It is 4:15 before Emily pulls into her driveway. Rocky's party started at 4. As Emily starts to get out she realizes how stiff and sore her body has gotten.
"Oh, this fucking sucks."
She takes a deep breath and manages to get out. She leaves her go bag but grabs her briefcase. Before she gets up the walk, the door is open and JJ is racing out to her. The blonde leaps into her wife's arms.
Emily hugs her close. Suddenly her aches and pains aren't as bad now that JJ is in her arms. After a few minutes JJ eases back, tears rolling down her cheeks.
"We saw. It was on and we watched and when I saw where you were I knew he had to be right there and all I could think was that I was about to watch you die. God, Em, what would I have done?"
Emily gives her a kiss. "I hate that you saw that, Jen. But I'm here and I'm okay. Sore, tired as fuck but mostly okay. I tried to make it on time. I'm sorry I'm late."
JJ smiles and wipes her cheek. "Never has the saying 'better late than never' meant so much to me." She gives her wife another kiss and pulls her into another tight embrace. As it ends, she strokes a hand down Emily's cheek. "Are you okay? Really?"
"Yes. Nothing the two cutest kids in the world can't cure. Promise."
"Good. I warn you, I had to threaten to pull my gun for the chance to greet you alone. As soon as we walk in expect two sets of parents to engulf you."
Emily smiles. "I think I can handle that."
They share another kiss then turn and, hand in hand, walk up to the front door. As soon as they walk in Elizabeth and Sandy pull Emily into their arms. No words are spoken as the two mothers cry and Emily struggles to breathe. Elizabeth eventually leans back.
"I have never been more proud of you in my life, Emily Elizabeth Prentiss. Senator Cullen even called Gerald to personally praise you and thank you for your service."
Emily raises an eyebrow. "And to try to curry a campaign donation."
Elizabeth chuckles. "Probably that, too. But he was right, honey, you were amazing. The dive you did to get behind the safety of the side of the steps was incredible, especially considering you were pushing a woman and holding a child."
"I'll have to take your word for it as I don't remember it."
Sandy chuckles. "Then catch the news at 5, 6, and 11. Trust me, Em, you'll see it."
Emily grins. "Ah, okay." She looks both of her mothers in the eyes. "I'm sore and tired but I swear I really am okay."
"If you insist we'll have to believe you," Sandy says.
Emily chuckles. "You say that like I've hidden injuries from you or something."
"Right. Wherever might we get that idea, Sandy?" Elizabeth says with a smirk.
The two mothers step away so Emily can now be hugged by her fathers. Gerald strokes a hand over her hair and kisses her forehead.
"I am so proud of you, Emily. Very, very proud. I love you, honey."
"I love you, too, Dad." She squeezes Alan's shoulder. "You, too. Sorry I worried you all."
"I'm just glad you remembered how to do that dive I showed you in Alaska," Alan says with a wink.
Emily laughs. "Right. You taught me everything I know, Alan."
He kisses her cheek. "Well done today, Emily. I don't think we can say enough how proud of you we are. And how much we love you."
"I love you all, too."
Gerald and Alan step to the side as Henry comes racing down the hall. Emily drops to her knees and catches him as he leaps into her arms. She hugs him close.
"Oh, Henry, I love you so much," she says emotionally.
He pats her shoulder and kisses her cheek. "Boo boo, Mama?" he asks as he wipes away one of her tears.
Emily shakes her head. "Not anymore. Your hug made it all better. You still give the best Henry Hugs ever."
He smiles proudly. "Henry loves Mama."
She kisses his nose. "And Mama loves Henry."
Emily looks beyond her son to see her daughter standing, holding onto Francesca's hands. As she watches, Rocky pulls her hands away and walks from the playroom all the way to her Mama. Emily bursts into a fresh round of tears as she pulls Rocky into her arms. Everyone cheers for the little girl.
"Oh, Rocky! So good, Sweet Girl! Oh so, so good!" Emily whispers over and over.
"Her walk, Mama!" Henry squeals.
"Yes, she did, Henry."
Rocky gives Emily a big kiss on the cheek. "Love Mama."
Emily kisses her and hugs her closer. "I love you, too, Rocky. I love you and your brother so very much."
And there in the hallway, hugging her two children, Emily suddenly feels much, much better than she would have believed possible. Her aches and pains have lessened and her exhaustion has ebbed. She feels like a million bucks all thanks to the two cutest kids in the world. JJ runs her hand over her wife's head.
