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Changed for the Better

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"You're here!" Sandra exclaimed, wrapping her arms around Emily. "It's so good to see you!"

Emily laughed, hugging Sandra back. "It's good to see you too. How long has it been?"

"I don't know, weeks? Months?" Sandra said, leaning away from Emily so she could meet her gaze. "Either way, it feels like eons to me."

"You're so dramatic," Emily laughed, hugging Sandra again. "I missed you."

"Ugh, same here. We are not allowed to go for a long time without seeing each other, okay?"

"Good to see you too, Andrew?" Andrew said sardonically behind Emily. Emily rolled her eyes and ignored him, breaking away from Sandra's hug.

"Come on, Andrew, she's lived with you for nearly twenty years." Emily turned and smiled at Martin, who placed a kiss on her cheek. "That's a long enough time, don't you think?"

"Okay, ow," Andrew said, dramatically placing his hand over his chest.

"Come in, come in," Sandra said, stepping aside to let Andrew and Emily through. "Julia's still asleep. She has the bug that's been running around."

"Oh, poor thing," Emily said, glancing up the stairs leading to the bedrooms.

"I know. She's miserable, but I know she'll be excited to see you. She just took her medicine after having soup for lunch—she throws up every solid food she eats—and we put out the baby monitor from the attic so we'll know if she needs us."

"Just like the good ol' days," Martin chuckled.

Emily smiled and watched as Martin and Sandra began making their way towards the kitchen, leaving her and Andrew alone on the foyer.

"You okay?" Andrew asked. She turned around to face him and smiled at him. Ever since she got pregnant, he seemed to want to make sure she was always okay—comfortable, full, rested, basically whatever okay meant. She thought it would annoy her like it did with the rest of the team, but for some reason, it just made her fall in love with him over and over again.

"Yeah," she nodded. "Just a little nervous. I have absolutely no idea how to break the news."

"Me either," he said, taking her hand in his. He placed a kiss on her knuckles and pulled her closer towards him. "What do you say we give them the wheel and let them stir the conversation for a while before we drop the news?"

"I like the sound of that," Emily said, placing a kiss on lips. "I love you."

"I love you too."

"Are you two going to come, or are you planning to stay on the foyer until dinner is ready?" Sandra asked from the kitchen. Andrew rolled her eyes while Emily laughed, taking his hand and walking with him towards the kitchen.

"Wow, that smells amazing," Emily said. She walked towards Sandra and took a peek at what she was cooking. "Lamb chops?"

"Nothing special. Martin insisted I cook it since you guys were coming over," Sandra shrugged, but Emily noticed the slight pink tinge on her cheeks. Sandra was similar to Andrew that way; they were both amazing in the kitchen, and both had a tendency to deny those skills when complimented. Emily could eat the food they make all day without complaining.

"Aw, you cooked my favorite food? How very thoughtful of you, lil sis," Andrew teased.

Sandra rolled her eyes. "How bold of you to assume I actually knew what your favorite food was. I agreed to lamb chops because I knew Emily liked it."

"No fighting in front of the food, kids," Martin said. "Emily, help me set the table?"

"Sure," she said and took some plates from the cupboards. Somehow, she knew Martin was giving her an out from what was going to be an inevitable argument about food. As much as Emily loved her boyfriend and his sister, their arguments could get a little loud at times. She remembered being in the middle of the food fight between the siblings one time, and it was suffice to say that no, she would not be staying in the same room as them when an argument begins. "Thank you," she whispered to Martin once they were out of earshot.

"You owe me," he said. Emily laughed and nodded. "So how are you doing? How's unit chief life?"

"Same as always. Serial killers never seem to work with our annual leave schedules, which annoys the hell out of me," Emily said. Martin, a psychology professor at a state university in Boston, was fascinated by Emily's job. He and Emily formed a bond over their love for psychology books and psychology in general and often had long conversations about the study.

"That's how it always seems to work does it?" Martin asked.

"Absolutely," Emily said. "How did I phrase it to Rossi again? Oh right, I told him our job basically works around the statement: 'man plans, serial killer laughs.'"

Martin laughed. "It's like that meme teenagers say. 'The devil works hard, but Kris Jenner works harder,' but in your scenario it's the BAU works hard, but the serial killers work harder."

Emily gave him a look. "Seriously? Teenagers say that? For real?"

"Among all other things, yes."

"That does not make sense, at all," Emily laughed.

