Author's Note: This another offshoot piece from my "Girl" story. Wading back into the JJ/Rossi pool. It's another friendship piece, takes place early season four, October 2008, in canon, about a month before she gives birth.

If you are not familiar with that world, I don't believe you would have any problems following along here. All you need to know in terms of interpersonal relationships is that Hotch and Emily have become very close friends and are on the verge of changing their relationship to something romantic. But this story isn't about them, they're just supporting players here.

If you're coming at this as a Girl reader, this is the promised chapter paralleling events taking place at the hotel with JJ/Rossi while Hotch and Emily were out having dinner. I know it took a little longer to get up than I'd planned, but I did cover both story elements that were requested so hopefully you'll like it :) And H/P played such a small role in the final product I thought it worked better as its own stand alone story than the next chapter in the larger one. Keep in mind I wrote this so that non Girl readers would be able to easily follow along, so some things in the explanatory elements might seem a little redundant if you're immersed in Girl.

As for this particular story, my apologies if I'm wrong, but I don't believe there's anything in canon to preclude the idea that Dave was originally a cop before he joined the FBI. I do believe that there's something that references him being from New York, but again, nothing to say he didn't live in Chicago for awhile. Therefore, I decided, for my own Dave bio, that he did two tours in Vietnam when he was a teenager, came home and was a Chicago beat cop for a couple years while he put himself through college. And then he joined the Bureau.


Prompt Set #9

Show: Girlfriends

Title Challenge: You Ain't Gotta Go Home But . . . You Know the Rest


Goldilocks and Papa Bear

Dave came off the elevator digging in his pocket for his hotel room key card.

Of course he couldn't find it, though that might have been because he'd had a couple of drinks. Okay, a couple more than a couple.

Damn Glen Livet.

It went down smooth but after four or five you were just as looped as you would have been if you drank the rot gut.

But they didn't get to Chicago too often, let alone have a free night of carousing about town to boot, so he'd looked up his old buddies from the force. Most of them were still on the job, and most of them were still walking a beat. Good guys all of them and everyone insisted on buying him a celebratory drink for being back in town.

And how was he supposed to decline such offers? Real men did not decline an offer of free scotch from their buddies. Though, real, OLD men, did know when to hang it up. So after a few hours he'd beat a hasty retreat, claiming that they had an early flight in the morning.

It wasn't technically a lie.

They did have a flight in the morning, but it really wasn't all that early. Hotch said they had to be at the airport by ten. In his younger days that would have meant Dave could stay out drinking 'til four, and still be tip top for the ride home.

But those days went out with his waistline.

Now he had to make sure he was in bed by midnight if he didn't want to be dragging the next day.

Suddenly he stopped, his brow furrowing as he tried to make sure that he was at the right end of floor.

Yeah . . . he nodded to himself . . . okay. So now that he'd established he'd gone in the right direction after he got off the elevator, Dave knew that he'd be coming up on the team's section of the floor shortly.

But he still hadn't found his damn card.

He missed real keys. They jingle, they had some heft to them, they didn't . . . he grumbled to himself as he started running his fingers over his cash . . . get stuck in your frigging billfold. He jammed his hand further into his pocket.

Christ! Where the hell was the frigging card!?

He yanked the whole mess of crap out of his pocket, dropping half of the contents on the hotel carpet.

Scowling he stopped and looked down, "SON OF A . . . "

Suddenly sensing somebody else in front of him he looked up, "oh . . . hey JJ. I was just," he looked down with a huff, "dropping all of my shit on the ground."

JJ turned away from Hotch's door to give Rossi a soft smile.

"I can see that," and then with her hand on her back, she waddled over to where he was standing to try and stoop down, "here let me . . ."

But she didn't get any further than a slight bending of her knees before Rossi caught her arm.

"No!" He gently chastised, "God no Jennifer, I'll get it. You're due what . . . tomorrow?"

The poor thing had looked miserable for the entire trip. He couldn't remember her actual due date but he knew it was soon.

She chuckled, "actually four weeks."

