A.N. - The first few lines of this are from Season 8 (this season), Episode 9 - "Magnificent Light". The stab wounds on the victims made me think of this little idea for a story...please enjoy!
"One thing's for sure," said Reid. "With at least thirty stab wounds to each victim, this unsub has a lot of anger."
Hotch said nothing, but as he collected his files and headed out of the room, he felt his upper body ache with sympathetic pain. He remembered what it was like to be stabbed…and he had to clench his jaw to keep from letting a low groan escape his lips at the phantom pain.
JJ saw his unease as they first stepped onto the jet and she knew what the unease was for.
No one else on the team seemed to notice, but she knew that the case must be causing him to relive some of his worst memories.
After they went over the case on the plane, everyone went to their separate seat for the rest of the flight, while JJ followed Hotch to the back of the plane where he was pouring himself a cup of coffee.
"Hey," she said softly, gently capturing his attention.
He looked up at her, his brown eyes capturing her own blue ones, and gave her a faint smile of acknowledgment. He then tilted his head towards her, as well as motioned the pot of coffee in her direction, and he nodded his head towards it.
"You want some?"
It was silent between them, but it was a comfortable one, and then JJ said… "It's bothering you, isn't it?"
He gave her a genuine look of confusion.
"What do you mean?"
She made a vague gesture with her hand and tilted her head slightly. "You know, the case…the stabbing."
At that, his eyes lit up in understanding, and he gave her a slight nod and then he ducked his head slightly, breaking her gaze, almost as though he were embarrassed of his reaction, but JJ just leaned forward and discreetly placed her hand on his wrist.
"It's okay, Hotch…I get it." He looked back up at her and she explained. "Whenever I have to go near dogs on case now, ever since, you know…well, I don't react well. And you had an even more traumatic experience, so it's okay. Hell, it's even expected. Don't worry about it, Aaron."
Her voice had dropped during her sentence so that the last sentence was just below a whisper, clearly meant for his ears alone.
She gave his wrist a gentle squeeze and pulled back, but he captured her hand in his, keeping a wary on the rest of the team, making sure that they were unaware of what was going on.
"JJ..." He paused. "Thank you."
She smiled back at him.
He watched as she walked back to her seat next to Reid and a small smile appeared on his lips.
She'd seen…and understood.