She knew he was gone. She had heard the shot and seen him fall. Lying between the cool sheets of the bed in this hideous lime green room, rhythmically rubbing the small bulge of her child beneath the hospital gown, she was certain that he hadn't survived. The guilt would have been crippling if not for her worries regarding her unborn child. It was all her fault. If only she hadn't agreed to try and work things out with him one last time at that little bistro. She had known the relationship had been over for three weeks when she had found out about the other woman in New Orleans. He had expected anger and tears, but the only emotion she had mustered had been relief. She'd known that getting engaged so quickly had been a mistake from the beginning. She'd initially accepted his proposal because of her fear of raising a child alone. He'd done the "right" thing and asked her to marry him and she had felt the responsibility to accept. She should have done everything so differently. He hadn't loved her, at least not the way a man should love the woman he's about to marry. And, while fond of him, she couldn't say that she loved him either. She respected him though. He had believed in trying to do the right thing. He'd been so adamant that they try to make things work for the sake of the baby she carried. Even knowing that her mind was already made up, she agreed to one last dinner to rehash their relationship. If only she'd not accepted his last invitation, her child would still have a father. But, she had agreed and all that followed had been her fault.
Tears fell silently down her cheeks as she remembered their last verbal exchange as they walked away from the restaurant.
"J.J, give this another shot. I screwed up but, I deserve the chance to be a good father to this child" he'd said.
"Will, being a good father AND husband are not a mutually exclusive thing. You don't need to be one, to be the other. You're not a bad person. But, we have been together, what, three months? You've already cheated. I can't live in a marriage like that. It would be impossible! Looking the other way, trying to pretend I don't know. I won't belittle us both by doing that. We've tried. And, we've failed. That doesn't mean that we can't both be a part of this baby's life. ", she'd said.
During their heartfelt exchange neither of them had noticed the group of four thugs that had slowly approached them from behind. It wasn't until J.J. had felt the press of cold steel against her neck that she realized that they were surrounded and being roughly pushed into the alleyway.
"Move and I cut her!" rasped the balding, tattooed man to Will.
"Don't hurt her! Take what you want and go, please!" Will begged.
"What do you have that I'd want?" the goon chuckled coldly. Then glancing her way, he finally got a good look at J.J. "Well, maybe you might have something I want, baby. And, I definitely have something I could give you," he said reaching out to roughly palm her right breast. The other men laughed at their leader's play on words.
"Let her go, man! Just take my wallet and go. No one has to be hurt here." Will tried to reason.
"Shut the hell up! I make the rules to this game up and we play it my way, asshole. And I want to get to know this nice hot little piece of ass a little bit better!" he rasped.
J.J's skin had begun to crawl as her arms were pinned behind her by one of the other men. Looking over her assailant's shoulder she noticed Will beginning to struggle against his attackers in earnest. She felt her body being slammed against the wall and pinned from behind. She'd heard Will's broken shouts for help. She'd heard the loud blast of the shot that had penetrated the back of his head when he tried to break away from their attackers. She remembered hearing her own pleas for help as that horrible man ran his hands over her body.
She remembered chanting the litany, "Please don't do this. I'm begging you! Please don't do this!" The last thing she remembered was him wrenching her long blond hair around his fist and mercilessly slamming her head into the wall. Then, nothing, it all goes black.
She was certain there was more to remember. Every once in a while another memory would resurface. Nothing helpful though, nothing to identify the men who had hurt her and killed Will. The police had come and gone already, leaving her with the advice to call if she remembered anything else. She cringed at the thought of any more of those terrible memories surfacing. What she could remember was horrible and terrifying enough. But she knew there was more and she knew it was coming. Her last thoughts and she drifted into a restless drug-induced slumber as the doctor shot a syringe of medication into her I.V. was that she was truly alone now and she prayed she could handle what was coming.
Meanwhile, two imposing FBI agents stood leaning against the cool wall of the hospital corridor, quietly waiting for an update on the gentle women they knew rested beyond the closed door across from them.
"Do we have any suspects yet?" growled Rossi angrily.
"Not yet. But I have Emily and Reid at the scene with D.C. homicide. They'll contact us with any updates as soon as they know something. But you know as well as I do, that violence across the city has spiked. The economy, the gangs….it just all seems to be coming to a head. Unfortunately, this time, I think J.J. and Will were caught in the crossfire." Aaron Hotchner sighed.
