The team rallied outside, their guns drawn and their vests strapped on tight. From his position at the front of the formation, Derek raised his hands and gave the countdown, his three fingers dropping down to two, before one and then with a flip of his wrist, the team was pushing forward.

They moved together as a cohesive unit, their steps falling in line with one another as they took shot after shot. The muffled sound of the gunshots echoing for only a second before the sounds of the bodies dropping to the ground drowned them out.

JJ kept pace from her position in the back, her gun steadily pointing forward as she swiveled and peered through the many doorways of the warehouse. Her hopes remained high as she moved past each room, not willing to acknowledge that there had yet to be a single indicator of Emily's presence in the building.

As they continued to move further into the building, more silenced shots rang out as they marched, each and every one of Doyle's men dropping like bags of sand as the bullets were fired point blank into their bodies.

But after ten or so shots, Doyle's men managed to get a shot out and the loud bang of the gun alerted the others of their presence there. The armed men flooded out of the rooms, their guns drawn as they fired blindly and wildly at the agents swarming the place.

Without hesitation or a second thought, JJ shot down one after another, their faces morphing into undistinguishable blobs as she fired shot after shot. When the third one fell to the ground, JJ abandoned her post with the rest of the group and slipped away to try and find Emily.

With the amount of gunfire going on, the media liaison knew that if Doyle heard it, there was no way he was going to let Emily out of things alive. He would know that his time was ticking away and would need to wrap things up quickly.

Slowly, JJ made her way down the hallway, the sounds of gunfire sounding further and further away she moved. Every so often, she glanced into the rooms, quickly scanning the area for any signs of Emily.

As she rounded a corner, she saw what looked like someone running across the way, turning a corner and disappearing from sight. Hesitating for only a split second, JJ tightened her hold on her gun and took off in the direction she had seen the person go.

She ran faster than she had ever imagined, her feet carrying her through the labyrinth of hallways, following whom she believed to be Doyle.

Just as she came to a dead end, her movements suddenly stopped and she slowly made her way into the room at the end of the hallway. Her fingers grabbed onto the doorknob gingerly as she took a moment to calm herself and center her focus.

JJ readjusted her grip on her gun before once turning the doorknob slowly, pushing the door open just a fraction before her hands took their previous position on her firearm. Her foot nudged the door completely open and after only a second, she proceeded into the room.

The blonde held her arms straight, the butt of her gun held by one hand, the other hand holding tightly to the grip, her index finger pressing on the trigger with just enough force to only need a little more to fire the bullet.

Her body turned to the left first, her eyes quickly scanning the area as she took another step inside the room. As her eyes finished the sweep of the left, she turned to the right, repeating the same process of scoping out the room.

As she took another step inside, the door suddenly swung shut and a hard object crashed into the back of her skull.

JJ dropped to the ground, her gun skittering across the cement floor as a figure loomed over her.

"You're too late," Doyle said calmly, his fingers moving up to his face as he wiped away more of the blood that continued to trickle down his face and into his eyes.

The blonde froze momentarily at the words, the statement feeling like a cold bucket of water on her body. Even though the words felt like a punch to the gut, JJ refused to rise to the bait, figuring that a manipulative psychopath like Doyle wouldn't hesitate to lie and use one of her greatest weaknesses against her.

Not wanting to waste any more valuable time, especially if Emily was injured, JJ gave the Irishman a cold hard stare before lifting her right leg and forcefully slamming it into his groin.

His grunt of anguish was like music to JJ's ears and she wasted no time rising to her feet and moving towards her gun. Her fingers just barely brushed the cold metal of the firearm before Doyle grabbed her hair and tugged her away.

JJ thrashed about, ignoring the pain of Doyle's hand yanking harshly on her hair.

"Maybe after I kill you, I'll go find that boy of yours and kill him too." Doyle hissed menacingly in her ear, tightening his grip on her hair as she pressed the barrel of his gun to her temple. "Or better yet, maybe I'll just take him in as my own. Seems only right after your precious Emily took mine," Ian added thoughtfully after a moment.

"Touch my son and see what I do," JJ threatened, her voice going dark as she tried to shake the images of her son in the clutches of the madman behind her.

Doyle laughed tauntingly at her, the pressure of the tip of his gun lessening slightly as it pressed to her head, "I'd be scared of that threat," he started slowly, "but dead women can't do much damage from the grave."

