Title: One Phone Call (Can Change Everything)

Pairing: JJ/Rossi (could be seen as Morgan/Garcia too)

Spoilers: Do you know that JJ leaves the BAU at the start of season six? Not sure how anyone could have missed that. Nothing else, spoiler-wise

Disclaimer: My plot to kidnap the actors of the show and make them do my bidding has not yet suceeded. I am not making any profit from this, just enjoyment from playing in someone else's sandbox.

Author's Note: Written for the Masquerade challenge at the Chit Chat at the Author's forum. My assigned costume was Big Bird. Much thanks to my girl Kris for her poking, prodding and betaing.


"Are you ready to fly, little man?" JJ slung her briefcase over one shoulder as she stooped down, holding out her arms to her son. He came running, losing a yellow feather off his costume in the process.

"Fwy, momma. Fwy up!" With a laugh, JJ stood up, tossing Henry up into the air and catching him. Halloween was still two days away, but today was the last day of daycare before the holiday, and Henry's group was having a party. One of the few perks of her new job was a slightly more flexible schedule; she was starting her day a little late in order to take Henry to his daycare and stay for the first half hour. Nothing said Halloween like a breakfast of candy and cookies; she could only imagine what the teachers were going to have to deal with today, chasing around a couple dozen kids all hyper with sugar rushes.

"Cookie song, momma," Henry demanded as she buckled him into his car seat. Once she backed out of her parking spot, JJ slipped the Sesame Street CD into the player and skipped a couple of songs to get to her son's request. When she looked back in the rear view mirror he was flapping his 'wings' along to the music.

They were almost to the daycare center when her cell phone rang. She glanced down at the display for a second to gauge if she should answer it or not. Why in the world was Dave calling her at nine on a Friday morning, when he should be at work? While they'd been talking quite a bit lately, it was almost always in the evenings. "Hello?"

"...calm... ...here to... ...lower the..."

"Rossi?" The voice on the other end was muffled, but thanks to hours spent half asleep on the BAU jet, she knew the pitch and tone of his voice even when she couldn't make out the words. Normally she found it comforting.

"...do this. No one has to get hurt..."

"Crap crap crap." She raced the last half mile to the daycare, pulling into the lot as close to the door as she could, unbuckling the car seat and racing inside carrying Henry, her cell phone still on. "I need to borrow your phone right now."

"Ms. Jareau, is something..."

"Wrong? Yeah, it is. Your phone?" She took the handset when it was passed over the counter, on autopilot as she dialed the number that would connect her directly to Garcia. Henry squirmed in her arms, and she was relieved to see that his favorite aide was standing nearby, gesturing that she'd take him to join the others. She nodded as she set him down and watched him run over to Wanda.

"Thank you for dialing Penelope's hotline of all knowing, how may I amaze you today?"

"It's me, Pen. I need to know where Rossi and the team are right now," she said in a hurry, not even greeting her friend.

"Jayje! How is the best employee in the Justice Department doing this fine morning? Have you had a chance to take a picture of my one true love in his Halloween costume yet? You can send it via text or e-mail."

Since she'd left the BAU, it had become common to call Garcia up for a few minutes to shoot the breeze, but she didn't have time for smalltalk right now. "Something's wrong, Pen. I need to know where the team is. If they're not all together I need to know where Rossi is, and who is with him."

"They're all at the Kenmore Plantation in Fredericksburg on a case. What do you mean 'wrong'?" Her voice had gone from ecstatic to worried in less time than it took to answer JJ's question.

"Rossi called me five minutes ago but he's wasn't talking, at least not to me. What I can make out doesn't sound good. Can you track their phones and make sure that's where they really are? Hold on a second." She switched phones, listening to her cell. There was nothing to listen to; either Rossi had hung up or someone had hung up for him. "Pen?"

"They're all there. Should I try calling one of them?"