Dave was funny. Actually, looking at him now, slightly scruffy and with a faint whiff of cigar smoke and alcohol on his clothes, she felt a wave of affection for him. Over the past year he had very much become the new patriarch of the group. They already had a mom . . . that was Hotch. The worrier, the one who told them good job, and disciplined with a soft tone so as not to break their spirits.

Though the others sometimes referred to Rossi and Hotch behind their backs as 'mom and dad,' JJ always saw Dave, though he was occasionally a ball buster, more like the fun uncle with a mysterious past.

It was hard to believe that for the first week of his time with the team that she'd hated his guts.

He rolled his eyes, "close enough. The point is you shouldn't be crawling around on the dirty hotel carpet. Besides," he crouched down and started scooping up his badge, his money and the other various bits of crap he'd accumulated in his pocket throughout the day, "I made the mess, I clean it up," he looked up and winked at her, "sound advice from wife number two."

Dave had tried to take at least one solid lesson from each failed relationship. That one, essentially the marital equivalent of 'you break it, you bought,' was one he'd taken to heart.

Especially given "slob" was actually listed by both Wife 1 and Wife 2 right below "irreconcilable differences" on the papers that were delivered to him by the process server. And he was proud to say that Wife 3 had made no mention of his lack of tidiness when she had him served.

Nope, she just wrote, "Jackass" and left it at that.

Rubbing her belly, JJ leaned back against the wall with a chuckle.

"That is sound advice. I should teach that one to Will."

At the thought of her man so far away, she felt another wave of loneliness hit her. That was why she'd been out in the hall when Dave came around the corner. She'd been exhausted and gone to bed as soon as the case was wrapped and the team had come back to the hotel. But she'd woken up a few hours later to go to the bathroom, and when she'd come back out and seen that big empty hotel room bed, suddenly she'd felt very alone.

It was the damn hormones. She knew it was the damn hormones because she'd been doing this job for years and the travel had never really bothered her before. They were rarely gone for more than few days at a time, and they were always running non-stop when they were away, so usually it was hard to even wind down enough to miss home.

Of course that was before she even had Will to miss at all. But on top of that, tonight, with their flight delayed due to the pilot's food poisoning, she'd had time on her hands. And thinking was bad this late in the pregnancy game.

The closer she got to her due date, the more she hated being on the road.

She missed her bed, she missed her pillow, she missed her kitty, and most of all she missed Will. And even talking to him on the phone hadn't warded off the blues that were creeping up. So even though there was no way that she could be with the person she wanted to be with, the bottom-line was . . . she really just didn't want to be alone.

But a couple of weeks ago Emily had told her that if she ever was worried about the baby, or just got lonely . . . like she was now . . . no matter what time it was, she could come crash with her. Which was what JJ was hoping to do, but Emily didn't seem to be in her room.

Or . . . she looked over at Dave muttering a triumphant "uh huh," at the discovery of his key card . . . Hotch's.

Suddenly registering how peculiar it was for a very pregnant woman in her pajamas to be prowling the halls of a hotel at eleven something in the evening, Dave looked over at JJ curiously.

And then . . . taking note of the fact that she was standing in front of Hotch's door and that they had no case that would warrant her knocking on it this close to midnight . . . he scrunched his brow.

"Are you feeling okay?" Then another thought came to him and he took a step closer as he asked worriedly, "it's not the baby right?"

Christ, he hoped it wasn't the baby. Six scotch whiskeys in, though he wasn't actually drunk, Dave still knew that he was not in any shape to be designated emergency care giver right now.

With a shake of her head, JJ gave an absentminded pat to her stomach.

"No, no nothing like that," she gave Dave a sheepish smile, "I was just a bit lonely and Em had told me before that I could bunk with her if that happened."

Furrowing his brow, Dave looked between the girl and the door she was standing in front of.

"But this isn't Emily's room," he pointed out slowly, "this is Hotch's room."

At the knowing look JJ gave him, light dawned on his alcohol soaked brain.

"ah, but you already knew that. And I am deducing that you've already knocked on Emily's door and that now you're looking for her at Hotch's?"

