Love in the Time of Chaos

Summary: AU. [Post Faceless, Nameless] "Being loved deeply by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage." (Lao Tzu) A different take on the events of Season 5. Hotch/JJ pairing.

Rating: T

Disclaimer: Criminal Minds isn't mine, nor are the characters or the storylines original to that show. Dang it.

Author's Note: This story begins at Faceless, Nameless and continues on through Season 5. The storyline is the same, but I've altered quite a bit. This will be JJ/Hotch, and it may get potentially graphic and/or steamy, so you've been warned. Hope you enjoy!


"Being loved deeply by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage." –Lao Tzu

"Any word from Hotch yet?" Jennifer Jareau knew she sounded like a broken record, but she had been notifying the team of cases for years and something was wrong. She always called her boss first, and he always answered the phone…always. JJ had never spoken to Hotch's voicemail while they were in-between cases back in Virginia, but he hadn't answered any of her calls. The team kept telling her it was no big deal, but JJ just couldn't relax without her boss being there.

"JJ, he's probably still sleeping. Canada was really tough on all of us. Hotch too. We've all slept through cases before, sometimes your body and mind just crash."

"Morgan, this is Aaron Hotchner we're talking about. Hotch! He has never not answered my phone calls before, not in all the years that we've worked together." JJ loved her team, but she was getting frustrated that no one else was worrying like her. She didn't blame the team; she knew Hotch was special to her and she was just being overly sensitive. JJ sighed and grabbed her phone, preparing to call him one more time.

Rossi reached over and stopped her. "JJ, just go get him. You're not going to calm down and it seems Aaron is hell bent on not answering his phone. We can do without you for half an hour." JJ shot Rossi a smile, not even bothering to argue with the senior agent. She knew she wouldn't stop worrying until she saw Hotch, so there was really no point in arguing anyways. She immediately grabbed her things and headed out to her car, driving slightly over the speed limit as she made her way to Hotch's apartment.

She managed to make it there in record time, considering her speed and the lack of traffic on the road. She jumped out of her car and practically sprinted the two flights of stairs to her boss's floor, stopping herself when she realized how ridiculous she was being. The team was convinced that he was just sleeping with his phone on silent, but JJ knew Hotch well enough to know that even if that was true, he'd never forgive himself for sleeping through a case.

She stood in front of his door, knocking quickly as she waited impatiently for Hotch to answer the door. When she didn't hear any noise from within the apartment, JJ immediately knocked again, louder and longer this time. She pulled out her cell phone and called him again, hearing the phone ringing on the other side of the door. There was no way Hotch didn't hear his phone, meaning there was no way he wouldn't be answering it. JJ immediately began to panic as she put her phone in her pocket and grabbed her gun, turning the doorknob and walking into the apartment.

"Hotch?"

JJ gasped and practically flew to the center of the living room where Hotch was laying on the floor, his previously white shirt soaked red in blood. She looked down at her unconscious boss, quickly checking for a pulse in his neck, relief flooding through her as she felt a faint pulse underneath her fingertips. The relief was fleeting as the sheer panic and terror overtook every inch of her while her body went into automatic work mode as she grabbed her phone. "Hotch? Hotch, please wake up! Hotch open your eyes and look at me!"

She quickly dialed 911 as she tried to fight the tears that threatened to stream down her face. "This is Supervisory Special Agent Jennifer Jareau with the FBI. I have SSA Aaron Hotchner, he is down and needs immediate medical attention."

"Units are on their way, can you tell me about the extent of his injuries?"

JJ gently touched Hotch's chest, trying to figure out how he'd been hurt. "I think he's been stabbed multiple times, I don't know, just get medics here now!" She hung up the phone before the operator could respond.

"Hotch? Hotch, oh God please open your eyes and look at me. Hotch!" She opened his shirt and lifted his undershirt gently, gasping at the various stab wounds that covered his entire torso. She quickly looked them all over and determined that while they were all bad, two near his stomach and one on his upper chest close to his heart were the worst. She shed her jacket and laid it across his stomach.

Hotch had yet to open his eyes, causing JJ's heart to clench tighter and tighter with each passing moment, tears cascading down her cheeks. "Hotch! Aaron Hotchner, goddamn it, open your eyes and look at me, please! Aaron!" She applied pressure to his stomach, trying to stop the bleeding until medics arrived.

Thankfully the pressure and JJ's desperation seemed to trigger something in Hotch as he groaned and slowly opened his eyes. JJ immediately leaned over him, staring into his eyes as he attempted to adjust and focus. "Hotch! Hotch, look at me it's JJ. You're going to be ok, medics are on their way."

