Chapter Two – Emotion and Stability

JJ groaned, her eyes slowly sliding open. Everything was dead silent, like the world had simply ended. She shifted slightly causing pain to shoot through her entire body.

What had just happened? Why could she barely breathe?

Another shift told her that she could barely move either. Being a profiler, JJ was quite good at analyzing a situation. Figuring out what had happened shouldn't have been hard, yet she found herself at a loss. Her mind was spinning and the puzzle before her had too many pieces of the same shape and color.

Forcing herself to slow her breathing despite the constriction against her chest, she was finally able to start focusing on one piece at a time.

The seat belt.

The seat belt was the reason she couldn't breathe. It had locked tight against her and wouldn't loosen. Fumbling with her left hand, she managed to find the seat belt release. It snapped free, immediately allowing her to get more air into her lungs.

JJ leaned her head back against the seat and closed her eyes as she took a few deep breaths. It was okay. Everything was okay.

Unlike most people, it took JJ only a few moments to gather herself together enough to think calmly about the situation, a minor perk of being an FBI agent. Her head hurt, yes, but that wasn't all that surprising after an accident. There was a dull ache in her abdomen, but it wasn't the stabbing pain that would worry her during a pregnancy. The pain was likely just from the seat belt. Besides that, she just felt sore.

Confident that she had no serious injuries, Agent Jareau turned her attention to her boss. The fact that he was still unconscious didn't bode well.

"Hotch?" She called as she gently touched his shoulder. A flicker of fear trickled through JJ when she saw a trace of blood in the cracked glass of the side window Hotch's head was leaning against.

"Oh God, Hotch."

Her fingers darted to his throat, searching desperately for a pulse. When she felt the steady beat, she sighed in relief. Hotch shifted slightly, moaning, and JJ's heart nearly skipped a beat.


"JJ?" His voice was weak and confused, but incredibly reassuring to JJ. He was alright.

"Try to stay still. You're bleeding."

As usual, Hotch did what he wanted to do. Pressing his hand to his temple, he found the source of the blood that had terrified JJ earlier.

"It's not too deep."

How Hotch could appear so calm and in control only seconds after he had woken up covered in blood JJ had no idea. It didn't surprise her though. Hotch always acted like this. Nothing ever seemed to faze him. JJ could stand before a barrage of reporters without batting an eye, but even she had been a bit off balance when she'd woken. Taking a page from the unit chief's book and her own mother's handbook, JJ gently turned his chin so she could see, her face perfectly calm.

He was right. The cut didn't seem bad despite all of the blood. She caught him watching her, his expression still impassive.

"We still need to try and stop the bleeding," she pointed out.


JJ couldn't help the slight smile that drifted across her face at that answer. It was so Hotch. While the rest of the situation was unsettling, Hotch's rock solid behavior was a stability JJ greatly appreciated.