Author: ilovetvalot PM
Post-ep for "Corazon" She knows they don't like her...don't respect her. What she doesn't know is how to change it. Ashley/Rossi friendshipRated: Fiction T - English - Friendship/Hurt/Comfort - A. Seaver & D. Rossi - Words: 1,588 - Reviews: 13 - Favs: 15 - Published: 01-22-11 - Status: Complete - id: 6676235
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
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Grey clouds filled the sky outside as the sound of thunder rumbled through the fluorescent lit building and her blonde hair glinted underneath the harsh light. Noting her slumped shoulders and bent spine, he sighed.
It was her head held in her hands that got to him, though. Never a stupid man, he'd be willing to bet his left nut that when she lifted her face, her cheeks would be damp, too.
Damn it. Why the hell couldn't he just walk away? She was the one that had chosen their team to do her penance with...and the woman had made a monumentally stupid move, violating nine kinds of protocol when she'd gone to the then grieving widower's house. Sure, she hadn't known that the seemingly innocent looking man was the unsub, but hell, it hadn't been her decision or place to make that trip.
But the young woman had held up admirably under the pressure of having a weapon shoved at her. She'd kept her cool. She'd been as professional as anybody could be in the same situation.
But she'd made a dumb choice and there wasn't any denying it.
There also wasn't any denying that the team was making her pay for her previous bad decisions. But, he couldn't leave her here like this...sitting at their scarred round war table. Hell, it had been his idea to bring her into the unit in the first place. Ultimately, this was his responsibility.
"Ashley?" he said softly from the open doorway, not wanting to startle the small framed woman. Shit, he'd been right. The way she jerked upright and quickly smoothed her hands against her cheeks confirmed the tears.
"Agent Rossi," she said hoarsely without turning around, her eyes still focused downward. "Is there something I can help you with, sir?"
Walking into the room and closing the door softly, Dave leaned against the door, dropping one hand in his jeans pocket. "Just wondering what you're still doing here. Everybody else has gone home for the evening."
"I was just finishing these case notes," Ashley answered as she glanced back at the table, weakly gesturing at the papers spread out in front of her.
"Bullshit," Dave stated flatly, crossing his arms over his chest. "If you're gonna be a profiler, Ashley, you're gonna have to be better at bluffing...and lying."
Closing her eyes, Ashley pressed her lips together into a thin line. He was right. "I'm going to have to be better at a whole lot of things."
"Yeah," Dave agreed with a nod, strolling toward the table, "You are."
"I don't even know why I'm here," she said softly to herself, shaking her head grimly as her fingers clenched at the edge of the table.
"Because this is what you requested? Because you're an up and rising star at the Bureau despite your flub up? Because you feel like you need to be an overachieving, kickass agent to atone for what your father did?" Dave offered amiably, pulling out the chair beside her and settling easily. "Any of those reasons sound about right?"
"You really are the master profiler, aren't you?" Ashley snorted, offering him a sidelong glance.
"I've got a lot of years under my belt, honey," Dave winked, settling back in the wooden chair, his legs stretched out in front of him. "But that's not all of it, is it?" Met with her silence, Dave repeated, "Is it?"
"No," she whispered faintly, training her eyes on the worn ring where someone had sat a long ago coffee cup, the wood now warped in a perfect circle. "The team...they don't like me, at all. Do they?" she asked, daring a glance at him.
Inhaling deeply, Dave weighed his words carefully. "They don't trust you." Clearing his throat, Dave clasped both his hands on the table in front of him. "I guess I need to explain a few things to you. This team...we're more than just colleagues. We're family. Fucked up and dysfunctional, but family, nevertheless. Most of us...this job...this is what we have. Sure, Prentiss, Morgan, Reid and Garcia have siblings...parents. Hotch has his son. But, we're together every day in some of the shittiest positions on earth. We've got to trust each other. If we don't; somebody won't come home alive, Ashley. A couple of weeks ago, you were almost that person. Our team...we already lost one member of our family."
"Jennifer Jareau," Ashley sighed as she nodded. "I've heard a lot about her. Mostly whispers about how I'll never be half the agent she was."
"We loved JJ. She was our rock. DOD thought they needed her more than we did. That's not your fault. But, you've got to understand, accepting a new person into any family takes an adjustment period. It takes building trust. You've got to earn it."
"And I got off to a really bad start," Ashley murmured guiltily.
"In a nutshell, hell, yeah," Dave said without pity, unwilling to sugarcoat his words. "Bringing you home in a coffin would have broken this team no matter if you'd been with us ten minutes or ten years."
"I'm sorry," Ashley apologized for what felt like the five hundredth time, the words seeming to grow heavier every time she said them.
"I don't care," Dave commented evenly. "Those are words, Ashley. Show us. Each of us. Work your ass off. Listen. Learn. That's how you'll earn the respect of the team."
"I just wish I could go back..." she trailed off, staring across the room.
"You can't," Dave declared dryly. "But I will say that every single member on this team has made a dumb ass move at one time or another...and eventually, over time, we forgave the sin."
"Agent Rossi, they look at me like..."
"You're a greenhorn, which...big newsflash here, but you are, Ashley. You aren't supposed to be seasoned. You're fresh meat. Do you know how long these guys treated Reid like the rookie?"
Smiling faintly as she thought of the lanky doctor, Ashley murmured, "Some days they still do."
"Exactly," Dave stated meaningfully. "And Reid has proven himself again and again. Listen, Emily fought Hotch to bring you onto the team for this transfer in assignment. She believes in you even if she acts like she doubts you. Morgan is a hardass...to everybody except somebody that his a bigger ego than his. And Reid," Dave smirked, whispering conspiratorially, "he's got a crush on you."
"And Garcia?" Ashley asked hesitantly, moving quickly to the one member of the team that she desperately wanted to have like her.
"Is still mourning JJ. They were best friends. Kitten is too good a person not to come around soon. Bring her in a little troll doll or some of those chocolate éclair thingies she likes and leave 'em on her desk with a note that you want to thank her for all she does. Trust me, it's well earned. That woman is like a superpower."
"Is your biggest obstacle," Dave stated truthfully. "He demands perfection. From all of us. But the flip side of that is that he'll guard us just as fiercely. You wouldn't be here if Aaron Hotchner didn't see something in you, Ashley. You wouldn't have gotten on this floor."
"And you?" she asked trepidatiously.
"I think one day...sometime far, far in the future, you'll be everything you want to be. You just need to decide what that is," Dave said, pushing away from the table. Meeting her eyes for a long moment, he ordered gently, "Until then, go home, get some sleep, come back in here tomorrow and do your job, kiddo."
And watching the legend that was David Rossi walk from the room, Ashley Seaver began to believe in herself - just a little.
Dedicated to one of our nation's Heroes!