Just a quick story inspired by a friend's request to see a Rossi/Strauss pairing after hearing the song prompt on her Ipod. Seriously, girlfriend, you are killing me here!
By the way, and for the record, I don't own Criminal Minds. I don't know why. *sigh*
Song prompt: "Stuck Like Glue" by Sugarland
Stuck Like Glue
It official: David Rossi was by far the most aggravating, infuriating, self-centered, egotistical bastard walking the face of the earth, and if he wasn't such a damn good agent, she would have fired him a long time ago…the higher ups be damned.
Twirling around in her chair, Erin Strauss stared out the huge window of her office toward the Potomac. Sighing, she tried to gather her thoughts for the meeting she was supposed to be attending shortly, but all she could think about was the dark haired devil with the crooked smile and bedroom eyes. Damn! He just had to wear jeans that morning as he sat across from her and waited for her ranting to subside.
He was so cool and detached in the way only he could be. Nothing she said seemed to phase him. He looked right thru her and gave that "hurry up and get to your point" look he was famous for. He had thrown her off her game and he relished in it.
So, why did she keep putting up with it? Why didn't she just cast him out of the BAU and get him out of her hair once and for all? Why did she constantly put up with his crap?
Leaning her head back, she closed her eyes and let out a huge sigh. It was simple: she was addicted to him.
He was the magnet to her steel. The yin to her yang. The narcotic to her blood stream.
From the moment they met, he had had the power to make her fall at his feet, and she gave it to him. Willingly and fully she let him know that all he had to do was smile and she would be at his beck and call. Just like every other woman at the FBI. But the son of a bitch had a way of making each woman feel that the way he treated them was unique and exclusive.
And she was no exception.
Looking back, she wondered if she actually let him chase her before she willingly fell into bed with him. She was sure she put up a bit of resistance, but with those bedroom eyes of his, it wasn't much of a fight. He had her at hello.
There was no debate that David Rossi was one hell of an FBI agent, and he was twice as good as an interrogator, but all of that paled in comparison with the lover he became once the bedroom door closed. The scrutiny and attention to detail he gave to each an every case was the same he gave to every woman. That moment, that feeling, that one in a million orgasm made every woman feel like she was the one.
Nearly twenty years after he coaxed her into his bed, her body still throbbed with desire as the memory of her legs wrapped around his waist and his name shouting from her lips, could still make her blush. Damn him! He had used her.
You're wrong, Erin. You used him too. You thought you could make him fall in love with you and then you could hold on to him forever, but it didn't work out, she chastised herself. You knew that he was a player who made his rounds, and you were just another notch in his belt. And you could live with that. Other women in the bureau had, so could you.
And she could. She did. She threw herself into being the best agent in her department and made sure the higher ups knew her name. She instilled fear and respect in the agents below her and she let the ones above her know that "bitch" was a badge of honour she wore proudly. She was on a fast course to be the first female FBI director. Okay, one could argue that J. Edgar Hoover wore lingerie and could be considered the first "woman", but Erin Strauss would be the first director to wear a skirt in public.
When David Rossi decided that after the Atlanta Olympic Park bombing that it was time to retire and move on to greener pastures, she took that as the nudge she needed to not just crack that glass ceiling, but to burst thru it…damn whoever was standing below her when the shards started falling.
Let David Rossi write his books and have his speaking engagements; she was going to catch the bad guys instead of writing about them. She pushed that arrogant bastard out of her mind and lived her life. She had washed her hands of him…for good!
She got married. She had children. She furthered her career and stepped on toes in the process. Erin Strauss was a formidable opponent in the Boys Only Club. In time she went from agent to senior agent to supervisor in no time flat.
Then came the day she was made director of the BAU. She had surpassed Jason Gideon and Aaron Hotchner for the brass ring. She had finally made it! She could finally do things her way and make the BAU the best department in the bureau. Until everything began to fall apart.
Elle Greenaway shot a rapist in cold blood. It was for sure Aaron Hotchner was covering for her and she was going to uncover it if it was the last thing she did. So, she brought in a mole to expose him, but that backfired. Then Jason Gideon had a nervous breakdown - his second in less than ten years - and he disappeared off the radar. What had been the prize of the FBI was now the butt of jokes and she was furious.
