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An Uncomfortable Situation: Criminal Minds(Hotch/JJ; F)


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So, as of late, I have been on a huge CM kick, along with Bones and Castle. As a result, I have a lot of story ideas and partially-completed stories floating around in my head and on my iPod, and this is an idea that just won't let go. Since I have a nasty habit of never finishing stories, I waited to post this one 'til I had about four parts written, just in case writers block hits! There are no spoilers-it's basically fluff and caretaking. Enjoy!

Also, for anyone who was wondering, I am in the process of continuing "The Impending Storm"- I wrote myself into a corner by writing Hotch out of character, so it's taking a bit to get out of that. I am still working, though-I promise!!! :)


JJ surveyed the murder board, a weary look etched into her features and posture. They had just finished another case, which had been relatively tame by the BAU standards, involving a man abducting women and dumping a cadaver dressed to look as they did in a ditch by a main road. That part had been unusual, but they had found all seven abducted women alive and, for the most part, unharmed in a tiny basement. It had taken a lot of effort and time to catch the UNSUB, though, which meant long hours and exhaustion for the entire team. Thankfully, the case was over, so she set to work packing the pictures and maps into a file, and erasing their handwritten notes on personal relationships.

She closed the lid on the box and sat down on a chair in the small conference room, before pulling out her phone to text her boss-and, her ride to their hotel.

Murder board cleared. Ready whenever you are. -JJ

Moments later, her phone chimed.

Just have to talk to the chief. I'll meet you out front in ten minutes. -AH

Knowing he wasn't expecting a reply back, JJ simply pocketed her phone and grabbed her bag before walking to the main lobby of the precinct. Exactly nine and a half minutes later, Aaron Hotchner joined her, his signature stern and pensive mask firmly in place. They didn't talk as they walked to the car, each of them fairly lost in their thoughts and too mentally drained from the case to make small talk.

It was quiet on the ride back to the hotel as well, save the occasional beep or chirp of JJ's phone as she checked on the whereabouts of the rest of the team. Once they reached the hotel, Hotch walked around the front of the car and opened the door, offering JJ his hand as she got out of the van. It was one of those cars that was boosted far off of the ground, and she appreciated the gesture, considering the fact that she was in heels.

"Thank you." Her smile was warm and kind, and Hotch returned it with a very small one.

"Anytime." There was a pause, and then JJ filled it as they walked to the hotel from their vehicle.

"The rest of the team stopped for dinner after they processed the scene of the apprehension. They'll be here around 9:30. Do you have any idea when wheels up will be?"

By the time she had finished, they were at the hotel doors. Hotch paused, thought, and then answered.

"6 am. We have a long flight back, and it would be good to get home to our families." JJ nodded in agreement, and made a mental note to text Rossi later as her boss pulled open the door and held it for her. He nodded at the receptionist, and then followed JJ to the elevator. She pushed the "up" button, then texted Rossi.

Wheels up at 6 am tomorrow. Can you let the rest of the team know? -JJ

Grazie, Bella. Sure thing. -DR

By the time Rossi had replied, the elevator had come. JJ pocketed her phone, and stepped inside, then held the door for Hotch. He stepped inside, hit the "door close" symbol, and then pressed the button for floor 16. Then, Hotch took a step back and stood in his normal, upright-but-almost-relaxed

JJ, meanwhile, had a sinking feeling in her stomach, and a burning, feathery tickle beginning to brew in her sinuses. She had noticed that the elevators were closed for cleaning that morning, but hadn't thought about how she might react to the cleaner-and it's strong, overpowering scent. It was floral, citrusy, and smelled deeply of chemicals all at once-reminiscent of cheap perfume-and it permeated every inch of the elevator.

She held her breath for a moment, willing the tickle to ease, or at least stop increasing. It worked, for a brief moment, and she let the breath out slowly and quietly, before inhaling again through her nose to avoid alerting Hotch to her...condition. Of course, he was a profiler, and he would figure her out eventually, but she was just desperately trying to hold in the reaction until she reached her room.

With each breath, JJ could feel the tickle becoming more and more intense. It was no longer a tickle, actually-it was more like a burning, tingling, itch in her sinuses that was rapidly spreading through the rest of her irritated nose. She bit the inside of her lip, praying that she wouldn't have to sneeze-or, worse, have a full blown, allergic fit-in front of her boss.

It felt like hours had passed in the small elevator, so JJ risked a glance at the floor counter. Her stomach sank-they were only on the fourth floor. The reaction was spreading from her nose to her eyes-they were stinging and starting to water a bit from exposure to the cleaner-and it was quickly becoming much harder to hide and ignore. She blinked quickly to clear her vision, and tried to keep her breathing steady.


Hotch glanced at JJ, feeling like something was wrong. He tried very hard not to profile his friends, but right now, JJ was not herself. Unintentionally, he was drafting a list of all that seemed "off".

Stance is tense, breathing is a bit more shallow and uneven than normal. Watery eyes-seems slightly nervous, impatient to get off the elevator.

A slightly hitched breath caught his attention, and he glanced at JJ again, narrowing his eyes slightly as he tried to figure out what was going on. She was staring at the corner of the ceiling, arms folded over her chest, eyes taking on a watery, red-rimmed appearance. It seemed almost as if she were crying.


JJ fought the itch near flawlessly for five floors before her allergies really began to flare up. Her eyes were itching, burning, and watering profusely; her throat was starting to itch; and she needed to sneeze-very, very badly. The scent had become completely entrenched in her sinuses, and every breath brought more of the allergen into her upper respiratory system. She felt her breath catch in her throat, and cursed herself as she felt Hotch's concerned, pensive gaze on her. Even though they had an agreement not to profile each other, she had to admit that the signs were glaringly obvious that something was off with her.

She looked at the ceiling, trying to halt the sneeze in it's tracks by holding her breath, but finding that the itch was still rampaging through her nasal area, fanning to her nostrils and consuming every part of her nose. A sneeze was inevitable, but she was determined to hold it off as long as possible. Hotch's voice startled her, and her breathing hitched again as she lost focus for a moment.

"JJ, are you alright?"

His face looked a bit concerned, and she wondered if hers had taken on the blotchy, red look that it always acquired when she had an allergy attack yet. She nodded, not trusting her voice, as she looked at her boss through extremely irritated eyes. They were so watery that pools were beginning to form in them-it must look like she were crying. The urge to rub them-and her nose-was overwhelming; they itched so badly!

"Are you sure?" He pressed, still gently, but JJ was aware that soon, he would lose patience with the "I'm fine" act, and turn to grilling her until he found out the truth. She nodded again, begging her nose to behave as they rode to floor 8.

Just eight more floors! She thought silently. You can do it!

Her body was starting to register the pervasive scent as a threat, and was filling her nose with congestion that only served to aggravate the itch more. Her eyes were burning and itching so badly that her vision was blurred by tears. It was absolute, histamine-fueled, agony! She was beginning to seriously doubt her ability to make it to the 16th floor without alerting Hotch to her condition, as she desperately needed to sneeze.

Trying to stall the inevitable, JJ swiped upward at her nose very gently, just once. It was enough that Hotch would probably be able to figure out what was wrong, but only served to irritate her excruciatingly allergic appendage, almost to the point of no return.

Up until now, JJ had been having some measure of success in controlling her breathing, save a few hitching breaths. Now, she felt the burning flame even more, and her breathing hitched again, earning her another, less surreptitious, glance from her suspicious boss. She could feel his eyes on her, taking in her appearance and actions, and felt embarrassed.

Please don't sneeze, please don't sneeze, please don't sneeze, not now, not here...not in front of Hotch!

She begged herself silently, risking another look at the floor counter. Floor 11-she could do this, just five more floors! Another surge in the itch caught her by surprise, and she let out an audibly hitched breath, then cursed silently immediately. This time, Hotch didn't let her off the hook.

"JJ? What's wrong?" Oh crap! She thought, trying her hardest to think of a way to reply without sneezing. If she opened her mouth, she would most likely sneeze. She was just about to answer when the elevator shook, then ground to a halt. They waited, confused, but the doors didn't open.

