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One Missed Call

Prompt: PINCHHIT: Fanfic Challenge 2010 - Round 2 Assignments: JJ/Lynch, Movie Title:

One Missed Call

The flashing red and blue lights danced against the puddles of water, casting the entire road in a strange, eerie glow that seemed to create a life of its own in the darkness.

Blinking at the tangled wreckage of Penelope's former car, Jennifer Jareau shook her head almost woodenly as her throat thickened. Glancing at her cell phone again as she heard the nearby sound of rolling wheels, she felt the first teardrop land against her cheek as the gurney moved toward the waiting ambulance. She couldn't watch that, so instead, she stared at the display of her phone.

One missed call.

She'd been changing Henry's diaper when the phone had rang, her hands full with a squirming baby that often demanded her full attention. She'd meant to call back. If only she'd called back, then maybe her friend wouldn't have been at this particular intersection, at this particular time. Maybe that Ford Explorer wouldn't have careened into her friend's blind side.

Maybe, just maybe if that hadn't happened, she'd still be here.

Oh God in heaven!

Then the phone had rang again, and this time, DCPD had been reflected on her display and she'd answered immediately, her baby now happily diapered and sated for the evening.

That was the moment her life had changed forever.

A tragic car accident on the interstate. An out of control vehicle had been the last thing anyone ever imagined. In one moment, her best friend had been lost.

Without thought, she'd thrust the baby at Will, grabbed her keys and driven to the scene. Maybe it had been a mistake. Maybe it wasn't her friend's car. Maybe the identification had been wrong. Perhaps, it wasn't their tragedy.

But the twisted baby blue metal had confirmed her suspicions as she arrived on the scene. This couldn't be happening. It just couldn't. They were supposed to see a movie tonight. After a grueling case, Pen and Will had conspired that she needed to unwind and scheduled her a rare night out. One was staying at home and one was her wing-woman…..or that was the plan.

This wasn't the night they'd had planned.

"JJ!" a panicked voice yelled from behind her, sharp throughout the flashing night. "JJ! What's going on?"

Oh, sweet God in heaven, JJ thought, turning on her heel as a frightened Kevin Lynch ran toward her, his shoes slapping against the rain dampened pavement.

"Is that Penny's car?" he screamed raggedly as his eyes landed on the warped vehicle. "Where is she? Where's Penny?" he shouted at her frantically, attempting to dart around her as he ran her direction.

Catching his coat jacket just at the last moment, JJ held on for dear life as she searched for the words to convey both their worst nightmares.

"Kevin," she said with a voice that cracked.

"I missed her call," he said with heaving breaths, waving his phone in front of her. "I need to find her!" he yelled, his face ghostly pale as the red lights from the ambulance reflected in his glasses.

"Kevin," JJ tried to speak again, her throat swollen with emotion as she held on to him, knowing that he was the only solid thing in the suddenly swirling world.

"Let me go," he begged as the door to the ambulance slammed. "I need to get in there with her."

"Kevin, she's gone," JJ whispered, tears falling cold and fast down her face as she tried to believe the words she had just said. How had this happened? How had she been the one to say those words out loud when she was barely able to comprehend the thought herself?

"What?" he asked blankly, freezing in place as he stared sightlessly at her, his eyes widening behind his thick lenses. "No. She just called," he stressed, clutching his phone in a white knuckled grip as he waved it in JJ's face. "I listened to the voice mail and then all I heard was screeching metal..."

"Kevin," JJ said simply shook her head, trying to control the pounding of her heart within her chest. "It was a fatal accident. She's gone," JJ repeated as calmly as she could, the evening air seeming to weigh heavier around her as she drew in a deep breath. She recognized shock when it stared her in the face and her training kicked in as she saw his eyes suddenly dilate.

"Noooo!" he yelled, agony radiating from his stiffened body, his arms reaching out for something, anything. "Nooooo!"

Bending quickly as the man crumpled in front of her, JJ wrapped her arms around her best friend's boyfriend. Her other half, Penelope had called him affectionately with that special lilt in her voice that she saved for people that meant the most to her. "I'm so sorry!" she whispered against his temple as shudders wracked his body.

"I couldn't get to the phone," he sobbed brokenly, his blunt fingers clawing at her shoulders. "I should have answered the phone!"

His phone fell to the ground then, the casing shattering against the harsh concrete, the display suddenly going black as the battery disconnected and all power faded.

Knowing well those feelings, JJ held him closer, aware that Garcia would expect her to hold him together. "It's not your fault," she soothed, needing to hear the words herself as much as she needed to say them for him. "It isn't your fault, Kev."

And she whispered to herself those same words, trying to assure her rapidly roiling mind that she couldn't have changed fate, either. But she sure as hell wished she'd taken every opportunity to have altered the sands of time for just those few tiny seconds.

And as they held each other on the cold concrete, watching the ambulance containing Penelope Garcia's earthly remains pull away, they both simultaneously realized the same thing.

One missed call could change your life.

Finis