A.N. I'd thought it would only be one shots in this universe going forward...but I guess not. Apparently there is more story to tell.
The Sound of Silence
"Hey, Kid, how is it having the old lady back at work?"
It was out before he had a chance to stop himself. The moment the thought crossed his mind, he tried to trap it there…..but it reached his mouth anyway. Morgan readied himself for the onslaught.
And heard nothing. But if looks could kill….well, he just might have been the BAU's next case. Surprisingly, Reid didn't react at all. He didn't need to.
"What, Baby Girl? What did I do?" He put his hands out in a gesture of 'I don't have a clue'.
Penelope Garcia sniffed. "If you don't know, then….well, then there's no hope for you."
Prentiss was more direct. "We don't call someone's wife 'the old lady', Morgan."
Now, Reid spoke up. "Yeah, and especially when she looks like JJ!"
There was something so liberating about being able to publicly state what he'd only been able to think to himself before. So, just because he could, he added, "My wife!"
Emily had to turn away so he wouldn't see her laugh. He'd grown so much, been through so much, matured so much…and yet he was like a kid who couldn't believe he'd been given free rein in a candy store when it came to JJ. In a bittersweet moment, she wished she could have someone in her life who took such unabashed delight in their relationship.
"To answer your question, Morgan," Reid made a point of sounding completely formal, "It's great. We're less of a team without her, and I'm glad we're back up to speed, finally."
"Here, here," interjected Rossi. He'd stopped by the bullpen on his way to his office. "Where is she, by the way?"
"Meeting with Hotch. There's some paperwork she needs to fill out."
Almost on cue, Hotch's door opened and the two agents appeared at the railing, looking down at their colleagues.
"Don't you all have work to do?" Hotch had a smile on his face when he said it.
Morgan, Rossi and Garcia headed quickly off to their private spaces, while Emily and Reid each grabbed a file. But Reid looked over the top of the folder to smile at his wife as she came down the stairs and approached her desk.
She sighed. "I miss her." It was her first day away from five month old Rosie. "It feels good to be back here…..although kind of strange, I guess…but I miss her."
He smiled in understanding.
Rosie was at a great age. Old enough to have personality, and to have discovered laughter. Young enough not to be able to get into trouble. Sandy Jareau had told him it was "one of the best ages".
It was hard enough for him to be away from her. And yet, he understood that maternal longing was something completely different. He didn't have a frame of reference, but he could see it in JJ. He'd ruminated that, just as his job required him to get into the mind of an unsub without sharing the unsub's feelings, being a good partner required him to perceive the mind of a nursing mother. Of this particular nursing mother. He would never know if he'd succeeded, but it made him so much more sympathetic. Who knew profiling skills would come in so handy in a marriage?
He teased her. "How many times have you called?"
"Only once. I wanted to be sure Karen knew we'd started cereal."
"Because you and she haven't talked about this endlessly in the past two weeks?"
Henry's former sitter still provided after school care for him, and now she'd taken on Rosie as well. And Casey.
She shrugged her shoulders. "You caught me. I just hoped Rosie was awake, so I could hear her. I love her little voice."
He smiled. So did he. They'd both hit the internet after Rosie started babbling at three months of age.
"I think that's early, JJ! Most babies don't babble until four or five months."
He hadn't really needed to hit the internet. He'd already memorized everything he could find on infant development. And he began to expound on it.
"Did you know the first sound most babies make is the 'ba' sound? And then the 'da' sound. And, did you ever notice, the familiar word for 'father' in many languages uses those sounds? In Hebrew, it's 'abba', in Aramaic, it's 'baba'. And in English, it's 'daddy'."
She'd snorted, amused. "So, does that mean that the words came about from Mr. Wonderful being in the baby's face and saying, "Honey, I think she's calling my name!"
He had to think for a minute. "You know, you might be right." And from that time on, he got right into Rosie's face whenever she babbled 'da'.
"So, was she awake?"
"I could hear her squealing at Ben. He's so gentle, he comes right up to her and lets her pet him."
"Just like Casey. That's how goldens tend to be. It's a big reason why they're used as therapy dogs."
"Well, Casey has been great therapy for Henry. And for his dad too, I think, no?" JJ remembered that Reid had been almost as excited about getting the puppy as Henry had been.
"Casey listens to everything I have to say, she doesn't judge me…..and she doesn't charge a co-pay. So, yes, I'd say she's a great therapy dog!"
