Missing Moments

Protection (6x02)

Protection

6x02 - JJ

"I'm here. I love you. I don't care if you need to stay up crying all night long, I will stay with you. There's nothing you can ever do to lose my love. I will protect you until you die, and after your death I will still protect you. I am stronger than Depression and I am braver than Loneliness and nothing will ever exhaust me."

- Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

"Hey Hotch?" Emily said. "I don't know how much luck I'm having with the other one but let me try this one again."

"I'm going to put Morgan and Rossi on this one. You keep trying to get his friend to open up."

"But I made him relax. How do you know he wouldn't talk to me if I went back in there?" Prentiss asked, rather frustrated because they were on a short deadline to find the girl.

"Prentiss, I'm not sending you back in there. Morgan and Rossi can handle it." Hotch said.

"And I can't? Hotch, what did I do wrong? Why won't you send me back in there?"

"Prentiss it's nothing you did. But I'm putting you and Reid on this boy's partner."

Emily was about to retort but more agents began to walk into the room and she was cut off. She was confused and quite frankly, upset that Hotch wouldn't let her try to get the boy to open up again. But what she didn't know was that it wasn't really because of Hotch she wasn't going back into that interrogation room…

They had spent 8 hours with the suspects, and still, they were no closer to finding their victim Katie than when they had begun. Rossi and Reid stayed with the suspects while Morgan and Prentiss took their turn to grab food and plenty of coffee on their short break.

They got their food and made their way to sit together at the table in the small café that was a short walk from the station. "So, how's it going in your room?" Prentiss asked, looking at Morgan.

"That kid…" he began in a frustrated tone. "He just won't give in. And he is just so cocky!"

"Yeah, mine is the same way," Prentiss began. "I told Hotch to let us try switching but he just won't go for it. I don't understand him sometimes." Emily said, obviously upset. "There is a girl out there fighting for her life if she isn't already dead, and he doesn't trust me enough to do my job. He is so stubborn!"

Morgan moved his gaze downward, moving his fork through his food as though he were playing with it. But Emily knew him all too well, realizing he wasn't telling her something. "Morgan?" she asked in a warning tone. But he continued looking down, refusing to meet her gaze. "Morgan!" she said a bit louder. "What is it?"

"Well…" he started sheepishly.

"Well what?" she prodded.

"Well… it's not exactly Hotch's fault you're not going back in there." Morgan said, looking into her eyes with a pleading look, praying she wouldn't be too mad at him.

"What do you mean?" she asked seriously.

Derek looked off in the direction of the window and let out a deep breath. "When I went in there to interview him, he was just so full of himself – so cocky. When he asked for the polygraph… he, well… he said he wanted you," Derek threw up his hands to make quotation signs, "'the pretty one' to comeback in there to ask him the questions."

Emily smirked at Derek's obvious annoyance at the boy. But she kept quiet, allowing him to finish. "Then he kept talking about you… He kept making comments like that, but worse – about you and even about JJ…" Derek thought back to the scene that had occurred hours before and related most of it to Emily.

*Flashback*

"Isn't it hard for you?" the boy said smugly. "Resisting that? Hey, I'd even take that blonde I saw earlier if I couldn't get… Agent Prentiss was it? I didn't do what you think I did to Katie but you better believe I'd do it to her… But wait a minute, maybe you already have…"

Morgan was furious. He stood up from the table, no – lunged rather – as fast as he could towards the suspect but not before Hotch could open the door and call his name, the only thing holding him from showing this boy the meaning of pain.

Morgan regretfully followed Hotch out of the interrogation room, fuming as he slammed the door behind him.

"Morgan, I know what you're feeling. But we have to stay professional about this. Trust me, after what he said about JJ and Prentiss I'd love to go after him myself but we can't – a girl's life is on the line."

"I know Hotch…" Morgan said, still not at all satisfied. He was beyond angry with the conceited teenager who thought he could make such comments about his team… about his partner. He wouldn't admit it to anyone, he wouldn't quite admit it to himself – but Derek Morgan was jealous – he felt the same emotion he had felt during the case with Viper - and therefore, he had always been rather over-protective of Emily Prentiss.

