“What’s he like?” JJ asked as she pulled the gauze off Emily’s bicep.
Always vigilant, always watching, Emily turned her eyes away from the windows of their hotel room and towards JJ. “Who?” she asked, her brows crinkling slightly in confusion. Had circumstances not been what they were, JJ might have found the expression adorable.
“Henry,” JJ stated matter-of-factly even while her heart hammered deep within her chest, a nervousness at being able to ask a question about a child, her child, one she didn’t even know she was carrying until two days ago. The day when her world changed. Forever.
The gauze removed, JJ grabbed a couple cotton balls, dabbing them with iodine before setting on the task of cleaning Emily’s wound. “What’s Henry like?”
Emily’s eyebrows rose slightly in understanding, her lips softly forming an ‘O’ shape. “The eye in the center of the storm. That’s what Henry is. He has your eyes. Strong, resolute, but soft, caring when he needs to be. But never weak.”
“I don’t know,” JJ shook her head, exhaling. “Doesn’t sound like me. I’m not strong.”
“No!” Emily snapped, her expression going tense. “You’re wrong. You are strong. You wouldn’t be here, you wouldn’t be alive if you weren’t.”
“No thanks to you,” JJ chuckled. Except, Emily didn’t get the joke. Her features went slack as if wounded, the muscles under the arm JJ tended to went tense. JJ placed her free hand gently onto Emily’s shoulder. “I didn’t mean it like that. You saved my life. You..” she paused, subconsciously placing her other hand onto her stomach, to feel the tiny life growing inside her. “You saved his life.”
Life can change on a dime, JJ’s father had always told her. She never really believed it, until it happened to her.
Three days ago, while she might not have had everything she wanted, life was good for Jennifer Jareau. She had family, friends, a semi-sort of boyfriend she’d only known for a couple weeks who had no clue about JJ’s semi-sort of girlfriends. And then, it all changed.
Changed on a dime.
JJ watched her boyfriend die right before her eyes by a madman she now knew was a cybernetic organism from the future. A Terminator. One sent to kill JJ because of the child she now carried inside her. Now, life for Jennifer Jareau was a life on the run, with the other person sent from the future.
The one sent to save her.
Just thinking about it all - the future, her son, a war yet to happen that would decimate mankind - was enough to make JJ’s head hurt. But, she had so many questions, and with this new life before her, JJ knew time was a luxury, these quiet moments to be treasured.
“What..” she inhaled deeply, moving her hands to go back to the task before her, tending to Emily’s injuries. “What happens to me? No!” Immediately, JJ shook her head, eyes widening at even verbalizing the thought. “I don’t want to know.”
The air between them seemed to settle along with the quiet. Emily turned her head away, eyes focused back on the windows of the room as JJ went back to bandaging Emily’s arm.
Now that Emily’s arm was cleaned and re-bandaged, JJ noticed another wound, a blood stained patch soaking the t-shirt on Emily’s back.
“You have a cut on your back,” JJ said. “Take off your shirt.”
Without question, Emily rose from her seat and pulled off her shirt. She wore no bra underneath. As explained to JJ, when going through the machine to be sent back in time, there can be no non-organic matter sent through. So, Emily went through naked and the clothes she wore now weren’t stolen from a woman.
It took everything JJ had not to blush at Emily’s lack of modesty. It wasn’t JJ’s first time in a seedy motel with a beautiful woman but this was her first time noticing that the woman standing before her, the one who’d spent the last 72 hours continuously saving JJ’s life, was beautiful.
Just like that, the moment was gone. Emily rose to pull off her t-shirt, then just as quickly sat back down, twisting in her seat so her back was to JJ. And JJ noticed the scars - the bullet wounds, knife wounds, abrasions and bruises. Emily’s body was a canvas in which a lifetime of war had been painted. JJ reached for the bullet wound on Emily’s shoulder, fingers grazing softly across the striated and raised skin.
“Does it hurt?” she asked.
“Pain can be controlled,” Emily answered flatly, as if by rote. That was Emily, JJ learned. Or, more specifically, that was the future. Everything Emily did, everything she said was a constant reminder. This woman was a warrior, one who lived and survived every second within a seemingly never ending war. A reminder of the life JJ was leaving behind, a reminder of the new life ahead of her. A reminder of all the good things in life Emily never had. Because the machines took it away.
Emily’s latest wound was shallow, nothing that needed stitches but left untended risked infection.
“So,” JJ drew the word out as she broke off a strip of medical tape and attached the patch of gauze over Emily’s wound. “What’d you do to draw the short straw?”