"No. If something's happened we don't want to tip anyone off that we know. I'm twenty minutes out; can you call the locals and ask them to set up a perimeter, but not to approach?" It didn't occur to her that she wasn't FBI anymore, didn't carry a gun and might not be allowed to call the shots. Her team was in trouble.

"I'll have them there faster then Cinderella's godmother got her to the ball. I'll also pull everything I know about the current case and the plantation itself. You'll let me know when you get there, right?"

"I will."


Traffic was on her side for once; she made it to the parking lot of the plantation - that was now a tourist site - in just over fifteen minutes. There were three cop cars waiting for her, out of sight of any buildings on the grounds, thanks to a tall hedge.

"I'm sorry, ma'am, but you can't be here right now." One of the cops tried to send her off before she even got out of the car. It wasn't a reaction she was used to; she wondered if it was just the lack of a gun on her hip or if this new job had changed her in other ways.

"I'm Jennifer Jareau from the Justice Department; you should have been told to expect me." She looked in the direction of the buildings where the team should be, but couldn't see anything from where they were.

"Forgive me. You're not what I was expecting." He nodded in the same direction she had been looking in. "We arrived ten minutes ago, and verified that according to the cars in the parking lot, there should be the FBI team, three employees, and the occupants of two other cars, presumably guests, inside the main building. None of the others seem to be occupied."

"Can you get me a list of the license plate numbers, please? We'll start from there." From the passenger side of her car, JJ pulled her laptop out of her briefcase, setting it up on the hood. In less than two minutes, she had Garcia on video link.

"Tell me some good news, Jayje. I'm freaking out here."

"I don't have any news yet. I do have something for you to start with, though." One of the younger police officers handed her a list, and she read off all the license plates except for the two that belonged to her team.

"Francine Connors is a full time employee. Rick Wysse is part time, working in the back office. Jason Todd is a volunteer; he's enrolled in the U of V as a history major; that's probably why he's there."

"And the other two cars?"

"The Nissan is owned by a Harrison Drake; he's single and self employed. The Honda is registered to an Elijah Blane; he's married and has two children."

"Okay. Sit tight, I'm going to see what else I can find out." She looked down at her phone; it hadn't rung or received a text in the half hour since Rossi had called. She was aware of the police officers watching her, but she tried to tune them out as she hit the speed dial to call him back.

"Rossi." He answered after only two rings.

"Dave, it's me. Are you alright?" 'Is everyone alright,' was what she'd meant to ask.

"I'm sorry about having to cancel lunch today, babe, but things are really hectic at work right now. I might not be able to talk for long." His voice was even and unhurried; anyone who didn't know him would think he was talking to a casual girlfriend. Obviously someone was listening in to his side of the conversation.

"I'm right outside with a handful of Fredricksburg's finest. I assume someone's keeping you from leaving. Are they armed? How many people are we talking about?" She could hear noises in the background, and thought she made out Reid's voice asking questions. Rossi would have found a way to let her know if any of them were hurt, but that didn't make her relax at all.

"Yeah, that's right. I don't even have the time to meet you for one cup of coffee right now."

JJ covered the mouthpiece of the phone, looking over at the detective who was keeping a discreet distance.

"There's one person inside, and they're armed. No one's hurt. Yet." She knew how charged the atmosphere had to be in there, and how quickly situations like these could turn ugly. It was the other people in there with her team, as much as the unsub, that concerned her; all it took was one person trying to play hero, or refusing to cooperate, and they could be the spark that set off the powder keg.

"There's five cars out here, Dave. Three employees and two men by the name of Drake and Blane; should I be looking into any of them?" she asked.

"I wouldn't waste your time, kitten. You might have better luck concentrating on our Halloween celebration." There was a muffled sound followed by a pause. Rossi's voice, when he spoke again, was a little more tense.

"I've got to get back to work. I'll talk to you soon." He hung up the phone before she had a chance to reply.

