Author's Note: New multi-chapter, part of Universe A. This is an historic day (if history was really boring), the first big story in the Girl'verse that is not focused on H/P! This is a JJ story that spins off the tail end of time covering H/P's relationship over in The Hours. If you read The Ides Of May, that posting that took place on Mother's Day, yeah, this is the larger story I referenced in there. So these events coming here will lead up to that day.
I know it might seem odd to be posting a story spinoff that takes place chronologically at a point that we haven't yet reached in the new Hours, but this fic starts right after the point in time that fic is already predetermined to stop, so no overlap in events. Not to mention the Girl'verse has already continued beyond The Hours over in two other stories so it's not such a leap to move ahead again. As The Doctor would say, it's just one big ball of wibbley, wobbley, timey wimey stuff :)
If you usually read me for H/P, feel free to stick around because this is that too. But as a side dish. Again, the focus is JJ and how she deals with what happens to her here in this chapter. Dave will primarily be stepping up in the supporting role (just a friend) with the rest of the team filling in as supporting players.
TV Prompt Set #17 (April)
Show: Crossing Jordan
Title Challenge: A Man In Blue
A Death In The Family
JJ's breath was coming slow and shallow as she stood frozen in the middle of her foyer. Her phone was pressed to her ear and clutched tightly in her left hand . . . her revolver was hanging limply from her right. It was two seventeen in the morning and she was on the verge of a complete breakdown.
Something had happened.
Will's partner and his captain were standing on her porch and they kept knocking on her door, pleading for her to let them in . . . but she was ignoring them. She just kept dialing her husband.
But Will wasn't picking up his phone.
She'd been calling him and calling him and . . . her eyes started to burn as the voicemail came on again . . . and it just rang and rang and rang.
"JJ, please, please open the door."
That one was Ginnie. Ginnie Washington, Will's partner. It sounded like she was crying. The two of them were supposed to be off at a twenty-four meth stakeout downtown. It was only hour eighteen and here Ginnie was crying on her front porch pleading with JJ to open the door.
But . . . JJ's own tears started to pool as the phone fell to her side . . . she didn't want to open the door.
Death was out there.
She knew that as well as she knew her own name. If Will was just hurt then they would have sent uniforms to get her. Ginnie and the captain would be at the hospital with him right now. But . . . a tear spilled over . . . they weren't at a hospital.
They were here.
And as much as JJ wanted to put off the moment . . . to keep living in a world where she wasn't yet a widow at thirty-one . . . she knew that she needed to let these people tell her what they came to tell her. Because that side of the door might have been death, but this side was hell.
The unknown was killing her.
Another tear fell . . . did he suffer? Did he see it coming? Did he go quickly?
Did he call her name?
A sob started to force it's way up, but she slapped her hand over her mouth. No . . . she took a shuddering breath . . . not yet.
She couldn't do this alone.
Her gaze dropped down to her phone again, the tears spilling over freely as she saw Will's name still sitting on the screen. She'd left him six voicemail messages.
Messages that she knew he'd never get.
Feeling a wave of grief pushing against her heart, she took a breath to clamp it down. Then she took another as she moved her thumb over . . . and wiped his name away. She winced as the letters disappeared.
That was the last time she was ever going to call him.
But she couldn't think about that right now, she'd go crazy. So instead her fingers slowly began to tap down the names in her contact list. She wanted Emily and Hotch, but . . . JJ bit her lip as she pictured her friend as she was on their family visit last weekend . . . Emily still wasn't well. Her radiation treatment had been completed, but she and Hotch were both still out on leave. She certainly couldn't be dragged out of bed in the middle of the night. And JJ could never . . . and would never . . . ask Hotch to leave her.
So with her two closest friends unavailable, JJ scrolled down to the next two names on the list.
Dave and Derek.
Alpha Two and Alpha Three. And right now she definitely needed an alpha. Somebody to take charge so she wouldn't have to.
For a moment she stared at the names through her tears . . . how was she supposed to decide which of them to drag into this nightmare with her? Though she knew that they'd both come in an instant, it was a lot to ask of anyone.
Still though . . . she flinched as the knocking started again . . . she needed someone. Finally her finger fell down on the little green button.
Dave lived closer.
As she heard the phone begin to ring in her ear, JJ slipped her gun into her bathrobe pocket. Then she walked slowly over to the front door. Just as Dave's gravely voice came on the line asking if they had a case, she turned the deadbolt.
The knocking ceased just as she whispered back, "no, no case."
And she stopped, unable to say what needed to be said. The words wouldn't come.
So the pause stretched out, and when Dave came back again she could hear the sleep had cleared from his voice. A clear note of panic had replaced it.
"Honey, what's wrong? Did something happen? Are you all right?"
"I'm not hurt," JJ whispered back, "but um . . . something is wrong," her voice cracked, "something's very wrong. Would you to please come over here right now?"
She heard a rustling in the background and then Dave again, now slightly breathless. He was probably getting dressed.
"Of course. I'm half out the door," he said in a frantic rush, "but please, tell me what's going on there. What's happened?"
Hearing the tension in Dave's voice, JJ froze, closing her eyes as she leaned forward to rest her head against the solid oak.
"Will's partner," she said slowly, "his captain, and a police chaplain are standing on my front porch. I saw them through the window. They're here," she swallowed over the lump, "they're here to tell me that my husband is dead," she took a breath, "but I'm not letting them in until you get here. Because I have a baby," her voice broke, "and I can't fall apart if there's nobody here to take care of him."
