Disclaimer: Just playin' with them…
SAJC – Thank you! I'm glad everyone is coming off the way they're meant to! I can't stand when people are written out of character.
SpencerReid – Thanks once again! Here's your update!
Vince – Well done! You got it! And you know how I am with bloody stuff! Can't get enough! "Two little princesses dancing in a room…" :-P You're up!
Angelus-Summers – Awww, thanks so much! Great author? You're making me blush!
Sarah Kent-Duke – Hi!! Welcome to the wonder Criminal Minds fandom! We're, especially me, are glad to have you! I was totally going for touching at that moment with JJ and Hotch. I'm glad it came across that way! Thanks for the review!
MDarKspIrIt – Thank you!
smokeylove – Ok, so the update wasn't exactly SOON, but an update is an update, right? LOL! Thank you for the review!
Television-Fanatic – Aww, great? THANKS! Here's your update!
Cassandra30 – I'm glad you enjoyed the chapter!
hotchner – Aww, you're welcome! I'm just glad you like it so much!! And yes, always trust the Hotch, for the Hotch is wonderful.
scc1fan – YAY! Review! Thanks Kas! LOL! Yeah, I thought it was very Morgan-like to just pull it out. He wants to be able to help, not just sit around. He's a man's man! Haha.
RainaParker – That is EXACTLY why I wrote this story! I wanted them to be out of their element, to force them to deal with things like their emotions and so on. I'm glad you picked up on that!
Racquet – Well, now that you've said please… LOL! Love that you love it!
ReidLover12 – Yeah, I totally wish they'd do some sort of off-the-wall episode like this, something that takes the team out of their element and make them deal with things like their emotions.
tearbos - Hey now, ya always gotta spread the pain! LOL! And yes, young grasshopper, your senses are leading you in the right direction. But you're gonna have to wait to see exactly what trouble I'm gonna get them in! Muahaha!
vamoarribauruguay – Wow! Exellent? Fantastic? Awesome? I'm so flattered! And I'm even more pleased that you find it well enough written that you can actually picture everything out in your mind. I was totally going for that! Rock on!
Mellow girl – HEHEHE! I thought Hotch as a Boy Scout would totally be fitting as well!
maddyfin11 – YAY! You love it! I'm so pleased!
butterfly-92 – I'm glad ya love it! Here's your update!
Linda66 – HOORAY! Another JJ fan! And you're not sick at all! I am all about the whump, the angst, and the pain, too! HAHA! And don't worry, the others will notice JJ's injuries soon enough!
Elle – Oh my God, I'm glad you love it!! LOL! –HUGS–
bumblebee917 – No worries. They're profilers. They'll figure out JJ is injured soon enough! Thanks for the review!!
TutorGirlml – Thank you SO much! I tend to go for maddening with everything so everything will probably end that way. Hehehe! But no worries, the chapters will make up for it! …I hope!
FeistyFeral – No no, thank YOU for the awesome review! I hurt Reid for a specific reason, hehe…because I find him the hardest character to write for. :-P I know, lame reason, but yeah. Aaaaand I digress. Thanks again for the review!
Coldbone – Sorry to keep you hanging for so long! Life. It's a crazy thing. But anyway, here's an update and the next one will be up a lot faster than this one was! Promise!
Evan Lorne – Well, someone has to not be hurt! And technically, he is hurt in some way or another. I mean, they were in a plane crash. I just haven't expounded on his injuries. And besides, I have something special in store for him! HEHE!
I HOPE I GOT EVERYONE!! If not, yell at me in a review and I'll give you a special shout out for you in the next chapter!
CHAPTER 5 – Fault
JJ wasn't sure how long they had been walking, but it felt like hours. She could tell the sun was beginning to set by the darkening of the forest and the chill now filling the air. She dare not complain though. If the others could keep going, she could. For now she was just going to continue to watch her breath as it whitened and rose upward with each pant.
By God though, she swore once they got out of there, she was going to have Garcia track down whoever invented high heels so that she could severely injure them. Yes, sure, she was wearing boots, but they still had a three in heel on them, and God did they hurt! She wished she would have followed Emily's example and begun dressing more like Morgan with the combat boots and fitted cargo pants, but alas, as a media liaison, there was little need for such attire. When you were dealing with victims or victims' families, or giving press conference, professional dress was practically a requirement and for a woman, that generally meant heels.
"How you holdin' up?" Emily quietly asked JJ as the pair followed the three men.
JJ glanced at her for a second before looking away again. "Wishing I had gone with flats for the flight back."
Emily looked downward and noticed the dark brown suede wedge heel boots JJ was wearing. "Oh, ouch." She gave the other woman a sympathetic look. "At least you didn't wear your stilettos?"
"Yeah, thank God for small favors…"
"What'cha talkin' about back there, ladies?" Morgan called over his shoulder, his tone light.
Emily looked at him. "Shoes."
The man did a double take. "We're in the middle of the forest and you're talkin' about…shoes?"
