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Never Too Late

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Prologue

                Jennifer JJ Jareau and Emily Prentiss had been seeing each other on the sly for some time.  No one was aware of their relationship even though most had always suspected there was something going on between the blonde agent and her older counterpart at the BAU. 

Because of JJ's relationship with Will LaMontagne, most of the time they had together had been hurried clandestine encounters, sometimes after work in JJ's office, when the need to be together made it just too hard to wait.

The affair started last year after Haley Hotchner, Hotch's wife, was murdered by George Foyet, and the team was sent out on a case in Nashville, Tennessee directly following the funeral.  Bonded by their shared grief for Hotch's loss as well as the realization that any one of them could be taken just as quickly by death, made Emily begin to feel she had to tell JJ about her true feelings for her.   Well aware that JJ was in a relationship with Will and had a son made it more difficult but an overwhelming feeling of doom and the possibility of living forever with the pain of a path not taken compelled her to pull JJ aside and throw all caution to the wind.

 

Chapter 1

Over a year ago - Nashville, TN

Emily sat on the BAU jet listening with only half of her attention to the case file.  It seemed to be just another day for the BAU, personal matters and private lives put on hold at a moment's notice to go chase another deranged individual.  But for all the normalcy of the moment, so much was abnormal; the expected picture of a team working together was off somehow.

The most obvious difference was that they were all dressed in black.  Each of them still wearing the clothes they wore to Haley's funeral, the dirt from the graveside still embedded in the soles of their shoes.   The other obviously glaring difference was the absence of Hotch, their leader, their friend, left behind to deal with his pain and grief alone.

Prentiss felt a deep guilt over that one fact.  It wasn't her choice, it wasn't what any of them would have chosen to do to their comrade and friend but Strauss refused to send another team.  She claimed no other team was available to take the case in Tennessee but Emily doubted the truth of that.  The FBI had other BAU teams they could use.  They could pull one from another state if necessary, but Strauss had it in for Hotch and the team from the very start.  Emily was sure this was just another way to make them function without Hotch, make then think they didn't need him.  That woman would never see that they were more than a team, they were a family, and families stood together no matter what.

Emily glanced around at the team.  All of them listening, profiling the latest case but a part of them still back home with Hotch.  She could see it in their eyes, the way they were slightly out of focus and dull.  She supposed she had the same expression on her face.  Emily stole a peek at JJ; the stunning blonde was pale, slight dark circles under her blue eyes from lack of sleep and from hours of weeping.  All Emily wanted to do was pull her into her arms and comfort her anyway she could.  She knew JJ was thinking of her son.  Wondering what if it was Henry instead of Jack trying to understand the loss of his mother?  Even though her job as Liaison should rarely put her in harm's way, her increased participation with the team changed those odds.  The more she was in the field with them, actively working cases, each time she went out with them, each time she drew her weapon, she raised the odds of her son being an orphan.

Emily stared at her and wondered if she ever thinks that she would be leaving Will to raise Henry alone and if that frightened her as much.  The blonde hardly ever talked about her relationship with the odd man from New Orleans, and for as much as Emily knew about JJ's life, all of the everyday wonders she shared with her about Henry, she knew so little of her life with Will. 

"Does she even love him?"  Emily wonders. "They are so different, worlds apart, sharing nothing really but Henry.  Or is that just wishful thinking on my part?"

From the first moment Emily laid eyes on JJ she was smitten.  Even now she would blush as she thought of that brief moment when she stood in Hotch's office and the door had opened.  She turned, distracted by Hotch saying she was mistaken, there was no job for her there, and looked to see who had interrupted and was floored by the vision standing in the doorway.

"Those blue eyes, as clear and bright as the sea."  Emily thinks to herself.  "That golden hair, gleaming and sparkling from the overhead lights...those legs!"  She had greedily and quickly scanned down the woman's body, trying not to audibly gasp. Her first coherent thought when she saw Jennifer Jareau was, “Wow!"  When JJ smiled; so open and welcoming, Emily's heart hit her stomach and her next thought was "Oh, I am so gonna like working here!"  

Her attraction was so obvious Ray Charles could have seen it as she followed her like a puppy when she led her to her work station.  She had been a goner from that moment on.  The deepest crush she had ever had on anyone even as a teenager.  She became the number one JJ fan in the BAU, and knowing how the entire team felt about this amazing woman was really saying something.