JJ could have kicked the wall. This was not a position she wanted to be in: a broken elevator, allergies, an observant boss, and trying to keep said allergies from said boss did not mix. There was pretty much no way she was getting out of this unscathed. Plus, the longer she was around the harsh cleaners, the more severe her reaction would become-she'd never had breathing problems, but once, in 10th grade, she'd been in a car that had just been cleaned and Lysol'ed with her best friend, and she'd sneezed the whole way to the beach. By the time they got there, and figured out what the problem was, her eyes had swollen a bit and she'd broken out in hives. She was not exactly eager for a repeat performance, particularly in front of Hotch.

Her throat felt slightly clogged-and itched so badly!-so, she raised a fist to her mouth and cleared her throat lightly. A knuckle brushed her slightly twitching nose, and that was what did her in.

JJ turned to the wall so that her back was to Hotch, pinched her nose between her left thumb and forefinger, and silently stifled four extremely itchy, unsatisfying, and vicious sneezes before turning back to face the front of the elevator like nothing had happened. Of course, Hotch didn't let it slide.

"Bless you."

JJ nodded her thanks, trying to hold back the next fit. She knew that Hotch would figure it out quickly, now that she had sneezed-she just wasn't sure if the elevator would have moved by then or not.


feedback is extremely appreciated! I'll have the next part up in the next day or two!

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Hey! I was wondering where you were... And you returned with a story. This is great so far. :) Gladly waiting for the next installment.

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Alrighty, here's part two! Thanks for the lovely comments-I love hearing what I'm doing right/wrong! :)


Hotch stared at JJ once the elevator came to a halt, studying her to try to determine what was wrong. She cleared her throat, then turned away from him, her face crumpling into an agonizing, pre-sneeze expression. The only signs that she was sneezing were the jerk of her slim shoulders, and the bobbing of her blonde head. She turned around again, purposefully not meeting Hotch's gaze. He frowned, and that only deepened when he saw that her nose was twitching slightly, and turning a delicate shade of pink. He sighed almost inaudibly.

"Are you alright?" JJ nodded, nose twitching and nostrils flaring, before lightly rubbing the irritated appendage with the back of her hand. Closer scrutiny of her face revealed red-rimmed eyes and that her eyeliner had smeared around the edges-he just had to determine whether it was a cold, or allergies.


JJ was trying desperately not to sneeze again, while praying that the elevator would move. Hotch was obviously not buying it, and the silence had become a little "cleaner"-he had narrowed down what was wrong. She lost her focus momentarily when she was startled by Hotch's cool, dry hand on her forehead, and had to spin away from him to pinch off a vicious set of doubles that made her head spin slightly.

"No fever-what are you allergic to?" Her boss' voice was quiet, but meant business.

"Wh-hihh-hateveher cl-cleahhhner thhhey used." She choked out, voice breathy and desperate and rising dramatically in pitch by the end of the sentence. Once again, the blonde spun away and pinched off several sneezes-six, to be exact.


Hotch felt his stomach clench in sympathy for JJ. She was clearly very allergic-they had only been in the elevator for five minutes, at most. He also felt badly that she didn't feel comfortable sneezing in front of him. He had no doubt that if the elevator had kept moving, she would have gone to her room and suffered in silence there, and he imagined that it had probably been quite uncomfortable for her to try to halt the reaction.

Even now that he knew, his friend was still trying not to sneeze, not to give into her body's demands, but she was struggling. Her whole body screamed discomfort-both caused by the cleaner, and by the embarrassment of the reaction to the cleaner-as evidenced by the fact that her eyes were watering profusely, nose rapidly turning a deep shade of pink, and her nostrils pulsing, while her cheeks were pink from blushing. That didn't stop him from repeating his earlier blessing, though.


JJ wanted to melt into the ground. This was beyond humiliating-not only had she sneezed in front of Hotch, she had done so repeatedly; he now knew about her allergy; and her reaction was far from over. With another gasping inhalation, she turned for a fourth time and stifled two sets of doubles, and a rapid triple. Stifling wasn't doing anything to relieve the itch, so her nose was a crawling mass of burning, tingling tickles, and the urge to rub her eyes was beyond overwhelming. She just wanted to disappear to her hotel room, put a cold compress on her eyes, take a shower, and take a hefty dose of antihistamines. Unfortunately, she was stuck for the foreseeable future-and she still needed to sneeze, badly!

Her eyes were too watery to see out of, so she swiped at them with the corner of her sleeve. It cleared her vision for a moment, but did nothing to relieve the stinging and itching that that godawful cleaner was causing. As the itch in her nose reached another apex, she pinched her fingers around it and bobbed forward. This time, her stifles were slightly less successful.

"Mmng! Mmng! Nggm! Nnnmg!" JJ let out a soft, pained sigh after those: it was getting more and uncomfortable to stifle them. Worse, she could feel the mucous beginning to flood her nasal passages; she would need to sniff soon, which she knew from experience would make her sneeze, which would make her need to sniff, and would turn her into a drippy, leaky mess in Hotch's prescence. Next to her, she heard Hotch give a sympathetic, concerned-sounding sigh before blessing her-again.

"Oh, bless you, JJ!" She nodded.

"Thanks-I'm so sorry." Great. There was already a trace of congestion in her voice, and it had been what, less than ten minutes? Just fantastic.

"No apologies needed." Her vision was blurry with tears, so she pulled her sleeves down and gently wiped around the corners of her eyes, and her water lines, to try to clear them and make them stop itching quite so badly. This time, her sleeves were damp, and smudges of eye makeup were present.

She felt like a mess. Her entire face felt like it was on fire-her eyes and nose from the allergy attack, her cheeks from burning embarrassment-she was sure her makeup had run and was beginning to ring her eyes, and her nose was running. Crawling into a hole and never coming out sounded like a viable option just then!

Much to her chagrin, she needed to sneeze for what felt like the hundredth time. She cursed her nose and her allergies silently, and hunched her shoulders as she grasped her nose between two fingers to stifle another set of sneezes.

"Hh-ngs! Nngs! Hhngs! Hh...hhhgths! Hhnsg!"


Hotch winced as JJ pinched off another rough-sounding set of sneezes, these sounding slightly less controlled than her previous fits. There was a nasal, hissing sound at the end of each one, and another pained gasp at the end of the fit. It sounded painful, uncomfortable, and just plain miserable, and he felt awful for JJ.

"God bless you." He studied her intently, unsure of what to do to ease her symptoms, or her mortification. Her nose and cheeks were bright red, and her eyes were beginning to look slightly puffy.

"Thank you, Hotch." Her voice was officially becoming congested. It was still mild, but he knew that it would probably grow much more severe if they didn't get out of the elevator soon, given the way his friend was already reacting. He looked for a phone to call the front desk, but the one mounted on the wall had an "out-of-order" sign on it, which complicated things. Thankfully, his cell phone had service, so he called Garcia.

"Resident technical goddess speaking."

He felt his mood lift a bit. Penelope never failed to amuse him.

"Hello, Garcia. I was wondering if you could do me a favor?"

"Of course, bossman! What can I do for you? Do I get to hack anything?"

"Not this time. Would you look up-"

"Hhgnsh! Hhngsht! Hh...hhhgsh!-hhgsh!-hnngshuh!"

Hotch stopped talking as JJ pitched forward with five violent, painful-sounding, poorly stifled, sneezes.

"Bless you." He murmured quietly, before bringing the phone back to his ear. JJ nodded her thanks, and sniffled once-it sounded congested and liquid and itchy.

"Oh my goodness! Who was that?"

Penelope sounded quite concerned, the motherly tone quite audible in her voice.

"That was JJ. Could you please call the front desk of our hotel to let them know that the elevator has stopped working, and that two people are currently inside?"

It probably would have been better to ask for the number, but Hotch knew that Garcia could connect to the hotel more quickly than he could, and speak with more urgency. She also had a way of persuading people to act quickly, while also staying on their good side.

"Of course! Are you two alright? Is JJ sick? Oh, don't tell me that you were out in that nasty weather last night-"

Hotch cut her off quickly.

"We're fine, Garcia-at least, I am. We were inside, and no, JJ's not sick-she's having an allergic reaction."

"Oh, my poor little buttercup!" Garcia cooed anxiously. "I'll call right away. You tell my Jayje to hang in there!"

"Will do." Hotch replied, his voice soft. "Thank you, Garcia."

