A/N I really hadn't planned on continuing this story this far, but I'm glad people are liking it so much! Plus the ideas keep coming! This will probably be the last installment in this story, and takes place three or four months after "Postcards to Penny". And for any of you out there who are also reading "Get Through" I haven't abandoned it, I'm just having trouble finding time (or the inspiration) to update it. Plus with the first day back to school approaching faster than a freight train, I'll be a little busy. But sometimes I find that a little break from a story is enough to get me craving to write it again!
I don't own Criminal Minds!
I woke up to the feeling of gentle kisses peppering my cheeks like warm summer rain, and decided that this was definitely the best way to wake up. My eyes slid open to reveal a goddess with endless brown eyes smiling down on me.
"Good morning." She whispered, her gentle breath ghosting over top of my slightly parted lips as she spoke.
"Good morning love." I replied, pulling her down for a kiss full of love, pure and distilled to the point it was almost too much to bear. She glanced over my shoulder briefly, eyes fixating on the window at the far end of the hotel room.
"Beautiful…" her quiet voice was reverent in its nature. The large window gave the perfect view of the majestic mountain peaks dressed in the finest robes of green forest and capped with hats of pure white snow. The stood in a semicircle, sheltering the vibrant bluish-green lake in the middle as if they were regal guards sent to protect this giant gem.
"Are you talking about the mountains or me?" I joked, my voice still retaining that husky tone of sleep. She fixed her gentle eyes upon mine again, stroking my hair thoughtfully.
"You're going to make me choose? Hon, it would simply be cruel to put you and the view outside in a beauty contest, you'd win every time." My heart fluttered at how much devotion her voice held. She sighed before lying back on her back.
"What are you thinking of doing today? Hiking? Mountain climbing? Kayaking? Or are our athletic endeavors staying within the four posts of this bed yet again? Because all of the above are totally fine with me." she grinned at me like a Cheshire cat, eliciting round of giggles from myself.
"Well, I'd have to check the weather forecast; don't people normally save indoor activities for rainy days?" I remarked, enjoying the disappointed moan from my fiancée as she cursed the ever-present sun. I grabbed the television remote off the side table and flicked the set on. Emily was still rambling on about her preferred activities, so at first she didn't notice the aghast expression my face morphed into as I saw the familiar photo on the TV screen.
"Em, Shh!" I hissed, ignoring the confused look that dawned on her face. I simply turned the volume on the television up so we could hear.
Authorities in Washington D.C. have confirmed that Ambassador Elizabeth Prentiss has been taken in for questioning following the shooting death of international terrorist Ian Doyle on the grounds of her D.C. residence. It is unclear as of yet whether this was a home invasion gone wrong, or a premeditated act. Ambassador Prentiss's lawyers have no comment on…
Both of us were silent, the flirty, sexy atmosphere of the room had quickly evaporated. Ian Doyle was dead, this should be a good thing. But I had always imagined his death differently, our team would track him down, he would try and fight back but we would have the upper hand this time, and we would win like we should have done almost two years ago.
"Emily, are you okay?" I asked tentatively, knowing the answer I'd get, but feeling compelled to ask anyway.
"My mother… she did that… she killed him…" she spoke in hazy statements, unable to finish a thought. Her eyes were glazed over, she was in shock.
"Emily baby, talk to me." I rubbed circles on her bare arm, trying to get her to come back.
"We have to go home Jen, we need to go home Jennifer, I need- I need to see my mom," she gasped, trying very hard to bottle up all the feelings she was feeling. I hugged her close, just letting her dig her nails into my shoulder blade, crying in heavy, hiccupping sobs. I couldn't quite sense whether she was worried or shocked or relieved, just let her get whatever it is out in the open. My bare shoulder and neck were slick with salty tears and the moisture from her heavy breathing as she struggled to catch her breath, the heavy pants turning into fleeting gasps which seemed to tear from her throat before she could even breathe them in. I could feel her panicking as I gently disentangled myself from her grasp so I could help her lean over and place her head between her knees, sitting on the edge of the bed. Her quick snatches of breath were interspersed by sobs, as I rubbed her back and eventually, got on my knees in front of her, rubbing the tops of her thighs while softly murmuring into her ear. With time her hyperventilation slowed, her breathing relaxed and the sobbing ceased. I helped my dizzy and scared lover sit up straight again, and she had hardly opened her mouth before I cut her off, knowing exactly what she was about to say.