"Baby, how about we get you upstairs for a shower? It will give Dad and Gerald time to get the burgers and dogs grilling."
Emily nods. "That sound like a good plan, Champ?" she asks Henry.
"Si, Mama. Mama stinky."
Everyone laughs as Emily kisses his cheek. "Normally I'd be offended, Champ, but this time I have to agree with you." She kisses both her children once more then releases them to stand up. She groans as her muscles protest. "Did I mention I'm getting too old for all this?"
Morgan, standing in the kitchen doorway chuckles. "I could have told you that, Princess."
She grins. "Watch it, buddy."
He pats her on the back as JJ leads her wife upstairs. In their bedroom, JJ closes the door and steps to her wife, pulling her close once more.
"I want you to know, that walk was a first. She was waiting for you, baby."
Emily sighs. "I'm sorry she had to wait so long." She rubs JJ's stomach. "The rest of our kids, no matter when they come, won't have to wait. I know where I am supposed to be now. I swear, Jennifer Prentiss, I will never forget it again."
JJ nods. "I know. And I promise you, Emily, if you ever push me away again I'll push back. I won't let you run when you really just need love."
Emily gives her a deep kiss. "Thank you."
"Come on: let's get you in the shower, old lady."
Emily just chuckles. But she can't be offended by the old lady comment since she can't lift her arms up and wouldn't have gotten her shirt off without JJ's help. As JJ sees the bruising on her wife's body she shakes her head.
"Oh, honey. What the hell am I going to do with you?"
Emily frames JJ's face with her hands. "We both know that answer: Never, ever let me go."
JJ smiles. "I think I can handle that."
"…Happy Birthday, dear Rocky! Happy Birthday to you!" everyone sings.
"Blow out the candle, Rock," Emily encourages.
When it looks like Rocky would rather just grab it, Emily and JJ blow it out for her as everyone claps and cheers. The little girl just cackles and waves at everyone. As Sandy cuts the cake, Elizabeth hands out pieces. Emily takes one and walks it over to Hotch.
"Here you go, Hotch."
He nods. "Thanks. So, how did it go today?"
Emily sighs. "Sucks. Would still be there if I hadn't insisted on stopping and pointing out that they at least owed me the chance to go to my daughter's birthday party after all I had done."
Hotch is surprised. "And that worked?"
"Well, only because I promised to go back tomorrow," she admits.
"Tomorrow?" Reid asks walking up. "But it's Sunday."
"And terrorists nearly sent our system of government into the crapper. Lots of questions to answer, lots of blame to lay, lots of you know what to hit the fan. I'll probably be in meetings about this for the next week, maybe two. Especially since we've taken a high ranking member of the CIA into custody as well as one of his protégés." Emily sighs. "I'll do my best to keep you all out of the crosshairs but they may call you all back in for more questions."
"No matter what, we've got your back, Em," Reid assures her.
Emily smiles and pats his arm. "Of that I have no doubt, Handsome."
"None at all?" Hotch wonders.
She turns to look into his eyes. "None at all. Sorry I was such an ass."
"Sorry I put you in the position where it was necessary."
"Mama! Wok wants her presents," Henry calls.
Emily chuckles. "I bet she does." She walks over and smiles at her daughter…whose face is covered in cake and icing. "Gee, Rock, did you actually eat any of the cake?"
"Mmm!" Rocky says as she extends her messy hand to her mama.
Elizabeth walks over with a wet flannel. "Here you go, sweetheart. Let's get you cleaned up so you can open your gifts."
A few minutes later Emily is sitting on the floor with Rocky in her lap. JJ and Henry sit on either side of them so they can help as Rocky opens all her gifts. The little girl squeals with happiness as each one is revealed. Sandy eases over to Elizabeth.
"She so wants to be a part of all this but Emily is about to collapse," she whispers.
Elizabeth nods. "I know. After this we can probably convince her to go lay down. But there was no way she was going to miss any of this."
"I know." She pauses a moment. "They've weathered this horrible storm. They can weather anything."
"I know. They are Prentiss women, after all," Elizabeth replies with a smile.
Sandy chuckles. "What exactly does that mean?"
Elizabeth shrugs. "I have no idea. Just something Gerald's mother used to say all the time."
Sandy laughs. "Ah, of course."
As Rocky opens her last gift, Emily yawns. JJ looks at her wife. "Em, why don't you go lay down? I can probably count on one hand the number of hours you've slept this week."
