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Changed for the Better

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The sixth floor bullpen was quiet, a rare occasion considering that the agents who were in it had childlike tendencies that often came out. Each agent was focused on finishing their assigned paperwork, and from his seat, Matt could see Spencer making another one of his physics magic contraptions. Knowing that the kid was a genius, he wasn't surprised. What surprised him was how Emily walked past him in a rush to the bathroom for the fourth time this morning—counting how many times Emily goes to the bathroom was borderline stalker behaviour, but in Matt's defense, he had never seen Emily like this, and it was only done in concern.

She looked different too. Emily was a fit person, but this time, she looked a bit bloated. He figured she was having a lot of down time with Andrew, but now he thinks it's something else completely. She looked exhausted a lot, too. He thought it was the paperwork piling up, but when he headed to her office to submit a few files, he caught her trying to vertically balance a pen on her desk out of boredom.

Maybe she's sick, he theorised, and the thought of Emily possibly dying made his stomach churn. Granted, as the newest member of the BAU, they were still getting to know each other, but he trusts her. She didn't give him the hell he deserved after the hostage situation with Kristy a year ago, and she seemed genuinely excited for both of them when they announced the pregnancy. Not to mention the number of times she threw herself in the line for all of them, something he isn't sure Emily knows the team is truly grateful for. Emily wasn't just his boss, but she was also his friend. If she was sick, he would hurt like the rest of the team would.

Or, the back of his brain said, maybe it's something else.

"Matt?" A voice pulled him out of his thoughts. He turned his head and saw Penelope standing in front of his desk and staring at him. The rest of their team, minus Prentiss and Rossi who were in their offices, were looking at him too, brows furrowed in confusion. "Are you okay?"

"Yeah, I, uh," Matt found himself stuttering.

"Is it about Kristy?" JJ asked, concern lacing her voice. "Is she okay?"

"Everything's fine," Matt said with a soft smile. It warmed his heart to think that they all cared and worried about Kristy, but it wasn't Kristy that was bothering him right now. He wanted to tell them, but first he had to confirm his theory with the one person concerned. Maybe he should just ask Andrew, he thought. "I'm just, thinking of baby names."

"Aw that is so cute," Penelope gushed, putting a hand over her heart. "Do you know what it is yet?"

"Not yet, no," Matt replied.

"Lucas for boy, Lucille for girl," Luke spoke up. Matt chuckled as all three women's heads turned to his direction—or, in Penelope's scenario, glared in his direction.

"It's a baby, Luke, not your grandmother," Tara teased.

"Lucille is ranked number 264 on popularity charts and is often included in lists like ‘Classic Girl Names’," Reid added, smiling sheepishly at the team.

"And if Matt is naming his baby after us, it's going to be me," Penelope argued, starting a series of arguments between the present team members. Seeing his chance for an escape, he stood up and chuckled.

"Guys, I'm not naming my kid after any of you. I already have a kid named David, so beat it."

"Dibs on godmother!" Tara called after him as he paced towards the stairs leading to Emily's office. He knocked on the door and waited for Emily's approval before entering.

"Hi," Emily said, forcing a smile. If Matt noticed it, and he did, he didn't mention it. In fact, he was discretely profiling her for facts to confirm his theory. With what he was currently seeing—adding the headaches from the way all her window blinds were down—the pieces were starting to form a puzzle.

"I finished the Philadelphia case and I just thought you'd want to have it," Matt said, handing her the case files. She stretched her hand towards him to accept it, and it was then that he saw the redness in her palms. The only time Matt saw Emily turn red was when she was under the sun for too long. Or that one time during Valentine's when Andrew had flowers delivered to her office and she blushed madly like a tomato.

"Thanks, Matt. I just finished reading your Florida files. And uh, can I expect the Jersey ones by tomorrow?" she asked.

"Of course," he nodded.

"Okay, thank you," she said. He watched her wince and run a hand through her hair, messing up her bangs. A headache, he presumed.  He shifted from one foot to another as he made his decision, the consequences be damned.

"Are you okay?" he asked.

"What?" Emily asked, looking up at him.

"You've been a little off lately, and uh, I was wondering if you were okay," Matt said.

"Oh yeah, I'm fine," Emily waved her hand. "I just feel like I ate something I was allergic to but I'm still trying to figure out what it is."

"Have you seen your doctor yet?"

"I haven't. And Matt, please stop worrying, I already drank some antihistamine I bought on my way here. I'll be fine, I promise," she assured with a soft smile.

"Okay," he said. Placing his hands into the pocket of his jeans, he observed as Emily curled the fingers to scratch her palm and couldn't help himself any longer. "Are you having trouble breathing?"

Emily looked at him, mouth slightly parted in surprise. "What?"

"Are you having trouble breathing?" he asked. "Or are you just vomiting?"

"I, uh, I'm just vomiting," she replied.

"Do you eat a lot, or do you always feel full even though you only ate little?" When Emily didn't reply, he took it as a yes and continued with his questions. "Do you tire easily and do you feel dizzy a lot even when you're just sitting? Are you—"

"Matt," Emily cut him off, narrowing her eyes at him. "What are you trying to tell me?"

Matt sighed and tried to determine which was the lesser of two evils: warning Emily that these symptoms are probably not allergic reactions, but rather signs of early pregnancy. He sat on the visitor's chair in front of her desk and looked her in the eye. "Emily, I don't think you have an allergy."

"And you say that because?"

"Palmar erythema," he told her. "It's a pregnancy fluke that disappears after you give birth. It only occurs in about thirty to sixty percent of women but Kristy has it too."

"I'm not pregnant, Matt," Emily said in a firm voice.


"No, I'm not," she said. She bit her lip and swallowed hard before sighing. "I'm almost fifty, so the chances of me being pregnant are low."

"You and I both know I don't need to drag Reid in here to inform you that a lot of women over their fifties can still get pregnant," he told her.

Emily shook her head at him. "Matt—"

"Kristy asked the doctor how to get rid of the itch and redness when she was pregnant with David, and he said it goes away after giving birth but he gave her a list of products that could help in soothing it," he said. "I could write it down for you if you want."

If Emily was pregnant, and Matt was leaning on a more positive note, then she was likely in self-denial. She might not have even taken a test yet, and he doubts Andrew is aware of the situation—in this case, the baby. Matt wasn't  going to push her; he knew that pushing Emily for answers would only make her close-off, but Kristy often complained about the itch, so the least he could do was help her out with her dilemma.

"That would be helpful, thanks," Emily mumbled, refusing to look at him.

"I'll give it to you before I head home," Matt said, smiling softly at her and standing up. He was almost out of the doorway when he heard her call him.

"Don't tell anyone," Emily said. "Please."

"I won't," Matt replied. "I promise."

Emily growled, digging her nails deeply in her palms as she curled her fingers into a fist. Her palms were red from her scratching, and if she continued to scratch them, they may scar. While she managed to hide the redness from her team—and the exhaustion and the never-ending vomiting which she still refuses to acknowledge as morning sickness—Emily isn't sure she could hide scars from them. They might come up with ideas that she was hurting herself or that Andrew was hurting her.

The thought of Andrew made her stomach churn. Leaning against the back of her couch, she squeezed her eyes shut and took deep breaths to wash away the nausea. For the past week, she threw up everything she ate. Matt's statement of her feeling full even though she only ate a little was actually right, and it scared her.

She loved Andrew, and he always found a way to let her know he loves her, too. It was evident in the little details: watching dumb reality television shows with her, cooking her dinner every now and then, preparing a bath for her so she could relax, holding her close when they had a bad case, and letting her cry in his arms when the nightmares haunt her. It was evident in how he caressed her cheeks and rubbed his thumb across her jaw every time he kisses her, in how he takes his time appreciating her body when they make love, and how he kisses each scar on her body, letting her know and feel that she is beautiful. Emily even saw a future with him, one that involved children. However, she kept that last thought hidden to herself considering their ages. But then again, like Matt said, there were women who had children even in their fifties.

"No," she told herself. "It's impossible. I had my period last month. Right?"

She did the math and yes, she did have her period, but it was merely spotting. Suddenly, she remembered feeling sick at the smell of coffee this morning and a feeling of dread washed over her.

She stood up, placing a hand on her forehead at the sudden dizziness she felt, another sign of pregnancy. She sat back down when she felt the nausea return. Panting, she placed a slightly shaking hand on her stomach. "Okay, if you're really in there, and that's a big if, can you please relax for at least thirty minutes so I can go out and buy a test and find out if you really are in there? I know, I know I'm not making sense right now, but you're already tiring me out and my hands look like they belong on top of an ice cream, so please, give me a break."

Much to Emily's amusement and chagrin, the nausea slowly washed away and she stood up, grabbed her coat and went out of her apartment to buy a pregnancy test. By the time she arrived back, Andrew wasn't home yet, something Emily was thankful for. She still had no clue on how she was going to tell him.

A few minutes later, Emily was pacing the living room, waiting for her timer to beep. Usually, three minutes were not enough for her, but the wait was driving her crazy. She flopped down on the couch and checked her wrist watch once more. A half-minute remained, making her feel more anxious and nauseated.

She leaned her head back against the couch and closed her eyes. Images of her and Andrew playing with a child came to mind, and she found herself smiling despite the situation. They haven't discussed the prospect of kids, but she knew that Andrew was going to be an amazing dad. They had offered to babysit Henry and Michael more than once, and the boys loved him. She knew the kid, their kid, would be a daddy's kid, and even though she wasn't a hundred percent sure that she is pregnant, she can't help but feel a little jealous.

Would the kid love Andrew more than her? Would her relationship with her mother be the same one she has with their child? What if she doesn't know anything about being a mother? What if she fucks up and the kid ends up becoming a serial killer?

Her thoughts immediately disappeared the moment her phone beeped, and if she wasn't already a nervous wreck from her thoughts, then she was now. She stood up slowly and made her way towards the bathroom. Two tests were lying face down on the bathroom counter, and when she flipped each one, she felt her heart drop to the pits of her stomach.

Turns out, it wasn't an allergic reaction after all.

Chapter Text

"Andrew, I know that we neither discussed nor planned this, but unfortunately, we should've been more careful, ugh, no. Okay. Um, oh hey, Andrew! Have some wine! Not that I can drink any, because, you know, I'm pregnant. With your… fucking shit. No no no no."

Exasperated, and a tiny bit nauseous, Emily sat down and stared at the ceiling. Five days had passed since she found out she was pregnant, and since then, she was trying to figure out a way to tell Andrew she was pregnant. So far, the best idea she had was cooking dinner and asking him to get something from the oven only to find a single bun.

"Because, you know, a bun in the oven," she told herself when she came up with it. But then again, Andrew often made bread and might not notice that she was going for the idiom.

Sometimes she wondered if she should tell the team first. She did know them longer, but she felt that Andrew should know first. It was only fair. Besides, she was certain that they were not in the dark of her situation. Emily knows Matt would never break his promise, but they work with profilers who knew she liked Andrew even before she herself was aware of it. Surely, they would notice if she was pregnant. Not to mention the fact that they were slowly becoming overprotective, something Emily remembers JJ had complained about during both times of her pregnancy.

Emily suddenly sat up when an idea came to mind, but regretted the action when the nausea returned and the taste of bile entered her throat. She ran to the bathroom and emptied the contents of her stomach, dry-heaving by the end. Panting, she raised her arm and flushed before leaning against the tiled wall.

"Kid, you are killing me," she mumbled. Sometimes she didn't feel like she was pregnant until all the unfortunate symptoms of pregnancy decide to sweep her off her feet. Talking to the baby helped with the denial she faced. It made everything feel real. And Emily hated to admit that being pregnant actually scared her.

The first, and what she thought was the last time, she was pregnant, she had an abortion. There were days when she still found herself thinking about her unborn child, who would've been thirty-four by now if she never had it aborted. There was also a chance that Emily would've been a grandmother already, and she let herself smile wistfully at the thought. But sometimes she wondered how different things would be if she chose to have the baby. Would she have developed an interest for law enforcement? Would she have joined the Academy? Would she have met the team? Maybe not.

She remembers telling Andrew about it one night. The team had arrived from Alabama after a gruelling case that continues to haunt Emily. Four teenagers were stabbed twenty times at the torso area, and further research done by Penelope told them that all teenagers had abortions. Their unsub, a bitter forty year old white man, held the belief that any woman who had an abortion were killers, that they deserved to die and suffer in hell. It brought back memories of Italy. Emily feel Dave sending subtle worried glances in her direction, and as thankful as she was to know that he still has her back, she didn’t want to acknowledge the lingering pain of how her actions had also affected Matthew. Despite the years that have passed, she refuses to believe that it wasn’t her fault Matthew strayed from his path.

When she got home to the apartment she and Andrew shared, seeing Andrew preparing dinner for the both of them tore down the defensive walls she put up for herself. She found herself sobbing mid-conversation with him, and she told him about the case, Italy, Matthew and John, and the abortion she had when she was fifteen. Emily mentally prepared herself for some spiteful comments from Andrew, but the only thing he did was hold her close and whisper in her ear that it wasn't her fault. He held her until she fell asleep in his arms, dinner forgotten.

Shaking away these thoughts, she placed her hands on the edge of the tub for support as she stood up slowly. When she leaves the bathroom after rinsing her mouth, she gets her phone and dialed JJ, asking to meet her for lunch. She only hoped she didn't sound too eager over the phone.

JJ isn't blind.

Hell, she has two kids, and she had been pregnant three times; she knew the signs of a pregnant woman. And she was sure as hell that Emily was pregnant. The entire team knew, too. They all had exchanged worried looks when Emily arrived at the office too pale, and they all kept count of the number of times she made a beeline for the bathroom. They also noticed how she never drank coffee any more, and after they pieced the symptoms together, they always made sure that the break room had stacks of ginger ale and tea for Emily, as well as saltine crackers and some of Emily's favorite food.

After Emily hung up, JJ quickly got dressed and headed for the Italian restaurant near Quantico, one she, Tara, Emily, and Penelope often frequented when they weren't busy. She had a gut feeling that Emily was about to tell her news, or else she would've invited the rest of the girls, too. She was excited, and was only glad she didn't drive through any red lights.

JJ grinned when she saw Emily enter the restaurant, and waved at her friend. She took note of how Emily was a bit paler than usual and how she hid her hands under the table to, she presumed, hide the red palms they all noticed three days ago.

"Have you ordered yet?" Emily asked, snapping JJ away from her reverie.

"No, not yet. I was waiting for you," JJ shrugged and took one of the menus a waiter placed on the table earlier. "What are you having?"

"I don't know yet," Emily said, mentally wincing at the ambiguity of both JJ's question and her answer to it. If JJ had noticed it, and she did, she chose to continue perusing the menu even though she knew it like the back of her hand. "Maybe the tuna pesto and some garlic bread. It's been a while since I last ate some. Ugh, garlic bread alone would keep me satiated."

Of course, JJ thought in amusement, Emily "I grew up around the world" Prentiss would crave foreign food. She bit her own tongue to stop herself from teasing Emily about it before the woman announced her pregnancy. But how would she get Emily to tell her already? It's not like she was hiding it well around a group of profilers. It was an occupational hazard none of them could avoid.

"I'm gonna go with the steak," JJ announced. "Choose the wine for me?"

"Always," Emily winked and raised her arm to get the waiter's attention. She stated their orders, including the wine she chose for JJ. When the waiter asked her what wine to go with the tuna pesto, Emily found herself stuttering as she said water.


"You're not drinking wine?" JJ asked innocently.

"Not really. I drove here," Emily shrugged.

"Right," JJ said, leaning her chin against her propped-up elbow. "So, how are you? It's been a while since we both went out for lunch."

"Well, you know, the job already takes too much of my time, so my life's been basically a cycle of work and home."

"What, Andrew doesn't try to woo you?" JJ teased.

"Oh, he does," Emily said suggestively, smirking. "But we really don't go out much. We have home-cooked dinner and then watch a movie."

"Please tell me he does the cooking."

"Okay, first of all, I resent that. I have enough cooking skills to survive. And second, he's trying to teach me how to cook. He teaches me how to cook some of my favorite dishes on weekends when we're not on a case," Emily said. She froze, all of a sudden, thinking about how she was going to feed a child when she doesn't even know how to boil noodles properly. If she was thinking rationally, she would've realised she was overreacting and that a baby wouldn't require the five-star restaurant level of cooking, but right now she couldn't even think properly.

The waiter arrived with their drinks, temporarily halting their conversation. Eyeing Emily worriedly, JJ took a sip of her wine and mentally weighed the lesser of two evils.

Reading Emily's body language and getting an accurate result was a skill that required years of knowing the woman. Even then, it wasn't a hundred percent reliable; there was still a chance Emily might close off when confronted. But JJ had gone through pregnancy twice–thrice if you counted her miscarriage, and she could tell that her friend was struggling. She knew the struggles of pregnancy, knew how it could suck for a first-timer, and she didn't want Emily to go through all of it alone.

"You're already showing, you know that right?" JJ said softly.

"What?" Emily asked, looking up. "What?"

"You're showing," JJ repeated with a smile. "It's a good look on you."

"Am I?" Emily asked, looking down at her torso. She hadn't noticed it when she got dressed, but then again she hadn't noticed the symptoms of pregnancy. JJ leaned over and grasped Emily's hand.


"You're pregnant!" JJ whispered excitedly, biting her lip.

"I'm pregnant," Emily said with a soft smile on her face. It disappeared quickly as she stared off at nothing, a frown painting her classical features. "I'm pregnant," she repeated with less enthusiasm.

"Emily," JJ said, but the brunette didn't respond. JJ frowned and squeezed her friend's hand tighter, trying to get her attention. "Emily," she tried again, and still no answer. "Prentiss."

Emily looked up at her with glistening eyes. "I haven't told Andrew yet," she whispered brokenly.

"Why?" JJ asked. "Is something wrong? Are you two fighting? Is he hurting you?" JJ was ready to leave the restaurant and hunt down Andrew Mendoza to kick his ass if he was hurting Emily. She was sure the rest of the team, plus Morgan and Hotch, once informed, would have her back.

Somehow JJ doubted it. Yes, she had doubts about the man when Emily accidentally let it slip that she was seeing him. But she had seen how bright and happy Emily was around him, how Andrew looked at her like she hung the moon and the stars, how they help each other through dark times, and how they made each other better people. JJ slept peacefully at night, knowing that one of her best friends had someone who would risk it all for her.

"No, no," Emily sniffled, shaking her head. "I'm just scared."

"Of what?"

"What if he doesn't want it? What if he doesn't want kids? What if he leaves or something? Or what if he feels compelled to stay because it's his kid, even though he didn't want it? What if—"

"Em, stop," JJ cut her rambling. "I need you to take a deep breath, okay? One more, that's it. Now I need you think clearly before answering me. Do you think Andrew would intentionally hurt you?"

"No," she whispered.

"Do you think he would do up and leave once he finds out you're pregnant?" JJ asked. Emily shook her head once more. "Do you think he'll feel compelled to stay, should he not want a kid? Or do you really think he doesn't want one?"

"I don't know," Emily started, her voice cracking. "Honestly I have no idea why I'm like this."

"Hormones are a bitch aren't they?" JJ said with a sympathetic smile. Watching the usually controlled Emily deal with pregnancy hormones would be amusing.

"Ugh, tell me about it. And the morning sickness? Who even came up with that term? It's inaccurate," Emily complained.

JJ chuckled. She was glad to see Emily joking along, but the unsettled look on her friend's still worried her. "What's wrong?"

Emily sniffled again, wiping the lone tear that slipped down her face. "What if I'm not a good mom?"

"Emily," JJ chuckled. "If Garcia was here, she would smack you."

"Why would she do that?" she asked, her eyebrows furrowing.

"Because have you met you? You're Emily. Children love you. Hotch used to send you as the first contact with a child during cases. Henry, Michael, Jack, Hank, and even Matt's kids love you. Declan keeps in touch with you, not because he feels like he owes you but because he wants to. Literally every child we encountered on a case loved you. Hell, you mothered us the moment you became a part of the team."

Emily smiled at the last statement, wiping the few tears that slipped down her face. She doesn't even understand why she's crying. Damn pregnancy hormones.

"You've always been a mom, Emily," JJ said, a soft smile on her lips. "Momily, if you will."

Emily chuckled and squeezed her friend's hand. "That actually helps a lot. Thank you, JJ."

"Glad I could help," the blonde replied. "So, how are you gonna tell Andrew?"

Chuckling, Emily shook her head. "Now that is actually the second agenda for today."

"Oh hey! You're home!" Emily was greeted by the sight of Andrew by the kitchen counter. She checked her watch and realised it was only three in the afternoon.

"Hi! I would've called but my phone went off," Andrew said, smiling at her. She felt butterflies in her stomach, a mixture of anxiety and swooning over Andrew making her want to rush to the bathroom and hug the toilet seat once more.

"That's okay. At least you're here," she said, making her way towards him. She wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him down for a kiss, smiling against his lips when he pulled her closer. They broke apart after a few seconds, neither one stepping away from each other's embrace. "How was your meeting?"


"Ugh, it was boring. Mack and Smith were playing tic-tac-toe the entire time, and I was tempted to actually join them," he said with a slight wince.

"My, Agent Mendoza," Emily fake-gasped, making Andrew laugh briefly. "That would not be setting a good example for your colleagues."

"Is it, Agent Prentiss?" Andrew asked, raising an eyebrow.

"Mmhm," she nodded, the smirk on her face making the dimple on her cheek appear.

He scoffed. He leaned over and placed kisses over her neck, making Emily sigh in pleasure when he kissed a sensitive spot behind her ear. "Because I remember JJ telling me a story on how she saw a doodle of Matt Cruz on your pad paper after a budget meeting," he whispered on her ear.

Emily laughed, placing her hands on his face and placing a kiss on his nose. "That, my love, is an entirely different story. You see, no one knew I wasn't paying attention until JJ saw it."

"Right," Andrew chuckled, and then began leading her to the living room. "Come on, I was just about to put on a movie. I made popcorn and coffee."

The second the smell of coffee entered her nostrils, Emily ran to the bathroom, ignoring Andrew's worried cries of her name. She knelt over the toilet and began to throw up everything she ate. She hadn't heard Andrew come in, only felt him holding her hair back and rubbing her back, all the while whispering words of comfort. When she was certain that she was done, she leaned back hesitantly and flushed, tears shimmering in her eyes.

"Emily, baby, what's wrong?" Andrew asked, placing his palms on both sides of her cheeks. "Are you sick?"

She sighed and pulled away from his embrace, feeling gross and ashamed. "Help me up?"

Andrew wrapped an arm around her waist and carefully hoisted her up. She smiled at him in thanks and began rinsing her face. She had to force herself not to cry when Andrew silently handed over her toothbrush. When she finished, she turned to face him and was immediately pulled into his arms.

"I'm sorry," Emily mumbled.

"Don't be," he placed a kiss on top of her head. "Are you okay? Is there something wrong?"

"No, no," she smiled, pulling away a little so she could look up at him. "I'm fine. But we need to talk."

"Sure," Andrew said. With an arm still wrapped around her shoulders, he led her to the living room and sat down next to her on the couch. "Are you sure you're okay? Do you need me to get you some Ibuprofen?"

"Andrew," Emily chuckled, placing a hand on the side of his face and rubbing his cheek with her thumb. "I'm okay. I really am, but please promise me you won't be mad. Okay?"

He nodded and turned his face to place a kiss on her palm. "Promise."

Emily smiled and leaned her head against his chest, feeling all the butterflies she felt slowly disappear, much to her chagrin. The nervousness and anxiety she had for the past two weeks had all faded away like they weren't even there, and she wished these feelings decided to take an exit right after she found out. Maybe she didn't have to go through everything—the morning sickness, nausea, and headaches—by herself. Andrew, undoubtedly, would've been there.

"Remember a few days ago, when I woke up in the middle of the night and got sick?" she asked softly, tilting her head up at him.

"You said it was something you ate," he replied, running his hand through her soft dark hair.

"Well, I really thought it was just that," Emily said, slightly wrinkling her nose. "You told me to take the day off, but I insisted that I was fine. And I was, relatively. I still felt nauseous, but we were off-rotation so I could handle it. That was until Matt handed in his report and noticed my red palms. He started cluing me in on what was actually happening."

Emily stopped for a few minutes, letting Andrew run his fingers through her palm and unknowingly soothing them from the itchiness. She smiled and took his hand, placing a kiss on his knuckles.

"He told me it was palmar erythema, and before you worry, it's nothing serious. It's just," she swallowed, "a pregnancy symptom. He said that only thirty to sixty percent of women go through it, but Kristy has it too, that's why he knows. And he gave me a list of products that help with the itch, which explains the new bottles of lotion you found on my nightstand."

"Emily," Andrew said, and it was then that she realised she was rambling. "Did–you–you're–you're pregnant?"

Her teeth found her bottom lip, the anxiety setting back in. If Andrew wasn't holding her hand, her nails, which she was trying her very best to grow, would be back to chipped and broken and probably bleeding within seconds. "I'm pregnant."

Andrew said nothing, just stared at her with his mouth slightly. Tears began to fill Emily's eyes, and she was about to stand up and run to the bathroom once more when Andrew leaned in and placed a hand on her stomach.

"You're pregnant," he whispered as he met her gaze once more. Emily felt her heart melt at the tiny smile plastered on his lips and the tears that glistened his eyes. He was as bad as she was, minus the anxiety and nausea. "We're having a baby."

"Yeah," she said, making a noise that was half chuckle and half sob. A lone tear slipped down her cheek. "We're having a baby."

Andrew laughed and kissed her. Emily's arm snaked around his neck as she kissed back and pulled him closer towards her. He deepened the kiss by slowly pulling her over his lap, making Emily moan silently.

"You're happy," she whispered once they parted for air.

"Happy? I'm ecstatic!" he told her, sweeping a few strands of her hair behind her ear. "How far along are you?"

"I don't know really," she shrugged. "I haven't seen my doctor yet. JJ wanted to take me after lunch, said I could just show you the sonogram to tell you I was pregnant. But I told her I wanted you to be there."

"JJ knows?" Andrew asked. He wasn't mad. He couldn't accept any other emotion except happiness and excitement, but he also wanted to know who was there for Emily when she hadn't told him yet.

Emily nodded shyly. "She was the first one I told. I intended it to be you, but I didn't know how to tell you so I asked for her help."

"Hey, it's okay. I understand. I'm just glad you told me now."

"You know, the first idea that came to mind was to just put a bun in the oven and ask you to get it for me, but I thought you wouldn't get it," she said.

"What did JJ say?" he asked.

"She just laughed," Emily said with an eye roll. "She suggested the ultrasound photo, and the famous giving you the pregnancy test with the positive sign on it, but it's not like I kept it. So she just told me to just tell you."

Andrew grinned. "Baby giving you a hard time already with the nausea?"

Emily gave him a look. "Yep. Definitely your child."

"Want me to call the Ambassador and let her tell you otherwise?" Andrew smirked.

"God no," Emily winced. "I don't even have a clue on how to tell her."

"We'll figure it out. Right now, we just have to make sure you and the baby are okay," he said, kissing her forehead.

Smiling, Emily placed a quick kiss on his lips once more. "I'm gonna call my OB tomorrow, and set a schedule for Tuesday. We're still wheels down, so we won't get called on a case."

"That sounds good to me," Andrew said. "Absolutely good."

Emily chuckled and leaned her head against his shoulder. "I love you."

"I love you too, Em. And I already love our kid."

Chapter Text

Emily frowned, trying one more time to get the jeans buttoned to no avail. She sighed and pulled them off, throwing it on top of the pile of jeans on the bed. She walked over to her closet and held back her tears when she realised she had no other pair left.

"Em, are you ready?" Andrew walked into the room, snapping the locks on his watch. He frowned when he saw her glaring at the closet. "Emily?"

"What?" she spat out and faced him, lips pressed tightly together in anger.

Andrew raised both his palms and gave her a questioning look. "What's wrong?"

"I have absolutely nothing to wear because nothing fits me anymore!" she whined, running a hand over her hair. "Was I that oblivious of my pregnancy until I was fat? The next thing you know, I have to give up my boots!"

"Emily," Andrew said, trying not to smile as he walked towards her.

"Oh my god, I have to give up my boots."

"Emily," he repeated once more, but Emily was too preoccupied to hear him and notice that he was actually right beside her.

"I have to give up my entire wardrobe by next week.”

Andrew sighed and placed his hands on her shoulders. “I think I know why you feel like nothing fits you anymore. Do you want to see?”

"Not exactly,” she mumbled, crossing her arms over her chest and pouting.

"Emily, come here," he took her hands and walked towards the mirror on the wall. He stepped behind her and unbuttoned the last few buttons of her shirt before turning her sideways and pulling the shirt out of the way.

"Oh my god," Emily breathed. Her hands joined his, resting on her lower abdomen where a slightly noticeable baby bump began to show. She stared at her reflection, holding on to Andrew's forearms when he wrapped them around her waist.

"You're starting to show," he whispered in her ear. "You’re so beautiful."

"I'm fat," she mumbled.

Andrew sighed, turning her in his arms. "You're beautiful. And now, I'm starting a list of things you're not allowed to call yourself, and the words fat, whale, and watermelon or any kind of fruit that resembles a melon, are already on it."

Emily smiled despite the insecurity slowly building up inside her. She laid her cheek against his chest as he pulled her close, her hands still resting on the tiny baby bump as she continued to stare at her reflection.

"If it makes you feel any better, Sandra had to buy an entire set of new clothes when she was ten weeks pregnant with Julia," Andrew said, smiling when Emily chuckled.

Emily's first meeting with Sandra was unplanned, with the latter deciding to pay her older brother a surprise visit on the day Andrew decided to cook for Emily rather than taking her out for dinner. It started out as an awkward night but ended with Sandra making Emily promise to visit in Boston when they had a case there. The speed of how close they got after their first meeting slightly scared Andrew, not that he would let Emily know. A few months later, Andrew and Emily took a road trip to Boston. Emily met Martin, Sandra's husband, as well as their five-year-old daughter Julia, who immediately stuck to Emily's side. She and Andrew try to visit when their schedules allow, and they always stay for an entire weekend when they do.

"It does, but it doesn't really eradicate the fact that every pair of jeans I own are already snug," Emily said.

"Have you tried using a rubber band?"


Emily pulled away to gaze up at him. "What?"

Andrew didn't reply and walked out of the bathroom, Emily staring at him as he left. He returned with a pair of jeans on his hand and a rubber band in another.

"Try these on," he said. Emily narrowed her eyes at him but took it and put them on. He stepped closer towards her and looped the rubber band through the button hole of her jeans, hooking it to the button afterwards.

"Huh," Emily said as he stepped away. "Did you learn that from Sandra?"

Andrew smiled cheekily. "No. I do it sometimes when I gain some weight and none of my jeans fit me." His smile broadened when Emily laughed and watched as she fixed her blouse.

"I guess this means I have to ask the girls to go shopping with me soon," she sighed.

"I'm sure JJ has a lot of maternity stuff she's been dying to give to one of you," Andrew said.

"Yeah, you're right," Emily agreed, sighing as she glanced at her reflection in the mirror once more. "You ready to go?"

"After you."

Andrew fiddled with his thumbs as he sat in the waiting room, ever so patient but slightly nervous. He glanced at his watch and realised only ten minutes had passed since Emily was called in for an internal exam. Leaning his head back, he closed his eyes and let his mind drift off for a bit.

Ever since Emily told him about her pregnancy, he pictured her with a huge bump carrying a child — their child, he thought elatedly. He was excited to go through the experience with her and to be at her beck and call even if she was too stubborn to ask for help. Emily was going to be an amazing mother, Andrew was sure of that, and he was looking forward to raising a child with her, and, eventually, spend the rest of his life with her.

Sometimes, as he stared at Emily asleep in his arms, he tried to imagine what a child of theirs would look like. Would the baby have her dark eyes, pointed nose, and bow-shaped lips? Would the baby have her kind, stubborn spirit, or would it inherit his calm demeanor?

He was brought back to reality when a nurse called in his name. Emily gave him a small smile from where she sat on the exam chair, a hand resting on her lower abdomen.

"You look tired," he said, taking a seat on the chair across her.

"Gee, thanks," she said, rolling her eyes playfully.

"Was it that bad?" he asked in a worried tone.

"No, it was okay, I guess. I'm just exhausted," she pouted and glanced at him. "Your kid is mean."

Andrew chuckled, running his fingers against her arm. "So is this how things are going to end up? Every time our kid does something ridiculous, they're immediately my kid?"

Emily felt her face heat up at Andrew's choice of words and bit her lip, secretly wanting to ask him to repeat his sentence just so she can hear him say "our kid" again. She opened her mouth and was about to respond with a snarky comment when her obstetrician entered the room, smiling when she saw Andrew.

"Am I right to assume you're the daddy?”

"She calls me that herself, so I’d say yes,” Andrew replied cheekily.

"That's charming," Emily said sarcastically and rolled her eyes. The doctor grinned. "Dr. Nichols, this is Andrew Mendoza. Andrew, this is Dr. Olivia Nichols."

"Nice to meet you," Andrew stood up and offered his hand.

"And you too," the doctor nodded, shaking his hand. "It's always nice to meet someone who matches Emily's snarkiness."

Andrew's grin widened when Emily groaned. "The pleasure is all mine."

"So, Emily, based on the test results, you're already twelve weeks along," Dr. Nichols began, taking a seat in front of Emily.

"But—that's nearly the end of my first trimester," Emily stated, her eyes wide in shock. How she never managed to notice the symptoms of pregnancy, she will never know.

"That's okay. Most women don't realize they're pregnant until they begin to show. Contrary to popular belief, not every woman experiences the symptoms. Sometimes they do, but they experience it later," the doctor replied.

