Author's Note: Many, many thanks to everyone who continues to read, review, alert and favorite our stories. We truly appreciate each and every one of you. Today, please travel over to our forum, "Chit Chat on Author's Corner" and check out our latest "Getting to Know You" interview with the very talented ArwenLalaith. One of the premiere talents on this site, she's also recently taken over the Criminal Minds Fan Fiction Awards. Also, we have another discussion thread open called, "Creating the Perfect Marriage with Dialogue and Description" Please, drop us a post or PM and let us know your thoughts on the forum. We'd love your input. Thanks again. And, as always, we don't own Criminal Minds.
On a side note, would you guys be interested in this little saga continuing in another story about Rossi and Emily confronting all the triumphs and pitfalls of parenthood? Let us know!
The Third Trimester: Lessons Learned
Smiling as he heard the door to the hospital room squeak open, David Rossi whispered down to the sleeping baby cuddled tightly in his arms as he heard footsteps, "I think we're about to have company, little girl. Daddy promises that he won't let them stay too long."
Pushing to the front of the small pack now gathered just inside the doorway, Penelope Garcia marched across the linoleum floor as she declared in a loud hiss, "Pay no attention to the crazy man, my newest little Rossi. Aunt Penny will take care of everything."
Shifting sideways in the padded rocking chair, Rossi glared up at the pushy redhead as he said, tilting his head toward the nearby hospital bed, "If you wake up either one of my girls, Garcia, I swear I'll find a way to chuck those computers of yours down the garbage disposal. Capice?"
Reaching out a strong hand, Morgan gently pulled his favorite person out of the line of fire as he said, calmly and softly, "Okay, you two. Return to your neutral corners. No fights when we're finding out about this new little girl's name."
Stirring in the hospital bed, Emily let out a wide yawn as she slowly opened her eyes. Rubbing a hand over her forehead, she murmured, sleepily, "Dave, why are these people here? Didn't we throw them out earlier?"
Offering a rare smile from the back of the group, Hotch replied dryly, "Have you ever tried to hold Garcia back from doing anything she wanted to do, Prentiss? After the third solid blow landed, we decided it would be in our combined best interest to allow her to face Rossi's wrath."
"Hey!" Pen yelped softly, lowering for voice as she felt Dave's focused glare. "I wasn't that bad."
"You bit me!" Reid complained, holding his left hand in the air for emphasis, "And drew blood!"
"Told ya the gag was a bad idea," Will shrugged, wrapping an arm around JJ as he wisely kept to the back of the group, having experienced Garcia's karate chop action earlier.
"Look, Kid, quit whining. You aren't the one that has severe questions about your ability to father a kid now," Morgan retorted, glaring at Penelope as he mentally winced, the earlier pain still very clear in his mind.
"You were between me and the door," Pen replied unapologetically, ignoring the tones of outrage around her. "Told you to move," she shrugged, fingering the pink blanket wrapped around the much anticipated bundle of job in Rossi's arms. "Oh my God," she breathed as a tiny little fist snuck out to curl next to a reddened cheek, "she's like this perfect combination of you and Emily."
Looking over Pen's shoulder, JJ grinned. "I'm thinking more Rossi than Em. Look at that complexion."
"She has Emily's eyes," Dave murmured, staring down at his little miracle, still unable to believe that such an amazing gift belonged to him. Even after an entire hour of just holding her and staring down at her sleeping face, he still somehow expected his tiny daughter to disappear, to evaporate from his grasp.
"And Dave's lungs," Emily smiled tiredly, meeting Dave's loving gaze across the room as she reached for the rail of the bed, a sudden whirring filling the room as she adjusted the mattress.
"The better for the little Princess to let ya'll know when you've got somethin' wrong," Will grinned, remembering Henry's early days upon the earth and his son's obvious displeasure at their parenting abilities.
Nodding, Dave slowly rose from his chair, crossing the small room to Emily's side and placing their child gently in her waiting arms. "So, mama," Dave asked, caressing his daughter's warm cheek before dropping a kiss against Emily's flushed forehead, watching as Emily immediately cuddled the baby closer, "have we come to a final decision about this little angel's name?"
"I want Marianna for your mother," Emily said softly, lifting her eyes from their daughter to her father. "It's too beautiful a name not to bring it into the next generation."
"You sure?" Dave asked, his voice choked as he realized Emily wanted to honor his mother.
"Positive," Emily nodded, dropping her gaze back to the baby, entranced as the delicate eyelashes started to flutter, dark eyes appearing for a bare second. "Now, all we need is a middle name."
"Grace," David replied, his voice hushed, the name almost a reverent blessing. Grace was perfect, he thought as he tried to fight the lump in his throat. His daughter was the unmerited gift he had been given that he would be thanking God for every single day for the rest of his life.
"Fitting," Emily nodded, her own tears hovering in the corners of her eyes as she stroked a gentle finger over the baby's soft cheek. "Marianna Grace Rossi," she whispered, testing the name aloud. "It feels right," she said with a confident smile, looking up at the man beside her.
"It certainly does," Dave agreed, gently kissing her as the rest of their team collectively voiced their approval.
Rapidly nodding her support, Garcia grinned as she held her arms out wide. "Okay, everybody, I think this little familia needs to do a bit of bonding and I, for one, am ready to shop for our newest team member." Turning to grab a strong muscled arm belonging to the man planted beside her, she ordered good-naturedly, "Get the lead out, Morgan! I've got a credit card and I know how to use it!"
Hearing the laughter follow Garcia from the room, Dave turned back toward his new family. His family, he thought with an amazed smile. "From a potential test tube baby to this...your perfect little plan has come a long way, hasn't it?" Dave grinned, gently sitting beside Emily on the bed, reaching out to tuck a wayward strand of ebony hair behind Emily's ear.
"Full circle," Emily breathed, tucking Marianna closer to her breast as she leaned slightly into Dave's strong touch. "Any regrets?" she asked, staring up into the intense, dark eyes of the man she loved.
"Just one," Dave replied seriously, nodding even as he saw the flash of panic in Emily's eyes. "I wish it hadn't taken me this long to find you...find you both," he amended quickly, glancing at his daughter.
"All good things to those who wait," Emily recited, relief filling her voice as she realized that, finally, she had reached her Shangri-La. Everything she ever wanted or would ever need was wrapped up in this new family that she and Dave were creating.
"Then this experience ought to be the most rewarding of my life," Dave returned, caressing Emily's cheek tenderly with one hand as the other stroked his little girl's ebony head.
And it was.