CHAPTER 7

Emily accompanied JJ all the way down to the lobby where the others were fidgeting. She never, not once, let go of her when they were bombarded with worried questions, the protective side that JJ seemed to be able to conjure up in Emily so easily rising to its full height again. And when the other woman vehemently refused that they call an ambulance, Emily just as fervently told her to simply go with it.

The paramedics arrived in record time, and when they sat the reluctant media liaison on a wooden bench and started probing her shoulder, Emily moved aside, assured that JJ was being taken care of. With a hasty comment to Morgan that she would meet them at the cars, the brunette made her way across the lobby and around a corner, away from prying eyes. With trembling fingers, she turned the knob of a restroom door and stepped into a brightly-lit room.

After making sure she was alone, Emily leaned against the door, suddenly feeling weak and completely drained. The last half-hour was a haze, her brain desperately trying to process everything without having much success. The image of JJ going over the edge flashed in her mind, and she clenched her fists, nails digging painfully into her palms.

Emily could still see the truly horrified expression on JJ's face when she'd looked up at her, and the way JJ had been pleading for her to help ricocheted in her head. The realization that she'd been so close to losing JJ, that things could've turned out in a whole different manner, caused her legs to give out from under her. She slid down the door and sat on the disgustingly dirty floor, tears streaming down her face.

She was exhausted, both physically and emotionally, and there was no way she could stop the sobs that wrecked her body. She remembered their earlier conversation, the way JJ had basically pulled the rug from under her, and the memory of it made her feel so insignificant and worthless that although she knew, deep down, the blonde hadn't really meant it, she'd never felt so lost and hurt in her entire life.

Somehow JJ's words—albeit said in a heat of the moment—had done more damage than anything anyone had ever said to her. And she was used to being the target of under-the-belt insults; she was the daughter of Ambassador Prentiss after all. She'd heard so many accusations and expressions of disappointment in her life that she'd thought she was beginning to become immune to them. But JJ's words had been like a knife to her back, they had ripped her heart right out of her chest.

And then, having the blonde in her arms on the roof and seeing her look at her with utter trust and wonder, Emily had been ready to forgive her anything. She was confused and alone, and she had no idea of what to do. Because while she knew that JJ was probably just as mortified about their little quarrel as she was, the past three days had finally made Emily realize that compartmentalizing was complete and utter bull when it came to JJ. The blonde simply didn't fir into a neat and tiny compartment. It was obvious to Emily that she was only torturing herself by coming to work everyday, which truly wasn't what she'd had in mind when joining the team.

Staring at the wall on the opposite side of the restroom, Emily couldn't believe she was actually contemplating on giving up her job, a job that she'd aimed at ever since joining the FBI. But it was now crystal clear to her that working alongside JJ, pretending as if nothing had ever happened between them, would be impossible. And, really, that only left one option: one of them had to leave. It'd be the hardest thing she ever had to do, but she'd do it, if not for herself, for JJ.

Standing up from the floor with shaky legs, she walked to the sink and looked at herself in the large mirror. She saw a woman who looked, well, like crap, but under all the exhaustion and misery, there was a woman who finally knew what she had to do.

As she was splashing cold water on her face, Emily mused that while she'd take the friendship with JJ back in a heartbeat, leaving the BAU really was the best option. At least she'd had one night with the woman who she, when she felt exceptionally corny and sappy, considered to be her soul mate. At least, she had the memories—which would drive her crazy, without a doubt—and the knowledge that, for one night, she'd felt...whole.

Straightening up, she dried her face and took one, final look at herself. Fairly satisfied with her somewhat disheveled appearance, she took a deep breath and prepared to face the world again. She really had no idea how she'd explain her resignation to the team, because no matter how she looked at it, it was like disowning her own family.

Discarding the thoughts of leaving for now, she figured it'd be best not to think of the whole fiasco before their current case was completely wrapped up and before she'd had some time to consider her options; the old idea of taking the Foreign Service exam—like her mother had urged her to do all those years ago—and ending up in a state department didn't inspire her at all. With a final sigh, she turned the door knob. Her face giving nothing away, she left the restroom and strode out of the building to where the others were waiting.

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Emily refused to go to the interrogation room when Phil Flanders was being questioned because she wasn't entirely certain she wouldn't beat his face in. So instead of observing the interrogation, she was doing paperwork which she would be required to complete in a week's time anyway. She was scribbling down her second report, bored out of her mind, when Morgan and Reid came into the room and started piling up the files and papers.

"That was fast. Did he confess?" Emily looked up from her writing.