"Is that a good thing or a bad thing?" Andrew asked.

"It's nothing, actually. Having no symptoms doesn't indicate that baby might be born underweight or a miscarriage."

The word miscarriage rang through Emily's ears, and she couldn't help but tear up at the idea of losing her baby again. Granted, she gave up her first one, but if she lost this one, a baby she was already getting attached to, she wasn't sure if she could take it.

Andrew felt Emily tense up and held her hand tightly, hoping it would be enough to comfort her in the meantime. While he wanted nothing but to hold her in his arms and tell her everything would be okay, they were in public, and neither of them were really fans of public displays of affection.

"Is our baby okay?" Andrew asked, hoping to get Emily's attention back.

"Emily's pregnancy is classified as a geriatric pregnancy—"

"Hey, I punched an unsub, who was holding a machete might I add, straight in the face and it didn't even hurt!"


"It's just a medical term, Emily. If it wasn't protocol to discuss it, I wouldn't even bring the term up," Dr. Nichols shrugged. Emily huffed and leaned against the headrest of her seat, Andrew's hand firmly held in hers. "But your high blood pressure does concern me. It's not over the roof high, but we need to monitor it for you and your baby's safety. You need to let your boss know about your pregnancy as soon as possible. I also recommend that you try to keep your stress levels low. High blood pressure might lead to a premature birth, and we don't want that."

"I'll keep that in mind," Emily said.

Andrew turned his gaze towards her and narrowed his eyes at her when she saw her smirk. She shrugged and gave him a look, one that clearly tells ‘don't tell her that I'm the boss.’ He rolled his eyes good-naturedly and kept his mouth shut, knowing that Emily would hold herself back for the baby, and if she doesn't, the team would gladly step up and remind her.

"You're far along enough to hear the baby's heartbeat and get a good picture. So, mom and dad, ready to see your little one?"

Excitement and fear rendered both of them unable to speak, so they merely nodded, fingers tightening against each other. Andrew helped Emily lift her shirt up enough to show her stomach and the barely there baby bump. Emily winced at the coolness of the gel the doctor squeezed onto her stomach, but immediately relaxed when Dr. Nichols placed the probe onto the small bump.

"Here's your baby," Dr. Nichols said, pointing to the screen. Emily felt her heart swell with emotion at the sight. She turned to Andrew and felt tears burn in her eyes when she saw the mesmerized gaze he had fixed on the screen, eyes wide and, like hers, shimmering with tears. "Ready to hear the heartbeat?"

The doctor didn't even wait for the reply as she twisted the volume knob; the soft, rapid sounds from the Doppler filled the room.

Once a lone tear broke through, Emily couldn't stop the rest from flowing down her face. It was her baby's heartbeat completely turning her into mush. Her baby, her second chance to become a mother.

"I'll give you two a minute," Dr. Nichols said.

Andrew nodded and watched as the woman slipped through the door, and turned her attention to Emily.

"It's incredible," Emily sniffled, closing her eyes to try and stop the tears from escaping. "It's amazing."

"I know," Andrew said, wiping the tears from her cheek. "That's our baby."

"That's our baby," Emily repeated in a whisper.

"That's our baby," Andrew repeated back, his voice breaking at the end. Emily leaned her head against him and for a moment, they sat there in the bliss of a new journey ahead of them, one they would gladly embark and face together.

As she lay in bed that night, Emily stared at the sonogram in her hand, memorizing every detail of her baby. After they had wiped the tears away, the doctor re-entered the room. She handed Emily a prescription of prenatal vitamins as well as a list of food she was allowed to eat, once again reminding her to take her rest when needed and taking work lightly. She and Andrew asked for a soft copy of the sonogram, one they can send to the rest of the team and their families.

She laid a hand on her stomach, smiling as she thought of the life growing inside her.

"Penny for your thoughts?"

Emily looked up and saw Andrew in pajamas flipping back the covers to slip in bed next to her. She smiled and handed him the sonogram.

"I'm just," she sighed, leaning her head back against the bedframe.

"I know," Andrew said, turning to face her. He ran his hands up and down her arm, studying the emotions displayed on her face.

"Andrew?" she asked.

"Yes?" He was shocked to see the tears glistening her eyes when she turned to meet his gaze.

"What if I screw this up?" she asked. He opened his mouth to reassure her, but she shook her head and cut him off. "What if I miscarry? Or what if I manage to make it to full term but something bad happens and she just—dies?"

"Emily," he said, pulling her closer to him and letting her sob softly against his chest. He had no clue whether this outburst was brought on by the pregnancy hormones or her actual worries, but it didn't matter. She was scared, and it broke his heart to know she was. "Everything will be okay."

When word got out that he was dating Emily Prentiss, BAU Alpha Team unit chief, some of his coworkers warned him that their few encounters with Emily led them to believe that the woman's ice queen attitude would've made the late Erin Strauss run for her life. At some point, Andrew knew she could; Emily would definitely be the agent making the higher-ups piss their pants.

But getting to know her more made him realise there were two sides to the woman he loved with his entire soul. There was Unit Chief Prentiss, the ice queen his coworkers called. She was the one they worked alongside with during cases, the one who practically wrote the handbook on compartmentalization, and the one who always does her job exceptionally great.

And then there was Emily, who was, in her opinion, a closeted nerd, and would gladly wear pajamas or sweatpants to work if she could. She was a soft, kind-hearted woman who loved with everything she had in her. He knew she would wreak havoc upon those who threatened to hurt her family. Emily also had nightmares, memories of cases that haunted her — when he held her in his arms as she cried herself to sleep the first time he witnessed her having a nightmare, he understood that the nightmares came from all the emotions she bottled up during cases. After that night, he promised himself he would be there for every nightmare she had so she didn't have to face them alone.

"You don't know that," she sobbed.

"No, I don't, but I promise you, if something happens, you won't be alone in facing it," he said, tilting her chin upwards to meet her tear-filled eyes, "you have me. You have your team. We're all here for you, and we're all gonna have your back. Okay?"

Emily sniffled and leaned her forehead towards his, nodding slightly. "Okay," she mumbled in a low tone. "I'm sorry."

"What are you sorry for?" Andrew asked, pulling the blankets over them.

"For crying so much. I don't know what brought this on, I'm never like this," Emily whined.

"Baby," Andrew said, holding back a smile. "you're pregnant. Your hormones are gonna be out of whack for the entire time. Those are Sandra's words, not mine," he quickly added the last comment after she glared at him.

"I think this is the most I've cried my entire life," she sighed and closed her eyes. "Crying is exhausting."

Andrew smiled and ran his fingers through her hair, knowing the movement would make her fall asleep. "Sleep, love," he whispered and placed a kiss on her forehead before closing his eyes.

Jennifer Jareau had just tucked her son in bed when she felt her phone vibrate in her back pocket. She took it out and saw the sonogram photo, smiling at the message Emily included at the end: 'Not that I wouldn't have minded your company, but having Andrew there was amazing. I owe you big time.'

JJ chuckled and replied that maybe Emily would be the one to break the BAU baby boy curse. She then headed to the bedroom and snuggled next to Will, kissing him lightly before leaning over to turn off the lights.

Penelope Garcia was out shopping when she got the message, and had to cover her mouth to stop herself from screaming when she saw the sonogram photo. She quickly typed back a reply—'About time you told us, Peaches!!!'—before walking towards the baby section of the mall, choosing multiple pastel-coloured baby blankets and gender-neutral coloured onesies to give to Emily when she saw her at the office the next day. Godmother or not, she was adamant to be the BAU children's ultimate favourite auntie.

Spencer Reid didn't get a sonogram photo. With his preference to stick to traditional ways, his phone was too outdated to receive photo messages. Instead, he received a text message from Emily, with the words 'Hope you're ready to be a godfather again.' The thought of Emily mothering a child of her own brought a smile to his face, one that was still plastered on his face even as his students started to fill the classroom and until his classes ended. If his students knew it was Emily Prentiss that made his good mood, then they would've thanked her for his promise of no exams the entire week.

David Rossi was laughing with Joy and his grandson, who was growing up too fast for his liking, when he saw the message. In fact, it was Krystall who told him Emily had texted, excitedly mumbling that maybe it was an announcement of the pregnancy—Krystall had noticed the symptoms before he had. She was leaning over his shoulder when he opened the text, and squealed in joy when they both saw the sonogram photo. He told Emily about it in his reply, with a 'Congratulations, gattina' at the end.

Tara Lewis was having drinks with a friend from college when she got the message. The original worry about being called in for a case quickly disappeared when she saw the sonogram photo. She smiled and told her congratulations, before ordering a martini, which Emily usually ordered when they were have a girl's night out. She held the glass up in a toast to Emily Prentiss, and silently vowed to do the drinking Emily will have to avoid during her pregnancy.

Luke Alvez was washing the dishes when Lisa handed him his phone, telling him Emily had texted. It was one of the rare times he and Lisa both had similar days off, and he was still enjoying every minute of it. But as he opened the message, he rolled his eyes and showed Lisa, who was frowning, his phone. It was a sonogram, followed by the words ‘If I snap at you, know that the hormonal imbalance brought them on.’

"She snaps at me, hormonal imbalance or not," Luke told Lisa, grinning.

Matt Simmons read the message just as he was heading to bed. The sonogram was accompanied by a message that was completely Emily.

'Think you can handle a pregnant wife and a pregnant boss at the same time?'

Before he could type out a reply, another message came in, this time a simple thank you, one that Matt understood. He told her no thanks were needed, and that Kristy would be so happy to hear the news, and then he wished her good night.

“Hey, honey?” Savannah asked, walking towards her husband with his phone in her hand. “Penelope was calling you, but she hung up before I could answer it for you.”

Derek frowned as he took the phone. “Did she leave a mess-oh, never mind, here she is again. Hey, baby girl. How–”

Did you get Emily’s message?

Somehow, the cheerful tone in her voice led him to be suspicious. “What message? Penelope, should I be worried?” he asked. Beside him, Savannah also had a concerned look on her face.

No no no! It’s good news!” Penelope assured him. “I’ll hang up now to let you check it, but call me back immediately once you do. Or you can call her and then call me! That one’s better. Okay, bye!

Derek glanced at the screen confusingly before checking his messaging app and just like Penelope said, there was indeed a new message from Emily. He opened it and nearly dropped his phone at the attached photo.

“Is that – “ he trailed off before Savannah took a peek at his phone and jumped in joy.

“Emily’s pregnant!” she screamed in happiness.

“Oh my god!”

“Call her! Call her now!”

In Maryland, Aaron Hotchner was sitting alone in the living room of his house, watching the news when his phone vibrated on the coffee table. He picked it up immediately, thinking it might be Jack—who was at a sleepover with his friends. His eyes slightly widened in surprise when he saw it was from Emily. When he and Jack entered WitSec after Scratch began targeting them, he decided that enough was enough, and handed in his resignation letter. If he wanted Jack to be safe and protected, it was the right decision to make. Unfortunately, it meant he also had to distance himself from the BAU and the team. They respected his wishes, and it was hard and he missed them every day, but he managed.

After a few moments of hesitation, he opened the message and smiled at the sonogram photo, the smile growing when he read her message: ‘I don’t know if you still use this number, but this is the only one I have, and I wouldn’t let Garcia try to find out if you have another one. I hope you still are using this, because I wanted you to know. We miss you, and we hope you and Jack are safe. – Emily.’

His eyes filled with tears as he typed out his reply, breaking his own private rule of avoiding all contact with the BAU for his son’s safety.

‘Congratulations, Emily. You’d be a great mom. And… I miss all of you too.’

At Princeton, Declan Doyle was studying in the library when his phone vibrated against the table. He was about to ignore the message when he saw it came from Emily. Furrowing his eyebrows, he quickly stepped out and opened it, relaxing immediately and smiling at the sonogram photo. He typed out a reply, promising to visit after his finals, and when he headed back towards the library, he was still smiling.

It was noon in London, and Clyde Easter had just finished his budget reports when his phone beeped. Groaning, he silently hoped it wasn't his boss demanding another meeting. When he saw it was from Emily, he immediately lit up. Clyde let out a throaty laugh when he saw the sonogram photo. He let her know he would absolutely try his best to be there a few months before she gives birth only so he could see her waddle.

Chapter Text

"I come bearing gifts."

Emily looked up and smiled at JJ leaning against the doorway. "I hope it's something that helps with this goddamn nausea."

"That, and I have better," JJ said, taking a seat on one of the chairs placed across Emily's desk. "I have pregnancy-friendly granola bars and candy bars."

"Granola bars?" Emily winced. "Those are gross."

"Oh honey, trust me, you'll be saying otherwise in a few weeks," JJ said and winked.

"Well that sucks," Emily sighed and leaned back against her seat. "I'm already out of pants and I'm pretty sure by next week I have to give up my ankle boots, and now this? What else do I have to be aware of?"

"Well," JJ started with a wicked grin on her face.

"No, do not answer that. Let me suffer it because I trusted my biology teacher who said that my eggs would've shriveled up at this age," Emily groaned.

JJ laughed and shook her head in amusement. "So how far along are you?"

"Why, you wanna find out when this little one was conceived?" Emily teased.

"The rumour mill, meaning Penelope Garcia, cannot decide whether it was on your first anniversary weekend or on your birthday celebration this October," JJ said.

Emily grinned and bit her lip. The night after she found out how far along she was, she was trying to remember when and how her baby was conceived. She did the math and when she asked Andrew about the date, he only smiled and kissed her passionately, confirming her theory.

"You're smiling," JJ pointed out, bursting the bubble Emily found herself in.

"What about it?" Emily asked, trying desperately to hide the blush creeping on her face by finishing the paperwork on her desk.

JJ rolled her eyes. For a profiler, and an ex-CIA agent, Emily should certainly be able to do better than that. "It was a good night, wasn't it?"

If possible, Emily felt her face heat up even more at JJ's words and she was certain she was blushing furiously.

"Oh my god, it was," JJ exclaimed happily. "So when? How? More importantly, where?"

"You're starting to sound like Garcia," Emily scoffed.

"If you don't give me answers, I'm gonna get Garcia and let her get the answers out of you, and I know she would get it fast because her questions would be way embarrassing and obscene than mine."

"Twelve weeks," Emily conceded. JJ was right; Penelope knew the buttons to push when it came to embarrassing people, and Emily was certain she would ask for the detailed version including the position they were in so she herself could avoid it.

JJ mouth slowly opened and stared at Emily in shock as she mentally did the math. "Oh my god."


"We were at Rossi's, celebrating Krystall's birthday."

"It was a week late because we were on a case on her actual birthday, but yes," Emily said and bit her lip.

"All of us stayed the night because of the unexpected storm," JJ said.

“Exactly.” Emily found herself unable to stop grinning. "And, well… the blankets weren't warm enough."

"Emily Prentiss!" JJ gasped. "Rossi's house? Really?"

"Keep your voice down. I don't think he would be appreciative of the fact that my child was conceived under his roof."

JJ smiled at how the words 'my child' seemed so natural coming from Emily. She knew that Emily was scared at first — hell, she was terrified both times of her pregnancy — but now Emily was relaxed, and, JJ was so glad to admit, pregnancy looked good on her. She was already glowing.

"I don't think he would be appreciative of knowing anything prior to the actual pregnancy," JJ laughed. "Although it would be a good story to tell your kid when he or she turns sixteen."

"Or maybe we'll just name the kid Rossi," Emily said, throwing her head back in laughter.

JJ was about to respond when she felt her phone vibrate in her pocket. She took it out and read Penelope's text before standing up and putting it back in her pocket.

"Where are you going?" Emily asked, wincing as she munched on one of the granola bars JJ had brought.

"That was Garcia. They're waiting for us in the conference room," JJ said.

Emily burrowed her eyebrows in confusion. "Why? Do we have a case? Garcia didn't tell me if we had any."

JJ raised an eyebrow at the brunette. "Em, we brief cases every 10:30 in the morning."

"It's 10:30 already?" Emily checked her wrist watch and stood up, closing her eyes and massaging her temple when she felt a wave of dizziness hit her. When she opened them, JJ had a sympathetic smile on her face. "This sucks."

"Been there, done that. Luckily for you, the nausea goes away at the second trimester," JJ said as the women walked towards the conference room. "That's also when the craving for random food pays a visit at very random hours."

"That's not comforting, JJ," Emily chuckled. She opened the door to the conference room and was immediately taken aback by the sight in front of her. The normally bleak conference room was filled with purple balloons and decorations, and the table, usually filled with paperwork or coffee, was filled with presents and food. There was also a cake with a baby rattle on top.

"Surprise!" Penelope squealed, wrapping Emily in a tight hug.

"What-what is all this?" Emily asked as she hugged Penelope back.

"Do you think we would shrug and ignore the fact that our badass boss and friend was about to become a mom?" Tara asked incredulously. She hugged Emily as soon as the blonde had let her go.

"Not really, but I also didn't expect this!" Emily exclaimed, taking in the vibrant room. She wanted to ask how they had gotten away with decorating a federal office but considered it better not to. Her eyes landed once more on the cake and she groaned good-naturedly. "And there's cake too? Is that even necessary?"

"It wouldn't be a celebration without cake!" Penelope argued, glaring at Luke who chuckled at her enthusiasm.

"If it makes you feel better, Penelope wanted a multi-layered cake, but JJ and I talked her out of it," Rossi whispered in her ear as he hugged her. "Congratulations, gattina."

"Thank you," Emily smiled. "Alright, I yield to the cake, but presents? Really guys? Andrew and I haven't even found out what we're having and there are already presents?"

"Oh! Oh! Are you gonna find out what it is you're cooking in that tummy of yours?" Penelope asked, clapping her hands together in excitement.

"Andrew and I haven't talked about it yet, but I definitely do. This little one's already a surprise, I want to be prepared," Emily said, a soft smile on her face. Her hand unconsciously made its way to her bump, and she failed to notice the smile on her team's faces at the gesture. "Besides, my doctor said that in my case, I might not even have to wait until sixteen weeks to find out because I have to take a chromosome blood test that reveals it."

"How far along are you?" Luke asks. Emily and JJ glance at each other and they share a small laugh.

"Twelve weeks," Emily grinned.

"At this time, the baby's digestive system is developing, and its pancreas beginning to make insulin. And in a few weeks’ time, the hair would start to develop as well,” Reid added.

"I didn't even think about hair," Emily said, rubbing her hand against her bump. "What else should be developing by the time I reach the second trimester?"

"You guys can talk baby later, for now let's eat cake!" Penelope exclaimed, handing each one a cake slice. Emily took it with a grateful smile.

"So, Emily," Tara asked as she took a seat across the brunette. "Any baby name ideas? Or are you and Matt gonna come up with one that matches the other?"

"Oh my god! There are two BAU babies being born this year!" Penelope clapped her hands excitedly. "One of you better give me a baby girl to spoil."

"I keep trying to imagine what Emily's offspring would look like," Luke said, earning a snort from Emily.

"The baby's definitely gonna have Emily's dimples though," JJ said, taking a bite of the cake.

"Dimples are genetic, although some of them fade over time," Reid nodded.

"I sure hope the kid looks like Emily," a voice from behind said. Emily turned in her seat and smiled when she saw Andrew. "Because have you seen this woman? Her genes are good."

"Hey!" Emily got up and placed a chaste kiss on his lips. "What brings you to six?"

"Andrew Mendoza you are late," Penelope grumbled as Rossi gestured him to take a seat.

"Sorry, I kinda ran into Morrison," he apologized. Morrison was the section chief of the local FBI unit of DC who, according to Andrew, was the slightly nicer male version of Linda Barnes.

"Wait a minute, you knew about this?" Emily asked.

"Knew about it?" JJ snorted. "More like he called us in the middle of the night —"

"— exactly 1:15 in the morning," Reid added. "So just a few hours after you let us all know you were pregnant."

"What Spence said," JJ said, giggling when Tara ruffled his hair. "Baby daddy here told us his plans and left the execution to us." Emily wrinkled her nose at the term. Matt chuckled at the disappointed but unsurprised look at Dave's face, as if he was waiting for one of them to say it for a long time.

"Along with the responsibility of toning down Garcia's ideas for a more lavish party," Luke added, earning a smack in the head from the woman in question.

Emily turned to look at Andrew, who had a slightly smug expression on his face even as he took a bite of cake. "Surprise," he said with a cheeky grin. Emily had to laugh at the bit of cake caught between his teeth.

"You know, you have to reserve the sweet cards for a few months from now. You're gonna need it," Matt grinned, earning a laugh from everyone in the room.

"More like you're gonna need it, seeing your have a wife and a pregnant boss at the same time," Tara said, earning a laugh from every person in the room.

The next minutes were filled with Penelope, JJ, and Tara arguing over who gets to be godmother, making Emily wonder for a while if Andrew wanted Sandra as the godmother. The argument then went over to what name they should choose, along with Penelope proposing a gender reveal party, an idea immediately shut down by Emily.

Later that night, when Emily walked Andrew to the elevators, she placed a lingering kiss on his cheek—before they decided to let the Bureau (aside from their teams) know about their relationship, they had both agreed to avoid public displays of affection. Rarely would anyone walking by see them hugging or even holding hands.

"You didn't have to do all of that," she mumbled against his cheek.

"I know," he said, smiling as he took her hands in his. "I wanted to; consider this an apology to half my gene pool making you nauseated fifty percent of the time."

Emily chuckled and rolled her eyes. "Thank you. Really."

"Glad to do it," he shrugged. "Anything for you."

"Anything?" she asked, leaning back a little to meet his gaze.

"Of course."

She hummed and ran her fingers against his lower arm. "So I guess that includes a proper thank you tonight?"

Andrew's eyes lit up in realisation, and Emily smirked mischievously at the way the muscles in his jaw moved in an attempt to constrain himself from taking her with him in the elevator and having his way with her.

"I'll see you tonight then, Agent Mendoza," she moved away from his arms and started walking towards the bullpen, making sure her hips swayed with every step she took.

Chapter Text

Salt Lake City had a killer on the streets attempting to copycat what the media then called the Alphabet Killer, but adding a few twists on their victimology. The original Alphabet Killer murdered girls aged ten to twelve, their copycat was murdering teenage boys.

"If the unsub is a copycat the Alphabet Killer why kill teenage boys instead of pre-adolescence girls?" Luke asked.

"Obviously this isn't about the races of the victims. Christian Carlson was American, and Timothy Thompson's mom was the daughter of Jamaican immigrants," Tara noted, twirling her pen between her fingers as she spoke.

"The unsub also committed a discrepancy," Spencer said. "The original Alphabet Killer disposed of the victim's bodies in places with the same initials of the victim's name. Christian Carlson was found in 11th Avenue while Timothy Thompson was found in 1450 South Street. In fact, if I would be attempting to copycat the Alphabet Killer, Salt Lake City would be the last city I would do it in, seeing as most of their streets are named in numbers to act as coordinate addresses to make them easier to find."

"It's unlikely that our unsub didn't know this fact about the original Alphabet Murders," Matt said. "They caused a public outrage, and after the death of Michelle Maenza, the police released specific details of the murder to the public."

"And I checked: it's also in the Wikipedia page of the Alphabet Murders," Penelope added. "That makes it an easy-to-access piece of info to nearly everyone."

"There has to be some connection between the victims. The original Alphabet Murders chose victims that were outcasts and loners." Luke said. "It says on their file that both teenagers were star soccer players and were on top of their classes at the same time."

"Garcia, can you check if the victims were also affiliated with the church?" Tara asked. "Catholic, to be specific."

"Can you shoot a gun?" Penelope asked with a teasing smirk, typing away on her laptop. Emily had no doubt that she already had the files on her computer as she spoke. "Hmm, nope. None of the families have even stepped foot inside the church since their children's baptisms."

"It's a complete opposite from the victimology of the Alphabet Killer," Rossi said.

"Other than having the same initials for their given name and their last names, the only connection between the two victims is the fact that they're both on the soccer team," Matt said. "It might be what triggered the unsub."

"Probably wasn't popular as a kid, or maybe he was bullied by jocks when he was younger," JJ agreed. "Or maybe it's something else, a different angle we haven't seen yet."

"Reid, I need you to go with Tara and talk to the families of the victims. Find out their sons' routines and if they noticed anything weird about them, if they seemed to be uncomfortable about something," Emily ordered. "Matt and Luke, I need you to visit the schools the boys attended and interview friends, teammates, classmates, the whole bunch. Ask them the same thing, but be specific to ask the teachers how the boys were as students."

"Oh no," Penelope mumbled. "Mason McFarlane was reported missing by his parents. He's been missing for two days now."

"They waited two days to report it?" Emily asked.

"He told his parents he was going to have a sleepover with his friends," Penelope said, typing frantically. Emily ran a hand against the blonde's arm—she didn't miss the tears glistening her friend's eyes.

"Reid, Tara, find out if the other two boys had sleepovers. JJ, Rossi, and I will set up in the Salt Lake City division office. Wheels up in twenty," Emily nodded, standing up to gather her files. She looked up a few seconds later to find JJ being the only one left in the conference room, smiling sympathetically at her. "What?"

"You do realise this is your first case as a pregnant woman," JJ said. "With the team knowing, that is."

"I did, yes," Emily drawled out, narrowing her eyes at the blonde. "What about it?"

"Oh nothing," JJ waved her hand off. Emily moved to walk beside the blonde as they left the room. "It's just that I remember my first case."

Emily rolled her eyes. "Ah yes, the time when Will randomly showed up in New York and Hotch was nearly blown to death. That one."

"Well I didn't say it was a particularly fun case," JJ nudged the woman. "I just hoped you'd remember what happened after you guys found out."

"Why?" Emily asked, glancing at JJ with a confused expression on her face.

"Well, Agent Prentiss, it seems the tables are about to be turned."

The way the sympathetic smile on JJ's face turned into a smirk did not, in any way, remove the confusion and slight fear Emily was feeling. "What is that supposed to mean?"

"I'll let you figure it out yourself," JJ said, walking away from her. Emily stared at her and shook her head, entering her office to grab her go-bag. There was a killer on the loose, and whatever JJ was implying could wait.

As it turned out, however, it couldn't.

Rossi met her outside of her office, his go-bag in hand one hand and a file tucked in his arm.

"Hey," she said. "I thought you were going ahead with the rest of the team."

"I was, but I wanted to have a talk with you," he said. She narrowed her eyes suspiciously at him but nodded. Together, they walked down the stairs and towards the elevator, where they had the privacy for a conversation Dave seemed to want.

"So, how are you doing?" he asked. At her raised eyebrow, he added, "Are you—both of you, are you okay?"

"Oh," Emily said, glancing down at her lower abdomen with a small smile on her face. "I'm, we're fine, really."

"No morning sickness?"

"Well, I'm in my second trimester already, and JJ and Reid say that's the time when the nausea and the sickness dies down. It hasn't happened to me yet, so I'm looking forward to it," she smiled. Emily opened her mouth to mention something, but pursed her lips together as she decided against it, an action Rossi noticed.

"What is it?" he asked in a gentle tone. He knew Emily—if she never wanted to talk about it, she wouldn't bother letting someone know she had something to talk about.

Emily sighed and turned her head to give him a small smile. "Promise you won't call me crazy?"

"Well, I can't promise that, because you're one of the main reasons I have gray hair," he said in a snarky tone. Emily rolled her eyes. "But I promise not to laugh."

"Okay then," Emily laughed. The elevator dinged, temporarily halting their conversation, and they walked together towards the airway. They were a few feet away from the jet when Emily spoke again. "A few days ago, Andrew asked me if we could visit his sister in Boston this weekend, considering we both don't have work," she said. "We both agreed that it was news that didn't deserve to be announced through the phone."

"I have to agree," Rossi said. "His sister—what was her name again?"

"Sandra," she provided. "He husband's name is Martin and they have a three-year old daughter named Julia."

"It must be serious then if you already met his family," Rossi teased.

"Yes, because being pregnant with his child doesn't entail seriousness at all," Emily said with an eye roll. "But as I was saying, if we finish this case by Friday, we're breaking the news to Sandra."

"What's your dilemma?" he asked. "You wouldn't tell me any of this if you weren't worried about something."

Emily sighed. "Andrew asked when I was going to tell my mother." She heard Rossi let out a disgruntled noise. "I know, that's what I told him too. I think he realised his mistake because he never brought it up again after I told him I'd like to tell Sandra first, but he had a  point."

"Tell your mother she's about to be a grandmother or tell her nothing until she shows up at your apartment and be bombarded with the news that she already is a grandmother," Rossi stated.

"Exactly. And knowing my mother, that means I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place," she said. They had reached the jet and Rossi offered to carry her files for her but she refused with a weird look on her face.

"How did she react about you dating a fellow Bureau agent?" he asked as they took their seats. Emily noticed that most of the pillows were on her favorite seat, arranged to make her feel comfortable. She glanced around and saw that everyone had only one pillow each, when she knew for a fact that there were enough pillows for each member to have two each. "Emily."

"Yeah?" she asked. Having no choice, and knowing that they would need to discuss the case once the jet was in the air, she sat on her favorite seat.

"How did she react about Andrew?" he asked again. Tara, who arrived with the team behind her, eagerly turned her attention to Emily.

Emily winced mentally. "She, uhm, didn't?"

The team stared at her for a minute, the emotions on their faces ranging from pure shock to bewilderment. "Emily!"

"You've been dating for a year!"

"You live together!"

"You're pregnant with his child!"

"Hey!" Emily protested. "Have any of you met my mother? Elizabeth Prentiss is a woman of tradition. She would lose her mind if she found out I'm dating someone I met on a case, what more if she found out I got pregnant out of wedlock?"

"My mother felt the same thing about me dating Will, and it took her a while to adjust to it, but she cried tears of joy when I told her I was pregnant," JJ pointed out.

"My parents weren't married when my mom got pregnant with me," Tara added.

"In conclusion," Rossi said. "Have her over for dinner and do the introductions, then—"

"Tell her I'm pregnant so there's no way I'm getting rid of this relationship? Good idea," Emily added in a sarcastic tone.

"I was going to say you and Andrew should gently break the news," Rossi said, giving her a look.

"Look, I appreciate the concern, but I will find a way to tell my mother about Andrew and the baby after the case," she said, letting out a sigh of relief when the team seemed to accept her answer. She accepted the water bottle Luke was handing her and uncapped it, and was about to take a sip when she slowly realised what was happening. Glancing behind her, she took in the pillows arranged neatly on her seat and darted her gaze back to the bottle on her hand.

"Hey," JJ said in a low voice. Emily looked up and narrowed her eyes at the small smirk on the blonde's face. "Are you okay?"

"Yeah," Emily replied, clearing her throat. With a strained smile, she accepted Spencer's offering of saltine crackers, trying her hardest not to glare at him. From where he sat across her, Emily could see Matt hiding a smile.

Emily sighed, tearing the package open. As thankful as she was for the crackers, because they did help with the nausea and some brands taste good, she had a feeling that the hovering is about to get worse.

"Remind me to fire everyone once this case is over," Emily grumbled to JJ.

"Even me?" JJ gasped dramatically. "But Emily, I'm the one who drinks all the water Luke and Spencer give you."

Emily rolled her eyes. " I guess you, and maybe Matt, can be spared, but I swear to god, if any one of them offers to carry something as light as a file, I will not be held responsible for my actions."

"Wow," JJ chuckled, shaking her head. "Well, if you need help hiding the bodies, you know Matt and I are willing to do it. Andrew, too, once you get him up to date."

"Oh no, he is not spared," Emily retorts, "he got me pregnant—I love him, I really do, but he's the reason I feel nauseated every second of every day, so technically, he's number one on my hit list."

JJ opened her mouth to reply but was cut off by a ringing phone.

"Garcia, what have you got for us?"

Penelope's first deep-dive was a lost lead, but an interview with some of the victim's families had given their lost leads a new angle to look through. All three families were once loyal devotees of Catholic organizations, but became inactive a few years after the birth of their children. The Carlsons quit their organization after an altercation with another devotee, and the Thompsons merely stopped attending meetings. The McFarlanes, on the other hand, were still active donors despite their lack of attendance in meetings and organizational activities. After a few days of interviewing families and friends, the team had slowly come to the conclusion that while the children were murdered, they were not the intentional victims of their unsubs, but rather their parents, for becoming inactive members of the church community.

"I have some info on the church groups the victims' parents used to be a part of, and I hope both of you are sitting down because what I have is mindblowing," Penelope began. "We all know that the Carlsons left their church group, Life Church, due to a disagreement of sorts with another devotee. What we don't know is who the devotee is and what actually happened. And that actually got me thinking, why would they not tell what really happened when clearly it is a crucial piece of information needed to catch our guy—"

"—unless they're trying to hide something from us," Emily said.

"Something that could ruin the organization's image as well as the entire congregation," JJ added.

"Yes, so I looked through their file and went back to the year the Carlson's left, and I found a bunch of sealed documents, and I think we all know when those mean dirty secrets. Add a few magic clicks and voila! Our file has been unsealed and has been sent to your tablets."

By the time JJ and Emily had opened their received files, Tara and Luke had arrived, and hurriedly opened their tablets.

"We have Royce Griffin, who, from what I can read so far, should have his photo placed under the word 'devotee' in dictionaries because he is taking devotion to a whole new level," Penelope said. "He was a member of the same Catholic group as the Carlsons for three years and was even a candidate to be their new leader when the altercation happened."

"Does it say what actually happened between Royce and the Carlsons?" JJ asked.

"Looking, looking and here we g—oh."

"What did you find?" Emily asked, straightening in her seat. She looked up when she felt a hand on her shoulder and restrained from rolling her eyes when she saw Rossi handing her a bottle of water and a granola bar.

"Most churches in America have play areas for children under the age of five, and Royce Griffin was often assigned to watch over them. It's how he got nominated as leader—most of the parents vouched for him," Penelope. "What I am sending to you now, my lovely crime fighters, is a letter of complaint coming from Janine Carlson."