JJ's body jerked as she tried to elbow him in the ribs and break his grip on her but Doyle had anticipated that and moved to avoid the attack. "But don't worry, at least you'll get to see Emily soon."

"I'll see her after I kill you, you sick son of a bitch," JJ snarled, finding it easier and easier to channel her hatred towards the man.

Ian tutted her before he unnecessarily pulled the hammer of his gun down, using the tactic and sound to instill more fear into JJ. But as JJ stood there, held at gunpoint and in the hands of a killer and terrorist, she felt no fear.

She was feeling a lot of things, but fear was definitely not one of them. Every word that fell from Ian's mouth just served to further enrage the blonde, her teeth gritting in anger as she tried to map out her best plan of action.

"I've never enjoyed killing a person," JJ said suddenly, her eyes closing briefly as she ran through her options. "But I think I'm going to enjoy killing you," she said coldly, her tone making it clear just how serious she was about the statement. There was a conviction to it that gave Ian pause for only a second before he let it slip away.

Doyle chose not to respond, letting their positions at the moment speak for themselves. She was held at gunpoint with is gun pressed to her temple. There was no way her threats would come to fruition when he was the one who had the advantage.

But he had underestimated the strength of JJ's emotions. The blonde had been feeling so much over the past few days; the confession from Emily, the twisted actions of Doyle, her girlfriend's kidnapping, the fear of watching masked men throw the doctor into a van, feeling helpless while they searched frantically for clues on her whereabouts; all of it had been steadily building within JJ and she now had a target to vent those frustrations.

It was unfortunate for the man behind her but JJ was confident that Doyle would not be walking away from this fight. He had put her and Emily through too much to be allowed respite in prison — where it was likely he would escape again.

Channeling all of her anger, JJ once again threw her elbow back, but as Doyle easily avoided the hit, the blonde lifted her right foot and stomped heavily onto his unsuspecting foot.

Doyle's body jerked slightly, his gun slipping from its position at her forehead and that was all JJ had needed to gain the upperhand.

She pivoted in place, easily twisting out of his grip. Facing him, the blonde forcefully pushed the heel of her hand into Doyle's nose, the crack of bone clearly audible in the otherwise quiet room.

No sooner had the man realized what had happened and let out a groan of pain, JJ brought her knee up and slammed it into his abdomen. The blonde was quick in her movements, making sure each hit she landed did as much damage as possible.

Her fists rained down on his already battered and bloody face, her knuckles quickly stained in the red liquid.

"Still think you're going to kill me?" JJ asked as her foot easily kicked his gun away from his body.

Doyle laughed bitterly, spitting the blood from his mouth as he stared tauntingly at the media liaison. "You're going to take me to jail," he said definitively, "and I've already escaped once." With his head steadily rising, his hands pressed flat to the ground and he struggled to rise to his feet. "Who's to say I won't do it a second time?"

Once he was to his feet, JJ threw a right hook at him and relished in the sound of her fist's impact with his cheek. In retaliation, Doyle's foot swept outward towards her feet, the movement catching JJ off guard as he knocked her off balance.

With JJ now on her back and Doyle once again looming over her, the blonde scooted backwards and away from the Irishman.

As Doyle threw one last sinister smile towards her, the look full of promise and pain, he gave an exaggerated wink before moving to grab his gun from the floor.

JJ used that momentary distraction on his part to scoot quickly towards her own gun. Her fingers tightening on the weapon and as she rolled back onto her back, aiming the barrel at the man before her, she noticed that Doyle, too, had grabbed his gun.

Ian showed no signs of fear, his smug smile showing that he already believed he knew the outcome of this showdown.

But JJ was a quick shot with the best accuracy of her entire team, and Doyle was nothing but a criminal with no regard for the lives of those around him.

The two gave one another cold stares, one overly confident and filled with delight and the other cold with determination.

As Doyle opened his mouth to make one last remark, JJ wasted no time pulling the trigger and firing her bullet into the dead center of his Ian's chest.

His grip on his gun loosened as he looked down at the hole in his chest, disbelieve evident in his shocked and wide eyes. Blood slowly trickled from the wound before it began to flow with more and more force.

Ian's fingers hesitantly touched the wound, holding his fingers to his face as he stared wonderingly at the blood that coated the digits. In a split second, his face morphed from pure shock to nothing short of pure rage; his gun rising into the air once more as he pointed it at JJ.