"In lightning speed. Couldn't wait to share his heroic deeds with us," Morgan scrunched his nose in disgust and fetched a cardboard box for the stack of files on the table. "Turned out his-,"

"Let me guess, wife?" Emily interrupted and began organizing her papers in a neat pile as well.

"Mother."

"Oh."

"She hanged herself in her bedroom a couple of months ago. The suicide note Flanders used was an edited version of the one his mother left behind." Reid filled in for Morgan, efficiently stripping the evidence board of photographs. "And the victims' cell phones were found at his house. He took them so no one would find out about the calls to the help line. All of the victims used the line as a kind of a therapy method, apparently."

As hard as she tried, Emily simply couldn't feel remorse for the man. Shaking her head, she filled a box with various folders and then placed it next to the other ones by the door.

They were just finishing up when Rossi and Hotch showed up with Sheriff Gordon, and Emily automatically glanced behind them, in search of their blonde media liaison. But JJ wasn't with them.

"I can't tell you how glad I am to see the back of you." Gordon chuckled. "Again, no offense."

"We're more than happy to go." There was small smile playing on Hotch's lips when he shook hands with the sheriff. Gordon took Rossi's hand as well and nodded politely to the rest of them, before retreating back to the squad room.

"The jet's waiting for us and ready to take off as soon as we get there, so let's go check ourselves out of the hotel," Hotch said and grabbed one of the boxes from the floor.

"Um, where's JJ?" Emily asked, trying to sound nonchalant, as she hurried after their boss, a brown box tucked under her own arm as well.

"I sent her ahead to the airport. After all that's happened, she looked like she could use some sleep."

"Oh, right." Knowing that any further questions would arouse suspicion, the brunette had to settle for the ambiguous reply Hotch had given her. Even with everything that had taken place, she couldn't stop caring; worry unavoidably set up camp inside of her, various unnerving scenarios running through her mind, and Emily found herself clutching the box a little harder than necessary.

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It took them awhile to get to the hotel and then to the airport, and when the SUVs finally came to a halt in front of the terminal, Emily wanted nothing more than to slump down in her seat on the plane and stay in it till the end of time.

The brunette spotted JJ the moment she stepped onboard, her eyes immediately landing on the figure laying supine on the double seat at the back of the plane. She knew it was completely insane and extremely foolish, but she couldn't help it; she found herself almost dawdling around the seat on the opposite side of the aisle, irresistibly drawn to the younger woman in spite of everything.

Emily refused to wake her up and very gently fastened JJ's seatbelt to ensure that the blonde didn't roll off the seat when the plane took off. JJ only stirred momentarily, her utter exhaustion and the power of painkillers finally winning out. At the back of the plane, away from the others' curious gazes, Emily secretly allowed herself to watch JJ sleep. It did occur to her that someone might consider it a tad creepy, but trying to keep her eyes off JJ right then was like trying to move a mountain with one's bare hands.

Leaning back in her seat, Emily marveled at how incredibly beautiful JJ was when she slept. Although she'd seen JJ asleep on the plane several times before, she'd never really given herself the permission to observe before. The blonde was always beautiful, but the façade they all wore to work always slipped away when she slept, and it revealed a glimpse of the real JJ, the innocent and genuine version of her. The brunette had only seen JJ remove the mask completely once before in her company, letting Emily witness the vulnerable side of her. When she'd made love to her and gazed into her eyes, Emily had seen the real woman behind the pompous title and the gun and the intimidating authority. Just for a moment, they hadn't been strong and powerful FBI agents in one of the most respected and highly esteemed units of the Bureau; they'd been just Emily and Jennifer, two people who'd finally found each other, two people in the exact same moment, the rest of the world only a vague blur around them, because right then, nothing else existed but the other.

Feeling a sudden lump in her throat, Emily turned her back to the sleeping woman and stared out of the window into the darkness.

CHAPTER 8

2 weeks ASE (After Sex with Emily)

JJ could've told the exact amount of time since that faithful night in minutes—21,600—if need be. It was all she could think of; the other woman filled her every waking thought and usually a fairly big part of her nightly dreams as well. She was reminded of Emily no matter what she was doing; something would always cause her to remember and bring her back to the brunette. But, sitting in her office at the BAU, she could at least pretend to be doing something else other than dreaming of how soft Emily's skin felt when she'd run her hand down her side or how the other woman's lips had so easily found that special spot near her collarbone, making her shiver like a leaf.

