DISCLAIMER: I own nothing.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I'm dyslexic so there will be mistakes. But do remember I'm English so some things will be spelt differently anyway.
THANK YOU: To Eeva for beta reading, supporting and helping with the story.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Agent Jennifer Jareau sighed as she lowered herself into her seat. Her office was quiet, except for the small but noticeable buzz of the overhead lights that were currently illuminating the work filled space. Her large desk was overloaded with case files, reports, scattered papers that she had yet to sort through.
The beautiful, young, blonde Agent had just left a room full of news hungry journalists, all shouting questions at her as she had tried to escape after her speech. They had been hounding her for the last 5 days, as they had followed the case of a serial killer right here in their own backyard. As it turned out, a former FBI Agent, that had slaughtered 6 college girls. Including the daughter of Virginia's Police Commissioner. It had been messy and intense right the way through, with the unsub taunting them every step of the way. He had been hard to catch, given his familiarity with FBI procedures, but they had indeed caught him in the end. The team had barely slept, but they had gotten the job done.
Former Agent Daniel Pattern had in the end, thought himself to be invincible. In his psychotic, delusional state, he had wandered into the last crime scene. Just walked right on in, large as life as though he were still on the job. He managed to fool the uniformed Police Officers outside, he was that good. His intent? Taking out the BAU. They had all been there. All barring Penelope of course. As he had strutted into the house, it had been JJ that saw him first. A split second before he had started shooting.
JJ? You okay?
The deep, unforgettable voice of Special Agent Jason Gideon torpedoed through JJ's reverie. The misty fog in her mind that had been blanketing her from the reality around her and keeping her inside the memory lifted. Enough for her to look up, almost groggily, spotting the senior Agent hovering in her doorway. Gideon looked at her with big, empathetic eyes that showed concern toward her.
It was more of a high-pitched grunt rather than a response. One that managed to fully snap JJ from her daze. She suddenly felt a little embarrassed for being so inarticulate in front of her boss. A man she greatly respected and looked up to. A man she didn't understand sometimes, but liked none the less.
I said are you okay? I knocked, but you were a little zoned out.
JJ watched as Jason inched into her office further, pushing the door closed gently as he did. He always seemed so sheepish when it came to him and personal conversations. Not that this was a personal conversation per say, but as far as she knew; it was more or less just that to Jason Gideon. A man that would listen, would talk and guide you through anything. But also a man that tended not to open up too much, or start personal conversations. Checking up on someone and offering a few words of wisdom and advice was his usual thing. Which she fully expected was going to happen now.
Yeah, sorry. Just really, really tired. I think I could sleep for a week! Anyway I've wrapped it up with the press. They weren't exactly happy to have a lot of the bigger details left out but I gave them enough for a good story and to make sure the public feels safe again.
Smiling softly at her supervisor, JJ sat up and pushed some of her bright blonde hair back out of her face. Adopting a more serious expression and tone, she filled him in on the press situation. As she spoke the word, she began to ponder the real meaning of 'safe'. What was safe, really? She had done her job; she had put people at ease. But it didn't mean jack. Her desk was full of cases. Cases that made everyone anything but safe. It was a bitter thought.
Not that anyone is ever safe.
She muttered, a flash of anger running across her electric blue eyes. This team knew how easy it was for Mr and Mrs Average to fall victim to the predators of this world. The horrors they saw everyday, the torture and pain that one human could inflict on another was harrowing. She honestly thought humanity was loosing its soul sometimes.
No, I guess they're not. But a little safer, in the least. It's better than nothing, right?
Jason shrugged, an oddly uplifting expression covering his features. Sometimes he could look like a little boy. Childish and innocent, optimistic and enthusiastic even. Now was one of those times. And immediately, he lifted the tense atmosphere in the office.
Yeah, it is. Sorry. Like I said, I'm tired.
Jason shook his head, eyebrows raised as he looked at her with his sparkling dark eyes. He always seemed to be thinking. Always seemed to be taking everything, and everyone in. She guessed that's why he made such a good profiler.
No, don't apologise. You did a good job today JJ. Real good.