But if she thought life was done with her, she had another thing coming when she picked up her phone that fateful Wednesday morning.
Busy ordering last minute Halloween costumes on line, she didn't bother to check the caller ID. Picking up the receiver, she was surprised to hear the FBI Director on the other end. He had some news. He had found Jason Gideon's replacement: David Rossi. Her heart stopped.
Snapping back into reality, she hung up the phone. Taking a deep breath, she steeled herself before calling the one person she never wanted to speak to again. She was strong. She was a director. She was…still under his spell the moment she heard his velvet voice come over the line. And once again, her heart was in free fall.
God knew she tried to talk him out of coming back, but he had the tenacity of a bull and when David Rossi wanted something, he was going in with both guns blazing. And he was coming in at two.
Sitting across from her, she tried to read him, but she wasn't an experienced profiler and the longer she waited for him to make the first move, the more opportunity she gave him to gain the upper hand. And he was studying her and her weaknesses. And when he had her, he moved in for the kill.
He was coming back. No accolades, book sales, or speaking engagements was going to change his mind. The team was a man down and he was the man to fill the space. And the son of a bitch was right. But when wasn't he? The interview was just for show because he had the go ahead from the Director of the FBI; he just wanted to see her reaction when he told her the news. He was back and there was nothing she could do about it.
So it began.
The fierce push and pull of each wanting to be in control and neither willing to surrender the power to the other because each knew how to push the other's buttons. There were moments when she hated him, and he knew how to use that against her. But there were the rare moments when he was caught between the team and his sense of duty and she used that to manipulate him.
It was a power struggle to end all and no one within a five mile radius couldn't escape the sexual tension emitting from them. And they liked it. In fact, she looked forward to those moments when he would sit across from him and just stare. He always won, but she made sure when she came to work the next day, her skirt was a little shorter and her blouse was unbuttoned just enough to be within regs. Then she stood back and waited to see how long it took for him to leave his office.
The banter was harsh, fierce, teasing, tense, but always respectful…until three days ago.
Agent Morgan had run into a burning building to rescue a police dog after the order had been given to clear the area. With mere seconds to spare, he had run in and grabbed the canine who had been trapped under debris. How the both of them escaped the explosion that had shattered windows and could be heard for miles was beyond her, but they had.
The dog was going to live, but Morgan had taken shrapnel to the arms and thighs - thankfully his bullet proof vest had worked like a shield - and his injuries, though not life-threatening, were going to have him on medical leave for six weeks. And that did not look good to the higher ups.
Damn Aaron Hotchner and his team of renegades, she had cursed when the news came in. Rushing over to the hospital, she waited patiently for the surgeon to come out with an update on her agent. Reckless or not, she had a duty to be there. Every member of the team had filed their report, and she had read the police statements, but her anger was anything but restrained. He had broken the rules…for the last time. The Maverick of the team was about to find himself out to pasture. Let his ass go back to Chicago and walk the beat again - she didn't need fools in the FBI.
"That's it," she had muttered under her breath, "the moment he gets off convalescence leave, Derek Morgan is out of the FBI. For good!"
"Damn it, Erin! Where the hell is your common sense?" Rossi growled.
"Where was Agent Morgan's common sense when he ran into that building to save a dog?" she retorted.
"The dog was a brother in arms, and Morgan was doing his duty."
"He put his life, and many others, in jeopardy with his 'damn the torpedoes' like attitude! I want him out of the BAU! And I want him out of the FBI!" she raged, her voice rising higher.
"Keep your voice down," Rossi commanded. "What the hell is this really about?"
"It's about following rules. He has broken nearly every single one. I want him gone."
"Bullshit! This isn't about Derek Morgan and FBI rules…this is about Aaron Hotchner and your twisted quest to ruin him. I don't know where all this anger stems from, but it's clouding your judgment and common sense."
"There is nothing wrong with my judgment," she hissed. "Except for that one time, but that was a mistake."