Hotch was struggling to focus but finally managed to look JJ in the eye. "JJ?" His face grimaced in pain and JJ's heart clenched even more.

She kept the pressure on his stomach but didn't look away. "Yeah it's me, it's JJ. Hotch, I need you to stay with me, try to keep you eyes open. Hotch!" His eyes slowly started to close again, causing JJ's panic to go into maximum overdrive. "Aaron, keep your eyes open and look at me!"

Hotch opened his eyes and stared back at JJ, quelling her panic in the slightest. "Aaron, I know it's hard and I know you're in a lot of pain and I know you're tired, but you have got to stay awake. You have to stay with me, please." JJ kept the pressure on his chest as she stared down at him, refusing to break eye contact.

Hotch swallowed and blinked a few times but kept his eyes on JJ. "JJ."

JJ shook her head, trying her best to keep her emotions in check. "Don't talk Aaron, the ambulance is on the way."

Hotch kept on talking, his throat dry and his breathing labored. "JJ it was…it was Foyet."

"I know, it's ok, you're going to be fine. Just stay with me Hotch, ok?"

Hotch's eyes began to flutter close and JJ felt the panic rising once again. "Aaron? Aaron, do you remember the first day we met? The day I was assigned to the BAU?"

Hotch closed his eyes, but groaned to let her know he heard her. "I was so excited to meet you and the team. I was terrified, of course, but it was everything I hoped it was. I was getting to work on Aaron Hotchner's Behavior Analysis Unit. Everyone in the PR department would have killed to take my place!"

Hotch had opened his eyes to look at her again, but JJ could tell he was fighting to stay awake. "Aaron, you have to stay awake. I know it's hard, but you can't go to sleep. You have to stay awake, ok?"

Hotch nodded, licking his lips. "You wore….black high heels."

JJ laughed, relieved beyond belief that Hotch was staying with her. "Yeah I was. I can't believe you remember that."

Hotch coughed as JJ applied more pressure on his stomach, his face grimacing before he took a deep breath. "The BAU was all men. We weren't used to…heels in the office." Hotch smiled as much as he could, JJ laughing as tears rolled down her face. "You had on…a black skirt…and a blue shirt."

JJ nodded, sniffling as she smiled down at him, praying the medics were close now that Hotch was staying awake. "You were in your classic suit. And you had on a deep red tie. I've always associated the color red with you because of that." JJ laughed and sobbed at the same time and Hotch gave her a tiny smile. "All my girl friends at the Bureau were so jealous of me; I was getting to work with the legendary Aaron Hotchner!"

Hotch rolled his eyes as best he could, making JJ laugh. Hotch coughed some more, a small amount of blood coming up, making JJ cry harder. He was slowly drifting away again. "Aaron. Aaron!" Hotch's eyes closed once again and he let out a deep breath. "Aaron! Aaron Hotchner, you stay with me! Don't you dare leave me, Aaron! Aaron!"

JJ heard medics in the hallway checking doors. "We're in here!" JJ didn't look away from Hotch for one second, not even as the medics came in and swarmed around Hotch. "He just passed out a few seconds ago, he was awake before then. He's been stabbed several times, I think eight or nine. I've been keeping pressure on the worst of them."

A medic moved to take over for JJ, gently pushing her back but JJ refused to go too far; she adjusted herself close to his head so she wasn't in the way, but she stayed close. "Aaron, please open your eyes. Please stay with me…Aaron stay with me!"

As the medics loaded Hotch onto a gurney, he groaned loudly and opened his eyes, looking all around before focusing on JJ. JJ sobbed out loud but smiled at Hotch regardless. "JJ."

"I'm here Aaron, I'm right here. You're going to be fine."

A medic came over and grabbed JJ's arm, moving her away. "Ma'am I'm sorry but you need-"

"JJ!" Everyone in the room could hear the franticness in Hotch's voice. The lead medic locked eyes with the medic holding JJ. "Get her over here."

JJ was led to the right side of the gurney, directly next to the lead medic. "She's here Agent Hotchner."

JJ leaned over and looked down at Hotch. "I'm right here Aaron."

Aaron stared intently up at JJ, relaxing significantly. "Don't…leave."

JJ shook her head and continued staring at the man lying before her, ignoring all the medics around her. "I'm not going anywhere."