By the end of her three month probation, Emily was hopelessly in love, ready to fight for her, die for her if necessary.  The confirmed anti-commitment woman was ready to fall on bended knee and declare love everlasting.  Only problem was she had never gotten the nerve to let JJ know.  She just kept telling herself, "soon...I'll tell her soon."  Then it was too late, time had run out on her and JJ had moved on, in a way Emily had never foreseen, so lost in her fantasy of JJ. 

Emily's eyes welled with the tears she had been shedding for the past four years over that lost chance.  She felt a hand take hers and a gentle squeeze.  Startled from her musings, Emily looked up to see JJ smiling so tenderly at her, squeezing her hand in comfort, assuming the tears were for Hotch.

"You okay, Em?" she asked softly.

Emily melted as she looked into her kind eyes, quickly wiping her cheeks.  Squeezing her hand back she nodded, "Fine. Thanks."

JJ gave her hand one more warm squeeze then let go, returning her attention to Rossi.

The case in Nashville was as disturbing as any they had encountered.  An unsub who 'romanced' his victims, expecting them to play along and act as if they were lovers when he raped them, eventually killing them when the fantasy for him ended.

For some reason that Emily couldn't explain, the case got to her, pushed her buttons hard.  When they apprehended the unsub, Joe Besler and Emily basically had him in custody, she grabbed him by the throat, stuck her weapon in his face, hoping her gave her just one reason to shoot him between the eyes.

JJ was concerned for Emily.  She rarely lost her control like that, the queen of compartmentalizing.  Either Hotch's tragedy was hitting her harder than JJ thought or something else was going on with her friend.

It was late once they tied up all the loose ends and the team decided to stay over one more night in Nashville.  JJ pulled Emily aside as they headed back to the hotel. 

"Wanna get a drink before we turn in?  Looks to me like you could use it."

"Yeah, that would be great.  A burger wouldn't hurt either."  Emily added with a smile.

They stopped in the hotel bar but it was so crowded they would have to holler to be heard above the din.  "Ya know what Jay?"  Emily said, pulling JJ closer to her to be heard over the crowd.  "Maybe I'll just pass; too much noise for me right now."

JJ took her arm and led her from the bar, "C'mon, I have an idea."

Outside JJ's room, Emily paused sneaking a look out of the corner of her eye at JJ.  A drink was not was she really needed, the blonde standing next to her was, but that wasn't an option any longer, if it ever was.

"So what's the plan Jay?  It's getting kinda late and we should get some rest."

"Room service for the burgers, honor bar for the drinks."  JJ replied as she stepped into the room and immediately picked up the phone to dial room service.

"Yeah.  Hi.  Two cheeseburgers, one medium, one well done. Onions?"  She turned to Emily, "Onions?"  Emily nodded yes, shook her head no, then shrugged.  JJ laughed, "Onions on the side please."

JJ handed Emily a beer while they waited for the food and sat on the edge of the bed.

"So...feel like sharing?"

Emily glanced at the beer, then held the can out to JJ, "Sure, but I'll be happy to pick up the bar tab if you want your own."

Laughing, JJ took the can and took a sip before handing it back.

"I meant feelings, emotions, not your beer, but thanks.  Glad to see you don't think I have cooties."

Emily frowned and tilted her head to the right, "Excuse me?  Cooties?"

Rolling her eyes, JJ blushed.  "Umm...ok so I don't have that many adult conversations outside of work."

Looking at JJ with a small smile, Emily couldn't think of anything on this planet that was more beautiful than a blushing Jennifer Jereau.  "You are so pretty when you blush."

JJ glanced up and blushed a deeper crimson when their eyes met.

Realizing what she had said, Emily took a big gulp of her beer and quickly tried to get back to the original subject.

"So…sharing; anything in particular you want to know or are we talking just random thoughts and tidbits about me?"

"Actually, I was referring to your 'non-Emily' type reaction to this case."  Explained JJ as she busied herself getting her own beer from the fridge.  "Usually, you're the cool one who can compartmentalize all your feelings and emotions.  So what happened today?"

Emily shrugged, "I really don't know.  All I know is I’d suddenly had enough.”  Emily sighed and shook her head.  "It was only partly him.  He's just the embodiment of the male society...no, that's not right.  Not so much male society as anyone with any degree of power, real or imagined. They see something they want.  Something they think they are entitled to and just take it.  Who cares what you want, if you want them to have what is yours.  They want it so they take it.”