It wasn't like JJ didn't know what she wanted to do, what she probably should do. But the memory of hurting Emily to the bone kept tormenting her relentlessly, and judging by the pain she felt herself, she wouldn't be terribly surprised if the other woman refused to ever forgive her. And then there was the little voice in her head, nagging that she was basing all her assumptions on the way the brunette had looked at her. Not what she'd said, not what she'd shown her, but how she'd frigging looked at her, which sounded absolutely ridiculous even to her own ears.

But that was exactly it. The look. She had analyzed and scrutinized every encounter she could recall, and the results were always the same. The way Emily had looked at her so many times during the past year; the way Emily had looked at her on the rooftop in Chicago; the way Emily had looked at her during their night together. That night hadn't been just sex, it hadn't been just a random encounter between two people who simply wanted to find some release and happened to be in a right place at a right time. JJ knew—she could remember it vividly—she'd never felt so deeply adored and cherished by anyone than the way she'd felt that night with Emily.

She'd never felt more loved.

Loved.

Freaked out by her own assessment, JJ straightened up in her chair in bewilderment and looked down at the paper before her. There was a black, messy ink stain on the page where the tip of her pen had remained for the past fifteen minutes without moving an inch. Letting out a frustrated sigh, she crumpled up the entire paper and threw it across the room towards a trash can. It missed its mark, but JJ didn't notice because it was then that she realized Garcia was standing in her doorway.

"Jesus, Garcia!" She slumped back in her seat. "How long have you been standing there?"

"Long enough," the computer analyst answered cryptically and stepped fully into the room.

"What are you doing here anyway? It's Saturday." JJ frowned and glanced at her wrist-watch. It was almost five-thirty.

"I could ask you the same thing, Girlfriend." Garcia's eyes were reproachful. "Besides, I have a very, very hot date this evening. I just came in to pick up my darling laptop."

JJ finally noticed that the other woman was indeed dressed up a little less bizarrely than usual.

"Anyone I know?"

"Maybe." Garcia studied her, her eyes narrowing slightly. "But don't think you'll distract me that easily. You're dealing with a goddess of supreme knowledge, after all."

"I have no idea what you're talking about." JJ aimed for cool and collected but ended up somewhere between painfully obvious and as plain as day.

"Right." Garcia nodded sarcastically. "Oh, is Em still here?"

"No, she hasn't been in a..." JJ looked up into amused eyes and knew that she'd just been played. "Nice." She crossed her arms, brooding.

"Did you honestly think I don't know? What blasphemy, I knew before you knew!" Garcia chuckled, and JJ buried her face in her hands in embarrassment.

For a while JJ didn't say anything, the direction of the conversation had caught her slightly off guard. Then she lowered her hands and looked at her best friend in despair.

"I don't know what to do," she said quietly, picking at invisible lint on her pants.

"The heart knows best." Garcia smiled radiantly, and JJ rolled her eyes.

"Even if that wasn't so corny, it still wouldn't be that simple." She shook her head, feeling so unbelievably relieved for finally being able to talk with someone about the whole situation. "I mean, I don't even know if she..."

"Maybe you should just get her drunk and see if she comes on to you." The computer whiz stated matter-of-factly, but JJ didn't laugh. Instead, she could feel her cheeks burning. Actively avoiding the other woman's eyes, she swallowed self-consciously and wondered why no one ever came to bother her when she was in real need of a distraction.

"Well, someone's really been holding out on me!" Garcia stifled a laugh, which earned an angry glare from the blonde. She raised her hand in a surrendering manner. "I'm sorry, doña Juana. Being dead serious now."

"Oh God. This is a nightmare." JJ groaned and massaged her temples in a vain attempt to ease the faint pounding in her head.

"Why don't you tell the celestial being of Quantico everything, so she would have yet another good reason to tell you to drag your butt over to Washington D.C. ASAP?" Garcia plopped down in one of the chairs in front of the blonde's desk and waited.

"I thought you had a date." JJ blinked, trying not to show how desperate she was to share it all with someone.

"A woman should always be fashionably late."

JJ smiled, incredibly thankful for having such a great friend, and began tentatively relaying information. After several "You go girls" and just as many "oh my gods," she finished the story and eyed the other woman uncertainly.

"I really didn't think you had it in you, Jay-J." Garcia was smiling widely, making JJ blush furiously.

"Garcia."

"Right, right. You want my honest opinion?" The blonde nodded. "Sweetie, you're an idiot."

"What?" JJ blinked, not sure she'd heard correctly. Garcia tilted her head to the side and gave the media liaison her best 'are-you-serious' look. She sighed and gave up. "I'm an idiot."

