See part 1 for headers|
She woke up with a feeling of crushing fear pressing her down, stopping her breath, until her eyes focused and she saw Penelope sitting near her and a hospital room surrounding her. She caught a deep shuddering breath.
“JJ,” Penelope’s voice was soft, but trembling with emotion.
“Hey,” JJ rasped, coughing through a throat dry and raw. Suddenly the fear returned: “Evan?” she questioned, struggling with her bed covers.
“He’s okay, shh, sweetie, he’s okay,” Penelope held her until she calmed down. “He lost a lot of blood and he’s getting a transfusion, but he’s okay.” She gave JJ a sip of water.
“Can I see him?”
“Of course sweetie, they’re going to bring him straight here when they’re finished. Oh, Jayj, I was so worried. All I could do was sit there and listen and I couldn’t do anything to help…” she trailed off, tears in her eyes. She hugged JJ tighter.
“Well, you must have done something; we’re here, we’re safe…” JJ said, a question in her voice.
“We tracked Prentiss’ GPS signal to a house in West Virginia, owned by a Karl Fredericks, owner of a silver Camry that matched the license plate you gave. I got a SWAT team in and they stormed the place. Oh, JJ, they said there was so much blood and you were lying so still…” she hiccupped.
“The rest of the team are on their way. They’ll be here soon,” Penelope supplied.
JJ smiled. “Pen?” she questioned tentatively. “Can you make sure that the hospital…” she paused, searching for words; “that they treat Evan right? That they don’t treat him like a woman, or make a big deal of things that aren’t any of their business?”
“You betcha. And if they don’t, my man Morgan has decided that Evan is his little brother, and nobody treats his little brother wrong and gets away with it,” Penelope said with grin, looking glad to have something concrete to focus on.
“Little brother? Evan’s two years older than Derek,” JJ laughed.
“Well, big brother, then. Anyway, Derek’s decided that he’s the only one allowed to talk smack about his brother.”
“Thanks, Pen,” JJ smiled, and they remained in silence, holding hands, each woman basking in the warm presence of her best friend, until JJ fell asleep.
When she woke up again, the fear was a little less crippling and was washed away completely by the sight of Evan lying in the bed next to her. His face was waxen behind livid bruises and cuts and she could see the white of a bandage round his shoulder peeking out from under the sheet. It was the most beautiful sight she’d ever seen – Evan here, breathing, alive.
She sat up and took a long drink of water, then climbed stiffly out of bed and walked over to him. She stroked his face and his eyelids flickered but remained closed. She clambered awkwardly into the bed next to him, careful not to jog him, and spooned up to his uninjured side. She fell asleep again, a smile on her face and tears of joy trickling unnoticed down her face.
JJ went back to work as soon as they let her out of hospital the next day. She had no injuries beyond deep grazes on her wrists, but the doctor had told her to take a week off to recuperate from the shock. Despite this, she knew that if she stayed at home, her mind would only replay image after dreadful image, and she cherished the safety of being at work, surrounded by her colleagues, her friends. They couldn’t keep the nightmares away when she slept, but they could hold them off during the day.
She busied herself with administrative tasks, not yet able to face the case files and reports that lay in her office. Hotch and Garcia took over the slack between them.
Evan’s injuries were more severe and he was kept in the hospital. The knife had missed his lungs but had cut a major blood vessel, and he had lost a lot of blood. A series of transfusions brought his color back to normal and his strength began to return. When JJ wasn’t at work she was with him, but she seemed unable to talk about anything more than superficial matters, except when he admitted to her that he too woke up every night screaming or shaking or crying.
It was standard bureau policy that they both see a psychiatrist after their ordeal. JJ went and said the right things, completely failed to touch on how she really felt, and walked out of there with clearance after two visits. The psychiatrist visited Evan in hospital, and he too had only two sessions.
At last he was released from hospital and, to JJ’s complete lack of surprise, he too returned to work as soon as he was able.
Evan’s review of his fitness for active duty had obviously been postponed, but it was held on his first day back at work, in a closed session which had JJ and the rest of the team fuming. They sat outside awkwardly.
“I told Evan that if they don’t return him to active duty, I’ll tender my resignation,” JJ informed the rest of the team.