He took on a more serious, sincere tone as he nodded lightly, locking his eyes with hers. The compliment made her smile gratefully. She didn't need praise all that often. She didn't need Gideon to hold her hand and tell her she was doing a good job. But in times like this, she needed to know that she had done the right thing. That her actions had been correct. She needed to know that her team mates and supervisors backed her.
Knowing that her smile and look of appreciation was enough to say thank you, JJ remained quiet. She watched as Gideon smiled too, and began to inch his way to open the door. Half way out, he stopped and turned to her again.
By the way, I really like that necklace. It's new, right?
Taken off guard by the comment, JJ drew her head back in confusion. Then, realising she hadn't taken the necklace off after she had received it 5 days ago; she understood what he was talking about. Automatically, her hand reached up to clasp the simple, elegant silver necklace gently. A rush of warm emotion swept through her body, leaving her stomach tingling and a smile gracing the corners of her mouth. She looked down at it with affection, flooded with the memory of receiving the beautiful item.
Yeah, it is.
She replied wistfully, still basking in her memory. It was funny, after one simple comment about the necklace, she felt so much more human. She was reminded of the good things in life, rather than the depraved going ons that they dealt with everyday. She was reminded that at least most people still had a soul, and that she had one of them for herself. The last 5 days had been so intense and hectic, culminating in the shoot out, that she hadn't had much time to think about the gesture her lover had given her. Until Gideon brought it up. And from the look on his face, that mysterious, all knowing glint, he had done it on purpose.
She has good taste.
After that, Gideon exited the office, leaving JJ stunned. How did he always manage to do that? To know things? Had they been that obvious? Because even the boy genius hadn't figured it out. Keeping a secret like this from a team of highly trained expert profilers wasn't the easiest job ever. But JJ, and fellow Agent Elle Greenaway had managed so far. Or so they thought. It didn't really matter that Gideon knew. The only reason why they had kept their relationship from their friends, well, all but Penelope Garcia, was A) because they had wanted it to grow before telling them, and B) it was hard to talk about such a personal and beautiful thing in the midst of such butchery. That, and she knew Elle and herself were on the private side.
Five days prior
Agent Elle Greenaway pulled her car up in the driveway of a modest, suburban house. If it hadn't have been raining so damn hard, one could tell that even from the outside the house looked cosy and inviting. It looked like a real home. A home that someone cherished and loved. But right now, it was shrouded in darkness and blanketed by torrential rain.
The young FBI Agent sighed, before opening the door and jumping out into the downpour. Quickly, she locked the door and started to run toward the house, pulling her jacket up over her head in an effort to keep her hair dry.
Running to the side door of the house, Elle grabbed the handle and jumped in, glad to escape from the cold and rain. Normally, she quite liked the rain. She liked the sound, and the smell, and the feeling that everything was cleansed when it was over. Tonight though, combined with the chill in the air, it was awful to be in.
Ever heard of an umbrella?
As she flapped her jacket to shake off the rest of the rain, Elle looked up and smirked at the deadpan comment. The kitchen she was now stood in, flooded her senses with warmth and smell. But not only that. Relief washed over her. Excitement, happiness, contentment. Things that she had rarely felt before. Not like this, not to this extreme. All surrounding the girl least likely. The girl that had barely had a chance to introduce herself when she had joined the BAU.
What, and cramp my style? I think not.
Elle scoffed playfully, now slipping off her jacket and hanging it up on one of the coat pegs next to the door. She brushed through her hair another couple of times, just to make sure it was okay. Her actions clearly amused JJ, who was still stood at the other side of the kitchen, near the hob, chuckling. As Elle looked up at her, JJ pulled a doubtful expression.
You have style?
The twinkle in her penetrating blue eyes was playfully teasing, her real affection and thoughts on the subject of Elle's style not at all hidden by her mischievousness. The fact of the matter was she thought Elle was breathtaking; it had been one of the reasons she had tried to scamper off to her office that first day she had introduced herself. She had tried to be casual, but the look on Elle's face had told her that she was pretty much sussed out. But that's what you got for liking a profiler.
Ah ha, sure I do. That's why you spend half of your days gawking at me!
