It's fluff. It's romance. And it's a Christmas story! What more could you ask for?? Please let me know what you think! And check out ilovetvalot's "Christmas Wishes."
Jennifer Jareau-Rossi was on a mission, and she was bound and determined to succeed. Her arms full of garland, she carefully crossed through the main bullpen of the BAU, her eyes checking out everyone and everything as she made her rounds. The sounds of Christmas music filled the air, the smell of cocoa competed with apple cider, and all of Santa's little elves were busy bees, stringing Christmas lights and decorating trees. Smiling serenely, she made her way to the top of the stairs, her plan to decorate the iron railings. And to keep a close eye on her band of merry workers, her entire BAU team and quite a few more, who would try to escape if she wasn't looking. And their ring leader would probably be her husband.
Narrowing her eyes as she looking down into the bullpen, she watched as the man in question seemed to be in deep conversation with his partner for the day. Between David Rossi and Derek Morgan, she wasn't sure if she should have let those two try to decorate trees, but Rossi had assured her that he was more than capable of following her plans to the letter. She thought he might have mumbled something under his breath about having experienced her wrath before, but she was sure that she had been wrong. Surely her husband wouldn't have said such a thing. Surely.
No matter how hard she tried, she couldn't stop herself from smiling every time she thought about her husband. Just the words "my husband" would make her knees weaken, her heart skip a beat, and her cheeks flush. And that was after seven months of marriage. Staring at his black head, hearing his laughter come across the bullpen, a part of her wondered if that feeling would ever fade, but there had been no signs of it yet. And in her heart of hearts, she hoped it never did.
Their romance had been the classic definition of a whirlwind, and she still couldn't believe that she had been swept off of her feet by the legendary David Rossi. But then, she did believe that she did her fair share of chasing, having made up her mind the first time that she met him that she wanted to know him much better. Rumors about his past didn't deter her, and when she asked him point blank about them, Rossi had calmly assured her that his past was behind him. And he had left no doubt in her mind that his future was wrapped up in her.
He had proposed to her in the middle of a Redskins game, their private skybox seats coming in extremely handy when she said yes and proceeded to show him exactly how thrilled that she was. Smiling to herself, JJ wondered if they would ever tell their child that she was probably conceived while the 'Skins were scoring the third touchdown of the game. JJ had laughingly suggested that they name the baby Colt if it was a boy or Brennan if it was a girl. Rossi had failed to see the humor in that suggestion, adamantly informing her that hell would freeze over before he would name his child after another man, even if he was a great quarterback.
Apparently the child knew that her mother was thinking about her, and wanted to be a part of the conversation. Placing a careful hand on her basketball sized baby bump, JJ sighed as she felt another twinge. Taking another deep breath, she twisted carefully, knowing that her unborn child was stretching and turning, and would soon settle down. She loved her child already, really she did, but sometimes she wished the little girl wasn't quite the acrobat.
Her eyes still keeping track of her workers, JJ turned her attention back to the gold and green garland, her immediate goal to brighten up the ugly iron railing.
While JJ was focusing on her task at hand, Derek Morgan was mumbling underneath his breath, his diatribe growing by the minute. Looking at the older profiler next to him, Morgan finally asked, his voice full of questions, "Tell me one thing, Rossi. How in the world did your wife con all of us into doing this? I distinctly remember yelling "hell, no" when the topic came up."
Watching Morgan's face as he tried to separate the third set of Christmas lights, David Rossi merely smiled and reached for his coffee cup, taking a slow sip. Nodding across the room, Rossi said, his tone deadly serious, "Let me tell you about that little slip of a woman over there. Six months ago, I came home from a short afternoon of duck hunting, intending to spend a nice, relaxing evening holding my new wife and drinking a fine glass of wine, only to find out that she no longer touched the stuff. That was how she chose to tell me that I was going to be a father. Because she doesn't drink anymore, apparently I don't drink anymore either. Luckily for me, I hid the key to the liquor cabinet before she realized it."
Almost dropping the set of lights that he had finally detangled, Derek laughed, his eyes widening as he said, "Man, that woman had you beaten before you even said I do, didn't she?"
