|A Dream of Spring
Author: Nuwanda31 PM
Rossi presents JJ with a new opportunity. Chit Chat on Author's Corner Spring Challenge.Rated: Fiction K - English - Friendship/Family - Jennifer J./JJ & D. Rossi - Words: 3,838 - Reviews: 2 - Favs: 1 - Published: 03-30-12 - Status: Complete - id: 7972957
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Summary: Spring always brings a rebirth to the world. A promise of new life and new challenges for the people around. After JJ returns from a trip, she's returned to her the life she loves; calm and stable at last… until a friend presents her with an exciting opportunity.
Disclaimer: Criminal Minds is the property of CBS, the actors, writers, and producers of the show. I have no authority over anything except original characters.
Heavy clouds were rolling in. It was almost dark enough headlights were needed outside, as if night had come early. In truth, it was only midafternoon. JJ was riding down her own street in the back of a cab, too tired to drive herself after such a long trip.
Just as a few drops began to splatter on the windshield, they stopped along the curb. With droopy eyes, she glanced out and smiled, delighted to see the familiar beige house with the green shutters. She was home.
After paying the cabbie, she climbed out, grabbing her one suitcase from the trunk. The yellow vehicle drove off and JJ hurried up the steps of the front porch to get out of the rain. As she pulled out her keys, a flash of lightening illuminated through the sky, followed by a crackle of thunder. A thunderstorm was starting. She'd gotten back just in time.
"Hello?" JJ called as she stepped in. The house was quiet, most of the lights off seeing as how it was supposed to be a the middle of the afternoon. She dropped her bag in the foyer, going to the living room.
"Will?" She cried, switching on one of the side lamps. The place looked fine. A bit disheveled, as was expected. It was hard for one person to handle a two year old for four days. She owed her loving boyfriend a big favor for this… but it couldn't be helped. Even if JJ could have given this assignment to someone else, she wouldn't dream of it. She at least got to see her friend one more time.
Emily had looked wonderful. Almost fully healed, a few cuts still stitched on her face. They were supposed to make contact at JJ's arrival in Paris, meet the next day at an out of the way place for a matter of minutes, exchange the information and part ways. But they just couldn't. Who knew when they'd see each other again… if they'd see each other… they had to have more time.
So, going against protocol, they met for lunch on their first day and spent a few hours together. JJ told her everything about the team. Emily demanded to know what everyone was going through. Her friend obliged, though she hated to put this guilt on her. JJ promised she would do something special for each of them. Something that Emily might do to cheer them up on a bad day… it would be her way of saying I'm sorry and I'm always with you.
The next day, they did as the assignment told. They met at the café and in less than two minutes, Emily had all her information. She walked away with barely a word, having everything she needed now… and something extra. Inside the package, she'd left a note for her friend. It didn't say much, just a website, a screen name, a password, and a promise to get online as much as she could. It was her way of keeping Emily connected to them, to let her know she wasn't alone. CheetoBreath was planning to have their first Scrabble game tomorrow night in a private game room.
Now that she was home, thought she missed her friend, JJ felt very good. Emily was safe and still in a position where JJ could look out for her. Who knew, maybe in a year or two, Doyle would be caught. And Emily could come home… well, a person could always dream.
More thunder and lightning was raging through the sky as the rain began to pour down, streaking down the window panes. The downstairs was quiet. The kitchen still had a mess from breakfast on the table and sink full of dirty dishes. JJ rolled her eyes. Will never was much of a house keeper, but she loved him anyway.
A creak in the floor told her there was activity upstairs. JJ smiled and headed up there. She'd missed her boys so much; she just wanted to hold both of them for days and never let them go. It was hard to be away from the most important people in your life for so long. Now that she was at the Pentagon and got to see them every night, going away for even overnight was a little unbearable.
Upstairs, she spotted the door to the nursery partly open. A light was shining in there, and a subtle whimpering was drifting out into the hall. JJ headed over, peeking her head in.
"It's alright, Buddy," Will soothed as he held the toddler in his arms. "It's just a thunderstorm; it's nothing to be scared of."
Henry must have been woken from his nap by that first blast of thunder. Will had come to his protection, trying to get him back to sleep for a little while more. The little boy was starting to drift off, still sniffling from the frightening sounds.