“Short straw?” Emily turned her head slightly towards JJ. “Oh. No, it wasn’t like that.” The corner of her lips upturned slightly and JJ realized it was the first time she’d ever seen Emily smile.
“If it wasn’t like that, then how was it?”
“I..” Emily turned until both eyes were on JJ. The moment of levity gone, replaced with something JJ couldn’t quite name. “I volunteered.”
“Henry,” Emily said, staring at JJ with that unnamable look in her eyes. “He gave me a picture of you once. I don’t know why. It was old, faded, damaged. You had this sad look on your face. Why did I volunteer?” Emily licked her lips, swallowed hard. “Because I’m in love with you.”
“I’m sorry.” Just like that, Emily was up and out of her seat, marching across the room to put as much distance between them. “That was stupid,” she muttered. “I shouldn’t have said that.”
JJ finally understood. She could place that look, the one in Emily’s eyes that’d been there the first moment JJ saw her. She rose from her seat, crossing the floor, breaching the distance between them. A hand on Emily’s shoulder, the other on the tip of her chin, JJ turned Emily towards her, until their eyes locked and the mask Emily constantly wore cracked and shattered before her.
“Hey,” JJ whispered, the rest of her words lost as her lips found the corner of Emily’s mouth. An invitation that quickly turned to acceptance as Emily’s mouth found JJ’s, a whimpered gasp exhaling from her lips as they connected. JJ didn’t know if she loved Emily, she just knew she’d never wanted anything as much as this before.
Their kisses turned urgent, hungry. In the short span to the bed, clothes were shed in a hurried frenzy. Pinning JJ to the bed, Emily was all tasting lips and exploring fingers, mapping every inch of JJ. And when she went down, muscling between JJ‘s thighs, pulling JJ’s labia open with her fingers before taking that first taste with her tongue, all JJ could do was hold on, hands curling the sheets into white-knuckled fists.
“Emily,” JJ keened, threading her fingers into Emily’s hair as Emily’s lips pulled tight around JJ’s clit, as two fingers thrust deeply into her cunt. And her orgasm hit. The kind of orgasm JJ only read about in those cheap romance novels sold in the bins at the back of the store. Every muscles tensed into tightly coiled knots as her back bowed and a scream tore from her throat.
Emily didn’t let her come down easily. She stilled her fingers, but continued battered JJ’s clit with her tongue, milking JJ for every aftershock and tremble. Until it took the last of JJ’s wavering strength to tighten her grip and pull on Emily’s hair, a ragged ‘please’ exhaled off her lips.
Emily took her time kissing her way back up JJ’s body, kissing and licking and suckling. Then, their lips connected and JJ tasted herself on the tongue swirling inside her mouth. It’s not like she’d never tasted herself on another woman’s tongue before. It’d just never felt so.. right.
“Was that..” Emily panted as their lips parted, “Okay?”
“Seriously?” JJ chuckled. “Well, I am a little disappointed that I’m not your first..” she paused, noting how quickly Emily’s face fell. “Emily, that was a joke! Jesus, I really am going to have to teach you about humor.” JJ slid her hand up, cupping Emily’s cheek and grazing her thumb across Emily’s lips. “You were perfect.”
Emily swallowed, face still tentative, and JJ had to chuckle that, after all that, Emily could still be nervous. “Jennifer..”
“JJ,” she smiled. “Call me JJ.”
“JJ,” Emily smiled back, face still twitching as she forced the words to come out. “Can I..”
“Emily,” JJ cut her off with a kiss then held Emily’s face with both hands so their eyes could lock. “I trust you.”
JJ felt the tension release from Emily’s body as a smile spread across her lips, lighting up her entire face. Then, Emily crashed their lips together. This a little less urgent but just as hungry. Then, Emily shifted her weight, moving her legs and JJ raised her thigh, anchoring her heel into the mattress.
Emily was wet, so very wet, and JJ felt something twist hard in the pit of her stomach at the feel of Emily’s pussy against her thigh. Emily began to roll her hips, a wide, sweeping arc with that sort of ‘while this isn’t my first time, it’s been a while’ kind of urgency.
As they kissed, JJ roamed her hands. Explored and caressed all over Emily’s skin, ran her fingertips down the soft ridges of Emily’s spine, felt the way Emily’s muscles corded and released with each deep roll of her hips. With each kiss, JJ inhaled Emily’s every moan and whimper. And when JJ opened her eyes, she gazed up to see Emily’s squeezed tightly closed, like she was still imagining that faded and worn picture instead of the flesh and blood beneath her.