She hung up, and he followed suite before turning to look at JJ. She had sniffed several times during his conversation with Garcia, and now had a desperately sneezy look on her face. He wished that she wouldn't try to smother the reaction-it couldn't be comfortable.


"Hhgsx! Hhgnst! Hh...hhgnsh! Hhhgsh!-nngsxt!-hhhngsg! Hhh...hhh...hhGSHoo!"

The final sneeze refused to be subdued like the others had been, and JJ felt her ears burn in embarrassment as a breathy "ooo" followed the powerful stifle. Worse, her nose was really beginning to run-she was sniffling near constantly after that fit.

"Bless you, JJ."

Hotch's voice sounded increasingly concerned. JJ nodded.


She found herself wiping her eyes for the third time in less than fifteen minutes, and nearly groaned when she pulled her hand away and found that black smudges were prominent all over the edges of her sleeves: no doubt that her makeup was going everywhere! Her hand migrated on it's own accord to her nose, and she rubbed it furiously.

Yep. She thought sullenly. Allergies are definitely the worst.


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Thank you both! You're so kind!

I'm sorry that this part is fairly short, but the past few days have been busy, and I head back to school tomorrow, so I'm trying to "ration out" the updates. :)


Hotch felt the wrinkle in between his eyes deepen as JJ's body shook with seven more sneezes. The seventh escaped her best efforts to be completely stifled, though, and it sounded far less controlled than her previous ones had. He blessed her, and noted with a frown that she was sniffling.

"Garcia says to hang in there. She's calling the front desk as we speak to let them know that there is an issue." His frown only deepened when JJ nodded while scrubbing vigorously at her nose, which was beginning to turn a bright red. Her other arm was wrapped around her stomach, as if to close her off from the outside world. A moment later, her breath hitched desperately several times, then she spun away from him to sneeze.

"Hhhih...hhhiiih...hhhh....hhhNGSHuh! HhgnSHNuh! HhhGNSHoooh! HhhgNSHxt-uh! Hhggnsh!-nngsh!ngsh!ngh!nngsh-HGSHooo! Hhh...hhh...hhhnnGDDSCHooooo!"

This fit was by far the most violent, and Hotch winced in sympathy. She had still managed to halfway stifle the sneezes, and they were still soft, but there was an increasingly desperate, violent, and excruciatingly itchy sound to them. Even more concerning was the fact that the final sneeze had made her lean against the wall, looking dizzy and breathless.

"God bless you, JJ!" Hotch exclaimed, shocked by the intensity of her reaction. "Are you alright?"

"'M fine." She answered, body tensing as she sniffled repeatedly while simaltaneously swiping at her nose and blushing furiously.


JJ rubbed her nose vigorously, trying to dispel that awful burning itch that was stuck in her sinuses, but it didn't seem to help at all. She was mortified to find that, after her strongest fit yet, she had been forced to lean against the elevator wall. The sneezes, as well as the force required to subdue them, were causing her to feel drained and slightly unsteady on her feet, particularly in her tall pumps from the press conference earlier that day. She could feel her ability to "control" the attack, and/or convince Hotch that it was simply a mild allergy, slipping away quickly.

"God bless you, JJ!" Hotch's voice was thick with concern, and shock. "Are you alright?" She nodded, swiping and scrubbing at her nose to try to soothe the burning tickle, and to keep it from running. Her face felt like it was on fire-this was beyond humiliating.

"'M fine." She responded, then had to wince at her own voice. The watery congestion that had her sniffling constantly had really started to clog her sinuses, and it was obvious.

Worse still, she needed to blow her nose-really, really, needed to-but she didn't have anything in her purse, and diving into her bag would be a difficult endeavor, seeing as it was filled with binders and files and paper clippings. She closed her eyes and tipped her head back a bit, exhausted. Hotch's voice caused her to open them.

"JJ?" He was holding a pristine white cloth-a handkerchief-out to her. Her face felt like it was on fire as she sniffled again and accepted it.

"Thanks you! I'll buy you a new one." She murmured, before swiping at the irritated appendage with the cool cloth.


Hotch thought JJ sounded miserable. From the congestion thickening her voice to the soft, but urgent, wet sniffles that were coming every few seconds, it was obvious that she needed to blow her nose. He watched as she searched her bag for tissues, but couldn't stay quiet once a look of tired resignation crept over her face, and she leaned against the wall, her head back.

He pulled his clean, neatly folded handkerchief from his pocket, and held it out to her. She didn't notice, seemingly lost in her thoughts(though he suspected she was merely trying to tamp down the urge to sneeze), so he said her name to get her attention.

"JJ?" It was a statement phrased as a question. She looked over, and immediately an expression of immense relief, but also embarrassment, flooded her face. Her hand took it from his, and she wiped her irritated red nose with the handkerchief before responding. The gratitude was evident in her voice.

"Thank you! I'll buy you a new one." Her voice trailed off, and she pressed the handkerchief to her nose again, brow furrowed, a faint pre-sneeze expression beginning to sneak into her features.

Hotch frowned. JJ was obviously embarrassed, but he wished that she wouldn't be. It wasn't like he would blame her-it was allergies, not something she had any control over.

"That's not necessary." He responded quietly. She nodded, shook her head, then took in a gasping breath.

"Ye-heh-s it ih-hih-s...hhhgnshoooh! Hhhgnshuh! HhhhGNshoo! Hahh...hhhih...hhhGSHOOoo! HhhSXTNshoo! HhhGSHuh! Sorry!" She managed, following her final sneeze. The blonde rubbed the handkerchief roughly against her irritated nose, trying to dispel the itch and the runniness at once. Thick, watery sniffles came almost constantly, as well. Aaron realized the problem: JJ was embarrassed.

"JJ. Blow your nose." His voice was unusually gentle and soft as he tried to convey that she was not in trouble, and that he was not annoyed. She turned away from him and blew quietly, which helped tremendously.

Finally, she turned around and leaned against the wall again, eyes closed.

"Sorry. Ugh. I'm so disgusting." Her voice sounded a bit clearer, but her nostrils were already twitching and flaring, which told Hotch that this attack was far from over. He shook his head.

"You have nothing to apologize for. Allergies are not your fault. And you look miserable-not disgusting." JJ's eyes opened and she blinked in surprise.


"Anytime." They held eye contact for a moment before JJ turned her head, bringing the handkerchief to her nose as she sneezed again.

"AaNGSXT! Hhgssh! Hhhgths! Hh...hhhhNGSHuh! Hhhgsn! Hhhh...hihh...hihhhh..." The fifth sneeze seemed to hold her on the edge for ages as her breath puffed in short, shallow gasps. Hotch winced in sympathy-her face was awash in ticklish, pre-sneeze agony. Tears were collected at the corner of each eye. Finally, after nearly 40 seconds, she jerked forward with several more sneezes. They were so rapid that they came out on top of one another. "Hhhgsh! Ttsh! Hhh'tsch! Hhhgshuh!"

"Bless you." His subordinate nodded her thanks. Hotch checked his watch-it had been a little over half an hour since the elevator had stopped moving, and he was beginning to wonder how quickly they could get out of there. Almost as if she could read his thoughts, Garcia called. "Hotchner."

"Hello, bossman. I have some good news and some bad news that are kind of the same." Hotch frowned deeply, and pinched the bridge of his nose.


"The hotel said the electrician will be over. However, it's going to be a while." A near growl came from Hotch's throat. JJ was allergic and miserable and needed out!

"Garcia. How long are we talking?" She sighed, and he could tell that she was just about as frustrated and concerned.

"Anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour and a half, though I suspect those were low estimates. I suggest making yourselves comfortable."

Hotch could have yelled in anger. What part of "FBI" and "allergic agent" did they not understand? Still, yelling at Garcia would do nothing but increase tension.

"Thank you, Garcia."

"Sure thing. Sir? Could I speak to JJ?"

For the first time since the elevator had stopped moving, Hotch smiled a little bit. He had assumed that at some point, Garcia's mothering would take over and she would want to hear how JJ was for herself. Sometimes-particularly when she was fussing over him-she could be a bit stifling, but he always felt that his team was well cared for when she was watching over them. If someone were sick or upset or ailing in any way, Garcia was on the scene.