"Uh-huh."

"Christ, I was so horrible to her." JJ wanted to smack herself.

"You know, in the movies, this is the moment when you're supposed to go and confess your undying love for the insanely good-looking co-star and sweep them off her feet." The computer tech looked wistfully into space. "Oh, what I'd give to find Denzel Washington standing under my window."

JJ laughed, feeling surprisingly light-hearted, and pushed herself up from her chair in a sudden burst of energy. Collecting her purse from the floor, she rounded the table and hugged the other woman tightly.

"You're totally insane, but I love you for it." Pulling back, she smiled one last time at Garcia and then practically ran all the way out of the building.

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By the time JJ pulled her car to the side of the street in front of Emily's apartment building, the self-confidence and courage her little chat with Garcia had built up in her had more or less evaporated into thin air. Her fingers squeezed the steering wheel, knuckles turning white, and she peered up to the window she knew to be Emily's.

Now that she was actually there, she had no idea what to do or how to proceed. Rather than feeling hopeful and excited, she felt idiotic and ridiculous. Maybe Emily didn't even want to see her. And maybe she'd completely misread the signs, and it was all just a big misunderstanding, which would inevitably lead to her looking like a fool.

"Goddammit," she muttered and withdrew her hand from the door handle for the tenth time in as many minutes.

Leaning forward again, she observed the double window of Emily's apartment through the windshield. The light was on, so she was home, but who knew if she was alone or not. JJ shuddered at the thought of carelessly interrupting the other woman's evening, only to find out that she was about to do the horizontal tango, or God knows what, with someone else.

She didn't know exactly how long she sat there, but some random top-whatever countdown show on the radio had gone from number twenty to number five during that time. And just when she'd about had enough, had decided to go for it, and had pushed her insecurities aside, there was a sharp knock on the driver's side window.

Startled by the sudden interruption, she peered out and saw a police officer casually leaning his arm against the top of her car and gesturing with his hand for her to open the window. Dutifully, JJ lowered the window halfway down and looked expectantly at the man.

"Ma'am, I need you to step out of the vehicle, please," the officer said patiently.

"Excuse me? Why?" JJ's voice was incredulous.

"Just step out of the car, please."

JJ did as she was told and warily wondered what in the hell Officer Malone—there was a name tag on his shirt—wanted.

"Could you state your business here, Ma'am?" The officer looked her up and down.

"I'm here to see a friend."

"Where is this friend, then?"

"What's this about?" She was starting to lose her patience.

"We got a complaint of suspicious loitering, Ma'am."

"Loitering?"

"Yes. So could you state your real business here, please?" Officer Malone put his hands on his hips, but the power game was wasted on JJ.

"Look, I'm an FBI agent. Here's my-." She reached for her badge which was in her jacket's breast pocket.

"Freeze! Hands where I can see them!" Malone pulled his gun, causing JJ to, indeed, freeze.

"My badge is in my pocket," she tried to explain, but he didn't want to hear it.

"You'd be surprised how many times I've heard that one before." He didn't lower his gun an inch.

All the commotion on the street had attracted attention, and there were now people curiously looking at the scene through their windows; one of them probably was the imbecile who had called the cops on her. Some passers-by had stopped on the sidewalk around them, murmuring, and all eyes were on JJ and Officer Malone.

Just when JJ thought her life couldn't get any worse.

"I swear I'm an FBI agent. If I could just show you-."

"Against the car, Ma'am."

"What? Do I look like a criminal to you?" Her voice rose dangerously, but she didn't care.

"Ma'am-."

"Excuse me, Officer." There was a familiar voice behind her, and JJ turned, relieved, to find Emily standing on the sidewalk. "She's with me." The brunette flashed her badge, and there was a collective gasp and increased murmuring around them. It was a damn Kodak moment.

JJ turned back to Officer Malone, clenching her teeth. He had visibly paled and looked downright apologetic, which JJ noted with satisfaction. She straightened her jacket, and, with one last glare at him, walked to Emily. Mouthing a silent 'thank you' to her savior, JJ followed Emily up the stone steps and into the building.

"Come on, nothing to see here! Off you go!" The blonde could hear Malone's voice behind her, but she didn't give him the satisfaction of looking back.

"God, can you believe the nerve of that man?" JJ stomped into Emily's living room after the brunette had unlocked the door and let her in. When there was no reply, she turned around and found Emily standing apprehensively next to the bar which separated the kitchen from the living room.

