Chapter 16

He watched out the window until he saw her pull in, then met her at the car. They didn't speak at all as he reached in and unbuckled Henry. He lifted the dead weight of his sleeping godson and carried him back to the apartment. JJ carried the one duffle bag she'd been able to put together so hurriedly.

Reid laid Henry in the bed and JJ tucked the blankets around him. She placed Brownie in his hand, hoping the little dog would make this somehow feel more normal. They left the door slightly ajar so they would be able to hear him if he stirred.

Reid ushered JJ to the kitchen, where he had a kettle of water simmering on the stove. He poured it over some herbal tea and handed her the mug. The hand she took it with was trembling. Reid couldn't help but notice the tear tracks on her cheeks, outlined in mascara.

"Did they arrest him?"

She'd been staring at her mug, now flashed him a disgusted look.

"Are you kidding? The brotherhood? He's a DC cop, Spence, they would never arrest him. In fact, they told me I could be in trouble for changing the locks. We don't have a legal separation yet, so it's still considered his home. They said I didn't have a right to lock him out."

It shouldn't have surprised him. He should have realized. Of course Will would be granted an extraordinary degree of slack from his fellow officers. But that put JJ in a completely untenable position.

Reid knew about legality, but he also knew about reality. "You did the right thing, JJ. Thank God you changed the locks. Who knows what would have happened if you hadn't?"

She buried her face in her hands, reliving it. He'd been too drunk to do anything more than pound on the door. But he'd been armed.

"He could have shot through the window!" Her voice was trembling. "Henry woke up and came out to the living room. He was terrified. And he could have shot him. He could have shot his own son! It's just by the grace of God that he didn't."

Reid squatted beside her. "You did the right thing, calling the police."

She shook her head. "It didn't do me any good. They'll write it up like it was nothing. Oh, God, what did I start?"

Reid took her hands down from her face and turned her in the chair so that she was looking at him.

"You didn't start anything. You took necessary steps to get you and Henry out of a very bad situation. JJ, you weren't safe in that house. I think you know that."

She closed her eyes as more tears made their way down her face. "I just can't see an end to this. What if he doesn't stop? What do I do? And what about Henry?"

She looked weary, and frail. She'd been living in an emotional prison for months, and now having taken steps to escape, she'd been terrified for her life, and that of her son. JJ looked broken.

Reid stood and lifted her with him. He pulled her close and put his arms around her, resting her head against his shoulder. He could feel her sag, the adrenalin rush of the earlier evening gone. When he could feel the crying ease, he brought her into the living room and settled her on the sofa.

"You'll stay here until we get this taken care of." Purposely using the "we". JJ had felt far too isolated, for far too long. She needed to know she wouldn't be carrying this burden alone.

"As long as there's a police report of any sort, we should be able to get a protective order on Monday. We'll check with Hotch tomorrow."

JJ gasped. "Tomorrow! I told Will he could have Henry on Sunday. Spence, I can't. I can't let that happen. Not until we get past this. What if he drinks again?"

Although Will had been drunk tonight, it wasn't a habit for him. But their current circumstance might make it more likely, and JJ couldn't afford to take that kind of chance with Henry.

"We'll call Hotch in the morning. He'll be able to tell us what legal avenues are open to us."

He tried to get her to smile. "You look terrible."

It worked. "I bet." Her smile was brief. "Spence, thank you for this. For taking us in at all hours of the night. I don't know what else I would have done."

"I'm glad you called me. I would have come and gotten you."

"The police stayed while I packed the bag. By then, Will was passed out on the couch."

Her voice was trailing off, and Reid recognized it as a sign of exhaustion.

"JJ, why don't you go to bed and try to get some sleep? It's very late."

She shook her head. "You go, Spence. It's all right. I'm exhausted, yes, but I don't think I'll be able to sleep. I'll just sit here for a bit, if that's okay with you."

He studied her, wanting to do the right thing. "Would you rather be alone, or would it be okay if I sat up with you?"

"I think I might have to cry this out of me, Spence. I don't want to scare you."

She hadn't told him to go away…so he made his decision.

"I don't scare that easily."

He got comfortable against a pillow and then raised his arm in invitation. JJ scooted over and fit herself against him. She leaned her head back against his chest and closed her eyes. After the tension of the recent months, and weeks, and days, and especially the tension of the past few hours, she felt release. Being able to lean, being held, being allowed to abdicate the burden for even a short time, made her feel weightless, like she was floating. In the arms of Spencer Reid, for the first time in a very long time, she felt peace.