But the blonde had been expecting that and didn't hesitate to fire another bullet into his chest, this one hitting him directly in the heart.

The gun in Doyle's hand clattered to the ground, the sound bouncing off the walls as he dropped to his knees. With his mouth partially open in shock, his menacing eyes still wide with surprise, he fell face down onto the cement. Blood slowly starting to pool around his lifeless corpse as he lay there.

JJ took only a moment to stare at the man's dead body before she moved closer to him and hesitantly pressed her index and middle fingers to his neck.

When she felt no pulse, the blonde rose to her feet, threw one last glance at the corpse of Ian Doyle, and rushed out of the room.

With Emily's own personal demon dead, the blonde resumed her frantic search, hoping she would get to her girlfriend in time.


Emily's fingers trembled as they came in contact with the wooden stake protruding from her abdomen, needing to touch it to somehow prove to herself that it was actually lodged within her.

She felt stupid for letting her guard down and even more so for making it this far and holding on for as long as she did, only to end up getting stabbed when she foolishly turned her back on the enemy. For her mistake, she was now lying on the floor; utterly alone and surrounded by nothing but her failure.

Emily's hand dropped to the ground, the blood slowly pooling around her limp body. Her eyes fluttered but remained open through nothing but sheer force of will, her unmitigated determination keeping her hanging on for however long she could hold out before blood loss and pain forced her under.

Images, distorted and fuzzy, fluttered in front of her eyes, playing on the ceiling like a movie. Flashes, glimpses, snapshots of moments — of people, appeared in quick succession. Some appeared clearer than others, some made her heart ache in agony, others nearly brought a shaky smile to her face.

Her chest burned, the clover that would forever mar her skin ached, her tender skin feeling as though it were still on fire and burning. The pain of the brand was nothing compared to the wood that protruded from her body, the foreign object making her breaths shallow and wheezy.

Blood trickled from her mouth, spraying into the air in a mist as she coughed and wheezed. Tears slowly slid down her cheeks, mixing with the blood that dripped down her jaw and pattered onto the cement floor.

Emily continued to stare at the ceiling, refusing to acknowledge the worrying amount of blood she was quickly losing and the increasing difficulty that accompanied breathing.

Time seemed to slow to a crawl, each labored breath took longer and longer restart, her eyes blinking slower and slower.

On the ceiling, she saw the best and worst moments of her life play out, as thought she were watching it from an outsider's perspective. It was haunting in its own way but no matter how strange it felt to watch her life unfold before her very eyes, Emily was unable to look away; enrapturing with the viewing the life she had lived.


She sat alone in her room, no older than ten; a piece of paper clutched tightly in her hands. The tears that stain her cheeks, the hopelessness and dejection that drown in her eyes making her look so much older. Her lip trembles as she stares at the door, each passing second only serving to snuff out the sliver of hope that remains.

Her tiny hands rub furiously at her eyes, wiping away the evidence of her sorrow and pain. She glances at the paper in her hands before dropping it to the ground, watching with a heaviness in her chest as the paper floats slowly to the ground. Even at such a young age, it feels symbolic somehow; as though she realizes even now, how often her greatest accomplishments will be in her grasp, waiting to be recognized, until they slip through her fingers like granules of sand.

It's painful to see the bold letters staring up at her, silently mocking her.

The paper that shows her achievements, that shows how intelligent and extraordinary she is, only reminds her of how little it matters; how it never seems to be enough.

She glances at the door one last time, waiting, wishing; for someone — anyone, to walk through and see her achievement. For someone to recognize or even acknowledge her existence, to show that they care even a miniscule amount about her.

But seconds pass, then minutes, then hours, and her eyes grow steadily heavier as she succumbs to the reality of her situation. Her fingers gingerly pick up the paper, eyeing it with an intense stare, unable to comprehend how her mother could expect so much of her and yet not be interested in the progress or achievement of those expectations.

Her fingers tremble as the tears start to leak again, the pitter-patter of the drops hitting the paper making her chest ache and throat constrict.

Desolate.

Weeks of studying, of prepping, of anxious and nail biting moments, days spent sitting on her hands as she awaited the glorified moment when her mother would praise her for her efforts, suddenly disappear and Emily feels desolate. Empty. Disappointed.

Her knees give out with the force of emotion, her fingers crinkling the paper as she clutches it tighter and tighter. She wishes, prays even, that it would bring her the delight it had just hours ago, that she could feel some sort of joy.