Smiling sweetly yet smugly as she sidled up to the counter JJ had been preparing food on, she picked up a piece of green pepper and popped it into her mouth, thoroughly pleased with herself. She only got an admonishing look for her efforts though, along with a soft nudge.
I do not!
Elle cast an unbelieving look at her blonde girlfriend. JJ grimaced as she thought about it; reluctant to admit Elle was right. But having no other argument, she grunted and shrugged with a nod.
Yeah okay I do. And don't snack before dinner.
Elle raised her hands innocently, wiggling her fingers with a questioning look.
Who's snacking? Seriously though, I am so hungry and this smells so good. How long?
Inching her way forward, Elle came to stand so close next to JJ that there was barely room to see light. She watched, fascinated with her moves, as the blonde poured out a glass of wine before turning a little and handing it out toward her. Then, JJ looked down at the oven, and pressed the timer switch.
Taking a sip of her own wine, she locked eyes with Elle's darker ones. Eyes that were so penetrating they took her breath away. She watched as the other woman swallowed her mouthful, then placed the glass back down on the counter top gently. She looked down for a moment, sheepish almost, before reaching into her back pocket.
I erm I got you something in California the other day. When I was out on my own.
JJ raised an eyebrow, excitement tingling through her at the thought of getting a present from Elle.
I thought you were meant to be canvassing?
She replied jokingly, though with a softer tone.
I multi-tasked! I just saw it and thought of you.
She didn't know why, but suddenly she was nervous. What if JJ didn't like it? What if she absolutely hated it, or it just wasn't her thing to wear? Or was it too much? Elle still wasn't sure about the ground rules in this relationship. Was she supposed to work up to the things like this? She had brought JJ flowers before, and wine but they were dinner dates. They were planned gifts for dates. It's what everybody did. This this was an impulsive gift. This was something she had seen that had struck a note in her so much that she hadn't been able to walk past. It had just screamed JJ.
Elle lifted up the smooth, black velvet box, watching her fellow Agent carefully. Watched as JJ gazed at the box with a look of wonder crossing her eyes. Then, after a second, she took it gingerly, as though the box would break if she handled it too roughly.
JJ glanced up at her again, her breathing soft and gentle even though her heart was racing. Receiving a small and encouraging smirk from Elle, she carefully lifted the lid of the box up, immediately gasping lightly as she saw what was inside.
Oh my god it's amazing.
Her eyes twinkled brightly, her smile filling them up. It was actually the nicest present she had ever gotten from a lover. Inside the box was a simple, yet extremely elegant silver pendant. The type of pendant that was underestimated, that was seemingly simple and normal, but actually cost a month's wage. It was one of those pendants. It was beautiful, and it left JJ unable to do anything but gush over it.
Really? You like it?
Despite JJ's reaction, Elle still felt the need just to make sure. She smiled, biting her lower lip between her teeth gently, searching the blonde's eyes eagerly. She was so happy that she had managed to pick something her girlfriend liked. JJ was quite fussy when it came to jewellery, she knew that much. She also knew she didn't wear a whole lot of it. If she did, Elle had noticed, they were lovely and again, simple things. And she didn't think she could ever remember seeing JJ wearing gold. The silver suited her better anyway, with her bright blue eyes and sunshine golden hair, and the smooth skin too.
I love it. It's beautiful.
JJ responded sincerely, taking her eyes off of the necklace and onto Elle. She couldn't believe that she had gotten so lucky. When this had first come about, she had steeled herself for the worst. She had expected some sort of a fling, or ''arrangement'' between them. She had also warned herself away from Elle, told herself it wasn't professional and it would only lead to complications. But she hadn't been able to resist.
The brunette was so compelling and alluring JJ had been drawn to her like a moth to a flame. But she was glad about that; otherwise she wouldn't be here now. She had found out that Elle was full of surprises. Outside of work, outside of friendships even, she was different. She didn't let a lot of people see her vulnerable side, or her sweet side, or any of that. But she'd let JJ in, and the blonde loved what she had found.
That's why it reminded me of you.