The door squeaked as JJ pushed it open, startling her lover. Will turned, surprised to see her there. "I thought you wouldn't be in until tonight."
"I took an earlier flight to New York early this morning and connected to DC." She explained walking in. She reached up to give Will a loving, yet scratchy kiss. She still wasn't used to that beard, but she loved it. They pulled apart and met each other's eyes, both delighted she was home.
"Is he alright?" She asked, brushing his tiny back.
"Yeah, just got a little scared of the storm." He explained, jostling him a bit. "Hey, Buddy… Mama's home."
"Oh, let him sleep," She urged. "I'll be here when he wakes up." Reaching up, she placed a kiss to the top of his gorgeous blond hair. It amazed her just how much her little boy looked like her.
"He missed you," Will informed. The toddler was sleeping now, and his father walked him over to lay down in his big boy bed. JJ pulled the blanket over him to keep him warm.
"I know the feeling," She said, giving him one more kiss. Will was observing her quietly as she sat next to their son, gently stroking back his soft hair. Looking up, she was curious what he found so interesting, "What?"
"Just wondering how your trip to Paris was." He said. "How were the sights?"
"I didn't get to do any tourism." She explained. "I told you… I had to go for work."
"Right," Will nodded, pretending he agreed. He suspected there was more to that than she was leading on. He knew for a fact she was going there to meet someone. A lesser man would have believed it was an affair. But he knew the woman he loved. If she had to meet someone in secret there was a reason, and recently, he could only think of one reason why the person's identity had to be anonymous.
"So… how's your friend?" He questioned vaguely.
"She's…" JJ stopped short. She hadn't told him she was meeting a friend. He must have figured it out. But, for the safety of her family, she wouldn't let on. "She's doing much better."
"Good," He said with a smile, and offered his hand. JJ took it as she stood, the two parents leaving their son's room as he napped through the storm.
JJ quietly shut the door and, as Will put his arm around her, they started back downstairs. "Mm, I missed you."
"I missed you, too." She said, leaning against him, breathing in his familiar smell. It was the first thing she noticed about Will LaMontagne when they met. In four years, it hadn't changed.
"Oh, before I forget." He said as they started down the stairs. "Rossi called yesterday, he was looking for you."
None of the team knew she was in Paris. She couldn't risk the questions why she was going there for just a few days. "Where did you tell him I was?"
"I said you had to go out of town suddenly on business." He shrugged. "It wasn't anything serious, he said he just wanted to talk to you. I told him you'd be back tonight."
"Oh…" JJ muttered. "Well… I'll call him back, see if he wants to meet me tomorrow for lunch or something."
Will agreed. "You do that, I'll go make us some coffee. After the storm passes, I'm going to run to the market for dinner. Anything special you want tonight?"
"Just you," She smiled.
Will grinned at that, pressing a kiss to her cheek before going into the kitchen. JJ headed to the portable phone in the hall, finding Rossi's number written on the notepad for her.
A few rings sounded before someone picked up the phone. "Hello?"
"Dave?" She said. "It's JJ."
"JJ!" He exclaimed, "Oh, it's good to hear your voice."
"Right back at you." She sighed, her heart pounding so hard. She could go days without any thought about it. Her transition from the BAU to the Pentagon had seemed smooth, but sometimes it really hit her. When she hugged Garcia when meeting for coffee or when she watched Spence play with her son… she really missed these people.
"I'm sorry, I missed your call, I was away." She said, hoping he wouldn't ask where she was.
"That's what I'm heard, glad you got in before this storm. It's nasty out there." He said kindly, allowing the subject to drop. "I don't mean to disturb you on your homecoming, I just wanted to ask if I could see you soon."
"Uh, sure," She answered. "Is this just a casual visit? Because we'd love to have you over for dinner tomorrow."
"No, it's not." He replied. "It's a professional reason. And the sooner the better."
"I see," She nodded. "Well, Will has to go out this afternoon, so, provided the storm lets up, why don't you come by about four."
"Sounds good. I promise, it won't be for long." He assured. "I'll see you in a few hours."
"See you then." She said. JJ clicked the phone off, putting it back on its base. She couldn't help but think what this could mean. She and Rossi didn't work in the same circles anymore. Dealing with Doyle had been the last time she'd gotten involved with the team. What could he possibly mean?
She glanced at the clock on the mantle in the next room. It was just after one now. She'd have plenty of time to think.
