Originally shy about her large apartment and substantial wealth, it had taken a lot for Emily to invite the team over. To have them all here, in her virtually unused home cinema, with the projector set up to play movies before a small cluster of cozy armchairs and couches. Hotch, not being the snuggling type, had subtly but certainly gravitated toward one of the armchairs himself, while Morgan settled into one of two two-seater couches with the obvious expectation that Garcia would join him, as she did. This left JJ to occupy the other couch and Emily quickly turned her back, fiddling with the focus of the projected image. She gathered that Reid would join JJ, while she herself would be left to sit alone, and she was conscious of preemptively masking her disappointment as she turned back around. However, to her surprise, Reid took the armchair, although his attraction to JJ, unlike her own, was no secret. Eyes crinkling, JJ's seemingly knowing smile almost stopped Emily's heart.
"All good?" she asked, and it took Emily a moment to realise that JJ was referring to the movie, rather than the seating arrangements, which were foremost in her mind.
"Oh, yes! Has everyone got a drink?" Emily replied, a little too quickly. She'd already asked twice and, realising this belatedly, she sat down beside JJ and looked away, fighting a blush that thankfully never eventuated. "Ok, if everyone's ready, we'll start."
It was a long movie, although nobody registered it as anything but enjoyable except for Emily, who JJ noticed was excessively still from the very beginning. Occasionally her eyes darted around with the anxiety of a host keen to be liked and afraid of the censure of her guests, and this surprised JJ. She knew that Emily was well-used to hosting events—entertaining was the world she grew up in and she knew it well—but it seemed that she was new to the practice of hosting those whose opinion actually held weight for her: her friends. Did they like the movie, she wondered. Was the room too dark, or still too bright? Had anyone finished their drinks, did they want another? Were the couches comfortable—she liked them but if the others didn't there were always chairs to be brought in from other rooms. It was a struggle to keep from uttering these suggestions aloud, and the intensity of Emily's focus on her rapid inner monologue kept her body unnaturally still by contrast. If a joke was uttered or something particularly dramatic occurred, she took an extra few moments to respond, cued by the reactions of her friends. And all this, JJ noticed. Emily's stillness was beginning to stress her out.
As the movie still had an hour an a half to go and JJ was quite keen to enjoy it without worrying about Emily's unnecessary anxieties, she decided to do what she could to subtly put her mind at ease. To do that, of course, she needed a way to focus the perfectionist's darting attention solely on her, and the fastest was by touch. This is how, inch by inch, Jennifer Jareau came to lean into Emily's side, her arm lifting to the couch behind her friend's shoulders in the cliché style of a man coming onto a girl. This received a curiously raised eyebrow from Emily, but also elicited a small smile in JJ's direction. Relief and appreciation glinted in her eyes.
Yet sitting in one position for an extended period of time is never comfortable, where it is even possible, and Emily noticed Garcia and Morgan shuffle, shift, and switch positions numerous times in that naturally intimate manner they shared, while Hotch and Reid both had ample, unimpeded room to move in their chairs. Although Emily had begun to relax into the gentle pressure of JJ's side against hers, when her body began to strain for movement, she tensed again, not wanting to move, or knowing how to suggest it. Thankfully, JJ was having the same idea and as their eyes met, Emily shifted away and angled her back into the corner of the couch, while JJ stretched sideways and came to rest lying with her head in Emily's lap. She glanced up with her inherently reassuring smile, so integral to her job as a liaison, in full force, and found that although Emily was surprised, she was also touched by JJ's easy closeness. In a faltering gesture, as JJ turned her head back toward the movie, Emily placed a light touch against soft blonde hair and then, more assuredly, began to stroke and play with it. She watched, heart picking up speed, as JJ smiled, her eyes fluttering closed. A wider smile sprung up, unbidden, on Emily's face and she found herself suddenly overcome with affection for the woman in her lap. The woman who saw and cared so much about those around her.
