When the group arrives back at the house they see a huge "WELCOME HOME" banner stretched across the yard. Emily chuckles.
"Glad Mother didn't overdo things."
JJ smiles, leaning against her wife. "I think it looks perfect."
Inside they find a huge spread in the dining room: 3 kinds of buffalo wings (Morgan's favorite), sandwiches, veggie trays, cheeses, and, to JJ's delight, Francesca's baked ziti.
Francesca pulls JJ into a hug. "Welcome home, cara. The house wasn't the same without you."
"Thank you, Francesca. And thank you for everything you did to help keep Emily's blood pressure down. It made me feel good to know you were here to watch over her, Rocky and Henry."
"It was my pleasure, Jennifer. I said a special benediction each day for you to return safely. I am glad it was heeded."
JJ nods. "Me, too, Francesca. Me, too."
As Francesca steps away, JJ sees Elizabeth studying her. Finally the older woman shakes her head.
"Not the best colors for you, dear. But I still love you," she teases.
JJ laughs, looking down at her BDU's. "I understand. In fact, I worry I may turn into Garcia for a few weeks because I am so sick of these blah colors."
Garcia smiles proudly. "I'll teach you everything you need to know about dressing loud and obnoxious."
Everyone laughs, knowing the analyst means it. Elizabeth pulls JJ into a hug.
"Welcome home, Jennifer. I am so proud of you for not letting us get you out of there. You are a woman of impeccable character. I admire you so much. And I love you, too."
"Thank you, Elizabeth. I love you so much."
Gerald steps forward to hug her next. JJ can't stop the tears.
"The armour…it…God, Gerald…thank you."
He smiles. "I'm glad it served its purpose though I wish it hadn't had to. I love you, Jennifer. Welcome back."
"Love you, too."
Once the hug ends, JJ turns, searching for her wife and son. She doesn't want them too far from her just yet. Turns out they feel the same about her and are right behind her.
"I want to get out of these damn BDU's. Mind helping me?"
Emily shakes her head. "Not at all." She looks at Morgan. "Derek, you have a change of clothes in the guest room at the end of the hall."
He smiles in relief. "Thank goodness."
Francesca pats his arms. "Fresh towels, too."
"Sounds even better!"
He grabs a few buffalo wings and goes upstairs to get changed. Henry, who is fighting a losing battle with sleep, is carried up the stairs by Sandy for a nap. JJ takes Emily's hand and leads her upstairs to their bedroom.
Inside, Emily starts to undo the buttons on JJ's shirt. "I need to do this, Jen. I need…need to see the injuries."
JJ nods. "I know. I understand."
JJ just stands caressing Rocky as Emily slowly removes the BDU shirt. JJ raises her arm so Emily can lift up the tan undershirt.
"Oh, Jen," Emily whispers as the bruising on JJ's chest starts to appear.
"It looked worse, baby. It's okay. Really."
Emily gently lifts up the sports bra JJ wears. Her eyes stare at the pinpoint of deep purple in the middle of the bruise. That marks the impact point…and it is directly over JJ's heart.
"Oh, fuck, Jen."
Emily pulls her wife close. JJ wraps her arms around the weeping brunette.
"The armour worked, baby. I am here and bruised, a bit cut up, but I am okay." She leans back and frames Emily's face with her hands. "Look into my eyes, sweetheart. I am right here. Forget about the 'what ifs' and 'could have beens'. I am here in your arms. Alive and so fucking happy to be home."
Emily gives her a deep kiss. "I am so fucking happy you're home, too." She draws a finger gently over the healing cut on her wife's cheek. "And if the bastard who did this to you wasn't dead I'd have to find him and go medieval on his ass."
JJ laughs, and it is music to Emily's ears. "I bet you would, Mrs. Prentiss."
"Damn right I would, Mrs. Prentiss."
Emily finishes stripping her wife, paying attention to new scars and bruises as they appear. Finally JJ stands naked before her. JJ asks her wife nervously.
"So, uh, what do you think?"
Emily pulls her close and stares into her eyes. "I think you are the most beautiful woman in the world. And I am lucky as hell to have you as my wife."
JJ smiles. "Good thinking."
The two share one more kiss then JJ heads into the bathroom to shower. She luxuriates in the steam for nearly 30 minutes. When she gets out, she pulls on her flannel robe and walks out of the bathroom to find her mother waiting for her. Sandy grins at her daughter.
"My turn to evaluate your injuries."
JJ smiles and nods. "I know, Mom. Do whatever you have to do."
It is 10 more minutes before Sandy deems JJ able to get dressed. Once she is, Sandy pulls her into another hug.
"I am so proud of you, Jenny. And I love you so much."
"I love you, too, Mom. I'm sorry for the gray hair my being over there must have given you."
"That's okay, baby. Emily said to send you the bill for my dye job."
JJ laughs and nods. "Yeah, I bet she did."
She wraps her arm around her mother's waist as they make their way downstairs to join the party.