"She came to pick up Christian when she saw Royce molesting the child," Luke read out loud.

Emily felt a wave of nausea wash over her as the images of a two to four-year-old child, toddlers, being molested by a grown-up man and mentally counted to ten in French as she forced herself to swallow the bile forming in her throat.

"Christian's parents asked him to be removed from the church group but instead of doing that the organization leaders just removed him from the candidate list as a punishment," Penelope added.

"That's why the Carlsons left the church group. Maybe that's when they started questioning their faith in the church and just stopped going to one ever since," Rossi stated.

"And there's more," Penelope said. "The McFarlanes aren't in the same group as the Carlsons, but I just found out from the Life Church files that Timothy's grandfather was a member of Life Church, and left when the Carlsons did. He died a month ago."

"The same time Christian Carlson went missing," Tara said. "That must have been his trigger."

"It makes perfect sense," Spencer said. "Garcia said he was one of the most devoted of devotees, and when the Carlsons got him removed from the shortlist he was probably no longer allowed to watch over the children. He gets his revenge by killing the people most important to them, and for the Carlsons and the Thompsons, it's their children."

"So he kills their children to punish them getting him busted, and their names were merely coincidences. He probably even used the Alphabet Killer to make sure his name stays out of it completely," JJ said. "But why take Mason McFarlane? Where do the McFarlanes fit in all of this?"

"Guys think about it," Matt started. "Royce Griffin is narcissistic—he plots revenge against those who took everything away from him, people who also lost their faith in the church. When he sees them suffer, it feeds his ego and probably felt like it was his job to somehow rid the world of people who lost their faith as well."

"He stalks their families and sees that their children are their world and takes them out, somehow he must've stalked the McFarlane's as well," Rossi said.

"Garcia, go through the Mason's school files again," Emily said. "See if his team played against Christian's or Timothy's. If Royce Griffin is our unsub, he must've seen Mason play against them and started targeting him."

"Emily Prentiss you are one fine mama," Penelope remarked. "Mason is playing against Timothy's team for a city tournament, which started two weeks ago."

"That's around the same time Timothy was taken," JJ said.

"Royce Griffin is our unsub," Emily stated. "Garcia—"

"He has five addresses," Penelope said. "Apparently he had enough gold to buy himself a ton of properties."

"We need to narrow it down. Eliminate anything in residential areas. Focus mainly on abandoned buildings and areas of high foreclosure rates," Emily said. "And it has to be secluded enough that no one would see him there."

"Got it! Address is sent to your phones! Stay safe my darlings!" Penelope said before she hung up. Emily put the phone in her pocket immediately and went with the team to suit up, earning a few looks she failed to notice from the rest of the team.

"Wait," Luke, the bravest, and most unlikely to keep his mouth shut, of them, said to Emily. "You're coming with us?"

Emily rolled her eyes as she strapped on her vest and double-checked her gun. "Yes, why?"

"Nothing, I uh, well — "

"You're thirteen weeks pregnant," Spencer finished for him.

"Last time I checked, thirteen weeks is still pretty far from a due date."


"I am pregnant, not an invalid. You know what," Emily said, throwing her hands up in frustration. "We are not having this conversation right now. But until my doctor says no, I am going with you. Do I make myself clear?"

"Yes," Spencer mumbled under his breath. Luke nodded, although he kept his eyes glued on the floor.

"Rossi?" Emily asked, raising an eyebrow.

Rossi sighed and shared a glance with JJ and Matt before nodding. "Alright. But be careful, okay? You have a lot more to lose now."

Feeling a wave of emotion surging from her stomach, Emily darted her gaze to the floor and cleared her throat. "Got it. Let's get this unsub."

They caught Royce Griffin and managed to subdue him before he shot himself. Mason was found in a cellar of the building, dirty and tied up. He clung to Emily when they got him free from the ties. To the team, it made sense that he would cling to her and most probably JJ or Tara; after days of being held by a man who had plans to murder them, it was inevitable that Mason would be hesitant around men.

Reuniting the family was an emotional scene. Mason ran to his parents immediately after seeing even just a glimpse of his mother's hair. The team stood by and watched, satisfied by the reunion, and a little heartbroken that two families had to lose their sons for one to be returned.

Emily felt a wave of nausea rush over her and excused herself, practically running to the bathroom and throwing up until she was dry heaving and her throat was sore. She washed her face and mouth and stared at her reflection in the mirror for a few minutes to gather herself. When she walked out, JJ was waiting for her with a can of ginger ale and saltine crackers. Emily offered a small smile as she took them.

"You okay?" JJ asked.

Emily nodded, but then shrugged a few seconds later. "I just, I don't know. I never felt like this before."

"Like how?"

"You know how it is when cases involve kids or teenagers," Emily explained. "Everything seems harder and everyone is somehow more tense than usual, but… I don't really know how to explain it."

"When you have your own child everything seems impossible," JJ finished.

"Yes," Emily said. "And it doesn't really make sense because my baby's not even here yet but I'm already feeling like this."

"Emily, that's okay. That's normal," JJ said, placing a hand on Emily's shoulder. "You're starting to adjust to everything differently, and trust me when I tell you that it's natural. You're having a baby, and your protective instincts are starting to become more prominent than expected."

Emily chuckled and sniffled. "You sure I can't just blame the hormones for this?"

"Preaching the choir, sister," JJ grinned. "The team is packing up, and Rossi finished some of the paperwork we need before we go, all he needs is your signature."

"Okay," Emily said. "Thank you."

"Anytime," JJ smiled. They walked back towards the conference room the Salt Lake City Division offered, but JJ held Emily back for a few seconds before they entered. "Go easy on them, okay? They just worry."

Emily rolled her eyes. "It's not like I would do anything to risk my life and my baby's. They know that."

"I agree," JJ said. "But you were the same when I was pregnant with Henry, and I was just the media liaison then. You, on the other hand, are the unit chief. And as much as I hate to admit it, you have a tendency of putting yourself into the line of fire for everyone. This is them telling you that right now, it's not just your life on the line, but your kid's. This is us reminding you that you may be our boss, but you are our friend first."

There was a moment of silence where Emily struggled to come up with an appropriate response, letting a few tears slip down her face as she processed what JJ said. "Damn it, JJ. Don't make me cry."

JJ chuckled and wrapped her in a hug, leading her to the conference room away from the prying eyes of other agents.

"Hey," Reid said. His smile turned into a frown when he saw Emily. "What's wrong?"

"Hormones," JJ said. The team all shared a sympathetic glance while Matt had an understanding look on his face. "I think Emily has a few things she likes to say."

Emily smiled as she wiped her face, taking a deep breath before facing the team. Luke and Spencer looked wary while Tara looked like she was torn between being scared and supportive. Rossi, on the other hand, had his signature poker face on, but even Emily could tell he was slightly nervous about how this conversation would go.

"Thank you for your—well, overwhelming shows of concern. Now don't get me wrong, I appreciate them, but like I said earlier, I am pregnant, not invalid. Spencer, Luke, I do not need water every ten minutes—"

"But Emily, water helps in preventing common pregnancy problems," Reid intervened, "such as constipation, hemorrhoids, and bladder infections because drinking water dilutes your urine which reduces your risk of getting infections." Emily found it amusing how Luke was dumbly nodding next to him.

"I understand that Spencer, but I just found out I was pregnant. I'm still getting used to this drinking a lot of water thing. Even my doctor told me to take a few sips of every ten minutes so I can get used to it, but at the rate you and Luke are giving me water, I might be drinking for a third world country."

Reid opened his mouth to argue, but decided against it, nodding his agreement to Emily's statement. Satisfied, Emily turned to Tara and Rossi, the latter who seemed to wince once he realised it was their turn to be reprimanded.

"I can carry a file and a box and my bag. They are not that heavy," she said. Tara and Rossi nodded, offering no arguments, which Emily was thankful for. Pregnancy was tiring; she felt like she had no ounce of energy left in her body and all she wanted to do was sleep, but she still had one more point to clear out. "And I am not leaving the field until my doctor says it is necessary. As much as I hate to admit it, I might be staying behind at Quantico earlier than I expected. But, as long as I'm careful, I can stay in the field. I have borrowed time on stake-outs and arrests, but I can do interviews and M.E. visits. Besides, I know that if I go too far, I have seven people ready to drag me chain my ass to a chair."

Everyone stared at her for a moment before they dissolved into fits of laughter. Emily couldn't help but smile. Her hand went to her lower abdomen and she sighed. Things were going to be okay.

Chapter Text

"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.



Chapter Text

"You're awfully quiet," Andrew told his sister as she loaded up the dishwasher. Sandra glanced over him and shrugged, making him sigh. "Are you mad that we didn't tell you sooner?"

"You're an idiot," Sandra scoffed. "You and Emily could choose not to tell me until the baby was born and I would've been upset, but not mad."

"I actually suggested not telling you but Emily ignored me," Andrew said, relieved when Sandra let out a small laugh. "What's bothering you then?"

"Why do you think there's something bothering me?"

"You got all quiet when Julia came down the stairs, and right now you literally shooed Martin away from the kitchen when he started to help you with the dishes, telling him that you'll let me help instead, but you're not letting me help either," he explained.

"Only because neither of you know how to do it properly," Sandra huffed. "Em does but I'm not taking Emily-time away from Julia."


"That little girl loves your girlfriend so much, in case you missed it," Sandra pointed out.

"I didn't, I just didn't know she had a term for hanging out with Emily," Andrew said. "But that's not the point. You trying to change the topic is another tell that something's bothering you."

"A tell? You're starting to sound like Emily."

"I live with her; it's inevitable," he smiled. "But come on, Sandra. Tell me what's wrong. Please."

Sandra let out a shaky sigh and leaned against the counter. "There's really nothing wrong. I guess I'm just processing the fact that you're about to be a dad."

"Thanks for the vote of confidence," Andrew said cheekily. He quickly bit his tongue when Sandra gave him a look.

"I have nothing against your parenting skills, Andrew. You know that, Martin knows that, Emily knows that," she said, tears forming in your eyes. "Hell, you became my parent when mom and dad died and our good for nothing godfather took us in for the money under our names!"

Andrew winced. The death of their parents' was something they agreed never to discuss when Martin, Emily, or Julia were in the same place as they were. Granted, he knew Sandra talked to Martin about it, and Emily held him in her arms when he told her everything, but the emotions tend to be stronger when they talk about it. It's as if they were taken back to their childhood days of trying to avoid getting beaten up by their godfather. Although he tried his best to take the punches and the kicks, Sandra got her fair share of them. The night he turned eighteen, he took Sandra and together they ran away. He continued school and got a job at a grocery store, and they found an apartment close to Sandra's school; it was completely rundown, and when he got his first paycheck the first thing he bought was a set of locks to keep them both safe, but it was better than getting beat up every day. It was a struggle, but they survived.

"I'm sorry," Sandra whispered, wiping the tears on her face. "I didn't mean to bring it up."

"Don't worry about it," he said, smiling weakly at his sister.

Sandra sniffled. "Do you remember when I told you I was pregnant with Julia?"

"You told me?" Andrew scoffed.

"Ah, yes, let me rephrase that," Sandra said. "Do you remember when Martin, my intellectually smart but socially daft husband, blurted my pregnancy out to you?"

Andrew laughed. "I was pretty sure that if you didn't need him to help with Julia, you would've killed him that night."

"Very funny, Andrew," Sandra chuckled. "Anyways, I was wondering if you remember the promise we kept to each other since that night we ran away."

"Which one?" Andrew asked. They made quite a few, and although a few had been broken over the years, most of the promises were still intact.

"We never make each other the godparents of our own children, but if anything happens, we'll be there for them," Sandra said.

Andrew nodded, giving her a weak smile. "Of course. And you already kept your part."

"Martin wanted to make you the godfather, but I put my foot down on it."

"Did he get upset?"

"A little," she nodded. "I mean, you did introduce the two of us together, so he was understandably upset that we couldn't name you the godfather, but after I told him, he understood. And apologized."

"Of course he would. It's the one-fourth English blood in him," Andrew joked, sharing a laugh with Sandra.

"You know, when you told me about Emily, I was scared that somehow, I was losing you," Sandra said.

"Lose me? What do you mean?" Andrew asked.

"Well, you have an unpredictable job, and a girlfriend with an unpredictable schedule. I barely saw you when you weren't even dating yet, so how often would I not see you when you finally did?" Sandra explained. "I was scared."

"You didn't say anything," Andrew said. "And you know Emily would never do that, Sandra. She constantly reminds me to ask how you're doing."

"I didn't know that then, Andrew. And I didn't anything because you talked about her differently. I realised sooner that you talked about her in the similar way you told me Martin talked about me when I was scared to go out with him," she said, smiling up at her brother. "You were dating for what, three months, at most?"

"Three and a half."

"Yet you were already so in love with her, and I wasn't going to take that away from you. Then I met her, and dear god, it's like you've each known each other longer with how you shared glances and understood one another. Emily's perfect, and I wish you met her sooner."

"So did I," Andrew smiled. "But I wouldn't change a thing about it all, not even with how brutal our first meeting ended."

"Well maybe I would change that. Make it a more romantic story for when your little one asks how mommy and daddy met."

"Emily would understand," he said, changing the topic. He could talk about Emily all day long if he was given the chance, but that wouldn't comfort Sandra at all; she already knew he was madly in love with Emily, she wanted to know whether he would keep his promise. "She would push it at first because you're my baby sister, but she'll understand. Besides, I'm pretty sure that she already has JJ or Pen in line for the godmother role."

"Thank god for that," Sandra said, chuckling with Andrew. "I really am happy for you, Andrew. You and Emily are going to be amazing parents."

"Well, what can I say? Mom and Dad made sure of that when they gave me a baby sister," Andrew smiled, moving towards Sandra and wrapping her in his arms. He placed a kiss on top of her head, the way he always had since they were little. "Thank you." He felt her nod against his chest, followed by hot liquids staining his shirt. "I'll always be here."

Sandra sniffled, leaning away from him and wiping her eyes. She smiled up at Andrew and nodded. "I'll always be here," she repeated.

It was another promise they both intended to keep.

Chapter Text

Emily sighed, turning over on her side to face Andrew. He was engrossed in a novel that although he felt Emily move beside him it took him a minute to realise she was gazing longingly at him with an adorable pout on her face.

"Yes?" he asked, marking his place.

"I can't sleep," she admitted, burying her face against his arm.

Andrew shifted so he was lying down next to her, allowing her to rest her head on his chest. "Anxious about tomorrow?"

"Excited and anxious," she said. "You know, we never talked about the baby's sex."

"What's there to talk about? I don't really have any preferences."

"What about healthy?" Emily asked.

"What do you mean?"

Emily shrugged, lifting her head and resting her chin against his chest. "I'm nearly fifty, Andrew. I'm redefining what it means to be 'over the hill' A lot of babies conceived during menopausal years or closer are born with defects."

Andrew sighed and wiped a tear from her face. Emily sniffled and leandd her head against his palm. "Emily, even if our baby was born with two heads, I would love them with everything I have in me, because they're our child and they deserve nothing but the best."

"I'm scared. That's why I can't sleep." Emily smiled sadly. "What if there's something wrong, not now but in the future, and we end up losing our baby? I know, it's always a possibility and maybe every pregnant woman in the world worries about that, but with my age, the risks are doubled, probably tripled." She looked at him with sad eyes, letting her tears flow freely. "I can't lose this baby, Andrew. I don't—I don't think I'm strong enough to handle that kind of pain."

Andrew didn't waste a second in wrapping his arms around her. His heart broke as sobs shook her body, but he held her tight and whispered soothing words in her ear. He wouldn't dare to tell her that everything would be okay, because the odds weren't in his hand, but he made a silent vow, to Emily and their growing baby, to always try his best to make everything as okay as they would be.

"We need to know," Emily said once her sobs died down.

"It's okay with me. That way, we can plan for a nursery ahead of time, and we can think of baby names without having to come up for each one," Andrew responded, assuming Emily was talking about the baby's sex.

"No, I mean, yes, I want to know what we're having, but not just that," she said with a sniffle. "We need to know what risks could possibly happen not just to the baby but also to me. Andrew, I'm ancient and there's a possibility I can die during childbirth or hemorrhage after the birth or that we can have a severely disabled baby. I looked it up, and there's this test that can detect genetic abnormalities by collecting some tissue from the fetus. We need to know so we can both be prepared for this."

Andrew was at a loss for words. He was so focused on the baby, praying and wishing and hoping that it would be okay, but he completely forgot that pregnant women have one foot under the ground. He made the mistake of thinking of the worst case scenario: losing the baby and Emily at the same time. Now that the thought was planted in his mind, dread accompanied the feeling of worry settled in his gut. He couldn't afford to lose either of them.

"We'll do whatever it is we have to do to be prepared for anything, Emily, I promise you that," he took her hand and kissed her knuckles. "We'll even ask your doctor about the diet you should follow, and we'll both do it together so you wouldn't be alone in it."

"You don't have to do that," she said. "Being here for me would already be more than enough."

"If that's what you want," Andrew nodded, but deep inside Emily knew he would still do it. That was just how he is, and she loved him for it. "We'll talk to the doctor tomorrow okay? But right now, we don't know anything except your blood pressure—for all we know, our baby here's completely fine and we're just being paranoid, and paranoia leads to worrying, which is not good for either of you. So try to get some sleep okay?"

Emily nodded, wiping her tears. "Can you hold me?" she asked. She hated asking for comfort, but she knew she was too afraid of everything that could go wrong that she couldn't handle putting up her masks. She needed to be vulnerable, even for just a night.

"I always will," Andrew smiled, shifting so he could hold her closer to his body. He moved his hand lower down their bodies, resting against Emily's baby bump. Running his fingers against the soft curve, he smiled and placed a soft kiss on Emily's forehead before closing his eyes to sleep.

"Emily," Andrew cooed, caressing his girlfriend's cheek. "It's time to wake up, my love."

"Mmm," Emily grumbled. She opened her eyes and closed them immediately, a groan escaping her mouth. "Why is the sun so bright?"

Andrew smiled in amusement. Emily was naturally a morning person, although she tended to sleep in whenever she didn't have to go to work, but it seemed pregnancy was converting her to a nocturnal. Not that he would complain; in fact, he was getting used to this new routine. Every time he woke her up, she would complain about the sun and its brightness, and take a few minutes to actually wake up and smile sleepily at him. It makes him fall in love with her even more than he already has.

"Its telling you that it's time to wake up," he said.

"What time is it?" she asked, eyes still closed.

"Quarter to nine," Andrew replied. "Our appointment is at eleven, so I'm making breakfast right now. Do you want anything in particular?"

Emily blinked one eye open and smiled at him. Andrew had to restrain himself from leaning over her and giving her a good wake-up call. "Can you make pancakes?"

"Your wish is my command." He went to stand but Emily took his hand.

"Not the normal pancakes, though. The big fluffy ones." At Andrew's raised eyebrow, she continued, "I had a colleague at Interpol who lived in Japan for three years before moved to London. She took us to this restaurant for breakfast one day. I distinctly remember her saying 'this is the most authentic Japanese restaurant in a non-Asian country.' Anyway, they served these amazing fluffy pancakes that were soft and fluffy and airy and they were just absolutely delicious."

"It sounds like heaven," he agreed.

"And they taste like heaven," she nodded. "I firmly believe that if I ate heaven, it would taste like those pancakes. I really do."

Andrew laughed. "As heavenly as those sound, I don't really know how to make those pancakes. But, what about I learn how to make one first and perfect it so when you ask for some, I can whip a couple for you?"

"Alright," Emily nodded, "but you don't have to if it would bother you."

He smiled and placed a soft kiss on her lips. "You could never bother me, Emily Prentiss. Never." He broke away from her before the kiss could go any further. "I'll set an alarm for twenty minutes. When it goes off—"

"I get up and shower. I know, daddy," Emily teased, smirking at how his eyes darkened when she drawled out the last word. "I'm kidding. Go make my pancakes."

"You're bossy. And mean."

"They do call me that at work sometimes."

"Good thing I still love you."

"Good thing indeed." He placed one last kiss on her lips before he got up and left the bedroom.

Thirty minutes later, Emily walked out of the bedroom, dressed in a yellow shirt and pants, which Andrew knew she had recently bought at the mall. She refused to shop at the maternity section just yet, opting to go for clothes three sizes up from her usual ones. Andrew took a moment to stare at her, smiling at how she seemed to glow. In his eyes, she was the most beautiful woman he had ever met, but pregnancy seemed to intensify her beauty, her shirt accentuating the ever growing baby bump. She was ethereal.

"What are you staring at?" Emily asked, pulling Andrew out of his thoughts. She laughed when he blinked twice. "What? Do I have something on my face?"

"You look incredibly beautiful," he smiled at her.

Emily rolled her eyes. "Really? I don't feel it. Your child has decided that I could no longer keep the pregnancy a secret from anyone and showed themselves," she pointed to her stomach. "I'm going to be a walking basketball come twenty weeks."

"Remember the list? I just officially added 'walking basketball,' so you are no longer allowed to call yourself that," Andrew said, placing a plate with a stack of blueberry pancakes in front.

"Oh poo, the list is stupid," Emily argued, stabbing a pancake with her fork.


"What? It is!"

"I'm a little hurt because I made the list and since you called it stupid that indirectly means I'm stupid."

"Babe, I love you, I really do, but the list is stupid because those things are true. Two weeks ago, I just look bloated, but now I look like I stole a basketball from the school gym and decided to hide it under my shirt because I'm that huge," she said. "Don't deny it."

"I won't because yes, I agree that you are getting bigger, but one, that is good news because bigger you means the baby is bigger and is therefore healthier," Andrew said.

"Point number two must better be sweet to make up for you calling me fat," Emily warned.

"Two, you are not fat, you are pregnant," he continued, hugging her from behind. He placed her hands on the bump and smiled, stroking it softly with his thumb. "Which leads me to point number three, the last but not the least: pregnancy looks good on you. You've always been beautiful and glowing, but right now, you're five times that."

Emily smiled. She placed her hands on top of his and sighed, content and comfortable as she leaned against him. "Thank you. You're too sweet to me."

"Mm, you deserve every ounce of sweetness," Andrew said, placing soft kisses down her neck.

"Andrew," she moaned softly as his lips traced her jaw. "Honey, we're going to be late for our appointment."

"We can reschedule for a later time," he whispered in her ear, biting her earlobe gently.

Another breathless moan escaped Emily's lips, but she held firm, despite how her body was screaming, begging to let him take her back to bed, and pulled herself away. "Do you really want to hold off on finding out what we're having?"

Andrew sighed, leaning his forehead against her shoulder for a moment before placing one last kiss on her neck and leaving to take a shower. Emily, on the other hand, was one step away from inhaling the entire plate of pancakes. So far, her doctor hasn't said no to pancakes yet, and she asked Spencer, her walking baby-guide, to be safe, and he assured her it was safe. Emily knew that her access to pancakes and the rest of her favorite food could be cut short any minute so she gulfs everything down while she still can.

"You're going to bite your entire thumbnail off," Andrew said, taking her hand.

"Do they intend to make me wait any longer?" Emily asked, rolling her eyes when Andrew shot her a reprimanding look for snapping. "What? I'm a nervous wreck here, and waiting doesn't make me any less nervous. It actually just makes me worry more, thank you very much."

Andrew sighed in defeat. He nearly kissed the technician when she (finally) entered the room, offering them a warm smile.

"Sorry I took so long. Our usual guy in charge of testing was out sick today, so Doctor Nichols and I had to take care of it," she explained, "and by taking care of it, she told me what to do and I just followed. She should be by in a few minutes with the results."

It was Emily's turn to shoot Andrew a reprimanding look at his arrogant "I told you" smirk.

"Meanwhile, we can get a look at your baby, check if they're ready to tell mommy and daddy what they are, unless of course, you guys don't want to know."

"Oh we do," Andrew said eagerly, grinning. "We so do."

"Daddy's excited," the technician smiled as she set up the equipment. "I like that."

"Yeah, well, our little one here is already a surprise, and we both decided no more surprises unless they want to be grounded for life," Emily squeezed Andrew's hand.

"Any preferences?"

"None at all," Andrew and Emily said simultaneously, making the technician smile. She squeezed some gel onto Emily's exposed abdomen and began moving the wand.

"And here's your baby."

Similar to their first ultrasound appointment, Emily and Andrew were at a loss for words, both mesmerized as they stared at the screen with hands tightly clutching the other's and tears stinging their eyes.

"You know, I keep staring at the sonogram we already have, but seeing our baby never gets old," Andrew whispered. Emily nodded, hastily wiping her eyes.

"Good news is, baby is big enough for a geriatric pregnancy," the technician said. Emily was too distracted to notice she mentioned geriatric pregnancy.

"Good news? Does that mean there's bad news?" she asked in a worried tone. Beside her, Andrew held his breath, terrified at the words that might come out of the technician's mouth.

"Not really, more like disappointing news," she clarified. "Sadly, your baby seems like they're not yet ready to show."

Emily let out a sigh of relief, grateful because she bad expected the worst but this wouldn't even classify as bad news. She smiled at Andrew, who kissed the back of her hand as a means so soothe her.

"But fortunately for us, I have your chromosome test results." The three of them whipped their heads around to see Doctor Nichols walking towards the bed, clip file in hand. "Good to see you again, Andrew."

"There's no place I'd rather be at this moment, Doctor," he nodded.

"Before we go to the fun part first, let's discuss your blood results." Doctor Nichols took a seat in front of the bed. "Your blood pressure is still high, not danger levels or I would already issue bedrest for you, but it's still higher than I like."

"What should I do to keep it down?" Emily asked.

"Same as what I told you last time, but can I get a clue on what you do in the field other than chasing the bad guys and tackling them to the ground?"

Emily held back a snort at the doctor's description. She had heard more bizarre ones, after all. "Well, we do crime scene visits, stakeouts, interviews, coroner visits sometimes, and uh, arrests."

"Hmm, I know last time, I gave you permission to do all those except the arrests, but right now, we can't risk your blood pressure rising again, so I'm issuing an order to limit you to strictly stick to visiting the coroner's office because it seems the least dangerous," Doctor Nichols said. "Other than that, you are out of the field. Okay?"

"Yes," Emily nodded in disappointment. She had hoped that she would still have freedom, although limited, even when pregnant, but for her baby, she would be willing to stay at the station.

"Good," she smiled. "Now, I have the results from the chorionic villus test, and I am happy to announce that there are no obvious genetic problems found."

If Doctor Nichols knew their reactions would be heartwarming and comical at the same time, she would've had a camera ready. Both parents let out a sound that was half laugh and half sob, leaning into each other at the relief flooding through their veins. From the corner of her eye, she saw the technician wipe the corner of her eye and stopped herself from doing the same. Once they calmed down a little bit, she decided to add in one last detail that would surely make the parents' day even more wonderful. "Congratulations you two."

Later, after they buckled their seatbelts, Emily cupped Andrew's face and kissed him, smiling when he placed his hands over hers as he kissed her back.

"I love you," she sniffled after they broke the kiss. Her hands were still on his face, and she wiped the lone tear that slid down his cheek. "I love you so much."

Andrew pulled her as close as he could to him. "Not that it's a competition, but I love you more."

"They're here! They're here!" Michael's voice could be heard from inside, and a few seconds later, the front door opened and Emily was greeted with a hug to her thighs. "Hi Auntie Em'ly!"

"Hey, Michael!" Emily bent down to give him a hug, waving to Henry who had followed his brother to the door. "Oh god, you've grown since I last saw you, which was what, three weeks ago?"

"No!" Michael giggled when Emily began tickling his side.

"You hear that Henry? Michael's asking you to help me tickle him," Emily teased, winking at the ten year old. Henry smiled and tickled his brother's neck. The two stopped when Michael was giggling so hard he was wheezing.

"Hi Uncle Andrew!" Henry said, giving him a fist bump. He stepped aside to let the couple in and followed them to the kitchen. "Are you going to play video games with me and Uncle Dave tonight? Mommy said we could as long as Auntie Emily isn't tired yet."

Andrew smiled. "Sure buddy! But go easy on me okay? You beat me last time. Let this old man have one win."

"Beat Dave's ass for me, I promise a special night once we go home," Emily cooed seductively once she was sure the two children were out of earshot.

Andrew shot her a grin and slid his hand from hers and into her waist, pulling her against him and kissing her passionately. He ran his tongue lightly over her bottom lip and Emily let out a moan, wrapping her arms around his neck and pulling him closer. Her back was pressed against the kitchen counter, with Andrew's hands running up and down her sides, leaving a tingling effect that had her kissing him for more than he was worth.

"Hey guys, we're all over oh my god!" They broke apart and turned her heads to see Spencer standing over the archway, one hand covering both eyes. Emily groaned and buried her face against Andrew's neck in an attempt to hide the redness covering her face, as if Spencer would see it.

"Hi Reid," Andrew chuckled awkwardly, keeping his arms around Emily.

"Hi, I, uhm, we, uh, Rossi set up a campfire, and he told me to come tell you that we are all out in the balcony," he stammered. "I'll see you there then."

"Is he gone?" Emily asked, her voice muffled against Andrew's chest.

"Yes, he's gone," he sighed, placing a kiss on her forehead. "At least it wasn't Dave, or Penelope, again."

"What is it with Dave's house that gets us all hot and touchy?" Emily wondered, eliciting a chuckle from Andrew.

"I think it's either the chimney or the huge backyard."

"Hmm, maybe," she sighed, kissing his cheek. "Come on. Let's go before Dave gets us or sends someone else to do it."

"Hey you two," JJ greeted them with a smirk on her face. "Dave sent Spencer to get you and he came back all flushed and stuttering. Want to tell me what that was all about?"

"Hi JJ," Andrew said. "Is Will here?"

"No, his partner's mom was in the hospital so he couldn't get out of work that easily," JJ said. "He's going to be sad he missed you, though. He was so excited when I told him Emily was pregnant, saying maybe this baby would break the boy streak between the BAU children. That is assuming, you guys found out today, right?"

"Hey, what did Rossi cook?" Emily asked. Andrew held back a snort at her abrupt change of topic. "I mean, I'm game to eat smores all night long, but my doctor gave me diet list and the pregnancy watchman here is going to make sure I follow it to a T."

JJ laughed when Andrew nodded beside her. "Well, knowing you and your penchant for everything greasy, I would say someone's gotta do it."

"Hey! I resent that," Emily complained as they made their way to where everyone else was.

"Nice job on sidestepping the what happened with Spence question," JJ remarked.

"I have no idea what you're talking about," Emily said, accepting a hug from Krystall.

Dinner outside was eventful. Everyone, except Matt and Kristy who had to visit her family, was there, and they all gave her big hugs and told Emily she looked amazing. Despite Emily's expectations of smores and barbeque only meal, Dave went all out and cooked fish and made a salad for her, which Emily knew Andrew was grateful for. The kids were animatedly asking Emily about the baby, and the adults, although they tried to hide it, were waiting for Emily to spill something about the baby's gender. Penelope, as Emily had expected, was the one to snap.

"How did your appointment go?" she asked.

"It went well," Emily said with a warm smile on her face. Andrew wrapped his arm around her shoulders and she leaned against him. "Our little one is getting bigger, and unfortunately, my blood pressure's still high so while I'm still allowed to travel, I'm stuck to desk duties."

"And visiting the coroner's office," Andrew reminded her.

"Ah yes, visiting the coroner's office. My doctor said it was the least dangerous part of being in the field."

"What, you didn't tell her about that one time when it turned out the coroner was actually the unsub and shot at you?" Tara asked in a teasing tone.

"If I did, I would've died from boredom of desk duty," Emily said.

"Did you find out what you're having?" Luke asked curiously.

Emily glanced at Andrew and held his gaze, both pretending to have a silent conversation that seemed to take forever in order to elevate the suspense. In reality, they made a bet on which BAU team member would be the one to break and snap: Emily had bet on Penelope, while Andrew bet on Spencer. Fifty bucks were at stake, and both wanted to win.

She barely managed to suppress an eye roll when Spencer cleared his throat to get their attention. "Did you?" he asked, smiling sheepishly at the couple.

"We did," Andrew nodded.

"Ooh!" Krystall said, clapping her hands together. "So? Are you having a boy or a girl?"

"Yes, please do tell us so I can start shopping for the baby!" Penelope took out her phone and opened, what Emily dreaded, was an online shopping app.

"Pen, I am begging you now to please not buy out an entire baby store," Emily said.

"I am the BAU Fairy Godmother! It is my job to spoil the BAU babies, and since this time, it's specially your baby, I have to make sure the baby likes me," Penelope explained.

Emily opened her mouth to argue but was immediately stopped by JJ, who placed a hand on her shoulder and said, "Arguing with her would lead to nowhere. Just make some space in your closet."

"I'm not telling," Emily joked. A chorus of "Oh come on, Emily!" escaped their mouths, and Emily felt Andrew shaking beside her as he tried to hold back from laughing.

"Fine! Andrew can tell us!" Luke said and everyone shifted their gaze to Andrew, who raised his palms up in the air.

"She's the boss," he shrugged.

Penelope let out a dramatic sigh. A few seconds later, the corners of her lips twitched upwards as she grinned. "That's okay! That just gives me an opportunity to plan a gender reveal party for you, and there's these pretty black balloons I saw online and you can fill them with either blue or pink confetti and—"

"We're having a girl," Emily blurted at the same time as Andrew said, "It's a girl."

Everyone fell silent for a few minutes before they rose as a unit and went to hug the couple, with Rossi leaning over to kiss both of Emily's cheeks, Italian style.

"Em, I'm so happy for you," JJ said, giving her friend a tight hug. "I can't wait to meet her already!"

