"Relax." The dark haired profiler soothed, his eyes on her. "That's it. Take it easy, sweetheart. Breathe in and out." Hotch spoke without thinking. Part of the Unit Chief's brain had gone on autopilot in order for him to remain functioning. "Please. I can't help you if you don't relax."
It took minutes for the pale-haired woman to cease shaking and let her head fall back to the pillow. Even then, the panicked, wide-eyed look that had settled in her blue eyes did not leave.
She'd tried several times to get out of the hospital bed, usually due to the approach of another doctor or nurse. While she'd never come close to achieving that task, she had come severely close to injuring herself even further. There'd been talk from several of restraining her and he'd fought took, nail, and hurried explanation to deny. He could keep her calm, he claimed. He had to.
Hotch pressed the back of his hand to her forehead before stroking back her matted hair. "See, that's much better. If you can relax, you won't be in as much pain." Her bruised face was wet from silently falling tears.
Anthony Bennett, their UnSub, had done a number on her. After shooting and kidnapping her from the warehouse where they'd been pursuing him, he'd held the infected, injured woman for twenty four hours in the garage of his former boss.
There was no doubt in Hotch's mind that she'd been tortured for most of those hours. Between what Hotch was sure had been several violent acts against her, psychological torture, there was something in her eyes right then that told Hotch all he needed to know.
This UnSub had broken her down, insisted that she break before he ended her life. They'd found her just in time: minutes more and it would have been too late. JJ had insisted they didn't call Will – she didn't want him to see her like this. That would have to be rectified soon enough, and he planned to have Prentiss talk to her.
He'd stayed with her for most of the testing, and each had contained its own horrors. The x-ray that they'd taken, however, had been the most heart-wrenching of all.
The doctors had needed several x-rays to proceed: her chest, her lungs, her ribcage, her abdomen. Hotch had insisted on staying with her – donning heavy vests to do so- and had stayed by her side where she could see him, and stroked her hair. It was the only way she seemed to be semi-calm: if he retained some sort of physical contact with her.
As if she was unsure that he was really there.
But all had changed when the x-ray technician had entered the room. In truth, it hadn't been his fault: Daniel had been the only one on staff. Something in her fevered mind must have screamed 'danger' when she set her eyes on him.
The pale haired woman heaved a violent gasp of air before attempting to scramble her way off of the table. She was too weak; it didn't work. Her weakened body barely moved an inch and she gasped, curling tightly in on herself facing away from the technician.
Hotch was in action instantly, moving into her new line of site. He rubbed her back as she shook in a somewhat futile attempt to grab her attention. The technician stood still, frozen in the doorway as if time had stopped for him.
"It's just the doctor. Listen to me, JJ." Her eyes were closed tightly. "I'm right here. Open your eyes. It's alright." He remembered back to having to pop her injured shoulder back into place. Did she still trust him after that?
Apparently, she did, at least enough to open her eyes. "Make it stop." She begged, and the words broke his heart.
"Just a few minutes, I promise."
"I know," He soothed. "I'll be right here. It's not Bennett, JJ. It's just the doctor."
The technician stepped into the room warily then, his eyes on Hotch. "All I need to do is take a few x-rays and we'll be done." His voice was quiet, not wanting to startle the terrified woman.
Gently, Hotch helped JJ to uncurl herself and lie back down on the table. She didn't like it, he could see that plainly in her eyes. After what she'd gone through, he was surprised that she'd allowed him to be near her at all. Her fear of men was apparent even more when she mumured the words, "Don't." when the technician came by with one of the vests.
In the end, Hotch had had to place the vests on her himself. If they tried it any other way, she'd begin to shake again, shutting down instantly. The profiler didn't mind - if it was a small comfort to her for the hands to be familiar, he'd do anything. He still blamed himself, after all. It should have been him shot in that warehouse. It was illogical, but every time that she flinched, cried out, or a breath paused in her throat, he held himself responsible. It didn't help that she'd hissed in pain every time he'd had to shift one of the vests on her injured body.
After what felt like an hour of reassuring her, they had finally managed to convince her to do an MRI. By then, ll of her doctors had been switched over to female, but she still only trusted him.
Now, she was exhausted, and he couldn't allow for her to sleep. The concussion prevented that, and once they were positive she could handle anesthesia, they would be bringing her down to surgery.
He didn't want to think about that.
Hotch sat close to her for hours. There wasn't a chance he was leaving her side.
Because, if after all they'd been through she managed to have that marginal amount of trust, perhaps she'd be all right one day after all.
And so begins something I so should not be doing, due to some insistence, I'm doing it.. This won't be updated regularly, but as I write/upload the outtakes from the story, The Art of Butterflies. They could take place anywhere in the series; this particular outtake comes from somewhere between chapters eighteen and twenty.
Please note: you don't have to read The Art of Butterflies to understand any of these, though I'd be ELATED if you went and read that story. But you don't have to. The situations will be explained in each outtake so that nonreaders can understand.
Please, please, review. If I don't get response for this, then it's probably not going to be updated regularly – I'd rather finish the actual story and Stroke of Midnight before updating this. If there are IDEAS from readers for outtakes, please tell me!
Oh, and this one's to Brynnifer, who said, "Do it!". I'm paraphrasing here. Orange juice!