A/N: Hello. Well, as you can see this is my first Criminal Minds story. I just love the show! So, after watching it for years I decided to try my hand at writing a little fic. This was supposed to be a one-shot, but as I continued to write I decided to make it a few chapters. Anyways… I hope you enjoy, and please leave me a review and let me know what you think! Thanks!
Disclaimer: Sadly I do not own Criminal Minds.
Chapter 1: Tragedy Strikes:
JJ couldn't believe it. She sat down on her couch, her son in his car seat in front of her. Henry was smiling brightly at his mother. But JJ couldn't do anything but just stare back at the infant in shock.
One minute she was enjoying her quiet evening with her son, getting ready to give him his bath. The next minute she was receiving the most devastating news possible.
She put her head into her hands.
"Ms. Jareau, is there anyone we can call for you?"
A few minutes earlier…
The door bell rang…
JJ was in the master bathroom adjoined to her bedroom, the one that she now shared with Will. The couple was recently engaged and with that came Will relocating from Louisiana.
It was bath time and she was filling up Henry's baby tub with warm water. But at the interruption she hurried through the house, Henry in her arms, towards the door.
Before opening the front door, she took a peek through the peep hole, curious as to who was calling this late in the day. The sight of two officers, one male and one female made her pause for a second. What could they want? she thought.
She opened the door completely unsuspecting of what they wanted.
"Hello officers," she said, smiling nervously in greeting. "Is there something I can do for you?"
They didn't smile back.
"Jennifer Jareau?" the female cop questioned.
JJ gave her a strange look. "Yes."
"Ms. Jareau, I'm Officer Thornton," the female officer continued, "and this is Officer Kesler."
"Ms. Jareau, we deeply regret to have to tell you this," Officer Kesler took over.
"Regret what?" JJ looked at them worriedly. Her heart rate was picking up. This was not good. Now that she looked closely, not only were they non-smiling but there was genuine sadness in their eyes.
"Ms. Jareau, your fiancé Detective William LaMontangne was involved in a high speed chase this evening," Officer Thornton began. "He was chasing a murder suspect. When Detective LaMontangne got close enough the suspect pulled out a gun and shot at the detective."
"I'm sorry Ms. Jareau," Officer Kesler finished. "Your fiancé passed away."
JJ's breath hitched. She literally stopped breathing for a moment. Looking from one officer to the other, she tried to figure out if this was some kind of joke. But the tragic looks on their faces told her the truth. Suddenly she started to breath again, panting, she was hyperventilating.
"No," she breathed out. It was all she could say. She was completely in shock. This couldn't be happening.
She felt the light touch of one of the officer's hand on her shoulder. They led her back inside the house, into her living room.
JJ looked at Henry in her arms and suddenly panicked. She put him down in his car seat and began to pace her living room. What was she going to do now? Alone? With a baby? She couldn't do this?
"Ms. Jareau, why don't you sit down?" Officer Kesler suggested gently.
"Ms. Jareau, is there anyone we can call for you?" Officer Thornton asked her.
JJ lifted her head out of her hands. She didn't have to think long. She actually gave them the first name that popped into her head. It was pure instinct.
Henry was gurgling happily in his car seat. JJ smiled at him sadly. He didn't know, how could he know, he was just a tiny baby.
She heard footsteps approaching and then a gentle touch on her shoulder.
She looked up at the grim face of her boss, Aaron Hotchner. He was holding out a glass of water to her. She took it and took a sip from it immediately.
"Thanks Hotch," she replied sincerely.
He took the seat next to her, watching her worriedly. He had spoken quickly to the two officers before they had left. They were quick to inform him that JJ had not really reacted to the news. That she had calmed down after they had helped her back inside.
"JJ," he prompted, "do you… want to talk about this?"
She looked at him quickly, startled by the question. "I don't… I don't… I can't…"
He could see she was on the precipice of a breakdown. He moved closer to her and touched her arm for comfort.
"JJ, its ok… it's ok to cry," he told her softly. "You can let go."
She heard what he was saying, but she tried her hardest not to think them through. Not to take them to heart. She couldn't break down. She had to be strong, she had to be tough. She had to hold it together for Henry's sake.
She glanced at her baby who was totally oblivious. Her baby who was so young; who would never have memories of his father. Henry would only know his father through pictures and stories, now. That's when the first tear slipped down her cheek. But it didn't stop there. Thoughts of her son growing up, learning to walk, learning to ride a bike, throwing his first football, graduating, getting married, all without his father around, went through her head.
The tears were flowing freely now. She couldn't stop even if she tried.
"Oh, JJ," she heard Hotch whisper mournfully.
"Hotch, I don't think I can do this," she cried, "I can't, I can't do this…"
She threw her arms around him just wanting to be held. Hotch hesitated for a second, but then she felt him wrap his arms around her, letting her cry into his shoulder.
"I don't think I can do this alone,' she spoke into his shirt.
He pulled away from her; he wanted to make sure she knew he was serious and sincere.
"You're not alone JJ, you have great friends who will always be there for you. You won't ever be alone. We'll all help you. We'll be there for you; I'll be there for you."
JJ nodded, but the tears came back. He held her close until she was too exhausted to cry. Soon, he found that her breathing was even. She had cried herself to sleep.
Hotch stared at his colleague and friend sadly. Letting out a defeated sigh he carefully picked her up in his arms. He quickly glanced at Henry who was still awake.
"I'll be right back," he whispered to the baby.
