Disclaimer – I own nothing related to Criminal Minds
So I like to post stories or drabbles that I've had saved on my laptop a little while and usually haven't finished (there are a lot because I write when I'm stuck with my assignments or revision). Honestly, these fics aren't my greatest ever work, they're usually just storylines that I've had in my head and wanted to write but never really got back around to it. Most of the fics were written during or before season 7 so the plot lines differ.
This fic was wrote before we knew JJ's dad was dead (or at least I think I heard somewhere he was dead or no longer around)
Let me know what you think!
The team had finally got the lead they needed on their latest case.
The BAU had been in Pittsburgh for the last five days on an arson case and had been chasing a ghost for the majority of the time.
But finally, the UNSUB had made a mistake.
The six profilers were sitting around the cluttered rectangular table with the leading local field agent hovering behind them as they listened to Garcia type frantically on her keyboard.
Penelope Garcia's voice bellowed from out of the speaker on the laptop that was in front of Morgan. "Okay my fresh faced crime fighters, the license plate that our observational albeit nosy neighbour wrote down belongs to, the one and only Mr Harold Fletcher."
"That's great PG, can you get us his details?" Prentiss asked in gratitude.
Garcia scoffed. "If you ever checked your phone poppet you'd see that Mr Fletcher is an alias, of a Jonah Collins who is currently serving a life sentence in a Kentucky penitentiary for the murder of his girlfriend and her mother."
"So who is driving his car?" Morgan wondered out loud.
Garcia smirked. "Well that is the question. What I can tell you is that the silver jeep has not been reported stolen, it has not had any speeding tickets nor has it had a change of owner. However it was involved in some kind of altercation three nights ago at a bar called Ronnie's just off the 279."
"What kind of altercation, Garcia?" Rossi questioned with a raised eye.
The technical analyst hummed as she scanned the document on her screen. "According to the police report, the owner of the vehicle got into an argument with one of the patrons who rode a 2006 Harley Davidson DynaGlide, which our UNSUB backed over with his jeep before getting pulled out of the vehicle and receiving a severe beating."
"The driver's name isn't in the report?" Hotch frowned at the blonde's shaking head.
Garcia typed briefly before continuing. "He was injured but still managed to drive off before the police managed to get his information. It seems the police were reluctant to follow up and let him slip by."
"Is there a witness sketch or any CCTV footage?" Reid queried.
"According to the report the investigating officer looked at the bar owner's surveillance tape but there was no follow up." Garcia answered quickly.
Morgan muttered under his breath. "Excellent police work as always, by the locals."
Hotch turned to Agent Roberts, the leading field agent. "Do you know the bar?"
"I've heard of it. Ronnie's is a favourite of truckers, bikers and locals from the nearby town. We have never really had any dealings with it but it's known for its rough clientele."
Garcia cleared her throat loudly, dragging everyone's attention to the screen once more. "Erm..."
"What is it Garcia?" Hotch prompted.
Garcia nibbled her lower lip before speaking. "Is JJ there?"
"I'm here Pen." JJ spoke for the first time since the group meeting began.
The blonde profiler inhaled deeply. "Yeah, thanks for the heads up."
"Sorry sweetie." The TA grimaced at her friend's softly spoken response.
Hotch looked at JJ after the two women's interaction. "What am I missing?"
JJ rolled her eyes and leaned back in her seat to stretch her legs. "Ronnie's is just out of East Allegheny."
"Your hometown!" Prentiss exclaimed with an amused expression.
Morgan chuckled at the younger profiler's reluctant smile. "Do we finally get to meet the family?"
JJ glared at her colleague's mischievous grin, but before she could reply in sarcasm their Unit Chief interrupted.
"Garcia keep on digging, see if this silver jeep turns up anywhere else. Prentiss go with Roberts and talk to the neighbours around the other crime scenes, see if anyone else noticed the jeep or an injured man." Hotch stood as he spouted out orders. "Dave, Reid focus on Jonah Collins, try and find out how the UNSUB got into possession of his jeep, maybe our UNSUB served time too or is a family member. Morgan, JJ and I will go to the bar and talk to the local police."
JJ moaned softly. "Great."
Thirty minutes after the team broke off to complete their tasks, the black SUV pulled off the main road into the gavelled parking lot outside a black painted brick, two storied building.
The white lighted sign above the door spelt out RONNIE'S and the numerous motorbikes, vans and large wagons filled the car park, even though it was barely six in the evening.
Hotch got out of the driving seat and fell into step with JJ who was reluctantly following Morgan across dark gravelled ground.
"Looks like a popular place." Hotch said softly as several burly men wandered out of the bar laughing amongst themselves.
Morgan glanced behind to catch a glimpse of JJ, who had remained silent during the ride to her hometown. "Are you sure you want to come in?"
"I'll be fine Derek, this place is the only bar in East Allegheny, it's not as if I haven't been here before." JJ retorted, noticing the slight wariness in her two colleague's expressions as they neared the building.