A logical supposition. If Dave couldn't find Hotch he knew to go to Emily's room. Though Dave knew their relationship was still platonic, they certainly weren't discreet about the amount of time they spent together.

Which was exactly how Dave knew they WEREN'T yet having sex.

If Hotch was indeed screwing one of his female agents he certainly wouldn't be so blasé about being seen going into her hotel room practically every night. Dave also knew, given how strongly Hotch felt about the lovely Agent Prentiss, that if he ever heard Dave use the words 'screw' and 'Emily' in the same sentence that he'd probably break his face. Though as he thought about it, Dave realized Emily probably would too.

Rossi made a mental note to pick a more chick friendly word if a situation ever arose where he was discussing this situation aloud.

JJ nodded.

"Yeah, but he's not answering either," she bit her lip as she looked down dejectedly, "I guess they've gone out."

Okay, Jen . . . she sighed dejectedly . . . apparently you're just going to have to be a big girl and sleep in your own bed all by yourself.

Taking note of the little frown on JJ's face, Dave's own expression softened.

Next to the catching of the bad guys, the girls were his favorite part of being back in the game. They didn't have girls like them in the old days. They had girls like Strauss . . . enough said there. But Emily and JJ brought a bit of class to his occasionally not so highbrow existence.

He didn't like to see them unhappy. So he reached over and patted JJ's arm comfortingly.

"Well I'm sure they'll be back soon. You know neither of them are the club type. They're probably just grabbing a late dinner. Here," he held his keycard up between them, "you come and wait in my room and I guarantee they'll be home by midnight,"

Seeing her about to protest, he gave her a little smile.

"It's already," he checked his watch before looking back up with a smirk, "11:15 so you won't have to put up with me for too long."

Ever since that first case when he'd been such an ass to her, and then she'd told him where he could go stick it, Dave had developed quite a soft spot for JJ in particular. It should also be noted in relation to that soft spot that she looked frighteningly like his first wife when he married her thirty plus years ago.

But he didn't hold that against her.

JJ sighed, "don't be silly Dave. It's not that. I just don't want to impose. It's much too late for me to be barging into people's hotel rooms anyway," her gaze shifted down the hall to her own room, "I should just try and go back to sleep."

Not that she probably would. After she spoke to Will she'd tossed and turned for a half hour. Part of it was that she was to the point where there were no comfortable sleeping positions. So unless she was drop dead exhausted, and basically just passed out, it usually took her forever now to get to sleep.

All the more time to stare at her depressingly lonely little walls.

Looping his arm through hers, Dave smiled as he said knowingly, "ah, but if you could have just gone back to sleep you would have already. Clearly, you can't sleep and, I," he shot her a look, "contrary to what you may hear on the street, can be quite chivalrous on occasion."

JJ smirked, "oh Dave, I don't think you really want to hear what the word on the street is about you."

"Yeah," he chuckled as they got to his door, "probably not."

Though he had escorted her down the hall before she knew what was happening, it only took JJ a second to decide to sit up with Rossi for a few minutes. It wasn't that late yet so most likely he wouldn't be going straight to bed.

Though if Hotch and Emily hadn't turned up by midnight JJ was definitely going back to her own room. It was one thing just to shoot the shit for a few minutes, another thing entirely to be a big Time Moocher.

Just as she stepped past Dave into his room, her stomach began to growl and she blushed slightly as he laughed, "you hungry?" Then he tipped his head quizzically as looked back at her after he locked the door, "wait, did you eat dinner? Or did you just go right to bed when we got back?"

As he recalled she'd disappeared pretty quickly after they dispersed from the elevator.

JJ's nose wrinkled slightly.

"Uh actually I did just go right to bed." And seeing Dave roll his eyes at her, she quickly defended herself, "I was tired! I didn't even think about food."

Hotch had slipped her an apple around three o'clock and that was the last thing that she had eaten.

Almost nine hours ago. Yeah, growing fetus and all she perhaps should have a bit more sustenance than that.

With a disgusted huff Dave dropped down on the side of the bed and picked up the phone.

