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blackbird

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"How did everything go? Can I see?" JJ asks excitedly as soon as she gets in the car.

Emily grins, shaking her head with a chuckle as the younger agent buckles up. "I just got back from picking up some things I need to take care of it at the store. I haven't even unwrapped it yet."

JJ places a hand comfortingly over Emily's as she calms down, kissing her cheek. "Okay, that's fair. How did everything go?"

"It went incredibly well," Emily admits as she starts to pull out of the parking garage. "Jayje, it's so beautiful," she adds, nearly tearing up again at the memory of seeing the finished tattoo for the first time. "You really can't see the shamrock at all."

Smiling softly at her girlfriend's emotional confession, JJ loops their fingers together and squeezes Emily's hand. "I'm so happy for you," she tells the older woman genuinely.

"Thank you for encouraging me," Emily replies just as genuinely, voice thick with emotion. She clears her throat, bringing their intertwined hands up to her lips and pressing a kiss on JJ's hand. "I have to unwrap it once we get home."

"I can't wait to see it," JJ says softly, smiling wide at the small gesture. "I love you."

"I love you," Emily replies with a grin. "How was work? Will I have to deal with a sulking Luke Alvez tomorrow?"

JJ looks over at her girlfriend innocently before breaking out into a grin. "I finished up the reports you needed to get done and completely whooped his ass in paper basketball."

Emily laughs, shaking her head. "That's my girl," she says proudly, giving the younger woman's hand a squeeze before they fall into a comfortable silence for the rest of the car ride.

Emily parks her SUV in the garage, turning off the car before carefully pulling JJ over to her by her arm and kissing her gently. The blonde's freehand goes to Emily's neck, their intertwined hands falling on the brunette's waist.

"Mm, not that I'm complaining, but what was that for?" JJ asks breathlessly when Emily finally pulls away, stroking her girlfriend's side gently with her thumb.

Emily shrugs with a loving smile. "Just because," she replies softly, pulling JJ in for a series of short, but passionate kisses before getting out of the car with a bag from the store. JJ, still slightly delirious from all the kisses, follows before getting in front of the older agent and opening the door to the house for her.  

They take some time to wind down, Emily starting the coffee while JJ changes from her work clothes before they both settle on the couch facing each other. On the coffee table is a small basin of soapy water and a soft baby wash cloth JJ had gotten out of the attic. Emily had carefully popped open the dark button down so that the black square of plastic and gauze covering her new tattoo is visible. "Help me get this off?"

JJ carefully works the tape on the opposite side that Emily is, fingertips hovering over a patch of dried blood. "Did it hurt?" she asks softly out of concern.

"Nah," Emily assures the blonde with a smile. "Not really. It kinda sucked when she went over the scar, but it wasn't that bad. There we go," she murmurs when they both release the tape from her skin.

When the black plastic gets removed and set down on the table, JJ freezes in surprise.

The tattoo, covering the brunette's upper left chest is of a blackbird in flight. Each feature of the bird is detailed, each feather looks soft enough for JJ to run her fingers through. The highlights in the beak and the eyes give the bird a life like quality that leaves the blonde speechless. But it's not just the amazing artwork that makes JJ's heart clench, that makes her eyes well up with tears.

Because "blackbird" was always something strictly between them, always theirs—not Reid's, not Rossi's, not Morgan's, not Garcia's, not even Hotch's. It was more than a code word, more than an alias for an account on Online Scrabble, more than the name of a song. It runs so much deeper than what it was supposed to be.

When Emily was "dead", "blackbird" was the one way JJ could assure herself that she was okay, that one day, she would come back. Small assurances like the notification on her phone from Scrabble that "blackbird" had played her word, the unmarked envelope that arrived at base camp for JJ when she was over in Afghanistan, containing only a small piece of paper with "blackbird" written in Emily's elegant handwriting, and even hearing the song come on shuffle when nights got hard were enough to calm the blonde's frazzled nerves, to let her know that Emily was safe.

Even when the older agent came back, even through her attempts to save her already fragile and crumpling relationship with Will, even when Emily had gone overseas to London to work for Interpol for a short time, "blackbird" was still the only consistent JJ could rely on. It meant that Emily would be there for her in a heartbeat. With just a simple text, email, or even handwritten "blackbird", came the assurance that the brunette would be there for JJ, and in turn, she would be for Emily.

"I always did like the song," Emily murmurs emotionally, her expression mirroring JJ's as they lock eyes. They both know that "blackbird" runs much deeper than that.

"Emily..." the blonde starts off thickly, fingertips hovering over the design before she dips the baby cloth in water, dabbing the area clean.

"I wanted something positive," Emily explains softly, reaching over and wiping the tears from JJ's face. "Something that would never fail to make me smile. What better than to get something that reminds me of you?"

"I love it," JJ admits, dabbing at the spots of dried blood on her girlfriend's chest. "I love you so much, God! Do you love it? What do you think of it?" she asks with a breathless chuckle, running her freehand through her hair.

"I love you," Emily replies, briefly placing a kiss on the blonde's lips. "I love it. It means so much that I got rid of someone so negative in my life and was somehow blessed to get you into my life. I know now when I look at this, I won't be reminded of him, but of you, of the boys, of the life I have now."

JJ's kiss is soft, is sweet, but is full of so much emotion and passion, Emily can't help the soft moan that escapes her lips when they connect with the younger blonde's. Her hands grip the open sides of Emily's shirt firmly, holding the older woman close, pouring every ounce of love that she has for her into the kiss. "The boys and I are so lucky to have you in our lives, Emily Prentiss," she murmurs genuinely, carefully rubbing lotion on the tattoo.

Emily kisses the top of the blonde's head, heart full of so much love for the woman next to her, it makes her heart clench in the best ways. "And I am lucky to have all three of you in mine."