"Halloween celebration?" The rest of his comments made sense, but not that one. It had to be important for him to mention it, though. Every thing he'd said had been a clue except for the endearments, which were half him being his usual self and half to throw off the suspicions of anyone listening in, she was sure. It wasn't like he actually thought of her as a 'babe' or 'kitten' type; he was a friend, and the fact that she was single now didn't mean anything had changed between them.

"What's that about Halloween?" The same detective that she'd spoken to a moment ago spoke up. She'd been watching him as she'd talked on the phone, and gathered that he must be the one in charge from the way he was directing everyone else. He was the one she wanted to deal with, then, and also the one whose good side she wanted to stay on. Technically there was no reason for her to be involved in the situation, except that those were her people in there. It was a good thing, then, that she had plenty of practice getting along with local law enforcement.

"Agent Rossi said not to waste my time, when I mentioned the people we know to be in there. He also said to concentrate on our Halloween celebration. We don't have anything planned."

"Some kind of clue, then?" he speculated.

"One that we'll need help to figure it out. Garcia?" She tapped a few buttons on her laptop, bringing up the video screen again.

"Tell me what you need, JJ. I'm waiting not so patiently."

"Is there anything in the current case about Halloween celebrations?" Once again she cursed the fact that she was no longer a part of the BAU; this would be quicker if she knew what had been covered already and where she should direct their focus. Then again, if she was with the team she'd be in there, not out here with the freedom to do everything she could to help them.

"Nothing that we've covered, or that the team's asked about. Why, what do we know?" Even as she asked the question, JJ could hear the familiar tapping of fingers on key, going much faster then she could ever talk and type at the same time.

"Your agent Rossi said to ignore anyone connected to the cars in the parking lot, and to concentrate on something to do with Halloween." The detective leaned against JJ's car hood a little as he addressed Garcia as comfortably as if they were in the same room. "Doesn't seem much to go on."

"I'm sure he had his reasons; it's our job to figure out what they are." Garcia sounded a little defensive, always protective of anyone on the team.

"Garcia, this is Detective..." She frowned, realizing that in her hurry to figure out what was going on she hadn't made her usual introductions.

"Ford. I'd shake your hand but technology hasn't advanced that far yet, Ms. Garcia."

"I'll shake your hand for real if you help JJ get everyone out of this. Five minutes, Jayje, and I'll get back to you about the exciting and hopefully helpful history of Halloween at the Kenmore Plantation." The screen went black.

"She's unique," Ford said with a raised eyebrow and a nod in the direction of the computer.

"She's the best there is at what she does; if there's anything to find out she'll get it." In the middle of all her worries there was a comforting feeling in working with Garcia again. The first week at her new job, she'd picked up the phone a dozen times to ask a question, stopping with her fingers on the buttons when she remembered that her friend was in a different city, working a different case. "I'm sorry I didn't ask your name before, or introduce myself. I've had a one track mind ever since Dave called me an hour ago. I appreciate you and your men getting here so quickly."

"I'd probably be the same way if that were my co-workers and friends inside. Sanderson let me know who you were. He's the one you talked to when you first arrived." It was mild for an October morning, and Ford - she wasn't sure if that was his first or last name - wasn't wearing a coat. He stuck one hand in his pocket, looking like he was just hanging out, unconcerned about anything that was happening. Until you looked at his eyes; you could always tell a cop by their eyes, the way he was taking in everything and analyzing everything. He reminded her a little of Morgan. "Tell me a little more about who they are? I don't know anything except they're FBI and there's five of them in there."

"They're with the Behavioral Analysis Unit, out of Quantico."

She didn't have a chance to say more when he let out a low whistle. "They're the ones that found those kids last spring, up in Ashburn."

"That was one of our cases." One of the happier ones; Sarah had just sent her a card a month ago, letting her know that Charlie had started school, only a grade behind where he should have been. More importantly, he had started calling her mom. There were less pleasant cases he probably remembered too, and before he could bring them up she hurried to answer his question. "Hotch is the unit chief, he'll do his best to make sure everyone keeps calm. Morgan will try to empathize with the guy, but he'll also put himself between the unsub and any hostages if he has the chance. Reid is easy to underestimate but he thinks quick, and is good at causing distractions. Emily is the most calming influence. Rossi knows how the mind works better than anyone I know."