He tiptoed down the hall, taking quick looks in each of the rooms as he went by. He found JJ's room at the end of the hall. Going in he placed her on the bed gently and then lifted the covers up over her.
He watched her sleeping for a minute. He couldn't believe this was happening to her. She didn't deserve to be hurt like this. JJ was a great person, the best he knew. She was beautiful inside and out. He couldn't stand to see her in pain, ever. And Will, he was a good guy, he didn't deserve this either. He hadn't known Will long or very well, but he knew that he was a good detective and more importantly he was good to JJ and his son.
It was going to be a tough go for her in the next month or so. But he would be there for her.
Hotch gave her hand a squeeze before leaving the room and returning to the living room and back to Henry. He picked up the infant in his arms and rocked him back and forth.
"It's your bedtime," he whispered. "Let's get you to bed."
He walked down the hall once more, this time finding the nursery. He placed Henry in his crib, but didn't leave.
Hotch let out another sad sigh.
"You'll never know," Hotch began, "how good your dad was, Henry. He was a hero."
Henry stuck his thumb in his mouth and eyed Hotch seemingly thoughtfully.
"But someday you will come to realize just how great your mom is. She's the best person I know and she loves you very much. She will always be there for you. Always."
He pulled up Henry's blanket around his shoulders and then turned to leave the room. He paused at the door to look back at the child who had just lost his father and then he headed back to the living room.
Hotch sat down on the couch and pulled out his cell phone. It was time to let the team know. JJ needed all the support she could get.
JJ woke up that morning suddenly. For a minute she couldn't remember what had happened the night before. She sure didn't remember getting into bed. She pulled back her covers and saw that she was still dressed. Walking over to the bathroom she saw Henry's tub, half full. And then she caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror. The tear stain tracks down her face clued her in.
"Oh, Will…" The wave of pain filled her chest once again, weighing her down. The tears began to fill her eyes.
She went back to her bedroom and sat down on the edge of her bed. He had never come home last night. He would never be back.
The tears were on the verge of overflowing and slipping out when she suddenly remembered: Henry. Where was he? Did she actually go to sleep without putting her baby in bed?
"Henry," she started to frantically call. "Henry?"
She ran out of her room and down the hall to her baby's nursery. "Henry?"
JJ pushed open the door and ran to the crib's side. She looked down and there he was, groggy eyed, but awake. She picked him and held him to her, hugging him tight.
"JJ?" she heard from behind her.
She turned around quickly, startled to see Hotch.
"JJ, is everything all right?" he asked, concerned.
"Hotch," she replied confused. "What are you doing here?"
He looked at her with sorrowful eyes. "You called me last night. I… I never left."
"Oh," she said in comprehension. "Oh, you put Henry to bed for me."
He nodded simply.
"Thanks," she said sincerely. She tried to muster a smile but a grimace was all she could manage.
He came towards her and put an arm around her shoulders. "Come on, let's go to the kitchen. I'll make you guys some breakfast."
She let him guide her out, but still shook her head. "I'm not hungry."
Hotch stepped in front of her, stopping them. "JJ you need to eat. You need to stay strong, for Henry."
JJ looked down at the baby she loved so much, not saying anything. Hotch moved back to her side and they resumed their trip to the kitchen.
JJ took a seat at the kitchen table while Hotch went straight for the fridge. He worked in silence, cooking up a storm. And she just watched him. At one point he mixed up some baby cereal for Henry and placed it on the table in front of her. She fed Henry until Hotch presented her with breakfast.
He had placed several plates in front of her. An omelette, some buttered toast, oatmeal and a plate of sliced tomatoes. To top it off he had made her coffee just the way she liked it, black with two sugars.
"Here, I'll take Henry, you eat," he told her.
Hotch took the baby from her arms and sat in the chair opposite her. He took over feeding the infant. Instead of eating right away, JJ watched her boss and friend feed her baby easily. He was good with her son. And she was thankful that he was here.
Hotch suddenly looked up catching her staring. "Eat JJ," he prodded gently.
She sighed and went to work. She picked up her fork and took a bite of the omelette; it was surprisingly good. She chewed slowly still watching the interaction between Hotch and her baby out of the corner of her eye.
"Do you want to say something?" Hotch asked perceptively.
She stared down at the table. "It's nothing…" she said quietly. He waited for her to continue nonetheless. "It's just that… you're really good with Henry. I mean, you feed him so easily. I remember a time when Will tried to feed him, most of the food ended up on him. It was so-"
Then she suddenly remembered that Will was gone. She stopped talking, a lump in her throat preventing her from doing so even if she wanted to.
Hotch reached across the table and put his hand over hers.
"It's hard JJ, I know. There's probably nothing I can say to you to make you feel better. But I can say that the pain will lessen over time."
He was speaking from experience; his divorce wasn't a death but it was almost as hard. He had loved Hailey, but he was forced to let her go. There was nothing he could do to make things better, nothing he could say. But the pain did lessen and it became more tolerable over time.
"I don't know, Hotch," she said bitterly, looking at him through watery eyes. "It hurts pretty bad."
Hotch was about to say something to her when her doorbell rang once again.
"Now who is that?" she said, annoyed.
Hotch let out a sigh. "That would be the cavalry."
JJ gave him a confused look.
"I called the team. They want to be here for you, too," Hotch explained.
JJ just nodded.
Hotch got up taking Henry with him. "I'll go let them in. You finish your breakfast."
Well that's it for the first chapter. Let me know what you think! This will definitely be a Hotch/JJ pairing, so look forward for more of that to come. And I'll try to update soon!
Reviews are much appreciated!