When David Rossi graduated summa cum laude with his first degree from Yale, Jennifer Jareau was still learning her multiplication tables and practicing simple scales on the piano, showing no musical talent whatsoever. But her math skills were exemplary.
It was a Tuesday in July when JJ kissed her first boyfriend while at summer camp, hiding behind the arts and crafts cabin, the smell of pine needles being what she remembered most. Later that same year, on a Thursday in August, Dave met three children who lost their parents to senseless trauma, never forgetting their screams that still shattered his dreams.
On the day that she made captain of the soccer team and scored her first goal of the season, with her parents cheering in the stands, he married the second in a string of three women, all brunettes with violent tempers and lofty expectations. They were all sorely disappointed, carrying his name but never understanding the man.
While Dr. Rossi, jaded holder of not one but two post-grad degrees, was in the process of happily divorcing the third soon-to-be ex-Mrs. Rossi, Agent Jareau entered the halls of the FBI with a newly-minted diploma and a zeal to overtake the world. Bureaucracy aside, she succeeded far more than she failed.
And two months after he published his seventh book, another moneymaker to be sure, he received a call from an old friend, a rare thing in his world, and walked back into the Bureau, Erin Strauss be damned. JJ stepped into Hotch's office minutes after him, and fate, which Rossi heretofore didn't believe in, caused a cosmic collision that neither one of them would ever recover from.
It was Hotch who officially introduced them, although Rossi wasn't paying much attention to the actual words. He was too focused on the clear, intelligent eyes staring back at him, something just snapping at her direct gaze and oh-so-professional smile. Damn, she intrigued him, and that was saying a lot. Reaching out to take her proffered hand, he bit back a smirk when he felt her shiver for just the barest of moments.
For her part, JJ was just trying not to act like a star struck teenager in the presence of a rock idol. But when his fingers firmly clasped around hers, twice, she suddenly realized she hadn't felt strength like that in a really long time. A really, really long time. Dealing with the amenities and stating her case, she made what she hoped was a graceful exit, her mind still reeling from Rossi's intense stare. She wondered for the rest of the day if the man could actually read her mind or if she was hallucinating.
Watching long blond hair swinging as she walked through the bullpen, Rossi momentarily forgot that Hotch was even in the room, let alone on the same planet. "Wow. We didn't have that ten years ago."
"What do you mean?"
Hotch's words shook him out of his self-imposed introspection. Rossi recognized that tight, controlled tone; he had used it himself on suspects with questionable motives. Putting on the innocent expression that never actually worked for him, he answered quickly but calmly, "Communications coordinator."
But it didn't take an above average intelligence or multiple degrees to realize that his old friend, now supervisor, didn't believe a word that he said.
"Right." Hotch answered slowly, mentally cataloguing the response for review at a later date. "Well, a lot's changed. Come meet the team."
His mind still focused on blue eyes and blond hair, Rossi laughed to himself as he followed Hotch down the metal stairs. Change was in the eye of the beholder, and, damn, he liked what he saw.