"David Rossi, the writer? I have a couple of his books."

"When this is all over, I'll get you an autograph." She was only half serious.

"Prepare to be awed and amazed, my lovelies. I have found a connection." Less than five minutes had passed, but the screen flicked on again.

"I'm always in awe of you, Pen."

"Have I mentioned yet how much I've missed having you around?" Garcia somehow managed to pout and smile at the same time before turning her attention to the screen. "There have been four murders in last three weeks, all at historical sites that have been preserved like the plantation where you currently reside. Until now all we had to go on was the fact that all four locations are somehow related to the American colonial period; three have been residences and the fourth a ship that was built to the specifications of one that previously docked in the delta here. Thanks to Agents Rossi's hint, however, I was able to add in some additional correlations between the sites; they're all places that are hosting Halloween festivities in the coming week."

"Two thirds of the greater DC area is hosting Halloween parties, why are these any different?" It didn't make sense to JJ.

"I am not the motivation person, just the one with the facts. Maybe it has something to do with the celebrations being historical? I'll see what more I can dig up, but for now I'll send what I have to your PDA."

"Thanks, Garcia." She frowned as she tried to puzzle out what was going on. Her confusion didn't get any less after two hours of reading through case files, and her nerves were raw from waiting for something to happen.

"Why isn't he making any demands? I've worked hostage negotiation cases before, and none of them have ever waited this long to let the world know their grievances." Ford was pacing again. Any time he didn't have something explicit to do, which had been most of the last hour, he paced; it was really getting on JJ's nerves.

"Maybe he doesn't know what he wants." Or maybe he had it already; a room full of hostages and a loaded gun.

A gun. She'd read the autopsy reports of the murders, and something about them had bothered her. She'd finally figured it out. "There's something wrong with the gun."

"Whose gun? His?" Dust clouds rose a few inches from the ground when Ford pivoted and turned, facing her.

"His. The bullets aren't normal, they left irregularly shaped wounds. I need to talk to the coroner, there has to be a reason, and whatever it is will tell us something." Reid might know, if he was here instead of trapped with whoever probably had done the shooting. She was just about to dial the number when there was a loud bang, the kind of bang that some people might think was a car backfiring, but she knew better. Her hand went to her hip, but there was no gun there. There was a phone, though, that began ringing almost immediately.

"Call for an ambulance," she ordered Ford before hitting the button to receive the call, barely daring to breathe. "Dave?"

"No, it's me."

"Reid. What happened? Is everyone alright?" It was taking an incredible amount of control not to run towards the building where they all were.

"We got the guy. He was using an antique flintlock pistol, which have to be manually reloaded. Morgan rushed him after he fired, before he had a chance. We need an ambulance, though."

She glanced over at Ford, who nodded. "One's already on its way. I'm coming in."

She couldn't take the impersonality of the phone any more, jamming it in her pocket as she ran for the main building. From the sounds of the gravel being crunched behind her most, if not all, of the cops were following her. Morgan was waiting for them at the entrance. He wasn't the one in need of an ambulance, obviously. That left Hotch, Emily or Rossi.

"Not enough to keep you busy over at Justice?" His joking fell flat, but she offered him a wan smile.

"How bad is it, Derek?" She tried to steel herself for his answer, but that would be as easy as being calm if anything happened to Henry.

"It's Rossi. Bullet to the gut. There's a lot of blood, Jayje, but he's conscious." He took her by the arm, leading her through the entrance and to a room on the north side of the building. "It's good to see you, by the way. We've missed having you around."