Hotch glanced sideways to look at Rossi. What he saw saddened him. He knew the older man had a vulnerable spot for the soft spoken media liaison that all the team depended on. They all did to varying degrees. It was easy to like and respect Jennifer Jareau. Meticulous and dedicated, she strived for perfection in everything she did….from choosing the cases at which the BAU took a look to assisting in apprehending the criminals. But, unlike the others, it seemed that what Rossi felt was something far deeper than the normal bounds of friendship that all the team nurtured. When people spent as much time as they all did in each other's company, it stood to reason that strong attachments would be formed to varying degrees for different reasons. Truthfully, they were all more like a family. With the job they all had, it was difficult to maintain "normal" relationships. His own failed marriage was a testament to that fact. Hotch still missed his wife and son. In the several months that it had been since both he and his wife had scrawled their names across the divorce papers, that hadn't changed. He still loved his wife. No papers could change that. And, as he stood there waiting for word of his co-worker's condition, he wondered if the sacrifices he had made were worth it.
Rossi had been in Hodge's office at the time the call had arrived about J.J. Aaron had watched the strong man's face pale and tighten with rage and pain, when he'd disconnected from the call and turned to him to announce that J.J. had been assaulted and her fiancée shot and killed by multiple unknown assailants outside a small bistro in downtown D.C. Her condition was unknown at the time of the call. Still was, as both men waited in the hallway outside her door.
"What the hell is taking so long, Hodge? The doctor has been in there for over a hour." growled Rossi impatiently.
"He's just doing his job, Dave. With the pregnancy and the head wound, not to mention the trauma she's suffered, you know he has to be thorough." Hodge answered.
"Yeah…I guess. I just want to see her with my own eyes….know that she'll be o.k., ya know", murmured Rossi sadly.
"We both know that J.J. won't be "o.k." again for a long time, Dave. First losing her parents last year in the car accident and now, losing Will to this …add to that the assault and pregnancy…I know she had been drifting away from Peter, but still losing him like this…It's all going to take its toll.", Hodge stated.
"We'll get her through it, Hodge. It'll take time, but we will get her through this. Failure isn't an option here." Rossi replied.
Looking into Rossi's face, Hodge could see the cold determination in the other man's eyes. Hodge wondered if the other man even realized how deep his feelings ran for the diminutive woman inside the hospital room. With that thought, Hodge heard the metal door creak in opening.
Both agents took a step forward as the doctor stepped from the room, closing the door behind him.
Looking at the men standing across from him, the doctor took a step forward. Extending his hand, he said "Evening, I'm Dr. Williams. I assume you are here for Jennifer Jareau?"
"Yes. I'm Special Agent Aaron Hotchner and this is Special Agent David Rossi, FBI. We both work closely with Agent Jareau. How is she?" began Aaron, shaking the doctor's hand.
"I would feel more comfortable speaking to you in the presence of another member of Agent Jareau's family, sir. I'm sure you understand." replied Dr. Williams.
"We ARE her family!" Rossi stated sharply.
"What Agent Rossi means to say", Hodge began quickly, "is that Agent Jareau's parents were killed last year in an automobile accident. She doesn't have any siblings and her fiancée was killed tonight. I believe she has two or three distant cousins's still living in Pennsylvania but they are not in regular contact. We and the other members of our team are the only "family" she has left."
"I see. Well, under those circumstances, I believe it would be permissible to talk to you regarding her condition", stated Dr. Williams.
"Gee, ya think?" sneered Rossi.
"Dave-" Hodge said warningly.
"Look, I'm sorry, Doctor. We're just concerned and edgy from the wait. How is she?" Rossi apologized.
"Considering the circumstances, she's doing fairly well. She has a moderate concussion, cuts, abrasions and bruises from the attack. Thankfully, it appears the assailant did not actually rape her. We found no trace of semen or vaginal trauma." stated the doctor.
"And, the baby?" questioned Rossi.
"Heartbeat was steady in the 160s. No cramping. No signs of potential miscarriage. But, Agent Jareau is only sixteen weeks along. I've suggested to her that she be cautious over the next several weeks." answered Dr. Williams. "I'm sure losing her fiancée will take its toll on her. Emotionally, I don't think the situation has become "real" for her yet. She's still in shock. I've given something to relax her and help with pain. She's groggy and in and out of consciousness. She'll be more lucid in a few hours. No one has told her the status of her fiancée. I wasn't sure if a family member would feel more comfortable breaking the news, so I waited."
"We'll take care of that." Rossi answered, watching the doctor nod with approval.
"When can we see her?" asked Rossi, nodding his head toward the room.
"One of you can go in now, but I advise only one visitor at a time over the next eight hours or so. Agent Jareau has been through more than any woman should have tonight. We don't want her feeling any more overwhelmed than necessary." Dr Williams answered calmly.
"We understand, Doctor." Rossi nodded.
"If you need anything else or I can answer any more questions, please don't hesitate to have one of the nurses page me. I'm here the next twelve hours." Dr Williams replied.
"Thank you." Hotch and Rossi said in unison as the doctor nodded and began to walk away.