"What are you doing here, JJ?" Okay, she totally deserved that.

"I..." She took a few steps forward, her eyes accidentally sweeping over the small table next to the couch. She'd already moved forward when what she saw registered in her brain, and her head whipped around in shock. She stared at the white sheet of paper on the table.

"What's this?" she asked incredulously and picked it up.

Emily didn't respond, her demeanor didn't actually change at all. The brunette looked at the paper in JJ's hand and then at JJ, her face—the blonde noted—scarily expressionless. Finally, she smiled a humorless smile and sighed, her shoulders rising and falling in a defeated shrug.

"You're resigning?" JJ whispered disbelievingly, her hands trembling against her will. "You're resigning? What, the last time wasn't fun enough?"

Still nothing.

"You can't resign, you belong to the BAU!" Suddenly, her heart was beating so fast that JJ thought it'd jump right out of her chest.

"Yeah, well. Things change," Emily said flatly, hands in her back pockets.

"You can't resign!" JJ's voice rose, and had she not been so preoccupied by the ominous message on the paper, she most certainly would've scolded herself for sounding so blatantly hysterical.

"I've made up my mind." Emily sounded tired. She walked to the blonde, took the resignation letter from her hand, folded it, and tucked it in her back pocket.

After a non-committed smile, Emily moved to the window with the impressive view of the Capitol, but it was obvious that she didn't really see the beauty before her as she gazed outside. Her shoulders were unnaturally straight, and her entire body oozed tension.

"Why do you..." JJ didn't know what to say, she was too upset to think. "Why...do you...is it...is it because of us?"

"Why are you here, Jennifer?" Emily suddenly turned around, her words sharp and hollow. The use of her real name made them sting just that much more.

They stood there, in the middle of Emily's living room, looking at each other, and something in that very point in time made JJ realize that it was the moment she'd perhaps been waiting for her entire life. It was the moment when she could either get burned or get it all, and it all depended on her and her alone.

She watched Emily stand tall before her, and all she could do was wonder what she'd done to deserve such an incredible human being in her life. Everything was simple and right when they were together. Emily always knew how to cheer her up, and she would stand beside her no matter what. When she felt like she couldn't go on, Emily would smile or touch her hand as a gesture of caring, and it'd all be better again. They were the two sides of a whole, and she could live without Emily only as long as she could live without breathing.

"I'm so sorry," JJ finally whispered hoarsely, desperate to make the other woman understand.

Emily didn't move; she simply looked at her. JJ struggled for words, trying to find the right ones to say just how sorry she was and how much she needed her. But the longer she looked at the brunette, the more it dawned on her that words would never be enough to express how much the other woman meant to her. There were no fancy turns of phrase to show Emily how completely and utterly in love she was with her. Encouraged by the depth of her feelings, JJ walked hesitantly to stand in front of the other woman. Carefully, she raised her hands to cup Emily's face, and when the brunette didn't pull back, JJ leaned in and kissed her. Softly.

It was just as wonderful as she'd remembered. Emily's lips were soft and perfect, and JJ didn't know how she could ever live without the feeling of wholeness that overtook her. Unhurriedly, she pulled back and watched as Emily's eyes slowly slid open, the look in them undecipherable. She studied JJ, her eyes searching for something, and the blonde earnestly held her gaze.

It was strange. In her life, JJ had fought some of the worst serial killers in the country; she'd stood in front of an enraged crowd of journalists, who wanted nothing more than to tear her apart; she'd dangled hundreds of feet above ground, about to fall to a certain death. And still, she'd never felt more terrified than right then under Emily's unfaltering gaze. Because Emily could see right through her, see exactly who she was, inside and out. And the fear of her not liking what she saw was truly the scariest feeling of all.

Then JJ spotted it; saw the eyes before her fill with tenderness and the small smile tugging at the corner of Emily's mouth. Her own heart skipped a beat when she was gently pulled forward and enveloped into a warm embrace. Her arms circling the brunette's waist, JJ inhaled deeply and enjoyed the sweet and unique fragrance that she realized she'd missed terribly. She could feel Emily's breath softly tickle her ear, which released a herd of butterflies in the pit of her stomach.

"Have you been drinking?" Emily suddenly asked quietly, momentarily disorienting the blonde with the odd non sequitur.

"No," she replied breathlessly, holding on to the other woman just a little tighter.

"Good," Emily stated simply, only half-joking, and then leaned back slightly so that she could bring their lips together.

