Author's Note: As you all know by now, we are in full swing on the Profiler's Choice Awards hosted on "Chit Chat on Author's Corner". And we'd like to offer an extra incentive to get those nominations rolling in. For the next five people to complete the nomination ballot in its entirety, I would be happy to write a oneshot of your pairing preference (hetero, slash or femslash, doesn't matter!). We have an abundance of incredible stories and authors to choose from this year and we have already received many wonderful nominations. Just to refresh your memory though, tonnie2001969 and myself (ilovetvalot) have removed ourselves from eligibility in the interest of avoiding all appearances of self-promotion. But, we want to make this an incredible experience for each one of you and give you a well-rounded final voting selection to choose from. So let's all put on our reading caps and pick our favorites!
Also, don't forget to sign up for our newest challenge at the forum. We're honoring Halloween with our first ever "Candy Land Challenge" and signups run through September 30th! Details are at the forum!
We also have a great new interview with another fellow CM author this week. Come and get to know THUNDERBRAT.
As always, guys, Happy Reading!
Sweet Silver Lining
She should have recognized it as the calm before the storm. In hindsight, Will's eager willingness to watch their son without a word of displeasure when she'd been called away on an unexpected case should have resonated...should have been a signal of impending doom. But she'd been so busy being grateful for the lack of ongoing drama to question the change in attitude.
Standing in her son's empty bedroom now as tears rolled down her cheeks, she could admit she'd been a fool.
He'd left. He'd left and taken the only bright spot in her life with him.
She still held his tersely worded explanation clutched tightly in her hand. And glancing down at the wrinkled sheet of paper, her stomach rolled again, her body rebelling even as her mind refused to comprehend the horror. Blinking several times to clear her watering eyes, she lifted the note with an unsteady hand again, hoping that the message had magically changed in the fifteen minutes she'd stood like a statue.
By the time you read this, our son and I will be on our way to a new life...one unencumbered by the constant demands of the job you refuse to step away from. I couldn't allow it to continue, JJ. I couldn't let him be affected by your constant need to sacrifice our son's happiness in order to fulfill an obligation…that was never really an obligation at all.
It was a choice.
Our son deserves a life filled with love and stability. Your abandonment of your maternal duties this week was my breaking point. We all have one, and I found mine on Sunday. He cried for you, JJ. For hours, our year old son cried for his mother. Sadly, I had no answers for him. What could I say? That Mommy puts the needs of every other man, woman, and child above the needs of her own son?
I'm sorry, but I couldn't let it continue. I begged you, JJ. Begged you to walk away. To join me in finding a new life somewhere...anywhere. But you said no. You said what you did was important...that it meant something. Did it mean more than our son's security? Than our life together as a family?
Because I don't want you to worry, I will tell you that I've taken our boy back to New Orleans. I'm filing for full custody, JJ. If you won't give our son the life he deserves, I will. It's evident that you've made your decision and now, I've made mine.
Remember, I wanted this to be different. And I never imagined it coming down to this. But you made your choice. And I've made mine. I choose our son. His happiness. His love.
Tell me, JJ. Look around you now. What do you have?
You'll be hearing from my lawyer soon. Until this issue is resolved, I believe it is better for you to vacate Henry's life. In a way, you've already done that. This shouldn't be difficult for you.
Parenthood isn't a part-time job. Perhaps, you never learned that. Maybe this will be the final lesson that reaches you. Who knows?
I only know that I have Henry's best interest at heart. I wish I was convinced that you did, as well. Tell me, JJ, do I have your attention now?
Crumbling the note in her shaking fingers, JJ collapsed to her knees as the first sob racked her trembling body. He was wrong! Wrong, damn it! All those implications that she didn't love their son enough...how could he say that?
There was nothing...NOTHING on earth she wouldn't do for her child. No sacrifice she wouldn't make. Why the hell did he think she fought so hard against the monsters lurking in plain sight? It was so that maybe, just maybe, her son wouldn't have to confront them!
Gasping for breath as she rocked back and forth on her knees, she shook her head. She recognized it...the letter...for what it was. Emotional blackmail, designed to crush her spirit and intimidate her into actions she had no desire to complete.
But what the hell was she supposed to do now, she asked herself, near hysterical. HE HAD HER SON! HER BABY! The child that she had nurtured inside her...and it felt like a part of her had been ripped from her soul.
Spying her Henry's stuffed frog underneath the empty crib, JJ crawled forward, desperate to reach that one small toy. Clutching it like a lifeline, she brought it to her nose, inhaling deeply as she fought to regain control of the turbulent emotions slamming through her.
Holding Henry's favorite toy in one hand, she pulled herself wearily to her feet, using the crib for leverage. Her son wasn't lost to her. He couldn't be. And while his father might be a son of a bitch, she knew he'd take care of her little boy. Right now, she had to concentrate, she thought scrubbing her eyes.
Focus on the problem, Jareau, she chided herself. "Work the issue," she whispered aloud, her voice stark in the obnoxiously quiet room. Glancing at the Winnie the Pooh clock on the wall, she squinted through swollen eyes. Six thirty.
If she knew her team at all, most of them would still be at the office. At the very least, Hotch and Rossi would still be huddled over their desks. Between the two brilliant men, she might have a chance. If they didn't know how to approach this themselves, they'd definitely know the person to point her toward. They were both linked in to almost every agency in the nation, their connections well known and well cultivated. She needed those two men on her side if she hoped to find her baby soon.
One thing was certain, JJ thought, her shoulders squaring as she turned toward the nursery door. There was no way she was giving up her right to her son. Not today or any other day. William LaMontagne might have won the battle, but the war was far from over.
Author's Note 2 - Also guys, please don't forget that if you'd like to advertise the awards on your own profile pages or stories, there's a short blurb on my (ilovetvalot) and Tonnie's (tonnie2001969) profile page for you to copy and paste if you choose!
And this, for those of you interested, will be a long JJ/Hotch story. I had a reader ask for an epic regarding them and I hope this fits the bill.
Thanks again for reading!