The medic standing next to her moved a piece of equipment before turning to JJ. "Alright, JJ right? I want you to stay right here in this spot as we take Agent Hotchner down. Do not touch anything on the gurney, but you can hold his hand if you want. When we get in the ambulance I'm going to move you into a different position so you can't get in the way but you can still be near him. Sound good?" JJ nodded her head and the medics finally had Hotch ready to move. On the lead medic's signal, the gurney and JJ began moving swiftly down the hall, into the elevator, and finally loading Hotch into the ambulance.

The lead medic moved JJ into a position against the side of the ambulance close to Hotch's head as the rest of the team worked to stabilize him. JJ locked eyes with Hotch as soon as they were settled and rubbed a hand through his hair. "I'm right here Aaron."

Hotch looked directly into JJ's eyes, trying his best to ignore the medics working on him. "Remember…JJ, you…"

Hotch was fighting so hard to stay awake it almost broke JJ's heart. "What Aaron?"

He took a breath, licking his lips before trying again. "You…you kept calling me…sir. For months after...after you joined…the BAU. You didn't call…call me Hotch until…" Hotch began coughing uncontrollably, but he adamantly refused the oxygen mask the medics tried to put over his face. He began to fade back into unconsciousness, JJ soothingly running her hand through his hair as she tried to coax him back to her. After another, albeit smaller, coughing fit, Hotch opened his eyes, hazily focusing once again on JJ.

JJ didn't know if talking was a good idea, but it was keeping him with her, which was her main goal at the moment. "I didn't call you Hotch until after the Mickelson case." He gave her the smallest nod, and she smiled in return. "I remember Aaron."

"He…he took you…"

She kept nodding, interjecting when Hotch needed another deep breath. "And you and Reid found me. You carried me all the way to the ambulance." Hotch nodded before giving her a small smile.

"It took you…getting abducted to…to call me Hotch. And it took…took me getting stab…stabbed for you to call me Aaron." JJ didn't know whether to laugh or cry, so she ended up doing a combination of both in the same breath.

They finally arrived at the hospital, the medics getting Hotch out first before JJ jumped down, immediately rushing back to his side as they wheeled him into the gurney. Doctors and nurses rushed over, taking over for the medics as they assessed Hotch's injuries. One nurse approached JJ with a clipboard. "Are you his wife?"

JJ shook her head, still staring at Hotch. "I'm his friend. I need you to contact David Rossi. He's an FBI agent, he's listed in Aaron's emergency contacts. Tell him JJ said to get the team here right away." The nurse rushed off, JJ hoped, to find a phone. Doctors were talking over each other, shouting different orders to different people here and there.

"Aaron, I'm Doctor Trout, we're going to take you into surgery."

Hotch nodded, looking from JJ to the man and back again. "JJ…"

Dr. Trout looked over at JJ before looking down at Hotch again. "I'm sorry Aaron, she can't come with us. But you're going to be just fine, we'll take good care of you."

Hotch shook his head, glaring at the doctor leaning over him. "She'll worry…"

JJ couldn't stop the sob that burst out of her; Hotch was getting prepped for a surgery that he might not survive, yet he was still worrying about her. The doctor seemed to notice the irony and gave JJ a smile before turning back to Hotch. "We'll get her set up in a nice room so she can wait, and she'll be the first one we update. She can stay here until we get you put in a room, and then we'll move her in there so she can stay with you. Ok?" Hotch nodded and Dr. Trout rushed to prep for surgery.

"JJ…"

JJ stared down at Hotch, fighting the urge to blink so she could stare back into his eyes as long as possible. "Aaron, I'll be right here. You just stay strong, don't you dare give up on me. You come back to me, you understand?" Hotch nodded, his eyelids falling over his eyes. JJ bent down, pressing a quick kiss to his forehead before they finally wheeled Hotch through the double doors leading to surgery, leaving JJ standing in a sterile hospital hallway alone.

She didn't know how long she stood there, staring past the closed double doors in front of her as millions of people rushed all around her. She didn't think of calling the team or the Bureau. She didn't think of finding the nurse she had instructed to call Rossi to see if she had followed through. She didn't think to wash her hands which were covered in Hotch's blood. She couldn't think of anything but Aaron Hotchner's face.

JJ clenched her fists, fighting the onslaught of emotions that was threatening to break through her walls, finally realizing that she was actually clenching something in her right hand. She looked down, noticing she was gripping Hotch's tie that she had, at some random point, wrapped around her hand. She unraveled it from her hand, staring down at the blood covered tie in her hands. She backed up towards a wall until she hit a plastic chair with the back of her legs, sinking down as the energy drained from her body. She just stared at the tie covered in Hotch's blood, feeling the final wall of her defense break as she realized there was a very strong possibility…she could lose Aaron Hotchner.