Deal

A/N: Part of the Pieces series which is a series of (unconnected) one-shots, written in a self-imposed challenge of chronicling every pairing in the CM universe. Set after 4x04 – Paradise.

You're sitting alone on the jet; Reid, Prentiss, Morgan and Rossi are playing poker. Occasionally, the sound of their laughter trickles down to your end of the plane. They don't feel the guilt that you do. They weren't the ones that almost let a killer get away.

JJ exits the bathroom, her face pale. You can tell she's been vomiting violently, but she refuses any attempts at help. She sits across from you, a waxen smile, that looks somewhat fake.

'Everything okay?' you ask. In your mind, their wellbeing trumps yours, every time.

That faux smile widens, and you know in that moment that everything is not okay. 'It's fine,' she assures you. You feel slightly hurt. You had thought that she trusted you.

'If you need anything…' you say, letting your words trail off. You aren't going to ignore your feelings, your observations. You know the consequences of that. You know you are the reason that Floyd Hansen put a couple through hours of mental torture, when you know you should have been able to stop it.

She relents under your gaze. 'Just…home troubles,' she tells you. 'Will, he…' She stops, bites her lip in thought. 'I don't think we can make it work. It all happened too quickly. There's all this pressure to marry, and be one happy family, but I don't think either of us wanted that. He's still willing to be a father, there's just…there's no us anymore.'

Your heart seems to flutter. You've always had a good relationship with JJ. You connect in a way that you don't connect with other members of the team. You know that you can't act on these desires, but still, it seems to comfort you that the door is open.

You put a hand atop hers. You smile, trying to comfort her. She sees right through it.

'Are you still trying to blame yourself?' she asks you. You give a real smile then. She's a better profiler than even she knows. It's not hard to pick things up when you spend so much time with them.

'I could have stopped him a lot sooner,' you say. It's the same argument you've tried to spin once already; she has the same reaction that Rossi has.

'Nobody's perfect,' she says.

She is, you find yourself thinking. You wonder what that hair would smell like. What kind of shampoo does she use? She strikes you as the kind of person to use a scented shampoo. A subtle scent, of course. Everything about her screams – or rather whispers – subtlety.

Your face betrays no hint of your devious thoughts. They're the kinds of thoughts you've become so good at regulating – it's the other ones you've got the problem with.

Somehow, though, her words make you feel better in a way that Rossi's never could. You have that mutual understanding.

***

When the jet lands, you tell JJ, 'I'm giving you a lift home.' She seems startled at that revelation. You know you're not going to let her argue, but she tries anyway.

'I…'

'What kind of boss would I be if I let you go home to an empty apartment? You're exhausted, you're nauseous, and you're too stubborn to ask for help. I'm here to give it.'

She raises a perfectly shaped eyebrow. 'I'll let you help the moment you realize that not everything is your fault.'

You're at a dead standstill, a Mexican stand-off. You relent.

'Deal.'