Emily gave her a watery smile and nodded. "Me too. But she's staying in there for at least thirty-five weeks or she's in big trouble."

"Daughters are amazing," Krystall said as she hugged Andrew. "They're a love and at the same time a pain because they do all the stuff you did as a teenager."

"Oh god," Emily groaned. She was not looking forward to her daughter's one day teenage angst, and she hoped that she and her daughter would have a better relationship than the one she had with her mother.

Her daughter. The thought made her giddy. She was going to be a mother to a baby girl who, as far as they knew, was as healthy as she could be. Emily felt tears pool in her eyes and she nearly cried right there and then in Andrew's arms as she met his gaze and saw the genuine love in his eyes.

She was having a daughter with the man she was madly and deeply in love with.

"Alright everyone," Dave gathered everyone's attention and raised his glass of champagne in the air for a toast. The kids raised their glasses of soda and Emily raised her glass of water. "To Emily and Andrew. Here's to your growing family."

"To Emily and Andrew!"

Chapter Text

Emily entered the café and looked around, smiling when she saw Tara wave at her from where she sat with JJ and Penelope. She wandered towards the table and sat next to JJ.

"Hi, sorry for being late. Andrew made me run through the diet list again," Emily said with an eye roll. "That, and this is the only thing I have that fits me and it was in the back of the closet." She ran a hand to smooth an invisible wrinkle on the full skirt of her red dress, one that was a little formal for the casual setting but then again, she was nineteen weeks pregnant and getting bigger every day. Andrew had added nine more words to his 'list,' but somehow he didn't add the word 'butterball' and occasionally called their daughter with the name when he spoke to her before they slept. Emily found the endearment sweet and weird at the same time.

"Aw, is Andrew being super protective already?" Penelope asked.

"Like you wouldn't believe," Emily huffed, taking the menu JJ handed her. "He was actually the one who begged me to make you guys choose this place because it's close to the apartment so if anything happens, he can just run his way over here."

"What could happen within three hours of brunch?" Tara asked with an amused chuckle.

"I know! It's not like I'm giving birth at nineteen weeks!" Emily exclaimed.

The women chuckled and temporarily halted their conversation when a waitress arrived to take their orders. Emily ordered a pasta salad with added mushrooms, mozarella, and pepper (her cravings had gone from soufflé pancakes to pepper-filled food; Andrew had to stop her from adding pepper to her sandwich one time). When their orders arrived, Emily eyed her friends' drinks in a jealous manner as she sipped on her fruit smoothie.

"Looks like someone's already missing her wine and martini," JJ teased in a sing-song voice. She didn't miss Emily's longing gaze towards their drinks and empathised with the woman. JJ remembers the time when all she wanted to drink was wine or scotch or martini when she was pregnant with Michael. Those were not fun times.

"That makes me sound like an alcoholic," Emily mumbled with a pathetic frown on her face.

"Don't worry, Prentiss. I'll drink your share until you can drink again," Tara chuckled. "Hey, why don't we schedule a girls' night sometime soon?"

"Yes please!" Penelope excitedly agreed. "It's been so long since we last had a BAU ladies' night!"

"Did you guys miss the fact that I'm nineteen weeks pregnant?" Emily asked. As much as she would love to have a girls' night, she knew it would consist of alcohol, something she wasn't allowed, but would gladly forgo, for the time being. "I can't drink."

"Who said there'll be drinking?" Tara asked. Emily raised an unamused eyebrow at her, and she sighed. "Fine, our normal girls' night would involve a lot of drinking, but since one of us is on an alcohol hiatus, then why don't we all do too?"

"Really? You would do that?" Emily eyed them suspiciously. Penelope was nodding happily beside Tara and her phone was out—Emily would guess that she was planning what movies they were going to watch.

"Absolutely," JJ said. "I mean, come on, Em, you and Garcia did it for me when I was pregnant with Henry. Who says we're not doing it for you this time?"

Emily smiled. "I guess so."

"I'm bringing the movies. JJ you're in charge of popcorn and snacks, and Tara you're in charge of non-alcoholic drinks," Penelope turned to Emily. "You are allowed mocktails, right?"

Emily nodded. "What am I supposed to bring?"

Penelope's eyebrows furrowed. "We're having it at your place silly!"

"What? Why?"

"Because you have a hunky, tall glass of water for a baby daddy, and he also happens to be extremely protective of you," Penelope explained.

"I know, but it's not like he won't let me spend the night at, I don't know, JJ's place? I mean, she has the room."

"Yeah, but so do you," Tara said. "I bet ten bucks Andrew would try to convince you to have it at your place if you tell him it's at JJ's."

"He'll probably clean up the place until it's all shiny and shimmery," Penelope nodded.

Sighing, Emily shrugged. "I guess we're having it at my place."

"Yes!" Penelope exclaimed. "Is Saturday okay? Unless, of course, a serial killer somewhere in the country misses a therapy appointment."

"It isn't finals week yet, so I can easily get a babysitter," JJ shrugged.

"Saturday it is," Emily said. She raised her glass for a toast. "Here's to hoping serial killers in America give us a break."

"Amen to that, sister!"

"Emily I almost forgot!" Penelope said. She reached under the table and pulled out five pink shopping bags, handing each one to Emily. "The second wave of gifts for the mini-me in your tummy."

"Garcia," Emily warned as she took the bags. "I thought we agreed that you are not to buy out an entire baby store for my butterball."

"First of all, I do not recall agreeing to an agreement. You said not to buy out the store, I stalled without saying yes or no, and it worked perfectly," Penelope said, placing her fingers to her lips and kissing them the way a chef would on television. "Second, and last, I saw this cute little onesie with the word 'butterball' embroidered in front and you can expect it by next week."

Emily's mouth was wide open in shock, and tried to come up with an argument but found none. She turned to JJ and silently begged her friend for help, but she just shrugged. In all honesty, JJ was entertained by what was happening before her. For years, Emily had laughed when Garcia entered the bullpen, arms full of shopping bags, with gifts for Henry and Michael. Now, the tables were turned and she was going to savor each moment.

"How did Andrew react when you told him you were pregnant?* Tara asked, attempting to hide a smile. Like JJ, she was having fun watching Emily try to stop Garcia from going bankrupt for the BAU children when it was clearly a part of the woman's job description. She figured a change in topic would help distract Emily. "Was he already suspicious? Or was he completely surprised by the news?"

"The latter, really," Emily replied. "I didn't experience any of the symptoms until I was maybe twelve weeks along, and even then, a bug was running around so we both thought I caught it and didn't think about it that much. That or I managed to convince him I just ate something bad."

"How did you tell him?" Penelope asked. "And what did he say? What did he do? Did he cry?"

"Well, I came home to him making coffee and the scent just got me all nauseated and I threw up. He was so worried because he thought I was sick. He hid it well, but his eyes were just, wide and slightly glassy, I think he might've thought I had cancer or something so I told him and at first he was frozen and then he rambled about us expecting and then, uh—" Emily trailed off and smiled softly.

"Oh, you're smiling that awfully smile of yours which means he did something incredibly sweet and you melted," Penelope pointed out. "Or did you have a reenactment of the night your butterball was conceived?"

"Garcia!" The women said in unison.

"What? It's an acceptable question!"

"No, we did not, but we did share a few something somethings," Emily winked.

"Just say you made out," Tara chuckled.

"We're adults, Tara, not teenagers. All forms of kissing include a little tongue," Emily joked.

"I'm impressed, though," JJ said. "Andrew's reaction was… a lot better than Will's."

"Oh yeah," Emily laughed. "But you have to admit, proposing at that time is sort of part of the Southern men etiquette."

"Why? What did Will do?" Tara asked.

"Will flew in from New Orleans and when I picked him up from the airport, he proposed."

"No," Tara gasped.

"Yes," JJ, Emily, and Penelope said.

"That's hilarious! But like Emily said, it's a Southern move," Tara said. "Wait, didn't you guys tell me you got married in 2013?"

"We did," JJ nodded. "When he proposed, I told him he was crazy and said no."

"It took four years and a bank hostage for JJ to say yes," Emily teased. JJ merely rolled her eyes in amusement.

The attention, however, went to Penelope when the woman gasped loudly as a realisation came across her mind. "Are you telling me that Andrew Mendoza did not ask you to marry him when you told him you were pregnant?"

*No, he didn't."

"Okay, what?" Penelope asked.

"Come on, Pen," Emily sighed. "We're not getting married just because I'm pregnant."

"I think what Garcia is trying to say," JJ interrupted, "is that Andrew is head over heels in love with you, so it is sort of weird and a little shocking that he didn't ask."

"I agree," Tara said. "I mean, he's Andrew. We all knew he was in love with you when you introduced him to the tram after you guys started dating because he looked at you with that look."

Emily sighed and averted her gaze to the napkin on her lap, fiddling with her thumbs. Now that she thought about it, Andrew's reaction to her pregnancy was mild, to say the least, and she was too worried and scared that he would hate her to realise it. Of course, a part of her was glad that he never asked to marry her—just because she was pregnant, it doesn't mean they needed to get married.

The other part however, the scared and insecure part that led to weeks of dodging Andrew's calls and texts before they even dated and then distancing herself when he said 'I love you' for the first time, wondered why he never asked.

"Emily," JJ's voice snapped Emily from her thoughts. She lifted her gaze and mentally cursed when she saw that her friends were staring at her with concern on their faces.

"I'm fine," Emily smiled weakly. "I just—we never really discussed marriage. And besides, we’re happy and stable and, you know, this is permanent. We’re both a hundred percent in this." They also never discussed anything regarding children, but here they were, expecting a baby in nineteen weeks.

Emily opened her mouth to speak again when her phone rang. She took it out of her pocket and smirked. "Speak of the devil," she said and turned her phone around to show her friends the caller ID: Andrew (his ID name had the nail polish emoji next to it, because he thought it was funny).

"Come on!" Penelope exclaimed. "It's only been an hour!"

Smirking, Emily answered the call. "You do realise nothing's going to happen to me at nineteen weeks—"

"Emily, you need to come home."

Her eyes widened as she listened to Andrew's frantic voice. "Andrew, what's wrong?"

"Your mother is here," he said.

"What? Why? How?" She closed her eyes and let out a frustrated sigh. "What is she doing there?"

"Who are we talking about?" JJ asked, furrowing her eyebrows in concern as she watched Emily stand and start gathering her bags with her phone between her shoulder and ear. "Is everything okay?"

"I don't know Em but she's pacing the living room and mumbling angrily in a different language," Andrew replied. "I think it's Arabic."

"You let her in?" Emily asked in an incredulous tone.

"Yes!" Andrew exclaimed. If he didn't sound so scared and she didn't need him to help raise their child, Emily would murder him. "Come home. Please."

Emily tapped her foot impatiently against the floor of the elevator, staring at the number on top.

She hung up immediately after Andrew begged her for the second time, practically ready to run out of the restaurant, with her arms full of Penelope's presents, when JJ stopped her and offered to drive her back to the apartment. Later, she would send her friend a text of gratitude.

The familiar ding echoed throughout the walls of the elevator and she hurriedly walked towards their apartment.

"Oh thank god," Andrew greeted her, his voice laced in panic, when she entered. "What are those?" he asked, referring to the shopping bags in her arms.

"I'll explain later," Emily promised. "Is she still in the living room? Why did you let her in? Why is she here?"

"Emily, I don't know. I was cleaning up when the doorbell rang and I thought it was the lunch I ordered so I opened it without checking and then there she was. She was yelling and threatening to call the cops on me when she saw me standing there—"

"—she called the cops?!"

"—threatened to call the cops, and she was about to do it when Mrs. Gerard from next door came to see what the commotion was about and told her I lived here with you. After that, she basically shoved her way in and demanded I see you."

"Oh my god," Emily groaned. "I'm sorry."

"Me too."

"I need to talk to her," Emily said. When Andrew nodded, she added, "Alone."

"Emily," he started but Emily immediately cut him off.

"Andrew she's livid, I can feel it radiating from the living room. I need to talk to her alone. Please," she begged.

Andrew sighed but nodded. "Okay. I'll call the restaurant and tell them I'll pick the food up instead of having it delivered. Think thirty minutes will be enough time for you to talk to your mom?"

"Can you call ahead and order one more meal? I didn't really get the chance to eat at the restaurant. And a similar one, you know, in case things end up good with my mother and she insists to stay for lunch," she said. "If it doesn't, we'll just share it."

"Sure thing," he placed a soft kiss on her lips. "Will you be okay?"

"I will be," she nodded weakly. "If you come home and don't hear my voice from the living room, call the team. They'll know what to do."

He gave her an encouraging smile before taking his coat and leaving the apartment. Emily sighed and took a few deep breaths before entering the living room.

"Mother," she greeted cordially. She held back a wince when her mother returned it with a glare. "This is a surprise."

"Who was that man?" Elizabeth demanded.

"Wow," Emily scoffed, shaking her head in disdain. "Can you say that in a more disapproving tone? Because I know you can do better than that, Mother." She wanted to cross her arms over her chest, but the action would emphasize her baby bump, which was fortunately being temporarily hidden by the full skirt of her dress.

"Emily, I have no time for your snarky tones. Who was that man?"

"He's my boyfriend, mother." More than that, Emily thought.

"Does he live here with you?" Elizabeth asked.


"So it's serious then." Elizabeth shook her head. "You were in a serious relationship and you didn't tell me about it? I had to find out from your neighbor that you were dating this man! You humiliated me to a stranger! Can you imagine if one of my acquaintances knew and asked me about it? I wouldn't know how or what to answer Emily!"

Emily stared at her mother in shock. "What the hell is wrong with you?"

"I beg your pardon?" Elizabeth said, her glare intensifying at her daughter's vile language.

"You show up at my apartment unannounced, you threatened to call the cops on him, and your problem is that I humiliated you?" Emily asked.

"It's what you did! It's what you do! You find joy in embarrassing me in public because apparently, you didn't find it satisfying enough to embarrass me in private!"

Emily let out a mirthless laugh. "This is why I never told you. You make everything be about you—"

"—oh stop being dramatic Emily!"

"You don't care about me, Mother!" Emily practically yelled. There were tears stinging in her eyes, and she mentally cursed the pregnancy hormones, but she refused to let them spill out of her eyes. Instead she took a deep breath and discreetly swiped her thumb underneath her eyes. When she glanced at her mother, she froze as she noticed the woman's gaze focused entirely on her abdomen.

Emily watched as Elizabeth closed her eyes and balled her hands into fists. "Emily, are you pregnant?"

She swallowed before nodding. "Nineteen weeks."

The silence that took over was alarming, and Emily closed her eyes to prepare herself from the yelling that would eventually come out of her mother's mouth.

"Are you at least going to marry him?" Elizabeth asked. The question threw Emily off and she stared at her mother in response. "I assume that the man you live with is the father?"

"Yes," she replied and shook her head. "I mean, yes, he is the father, but no, I am not going to marry him."

"Are you out of your mind, Emily?!" Elizabeth yelled. Emily sighed; there was the yelling she expected from her mother. "When you get pregnant, you get married. That's the rule."

"This isn't the 90s, Mother," Emily yelled back. "There are no rules in a book that say it's mandatory for a man and a woman to get married if the woman gets pregnant."

"Emily, this is unacceptable! How could you even think of not marrying him when you are carrying his child?" Elizabeth demanded. "How could you have been so stupid to get pregnant? Do you know how my daughter being an unmarried pregnant woman could affect my reputation?"

Unbelievable. Her mother was unbelievable.

"You're doing it again!" Emily ran her hand through her hair in frustration. "You're making this about you and your goddamn reputation! Why is it that when your only daughter and only child, in fact, tells you that she's getting married and is expecting a baby, you can't even muster up a little enthusiasm? Even fake enthusiasm would be good enough, Mother, but no, you make it about you! The world does not fucking revolve around you!"

"Stop that!" Elizabeth scolded. "I am your mother! I will not let you speak to me with such language!"

"Why don't you care, Mother? Why have you never cared?" Emily asked, ignoring her mother's statement. "You want to know why I never told you? Because no matter what has happened to me my entire life, you have never cared! All you do is yell at me about how it's going to affect your image and make me feel bad about myself that every time we have a conversation I feel so small." Tears were spilling down her cheeks as she spoke, but Emily paid no attention to it. "Andrew makes me feel better. He loves me and I love him and we love our baby. I finally had something that makes me happy and I never told you because you would make me feel terrible about it. And I was right. Why can't you just be happy for me mother? What else do I have to do to make you happy for me?"

"Ambassador Prentiss," Andrew's voice called out. Emily slightly jumped—had thirty minutes passed already? "I'm afraid I have to ask you to leave."

"Young man, you have no business here. This is between me and my daughter," Elizabeth huffed.

"Actually I do," Andrew replied. He stepped closer towards Emily and resisted the urge to hold her in his arms when he heard her silently sniffling. "Emily's carrying our child. If your presence here stresses her out, it stresses out the baby. I can't let you do that any longer."

"Are you threatening me?" Elizabeth asked in disbelief. "Because it seems like you forget that I am an ambassador, and I have received far more terrifying threats than that."

"Mother, please just leave," Emily said. "He's right, my blood pressure is skyrocketing, and I can't handle any of this right now without risking my baby. So if you're just going to stand there and yell at me for not telling you things, then I need you to go."

The mother and daughter pair stared at each other for a few moments before Elizabeth sauntered towards the door. With her hand on the doorknob, she turned to face her daughter one more time. "Can I at least know what you're having?"

Emily was silent for a moment as she debated which was the lesser of the two evils between telling her mother or asking her to get out. The former option won, but she briefly contemplated lying because she was pretty sure her mother was asking not because she actually cared about Emily and the baby, but rather so she had something to say in case her colleagues did find out about her pregnancy and asked Elizabeth about it. However, unlike her mother, Emily wasn't a heartless bitch.

She felt a hand on her shoulder and looked up to meet Andrew's gaze, wordlessly asking her if she would be okay with him telling her mother. She blinked twice and nodded before averting her gaze to the floor.

"You're having a granddaughter," Andrew simply replied. Emily closed her eyes as she waited for her mother's response.

"Alright then. Congratulations, Emily," Elizabeth said.

When the sound of the door slamming echoed through the room, Emily buried her face in her hands and began sobbing. She felt Andrew's around her and she turned to bury her face in his chest.

"It's okay, baby," he whispered, rubbing circles across her back.

"She didn't care," she sobbed, clenching her hands into fists. "Why didn't she care? How could she not care?"

Andrew stayed silent. He knew he had to let her cry this one out, so maintained a calm exterior despite the fact that he was absolutely raged by her mother. How could she choose to care about her reputation instead of being happy for Emily? How could a mother tell her child that she was stupid?

As he rocked her in his arms, Andrew wondered how an atrocious and condescending woman like Elizabeth Prentiss was able to have a tender-hearted and compassionate woman like Emily?

"I just wanted my mom to be happy for me," she said miserably.

"I know," he said, placing kisses on her forehead. "I'm sorry."

Emily closed her eyes and let a new set of tears run down her face. "It's not your fault my mother is—well, my mother. But I just hoped that someone in my family would actually be happy for me.

Andrew sighed. He pulled away slightly and lifted her chin so she would meet his gaze. "You have an entire family here who's excited to meet our daughter. Hell, you have a family you would willingly walk through fire for, and they would do the same for you. You don't need her approval, Emily. Family is what you choose rather than what is given to you. And I promise you, that we will be your family as long as you want us to be. Okay?"

She gave him a small, weak smile and nodded, leaning in to kiss him softly. "Okay."

Chapter Text

"You didn't propose."

"What?" Andrew asked, turning around to face Emily. After Emily had calmed down a little, Andrew managed to convince her to eat lunch, telling her it wouldn't be good for her or for the baby if she skipped a meal. Ordering practically the same thing she ordered for brunch (and buying her favourite brand of Greek yogurt) helped convince her. They spent the rest of the day in bed, with Andrew's arms still wrapped around her as they watched some of Emily's favourite movies.

"Earlier today, the girls asked how you reacted when I told you I was pregnant," Emily began to explain, "and then I remembered—well, JJ recalled how Will reacted."

"How did he react?" he asked.

"He flew to DC the next day. JJ picked him up from the airport. She said he knelt down one knee and asked her to marry him once he was in front of her," she smiled when Andrew chuckled.

"That sounds like something Will would do," he said. "It's part of the Southern charm."

"I agree," she giggled. "But it does make me wonder."

Andrew furrowed his eyebrows in confusion. "About what?"

Emily took a deep breath and debated whether she should ask. After all, they had never discussed it, so it wasn't a surprise that he never proposed. It had been bothering her the entire day. Her mother, Emily frowned as she thought of the woman, asked if she was going to marry him too.

"Emily," he spoke in a soft voice, taking her hand in his. "You can tell me. I won't judge."

She smiled. "I know you won't. It's me who's judging me." She let out a sigh. "Why didn't you propose when I told you I was pregnant?"

Andrew sighed. His eyes met Emily's dark ones, and he could tell that she was mainly curious, but he was also unsure of what his actions meant. "I didn't propose because I knew that it would seem like I was marrying you because you were pregnant. It would feel like an obligation. I didn't want that, and neither would you."

"Does that mean you thought about it?" Emily asked.

"Of course," Andrew let out a soft chuckle. "I thought about marrying you the moment I asked you out."

"You're a weirdo," she laughed.

"I know," he said, grinning at her.

A comfortable silence took over for a while and the couple refocusing their gazes to the television. Andrew, however, shifted slightly when his eyes suddenly landed on the television stand, or rather what was hidden in the second compartment, meticulously hidden underneath a stack of paper.

"I have a ring," Andrew blurted out.

Emily snapped her head upwards to meet his gaze, her mouth slightly agape in shock. "What?"

"I have a ring," he said, slowly this time. "I, uh, I bought it a few weeks after our eight month anniversary. It was, well, it was there and it screamed 'Emily', and still does, if you ask me, so I bought it."

"Okay," she cleared her throat. She sat up and ran a hand across her bump, trying to think of a suitable response. She suddenly regretted saying 'okay' because she couldn't come up with anything and leaving it at 'okay' sounded wrong.

"I planned to ask you," he said in a soft voice. "That night, when you told me you were pregnant. When you were asleep, I took it out and toyed with it for a minute, wondering if I should wake you up and ask you to marry me. I already had a speech planned, and a back-up plan in case chose to ignore me and keep sleeping."

"What made you change your mind?" she asked after he fell silent.

"Well, for starters, I realised you didn't want to get married, or get engaged, just because you were pregnant, and I understood that. I really did. I didn't want it too," he explained. "And then I asked myself why I wanted to propose. Really thought hard about it."

Confused, Emily furrowed her eyebrows at him. "What do you mean?"

Andrew wasn't a profiler, but he heard how her words were laced with a tiny bit of her hurt. He smiled at her and took her hand, placing a kiss on her palm before fiddling with her fingers.

"I wanted to propose to show and convince you that I'm not leaving. No matter what happened, I would always be here for you, in sickness and in health and all that other stuff they say during the vows," he shook his head and met her gaze. "I realised how shitty that reasoning was. It sounded like we needed to be married so I had a reason to stay, like we would never really be happy unless we were married. That was never how I felt towards you."

He pulled Emily closer towards him, helping her drape her legs over his lap, and she leaned her head on his shoulder. Andrew's hand began caressing her swollen belly and she smiled against him.

"You make me the happiest person in the world, Emily Prentiss. You and our butterball here," he said, eliciting a chuckle from Emily when he pat her bump lightly. "That's enough reason for me to stay. You're more than enough for me, and I would never ever leave you. I would be here with you through every storm that we face, and I would still be here when it's over and the lights are back on." He lifted her chin with his hand and kissed her softly. "I love you, so so much, and I will love you forever."

Emily gave him a watery smile and placed her hands on both sides of his face to pull him down for another kiss. "I love you, too. I don't think I've ever loved someone as much as I love you."

Andrew smiled at her. " Really?"

"Yeah," she nodded. "You make me feel safe and vulnerable at the same time. I've only ever felt them separately, never together. But with you? You've seen me at my worst a month in on our relationship. I pushed you away so hard, but instead of leaving, you gave me the space I needed while refusing to leave me alone. I'm a lot of work to handle, but you were always there for me. I don't know how you're so patient with me and I don't think I ever thanked you for being my safe haven. For loving me."

Andrew kissed her forehead, his lips lingering for a few seconds. "It's always a pleasure loving you, Emily. Always."

Emily let out a soft sigh and leaned closer against him. "I wish we met sooner."

"Me too," he replied. Emily looked up and narrowed her eyes at him. "What?"

"You have that look on your face."

"What look?"

"The 'I have another thing to add to that but I'm not sure whether I should' look. Babe, I invented that look—hell, I invented most looks," she said.

"Hey, I thought we agreed to no profiling each other in the bed," Andrew chided, squeezing her side gently.

"Uh-uh, we agreed to no profiling each other during sex," Emily retorted, winking at Andrew. "Tell me what's on your mind."

"If we met sooner, I don't think things would be the same," he said, sighing. "I don't regret anything, and I love how we went from you dodging my phone calls and refusing to schedule a date, to expecting a baby of our own in twenty weeks. Our story's a bit unconventional, but I wouldn't exchange it for anything."

"Really?" Emily smirked. "Not even how we met and how you asked me out?"

"Uh, I don't think we remember the same thing because you asked me out," Andrew reminded her.

"I did not!"

"Yes you did," he laughed, causing Emily to hit his arm lightly. "Butterball here is going to find out that her parents' love story began with her daddy being stabbed and mommy telling him he had to get her a drink because she saved me from the bad guy. And then mommy proceeded to play hard-to-get after daddy asked her to dinner."

"Stop," Emily whined. "I was thrown off-guard, I didn't think you would actually flirt back."

"Oh, and did you know mommy ignored daddy's calls for a long time before she agreed to have dinner? Your mommy's really mean."

"That's it, you're sleeping on the couch," Emily glared mockingly. "Shoo."

Andrew laughed and wrapped his arms around his girlfriend. He placed soft kisses along her shoulder, smiling when she leaned against him. "I love you."

Emily hummed. "I love you too, even if you're annoying me right now."

Andrew ignored the second part of her statement. "When we first met, you were wearing that olive green blouse and your belt was lopsided."

"I was in such a rush that day," Emily chuckled. "I didn't even get to iron my hair. I was a complete and total mess."

He smiled and kissed her softly. "My point is, when our daughter asks us how we met, I'll tell her how mommy and daddy worked together on a case and how mommy was called into the office earlier than usual and how mommy was a complete and total mess, but she was the most beautiful woman I've laid my eyes on. She'll know the gory details when she's eighteen."

Emily had a soft smile on her face when he finished. "You know, you already got in my pants. There's no need for you to keep flattering me."

Andrew rolled his eyes. "You're exhausting."

"You love me. And you bought a ring that you intended to give me when I told you loved you."

"Yeah. I love you," Andrew agreed. "And I promise you, Emily Prentiss, I will give you that ring in a few years."

"I'll hold you to that, Andrew Mendoza."

Chapter Text

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.

Chapter Text

The baby shower was scheduled to be at three in the afternoon, but Luke and Penelope asked her to come an hour earlier to bring the cake, which Penelope had called the “surprise gift for Kristy.” The woman pregnant at thirty weeks was advised to watch her sugar intake after her latest check-up found that her blood sugar had skyrocketed, and so Emily, knowing she would soon experience the sugar ban and withdrawal Kristy was currently going through, took it upon herself to make sure the woman gets some cake on her baby shower.

Two blocks away from their apartment, there was a bakery she and Andrew frequented enough that they had managed to befriend the owner, Louis. Emily had called in a favor and asked if he could whip up a pregnancy-friendly cake, which Louis had gladly agreed to do, and even sent Emily a jar of pregnancy-friendly cookies as well, with a note telling her she could ask for more if she wanted to.

“Hey!” Luke greeted as Emily entered his apartment. He took the cake from her and led her towards the kitchen. “No Andrew today?”

“He’s stuck in a meeting, but he promises to be here soon,” Emily said, sitting down on a bar stool. She looked around and saw that most of the decorations were already placed, including the table reserved for presents for either Kristy or the baby. “Is there anything I can do to help? Other than bring the cake, of course.”

“Oh no, you are not doing anything, baby mama.” Emily turned around to see Penelope enter the kitchen. Penelope grinned and gave her a quick hug, patting her baby bump lightly. “You are going to sit, relax, and open this present I got for you,” she added, placing three shopping bags, two pink ones and one yellow one, on the counter top next to Emily.

“Garcia,” Emily groaned. “It’s not my baby shower.”

Penelope waved her hand dismissively. “But you are carrying a butterball inside you, one that will be ruling over the J. Edgar Hoover building by the age of two months, and it is my job to make sure she gets all the best things possible,” Penelope explained. Luke cleared his throat, making her roll her eyes. “Alright, one of the bags is from Roxy.”

Despite the slight irritation, Emily couldn’t help but smile amusedly at how Penelope acknowledged Luke’s present for her butterball by mentioning his dog instead of Luke himself.  For two years now, Luke had been an important member of the team but Penelope has yet to drop the hazing attitude towards him. Emily knew that as unit chief and Penelope’s boss, she could put a stop to it but she noticed that Luke seemed to enjoy being the bane of the technical analyst’s existence and decided to sit back and allow herself to be entertained by the back-to-back banter between the pair. Besides, she knew that there was a little something-something beyond the lines, which was also the reason why she had placed a hefty bet on the team’s secret betting pool about the pair.

“Pen, I appreciate all of this. I really do,” Emily said in a genuine tone, “but this is too much. She isn’t even born yet but she already has more clothes than I do.”

“There is no such thing as too much in my vocabulary,” Penelope said, giving her an incredulous look.

“Fine, but the daily presents have to stop, okay? I mean it. Andrew and I are drowning in onesies and dresses my daughter might only wear once in her life.”

“Not okay!” Penelope pouted. “Your baby girl’s the first girl of the second generation, not counting Kristy’s baby since she and Matt are waiting until she gives birth to know what it is.”

“And Joy and Portia,” Luke said, smiling sheepishly when Penelope turned to glare at him. “But they are almost your age, so it would’ve been impossible for you to spoil them since you were a baby or a kid yourself.”

“What I was trying to say before the new guy so rudely decided to interrupt my line of thought was that girls are so much fun to shop for! Girl stuff is way cuter than boy stuff!” Penelope said.

Emily sighed, and ran a hand through her hair. She knew that asking Penelope Garcia, the self-proclaimed fairy godmother of the BAU children, to stop buying her unborn daughter gifts would be impossible, but never let it be said that she didn’t try. “Alright, I concede, but I hold my ground on daily presents.” She saw that Penelope was about to protest and decided to put a stop to it. “The government doesn’t pay much, Garcia, and baby stuff isn’t actually cheap. I’m not letting you spend your entire paycheck on daily presents for my daughter. Monthly presents.”

“Weekly presents.”

“Every three weeks.”

“Weekly presents,” Penelope repeated. “Take it or leave it, Emily Elizabeth Prentiss.”

“Hey!” Emily cried out. “No need to bring out the second name, Penelope Grace!”

“Ha, joke’s on you, Emily Elizabeth, because unlike you, I happen to love my second name,” Penelope said with a smug smirk on her face. “Weekly presents.”

“Fine,” Emily pouted, narrowing her eyes at how Penelope did a tiny dance of success. “You suck.”

“If sucking means winning, then I concede,” Penelope said with a cackle, only fuelling Emily’s slight irritation towards her. “Open your present. The pink ones first.”

Still frowning, Emily reached for the pink bag and opened it, smiling at what it contained. Inside was a pastel yellow bath lotus, a type of baby cradle meant to create a safe seat to support babies during bathtime. Emily had seen videos of babies looking completely comfortable on their tubs with the lotus, and had actually included it on the list of items they needed to get for their daughter.

The second pink bag contained a transparent jelly bag full of sea animal-themed bath toys, including a shark with a net inside of its open mouth. She opened the bag and took out the purple toy penguin, barely managing to hold back a squeal at how its wings flapped around when she pressed the button on its behind.

“Okay that’s completely inaccurate, because I looked it up and there are no purple penguins in real life,” Penelope said. “Oddly enough, there are blue penguins in New Zealand, and I tried to look for a set with blue penguins instead of purple ones, but—“

“Pen, I love it,” Emily said with a bright smile on her face. She put down the toy and wrapped her arms around Penelope, who didn’t hesitate to hug her back. “I love it so much. Thank you.”

“Anything for you and your mini me, mon amour,” Penelope said.

Emily laughed at the nickname. She stepped away and took more toys from the bag, smiling at the different functions of each one. “These are so cute. Would it be bad if I played with them now?”

“Absolutely not,” Penelope scoffed. “I wanted to buy one for myself.”

“I wouldn’t even blame you if you did,” Emily said with a slight laugh, cooing at a toy dolphin in her hand. “Look at it! It’s so cute I want to bite it.”

Penelope’s eyes widened at the uncharacteristic high octave of Emily’s voice and met Luke’s amused gaze over the brunette’s head. She had to put a hand over her mouth to hide the smile on her face while Luke had to look down and purse his lips together. They both let Emily marvel at the toys before telling her to open the yellow bag, the one from Luke, while Penelope put back the toys in the jelly bag.

Emily barely managed to hold back her tears at Luke’s present. Inside was a baby-sized gray tweed jacket and shorts, with matching black knitted booties and white socks. It was a complete replica of the outfit she wore to work one day, a little office outfit for her daughter.

“Luke,” she said, hating the catch in her voice. Damn hormones. “This is—I love it.”

“Really?” Luke asked with a raised eyebrow. He loved Emily as a friend and admired her strength, resilience, and unwavering support for her team as a boss and colleague, and, like any agent in the BAU, looked for approval from the unit chief. She was a legend, after all, with most of the agents in the Bureau wondering how she lived with a demotion from Interpol Director to unit chief.