Elle whispered softly, briefly letting her eyes drop to the floor, before lifting them back up a second later, locking straight into endless blue orbs. As soon as she locked her eyes with JJ, Elle felt her breath catch as the atmosphere between them became charged and intense. She almost shivered as she felt herself leaning in, placing a hot, but extremely soft kiss on the blonde's lips. It was almost as timid as the first time she had kissed JJ, when she had given the unit's liaison a ride home after her car wouldn't start.
The BAU Agent gently pried the box out of JJ's hand, not breaking the slow, languid kiss between them. As her mind began to fog with the sensations JJ always provoked within her, Elle took the necklace and laced her arms around JJ's neck. Almost expertly, she unlatched the chain and then put it around JJ's neck and fastening it up again. She let one hand remain on the back of the blonde's head, tangled in silky strands as the other slipped around to JJ's neck as she pushed her against the counter, leaning her weight into her as she deepened their kiss. She felt JJ smile against her, slipping one hand up the back of her pull over and the other around the back of her head, pulling her in even more.
It was JJ that pushed Elle back a little, but followed her closely as to not break the devouring kiss between them. Placing her hands around Elle's side, she began to walk backward, pulling the other woman along with her, in the general direction of the living room. Both chuckled as they bumped into a few things every now and again, or when JJ got Elle's top stuck over her head, but eventually they made it. And despite that JJ had put the timer on the oven, dinner got a little overcooked.
She wasn't sure how much time had passed, but when JJ looked up again, Elle was stood in her doorway. From the looks of things, she had been stood there for at least a few minutes too. The look on her face was full of wonder, and curiosity. There was a soft smirk covering her lips, and her dark eyes sparkled affectionately.
JJ observed breathily; glad to see the dark brunette. She felt relief rush through her, and closed her eyes for a brief second, letting herself breathe properly for the first time since Elle had been taken to the hospital. She had wanted to go with her, desperately so. But Special Agent Aaron Hotchner had accompanied Elle in the ambulance, as JJ remained at the crime scene, having to wrap up her report and of course, deal with the media side of things. In the moments of watching Elle being taken away, as her dark eyes had focused on her for as long as they could, JJ wished that everyone knew about them. Maybe if they had, she could have gone with Elle instead of Hotchner.
Never the less, it had happened the way it happened, and they had been separated. There had been some tense and close times in their work since they had started their relationship. But this was the first time that either of them had actually suffered any harm. JJ knew that she couldn't let it cloud her judgement. She knew she was supposed to remain professional and clear headed. But it was easier said than done. She trusted Elle to do her job and keep out of harms way when she was in the field, but that didn't take away her right to have that small bit of worry in the back of her head. She was her girlfriend, it was going to be there whether anyone liked it or not.
You ready to go home?
Elle wondered lightly, seeing the thoughts through JJ's crystal blue eyes and knowing exactly how she felt. If it had been up to her, she would have had JJ come with her to the hospital too. There was nothing wrong with Hotchner; he was a good guy, a good boss and a friend. She knew he was worried about her, and wanted to make sure she was okay. But she didn't love him. He couldn't hold her hand because she hated hospitals, or know how edgy they made her ever since her Father had been killed. JJ knew those things. But it was over now. She was fine, soar but fine. And JJ was here. Now the case was over, they could go home and get some sleep.
It was raining again. Virginia hadn't been graced with the greatest weather this past week. The blanket of rain streaming down the windows provided a closed in effect; making the two women in the house feel like this was the only place on earth. They hadn't said much, since they left the office. They had said goodbye to the rest of the team, who were oblivious that they were leaving together, again. Penelope had waved goodbye at them, giving them a supportive look which had made them both smile before stepping into the elevator to go down to the garage.
Due to the gunshot wound Elle had taken in the arm, JJ had been the one to drive home. She had glanced every so often at her girlfriends left arm, which was currently in a sling. They had cut the top of her sleeve away to get to her injury, where Elle said they had stitched her back together without any real problems. There was just a bandage there now, but there was still a bit of blood on her shirt. She also said it didn't hurt because they had drugged her up, which accounted for the drowsy glint in her dark eyes. It would though, when they wore off. The bullet had grazed the bone; it was definitely going to hurt.
