch catch her and put her back in the chair. The doctor races over and checks her pulse.

"Easy, Mrs. Prentiss. Your pulse is a bit elevated. And it looks like you have a concussion."

"Yeah. But how is my wife?"

He smiles. "She'll be fine. Bullet hit her collar bone and ricocheted up and out creating some tearing under and through her skin. We cleaned out the bone chips; what's left is cracked though not completely broken. She will need a sling for a couple of weeks. No heavy lifting, no acrobatics, but she will okay."

Emily takes his hand, tears in her eyes. "Thank you, Doctor. How soon can I see her?"

"She's being moved to a private room now." He looks Emily over. "I think I'll order another bed in there for you. It will help her to rest if she knows you're taking care of yourself, too."

Emily nods. "Whatever you think is best for her."

He pats Emily's knee. "Good answer. Wait here. I'll have a nurse come get you."

"Thanks."

As he leaves, Emily drops her face into her hands. "Oh, thank God." She takes a deep breath. "I need to call Sandy and Alan. They need to know what happened."

Garcia steps towards her. "Uh, already done. They are on their way. I couldn't convince them to wait for word."

Emily manages a smile. "Thanks, Pen."


Fifteen minutes later Emily strokes a hand down JJ's cheek. "Hi, baby." She leans over and gives her a kiss. "I love you, Jennifer Prentiss. You took that bullet for Rocky and me. I won't ever forget that. You are so brave, baby. I love you so much."

She kisses her once more. It is well past midnight. Exhaustion finally starts to catch up to Emily. Rossi and Morgan had shoved the two beds together and dropped the rails between them. Emily now climbs up on her side of the bed. She takes JJ's good hand in hers and kisses it. She stares at her wife, knowing she shouldn't sleep herself with a concussion. She strokes a hand through JJ's hair.

"I could have lost you and Rocky today, Jen. I…I don't know what I would have done if I had. I love you so much, Jennifer Andrea Jareau Prentiss. You just rest up for now, okay? Rest up and you'll be good as new before you know it." She buries her face in JJ's shoulder. "God, I love you so much, Jen. I was so fucking scared."

Finally Emily can fight sleep no longer. Breathing in the scent of her wife she drifts off to sleep.

From the doorway, Mack Brewster stares at the two women. She still didn't like Emily Prentiss but she had to admit she was a damn good agent. She also seemed to be really in love with JJ. And Jennifer Jareau Prentiss, pale from blood loss or not, is still a gorgeous woman. Who knows…

"Maybe next time, Jennifer," she whispers. "See you around, Prentiss. We'll call this one a tie."

She turns and walks down the hall and out of their lives…for now. At the end of the hallway she runs into Hotch and Rossi.

"Well, Agents, I'd say we have a butt load of paperwork ahead of us but at least this bastard is stopped."

Hotch nods. "No thanks to you. You were here as part of a team. That meant telling us before heading off to try to find Prentiss on your own. You wanted to be able to hold it over her head that you saved her and instead you nearly got yourself killed along with my 2 agents. Trust me when I say your negligent actions will be front and center of my report."

Mack is furious. "I was trying to SAVE her!"

"No, you were trying to best her. You are reckless, immature, and you don't know how to work with others. You are a detriment to NCIS and I will make sure everyone knows it." Hotch pushes past her, ignoring the insults she hurls at his back.

As the two FBI agents get down the hall, Rossi looks at Hotch. "Well said, Aaron."

"Thanks," Hotch mumbles. "Wish I could say it made me feel better to dress her down. But until JJ wakes up and I really know she's okay nothing will help me."

They meet up with Morgan, Reid and Garcia outside of JJ's room. Hotch nods to Morgan and walks down the hall a ways with him.

"Straus just let me know that come Monday I'll be suspended pending an investigation of this case."

"Hotch, that's fucked!" Morgan gripes.

"I know. Get's worse. Right now there is a committee meeting to decide the future of this unit. Three FBI agents injured, an agent from another agency hurt, and two dead suspects."

"So wait…you're telling me they could disband us because of one bad case?"

Hotch nods. "Yes. Not to mention take our credentials."

Morgan shakes his head. "That's not right, Hotch. How the hell could any of us have known to watch for Hank when Cody didn't tell us about him?"

"I know, Morgan. That's one of the things they will look at. If they don't suspend all of us, you're in charge again. And if they fire me, the unit is yours. That's already set."

"I don't want it, Aaron."

Hotch gives him a small smile. "And I don't want to lose my job. But this is what we're facing, Derek. I wanted to keep you in the loop."

Morgan just nods. Hotch claps him on the shoulder and continues on. Right now he just couldn't be around his team.

Down the hall, the others watch him go. Garcia may not be a profiler but even she can see that neither Morgan nor Hotch was happy. And they all knew that didn't bode well for their team.


A/N: Two things. 1) Did you really think I'd give someone the last name Brewster, maiden name Cook, and not keep her around? Yep, she will be back. She is just too much fun to write. 2) Sorry for all the cliffhangers. This story just sort of lent itself to them what with the unsub and the undercover and Mack. Just too much evil goodness for me.

Also, (okay, so there were 3 things) the next story will continue with the committee hearing. However, my wife and I are going to Tennessee later this week to visit her family. If I don't get the story completed I won't be posting until after we get back next Sunday. I never start to post a story until it is finished. Otherwise I rethink plot points as I edit and screw things up. :o)

Hope you all enjoyed this frustrating little folly!

-AR