"Oh, that was just the beginning." Raising his eyebrows slightly, Rossi crossed his arms over his chest, leaning back against Prentiss' desk, the wood pressing against his legs. "Then four months ago, she beat me home from work one night, intent on redecorating the kitchen. I walked in and found my five-month pregnant wife precariously balanced on a step ladder, one foot in the air and one hand wrapped around the top of our cabinets. Let's just say that I suddenly became her decorating slave. It was either that or handcuff her to a chair for the next few months, because that was the only way I was going to keep her from finishing the job."
This time, the other profiler laughed out loud, his mind imagining the fight that would occur if the older man ever tried to stop his wife that way. "Rossi, I never took you to be a whipped pup, but you…"
"Oh, no, son, I'm not finished. It gets better, trust me. A mere seven weeks ago, Jennifer comes home from what I thought was a simple shopping trip with that woman." Rossi points casually toward their technical analyst, who was currently singing, loudly, with the Chipmunks Christmas Carol as she and Prentiss attempted to show Hotch how to hang tinsel. Apparently he was not a quick learner.
Smiling tightly, Rossi continued as he reached for another Christmas ornament, trying not to notice that his stack had multiplied when he wasn't looking, "Not mentioning that I think my credit card limit got raised without me knowing it, she comes through the front door absolutely crying her eyes out. We're talking sobbing here. I thought that she had been assaulted or that she was in early labor. You can imagine my reaction to that one. But, oh no, it wasn't anything near that. It was worse. Apparently, the last store had sold out of the bedding that she just had to have for the crib. This went on for hours, man. Hours. So I did what any man would do who wanted to save his wife and his sanity. I went online, found that damn set and all of its accessories, paid twenty times more than what it was worth, and had it shipped from Taiwan. Overnite."
Derek Morgan just stared, his eyes growing larger by the moment, the Christmas lights completely forgotten. "You're not kidding, are you? Tell me that all pregnant women are not like this!"
Rossi rolled his eyes, wondering if the other man really had any idea about women, let alone the pregnant ones. "Then we have this little fiasco here. Apparently, I made the grievous mistake of taking that consultation in North Carolina last week. I was gone for a total of sixteen hours. Sixteen freaking hours. And when I came back, having driven like a demon so that she wouldn't be alone that night, I found out that she had volunteered all of us to provide Christmas for children in foster care."
Morgan interrupted, nodding toward their unit chief, who was still having tinsel issues, as he asked, "You know, I never did figure out how she convinced Hotch to let us have this little celebration inside the BAU. You'd have thought that she'd have wanted it somewhere else."
"Oh, apparently Jennifer told Hotch that it would be good for the children to see the better side of law enforcement. Or at least that's the version of the story that I got. For all I know, she's blackmailing him and he's afraid of her, too." Watching Morgan's eyes widen even more than before, Rossi smiled to himself as he continued, knowing that the good part was still to come. "And when I dared to ask exactly how this was to happen in less than seven days, with her nine months pregnant, I was informed that she was certain that with my considerable wealth and talents that I could make it happen. I took that to mean that she had also volunteered me to finance this whole shebang. I was correct."
Reaching for the Christmas lights once again, Morgan grinned as he asked, "Tell me one thing, Rossi. Just one thing. Why? Why do you let her get away with all of this? I mean, I know she's strong willed, but surely…"
Shaking his head, Rossi twisted another hook into an ornament, glancing up at the blonde on the upper railing. Smiling as he met her eyes, he winked at JJ, who raised her eyebrows questioningly. Turning back to Morgan, he said carefully, low enough that no one else could hear, "No, Morgan, it's bigger than that. There is absolutely nothing that I wouldn't do for that woman. Absolutely nothing. And my biggest fear is that she knows it."
Two hours later, David Rossi learned the truth behind his words, knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that his wife did indeed know that he would move heaven and earth for her. And apparently that included wearing the world's ugliest Santa Claus suit, which was currently hanging on the back of his office door
Standing by his desk, staring in wide-eyed horror at the tiny serene blonde who had made herself at home in his desk chair, Rossi asked the one question that overtook his thoughts. "Jennifer, what in the hell were you thinking? Did you really believe that I would wear THAT and play Santa for fifty-three hyper children? Isn't it enough that you've managed to charge the national debt to our credit card in order to cover this soiree?"
Rolling her eyes, JJ slid farther back into the leather chair, propping up her feet on his trashcan as she answered, "Like you can't pay it off tomorrow!"
