One Last Shot
"I... um..." JJ began, trying to take a deep breath. "I owe you a really big apology."
He sighed, and it was only then she noticed he'd pulled her wedding ring out of his pocket. "JJ are we ready to do this?"
She found her breath catching in her throat at the thought. "Yes."
"I don't know," he told her honestly. "We rushed into it. We went to Vegas and eloped for goodness sakes and you and I don't have the best track record as it is with a relationship."
"But we can," she said, trying to hide everything that was running through her.
"Not if you're going to keep running off when we need to have a conversation. I can't keep doing this. I can't keep chasing you every time we get into a situation where I say something that hurts. And we both know that there is no way I can promise that I won't hurt you. Not with the way we've been going."
"I know," she admitted. "And I'm sorry."
"I'm not sure if that's going to fix things."
JJ felt her heart speed up. She'd screwed this up once, arguably twice. She had to force her breath to stay even. "What do you mean?"
"There's so much between us, Jenn. There's so much baggage. We tried once to do this, proved we couldn't even date. Then... Then we got married, and it was impulsive, for both of us. Maybe we just weren't meant to be together."
Silence fell as JJ tried to get a hold of her thoughts. They were scattered, panicked, but panicking wasn't going to help her in this situation. "I love you."
"Love isn't always enough," he said, finally closing the space between them and cupping her face in his hands. "I love you too, Jenn, but we can't keep doing this."
"I don't want to keep doing this," she confided.
He met her eyes, holding them ruthlessly. "Then stop running."
"I've always run," she said, closing her eyes in an attempt to hold back from his stare. "I've always run."
"Then I'm not sure we can make this work. Maybe rushed into this. We should have known better after the last time..."
"No," she whispered. "Don't talk like that. Please."
"Maybe this just isn't for us."
"Prove to me otherwise, Jenn. Prove to me that this is worth it. I mean... Do you know what it's like from my end? Do you know it what it's like to have to keep chasing you? Do you know what it's like to have the guy your wife slept with come to tell you where she is?"
"And I know I made a mistake!" she exclaimed. "I knew I had a lot of work to do to get you to trust me and I thought you did. Apparently not."
"Can you blame me?" he asked quietly.
All of her anger drained out of her. "No. I can't." Which, ironically, brought her full circle.
"Jenn, I don't think we're ready for kids."
"I mean, I think we've proven that we're not ready for kids, Jenn. I want to make this work. I want to learn to trust you again. I need to do that without the added pressure of an extra little life in the mix."
"I agreed with you."
"I agreed with you. I think we've proven we're not ready for kids." It had been almost painful for JJ to say that, but, her conversation with Penelope still rang in her head. As much as she wanted children, it was wrong to want to bring a child into a marriage that had started off on rocky terms to begin with. She loved Spencer, there was no question about that, and they'd proven that they would come back to each other but they'd also proven that was painfully obvious there were things they had to deal with, things they had to solve before they could bring a little life into the world.
JJ cupped his elbows, meeting his eyes. "You have the right not to trust me. You'll probably never know how incredibly sorry I am for a lot of what happened. And I don't think I'm in the right mindset to be having a child, no matter how much I want one. I'm not as old as Emily or Pen, I have time to have a family. We have time to figure things out. I want to figure things out."
Spencer blinked. The JJ he thought he'd known so well had just completely surprised him. Usually, she went after everything she wanted with determination and stubbornness and he knew it was that determination that more often than not got her way. Yet here she was, telling him she wanted to bring a child into the world, but maybe now wasn't the time to do it. It didn't calm his fears about schizophrenia or the possibility of passing the disease onto a child, but it gave him time to think about it, to consider the possibilities. Maybe, a few years down the road when their relationship was so much more stable, they would change their minds and have a child. For now, it just wasn't the right time.
He took her hands. "I really want to believe you."
"Let's start from the beginning," she proposed softly almost desperately. "As if we were dating again. No pressure, no kid talk, no marriage talk. We try and really make this work. I'll try and really make this work."
"What does that mean?" He wanted her to say it. He wanted to make sure he was getting himself into something that wasn't going to destroy him in the end. For he knew, and had proven, that he'd always come back to her, no matter how painful it was.
"I promise to stop running," she began slowly. "I promise to come to you when I have issues, no matter how painful they are, no matter how high the likelihood is that we'll fight about it. I promise to try and talk through the hurt and the pain. I promise to put all of myself into this relationship and stop putting up walls."
He sucked in a breath. It was a lot for her to promise. He could only see sincerity and apology in her eyes as they bored into his hopefully. "One more chance, Jenn. I'll try this once more. If you break one of those promises then we're done. We have to be done."
She looked up at him, and he didn't quite know what to make of her expression. "Okay," she said softly. She bit her lip and he could see the vulnerability and apprehension in her stance. "Take me home, Spence?"
"Yeah," he answered. "Let's go home."
I don't know what to think of this one. I'm not sure I like it that much. I feel like I can't get the JJ that I want out of this. Stupid series. Stupid background with her stupid mistakes.
Nevertheless, this is, unfortunately, the end of this story. There will be a sequel. It'll basically be a series of snapshots into the lives of our little BAU family as the kids grow up. Then I do have one other one that I've been sporadically writing for when Gabi's 18, AJ's 17 and Jack's something like 24. We'll see how much of it I actually get done!
Thanks to everyone who has stuck with me through this and it's prequel. Thank you to those of you who have reviewed every bloody chapter and thank you to everyone who has thrown ideas and opinions at me. It makes me a little bit proud to invoke in my readers things like anger for the actions I seem to put my characters through. It means a lot to have such a following where I'm averaging 15 reviews a chapter, especially in a fandom like this one.
Thank you isn't enough. I wish I could give you guys more. You are the people that make writing worth while.