“Really,” Emily said, smiling at him. She groaned when she felt a tear slip from her face, quickly wiping it away with her hands. “I really really love it. I was expecting a toy or maybe some baby blankets, but not this, and I just—thank you.”

Luke returned her smile and reached over to give her a quick hug. “Just so you know, I expect photos of you and your little girl in matching tweed jackets once they fit her.”

“You’ll be the first person I’ll send a photo to,” Emily promised.

“So Will is outside right now, drooling all over your boyfriend’s super cool motorcycle,” JJ said, giving Emily a knowing look.

“Ugh, I’m sorry about that,” Emily rolled her eyes, but was unable to hide the fond smile creeping on her face. “It’s sexy, yet statistically stupid.” She hated that motorcycle for the sole reason that while she knew Andrew was a careful and responsible driver, it doesn’t remove the fact that not all motorcycle riders were.

“Ooh, sexy huh?” JJ teased, laughing when Emily bowed her head and had a sudden fascination on the non-existent wrinkles of her cardigan. “Care to share the spicy details?”

“Do you like your job, Agent Jareau?” Emily asked in a serious tone, trying to ignore how she could feel her cheeks heating up. Unfortunately for her, her hormones were too out of whack (as she remembered JJ describing it when she was pregnant with both Henry and Michael) for her to manage to hide the chronic blushing.

“I do, but considering the amount of dirt I have on you, I don’t think you’re actually going to fire me, Chief Prentiss,” JJ replied cheekily. Emily tried to glare but found it was impossible to stop herself from pouting indignantly, making JJ laugh at the expression on her face. “Honey, trying to control your emotions at times like these is not going to do you any good. Trust me. So spill.”

Emily sighed and gave in. “I’ve ridden it twice.”

“And?” JJ asked.

Emily couldn’t help but chuckle at the way JJ was basically bouncing excitedly while waiting for her to continue. “It was during our weekend trip to the Blue Ridge.”

JJ’s mouth dropped open, forming an ‘o.’ “No.

“Yes,” Emily grinned. “It was quite…memorable, for the lack of a better word.”

“Oh it’s memorable alright,” JJ agreed. She knew the details about the weekend trip to Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. It was a trip Emily and Andrew had planned at the last minute on the weekend of Dave’s honeymoon when the Deputy Director had given the BAU A-team the weekend off as a reward for the three back-to-back cases they had solved in one week. JJ knew for a fact that memorable was a correct way of defining the trip, knowing that it was when Emily had finally (finally) confessed to Andrew that she was in love with him, a whole month after he had confessed. “Wait, you said twice. Isn’t that how you guys got here?”

“No, no,” Emily said, eyes wide as she shook her head. “I’m not allowed to ride that thing, thank god, and even if I was, hunting serial killers is enough of a thrill for me,” she said, sharing a laugh with JJ. “Besides, I had to pick up the cake.”

“It’s a great cake by the way,” JJ moaned in delight. “Not too sweet, but not too bland either. And that frosting? Out of this world.”

“I’m glad,” Emily smiled, making a note to tell Louis that his cake was loved by all guests, including Kristy herself.

“You know, I haven’t seen Dave and Krystall yet,” JJ said. “It’s not like him to be late.”

“No it’s not,” Emily agreed, avoiding JJ’s gaze. David Rossi was the living early bird when it came to social hangouts with the team, if only so he could subtly rub in the fact that out of all of them, he was the best host. She had expected Dave to be here when she arrived, and was slightly surprised to find out he had called Luke and let him know he was going to be a little late. Emily suspected it had something to do with the Lynch case, knowing it was the reason why Dave had been acting off for the past six months. But an hour and a half had already passed, and there were still no signs of him and Krystall around Luke’s apartment. It only fueled Emily’s suspicions and she did not like it. “Although I’m sure he’ll have a good excuse.”

JJ’s eyes narrowed curiously at the emphasis on ‘excuse,’ but decided not to question it when she saw the determined set of Emily’s jaw. “Do you want me to call him?”

Emily shook her head. “No. I’ll call him.” She waited for JJ to leave before taking her phone out from her pocket and dialed Dave’s number. When Dave picked up, she could practically feel the nervous energy radiating off of him.

“Hey, Emily,” he greeted in a faux cheerful tone, one Emily easily saw through, confirming her suspicions. “I should be on my way to you guys ASAP.”

“You know it’s not in our jurisdiction,” she said, putting a stop to all the lies he was about to tell her.

“I-I called, and Captain Paige said she would be more than willing to – “

“Dave, I have been more than willing to give you a lot of latitude on the Everett Lynch case,” she said, losing the calm hold she had on her voice. “But over the past six months you have taken it upon yourself to conduct a solo manhunt for the guy. It just can’t continue.”

“I-I’m sorry I didn’t tell you – “

“Stop,” she cut him off, “you want to know what worries me the most? I think you didn’t tell me because you weren’t sure how to lie to me.” Emily felt her throat throb and closed her eyes to try and keep her tears at bay. “Anyway, now really isn’t the time to discuss this. We’ll talk about this later.” Without waiting for his reply, Emily hung up and shoved her phone back in her pocket. She took a seat on a nearby chair and buried her face in the palm of her hands.

She had a lot of respect for Dave, not just as a colleague but also as a friend, and she trusted him with her life. As it turned out, he never felt the same way towards her and didn’t trust her enough to tell her his plans to catch Lynch. If he asked, she would’ve gotten the team on it immediately, not caring about the scrutiny she would’ve received from the upper heads about her decision. It hurt, knowing that he didn’t trust her to help him.

“Emily! There you are, I’ve been looking for you everywhere,” Kristy’s voice brought her back from her reverie and she looked up to meet her concerned gaze. “Why are you crying? Is something wrong?”

“No, no, Kristy, everything’s okay. I’m just, a little exhausted,” Emily reassured half-heartedly, giving Kristy a weak smile. She knew Andrew and her team would’ve effortlessly seen through her façade, and she hoped that Kristy’s lack of profiling skills would get her to not ask any further questions.

Unfortunately for her, Kristy was good at reading facial expressions; it was a skill she had developed when Matt began shielding his expressions from her after the law firm she used to work at was attacked. But Kristy knew, from Matt’s stories, that getting Emily to open up would only lead to her closing in on herself, so she decided not to push. “Well it has been a long day. Penelope told me you were the one who brought that magnificent cake, so you would’ve been here earlier than everyone else, so it’s okay if you and Andrew head out, really.”

“Oh, it’s no big deal,” Emily said with a dismissive wave of her hand. “I’m glad you like it. Louis, he’s the one who made the cake, also sent me a jar of cookies that are amazing. I can send you one too, if you want.”

“Yes please, I need every bit of sugar I can get if I want to keep my sanity,” Kristy said, placing her hand on her stomach. “So far, this one has been relatively easy, but this was the first time I had to watch my sugar intake.”

Emily could only manage a sympathetic smile. She ran a hand down her bump and mentally sent her daughter a message that she better not act up or she would be in big trouble. “You look fantastic by the way,” Emily said. “I only hope to look as good as you do in, what, twenty-nine weeks?”

“Thirty, actually, and thank you, but I am anything except fantastic right now. You on the other hand,” Kristy whistled as she studied Emily from head to toe. “You’re one hot momma,” she said. And she was being genuine. Emily was radiantly glowing in her all black attire of a shirt and leggings, hugging her figure perfectly, under a black cardigan decorated with artworks all over and red accents on the hems.

“You lie,” Emily accused teasingly, a grin forming on her face.

Kristy merely winked. “Matt told me you were having a girl. I bet she already has Andrew wrapped around her tiny little pinkie.”

“Oh tell me about it,” Emily said with a fond eye roll. “She has him at her beck and call, and now he won’t leave me alone.”

“Matt was the same way with all five of them. It was sweet at first, but it became so irritating because he hovered,” Kristy informed her with a rueful smile Emily couldn’t help but return.

“I have to admit, he does give off a sort of chill vibe at first,” Emily nodded, “but once you get to know him a little bit longer, finding out that he hovers a lot doesn’t surprise me.”

“That accurately describes him, yeah,” Kristy threw her head back as she laughed at the description. “Did you guys pick any names yet?”

“Not yet, although Andrew and I plan to reconvene next week to discuss our name options,” she said. “What about you guys? Does the mystery baby number five already have a name?” Emily asked.

“None at all because every time I try to get Matt to choose a name, he always tries to convince me that we should find out what we’re having to make the name choosing easier,” Kristy scoffed.

Emily groaned good-naturedly. “The not knowing is torturing him.”

“I know!” Kristy giggled. “It’s so fun watching him try to profile my OB. Doctor’s appointments have never been so fun until now.”

“You are an evil, evil woman, Kristy Simmons,” Emily gasped, eyes wide at the sudden realization of the woman’s hidden wicked sense of humor. “Pure evil.”

The women shared a laugh before letting a comfortable silence take over for a few moments. Kristy, however, still had her full attention on Emily. She noticed how often the woman had placed a hand on her growing bump, gently rubbing it with the pad of her thumb, as if reminding her baby that she was not being ignored. Kristy was certain the woman was unaware of the soft smile curving the corners of her lips upwards and the sparkle in her eyes as she was unaware of the gestures she made.

“You’re going to be a great mom,” Kristy told her. She smiled when Emily gave her a confused look. “I mean it. That little girl of yours is so lucky to have you as her mom.”

Emily smiled and bowed her head. The compliment was unexpected, and completely out of topic, but she appreciated it nonetheless. Despite the reassurances from Andrew and her team that she would handle motherhood magnificently, she was still terrified and insecure of screwing up. It didn’t help that her gut kept telling her they were only doing it to reassure her. To have Kristy, someone she was still on the process of getting to know, tell her she was going to do great was a relief that took some weight of her shoulders.

“That means a lot to me,” she said, tears brimming at the corners of her eyes. “Thank you, Kristy.”

Kristy wrapped an arm around Emily’s shoulders and smiled. “You’re welcome.”


Chapter Text

The entire Bureau, if not the entire Department of Justice, was aware of the lengths Emily Prentiss would go for her team.

They were aware of how she had risked her career and the entire BAU A-team in order to prove Spencer Reid was innocent when all the evidence initially pointed to him as the unsub. They were aware of how she was suspended as unit chief when her actions caught the attention of AD Linda Barnes. They were aware of how she had shouldered the finances needed to pay the overtime salaries of FBI and SWAT agents when Spencer Reid and Penelope Garcia were abducted. Those in higher positions and the agents, who have been with the Bureau for at least a decade and had witnessed the team's growth, were aware that she had faked her death nine years ago to protect her team from Ian Doyle.

Everyone who worked at the Bureau knew that Emily Prentiss would do anything for her team. What they didn't know was that, right now, she wanted to put David Rossi's head through a wall, and she wasn't going to blame it on the pregnancy hormones too.

"Emily, please take a seat, you're going to wear out the carpet," Penelope begged, trying to get the pregnant woman to stop pacing. Sadly, her pleas fell on deaf ears; Emily could only hear Spencer's voice, repeating itself over and over like a mix tape recorded specifically to amplify her emotions of guilt, anxiety, and anger.

JJ's down. She's been hit. We need an ambulance, now!

They had been trying to get in touch with him ever since they received word that the ambulance had safely arrived at the hospital, but all they got was radio silence. It did nothing to calm the nerves driving Emily insane.

JJ could be dead and she wouldn't know. JJ, her best friend for who knew how long now, her surrogate sister, was probably dead, and her blood would be on Emily's hands.

"Emily." Emily closed her eyes and balled her hands into fists, slowly turning around to face Dave, who was looking at her warily.

"I thought I told you to focus on the Everett Lynch case," she cut him off, opening her eyes and glaring daggers towards him.

Dave winced at the cold tone of her voice and the glare she was giving him. He knew that glare; it was typically reserved for unsubs and uncooperative suspects and/or witnesses. When she had become unit chief, he had witnessed some of his colleagues be subjected to her glare, so even though he had been her sort-of mentor when he returned to the Bureau, he was extremely terrified of being subjected to it. Sometimes he wondered if Emily and Hotch had attended a seminar together on Glaring People to Submission 101.

"I gave you an order, Rossi," she continued. "And you went against it."

"I know, but the similarity of this case to the Lynch case really bothered me, so I did some research and compiled a list of retired and current doctors or surgeons within the Baltimore area. While I was doing that, I found out that Dr. Herst had nearly gotten engaged with Roberta Lynch so I figured he might have a clue on where Everett Lynch was."

"If you had done exactly what I told you to do and talked to Grace and Roberta, you would've run into Everett Lynch posing as Grace's lawyer. You never needed to confront Herst because we found out that he was the unsub at the same time you probably have."

"Emily – "

"Don't 'Emily' me," she snapped in a harsh tone that made the team exchange a glance of mixed concern and fear at her. "You defied a direct order!"

There was a fire raging in her eyes, but the team could only see the tears filling her eyes along with the shaking hands and her heaving chest. It made a scary sight, but right now, they were more afraid of the effects the stress would have on Emily and her baby.

Tara, who had been silent throughout the entire exchange, took tentative steps towards Emily and placed her hands on Emily's shoulders. She withdrew them immediately when the woman froze. "Emily, please take a deep breath," she said. The emotions reflected in her eyes betrayed the calm tone of her voice.

"I don't need to take a deep breath, I'm fine."

"Emily, honey, you're stressed out," Penelope said. She exchanged a nod with Tara and took over the role of comforting Emily. "And yes, I know that's a specialty that comes with this job, but now you have to think about your little one, too. She does probably not like it in there, don't you think?"

As if her daughter could hear Penelope's words, Emily felt a series of panicked kicks and movements and instantly dropped the glare on her face. She turned her head to meet Penelope's gaze and took in the genuine concern reflected in her eyes. Bowing her head, Emily let herself be led to her office and sank down on the couch the moment she was inside. She distantly heard Tara say a few words to her but her mind didn't register what they were. Eventually, she heard the door close and then it was only her and Penelope.

Emily moved her hand to cradle her baby bump and rubbed it gently with her fingers, whispering soft words of solace. "Oh, mon amour. Je suis vraiment désolée de t'avoir fait peur. Toi et moi, ça va." She let a small smile appear on her face when she felt the panicky movements inside her begin to calm down. She ignored the gaze Penelope had on her and put all her focus on calming her daughter, and herself, eventually. "C'es exact. Vous pouvez vous calmer maintenant. Maman va bien, et toi aussi, chérie. Je taime, bébé."

When the movements finally stopped, Emily let out a shaky sigh and closed her eyes tightly. She opened them when she felt the cushion sink beside her and smiled at Penelope, who returned it without hesitation.

"Are you okay?" Penelope asked.

"She is," Emily nodded and sniffled, feeling tears pool in her eyes. "Me? I'm not sure yet."

Penelope was at a loss for words. Getting Emily to admit that she wasn't okay was like pulling teeth, so she was surprised at the candor the woman usually lacked. She guessed that the pregnancy hormones driving the woman insane were to thank, and she would gladly be milking it until Emily gives birth. She opened her mouth to reply but was cut off.

"I don't think I will be okay until I see how JJ is doing," Emily whispered. She hated how shaky her voice was. It made her sound vulnerable. "I can't get Reid's voice out of my head."

Penelope bit her bottom lip to stop it from quivering. JJ was the only member of the team that has never gotten shot before, which led to them joking that even the bullets were afraid of JJ. This recent event had shaken all of them, but unlike Emily, they didn't have a baby growing inside them, requiring them to keep their blood pressures normal. It was why Penelope wanted to make sure Emily was absolutely okay before she let her emotions get the best of her.

"JJ will be okay," Penelope reassured her.

"Rossi was right," Emily cried, wiping the tears on her cheeks. "I should've listened to him when he said this case would have something to do with Lynch. This is my fault."

"Emily, honey, this wasn't your fault," Penelope said, swallowing the sob that was threatening to escape her throat. "You were not responsible for this."

"You can't say that, Pen," Emily said. She looked up and met the blonde woman's gaze. Both pairs of eyes were glassy and filled with tears. "You can't say that when JJ is fighting for her life just because I didn't listen to Rossi. She could die, and it would be my fault if she did."

Before Penelope could gather her thoughts in order to formulate a reply without bursting into tears, the door opened and Andrew walked in. The worried look on his face deepened when he saw Emily sobbing on the couch. Penelope stood up and walked towards the door to leave the couple alone, stopping briefly when Andrew thanked her.

Andrew took a seat beside Emily and took her shaking figure into his arms. "Hey. It's okay."

"No it's not," Emily choked out through her tears.

"Breathe, babe. Let it out." He tucked her head against his chest and squeezed her tight in his arms, rocking gently back and forth. Andrew said nothing more as he rubbed circles on her back. They sat like that for a couple of minutes before her breathing turned from body sobs to hiccups, and only then did Andrew pull away from her. He cupped her cheeks and tilted her head upwards so she would meet his gaze, wiping away the tears on her face with his thumb.

"Why are you here?" she asked.

"Tara called and told me what happened," he said. His heart broke when Emily's face crumpled in tears again. "Emily, it's not your fault."

"It feels like it is," she hiccuped. "I should've listened to Rossi. Or maybe I should've made sure he followed my orders. Bottom line is, I should've done more to make sure no one in my team got hurt."

"Emily, you never could have predicted that it would all go down like this. No one could have. You did what you thought what you thought was appropriate for the situation. This was just out of your control," he said.

"If JJ dies I would never forgive myself."

"JJ's going to be okay," he reassured her. "She's one of the strongest women I've ever met, and I'm sure she won't let a bullet take her down. If she was here, what would she be saying to you?"

Emily sniffled. "I-I don't know. Maybe she'd be the one calming me down before you arrived. And she'd be telling me it wasn't my fault and I wouldn't believe her because right now it's the hardest thing to believe."

Andrew squeezed her tightly. "When she gets through this, and she will, that's exactly what she'll be doing. She knows you love her, and that you would fight heaven and earth to make sure she gets to go home to Will and her boys. She knows that you would never put her in danger. The entire team knows that you would protect them with all you have, and they would never blame you for anything that happens. Okay?"

Emily nodded. "Okay."

She leaned her head against his chest, exhausted from her tears. She knew that as much as she believed in her abilities to lead the team, there would still be some unexpected variables to be accounted for, but with her friend fighting for her life, she couldn't but feel as though it was her fault. She felt the flutters inside her once more, but this time, they were relaxed movements. It felt like her butterball was trying to comfort her the way she had done a few minutes ago, and the thought put a small smile on her face. She reached out for Andrew's hand and placed their hands on top of her bump.

"Is she moving?" Andrew asked.

"Yeah. A lot."

"I bet that's her way of letting you know it's not your fault."

Emily scoffed and punched his arm lightly. Andrew was glad that, although there were still tears in her eyes, she seemed calmer. "Of course, I'm sure an unborn twenty-three week old baby already knows that her mom is crazy and does her best to reassure her that she isn't."

"Hey don't underestimate her like that," Andrew teased. "She's your daughter after all, so there's a high chance she's going to inherit the mothering gene."

"And you shouldn't underestimate yourself," Emily responded without missing a beat. "She's your daughter, too, and she could get it from you."

Andrew gasped dramatically. "I do not have a mothering gene."

"Whatever lets you sleep at night, babe," Emily said, giggling when he pouted at her. She leaned in and placed a kiss on his cheek. "I'm sorry," she whispered. "I'm sorry I'm being so… irrational. I haven't had a rational thought in over fifteen weeks now."

"You have nothing to apologize for, darling," he said, rubbing her back gently. "Nothing at all."

Once Andrew made sure Emily was okay and had calmed down, she joined the rest of the team in the conference room to help narrow down where Everett Lynch would run to now that he had Grace with her. She refused to acknowledge Dave's lingering presence beside her, and the only words she had spoken to him were related to the case. The team exchanged glances at every one-sided conversation they had, but decided not to say anything that would incriminate them, a wise decision if Emily could say so.

Emily jumped at the opportunity to see JJ at the hospital when the ballistics report showed the possibility that it was Grace who shot at her, and not Everett Lynch. She grabbed her purse and was on her way towards the elevator when Dave stopped her and offered to drive her there.

"Thanks, but I can drive myself," she told him, giving him a look that told him not to argue with her.

"I know you can, but I'm still offering because I have to drop by the penitentiary to talk to Roberta anyways," he said.

She glared at him for a moment, taking pleasure at the subtle nervous gestures he did under her withering stare. It was harsh, but she wasn't really looking forward to talking to him. Not yet, anyway, because she knew she could never stay mad at him for too long. "Fine," she relented.

The drive to the hospital would only be a half-hour long, and ten minutes of that time was spent with only the radio music filling in the tense silence between them. It wasn't too long before Dave reached over to turn off the radio.

"I liked that song," Emily grumbled. She didn't. She didn't even know what the title of the song was.

"I'm sorry," Dave said. "I should've listened to you. If I had, maybe JJ wouldn't be at the hospital."

"It wasn't your fault, Dave," Emily said, repeating Andrew and Penelope's words in hopes of letting herself fully accept the truth. "I mean, you didn't exactly tell Lynch to shoot her, did you?"

"No, but I could've stopped them."

Emily sighed. Was this how she sounded a few minutes ago? She made a mental note to give Penelope an extra hug when she got back, and to show Andrew how grateful she was for him. "We couldn't have predicted this at all, Dave. Everett Lynch played us all, so the blame is his. I know that it's hard to accept that right now with JJ still in the hospital, but we didn't do this to her. We can't-we shouldn't have let this get the best of us."

Dave nodded and glanced at her, deflating when he saw that she still wouldn't look at him. He sighed and said, "There's more you want to say."

Emily scoffed and shook her head. "Damn right there is."

"Emily –"

"Do you trust me at all, Dave?"

"Of course I do. I trust you with my life, you know that."

"Then why did you lie to me about investigating the Lynch case?" she demanded. "After the trail went cold a few weeks ago, you told me you were going to wait until Captain Paige called. Two days ago, I found out that you made a formal request for an expanded air and ground search of parks in Baltimore city."

Dave closed his eyes briefly in shame. "I didn't know how to ask for your permission."

"You could've asked, Dave. Simple as that. I know that this is one of those cases we can't just shake off because the unsub is still out there, and if you had asked I would've gotten the team on it again. But you went beyond my head to do it, and that-that infuriates me, Dave. Not only did you disrespect my authority, you showed that you didn't trust me or the team to help you with the case. With recent events, I'm inclined to believe that you really don't."

"You know that's not true," Dave said. He was saddened that Emily would come to this conclusion, but if the tables were turned, he would've concluded the same thing. "I trust you and the team wholeheartedly, but Lynch was my problem. He got out under my vicinity, and I didn't want to drag you guys out of cases for something personal."

"The thing is, Dave, personal or not we would've helped you because we're a family. If one of us was suffering, we would've done everything to ensure that they wouldn't suffer alone and for so long."

"I know that now," Dave said. "I'm sorry."

"I know you are, and I forgive you, but this cannot happen again. Am I clear?" she asked. She sighed in relief when Dave nodded. "The next time this happens, you'll be stuck with Garcia in Quantico for future cases."

"I understand." He reached over and placed a hand on Emily's knee. "Are we okay?" he asked in a hesitant tone.

Emily raised an eyebrow at him. "We are. Lucky for you, my butterball has me craving Italian food lately, and I don't know anyone else who would cook a plethora of Italian food at my request." She smiled when Dave laughed.

"Your kid has fine taste," Dave said. "So what specifically should I make?"

Much to Dave's relief, the rest of the drive to the hospital was spent with Emily raving on about her cravings and ranting about how she was craving a lot of sushi when she wasn't allowed raw fish. He had suggested eating California rolls to satisfy her craving, which earned him a look of disgust in return.

Emily ran into Spencer at the hallway where he was waiting outside JJ's room. When he saw her, he asked about how the case was going and she updated him on what they had unearthed about Grace and Everett.

"I need to ask JJ if she can remember who pulled the trigger, because if it turns out to be Grace, then this changes our profile," she finished.

"A child would do a lot of things to get their parents' approval," Spencer said. "She could be doing this to make Everett proud of her."

"That's what we think too, but we're still trying to find out where Everett is going to hide now that he got Grace out of jail," Emily said.

Spencer nodded. "I think I'm going to head back to the BAU. I'm not much help here."

"If that's what you want, then go ahead. But if you can, I'd rather you wait for me so we can head back at the same time."

"Actually," Spencer mumbled. "I think you should stay here."

"Reid —"

"— you've already dealt with a lot of stress today, with JJ getting shot and Lynch playing us like this. I know you can handle it, but I don't think your butterball can," he explained. Emily said nothing and glared at him. "Do you remember when you got mad at us when we became overprotective at you? You told us that you were pregnant, not an invalid, and we understood that. But you also told us that if you were going too far or pushing yourself too hard that we had your permission to tie you up in a chair."

"Are you saying you're going to tie me up?" Emily asked, attempting a weak smile to lighten the conversation.

"I would never do that even if there was a gun pointed at my head because I know you would do anything to make sure your daughter is safe," he replied in a genuine tone, "and I know you would listen to us when we remind you to take a breath."

Emily chuckled, the action making a few tears slip down her face. She wiped them hastily and glared weakly at him. "You're guilt-tripping me."

"Is it working?"

"It is, and you are officially the worst friend in the world," she laughed. Spencer smiled and gave her a brief hug, pressing a kiss on her head before pulling away from her. "I'll call once JJ confirms who pulled the trigger. And if you run into him, tell Andrew where I am."

"I will," he said. Emily watched him disappear around the corner before stepping inside JJ's room.

"Hey," she greeted. She giggled when Henry ran towards her and gave her a tight hug and a gentle pat on her growing belly. She smiled at Will and narrowed her eyes at JJ. "How come you look that good after just getting shot?"

JJ rolled her eyes in amusement. "Beginner's luck, I guess."

"Right," Emily said, drawling out the vowel. "Actually, I wanted to you about the case because the ballistics report just came back, and we need your confirmation on… something," she censored her words the moment she remembered that Henry and Michael were in the room.

"We'll let you two talk alone," Will spoke in his Southern drawl. He called the boys and told them they were going to the cafeteria.

"It's not your fault," JJ said the moment they were alone. Emily turned her head towards the blonde and raised an eyebrow at her.


JJ gave her an unamused look and gestured towards the chair next to her bed. "Have a seat."

Emily returned the look but sat down on the chair, shifting to make herself comfortable, which was staring to get difficult. Most days, her migraines were the least of her worries because the back aches were worse. "What were you trying to say?" Emily asked.

Rolling her eyes, JJ couldn't help but think about how it was typical of Emily to be somehow preoccupied when people were reminding her of words she needed to hear. "I said it wasn't your fault that I'm here."

"JJ — "

" — Emily," JJ cut her off with a sigh. "This entire thing happened out of nowhere. No one predicted that this was how things were going to end, so don't be too hard on yourself. I don't blame you, none of us do."

The blonde woman's words reminded Emily of Andrew's words earlier, and it made her chuckle as she reached for JJ's hand. She felt tears burning her eyes and mentally groaned at how her emotions seemed to be out of her control. "I'm really glad you're okay. I don't know what I would've done if you – " Emily never got to finish her sentence before the tears slipped down her face.

"Oh, Emily," JJ whispered, squeezing Emily's hand. She attempted to sit up, but stopped at the sudden pain rushing through her torso. "I'm okay. I'll be out of here and back at the office before you could say merde."

Emily laughed, wiping her tears away. "How long do I have until I have full reign over my emotions again?" she whined.

"Five years, give or take. And that's just the minimum."

"Damn it." JJ laughed as much as she could without straining her wound at the sullen expression on Emily's face. If Emily noticed her winces, she didn't mention it. "By the way, the ballistics report stated that the bullet you were shot with came from a government-issued gun."

"It was Grace," JJ admitted. "I asked Everett to drop the gun the moment I cornered them in the underground tunnel, and when I leaned down to get it, Grace took out a gun from her jacket pocket and shot me." She cleared her throat when her voice cracked at the end. Emily squeezed her hand. "I was about to point my gun back at her, but I was too late."

"We'll get them," Emily said in a firm tone, giving JJ's hand one last squeeze before she placed both hands on JJ's bed and pushed herself off the chair. She glared at JJ when she heard a suppressed snort fill the room. "Rude."

"Sorry," JJ chuckled. "Pregnancy really looks good on you, Emily Prentiss. I mean it."

Emily narrowed her eyes at JJ. "The drugs are doing a number on you, huh?"

"Fine, don't believe me," JJ rolled her eyes. "But please get yourself checked out."

"I'm fine," Emily waved her hand dismissively.

"Humor me," JJ said. "Besides, if you go, they're going to set up an emergency ultrasound for you and you get to see your little butterball, so really, you've got nothing to lose."

"I have a feeling you're not taking no for an answer."

"I will get off this bed and drag you to the nurse's station myself," JJ nodded with an innocent smile on her face.

Emily sighed. "Fine, but I'm only doing this because I'm your friend and I don't want you to hurt yourself."

"What you are is a true example to the masses," JJ teased, making Emily roll her eyes.

"I'm going now, mom," Emily said. When she reached the doorway, she looked back at JJ and smiled. "I'm really glad you're okay."

JJ returned the smile. "Me too, Emily."

Emily gave her one last smile before making her way towards the nurse's station to ask for an emergency check-up.

Chapter Text

“Are we really going to have this discussion again?” Emily grumbled, placing her hands on her hips.

“Come on, Emily. You can’t blame me,” Andrew said.

“I understand your worry, but it’s a girl’s night, with the BAU girls; three FBI agents, including me, and one technical analyst. If I give birth in the middle of it, I assure you that Penelope will let you know and that they would drive me to the hospital.”

“That’s not funny.” Andrew pouted.

Emily sighed. “What I’m trying to tell you is that I will be okay. The girls are more than capable of making sure I don’t stress myself out, I have yours, Sandra’s, and Martin’s number, and, with our line of work, I basically have 911 on speed dial. Besides, we’re not even going to do a lot of things that would eventually end up with me stressed out,” she said. She smiled and looped her arms around his neck, leaning in to capture his lips in a kiss. “Butterball and I are going to be okay.”

“Are you sure?” Andrew asked, placing his hands on her bump. He couldn’t wait to feel their little girl’s kicks and movements, but Emily had promised him that once she started using her kidneys and her intestines as soccer equipment, she would be sleeping with her bump against his back when they sleep so she wouldn’t be alone in being awoken by the kicks. She had no idea that he would voluntarily stay up all night if it meant feeling their kid move inside her. “I just don’t want you both to be in danger.”

What could happen in our condo in a span of one night, Emily wanted to retort, but then she remembered that George Foyet had broken in on Hotch’s apartment when they were out on a case, and Ian Doyle had managed to track down where she lived a few years back, so she decided to just raise an eyebrow at her lover. “I have a gun and a plaque on my office wall telling you that I never miss a shot.”

“Alright, alright,” Andrew relented, sighing. “I’m going to miss you.”

“You’ll be seeing me tomorrow afternoon,” Emily giggled. “But yeah, I’m going to miss you too.” No more words were exchanged when Andrew leaned in and kissed her, one hand cupping her cheek, and the other still resting on her baby bump. “The girls will be here in a couple of minutes,” she mumbled against his lips.

Andrew pulled away and leaned his forehead against hers. “I love you.”

“I love you too,” she said. “Now, go before your sister loses her patience and drags your ass out of here.” Andrew gave her one last kiss and placed one on her bump as well before he gathered his jacket and an overnight bag and left their unit.

True to her words, a few minutes later, after she double-checked and made sure she had the ingredients Penelope asked her to get, there was a knock on their door. She took a glance through the peephole and opened the door when she saw her friends on the other side of it. Much to her confusion, she barely managed to greet them before they barged into her unit and called Andrew’s name.

“Guys, what are you doing?” she asked.

“Driving Andrew out of the place,” Penelope said. “Andrew Mendoza, get your delicious juicy ass out of this unit or so help me I will wipe your identity off the planet.”

“And we will help her do it!” JJ added.

“I would say I am terrified for Andrew but he isn’t here,” Emily said. “He left a few minutes before you guys arrived.” Emily was amused at the synchronized turn of heads towards her direction.

“He actually left you alone?” Tara asked in a disbelieving tone.

“Yes he did.” She would’ve rolled her eyes, but she knew the team was aware of the extremely overprotective transformation Andrew had undergone when she entered her second trimester. In fact, it had taken her threatening to withhold sex until their daughter was three years old to get him to reluctantly (reluctantly!) agree to leave her alone. It was slightly annoying, but she knew he only meant well; it wasn’t about not trusting her but somehow he was convinced that the S in Prentiss stood for ‘seeking trouble without meaning to.’

JJ, Penelope, and Tara stared at her for a few seconds before they shrugged and set down their bags on the living room floor.

“So, what are we actually going to do?” Emily asked. Girl’s nights usually involved a lot of alcohol and a lot of coffee the day after for the imminent hangover, but since she was pregnant, they opted to go for an alcohol-free night. She and Penelope had done the same thing for JJ when she was pregnant with Henry, but that consisted of setting up the nursery. With her and Andrew preparing to move out of the condo and into the greystone, it obviously wasn’t an option for them.

“We’re baking cookies!” Penelope exclaimed.


“Sugar cookies, chocolate chip cookies, snickerdoodle cookies, oatmeal cookies; you name it, we’re making it.”

“We’ll even fortune cookies just for laughs,” Tara remarked dryly.

“When I was pregnant both times I craved matcha-flavoured cookies a lot,” JJ said. Emily stared at her friend in shock, knowing that the blonde mother hated matcha with all her might. JJ caught her gaze and nodded in exaggeration. “Pregnancy cravings are an entire world of their own.”