"Well, you're up now, and I'm getting myself a burger anyway to sop up some of this scotch, so I think you should eat something for that little baby you're lugging around there."

If he was Hotch he'd just order her to eat something. But Dave preferred the soft, guilt ridden sell of Catholics the world over.

JJ lowered herself down on the bed next to him as she sighed, "I suppose you're right," her stomach growled again and she patted it as she said softly, "okay, settle down, we're gonna eat."

She looked over to see Dave's lips twitching and she scowled, "I was talking to the baby, not my stomach."

He tipped his head, "of course." Then, knowing that a woman scowling never meant good things for him, he quickly changed the subject as he glanced over at the room service menu.

"How about a grilled chicken sandwich?"

Rubbing her t-shirt clad belly she nodded, "yeah that sounds good, thanks."

If she'd known she was going to be seeing anyone besides Emily, and maybe Hotch, she might have put on a robe. Oh well . . . braless or not, it's not like Dave was going to be leering at her massively ginormous body dressed in stretch pants and an oversize t-shirt.

Dave put in their order and promised the guy a fifty dollar tip if they put a rush on it.

As he hung up the phone JJ looked over at him incredulously and he shrugged, "what? I'm rich. Every penny I don't spend now the exes are just going to fight over when I'm dead."

Damn alimony.

JJ chuckled, "I see."

Dave smiled as he stood up to go over and turn on the television, "yeah, they're going to have me by the balls until I'm ashes in the ground so better to leave them nothing," he flipped on the television and started flipping channels, "just say when."

Seeing him click past one of the Godfathers, JJ called out, "oh that's good," she tipped her head, "well if it's okay with you?"

Probably only once in the past year had she and Rossi had hung out completely on their own. About six months ago they'd had to fly to Texas for an execution. It was one of Dave's old cases, finally hitting it's last chapter. He'd caught the guy with a cooler full of trophies.

Eyeballs.

Hotch had sent JJ along with Dave on the pretext of fulfilling her duty as the media relations liaison. But in actuality he'd just asked her to keep an eye on him. That had been a hard case, one Hotch had worked as a junior agent with Dave a decade ago, and he'd known that Rossi had become close with the families.

So those forty eight hours in Texas were the only singular quality time the two of them had ever had. Certainly not enough to determine his personal taste in films.

Dave nodded as he clicked back two channels on the remote before he dropped it on the bed next to her.

"Here you go," he started to take off his blazer as he glanced down at her slippers, "make yourself comfortable."

After biting her lip for a second JJ bobbed her head, "thanks."

She didn't want to be so presumptuous as to kick back and put her feet up on his bed, but . . . she kicked her slippers off before sliding, really rocking and huffing her girth, back against the headboard . . . her feet were killing her.

Rossi dropped his jacket on the chair and then took off his watch and his gun, putting them on the bedside table. As he stood next to JJ for a moment his gaze dropped down to her protruding belly and he asked softly.

"Are you excited?"

She smiled up at him, "yeah, I am getting excited. It's a little scary though," and then, noticing the odd look Dave was giving her she tipped her head, "did you ever think about having kids Dave?"

He stared at her for a moment before nodding, "yeah, actually my first wife and I thought about it but uh . . ." he stopped for a second, not wanting to upset her. But then he realized she'd probably pick up on a complete lie, so he went with a half truth.

"Ah, she had a miscarriage and there were complications . . . so," he cleared his throat, "yeah, we uh, did think about having kids."

Wincing in sympathy JJ reaching over and patted his arm, "oh Dave I'm sorry. I didn't mean to pry."

God, she felt like a jerk. Not that she had any way of knowing, but still, you always feel like you should have. It made perfect sense though, Dave was Catholic, from a big family, and he had been married three times.

It would have been strange if he hadn't ever given any thought to children.

He shook his head dismissively, "no, it's fine. It was a long time ago."

It did still hurt to talk about though. Not that he'd ever tell JJ that, he didn't want her to feel badly. That's part of why he'd been hesitant to even mention it. The other reason was that Angie had lost the baby in the eighth month . . . just where JJ was now.