JJ couldn't believe that she'd actually considered letting Emily go without a fight. As she felt the kiss deepen and their bodies molding together perfectly, she mused that she never again wanted to know what it felt like not having Emily with her. And to ensure just that, she needed to apologize, to swear she'd never be so reckless and do anything so stupid ever again.

It took all her willpower to do so, but JJ slowed down and reluctantly broke the kiss, her hands still firmly against the small of Emily's back. She looked deep into the brown eyes, the feel of the other woman's soft breath on her swollen lips sending jolts of electricity through her body, jolts that ended somewhere much further south.

"I really am so sorry, Emily. I'm such an idiot," she whispered, closing her eyes in exasperation.

"Yeah, you are," Emily said, and the blonde turned her head in shame. Fingers under JJ's chin, Emily gently urged the other woman to look at her.

When JJ slowly turned back to the brunette again, she was greeted with a look so full of devotion and trust that she thought her heart would burst. There was a small, happy smile playing on Emily's lips.

"But you're my idiot," she murmured before claiming JJ's lips once more.

Things didn't sound nearly as corny when Emily said them.

EPILOGUE

6 months ASEFT (After Sex with Emily for the First Time)

Combing her hand tiredly through her long, blonde hair, JJ strolled into the kitchen and turned the kettle on. She'd always liked to drink tea in the morning, ever since she was a child. Her mother had brewed tea in her antique silver tea pot every morning, and although it was over a decade ago that she'd actually lived at home, she simply couldn't break the habit. And besides, she'd get her caffeine fix later, since she usually drank so much coffee at work, that by the end of the day, she sometimes felt like an energizer bunny.

JJ was reaching for the mugs in the cabinet when her bedroom door opened and a frantic FBI agent emerged through it.

"JJ!"

"Yeah?" The mugs securely in her hands, the blonde turned around to look at her girlfriend, who was only dressed in her black bra and pants, a dark blue shirt dangling from her hand.

"It's the third shirt this week," Emily whined, slipping her arms into the sleeves.

"You've got plenty of new ones in the closet," JJ said light-heartedly, feeling slightly self-conscious about the topic in question. She was, after all, responsible for the rapid dwindling of Emily's wardrobe – shirt-wise at least.

"Actually, this is the last one," Emily noted absently, still struggling with the sleeves that were somehow tangled together.

"Oh." JJ busied herself with the kettle, but froze when she heard Emily's next words.

"You know, it'd be so much easier if all our stuff was in the same place." The brunette pulled the shirt over her head and was just about to slip her head through the neckline when she realized how her words had come across. She halted her movements, leaving her standing like an idiot in the middle of the kitchen, the shirt halfway on.

JJ walked across the room, and Emily could feel the warmth radiating from her as the blonde came to stand close to her. Mercilessly, she pulled Emily's shirt down, smoothing the fabric over her torso, and then looked up at her.

Emily's mouth opened and closed, but no words came out. She really hadn't meant it to sound like it had. But now that it was there, out in the open, she was absolutely terrified that JJ would laugh at her, or somehow downplay the real meaning behind it all. Besides, she'd thought about it. A lot. They practically spent all their free time together anyway, so it was only logical. She just hadn't intended to come out with it quite like that.

"Are you asking me to move in with you?" JJ's eyebrows rose in a questioning manner, her eyes sparkling with merriment and her fingers still playing with the hem of her lover's shirt. She watched, fascinated, as a range of emotions danced across Emily's eyes.

"Well..." Emily swallowed, the feel of JJ's fingers brushing against her skin, causing goosebumps. "Would you mind terribly if I did?"

"Hmm..." JJ pretended to be thinking it over.

"And, you know, after that incident at the office Christmas party, it's not like it'd come as a surprise to anyone, really." Emily smiled fondly, and JJ couldn't help blushing. What was it with her and vodka? "Honestly, though. I'm serious, I just really love being with you. " The brunette cleared her throat nervously. "All the time, actually. So, what do you say?" Emily gave her a small peck on the lips.

JJ felt an unexpected lump in her throat. The look on her lover's face was a mixture of excitement, hopefulness, and uncertainty, and JJ had never loved her as much as she did at that very moment. She planted a fervent kiss on Emily's lips and then leaned back, grinning like an idiot.

"You do know this won't really solve yout shirt problem, don't you?"

"Who cares?" Emily let out a relieved chuckle, wrapping her arms tightly around JJ.

It was the third time that month Hotch received a sheepish phone call a little after eight, informing him that Route 95 was, once again, an absolute bitch to navigate in the morning traffic.

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"If there is no wind, row."
- Latin proverb

FIN.