"Is he quoting memes again?" Sandra asked, entering the dining room with Andrew behind her. He set the lamb chops on the table while Sandra picked a wine from the shelf and took four glasses with her. "Babe, I told you not to do that."

"And I told you this is what happens when you spend every day with teenagers," Martin defended.

"What other memes do you know?" Andrew asked in an eager tone, taking a seat next to Emily.

"Please ignore him, he's just trying to be one of the cool kids as he so calls it," Emily said.

"What?" Andrew asked. "I have a right to know what the younger agents at my office are trying to say."

"Ah, I see what you mean," Sandra giggled. "You're just trying to prove that you're not as old as they think you are." Emily laughed at that.

"If I'm old then what are you?" Andrew asked.

"Obviously five years younger than you big bro," Sandra replied. "Wine, Em?"

"Oh," Emily said, suddenly feeling flustered. "I—uh, no thank you please. I can't drink wine right now."

"Really?" Sandra asked. Emily watched as she and Martin shared a skeptical look. "Since when did you not drink wine when we have lamb chops?"

"You basically bought Julia a grape juice box once so she wouldn't feel left out," Martin said.

"And among the four of us, she's the profiler," Andrew chuckled under his breath, groaning suddenly when Emily stepped on his foot.

"Seriously, Em," Sandra said, waving her hand in Andrew's direction. "You're like a wine connoisseur. Is it the wine I chose? Is this a bad year?"

"You do sometimes choose the wrong year, love," Martin said.

"It's not that," Andrew said, taking the wine and observing the label. "In fact, this is a good year, it's, a lot more than that."

"Okay, now you guys are just scaring me," Sandra said. She darted her gaze from Emily to Andrew and shook her head. "Is something wrong? Are you sick?"

"No, no, Sandra. Everything's great—perfect, really. There's nothing to worry about," Andrew reassured, taking his sister. "Emily just can't drink wine right now because—"

"Because I'm sixteen weeks pregnant," Emily blurted out. From under the table, she gripped Andrew's hands tightly and held her breath as she waited for Sandra and Martin's reactions.

"Pregnant? What? How?" Martin asked, his eyes wide.

"You have a daughter, Martin, surely you know how," Andrew said in a teasing tone, but Emily could hear the nervousness lacing his words. She kept her eyes on Sandra, who seemed to be frozen as she stared at the space between her and Andrew. "Sandra?"

"A baby?" she asked in a low voice. "You guys are going to have a baby?"

"Yes," they both answered at the same time. Emily watched as Sandra's eyes started to become glassy with tears.

"I'm going to be an aunt?" Sandra exclaimed, wiping her face as a few tears escaped her eyes. "I'm going to be an aunt!"

"And Martin's going to be an uncle," Andrew added, although he couldn't keep a grin from forming on his face when Sandra got up from her seat to hug both of them, tears still streaming down her face.

"Guys that's wonderful!" Martin said and stood up to hug them both once Sandra let go. "Congratulations! When did you find out? And how far along are you, Emily?"

"Sixteen weeks, and hopefully making it to thirty-five before this little one makes their entrance," Emily smiled, discreetly wiping her face. She couldn't help but feel a weight lift from her shoulders when Sandra hugged her. It seemed silly, but knowing that Andrew's little sister approved of her and was excited for their baby as they were was a relief she never knew she was looking for.

"Why wait so long to tell us?" Sandra asked, grasping Emily's hand. "I mean, sixteen weeks is basically the beginning of the second trimester."

"We would've told you immediately, but we found out when I was thirteen weeks along," Emily explained. "It was actually a teammate who pointed it out to me when he noticed how red my palms are from my endless scratching. Apparently, they all suspected. That's the disadvantage of—"

"Working with profilers," Andrew, Sandra, and Martin finished at the same time, laughing afterwards at the look on Emily's face.

"So you didn't have any morning sickness or anything at all?" Sandra asked.

"I did experience some of that, but a little late," Emily replied. "We both actually worried that it meant something was wrong but my doctor said everything was okay, so I'm happy."

"That's good to hear," Sandra grinned. "Oh my god you guys are going to have a baby! This is so great! I'm so happy for both of you!"

Lunch afterwards was filled with conversations about the baby, with Sandra and Martin recalling the dreadful first days of baby Julia somehow making Emily anxious but excited at the same time, knowing that she had Andrew beside her throughout the entire journey. She doesn't know the basics of being a mother, despite the fact that JJ and Sandra keep reassuring her that she would be amazing at handling motherhood, but just knowing she wouldn't be alone was a comfort, and she knew Andrew would be a magnificent father.