But it is a wasted effort. The world around her matches the person inside her; desolation, emptiness — it consumes her and eats away at any and all hope she has left. The voice of disappointment whispers in her ear, feeding into her belief of worthlessness.

With one last glance, the paper in her hands crumbles before it is tossed into the garbage bin. The finality hurts more than anything else she has ever felt but she can't look back now.

If good grades can't make her mother notice her, she would have to be better. Try harder. Do more. Be better.

Be worthy.


Her eyes scanned the crowd as the line shortens and she moves closer and closer to the stage. Her hands clasp together to prevent the overwhelming need to bite her nails from coming to fruition, the only telltale sign of her anxiety.

Her face is an impassive and cool mask despite the pride that swells within her. Her feet shuffle closer to the steps, her eyes slyly scanning the crowd for any familiar faces, or more importantly, one familiar face.

She looks from face to face, quickly dismissing anyone in the back, knowing that it's only the best for her mother. There's no way Ambassador Prentiss would be caught dead sitting in the back—no, she would sit in the front row and make her presence known.

Except Emily is looking for that presence and finds that the face she's searching for isn't anywhere in sight.

Quickly, almost frantically, she looks, searches and tries to will her mother into existence there. By her will alone, her desperation, she tries to make her mother appear out of thin air.

But the more she looks and the closer she gets to the stage, the easier it is to see that no one in that crowd is there for her.

Years of studying, of being the best, of doing what her mother wanted and she stands alone, with nothing but a piece of paper to show her efforts.

There's no smile in the crowd for her, no 'good job' to be heard, not even an approving glance. Though she put her entire being into being the best, into being the top of her class, into getting straight A's, into participating in as many sports and clubs as possible, she finds that no one is there to witness her efforts.

It was all for her, and yet, she's nowhere to be seen.

The room could be empty for all Emily cared, and for all intents and purposes, it is. No one stands in her corner, she has no one to pat her on the back or congratulate her.

It stings her eyes and sends a shiver of revulsion through her. Self-hatred has motivated her to be better, to do better, but now, it just devours her from the inside out. It eats away at the things she should be proud of, it destroys the hard work she's done and devours her like the infectious disease it is.

Her steps lose confidence as she approaches the stage, as she reaches out to grab the worthless piece of paper. She descends the steps, her shoulders held high despite the downward spiral she's feels herself slipping into.

She forces a smile to her face, pretends that everything is alright and that she knew ahead of time that Ambassador Prentiss wouldn't be able to make it; but inside, she feels like that little girl who waited in her room for hours for her mother to come home and see her perfect grades.

And if she really wanted to, if she just scratched past the superficial smiles and broke through the surface, she would see how her unrelenting hope would only lead to more disappointments—that it would only serve to break her in the long run.


He hovers over her, but she can't see him. His face is blurry, her raven hair strewn across her face and blocking what little bit of him she could make out. His grunts echo into the empty bedroom but all she can hear is the heavy and quick beating of her heart; the way it sounds deafening as it pounds like a drum in her ears.

It reverberates in her and even through the thick haze of alcohol she knows she's making a mistake. The heaviness in her chest and the burning behind her eyes confirms this assessment, but she doesn't say anything.

She lays there, her hand raking through his wild and mussed hair in a desperate attempt to make some sort of contact. He continues to thrust into her, his breathing more and more ragged; his hot breath that reeks of vodka and rum washes over her pale face but she can't find it in herself to turn away. She feels the disgust take root but she's too lost in her drunken stupor and the way his focus is directed solely on her body to truly care.

Sloppy kisses are placed along the column of her neck, along her jaw, but Emily can only focus on the touch, not the person doing the touching.

It repulses her to no end to think this is how far she'll go to feel wanted, but when he's looking at her like she's a goddess, the disgust is again, momentarily forgotten.

His nails dig into her shoulders, his thrusts suddenly erratic, a low moan leaving his mouth before he jerks once, then twice before stilling. His head hangs low, his sweaty and matted hair covering his face as he pants and heaves from the exertion of the activity.

It's over just as quickly as it began, but for those fleeting moments, Emily felt alive. Empty, but alive.

And then it's gone and she finally feels it.

The sloppy and oozing liquid that slowly slides down her thigh and soaks into the crisp white sheets beneath her.

