Author's Note: My second JJ/Rossi outing. The title of this story is actually the title of a Grimm's Brothers Fairy Tale. I wanted to keep in theme with the challenge :)

This totally unrelated to any of my other stories. Takes place a few years down the road.


Prompt Set #2

Show: One Tree Hill

Title Challenge: Even Fairy Tale Characters Would be Jealous


The Old Man Made Young Again

He sat in the back of the church so she wouldn't see him.

He'd apologized profusely as he'd told last week that he'd suddenly realized he couldn't make it. He thought she was going to cry when he told her. He lied and said he had a book signing in Chicago that he was contractually obligated to attend.

In reality . . . he just couldn't bear to go.

But that morning his eyes had snapped open . . . and he'd known . . . he had to go. If not for her, then just for himself. Just to prove to himself that she was really gone. So he'd showered, before shaving carefully, and applying the cologne she'd given him last Christmas. Then he'd pulled on his best suit, the grey one he wore for her birthday, and carefully tied his tie. It was gold. And it matched her hair.

And once he was ready, he got in his car and drove, not to the church, but a little further down the street where he'd pulled over and watched as the guests arrived. Morgan, Garcia, and Reid all came together. None of them brought their spouses. Then a little later Hotch and Emily showed up with little Jack. Though he was almost eight now, so he wasn't quite so little anymore.

Hotch and Emily.

His two closest friends in the world. They knew why he wasn't coming. They'd invited him over for dinner last night, and they'd made small talk about everything and anything. Then Emily had kissed his cheek as she said goodbye him at the door. And he smiled as he put his hand on her belly, feeling the baby kick. That was the only thing that they hadn't talked about, happy families. But just because he didn't have one of his own, didn't mean he couldn't be happy for them. So he'd left the warmth of his friends' home, and gone back to his own where he'd had a glass of scotch and he'd debated whether he really should just fly out to Chicago. Just to get away. But then he'd woken up and decided no, he would stay, and he would bear witness to her happy day.

So now here he was in this grand church decorated with baby's breath and blue roses. And he looked up to the altar where she stood. Her silken train trailing down the steps, her hair spun into curls, and diamonds hanging from her ears. He'd given those earrings to her for her birthday two years ago.

She looked like a princess. Cinderella on her special day. Finally, so many years later, getting her prince. And Dave had had his opportunity to try and fill that role. After Will had been killed, he'd started going over and helping her out with Henry. He was still a baby then. And soon he was spending all of his free time with them. Keeping her busy. Keeping her mind off things. He took them to the grocery store, to the zoo, to the park, hell even to Disney World for Henry's third birthday. And it was as he laughed while taking a picture of the two of them wearing Mickey Mouse ears that he realized, he'd fallen in love with her. She made him feel young. Like the world was still bright and full of possibilities.

But he hadn't said anything to her then. He kept worrying that it was too soon, that she wasn't ready, that she was still mourning Will.

But . . . he'd waited too long.

One day she'd come in with a smile on her face. She'd met someone. A lawyer. He worked at a firm in the city and his daughter was in preschool with Henry. And Dave, he had froze with his coffee mug half way to his mouth. Then he pasted on a happy smile at her news as secretly his heart had shattered.

And slowly he had to start stepping out of her life. She didn't need him anymore to change the bulb in the upstairs hall or to help Henry learn how to throw a baseball. She had Jason for that now. And Jason was a nice guy. Even Hotch liked him. And it had taken Hotch almost a year to really warm up to Will. Hotch was protective of JJ and only wanted the best for her. As did Dave himself. That's all he ever wanted for her. The best. To be content. Just to be happy. But still part of him wanted to be the one to make her happy. He couldn't accept the idea that his dream of making a family with the three them was truly . . . forever . . . gone.

So here he was now, in his best suit, in his favorite cologne, on the worst day of his life, watching the woman he loved marry another man. And she was so beautiful . . . so very beautiful.

A princess. Cinderella.

And as she said her "I do" the tears began to prick his eyes and he stood up and slipped out the side door. She had made him happy. She had made him young again. She had made him believe once more in fine and noble things. For all these gifts he could not be bitter. He watched through the trees as she came out the front door laughing and smiling. Cinderella. Well Cinderella got her happily ever after. So he would swallow his own sadness, his own grief, and he would pray for her.

Pray that she would get her happily ever after too.


A/N 2: So I wrote this story and then I decided I wanted to go with the name of a fairy tale for the title. And I was ASTOUNDED to find this one, exactly as it is, way down on the bottom of a list of Grimm's. It was perfect! And I'm fairly sure I've never read that story so I have no idea what it's about, but it worked for me.

And that's it for my swims in the JJ/Rossi pond for now. Maybe the next set of prompts will give me something new for them. It was interesting to write a completely different relationship, though Hotch and Emily are my first love :)