Seeing him about to continue his tirade, his mouth already opening and his dark eyes narrowing, she beat him to the punch, putting on her prettiest smile as she said sweetly, "And David, you know that we have to have a Santa Claus. What type of party would it be if those poor foster children didn't get to sit on Santa's lap and tell him what they want for Christmas? Surely you won't deprive them of that one little thing. They're foster children, David, with no mommies or daddies." For added emphasis, she dropped her hands to her round belly, drawing his attention to their unborn child.
Watching her bat her eyelashes at him, David Rossi knew that he was beat. The woman knew how to play the marriage game, and she apparently could actually teach college-level courses in it. Growling lowly, he told her, "I'll wear the damn suit, Jennifer, but I'm adding this to the list of things that we'll discuss after that little one makes her appearance. And let me remind you, that list is growing daily. Daily, Jennifer."
JJ had heard that tone of voice before, and it hadn't bothered her then, either. Still smiling sweetly, she scoffed, "Like you scare me, David Rossi. You know you're just dying to help all of those little children, and you will make a perfect Santa."
"Be that as it may, Jennifer, you owe me for this one." Stalking around his desk, Rossi leaned over her, placing a hand on each side of the chair, effectively pinning her against the leather. Her dancing eyes let him know that she was truly enjoying this little adventure, and he had to smile at her joy. His lips only inches from hers, he whispered, "And I think you know how I plan on collecting this debt."
Grinning up at his smiling face, JJ laughed as she pressed a quick kiss to his waiting lips. "Oh, trust me, David, I intend to repay this debt in full, and then some. As soon as your daughter decides to quit kicking my internal organs and join us in a few weeks, we'll be discussing that repayment plan in great detail."
"Oh, is that so, little girl?" David Rossi knew how to take advantage of an opportunity, and he wasn't about to pass up the one right in front of him. Pulling her up out of the chair, he wrapped his arms around her, carefully fitting her body against his. Dropping his mouth to hers, he slowly and surely conveyed his wishes in the best way he knew at that time. And by her response, he was certain that she was returning those wishes.
Wrapping her arms around his neck, JJ allowed herself to become lost in her husband's touch, knowing that they both needed this little reprieve before the evening's festivities started. Stretching on her tip toes, she was just about to push closer to him when she felt that all-too-familiar twinge in her back once again.
Rossi felt her gasp against his lips, and knew immediately that it wasn't a sign of pleasure. Breaking the kiss quickly, he looked down at her closed eyes, not failing to notice that her hand had immediately gone to her back. Reaching out his hand to cover hers, he asked quickly, "You okay, honey?"
"Your daughter is already interrupting us, and she's not even here yet." The twinge already passing, JJ smiled up into his worried face, wrapping his hand in hers as she pulled him toward the door. "And I think we've had enough distractions for a while. YOU need to get into this costume, don't you think?
His eyes narrowed at her answer, allowing her to lead him from out behind his desk but wondering if she was distracting him on purpose. "You sure, Jennifer?
Putting on her best wide-eyed expression, the one that always fooled the press and bureaucratic weenies, JJ nodded her head firmly as she reached for the red fake-velvet suit. "I'm fine, David. And quit looking for reasons not to get ready."
David Rossi looked at the suit that she now had in her hands, and he wondered if there was anyway possible that he would make it through the night without two or three shots of scotch. Surely it couldn't get any worse than this. Surely.
He was wrong. Horribly wrong. Apparently there were many, many ways in which this day could continue to deteriorate, and his wife was in charge of all of them.
Standing in the middle of his office, this time wearing the world's itchiest red polyester suit rather than his favorite blue jeans, David Rossi stared in wide-eyed horror, once again, as he watched Jennifer open a package of glue. Glue that she apparently intended to put on his face.
Holding up a firm hand in the air, the great profiler stared his wife straight in her baby blue eyes and said, "Hell, no, Jennifer. Don't even think about it. There is no way in hell that you are coming near me with that."
Looking at her husband, his red and white outfit a sharp contrast to his black hair, JJ propped one hand on her hip as she said strongly, "David, you can't be Santa with a black beard. And I told you that the fake one just won't work. What if one of those poor motherless children pulled off that beard? You don't want to scar them for life, now do you?"
Muttering, Rossi said, "It's not them that I'm worried about scarring. You'll probably use enough glue that my skin will come off at some point, won't you?"
Rolling her eyes at his expression, JJ moved toward him, using her free hand to push him down into the side chair. "You big baby! I'm only going to use enough to get this nice, white, authentic Santa Claus beard to stick."