These days that would be a viable fetus . . . but . . . back then, well, the baby had only lived twelve minutes. He didn't really consider it a miscarriage, those would come later. No, he considered that baby to be his son.

David Angelo Rossi, Junior.

He was buried in St. Casimir's Cemetery here in Chicago. Rossi had stopped in there to pay his respects before he went off to meet the guys tonight.

Quickly shaking his head to ward off the old melancholy, he gave JJ a little smile, "don't worry about it," and then he heard a knock on the door and he changed the subject.

"Food's here."

Dave went over to get the door and JJ watched in amazement as the bellboy rolled in the cart with two silver trays.

It was barely five minutes since Dave had called downstairs.

True to his word Dave pulled out a fifty and slipped it to the kid before he shut the door and rolled the cart over to the bed next to JJ.

He didn't want her to have to get up.

JJ looked down incredulously, "how . . . how is the food even cooked yet?!"

Surprised at her question, Dave looked down at her in amusement, "well, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that these two sandwiches were prepared for persons elsewhere in the hotel and they were redirected to us instead," he smirked as he pulled the lids off the trays, "that's why I picked the two most commonly ordered items on the menu."

She huffed, "well don't you feel guilty that you deprived somebody of their burger?"

"No," he unscrewed the cap on the ginger ale he'd gotten her, "it was probably going to some insurance salesman from Tulsa, he can wait five more minutes to clog his arteries," he smiled as he picked up her plate and handed it to her, "my artery clogging comes first."

Shaking her head in amusement, JJ turned her attention back to her own meal. Now that there was food in front of her she realized how famished she was and she quickly started scarfing down her chicken sandwich and the fries that came with it.

Mmmm, yummy!

As she was wiping her mouth she looked up to see Dave, sitting in the end chair, laughing at her.

He was barely half done with his meal.

His eyebrow went up in amusement, "hungry?"

"Apparently . . . yes," she smiled before she took the last drink of her ginger ale, "thanks for stealing my meal from the insurance guy's wife."

Even if Emily didn't turn up before midnight at least JJ had gotten some food into her system. And bonus . . . she hadn't had to eat alone.

Tipping his head, Dave swallowed a bite of his burger, "no problem."

Figuring that Rossi would rather eat than be bothered making chit chat, JJ reached over to put her plate on the cart before she leaned back against the headboard again.

But that wasn't really a comfortable position though. The pillows were sticking into her back so she started fidgeting.

"Why don't you just lie down?"

Embarrassed that Dave had seen her squirming like a worm on the bed she looked over at him sheepishly, "uh, no, that's fine."

Feeling his countenance softening, Dave logically pointed out, "JJ you're eight months pregnant, if you need to lie down to rest, at midnight, there's really nothing embarrassing about that."

For God's sake, he couldn't believe she was still working this far along. If he was hauling around another human being for nine months he would have sat back and kicked up his heels around week three.

JJ looked over cautiously, "well, if you don't mind, thanks," she started wriggling down the bed slightly so she could lay on her side. Once she was settled she called over her shoulder, "excuse my back, but depending on where the baby is pressing, one of my sides is usually the only semi-comfortable position I can get in."

Still chewing his burger, Dave nodded, "no problem, I'm used to getting the cold shoulder from women lying in bed."

Hearing JJ chuckle Dave grinned as he turned back to the movie.

Ah, Joey Zasa . . . he settled back in his chair . . . one of the few redeemable elements of G3.

A few minutes later he finished his meal and got up to stick his plate on the tray. As he walked over to the bed he noticed that JJ's eyes were shut.

Ah, sleeping like a little pregnant angel . . . his eyes crinkled . . . that's sweet.

Then he realized she was sleeping in his bed . . . SHIT!

She was waiting up for Emily. Now what the hell was he going to do with her? Given that she just told him how hard it was to get to sleep, he didn't want to wake her up just so she could go lie down again in two minutes.

Okay . . . he berated himself . . . just calm down Dave. Emily's out with Hotch and Hotch leaps tall buildings in a single bound. He will be able to easily transfer JJ to her own bed, or . . . he rolled his eyes . . . whoever's bed, no problem.