"Hey, cats are no slouches when it comes to therapy, you know." Emily wanted in on the banter. "Sergio is the most faithful relationship I've had in…..forever…and he eats a lot less than Casey. And he cleans up after himself."
The three good friends enjoyed being back at work together after JJ's maternity leave. They'd visited with each other a few times while she was out, but it seemed so much more natural when they were doing what they all did best.
"It is good to have you back, JJ. How's my little goddaughter?"
Emily had been an easy choice as godmother, but the godfather decision had been much more difficult. They were blessed with having strong relationships with all three of their male colleagues. In the end, they'd decided to ask Rossi. JJ remembered how paternal he'd been with her all through the ordeal of Reid being wounded and, importantly, she remembered how he'd asked to pray with her. And so, over dinner and wine at the Reids', they'd asked him.
Reid cleared his throat. "Ahem. Um…..Rossi, there's…something we wanted to ask you."
Rossi was just leaning back in his chair, enjoying the last of his wine. "Ask away, young ones. But tell me, did you ply me with food and drink just to ask me a favor?" He was teasing them. But he also didn't have any idea what was coming.
JJ took over. "Rossi….Dave…..you've been so good to us and to our family. You were there with me every minute when Spence was hurt." She flashed a glance at Reid. He'd been unconscious, in the ICU during the time that Dave Rossi stood by his fiancée. But she'd told him about it many times.
JJ continued. "And…..we wanted to ask you….we would really be honored...if you would be Rosie's godfather."
He was caught totally off guard. They could see how touched he was. He'd grown very fond of this young couple and their children.
"You want…..you want me to be Rosie's godfather."
Both of them nodded. "Yes."
JJ leaned over and touched his arm. "We don't want to impose. It's okay if you're not comfortable with it."
Rossi shook his head. Now that he'd had a moment to collect himself, he was ready to respond.
"You misunderstand me, young JJ. I will gladly serve as godfather to the newest little Reid. Rosie is a sweetheart. I can't think of anything that would make me happier than to be a part of her life." He looked back and forth between both of them. "Thank you, I'm touched."
Reid smiled, remembering the day JJ had asked him to be godfather to Henry. Amazing what can happen in six years!
He shook his colleague's hand. "Thanks, Rossi. It means a lot to us."
Henry came in from the other room, where he'd been playing with his trucks.
"Mommy, is it time for dessert now?"
"Soon as the coffee's ready, honey. Do you want to help me get the cake?"
The little blonde's eyes lit up. Until his mother issued her next directive.
"But no fingers in the icing, little man."
Busted. Helping in the kitchen suddenly didn't sound so enticing. "I'm gonna help Daddy wake Rosie up."
"Ah, my little soon-to-be goddaughter is about to make an appearance. Maybe we won't need cake. We'll already have something sweet at the table."
Henry looked at him with horrified eyes. "Oh, no, Uncle Dave, we need cake! We have to have dessert!"
Reid chuckled. "It's the whole point of having dinner, right, Henry?"
JJ laughed at her two men. In at least this one aspect, they were carved from the same stone.
The ceremony took place in the same church where they were married.
Now, over a year after that event, Reid was known to make an occasional appearance on a Sunday. Father O'Neill was always sure to give him a nod in recognition, but still made it a point not to push him. The two men enjoyed coffee and a lively theological debate after services from time to time. Reid was open, but not yet convinced. He saw the value of ritual in trying to articulate the inarticulable. But he still considered the dome of the night sky his church, and the place where he felt closest to the divine.
Still, he saw the value in acknowledging Rosie as a child of God, and was happy to participate in this particular ritual. The whole idea had brought him out to the patio many a late night, to enter into conversation.
I think I'm starting to get it now. I didn't so much, when it was Henry. But loving him helped me to grow into it. It's not just taking responsibility, 'just in case'. It's promising to nurture them, and help them understand the world. And everything that's beyond the world. I think Rossi and Emily get it in a way I didn't. Maturity, maybe? Or maybe they grew up with the nurturing that I didn't. Maybe they were already familiar with it. It's funny, I think maybe Henry taught it to me, while I was supposed to be looking after him. 'JJ wisdom'...or Yours, maybe?...already present in my life, and I didn't know it. Somehow she knew to ask me. Not so much because Henry needed me, but because I needed him.
