JJ sat at the desk in her home office, weary after finishing a long, hard case at work. The last six months had been hard, and she was completely spent. She was lonely, slightly depressed, and she wasn't sure how to bring herself out of it.
Six months before
"You don't love me, JJ," Will said sadly. "Not like you should. I deserve better. Hell, you deserve better. I'm moving back to N'awlins." The drawl in his speech was unmistakable, especially when he pronounced the city he was born in and which he'd lived most of his life until moving up to Virginia with JJ.
He shook his head, interrupting her halfhearted protest. "No, Jayje, you don't. I've known it for a while. I was just hoping I could change it. Neither of us is happy, honey. You know that. It isn't your fault. It isn't mine. That's just the way it is."
JJ nodded, quietly accepting what Will said as the truth. She looked up at him through tear-filled eyes and whispered, "I'm sorry."
Will pulled her into his arms and brushed his lips across her temple before whispering, "So am I, darlin'. So am I."
Then, he was gone.
JJ had walked around in a fog for the next two months. Oh, she'd done her job just as well as she ever had. But she didn't go out with Pen and Emily when they asked. She never went out with the team for drinks after a case. She was holed up in her apartment every moment she wasn't working.
She'd loved Will, in her own way, and even though she knew his decision to leave had been for the best, she still felt adrift. She'd gone from one bad relationship to another before Will. Their relationship had been good. He'd been kind to her, loving; it had been a healthy, mature relationship. But JJ hadn't been on her own since before college, and she wasn't sure how to handle it.
During those two months, David Rossi had begun paying more attention to her than he had before. He'd asked her out several times, but each time, she'd declined, stating that she was too tired or wasn't feeling well. Finally, after more than a handful of invitations, he'd stopped asking. She still caught him watching her, but she guessed he understood her need for space. Her heart ached, seeing him back off, because she had feelings for the older profiler, even though she'd never given into them. She just hoped that when she was ready, he would still be there.
A month later, Dave didn't show up for work one day. During the morning briefing, Hotch told the group that Dave had retired once again from the FBI. His mother had fallen ill suddenly, and coupled with some personal reasons he hadn't shared with Hotch, he'd decided it was time to leave.
At that moment, JJ felt her heart shatter all over again.
She sank even further into depression, going so far as to need to see the doctor to get some medicinal help. The girls and the rest of the team had done everything they could to help her, and now, three months later, she felt closer to normal than she'd felt in the six months since Will had gone back home.
Still, she knew something was missing. She could only think of one thing that would make her whole: Dave.
Suddenly, JJ knew what she had to do. She turned on the computer, opened up her e-mail account, and began to write.
For thirty minutes, JJ poured her heart out. She told of her past, her history with men, and why Will's leaving had hit her as hard as it had. She told of seeing Dave for the first time in college and then again when he rejoined the BAU. She wrote about her depression and how the medicine had helped and that she finally was feeling like the old JJ.
JJ didn't really know why she was writing to him, only that she knew it was something she needed to do.
She asked about his life now; Hotch had kept them informed about his mother's cancer and how she was now in remission. She wanted Dave to know she was thinking of him and his mother both, wishing them well.
When she could think of nothing else to say, she signed the email with a simple: Jennifer.
With her finger hovering over the send button, she thought of one last thing she needed to tell him. Before she could chicken out, she typed one last sentence.
P.S. I love you.
Dave sat down at the computer, expecting an e-mail from his publisher about his next book, but as he opened up his e-mail program, his eyes widened in shock.
To: David Rossi
From: Jennifer Jareau
Date: Sept 26, 2009
His gut clenched as he read her name, and involuntarily, his finger came out to trace it as he whispered, "Jennifer."
Taking a deep breath, he clicked the e-mail and began to read.
The words JJ had written were filled with emotion. He learned all about her past with men, the abuse she'd suffered—both physical and emotional—and how she'd gone from being Daddy's Little Girl at home to being an adult, but never truly being out on her own. She told him about her relationship with LaMontagne and how he had been good to her. Good for her.
His heart clenched at that. He'd hated the man for being with the woman he himself had fallen in love with shortly after his arrival back at the BAU. Looking back, though, he realized he should be grateful to him. Will was a good man and had treated Jennifer well. At the time, Dave had only seen him as the man that stood between himself and the woman he loved.
Dave continued reading, learning why Will's departure had been so hard for JJ. She told him that she'd been worried that a nice, decent guy like Will leaving her had made her think she wasn't worthy of being in a relationship with a guy like that. That she was worried she was destined to be alone or with a man like so many of the ones from her past. She hadn't been thinking with her head at the time; she'd let fear rule her heart.
When JJ told him of needing to see a doctor for medication after he left the FBI again, he felt like screaming. Hotch had never said a word about that to Dave, and he'd talked to the man every couple of weeks at least. Even JJ's reassurance that she was better now and that she had asked Hotch not to say anything to him didn't make Dave feel better. Hotch knew Dave was in love with her, and he'd still kept it from him. If Dave didn't respect the man as much as he did, Hotch would have had a sore jaw and a broken nose the next time Dave saw him.
It didn't surprise Dave to read the questions about his mother further in the e-mail. He'd asked Hotch to let the team know why he'd left; once his mother had recovered from the chemo and radiation, he'd told Hotch the good news. He should've guessed Hotch would have passed that news along to the team, as well.
JJ ended the letter with a note that said she hoped Dave was enjoying his second retirement and to please pass along her thoughts and prayers to his mother for her continued health.
Then, he read her post-script, and immediately, he was brought to tears.
He'd given up hope months before that Jennifer Jareau would ever feel for him what he felt for her. And there it was in plain and simple language.
She loved him.
It only took him moments to decide what to do. He didn't even bother shutting down the computer. He simply grabbed his keys and walked into the kitchen to tell his mother he was heading out and not to wait up for him.
"Ahhh, your Jennifer has finally come to her senses, has she?" his mama said softly, her voice filled with understanding.
"I think so, Mama." He closed his eyes and nodded, blowing out a soft breath. "I think so."
"Go, my son. Let her heal your heart as you heal hers."
He gave her a quick kiss on both cheeks and then turned to leave, only pausing for a moment when he heard her speak again.
"Then maybe you can get started on giving me some grandbabies before it's too late," she admonished him in a teasing voice.
Dave shook his head and grinned, not bothering to tell her that was one of his wishes, as well.
He quickly left the house and sped toward Quantico.