"Absolutely. Here she is."

JJ jerked her head up as Hotch handed the phone to her, looking a cross between annoyed and betrayed. He fought the urge to smirk-he had been on that end of the phone several times himself.


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This is so well written, I can picture it! I agree, this definitely should be an episode ;)

Seriously, you have somehow managed to both capture an entirely different side of JJ and Hotch, while still keeping them perfectly in character. For someone like me who isn't really into female sneezes, to still be on the edge of my seat (figuratively of course, I'm lying in bed right now :)) waiting for updates and enjoying every bit, is, at least in my opinion, a pretty good indicator that your writing and handle on the characters and their interactions is top notch!!

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Apologies for not posting in a bit-I'm performing in a talent show this evening so I have been practicing and distracted and not home all week between dress rehearsals and dance classes and school. :) I finally have a chance to post, though!

Also, this is all I have written thus far, and with holidays and breaks, my teachers are cramming homework down my throat, so I apologize in advance if posts are few and far between! I'm still plugging away at both stories, but I can only write in five minute burst in transit(motion sickness) and at lunch break at school before my friends join me. Thanks for the patience and lovely comments-they mean so much, since you are my writing role models!



JJ felt a bit irked at Hotch as he handed her the phone, but mostly peeved that her nose was itching badly and she would have to sneeze while on the phone.

"Oh, Jayje...how are you?"

Garcia's voice was dripping with sympathy and concern. JJ sniffled as quietly as she could, and swiped her nose-hard-several times before answering.

"I'm...hehh...fine, Penelope."

She was lying through her teeth, as evidenced by the hitching breath in between her words.


JJ couldn't hold it back any more.

"Hhh-hang on..."

Her voice was thickly congested and breathy. It was all she could do to clutch the handkerchief to her nose, pinching it firmly through the soft cloth, and to hold the phone against her shoulder in an effort to muffle the sound.

"HAHnngt! Nngsxt! NGGSt! Hhhgsh! Ahhh...hhahh...aaahngt! Nghgggggxts! Hhhgshuh! Ngshuh! Nnnnngshoo! Sorry, Pen."

The vicious stifles left her head spinning and her struggling to catch her breath, while her nose continued to buzz.

She wiped her nose roughly, and rubbed her forehead-her sinuses were starting to suffer.

"Oh, honey, bless you! You poor thing-you sound awful!"

"It's really not that bad-"

She protested, cheeks burning. It was though-her eyes were beyond itchy and gritty and watery; her throat was itchy enough that she had to clear it, and it wouldn't be long before she was coughing; and obviously her nose was up in arms about the cleaner. Garcia scoffed.

"Oh, please-now you sound like Hotch."

JJ had to smile at that. The unit chief was notorious for hiding-and downplaying-anything he deemed a "personal weakness". As a result, colds tended to turn into something much worse, and he'd alarmed the team more than once with allergy attacks that could have been avoided, had he told someone.

"Seriously, Penelope. It's just an allergy-I'll be fine."

The congestion in her voice, along with the fact that she'd had to pause to clear her throat in between "allergy" and "I'll", probably didn't reassure her worried friend.

"What on earth are you allergic to, anyway?"

JJ winced as the tickle started to intensify yet again, and swiped at her watery eyes.

"Just the cleaning stuff they-ahhh, hihhh-used this morning. I-hold on just a...hhh....hehh-second...!"

She squeaked out, before pinching her nose and sneezing as the burning itch she had been fighting the whole time wouldn't be kept at bay any longer.

"Ahhhhgnt! Hhhgnsht! Aaahngt!-nggtxxx!-ttsccht!-hhhtch!-tttngt!-hhhhgnxtsh!" The poorly-executed stifles had tumbled out so rapidly that JJ stumbled forward, gasping in a breath before continuing to sneeze, her upper respiratory system clearly unhappy with the way it was being treated. "Hhhhsch! Kktchngt! Hhhgnst! Hhggght! Hhhngsh!-NGXGT!-nnggggxtuh!-nnnghsht!-HHHgnnnshxxxtuh!"

The final sneeze left JJ's head pounding and world spinning as she dizzily tried to pull in air. She gave a quick cough, then straightened up and rubbed her nose before pulling herself together enough to apologize to Garcia. She didn't even want to look at Hotch-she could feel worry and sympathy radiating from him as it was.

"Ugh, God...sorry, Pen. I'm fine, I promise-just a little sneezy."

Her voice was decidedly congested as she rubbed her nose fiercely with the handkerchief. It was quickly turning a bright red, and looked very itchy and uncomfortable.

"Oh, yes, you're completely fine. If that's your "little", I'd like to see your definition of "sneezing your head off", because that's what it sounds like you're doing. God bless you, buttercup!"

JJ rolled her eyes. She had a feeling she would be sneezing her head off by the time they got out of the elevator-by the time she was around this for another hour or so, she was going to be sneezing almost constantly.

"Thanks, Garcia. I promise I'll be fine. There's not much I can do right now, anyway. I have to go-here's Hotch."

Her "m's" and "n's" had decidedly b and d-like qualities, and she needed to blow her nose because the constant sniffling was making her cough. She gave a watery-sounding blow, coughed again, and then closed her irritated, streaming eyes as she leaned against the wall, and tried to fight the urge to rub them. She wasn't sure how much longer she could hold out.


Hotch watched with increasing concern as JJ talked with Garcia. Her first fit made him frown, which only got worse as he watched her press a finger beneath her increasingly irritated-looking nose, trying to stave off another fit. Finally, she gasped out a "hold on a second", and pinched her quivering, twitching nostrils while holding the phone as far away as possible.

"Ahhhhgnt! Hhhgnsht! Aaahngt!-nggtxxx!-ttsccht!-hhhtch!-tttngt!-hhhhgnxtsh!"

The sneezes were violently pinched off, and sent JJ stumbling forward, before she braced her side against the wall, gasping in a breath before the fit continued to bend her over-nearly in half. Hotch's stomach twisted at how badly she seemed to be suffering.

"Hhhsch! Kktchngt! Hhhgnst! Hhggght! Hhhngsh!-NGXGT!-nnggggxtuh!-nnnghsht!-HHHgnnnshxxxtuh!" Her final sneeze left her visibly dizzy and winded. He wished there was something he could do to make her feel better, but without antihistamines, and or the ability to make the elevator arrive at it's intended destination, he was pretty much powerless.

"-here's Hotch."

JJ's congested, miserable-sounding voice jerked him from his thoughts, and he took the phone, trying to catch her eye as he did so. She noticeably avoided his gaze, blushing furiously as she turned around to give her nose a watery blow.

"Sir, she sounds absolutely awful!"

"I'm quite aware."

He responded, watching as JJ gave an itchy sounding cough and cleared her throat, leaning against the wall with her eyes closed and the handkerchief loosely clutched in her hand.

"I wish there was something I could do."

"So do I." There was a pause, and then Garcia filled it.

"Sir, you should both get as comfortable as possible. They still won't be there for another...um, 40 minutes, at least. Call me if there's anything else I can do."

"Will do, Garcia. Thank you for your help."


They hung up at the same time, and Hotch pocketed the phone before looking at JJ. She seemed tense and exhausted, and miserable. He wished he could get her out of there. As it was, the best he could do was fill her in.

"JJ, Garcia says to get comfortable. It's going to be awhile."

Her eyes flashed open. The look she gave him was fearful.

"How long is awhile?"

It came out slightly raspy, and she cleared her throat, followed by a tight-sounding cough. He sighed.

"Probably more than an hour."

He winced as, before the words were out, she clutched the handkerchief to her nose and doubled over with a wrenching, stifled fit.

"Hhahgnst! HhhNGSHuh! Hhhhgxxxxst! Hhhhgxxchsht! Hhhh...hhh...hihh-hhsgh!-NGXST!-nnnghshtooooh!"

It was obvious that it was growing more and more difficult to subdue the histamine-fueled explosions. By the time she surfaced, she was rubbing her sinuses like they were aching, and her nostrils were even redder than before.

"Bless you."

"Thank you. Hotch..." She was about to ask something, but shook her head instead like she were clearing it.

Hotch, however, wanted to know what she was going to ask.


"Never mind. It'll be fine."

