A/N: I've had this storyline planned since before the show did the episode about the gamers kidnapping kids. It's not exactly the same but has similar overtones. It was a fun way to bring back an old friend, which is what led to my idea for it. And it had to wait until Emily was back on full duty or I'd have beaten the show to the punch! :o)
Hopefully my take on this theme will work in my crazy little AU. Enjoy!
After getting back from Boise, the team stays desk bound the rest of the week catching up on paperwork and consultations. For Emily, it is also a chance to work on a presentation she has to give in at a law enforcement conference in Baltimore. She will be teaching a seminar on questioning children who have been traumatized. It is an ugly topic but necessary. Wednesday afternoon she puts the finishing touches on the accompanying PowerPoint presentation and sits back with a sigh.
Reid glances up at her. "You okay?"
Emily shrugs. "Why can't I be talking about why pretty butterflies on the walls of interrogation rooms make police stations nicer?"
Reid chuckles. "Because you're a profiler not an interior decorator."
Emily laughs. "Right. I forgot." She stands and pulls a zip drive out of her CPU. "I'll be in the round table room running through this along with my talk to make sure it all goes together as well as I think it does."
"Need an audience?" he offers.
"Not yet. This dry run will probably involve a lot of notes and changes. I don't give the talk until Saturday so maybe Friday I'll bend your ear to get your opinion."
He smiles and nods. "Gladly. Or maybe we can do it at the house since JJ is not letting me go back to my own place yet."
Emily grins as JJ looks up from the file she had been reading. "Spence, the doctor said- -"
"I know what the doctor said," Reid interrupts. "Just picking on you for being such a mom to us. It's adorable."
JJ rolls her eyes. "Would be easier if any of you people actually listened to the doctors," she mutters and goes back to the folder on her desk.
Reid glances at Emily. "Why's she so grumpy?"
Emily shrugs. "Must be the case she's working on."
JJ slams her pen down. "I am RIGHT here, guys. And yes, this case really sucks but that's NOT what has me irritated." She gets up and storms out of the bullpen.
Reid and Emily exchange a look. Emily gestures for Reid to stay put before following her wife. She finds her in the bathroom leaning against the wall, knowing Emily would follow.
"What's going on, Jen?" Emily asks. "Everything was fine on our way in this morning."
JJ takes a steadying breath. "Do you remember that child abuse case I consulted on last month? I asked you and Morgan for help to make sure I stressed enough that the police needed to look at the foster family?"
Emily nods. "I remember."
JJ turns away. "The lead detective didn't believe the foster mother could be the abuser. He was sure it was a teacher at the school. He was wrong. When he finally admitted that he approached her angrily instead of calmly." JJ turns back to her wife. "After the detective left she killed all 4 kids in her care."
Emily winces and pulls JJ into a hug. "Oh, Jen…"
"Why the hell didn't he listen, Em? Why ask our help if you're not going to fucking listen?" JJ says, trying unsuccessfully not to cry.
Emily kisses her temple. "I don't know, baby. I really don't know. Sometimes they ask for our help hoping we'll tell them what they want to hear. When we don't, well, they just ignore us. You've seen that first hand when we actually go to the case. All you can do is know you did your best to help them."
"I keep thinking I didn't say it right. Or didn't say enough. Hell, maybe I should have told Hotch we should go."
Emily eases her back and looks into her eyes. "Jennifer, you did all you could with what you had. That's all any of us can do. And, sadly, you'll have this happen again. It's a horrible truth of this job."
JJ slowly nods. "I know. Doesn't make it hurt any less."
Emily strokes her cheek. "I know, baby. Is there anything I can do for you?"
JJ manages a small smile. "Forgive my ugly outburst at you and Reid?"
Emily gives her a small kiss. "Already forgiven, sweetheart. I love you."
"I love you, too. Thanks, Em."
"Anytime, Mrs. Prentiss."
JJ smiles and the two leave the bathroom. JJ goes back to the bullpen, stopping at Reid's desk.
"I'm sorry, Reid. Bad morning. I'll tell you about it tonight," she promises.
Reid smiles and nods, seeing the traces of JJ's tears. "Okay. If you need to talk sooner I'm here for you."
She pats his shoulder gratefully. "Thanks, Reid. I appreciate it."