“Hell, they’ll have to take mine, too,” Morgan muttered angrily.
“And mine,” declared Garcia.
“That won’t be necessary,” Hotch said. “If they don’t return him to active duty, I’ll support him in a discrimination suit.”
“Everyone’s behind him on this,” Rossi added. “I don’t understand it, and I imagine I will still accidentally call him the wrong thing, but Prentiss is one of the best profilers I’ve ever worked with, and a good friend. I’ll support him however I can.”
Eyes turned to Reid, who said awkwardly: “I don’t understand it either. But she – he – is my friend.” He looked sadly at JJ, his feelings for her uncomfortably close to the surface. “He’s good for this team,” he added, and only JJ could see the other message in his eyes: He’s good for you. She smiled gently, and Reid looked away, unable to meet her gaze any longer.
Everyone looked around as the door opened, and Evan came out. They looked at him in query until a wide smile flashed across his face, answering their question.
JJ flung herself into his arms, careful of his healing injuries, and when she let go, she was still standing so close they were touching. Morgan came up to him and punched him, very gently, on his good shoulder. Garcia gave him a huge hug. Hotch just said “Welcome back,” with a smile, and Rossi shook his hand. Reid stepped up last, his gaze intense, locking eyes with Evan, then slanting a significant glance at JJ. Evan nodded minutely, and then Reid patted him awkwardly on the shoulder and said “Congratulations.”
Garcia broke up the moment before it became too noticeable: “All right! Who’s in for drinks?”
Evan grinned. “I don’t think I’m up for going out right now,” he said, and indeed he was looking a little pale. “And I’m not supposed to drink for another week. But I guess I could be persuaded to partake of a lemonade or something, if we stay in the office.”
“You leave it to me, sugar plums,” Penelope said, bustling off to prepare for a low-key party.
“That’s my girl,” Morgan said, following her, everyone else trailing after.
Throughout the celebration, JJ forced herself not to monopolize Evan. She knew the others would want to see how he was doing, and that he would want to catch up with them. Reid even managed to unbend a little around Evan, but he still left early. Hotch and Rossi also left early as was usual. Morgan left soon after with Garcia, which JJ suspected was at the other woman’s urging, leaving JJ alone with Evan in the quiet office, the tension obvious between them.
She walked over to him. “Congratulations,” she said. “It really is good to have you back on active duty. And I’m very glad I didn’t have to threaten to quit – they might have taken me up on it.” Ignoring, for the moment, the undercurrents they both felt.
Evan laughed. “Thank you. You didn’t have to; I wouldn’t have held you to it.”
“I would have held myself to it,” JJ replied seriously.
“You know, it’s funny,” he said, his tone of voice suggesting that it was anything but. “I get captured, stabbed and nearly killed, and all they require is two psychiatrist visits. I decide to start living my real life and it’s a psych visit every day for a fortnight and a full board review.” He sounded resigned, as if he was so used to bureaucratic prejudice that it had lost the power to hurt him.
“I’m sorry,” JJ said, not knowing how to help.
“The scars on the inside from Fredericks are so much bigger, even though the ones on the outside are smaller. My surgery scars are five times as big, but that was one of the best things I’ve ever done.”
JJ stepped closer, the pressure building. “Can I see?” she asked softly, knowing it was inappropriate, knowing she was crossing a line, knowing and not caring.
Evan looked startled for a second, but then his eyes caught hers. “You didn’t see it in the hospital, did you?” he asked quietly.
She shook her head mutely. He began unbuttoning his shirt, still holding her gaze. She noticed his fingers were trembling, but he kept going, until his shirt was undone and he slipped it from his shoulders.
The gash on this shoulder was healed closed, but the skin was still angry and puckered. She reached out a shaking hand to touch it, thinking how close it had been. If it had been a few inches lower… she shivered.
His skin was soft, and she trailed her hand lower. There were two long horizontal scars on his chest, and she could see the fear in his eyes as she stroked her fingers over them. They were pink but well-healed, and they outlined his toned pectoral muscles. She flushed with warmth, and tried to ease his fear with the look in her eyes, the reverence of her touch.
“JJ…” he began, but trailed off.