Hotch frowned as she started gearing up for another fit. She was a picture of allergic misery. Her nose was a rosy, glowing red, and her nostrils flaring. Makeup had smeared slightly around her eyes, which were watery, red rimmed, and starting to become bloodshot. Not to mention, she was on the verge of a sneeze, or recovering from one, at all times.

"Hhhgsh! Nngsh! Ngsh!-ngsh!-ngshn!-nngsxt!-nngsxt!-NGXGT!-nnhgst!-nghs!nhgsh!ngsh! Hhhihhhh-hhsgh! Nngsxt! Ashgnt! Nngshooh! Hhhih...huhhh...hihhh...hhhsxt!-nggsxt!-nnnngsxt!-ggsxt!-nngsxt! Hhhhgssshhhhhiew!"

Her fits were growing longer and more exhausting. The last sneeze wrenched out of her, barely managing to be stifled, and sent her stumbling forward.

Hotch quickly reached out, and grabbed her arm, steadying his blonde friend as she recovered from her dizziness.

"God bless you, Jayje. Are you alright?"

His voice was low and quiet, but held volumes of concern. She nodded, which caused her to reach out and brace herself on the wall. Hotch adjusted his grip so that he was holding onto her bicep with on hand, and her forearm with the other. His stance also changed, so that he was braced to catch her weight if she lost her balance. "Whoa, easy. Take a second." She caught her breath, then leaned against the wall again-though, this time, it was the back wall.

"God, I'm such a mess. I'm so sorry, Hotch." She said, sounding mortified and miserable.

He shook his head.

"JJ, it's absolutely fine. I wish there was something I could do to help." She shrugged, gave a watery sniffle, and then rubbed her eyes. She couldn't take the itch anymore. Hotch winced in sympathy-the eyelids were already beginning to look raw and puffy, and she'd barely touched them. He gently touched her shoulder.

"That's just going to make it worse."

She sighed, and lowered her hands, instead letting her right scrub furiously at her tortured nose. He looked on as her breath caught, and she began sneezing again.


JJ leaned against the back wall of the elevator, dread and mortification washing over her. This was not good. She didn't think she could stand another hour-or more!-of this. As hard as she was trying to be stoic, and pretend that it wasn't as bad as it was, she wasn't sure she could keep it up much longer. Her eyes burned and stung and watered, and she caved and began rubbing them. She registered Hotch telling her to stop before her hands migrated to her nose-another round of sneezes was coming. With a feeling of utmost resignation, she braced herself and buried her nose in the handkerchief.

"Aahhh...hehh...hhhhhTNGXTh! Hhhgsht! Nngsxt! Hhhhgnxtsh! Hhh...hihhh...hhhgnxt!-gggnsxt!-NGXT!-nngsxt!-nnnxgt!-nnnghst!-hhhhggxxxt!nnnxxxxxxxt!ngxst!nngkst! Ahhhggkkksxt! Hhh...hhhngnsxt! Nngsxtuh! Gggsxtsh! Hhhgshuh! Nnnnnnnsxt! Hhhh...hhhih...hhhh...ugh, Goh-hhhh-God..."

The sneeze was torturing her as her breath hitched and caught, nostrils twitching, pulsing, and quivering. She was acutely aware that Hotch was watching her like a hawk, and she felt utterly ridiculous. It seemed to take years for the sneeze to come-and it didn't come alone.

"Aasjgnsht! Tsscht! Gggnsxt!-ggnxt'uh!-xxxgtnt!-nnngxxt!-sssxht!-nnnghst!-hhhhhxxxht!-nnnghst!-nnnhsht!-mmnsch!-nnngmssh!-gggnsxt!-kkksxt!-kkksxt!-TSCHooh!"

They came one after the other, tumbling out so quickly that she couldn't seem to breathe. She was getting dizzy and lightheaded, and holding them in was making her sinuses ache and her head throb. The final sneeze wrenched out of her, sending her stumbling forward again, and she would have fallen if not for Hotch throwing an arm around her waist while catching her arm with his free hand.

"Bless you, bless you, bless you!"

His voice was filled with sympathy and outright worry. JJ kept her eyes closed as she panted, trying to catch her breath, her head spinning. Hotch squeezed her shoulder gently, trying to offer what comfort he could. She nodded gratefully, and leaned back against the wall again, drained from the violent attack and the effort of containing it.

"Are you okay?"

"'M fine." Her voice was thick, and she blew her nose as quietly as possible. The handkerchief was now damp. Her head was pounding and still spinning, so she massaged the bridge of her nose and her forehead.


Hotch was beyond worried at this point. JJ's sneezes were coming too quickly for her to breathe in between them, and bending her nearly double with the force. The last sneeze sent her toppling forward, and he grabbed her around the waist, heart racing as she sagged against him, eyes closed and hands cupped around her nose, trying to catch her breath.

"Bless you, bless you, bless you!"

It didn't even begin to match the severity of her display. She nodded, unable to answer, as he squeezed her shoulder. He felt so helpless! "Are you okay?" Obviously not.

"'M fine." She rubbed her forehead and the bridge of her nose, face slightly pinched and eyes screwed shut. The sneezing was clearly giving her a headache.

"Headache?" He asked quietly. She shrugged.

"A little. It's not that bad." It came out horrendously congested.

"Holding them in must be murder on your sinuses."

"It kind of is." She admitted, rubbing her nose absently. He nodded.

"You shouldn't do that-you could hurt yourself." The blush was back with a vengeance.

"Sorry. I just...sorry." Her voice was quiet, and she seemed unsure of what to say.


I'll continue as soon as I can!

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I love this fic. Not normally into allergies, but this is great! I like how concerned Hotch and Garcia are. Also, this bit:

Garcia scoffed.

"Oh, please-now you sound like Hotch."

JJ had to smile at that. The unit chief was notorious for hiding-and downplaying-anything he deemed a "personal weakness". As a result, colds tended to turn into something much worse, and he'd alarmed the team more than once with allergy attacks that could have been avoided, had he told someone.

Favourite paragraph ever.

Edited by silentdreamer789
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I second what silentdreamer said, and I totally know that "buried under homework" feel. Thank you for taking the time to still give us beautiful updates, and I, for one, will definitely appreciate them no matter what the rate is.

Pertaining to the story all I have to say is wow. That was a lie, I have more to say... I love LOVE the fact that poor JJ is starting to give in to the allergies more and in doing so, allowing Hotch to, for lack of a better word, help her more ;)

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this is so yummy! I generally like cold fics more than allergies but this is so well written and such a great scenario :-)

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  • 11 months later...
  • 5 weeks later...

Thank you all so much for your continued support and encouragement-it truly means the world to me. I'm not thrilled with this update, but I'm trying to get SOMEthing new up, so please bear with me. Reviews and constructive criticism are much appreciated. Thank you so, so much for your patience with me as I update slowly. I'm thinking there will be at least two more parts after this. I have a lot of stories to write, but I'm trying to do them well, so thank you for your patience!

"JJ. You have nothing to apologize for-this isn't your fault. I just wish there was something I could do to make you more comfortable-as it is, all I can do is try to prevent you from blowing an eardrum." That seemed to make JJ seen more at ease-Hotch rarely made jokes, but his wry way of saying certain things amused her.

"And I appreciate that." They lapsed into silence for a moment, broken only by JJ sniffling twice in rapid succession, before Hotch broke it-extremely unusual.

"Well, if it's going to be a while, we might as well sit down." The blonde nodded, rubbing her nose several times with the handkerchief before following her unit chief's lead. She bit back a sigh as she settled into the corner, propping her back against the wall and curling her legs up beside her like a cat. Hotch watched as she rubbed her eyes again, and then took a couple upward swipes at her nose with the handkerchief before sniffling and tipping her head back, eyes closed and nostrils flaring erratically. For the moment, she seemed to lose the urge to sneeze, and she turned to face her superior again, scratching self-consciously at her arm.

"Hotch, I amb so sorry about this. I kndow I'mb really gross right ndow-"

"JJ, stop, please!" Hotch said, more empathetically than normal. She looked at him in surprise, and he quickly added to his statement. "This is not your fault in any way, shape, or form. You are not disgusting-you are allergic. Anyway, you saw me when I was on that plane-there is no way that I could judge you even if I wanted to." That got a wincing laugh from JJ.