With a plan now in place . . . pass the problem off to the next guy . . . Rossi settled in to watch his movie again.

/*/*/*/

A half hour later, Dave heard a commotion in the hallway. His eyes immediately snapped over to see if JJ was still sleeping. Though she stirred slightly, after a little unintelligible murmur, she settled down again.

He got out of the chair and poked his head out in the hall. He was just in time to see Morgan, in his boxers, darting around the corner chasing a girl with very long, very shapely, legs.

That's all Dave could see of her . . . that and long black hair flying. But he did chuckle when he heard Morgan's plea of, "baby come back! That's just my boss messing with me! He wasn't really going to arrest you for prostitution."

Dave looked down the end of the hall to see Hotch and Emily standing by Morgan's open door, cracking up laughing.

His lips twitched.

This was a game that they liked to occasionally play for their amusement. If they suspected Derek had a girl in his room, they'd pound on his door and then watch Derek have a panic attack attempting to hide his date from Hotch. Dave deduced that tonight there was no time to hide the girl before Hotch spotted her so they decided to mix it up a little.

Prostitution raid.

Dave had to hand it to him . . . that was a good one. And people thought Hotch didn't have a sense of humor. His late night door poundings were good fun for everyone . . . well, except Derek. But somebody had to occasionally take one for the team. But now that Hotch and Emily had their fun, Dave had work for them. So he stepped out into the hall.

"Pssst!" he hissed, "You two, get in here!"

Both still laughing, Hotch and Emily turned and stared at Dave with identical looks of confusion. As they sobered up, Hotch spoke for both of them as he asked suspiciously.

"Why?"

Dave rolled his eyes at the wary tone. "Because I'm looking for a threesome, Jesus Christ just get over here!"

They looked at each other and shrugged before walking back down the corridor. Dave stepped closer so their voices wouldn't carry back into his room.

"JJ's in my room. She was looking for Emily and fell asleep waiting for you guys to get back."

Cringing slightly, Emily tried to poke her head around Dave to see her friend.

"She wanted to sleep with me?"

At his affirmative nod Emily felt a little shot of unwarranted guilt. It's not like she'd known JJ was looking for her and she'd gone off and left her alone. But she still felt a little bad that they'd been out for so long. Even if it was just because they'd lost track of time. But as she glanced over at Hotch she could tell from the slight wrinkling of his nose that he felt kind of bad too.

Hotch tipped his head towards Emily.

"Well Emily's back now so JJ can . . ."

"Nah," Rossi cut him off with a shake of his head, "she fell asleep about thirty minutes ago, and I really don't want to wake her. She was muttering something about no comfortable positions and it seems wrong to make her get up just to go back to bed. That said," he gave them both a knowing look, "I can't have a twenty something blonde coworker sleeping in my hotel room," he bit his lip as he looked up at the ceiling thoughtfully, "well, at least not one that's got a fiancé."

Emily rolled her eyes.

"Yeah, THAT's what's wrong with that picture . . . Will."

Covering his snort with a small cough, Hotch looked back at Dave, "so what . . ."

After shooting Emily a dirty look, Dave glanced over at Hotch in embarrassment.

"My back isn't what it used to be, so I can't lift her." And then seeing the look Emily that was giving him now he quickly clarified, "hey I'm not saying that she's heavy, just that I have a bad back. It happened like ten years ago. One time in Vegas I met these two showgirls . . ."

Hotch quickly cut him off.

"Heard that one," he shot him a look, "and Emily doesn't need to hear it . . . ever."

That was one of Dave's 'dear Penthouse' entries. Hotch himself had wanted to scrub his ears when his friend was done telling it. He certainly wasn't going to subject Emily to that level of debauchery.

Emily's lips twitched before she cleared her throat.

"Okay then, so I'm assuming that rather than looking for a threesome, you called us over here so Hotch could take JJ to my room?"

Rossi nodded, "yeah, that was my thought."