"I've missed you too." She couldn't spare him a look, though, her focus on the scene before her. In one corner of the room, a man was hand cuffed to a chair, his clothing fitting the style of the room better than the century in which they lived. His eyes were wide, but not quite focused, and he was mumbling something she didn't bother to try and find out. Near the window, half a dozen adults and a young boy were still all huddled together, not sure how to react to anything that had happened; the employees and visitors, she assumed. In the far corner, Emily and Hotch were kneeling next to a too-pale Dave Rossi, their hands covered with blood as they tried to staunch the bleeding. Reid looked on, appearing as helpless as JJ felt. For a moment, all she could do was stare.

"Ambulance is five minutes out." One of the uniformed cops ran into the room, carrying blankets and a first aid kit. There wasn't much in the kit that would help, but JJ opened it and took out the gauze in case Emily or Hotch wanted it. She draped one of the blankets over Rossi's legs, the other she rolled up to use as a pillow.

"What's a nice girl like you doing in a place like this?" His voice was low and broken, some of the words hard to make out, but Rossi's eyes fluttered open to look at her.

"You could have called to say hi. You didn't have to go to all this work just to get me to visit." She glanced at Hotch, whose usual grim determination was more grim than usual, and Emily who was biting her lip as she watched the gauze absorb the blood, swiftly turning red. Morgan was out of the room again, waiting to direct the ambulance. Ford was taking charge of the prisoner, something none of the rest of them gave a damn about.

"Like to make an impression." His eyes closed as he coughed. JJ pressed a hand to his shoulder in an effort to keep him as still as possible.

"There will be time to play catch up later, Dave. You need to take it easy for now." Hotch issued what sounded like an order, and the fact that Rossi didn't protest or make a wisecrack worried JJ. His face was pale, his eyes, as much as he tried to keep them open, were closed more often than not.

"Help will be here any minute," she promised, not letting go of his shoulder, her connection to him.

A few minutes later help did arrive, paramedics taking the place of Emily and Hotch who now stood at the edges of the room near Reid, blood covered hands hung limply at their sides. JJ stood with them as well, her attention on the whir of activity as Rossi was loaded onto a stretcher.

"He'll be alright," Emily said as they watched him being wheeled out.

"Of course he will. By tonight he'll be kicking back in a silk hospital gown, flirting with the nurses and trying to convince us that the doctor said a glass of wine with dinner was a good idea." Now that there was no longer anyone to direct, Morgan joined them, his confidence not completely convincing.

"You should let Garcia know what's happening, she's been worried." JJ looked to Morgan, the voice she knew her friend would most want to hear at the moment, and the person most likely to keep her from panicking about Rossi being on the way to the hospital. She knew it wasn't a call she could make; she was barely keeping her emotions in check.

"I'll call her on the way to the hospital," he said. "I assume she knows what's going on?"

"Everything I knew until ten minutes ago. She's the first person I called after Dave called me." She glanced at her phone to find two messages from the analyst, and fired off a quick text that she would call in a few minutes.

"Someone needs to talk to them." Hotch nodded his head towards the former hostages. "Morgan, why don't you take the team to the hospital and I'll meet you there when I'm done."

"Not alone, Hotch," Morgan argued. "There's no reason for us all to rush right over there. I'll stay and help you."

"I'll stay," Reid offered. "It will give me a chance to examine the pistol more closely. I think it's an actual antique as opposed to a reproduction, but it was hard to tell when Smith was holding it."

"Hate when the psychos won't stand still long enough to get a good look at their weapons." Morgan rolled his eyes, and when Hotch nodded in agreement, he looked at Emily and JJ. "Who's calling shotgun?"

"I'll meet you two there. My car's in the parking lot, and my laptop." Besides, driving on her own would give JJ a few minutes of breathing space. She kept her hands in her pockets so no one could see that she was shaking. She wished she could blame it on being out of the field for almost two months, softened by only having to deal with the press from podiums and office buildings, but the truth was that every time she blinked she saw Dave covered in blood, his eyes closing. It was bad enough not seeing her friends everyday, she couldn't lose one of them. Couldn't lose Dave, who she was only beginning to admit to herself was someone she felt more than friendship for.

