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Changed for the Better

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A few days ago, when Emily was driving to work, she drove by a park and stared wistfully at the children running around, seeming to have the time of their lives doing so. It made her more excited to meet their daughter, and eventually, she realised that she didn't want to raise their kid in a cramped-up apartment, where they would have to go to the park every time they wanted to play outside.. In their deathmaze of an apartment, the kid wouldn't have enough space to grow without breaking something. Emily wasn't worried about getting things broken, but she was worried about the dangers of broken things around a baby.

That night, she asked Andrew how he would feel about buying a house, and after a minute of staring at her, he grinned and told her she beat him by a day of asking her. They called Derek, who had expressed his excitement about Emily's baby, and, like Clyde, had promised to be there so he could personally witness her waddling. He gave them a realtor's number, and at the same time gave them a list of some houses he flipped that he thought would be perfect for them. They were on their way to the fourth house and Emily hoped the last one would be the one for them because she did not want to climb any more stairs.

"What do you think about that last one?" Andrew asked, glancing at Emily in the passenger seat.

Emily sighed and rubbed her bump. "I like how the kitchen and the dining room open up to the living room. It makes the space feel more—well, spacious."

Andrew chuckled at her adjective choice. "I'm sensing a but."

"The master bedroom is upstairs and the only other bedroom is downstairs.

"You know, Em, a lot of people would consider that a good thing," he said suggestively.

"Ah yes, because between the two of us, you're absolutely unable to keep it down, especially when I'm on top." She gave him a lascivious grin and laughed when Andrew flushed. She leaned over and placed a kiss on his cheek. "I'm actually more concerned about how far our bedroom is going to be from the nursery," Emily added, hitting his arm lightly with her hand. "So get your mind out of the gutter you insufferable man."

Andrew laughed and took her hand, placing a kiss on her knuckles. "How are you doing though? You've been rubbing your temples a lot earlier."

"Migraines," she explained, nodding when she saw Andrew wince. "They say the second trimester is the easiest part of growing a human but I honestly don't see what the hype is all about."

"Well if you think about it, your morning sickness is gone."

"Yeah, in exchange for migraines, heartburn, and sore boobs."

"Reid says the second trimester is when the baby begins to move," Andrew said in an excited tone.

"He told me that too," she said, smiling warmly as she ran a hand down her bump. "Butterball hasn't moved yet, but I promise you'll be the first one to know if she does."

"I better be," Andrew grinned.

"You know, we can't keep calling her butterball for the rest of her life," Emily said.

"What, why?" Andrew asked, mock-scandalized. "I thought Butter was a cute name!"

"We are not naming our daughter after a dairy product," Emily protested.

"Ball then," he teased with a half-laugh. Emily gave him an unamused stare. "I'm kidding! What about Zoe?"

"I had a nanny named Zoe," Emily said.

"Is that a good thing or a bad thing?"

Emily scrunched up her nose and shook her head. "She wouldn't let me stay up past my bedtime."

Andrew shook his head as he laughed. "I'm sure that was a way to get on six-year-old Emily Prentiss' bad list."

"Hey!" Emily whined, mock-glaring at him. "I was five and there was a new episode of Paddington on BBC that night, so excuse me for getting mad at her."

"You watched Paddington?" Andrew asked, his tone disbelieving.

"Well I wasn't about to watch Animal Kwackers."

"I have to say I agree," Andrew winced. "Sandra and I watched one episode of that show, and let's just say it took us both a week to be able to shower without our backs glued to the wall."

"See? You get it," Emily sighed. "What about Frances?"

"I had a girlfriend named Francesca," Andrew said. Emily grinned at the look of discomfort on his face. "No, we are not naming our kid after any of our exes. That's a rule." He quickly suggested a name before Emily responded. "Clementine? We can call her Clem."

"Oh my darling, oh my darling, oh my darling, Clementine." Emily sang, laughing when Andrew rolled his eyes exasperatedly. "Come on, I know you have that song saved on one of your weird Spotify playlists."

"Here's another rule: no naming our kid after a creepy nursery rhyme," Andrew said. "And you know, we still have at least fifteen weeks to choose a baby name. I'm pretty sure the ideas we have right now, as we're making our way towards a potential house, aren't really the best we have to offer."

Emily hummed in agreement. "But we have to be quick about it, because last week, I could still climb stairs without having to pause and catch my breath after every fourth step."

"What do you say about you and I choosing a name once we're settled in?" Andrew asked. "With the team's help, we can get settled a week after we get a house. I can even get Theo and Nick to give us a hand."