Poke. Poke. Poke. Poke.

Reid woke up to the sensation of something sticking into his upper arm. He could still feel the weight of JJ against him. Opening his eyes, he realized she wasn't the only blonde in the room. There was another, standing right next to him, hot breath in his face, poking with a tiny finger.

"Uncle Spence, did we have a sleepover?"

Reid tried to wake up his voice. It came out dry, and cracked.


He started to get up, rousing JJ. Neither of them had gotten all that much sleep. After her initial floating off, she'd awakened several times, finding herself in tears each time. Each time, Reid had awakened with her, holding her until they both fell back to sleep. Now she slowly opened her eyes, and realized it was day.

She reached for Henry. "Hi, baby."

His eyes were wide, frightened. "Mommy, what happened to your face?"

She patted her cheeks, not understanding. Reid mimed tear tracks with his fingers, and then she realized. I must be covered in mascara.

"Nothing, honey, just some makeup that I forgot to wash off. I'll do it now, okay?"

She headed to the bathroom as Reid opened his arms to Henry. The little boy climbed into his godfather's lap.

"To answer your question, yes, I guess we did kind of have a sleepover."


Reid recognized the four year old pensiveness. Henry was thinking, but not talking. Which was highly unusual for him.

"Henry, do you remember anything about last night?"

Long pause. "Yeah."

"What, Henry? What do you remember?" Reid knew how bright the boy was. He was certain they'd have to find a way to explain things to him. Henry wouldn't be put off with half truths.

"That the policemans came to our house."

Behind him, JJ was returning from the bathroom. Realizing the topic, she stopped her progress and stood, listening, and silently praying.

"Why did they come to your house, Henry? Do you know?"

"Mommy called them. She told me to get under the couch, and she called the policemans. It was scary, Uncle Spence. I was scared."

"You're okay now, Henry. You and Mommy are both okay. No more scary stuff, okay?"

Henry didn't answer. He just reached little arms around Reid's neck and hugged him.

"Henry, do you remember anything else?"

Releasing his godfather, Henry sat back. "There was a bad man, and he was yelling things. He was yelling at Mommy."

"Do you remember what he said?"

"He said, "Open the door, JJ!" Henry mimicked the yelling. "He said some bad words too, but I'm not 'lowed to say them."

Reid nodded. Squinting his next question at Henry, he knew the answer he prayed he would hear.

"Do you know who the man was, Henry?"

"Nope. Mommy thought it sounded like Daddy, 'cause she said, "Go away, Will!". But Daddy wouldn't do that, right Uncle Spence? It was just somebody fooling us." Although the last sentence was declarative, it sounded like a question.

Neither of the adults could read this. Did Henry know? Was he unable to bring himself to say it? Or did he really not understand that he'd been frightened of his own father?

JJ ended the conversation by coming back to the sofa. She showed her face to Henry.


"Pretty, Mommy! Isn't Mommy pretty, Uncle Spence?"

He smiled at both of them. "Beautiful, as always."

Reid's kitchen wasn't always well stocked, but they found enough to put together a reasonable breakfast feast for all of them. Afterwards, they set Henry in front of the television so they could call Hotch.

"Give him some 'Tom and Jerry', and he's mesmerized." JJ still managed to chuckle at her son.

They reached their superior as he came in from an early morning soccer game with Jack. Reid quickly explained what had happened, knowing that it would take too much out of JJ to go over all of it again.

"So we need some advice. Can she get a protective order? Can she legally get him out of the house, and keep him out?"

There was a long pause, and then a sigh. "It's a mixed picture. If this were typical behavior for him, or if he'd made a specific threat, then the court would support an order of protection. But it doesn't sound like that happened. Did it, JJ?"

Hotch couldn't see the dejection on her face, but Reid could. He put a supportive arm around her.

"No. No, he didn't make any threats. He just demanded to be let in. It was me. I was the one who thought it was dangerous."

Hotch's voice held regret. "Then I'm afraid there's not a way to legally keep him from the premises. At least not for a little while. If he's got a reasonable attorney, he'll be advised to cooperate with you about the house, and about Henry. But then he'll have to choose to take the advice. If he does, you can have the attorneys draw up an agreement."

"Hotch, what do I do now?"

"Stay put for now. Stay with Reid. Call Richard today and meet with him tomorrow morning. He'll get in touch with Will and his attorney. If they can get Will to agree to leave, they'll draw up an agreement. If he breaks it, then he'll be in violation and you can call the police. But you'll need to give him time to clear out his things. Normally courts allow a week for that."