She looked at him in query, then stroked lower, adding her other hand, tracing his firm stomach muscles and watching her fingers in fascination. Evan’s chest was smooth, but there was a downy trail of hair running from his navel and under the belt of his slacks. She ran her fingers over it, her breath quickening, not quite daring to dip her fingers beneath the barrier of the belt.
She heard a soft gasp and looked up to see his mouth slightly open, his eyes dark as he looked at her with an expression so intense it left her breathless.
“JJ…” he said again.
“Yes,” she replied, in response to her name or in acknowledgement of her desire, she didn’t know, but she closed the distance between them to touch her lips against his, sensing that this move was hers to make.
The touch seemed to release something in him, some wild, pent-up energy, and his arms wrapped around her, stroking in constant movement along her back or reaching up to stroke her face, cup her shoulder blades or circle her waist, yet even with that release, his touch was gentle.
She wrapped her own arms around his bare torso, feeling the muscles in his back rippling with tension under skin dry and burning hot.
His hand slipped under her shirt hem, but didn’t move further, his arms locked rigid as he held himself back. She stopped the kiss only long enough to draw her shirt over her head then pressed herself back into him, skin against skin, clutching at his back as his hands rose to her ribcage.
Oh God, she thought, as he flinched slightly when her hand brushed his shoulder. He’s holding himself back for me, but I need to hold myself back for him. But then his hot mouth captured her neck and she couldn’t, she couldn’t. Couldn’t think, could only hold on to him, her head thrown back as he kissed her.
Suddenly Evan lifted his head. “Wait, wait, not here, not here,” he said, his voice deep, getting himself under control. “Please, let me take you home. Let me do this right,” he entreated.
JJ’s eyes focused on him. “Please. Please take me home, Evan.”
They picked up their things, putting their shirts back on, clumsy in their rush, and got into Evan’s car. They were silent as Evan drove, so intent on each other that they didn’t even think about what had happened the last time they had traveled this route together.
JJ’s hand was on his thigh, stroking gently, until he said “JJ, you’re going to have to move your hand, otherwise I’m going to crash the car.” The smile and the moment of levity broke some of the tension, but did nothing to diminish their connection.
They arrived at Evan’s building and he parked ridiculously badly, then JJ grabbed his hand and rushed him upstairs, remembering the way from the few times she’d visited.
As soon as the front door was shut and locked behind them, she leant back against it and pulled him onto her, kissing him, hard, struggling to get his shirt off, fumbling at his pants. He kissed back desperately, pulling at her clothes in turn, before he paused with a gasp.
“JJ, I’m sorry, I wanted to do this properly. I wanted to be slow and romantic for you,” he said unsurely.
“I don’t want to take it slow. I want you now, Evan,” she gasped, taking his face in her hands and kissing him long and deep, washing away his hesitance until he was caught up with her in mutual urgency.
His hands pulled her skirt above her hips and then she pushed her panties down her legs, stepping out of them. “Evan, I want you,” she said again, needing him to have no uncertainty, reaching for his belt.
“Wait. Wait a second,” he panted, gasping between each word, moving her hands away for a moment, kissing her to reassure her. He reached past his waistband, his hands busy for a moment, his kisses slowing as he concentrated. He looked at her a little self-consciously as his hands moved to reveal his erection.
JJ had wondered, in inappropriate moments, whether he packed anything and what it would be like. It was hard and pale pink, and when she touched it, it felt a lot like skin. He gasped when she wrapped her hand round it and stroked it, from sensation or from seeing her acceptance of this aspect of his body, she wasn’t sure.
“Evan, please,” she urged, needing him. She lifted one leg around his waist, and as he pushed his hips forward she guided him in, groaning as he filled her.
He paused with a look of wonder on his face.
“Please, I don’t want it slow,” she begged, using her leg around his waist to pull him even closer, and he obliged her, tilting his hips into her, pushing her into the door, his thighs supporting her.
She thought briefly of his healing injuries, but they didn’t seem to be bothering him as he rocked against her so urgently, so she forget them, and then any thought became impossible.
She lifted her other leg and wrapped it around him as he supported her, her whole weight pushing her down onto him, her arms wrapped around his strong shoulders, her forehead pressed against his as she moaned with sensation.
As Evan pushed into her, she whispered to him, telling him how good he felt inside of her, how hard and big he was, sensing he needed to hear her say those things.