"Oh mby god, that was awful. You had me worried!" Aaron nodded and gave a rueful chuckle of his own.

"Longest six hours of my recent life." He admitted. JJ nodded, and gave a little smirk.

"I'mb just sayindg, you kndew you were allergic to cats-you could have said sombethidng and spared yourself."

"And disappoint Reid? I don't think so." They both laughed at that, which quickly turned to JJ coughing lightly, her throat irritated, then scratching at her arms and rubbing her neck. A moment later, she scrambled to get the handkerchief to her nose in time to cover her sneezes.

"Hhg'NSH'oo! Kktschuh! Hhhgnish! HhhNXGTsh!GNXTCH!NXGTsch! Ahh...hihh..." In the moment where her fit actually seemed to pause, leaving her on the precipice, Hotch touched her arm gently. She looked at him with watery, half shut eyes, breath coming in shallow, high-pitched gasps.


"JJ, please stop stifling. You're going to hurt yourself." She gave a nod. In truth, she wasn't sure she could keep stifling at this point-her nose was itching so badly, and was so irritated, that the sneezes were becoming too powerful to contain without adding to her sinus' suffering.

"Hhh...HANGSCHEEW!" The first sneeze was positively wrenched out of her, and doubled her over. Aaron winced in sympathy-it was excruciatingly ticklish and itchy. It was quickly followed by a flurry of others that were quieter, but no less violent. "HhhhISHiew! TSCHiew! HhhKTSCHoo! Hhh'PSH'iew! AaaTSHIEW! KTSHiew! TSCHoo!Shiew!Ktschoo! HhhGNSHIEW! HhPTSHoo! Ha'TSCH'ioo!" With a final, rather nasal sneeze, JJ turned away and blew her nose very quietly. When she was done, she turned back to face her boss. Her eyes were red and watery, face and neck flushed, and nose very, very irritated and rosy looking.

"Oh mby God, that was so gross. I'mb so sorry, againd."

"Bless you, Jayje. There's no need to apologize, again."

"I'm just so embarrassed!" She admitted, rubbing her lower arm and then her throat, which she cleared with an itchy-sounding cough.

"You have nothing to be embarrassed about." Hotch assured her. He felt terrible that she was in such a vulnerable position-he knew he’d hated how exposed he’d felt when he’d been trapped on the plane in the middle of an allergy attack-and he felt badly that JJ was so miserable. She coughed again, then rolled her eyes and followed it up with another sneezing fit.

“Hhangschew! KTSCHiew! HGGSHiew! Uhhh…hhh…hh’PSH’oo! ‘TSCHoo! HSSSHIEW! Ahhh…KTSCHoo! TSCHoo! HHSHIEW! Uhhh…hihhh…hhh…ugh.” The final sneeze teased her, but finally left her feeling extremely tickly and uncomfortable. She returned her hand to her arm, and this time, Hotch connected the dots.

“JJ, let me see your arm.” He took it gently and pushed the long sleeve of her blazer up, and couldn’t help but gasp in surprise and horror. Her whole arm was covered in red, swollen welts and looked terribly itchy. “JJ!” She looked at him, the apology written all over her face, and his gaze traveled over the rest of her. Her neck and chest were red, not just from rubbing it as he’d originally thought, but from hives. A slight whistling sound was audible-barely there, but still there-whenever she took in a breath, and he felt a knot form in his stomach. Immediately, he pulled out his cell phone and called Garcia. She answered on the first ring.

“Goddess of all things technical-speak, mortal.”

“Garcia, I need you to find out how much longer it’s going to be until we can get out of here.”

“Of course, bossman. What’s wrong-is JJ getting worse?” He looked across and saw JJ swiping her hand across her throat, clearly signaling for him to not pass on the details, but decided Garcia needed the full picture in order to effectively hurry the rescue along.

“Yes-she’s breaking out in hives and starting to wheeze. You need to get them to get us out as soon as possible.”

“On it-give Jayje my love.”

JJ glared at him the second he hung up the phone, but sneezed before she could get fully angry.

“HSSHoo! TSCHoo! HHH’PSH’UH! TSCHOO! Hhh’KTSCH’oo! Hhh…hhh…hh’USHiew! NNGSHiew! KKSSHiew! ITSCH’iew! Hhh’RSHuh!” She was left panting heavily after the exhausting attack, and Hotch wished there were something he could do. While JJ recovered her breath, his phone rang.


“About half an hour, Hotch. They’re moving much more quickly after some “encouragement”.” He cracked a smile, thanked Garcia, and then hung up.

“Half an hour, JJ.” She looked relieved, and closed her eyes, rubbing absentmindedly at her lower arm. Hotch looked at his watch and sighed, wishing the half hour were already up.

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Guys, I'm actually almost done with a story! I'm thinking there will be one more part after this, but I'm excited to have at least one story finished. I don't know that I've ever finished a story for the forum before, but I'm hoping to get everything updated soon. Thank you so much for the awesome feedback-it means so much to me and really gives me motivation to get things done more quickly. Thanks for bearing with me!

Yay I love the update!!! I'm glad Jj stopped stifling!

I'm so glad you liked it! :) Thanks so much for your support-it means the world!


“Ahhh…hhhh…hh’PSH’ooh! ‘KTSCHuh! ISSHiew! Hhh’TSSHiew! Hhh’RSH’uh! Hhhh…hhh…’TSHiew!KSSHiew!HHSHiew! Hhh…hhh’PSSH’iew!” JJ gave a series of wrenching, itchy sounding sneezes that left her breathless. Hotch worriedly glanced at his watch. They were minutes away from being rescued-Garcia had called several times with updates. Once the severity of JJ’s attack had been stressed to the hotel managers, they had begun to hurry the process along. Still, it wasn’t happening quickly enough. “HH’TSHiew! USSHiew! KSSHiew! TSCHooh! Hhh..hh..HISHiew!” Poor JJ was sneezing nearly constantly-she barely had time to take a breath before the next set of ticklish, violent sneezes. “TSSHiew! HSSHiew! KTSCHiiew! IISHuh! ‘tschoo! HH’PSH’iew!”

“Bless you, JJ.” Aaron’s voice was worried and completely sympathetic. The blonde nodded, her eyes still closed as the next sneeze teased her. JJ looked absolutely miserable. Her face was constantly stuck in “pre-sneeze”, her eyes and nose were red and swollen, and the skin on her neck and arms was bright red and blotchy from hives. She desperately needed out of the elevator and into a shower, but they were still stuck.

“TSSHiew! Hhh’ngsh’iew! ‘TSCHooo! KKTSCHuh! Hhh…hhhh…HHSSHiew! ISHiew! KTSCHiew!” She rubbed at her nose roughly through the damp folds of the handkerchief, obviously itchy and miserable. Hotch felt terrible. It felt like he had failed somehow by not predicting the future, even though he knew that was absurd logic. He just felt horrible for JJ. They’d been stuck for nearly an hour and forty-five minutes, and the reaction only seemed to be intensifying.

“JJ, I am so sorry. I wish I would have known-“ She shook her head.

“It’s fih-hineTSCHoo! KTSCHoo! ISSHiew! You couldd’t have kdowdn-KSSHiew! USSHiew! Hhh’TSCHoo!” The sneezing relented for a moment and she sat, her breathing whistling slightly, trying to recover and catch her breath. Then, the most magical moment of the day occurred: the elevator began to move.

“Thank God!” They chorused(though JJ’s pronunciation was more along the lines of “thadk God”), then laughed. For JJ, it turned into a itchy, harsh-sounding cough that turned into more sneezing. “Hhh’PSSH’iew! ‘TSCHoo! KTSCHoo! USSHiew! Hhh’GGSHuh! TSCHoo! TSSHiew! Hhh’ush’iew!”

The second the doors opened to their floor, Hotch wrapped an arm around the still-sneezing JJ and hurried her out of the elevator. Morgan and Prentiss were hovering and he shook his head before they could say anything.

“I’ll explain later.” His voice was curt, his attention focused solely on helping JJ.

“HANGSSHiew! USSSHiew! TSCHooh! HiiYISHoo!-…” Hotch moved them as quickly down the hallway as he could, then stopped right in front of his door and opened it before ushering JJ inside.

