Title: Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang (The Twilight of Such Day)

Author: Kuria Dalmatia

Rating/Warnings: FRM, R (profanity, adult content)

Pairing: Rossi and the BAU, past and present.

Summary: David Rossi knew none of the Kids—and they were all kids to him—would take the shot. Hell, he doubted he could do it himself.

Word Count: ~6,255

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. The title is taken from William Shakespeare's Sonnet 73.

VERSION: March-April 2010.

TIMELINES/SPOILERS: Late fifth season, but no specific episode.

COMMENTS: Thanks to citymusings and shari_mg for help regarding Rossi's note-taking. Thanks to pabzi for the encouragement and for tackling a story featuring a character near and dear to her. Thanks to lady_of_scarlet for the beta.

Additional author notes at the end.


Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,

Bare ruin'd choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.

In me thou seest the twilight of such day

As after sunset fadeth in the west

William Shakespeare, Sonnet 73


Given a preference for how he would die, David Rossi would always choose Line of Duty. Not that he would say that aloud; hell, no. That was one of quickest tickets for a psych eval and mandatory counseling. Suicidal, they would say, when actually Dave wasn't.

It wasn't about being heroic—taking a bullet to save a baby or being mortally stabbed to protect a victim or hell, even being blown up at the hands of a mad bomber to minimize loss—no matter what people would think if he actually told them. Which Dave wasn't going to. Ever. Even if there was a fair amount of fine bourbon involved.

No, dying in the Line of Duty certainly beat being stuck in some old age home with an oxygen cannula stuck in his nose and a hemorrhoid pillow under his ass. It beat being confined to a wheelchair with only stories of the Glory Days to keep him company.

And Dave's tales were certainly not the types that he could tell anyone, really. "You know, there's a certain stink that a bloated body makes after it's been in the water for a few days. It reminds me of Uncle Giuseppe's farts after the man had eaten two servings of Carm's spicy sausage with peppers and drank a half case of that cheap beer he drove to Jersey for."

Dying in the Line of Duty also meant that Dave's greatest fear wouldn't happen either: experiencing a psychotic break so profound that no one would remember all his good work. No. They would just remember him as the guy who lost all his marbles and ended everything via Suicide by Cop.

Just like the UnSub (the word bitter in Dave's mind) who was currently standing over him.

"Are you sure you're here just to talk?" the UnSub asked, his tone a funny pitch between mocking and concern.

Dave looked up, wincing from the throb at his temple where the butt of the gun had hit. All because he foolishly took his eyes off the UnSub as he entered the cabin, trying to take in his surroundings. Idiot. He stayed on his knees—penitent, subservient, deference to authority—making sure his movements were slow and deliberate. Rule Number Three when dealing with an unstable, paranoid, hyper-vigilant, extremely intelligent UnSub who was spiraling hard: No sudden moves. Ever.

"Yes. Just to talk," Dave replied. He dared a glance to the kiddie table in the middle of the room, to the six unconscious children bound to chairs around it.

Please God, let them be alive. Please. I don't want this nightmare.

Those kidnapped kids were the only reason why Dave was in the UnSub's cabin to begin with.

Please, God. Let them be alive. Please.

There was no realistic way to communicate to the Team waiting outside. The cabin's windows had been shuttered on the outside and inside with wood slats. The chimney's flue had been closed and the exhaust vents plugged with blankets. There was only one entrance to the cabin—the way Dave had come in—and the UnSub had insisted absolutely no supplies were carried inside.

It really sucked when the UnSub knew the goddamned playbook.

Dave watched as the Smith & Wesson M459 9mm pistol was slid into its holster on the man's hip. The S&W was Old School, even more so than a Sig Sauer or a Springfield. The piece used to be the standard service weapon for the FBI up until the mid-80's, but after the 1986 Miami shoot-out, almost every agent upgraded his or her weapon to something with a bit more power.

Regardless, the pistol was within easy reach. Then again, so was the trigger for the bomb strapped to the UnSub's chest. Talking really was the only way out of this with minimal loss.


"Look, workampers are common place nowadays, especially retirees. They're offered free utilities for their RVs in return for keeping the grounds clean, helping folks with the hookups, and some even offer tours. That's what Aaron Spencer did last season here and came back for this season. When he asked for use of a cabin after a skunk did a number on his RV, management agreed. He's a birdwatcher, and this campground is popular with folks like that. Yeah, he's a little odd, but who isn't nowadays? We have never received any complaints about him."