Hotch looked at Rossi. "Go on in, Dave. I'll go call the team with an update. I'm pretty sure they're all probably as edgy with tension as we are. Then, I think I'll take a swing by my exes' house and hold my kid for awhile, if you don't mind. Call me if anything changes, otherwise I'll be back in a few hours."
"Sounds like a plan. Thanks, Hodge." Rossi said tiredly, turning to reach for the door knob.
Rossi entered the light dimmed room and quietly closed the door. It took a moment for his eyes to adjust to the change in light. But once they did, they came to rest entirely on the huddled mass in the bed. She was sleeping on her side, arms wrapped protectively around her stomach. Her face was already purpling from the brutal beating she had taken. Her forehead was covered by white bandages from where her head had repeatedly struck the alley wall and then the pavement. Bruises shaped in the form of handprints marred her arms and neck. God alone knew what other injuries were hidden beneath her hospital gown. He was certain that at this point he couldn't handle that knowledge. Rossi lowered his exhausted body into the chair beside the bed as he watched her face for signs of discomfort. Occasionally, she would flinch and whimper in her sleep. Rossi was not a man who cried easily. He had seen far too much pain in his forty-five years to allow himself to be very affected anymore. But watching this young woman fight demons in her slumber caused the tears to silently slide down his face. Running a hand through his hair, he thought to himself that if it was the last thing he ever did, he would help this beautiful lady feel safe again. With that thought in his mind, he finally allowed his eyes to drift closed while he held silent vigil at her bedside.
J.J. awakened slowly. Upon opening her eyes, the first thing she saw was the lime green ceiling. "Where am I?" she thought. Disoriented, she tried to raise her head from the pillow. Waves of pain came crashing upon her. Groaning, she lowered her head back to the pillow.
Upon hearing her moan, Rossi came quickly to his feet.
"Hey, welcome back, honey! How do you feel?" Rossi rumbled quietly.
That quickly, memories began flooding through J.J.'s mind. Terrible, horrible visions of what had occurred.
"Oh, God! It wasn't a dream was it? It really happened! I thought it was a bad dream…but, it wasn't, was it? It all happened! Oh, God….He's dead, isn't he! They killed him! They shot him. Oh God, I watched! I watched them do it! I couldn't stop it!" she cried hysterically.
"J.J., honey, you have to calm down. You have to think about the baby, honey. Just take some deep breaths….Relax, Jennifer." said Rossi using the most soothing voice he could manage.
"Oh my God! My baby! Is the baby o.k.?" J.J. screamed clenching Rossi's shirt in her hand.
"The baby is fine, honey…just fine" said Rossi while reaching over to press the call button on the hospital bed. "Take some deep breaths J.J….just breathe."
"May I help you?" came the tinny sounding voice from the speakers built into the bed.
"Yes. Ms. Jareau is awake." answered Rossi calmly. "Please notify her doctor."
"Yes, sir." again came the tinny voice.
J.J. continued sobbing as Rossi carefully wrapped his arms around her.
"Shhhh, baby. You're gonna make yourself sick. It's going to be o.k….I promise you…you're going to be fine….I'm here….nothing is gonna hurt you", Rossi murmured, rocking her back and forth in his arms.
"Don't let go of me! Please, don't let go", J.J. begged sobbing.
"I'm not going anywhere, honey. Just breathe. You're safe.", whispered Rossi soothingly, rubbing her back.
"I'm so scared, Dave.", she whispered. "They know what I look like. They took my purse! They know where I live….where I work! They're murderers. What if they come back? What about my baby?" she began again hysterically.
"J.J., we'll protect you. The team and I aren't going to let anyone get close enough to hurt you. You're safe.", said Rossi.
"No, I'm not!", screamed J.J. burrowing further into Rossi's arms.
"Okay, honey. Just calm down" Rossi whispered.
A moment later, a brief knock sounded at the door. Rossi looked up to see the doctor and an elderly nurse entering the room.
"Hello, Ms. Jareau. I'm Dr. Williams…Do you remember me from earlier?"
Still huddled in Rossi's arms, J.J. turned her head toward the kind looking older man in the white coat. "I think so.", she whispered.
"Good.", the doctor continued calmly. "Ms. Jareau, I need to examine you again. Agent Rossi, if you could just step outside for a few moments…"
"Why can't he stay?" asked J.J. in a high pitched voice.
"It's okay, honey.", said the elderly nurse in a kind tone. "I'll be in here with you. Maybe your young man here, would like to step out for a cup of coffee and stretch his legs."
J.J. looked up into Rossi's eyes noticing the dark smudges beneath them. "Okay," she whispered.
"I'll be right back, sweetheart," said Rossi hugging her gently to him. Nodding at the doctor, he said "I'll be waiting right outside."