Bang.

You feel the force propel you backwards, the shelves catching your fall but providing minimal cushioning.

The first thing you register is the wetness. The rate at which your shirt and floor are being adorned with red—your red—is absolutely shocking.

The shock over this is short-lived though, because the pain sets in not soon after. A piercing jab that emanates from your core and god damn it you've never realized anything could hurt this much before. You feel yourself shaking, and it terrifies you how little control you have over your own body right now—not over the trembling, nor the blood pouring out of you, and definitely no control over the pain, the relentless pain screaming for attention and exhausting every fibre of your being.

You'd be lying if you claimed you've never thought about this: about being shot, about dying on the job. You have. In your line of work, it'd be stupid not to consider the alternative, not to weigh your options and your risks. Lying on the cold floor now, you realize that the imagined pain and the imagined terror barely do the real thing justice.

But although you have been shot, you have yet to die. And so, clenching your fists (now slick with blood), you force yourself to breathe, to focus on the here and now. You vaguely register the scuffle occurring mere metres away from you: the clatter of metal on concrete, Sera (that damn girl) being wrestled up the stairs by Derek and… through it all, a familiar voice: "JJ! JJ."

You blink slowly and try to hone in on the speaker. You process that a familiar figure is looming over you, repeating your name in a voice laced heavily with anguish.

"Jayje! Jayje, come on; JJ, stay with me, okay?"

You take a laboured breath and whisper, "Spence."

"Shhh," he soothes, "You'll be okay, Jayje. I promise. You'll be okay." He's muttering quickly—barely above a whisper—and you can't help but wonder whether he's telling you this for your benefit or his own sanity. He has taken off both his vest and cardigan, and now works the latter around your midsection (you momentarily wonder how he'll manage to get the red stains off later), tying it as tight as he can.

You register the extra pressure, but at this point, the pain is so overbearing and all-encompassing that it's hard to distinguish between your senses, anyway. "S-Spence," you try again.

Reaching out a shaky limb you tug at his sleeve, causing him to take your bloody hand into his, grasping tightly. "H-how bad, Spence?"

He pauses for the smallest fraction of a second before answering. If it were anyone else, you wouldn't think anything of it, wouldn't give it a second thought. But it's Spence and you're a profiler for a reason.

"You'll be… you'll be okay," he repeats, all but ignoring your question.

But as insufficient an answer it is, that's answer enough.

Just then, you see Derek's face join Spence's above you. Like the latter, his face is also etched with concern. Gently brushing your bangs from your face, he tells you, "The medics are almost here, JJ. Hang on, okay? Be that tough badass I know you are, girl."

Untrusting of your voice, you grunt in response.

Your eyes are growing heavy, and your body growing weak. You no longer feel the strength to keep your free hand (the other being in Spence's) clenched so you let it lie limply at your side.

It feels as though your brain is working on overdrive, and for a fleeting moment, you wonder if this is what Spence's brain feels like on a regular basis. You find it terribly hard to focus on any one thing—between the fear and Sera Morrison and your sister and Spence's ambiguity, and the pain, oh god the pain—your brain seems to be travelling a thousand miles per second.

You briefly entertain the thought that passing out now wouldn't quite be such a bad idea: death would bring numbness. And at this very moment numbness would be a freedom (from the pain, from the fear, and from the uncertainty). You wonder if this is what your sister had thought, if freedom was what she had wanted.

However, it doesn't take long for your thoughts to land on Henry and Will. The guilt that heaps onto you is thick and encumbering, and you renew your vigor and passion for life. You're scared and saddened at the worry and anxiety you may cause them (regardless the outcome of today), blindsided in despair at the possibility you could be leaving them behind, and furious with yourself for not spending more time at home. You're quite sure you feel your heart break, and you can't help but to let out a broken sob.

Out of the haze that is your mind, you hear a voice speak, reminding you of the real world. "Hey, hey. We're here, JJ. Just relax, okay?" Derek soothes, "It'll be alright." The tiny quiver in voice betrays him though, and the growing red ocean beneath all of you testifies differently.

Your heavy eyes are just so tired, and you're finding it hard to resist closing them.

"C-can I speak …to H-Henry…?" you begin, and both Spence and Derek lean in to hear you better (given any other circumstance, you'd probably have laughed at the synchronicity in which they did so).

Looking slightly bewildered, Spencer replies, "Jayje, it's just me and Derek; Henry's safe at home… but you can definitely see him later when we get you out of here."

"Use… using a p-phone… g-genius," you grind out, trying your hand at a playful grin to lighten the mood (which you're sure manifests itself as a grimace instead).

Both men suddenly fumble for their phones, but Spencer manages to dial first. Through your mind (which is steadily growing more foggy), you hear him greet the babysitter and ask for your son.

You feel the phone pressed up against your ear, and you hear your son's perfect voice, greeting you.

"Mommy!"

That's the last thing you hear before your close your eyes and then-

Nothing.


AN: The ending's sort of ambiguous: it's up to you to judge whether she died, or if she just momentarily passed out (to later recover in a hospital). This was completely impromptu drabble that I felt like jotting down post 8x14 ('cause dang, that plot twist at the end was terrifying, no?), so thanks a bunch for reading! It means a lot to me. :)