Grumbling as he settled against the chair, unsuccessfully trying to cross his legs, Rossi growled, "Just make sure that it doesn't stick forever. I'd hate for our daughter to think that her father was her grandfather."
Smiling down at her disgruntled husband, JJ resisted the urge to kiss him once again, knowing that he would take advantage of the situation and that they just didn't have the time. Stepping between his legs, she carefully started applying the facial glue, painting a thin edge around his present beard. "Well, you are seventeen years older than me, David. We can always tell the baby that you have a white beard because you robbed the cradle."
Staring up at her face, he had to smile at her intent expression, her bottom lip caught by her teeth as she focused intently. Reaching out to caress her bulging belly, he replied, "No, we'll tell our daughter that her father has a white beard because her mother drove me crazy at an early age. And it will be the truth, Jennifer."
Reaching for the white beard, JJ managed to roll her eyes while keeping her focus on her project. "We're not telling her that, trust me. And I really don't think we're going to have to worry about her seeing you with a white beard anytime soon. She's not due for another three weeks, and this thing will be coming off tonight." Pressing the beard into place, JJ stepped back to admire her handiwork. Smiling brightly at the sight in front of her, she clapped her hands excitedly, eyes glittering. "Oh, David, it's perfect."
Seeing her this happy made him almost able to tolerate the whole humiliation. Or so he thought.
Jerking her head sideways, JJ narrowed her eyes for a moment. "No, wait. Something's missing!" Her eyes lit on the red and white hat that had fallen to the floor, almost as if someone had tried to push it under the desk. Ignoring the catch in her side, JJ reached for the missing object, only to have her hand pulled back up almost immediately as his much larger hand grabbed the hat.
Pressing the fake velvet into her hand, Rossi pulled her to him, touching the tip of her nose. "Remember our deal, honey. No bending or lifting for any reason. Right?"
"Right!" Nodding quickly, JJ bit back the smile that was threatening to overtake her face. Reaching up, she slapped the hat on his head, watching his eyes narrow as he felt the fabric settle over his perfectly styled hair.
Stepping back once again, she surveyed the picture that was her husband. "Now that's perfect!"
He changed his mind. No amount of happiness on her part could compensate for this. He was in Christmas hell, and his wife was apparently the Devil.
Derek Morgan was in heaven. Absolute heaven. He had pictures of David Rossi dressed up as Jolly Old Saint Nick himself, children sitting on his lap, and Penelope had already loaded them into Photoshop. He could not have asked for a better Christmas present. And as if he had needed it, Morgan now had absolute proof that Rossi was totally and completely under the control of a woman that was less that half his size. Yep, the man was whipped.
But Morgan also wasn't about to say any of that out loud, considering that the woman in question was standing next to him, her face not at all happy. Looking down at the blonde, Morgan frowned at her expression, asking, "Hey, JJ. What's with the lack of joy? I thought you would be eating this up! Everything's coming together perfectly."
Looking around the room, JJ had to agree with the last part of his words. Everything was perfect, exactly as she had planned. The decorations were in place, although she wasn't quite sure that the tinsel was evenly spaced. She would have words with Hotch about that later. But jumbled tinsel aside, she was pleased, the food and gifts exactly as she ordered. And the children, the big ones and little ones alike, seemed to be beside themselves with joy.
Even her own unborn daughter seemed to be looking forward to the party. Which was why her expression was not exactly one of happiness. Looking up at the man that she considered to be a brother, JJ murmured carefully as another twinge…hell, that was more than a twinge…passed through her back, "Derek, can you keep a secret?"
His eyes narrowing at those cryptic words, Morgan stepped closer to his friend, his tone serious, "About what, JJ? Is something wrong with the party?"
Keeping her eyes focused on her Santa-suited husband, noticing the dark expression on his face as he held a screaming four year old, JJ smiled slightly as she answered, "Nothing's wrong. I just need you to help me with something."
Wondering what was on her mind, Morgan followed her gaze, seeing the four year hit Rossi across the head with a sticky lollipop. That one was going to hurt later. Smiling largely, he replied, "Hell, JJ, I've helped all day with this shindig, so I guess one more thing won't matter now! At least I'm not in your husband's shoes right now. What do you need help with?"
Turning to face him, her eyes widening considerably as another cramp crossed her back, JJ reached her hand out to his arm and said clearly, "I need you to keep my husband from knowing that I just might be in labor. You think you can do that?"