Reid had taken on the responsibility of asking Emily Prentiss to stand with Rosie. He smiled as he recounted it for JJ.
"Really, Reid? Are you sure?"
"Emily, you're one of our best friends and, whether you admit it or not, we know you love kids."
They both remembered how much she'd sacrificed for Declan Doyle.
He cut off her protest. "I know, maybe it seems weird because you've struggled with your faith."
She shook her head. "Never with my faith. A whole lot with the church, but never with my faith. I've just had some dark times, but….who hasn't?"
Indeed. "Well, will you do it? Will you be Rosie's godmother?"
She was, in fact, deeply touched. Of course she would. She leaned up and kissed his cheek.
"Anything for you, Handsome. And for that beautiful baby girl of yours."
And so, the day had come and they were all gathered around the baptismal font. The oils were administered, the water poured, the blessings given. Rosie was clothed in white, symbolizing her purity. Remarkably, and completely out of character for her, she'd remained silent throughout the ceremony.
JJ noticed that Henry was also unusually quiet, and seemed pensive.
"What's up, little man?"
His brow was furrowed. "Mommy, did Rosie come from heaven?" He'd heard the priest call her a 'child of God'.
JJ paused before she answered, considering. Does he mean literally? Henry had his own special relationship with heaven, and she wanted to be careful with her answer. So she hedged.
"Well, sort of. I guess. Why?"
"Do you think she was with Daddy Will there? Do you think she knows him?"
Ah. "Well, you know, Henry, your dad and I like to think that Daddy Will and your Nana Diana helped pick her out for us. So I guess they must have all met up in heaven."
He smiled. "I knew it!"
JJ didn't understand. "What do you mean?"
"I could tell. When I asked her if she knew Daddy Will, she smiled at me."
JJ didn't have the heart to tell him that Rosie was just smiling because that's what babies do when you talk to them. Besides, just maybe….
Emily wondered where her good friend had gone. She'd simply asked about her goddaughter, and JJ had begun staring off, clearly lost in reverie.
"Huh? Oh! Oh, I'm sorry, Emily. I guess I'm only half back. The rest of me is with Rosie."
Prentiss smiled at her. "Perfectly understandable. Especially considering how absolutely gorgeous she is." She took a seat on JJ's desk. "So, how is she? Or, more to the point, how are you? Is it that hard to be back?"
She was taken by surprise to see the tears in JJ's eyes.
"It's crazy. I love being with the kids, but I miss adult conversation. Not that I don't get it with Spence, but, you know."
She did. Conversation with Reid was…hyperadult…..as in, sometimes hard to follow.
"So I was looking forward to coming back, but I think I started missing Rosie a couple of weeks ago…..and I was still with her! She's just so sunny, and eager to learn….and smart!"
JJ lowered her voice so that only Emily could hear. "I think she might have gotten Spence's IQ genes, Em. She's doing everything early, and it's almost like you can see her thinking. What will I do if I have a genius for a daughter?"
Emily started to laugh at her, but reconsidered. Because, in this particular instance, it might be real. There was a definite chance that Rosie could have the kind of genius her father possessed. And it could, in fact, be its own kind of burden. She began to see her godmotherly responsibilities in a whole new light.
Their conversation was interrupted by Garcia's summons.
"Hey, boys and girls…..oh, it's so good to be able to say 'girls' instead of 'girl'!...Boss Man wants us in the conference room, pronto."
JJ and Emily grabbed their tablets and followed Reid upstairs. Rossi and Morgan joined them from their offices as Hotch entered the room to lead their usual morning meeting.
Ever serious, his words belied his mood.
"It's good to have a full complement around the table again. Welcome back, JJ."
They were all smiling as he continued with his announcements.
"As I think most of you know, we have JJ in a limited capacity for the next couple of months. She won't be traveling with the team during that time, although she will be otherwise carrying a full caseload."
It had been a bargaining chip. She'd returned three weeks early in exchange for the opportunity to be home with Rosie for a just little bit longer.
Morgan knew she and Reid were hoping the team could work locally for a while. He'd teased his young colleague about it.
"So, isn't that a catch-22, Pretty Boy? You get to stay home near the kids…..but only because DC has a serial killer to deal with? Not sure I'd want to make that deal!"
They'd both laughed, not having any idea just how prophetic his words would prove to be.