Disclaimer: Criminal Minds is owned by CBS. I own nothing but my imagination.
An Unconventional Family-Chapter 1
'There she is,' Dave thought to himself as he felt his breath quicken and his pulse speed up. It had been fifteen years since they had been in the same room together, but he would know her face anywhere. Of course he had seen her on television giving press conferences, but it was different seeing her in person again after all this time. Time had been kind to her, she looked like she had barely aged since the last time he saw her…after that tearful goodbye. She was why he was back. Sure, he told Strauss that he was coming back because they were a man down, and he could almost make himself believe it, but deep down in his heart he knew he was back because of her. She was the reason why two of his marriages had failed; she was his gold standard, the person he judged all other people against. Quite simply, she was the one who got away…and it was his own damn fault.
He remembered back to what they had had fifteen years ago. He was a hotshot profiler for the FBI and had the ego of a high school quarterback. He was on his first book tour when he met her at the Georgetown bookstore. He remembered she sat in the back of the room and didn't say much, and when she asked him to autograph his book, it was with a soft but determined voice. He had autographed the book, given it back to her and then asked her if she wanted to get something to eat. Something to eat had turned out to be a night of passionate lovemaking.
Initially, he hadn't wanted a relationship, he was only interested in one night stands; love 'em and leave 'em, that was his motto. He was just coming off of the divorce from his first wife, the only one he had ever really loved. He knew could look the other way on a lot of things, but when he had come home to find his wife in bed with their next door neighbor; he realized he couldn't look the other way on that. After her betrayal, Dave vowed never to give his heart away. He had a string of one night affairs that meant nothing to him; it was just a way for him to scratch his sexual itch.
But Jennifer was different, not only was the sex mind blowingly amazing, but she was able to cut through all of his bullshit, she was able to see the real David Rossi and that made him both ecstatic and terrified at the same time. Ecstatic because he doubted that anyone outside of his family knew the real him and terrified because he knew that she could never be just a one night stand, he had feelings for her and it scared the hell out of him that he might get hurt again.
After that first night, the only time they spent apart was when she was in class and he was at work or away on a case. They slept together every night he was in town and with Jennifer it wasn't just sex, it was talking too. They learned things about each other that neither one of them had shared with anyone else. She knew his fears of screwing up a case and getting someone killed because of it and he learned about her fears of failing in college, of letting her parents down. With her he felt like he had no secrets and that was okay because he didn't want to have any secrets from her.
Jennifer also made him feel young again. While at thirty-five he hadn't exactly been a card carrying member of the AARP, the things he had seen in his job had aged him. Since he lived out in the country and since she needed to be near Georgetown for her classes and study groups, they usually stayed in her dorm room. It was a mind screw for him to go from chasing serial killers to having to put a sock on the door, but it was fun and it relieved a lot of the stress in his life. Thankfully Jennifer had a roommate who liked sex almost as much as she did and as a bonus, the roommate's boyfriend had his own place off campus so they usually had the room to themselves, and they took advantage of their time together.
Their relationship came to a screeching halt after six months. Dave clearly remembered what it was that sent him running. They had just had mind numbing sex and he was holding her in her tiny little dorm bed. She turned and curled up on her side and was nearly asleep when he heard her mumble, "I love you." Dave, half asleep himself said it back to her and was then instantly awake. The thing was, he hadn't said that as an automatic response, he actually did love her! He knew he couldn't let himself love a woman again so he began looking for ways out of their relationship. He found one within a week. It was summer vacation and Jennifer was studying in London for the month of August. They had promised to chat online and email and when Dave made that promise in June, he had honestly planned to keep up his end of the bargain, but when those words were exchanged between the two of them, he knew he couldn't do it and he saw that as his way out. After a night of passion, and a heart wrenching goodbye at the airport, Dave cleared all of his stuff out of her room and then left a letter on her desk explaining why he couldn't continue on in their relationship. He knew he was a coward, that she wouldn't read the note for over a month, but he couldn't bear to see the look on her face or hear the tears in her voice if he had broken up with her in person and he didn't want to ruin her time in London. She emailed him every couple of days, her emails growing more frantic as the days went by and she didn't hear from him. Finally she realized what was going on and the emails stopped. Other than a call from her (which he didn't answer) on the day she returned to the States, he hadn't heard from her again.
Everything would have been fine in his life if Jason Gideon hadn't called him four years ago. At that time, Dave had been living in California. Not in any of the big cities, but in Cambridge; a small town on the coast about halfway in between LA and San Francisco. He was living there and writing and generally enjoying his retirement when Gideon called and asked for his input on a case they had in LA. It wasn't an official consult; it was just one friend helping another. Once they were finished, Gideon let him know that he would pass Dave's thoughts along to Hotch and then he let Dave know that their media liaison would be holding a press conference on the case. Dave wanted to make sure this media liaison, whatever the hell that was, got the information correct so he decided to tune into the conference. All of his concern over the information flew out of his head once he saw her on the TV. He couldn't believe she was working for the BAU and he also couldn't believe he had let her get away all of those years ago! He waited four years and wrote two more bestsellers, but as soon as he heard that Gideon had gone AWOL, he called all of his contacts at the FBI and came out of retirement. Looking at her now, he knew it had been the right decision.
JJ was reading a file as she made her way to Hotch's office to meet the new team member. Gideon's replacement was a sudden decision made by Strauss and she didn't even know the newest BAU member's name, all she knew was that he was someone who had retired but was back to help out. As she walked into Hotch's office, she looked up from her file and almost fainted. Standing in front of her was David Rossi, her David; the one she had spent six glorious months with during her junior year at Georgetown. He was standing right here, looking at her as though nothing was out of the ordinary about their meeting. She relied on all of her media training and managed not to look flustered as she shook his extended hand.
"Agent Jareau, it's a pleasure to see you again," he said smoothly.
"I didn't know you had come out of retirement, Agent Rossi," she said coolly.
"When I heard the BAU was a man down, I knew I had to come and lend a hand. I never expected to find you working here."
"Wait, you two know each other?" Hotch asked.
"Yes, we met while I was at Georgetown; we were one of the stops on his book tour." JJ said lightly, hoping Hotch wouldn't pick up on her tension, although she knew that was unlikely since as both a profiler and a close friend, he seemed to notice everything. She saw him raise an eyebrow, so she quickly continued. "We have a case and from the crime scene photos, it looks like it's going to be a bad one. I'll see you both in the conference room in five minutes?"
They both agreed and JJ walked out of the Hotch's office and back to her own. By the time she got back, she was breathing heavily. She couldn't believe he was back! She had never forgiven him for the way he ended things with her but she knew that for the sake of her job, she had to find a way to work with the man. She knew that was going to be easier said than done.
This story is an AU story. I might pull in bits and pieces of canon cases, but for the most part when I need them, I will be making the cases up as I go along.
I've aged JJ a little bit in my story as she is thirty-six here and in real life I think she is thirty-two. That's because in my timeline, Dave sleeps with her when he is thirty five (he's 51 in this story) and that would have put JJ at twenty. It was just too icky in my mind to think of a thirty five year old sleeping with an eighteen or nineteen year old. Everyone else is the same age as they are right now except for Jack, who is sixteen in this story (the reason for that will become more important later on in the story). As a historian, this whole 'messing with the timeline' kills me, but I have to do what I have to do to make the story work.
All of that having been said, this is my first attempt at a pairing and my second attempt at a multi-chapter, so please be kind and constructive when you review.