“I distinctly remember Reid saying that sometimes pregnant women crave food they would normally avoid or food they’re not allowed to have.” Tara informed them.

“In non-shocking news, he’s right,” Emily sighed. “I break down on a weekly basis because I can’t eat sushi and I desperately want sushi. And, oddly enough, I am craving gingerbread cookies.”

“It’s the middle of April,” Tara said with raised eyebrows.

“Oh sugar, you should never question a pregnant woman’s cravings. Their motherly rage is formidable,” Penelope told her, wincing when she remembered the horror of JJ radiating anger as she barged in on the conference room, her hand tightly crumpling an empty packet of the last Cheetos. She thought it would be the last minutes of her life, but to her relief, Hotch and Emily managed to calm JJ. Once the women were out of the room, Hotch had spent fifteen minutes lecturing Morgan about putting the team’s life on risk when he ate the last Cheetos. Suffice to say, the team learned never to get in the way between a pregnant JJ and her cravings, and she hoped the new members of the team would also catch up on it sooner rather than later with a pregnant Emily. She did not want to be in the room when Emily ran out of the KIND granola nut bars she had practically been inhaling.

“I’ll get the ingredients out,” Tara said cheerfully, making Emily laugh at the sudden change of opinion.

“I’ll help you,” JJ offered, not seeing the incredulous and slightly murderous stare her friends threw in her direction.

“Not with that injury you aren’t,” Tara said wide-eyed.

JJ rolled her eyes and scoffed. “I’ve been out of the hospital for five days now.”

“It took me two weeks to be able to stretch my arms over my head after I got shot,” Penelope said in a small voice. Emily saw the pained expression on Penelope’s face as the memories of being shot and lying in her own pool of blood at the steps of her apartment came flashing back in her mind, and placed a comforting hand on her shoulder.

“Aren’t we going to need some crushed ginger powder?” Emily asked, eyeing the ingredients laid out on her marble countertop. She looked up when she felt their gazes on her and giggled at the shocked expressions on their faces. “My grandfather and I used to make gingerbread houses whenever we spent our Christmas in France. It was a tradition neither of us wanted to break, so whenever Christmastime was near, I would be at my best behavior to make it easier for me to persuade my mom to go.”

“Did she let you go?” JJ asked.

Emily nodded with a sad smile on her face. “She always did, except for that one time when I was fourteen. There was a heavy rainstorm in Italy, and the travel to France was just too dangerous. My grandfather didn’t let that stop him though. He called our landline and we stayed on the phone as we made our own gingerbread houses separately. That was, by far, the messiest gingerbread house I have ever made, but it made my grandfather so happy to be able to continue making one with me.” She paused for a few seconds when she felt her eyes tear up, and swallowed the sob threatening to escape her throat. “He died a few months after that, and altogether, that year was quite a rollercoaster and I didn’t really have the energy to celebrate Christmas, let alone make a gingerbread house.”

“Well,” JJ said, reaching over to take Emily’s hands in hers, “I’m sure your gramps wouldn’t mind if your tradition was put on hiatus for a few years.”

“A few years? Try four decades.” Emily corrected, not unkindly. “I wanted to make one a few years after he died, but by then I felt that I had no right to do it anymore. I disappointed him, in more ways than one.”

Emily was too occupied by thoughts of her late grandfather that she never noticed the heartbroken expressions on her friends’ faces. The world was terribly cruel to a younger Emily Prentiss, and they would do anything to make sure that the world makes up for it, and that would start now.

“None of us knew your grandfather, but from what you just told us, it was obvious he loved you so much that nothing you do could disappoint him,” Penelope began explaining. She and JJ knew one reason why Emily believed her grandfather would be disappointed in her no matter how many times they told her it was the right thing to do. “You could’ve gotten a tattoo of yourself on your arm and he would’ve laughed at you and told you how the tattoo artist perfectly captured your nose.”

“The point is, Emily, your grandfather would never hold this against you, and he would’ve been joyed to know that from now on, you’ll be continuing your tradition with your daughter.”

Sniffling, Emily leaned against JJ who didn’t hesitate to wrap an arm around her shoulders. “He would’ve adored her,” she whispered, wiping away the tears that escaped her eyes.

“Penelope wouldn’t be the one you would worry about when it came to spoiling your bub,” Tara teased, slightly relieved when Emily laughed softly. It wasn’t the laugh they were all looking for, but it was a laugh nonetheless.

“Ooh! At least I didn’t need to ask Luke to go with me when buying baby stuff because your gramps would’ve went with me,” Penelope exclaimed in astonishment. She went on to talk about all the things she wanted to buy for Emily’s little girl, too hyped up to notice the smirk on her friends’ faces at her enthusiasm to talk about shopping with Luke Alvez.

Discreetly, JJ sent a text message to Dave, letting him know that she, Emily, and Tara, would like to change their wager in the betting pool by advancing it two months. She put her phone away when Emily lightly nudged her foot and smiled at Penelope.

“I plan to buy all the cutest things for little Prentiss-Mendoza and nothing you guys say can stop me,” Penelope finished.

Emily wasn’t surprised to hear about Penelope’s willingness to buy out the baby aisle, but slightly balked at the mention of the possible surname of her baby, but decided not to let her thoughts linger on it. She’d bring it up with Andrew one day, but right now, she wanted gingerbread cookies. “So, when are we going to start making the batter? Butterball is hungry and frankly, so am I.”

“We’ll start as soon as you tell us where your mixer is,” Tara said.

“We-uh, we don’t have one?” Emily winced. “In my defense, if we had a mixer this place would burn down the minute we turn it on.”

Tara couldn’t help but agree. “So I guess we’re doing this by hand.”

“We don’t have crushed ginger powder yet,” JJ pointed out.

“And cinnamon,” Penelope said, scrolling down her phone as she read a recipe on making gingerbread cookies.

“There’s a convenience store two blocks from here,” Emily offered. “JJ and I can start on the dough while you guys get what we need.”

“Alright, everyone knows their tasks, so the only thing left to say is,” Penelope broke off, gesturing towards Emily with both hands.

Rolling her eyes, Emily conceded and said, “Wheel’s up.”

She and JJ immediately began measuring and mixing the ingredients, occasionally stopping to catch up on some water-cooler office gossip. Emily asked for updates on Henry and Michael, updates JJ gladly gave with a bright smile on her face, and she told the story of the first time they baked chocolate chip cookies with a barely one-year old Michael. Apparently, Henry begged his mother to let Michael decide how many cups of chocolate chips should be added to the cookie dough, and she reluctantly agreed. Michael’s decision turned out to be pouring the entire bag of chocolate chips into the bowl of cookie dough.

Tears of joy were slipping down Emily’s face by the time JJ finished the story. “Did you eat the cookies?”

“Henry definitely looked like he wanted to, but thankfully, Will got it out of his reach before he could put his hands on the bowl,” JJ replied with an amused shake of her head.

“Oh you spoilsport. Trying to get sugar-high Henry to take a shower would’ve been a sight,” Emily giggled.

“I can’t wait until you accidentally feed your kid too much sugar,” JJ deadpanned, sending Emily into another fit of laughter. “In fact, I demand to be here whenever that happens. Someone needs to document the entire thing.”

“Jennifer Jareau, you should know by now that between Andrew and me, he’s the one most likely to feed my butterball so much sugar because he would never be able to resist those puppy dog eyes she’s sure to have,” Emily said.

“With those dark eyes you both have and Bambi lashes? Oh, honey, Andrew isn’t the only one you need to worry about because you have David Rossi, Penelope Garcia, Tara Lewis, Luke Alvez, and Spencer Reid willing to bend to your girl’s every whim,” JJ chuckled. “And you have me, too. I’ve always wanted a little girl, and I have my eyes on this cute little dress that you would absolutely love.”

Emily smiled softly at the thought of a little girl with JJ’s blonde hair and sparkling ocean eyes and Will’s rarely seen but bright smile that lights up his face. Emily had no doubt that if JJ had a daughter of her own, her two older brothers would be the most protective older brothers in the entire world.

“But take it from me, Emily,” JJ said, snapping Emily away from her thoughts. “The cute outfits can definitely wait until she’s a little bigger. When she’s a newborn, you’re going to want to stick to clothes that have buttons on its entire side. You do not want to deal with the hassle of getting a squirmy baby out of a baby dress when she wants a diaper change.”

“Duly noted,” Emily nodded. “But you do realise that with the amount of dresses Garcia gets her every week, she’s going to wear everything only once in her entire life.”

“Unfortunately, I can’t help you with that one because I have been trying to since the day I told you guys that I was pregnant with Henry.”

“How did that one go, anyway? I’m pretty sure you still had some of Henry’s clothes in storage when you found out you were pregnant with Michael?”

JJ sent a mock glare in her direction. “You do not want to know, Emily Prentiss.”

Soon enough, Penelope and Tara had returned with the needed ingredients as well as a bunch of cookie cutters in varieties of shapes: the normal man, a snowman, a paw-print, a teapot, and, Emily’s personal favorite, a Kermit the Frog. They continued working on the cookies, and Emily called dibs on the bowl of cookie dough before anyone could argue; little did she know that no one would. When the cookies were finally placed in the oven, they moved their party to the living room and watched Game of Thrones , because apparently, Emily had yet to finish the seventh season.

They were halfway five minutes away from finishing the episode when the timer rang. Some time in between Tara mixing and Emily sneaking a spoonful of the dough, they had all agreed that frosting would require additional work that none of them had the patience or energy for. With the exception of Emily, they all sat on the Bohemian-themed rug draped over the living room carpet with their backs to the couch, eating the cookies and talking about anything under the sun. The show was delegated to be background music to the giggles and laughter being shared in the unit.

“That wasn’t the first time Rossi saw Spencer being the boy-genius he is, but I think that was the first time I saw Rossi be so confused about what he was saying,” JJ giggled.

“Oh! And what was it that Emily said to Spencer when he finished?” Penelope asked.

JJ closed her eyes and tried to remember but shook her head when she only came up with fragments. “Something about robots, I guess? Hey, Em, what was it that you- oh my god.”

Tara and Penelope turned their heads to the direction of the couch, where they had convinced Emily to sit while eating the cookies. But instead of munching on the cookies, Emily’s eyes were closed and she was snoring softly. On one hand, there was a half-eaten paw-print-shaped cookie close to slipping between her fingers; her other hand rested on top of her baby bump.

“Oh that is the cutest thing I have ever seen,” Penelope whisper-cooed. She picked up her phone from the coffee table and took a photo of the sleeping mom-to-be, and made sure to take several pictures in different angles.

“Should we let her sleep here?” Tara asked. “She looks so peaceful.”

“I agree, but I think Emily wouldn’t be so peaceful when she wakes up with a sore back in the morning,” JJ said. She ran a hand down Emily’s hand and gently shook her. “Em, it’s time to wake up.”

“No,” Emily whined. Tara bit her bottom lip to stop herself from laughing out loud. Now this was a sight people would kill to see.

“You’d be more comfortable sleeping in a bed rather than a couch, Emily,” JJ offered, grinning when Emily let out another whine.

“But I’m tired,” Emily said.

“I know you are,” JJ softly, “but you’d sleep better in a bed.”

Emily groaned but slowly sat up on the couch. Her eyes landed on the half-eaten cookie and she put it up to her mouth.

“Come on,” Tara stood up and offered her hand to Emily. “Let’s get you to bed, mama bear.”

“I can stand by myself,” Emily mumbled groggily but accepted the offer anyway. They all walked Emily to bed and helped her get comfortable. JJ tucked the comforter up to Emily’s chin and whispered good night before they made to leave the bedroom.

Andrew was helping Julia with her homework when he felt his phone buzz in his pocket. He checked it immediately, worried that it might be about Emily and their little girl. He couldn’t help but smile at the attached photo to Penelope’s text message ’All tucked in.’

In the photo was Emily, fast asleep under the covers with her bangs messed up on top of her forehead. She was cuddling with a plush dolphin he remembered Tara gave her, one she named Kilgore Trout in honor of the fictional character created by Kurt Vonnegut.

“What’s that Uncle Andrew?” Julia asked.

Andrew smiled at her and showed her the photo. “It’s your Aunt Emily. She’s asleep now.”

“Does that mean the baby is too?”

“Yes, I hope it does.”

“When is the baby coming? I want to show her all my cool stuff.”

“She’ll be here in a couple of months, sweetie,” Andrew laughed, placing a kiss on top of Julia’s forehead. “Then you can play with her anytime you want.”

“Mommy said you have to be careful with babies because they’re tinier than I am and they’re, uh, soft,” Julia said.

“Mommy’s right,” Andrew nodded. “Babies are fragile because they’re still growing their bones. You were tiny once, too.”

“No,” Julia gasped. “I’m a big girl.”

“Yes you are, as much as that hurts me and your mom and dad, but you were little before you became a big girl.”

Julia fell silent for a moment before asking, “Can I help the baby become big, like me?”

Andrew considered the question. “You can, but in a different way. You can talk to her the way you do now, because that helps them learn how to talk quicker, and when she’s a little older, you can read to her like Aunt Emily does.”

Julia clapped her hands in excitement. “I’m going to be the best helper for the baby!” she declared.

Laughing once more, Andrew nodded. “I’m sure you will be.” He glanced at the photo one last time and whispered, “Good night, you two. Sleep tight.”


Chapter Text

After the success of solving the bombing case in Memphis, the Deputy Director gave the BAU team Thursday and Friday off. They gladly accepted, and instead of spending it at home, spending time with their loved ones or catching up on sleep, they offered to help Andrew and Emily move out from their condo and into the greystone. Emily tried to decline at first, but with the magic of Penelope Garcia’s persuasion skills, agreed.

The first day was spent moving and reassembling furniture around the house, which was easier said than done because Emily and Andrew sold most of their old furniture and ordered new ones. By lunch time, they managed to finish the assembly in the office and the dining room, and delegated the rest of the day to assemble the rest of the furniture in the living room. Overall, it was a tiring and uneventful day, but all that was left to do was unloading all the boxes still in the condo.

For their second day, they were down one team member since Matt had to go with Kristy to the hospital to have their last appointment. They all laughed at him when he said maybe this time he can convince Kristy to agree in finding out what the sex of their baby was and wished him luck, even though they knew it was never going to happen.

Luke and Andrew rented a U-Haul truck and drove to the condo to get the rest of the boxes and finish up the paperwork with the landlord. The rest of them stayed behind, unloading boxes and decorating the house.

“I can’t believe you still have this photo,” JJ laughed as she pulled out a picture frame from a box on the coffee table. Emily took a peek over her shoulder and smiled at the photograph in friend’s hand. It was a photo of the team, taken sometime around 2012, if Emily’s estimate was correct. In the middle was Hotch with Jack sitting on his shoulders, wearing the blue ribbon Hotch got when he crossed the finish line of the triathlon. Dave and Spencer stood on either side of him, the former holding the banner Jack had made for Hotch. Derek had his arms wrapped around Penelope, who was covering her ears and seemed to be in pain. The same could be said for JJ and Emily, but Emily was more subtle in hiding her wince and managed to put on a small smile on her face.

“It’s one of my favorite photos of us. It’s perfect… well, if you forget that you, Pen, and I were hung over and wished we were dead, of course,” Emily snickered. “I have learned since then to avoid that acid green drink because that was the worst hangover I have ever experienced.”

“I think we would’ve handled it better if we didn’t have to drag ourselves off our beds at six in the morning to watch Hotch cross the finish line,” JJ said.

“After only two hours of sleep,” Spencer added, smiling smugly at them. With his eidetic memory, all his memories, good or bad, were always fresh in his mind, but the memory of that morning was one of his favorites. He can still see JJ unable to stand properly as she tried to open the latch on her gate, and how he had to drag her to bed because she was always tripping on her feet. He could only imagine how Penelope and Emily were.

“Where do you want me to put this?” JJ asked.

“Just leave it in the box for now. That one’s going to the nursery,” she said.

“Speaking of nursery, I got you a little something,” Dave said.

“Dave, you don’t have to get me any—oh really? That’s a little something?” Emily asked incredulously as she stared at the huge box he placed in front of her.

“You don’t have to open it now, but it’s a baby rocker,” he said and wrapped an arm around a speechless Emily, smiling like a proud idiot.

“Damn, Rossi,” Tara whistled as she studied the picture of the rocker chair on the box. Emily glanced at the brand name and raised an eyebrow at Dave. “This thing looks stylish. Where did you get this?”

“Joy visited for a day last week, and I asked her to go with me to get Emily a present. She said that was currently the It-brand on the baby registry market, whatever that’s supposed to mean.”

“You went shopping with Joy and you didn’t invite me?” Penelope asked in an affronted tone.

“I wasn’t even thinking about getting a baby rocker,” Emily said.

“You’re insane,” JJ chuckled. “I firmly believe that baby rockers, slings, and pacifiers should be at the top of the list for every new mother.”

“Yeah, I’m not really sold on the baby sling thing,” Emily winced, placing a hand on her stomach. “What if she slips and falls out of it?”

“I’ll show you how to wrap one so she doesn’t slip out,” JJ said.

They went back to work after that, with Dave slipping out of the unboxing tasks and heading to the kitchen to start working on lunch. Soon enough, the U-Haul truck arrived and they unloaded the rest of the boxes. . By eleven, Spencer left, saying he was going to visit his mother, so there were only six of them at the dining table at lunchtime.

“Has anyone heard from Matt yet? He still hasn’t called about how Kristy’s last appointment went,” Tara said.

“He called me earlier when we were still in the condo,” Andrew said. “Kristy and the baby are okay, and he said Kristy is about to pop anytime so they’re rushing to prep the nursery and the baby bag.”

“Oh right, Matt told me he sold the twins’ crib two years ago and he bought a new one online,” JJ said. “I can’t wait to see how that’s going to turn out.”

“Speaking of cribs,” Andrew said and placed a hand on Emily’s thigh. “Kristy asked if you and I could go over there tomorrow to help them finish up at the nursery.”

“Of course,” Emily nodded.

“Count me in, too,” Dave said. “I still have to give him the baby rocker anyway.”

“Ooh, someone’s vying for godfather,” JJ sang.

“Hey now, Penelope’s not the only one who can spoil the BAU kids,” Dave defended himself.  “And I’m an equal opportunity giver when it comes to them.”

“Are you going to let my daughter call you Uncle Dave the way Jack, Henry, and Michael do?” Emily asked.

“She can call me whatever she wants.”

“That’s brave,” Andrew smirked. “What do you think, Em? Is ‘Lothario’ an okay name?”

“Without a doubt. And she’s moving, so she thinks it’s cool too.”

“I call dibs on teaching Emily’s kid to call Dave ‘Lothario,’” Tara offered, raising her palm in the air.

“Ugh you beat me by a second.”

“Sorry, JJ. You snooze, you lose.”

“Fine,” JJ rolled her eyes playfully. “I’ll teach her to call him ‘Casanova.’”

“On second thought, Uncle Dave sounds like the best option,” Dave interjected, giving each one of them a half-hearted glare.

After they finished eating, they continued with the work. Andrew made Emily take frequent breaks, and much to Emily’s annoyance, the rest of them ganged up on her and kept her from working too hard. Every time she bent down to pick up a box, someone would suddenly appear next to her to pluck it out of her arms and give her a less stressful task. Emily wanted to yell at them, but eventually accepted the role of organizing the silverware in the kitchen. At least she could sit for that.

Come three in the afternoon, most of the rooms in the house were finished save for the master bedroom and the ensuite bathroom, and the nursery, which Andrew and Emily assured they could do on their own. Penelope wanted to get started on the nursery, but Emily stood her ground and explained that she wanted to wait for the closet and the baby crib to arrive before she began decorating the nursery.

She did, however, promise that she would invite the team over once more to help. It seemed to satisfy them, and she was glad. They hung out at the backyard for a few more minutes before Dave excused himself and took off. Soon, JJ said she had to go to the supermarket to pick up a few groceries, and Luke offered to drive Penelope home.

Emily and Andrew cleaned up and did a little work, but by eight, he suggested they head to bed, explaining that they needed the energy to help Kristy and Matt tomorrow. Surprisingly enough, she didn’t put up a fight. For a minute, Andrew worried and thought maybe moving while Emily was five and a half months pregnant was not the wisest decision. Those worries immediately ceased when Emily straddled his lap and placed soft kisses against his neck. They didn’t even bother with heading to their bedroom — climbing stairs seemed like too much of a task for the both of them — or taking off their shirts, the sound of their moans and grunts filling up the room as they reached the edge.

After a quick shower, they headed to bed and slept peacefully in each other’s arms.

The next day, they arrived at the Simmons residence with arms laden of frozen yogurts from the store they drove by earlier. Andrew wasn’t fond of yogurt and thought it was just fermented expired milk, but Emily was practically drooling at the sight, and before he knew it, he was heading back to the car with a bag of frozen yogurt for her.

“Hi! You guys are just in time. Dave just arrived and he’s already with Matt at the nursery, the room between Jake and Dave’s, uh, our Dave’s, room. You can head up, I still have to wait for my mom,” Kristy greeted them. They didn’t even get the chance to reply before Kristy walked away, yelling for Jake to hurry up because ‘Grandma’s on her way.’

Andrew and Emily reached the room just in time for Emily to hear Dave ask, “Where’s Emily?”

“We’re here!” she said, grinning at the two men. “What can we do to…help?” She couldn’t help but gawk at the sight of the unfinished crib in front of her.

“Wow,” Andrew whispered beside her.

“That’s what I said when we unboxed it, but in a more aggressive tone.” Emily glanced behind her and smirked when Kristy rolled her eyes. She gladly accepted the glass of water Kristy handed her. “My mom picked up the kids, so my hands are free.”

“Oh no, you are off-duty,” Emily said.

“Just Kristy?” Dave asked, giving her an incredulous.

“Hey! I’m twenty six weeks along, I can still help.”

“Good luck trying to convince your baby daddy otherwise,” Kristy giggled, pointing behind her.

Emily rolled her eyes and turned, meeting Andrew’s stare and matching it with a glare of her own. “No.”


“Do you want me to call Dr. Nichols to give me the all-clear to help? Because I’m sure she will.”

“Babe, this isn’t even about you being pregnant. It’s more of I’m scared you’ll pound the nail into your hand instead of the wood.”

An image of Andrew pounding a nail against, well, anything, somehow turned Emily on. “I’ll pound you against the wall.”

“Okay, lovebirds,” Dave cut them off.

“Rude,” Kristy narrowed her eyes at him.

“Forgive me for not wanting to be in the room when those two choose to reenact how Andrew got Emily knocked up,” Dave said in a nonchalant tone.

“I think we need to be at your house for that to happen,” Emily snickered, patting her belly when she felt a series of movements.

“What?” Dave asked in horror.

“Kristy, is there something else you need help with? Something that involves a lot of sitting down,” Andrew asked, ignoring Dave sputtering and Matt laughing behind him.

“Actually, I do. I still have to organize the baby bag in our room, and I can’t bend down much to pick up stuff, so maybe Emily can help me out with that.”

“Of course,” Emily said. “Besides, the farther we are from that crib, the less you might consider getting a divorce.”

“I think you may be right,” Kristy nodded slowly.

Andrew glanced at the crib once more and winced. “Matt, brother, you know I have nothing against you, but why is the crib so —“

“Don’t say it.”

“Red?” Emily asked, finishing Andrew’s sentence. She smirked when Matt sent a glare in her direction. “Genuine question.”

“To be specific, it’s actually called ‘Daddy Issues’ red,” Kristy informed her. “I checked the website.” Emily and Andrew laughed, pursing their lips together when they saw Matt pouting.

“Please, make them stop,” he pleaded to Dave.

“Children,” Dave chastised.

“Alright, alright, we’re stopping,” Emily laughed.

She and Kristy left the men to start on the crib and headed towards the master bedroom. The bed was filled with baby clothes, blankets, linens, different brands of kale chips and cereal bars, and a bunch of baby stuff Emily is still trying to familiarize herself with.

They finished the baby bag an hour and a half later and headed downstairs to make sandwiches for the three men working on the crib in Matt’s old office. Emily was slicing some ham when the doorbell rang, and Kristy excused herself to open it.

A few seconds later, she came back with a confused frown on her face. “Emily, it was for you.”

“For me?” Emily asked. “But I don’t live here.”

“I know that, but it was from the post office, and they specifically asked for you.”

“Okay,” Emily said warily. She hesitated for a moment before discreetly taking the knife she was using and hiding it under her sleeve just in case. Sending a smile in Kristy’s direction, she went to the foyer and took a deep breath before opening the door.

“Are you Emily Prentiss?” the man asked.

“Yes,” she replied, plastering a fake smile on her face.

“You’ve been served.”

“What?” Emily took the file being handed to her but was preoccupied by what the courier said. “Hey! How did you find me here?”

“I’m just the courier, ma’am. I’m only following the directions sent to me,” the man shrugged before walking away completely.

Emily sighed in frustration as he walked away. She opened the file and took out the paper, skimming through it to find the name of the person threatening to sue her. Once her eyes landed on a name, she slammed the door and climbed the stairs, barging into the unfinished nursery. She was fuming and if it was possible, there would’ve been steam escaping her ears. “My ex-neighbor is threatening to sue me.”

“What?” Andrew asked, rushing to her side. Furious, she handed him the file and crossed her arms over her chest. Andrew quickly, but patiently, read the papers to get the necessary information. “Brian Garrity?”

“Do you even know this guy?” Matt asked.

“He’s an old neighbor,” Emily said. “I think he worked at a fish hatchery? I know he has a wife that was way out of his league, and don’t look at me like that, Dave. It’s true. That man used to walk this large cat with a leash-thing. He didn’t even feed that cat meat because he was vegetarian. The other neighbors and I took turns feeding it. He’s a cruel person who doesn’t deserve to have a cat!”

Matt’s mouth was hanging open, too flabbergasted to form words, and Dave was staring at her, an eyebrow raised in question. Andrew saw the expressions on their faced and widened his eyes, warning them not to make fun of everything Emily just said if they wanted to live.

“He named you and the government as co-defendants in a fifth amendment Civil Rights violation?” Andrew asked in a disbelieving tone.

“He said he’s being watched,” Emily explained.

“Oh, boy,” Matt winced.

“What do you want to do about it?” Dave asked.

Emily sighed, shrugging. “I-I want to go home, change my clothes, and call him into Quantico.”

“Are you sure about that? He sounds like a conspiracy theorist. And we need to be careful of how much oxygen we give those types.”

“Give me a little credit here, Dave,” Emily chuckled. “I’ve talked the guns out of psychopaths. I can handle one kook who hired a lawyer.”

“Come on, let’s say goodbye to Kristy,” Andrew said, placing a hand on her lower back and leading her out of the room.

“Andrew, you can stay. You don’t have to come with me.”

“Are you kidding? If it involves you, it involves me.”

With a small smile, Emily shook her head and took his hand in his. “Thank you.”

“I accept payment in kisses and cuddles,” he teased.

They bid their goodbye to Kristy, who told her to be careful, and went home. Emily spent the entire drive fiddling with her fingers, a nervous habit she had overcome but had managed to return full-time during her pregnancy. She hated how the prenatal vitamins were supposed to yield healthy nails but here she was, biting and chipping them off.

When they got home, she dressed while simultaneously talking to Brian on the phone. She nearly lost balance and fell over when putting on her shoes, but thankfully, Andrew was quick to catch her, even making a joke about always catching her every time she fell. Emily responded by rolling her eyes and promising a thank you to all the times he caught her after Brian was dealt with.

The moment they arrived at the sixth floor of the Hoover building, Emily paced to the bullpen and was shocked to see the number of people working.

“Boss woman!” Emily turned around and saw Penelope rushing towards her, bag slung over her elbow.

“Hi,” she greeted and then waved her hand towards the bullpen. “What’s going on here? Why is everyone working on a Saturday?”

Penelope gave her a confused look. “Oh. Stalking case. I texted you twenty-eight minutes ago. Alvez and I are going to the victim’s apartment?”

“Oh. Right. You did. I’m sorry, I’m just, uh, a little distracted,” Emily mumbled.

“Is it because of that guy in your office?” Penelope asked.

“He’s already here?” Emily asked, eyes widening in shock. She turned her head in the direction of her office and saw a man pacing, while an agent, who Emily identified to be Agent Foreman, stood guard by the door. The woman turned her head and met Emily’s eyes, proceeding to give her a pleading look of wanting to be anywhere else except here. Emily couldn’t help but feel the same.

“He arrived twenty minutes ago, looking mighty and demanding to see you,” Penelope said. “I think you owe Agent Foreman a drink or two.”

“What is that thing he brought with him?” Emily asked.

“That, my lovely, is what your guest called a ‘crime board,’” Penelope quoted the word, biting her bottom lip for a second to stop herself from laughing at Emily’s situation, “complete with pins and strings to connect the details. All of them point to a photo of you in the center.”

“Ugh,” Emily groaned.

“Oh, hey! Andrew’s here too!” Penelope exclaimed as he moved towards Emily’s side.

“Hey, Garcia,” he smiled. “How’s the case going?”

“We have the ex-boyfriend in the interrogation room, and Tara and JJ are going to tag-team him.”

“I pity his poor soul,” Andrew winced. He looked at Emily and finally saw the distress on her face. “What’s wrong?”

“Garrity’s here,” Emily mumbled under her breath.

“Already?” he shockingly asked and glanced at Emily’s office. “Why does he have a chalkboard with him?”

“Crime board,” Penelope and Emily corrected. The blonde’s voice sounded amused while the brunette didn’t bother to hide how appalled she was by the entire situation.

“Wow,” Andrew said and turned to Emily, placing an arm over her shoulders. “Are you sure you want to do this?”

“I don’t have a choice, Andrew,” she reasoned. “He’s threatening to sue me.”

Andrew nodded in understanding. “Do you want me to be there with you?”

Emily gave him a small smile as she shook her head. “I can handle it. I’ll call for backup when I need it, but I really doubt I would require one.”

“If you insist,” he conceded. Andrew badly wanted to give her an encouraging hug, but they were at work, and he knew Emily wasn’t comfortable with public displays of affection. He resorted to placing a kiss on her belly, warning their baby girl to behave while mommy dealt with a bad guy, and squeezing Emily’s hand.

“She’s going to be fine,” Penelope assured him. The two of them stood shoulder to shoulder, watching Emily climb the stairs to her office. Andrew gave Agent Foreman an apologetic smile, and sighed when Emily closed the door behind her. He had a feeling this was not going to be as easy Emily claimed it to be.

“I know,” he said. “I still worry.”

“Well, considering that she’s the love of your life and she’s carrying your little girl, I would be surprised if you weren’t,” Penelope nudged him. “Come on, baby daddy. You can help us with the case instead. Alvez and I are going to Elizabeth’s apartment, so I need you to read through some of the messages sent to her, see if there’s anything that might lead us to the stalker.”

“Lead the way.”

For two hours, Andrew sat in front of a laptop in the conference room, reading every single threat sent to Elizabeth for the past six months. He was absolutely enraged that someone could do this to an innocent person. That involuntary celibates, or 'incels', as Penelope referred to them, could easily and wholeheartedly slut-shame women for not sleeping with them. As the unit chief of the Major Crimes Unit of the FBI, he had seen some nasty things, but never as nasty as what Emily’s unit saw on a daily basis. In fact, this was a whole new level of nasty and evil. This was beyond inhumane, and he knew that this case doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the things the BAU has seen.

Meanwhile, Emily just wanted this meeting to be over, but that didn’t seem to be happening soon. Within minutes of Garrity explaining why he agreed to meet with her, she had already profiled him to be a targeted individual, but he refused to let her have a word in.

“And that doesn’t explain all the traffic cameras pointed at me that the FBI uses to surveil me,” Garrity ranted.

“They are not pointed at you,” she patiently said again. It seemed like a mantra she was repeating for the past hour. They are not pointed at you, the FBI is not watching you, I was not an undercover secret agent sent to watch over you… The words do not seem to reach Garrity’s ears at all.

“And you know where else I found them?” Let me guess, your smart TV? Emily thought bitterly. “In my smart TV.” Emily sighed deeply and took a sip of water. “So any time I’m watching TV, my TV’s watching me? Cui bono, Emily? That’s Latin for ‘who benefits.’”

“Yes, Brian. I know what it means.” Did this man think she was an idiot or something? “And yes, I know there are cameras around you. They are around all of us, but the FBI is not watching you with them.”

“Then why is it that the moment I decided to expose all this, you agree to sit with me?”

“Because,” Emily reached over and took the papers from her purse, showing it to Brian. “You are threatening to sue me.” Her hands were shaking with the frustration bubbling inside her, and she sighed. “Brian, please have a seat. I’m—How have you been? How’s Patricia?”

“Not good. She left me.”

“She did?” Well… “I’m sorry. You two were… such a couple.”

“You’re just saying that to get on my good graces,” he snapped, glaring at her. Emily balled her hands into fists and mentally counted in Arabic to stop herself from punching the guy in the face. Even without anything, men always have the audacity…

“This is an odd question,” she changed the topic, “but have you been feeling a weird, burning sensation? As though you’re being heated from inside your body?”

“Yeah! Like a county a fair dog,” he confirmed. Emily flashed him a fake smile. “Wait. How do you know?”

“It’s called ‘targeted individuals.’ These are men and women who are convinced that they are being watched all the time, and it usually happens after a sudden emotional loss,” Emily patiently explained. “I promise, you aren’t.”

Brian nodded slowly, and they were silent for a few moments which slightly convinced Emily that maybe he understood what she was trying to say. Boy was she wrong. “Here’s a question. Why did you fake your own death?”

Emily blinked. “What?”

“In 2011, ya died,” Brian drawled out, smirking. “And then in 2016, boom, you’re magically back in the FBI. And now, here we are in your fancy chief office, and you’re with child.”