Stunned, Dave froze for a second in the middle of his bedroom . . . Will was dead.
He ran over to grab his badge and gun off the dresser. "Oh Jesus Christ honey, I'm so sorry. I promise I'll be there in less than ten. But Jennifer," he softened his tone as he ran towards the door, "sweetie, you can't leave them out there on the porch. They're going to think something's wrong with you and break down the door. Just let them inside and tell them to sit in the living room until I get there."
He started racing down the upstairs hall, "I'm leaving now, but I'll stay on the phone. Now all you have to do is just open the door and ask them to take a seat. That's it. Then you go sit on the porch and wait for me, okay?"
JJ bit her lip before whispering back softly, "okay."
Dave was right. She couldn't leave them out there another ten minutes. They could see she'd put on the lights, they'd probably heard her on the phone . . . and she was sure they knew she'd deduced why they were there.
If she didn't at least acknowledge their presence then they were definitely going to break down the door.
So she took another breath, leaned back . . . and turned the knob. The door fell back and she was face to face with her worst nightmare. Though she'd already seen them through the glass, it wasn't the same as the live three dimensional version.
The captain was stone faced, Ginnie was crying . . . and then there was the police chaplain.
A young man with dark hair and a kind face.
He was a man in blue.
It was the uniform jacket. The other two were in plainclothes. And she could see from the shiny silver cross hanging from his neck. And that's when her world started to spin, and she realized that she was about to faint. Three pairs of hands reached for her, but she sucked in another breath, stepping back out of their reach as she steadied herself against the door.
Her eyes dropped to the ground.
"Dave," she whimpered into the phone still pressed to her ear. And though she said nothing else, he understood her all the same.
"It's okay," he said with a calm he didn't feel, "I'm right here. Just tell them to go sit in the living room, that your friend is on the way, and that you'll be with them in a moment."
The words had barely passed Dave's lips before they were coming out of JJ's mouth.
"Please go sit in the living room. My friend is on the way and I'll be with you in a moment."
The request was whispered to the floor. And then . . . deliberately keeping her eyes fixed on the same spot by her bare foot . . . JJ stepped to the side so the small group could move past her.
None of them said a word.
From the corner of her eye JJ could see that Ginnie was looking at her . . . trying to get her to look up.
But JJ continued to look down.
A second later she was alone in the doorway.
She stepped out onto the little porch and shut the door behind her. Then she walked across the creaking boards, her eyes watering anew as she remembered that Will kept promising to replace the squeaky one in the center . . . that wasn't going to happen now.
A lot of things weren't going to happen now.
She dropped down onto the top step and folded herself into a little ball.
"How much longer?" she whispered to Dave.
Hearing the tears in JJ's voice and knowing she was about to lose it, Dave jammed his foot the rest of the way down on the accelerator. It was two am on a Monday, and there was nobody on the road.
Fuck the speed limit.
"Six minutes," the needle shot up to eighty and he tipped his head, "maybe five."
"Okay," she murmured back, "I'll be waiting."
Then she closed the phone, wrapped her arms around her chest.
And began to sob.
A/N 2: I got the idea for this whole story based on the Man in Blue prompt. I just immediately flashed on JJ staring at a man wearing blue and her knowing he was there to tell her that her husband was dead. Working on this is rather exciting for me because, though it's Girl'verse (so well within my comfort zone) it's also something totally new at the same time. This is a story that I have the overall arc of scenes pretty clear in my head. I see it covering broadly the next six months of her life as she picks up and moves forward with the help of her friends. As with everything else, updates as time allows. But I am going to give it some focused attention this month just to get it off the ground.
Yes, Dave's race through the streets of Virginia in the wee hours is a bit echoey to Fracture. But really, he is your go to guy if you need help in the middle of the night. Body in the hallway, Dave, dead husband, Dave, clogged sink, Dave. He is your man for all emergencies. I did consider going with Derek as the primary, secondary character, but I find it easier to write Dave. He speaks more clearly in my head, so I figured if I was going to be stepping so far away from H/P for such a focused effort, I'd best stay with what I knew. Though I am going to give Morgan some prominence here too. And Reid and Garcia. With H/P so definitively sidelined by Emily's recovery, they simply aren't going to be available to step in here, which is exactly why I picked this point in time to have this event happen. This is an opportunity for me to shift focus to the other members of the team in a way that I can't ordinarily in a straight H/P relationship story. There just ordinarily isn't any time to veer off much into their other lives. But here their presence will have purpose.
I'm not planning on this being super long, maybe twenty chapters, and then I have a follow up story in my head too. One with a love interest for JJ. Said love interest shall remain a mystery until we get there. I don't want to turn any shippers (pro or con for any pairing) off this world. Though I think it probably goes without saying, you can cross Hotch off the list of possibles. Em too for that matter ;)
So the next chapter this weekend, and then I'm going to aim for like every 2-3 weeks after that. That's my new goal to try to keep things moving, alternating focus between the Girl'verse stories (of which there are so many) and everything else. Because I find once I sink back into the Girl'verse, no matter which version it is, I can just stay there and keep sliding easily in and out of the different stories. Hence so many updates this week. It was a nice little roll that I'd love to stay on. And I'm moving Fracture and Gingerbread back into the lineup for next week.