Derek Morgan was a strong man. He had survived the loss of a father, childhood trauma, and a few psychotic ex-girlfriends. But what he could not handle, what scared him more than anything, was the thoughts of childbirth. And the woman next to him wanted him to help her. In childbirth. Apparently imminent childbirth.
Feeling his eyes widen to match hers, the strong unflappable Derek Morgan did the first thing that came to his mind. Wrapping her hand in his, he immediately yelled across the room, his voice clearly rising above the clamor of fifty plus children, "Hey, Santa Claus! Get your ass and red hat over here right now!"
Yanking her hand from his, JJ used it to smack him, hard, against his chest. Pulling a deep breath, JJ fairly growled, doing her best to not be heard by nearby children, "What in hell was that? That was not helping me! That was about the furtherest thing from helping me!"
Laughing humorously at her expression, Morgan said, his voice beginning to squeak, "Oh, trust me, JJ, that was the best help you are going to get from me. Your husband got you into this, and he's the one who's going to be by your side, now and in the coming hours. You do not want me. Trust me, you do not want me."
Morgan was saved by further physical abuse by the arrival of a very concerned David Rossi, sticky Santa Claus suit and all. Looking up into her husband's eyes, JJ resisted the urge to straighten his Santa cap as she felt his hand settle against her back. "What's going on, Jennifer? And what did Morgan do this time to deserve such violence?
JJ was about to answer, her justification for the violence well documented, when she felt an honest to goodness, real-life contraction grip her, leaving no doubt in her mind that her daughter was more than ready to see the real world.
Watching his wife's face suddenly scrunch tightly, her hand dropping to her rounded stomach, David Rossi felt a fleeting fear cross his heart. And David Rossi did not do fear well. Placing his other hand over hers, he asked insistently, "Jennifer, talk to me. What's wrong?"
Morgan spoke up behind them, his voice still high pitched and squeaking. "That's what I was trying to tell you, man. Your woman is about to have that kid. And there's no way I want to be anywhere near that!"
Watching his wife's eyes finally open, Rossi asked her, his voice hesitant, "Is he right, Jennifer? Is this it?"
Nodding her head slowly, JJ caught sight of the rest of their team, shocked and surprised faces all around. Looking back at her husband, she whispered, "Your daughter is pushy and determined. Wonder where she gets it from."
David Rossi knew better than to answer that question, but he had no doubts whatsoever. If his daughter turned out to be anything like his wife, then he would need all the help he could get. God help them all.
If their romance had been a whirlwind, it appeared that their daughter's birth was following the same pattern. Within seconds of announcing that she was in labor, Jennifer Jareau-Rossi suddenly found herself plopped into a waiting office chair, the wheels rolling toward the elevator. If she hadn't been nauseous before, she would be soon at this rate. And her husband was the maniacal driver making it happen.
But JJ had made plans for today, and as much as possible, she intended to see those plans through. And that involved finishing this party and making those children happy, even if she had to kill her husband in the process. Reaching out a hand to grab a passing desk, the soon-to-be-mother dropped her feet to the ground, effectively halting the makeshift wheelchair. Taking a deep breath and closing her eyes, JJ yelled at the top of her lungs, "STOP! WE CAN'T GO YET!"
His fake stomach hitting the back of the suddenly stopping chair, David Rossi immediately responded, his voice deadly calm as he stared at the back of his wife's head, "Yes, we can, Jennifer. As a matter of fact, we have to go now. If you think that there is any way that I am risking you having this child anywhere other than an overly-expensive, well-equipped hospital, then…"
Mentally counting to three, forgoing her usual ten because of time, JJ spun around in the chair, coming face to stomach with a well-padded red suit. And she poked that stomach quite firmly. Raising her eyes, JJ reached up and pulled her husband down to her eye-level by his fake white beard. Her eyes flashing, she said clearly, "We cannot go now, David. Who is going to take care of this party if we leave? Look around, would you?"
Rossi didn't need to look around to know what he would see. With dozens of children of all sizes still running around, hyped up on sugar and excitement, the noise level was high enough to give him a fairly good picture. And the fact that his team was literally standing at his elbow told him that he had a well-attentive audience just waiting for his next words. Why Hotch wasn't taking control right now, Rossi had no idea. Where was that man when you needed him?