He's off of her in a second, his pants hastily pulled up before he's grabbing his red solo cup. "Thanks, babe," is all he offers before he stumbles out the door, his fly unzipped and the sounds of his retching floating down the hallway.

It's once the door has closed and the euphoria of being wanted has faded that Emily allows the rush of uncleanliness to wash over her. She feels dirty and used, the thick white liquid between her legs only adding to her self-hatred.

Without another thought, she grabs her drink and downs the rest of it in one gulp.

As she wipes the evidence of her tryst away and pulls her dress down, the idle thought that he didn't use a condom and she isn't on the pill registers in her mind. It's gone the second it arrives, the copious amounts of alcohol making any coherent thoughts impossible to hold on to for long.

She follows in his steps and stumbles out of the room, a fake smile on her face as she tries desperately to ignore the disappointed eyes that seem to follow her everywhere.


Eighteen years old, a high school graduate for six weeks and Emily knows her life is over before it has even had a real chance to begin.

Her hands wring together as she stands alone outside of the dreary looking clinic.

In her head, she hears the scathing words of her priest, can hear him rebuking her for even considering the option of aborting her child. Her mother's hurtful words are nothing but a figment of her imagination but the pain they inflict is anything but.

No matter where she turns, Emily finds herself at a loss.

She feels alone and isolated.

Desolate.

Before her lies a path that should she take, would haunt her for the rest of her life.

Behind her, the path guarantees her the love she so desperately wants but also guarantees her a hard life that in some regards, would be worse than the one she's living now.

Abandoned and trampled signs litter the floor of the parking lot, a clear indicator that she hasd probably just missed what looks to have been a large rally.

It feels like an omen, the faces on those signs that stare imploringly at her, the bright red lettering that condemns her to Hell—the messages eerily similar to that of what her priest told her.

The war within her rages on, the iron hot poker of disappointment and self-hatred tears at her insides and threatens to send her buckling under its weight.

For a solid minute, she considers walking out of the lot and going home; imagining a life with a child of her own where she can raise him or her differently. Where she can shower them with love and show just how much she cares about them; that she sees them and loves them.

But the images — the fantasy — end before it can truly begin.

She's too young to have a child and she still harbors that incessant need to please her mother. And bringing a child into this world, out of wedlock and at the tender age of eighteen is not something Elizabeth Prentiss would ever stand for.

It's with a heavy heart and a sense of complete loss that Emily trudges onward; towards the path she knew she would inevitably end up taking.

When it's done, she feels empty.

Hollow.

And alone.


Nineteen and she's just received news that she has internal scarring and may never be able to have children again.

It sends her spiraling downward; her days spent drinking her pain away and sleeping with anyone who will make her feel something.

She's still alone but has learned to seek comfort in the presence of others—even if it's just for the duration of sex. Any contact seems better than no contact; even if it's brief and pleasureless, and Emily has no problem with that.

Commitment is so far off the table, it's not even within eyesight.

She bar hops and her relationships are limited to flings. It feels good enough to get her through the day, but deep down she knows there's a hole in her that no amount of booze or faceless, nameless sex can fill.

She takes pride in the fact that she has the world fooled; that she can make those around her believe that she's okay. That Emily Prentiss is fine with the fact that the family she never even really got a chance to dream of will never come to fruition. It feels like a triumph to be able to hide that she feels like she's drifting in the ocean with no boats or help in sight; that inside she feels empty, like someone has opened her up, stuck their dirty hands inside and scooped everything out of her.

But the hollow feeling she's held for so very long is nothing new to her and so she smiles, she flirts and she drinks, but though she has everyone else fooled, she will always know that it's all just a mask. A well practiced routine to get her through yet another day, to make her day-to-day life more tolerable.

Because that's what her life is like now; it's not enjoyable and it's not meaningful. It's tolerable. Manageable.

It's livable.

At nineteen, while she sits in her lecture class, she wonders if the world can see the cracks in her veneer or if they imagine her to be as fine as she pretends to be.


It's her second semester of her freshman year in college and Emily sits in on a class that has her sporting a genuine smile.

Inside, she still has not come to grips with the fact that children are an impossibility for her, but the smiling faces of children that pass on the projector bring a smile to her face nonetheless.

It's an intro class into medicine, and while it's nothing in-depth, she finds herself paying extra close attention to the section of the lecture that covers pediatric care.

