AN: The end! I hope you were entertained. //hands out cookies to readers//

Parallel slivers of light slipped through the dusty blinds and the steady sound of a heart monitor slowly ushered her back to reality.

A pristine white curtain surrounded her on two sides. For a moment, before her eyes adjusted to the intensity and her mind had fully pried its way out of the dream world, she was afraid she would find herself still tied to the wooden table.

She took in her surroundings slowly, bewildered and disoriented.

All residual fear and confusion left her however, when she glanced down to see Spencer Reid asleep at her bedside.

His presence brought a sigh of relief to her lips. He was slumped in a chair, his head resting on the cushion of mattress beneath her, and one of his hands was tenderly entwined with her own.

She shifted slightly, her physical awareness returning with a vengeance, and he bolted awake. His eyes met hers and realization dawned in them.

"J.J." He gave so many levels of meaning to the simple statement that she found herself lost in the hazel depths of his eyes and completely unwilling to find her way out. "You're awake. I-I should get a doctor!" He rose suddenly and a rush of irrational fear filled her.

"No," her voice was so hoarse that it felt foreign in her throat, but she continued, not wanting to be left alone, "please stay."

He froze but after a moment's hesitation he nodded and sat back down, taking her hand again. Everything was so different from how she had left it. It didn't take her FBI skills to figure out that she was in a hospital, but how she had gotten from the confines of a filthy cellar to the disconcerting sterility of a hospital bed, she couldn't say.

"Spence, what happened? How did I get here?"

He looked nervous and his hair was dishevelled from his sleep.

"Well," She could tell he was struggling to formulate the right words, "you lost a lot of blood J.J. We-we weren't sure you'd make it for a minute there." He paused, as though finally admitting his darkest secret to himself and taking a moment to absorb it. "I wasn't sure you'd make it." He broke eye contact with her. "The ambulance came just after you passed out. They-they couldn't get you to respond but they gave you a transfusion anyway. The EMS didn't have quite enough blood available for you, so it was lucky that Hotch was there, turns out he's O negative too."

She waited for him to expand upon his words with medical facts and statistics, but when he didn't, she finally noticed how tired and worn he looked.

She suddenly remembered having only seen Spencer and Derek before falling into unconsciousness. She had no idea if the others were safe, or if her former captor had indeed followed through with his threats. "Hotch was there? He's okay?"

Spencer looked confused, but answered her, "Yeah. Yeah he's fine." She relaxed back into the pillows. A brief flash of understanding appeared on his face and he drew something out of his jacket, "One of the nurses found this in your pocket when they brought you in." He handed her his mutilated badge and this time it was her turn to avoid eye contact as she ran a finger across the familiar picture inside. She knew he knew. "J.J, don't you think I should find the doctor, I--"

"And everyone else?" she interrupted urgently. "Gideon and Emily?"

"They're fine too. We've been taking turns staying with you."

"The Unsub?"

"He's dead."


"She's safe now. Back with her mom. She said you saved her life. Oh, and she uh, made you this." He grabbed a paper off a nearby table and handed it to her. Colourful finger-paints filled the page.

Knowing that everyone was safe, she felt as though she could finally breathe again. Looking around, she noticed for the first time a multitude of cards and flowers filling every surface in the tiny room.

She spotted a giant stuffed bear to her right.

Noticing the direction of her gaze, he chuckled softly, "Garcia brought that in."

A smile touched the corners of his lips and it quickly spread to her own.

The day was slightly overcast, lending a welcomed serenity to the city.

The leaves had just begun to submit to the coming autumn, and they filled the chilly air with the sweet aroma of their natural death and rebirth.

It seemed fitting that today should be marked by her return home.

She had adamantly requested that the day be spent outside, and who was he to deny her anything? It had been a couple weeks now, since they found her in a bloodied and broken mess, but he knew it would take some time before she would feel comfortable again in closed spaces.

Still, he was not opposed to selfishly enjoying her new found affection for the outdoors and her general enthusiasm for life.

They treaded through the park paths for a while before coming to a secluded bridge a few miles from the river. Ancient leaves, that had never quite relinquished their right to existence, crunched under their shoes.

She wore white gloves to match her overcoat, and her left hand was enveloped by his right. She was smiling and he was sure it would be enough to compensate for the lack of sunlight filtering through the clouds.

She pulled him toward the edge of the bridge with her, and leaned carefully against the rail, not putting too much pressure on her abdomen. He admired her as she stared with child-like fascination at the rushing waters below.

He couldn't help but contemplate the scars that lay hidden just beneath the veil of her coat. He loved her scars. They had become a symbol to him now of her passion, her survival. They were beautiful and so was she, even if she would blush and change the subject whenever he reminded her. He resolved to appreciate them properly later tonight when they were surrounded by the privacy of his apartment.

When he gently placed a hand on the small of her back, she surprised him by turning away from the water suddenly and capturing his lips with hers.

Only a few moments more were spent on the bridge before they continued on, walking leisurely together down the road less travelled.