Title: Part of the Script
Author: Kuria Dalmatia
Rating/Warnings: FRM/R, (profanity, adult content, triggering issues) future!fic, character! deaths
Characters/Pairing: JJ/Will, Henry, Reid and the Team
Summary: Part of JJ's old job with the BAU was delivering notifications, sometimes even coaching the locals on how to do it . So when a young Statie delivers devastating news to her home, all she can think of is: he's doing it wrong.
Word Count: ~5,700
ARCHIVING: my LJ and FFNet ... anyone else? Please ask first.
Feedback always welcome.
DISCLAIMER: The Mark Gordon Company, ABC Studios and CBS Paramount Network Television own Criminal Minds. Salut! I just took them out to play and I promise put them back when I'm done. I'm not making any profit just trying to get these images out of my head.
VERSION: January-April 2011, June 2011. This story was actually finished a while ago, but my own insecurities prevented me from publishing it. I'm still not happy with the ending.
TIMELINES/SPOILERS: Future fic set approximately 5 years into the future of S6 after JJ leaves the BAU (and doesn't come back). It does not take into consideration any events beyond Season 6's "JJ".
COMMENTS: Unbetaed. Um. Yeah. One of those fics. It's told from JJ's point of view and, yes, it can be considered experimental due to the nature of the fic. Thanks to the wonderful people at LJ's little_details regarding DC's Mixing Bowl.
There are triggering issues withing this fic, specifically the final chapter, including character deaths.
Hugh Elliot wrote, "Death can sneak up on you like a silent kitten, surprising you with its touch and you have a right to act surprised. Other times death stomps in the front door, unwanted and unannounced, and makes its noisy way to your seat on the sofa."
It took less than a second for JJ to realize just what kind of news the state trooper standing on her front porch was going to deliver.
Her first thought was, He has the wrong house.
Her second was: My God, it really is the first thing you think when you open the door and see an uninvited LEO there ...
Her third: It's not Spence or Derek or Emily or Dave or Hotch.
Her fourth: Damn, that statie is young.
The trooper was younger than Spencer, which really wasn't all that young considering Spencer was now, what? Thirty-something? JJ suddenly couldn't remember. It felt like just yesterday that she brought in that chocolate cake and Morgan insisted on dotting with trick candles. It was back when Elle first joined the team ... but no … that was what? Ten years ago?
Really? That long?
The officer's eyes were slightly wet while his mouth was grimly set. He clutched his hat in his left hand and a post-it note in his right. "Mrs. LaMontagne?"
The trooper—Stose, according to his name badge—butchered the pronunciation like most people did "up North," which was Will's designation for anyone not from Louisiana.
Stose broke the first rule: always know how to pronounce the name. Always. He also broke the second rule: always know the relationship, if the persons were married or not and if the wife took the husband's name.
In JJ's case, the answer was no to both questions: she and Will never married and she never went by his name, even when they visited his relatives in New Orleans. Therefore, The officer must have the wrong house.
But he didn't.
JJ knew he didn't, because he kept glancing at the post-it note in his hand then to the brass house numbers to his right and then to her. She swallowed as she took a step back. "I'm Jennifer Jareau," she said. "Will LaMontagne is my fiancé."
It was easier to say that than "significant other" or "boyfriend" or "father of our child"; fiancé was the designation that she and Will agreed upon the day Henry celebrated his first birthday. JJ had still been with the BAU and still leery of commitment because in the then-four years she was there, she watched six marriages implode in spectacular fashion.
Yet as the last syllable of 'fiancé' left her mouth, JJ realized that she should have just answered, 'Yes, I'm Mrs. LaMontagne.' Stose turned an interesting shade of grayish-white, the color just before someone with pale skin was about to puke.
He's thinking about his own fiancée, JJ concluded as she waited for him to explain why he was here, because that was another rule. Script, not rule, she corrected herself. It's part of the script. First, confirm to whom you are speaking. If it's not the right person, ask for that person. For a young child, ask for the appropriate parent or head of household. Second, introduce yourself. Keep it simple. 'My name is … and I'm with …' and, most importantly if you're not in uniform, hold up your badge for the person to see and confirm that you are who you say you are. Third, ask to come in and then speak privately to him/her/them. Fourth, suggest he/she/they sit down. Fifth, state your business.
Stose looked so close to barfing that JJ took pity on him because she did not want vomit on the evergreens. She offered a small smile as she prompted, "You're Office Stose with the …" She paused and glanced behind him, where cruiser was parked in her driveway. Will's going to have a fit that a statie is parked in his spot.
"Virginia State Police, ma'am," Stose blurted and shifted on his feet. "May I … ah … may I come inside?"
JJ nodded. The trooper took a deep breath, set his shoulders and took a step inside. She closed the door behind him and then led him to the front room. As she sat down, she gestured to the seat across from her.
Stose remained standing, clutching his hat and glancing around the neatly decorated room. "Ma'am …" He took another deep breath. "Ma'am … ah … your fiancé was involved in car accident this afternoon. He … ah … was traveling southbound on Interstate three-nine-five near the interchange for Interstates four-nine-five and ninety-five …"
Stose's new to the area, JJ realized, because locals always said "395 South" and referred to the interchange as "the Mixing Bowl."
"… when a tractor-trailer …"
He's giving too much detail …
"… rolled …"
Too much detail …
"… collision …"
He sounds like a news reporter.
"… fiancé …"
Who in God's name trained this man?
"… son …"
Why doesn't he just say, 'Ma'am, I'm here about your fiancé and your son. They were involved in a traffic accident. They were killed instantly. I'm so sorry for your loss.'
Because then JJ could gasp and clutch her chest and deny and wail and crumple and sob and scream and accuse and … and … and …
Stose was standing in front of her, leaning over slightly and touching her right shoulder. "Ma'am?"
"Do you have someone you can call? Someone to stay with you?"
It's the first damn thing he's done right. JJ nodded as she reached up and pushed his hand off her shoulder. "Yes."
"I can stay here until …"
"That's unnecessary, Officer Stose," she interrupted, voice unwavering and firm yet she was surprised she said those words. She lifted her chin. She made sure she met his gaze as she continued, "You don't need to stay, but thank you for offering."
Stose's mouth opened and shut a few times. He adjusted the grip on his hat. "If you're sure …"
You're not supposed to give up that easily …
JJ slowly stood, forcing him to take a step back. "I'm sure, Officer Stose."
"I'm so sorry for your loss, ma'am," he choked out.
I'm going to be so damn sick of that phrase …"Thank you."
"I'll just show myself out."
You're not supposed to leave me alone until you make sure I call someone. You're supposed to ask if there is anyone else in the house. Who the hell trained you? They should be fired.
JJ watched as Officer Stose turned and walked toward the door, his steps quicker and lighter than before.
He should never be allowed to deliver death notifications again. I'll be sure to tell his supervisor that …
JJ sat down on the couch. She stared at her hands. She had no clue what she was supposed to do next.