"You're sure? Reid can drive your car to the hospital when we leave." Hotch, ever observant, was watching her closely.

"I'm sure. Besides, I need to check in with Henry's school. I left in a hurry this morning, without even saying goodbye." That, Hotch could understand, and she hoped he would let the issue drop.

"Alright. Reid and I will meet you there. Drive careful." Hotch looked at both her and Morgan. Under lighter circumstances one of them might have retorted with a 'Yes, dad,' but they both just nodded. As they left the room, JJ heard Hotch ask Reid to wait with the group for a minute while he found a place to wash his hands.


"Really? The best?" JJ sat in the hospital parking lot, listening to her son's sugar fueled rambling story about having the best Big Bird costume and getting an extra special treat as a prize. She was pretty sure every kid had gotten a 'best of' award, but to an almost three year old that didn't matter. She closed her eyes and just listened to him talk until he said he had to go 'practice almost flying' on the swings. After reminding him that he wasn't allowed to jump off until the swing was stopped completely she let him go. He sounded so happy and carefree; it was a much needed reminder that something in her life was right.

Morgan and Emily were in the waiting room when she arrived, Morgan pacing and Emily sitting more quietly in a chair, her black sweater replaced by a scrubs top and her hands clean. Emily walked across the room to greet her with a hug. "They've taken him up to surgery."

"What happened in there?" She slid into a chair next to the one Emily had been sitting in. The rest of the more private waiting room was empty.

"He was delusional. According to him, Halloween is Satan's holiday and had to be eliminated. He's been attacking places that are planning to host large Halloween celebrations. Apparently it's been going on for more then a month, but it started out as vandalism so no one made the connection at first. It wasn't until someone caught him destroying decorations and smashing pumpkins that he started killing. The first time didn't seem planned, but since then there's been at least one killing at each place he's gone, and two last night at Kenmore. He's never stayed around before, but this time we think he hid in one of the unused buildings. He showed up less than fifteen minutes after we did." Morgan only stopped his pacing long enough to answer her question before pacing again.

"Five people dead because he doesn't like Halloween." She only hoped it stayed at five, not six.

"He was convinced that Samhain celebrations were an affront to the church and King. At first when he came in I thought he was a docent playing the character of someone who had once lived on the plantation. It wasn't until he pulled the gun out that we knew something was wrong." Emily picked at her fingernails as she spoke, as if they weren't perfectly clean.

"Dude acted like he didn't know what technology was. That's why Rossi was able to call you; he didn't see the phone as a threat." Morgan shook his head. It was the cases like these that were sometimes the hardest to reconcile, when the unsub seemed almost as much a victim as the victims were.

"I came as soon as the big boss gave me the green light. You all had me worried." A small cyclone hit the room as Garcia came through the door.

"You have to stop scaring me like this, Derek Morgan. A girl's heart can only take so much excitement." She spoke sternly but trembled as she hugged him, clinging to him for a minute.

His hug was just as tight. "Don't you know you're stuck with me for life, girl? I'm not going anywhere."

"You better not, or I'll sue you for breach of promise." She gave him an extra squeeze before releasing him to hug Emily and JJ. Once she sat, Morgan took the seat next to her. An hour later, Hotch and Reid joined them. They all sat together in seldom broken silence, waiting.

"Is anyone here for David Rossi?" A tired looking woman in scrubs entered the room. In a move so well timed that it almost looked practiced, they all stood up.

"We are," Hotch spoke for them.

"He's out of surgery. The bullet lodged in his spleen, causing internal bleeding, but we were able to remove the organ and stop the bleeding. We were lucky that the bullet stayed on one piece instead of shattering and causing more problems. It nicked a rib but that shouldn't give him too much trouble. I expect a full recovery."

"Thank God," Emily muttered.