Nodding, Hotch peered around Dave's shoulder, "no problem." And then Dave quickly added with a waggle of his eyebrows to Emily, "though if you're ever looking for a threesome . . ."

She shot back. "You'll be the last one I call old man."

They immediately grinned at each other and Hotch shook his head in exasperation.

God help them if they ever brought an outsider into their mix. They'd all be in sexual harassment training until the next millennium.

Dave pushed the door open and the other two followed him into his room. The television was still on low and the place was illuminated with the blue glow from the TV and the soft light from the table lamp on the desk. Hotch's face softened as he saw JJ curled up on her side. He remembered from Haley's pregnancy how hard it was for her to get to sleep at this stage in the pregnancy. And he really did hate to move her in case she woke up.

But Dave was right, they couldn't leave her here with him. If for no other reason than JJ would be completely mortified when she woke up in three hours to go to the bathroom and she found Dave asleep in the chair.

That wouldn't do at all . . . Hotch leaned down to slide his arms under her back . . . keeping JJ happy was second only in priority to keeping Emily happy.

Just as he was about to pick her up he was interrupted by Dave's harsh whisper of "no, lift with your knees," which was followed swiftly by an audible thwack from Emily and her angry hiss of, "she's not a SOFA!"

Snapping his eyes over, he shot them both a cross look as he mouthed, "you're going to wake her up."

Immediately settling down, they both nodded contritely and Hotch turned back, slipping his arms around JJ's back and legs and pulling her to his chest.

Pre-pregnancy she was probably only about 110 lbs, so even with the baby weight she really wasn't heavy at all. He rolled his eyes . . . lift with his knees.

After shifting her weight slightly in his arms, Hotch looked down to make sure she was still asleep. His eyes crinkled slightly as he saw her sigh and turn her face into his shirt.

Next to Emily, JJ was his favorite girl around. It was going to be strange when she was gone on maternity leave and he had to go to work without her there every day.

He honestly wasn't sure how they . . . he . . . was going to get by.

Emily noticed the slight look of melancholy on Hotch's face and she reached over to rub his arm, catching his eyes for a moment. Then she gave him a soft smile and tipped her head towards the door.

She could read him better than anyone, and she knew what he was thinking. But, JJ was going to be with them for another month.

No reason to start missing her before she was even gone.

As Dave saw the shadow of a smile cross Hotch's face as he nodded at Emily, the exchange between the two of them reminded Rossi again how close they had become. And watching Hotch pull JJ a little tighter to his chest, Dave's eyes crinkled as he saw her belly was a slight buffer between them. Then he started to feel a little sad . . . for his lost baby and for JJ's upcoming departure.

Before he stepped back out of Hotch's way, Dave brushed his fingers through the silky blonde hair in front of him.

Yeah . . . he was going to miss her too.

He exchanged soft goodnights with the other two before he shut the door behind them and went over to flop down on his bed.

Joey Zasa was just taking a bullet to the head.

Hotch followed Emily down the hall to her room where she quickly worked the lock and then held the door open for him as he turned slightly to get JJ in without jostling her. Once inside, he stopped, standing still for a moment as Emily quietly shut the door and locked up before she hurried over to pull down the covers.

They both knew they could have just brought JJ back to her own room, but given how often she went to the bathroom now, they knew it was unlikely she'd sleep through the night. And it was still early, barely midnight. If JJ was lonely enough to want to sleep with Emily an hour ago, then neither of them wanted her to wake up by herself at three in the morning.

Hotch had been there the night Emily had extended the invitation to JJ to come over whenever she needed to . . . his eyes crinkled slightly as he brushed JJ's hair back from her face . . . Emily had told JJ she was always welcome to knock on either of their doors if she couldn't sleep.

The offer was sincere and Hotch was glad to see that JJ had taken them up on it.

After Hotch put JJ down on the bed Emily stepped up beside him and fixed her blankets. Then she turned to Hotch with a little smile as she whispered, "you want to sleep on the floor with me again?"