The two Agents had changed silently, JJ finishing first and noticing that Elle was struggling with her arm. The air was intense, as she had helped the brunette get changed for bed, which she hadn't complained about. Surprisingly, actually. JJ expected that to change by the morning. Elle was so used to being independent; she would hate having to rely on someone to help her do the small things for the next few weeks. But as they had breathed slowly, in their own little world, looking directly at one another, Elle had let JJ help her, care for her.
Now, they were lying in the darkness, listening to the rain spattering on the window pane as thunder rolled overhead. The bedroom was lit up every now and then from the fork lightening shooting across the sky. They were so beyond exhausted, but neither woman had fallen asleep yet.
What were you thinking about, in the office before you noticed me?
Elle wondered, suddenly breaking the silence as she thought about the expression that had been on JJ's face when she had come back from the hospital. She hadn't had the heart to snap her girlfriend out of her daze; she seemed so content inside of it. A smirk covering her lips as her eyes twinkled happily, making them an even brighter blue. That happened, when she was really smiling. Sometimes Elle liked to watch JJ, wondering what she was thinking about. Be it in moments like that, when she was clearly thinking about something good, or times when she was frowning in concentration, chewing on the end of a pen as she scanned reports or whatever she was working on. She had an endless stream of expressions, and Elle loved almost everyone. Barring when JJ was scared, or when she was angry at her for something. Now, she turned her head sideways, resting it on the comfy pillow, to see JJ smile.
The night that you gave me the necklace.
JJ replied with a soft grunt and a fond tone. She let her gaze turn onto Elle, who smiled too, having her own memories flash through her eyes. The darker haired woman chuckled.
You mean the night we could barely chew dinner because you over cooked it?
She accused teasingly, grinning as JJ dropped her jaw in mock offence. Elle also received a soft nudge for her effort, making her chuckle again as JJ pointed at herself, gaining a defensive look.
I cannot be blamed for that. You on the other hand, can. Since it was you that had me preoccupied when the timer went off!
She defended herself haughtily, her eyes glinting in the light that shot through the room as there was another streak of lightening. She shifted so she was lying more sideways, so she could see Elle better. After she did, the hand that she had used to nudge her with started stroking up and down her girlfriends arm softly. She was comforted by the body heat that Elle provided. It made her room feel full instead of empty. She liked the extra weight on her bed, and the presence of her lingering in the room. She just liked having her here, all of the time. It was odd, how there were so many distinctions of love. How many levels and intensities there were to it. She had never loved anyone like the way she did Elle.
Preoccupied? Is that was the kids are calling it these days?
Elle laughed, watching JJ watch her. That night felt like an eternity ago. It was the last night that they had been alone together, had any time for themselves. They didn't blame the job, they weren't bitter about it. Elle loved what she did, just like she knew JJ loved it too. At least they had been able to see each other, and there had been a few stolen moments here and there. They wanted to catch killers, and sometimes they had to sacrifice a lot of their personal time to do it. That was what they signed up for.
The silence caught up with them again, after JJ had nudged Elle again for being sarcastic. She still stroked her arm softly, being dragged into the memory of what had happened earlier.
How Pattern had known they were going to be at the crime scene, they weren't sure. Gideon had suspected that he had been following them, which had struck an uneasy note in all of them. He was probably right, but it was still speculation. Educated speculation. However he had known, he had been there. Maybe he had wanted to feel the thrill again? Perhaps he had forgotten something? It may have been his intent all along to kill them all. They would never really know.
After he had gotten past the Police at the front of the scene, he had walked through the hallway of the house. JJ remembered it as clear as anything, and expected she would for the rest of her days. She had been standing in the corner of the living room, on the phone with the Police Commissioners people, doing what she did best. Untangling bureaucratic red tape. Gideon, Hotchner, Morgan, Reid and Elle had all been circled around the main murder point, throwing around theories and speculations. They hadn't seen him appear, but JJ had.