"Don't be sorry Em. It's shocking news, you're perfectly fine, there's no reason to apologize." She closed her mouth again, although the apologetic haze in her eyes lingered. I got up, fixing my rumpled tank top and sleep shorts, before heading to the corner of the room where our suitcases lay. Picking out clothing for the both of us, I tossed her an outfit and we both got changed. The car ride back to DC was long and arduous, taking over a day. It was the middle of the next night by the time we were in Virginia, and I was trying not to nod off behind the wheel. Emily was staring out the car window, at the landscapes that went whipping by at breakneck speeds; I could tell exactly what she was thinking. She felt the same way, like reality was whipping by so fast that it was impossible to slow down and make sense of it all. The FBI building was extremely busy and neither of us were given a second glance as we walked into the bullpen. The wide open room was buzzing with activity as men wearing full military fatigues conversed with high-powered professionals in designer suits. The chaos was almost overwhelming, and for the both of us it was like stepping into a past life, one we had almost forgotten amidst the travels and adventure. We looked over to the roundtable room to see our team huddled together worriedly, like it was old times and they were just discussing a run-of-the-mill case.
"I don't know if I can do this." Emily shuffled nervously in her spot beside me as she trapped my hand in a white-knuckled grip.
"We're going to do this together. They wont be mad, they'll just be happy you're alive." I reassured, all the while hoping the words I spoke were the truth. The last thing Emily needed right now was a rejection from her team. We walked hand in hand to the open doorway, standing in silence as the team failed to notice our presence.
"Ahem." I cleared my throat loudly, causing Morgan, who was closest to the door, to glance over quickly.
"Oh, hey JJ." He muttered casually before returning to his work. His simple statement caused everyone to drop their pens or slam shut their files in awe. He whipped his head back around in complete disbelief.
"Now that has got to be one of the best double-takes in the history of the BAU" I joked casually, while rubbing my thumb gently across Emily's knuckles as she stood just out of sight behind the doorframe. Everyone was standing now, shocked by my presence.
"JJ!" the entire group chorused happily, as they moved closer to welcome me. Tightening my grip on Emily's hand, I moved a bit to the side.
"I happened to bring along someone who's extremely special to me." I led Em into view, not really caring to finish the sentence as I took in their awestruck faces. The entire room had frozen, and for a few seconds nobody moved, nobody spoke, nobody even breathed.
"Please be okay with this, please be okay with this, please be okay with this!"
I repeated over and over in my head. Penelope was the first to speak, after opening and closing her mouth like a fish for a few times.
"Please tell me this is not some sort of hallucination from our lack of sleep and over-consumption of that crappy coffee, because if it is this is extremely cruel." A tense laugh escaped my throat as Emily finally spoke up.
"No Pen, it's not a hallucination. I'm here." With that simple reassurance the room exploded into happy cheers, all the occupants gathered together into an ecstatic group hug. It was such a relief to see how they accepted her back with no questions asked, like a family welcoming back a long-lost member. Yeah, exactly like that. Once the craziness died down somewhat, I got ready to announce our next piece of big news.
"Emily and I have been traveling the country, and I can't believe it took her near-death experience and months of living like nomads to make me realize this, but I can't live without her. She's all I need to be happy anywhere. That being said…" I trailed off cryptically, subconsciously fingering the engagement band on my fiancée's delicate hand.
"I've asked her to marry me, and she said yes." I couldn't quite see the reaction from our group of friends, since Emily had swept me into a delicate kiss. I felt her cheeks radiate heat as she blushed, obviously taking notice of the cheers and whoops filling the air. I pulled back softly before placing a chaste peck upon her lips, then turning to face the team. Garcia was hovering like a multicolored moth to a flame, rambling on and on about wedding plans.
"Don't worry Garcia; we wouldn't dare leave you out of the planning." Emily gave a small smile as she reassured her overly excited friend.
"Congratulations guys." Rossi stepped forward to give us both a fatherly hug, not the least bothered by Garcia's constant presence. Reid was the most excited we'd ever seen him, and the young Doctor's facial expression was that of a kid on Christmas morning. Even Hotch looked overjoyed, smiling wider than anyone had thought possible. The original somber climate of the room was long forgotten until an older brunette woman was escorted past the room.
"Emily?" a familiar voice cried, and my lover wheeled around at the sound of it.
"Mom?" she echoed in a similar tone, running up to her mother before being caught in a bruising hug. The two women clung to each other in a display of intimacy I'd never heard of when it came to Emily and her mom.
"You're alive!" Elizabeth announced, saying it in a way that was almost reverent, like the older woman would fall to her knees in relief any second now.
"Mom, what did you do?" Emily asked softly, pulling slightly out of the embrace so she could look her in the eyes. She was replied with a look that explicitly said "this isn't the place to discuss it" she stood back to notice the two agents escorting her mother around.
"Can we talk about this somewhere else?" Emily pleaded with the two businesslike men.
"I'm sorry ma'am; we have explicit instructions to take her down to interrogation. She can't be out of our custody."