Her heart swells at the images, wondering if she could ever make a child smile like that. She muses, that if she cannot bear a child, maybe it wouldn't be so bad to work with them.

It's as her professor drones on, that she decides that being a pediatrician might not be a bad career choice. Her mother certainly wouldn't approve, but she figures it's about time she started living for herself instead of her mother.

As they move on to orthopedics, Emily finds herself considering a future that makes her feel alive and happy.

She knows she's far from healed; far from better, but it feels like things are beginning to look up.


The building is small, the windows shattered and coated in layer upon layer of grime and dust. The floor, a rich and light cherry hardwood, is a hidden and barely recognizable gem beneath the scattered beer cans and torn pieces of newspaper that obscure it. The walls, stained and littered with angry, bold graffiti, is a bright canary yellow where it remains untouched.

On first glance, Emily can fully understand the price, seeing all the destruction and work that would need to go into a building that seems completely dilapidated; just one more busted window shy of being demolition worthy. But it resonates within her somehow; the way at first glance it looks shabby and unfixable; but she can see beneath the veneer, she can see the promise that no one else seems to be able to.

It only took once glance at the inside for her to see the true potential that lurked beneath; to imagine the cheery hardwood flooring, the new windows that would allow the perfect amount of sunlight to filter in, the way the walls would pop when painted a bright and bold color—Emily could see it all.

Through the dust, grime, and muck, looking past the destruction and abuse of the building, Emily could see the beauty and worth.

It seems fitting to a degree, that she should find a building that is as broken as she once felt; that she should claim the unwanted and neglected space and transform it much like she herself had. The building walls bear the scars of abuse; the beauty of those walls, the color that someone painstakingly took the time to choose, is covered in filthy and demeaning words, marked as the property of others. The floor is covered in the waste of its frequenters, the space treated as nothing more than a large dumpster for the garbage generated from anonymous parties and meetings.

But she stares past all of that, she sees what others have done to it and can't quite bring herself to turn her back and move on to a place that would require far less time, money, and effort.

This is the place she chooses because like her, it may bear scars and may look as though the neglect done to it has made it irreparable, but if she's walked through the fire and come out unscathed, can't she do the same to this place?

She had once deemed herself unworthy of anything, feeling as though the world was against her and she was left alone despite being surrounded by people, but she turned that around and discovered the power of self worth.

Didn't this building deserve the same love?

It was the raw beauty of the place, the treasure that resided just below the tarp of destruction that covered it, that made her decide to take it.

"I'll take it," she found herself saying to the realtor, knowing that others would think her crazy for picking it, but not caring in the least.

She would transform it into something of beauty; she would do it the justice it deserved and make others see the potential she had seen the moment she laid her eyes on it.


Her first patient is a little boy, he's just turned four and he's the spitting image of his father.

"I'm Toby," he shouts gleefully, his brown eyes sparkling as his legs swing wildly on the examination table.

"Hi there, Toby, I'm Emily," she returns, her smile just as wide as his.

He's her first official patient, the first person she's seeing since she opened her office. His delight only solidifies her belief that she entered into the right field.

"What brings you here, Toby?" She asks pleasantly as she drops onto her seat and rolls over to him, her stethoscope in her hand and an easy smile stretching from ear to ear.

"Daddy said I had to get a check—checker—" he falters, his face scrunching up adorably as he struggles to remember the phrasing his father had used.

"A checkup?" She supplies, glancing at the father and smiling at his happy nod.

"Yeah, that!" Toby shouts, his hand pointing towards the doctor as if she's just done the impossible by guessing what he had been struggling to remember and say.

"Well, that just so happens to be my specialty." Emily chirps before beginning her examination.

When she's done, she hands him a cherry sucker and sends him on his way, relishing in the warmth that fills her body.

It doesn't atone for the sins she feels she's committed but it makes her feel like she's doing something good. As if she's making a difference—even if it's only giving a checkup or treating a child with the sniffles.

She feels fulfilled.

Happy.

Content.


Two sets of blue eyes stare joyously at her, twin smiles overtaking the similar faces.

The doctor smiles just as merrily, her heart hammering in her chest as she tries to tamp down on the overwhelming sensation of belonging and love. It's like nothing she's ever experienced before and she wonders if she'll ever get enough of it.

When she slides her hand into JJ and Henry's, she thinks 'No, I'll never get enough of this' and holds on tighter.