But it wasn't his team or the running herd of heathens that he was currently focused on. No, the only person in the entire world that mattered to him at that very moment was sitting in front of him. And she definitely didn't look too happy. Dropping carefully to kneel in front of her, Rossi took a very good look at his wife's face, seeing the determination mixed with pain. He then chose his words even more carefully. "Jennifer, I want you to listen to me. This party will be fine. You planned it well, and there are plenty of workers. But we are going to the damn hospital. Now. Do I make myself clear?"
Watching her husband's eyes darken, his face partially hidden by the white beard, JJ knew that this was one of those times that she was not going to be able to sway him to her way of thinking. But that didn't mean that she wasn't going to try. Batting her eyelashes slowly, she reached her hand to place it against his whiskered cheek, and said in her best voice, "But David…"
Gritting his teeth, Rossi kept his eyes focused on his wife's baby blues, knowing that if he blinked or lost eye contact that he was lost. "Won't work, Jennifer. Don't even try. I swear to God, if you don't…"
But it wasn't God who helped him at that exact moment, but rather their fairy godmother, who was currently masquerading as Santa's Little Helper, her outfit truly a sight to behold. Penelope Garcia had been watching the little exchange between her favorite couple with unhidden glee, her excitement at the thoughts of a new niece overtaking everything else in her crowded little mind. Bouncing up next to the great David Rossi, the bells in her hair ringing with every step, Garcia immediately broke into the conversation. Meeting both of their eyes, she said cheerfully, "Okay, chick and gent, that's enough. Apparently, someone else is going to have to be master in chief for this little occasion, and I know just the person to nominate."
Ignoring the pain that was once again starting in her back, JJ swung hopeful eyes toward her best friend and asked quickly, "Who, Pen?"
Personally, David Rossi didn't care who Garcia suggested. He just wanted someone else to take charge so that he could get his now-in-labor wife to a hospital, where there would be a wide selection of pain-numbing drugs. Maybe enough for both of them if the night kept going like he was afraid it would be. The way his wife was gripping his hand was a fair indication of the pain they were both about to experience. Right now, he would agree to anything and everything that Penelope Garcia suggested, and would gladly hand her his platinum credit card if she asked for it. And knowing Garcia, she just might.
Reaching over to grab the red & white hat from Rossi's hair, Penelope turned quickly, and dropped into onto the dark bald head of the man who was trying to inch his way away from their tight knit group. Grabbing Derek Morgan by the well-muscled arm, she then pulled him next to JJ and said, her voice full of authority and joy, "Okay, gumdrop. Problem solved. My chocolate Santa wannabe will gladly take care of this entire party while we all pop off to that waiting hospital. Work for you?"
Even though he didn't really care, Rossi couldn't stop the wicked smile that crossed his face as he watched Derek Morgan stare in shocked silence at the peppy blond. And Rossi didn't even try to stop his evil laughter as his ecstatic wife quickly informed Morgan of the remaining tasks, including the fact that at least twenty children were still waiting to sit on Santa's lap and share their innermost wishes.
For a man who didn't like the thoughts of children and childbirth, Rossi thought that this served him right. Let Morgan have to deal with his wife's party. David Rossi was going to have to deal with his wife. And that was enough for any man!
By the time they reached the parking garage, JJ was beginning to wonder how this team every managed to make it to a crime scene in one piece. From the moment they had entered the elevator, an argument had developed as to who was going to drive to the hospital, and who was going to ride in which vehicle. As if it was of utmost importance that the cars be equally balanced or they might fall off the face of the earth.
After much discussion and a few physical threats, one involving the use of a large-bore firearm, Emily won the rights to drive the first vehicle, which would apparently contain Reid and Penelope. Of course, Penelope called shotgun the moment the decision was made, threatening to lock Reid in the cargo hold if he objected.
The second vehicle, which apparently was to be JJ's transportation, caused another minor skirmish, her husband bound and determined to drive his wife to the hospital himself. Hotch seemed to think that he would be the better driver in this situation, going as far as to mention that the older man might be a bit too emotionally involved in the situation to make good driving decisions. Had it not been for Penelope's quick thinking, reminding everyone that Rossi was the one who knew the exact directions to the hospital, JJ feared that her unit chief might have been riding in the cargo hold with Reid. Or on the roof. Without a safety belt.
But when they actually reached the waiting SUV, things changed rapidly.