Before anyone had chance to move, before JJ had even had time to shout out a warning, Daniel Pattern had lifted his gun and started shooting. The team had reacted with shock, as they automatically ducked at the sound of gunfire. But it had already been too late. Elle had yelped as she was pushed back by the force of the shot, falling to the ground with a sharp huff. She had writhed in pain on the floor, and cried out as Morgan had hastily dragged her out of the line of fire. But the next shot hadn't been Pattern's. It had been JJ's.
I've never killed anyone before.
She mused, remembering numbly as she had taken her sidearm and fired without hesitation. She had dropped the phone, taking the advantage she had of being hidden slightly in the corner, to pull out her gun and do what her instincts and training had taught her to do. The rest of the team were in the line of fire, they had been in danger. And not one of them had had chance to even pull their guns. Already one of them was down, and it hadn't escaped her notice that it was Elle.
I'm not exactly sure how I'm supposed to feel about it.
JJ added, forcing herself to leave her memory and look back into the knowing, affectionate eyes of her girlfriend. She never had too much cause to draw her gun, given that she was the team's liaison. She had done, the very nature of their job landed them in constant hot water. She'd wounded someone a couple of times. But she had never killed anyone. Until today. And bad guy or not, she was still confused as to how she was supposed to react, or feel. He may have been a deranged killer, but he was still a human being.
Taking someone's life is never supposed to be easy. It's what separates people like us, from monsters like him. You just have to know, inside of yourself, that you did it because you had to. That you made the right choice. And you have to remember that countless of college girls are that much safer because you did it. We all take on the burden of having to make that choice because we want to help people. And JJ?
Elle moved her good arm to place her fingers on JJ's chin, getting her to look up at her again after she had looked down at her fingers, clearly still grappling with the events that had occurred earlier.
You saved our lives. You saved my life.
Elle reminded her intently. She knew that if JJ hadn't have been in that corner, if she hadn't have had those few extra seconds to pull out her gun which no one else did, then Pattern would have done more damage than he did. He had taken them all by surprised; Reid, Morgan and Gideon hadn't even been facing him. They could have died, or at least been severely injured. But judging from the way he had walked in, Elle placed her bet that they would have ended up in a body bag.
Then why do I feel so bad?
JJ wondered softly, searching Elle's eyes for answers. She refused to cry, because she was stronger than that. She hated crying, she always had. But it didn't stop her feelings from trying to rip her in completely different directions.
Because you're human.
Elle answered simply, knowing what JJ was going through. It was hard, taking someone's life. Even if it was someone like Daniel Pattern. She had gone through the exact same thing when she had killed her first suspect. Her feelings had been all over the place, until she had figured out that it was hard because she was human. She had compassion and empathy, and taking someone's life away from them wasn't meant to sit easily on someone with a soul. It didn't get easier. It wasn't something anyone got used to. It was a burden, like she had said. They took it on because of their duty, because someone had to. It didn't settle because they weren't like the people they were trying to catch.
Elle leaned over, placing a soft kiss on JJ's forehead, before shifting closer so the blonde could snuggle into her a little bit. It wasn't a perfect answer that she had given JJ, but she knew it would make sense after it had had time to sink in. She was still raw from the shooting. When she had gotten up this morning, after falling asleep in the break room of a Police station, she hadn't been a killer. Going to bed, she was. It wasn't the world's easiest adjustment.
Elle? I love you.
JJ said clearly, looking at the wall where the reflection of the rain danced across it. She didn't surprise herself by saying it, she had been feeling it for long enough. Maybe she had taken it for granted, she wasn't sure. But she knew that she needed to say it. She needed Elle to know, even if she was pretty sure she already did.
I love you too.
Elle smirked lopsidedly, looking down at her girlfriend. JJ didn't know that she was the only lover she had ever said that to, and she probably wouldn't know either. It felt good to say it, and it felt good hearing it. The atmosphere between them became more comfortable, and it changed something else. Elle wasn't too sure what it was, but it was a nice feeling. Maybe they had just stepped onto another level. Either way, she wasn't going to over think about it right now. Her eyes were heavy, and she faintly heard JJ sigh sleepily next to her. Before either of them knew it, they finally got to slip into a restful sleep, after 5 days of hell.
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