Fandom: Criminal Minds
Summary: It's been two years since Jennifer Jareau has seen her team. She's been a little busy fighting demons.
Author's Note: Written for floatingamoeba, who bid on my auction post for thepurpledove.
Six Months Later
JJ had spent the morning cleaning up the office; somehow, the lack of proper regulations, and two years of living dirty meant that everyone else had forgotten how to. Rossi kept his office tidy enough, but when Morgan and Prentiss returned from their latest case, she'd be having words with them about proper recycling. They'd been in Seattle for two days helping clean out an infestation of vampires, and yet somehow there were still week-old coffee cups and soda cans sitting amongst piles of paperwork.
The Federal Bureau of Eradication was an informal name, but it was an accurate one; instead of tracking down serial killers, their expertise had turned to hunting down the last remnants of the apocalypse. The demons might have been dead, but their progeny didn't seem to have gotten the message; in their time in this dimension, they'd managed to turn or corrupt thousands of humans.
Of course, eradication wasn't the only goal; at its core, their mission statement was simple.
Putting the world back together.
Ultimately, it was a tougher goal than any of them had realized. Millions were dead, entire cities lay in ruins. Fire, and ash, and dust seemed the only things that would endure.
Perhaps one day – in a decade or so – things would be similar to what they had been before the end, but it would never truly be the same. There would always be the shadow of the past hanging over them. For some, more than others.
It was the first Wednesday of the month, which meant that all FBE section chiefs would be arriving for the requisite planning meeting. Firstly, it meant that the office would be overrun with agents from all over the country, but more importantly, it meant that she would be seeing Hotch.
Things had been complicated for the last year – time travel, demons and the end of the world aside, with each of them on opposite sides of the country, they hadn't exactly had much time together.
The sound of a vehicle pulling into the parking lot outside pulled her from her reverie. Black SUV, which didn't really narrow the options down. Her stomach roiled, when the driver's side door opened.
For half a second, it could have been like nothing had happened. He was wearing a dark, ironed suit, and his hair was impeccably brushed. The only indication that things had changed was the dark eyepatch, and lines of stress that marked his expression. The weight of the world was on his shoulders, but JJ was sure that it always had been.
Behind him, Reid slung his messenger bag over his shoulder. Of the team, he had probably changed the most. The time he'd spent in the alternate dimension had made him a lot quieter – a lot more pensive. His expertise in all things demon had been invaluable in ensuring that the rebuilding process went as smoothly as possible.
'Hotch,' she said, by way of greeting, as he pushed the glass door open. 'Reid.'
He paused. 'JJ.' Reid said nothing, instead staring off in the distance – it was a reaction that she'd come to expect; in half an hour, he'd be smiling and waving, and wondering why everyone else was already deep in discussion.
'Can we...' She gestured towards her office.
'Of course,' Hotch agreed.
Once inside she shut the door behind them, before closing the blinds. It was unlikely that Reid would care enough to even bother looking, but JJ preferred to be safe about it.
'I missed you,' Hotch said, which for him seemed like a declaration of undying love. He took her hand in his, and pressed a soft kiss to her lips.
'I missed you, too.' She let her thumb rub against his, relishing in the touch of his smooth but calloused skin. 'How are things running in D.C.?' Like all of the team, she kept up to date on reports, but the reports only told a small part of the story.
'They're...' He paused, as if considering his words carefully. 'They're progressing. The politics are tense, but they're stable. Nobody's claiming Rapture anymore, which is a relief.'
JJ nodded. The political and religious backlash hadn't quite been as intense for her, but that was to be expected. All things considered, there was still a long way to go.
Before she could ask him anything else (Like how Jack was doing, or if his eye was improving) there was a knock on the door.
'Sorry to interrupt the lovers' reunion,' Rossi said. 'But we need you both in the conference room.'
The meeting ran like clockwork – progress reports and future planning. There was nothing new, nothing out of the ordinary.
Just another day in a post-apocalyptic world.
Outside, JJ found Reid at the ocean. She hadn't had much of a chance to speak with him properly since his return; his mind was fragile enough that it never seemed to be the right time.
'It's a nice day for a swim,' he said, deadpan. Upon seeing her reaction, his face split into a grin. 'Of course, I wouldn't want to risk the possibility of vampire fish.'
'That's a possibility?' JJ asked, eyebrows raised. She'd been swimming at the beach on a weekly basis, only to find out that she could have been bitten by vampire fish.
He shrugged slightly. 'They had them over there. I suspect it could have been how the mutation passed over to the mammals. Fortunately, there haven't yet been any reports of such creatures.'
'Good to know.'
There had been time enough that she'd been going over the events of the past two years in her mind, trying to find some way of reconciling the past with what she knew of this brave, new world. Now that Reid was here, and vaguely cognizant, she could ask the question that had been burning through her brain.
'Can the demons see the future?'
Reid didn't answer straight away, and really, his silence was enough. Still, she pressed him.'The broken door chain, waking up three days before their death. I'm not stupid, Spence. How long did it take to get it right?'
'There were a lot of variables,' he admitted. 'I didn't have a hand in all of them, but...No matter how many changes I made, this was always the best case scenario,' he told her. 'The universe is far more fragile than you might think.'
JJ gave a bitter laugh. 'No, I can believe that it's pretty damn fragile. But still – thanks. Without you, I'd probably be dead.'
'Without you, I'd probably be insane,' he countered. A pause. 'More insane.'
A sudden beep sounded from her pocket.
Text message from Morgan.
'Everything okay?' Reid asked. Phone service wasn't cheap these days – even with text messages, it was best to save them for emergencies.
JJ stood, pocketing her phone. 'You want to come to Seattle?' She unholstered her weapon, checking the clip. Silver bullets.
'What did it say?' Reid asked, following suit.
JJ gave a small, but dark smile.