Unconsciously, Emily placed a hand on her belly, removing her hand immediately when she saw Brian’s eyes follow her hand, moving her chair closer to her desk to hide it from his eyes. She did not want his prying eyes on her baby.

“I—um, it’s complicated,” she muttered. What the hell was going on? “I can’t fully explain why I left the FBI. I was undercover, and the details about each one are classified.”

“Emily I’ll make it simple for you. You have two choices: you can tell me the truth now, or in court.”

“Brian, please don’t do this,” she sighed.

“Maybe I wouldn’t if you just told the truth about the FBI watching me.”

Emily opened her mouth, prepared to argue right back, when a knock on her door drew her attention away from Brian.

“Hey,” Tara said, smiling at her. “Sorry to interrupt. Uh, do you have a second?”

“Yeah,” she nodded, eager to get away from the room and put some distance between her and Brian. “If you’ll excuse me.” She stood up from her chair and walked out of the office, placing her head in her hands once she was out of the bastard’s line of sight. She took a deep breath and met Tara’s gaze. “What’s up?”

“Garcia’s in a tailspin trying to find Elizabeth’s stalker. Andrew and Luke are helping her, but she said it’s still like ‘looking for a specific needle in a bucket full of needles,’ whatever that’s supposed to mean,” Tara said. “It looks like you are, too. Are you okay?”

Emily absently nodded, letting out a shaky sigh. “He’s dug in.”

Tara gave her a sympathetic smile. “Well, that’s the problem with targeted individuals. You can’t convince them that their delusion isn’t real, and the only strategy that works is just to indulge them until they’re no longer a threat to themselves or to others and why are you looking at me like that?” Emily was staring at her, eyes slightly narrowed as if in deep contemplation, and a small smirk on her face. “Hello?”

“Did you notice how he checked you out?” Emily asked.

Tara scoffed, rolling her eyes. “Yeah, yeah. It felt like I needed a thick coat or some kind of taser.”

Emily chuckled in agreement. “That’s because you look like his ex-wife who just left him.”

“I look like that man’s ex-wife?” Emily nodded. “Somebody married that man?” Tara asked in disbelief.

“It’s more of the attitude; strong, forthright, convincing—“


“Tara, he’s going to sue me, and he keeps looking at my belly and it’s creeping me out,” she begged. Tara glared at her. “Please,” she said, popping out her lower lip.

Tara thought she looked pretty pathetic for a grown woman, but sighed and walked towards Emily’s office. “You owe me a lot of drinks.” In her peripheral vision, she could see Emily clapping in excitement, and allowed herself to smile a little before putting on her poker face when she sat Brian’s gaze.

This was not going to be fun, but for Emily, she was going to do it.

Emily, satisfied that she wasn’t needed anymore, headed to Penelope’s office to see what she could do to help find Elizabeth’s stalker. She was both surprised and relieved to see Andrew there, who smiled and held his arms open for her. She stepped into his hug and buried her face in his shoulder, letting out a shaky breath.

“How did it go?” he asked.

“He asked me why I faked my death,” she replied, her voice muffled by his chest.

Andrew winced and pulled her closer to him. Emily told him of the Doyle case on her ‘death anniversary’, and although she was long over it, he knew she was still being haunted by nightmares. Her fake death was something he never brings up in any type of conversation with her, not unless she was the one who brought it up.

“Do you want to talk about it?” he asked. “After the case, I mean.”

“After dinner,” she nodded. He agreed, placing a kiss on the top of her head. Emily pulled away from him and gave him a small smile, before she moved closer towards Penelope and placed a hand on her shoulder. The sudden action caused the technical analyst to jump and throw the stress toy she was squeezing at whoever it was, in this case, Emily.

“Don’t do that,” Penelope exclaimed, placing a hand over her chest. Behind them, Andrew chuckled but was immediately silenced by the glares sent in his direction.

Emily apologized. “Is there something I can do to help?”

“Yes, Andrew and I have been listening to some of the recordings, but before that,” Penelope trailed off, reaching under her desk and pulling out a small box and a shopping bag, and handed it to Emily. “That is for you, and your mini-me.”

“Has it been a week since your last present?” Emily narrowed her eyes in a teasing manner.

“Yes it has,” Penelope responded quickly, making both Emily and Andrew doubt that a week has passed, “the box has a mini red velvet cake.”

“Ooh, cake!” Emily said excitingly and took a seat next to Penelope. She opened the box, and using the fork already in it, treated herself with the delicacy. “Penelope Grace Garcia, you are the goddess of all divine beings.”

“That’s what I like to hear. Now, take these earphones, and help me find something to pin this S.O.B. down.”

Although she was still eating, Emily paid attention to the recordings. Occasionally, she gave Andrew a forkful, but most of the time, they spent it trying to listening to and narrowing down hundreds of recordings that could them catch the unsub. Penelope could admit that the extra pairs of ears actually helped.

They caught their guy two hours later, a man living a floor down from Elizabeth and apparently made the moves on her ex-boyfriend. While JJ was gone to make the arrest, Emily spotted Tara and Agent Foreman leading Brian Garrity towards the elevator, bidding him goodbye. A part of Emily felt as if this wouldn’t be the last time she saw him, but before her thoughts dwelled on the possibility of facing Brian Garrity once again, her phone rang.

Dave was calling. Kristy was in labor.

Penelope called Spencer while they all packed up and waited for JJ to return. Emily made sure to brief Agents Anderson and Foreman on what to question the unsub, wanting the proper procedure to be followed. Both agents assured her they would handle it well.

They made it to the hospital in no time, and spotted Dave in the waiting area for the family. JJ joked that this wouldn’t be the last time they would sit here waiting for someone to finish pushing a live human out of them, sending Emily into a brief panic about labor. The rest of the time waiting was spent with Emily asking JJ to describe the pain level of giving birth; in a low volume, of course, considering how the rest of them looked queasy afterwards.

Spencer made it two hours later, wearing a huge sweater that looked like the ones they sell at a tourist hotspot.

“Thinking of leaving the BAU to be part of America’s tourism department?” Emily asked in a laughing tone. “Just ask. I’ll write a colorful letter of recommendation.”

“M-my clothes got wet,” Spencer said, but his rising voice intonation at the end made it sound like he was asking a question.

“Of course they did.”

Another hour passed before Matt came out of the delivery area, huge smile lighting up his face. “It’s a girl!”

The team rose as one and went to congratulate him.

“What’s her name?”

“Daphne Rose Simmons,” Matt said. "We'll call her Rose."

“Aw, a perfect name for your perfect little girl,” Luke said.

“And you can say that you chose a red crib specifically for that name,” Andrew joked.

“You know what, Mendoza? That doesn’t even bother me right now, and I cannot wait to see you when Emily gives birth.”

“Oh, that’ll be a sight for sore eyes.”

“Don’t talk about giving birth. It makes me feel nauseated after hearing what JJ said."


"And that is why I will not be having children."

“When can we meet her?” Emily asked, changing the topic.

“Right now,” Matt said and led them towards Kristy’s room.

Rose was a perfect little gem. She had Kristy’s nose and hair color, and Matt’s ears and eye-shape. Spencer gave a little fun fact about newborns that the parents paid serious attention to, and Daphne was passed around gently.

“Hello, Rose,” Emily cooed once the baby was placed in her arms. Memories of holding a newborn Henry and few months old Michael and Hank came to her mind, and she couldn’t help but smile softly at the baby staring at her. “Welcome to the world. I hope you had a fun time in there, but the real fun is about to begin. I can’t wait for you to meet your friend, and I bet she can’t wait to meet you, too.”

Emily didn’t notice Andrew’s loving gaze at her as she stared at the baby’s cherubic face until she looked up to hand her over. For a moment, the same thoughts passed through their minds, thoughts of excitement about meeting their own little girl. There was a tiny bit of fear nervousness in there as well but despite that, they shared a smile, knowing that they would make it through thick and thin as long they did it together.

Andrew shifted once Daphne was in his arms. Although he could still remember holding Julia as a newborn, the feeling of a light, tiny human being in his arms was always new and exhilarating. Like Andrew had loving stared at him while holding Daphne, Emily kept her eyes on his face, feeling her heart melt at the warm smile on his face. Little Daphne, barely two hours old, already had Andrew wrapped around her tiny fingers, and Emily was almost certain that their little girl, their butterball, would have him weak on his knees the moment he meets her.

The entire room was silent, all occupants content in watching the soon-to-be parents hold the newborn. The BAU team, especially, was amazed at the couple’s growth within a year of being together. If someone told them that their friend and unit chief would be enamored with an agent for the Major Crimes Unit, they would’ve laughed and thought they were too different to be compatible. Time proved them to be wrong.

When it came to those two, there was no ‘other half’, but rather two wholes making each other’s difficulties bearable. They taught each other how to love, made one another strong and brave adults out of fragile, half-hearted children. When it came to those two, it was a balance of character, an equality of wills and souls, because he could be a pain in the ass if warranted, and so could she. When it came to those two, it wasn’t tolerance or compromise. When it came to Emily and Andrew, it was love.

A year had come and gone, and they witnessed this love bloom from a hesitant, unfamiliar spark to a lifelong, unconditional, and all-encompassing love. This was a love meant to leave a legacy, one they were all sure would have a combined calm and chaotic temper but a heart bigger than her body, and one they were all eager to meet a few more months from now.


Chapter Text


“Peete, executed in April 1947, and Vermilya, the black widow of the early 1900s.”

“Then I guess Aileen is also out of the question.”

“You hit the nail on the head.”

Andrew sighed. “Kelly?”

“The Kelly family?”


“Yes. Do your research.”

“Fine. This isn’t going to be a baby name suggestion, but I just have to know if there’s a serial killer with this name. Elizabeth.”

Emily rolled her eyes at the name. “Elizabeth Bathory, the Hungarian Countess who some conspiracy theorists like to claim as one of the first vampires in history because she was rarely seen outside her palace, when in fact that was because her incarceration and eventual execution was exchanged for lifetime solitary confinement.”

“You are unbelievable.”

“Forgive me for not wanting butterball to be named after a serial killer.”

Andrew was about to respond when a knock on the door echoed through the living room. Frowning, he glanced at it before looking at Emily. “Are we expecting someone?”

“Not really, but it might be the girls. They did promise to stop by soon to help with the nursery.”

“Alright, you stay put. I’ll go see who it is.” Andrew placed a kiss on her forehead before getting up from the fresh carpet of the nursery and made his way downstairs to the front of the house. He looked through the peephole and was surprised to see who was standing on the other side of the door. Taking a deep breath, he put on a smile on his face and opened the door.

“Ambassador Prentiss,” he greeted.

“Oh. It’s you. Hello,” Elizabeth gave him a timid smile. “I’m sorry. I’ve only realised that I never got to know your name during our past… interaction.”

“Andrew Mendoza,” he said, offering his hand. He was glad, and slightly taken aback, when she actually shook it.

“And how did you and Emily meet, Mr. Mendoza?”

Andrew fought back a wince at the formality. “I work for the Major Crimes Unit of the Virginia office. We asked for the BAU’s assistance during her case.”

“I see,” Elizabeth nodded slowly. “And did you catch the perpetrator?”

“We did, yes.”

“That’s good,” she said. Elizabeth eyed him up and down, noticing how he was shifting from one foot to another, and took a breath. “I have something for Emily.”

“Oh?” he asked.

“It’s the painting from her old room,” Elizabeth replied. She gestured behind her and Andrew saw a man standing behind the car, taking a covered picture frame. He stepped aside and told the man he would later know to be Tony to leave it by the entryway. “It was her grandfather’s, and he gave it to her as a present after he found her staring at it in his study for hours. She was so happy. That painting went with us wherever we moved to, and when she went to Yale for college, I left it in her room up in our DC house. I figured she wanted it back before I sell the house.”

Andrew nodded, silently noting the different emotions on the older Prentiss woman’s face. Her voice was stable and it sounded like she was bored with the conversation, but the pain and longing in her eyes said betrayed the lack of emotions she wanted to portray. He didn’t know Elizabeth Prentiss well enough the way he knew her daughter, but he knew that Elizabeth loved Emily and Emily loved Elizabeth. They just didn’t know how to show it, and after years of not acknowledging each other’s existence unless absolutely necessary, the icy way they treated each other became normal for both parties.

“I won’t keep you any longer, Agent Mendoza,” Elizabeth said. “Thank you.” Andrew smiled, moving to close the door but stopping when Elizabeth called his name again. “Can I ask you a favor? I know have no right to; after how I treated you, you can say no, but can you… can you let me know when your daughter arrives?”

He hesitated to answer, knowing that this decision should involve Emily, but Elizabeth looked so desperate and heartbroken that he found himself answering with an uncertain statement. “I’ll think about it.”

His answer didn’t change the expressions on Elizabeth’s face, and he watched as she took a deep breath and straightened her already straight back, a compartmentalization gesture he had seen Emily do so many times, before nodding at him and leaving.

Taking a deep breath, Andrew closed the door behind him and eyed the frame before moving it to the office and heading back to the nursery. He found Emily still on the floor, leaning back against the wall.

“Oh good, you’re back. Who was it?” Emily asked.

“Uh, just some package delivery,” he said. It wasn’t a lie, but it wasn’t the truth either.

“Okay,” she said. “Garcia called. We have a case in Des Plaines.”

“What are doing on the ground then?” he teased.

“I can’t get up,” she complained. “Your child is making things difficult for me.”

Andrew laughed and helped her get up. He followed Emily to their bedroom and sat on the bed, watching her get ready for work. Although Emily could neither see nor feel it, she looked incandescent from head to toe. Already twenty-seven weeks along, he loved seeing the changes in her body. Her stomach was protruded in a soft curve that seemed even more pronounced by the red dress she wore, her breasts were fuller, her cheeks were rosy, and her hair was flowing in soft waves, her curtain bangs framing her face. She looked incredibly stunning and Andrew could never get his eyes off her.

“You look so beautiful when pregnant,” he said.

Emily felt her cheeks heat up and raised an eyebrow at her boyfriend. “You think I’m beautiful when not pregnant, too, which was how you ended up getting me pregnant in the first place.”

“It’s true. I wasn’t lying then, and I’m not lying now,” Andrew said, moving to stand behind Emily and wrapping his arms around her waist. “You look so beautiful all the damn time.”

Emily shivered as he began kissing down her neck, his hands trailing from her waist to her sides and to her hips. She giggled and pulled his hands away from her when they reached her breasts. “Down, boy! I have to go to work.”

“Do you really have to?” he asked, pouting. Emily turned in his arms and placed both hands on his face, pulling his head down to kiss him on the lips.

“I do,” she said, her lips still grazing his. “But, after this case, you can tell me more about me being pretty. I need an ego boost because I look like a cargo ship.”

“A very beautiful cargo ship,” Andrew sighed. The list of things he won’t her call herself had long been forgotten after the tenth time Emily refused to acknowledge it.

“A cargo ship, nonetheless,” Emily said. She kissed him one more time before pulling away from him, picking up her go-bag on the bed and placing it over her shoulder. “I’ll text you the details before we get on the jet, and I will call tonight.”

“I’ll be waiting to hear your voice,” Andrew said in a mock seductive tone.

Emily rolled her eyes at him. “Don’t wait up too long. JJ and Matt tell me that we need all the sleep we can get until butterball arrives.”

“Alright then. And you take care of yourself and butterball,” he told her. He leaned down to place a kiss on her stomach. “Behave yourself in there, too. Don’t be afraid to kick mommy when she’s stressing herself out.”

“Oh, please,” Emily scoffed. “There are plenty of people in the BAU who will tie me to a chair the moment I pick up a Kevlar.”

“That is exactly why those people are my friends.”

“It’s also the reason why the BAU is going to lack a lot of agents after I fire all of them.”

“Have fun being yelled at by Cruz,” he called out to her as she left their bedroom.

“Hey Prentiss!”

Emily turned and smiled at Luke. “Hey Luke. Did you get Garcia’s text?”

“Of course. She sent it on the group chat, so I couldn’t miss it even if she didn’t want to text me personally.”

“How could she? She doesn’t even have your number. I’m kidding,” she added after she saw Luke’s confused face. “She totally does. She had my number after my first case here, and I didn’t give it to her.”

“Right,” he nodded. “Anyway, I just wanted to tell you that I read about the case from the news, and you know how dangerous snipers are, and uh, I just… the case is too dangerous for you and your kid even if you’re staying out of the field. I think it would be safer if you stayed here with Garcia for this one and please don’t fire me.”

Emily stared at him for a few minutes, enjoying how he squirmed under her gaze before saying, “Tell the team that briefing is in five minutes,” and walking away.

Five minutes later, they were in the conference room, discussing the case. Normally, Emily would be standing while presenting the case, but her feet were killing her. She swallowed her pride for the meantime and took a seat on a chair, making sure she was still in front even though she was sitting.

“There was a double homicide this morning in Des Plaines, Illinois. It appears our victims Marko Salazar and Benjamin Blake were shot by a sniper while playing basketball on a neighborhood court,” Emily began.

“Des Plaines, Illinois?” Spencer asked.

“I know what’s your noggin, and what is your noggin is correct to be in your noggin because two days ago, a gentleman named Brian Nikolay was shot in a parking lot by a sniper.”

“Just like the Phillip Dowd case we worked in Des Plaines fifteen years ago,” JJ observed, sharing a glance with Spencer.

“It is. All single shots to the victim’s torsos, all in public places, and no one’s seen the shooter. He’s a ghost,” he added.

JJ flipped through her file and shook her head. “There’s no way it’s the same long-distance serial killer because-“

“-because I killed Phillip Dowd,” he finished for her.

Emily didn’t miss how Luke looked up from his files to stare at the young genius in shock. Tara, Matt, and even Dave also looked surprise, but Dave partially looked nonplussed. “So you think it’s a copycat LDSK?” she asked. Spencer shrugged.


“And they pretty much revel in taking people’s lives from above and afar,” Luke added.

“Copycats, however, are out to prove their superiority by making a bigger bang.”

“Or to ride the wave of infamy created by the original killer.”

“But in this case, the original killer Phillip Dowd is a distant memory, so there’s not much of a wave to ride,” Tara concluded. Emily felt the adrenaline that usually came to her when they were solving cases, and hoped that the rest of her team did too before the copycat decided to strike again.

“Dowd’s original M.O. was to shoot his victims, then race back to the emergency room where he worked because he thrived on trying to save them,” Spencer recited facts from memory.

“Yeah, typical hero homicides,” Dave agreed. “But we’re not seeing that here.”

“No, we’re not, but this unsub’s victimology is remaining consistent enough to suggest that his next victims will most likely be three visitors to one of the local parks,” JJ said. The original case might have happened fifteen years ago, but she still remembers some of the important details from it.

“I’ll let Chief Weigart has his officers stake out the parks,” Emily told her and turned to the technical analyst. “Penelope, will you let Matt know that this is all hands on deck?” When she nodded, Emily began gathering her files. “We are wheels up in twenty.”

Emily was busy fixing her files that she didn’t notice the glances exchanged between her team. When she looked up, it was only her and JJ left. She smiled and nodded at JJ.

JJ, however, had a smirk on her face. “Aren’t you gonna go get ready?”

Emily blinked. “I will. In a few minutes. I’m just… you know… I enjoy sitting in the conference room when it’s empty. And this is a really good spot to sit. If you look at the window, you can see the entire bullpen and —“

“You can’t get up, can you?” JJ asked, a huge grin taking over her face.

“No, I can’t,” Emily complained dramatically. JJ laughed before helping her up. “Thank you.”

“You don’t have to thank me for that one. I remember being on Will and I’s bedroom floor one day because I dropped my sock and then I couldn’t get up. I had to wait for him for three hours,” JJ told her.

“Ugh I would stand but my feet are like knives poking my calves,” Emily complained. “I can’t even see my feet anymore!”

“Do you need to see them?” JJ chuckled.

“Yes, because I have cute socks!” Emily whined, making JJ purse her lips together to keep herself from having a full out belly laugh. Emily loved her, but JJ knew she would kill her if she laughed.

“Tell Andrew to take a photo of it the next time you wear them,” she suggested. They walked out of the conference room together, going their separate ways when they reached Emily’s office door. When Emily walked down the short flight of stairs, she wasn’t surprised to see the team all looking at her warily.

“What?” she asked. She found it comedic when all their heads turned to JJ’s direction, making the blonde in question roll her eyes.

“Em, we know you’re staying behind at the FBI office for instead of going in the field, but this is a sniper case and we think it’s too dangerous for you to be out there in Illinois with us,” JJ explained kindly.

Emily nodded. “I know. Luke already explained it to me earlier. I’m staying here in Quantico with Pen.”

Luke’s face had shock painted all over it. “Wait—you were actually listening?”

Emily ignored him. “Have a safe flight and stay safe, you guys,” she said and waved goodbye. As she walked to Penelope’s office, she sent Andrew a text informing him of the case and that she was staying in Quantico for this one.

Penelope was setting up notification alerts and doing some digging on the victim’s records when the door to her office opened. She looked up and smiled at Emily. “Hello momma-bear-to-be boss queen. Oh, and hello to your butterball I cannot wait to get my hands on, too.”

Emily smiled warmly at the nickname and the acknowledgement of her baby. “She says hi as well.”

“She’s the sweetest thing ever.”

“She is, except for the fact that when she moves, she sometimes hits my bladders and I have to pee at four o’clock in the morning,” Emily grumbled teasingly, rubbing her bump when she felt the aforementioned baby moving around as if protesting to her mother’s statements. “Estoy bromeando, mi cielito. Mamá te quiere mucho.”

“You talk to her in French and in Spanish?” Penelope asked her.

Emily nodded. “Reid says babies respond to voices when they reach twenty-five weeks, but I’ve been talking to her in French, Spanish, Italian and English way before that. She prefers French over English sometimes.”

“That little princess of yours is going to be a multilingual queen at age two,” Penelope said.

“Tell me about it,” Emily laughed. “Andrew says he has to learn French before she gets here because if he doesn’t we were going to gang up on him. He’s using Duolingo, and so far, he’s pretty awful at it."

“Does he talk to your tummy all the time like dads do in the movies?”

“He does. He tells her the craziest things and sometimes he reads books to her,” Emily said with a huge smile on her face. Penelope was shocked to see that the unit chief’s eyes were glistening. “I always tell him he never has to worry about learning French to get butterball to love him because she goes crazy when he talks to her.”

“Oh that’s the cutest thing I have ever heard,” Penelope smiled. “Why are you here? Not that I don’t appreciate you gracing my office with your presence.”

“Well we’re dealing with a sniper here, and while Dowd didn’t really shoot pregnant women, I don’t want to make it easy for this copycat to shoot me because I was right there.”

“That’s good. I mean, if you went, I wasn’t going to stop you, but I was definitely planning to yell at you for going out to Des Plaines while there’s a sniper out in the open the moment the jet lands.”

“Thank you?”

“You’re welcome. Now, while we wait for Chief Weigart to give us access to their database, tell me about the nursery and what you lack and free whatever is on your schedule on Saturday morning because we are going toy store hopping.”


Chapter Text

When Matt didn't answer his phone, Emily's gut told her something was wrong. Something was very wrong, but she refused to let her concerns show. She felt her heart drop when Dave told them the SUV Matt, Luke, and Tara were on got ambushed and the two men were missing. Despite the mantra of "they're going to be okay" going on in her mind, she felt tears slip down her face and swore she could hear Penelope sniffle.

"They're going to be okay, right?" Penelope asked her in a shaky voice.

Emily wiped her tears away and took a few deep breaths. "They are. But we have to help the rest of the team find them. I'll call JJ and tell her to do a cognitive on Tara after the doctor made sure she's okay."

"Okay," Penelope replied. Emily placed a hand on her shoulder and made the call, nearly bursting into tears again when she heard JJ's voice.

"Hey. How's Tara?" she asked.

"She's pretty banged up, but we're on our way to the hospital."

Before Emily could reply, she heard Tara speaking in the background although she couldn't understand what she was trying to tell JJ. "JJ, can you put me on speaker?"

"Of course."


"Hey Tara."

"Emily, we can't go to a hospital right now."

"Tara –"

"No. I have to help. I have to help Luke and Matt."

"Hey, they're going to be alright, but you have to get checked out by the doctor, okay? Once you're done, JJ can do a cognitive on you, and we will get the boys back," Emily reassured her.

"Em, JJ please. You have to help me focus. T-talk me through it."

JJ sighed and even though they were on the phone, Emily could see the mother hen concerned glare on her face, one she, Spencer, and Aaron used to be the main benefactors of. It was her way of silently saying 'you're lucky I like you otherwise I would make Garcia ruin your finances.' "Are you sure?" JJ asked.

"Yes," Tara said wearily. "I-I have to try. I know I must have seen who-who took them."

"Okay," JJ said.

"Call me when you guys get to the hospital," Emily said.

"Emily?" Tara called. "I'm glad you stayed behind for this one."

Even though she felt restless with not being in the field, Emily couldn't help but agree. It could've easily been her in the SUV with Luke and Matt, and if she lost her baby, her sweet precious butterball whom she would move heaven and earth for… she didn't even want to think about those scenarios. "Me too."

"I'll call later, Em," JJ promised after a few seconds of silence. Emily said one last goodbye before hanging up, leaning back against her seat and letting out a deep breath.

"Was that JJ?" Penelope asked.

Emily nodded. "Tara wanted to get cognitive done immediately. I made JJ promise to call me when they get to the hospital. She's going to be okay, Pen."

"I hope the boys are okay," Penelope said in a small voice. Emily took her hand and squeezed it.

"They will be," she reassured her. "Luke and Matt are two of the strongest people I've ever met. They won't go down without a fight."

Penelope squeezed her hand tightly and nodded. "Sometimes, I hate being stuck here while you guys go fight crime. It makes me worry all the time and I hate worrying."

Emily could only nod. Penelope had always been in the background, although all of them knew that they wouldn't be able to solve the cases without her at all, and that was what she preferred. Emily remembers one time when Penelope told her she sees enough blood and violence through the computer screens and they were more than enough to fill her quota.

For Emily, however, this was uncharted territories. Before she got pregnant, she rarely stayed behind unless the victim also had ties within the D.C. area. She was a field agent for a reason, after all. The waiting and the not-knowing if her team was safe was killing her, and her leg was bouncing in anxiety. She wonders how Penelope was able to function with all the uncertainty.

The phone rang. It was Dave telling Penelope that he sent her a sketch of a tattoo Tara saw on the motorcycle riders who took Luke and Matt. It was rough, so Penelope ran it through the tattoo recognition database.

"These copycat killings were most likely a ruse," he said.

"To target the FBI? The BAU?" Emily asked.

"It looks that way. Maybe even to target Luke and Matt specifically," Spencer explained. "Why else would they leave Tara behind?"

"Trust me, Emily. They copied a case we worked on before, sped up the timeline, and made sure and we were out in the open," Dave added. All of this was just to get their attention, and it worked.

"You're right. And as relieved as I am that they didn't kill Matt and Luke on the spot, it only means they've got worse plans for them," Emily said.

"The tattoo might help us identify the motorcycle riders who took them," Penelope said.

"Also, crosscheck it with cases Luke and Matt have worked together," Dave suggested.

"We're running the sketch as is, but we can't find any cases since Matt and Luke joined the BAU where it pops up," Penelope said, glaring at the red 'NO MATCHES' pop-up box on her computer screen.

"Are there cases where they put away any nefarious people that have escape or been paroled or anything like that?" JJ asked.

Emily watched Penelope click a few keys on her computer and sighed when nothing came up. "None."

"Luke used to work on the fugitive task force, and Matt was IRT. We should expand the search to before either one of them joined the BAU," Spencer suggested.

"Ok, we're o-n-i-t. And we will get back to you a-s-a-p," Penelope said and ended the call. She ran multiple programs to try and find even the tiniest connection between Luke and Matt. It took at least a half-hour for her to be able to find something. "I think I got something."

Emily immediately called Dave and put him on speaker. The second the line was connected, Penelope proceeded to tell the team about Louie Chaycon, the go-to enforcer for the Sarnicola family in Chicago. Matt wrote about him in a file, describing him as a 'brilliant, lethal, and criminally sophisticated' and likened him to the serial killer Israel Keyes. Like Keyes, after each hit, he'd leave America until any heat on him cooled down. Matt followed him to Europe when he was a member of the IRT, but somehow Chaycon found a way back to America, where Luke apprehended him back in 2012. He was sentenced to thirty years.

Chaycon was hiding out at his brother Bobby's house in Nettleton, Mississippi when Luke found him, and Bobby was eventually sentenced to ten years for harboring a dangerous fugitive. In 2017, Chaycon was extraditer to Italy, where he also faced murder charges and where he escaped custody. It was a lot but it didn't tell them why Chaycon was out for revenge.

Later, Penelope unearthed more intel about Chaycon's prison file before he was extradited to Italy. It turned out that he and his brother Bobby where on the wrong side of a gang fight while they were still in prison. Bobby was beaten to death right in front of him. Los Reyes even cut out the guy's tongue, which Spencer and Dave guessed was because they thought he was cooperating with the law enforcement.

"If that's the case, Chaycon probably blames Matt and Luke for his brother's death."

"Chaycon will want to do to them what the gang did to his brother."

"Garcia, do you have anything on the tattoo?"

"I-uh-I don't have anything yet, but I am holding on tight to my crime shovel and Emily and I will keep on digging."

Emily hung up the phone and noticed Penelope's hands shaking over the keyboard. The technical analyst was also committing a lot of typographical errors as she typed, something Emily had never witnessed her do. In fact, Penelope often called her out for the typos she had emitted in a file.

"Penelope," Emily said, softly at first, then repeating it in a louder voice when Penelope didn't seem to hear her. "Pen."

"I can't talk to you right now because if I stop doing whatever it is I'm doing, I might break down and cry and that would be lost time and we can't afford that right now."

"There is nothing more important to me right now than finding Luke and Matt but you have to take a deep breath too. If you keep going like that, you won't be able to find anything."

Penelope sniffled, turning to Emily with tears in her eyes and a trembling bottom lip. "We-we can't lose them, Em," she cried. "Matt has Kristy and his kids and he has a newborn. Kristy would be devastated. And-and Luke! He has—he has Lisa and, and Roxy and Lou and those dogs love him. Those dogs would die of loneliness before letting another person except Luke take care of them." She met Emily's eyes, which were as filled with tears as hers were, and shook her head. "I can't lose him," she whispered forlornly.

The admission would have sent Emily jumping in joy, but the scenario ignited an entirely different reaction. Instead of eagerly running to collect her winnings from the pool, she gave Penelope a soft, watery smile and wrapped her in a hug, as tight as her bump would allow her to. "I know," she whispered. "I know you can't."

"Emily, I need to find him."

"I know, and that's why I need you to take a deep breath, okay? Can you do that for me?" she asked. Penelope did as she said and took a deep breath, repeating it when Emily told her to.

"I'm good," she said.

"Alright. Let's get the boys home and put this son of a bitch in jail," Emily said firmly. Penelope took one last breath and nodded, turning back to her computers. It didn't take long for her to find something related to the tattoo. She didn't even get to utter a word to Emily before she reached over to dial Dave.

"I have a confirmation from a tattoo artist in Chi-town that that tattoo was specifically designed for a biker group loosely associated with an outlaw biker club known as the Rolling Devils. The Devils operate through the Midwestern United States," Penelope announced, moving her head so Emily could read her screen.

"Garcia, within our search area, do you know of any specific location controlled by the Rolling Devils?" JJ asked.

"No, but we're not looking for the Devils as in the outlaw bike group," Penelope said. "We're looking for a group of bikers that broke off with them because they were interest in devilier behavior, like slinging drugs as opposed to easy riding."

"I know a guy in the gang task force. He's got people embedded in that world. Let me see if he can give me something," Dave said.

"Thank you, Garcia," JJ said.

"You're welcome," the technical analyst whispered. She turned to Emily. "Was that enough?"

"That was more than enough, Garcia. Now, we wait," she responded, placing a hand on Penelope's shoulder.

They sat there for at least an hour, waiting for updates from anyone in the team. Spencer called thirty minutes later, telling them that Tara was okay and was on her way to the hospital. Emily gave strict orders to not let her in the field otherwise, which Spencer gladly agreed with. Another thirty minutes passed before Dave called, and from the sirens they could hear in the background, they knew it was urgent.

"Garcia, we need you to search the CCTV footage for men on motorcycles coming and going from a warehouse over the past few days," he demanded.

"Okay, I've got a foreclosed warehouse complex that fits your description. It's in your area. I'm sending the coordinates now."

"Thanks, Garcia."

Penelope's screens switched from databases to CCTV footages, and they watched as SUVs swarmed around the complex, sirens off. They watched as the rest of their team with SWAT backup entered the warehouse, temporarily disappearing from their view. Emily wanted to call Dave, to keep him on the phone so that they could hear what was happening, but didn't at the fear that the rings would get Chaycon's attention. He would kill Luke and Matt immediately at the sign that the FBI was at the same location. She couldn't risk it.

When they saw JJ and Dave walk out with Luke and Matt on their arms, they broke. They were holding it in the best they could, but the confirmation of two of their teammates being safe and alive pushed them over the edge. Penelope immediately stood up and enveloped Emily in a hug, one that Emily couldn't help but return.

Emily took a seat in her chair, running a hand down her bump. "That was quite a ride, wasn't it, my dear?"

She bit on her bottom lip as she recalled the words Tara said to her earlier: "I'm glad you stayed behind for this one." Emily agreed, and quickly distracted herself with the case, not wanting to linger on those thoughts anymore because she knew she wouldn't be much help in finding Matt and Luke if she did. But the adrenaline had worn off, and those dark thoughts had finally arrived. Questions of what ifs invaded her mind, and her wild imagination came up with multiple scenarios where she would've ended up losing her precious butterball. Unable to hold back the tears threatening to fall, she buried her face in one hand, the other still resting on top of her baby bump as she wept. She stayed like that for a short time, only straightening and wiping her tears away when she felt her baby move around inside her.