Will left for the store once the rain had calmed down. She'd told him everything Rossi had said to her and he was just as puzzled. JJ couldn't help but be a little panicked. It might have something to do with talking with Emily in Paris. How could she have been so stupid? She'd put her friend at risk. Emily could be dead now and it would be all her fault.
She'd changed into jeans and sweater, doing her best effort to clean up the house, wanting it to look presentable. The rain was just letting up when 4 o'clock struck. He would be here soon.
Sure enough, almost ten minutes later, JJ spotted the familiar car pull into her driveway. She went to meet him at the door, stepping out into the damp, chilly spring air.
Rossi started to climb out of his car, looking up toward his pleasant hostess. Before he could call out a hello, he stumbled a bit in the grass. The rain had made the sod soggy. The old man's fine Italian boots had just trumped through a pile of mud.
JJ tried to stifle her laughter as he looked down at the mess. "Watch out for that first step, it's a doozy!" He cried, slamming his car door. JJ laughed outright. He always had such a great sense of humor.
He climbed on the porch and immediately brought the blonde girl into a hug. "It's good to see you, JJ. The unit just isn't the same without your smiling face."
That was nice to hear. She was surprised to find the tears welling in her eyes. "It's good to see you, too. How have you been?"
"Not bad," He pulled away, knowing she meant since the funeral. "I'm… trying to move on."
"I know you and Emily were close." She said sadly. "If there's anything I can do."
"I can't imagine what you could do that you're not already doing." He said kindly. "All that I would want is to tell her what a wonderful person she was, that she was one of my dearest friends… and I loved her very much."
There was twinkle in his eye when he said that, almost like he was winking. JJ didn't quite understand what it meant, but just as quick as it had come, it was gone.
Rossi vigorously wiped his feet on the welcome mat, not wanting to track mud into the household. JJ led him in, taking him to the kitchen. "Can I get you some coffee?"
"Thank you, yes, that would be lovely." He said as he took a seat. JJ quickly busied herself with the Kuerig, letting the hot liquid to pour into a single cup. "Where's that sweet little boy of yours?"
"He's napping," She said with a smile. "In fact, I need to get him up soon."
"Don't worry, this won't take long." He informed.
JJ brought over his coffee, giving him some cream and sugar to stir in. Rossi drank it black, though. It suited him.
"I know you're wondering why I'm here." He said after he took a long sip. "It's nothing to be nervous about."
"Oh," She sighed. "Good… so many thoughts can cross your mind at a time like this."
He chuckled. "I came here because… I have a proposition for you."
"Is that right?" She asked. "What?"
"Well… a serious time has come to the BAU." He stated. "You know better than anyone what we've been dealing with these last few months. The pain of losing Emily… that's not something that's easy to bear. I understand Reid's still been coming to you in tears, needing comfort."
JJ almost wanted to cry herself at that. "Almost two months now. Once, sometimes twice a week… I want to make this better for him. I hate seeing him in this pain… I hate seeing all of you in this pain…"
"You're in pain, too, JJ." Rossi said, patting her arm. "You loved Emily, too."
He knew she was in more pain than any of them. He was the first profiler, he didn't just know the technique, he perfected it. And he could see the truth. There were gaps missing in this story, and as for JJ… he could see the lie shining in her eyes in that waiting room. It was the same lie that shined in Hotch's when he spoke about it. Emily was alive somewhere, and he thanked God for that. She must be missing everyone, but JJ had it worse. She had to see her friends in mourning. She had the key to stopping the pain that they all felt… and she couldn't say a word. The poor girl must be in agony.
"Anyway… we're finally starting to move on. Slowly, but surely." Rossi continued. "But, as you know, the BAU doesn't like to leave spots open. Hotch and I are getting pressure to fill Emily's spot."
"What about Seaver?" JJ wondered.
"Well, she's taken your spot. Garcia's taken over case management and media connections, but that still leaves us with a place open."
"So… you want me to find someone?" JJ wondered. It wasn't an easy task. Finding an agent half as good as Emily was difficult enough. He had to have a knack for profiling as well, and to top it off, he would have to be someone who could connect with the others. The team couldn't work if they couldn't work together.
"No," Rossi shook his head. "I was wondering… if perhaps you would be interested in taking the spot."
