Closing Doors and Opening Windows

Prompt: Without A Trace "More Than This"

Chapter One

He watched her serendipitously, stealing glances at her over his ten year old scotch. Not the best he'd ever tasted by any stretch, but it would do what it was designed to do – take the edge off of an uncomfortable situation. If he hadn't known that Aaron Hotchner was happily oblivious, he easily could have hated the younger man for what he was doing to Emily Prentiss. But, unfortunately, he did know Aaron, and he knew that any pain he'd inflicted on the beautiful agent currently sitting in the corner booth nursing a glass of wine had been unintentional. He knew Hotch had a good heart; he'd never have flaunted his reconciliation with his wife and child in front of Emily if he'd known that she harbored those heartfelt, wrenching feelings for him.

It didn't change the fact the woman he'd slowly and steadily fallen in love with was miserable, however. He despised that fact with a purity he hadn't experienced in years. Allowing his gaze to linger on her patrician features for a moment too long, he heard the soft feminine voice behind him call him out.

"You know, you should just tell her how you feel," JJ said softly, sliding onto the bar stool beside him as he heard Morgan laugh loudly at some joke Penelope told; their small group growing more raucous as the night wore on. He couldn't really blame any of them. It had been a long hard battle to pin Foyet down. The culmination of his reign of terror coming to an abrupt end when he, himself had put a kill shot into the center of the psychotic man's forehead.

Glancing up into JJ's serene face, Dave offered the young woman a half-smile. "Where's your Cajun tonight, Jen? And that little ball of energy you gave birth to?" he asked, trying to distract the perceptive woman from her current line of thought.

"Henry's with my mom and Will will be along after his shift ends at the precinct," JJ replied succinctly, narrowing her gaze on the older man as he lifted his glass to his lips again. "And you can't ignore your way out of what I just said to you, Rossi," she added with a knowing look.

Damning his colleague's intuitive nature to hell and gone, Dave lifted his eyes to meet her piercing stare. "We both know that she's in love with another man, Jen," Dave said in a low tone meant for her ears alone.

"And we both know that she can never have him," JJ remarked, her eyes traveling to where Hotch stood laughing gaily, his arms wrapped around Haley's narrow waist, his chin resting on her glistening blonde hair.

Sighing as his eyes followed hers, Dave replied somberly, "I won't be her second choice, Jen. I can't do that to myself."

"Who says you be her second choice, Dave. She doesn't even realize you're an option," JJ returned briskly, shifting in her seat as another bar patron reached around her for his drink. Waiting until he'd withdrawn JJ continued, her voice just loud enough for him to hear over the din of background noise behind them, "Listen to me, Dave," JJ urged, "Let her know that there's more than one opportunity for happiness out there. Don't let yourself miss a chance to be happy because you're afraid of what might or might not be. Focus on what is, Rossi."

"And what exactly is that, JJ?" Dave asked tersely, watching as the waitress delivered yet another glass of dark red wine to Emily's table.

"Emily is a free, unattached woman well above the age of consent, Dave," JJ said softly, leaning toward him as another customer jostled behind her. "She can't wallow in that pity pond she's in forever. Drag her ass out of it," JJ ordered.

"You think I've got some kind of magical powers or something?" Dave snorted, giving her a sidelong glance as he took another sip of his scotch.

"No. I think you should look at this as an opportunity instead of a problem. Might I remind you that you're David Goddamn Rossi, the original master manipulator and Lothario of the BAU? Women still swoon at your feet. I'd know, wouldn't I? I've had to sweep up their bodies," she laughed.

"And you know, better than anybody, that I haven't been that guy in a really long time. I buried that self-serving bastard a long time ago," Dave said, saluting her with his glass.

"Then I'd say it's time for him to be resurrected from the ashes…for a limited engagement, of course," JJ said, toasting him with her bottle of water as she winked at him. "Come on, Dave, turn on that charm that you're so well known for and pull our girl back from the edge," JJ pleaded, quickly glancing over at Emily.

"JJ-"

"Listen, Rossi, that's her fourth glass of wine," she said, nodding at where Emily sat, lifting the stemmed glass to her pinched lips, "Somebody is going to need to take care of getting her back to her place tonight. Now, are you going to do it or are Will and I going to be responsible for her?" JJ asked with a pointed look.

"Using guilt on me, JJ?" Dave asked with grudging respect.

"Whatever works," JJ shrugged.

"I'll make sure she's okay," Dave promised softly, watching as the bar door opened and a tired, worn Will LaMontagne walked in. "It looks like your ride finally got here," he said, nodding at the glass doors of the bar.

Glancing over her shoulder, JJ smiled widely at the man she loved. Turning back to Dave, JJ smiled gently. "You are a good man whether you want to be or not, David Rossi. You deserve the chance to be happy. So does she," she said, nodding to Emily. "Take a chance," she urged, squeezing his arm as she rose from the bar stool beside him.

"I never took you for the Pollyanna type before, Jen," Dave grumbled around his glass.

Bending to brush a kiss against his cheek, JJ whispered, "You'll thank me later."

Pursing his lips, Dave retorted gruffly, "Yeah, well, don't hold your breath waiting for that to happen."