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Gunpowder and Lead
Propping her chin on her fist, JJ fought to keep her eyes open as she stared at the case file lying on the office desk in front of her. Which was exactly what she had been doing for the last half-hour, reading and re-reading the same paragraph over and over.
And yet she couldn't remember a single word. Her mind was completely incapable of accomplishing the simplest tasks, and another wide yawn escaped as she tried to fight through the fatigue that was once again threatening to overtake her.
A soft tapping against her door invaded her sleepy thoughts, and she forced herself to blink as she straightened. "Come in," she called out, stifling a yawn once again.
The door squeaked slightly, and Penelope's blonde head poked through the gap. "Hey, Sunshine of my Soul! How's it hanging in here?"
Taking a healthy sip from her soda can, JJ swallowed, then rolled her eyes. "About the same as it was when you called to check on me an hour ago, Pen. I'm just fine."
Stepping inside and closing the door behind her, Garcia carefully eyed the woman before her. "And I'm the illegitimate heir to the British throne. Tell me another one, sugar pie."
"Garcia," JJ groaned, rolling her head on her neck, "I know you mean well, but I'm really not up for another discussion about my feelings. I have a therapist now, remember? If I talk to you, whatever will I bitch about to Father Jimmy later this afternoon?" Honest to God, she knew Pen meant well, but these little visits from the other woman to check on her so-called fragile psyche were driving her insane. She was still eating and breathing, putting one foot in front of the other, and trudging through life. What more did these people want from her?
Picking up the files that JJ had stacked in the chair in front of her desk in order to discourage visitors, Garcia dropped them on the corner of her friend's desk and planted her tush in front of the other woman. "I saw you come in with Rossi this morning," she remarked, settling in for a discussion.
"Good grief, Garcie! Is that what this morning's mental health visit is about? Don't you have better things to do than spy on me?" JJ asked, somewhat annoyed that her best gal pal had learned who she'd carpooled with to work this morning. She should have ignored Dave's argument that she was too tired to drive safely. If she'd taken her own car, she wouldn't be having this conversation.
"I wasn't spying," Penelope replied with narrowed eyes. "Is it my fault that I have a dedicated screen for the parking garage? I happened to look up and see you two getting out of his SUV."
Frowning, JJ shook her head. "It was no big deal."
"What was no big deal?" Garcia pressed, listening intently. Getting information out of JJ lately was worse than a trip to the dentist. Heck, at least the dentist gave happy gas to ease the nerves. JJ wasn't so generous. But the blonde was her best friend and for better or worse, she was gonna be there for her.
"Riding into work with Dave," JJ muttered, shuffling the piles of files on her desk nervously. "I mean, it's not like I was seen necking in the parking lot for crying out loud. He gave me a ride. That's all."
Remaining silent as she watched JJ fiddle with the stacks of paper on her desk, Garcia waited.
"I called him last night, okay?" JJ burst out after a few more seconds of shuffling. "I had a nightmare and I called him," she admitted more softly, swallowing hard as she stared at the center of her desk, uncomfortable with all the emotions rolling through her. God, what she wouldn't give for twenty-four straight hours of numbness. "It doesn't mean anything, Garcie. It was late, and I was scared. Since Dave was the ringleader in advocating therapy, I thought he should be the one to reap the rewards of it," she added sarcastically.
"We all thought you needed to see the therapist, JJ," Penelope corrected, her lips twitching when JJ snorted in response.
"Yeah, I was at the intervention, Pen. As I recall, I was the star of the show," JJ retorted with a glare.
"And I might point out that it was actually Strauss that enforced Bureau policy regarding that therapy. Agent Rossi actually went to bat for you and conned the harpy into letting you talk to Father Jimmy rather than the shrink on staff," she reminded her friend dutifully.
"When exactly did you become a Rossi supporter?" JJ asked irritably.
"When he made it clear that he'd go to the ends of the Earth to help you," Penelope answered softly. "Jayje, you aren't even supposed to be back at work yet. You know that, right? I'm curious exactly how much of his soul he had to sell to maneuver your return already. Those are some pretty powerful favors he must have called in to pull that off, don't you think?"
"I get it, Penelope," JJ whispered as her shoulders stiffened. "I owe Dave a lot. I owe everyone a lot."
"I didn't say that," Penelope denied. "JJ, each one of us wouldn't rather it be any other way. We're only sorry we didn't see that you needed us sooner. It's okay to rely on us. It just seems like Agent Rossi has been able to help you the most."
"I don't know why, but I can talk to him, Garcie. Really talk to him," JJ confided, her voice clouded with confusion.
"Why question it, sweets? If it helps you…if he helps you, I say let him."
"It's not fair to keep dumping my emotional baggage on his door. He's not my own personal concierge through hell, Pen," JJ said with a half laugh.
"I think the Big Guy has navigated those corridors a time or two himself, JJ. He might just know the way out," Pen remarked blandly.
"You think so, Pen?" JJ asked quietly.
"All I know is that you have to reach out to someone. If that person is Rossi, I'm not gonna complain. At least I know that you'll be safe with him."
"Yeah," JJ mumbled. "But is he safe with me?"