"That sounds great," Emily nodded. The rest of the drive went on in comfortable silence as they both tried to imagine what the last house would be like. The previous houses were amazing, but it either lacked something they were looking for, or the house didn't make them imagine their lives spent in a specific house, a factor neither of them realised they were actually looking for.

"We're here," Andrew announced. Emily glanced out the window and was at a loss for words.

The photos Emily had seen of the greystone house didn't do it any justice; the house was much better in person. The lush and vibrant hedges were tall enough to offer the house occupants some privacy when in the front yard, but not tall enough to have a stand-offish appeal. The front yard itself, from what Emily read on the house features and details, was decent-sized.

Andrew placed a hand on the small of Emily's back as they sauntered across the cobblestone walkway leading to the double doors, the couple admiring different features of the house.

"I love these doors," Emily gasped, running her fingers down the dark fiberglass wood.

"The landscape is just magnificent," Andrew whispered. He pointed at the plants. "See how they arranged those plants to form curves rather than straight lines? Wonderful."

"Why are you whispering?" Emily asked, giving her boyfriend a confused frown.

"Because we can't let the realtor know that we've barely made it through the front door and we're already hooked," Andrew explained in a whisper, waving his hands to tell Emily to do the same. "We won't be able to make deals with the pricing if they know we want it so much."

"I'm not sure that's how it works," Emily whispered back, the frown on her face deepening. "This isn't like a car dealing, Andrew."

"Tell me again later when we manage to save a hundred thousand bucks."

"You know, for the so-called FBI Power-Couple, you two are terrible at conspiring." They both jumped at the voice behind them and turned around.

"Derek Morgan, you son of a bitch!" Emily exclaimed. She pulled away from Andrew and carefully ran up the porch steps to wrap her arms around the grinning man, squeezing him tightly in a hug. "What are you doing here?"

"I figured since you saved the best one for last, you're gonna get the best for a realtor too," Derek explained. He pulled away but kept his hands on her arms, shaking his head with a huge grin after he glanced down her body. "Girl, you look fine as ever!"

"And you are an amazing liar," Emily threw back.

"Princess, I'm serious as a heart attack," Derek said. He reached out his arms to touch Emily'e bump but stopped and met her gaze. "Can I?" At her nod, she ran a hand down her baby bump and smiled. "Oh Princess I'm so happy for you," he said and hugged her tight once more.

"Derek Morgan, as I live and breathe," Andrew said. Emily stepped away as the men gave each other a quick pat on each other's backs. "It's good to see you brother."

"It's good to be here," Derek nodded.

"Does Penelope know you're here?" Emily asked. "Because if you didn't tell her, let's spare you the pain right now and allow me to shoot you. Believe me, the bodily harm she will enforce unto you will make your gunshot wound look like a scraped knee."

With a laugh, Derek shook his head. "We actually went out for lunch today at Red Lobster, and she made me promise to be here with Savannah and Hank in tow for Rossi's birthday."

"Are you sure promise is the right term?" Emily asked with a smug smirk on her face.

Derek sighed and raised his palms in surrender. "She threatened me with bodily harm."

"A feisty woman she is, that Penelope Garcia."

"Feisty as a fox, and as scary as a dust bunny," Derek said. Emily grinned. She missed bantering with Derek during cases. It was their way of trying not to let the case get to them, and it worked wonderfully, even making some of the team smile. Emily considered it one of her biggest achievements in life when she made Hotch smile about a lizard joke that no one found funny.

"This is a beautiful house, Derek," Andrew said. "And, like we said, we haven't even made it through the front door yet?'

"You don't remember this place, Princess?" Derek asked Emily, chuckling softly at his ex-partner's confused look. "Remember that house I bought a week after JJ's wedding, and I asked help from you, Hotch, and Rossi to tear down an entire room infested with termites?"

"No!" Emily gasped. "This was that house?" she asked disbelievingly.

"This was that house."

"I can't believe it," Emily mumbled, looking around the house in a new point of view now that she remembered what it used to look like.

"You guys ready for the tour?" Derek asked after a second. Andrew and Emily nodded eagerly and followed Derek into the foyer.


Emily smiled as she glided her hands along the smooth wooden finish of the balustrade as they made their way through the third and the final bedroom of the second floor. Out of the corner of her eye, she could feel the gazes of both men on her, studying every reaction she had throughout the entire tour. If she wasn't pregnant, Emily would find it amusing and keep her face straight, something the profiler and previous intelligence operative in her could do without trying, but right now her hormones were all over the place, making it harder for her to keep her expressions hidden.