"He's being moved to a room now, and you can visit him though he probably won't wake up for a few hours."

"Thank you, doctor." Hotch followed the doctor out, saying something about power of attorney and papers that would need to be filled out. JJ didn't really notice as she felt her knees give out. Fortunately there was a chair right behind her and she was able to sit without making an issue of not being able to stand. He was going to pull through.

"JJ?" The curse of working with profilers was that no reaction went unnoticed. Reid was looking down at her, a look of confused concern on his face.

"I'm fine. Just a little dizzy for a second there; I haven't had anything to eat today. I was supposed to eat breakfast with Henry at his daycare, but then Dave's call came." It wasn't a complete lie; she hadn't had anything to eat, though it was her emotions that she was reacting to now.

"We could all use something to eat. Rossi's not going to be awake for a while, why don't we all go down to the cafeteria?" Morgan suggested.

Everyone agreed, and though JJ wasn't sure she could eat anything she went along with the group. At least she'd be able to get some coffee; it had been a long day already and it wasn't even four o'clock. She was going to need the caffeine.


"JJ, did you want to go in next?" After they had all eaten, Hotch joining them partway through their meal, they rode the elevator up to the eighth floor where Rossi had a private room. They'd been taking turns sitting with him; JJ had already been in once. She looked up from her folded hands and nodded.

Rossi's room was quiet, the beeping of the heart monitor and the slow hiss of oxygen being fed through his nasal cannula the only sounds. He didn't look like he'd moved at all in the hour since she'd last been in the room. His hand rested at his side, the back covered in tape holding down the IV needle. One corner of the tape was curling up; she smoothed it down for no reason in particular except that it was something to do. For the same reason, she found herself running a finger over the white band of skin on his ring finger. They'd taken off his FBI service ring, something she'd never seen him without.

"Jen?" It was barely a whisper, but in the silence of the room it was as if he'd shouted.

"You're awake." She withdrew her hand, hoping he hadn't noticed. It was a vain hope.

"I liked it better when you were touching me."

She didn't look at him to see if he was joking or not, instead busying herself pouring him a glass of water. He let her hold the glass as he drank.

"Did we get him?" Rossi asked. JJ wasn't surprised that he didn't remember.

"Yeah. Reid figured out that the gun could only hold one bullet, so Morgan rushed him."

"Smart kid." He looked at her intently for a minute. "You were there."

"You called me. I was outside with the locals trying to figure out what was going on. Reid gave me the all clear to come in." She wouldn't have waited much longer, even without the call.

"I remember you touching my face, and telling myself that I must be dreaming. It didn't hurt, not then, and you looked like an angel." He moved his hand just enough to rest his fingers against her forearm.

"You know me well enough to know that's not true." She shook her head.

"I know you're the kindest person I know, and I've missed seeing you everyday. Had a fantasy or two about storming the Justice department and browbeating your bosses into letting you go. We need you at the BAU. I need you." The way he was staring at her made her stomach flip.

"Those must be some really good drugs they have you on. You just got out of surgery, Dave, I don't think you should be talking so much." Drugged or not, she'd never be able to forget what he'd said to her.

"This isn't the drugs and it's not getting shot. I've had feelings for you for quite some time, this was just a reality check, that I can't keep them to myself any more. I don't want to keep them to myself, Jennifer." He winced a little when he moved, but he was still able to reach up and touch her cheek with his free hand. She covered it with her own.

"Dave." She whispered his name, the single syllable full of emotion.

"I'm not going anywhere, kitten. I can see the fear in your eyes, but no madman with a gun is going to get rid of me. I'll drop the subject for now, since I can't do anything about it, but first tell me that I'm not wrong in thinking this isn't one sided." His eyes were beginning to droop again, ten minutes of being awake already exhausting him.

JJ took a deep breath, knowing a few words could change everything, but that didn't mean she could keep them inside. Change was necessary sometimes, even when it was scary. "You're not wrong."