“So what else is new Em? You can either roll over and take it or you can fight back.  Now the Emily Prentiss I’ve always known would say fuck you and fight back.  Am I wrong?”

Emily grunted and took a long draw from her beer, “No you're not wrong but when I do then I’m queen bitch.”

JJ laughed and squeezed Emily’s hand, “Better a queen bitch then a doormat I always say.”

There was a knock at the door and JJ unfolded from the bed and headed to the door, looking through the peephole.  JJ looked back with a sweet grin, “Room service!”

Emily watched her every move with an almost dream like stare as she opened the door, smiled at the porter and stepped back so he could push in the service cart.  When he was finished setting up the meal he handed JJ the bill to sign and Emily reached and took it from her.

“Dinner’s on me.  I’ll sign it to my room.” 

Emily scribbled her name and room number adding a generous tip and handed it back.  “Why bother trying to explain why you ordered two dinners on your expense account.”

“My hero, standing up for my reputation.”  JJ said with a grin.

Emily did a dramatic bow, “Always M’lady.” 

JJ raised her eyebrow but smiled brightly at her and Emily turned a bright red. 

“Your burger’s gonna get cold.”  Emily said and started fussing with the food and moving JJ’s plate so she could reach it while they sat and talked.

Emily watched JJ make her burger like she was the architect for the Taj Mahal, in her eyes every simple movement full of grace and poetry.  She almost laughed out loud at herself when she realized how love struck she must seem when JJ skipping over the plate of onions made her heart skip a beat. "Bad as a school girl around her teen idol.  Get a hold of yourself woman."

They ate their meal while chatting about nothing of any importance; fashion, shoes, Emily's latest boots purchase, staying away from the grim and grisly topics they have to deal with on a daily basis.

"How's my little man doing?"   Emily asked biting into a fry dripping with ketchup.

"Henry?  Henry is perfect as always.  He's growing up so fast I swear every time I see him he looks bigger."

"I hear that's how it works with these mini people.  Once you pop 'em out they sort of just keep sprouting up."  Emily remarked with all seriousness until JJ looked at her then she laughed.

"Pop ‘em out?  Such class Prentiss."

"Finishing School.  We had daily lessons just in Class."

"Missed a few days huh?" 

Emily stuck her tongue out at JJ who shoved her on the shoulder knocking her back onto the bed. 

"Careful Jareau...I learned to handle girls like you in the academies of France when I was a child."  Emily joked, her chocolate brown eyes almost twinkling with mirth.

"Big deal!  I'm from Pennsylvania, we didn't handle, we kicked ass!"  JJ exclaimed as she leapt on Prentiss and started to tickle her.

Caught by surprise Emily at first didn't know what to do until the tickles hit, then she was laughing and screaming for mercy.  "No!  Stop!  Please I hate being tickled! Help!"

"Who's gonna help you Ms. French Finishing School?  You're mine...All mine!  BWAHAHAHA!" 

JJ threw her leg over Emily's waist to pin her wiggling body down and tickled her mercilessly.  "You are mine now!  And you will laugh until the anger is gone!"  JJ was laughing almost hysterically at having the cool, always in control Prentiss at such a disadvantage.

"Nooooo!  Nooohoooo stooooppppp!   I give!  I give!"  Tears were streaming down Emily's face as she howled with laughter trying to fight JJ off.

"Say it!  Say it and I'll let you go!"

"SAY WHAT?  ANYTHING! JUST STOP I"M BEGGING YOU!"

"Say I own you.."

"Ok, Ok.  You own me!  You own me! Now please just stop!"

Panting and laughing so hard she had tears running down her cheeks as well, JJ simply collapsed on top of Emily, who was almost hyperventilating.  "You are a cruel woman Jennifer Jareau...just cruel!"

"Maybe."  JJ paused for a breath, still giggling a little. "But I always get what I want." She looked down at the dark haired woman who she had called her friend for so many years and smiled at the face she saw every night in her dreams.  "And now I own you.  Am I lucky or what?"  JJ said in a softer, quieter voice.

Emily's skin broke out in goose bumps as she looked up into those eyes of sapphire.  She had dreamed of looking at JJ from this position for so long, it almost seemed natural for her to be lying half on her and looking down at her in bed.  With a life and a mind of its own, her left arm snuck out from under JJ's body and wrapped itself around her waist as casual as could be as she smiled up at her blonde Goddess.

