I think I'd know...



Through the fog in her mind and the screams coming from the reporters, she could barely hear Rossi calling her name. The blood on her face and neck felt warm and smelt coppery and she was having to make a supreme effort to stay calm. She looked down at Rossi who was still trying to get her attention.

"JJ? Are you OK? Were you hit?" he was asking.

"I'm fine" she replied, still slightly shaky. She mentally checked herself over, but couldn't detect any pain. "I wasn't hit. Well, not with a bullet anyway. Is he...?"

"He's gone" Rossi replied. "Just like he planned."

He stood up beside and pulled her gently round to face him.

"Are you sure you weren't hit?" he asked, looking her over. "You've clearly been hit with the spray from the exit wound. You would have thought the bullet would have been travelling in the same direction."

"I think I would know if I'd been shot Rossi" she snapped, immediately regretting it.

"I'm sorry" she apologised. "It's just..." She stopped talking, lifting her hands to indicate the blood beginning to drip down her face.

"I know" he said, rubbing her arms comfortingly. "Why don't you go into the station and clean yourself up. Is your go-bag here?"

"It's in the SUV that Emily and Hotch took to Patten's place" she replied. "Could you ask Emily to bring it up to the restroom when they get here?"

Rossi nodded his agreement, so JJ tiredly began to make her way into the station. As she entered she could hear the sirens of an ambulance approaching the scene. She walked through the entrance hall, receiving frequent funny looks as she did so. She showed her badge to the officers guarding the entrance to the staff only area and walked quickly to the restrooms.

She walked straight up to look at herself in the mirrors above the sinks. Almost immediately the combination of the sight, feel and smell of the blood and body matter on her skin became too much. She ran into one of the cubicles and leant over the toilet, throwing up the contents of her stomach. As she rocked back on her heels and reached for some tissue to wipe her mouth she heard the door to the restroom open and shut and something being dropped on the floor.

"JJ?" It was Emily's voice. JJ stood up, flushed the toilet and walked out of the cubicle. She walked back to the sinks without acknowledging Emily's presence. She began to attempt to clean the blood off of her face, still gagging slightly with the smell. She was deliberately avoiding any kind of contact with her friend, knowing that she would quickly lose control of her emotions in the face of any kindness.

Emily silently passed her a bottle of water. She took it, quietly smiling her thanks before opening the bottle and taking a swig, spitting out the first mouthful before taking a long drink.

"What do you need?" said Emily matter-of-factly.

JJ could see that Emily had dropped her go-bag by the door. She asked her friend to find her wash bag and a spare shirt for her while she continued to try to rinse some the blood from her face. Emily passed her wash bag over and JJ took out some soap and a wash-cloth. After a few minutes of scrubbing JJ had finally managed to rid herself of the blood, although the sink was now covered in watery blood stains.

Seeing that Emily had chosen a new shirt for her she reached down to undo the buttons on her stained top, but her fingers were shaking too much to manage the normally simple task. She felt herself blush, devastated that Emily must have seen this moment of weakness. She took a few calming breaths and tried again, but the adrenaline was clearly coursing through her veins still and she continued to struggle.

"JJ" Emily said gently. "Let me help."

JJ quietly turned to her friend and nodded her acceptance, still mortally ashamed of her own weakness. As Emily unbuttoned her shirt she mentally berated herself. Why was she being so pathetic? It's not like she had been hurt. They all saw blood practically daily and it had never affected any of them like this before.

"JJ." Emily's voice cut through her thoughts. "Stop beating yourself up. There is a massive difference between seeing blood and having a dying man's blood sprayed all over your face. It's not weakness. It's a natural reaction."

JJ smiled ruefully at her friend. "We spend way too much time together" she said. "You know it freaks me out when you say what I'm thinking before I do."

Emily smiled as she finished unbuttoning JJ's top. JJ pulled it off and turned to pull on the new top which Emily had hung over one of the cubicle doors. Emily stopped her before she started to put it on.

"You missed a bit" she said gently as she used JJ's cloth to wipe at a smear of blood on her shoulder. JJ flinched as she did so, feeling a slight twinge of pain, and Emily stopped. JJ walked over to the mirror and saw a slightly raw looking scratch on the area where her shoulder met her neck.

"Looks like the bullet did travel in the same direction as the blood" Emily said, trying to keep it light. "You probably need to get that seen to."

JJ stood stock still, taking a minute to recognise how close she had come to a life threatening injury.

"Do I really need to?" she whined. "It's just a scratch."

"It's procedure Jayje" Emily replied. "You know that. And anyway, you at least need to get it cleaned up."

"Rossi is never going to let me forget this" she grumbled as Emily used the ripped off sleeve of JJ's ruined top as a temporary bandage before helping her into her new shirt.

"What do you mean?" asked Emily, confused.

"He asked me if I'd been hit," JJ explained, "and I snapped at him that I would know if I'd been shot."

Emily laughed as she picked up JJ's bag and they both made their way back outside, where the paramedics who had automatically been called were thankfully still waiting.