“Hey,” JJ whispered, sliding her hands up to Emily’s face. “Open your eyes.”
Emily did as instructed, opening her eyes like it took every ounce of will and strength within her. There was that flicker, that little moment of ‘this is real recognition’. That this wasn’t a precious moment alone with nothing but a faded picture and her imagination.
“I’m here, Emily,” JJ whispered again, gently pressing their lips together. “I’m right here.”
With those small words, that simple little gesture, something broke within Emily. The walls she’d built around herself, the ones created to harden her heart in a world of nothing but war, completely crumbled, leaving Emily exposed.
But not alone. For the first time in a very long time, Emily didn’t feel alone.
She collapsed her face into the crook of JJ’s neck, as the tears flowed freely and her body became wracked with sobs. “I’m sorry,” she mumbled into JJ’s neck a few moments later.
“There’s nothing to be sorry about.”
“I thought,” Emily lifted her head, daring to meet JJ’s eyes with her own. “I don’t know. That I’d be a bit more suave or something.”
“You were very suave,” JJ chuckled, brushing a lock of hair off Emily’s forehead and tucking it behind an ear. “And sweet. And if you want..” JJ paused, smiling coyly as her eyes darkened and her heart began to pulse just a little harder. “I can give you a hand.”
Emily smiled again, and JJ thought, with whatever time they had left, she wanted to spend it making Emily smile. Gently, remembering Emily’s wounds, the ones on the outside, the deeper ones on the inside, JJ rolled the two of them over. She brought their lips together as she slipped her hand between them, fingernails lightly grazing down the smooth plain of Emily’s stomach before dipping between Emily’s legs. A low rumbling moan rose up Emily’s throat as she broke their lips apart, neck arching at the sudden wave of pleasure cascading across her body.
Emily was wet, swollen, feverishly warm. She was also soft, silky smooth, and tighter than JJ expected as she slipped two fingers into Emily, pressed the heel of her palm against Emily‘s clit.
“Jennifer..” Emily groaned, one hand on JJ‘s back, nails digging into the flesh as the other found purchase on the headboard.
“JJ,” she chuckled, running her tongue along Emily’s pulse point.
“JJ,” Emily chuckled back.
It wasn’t hard to find a rhythm, not too fast, not too slow. But the right kind of pace to stretch the little time between them and make it last. Emily whimper-moaned with each push of JJ’s hand, and JJ watched as every emotion seemed to play across Emily’s face, the twitching her brows, wide opened eyes darting back and forth as if searching for a name for the sensations rippling through her body painted on the ceiling somewhere.
“J..” It was all Emily could manage to croak out before the paroxysm took over. Eyes rolling into the back of her head as her body convulsed and shook, as the nails digging into JJ’s back finally broke the skin.
JJ wasn’t quite so merciless in bringing Emily down, she continued apply pressure, friction and penetration, but her pace was slow, leisurely. Like she wanted nothing more than to stay in this moment forever, her hand between Emily’s legs, fingers inside her, doing nothing more than watching Emily’s face as she pleasured her.
“You know,” Emily paused, licking her lips before pulling them into a soft smile. “You’re pretty good at that. Even if I am a little jealous you didn‘t learn how to do that on me.”
“Don’t worry,” JJ grinned. “I’m sure you have plenty to teach me.”
Emily opened her eyes. It was like all of this between them was nothing more than a fantasy and, as Emily opened her eyes, reality came crashing down around them. “Jennifer..”
“I know,” JJ quickly cut her off with a kiss. Where Emily came from, pleasure was a commodity few could afford. Despite the treasured moment between them, Emily couldn’t erase her past, the years of training and conditioning. “What ever time we have left, I don’t care. I just care that it’s with you.”
FIVE MONTHS LATER
65 MILES SOUTH OF THE CALIFORNIA/MEXICO BORDER
JJ inhaled deeply, placing a hand on her now swollen stomach. She reached for the ancient, practically antiquated tape-recorder, grabbing the microphone before pressing record.
“I suppose,” she inhaled deeply before continuing, “this is the part where I tell you about your father. He was a good man. Sweet. Kind. I don’t know if it would have worked out.. if things had been different. But, he was a part of my life. Without him, there’d be no you.”
JJ paused again, reaching over and pausing the recording. She squinted her eyes against the harsh afternoon sun, searching for the right words somewhere in the mountains cutting into the sky at the horizon. She’d never found the courage to come out to her parents, coming out to her son - on a tape-recorder, no less - didn’t seem any easier.