JJ missed a good fifteen minutes of the movie by falling sleep and was briefly surprised to awaken with her cheek pressed against Emily's thigh. It was hardly an unpleasant surprise, and utilising some of the license of the semi-conscious, JJ rubbed her nose gently against the soft fabric of the older woman's pants, drawing again her curious eyes. Quietly JJ chucked and, seeing that she had Emily's attention, she repeated the gesture and then placed a light kiss against her thigh. Again Emily's hand fell to touch JJ's hair and JJ thought she saw her eyes close, almost blissfully, for a second, before refocusing entirely on her. All at once the oxygen in the room seemed to stifle and JJ found herself short of air and breathing slightly more laboriously. Although this did not occur to any extent noticeable to the people around her, Emily herself began to feel the breaths against her trousers with increasing sensitivity.
With a slow, deliberate movement, she moved her hand from JJ's hair down her neck, where it slipped brazenly beneath the collar of JJ's light blouse to stroke the soft skin between neck and shoulder. JJ's breathing shuddered and her eyes closed. Without opening them, she brought her hand up to lie beside her cheek on Emily's thigh and began to gently rub it with her thumb in slow, intimate circles. Again, Emily's eyes darted around the room, but no one was looking their way. Reid was intensely interested in the movie, Morgan and Garcia divided their attention between that and their own whispers and sighs, while Hotch, who had seemed more exhausted than usual as of late, had actually fallen asleep in his chair.
Having reassured herself of the others' indifference and continued comfort, Emily's eyes fell once again on JJ, overcome by love for her. Only this beautiful, generous woman could warm her heart this way, could take away all her fears and anxieties and allow her to simply enjoy the completeness of a moment. Gently, she bent her head and placed a kiss on JJ's cheek. It was awkward to fold over her so completely, and JJ's solution upon noticing this was to pull Emily down with her so that they lay, spooning on the couch, with Emily's back pressed into the cushions and her arms around JJ's stomach. JJ's hand softly covered Emily's and paused to inhale deeply, as if trying to catch and dissect her pleasant scent.
Emily no longer worried about those around her, even though the shift to lying behind JJ had attracted a subtle flicker of attention from Reid, whose eyes slid toward them in time to see Emily place a series of soft kisses on JJ's neck. To himself, he was a little disheartened, fancying JJ himself, however he knew well that JJ had never been interested him in that way, although she loved him dearly, and was almost pleased to know why.
Neither JJ nor Emily would have classified themselves as lesbians. Not in this moment, not prior to it, nor for some time later, if ever. Nothing as explicitly romantic as this had ever occurred between them before, and yet it seemed natural now. Looking back later, Emily would wonder where those kisses had come from, or where she had found the audacity to slip her hand beneath JJ's blouse to her bare shoulder, her skin so smooth and inviting. She could only explain that it felt right. It did not feel like the incredible first it was for both of them. It felt like the inevitable culmination of a long series of flirtations, which had not understood what they were until just now.
With JJ's firm, warm shape pressed against her, Emily knew that she wanted to kiss her properly. She wanted to express herself to her in that irrevocably unambiguous way. But it was difficult with JJ facing away from her, and so Emily began to place increasingly insistent kisses along the back of her neck, sweeping her hair over her shoulder, until finally JJ turned her back to the movie—which she had not really been watching for some time now—to stare deeply into Emily's eyes. Their breasts, knees, and foreheads touched together gently and again, both women found their breath catch.
JJ's hand did not tremble or shake, it rested firmly on Emily's cheek, and when she had recovered enough breath to do so, she tilted her head closer and kissed her soundly on the lips. Eyes closed and then opened, crinkled to smile, and held for a moment, before JJ turned her back to Emily once again, facing toward the end of the movie playing out on the screen. As the credits began to roll and the title music played, Emily nearly drifted to sleep herself. Her self-consciousness had melted away and the warmth and weight of JJ's body next to hers, with its gently thudding pulse and steady breathing, was hypnotic. It was only a quiet cackle of laughter from Garcia on the next couch, as she glanced over and gathered what had occurred, that prevented her from doing so.