"I'm sorry," she sniffled, wiping under her eyes. "I'm okay. Mommy's just very emotional. You're going to see a lot of crying from me, I think. I haven't been able to control it so far since I found out I was having you. But that's okay. I get you in the end, and that's all that matters to me because I love you so much, and I am so so scared of losing you or of not being able to take care of you because I never really had a good role model for a mom, so I don't know how to be one. But I promise you this, my love: you'll always have me and your daddy. We both love you so much. And you have your aunts and uncles from the BAU team too, and you have Aunt Sandra and her family in Boston. You'd be surrounded by so much love that you probably don't know what to do with it."

Emily didn't notice the person standing by her doorway, listening intently as she talked to her baby. Andrew felt his heart break at the sight of his girlfriend crying, and wanted nothing but to hold her in his arms, but he could tell she needed to have that conversation with their daughter. Emily would let him talk to their baby all night long, so he would give her the space to do this, too.

"Okay, butterball, Mommy's done crying. We have to go out meet the team, make sure they're okay. And then we can go home to Daddy, and he can read to us again tonight."

Andrew knocked softly on the open door, smiling when Emily turned and met his gaze. "Hey."

"Hi," Emily sighed, looking both relieved and surprised to see him standing there. "Garcia called you."

"It was JJ, actually," Andrew said, smiling innocently.

"Oh. I was planning to call you, but I-I guess it slipped my mind," she bowed her head. "I'm sorry."

"It's okay. What matters is that you found them," Andrew assured her, his eyes softening as he went behind her desk and sat on its edge. He took one of her hands and gave it a squeeze. "And that you and butterball are okay."

Emily squeezed her eyes shut and sobbed silently once more. She felt Andrew wrap her arms around her and she leaned her head against his shoulder, her voice muffled by tears and his chest when she asked, "Am I a bad mother?"

Andrew's hands stopped rubbing her back and she felt his body tense. "Why would you say that?"

"Because, Andrew, I keep putting her at risk." She pulled away from him and wiped her tears away with one hand. "I stayed behind for this case because the unsub was a copycat LDSK, and the original LDSK targeted the FBI office in Illinois after they got too close to finding out who it was. Even if I was out of the field, a sniper could easily target me, so I stayed home. But what happens if… if on my way to the coroner's office we get ambushed or a drunk driver or even just a lousy and inexperienced driver runs into us? There are too many variables out of my control and I could lose her, Andrew." He pulled her closer to him once more, leaning her forehead against his. "I'm scared. I'm just so scared and I don't want to be scared anymore."

"What do you want to do?" he asked softly. He had an opinion and if she asked for it, he would tell her, but the choice would ultimately be hers. He would never, ever, make her do something against her will.

She shrugged and took a shaky breath. "I didn't want to do it this soon, but I think I should avoid the travel altogether and stay here in Quantico until she's here."

"I think that's a good idea."

"You do?" she asked, skeptical of her decision.

"Yes. It's safer for both of you," he explained. Andrew was relieved. Emily planned to go on maternity leave when she reached thirty-five weeks, but he was worried about her travelling, even if she was out of the field the entire time. Like Emily said, there were too many factors out of their control, and if anything happened, there was a chance he could lose both Emily and their daughter, and that was the last thing he wanted to happen.

"I think so too," Emily sighed. "I'm just so mad at myself for not thinking it sooner."

"Hey, none of that," he said, placing kisses on her forehead, her cheeks, her nose, and a quick peck on her lips. "You're a fantastic mother."

"She's not even here yet, Andrew," she teased, trying to make light of the situation even though she was feeling anything but.

"That's true, and that just makes you more fantastic, you know why? You hate being out of the field, but you're doing it for her. You read her Kurt Vonnegut books, and even some fairytales because you love how she moves around. You can probably read an article about the economy and politics to her, and she'd still move around because she's hearing your voice," Andrew explained. "You are her entire world right now, and you're doing a fantastic job at showing her that there are a lot of people eagerly awaiting her arrival."

Emily had tears streaming down her face when he finished, and she tugged his face down to press her lips against his. "I love you," she mumbled when they pulled apart.

"I love you, too," he said, placing a kiss on her forehead. "I love you so much."

They pulled apart when they heard the famous ding of the elevators and watched through the windows of Emily's office as they entered the bullpen and head immediately to the conference room, all of them being led by Penelope. Emily couldn't help the smile on her face when she saw Penelope basically baby-ing the three injured members on her team, and every single one of them were resigned to let her do her thing or face her wrath.

When Emily entered the conference room, she immediately asked the three how they were doing and glared at them when they responded "Fine."

"That's my line, so I know none of you are actually fine," she said with an unamused smile on her face. "I'm glad you guys are alright, and I'm glad that you're safe. We all are."

"Does that mean─"

"No, Tara, it still means I'm ordering the three of you to take time off until the doctor clears you. A week, max," Emily said in a firm tone. When they began to argue, Emily sighed and put up a hand to silence them. "Humor me. Please."

"Alright," Matt sighed, although he wasn't really about to complain. Having a newborn baby at home with four more kids required all hands on deck for him and Kristy, and he was glad for the additional week.

"Good. The rest of you, I'll see you tomorrow," Emily said with a soft smile.

Chapter Text

“’The dark place was like a long tunnel with a brick wall on one side and sloping roof on the other,” Andrew narrated, flipping the page of the book he was holding. “In the roof, there were little chunks of light between the slates. There was no floor in this tunnel: you had to step from rafter to rafter, and between them was only plaster.’”

Emily held back a smile at the sight of Andrew trying to balance the book on one hand while the other was placed on her belly. Right after Emily made sure that her team was okay, she asked Andrew to take her home. For someone who remained stateside, she was unbearably exhausted, and that fact alone proved that she made the right decision by deciding to stay stateside for the unforeseeable future.

Her eyes were starting to flutter shut when she felt her daughter move. When she looked up and saw the mixture of shock and utter amazement on her boyfriend’s face, Emily realised she wasn’t the only one who felt it.

“She kicked,” Andrew said. He glanced up at Emily, who felt her eyes tear up at the sight of his glassy eyes. “She kicked,” he repeated.

“And it was a really good kick too,” she nodded. “I was worried.”

“Someone likes to make her own schedule,” Andrew smiled, placing a kiss on her belly when he felt more kicks against his hand. “Hello there. It’s Daddy. I know it’s pretty comfy in there, but Mommy and I are halfway done with your room. I think you’ll love it. Your aunts and uncles helped a lot, but after you’re born, you’re going to be staying with me and Mommy for a little while. You’ll be so sick of us, but I hope not too much. We love you.”

Emily’s hand joined his, and she sniffled, wiping away her tears with her free hand. “She likes your voice. She only moves crazy like that when I eat something she likes.”

The soft smile on Andrew’s face brought on more tears, but this time, Emily didn’t bother wiping them away. Her reason for crying was justified, after all, and if Andrew made fun at her, which she was sure he wouldn’t, so be it. She loved their daughter, and she loved him; those thoughts alone could make a non-pregnant Emily Prentiss cry like a baby.

Unfortunately, the moment ended when she had to get up and pee. She would hold it in until her daughter stopped kicking, but the doctor, and JJ, Spencer and the articles she read while waiting for time to pass, had advised against it. So up she went and dragged herself to the bathroom.

When she got out, Andrew was gone; she assumed he was in the kitchen, and she went down to make a sandwich for herself. Her eye caught a colorful corner of a rectangle when she passed the office, and, with furrowed eyebrows, she detoured and headed for the room, gasping silently when she saw the painting.

It was a painting of a girl with brown hair standing next to the window, her eyes downcast and hands clasped across her lap. The window view showed a boat in the ocean, and seagulls in the sky.

Emily knew that painting; it was her grandfather’s, and he gave it to her on her birthday.

“What made you buy it, grampa?” a five-year-old Emily sitting next to her grandfather asked. She may be young, but she knew her grandfather was a practical man and only bought things that would be of use to him.

Jonathan Prentiss smiled. “I saw it at a flea market. I was looking for a specific car part to fix my old car, when I saw an old friend selling his paintings. I approached him, thinking he would recognize me, but he didn’t. It had been a long time since we last saw each other, so I guess that was okay. But no one was buying his paintings, and I felt bad for him. So I told him to give me his most valuable artwork, and he gave me this one.”

“What does that mean?” she asked.

“Valuable?” Jonathan asked. Emily nodded, leaning her head against the old man’s chest. “It means important, and for my old friend to give me this important painting meant it should be seen by everyone.”

Emily was silent for a moment, her eyes lingering on the painting. “I like it. It’s pretty.”

Jonathan laughed and pulled her closer, placing a kiss on his granddaughter’s head. “It is.”

A month after that, her birth month, he gave it to her as a present, asking her to take care of it. It was a task she took to heart. She brought it with her everywhere they moved to, yelling at her mother when she was told to leave it behind. Sadly, when she went to college and intended on not returning afterwards, she had no choice but to leave it behind. She didn’t know how it was here, unless…


She turned around and stared at Andrew, who was leaning against the doorframe and watching her warily. Somehow, the expression on his face made her angry. “I left this painting at our house in DC when I went to Yale. Why is it here?”

“Your mother brought it over earlier this morning,” he admitted. Lying to her would only fuel the anger bubbling, and it might start a fight between them, and he didn’t want that.

“Did she say why?” she asked.

“She said she was selling the old house and thought you might want to have it,” he replied. He opened his mouth to tell her about her mother’s request, but hesitated. If this was how Emily reacted about the painting, he didn’t know how she would react to that one.

Unfortunately for him, Emily caught his hesitation and narrowed her eyes at him. “Is that everything she said?”

Andrew sighed, running a hand down his face. “Let’s have a seat.”

“Was it something so awful that I needed to be seated for it?”

“Emily – “

“No. No matter what it is she said, I can take it,” she told him, feeling tears well up in her eyes. “Andrew, please, just tell me.”

“She asked if I could let her know when you give birth,” he gave in. “And I said I would think about it.”

Emily wished she had taken up his offer to sit and leaned against the table, taking deep breaths to stop her tears from spilling down her face. She could feel tiny movements inside her and placed a hand on her belly.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” she asked.

“I was going to, but you got called in for a case ─”

“You said it was just a package delivery.”

“I know. I’m sorry.”

“Did… Did she say anything else?”


Emily nodded. “I don’t know what to say to that.”

“Emily, if you don’t want her to know, I can go over tomorrow and tell her your decision,” he said. “And return the painting if you want me to.”

“No,” she replied quickly. “The painting stays. My mother, however… I have no clue.”

Andrew approached her and gave her a hug from behind, kissing a spot between her shoulder and neck. Emily was still tense, but she leaned back against his chest, basking in the warmth of his arms and body.

She was troubled, as she always was when told to deal with the complicated relationship between her and her mother. Emily can recall a time when her mother doted on her before the responsibilities that came with the title of ‘Ambassador’ took up most of her time. As a child and a teenager, she was bitter that her mother chose the job over her. But as she got older and saw Hotch and JJ being eaten by feelings of guilt when leaving the kids behind to solve cases, she began to realise that maybe it was the same for her mother. Maybe her mother didn’t have a choice either.

“I tried, you know,” she said. “I tried reaching out to her a lot of times, but with our work schedules and the stubborn streak I seemed to inherit from her, we would always end up arguing and it just came to a point where it was normal. It’s not exactly healthy, I know.”

She fell silent again, her thumb stroking Andrew’s bicep, and sighed. “I love my mom. I really do, and there are a lot of times when I just don’t like her,” she confessed. “I didn’t know how to tell her I love her or even just appreciate her and I feel awful about it.”

“Do you want my opinion?” Andrew asked. He smiled when Emily scoffed, as if telling him that asking if she wanted his opinion was a ‘dummy move.’ “It’s perfectly normal to not like your mom sometimes. God forbid I didn’t like my mother when she told me it was bedtime.”

Emily squeezed his bicep. Like her, Andrew didn’t talk much about his mother, and neither does Sandra, but she knew they loved her to the moon and back. It was just too difficult, and she understood.

“I know she loves you too, Emily,” he told her. “I know it doesn’t seem that way, not with the constant criticism and whatever, but she wouldn’t be reaching out like this if she didn’t. She wouldn’t have asked for permission to be included in butterball’s life if she didn’t love you.”

“So you think I should give her a chance?”

“Yes, I do,” he said. “I also think you have the right not to, not after what she said to you, and I would completely understand. The decision is still yours.”

When Andrew got home from a meeting, he expected to be home alone. It was Saturday, and not just any ordinary Saturday. It was the day Emily agreed to meet Elizabeth for lunch at the café she frequented with Andrew. Emily had been dreading it, but she promised him she would be there, and even told him to just order some take out since she wouldn’t be home.

He put his laptop bag down on the dining table and picked up an apple from the fruit bowl and was about to wash it when he heard a bunch of curses from upstairs. Narrowing his eyes, he listened for more noises and sighed when he heard Emily’s voice yell “fucking piece of crap .” He went on to slice the apple and took out a jar of peanut butter and an extra spoon before heading upstairs to see what Emily was cursing about.

He found her on the nursery floor glaring at the instructions pamphlet on her hands and surrounded by colorful toy parts.

“Do I even want to know what’s happening here?” he asked, announcing his presence.

She turned her head around and glared at him. “Why are you here?”

“I-I live here?”

“No, dummy, why are you here ? Aren’t you supposed to be in a meeting or something?”

“Emily, it’s a quarter to eleven,” he said. 

Emily’s eyes widened in shock, but they immediately faded into nonchalance and she shrugged. “I guess I’ll have to reschedule lunch with Mother,” she mumbled.

Andrew let out a sigh and handed her the plate. “What is this?”

“It’s a toy I bought at the mall today,” she said, munching on a piece of apple. Andrew wanted to ask what she was doing at a mall but remembered that Penelope begged her to go baby shopping with her.

“Okay,” he said. “What is it supposed to be?”

“The box said it was supposed to be a mini oven of some sort, but right now it just looks like a piece of crap. And that’s what it is: a piece of crap.”

“Why would you buy a mini oven for an infant?” Andrew asked incredulously.

“Because,” she began, “it’s cute, it’s purple, it’s on sale, and I am pregnant and hormonal. Penelope had to drag me out of the toy store after paying for this because I would’ve bought the entire kitchen set for my baby.”

“Looks like money well-spent,” he teased, regretting it immediately when Emily glared at him.

“Are you calling me stupid?” she asked.

“No! I’m just saying—“

“I have a degree in Criminology, Psychology, and Behavioral Science. I graduated magna cum laude from Yale. The Interpol London Gateway Office nearly declared war on the FBI after I returned. I am not going to let a mini oven for toddlers beat me!”

Andrew stared at her, his mouth slightly hanging open. Emily was still mumbling incoherently while chewing on her apple, and he had to stop himself from laughing at how cartoon-ish she sounded because he knew what she was doing. She was stalling, and she knew it.

“I told you, you don’t have to do it, Emily,” he said, deciding not to beat around the bush. The flush in her cheeks confirmed that she just didn’t want to have lunch with her mother. “Do you want me to call your mother?”

Emily shook her head and put the plate on her lap. “I don’t… I just have a feeling that this conversation is going to end up badly as I expect it to, and I don’t think I can handle that in public.”

“And there’s no way you’re setting foot in your old house either,” Andrew finished for her. Emily nodded. “Do you want to have lunch here?”

“I do,” Emily admitted. “I set this up because I thought it would help me clear my mind and muster the energy to call her to have lunch here instead of somewhere else, but it just made me mad.”

Andrew smiled. “How about you have lunch first, and if, only if, your mother surprises you and lunch ends well without yelling or arguing, you can bring her up here so she can help you set up this oven.”

“You don’t want to do it with me?” she asked, pouting.

“Of course I do, you big baby,” he teased. “But this can be a bonding moment between you and your mom.”

“What are you going to do while we eat?” she asked.

“I was planning to eat with you, if that was okay with you,” he said.

“Of course it is. You can act as mediator if we decide to fight,” Emily said. She took out her phone and called her mother, who, to her surprise, picked up after two rings.

Hello, Emily, ” Elizabeth replied in a crisp, yet soft tone.

“Hi, Mother. I, uh, I know we have a reservation, but I’m not really in the mood to go out today,” she said, wincing at her choice of words. “I mean… Is it okay if I call the restaurant nearby and have some delivered for us here at home instead of going out?”

Of course, Emily. Frankly I’m surprised you even said yes to lunch outside with how far along you are ,” Elizabeth replied.

Emily wanted to ask what the hell was that supposed to mean but held her tongue. Today was supposed to be a stepping stone for her relationship with her mother. “Alright. I assume you already know the address?”

I do. I’ll be there in a half hour.

“Okay,” Emily said. The silence that stretched was awkward, and it was taking everything in Emily to not scream in frustration. “I’ll see you soon.” She hung up immediately, not waiting to hear her mother’s reply, and groaned, burying her head in her hands.

Andrew chuckled from where he sat across her and she moved her fingers just enough to have one eye glare at him. “Don’t be mean. I’m pregnant,” she whined.

“I’m sorry, but would you rather have me crying from second-hand embarrassment?”

“Actually, I don’t know which one is worse.”

“Exactly my point,” he said. He scooted closer until he was sitting next to her and placed an arm over her shoulder, taking in the few moments of silence before Elizabeth arrived. Andrew could feel the tension seeping from Emily’s shoulders, and placed a kiss on top of her head. “I’ll be right here all the time, and if you want her to leave, just squeeze my hand under the table, okay?”

“Okay,” Emily nodded, cuddling into his side. “Thank you,” she whispered.

Elizabeth arrived fifteen minutes right after the food did, much to Emily’s relief. She had no idea how her mother would react to the food arriving late, so she welcomed the reprieve. She was setting plates and spoons while Andrew opened the door, mentally preparing herself for whatever her mother had to say to both of them in the short period of time they would be spending.

“Emily,” Elizabeth’s soft voice echoed throughout the room, and Emily turned around to give her a soft smile.

“Hi, Mother,” she said, returning the soft smile. She approached Elizabeth and tensed unexpectedly when the older woman ran her eyes up and down Emily. She was surprised when Elizabeth smiled and hesitantly opened her arms for a hug.

“You look wonderful,” Elizabeth said, wrapping her arms loosely around Emily. “The pregnancy glow looks wonderful on you.”

“I think you’re mistaking sweat for glow,” Emily replied, mentally wincing at her response. “But thank you.”

“I try to tell her she looks beautiful all the time, but she doesn’t believe me,” Andrew said, pulling out a chair which Elizabeth gladly sat on. He headed over to do the same for Emily.

“Well, I certainly didn’t feel amazing when I was pregnant with Emily, so I can’t say I blame her,” Elizabeth teased.

“See? She gets it,” Emily added, smiling. She was glad that even with only a few minutes in, she and her mother were getting along. Maybe having Andrew join them was the main reason why Elizabeth was behaving, but no matter who was playing mediator, she would thank them for this moment.

Lunch was peaceful, probably the most peaceful lunch Emily has ever had with her mother. Elizabeth asked questions about the baby, and about how Emily and Andrew met (Emily kicked Andrew under the table when he was about to reach the part where he was stabbed by the unsub). Elizabeth didn’t even ask if this lunch meant that she was now part of their daughter’s life, which made Emily slightly glad.

When Emily mentioned the nursery, Andrew didn’t miss how Elizabeth’s face lit up, and he was hoping that neither did Emily. Luckily enough, Emily caught it, and nervously asked Elizabeth to help her assemble a toy she bought. It was an offer Elizabeth gladly accepted.

Chapter Text

Emily could tell Andrew wanted to be in the room with them, but she knew he understood that if she wanted Elizabeth to be part of their daughter's life, she had to find out how genuine her mother really is. She also knew he was one yelling match away from sending Elizabeth out.

The first thing Elizabeth said when Emily opened the door to the nursery was, "Sage. A terribly chosen name, but a wonderful color."

"Yeah, well, we didn't want to go with the gender stereotyped colors, and pastel yellow just wasn't working with what we wanted, so sage it is," Emily said. "Plus, if she decides that mommy and daddy were insane for painting her room some weirdly named pastel green color, it would be easy to paint over."

Elizabeth nodded, looking around the unfinished nursery and running her hands over the crib Emily and Andrew finished setting up four days ago. "It's certainly pretty."

Emily gave her a small smile and slowly sat down on the floor, trying not to groan at the difficulty. Elizabeth sat next to her, frowning curiously at the mess of colorful toy parts on the floor. "What is this?"

"Penelope–you know her, she's our technical analyst–she asked me to go with her to the mall earlier today, and I saw this at the toy store," Emily began to explain. "It's supposed to be a mini oven for toddlers but right now, it's just… spare toy parts."

Elizabeth smiled. "Did it come with an instructions booklet?"

"It did," Emily said, handing it over without complaint. "Feel free to look at it."

When Elizabeth saw the instructions booklet, she understood Emily's tone. The booklet was in Mandarin, and the translations seemed like they were taken from Google Translate. Emily, despite her strength in languages, was still only learning the basics of the language; thus, the booklet with its awful translation would've been annoying to her.

"So," Emily said. "Have you figured out which part is Happy and which is Spare Part A?"

"This translation is ghastly, indeed," Elizabeth nodded. "But it won't be so difficult to read the Mandarin instructions."

Raising an eyebrow, Emily asked, "You know Mandarin?"

"I'm not fluent in speaking the language, but I can read it."

"Since when?"

"Since I got posted in China three years ago," Elizabeth explained. "Now hand over that part on your right, and the blue one by your foot."

Emily obliged, grunting as she leaned over to grab and hand her mother the parts she was asked for. Elizabeth put the pieces together and started grabbing the other pieces as instructed by the booklet.

"Do I want to know why you decided to buy a mini oven for an infant when it's target audience are toddlers?" Elizabeth asked, not unkindly, although she was smirking at Emily. "I assume it was on sale at the mall you went to with your friend earlier today."

"You assumed correctly," Emily said, rolling her eyes. "Besides, it's an investment."

"Oh really? How so?"

"Because if you think about it, when she turns four, she has this mini oven to encourage her to learn how to cook. It can be a bonding thing for her and Andrew. And… You know… It was cute."

"That's always a valid reason," Elizabeth chuckled. "I remember back when I was pregnant with you, and your father and I were at the baby store to get a bassinet for you. It was supposed to be a fifteen-minute trip, but it ended up being three hours because I bought every cute stuffed animal I saw."

"Even the Uncle Scrooge plushie?" Emily asked.

"Oh that one was my favorite. Your father had to physically stop me from spending more hours in the store to look for the entire Duck family," Elizabeth replied, shaking her head. "Do you still have that with you?"

The soft smile on Emily's face slowly dissolved into a frown as she remembered what happened to her once favorite toy. "No. I, uh, I gave it to Dad when he went to Pakistan."

"Oh." Neither women needed more details about it after that. Benjamin Prentiss was an Air Force lieutenant, who was killed on a mission in Pakistan. Emily was only seven at the time, and was yet to grasp the concept of death. She remembers seeing her mother fall on her knees when she got the phone call and then was confused when her mother clutched her tightly while sobbing. Emily remembers the funeral, remembers asking where her Uncle Scrooge doll was, and remembers how her mother sat her down that night and explained to her that Daddy wasn't coming home. Ever.

It had been decades ago, but the pain was still fresh.

Blinking away the tears brought on by the memory of her late husband, Elizabeth cleared her throat and asked, "Do you and Andrew have a name chosen?"

"No, not yet. I think he has a list, but I don't have one yet," Emily shrugged. In her defense, all names reminded her of serial killers, and she didn't want her daughter to be named after a psychopath. "Did you have a hard time naming me?"

"Well, I don't remember if I ever told you this, but in my family, the women have a tradition with names where our daughters get our first names as their middle names. I'm Elizabeth Sydney, your grandmother was Sydney Margaret, and your great-grandmother was Margaret Eunice. That's why I named you after me," Elizabeth said. The mini oven was halfway finished now, with Emily handing parts her mother pointed to, and Elizabeth piecing them together.

"You never told me that," Emily said, amazed by the knowledge of a family tradition. Her grandmother had died before she was born, and Elizabeth was an only child, so Emily never put the names together and realised.

"A lot of people thought I did it for self-preservation. I didn't have to follow the tradition, but I loved both my mother and my grandmother. I thought it would be a nice way to give respect to them," Elizabeth said. She glanced up and smiled sadly at Emily. "You don't have to follow it if you don't want to. I think that because I named you after me, I expected you to become a carbon copy of me. And I'm sorry for that."

Emily felt her eyes sting and cast her gaze to the floor, wrapping her arms loosely around her stomach. Her mother was right. When she was in college, Emily briefly considered changing her name to something else (her choice back then was Agnes, after her grandmother from her father's side), but decided to keep it as a big middle finger to her mother. It wasn't that she hated it, but rather she hated the pressure her mother placed on her because of the name.

Elizabeth noticed how her daughter fell silent and abandoned the toy she was assembling, opting to sit next to her daughter because Emily needed to hear it. She would beg if she had to, but Elizabeth needed Emily to listen.

"Emily, I know I'm not the mother you deserved. I tried, but I didn't know how to be one. I did what my mother did with me, and I guess it was the wrong thing to do because you and I are so different and I just wanted you to become like me and that made me forget how to be the mother you needed. And I'm so sorry for that, Emily. I truly am. I love you, I do, and I should've said it and made you feel it instead of being what I am to you," Elizabeth said. She wanted to reach out and grasp her daughter's hands in hers, but Emily's hands were clasped around her bump. Her eyes were still glued to the floor, but there was no mistaking the tears spilling down her cheeks.

Emily hated how she was crying over this, hated how her mother could still make her cry with just a few words, and hated how she had no control over her emotions. Emily just wanted to get up and go to Andrew, but she couldn't even get up from the floor on her own, and she'd rather bury her head in the sand before asking her mother for help.

She understood Elizabeth of course. There were no doubts about that. Her mother did her best, but she just didn't know how to balance motherhood and her career. Elizabeth tried, but the career-oriented woman in her won, and Emily was… pushed to the sidelines. It wasn't right. But Emily tried to understand.

What she couldn't understand was the one fact lingering in her mind. It was a question she wanted her ask after she got back from Witness Protection, a question she wanted to yell at her mother, but back then she was still trying to get control over her old life and didn't have the energy to ask.

"If you really love me the way you say you do, then why… why weren't you there at my funeral eight years ago?" Emily asked in a low voice, but Elizabeth heard her clearly.


"Don't lie to me," Emily hissed. "Don't say you were there and I just didn't know because I saw the list, and I asked JJ and Hotch, and all they could do was give me a pitying look and I knew. I knew you weren't there."

"I couldn't," Elizabeth whispered in response.

Emily's bottom lip quivered, and she let out a humorless laugh that was part sobs. "I get it. You were probably too busy to take the time to attend to your daughter's funeral. Yeah. You don't have to explain anything. I understand."

Tears poured down Elizabeth's face before she could stop them, and she placed a hand on Emily's foot, wincing when Emily shifted away from the touch. What Emily said was partly true. Elizabeth was at a different state, holding a conference and pretending not to notice the pitying stares her assistant, Marley, kept giving her.

"Parents are not supposed to outlive their child," Elizabeth began. "When Agent Hotchner called me to inform me that you died, I didn't know what to do. I wanted to scream and cry and… I just froze. All my life, I knew what to do in every adversity I faced. But what… how do you function, knowing that a child you carried for ten months and brought to life was just… gone? How do you deal with it? How do you live? And breathe? And just continue to go on as if nothing happened?"

Emily sniffled, reaching up to wipe the tears from her face. This time she didn't move away from her mother's touch when Elizabeth placed a hand on her arm.

"I didn't go to your funeral because I couldn't watch them lower you to the ground. I thought that if I didn't go, at least I can pretend that you were just out in the world, living and breathing and wreaking havoc wherever you went. If I went, it would be real, and I would have to face it. And I didn't know how to without crying, and if I started crying, I don't think I would've stopped," Elizabeth cried. "So I didn't go and did what I could to cope. I drowned myself in my work and pretended as if I wasn't dying inside."

"Parents aren't supposed to outlive their child," Emily echoed, her voice breaking towards the end of her sentence.

"No, they aren't," Elizabeth said, reaching to wipe Emily's tears away.

"I'm sorry I let you go through that," Emily whispered.

Elizabeth smiled sadly and shook her head. "All those months don't matter because you're still here. And that's all I could ever ask for."

Emily leaned towards her mother and let Elizabeth wrap her arms around her. "I'm still sorry."

"I'm sorry, too," Elizabeth said, rubbing circles in Emily's back. "I'm so so sorry, Emily. I love you so much, and I don't ever want you to doubt that."

Emily tried to hug her mother back as best as she could with her belly between them. "I love you, too."

They finished the mini oven in a half hour after that. Elizabeth stayed for a few more hours before leaving, declining Andrew's offers to stay for dinner, but not after Emily told her she was welcome anytime, as long as she gave them a heads-up first.

Things between Emily and Elizabeth were far from the perfect mother and daughter relationship, but this was a start, and this time, both women were willing to try to make things better.

Andrew found Emily in the nursery, sitting on the rocking chair, and holding a hand-crocheted bunny, a gift from JJ, to her chest. Her eyes were still a little red from the emotional conversation she and her mother had, but she was no longer sniffling, which Andrew took as a good sign.

Emily was staring at the painting from her grandfather, studying the strokes and color choices, and reminiscing all the memories with her grandfather. She missed him, more than anything else in the world, and despite the conversation she had with the girls when they baked cookies, she hoped that wherever he was, he was proud of her.

"Penny for your thoughts?" Andrew asked, sitting on the floor next to the rocking chair and leaning her head across her thigh.

"Just a penny? I'm not that cheap," Emily said. Andrew rolled his eyes and chuckled.

"For a second there you had me worried," he teased, smiling when Emily grinned. "You okay?"

"I'm exhausted," Emily sighed. "And she's moving around too much for my comfort."

Andrew reached for the ottoman behind him and sat on it, leaning towards Emily to place a hand on her belly and whisper soft, cooing words to it. They sat there for a few minutes, Andrew's voice and Emily's heavy breathing being the only sounds echoing in the unfinished nursery. It was halfway done, with the crib already placed on one side of the room and the dresser, already filled with more baby clothes than Emily had ever seen, on another. All that was missing was a shelf Andrew was planning to put up with the boys, so they had somewhere to place the ladybug nightlight from Sandra, picture frames, and a few books, a few decorations Emily wanted, and the little girl herself.

"Do you think that painting would blend in with this room?" Emily asked.

"Your grandfather's painting? Yeah, I think it would be nice. Where were you thinking of putting it?"

"On that wall next to the crib," Emily said. When Andrew stood up and grabbed the painting, she furrowed her eyebrows. "You don't have to do it now."

"I already put a nail on that wall, so the only thing left to do is to hang the painting," Andrew said. He moved the crib a little, and hung the painting, stepping back towards Emily to look at it from a distance. "What do you think?"

There was a soft smile on Emily's face, and she reached out to take Andrew's hand in hers. "I think it's great." And it was. The colors on the painting was emphasized further by the pastel green color of the room, but it wasn't too emphasized enough to take all the attention from the rest of the room.

Andrew placed a kiss on her head. "I have a proposition."

Emily craned her neck and raised an eyebrow. "Oh yeah?"

"Mmhmm," he said and took a seat on the ottoman once more, grasping her hand in his. "I heard you and your mother talk about names and the name tradition from her family."

"Oh," Emily said. "Do you think I should go through with it?"

"Only if you want to," Andrew assured her.

Emily sighed, squeezing his hand. "My mother was right when she said she expected me to be a carbon copy of her just because I had her name. The pressure she put on me was unbelievable, and I don't want to give my daughter the same thing. But at the same time, it would be honoring where I came from, you know? As much as I hated my childhood, it's still a part of me. I'm just… torn."

"I knew you would be, so here's my proposition. You have full veto power, by the way," Andrew said. "I looked up 'Emily,' and I found that there are a lot of variations of your name in different languages. There's Amelia; it's the Italian variation of Emily, but I found that there was a serial killer named Amelia."

Emily pouted at him. "I thought you were getting annoyed with me vetoing every name that reminds me of a serial killer."

"You annoy me every single day, but I still love you," Andrew winked, kissing her briefly and laughing when Emily hit his chest lightly. "Come on, you can't deny that I annoy you a lot too, but you still love me."

Rolling her eyes, Emily took his hand and placed it on top of her bump, letting him feel their daughter's kicks, which were getting stronger and more frequent each day. It led to more trips to the bathroom and inability to sleep easily, but Emily wasn't complaining because the kicks were reminding her that her daughter was alive and well.

"I try not to be all over you, because I still have a reputation to maintain," Emily teased.

"I'll let you believe that," Andrew giggled, and changed the subject when Emily glared at him. "Anyway… Amelia is obviously out of the list, so I looked for another name, and I found Amelie."

"Like the film?"

"Yes, but without the French accent, although we could put the accent just for shits and giggles."

"I'm not putting an accent on my kid's name just for shit and giggles. It has to mean something."

"You named a cat Sergio…"

"Hey! It's a cool name!"

"For an old man, yeah. But for a cat? Really, Em?"

"Oh my god, shut up."

Andrew laughed. "Okay, okay, I'm stopping. But what do you think?"

"Amelie? It's nice. I haven't heard anyone named Amelie without the accent yet."

"So it's a yes?"

"It sure is." He pulled her closer and she sighed, relaxing immediately in his arms. "Now all we need is a first name."

"What about Sergio?" he asked with an evil grin.

"That's it. You're sleeping on the couch."