"So, if he agrees, and signs an agreement, I might be able to move back home in a week?"

JJ was looking directly at Reid as she spoke, eyeing an apology for staying so long, and thanks that he would allow it.

"Yes. And then, hopefully, things can be more civil. JJ, I'm sorry this happened. I'd hoped for better when we met with him."

"I think he was trying to please you more than he was me that day, Hotch. But I also know that what I saw last night wasn't Will. It was the alcohol. Will's much too subtle for that. I can hope it won't happen again." But I'm not taking the chance. I'm not going home again until he's gone.

"And I hope you're right. Get some rest, both of you. Reid, I'll see you tomorrow. JJ, take care of what you need to do tomorrow, and don't worry about coming in."

They both thanked their boss and rang off. JJ stood with her eyes closed for so long that Reid asked if she was okay.

"I'm just trying to visualize that day when I'll be looking back on all of this, like it was a bad dream. I can't wait to get to that day."

She didn't hear from Will that day. No phone calls or texts demanding to see Henry. JJ was fairly certain he would know where she'd gone, but he didn't show up to harass her. He's either still hung over, or he's sober now. And, hopefully, ashamed.

They retrieved enough of Henry's 'traveling toys' from the car that the youngster was busy most of the morning. JJ put him down for a nap afterwards, to words of protest.

"I don't take naps any more, Mommy! I'm a big boy, 'member?"

"You're a big boy who didn't get enough sleep last night, 'member?" She mimicked him as she tucked him in. Despite his protest, he was out cold in just a few minutes.

Reid was in his favorite reading chair, making a futile attempt at getting involved with a book. JJ plopped on the sofa across from him.

"What about you? Do you need a nap too? I kept you up half the night."

He looked cautious. "Actually, I have to go out in a little while."

She was immediately apologetic. "Oh, Spence, are we keeping you from something? I'm so sorry, I never thought to ask."

He assured her, "It's just a phone call."

"That you have to go out to make?" Then she realized. "Oh, Maeve. This is the day you call Maeve."

The night he'd told her about the woman in his life, he'd explained how and why they'd never met. She hadn't laughed, hadn't rolled her eyes, hadn't questioned his sanity. She'd just been happy for him, and the woman who made him happy. He loved her for that.

"Yeah. I'll just be gone for about an hour or so. Will you be okay?"

Both of them were thinking the same thing, without either of them saying it aloud. She was an FBI Supervisory Special Agent, who'd stared down some of the most threatening people in the nation. No one would think of asking her if she would be okay in that context. But here, today, in his apartment, she was a mother, and a wife, a member of a family in tatters. It was the most reasonable question in the world.

"We'll be fine. Henry will sleep for a long time, I think. Maybe I'll join him." She was quiet a moment, then curious.

"Do you think you'll ever meet her, Spence?"

He closed his book, no longer trying. "I hope so, I guess. But I feel like maybe that's too superficial, you know? Like, I already know her so well. I know what she thinks, and how she thinks. I know what she loves and what she doesn't. I know what inspires her, what she hopes for. And yet, I also know there's so much more to each of those things that I don't know. So much more depth. She fascinates me. And there doesn't seem to be an end to it."

JJ had a wistful smile on her face, but she was fighting back tears. This was the love she wished she had in her life. The man who could find the person she was so rich and deep that he would only want to explore her forever. Instead she got the man who looked just beyond the surface, and found everything he wanted to change.

Reid was still talking. "So it seems superficial to need to meet her. I already think she's beautiful. Her mind. Her soul. Why do I need to see her face?"

A tear had escaped. "JJ?"

She brushed it away. "I'm all right. It's just….beautiful, hearing you talk about Maeve. It's the way every relationship should be. And I don't think it's superficial at all to want to meet her. It's just human, Spence. We are whole human beings. Not just mind, not just spirit and not just body. You won't love her more, or less, if you meet her. You'll just be able to love her in yet another way. That's the way love is, isn't it? It makes you feel so full, at the same time that it makes you want more."

Even as she said it, JJ wondered where the wisdom was coming from. She'd not had that sense of love in her relationship with Will. But she had known it with Henry.

"A paradox." Reid was considering her words.

"Whatever it is, I'm glad you have it in your life, Spence. And even though neither of us has ever met her, I think I love Maeve Donovan for giving it to you."

He gave her his shy smile. "Some day, I'll introduce you. I know she'll love you, too. Who wouldn't?"

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