"Just promise me you won't send Prentiss back in there. Or even JJ for that matter... If you send Emily in there, he'll get exactly what he wants, throw it in all of our faces and we'll never find out what happened to that girl."

"Alright, well I'm sending Rossi back in there with you for protection."

"I don't need protection!" Derek argued.

"It's not for you, it's for the kid." Hotch smirked and Morgan laughed along.

*Flashback*

Emily looked at Derek after he had finished relaying the story to her. He was expecting her to blow up with anger at his constant need to protect her– a need that would only grow stronger as the years went by – but she simply stared at him with a soft smile, thankful for his flattery.

Prentiss was grateful for a partner, a man, like Derek Morgan to look after her even if she felt she didn't need it. "Thank you," she said sweetly. "But you know I don't need protection, I can handle it." Emily added softly.

"I know, I don't doubt your abilities – and neither does Hotch – promise. But, honestly, I think I was more concerned about me handling it." Derek said seriously, eliciting an even wider smile from Emily. "I mean somebody comes after one of my BAU ladies, they're going to have to answer to me." Derek laughed as he looked at a still smiling Emily.

"Oh my…" she responded sarcastically.

"Come on, Princess. Let's go find that girl." And they made their way back to the station together. But even through the rest of the case, Emily continued to think about Derek's behavior, and for once, she was thankful for his over-protective nature of her.

And the team did find Katie. They rode home on the jet; all happy about the way the case had ended despite their exhaustion. But little did they know, this case wasn't over yet – another storm was coming… a storm that hit much closer to home and one of them would not survive it.

The news broke in the bullpen. They all tried to fight it but as JJ had said, it was done. She was gone from the team; she had been taken away from their family. They all went to the restaurant they usually went to for family, team outings. But the atmosphere was not as joyful as it usually was. The night ended – the team severed – but all made promises to stay in touch – and they would keep those promises.

It was Emily who drove Derek home this time – as she had insisted he was too tired from the long investigation to drive safely. But they drove in somber silence, still dwelling on the devastating blow they had been dealt regarding JJ's fate as a member of the team.

Emily was the first to break the silence. "It's not fair," she whispered. "JJ and Garcia are the best girl friends I've ever had. We're a family – all of us. They can't take our team apart like that."

"I hate Strauss," Derek responded. "They can't let this happen. We work as a team – we work best when we're together. All of us – they shouldn't try to fix what isn't broken."

"It just makes me wonder who is next you know?" Emily said, worry clear in her voice. "How do we know that they won't split us all up eventually? I mean look at my track record. I'm more prone to getting hurt than a two-year old, I was put on this team as a mole for Strauss to begin with…"

"Hey…" Derek said, turning to face her as he cut her off. "We may have lost JJ but we are not losing anyone else on this team. We won't let it happen. I won't let it happen." He reached for her hand as he continued. "We're all going to get through this. And who knows, they might just realize this family can't survive without the one crucial piece that is JJ. But they won't replace you. You're my partner, Em. I won't let them take you away from the team… away from me. I will always fight for you Princess. Plus, do you really think they could find someone who speaks as many languages as you?"

"Thank you," she said as she squeezed his hand in hope, glancing at him with a thankful smile because she knew it was true – for both of them. "Well you shouldn't worry. You've secured your spot on this team with sheer, brute force. I think they'd be scared to even try and move you. Plus you know Garcia would crash the government computer system in a second if they tried to take you away from her," Emily laughed.

"That's true." Derek chuckled in return.

Emily turned serious again. "But we will all stay together no matter what. We're a family and that's what families do. They protect each other. They fight for each other."

"I wouldn't have it any other way," Derek said, and they both smiled in the eyes of the other – knowing secretly in their hearts that of all the team members, they would fight for one another the most fervently.

So later, when another force threatened to take Emily away from the team – from him - he did try to protect her, and he did fight for her – with his very life. After all, Morgan was the one who fought the hardest against Doyle – he was the one who always refused to let her go. And in the end, it's what brought the team, the family, back together again.


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