There was a silence in the kitchen. JJ wasn't sure if she heard him right. The Pentagon was a good fit for her. She worked well there, she got along with the others, and she got to be home more… but to deny the fact she longed to return to the comfort of the BAU would be a sinful lie.
"You want me to come back?" JJ asked to be sure.
"Yes and no," Rossi answered. "We do want you to come back to the team… but not as the liaison. As a full profiler."
Her jaw dropped a bit. "I'm not certified to be a profiler."
"We can work around that for the time being." He assured. "You've had plenty of experience with the team, you've worked hundreds of cases, it wouldn't be hard to allow you to work with us while you get certified. It's difficult training, probably harder than any case you've ever worked on, but I know you can get through it. What do you think?"
She was stunned. JJ never expected this. Things were starting to have a normality to her life. She and Will could start planning things. They could take trips, have more babies… they were even talking about getting married. All those dreams could go down the drain if she went back to the BAU…
…but she missed them so much. She missed Garcia making her laugh on mornings she had no desire to smile, she missed talking and hanging out with Spence, the one person besides Will she could always open up to, she missed her private training sessions with Morgan, and she loved those rare occasions when she pulled a smile out of Hotch. It was hard going days on end without seeing them. Phone calls and emails and the occasional lunch date was not enough. She needed these people.
"Dave, I just don't know." She answered, shaking her head. "It's a wonderful offer and I'd love to do it… but I have to think about my family."
"You don't need to make a decision right now." Rossi replied as he drained his coffee. "All I want to know right now is if you're interested?"
She thought for only a split second before nodding. "Yes… absolutely."
"Good," He smiled. "I can keep Strauss on hold for a few weeks if you have an interest. You take the time you need to think about it. Discuss it with Will, figure out what you want. JJ, believe me when I say, we will understand if you choose not to take the job."
"Thank you," She answered. "I'll think about. I'll think about it a lot."
"It's settled then." He said. "I hate to drop bombshells and run, but I do need to get going."
"A date tonight?" She questioned as they stood.
"Perhaps," He smiled. They walked out into the foyer as they laughed, reaching the door. Rossi gave her another hug, kissing her cheek. "You take care, JJ. Give that little boy a kiss for me, I'll see you soon."
"I will," She answered, holding him close. "And I'll think about it."
He pulled away, cupping the cheeks of her beautiful young face. Was there really a time when he was that young. "I would like for you to come back. It would be nice when we have the whole family under one roof again."
JJ saw that twinkle again. This time she was sure of it, but didn't say anything. "I'd like that, too."
He headed down to his car, careful of the mud this time. She stood on the porch, waving to him as he drove off. The young mother was alone again, lost in her thoughts.
Heading inside, JJ closed the door. It was almost 4:30. Henry needed to get up if he wasn't going to stay up all night. She slowly headed upstairs, back to the nursery where her little boy had slept soundly through the rest of the storm.
"Hey, there, Sleepy Head," She said, jostling him gently. "Time to wake up."
Slowly, Henry opened his bright blue eyes, finding his mother smiling down at him. "Mama!" He cried, his chubby limbs scrambling to give her a hug.
JJ giggled as she wrapped her arms around his little boy. "Hey, Baby. Oh, Mama missed you so much."
She felt tears in her eyes as she picked him up, carrying him from the bed. She went to the window, releasing the safety lock and opening the window. The clouds were starting to break up, a hint of blue sky was poking out, streams of sunlight shining down to Earth.
The mother and son sat in the rocking chair by the window. She rocked him a bit as she hummed a soft song to him. Henry rested his head on her shoulder as he listened, his little hand clutching to her. JJ breathed in the fresh scent of rain. It soothed her greatly, and she pressed a kiss to the top of Henry's head. She loved Will and she loved her son… but her heart longed for more.
She couldn't make the decision now. Will needed a say in this, too. She would plead her case to him and discuss it. If they couldn't decide, she'd stay at the Pentagon. It wasn't worth the risk on her family if they couldn't agree. But right now, she couldn't help but wonder what it would be like, to work side by side with her friends. She imagined the looks on their faces when they found out she was back. A person could always dream.
A/N: This was a oneshot written for the Chit Chat on Author's Corner Spring Challenge. My prompts were JJ/Rossi, a thunderstorm, mud, and the fresh smell of rain. :)