That's what they had done a few weeks ago when JJ had knocked on Emily's door in the middle of the night. Hotch had been sleeping in Emily's bed with her, but he was the one to let JJ inside. She'd had a little scare of false labor and had been worried about the baby. After an awkward explanation for why he was sleeping in Emily's bed instead of his own, Hotch had coaxed JJ into staying with them in case she had any more problems. After getting her settled with Emily, Hotch had camped out on the floor.

Emily had been dead to the world for the earlier portion of JJ and Hotch's conversation, and then she woke up an hour later freezing to death because her new bedmate had taken all of her blankets.

So Emily had done the most logical thing in the world, gotten down on the floor and cuddled with Hotch so she could warm up. Of course JJ had caught them talking . . . and cuddling . . . and that had led to the subsequent heart to heart the two women had about the importance of Emily's relationship with Hotch, keeping aspects of it to themselves, and how appreciative JJ was that they included her in their little private bubble.

So, indeed JJ was the only person on the team with whom Hotch and Emily could just be normal around. And "normal" meant occasionally sharing the same sleeping space.

It was a comfort to them.

Which is why Hotch's lip quirked up as he pulled Emily into a hug and whispered in her ear.

"Of course."

/*/*/*/*

Feeling the familiar pressure of the baby kicking her bladder, JJ opened her eyes. She stared over at the wall, for a moment panicked because she had no idea where she was. The last thing she remembered was talking to Dave.

'Please God don't let me have fallen asleep in Rossi's bed! That would be so embarrassing!'

But then her sleep addled brain registered the presence of a small light coming from the lower electrical socket. Her lip quirked up . . . Emily's ladybug nightlight. She didn't know where Em had gotten it, but JJ recognized it clear as day.

And that meant . . . she rolled over and peered over the side of the bed, smiling as she saw Hotch and Emily curled up together sound asleep on the floor.

They must have taken some extra pillows and blankets from Hotch's room, because they looked much more comfortable than they did the last time she'd woken up to see them in that position. With a smile in her voice she whispered down to the two people she was closest to on the team.

"What kept you?"


A/N 2: For some reason I keep naming my JJ/Rossi stories with a fairy tale theme. It wasn't intentional but now I kind of feel like I should see if I can keep it running.

As I was writing this I realized that it did seem a little odd that Rossi, old school Catholic guy of a certain age, with three ex-wives, has no kids that we know about. So I added in a back story for him on why he doesn't have children.

Now that I've written this one, I sorta want to go back and write that other story that JJ alluded to, her and Rossi going to Texas for an execution. I had been planning on writing an execution chapter in my Girl story, it was based on one of the challenge prompts, but it would be Hotch and Emily as the players. But now I'm thinking maybe I could do the other two. I like writing them, and now that I have a bit of a rapport building up between them, it might be kind of fun to backtrack them a little more. Between this and Mirror it was definitely fun writing so much Dave this week though.

Somebody, please refresh my memory if you read this and it's you (wickedwitch1313? maybe), asked if I'd write a chapter about a 4th of July cookout at Dave's. That's another thing I had alluded to in Girl. Maybe I'll do that one at some point too. If I'm looking for a Rossi fix and can't fit him 'organically' into any of the stories I'm working on at the time. So many ideas, no frigging time to write! Damn you real life, and your constant interference with fake life!

Imananthropologist, I actually had the Dave as 'uncle' bit done before your other review :) But if you'd like to tell people that was all your idea, feel free!

Joey Zasa was of course played by Joe Mantegna in Godfather 3. And I did particularly like his character and the scene where he gets whacked, "Joey", bang bang," Zasa"

Does anybody know if Glen Livet is a whiskey or a scotch? It's a 'scotch whiskey' but I wasn't quite sure what the hell that meant. I like Jameson's myself (THAT'S a whiskey) but that's what I have Hotch and Em drink and I needed a different beverage for Rossi so I went with that one.

Girl readers, I have good news, this story definitely jogged the Girl muse loose and I'm pretty sure we'll have a new one up there in a couple days. I had started it before, the Halloween chapter, but I couldn't decide how to end it. But now, I'm happy to say, I got a clear snapshot in my head of the middle and end. The beginning's already done.