Title: Philly & the Vegas Man

Challenge: The Great Alphabet Meme 2: I is for Intentional

'Verse: Leader of the Army

Prompt by agirlnamedluna

Author: Kuria Dalmatia

Rating/Warnings: FRT/PG (mild profanity)

Characters/Pairing: Reid/Rossi, Rossi's brother

Summary: After a car accident sends Dave to the ICU, Spencer threatens his husband because he doesn't know what else to do. Dave's brother is there to tell him he's not doing it right.

Word Count: ~1360

ARCHIVING: my AO3, LJ and FFNet account... anyone else? Please ask first.

October 2012, December 2012

COMMENTS: Unbetaed. All mistakes are mine. You don't have to read "Leader of the Army" beforehand, but some of the events are mentioned in this story. This 'verse was written before TPTB introduced Carolyn as Dave's first wife. Here, his three wives are Maria, Gina and Barbara.

This is meant to be a one-shot conversation between Spencer and Dave's brother. I found this buried in a "random thoughts" file while I was searching for something else...

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.

"If it were me in this situation," Reid stated, tapping his foot on the white linoleum tile, "you would be saying, 'Swear to God, you're doing this on goddamn purpose!' But it's not me. It's you. And I'm not sure what I should be saying or if I should be saying anything at all."

David Rossi did not wake nor did he stir. The ventilator continued its rhythmic hiss.

In this situation, Spencer's ability to calculate odds in a split second was a definite curse. For the past four days, all he'd been calculating were odds … Odds on making a full recovery … Odds on making a partial recovery … Odds on waking from a coma … Odds on permanent vegetative state … Odds … odds … odds …

All because four days ago, David Rossi decided to take his beloved car out for a spin and was hit by a woman texting her opinion of bridesmaid's dresses her sister selected.

David's 1970's two-seater BMW was no match for Tabby Feldman's Dodge Grand Caravan.

Tabby Feldman walked away from the accident, complaining of a bruised shoulder and bloody nose.

David Rossi had to be cut out of his demolished car and airlifted to the nation's top trauma unit.

And Spencer Reid kept vigil since arriving at the hospital. No amount of cajoling by the Team or threats by the nursing staff pulled him away from his husband's bedside.

If David Rossi was going to slip from this world, Spencer Reid wanted to be there to say goodbye.

Morbid as hell, but Spencer knew the odds.

They weren't good.

Not good at all.

"On second thought," Spencer amended, because talking to David eased his terror to a dull burn in his belly, "I do know what to say: wake up. Wake up else I'll rearrange the all books in your home office by the Dewey Decimal System. Then, I'll sort your VHS collection by movie release date."

"You call that a threat?" asked a man with a distinct New York accent, except the line wasn't delivered in a teasing manner. No, it was said like the man was trying to go for comedy but too caught up in the horror before him.

Spencer looked over to find Phillip Rossi, David's eldest brother, standing in the doorway. It was clear that Phillip—or Philly as the rest of the family usually called him, much like they referred to David as Davey—was not prepared to see his youngest brother with a partially shaved head, a ventilator tube down his throat, and dark purple bruises mottling his face.

Phillip made the Sign of the Cross, kissing his knuckle as he finished, and then entered the room. He stood at the foot of the bed, staring as his eyes welled up with tears. "Oh, Davey Boy, what am I supposed to tell Mama?"

"That Father James has performed the Anointing of the Sick and has said a Mass in David's name. The hospital chaplain stops by daily to say the Our Father and offer me Communion. A votive candle has been lit in front of the Our Lady of Lourdes statue in his church," Spencer rattled off, even though he knew it was rhetorical question. "Did you know that ninety-seven percent of the Catholic churches I called did not know which statues of saints they have in their buildings? I was looking for Saints Christopher, John Licci and Jude. Apparently, there are no patron saints of car accidents, but from what I recall, those three would suffice."

Phillip stared at him for a moment, slacked-jawed. "Davey says you're an atheist, yet you called churches trying to track down Saint Christopher so you could light a candle?"

"It seemed appropriate."

"Appropriate?" Phillip echoed and then snorted. "Listen, Vegas Man, you're playing the odds."

Of all the nicknames Spencer endured over the years, "Vegas Man" was the one he liked the most; it beat "Pretty Boy" and "Junior G-Man" and all the various emasculating ones (intentional or not) that had been bestowed upon him. His brother-in-law christened him with Vegas Man during the preparation for Diana Reid's funeral. Spencer had spent the evening with David's two older brothers, winning enough at the poker tables to pay for the airfare and hotel accommodations for the men and their wives.

David had been furious, sputtering that Spencer was family and therefore didn't need to "pay off" his brothers for coming to Diana's funeral. For Spencer, however, it was three hours in which his brothers-in-law backed away from the 'living in sin/burning in hell' rhetoric. Homosexuality was a sin in their eyes, but something changed in those days they spent in Vegas, and it wasn't simply because Spencer impressed them with his card playing skills.

A grieving son is given carte blanche, Spencer remembered telling his husband.

He wondered if the same held true for a grieving husband. He never wanted to find out, but the prognosis wasn't good. Phillip was correct: Spencer was playing the odds. He wanted to give David the best chance, and if that included lighting some candles and having Masses said in his husband's name because David had faith in those things, then Spencer would do it.

"I don't believe like you do," Spencer quietly explained, "but David does. Your entire family does. It's important to him. It's important to you. For me not to make the effort knowing how much it means to him and to your family would be …" He faltered on the word he wanted to use. He just waved his hand a little before leaning back in the chair.

For a moment, Phillip was silent. Then he shot back, "Still playing the odds," as he pulled up a chair.

"Perhaps," Spencer replied.

The other man settled in the chair, leaning forward to rest his elbows on his knees. "Tell me the truth, Spencer," Phillip demanded, but his tone was soft and there was an edge of fear in his voice. "I don't care if you use five syllable words to do it, but don't sugar-coat Davey's condition. You gotta be straight up with me. You gotta … You gotta tell me if Davey told you to pull the plug."

Spencer closed his eyes, finally understanding why his husband had been so adamant about which of the family to call first in case of an emergency like this and what to disclose to whom. You call Philly first, Dave insisted. You tell him what happened in as much detail as you want. You tell him to tell the rest of the family. Don't give me that look, Spence. My family is all about the drama sometimes. See? I admit that we can be dramatic! For God's sake, never tell Tony's wife anything. She'll go into hysterics and make it ten times worse than it really is. But Philly … he's always the one who's not gonna flip out. He's gonna ask the questions that need to be asked. Philly knows how to talk to Mama and Pops about these things.

So Spencer turned in his chair slightly, opened his eyes and met Phillip's gaze. He explained the injuries, the surgeries performed, the risks and … and … the odds.

He choked on the numbers, but never looked down. He could feel the tears prickling his eyes but not falling down his cheeks. He watched as Phillip's skin turned ashen. Spencer concluded with the details of David's Living Will, gesturing towards his messenger bag which was on the floor next to the rolling tray table.

"You don't expect him to make it," Phillip whispered once he was finished, but it wasn't accusatory. It was stated matter-of-factly.

"I'm a scientist, Phillip, grounded in facts and figures. If he does pull through, I don't believe it's because of divine intervention. It's because someone has to be the one in one-thousand. I choose to believe that it will be David."

For a moment, his brother-in-law just stared. Then, he cracked a bit of a smile. "Well, we just gotta tilt those odds a bit more in our favor, eh?"

Spencer offered a weary grin of his own. "I suppose we do."

~~~~ Finis ~~~~