Dedication: I started this without a clue as to where it would go, but I started it for my mother. Thank you for texting me about Reid's hair. Thank you for being the kind of mother JJ described. Thank you for never, ever giving up on me or anything I've ever wanted to do. Thank you for being all of the things they miss about JJ.
Spoilers: premier of season six; preview for second episode of season six
Notes: This was written blindly after the first episode of season six. I have no idea where the second episode will take us, because, alas, I am not psychic or the creators of Criminal Minds. Yes, this will serve as your disclaimer as well. If I did own Criminal Minds, there'd be no need for this one shot as JJ would still be there. And Agni, if you're reading this – Elle's waiting for a train. She thinks she knows where this train will take her, but she doesn't know for sure. (; I also don't own that quote, by the way.

She is their humanity. They can't lose their humanity. They can't but they do and nobody can bring her back. Nobody can lift the veil of darkness that fell over them when she walked out of the room for the last time with tears in her eyes and a faltering smile on her lips. And nobody can't help but think it – that they'd just lost their team, because after six years of death and killing she was always the one who picked them up.

But she's gone. And they can't bring her back.

Morgan misses her in sound. He expects her voice at every turn – he expects the caring in her voice when he's lost himself a little bit, he expects the softness of her saying his name to bring him back even when he's not really listening. She was always the one to bring him back when Garcia couldn't, to talk sense into him. Sometimes she didn't have to do anything – sometimes all she had to do was be there. JJ is calm, sensible, but she's also their heart. Where Garcia is their light at the end of the day – JJ is their light during the day.

How could they lose their light?

Garcia misses her in the empty space beside her desk. How many times, when they were out on a case, had she been there? How many times had she been there, feeling the same fear that Garcia did – that they were about to lose everything, that maybe this time was when they wouldn't come back? Now she's the one not coming back. Six years; JJ had been her friend for six years – she'd been there when they'd lost Elle, and Gideon, when Reid had been near death with Tobias and she was always their strong will. She was the one who didn't give up. She'd been the one who stood strong through it all and didn't consider giving in. Jayje was their fire.

How could they lose their fire?

Reid misses her in empty space as well, but the empty space is beside him. She had been beside him in the Redskins game; she'd been beside him when they were sent to save that little girl right before Gideon left; she'd been beside him every time they'd been sent somewhere together. She'd been beside him right before they'd been separated at Tobias's farm, and then, too, she was empty space. Only, this is worse because they're both safe and there's no chance of her coming back. She's always been beside him – both figuratively and literally, when he was so consumed by a drug he couldn't tell friend from foe, when they were on the plane heading towards a new horror, when he was simply having a bad day. Reid is far from naïve; he knows that things don't last forever. Everything comes to an end. This, though – oh, how he'd let himself believe in invincibility with his team, just for a little while. How he'd let himself believe that they'd all be a team for a long time. Six years was a long time but it wasn't long enough. She'd been their spirit.

How could they lose their spirit?

Hotch misses her in the files. He can see her each time he reads over the new cases to select one; he appreciated her before but now he sees how hard the job really was. He can see how much it must have affected her to know that whoever she chose, there was another man, woman, child out there who might have to suffer because she hadn't chose them. And, through it all, she remained herself. JJ never changed, not like the rest of them did. She managed to never lose, to only gain. Whenever she lost part of herself – Tobias's farm comes to mind- she gained it back. JJ remained so stunningly herself throughout the entire six years that Hotch can only look back and wonder how she did it. How did she remain so startlingly human? How did she remain with such … not innocence, but strength of character?

How could they lose their strength?

Prentiss misses her in laughter. In everything that they'd gone through, in all the tears and frustration and anger, they'd always laughed. Whether it be once a day, once a month – recently it felt like once a year – JJ and Prentiss had always found something to laugh about together. They'd teased and they'd taunted each other because they were friends, and despite having such a morbid job JJ had always been able to laugh. She remembers the bar where she, JJ, and Garcia had gathered when Prentiss had barely known her and was still trying to prove herself to the BAU. She remembers how easy it was to laugh then, and she remembers that no matter what, JJ had never lost her ability to laugh.

How could they lose their laughter?

Rossi misses her in beauty. She was their youth; she was their springtime. It wasn't physical beauty – though she has that too – it was the beauty that she brought to them. She wasn't their youngest but she brought with her renewal. Jennifer Jareau brought motherhood and peace in a life that was more than hectic at best. The first time he saw her he made a comment about her physical beauty, but now that he knows her he's stunned by the life that seems to surround her.

How could they lose their youth?

How could they lose her – their friend? How could they lose someone so important to them to a simple decision? How could it be so impossible to bring her back, that no matter what they said or did she was still being taken from them – not by an UnSub but by their own superiors?

How could they lose Jennifer Jareau?