Theme Song Challenge

Prompt: David Rossi, Renegade by Tim McGraw

Summary: Dave Rossi has always been a bit of a square peg, and the more they try to shove him into round holes, the more he protests. Yet he's always rather liked being an enigma. Theme Song Challenge for CCoAC. Complete.

Disclaimer: Sadly, I do not own Criminal Minds, nor do I own the song which is the inspiration for this fic.

A/N: This challenge is pushing my boundaries (which I guess is kind of the point). I have never written Rossi. He is the only CM character who has never had a single line in any of my stories (discounting Seaver, because this is my first fic since she joined). I'm not exactly sure how to write Rossi. I hope I managed adequately!

Dave Rossi has always been a bit of a square peg, and the more they try to shove him into round holes, the more he protests. Occasionally, he'll blatantly flout authority just to prove that he can.

Yet Rossi's always rather liked being an enigma. He prides himself on being hard to pin down to just one thing. So when Derek Morgan labels him as a renegade, a rebel, Rossi sets out to prove him wrong. Morgan is determined to make that as difficult as possible.

Rossi waltzed into the briefing room ten minutes after everyone else, Garcia in mid-sentence. Hotch glanced up, disapproval obvious in his gaze, but said nothing. Garcia continued as though she hadn't even noticed him. No one mentioned it until after the briefing.

"Late again, Rossi?" Prentiss queried.

Rossi shrugged. "I got the information I needed, didn't I? No harm, no foul."

"Rossi the renegade, huh?" Morgan asked.

"Did you know that the word renegade was originally intended to mean a Christian who converted to Islam? The word came about in the mid to late 1500s, and in the 1600s the connotation changed to a more general sense, coming to simply mean traitor. It's only recently that the word has begun to be understood as something closer to rebel than anything else," Reid rattled off. No one looked surprised.

"Wheels up in twenty, guys," Hotch reminded them, his lips twitching at the interaction. The team dispersed, no one thinking anything more of the conversation. No one, that is, except Rossi.

He couldn't get it out of his head. 'Rossi the renegade.' Morgan had said it without a hint of doubt, as though that defined him.

Rossi shook his head, silently reprimanding himself. It doesn't matter who Morgan thinks you are.'But that wasn't true- it mattered to him. 'So prove him wrong.'

And that was it. It was that simple. Rossi was determined to prove Morgan wrong. He could be obedient. Probably. Maybe.

He zoned back in and looked at the clock briefly before bolting for the plane. He couldn't be late, or he'd have failed already.

"You've gotta be kidding me. You've gotta be freaking kidding me."

Rossi looked at the suggested getup in complete disdain.

He'd been good. He'd been perfect. He'd shown up on time to everything, done his best to keep the scorn off his face, and even been polite to the locals. And this, this was how he got repaid?

"I'm not–" He bit his tongue before he could finish the sentence, although he couldn't keep the grimace from showing.

Rossi noticed the smirk across Morgan's face and realized that they were now playing the same game. It figured. Nothing could be hidden from profilers.

He looked disdainfully at the gorilla costume. Everything had been going just fine until some psychopath had started killing mascots. Someone had decided that they needed bait. His sadistic team had decided that he needed to be the bait.

Rossi glared at Morgan, who continued to smirk. He sighed. His decision was to be based on what mattered most: his pride, or his ambiguity. Put like that, it seemed like an easy decision. But it wasn't, not for him.

Rossi had learned to stuff his pride a long time ago. He knew that there were times when pride wasn't worth the price, and times when the best choice was simply to suck it up and deal with it. Still, he loved his pride, and he loved being shrouded with mystery. He loved being an enigma.

So the question was, which did he love more?

He glanced at Morgan's grinning face for a third time and his heart sank. Considering, he realized that either way, he lost. Either way, Morgan won.

Situation one: He chucked his mystery and refused. Morgan was proven right. Point for Morgan

Situation two: He chucked his pride and wore the costume. Morgan got to see Rossi as a giant gorilla. Point for Morgan.

Rossi sighed. He couldn't win.

"I am not wearing that. I am not."

Morgan grinned cheekily. He didn't have to say a word. He didn't have to say a single word; they both knew. The challenge had been issued ambiguously, accepted silently, and it ended without verbal acknowledgement.

"You know, Hotch," Rossi mused dangerously. "I think I know someone else who'll fit in that costume."

"Oh no," Morgan muttered right away, shaking his head. "No way."

Hotch looked between the two men.

"Don't you dare drag me into this," Hotch said evenly. "This is between you two. Sort it out yourselves; I don't care what you do, but I want someone in that suit in fifteen minutes."

"No. No way."

"Come on, pretty boy. Someone has to."

"You do it, then!"

"You think I can pull off a gorilla suit?"

"I think you are a gorilla," he muttered under his breath, low enough that Morgan couldn't hear. "I'm not doing it," he announced.

"C'mon, kid! Please."











"No, Morgan! No means no!"

Hotch frowned as Morgan and Rossi walked into the lobby of the station with a gorilla between them.

"Who'd you get to agree to that? And how intelligent is he?"

"Hey!" Reid yelped indignantly from inside the suit.

Hotch struggled to remain impassive. "I see. How'd you manage…No. I don't want to know."

As they disembarked the plane, Morgan jogged a few steps to catch up to Rossi, who sighed. Morgan never did know when to leave well enough alone. He didn't know how to take his victory and be content with that; he always had to have his cake and rub it in the other's face, too.

"Yes?" Rossi asked, a bit more curt than normal.

Morgan smirked. "Can't help but march to the beat of a different drummer, can you, Rossi?"

"Don't push me, Morgan." Rossi's eyes flashed dangerously.

"I just wanna hear you say it: 'I'm a renegade.'"

Rossi's eyes flashed again in warning.

"Rossi the renegade."

"You know, Morgan, technically, I'm your boss. You don't even want to know what I can do to make your life hell." At that, Rossi turned around and walked away.

"I'm more than you know," he threw over his shoulder without turning around.