She thought her heart was full before, and maybe it was, but now that Jennifer and Henry are in her life, she thinks that maybe she underestimated the size of her heart or maybe it just grew a little more.

Whatever it is, whatever they've done to her, she hopes it never goes away.

It seems inconceivable to think back to when it felt like her life was crumbling in her hands and the only feelings she had were of desolation and emptiness because now, she's so filled with emotion that feeling those things doesn't seem possible anymore.

So many years were spent feeling alone and unwanted and with just one glance from those two people, she feels like she was foolish for ever feeling that way.

For what feels like the first time in her life, she feels complete.

Loved.

Worthy.


Emily continued to stare at the ceiling, her smile watery and strained but completely genuine. Her hand reached upward as she tried to grasp at the fleeting images of Henry and Jennifer that seem superimposed on the ceiling.

She knows she should feel alone, knows that there is no one around to draw comfort from or be with her in, what she believes, are her last moments. But even in an empty room with only the sound of her ragged breathing, she can't help but feel surrounded by love and warmth.

It's impossibly cheesy and definitely clichéd, but there's no denying it's truth.

The feelings are all consuming, as they've always been since she first met JJ and Henry, and it's all too easy for Emily to find herself getting lost in the sensation.

With her life slowly ticking away, the doctor feels overjoyed to have experiences something that so few ever truly get the chance to. In that blanket of warmth, completely absorbed in her memories and appreciating for the things in her life, she fails to notice the wet liquid that continues to spread around her like crimson wings.

The cold air licks at her skin but Emily can no longer feel it.

In the back of her mind, she knows that death is tightening its grip on her and slowly trying to pull her under, but her mind is too preoccupied with better thoughts to truly notice or care.

It's the images on the ceiling that keep her hanging on — the images of what she's been through and the future she could have, that keeps her fighting for what she had always hoped to have but never believed she would ever get.

Through the fog of blood loss, Emily hears the voice of her savior; her angel.

"Emily?" It screams, sounding frantic as their footsteps pound wildly on the cement floor.

"Emily?!" It screams again, tears and sorrow evident in its voice.

"Jen?" Emily croaks out quietly, the sound barely audible as she stares wonderingly at the ceiling; wondering if the images she sees are suddenly talking to her.

As if attuned to the doctor, JJ rushes through the doorway and drops to the ground beside Emily, gasping loudly as she sets eyes on the large chunk of wood that protrudes from her abdomen.

JJ's hands hover over the wound, afraid to touch it in fear of doing more damage than good, until she moves them up to gingerly stoke Emily's cheek.

"I missed you," Emily whispered, her voice cracking as her head turned towards the blonde angel who unknowingly offered her redemption. "Thought you wouldn't get here in time," she says jokingly, the words more saddening than funny as she coughs and blood continues to trickle down her lips.

JJ offers the raven haired woman a shaky smile before calling for help. "I found Emily. We need a medic now! We're in the southeast end of the warehouse, third room down from the end." She shouts urgently into the device in her hands, trying to keep her fear at bay but failing miserably.

Turning her attention back to the woman before her, JJ's fingers moved to brush the raven tendrils from her battered face, "I missed you too," she whispered, "Henry misses you too. I bet he can't wait to see you."

Unable to resist, the blonde leaned down and pressed her lips lightly to her girlfriend's reddened cheek.

"I missed him too," Emily managed to get out through her pain and mild delirium before her words devolved into coughs and desperate gasps for air, her eyes beginning to flutter shut.

"Hang in there, Em," JJ said frantically, tears beginning to run down her cheeks and she tried to give the doctor incentive to keep fighting. "Just hang in there," the blonde muttered brokenly, her hand desperately grabbing onto Emily's bloodied one.

Those were the last words Emily heard before she succumbed to the overwhelming and bone tiring sleep that had been trying to pull her under since she first encountered the injury.

But even as she passes out, Emily still fights. She's always been stubborn and knows that there is no way in hell she could just leave JJ behind.

She had been through too much, endured too much pain and gotten lost too many times to let herself just give up. And so, even unconscious and still bleeding profusely, Emily's hand reflexively tightened around JJ's hand as she fought to survive.

With every fiber of her being, Emily fights to hang on.


Easily one of my favorite chapters of this story so far, so much so that it has been sitting in my story folder for nearly two months. Well, most of it anyways.
Hope you guys enjoyed it.

Next chapter picks up where this one leaves off.