Author's Note: No, it's not a very "valentiney" story but this is what was done. And this is a continuation of the last scene, switching viewpoints from Morgan to JJ. And the title here is also coming from one of the prompts.
Story Title Prompt Set #9
Author: Scarlett Thomas
Title Challenge: Our Tragic Universe
TV Prompt Set #15
Title Challenge: The Gun
TV Bonus Challenge #12 - The Pick a Character, Any Character Edition
Title Challenge: JJ
Our Tragic Universe
We don't have enough bullets.
That's the frantic thought that's running through my brain as I listen helplessly to the slaughter going on outside the flimsy wooden door. There are literally thousands of rounds being expended just beyond my field of vision, but here we are . . . three guns and five bullets between them.
Water, water everywhere . . . and not a drop to drink.
It's a stanza I remember from high school that has just bitterly risen up. And my eyes sting as I stare down at the nearly useless weapon in my hand. The line is a poignant reminder of yet another way to die when there's too much, yet not enough.
Our last weapon is not going to be enough to save us.
Feeling the despair again begin to push against my heart, I take a ragged breath, lifting my head to see if Morgan has made any progress with the window.
The thought comes just as I see a burst of fury appear on his face. Before I can blink he picks up the visitor's chair and hurls it against the glass.
And then the curtains are flapping as the cold wind hits my face. Though we still have to somehow maneuver four stories, still I feel a faint flicker of hope start to burn again.
A way out.
For a moment I allow myself to see that future. But then I notice that Morgan has stopped his efforts to get us through this new exit. Instead he's just staring into the nothingness beyond the shattered pane.
Why isn't he tying bed sheets together or checking the width of the ledges?
"What? What is it?"
I hear the note of panic in my raspy voice, but if Morgan notices it too he doesn't respond. Or perhaps my mounting hysteria no longer fazes him. Either way he doesn't look at me, or say anything . . . he just puts out his hand. Though my terror is growing by his inaction and his silence, I reach out and grasp it.
When his fingers close around mine I allow him to tug me those last few steps. And when I finally look into the abyss below us . . . when I finally see what he sees . . . my panic and terror morph into something more.
Below us there are bodies. Not more than I can count . . . but more than I want to. Some are still moving, some are still screaming. Though with the sounds coming from the hall behind us, all of the death throes simply run together.
Even from the distance I can make out the style of dress on the dead. Civilian clothes, mixed in with scrubs, mixed in with uniforms.
Lots of uniforms.
And they're all wearing vests. And though we're too far up for me to see clearly, it is apparent that all of the blue vests have letters on them.
Our backup's backup.
As we watch out the window, across the parking lot one of the gunmen suddenly starts moving. He walks up . . . and without hesitation . . . places a final bullet into one of the screamers. There was a time . . . yesterday maybe . . . where such an action would have made me cry out in horror. But yesterday is gone, and now it's today.
Today I simply blink and look away.
Despair has again begun to rule my heart. Below us is death. Behind us is death.
Dear God . . . panic rises again . . . what are we going to do?
A small sob bubbles up and I immediately clamp my free hand over my mouth to cover it. I feel Derek's warm fingers tug me just a little bit closer . . . then he squeezes. The sensation his touch brings is both comfort and grief.
Will this be the last hand I hold?
It's a question I'd never thought I'd ask myself at the age I am now. That's an old woman's question and I've only recently turned thirty-six. I just found my first grey hair last week.
God . . . the cursed tears start to well up again . . . how can I die today?
Suddenly a bullet comes flying through the wooden door, and one thing is clear as it buries itself in the plaster by my side . . . God cares not at all for the color of the strands on my head.
I could definitely die today.
Morgan knocks me to the ground as the zip of two additional bullets fly past us. Whether they're simply strays or somebody is intentionally firing into our little hidey-hole, my racing heart doesn't know. Either way, Derek keeps scrambling for relative safety as he pushes me up and behind the bed. For a moment as we lay panting on the cold tile it appears that maybe they were simply strays. Maybe we'll have a few more minutes to try to come up with another plan.
Maybe there's a vent.
But then there's a burst of gunfire . . . and this time it's clearly directed at our door. Wood chips and bullets come raining down in equal measure and Derek shifts, moving to stretch his body over the length of mine. A tear runs down my cheek as I see that even to the end he's trying to protect me. And though his weight is heavy and I can smell the blood and sweat on his clothes . . . I pull him closer, my nails digging into his vest as I bury my face in his neck.
Last hand held, last warm body felt.
And as I hear the sound of our sad little barricade scraping along the floor, Morgan whispers in my ear. He tells me that he loves me, that it's been an honor to know me . . . and then he tells me that he's sorry. As his voice breaks, the sob I've been holding in rips through my body. And I know that this is it. This is the end.
All I can think is that I didn't get to say goodbye to my son.
Trying to push off that moment of paralyzing grief . . . if I think of my son left alone in this world I'll die in a state of madness . . . I shift to brush my lips against Derek's.
Our mingled tears make it a salty kiss goodbye.
As I pull back I look him in the eyes and I tell him that I love him too, and that it's okay. It's not his fault.
It just is.
And then I close my eyes, and as Derek tucks me under his chin, I hear them burst through the door. His lips press against my temple and I pretend that we're somewhere else.
A somewhen where my team is alive and our children are not orphans.
Again . . . yesterday will do.
So I remember the day before, talking to my son on the phone as he told me about the soldiers standing in front of his school. Of sharing a dinner of Ritz crackers and grapes with Derek and Spencer. Then later stumbling in on Hotch and Emily sneaking a quick kiss in the small conference room. And then Dave he . . .
The first splash of Derek's warm blood hits my cheek . . . the illusion is shattered.
I begin to scream.
A/N 2: I know, not so much with the warm fuzzies here. But clearly chapter one established this as not so much a warm fuzzy world. This was only supposed to ever be a two shot (and it still may very well be) but I do sorta, kinda, maybe have some thoughts on another chapter. I'm not sure, when, if I'd have a chance to get back to this again, it's clearly something that comes in ugly little bursts, so I'm going to set it as complete and leave this here as an ambiguous ending. You are welcome to decide for yourselves if that was the end of JJ and Morgan, or if there's another intervening act. If I ever do come back around to a chapter three, then maybe you'll find out for sure what their outcome was. But remember, Spencer and Garcia (and possibly Dave) are also still alive in this hellish world so even if I do have a chapter three, it doesn't necessarily have to cover J and M ;)
I know this isn't on my 'crowd pleaser' list, but I hope that the four of you that are reading it, had a good time :)