Chapter 6

He went to check on her, making sure she was still asleep. He had carried her in and put her on his bed, getting a blanket and draping it over her, tucking it under her chin. Her sad blue eyes had been on him the whole time. He had reached over and smoothed her hair back from her furrowed brow, and sat next to her on the bed. She was so quiet. He leaned down and said "Rest now, okay?" into her ear before standing up. She had grabbed his hand and squeezed it and a look of understanding passed between them before she closed her eyes.

Jennifer Jareau in his bed. Well that sure as hell wasn't anything he'd ever expected. She just had looked so tiny and sad, and… weightless. She had finally touched him, gotten through his own pain, and now he couldn't believe he'd been so callous before. Of course she was hurting. She could stay here as long as she liked, if she needed to.

She was right, he thought as he peeked in the bedroom door seeing her peacefully sleeping face, he had been an asshole. He wouldn't be again. He closed the door quietly and went to put the kettle on for tea. He thought she'd probably like some when she woke up, and he could use a cup himself. As he turned the burner on he thought about how she had been there for him through all of this. Of everyone he knew, it was JJ who cared enough to put herself in reach for him, every day, even through her own tragedy.

He couldn't believe he had said that about her not loving Will. He shook his head. Even though he'd always harbored a small hope that it was true… he should never have said that out loud. He could blame the grief, but he felt terrible all the same.

"Spence… Spence?" He woke up startled in the darkened living room, Maeve – no, GOD… it was JJ sitting next to him, her face backlit by what little light remained. She rubbed his arm and his eyes swam into focus. He looked at her and quickly sat up, rubbing his face.

"Are you okay, is everything…?" he asked her, his voice hushed.

"Sure. I didn't know if you wanted to continue sleeping or…?"

"No, hey thanks, thanks." He moved to turn on the lamp on the table next to the sofa. "I need to get up."

She looked at him and tilted her head, her hand still on his arm. "Spence, you really don't. You don't need to do anything you don't want to do." She smiled a soft smile. "Thank you for letting me rest here. I was really knocked out. I think those three hours were the most restful I've had since…"

"I'm glad," he said. "Well… not glad glad but…"

She did smile then. "I know what you meant."

Spencer turned and took both her hands in his. "JJ I want you to know that you're welcome here any time. I'm so sorry I've been such a… such a…"

"… man who's suffered a terrible loss consumed with grief and anger?" she finished.

He shrugged. "Yes, there's that, but mostly how I've been behaving. You're right, you've been there for me since the first minute. All I've been to you is… mean."

"Yeah. You have been."

They both quietly laughed at that, and JJ said "You were also right… about a lot of things." She reached up and touched his face where she'd slapped him, the red mark still there. "But that doesn't mean you get to say them to me ever again." She leaned in, and to his surprise planted a soft, tiny kiss on his sore cheek.

"Can we just… can we go from here?" he asked, looking into her tired eyes.

She nodded. "That's what I'm hoping."

Spencer felt hopeful too. For the first time in 36 days, 4 hours, and 17 minutes, he didn't feel like there was a dull, jagged knife in his chest. Emily had been right, as usual. Once he decided to be there for JJ, things would start to get easier for him, too. He could feel it already.

"Can I get you something, you want some tea? It'll only take a minute." He offered.

"I should probably get going. Henry will be calling me from my mom's and I like to sit in his room and read him a bedtime story over the phone."

"Okay, sure, sure, of course…" Spencer was surprised to find himself disappointed. Now that he'd decided he wanted her around, she was leaving.

JJ noticed his hesitation and said "Can I do anything for you, is there something you need?"

He furrowed his brow and looked down at the floor. "Will I see you tomorrow?"

"Count on it."

Now that the barrier had been broken, they spent a lot more time together. In the ensuing weeks they went for long walks, sometimes holding hands, they had a lot of dinners together, and they took in the occasional late movie when one of them couldn't sleep. He showed her The Smithsonian, and that took them the better part of a month, as Spencer had a curator's knowledge of every aspect, every installation in the famous institution, and it made him happy to share it with her.

He went back to work part time, although he wasn't in the field yet, and found a lot of it meditative. At first, every case, every UnSub reminded him of Maeve's death, but he had expected that. It was really good to be doing something useful again. There were still bad, very bad, days for the both of them, but they passed like any other day and he started noticing the world again.

He began to miss JJ when she wasn't around, and they became very protective of each other, almost insular, turning down get-togethers with Morgan or Garcia, preferring instead to keep each other company alone. They told one another secrets they never had, played chess (he always won), and backgammon (she always won, though she suspected he let her – being from Vegas and all), and actually laughed a few times. Spencer started stopping by later in the evenings, so he could hear the bedtime stories, too, and even started reading some to Henry himself.

One night, after Henry had been properly tucked in, JJ went to the kitchen and brought out a bottle of red wine. Spencer looked up from thumbing through a novel JJ had on the coffee table (Why do you read that junk? HEY – I have good taste, step off, genius!), and said "Wow, what are we celebrating?"

"I'm thinking about… coming back to work," she announced, setting down the glasses in front of them.

"Hey!" Spencer lit up, genuinely happy for her.

"Right?" she said, glad to see his reaction.

"No kidding, that's great JJ! It'll be so good to have you back – everyone misses you so much and the office just seems so empty without you there."

"That's really sweet. I won't be in the field just yet, but it'll be good to get back to making a difference, you know? Even a small one."

"JJ what we do isn't small to the people we help. I know you know that." he said.

"I do, I just don't know how much help I'll be in a reduced capacity."

"You'll get back into the swing… just don't try to do too much at first. It may… stir things up."

"Like it did for you?"

He looked down. "Yeah."

JJ didn't want to think about that. She felt like celebrating, so she handed his glass to him, picked up her own and said "Okay – here's to forging ahead. Remembering and respecting the past, but having the strength to move forward."

Spencer said "Cheers!" As they clinked glasses, and they both took a sip. JJ set down her glass and took Spencer's face in her hands.

"Thank you, Spence, for being here. For helping me to get to this point. For being my dear, darling friend. Through everything."

JJ leaned over and touched her lips to his. Just a delicate, soft kiss, but it caught him off-guard and he spilled a little wine in his haste to set it down. Spencer felt her warm mouth against his and thought he'd never felt anything so amazing in his life. He felt warmth spreading through him and he didn't want her to stop, so he kissed her back, relaxing his lips and letting them slide against hers so softly, tenderly. JJ broke the kiss… both flushed and a little flustered, and looked at him, smiling just a little.

Spencer stood up. "I should go. Sh-should I go?" He asked her, wiping his now-damp palms on his pants, his heart racing.

JJ stood up too, and took his hand in hers, lifting his long, elegant fingers to her cheek. "Spencer Reid," she said softly, looking up at him through lowered lids. "Unless you have somewhere more important to be? I don't want you 'going' anywhere."

Spencer smiled inwardly and thought "Here we go…"