Richard sat stiffly on the edge of his bed, his head bent as he became oddly interested in the knuckle hairs that were on each of his fingers. He didn't want to tell her, he didn't need the teen sitting beside him to know how strongly he felt for her and her safety; her heart. "It's nothing, Em."
Biting hard into her bottom lip, the brunette girl forced her tears back. "Richie, will you talk to me?"
"You should be with Jen."
Emily's dark eyes stung at the fierceness behind the older teen's words. "Please don't be upset," she whispered, her hands itching to reach over and hold his. "I don't want to leave, you know that."
Richard hesitated before slowly nodding his head, looking up to focus his eyes on the dresser near the door. "Yeah I know."
Scooting closer to the blond, Emily let out a breath. "It's not like I'll be gone forever," she tried to smile. "Jennifer will still be my girlfriend, so I'll be back whenever I can."
The only Jareau son sighed. "Yeah."
"Richie," she whispered softly, finally reaching over to take his hand. "Please say something."
Finally turning his head to look at the girl who had become his sister in only a few short months, letting her hand squeeze his. "You're leaving," he nodded. "I just need some time to process it."
Emily gave a swipe to her bottom lip. "I didn't think it would hit you this hard."
"You didn't?" Not caring about the harshness he knew his tone held, the older teen hardened his eyes. "You're a part of my family, and you're leaving. You've become my sister," he pressed, his voice tight. "And you're leaving. Tell me how this wouldn't, in any way, be hard on me?"
Emily let a tear slip down her cheek before shaking her head. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean it like that."
Taking in a deep breath, Richard shook his head. "You don't have to be sorry." He coughed into his elbow to make sure that his voice wouldn't crack from the thickening of his throat before looking back to the brunette girl, his hand squeezing hers just as hard hers was his. "I'm just worried about you."
The chocolate eyed girl kept her lips sealed, knowing that if she spoke again that Richard might not finish what he was about to say.
"You're my little sister," he whispered brokenly, "and I care so much about you. You've been through so much shit here, and now you're going to be too far away for me to help and try to protect you. That day at school? I was barely in time to get that asshole away from you," he raged quietly, not even noticing how he was crushing the younger girl's hand. "I wasn't there to stop it happening to Rosie, but I was for you. And now you're leaving."
Emily held her breath as she leaned in, pressing her forehead against the side of his head as they both continued to cry. "Just because I'm not here doesn't mean I'm not really here," she breathed, pressing a small kiss to the boy's temple. "We'll talk on the phone and text, and don't think for a second that I won't be messaging you to know what's going on with Hannah." The chocolate eyed teen smiled a watery smile when her brother let out a laugh, and she nodded her head. "You don't always need to protect me, but that doesn't mean you can't. I know you won't leave me."
His arms immediately wrapped around the French girl to take her into a hug, pulling her to his chest and sticking his nose into the crook of her neck. "You don't let anyone, anyone, touch you. You got me? I will be in D.C so fast that the asshole won't even be able to blink."
Emily grinned into the older boy's hair. "You got it," she chuckled.