Rossi's eyes twinkled. "Was it?" he leveled evenly. "Can you honestly tell me that it was a mistake when I took you to that place no man ever has? Can you tell me that it was a mistake to make love with me?"
Strauss's cheeks flushed deep red. "You son of a bitch!"
"Hit that nerve, eh?" Crossing his arms over his chest, he let out a deep breath. "You know what your problem is, Erin? You stopped taking risks. You decided that the only way to play and win is to follow the rules. It's not a bad theory on paper, but it sucks when it comes to real life."
She snorted. "You should know; half the rules and regulations have an asterik beside them to find your name in the footnotes."
He raised an eyebrow. "I made a lasting impression."
"And ruined it for everyone else."
"Is that what is upsetting you? Are you angry because my need to have fun ruined it for everyone else?" he asked smoothly. She didn't answer, but she raised her chin defiantly. "What we did was still against regs, but you didn't seem to mind. It was only after you were put in charge that you decided to get that 'holier than thou' attitude. Tell me Erin, when they handed you the position of BAU Director, did they give you the stick that is up your ass, too?"
Her eyes blazed fire as she steeled her stance. "You have NO idea what my job entails! You have NO idea what I have to do everyday to make sure the six of you stay out of trouble! And when you do screw up - like today - the hoops I have to jump thru to not only cover your asses, but mine too! I bust my ass every single day to make sure the BAU stays a part of the FBI despite the attempts of the incredibly reckless to destroy it. You couldn't do my job!" she spat.
The twinkle in Rossi's eyes was replaced with an anger he only reserved for the vilest of scumbags. And right now, in his book, Erin Strauss was on that level. Uncrossing his arms, he shoved his hands deep into his jeans pockets. Then he took a step forward.
"Never in my life have I ever wanted to hit a woman as much as I want to hit you right now," he commented, his voice low and dark. "Most of the time you don't know what the hell you're talking about and I let it slide, but not now. This team is the best ever in the history of the FBI and I will stand toe to toe with you or anyone else who thinks otherwise and threatens to tear it down.
"As for being able to do your job… Let me clue you in, Erin; a monkey holding an aspirin bottle could do your damn job and do it well…if not better. In fact, just the other day I was approached to take over your job."
Strauss swallowed hard. "My ass!"
"Your ass was almost grass as far as the FBI Director was concerned. We were playing a round of golf and the bet was that if I won, I would get your job." Rossi let that sink in for a moment before continuing. Leaning in, he whispered in a tone only she could hear, "I missed that last shot on purpose."
"You're lying," she replied, but her voice shook.
Rossi shrugged. "Maybe. Maybe not. You'll never know. But I'll tell you this, you need to get the hell off that high horse of yours before you give yourself a nose bleed." Turning, he started to walk away. "And when Derek comes out of surgery, you will go easy on him. I have another golf date next week, and I never miss twice."
So, now she sat at her desk and reflected about everything that transpired in not only the past three days, but the last twenty years.
She hadn't fired Derek Morgan, but she had put a letter of reprimand in his permanent folder. The tension between her and Rossi had not lessened in the slightest, and though she wanted to tell herself that she didn't mind…but she couldn't lie to herself anymore. She missed their banter, but there was no way they could ever get back to what they had.
Sighing, she looked at her watch. Twenty minutes before she had to get to the meeting with the FBI Director. Pulling open the bottom drawer of her desk to grab her brush, she stopped cold.
Lying on the bottom was a framed picture of David Rossi with his damn fucking crooked grin and sultry bedroom eyes inviting one and all to come aboard. Picking up the frame, she furrowed her brow at the scribble across the photo.
Erin, You really need to let your judgment lapse again. Who knows, you might like it, babe. Dave
"Arrogant bastard," she muttered under her breath. Ah hell, who was she kidding? She was stuck like glue to him. And she loved it.
Replacing the frame, she closed the drawer and stood up. The game was back on. And this time, she hoped he was ready to meet his match.
A/N 2: Okay, here it is - if you think this deserves a second chapter, let me know. The choice is up to you!