"And just why would you want to own me?  I'm not exactly young, though not near my 'sell by date' yet either.  But there are some scars and bruising on this old carcass."  Emily gave a self depreciating laugh, mentally kicking herself even as she did it.

"Who wouldn't want to own a genuine Emily Prentiss?  You've been on my wish list forever!"

Emily wasn't sure if JJ was still joking or if she was serious so for once she decided to just shut up and let the moment decide what happens next.

At first nothing happened.  They just seemed to lie there as if froze in time, staring into each other's eyes with slightly different degrees of curiosity.  Then JJ reached up and stroked Emily's face gently.  As gentle as the wings of a butterfly her fingertips traced the curves and planes of Emily's cheeks, jaw, brow then lips.  "I've always thought you were the most beautiful woman I'd ever seen."  JJ whispered, her eyes following the path of her fingertips.

"No.  That would be you Jennifer."

JJ's eyes shifted to meet Emily's and she smiled.  A smile filled with longing, pain, desire and acceptance.  Emily felt her body shift as she prepared to move away and her arm instinctively tightened around her waist.

"JJ, I have to tell you something.  Something I've been wanting to tell you for years now and have just been too much of a coward."

JJ just continued to stare into her eyes, waiting patiently for her to continue.

Emily took a deep breath, gathered up all the courage she had deep inside of her that she used to fight the unsubs and serial killers every day and opened her mouth.

"I...I love you Jennifer Jareau."  There, she had said it.  It was out in the universe.  "I love you.  I've loved you for years and I wish I had told you before...but that doesn't matter.  I'm telling you now.  I love you."

JJ smiled.  At first a small, sad smile then brighter as she said just 2 words back.  "I know."

Emily gave her a surprised look then laughed, "Of course you do. And just how long have you known my little secret?"

"Oh, maybe three years." JJ rolled off of Emily and sat up on the edge of the bed and counted on her fingers then nodded, "Yeah, Five years that you liked me, three that you loved me."

Emily rolled her eyes and sat up shaking her head as she stood.  "Three years!. That's priceless! Hell, I haven't even known for three years!"

"Well, that's why I never said anything.  I figured I would let your brain catch up with your heart and then we could have the  discussion."  JJ picked up a fry off of her plate and bit into it then pointed it at Emily, "Though I must admit, you genius types move really slow when it comes to emotional matters."

"Seriously?  Umm, one of us did manage to have a kid in that same time frame not making it easier for the other to confess feelings!"

"True."  JJ nodded and popped the rest of her French fry into her mouth and chewed slowly.

Emily was gearing up for a good argument but when JJ just simply agreed then went quiet, she got confused and lost all momentum.  "That's it?  True.  That's all you have to say?"

JJ nodded taking a sip from her soda.  She picked up her napkin, wiped her mouth and hands and looked up at Emily. "It is true.  And a fact I won't fight about, nor regret.  Henry is the only good thing that's come out of any of this, and I love him. I suspect you love him too."

"He's another man's child."

"Could he ever be anything else?"

"You know what I mean."

"Yeah.  I know what you mean and it doesn't really matter does it?  You love Henry and have from the first moment you laid eyes on him. I told you that you suck at hiding your emotional side."  JJ smiled up at her, "Luckily, Henry adores you as well, so no real conflict there, thank God."

"And his father?"  Emily challenged, her confusion making her combative."

"A very nice man, a kind man.  But not a man I am in love with, unfortunately."

Emily' jaw dropped open at this confession and she started to speak but just snapped her jaw shut.  After a few moments she just shook her head, "Not a man you’re in  love with.  Could have fooled me.  Do you even know what you want Jennifer?"

"Yes."

"What?  What do you want?"

"I thought that was clear.  You."

"Me?  You want...but...when...why?"  Emily floundered for understanding that her brain just couldn't grasp.

JJ smiled and reached out and took her hand as she stood, "How do you think I know how long you’ve liked me?  How long you've been in love with me?  I've been right there with you the whole time too afraid to tell you."

Emily was too stunned, too confused by the turn of events to react.  "I...I don't know what to say Jennifer."

"You don't have to say anything right now Emily.  Let it settle, sleep on it if you want."  JJ walked toward the hotel room door and turned to face Emily. "It's been a long case and a long night.  You should go get some rest, let all of this just soak in and we'll talk about it when we get back to D.C."

Emily nodded, "I should go back to my room."

"Probably for the best." She turned to make the last few steps to the door to open it up for Emily.