The party lasts long into the night. The arrival of Morgan's mother and sisters had made it an even happier night for everyone. It is nearly 10 p.m. before JJ and Emily take Henry upstairs to bed. Though the little boy didn't need it, his mother reads him "their" bedtime story because she needs it.
When she is done, she just stares down at the sleeping boy. "He's so beautiful."
Emily smiles and strokes a hand through JJ's hair. "Just like his mother."
JJ finally stands and lays him down in his crib. She tucks his blanket around him, putting his teddy bear in his arms. Emily wraps her arms around JJ's waist from behind.
"Every night he gave your picture a kiss goodnight. And every morning he said 'Hi, Mommy' to it."
JJ leans her head against Emily's shoulder. "Thank you, sweetheart, for everything."
"My pleasure, Jen."
JJ turns and looks into Emily's eyes. "I want to see the chart."
Emily frowns in confusion. "What chart?"
"Your blood pressure chart. I want to see it before bed." Emily starts to shake her head. "Emily, I need to. Please. Just like you had to see my injuries, I have to see yours."
Emily sighs and nods. "Okay. But right now let's go back to the party. People still want to see you."
JJ smiles. "And I still need to see them."
Emily takes JJ's hands and they rejoin the party in time to hear Morgan regaling them all with the tale of JJ…and the camel spider.
"Morgan! I warned you what would happen if you told that story," she says threateningly.
He grins mischievously. "Oh, Blondie, did you really think I wouldn't tell?"
JJ just shakes her head as he continues. By the time he is done everyone is in tears they are laughing so hard…including Emily. JJ looks at her wife.
"Glad I have your sympathy and support, dear."
Emily gives her a kiss. "Sympathy and support you have but, baby, that was funny as hell."
JJ nods. "Maybe. But I bet Morgan would hate if I told you all about—"
"Oh, Jayje…please don't…" he begs.
"—Morgan and the little old lady…he got married to!"
"What?!" His mother exclaims. "My little boy is finally married?"
"Oh, yeah. To a woman who probably was around when the Bible was written."
JJ proceeds to tell the story of a visit to a distant village the four agents had made. They had all been welcomed with open arms. And by time Mack had caught up to Morgan he was in the middle of a wedding dance with an old woman. After a few questions she found out that somehow the agent had agreed to marry her in exchange for 3 goats and two bolts of cloth.
One of Morgan's sisters pulls him into a hug. "Geez, Derek, I think you should have held out for at least 4 goats."
"I don't know," chimes in his other sister. "I think he should have waited for more cloth. Think of the beautiful dresses we could have made."
The laughter and teasing lasts until nearly midnight. As everyone gets ready to leave, Hotch suddenly raises his hands.
"JJ, I think there's one last thing we need to take care of tonight."
"Word has it that you have been working with improper credentials."
She frowns. "What? What the hell does that mean?"
Hotch looks at Rossi. "Agent Rossi, you have the ones she had in Afghanistan?"
Rossi nods. "Yep, right here." He flips them open for everyone to see.
Hotch nods. "As I thought. This is a serious breach, Agent Jareau."
JJ stares at them. "What the hell is wrong with them?"
Hotch points to a line on them. "They list you as a liaison. And you, Agent Jareau, are a profiler." He smiles and hands her the new credentials to go with her badge.
She laughs as she takes them. "Can you believe I forgot I wasn't technically a profiler until after I left?"
Hotch shrugs. "Hell, you've been a profiler for so long I had forgotten until they showed up on my desk." He pats her on the shoulder. "I am proud to give them to you, Profiler Jareau."
JJ smiles. "And I am happy to receive them." She grins evilly. "So on Monday can I smack Turner in the face with them?"
Hotch laughs. "Since that bastard sent me his resume twice yes you can!"
Everyone laughs and those not staying the night leave. Eventually it is just Jareau's and Prentiss' left. JJ stares at each of them in turn.
"I am so sorry for any scares you all had. But I am so thankful for the love and support I had from each of you. I couldn't have made it without you all."
Elizabeth smiles. "We're proud of you, Jennifer. And so very happy to have you home. Now, you best get my daughter to bed. Rocky needs to rest."
JJ wraps her arm around Emily's waist. "Best idea I've heard all day."
As the others go to clean up the party, Emily and JJ make their way to the bedroom. Once there they stare into each others eyes.
"I think I'll get my first good night's sleep in 9 long weeks," Emily says.
JJ kisses her deeply. "Me, too. But first…I need to reacquaint myself with your body." She kisses Emily again. "I need you, Emily. I need you so much."
"I need you, too, baby. I want to make love you and have you make love to me."
JJ smiles. "Then your wish is my command."
Emily pulls her into a deep kiss and soon they make their way to the bed to reaffirm their love to each other, thankful that their 9 weeks of separation are over.
A/N: This story is dedicated to the brave service members all over the world fighting the war on terrorism as well as the agents with the FBI, CIA, and NCIS who are often forgotten by us all. They work tirelessly to protect us. My love, respect and prayers go out to all of them.