"She's my mother; this will only take a moment!" I stepped up behind Emily.
"We're both federal agents, we're qualified to watch her for a few moments." I added, pulling away the side of my blazer to reveal my badge and gun clipped side-by-side. They gave a businesslike nod of assent before we walked the Ambassador into the roundtable room. The team cleared out wordlessly, knowing not to intrude. Emily and hr mother sat in chairs facing each other, and I took a seat next to Emily.
"Why mom, why did you do it?" The pain in Emily's face was evident, as she faced the possibility of her mother going to jail.
"Do you want the story my lawyers are arguing or the true story? Because according to what I've told the lawyers, I'm the victim here. I'd seen that man sneaking around the property multiple times before, called the authorities, nothing came of it. Two nights ago I saw the man sneaking up to the estate and trying to force the lock on the door, once that didn't open he circled around to the window. I heard machine gun fire, and I got the pistol I keep in my locked desk drawer for security. I fired two warning shots, and when he pointed his weapon at me I fired in self-defense. I was within my rights, my life was in danger, I pulled the trigger, mea culpa, mea culpa." I had to say, her defense was pretty airtight, especially if she had the forethought to call the police beforehand.
"Now off the record, I had seen this Ian Doyle guy around my house for a while after you died-or left I guess, I had called it in, and two nights ago I was sick of it, sick of hiding out in my own home, sick of him running around free, sick of watching the man who hunted and nearly killed my baby girl dance around like he was above the law. So I had enough. I figured that even if I was too late, I had to fight for you, because I never fought for you when you were little. I let my job, and my friends, and my doomed marriage, everything took priority over you. So I knew that even through I may have been too late, I had to fight for you, I had to protect you. And so what if the charges mean I cant do my job, it would be nice to settle down eventually." Emily's eyes were tearing up as she heard her mother's confession.
"Thank you. Thank you for fighting for me." She sobbed into her mother's shoulder. I suddenly felt like I was intruding on a private moment, and I was about to get up before Emily's hand caught me on the wrist.
"We still have to tell her, I want to tell her together." Her chocolate eyes were pleading, so I accepted her hand and sat back down.
"Jennifer proposed to me, and we're going to get married. Mom, I want you to be there." At first I wasn't so sure how her mom would take the news, but the happy look on her face told me otherwise.
"Married? Like wedding and future grandbabies?" Em and I shared a fleeting glance to confirm we were thinking the same thing.
"Yeah mom, like wedding and grandbabies." We were enveloped in the second round of tearful congratulatory hugs that day. The next four months were a blur of paperwork, planning, unsubs, dinner dates, and fuchsia colored bridesmaids dresses, and before I knew it, I was standing by the altar, in a chapel, wearing a white dress, with all our friends and family in a small ceremony, professing my undying love to my soon-to-be-wife. Despite all the effort and time Penelope had put into the decorations, all I could see is Emily, with her ebony hair elegantly styled, her dress immaculately tailored, her eyes shining with love and anticipation. I could hardly hear the words being spoken over the thundering pulse in my ears, and it wasn't until we both had said
"I do." That it really hit me. We're going to be together, forever. The upwelling of emotion brought happy tears to my eyes, and I could see them glistening in Emily's as well, like tiny twinkling diamonds. We were passed through the small crowd of friends and family, accepting hugs and congratulations as we made our way out to the car set to take us to the reception. The limousine that pulled up was a shock, but Em just shrugged her shoulders.
"With my mom's finances and Garcia's enthusiasm they made a bit of a wedding dream team. They went all out." We slipped into the secluded interior, nestled together among the sea of plush black leather seats.
"So, someday are we gonna fulfill your mother's wishes of a grandchild?" I smiled, while staring at our interlocked hands.
"Someday, maybe even someday soon." She whispered between soft kisses, before turning her attention to the matching wedding bands on our ring fingers.
"I had these engraved for us, did you see? I figured since you got the engagement ring I'd add a little extra to the wedding ones." I slipped the plain platinum band off, and looked at it under the light. The writing was so small it was hard to read, especially in the dim light, but it was there. Emily slipped it back on to my finger before giving me a quick kiss on the lips, like she was unable to exist alone with me without kissing. She closed her eyes and recited from memory, a quote which I felt summed us both up perfectly. As her melodious voice fluttered through the air, I let the words sink in, as I felt the car wheels churning beneath me, and the warmth of Emily beside me, and I looked forward to the next adventure on the horizon, ready and waiting for the two of us to face it as one.
"Love knows no limit to its endurance, no end to its trust,
no fading of its hope; it can outlast anything.
Love still stands when all else has fallen."
1 Corinthians 13:7-8
A/N and another happy ending! I had planned on splitting this into two parts, but I saw no sense in it. I hope you enjoy the story!