Her dark brown eyes turning almost black, Emily rushed after JJ and just as she reached the door, swooped JJ into her arms and kissed her. Emily kissed her with every ounce of pent up desire she had been harboring these past years, pulling her tightly against her, as she pressed her lips firmly against JJ's.  Her heart was beating so wildly she feared she would die right there of a heart attack.

The kiss was so passionate, JJ felt her knees go weak and she fell heavily into Emily's arms with a gasp.  Emily slipped her tongue into her mouth, where it danced gently with hers as it explored.  JJ broke the kiss, to pull in a ragged breath, then crushed her lips back to Emily's with a moan.

Emily's hands began to roam over her body, running up and down her sides and hips.  Groaning against JJ's lips, "God...”

Emily turned their bodies, walking them backwards and the back of JJ's knees hit the mattress and she fell back. Both women froze for a moment, looking at each other, their breath coming in heated pants.  JJ reached up and pulled Emily down and into her arms as she claimed her lips with a whimper of need. 

Emily lay fully on JJ, placing her thigh between her legs as she kissed her.  She applied light pressure at first, then the flames of desire took over and she pulled and tugged at JJ’s clothes.

Her frantic almost desperate grabs and grasps were the cumulative result of five plus years of fantasies and desires.  So many times had she imagined this moment, that her mind didn’t know which particular fantasy she was about to play out or if she should abandon them all and just drown in the warm reality of the moment.

JJ was breathless from the kiss and her mind just wouldn’t allow her to think straight.  She grabbed at Emily’s back, pulling her closer, tighter. She felt Emily's fingers slip between her damp curls and press against her clit and she gasped at the intense sensation, her hips rising up to capture the prize they had so long desired.

“Oh God Emily!”

Groaning at the feeling of slick, warm wetness, Emily slowly moved her fingers in a tight circle, light little flicks against the tight bundle of nerves, shivering at the sound of JJ’s gasp.  Gently squeezing her clit between her two fingers, Emily moaned JJ’s name, kissing her again, moving down over her jaw, down her neck and lightly sucking at the point where her pulse throbbed wildly.

“My Lord.  So wet. So wonderfully wet.”  She murmured into her throat.

With agonizing slowness, her fingers moved down until they could slip with ease into her center.  She stopped and just let herself feel the sensation of JJ's warm inner muscles pulling at her fingers.  “JJ…” she breathlessly whimpered as she slowly started to move in and out.

JJ’s body responded immediately, as she arched her hips upwards, her body tightening and pulling Emily further in as she started to pump against the invading digits with a sigh of pleasure.

Moving so her thigh was positioned against the back of her hand, Emily began to grind and undulate against JJ.  Her thigh adding the extra weight and pressure to her hand's movements as she began to make love to JJ, the space tight and constricted by the pants that kept her from fully spreading her legs and taking Emily in.  Emily pressed the tips of her fingers into the side walls inside of JJ, scissoring them open and closed as she moved in and out, her breathing becoming fast and harsh.

“So perfect.  You feel so perfect.  Like I always dreamed you’d feel.”

Even though her mind was whirling out of control and her heart felt like it was about to explode out of her chest, Emily never changed her rhythm.  In and out, in and press, in and out.  Her fingers found the soft spot that would send JJ to the edge and push her over.  With a light touch, she let the tip of her finger graze against it, as goose bumps rose on her body every time JJ moaned.

Moving in tandem with every stroke, JJ felt her body melting into Emily’s touch.  Her moans were becoming louder as her body got closer to exploding.  Their bodies were pressed tightly together as they snaked and writhed with Emily’s movements.

“So long…wanted this for so long.”  JJ mumbled into Emily’s shoulder.

It hit her suddenly; her eyes grew wide, her mouth parted as she panted.  JJ’s body began to tighten as she arched her back, hands grabbing for, finding and digging into Emily’s back.  No matter how hard she tried to maintain the slow and precise movements, her body took over and began to buck wildly, her hips and pelvis smashing against Emily’s as she rushed to the edge and was thrown into the blistering whiteness of her orgasm. 

“Oh my God!  Oh my God!  Emily…Em…EMILY!”  JJ screamed out as she rose off of the bed, her thighs tightening and squeezing shut, trapping Emily within her.

Emily held on tight, one arm wrapped around JJ’s waist as she rode out her orgasm.  “Perfect…” was all she hissed as she captured JJ’s lips in a searing kiss.