"Mommy?" The small voice got the attention of the adults and they turned to see Julia at the bottom steps, rubbing the sleep from her eyes.

"I got her," Andrew said, standing up and walking towards his niece. "Hey Jules, how are you?"

"Uncle Andrew!" the little girl exclaimed wrapping her arms around him. "You're here! It's so good to see you!"

Emily smirked and gave Martin a knowing look. "Like mother, like daughter."

"Oh just you wait until it's your turn, Emily Prentiss," Sandra said, making her husband and Emily laugh. "Just you wait."

Emily diverted her attention to the pair by the stairs, her heart melting at the sight of Andrew unconsciously rocking on the balls of his feet as he talked to Julia, who held on tight to the collar of his shirt.

"Did you bring Auntie Emily? I miss her too," Julia said. Emily smiled and stood up from her chair.

"Well why don't you give her a hug and find out," she grinned. Julia's face lit up even more and she launched herself into Emily's arms, making the brunette panic for a moment due to the close actions of the young girl's kicking feet on her abdomen. She met Andrew's gaze and saw the concern reflected in his dark eyes, and she nodded once to let him know she was okay. "How are you baby? Your mom told me you weren't feeling good."

Julia nodded with a pout. "I feel yucky. But not so much anymore."

"That's great! Are you feeling good enough to eat with us today? Mommy made lamb chops, and you can drink some grape juice," Emily suggested. The trio began to walk back to the table when Julia nodded, Emily putting her down in her usual seat. Emily cut her meat while Andrew went to the kitchen to get a juice box for Julia.

All throughout the meal, Julia chatted about her school adventures and her friends and everything that happened since Andrew and Emily last visited. The couple laughed when Julia mentioned that mommy and daddy were "jumping on the bed," leaving Martin red while Sandra tried to make Julia promise not to tell other people about their bedroom activities.

"Auntie Emily?" Julia asked. They were in her bedroom playing puzzles on the floor, while Andrew and her parents cleaned up the dining table.

"Yes baby?" Emily said, placing a puzzle piece on what she hoped was its correct position.

"Are you and Uncle Andrew getting married?" she asked. Emily froze and stared at her, mouth slightly open as she tried to process the question.

"Wh-why are you asking Jules?" Emily stammered, clearing her throat.

"You and Uncle Andrew kiss a lot, like mommy and daddy do," Julia shrugged. "And you look at each other funny, like, uhm, like you can't seem to get bored of each other."

"Bored of each other?"

"Mommy and daddy tell me that you spend time a lot together, and sometimes when I spend a lot of time playing puzzles or doing homework, I get bored," Julia explained. "You and Uncle Andrew never get bored."

Huh. Leave it to a child to explain love in such a bizarre yet on point manner. "Well, Uncle Andrew and I love each other, and when you love someone, every second you spend with them is like starting a new puzzle over and over again," Emily said.

"That's nice."

"It is," Emily agreed with a soft smile. "But honey, while I love your Uncle so much, marriage is a much more serious game that neither of us are ready to play yet. We will, one day, but not right now."

"Why not?" Julia asked, pouting.

Emily furrowed her eyebrows asking. "What do you mean, baby?"

"If you won't get married, you won't have babies, and I won't have anyone to play with because mommy and daddy won't give me a sister," Julia said, crossing her arms over her chest.

Emily bit her bottom lip, holding back a chuckle at the young girl's words. "Julia, that's now how babies work, and before you ask about how they really work, I think we should have a conversation about that with your mom and dad, yeah?" Julia pouted and looked deep in thought before she nodded. "Good. I also want you to know that not only married people can have babies. Anyone can have babies at the right age."

"So you and Uncle Andrew can have babies even though you're not married?"

"Yes," Emily said. She saw her opening and decided to go for the winning drop. "In fact, in a few months, you're going to have a baby cousin."

Julia looked up at her in curiosity. "How?"

Emily laughed and ruffled Julia's hair. "Julia, I'm pregnant."

"What does that mean?"

Emily smiled and wrapped her arms around Julia. "It means, my love, that Uncle Andrew and I are having a baby."

Julia gazed up at her with wide eyes. "You're having a baby!" she squealed with a grin, jumping into Emily's arms.

Emily laughed as she was practically knocked to the floor by the little girl's hug. She loved how she could see the similarities between Julia and her parents. Wrapping her arms around Julia once more, she imagined hers and Andrew's child once more and sighed contentedly at the thought.