Title: The Times Dave Rossi put on His "Dad" Shoes, Chapter 2

Author: Kuria Dalmatia

Rating/Warnings: FRM/R (profanity because it is Rossi after all, adult situations)

Characters/Pairing: Rossi and the BAU

ARCHIVING: my LJ... anyone else? Please ask first.

Feedback always welcome.

DISCLAIMER: The Mark Gordon Company, ABC Studios and CBS Paramount Network Television own Criminal Minds. Salut! I just took them out to play and I promise put them back when I'm done. I'm not making any profit just trying to get these images out of my head.

VERSION: November 2009

TIMELINES/SPOILERS: The early days of the BAU, Seasons 3 through 4. Direct quotes from "Penelope" and references to "In Heat"

/***/ Don't Preach

As much of a reputation as Dave had, he had just as many lonely weekends—maybe even more—than the rest of the team. Of course, no one would believe him and he didn't particularly care. He always had things to occupy his time—the notes for his latest book quickly came to mind—but the images of Jill Morris giving that damn press conference still hadn't gone away. Neither had those of how Hotch looked increasingly worse for wear, dark circles under puffy, bloodshot eyes.

If asked, Dave would claim he was hiding from his publicist but in truth, he was at the BAU to get Hotch caught up on paperwork. While he understood why Hotch didn't make the Kids fill out the mundane stuff, someone still had to do it. And if a few reports were magically completed when Hotch got into the office on Monday… well, at least Hotch wouldn't balk because Dave had done them.

It was nice to walk into a quiet bullpen, go to the kitchen, and make a pot of coffee that didn't taste watery. One and a half packets of pre-measured grounds was the key and there was no one around to whine that it was too strong. It was also nice to be able to stick his mug on the burner, fill it, and then put the carafe back without any complaints that he was poaching the first cup.

Dave heard the squeak of tennis shoes on linoleum behind him and he turned, surprised to see JJ. Stunned, actually, because he'd never seen her dressed so casually: baggy sweatshirt and... were those faded track pants? He blinked.

"Dave!" JJ stuttered, her mouth dropping open as she reached up to push a lock of hair behind her ear. Her ponytail was, perhaps, the sloppiest he'd ever seen her wear. "You're... here."

"So are you," he grinned and then saluted her with his mug. "Happy Saturday."

Her eyes focused on the cup, she inhaled sharply, and then her hand flew to her mouth. "Oh God... coffee."

She then raced out of the kitchenette, and Dave heard the slap of a hand against the glass door followed by the distinct sound of vomiting.

Dave winced. He set down his mug and walked quickly to the front, not especially eager for the sight. It was a little known fact that he was sympathy-puker, even when it was only dog vomit.

The mess was a funky splatter of brown on the white linoleum. Years of crime scenes and autopsy reports provided insight on what specifically had been regurgitated: muesli (not oatmeal), unpeeled apple, and probably yogurt. As disturbing as it was to profile someone's vomit, it was the only way that Dave could keep his own breakfast from joining the mess.

Dave looked up in time to see the restroom door close and then let out a sigh. At least she picked the one where the cleaning crew kept the supplies. Only because it was a Saturday and that no one else was at the BAU did he follow.

He could hear her retching and he made a face before he knocked on the stall door. "JJ? Do you need some water or something?"

A flush answered him. Then she replied in a choked voice, "I can't believe you followed me into the ladies room!"

"This isn't the ladies room, sweetheart," he retorted lightly, "unless urinals are now standard in them."

A murmured, "Oh my God" followed next and Dave knew when to retreat. He walked towards the janitorial closet. Thankfully, there wasn't that much to clean up and he grabbed paper towels and a plastic bag. He heard the rattle of the stall door and he spared a glance over his shoulder.

"You don't have to clean up my..." JJ trailed off and then coughed hard, looking ready to bolt back into the stall and yarf some more.

"Hey, I've been married. I know the drill," Dave replied and exited the restroom. He lifted his shirt collar so it covered his nose and he quickly took care of the mess. He tied the bag firmly and turned, almost amused by the horrified look of embarrassment on JJ's face. He'd never seen their intrepid media liaison so flustered.

Or with her arm curled protectively over her stomach in a very telling manner.



Dave offered a smile, because JJ was staring at him, eyes wide and a bit wet. At least she didn't try to bullshit him, which made him respect her a bit more. It reminded him of those years ago when his niece, Aida, had come to him first with "the news", saying that he was the only one in the family who wouldn't go ballistic. He was the one person the nieces and nephews would call when they got into trouble ever since.

JJ then closed her eyes and winced, as if preparing herself for the onslaught of questions. Morgan would be hammering away at her for the details, especially who the father was; Prentiss probably as well but with a bit more delicate hand. Garcia would be planning the baby shower. Reid would be stammering while Hotch would probably be silent, which was far more damning than him actually saying something.

Instead, Dave brushed past her to deposit the trash in the men's room and when he returned, she was still standing there. He touched her elbow ever-so-gently, because it was something they were going to have to talk about in some capacity. "Hey."

JJ turned and grabbed his wrist tightly. "Please…"

"It's not my story to tell," he said quietly, firmly. "But whatever you need, you let me know."

JJ stared at him for a few moments, mouth hanging open in surprise. Suddenly, she flung her arms around him, a sound escaping from her that sounded suspiciously like a sob. Softly, "Thank you."

"We're family," he murmured as he patted her back. And just like those years ago with Aida, he tacked on, "If this guy doesn't do right by you—and I mean whatever you decide 'right by you' is—so help him God."