Fandom: Criminal Minds
Pairing: JJ/Elle
Rating: PG
Timeline: "Aftermath"
A/N: This is a little, okay a lot, all over the place. That's intentional. When you're worried, your thoughts aren't usually linear.
Beta: None.
Disclaimer: Not mine. I play with other people's toys.


Even after everything they've been through, it doesn't seem possible. She can't get her mind around it, even with all the statistics of how many people just snap in high-pressure jobs, particularly in law enforcement with the number of cops, prosecutors and profilers who take the law into their own hands when conventional means don't work. Thank you, Spencer. The idea of Elle killing that man so deliberately is just too much to comprehend. Besides, Hotch hasn't dismissed her, so it probably isn't true.

Just like all the unsubs who's families or significant others insisted a suspect is innocent as much to themselves as to the agents. Elle's not an unsub. The man she shot was a killer, no matter which was you look at it. They shouldn't have put her in such a vulnerable position so soon after what happened. They're profilers, for godssake! Hotch, Gideon, Reid... they should have been able to tell she wasn't past it yet. It's their job to read people but they couldn't tell one of their own wasn't 100?

Breathe. She just doesn't understand how it could have gotten this bad without her seeing it. Elle still has dreams, but who wouldn't after what she went through? JJ still has nightmares about everything they see and it doesn't begin to compare to having a phyco shoot her, use her blood like paint on the walls and leave her for dead. Except... sometimes she feels like Elle blames her. God knows she blames herself. He had to have known about their relationship, given everything else he knew about them. And there's no way he chose the one person closest to JJ to hurt when she's the one who broke the damn 'rules' he set - which leads her to wonder just how much of their personal lives the FBI has on file, because he brain can't handle the concept of Elle killing an unarmed man, killer or not. And why haven't they been fired when it's very clear about the Fed's rules regarding team fraternization? Maybe Gideon convinced Hotch to cut them some slack. But how much leeway are they going to give her?

Elle's clearly worried about it too, although she'd never let it show. Instead, she's venting it onto paranoia about how close they can be in public, to the extent of sitting at the other end of the jet when they go on assignment. She's gotten to the point of arguing with every little thing JJ says so they can't even finish a meal together when the rest of the team's not around to mediate.

It hurts to see what the whole thing's doing to her girlfriend, their relationship and the team as a whole. It's pushing them apart and there's nothing she can do about it. They never go home together any more. With the amount of their interaction lately, they may as well be strangers.

Which, JJ knows with a horrible feeling she can't shake, is what they'll become if Elle leaves the BAU. Because the day she leaves work, it will probably be the last day they see each other.

Unless another case file, the one she's dreading but wouldn't be completely surprised to see, crosses her desk. She doesn't even want to know what she'll do then. Because it's just too horrible to comprehend.