Finding her courage, JJ hit record once again. “I don’t know if I should be telling you about this. Talking about the person you send back to save me. I mean, a person could go crazy thinking about all this future stuff but, I guess, I owe her. I owe Emily. Emily Prentiss. Without her, there’d be no me, no you. I don’t want to say too much but what I will say is this - in the time we had together, we loved a lifetime..”
The flash of a camera jolted JJ from her thoughts. She turned her gaze towards the young boy at the door of her Jeep, slowly developing Polaroid in his hand as he spoke at her in a rapid-fire Spanish that was too quick for her remedial skills.
“What’d he say?”
Emily, using a cane for her still injured leg, limped her way to the driver’s door, leaning against the side. For a time, after they defeated the Terminator, JJ thought Emily was dead. And she spent that time preparing herself for what she had to do, raise the future savior of mankind, swallowing her terror at the idea of doing it alone.
And then, two months later, there Emily was. A little more battered, a little more bruised but definitely alive.
“He says,” she smiled. “You’re very beautiful, senora, but he’s ashamed to ask for five American dollars for his picture but if he doesn’t, his father will beat him.”
“Nice hustle, kid,” JJ smiled, raising four fingers. “Quatro.”
“Si! Si!” He smiled broadly, handing JJ her picture and quickly taking his money before running off.
JJ looked at the picture, it wasn’t her best shot but not completely horrible. She handed the photo to Emily. While her expression was unreadable to most, it wasn’t too JJ. “This is it, isn’t it? The picture Henry gave to you?”
“Yes,” Emily sighed solemnly. “I always wondered what you were thinking in this moment?”
JJ reached out, placing her hand on Emily’s forearm. The machine’s thought they could change the future by changing the past, by changing fate. While JJ tried not to think too hard about fate and the hand she’d been dealt, she couldn’t help not occasionally thinking of how differently things would have been had Emily not survived. Had Henry sent someone else in Emily’s place. If he’d given that picture to someone else. If the machine’s had sent the Terminator back in time a few weeks earlier. It made JJ’s head hurt just thinking about it. So, she consoled herself with one thought - the world could change on a dime. The twist of fate that put JJ here, now, with this weight and responsibility on her shoulders was the same twist that gave her Emily.
With all JJ had lost, she wouldn’t trade that for the world.
With the hand on Emily‘s forearm, she slid it up to Emily‘s neck, curling her fingers around the back to pull Emily in for a kiss. “I was thinking about you. How things would have been had I lost you.”
“But you didn’t. I‘m here.”
“Yes, I know. But..” JJ pulled away just enough to look into Emily’s eyes. “There was a time when you weren’t. When I felt that loss. When I mourned for you..”
The young boy shouted back at them, cutting Emily off.
“What’d he say?” JJ asked.
“He said..” Emily inhaled deeply, eyes turning towards the horizon. “There’s a storm coming.”
Emily limped her way to the passenger’s side, sliding into the seat while JJ slid the keys into the ignition then suddenly stopped.
“What?” Emily asked.
JJ closed her eyes, lower lip trembling as she fought the dark thoughts filling her head. “I know you were supposed to die back there..”
“No!” JJ lifted her head, turning to face Emily. “You talk about the future Jennifer Jareau, the legend. But you never talk about the one who came back to save her, because the one who came back to save her never survived. But..” She swallowed hard, a feeling of hope inside her. “The future can be changed. Henry said so. You’ve *proven* it. If I’m the eye of the storm you, Emily Prentiss, you are my beacon. You are what makes me believe I can actually do this. God..” She shook her head, slumping in her seat. “Why do you have to make this so difficult?”
“Make what difficult?”
“Telling you I’m in love with you!” JJ blurted angrily, tears welling in her eyes. “And then you fucking died on me! And I knew I’d never feel *that* again! How was I supposed to teach my son about love and humanity when the one thing that gave me both was gone. So there, I said it. I love you and I’m ordering you not to die on me again. Understood?”
“I..” Emily blinked. “Yes, ma’am.”
Satisfied, JJ turned the ignition, yanking the gear into drive.
“JJ!!” she snapped.
“JJ?” Emily chuckled.
“I love you, too.”
“Just..” JJ paused, then laughed, the tension completely gone. “Shut up.”
JJ hit the accelerator, the back wheels kicking up dust as the turned and made their way back onto the one-lane highway, heading south. She didn’t know what the future held, neither of them did. All JJ knew was the future wasn’t set in stone. No Fate but what we make. And JJ chose to make her fate with Emily by her side.