“JJ, I’m going to go see if the hotel has any antihistamines, but I want you to take a shower. I’ll get a change of clothes from your go-bag, but I didn’t want any of these chemicals in your room. I’ll be right back.” She nodded, still sneezing into steepled hands, and he left to go find antihistamines. Prentiss was waiting anxiously in the hallway.

“Hotch, wha-“ He shook his head.

“Prentiss, here’s JJ’s keycard. I need you to get her go-bag and bring it to my room, and then I need you to help make sure she gets in the shower. She needs to wash the chemicals off. I’m going to go find some antihistamines.” Prentiss nodded, and Hotch took the stairs to see if the hotel desk had anything for sale.

JJ, for her part, could not remember a time when she had felt more miserable. Every inch of her body itched-her arms, her legs, even her back-and her face felt hot and swollen. The sneezing was exhausting, and her sinuses were aching. She knew she needed to get a shower, but she could hardly move from sneezing so much, and she was so tired…

“HHhh’TSSHoo! KKSSHuh! ESHoo! TSCHoo! Hhh’RSSHuh! KISH!TSCH!ISH! Hhh’GGSHoo!...” They were slowing down a bit-not as rapid fire as they had originally been coming-but all that did was leave her in the awful buildups for longer. Her nose was tickling so much-she couldn’t remember ever reacting this badly before, even on that car trip with her friend.

A knock startled her, and she looked up through watery, half-lidded eyes to see Emily come into the room.

“Oh, Jayje…” She said sadly, coming and sitting next to her friend on the bed. JJ could see Emily had her go-bag, and felt a flash of gratitude for Hotch.

“I’mb fihhHISH’uh! Fidne! TSCHoo! KSHuh! ISH! HhhhRSHuh! Hhh…hhTSHoo! Hhhh…HHNGSHuh! Hhh..hhh…hhhISHuh! KTSCHuh!...” Emily gave a sarcastic looking smirk that JJ’s closed eyes missed, and placed a hand on the blonde’s shoulder to give it a reassuring squeeze.

“I think when you sneeze through a word, you’re not “fine”. C’mon, let’s get you undressed-the sooner you get in the shower, the sooner you’ll stop sneezing.” JJ nodded, and started to shrug out of her blazer, sneezing into the crook of her elbow to avoid spraying Emily.

Prentiss gasped when she saw poor JJ’s arms. They were bright red and covered in raised welts, and they looked as if they itched badly.

“Oh, you poor thing!”

“It’s fidne! I’mb okayYYISSHoo! HhhhISHuh! Hhhh’ISHoo! Hhh…hhhKTSCHuh!...” Prentiss gave a soft laugh, and ushered JJ-in a tank top and her pants-into the bathroom.

“Well, you got four words in, that’s progress.” JJ cracked a smile, gave an irritated cough, and then sneezed again.

“HhhTSHoo! Hhh…hhh…hhKSHoo! Hhh’TSH’oo! TSCHoo! KTSCHuh!...” A minute later, Prentiss heard the shower turn on, and she winced in sympathy as itchy, allergic sneezes continued to echo off of the tile.

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:-) I can almost feel JJ's relief at getting out of the elevator!!

Aw, thank you so much! You're so kind and it means the world to me. I really appreciate all your support!

I don't know if I should be happy or sad she got off the elevator.

I felt the same way. Thanks so much!

this is so great! thanks so much for the updates

this is great!!! thanks for updating

Thank you for the kind feedback-it really means the world! You're so kind and I truly appreciate your support. <3

Guys, I actually finished a story! And it only took a year and a few months! Thank you so much for all the support, kindness, and patience with the updates. You're all amazing and I can't thank you enough for sticking with me. This is the last part of this story, but I'm continuing to work on my other ones and also some new ideas that have been floating around for a while. Thanks again, and I hope you enjoy this! Any feedback or constructive criticism is very much appreciated-it helps me learn and become a better writer, and I'm always looking to improve.


JJ sniffled and sneezed her way into the shower after placing her clean change of clothes on the ledge next to the bathtub, sneezing openly towards the ground as she undressed. It was gross, but no one was there to see her and she was past the point of caring. Her one thought was to get in the shower to start ridding her hair and skin of the residual chemicals, which she hoped would give her relief quickly.

“Hhh…hhh…hhh’TSHoo! HhhhhKKSHoo! Hhhh…hhhh…hhRSSHoo! ‘TSCHoo!’KTSCHoo!’ESSHuh! Hhh…hhh…hhh…hhhISSHiew! Hhhh…hhhTSSHoo!...”

She turned the shower onto a lukewarm setting, not wanting to put hot water on her already burning skin, and stepped into the spray. It stung for a moment, but then she felt her arms beginning to cool, and let out a breath of relief.

“Hhh…hhh…hhhhESHoo! Hhh…hhh…hhhKSSSHiew! Hhhh…hhh…hhh’TSCHoo! Hhh…hhh…hhh’KTSCHoo!...”

Her head was pounding after nearly two and a half hours of sneezing, and her sinuses felt hot and tight. Her eyes felt swollen and gritty, and her nose itched badly as well. She just wanted to stop sneezing! Thankfully, it was beginning to slow down a bit. She’d gone from sneezing nearly non-stop to sneezing in breathy fits of four or five, then she’d have a few seconds of respite before the cycle started over again.

“Hhhh’ESH’oo! Hhh…hhh…hhhNGSHoo! Hhh…hhh…hhh’TSCHoo! Hhh…hhh…hhKSHoo!...”

In between sneezes, she read the ingredients on the shampoo, just to be safe, and then lathered up. She massaged her scalp gently, the cool water and soft pressure of her fingers soothing the headache a bit, and then used the soap the hotel had provided to carefully wash her skin. The water felt amazing on it-it cooled the itching areas and soothed the inflamed skin.

“Hhh…hhhESHoo! Hhh…hhhTSSHoo! Hhh…hhh…hhhISHiew! Hhhh…hhh…RRSSShiew!...”

She was absolutely exhausted. Although the sneezes had slowed down, they were still violent and bent her with each one. She just wanted to lie down and take a long nap, so she turned off the water and stepped out. She continued sneezing as she gently patted her reddened and welted skin dry, and toweled her hair until it was merely damp, then wrapped it into a messy bun on the top of her head. The shower had definitely helped some-she was breathing more easily, the sneezing was less frequent, and her skin felt less awful-but she knew she needed to get some medication in her system if the reaction was going to pass.

“Hhh…hhh….YISHoo! Hhh…hhh…hhhKSSHoo! Hhh…hhh…TSCHoo! Hhh…hhh…hhhESHoo! Hhhh…hhh…hhhRSSHoo!”

After toweling off, she changed into a pair of yoga pants and her BAU sweatshirt, then left the bathroom.

“HhhhTSSH! Ktsh! Hhh…hhhKKSH!” She rubbed her temples after directing three tired sneezes into her elbow-her head was really aching.

“Bless you.” Prentiss’ voice made her jump-she’d forgotten that the woman was in the room.

“Thandks. Hhh…hhhISHiew! Hhh…hhh…hhhESHoo!” She rolled her irritated eyes and grabbed a tissue from the box Prentiss was offering her before giving a long, congested blow. She gave a soft sigh of relief-it felt so good to finally be able to blow her nose. Yes, it filled right back up with congestion, but for a moment, it had helped the tickle.

“We’re going to have to call you Sneezy!” Emily joked. JJ laughed, which turned into an itchy cough-her whole upper respiratory system was irritated by whatever chemicals had been used to clean the elevtor.

“Ha-ha, very fuddny. Hhh…hhhESHoo! Hhh…hhh’TSCHoo! Hhhh…hhRSHoo!” She rubbed her nose roughly and then grabbed another tissue, turning slightly away from Prentiss out of politeness. Her friend winced in sympathy at the harsh sound-poor JJ sounded utterly miserable and allergic.

“Bless you! Aw, Jajye…you sound awful. What happened? Hotch didn’t get a chance to explain before running off.” JJ sniffed softly and sat down where Prentiss had patted the bed.