"It's not that bad, Jen. You'd probably need 2 hands. Maybe," Emily insists with a wink.
"Cara, do not take this wrong, but you look horrible," Francesca tells her. "Listen to your wife. Go. Sleep."
Emily raises an eyebrow. "Do I really look that bad?"
"Yes," Everyone responds.
Emily laughs. "Ah, okay. Guess I'm outnumbered." She kisses Rocky on the head. "So, birthday girl, mind if Mama goes and takes a nap?"
"Love Mama. Nap Mama."
"Si, Mama. Nap time," Henry agrees.
Emily sighs. "Then it seems I'm outnumbered. I just have one request."
"What's that, honey?" Gerald asks.
"Um, can someone help me stand up? I kind of got stiff down here."
Everyone laughs as Morgan and Hotch step forward to get her up on her feet. Her bones and ligaments snap, crackle and pop. Henry's eyes get wide.
"Wow, Mama! Like my cereal!"
Everyone laughs as Emily ruffles his hair. "Yes, Henry, just like your Rice Krispies."
Morgan offers to walk Emily upstairs in case she needs any help on the risers. When they get up, he turns to go back downstairs. She grabs his hand.
"Wait. It's almost 6. Mind catching the news with me? Not sure I want to watch it alone."
He nods and squeezes her hand. "Sure thing, Em."
They go into the bedroom. Emily sits down on the bench at the end of the bed. Morgan sits on the bed behind her, his hand on her shoulder. When the news starts, the very first clip shown with the overview of upcoming reports is Emily firing her gun into a crowd.
"Shit…that looks very, very bad from that angle," she states.
"Don't worry. It gets better."
The anchor comes on talking about a "failed assassination attempt" on the members of Congress and how it was foiled by a joint task force of the CIA, Secret Service and FBI. Emily sighs in relief to hear the cover story is so far holding and the extent of the terrorist cell has not been made public. It will be a few days before the agencies want that information out. It will give them time to pull all their information together and come up with a report that will give the public confidence instead of causing mass panic.
"Here it comes," Morgan warns her.
Emily watches as the clip plays her shooting the suspect and vaulting over the barrier as the public runs. She bends, opens the man's jacket and then runs, screaming for people to get to cover.
"I…I don't remember yelling those orders."
"Well, you did. You were still aiming to save lives even as you ran for your own."
Emily sighs. "I guess that's something."
He rubs her back. "Emily, that's everything. You lived your oath today in a way you never have before. We are all so damn proud of you. And so glad you're still here to hear us sing your praises."
Emily reaches back and takes his hand as the news report goes to the press conference Harlan Wayans had held. "Thanks, Derek."
Morgan takes the controller and turns it off. "The rest is just the political bullshit and media speculating that pisses you off. And you need sleep so it's best to not get you riled up."
Emily laughs. "Yeah, you're right." She stands and he pulls her into hug. "Thanks for being there for me, Derek. Always."
"No thanks needed. I'll always be there for you, Em. I promise."
Emily smiles. "Unless you're shoulder has been recently dislocated."
He laughs. "Uh, we can negotiate if that happens again."
"Right." She leans back. "Love you."
He kisses her forehead. "Love you, too. Now, get some sleep, Princess. You've got a long week ahead of you."
"Ugh. Ain't that the truth."
Emily doesn't even bother to change out of her sweats and t-shirt. She crawls into bed and is asleep almost as soon as her head hits the pillow.
Several hours later JJ walks into her bedroom. She smiles as she sees Emily cuddled up with the blonde's pillow, Sergio curled up between her feet. She strokes the cat as she walks by and he gives a contented stretch. She quickly gets ready for bed and slowly, carefully extracts her pillow from Emily's arms. Emily groans in protest.
"It's okay, baby," JJ whispers.
She crawls into bed and Emily immediately pulls her into an embrace. JJ smiles and kisses her wife.
"I love you, Emily Prentiss," she coos.
"Lub oo," Emily mumbles.
JJ smiles at the Pavlovian response. How could she have ever doubted the love they share? JJ kisses her once more and falls asleep with the love of her life.
A/N: So, there it ends. Hope for all those ready to throttle me you are happy things are back to normal for my version of the team. Already working on #53 but it will be a little while before it posts. Heading to Tennessee on Thursday for the wife's high school reunion and to spend a week with her family. If I get a chance to finish it I'll start to post it. Otherwise it could be a couple weeks before the next uber creepy case begins.
Take care, y'all!