The brunette smirked slightly. "Not quite in the context you're thinking, but yes," she told him before motioning down to JJ's boots. She watched his eyes drift downward and after a second, a look realization passed over his face. He gave JJ the same sympathetic look Emily had. "The curse of being a woman."
"Or you when Garcia is playing with Photoshop," Emily replied wickedly.
Morgan nearly balked. "…She didn't."
Emily simply grinned.
"Oh, when we get back, I am gonna to have a serious talk with that woman…"
Hotch wasn't oblivious to the banter going on behind him. He was relieved that the others were trying to make the best of things, but for him, it was all business. He had to keep them all alive until they could be rescued. That was his objective, his mission, his burden. And he accepted it with no reservations. They were his team after all.
"Shouldn't we be finding some sort of shelter for the night?" JJ asked, trying her best not to sound as completely breathless as she was.
"I would say yes," Hotch replied slowly, glancing over his shoulder at the others for a moment. "But that fire is traveling pretty fast. If we stop, it's possible that it could catch up with us."
JJ glanced back in the direction they had come from. She could see the eerie, foreboding orange glow of the fire in the distance. It was still a ways away thankfully, but Hotch was right. If it found the right tinder, it was going to blow up and burn out the entire mountainside. They wouldn't have a chance if that happened.
"But it can't be safe to travel at night," Emily said pointed out, frowning, "Especially with you two carrying Reid."
Hotch opened his mouth to reply but was interrupted by Reid.
"What's that, kid?" Morgan questioned, leaning forward a bit so he could see Reid's ashen face.
The younger man swallowed, a slightly glazed look in his eyes. "Rain," he repeated. "It's going to rain." He pointed limply up at the sky as he watched it pass above the trees as he was carried by Hotch and Morgan. "The clouds –they're Cumulonimbus."
"Cumulonimbus? I really didn't pay that much attention in science class…" Morgan admitted with a smirk.
"It's the type of cloud that generally produces the most rain," Hotch clarified so Reid didn't have to exert himself.
"And thunderstorms," JJ added in between pants for breath. And then as if on cue, a crack of thunder rippled through the mountains.
Emily pulled a face. "Way to jinx us."
"Do you really believe in that sort of thing?" Morgan asked her, curious.
Emily shrugged with her good shoulder. "Not really, but it seemed like the thing to say."
JJ frowned deeply, glancing down at the ground. She didn't believe in jinxes, or at least she didn't think she did. She hadn't before, anyway. But after the crash… Well, she had essentially "jinxed" the flight during her conversation with Cannon and Hampton, she woefully considered, and now both of them were dead, and Reid was half-way there. Even just the quick, passing moment that she considered the possibility that something like that could be true added a tremendous amount of guilt to JJ's already near-unbearable load.
She silently told herself that there was no such thing as jinxes or bad luck. There couldn't be. It was all just coincidence, nothing more. She was being completely irrational and it was all just in her head. She repeated it over and over almost like a prayer, almost like she was trying to somehow convince whatever Higher Being that might be out there to prove to her what she was telling herself was true.
But the guilt didn't dissipate. It didn't lessen at all. In just remained there, weighing down her heart and soul like a ton of bricks. It took her breath away, and this time it wasn't because of the agonizing throb in her side. It was the mere thought that all of this could actually be her fault, and that Cannon and Hampton had died because of her. And that if they didn't make it out of there, the team, her family, was going to die because of her.
The weather seemed to pick up on her mood and decided to mimic her feelings by letting out another loud crash of thunder before the darkened clouds suddenly opened up and began to release torrents of freezing rain. JJ didn't know whether to laugh or cry.
"Great," Morgan muttered, "Just freakin' great."
"Actually, it might be," Hotch stated, glancing upward at the sky for a moment.
Emily nodded, following his train of thought. "If it keeps up, it could put the fire out."
"Or at least give us the time to take a break," Morgan agreed.
"A break would be nice," JJ murmured, wrapping her arms carefully around herself as the rain quickly soaked through her thin dress shirt and the cold began to bore into her skin.
Everyone seemed to agree with that, but they need to find a place to stop first. It took about thirty minutes, but they eventually found a relatively open cave in the rock face. It wasn't particularly deep, but it would be enough to keep them out of the rain and maybe start a fire to warm them up a little…if they could.
(A/N: Sorry this chapter is so short and lacking in content. Life has been crazy lately with all this Christmas madness and trying to find an apartment in NYC for when I move there in the beginning of January to attend the NY Film Academy. I just haven't had a lot of time to write…not to mention my muse needs a good smack! I know what I want to write, but my muse just doesn't want to let me!
SPECIAL SHOUT OUT
I wanted to give a very special shout out to the owner, moderators, and members of the criminal minds conversation yahoo list, and to the Criminal Minds Fanatic blogspot. Y'all are all so awesome and I'm so proud to be a member of the list, and thank you CMF blogspot for keeping us all up to date on everything related to CM and the writer's strike!!
–LOVES AND HUGS-
I'm working on the next chapter. I'm hoping to have it up as soon as possible. Reviews are food for the muse so remember to CLICKY CLICKY!! Love to all!)