“Hhhh…hhhKTSCHoo! Hhh…hhh’TSCHiew! Hhhh…hhhYISHiew! Uhhh…hhh….hhh…hhh…ugh, sorry.” The sneeze teased JJ for several seconds before finally leaving her ticklish and unsatisfied. “The cleandindg chembicals they used-I mbust be allergic to themb.” Her voice was horribly congested, and she grabbed another tissue and gave a long, gurgling blow. “Hhh…hhhKTSCHoo! HANGSCHeew! HhhhISHiew!” As annoying as the sneezing was, she was so thankful it had backed off. Fits of three were much more bearable than fits of ten.

“I’m so sorry, JJ! That must have been awful!” The blonde nodded.

“It kind of was, but it’s okay. All I wadnt to do kndow, though, is sleep-I’mb exhausted.” She admitted. Prentiss squeezed her shoulder gently, and stood up.

“C’mon, I’ll take you back-“ She broke off as JJ’s eyes closed, waiting to finish talking until her friend had finished sneezing.

“Hhh…hhhIISSSHiew! Hhh…hhhGGSHuh! Hhh…hhh…hhhUSHiew! Sorry!” JJ blushed, obviously embarrassed.

“You have nothing to be sorry for.” Emily assured her. “I’ll take you back to your room, and then you can sleep once Hotch gets back with some medication.”

JJ nodded in agreement, her eyes fluttering closed as yet another sneeze built up.

“Sou-sounds good…hhh…hhhYISHiew! ‘TSCHoo! Hhh…hhhKSHoo! USHiew!” She gave a liquid-y sniff and grabbed another tissue, the sound definitely allergic. Prentiss gently took her arm, mindful of the hives, and walked her three doors down on the right. She swiped JJ’s keycard-handed to her by Hotch before he left-and guided the blonde into the room. JJ made a beeline for the bed and sat down, scrubbing at her incredibly itchy eyes. Emily took her friend’s hands and tugged them softly away.

“That’s only going to make it worse.” Her voice was sympathetic-around dogs, she had suffered the same symptom multiple times, and she was familiar with how annoying the irritated eyes could be. JJ lowered her hands and gave an irritated cough into the crook of her elbow before responding.

“I kndow, but it feels so good ndow…” She laughed quietly which apparently set her nose off again. “Ehh…hhh…hhh’KTSCHoo! Hhh…hhh…hhESHoo! Hhh…hhh…hhhTSChoo!” This time, instead of the fire in her nose being soothed by the sneezes, it only seemed to get worse. “Oh God…hhh’PSHoo! ECKSHoo! TSCHoo! Hhh…hhh…hhh’YISHoo! Hhh…hhhGSHiew! HANGSCHeew!” She groaned, sniffled miserably and blew her nose fiercely, the itch slightly better but definitely not gone.

“Bless you, bless you, bless you!” Emily said, her voice sincerely sympathetic. Poor JJ sounded so miserable, and Prentiss hated that.

“Thadnks. Ugh, I’mb sorry I’mb such a mbess. This is so embarrassing.” JJ rubbed at her nose with her palm, rolled her eyes, and grabbed another tissue. She wished Hotch would get back-she just wanted to go to sleep. If she slept, she’d be able to stop itching and sneezing, and after hours of an intense allergic reaction, she was exhausted.

“Jayje, it’s absolutely fine. This is not your fault, and you have nothing to be embarrassed about!” JJ gave her a pointed look. Emily laughed and held her hands up in surrender. “Okay, point taken. This is definitely embarrassing, but it shouldn’t be. You can’t control it, and everyone understands that.”

“Thadnks, Emb. Hhh…hhh…hhh…ehh…heh…ugh.” The sneeze teased her, letting her hang on the edge before finally leaving her unsatisfied. She rubbed roughly at her nose again, deepening the already rosy shade of red tingeing her nostrils. They lapsed into comfortable silence, JJ too tired and miserable to carry on a conversation, and Emily sensing and respecting that. A few minutes later, they heard a knock on the door.

“I’ll get it.” JJ nodded and stayed where she was, flat on her back on the bed. Prentiss pulled the door open, and found a concerned Hotch standing there.

“How is she?” He asked quietly, having seen JJ on the bed.

“I’mb awake, and better.” She answered, sitting up and grabbing a tissue. “Hhh…hhhISHiew! USHiew! TSCHoo! Hhh…hhh…hhhRSHoo! Hhhh…hhhKTSCHoo! Uhh…hhh’PSh’iew! Ugh, sorry, excuse mbe.” Hotch frowned.

“Bless you. Yes, certainly sound better.” His voice sounded vaguely sarcastic, and she smirked.

“It’s relative. I’mb better than I was before the shower, at least.” He nodded.

“That I believe. Thank you Prentiss-I can take it from here.” Knowing JJ probably wanted the least amount of scrutiny as possible, and also knowing that there was no way in heck Hotch was going to leave, Prentiss took the hint. She gave JJ a quick shoulder squeeze, and headed for the door.

“Feel better, Jayje!”

“Thandk you-hhh…hhh’GSH’oo! Hhhh…hhhISHiew!”

“Bless you.” Aaron’s voice was laden with sympathy as he sat down on the foot of the bed. He placed the plastic bag in his hand on the bed, and began pulling out supplies. JJ felt something inside her soften-he’d gotten so much, just to help her, and she truly appreciated the gesture. Out came Claritin, Benadryl, acetaminophen, a generic nasal spray, Visine eye drops, throat lozenges, a box of tissues, a bottle of water, and a milk chocolate Hershey’s bar. A lump that had nothing to do with the mucous formed in her throat-she was truly touched.

“Hotch…I dodn’t kndow what to say. Thandk you!” She wiped her eyes gently, and both of them pretended the water came from the histamines in her system.

“You’re welcome, JJ. Is there anything else you need?” JJ shook her head.

“Ndo-this is wonderful.” She opened the Claritin and took two pills with a swig of water, then popped in a lozenge to soothe her irritated throat. Of course, the moment she did, the urge to sneeze returned. She rolled her eyes and grabbed a tissue. “Hhh…hxtsh! Hhgsh! Nggsh! Hhh…hhhxchs! Gtsch! Hhhh…hhh…ggsh!” She stifled to avoid spitting out the lozenge, but it made her head pound.

“Bless you.” His voice was sympathetic. JJ nodded her thanks, too tired to speak. Hotch saw how exhausted she was, and told her to lie down.

“JJ, why don’t you lie down?” She was too tired to fight it, and did as she was told. He took the eye drops out of their box, prepped them, and then asked her to open her eyes. She obeyed.

“JJ, do you mind if I put them in? Your eyes look very irritated, and I think this might help.”

“That’s finde. Hhh…hhgsh! Nxgsh! Hhhh…hhhxchgh!” She propped herself up on one elbow to blow her nose, deposited the tissue in the trash can Prentiss had placed beside the bed, and then laid back and opened her eyes. Hotch gently squeezed the dropper twice into each eye, then handed JJ a tissue so she could wipe up the slight overflow.

“JJ, why don’t you close your eyes for a while. You look exhausted.”

“I amb.” She admitted quietly, and shut her eyes again. She heard him stand up and assumed he was leaving, but then heard the sink in her bathroom turn on. A moment later, something cool and damp touched her hot, swollen eyelids, and she gave a soft moan of relief. It felt so good to have something cool after hours of heat and irritation, and she felt a flash of gratitude to her boss. “Thandk you-that’s so mbuch better.” Aaron nodded, which she didn’t see, but also responded verbally.

“You’re welcome-I’m glad I can do something to help. Now, rest for a bit. I’ll wake you up for dinner in a few hours.” JJ nodded, and sank a little deeper into the bed, her tired muscles finally beginning to relax. The cloth on her eyes flipped over, and then something warm and soft covered the rest of her body. She drifted off to sleep feeling safe and cared for. As embarrassing as the afternoon had been, it was good to be reminded of how awesome Hotch really was.


The next morning, the team met in the hallway in front of the elevators with their suitcases. Hotch and JJ were the last ones there. She looked a hundred times better than she had the day before, although there was still redness and swelling around her eyes and nose. Morgan pressed the button for the elevator without thinking, and Hotch and JJ just looked at each other with slightly widened eyes before bursting into laughter.

"I'll take the stairs!" JJ said with a smile, and pushed through the door beside the elevators, her boss close behind her.

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