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Negotiating With Terrorists 101
"Well," Dave said, offended, "I'm glad you're finding enjoyment in my misery. Remind me of this at Christmas."
"Do I have time to conference Garcia into this phone call?" JJ wondered aloud, her eyes widening at the thought.
"Focus, JJ," Dave demanded, barely resisting the urge to stomp his own foot. "Your nephew is gathering dust under my table."
"Okay, okay," JJ said, attempting to control her chuckles. "Brussels sprouts, huh?"
"They were all I had, Jen. I wasn't exactly prepared for an overnight guest when Hotch got called out of town. Especially of the five year old variety," he defended himself. "I promised Aaron I'd get at least one veggie down him tonight and those were my options...it was that or an onion."
Getting a mental image of Rossi's bachelor refrigerator, JJ remarked, her tone dry, "Please tell me you didn't offer him a scotch or beer to drink."
"I did not contribute to the delinquency of a minor, thank you very much. I gave him orange juice."
"Had it for the screwdrivers, did ya?" JJ asked, tongue in cheek.
"That's beside the point," Dave replied briskly. "Let's just agree that I'm desperately trying not to corrupt our hope for tomorrow's future and leave it at that, okay? What the hel-...heck can I do to make it through the current problem, Jen?"
"Did you try disguising them?" JJ asked lightly.
"Yeah, I put 'em in little hats and glasses," Rossi said snidely, rolling his eyes.
"I meant with cheese, Dave," JJ laughed, unable to stop the bubbling giggles determined to roll through her voice.
"Cheese was a no-go," Dave denied, shaking his head morosely. "Gimmee something I haven't already thought of, Jareau."
"Hmmm," JJ hummed thoughtfully, tapping her finger against her lips.
"Could I get some words to go with that?" Dave harped, running a frustrated hand through his salt and pepper hair while he tapped his foot impatiently against the tiled floor.
"Well," JJ sighed, "there's only one alternative I can think of, but I doubt you'll be too thrilled."
"Jen, I'm desperate here. I'm willing to try anything that doesn't involve rope and handcuffs," Dave offered eagerly.
"An eating contest," JJ supplied with a snap of her fingers. "It works with Henry sometimes."
"Pardon?" Dave cringed. Please don't let her be proposing what he thought she was proposing, he prayed fervently.
"An eating contest. You know, you put the same number of sprouts on your plate and you race to see who can eat theirs fastest," JJ explained. "And you have to let him win, Dave. He's five," she reminded him sternly, not at all certain that the older man would be willing to throw the game.
"Nuh uh," Dave grunted, his own nose wrinkling in distaste.
"Why not?" JJ asked with a long-suffering sigh.
"I hate Brussels sprouts, JJ," Dave whined, swallowing hard as he recalled the taste.
"Me, too," Jack yelled from underneath the table.
"Dave, that's what you served," JJ sighed. "Why would you serve them if you don't like them?"
"Because I wasn't going to eat them," Dave retorted, his brow furrowed. "He was."
"Am not!" Jack yelled rebelliously, obviously having heard every word being exchanged between the two so-called adults currently in charge of his young life.
"Are so!" Dave returned boldly.
"Dave, you've devolved into a five year old boy," JJ giggled again.
"He started it," Dave complained, shooting a disgusted glance toward the vegetables on the table, their little round shapes reminding him of marauding aliens. "They're green, JJ," Dave protested. "Green and slimy."
"I already said that!" Jack groaned, his voice muffled as he buried his face in his knees.
"All right," JJ said forcefully, using her mother voice, "Dave, I expect you to be the adult there. You're the oldest. Now, be a big boy and spoon those Brussels sprouts on your plate this instant!"
Lips flattening, Dave's jaw clenched as he stomped toward the counter and quickly spooned three sprouts on his own plate. "Fine! It's done," he said belligerently.
"Good," JJ praised, softening her voice a bit. "Now I want you to plop your butt down in the floor and both of you are gonna race to clean those plates. Got it?" she asked tersely.
"Got it," Dave muttered, glaring at the green balls rolling around on his plate.
"Good," JJ choked, barely containing her glee. "I'll expect a full report in the morning," she finished, her voice strangling as she hung up the phone.
Sighing heavily, Dave dropped the phone on the table and grabbed both plates. Laboriously going back on his knees, he met Jack's eyes underneath the table. "Aunt JJ says we both have to eat 'em," he said, sliding Jack's plate in front of him.
Eyes going round, Jack grimaced. "But..."
"We're gonna race," Dave interrupted, staring down at his own daunting sprouts. "First one done picks tonight's movie."
"I don't wanna watch a movie," Jack argued, again crossing his arms over his chest as he stared in doubt at the plate.
"I don't wanna eat Brussels sprouts, kid, but I'm willing to do it for you," Dave grumbled, mimicking Jack's pose. "You scared I'll beat ya?"
"You can't beat me...you're old," Jack goaded, his hands dropping down to his sides.
"Oh yeah?" Dave snorted, stabbing a sprout with his fork, "Put your sprout where your mouth is then."
And thirty seconds later as he forced himself to swallow his second sprout, David Rossi watched Jack Hotchner pump his fist out and whoop for joy.
"Beat ya!" he sneered, grinning widely as he pointed to Rossi's plate. "You still have one whole sprout left, Uncle Dave! I win, you lose!"
"So you do," Dave nodded, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. "Guess you get to pick that movie after all."
Scrambling from underneath the table, Jack grinned. "Looks like it's Pokeman for you, Uncle Dave," he yelled enthusiastically as he ran toward the door, pausing to wag a finger back at him. "But not 'til you finish your sprout," he ordered before disappearing into the hallway.
And there sitting in the floor of his kitchen, David Rossi realized just exactly why he'd never chosen to breed...chasing unsubs was a walk in the park compared to raising children.