After getting JJ situated in the back seat, her feet propped up on the side seat, Rossi rounded the car for the driver's seat, Hotch settling sourly in to the passenger side. But the moment he climbed behind the wheel, the great David Rossi realized that he had a problem. A serious problem. And it involved that damned red suit that his wife forced on him.
Adjusting the seat didn't help. Pushing the steering wheel into a new position only made it worse. And cursing only made a very pregnant JJ yell at him for swearing in front of their child.
Turning to look at his wife, the dim interior light of the SUV just enough to see her expression, Rossi muttered, "Dammit, Jennifer, it's this damned pillow that you just had to stuff into this costume! I'm too big to fit behind the wheel and drive safely!"
Looking at her still white-bearded husband as if he was mentally challenged, JJ rolled her eyes and pointed toward his large stomach. "Well, just take it out! Simple solution, David, then we can be on the road."
David Rossi was not a stupid man, and he was bound and determined not to get into an argument with his wife at this point in time. Especially an argument that he was certain not to win. Taking a deep breath, he forced a smile on his face as he said, slowly, "I can't just take it out, Jennifer. There are miles and miles of duct tape around it. Remember? You insisted that we, and I'm quoting here, safely secure it so that it wouldn't fall out and ruin the illusion. Remember saying that, honey?"
"David, don't ask me to remember what I said earlier today. Right now, I'm far more worried about something, or someone, falling out of me! I think your daughter takes precedence over a pillow, don't you?" Reaching across the top of the seat, JJ hit his shoulder, hard, then pointed at Hotch, who had smartly kept his mouth shut during the entire conversation. "Let him drive."
Rossi met the eyes of the younger agent, fairly certain that he recognized a mixture of sympathy and humor behind the gaze. Oh, smile on, my friend, smile on, Rossi thought darkly as he opened the door and walked around to the other side of the car, passing a still-silent Hotch on his way. If this was just the beginning, there wouldn't be much laughter for the rest of the night. Of that he was certain.
In the other vehicle, the motor running and being gunned every few seconds, Garcia stared out the darkened window, seeing an apparently angry Santa Claus ripping off his shirt as he started tugging at what looked to be yards and yards of gray duct tape. Duct tape that just might be firmly attached to a large pillow and lots of chest hair. Turning to Emily, she murmured, her tone amazed, "I have a feeling that Santa Claus is making his naughty and nice list, and I'm betting that his wife is not going to make the top of the nice list. Even if he checks it twice."
David Rossi liked to think of himself as a patient man. Really he did. But by the time the government-issued SUV arrived at the doors of the blessed hospital, he was fairly certain that any patience he might have once possessed had disappeared twelve blocks ago, never to be found again.
Of course, it didn't help matters that the simple ten minute drive had turned into a full twenty five minutes, the extra fifteen minutes due to Hotch's inability to follow simple verbal instructions. Oh, no, the self-professed world's safest and smartest driver just had to take a left turn instead of a right turn, putting them into a series of one-way streets that completely threw them off of the correct route.
He supposed that he could cut the man some slack, his excuse partially valid. But he would never let his wife know that the frazzled younger man was claiming that JJ's screaming during that last contraction had distracted him. Was it his fault that the normally sedate Jennifer Rossi suddenly developed the ability to curse in multiple languages? And at the top of her small lungs at that? So much for being emotionally uninvolved.
Right now, though, David Rossi was going to choose to forget the car ride from hell, and instead focus on his pregnant wife. The pregnant wife that was currently looking at him like she was plotting his murder. And he didn't doubt that she could easily kill him and hide his body where no one would find it.
His floppy red shirt hanging around his waist, the pillow long gone, Rossi reached for JJ's hand, almost expecting her to smack it. But to his everlasting surprise, she grabbed it tightly, using the leverage to pull him closer to her as she scooted out of the back of the SUV.
Pulling his face next to hers, the sweating blonde ground out, her words tight, "Look, David Rossi, I expected some pain. But not this! Your child is tearing my insides out one organ at a time. What type of demon seed do you have?" Tightening her grip against his hand, she whispered, her eyes closing as another pain wracked her body, "This is too much too soon! It's not going like the Lamaze class said it would, David! They lied to me!"
And, while he definitely wasn't an obstetrician, Rossi was fairly certain that JJ's labor was moving much faster that it should. He had watched that god-forsaken movie in Lamaze class, and that poor woman had been in labor for hours before she had been screaming like JJ was now.