She was close, so close, and when he worked his hand between their bodies and began to rub, a wash of molten ecstasy filled her groin. Her breath caught silently in her throat, and then rushed out of her with a resonant groan as the sensation flooded her body.
Evan’s hips rocked against her a few more times, sending aftershocks though her, and then he was still. He stepped away from the door, cradling her body in his arms as she collapsed against him languidly.
He walked slowly backwards, carrying her through the apartment, and then pushed a door open with his back. He laid her down gently, so gently, on his bed, and held himself over her, watching her with a look of awed amazement.
She could feel his muscles rigid and trembling with his own unreleased tension, and she propped herself up on one arm. “I want to make you feel good, Evan,” she said, pushing him down on the bed.
She started taking the rest of her clothes off, loving the feel of his eyes fixed on her body as it was revealed to him inch by inch. Then she reached for him, undoing his boots and pulling them off with his socks. He tried to help, but she stopped him with a gentle hand. She undid the last buttons on his shirt and slipped it off his shoulders.
“I want to make you feel good,” she said again, reaching for his slacks uncertainly. “But I’m not sure how to do that. Is it okay if I take these off?” He nodded mutely, his eyes betraying his nervousness. She slipped his pants down his legs and looked at him. His hips were perhaps a little wide, his waist a little narrow, but she could see nothing feminine in him. He was the sexiest man she had ever seen, and she told him so with eyes and words and touch, and she could see his nervousness abating.
She reached for his briefs and looked a question at him, then pulled them down at his nod. His cock was held against him with narrow black straps and she touched it, stroking it, trying to transmit the sensation to his body. “Tell me what to do?” she whispered.
“I usually - ” he broke off and reached into a drawer by his bed, grabbing a small bullet vibe. He turned it on and self-consciously reached down and tucked it behind the straps, against his body.
JJ lay down next to him, gently pushed his hands away and wrapped her own hand around his cock, stroking him, running her hands over him, playing with him, moving so that her body rubbed against his and the motions of her hand were transmitted to him. He instantly began to groan, his voice a deep growl. “Oh, JJ. Oh, JJ,” he repeated, seeming to have no other words.
“Oh God, Evan,” she gasped, looking deep into his eyes as she touched him, telling him how good he felt in her hand, how handsome he was. His hips were rocking against her hand as she stroked, his muscles flexing with need. His eyes were black with desire and his eyelids kept flickering, but he kept them open, kept looking at her, not looking away even as his orgasm washed over him and he fell limp against the mattress.
Then, with a soft cry, he rolled into JJ, burying his face against her chest. His arms wrapped around her, his body locked rigidly in place, and JJ was startled to feel violent tremors wracking his frame.
JJ just held him, stroking his hair, wiping away the tears running silently down his face, and whispering "I'm here, my love, I'm here," over and over, not knowing what else to say, not understanding.
Evan held his body locked immobile around hers with all his strength, yet even lost in emotion, that strength was held in check and he cradled her as gently as if the slightest pressure would break her, and his tenderness warmed her beyond her ability to describe it.
Slowly he unbent, his muscles loosening. “I’m sorry,” he whispered.
“My love, you have nothing to be sorry for.” She held him tighter. “I’m sorry. Did I hurt you? Did I do something wrong?” she asked, suddenly desperately uncertain.
“No, baby, no, you were perfect,” he rushed to reassure her. “It’s just…” he broke off nervously. “I’ve never… as Evan… this was my first time.”
“Oh, Evan,” she sighed, stroking his face, honored beyond belief.
“And it was perfect; it was with you,” he marveled, silently telling her that she was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen.
JJ felt loved in a way she never had before, and it was her turn for tears as he held her, worship in his eyes.
“For me, this is… I haven’t been with anybody since I met you,” JJ made her own admission. “I haven’t wanted to. I think… I think I’ve been waiting all these years, for Emily to become Evan.”
He looked thunderstruck. She pulled him to her, pressing her body against his along her full length, kissing him deeply. He rolled over on top of her, returning her kiss, and soon their need rose again and two slipped into one, desperately seeking, and finally finding, that perfect essence of closeness.
And when, at last, they slept, wrapped together, they found the nightmares were gone.