She couldn't deny that she loved the house; the fact that he had a hand, albeit a very tiny portion, in making the place as magnificent as it is now only made her love it even more. The foyer led into a staircase, and to the left of the foyer, the dining room rolled into an expansive kitchen with pristine dark marble countertops Emily fell in love with, and further rolled into a sun porch separated by French double doors. To the right of the foyer, the living room was filled with natural lighting brought on by windows strategically placed for that sole purpose. Beyond the foyer, a hallway led to a powder room that Emily thought could be converted into a storage area, and a room featuring high shelves and desks and was rightfully declared as either a library, or, in the case of having two law enforcement officers living in the house, an office space. The backyard featured a pool and yet still had a large enough space for them to install a play area for their little girl. It also had a porch with a grilling area, and Emily could envision inviting the team over for an outdoor barbecue/pool party.

The master bedroom shared the second floor of the house with two more bedrooms, with each room having their own bathroom. The closet space in the master bedroom practically begged her for a shopping spree with the girls, but it was the second bedroom, the bedroom right next to the master's bedroom, that won her over.

The moment Emily stepped inside the room, she knew that this house was the one. She silently walked around the room and ran her fingers against the bare walls, a tender smile appearing on her face as images of her and Andrew decorating the room to be a nursery filled her mind.

"Penny for your thoughts?"

Emily looked up and realised she and Andrew were the only ones in the room. Derek must've left the room to give them time to think.

"I think this is the one," Emily whispered, irrationally afraid that if she spoke in a louder voice, she would find something she would hate and the fantasy she was currently living in would be over.

Andrew smiled and walked towards her, wrapping his arms around her waist and letting her lean her back against his chest. "I think so too."

"This can be her room," Emily added. They hadn't really discussed the nursery yet, but being in this room made them envision all the possibilities. "We can paint the walls with a pretty shade of green and then get everything else in a pretty off-white color. We'll leave the walls bare of anything else, of course, because no child of mine will have an illustrated jungle animal in their wall, not if I could help it."

Andrew laughed and placed his hand on top of her bump. "We could finally use that lion crochet as a decoration, and the nightlight bunny you bought when we were in Vermont."

"I have an old dresser in storage, and I could ask Derek if he could convert it into a changing table so we don't have to worry about lacking space, and maybe we could get him to match the closet you had in your apartment with it. And then we could place it over that wall."

"Sandra bought a rocking chair in Illinois when she was pregnant with Julia, and I can ask her to take it out of storage. She also had this ottoman that matched it perfectly, and a nightstand where she put all the necessary parent things needed in the nursery, like a bottle of Purell and some snacks for when you're trying to put the baby to sleep."

Emily turned around in Andrew's arms and kissed him softly. "We have a house."

The soft smile Andrew gave her made her heart skip a beat. With one hand, he cupped her cheek and kissed her. "We have a house."

Before she could respond, Emily felt it. It felt like the first time a butterfly had landed on her finger when she was little, giggling as the butterfly's wings tickled her finger as it flew away. As she grew up, butterflies for her became a sign that everything was going to be okay, she always listened to the butterflies in her stomach whenever they appeared, never taking them for granted. This time, however, the butterflies indicated the life growing inside her, a life she had made with Andrew.

"Emily? Are you okay?" Andrew's voice brought her back from her temporary feeling of heaven.

Emily nodded, closing her eyes as she leaned closer against him.

"Hello, my dear," she whispered softly, running her hand down her bump. "Daddy and I have been waiting for you to make your presence known."

She chuckled when she felt the flutters again, not knowing if the baby was responding or whether it was a mere coincidence that the baby moved again, but happy nonetheless.

Andrew's eyes widened, looking stunned as his hands joined hers on her bump. "She—she moved?"

Emily nodded, sniffling and wiping her face as a lone tear slipped down her face. "I guess she likes her room, too."

"That's wonderful," Andrew whispered and Emily had to stop herself from crying when she heard the hitch in his voice. "Hey butterball, it's daddy. Did you like the house too? Do you think we should get it?"

Emily gasped softly when the flutters returned, although it was fainter this time. "She moved again," she looked up and met Andrew's teary gaze with her own. "I wish you could feel her."

"I do too," Andrew said. "But right now, I'm just beyond glad that she started moving. It means we have an active little baby ahead of us. And soon enough, she'll be in our arms."

"We're halfway there," Emily said in a soft voice, sighing in relief when Andrew wrapped his arms around her and placed a kiss on her forehead.

They had found a house. The next thing to do was to make it home, but Emily found that being in Andrew's arms, with their daughter moving around inside her, already felt a lot like home.