If there was one thing that David Rossi could not stand, it was the sight of his wife's tears or of her being in pain. Not even bothering to wait for the wheelchair that Hotch was supposedly fetching, he gently cradled JJ's body in his arms, feeling her tuck tightly against him as he marched his way into the waiting emergency room. Where he hoped that they had a lot of doctors and even more narcotics.
For if someone didn't make his wife quit hurting, and soon, David Rossi was going to start kicking butts and taking names, Santa Claus suit be damned.
The admitting nurse took one look at the sight in front of her and wondered if she was hallucinating. Or maybe wished she was. Either way, she was certain that she was watching a tall, dark-haired Santa Claus carry an obviously pregnant woman through the doors of the emergency room. And Santa didn't look happy.
Having muttered something about first time mothers and rare rapid births, the ER doctor immediately set them up in an exam room, people quickly filling up the room as they prepared for immediate delivery. Their team set up camp in the waiting room, and the last JJ knew, Penelope was explaining to a sick four-year old child, that no, Santa was not sick himself, but Mrs. Claus was about to have a little elf. JJ reminded herself to have a chat with Penelope later about labeling her child an elf at such an early age.
Thirty minutes later, Jennifer Rossi no longer cared about elf hate speech, considerably closer to ending the ordeal that was plaguing her body. Standing by her side, her husband, still wearing the ragged red suit and white beard, listened in amazement as the ER doctor urged her to push, their baby apparently minutes from being born.
Reaching up to grab her husband's hand once again, JJ gripped tightly, her voice quivering as she gasped out, "David Rossi, the next time we go to a Redskins game, you are so sitting on the other side of the stadium. Maybe outside the stadium."
Rossi had to laugh at her words, knowing that she wouldn't appreciate the humor. But still, even in the middle of delivering their child, his wife was more than capable of running his life for him. Wrapping his arm around her shoulders and helping her lean back for a moment, Rossi kissed JJ's forehead as he murmured, "Honey, when this is over, I'm not sure that we're ever going to even watch the 'Skins on TV, let alone go to the game. I'm not ready to see you like this ever again."
"I'm holding you to that, Rossi." Reaching up, JJ grabbed at his fake white beard, trying to pull it off. It didn't budge, so she tightened her grip, certain that a little more pressure would do the job. And then another contraction hit her, causing her hand to tighten involuntarily.
And that hurt. Damn, it hurt. Slapping his hand over hers, Rossi stopped her movements quickly. "Don't try that, Jennifer. I told you that you used too much glue, but no, someone wouldn't listen to me."
Glaring at him as she heard the doctor urge her to push just one more time, JJ ground out, every word punctuated by a groan or scream as she pushed HIS daughter from her body, "Do you… really think… that right now…AGGGGHHHH… is the time to whine…. about a little bit of pain, David?…. You might want to seriously consider….. where you are...and what your wife is currently doing."
Fortunately for his continued health and safety, David Rossi was saved from responding as his wife suddenly collapsed against his arms, her body spent for the moment. And in that second, they both heard the sweetest sound that ever crossed their ears….the cry of their newborn daughter.
As the doctor proudly proclaimed that it was indeed a girl, JJ just stared into the eyes of her husband, afraid to close her eyes for fears that everything would disappear. Listening to the doctor and nurses move around the room, JJ tightened her grip on his hand, needing to know that he was real and that this was real.
Leaning down, Rossi pressed a quick kiss to her forehead, shifting even closer to her body as they waited to see their daughter. And then, finally, a wriggling blanket was carefully handed to them, and Jennifer and David Rossi stared into the face of their newborn daughter.
Telling himself that there was no way that he could stop himself, Rossi gently leaned down and kissed his wife, a long slow kiss that expressed a multitude of emotions. Slowly breaking the kiss, JJ whispered, touching his fake white beard as her eyes moving back to her new daughter, "I guess that we can always say that our daughter saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus. I just hope that we haven't scarred her for life."
Smiling down at her again, he answered, his voice still filled with a sense of awe, "I think that if she can survive this, then we'll make sure that the rest of her life is a breeze."
Reaching out his hand, he joined it with JJ's as they slowly traced gentle fingers across the serene face of their beautiful baby, who had her mother's eyes and her father's hair. He knew that he needed to let the rest of the team know the details, but he really didn't care about them right now. All David Rossi knew at that exact moment that he was completely under the control of two beautiful Rossi women.
And he wouldn't have it any other way.