Hotch looked over to the four men who had left the bar but hovered once they noticed the visitors arriving. They were huddled together, smoking, while watching the three agents as they crossed the parking lot. "Does this place have a reputation of any kind?"
JJ chuckled. "The only trouble that happens here is when one of the truckers has one too many. The owner keeps tabs on everyone who enters this place and deals with any trouble that might occur himself."
"Good, he'll hopefully remember our UNSUB." Hotch replied with one last check of the hovering men.
Morgan stopped at the door to the bar and met JJ's gaze. "Stay behind me."
JJ rolled her eyes at his over protectiveness but softly nodded.
The three agents stepped into the bustling bar and were greeted with a sudden silence and watchful eyes.
The bar was directly in front of the door, with two pool tables at either side, creating a pathway to the counter. There was a juke box and two dart boards on the wall to the right of the profilers, where a group of men were lingering.
The bare bricked walls were littered with photos of the local area, bikes, cars and sport memorabilia. To the left of the agents there were a few steps down to the main area of the bar where the tables, and booths were located.
The bar patrons were mostly gruff looking men but a few jean clad women were also staring intently at the three new comers.
Morgan cleared his throat after the silence prolonged. "We need to ask a few questions to anyone who might have been here three nights ago."
The thirty five or so people in the bar glanced at the badge Morgan was holding up, but no-one made a sound.
A red headed woman, wearing an apron around her waist and had a tray on her hip made the first move to greet the FBI agents. "Are you done posturing kid?"
Morgan flinched at the middle aged woman's directness. "Excuse me?"
The woman with curly red hair looked Morgan up and down before turning her attention to the blonde profiler next to him. "What's up with the two goons?"
"I heard this place is kind of a dump, thought I'd bring back-up." JJ's deadpan expression cracked slightly into a smirk.
The woman laughed and placed the tray onto the pool table before crossing her arms. "You always were the smart one."
JJ chuckled as she stepped forwards and enveloping the fifty-something, albeit younger looking woman in a tight hug and whispering in her ear. "Hey Dana."
"JJ girl, you know better than to bring the Feds around to this neck of the woods." Dana responded as she kissed JJ's cheek while they pulled away.
Hotch and Morgan shared an unsure look as they watched the two women. Hotch cleared his throat, realising JJ had forgotten that they were there along with the rest of the bar.
Dana turned back towards the tables and raised her eyes. "Okay everyone stop ogling the return of Allegheny's finest and get back to your drinkin'."
The noise in the bar returned immediately. Hotch stepped forwards to stand at JJ's side who had taken over in initiating the conversation about their UNSUB. "Dana, we need to talk about what happened here three nights ago."
"Oh right, that. I wasn't working that night, Jayje, but I know all about the scuffle." Dana said with an eye roll.
Hotch looked at his colleague whose expression had softened. "We need to talk to everyone who was involved."
"Hold on a minute. I'll go get the big bad boss." The red headed waitress gave JJ a quick hug before skipping off back down into the pit where the tables were and disappearing from view.
JJ gingerly turned around to face Hotch and Morgan who had confusion wrote across their faces after several of the men near the dart board shouted their greetings to the blonde profiler, who waved back politely.
"So," Morgan raised an eye. "You're more than a onetime customer here?"
JJ rested against the edge of the pool table leisurely. "Ronnie's is the only bar in close proximity to East Allegheny, Morgan."
"How do you know Dana?" Hotch asked curiously.
Before she could answer, a voice boomed from behind them. "You better have a good reason for bringing god damn suits into my dive bar?"
JJ cringed as she jumped down from the pool table and turned to see Dana linking arms with the owner of the bar.
Morgan and Hotch closed the distance that was between them and JJ at the frustrated low tone of the well built and heavily tattooed man.
Manoeuvring away from her two friends, JJ stepped down the few stairs and wrapped her arms around the tall, bearded man's neck. He hugged her tightly and kissed her forehead.
JJ pulled back first and tilted her head to the side. "Sorry for not calling first."
The stocky man grinned widely before leading the two women back up the steps to where Morgan and Hotch stood dumbfounded at his gentleness towards the petite profiler. "That's alright s'pose, it's a nice surprise."
"Hotch, Morgan this is Ronnie." JJ introduced them quickly.
Hotch stepped forwards and shook hands with the intimidating man. "Sir, we need to discuss what happened here three nights ago involving a man with a silver jeep."
Ronnie nodded knowingly. "Let's get some food into you three first."
JJ groaned as he ordered Dana away with a list of fried food. "You don't have to do that."
"You don't look like you're eating properly." He bemoaned whilst leading them to the row of bar stools next to the counter and ordering four coffees from the young bartender.
JJ took the seat next to him and mumbled in response. "I'm eating."
"You are feeding my grandson, aren't you?" Ronnie raised an accusative eye.
She nudged the older man with her elbow. "Dad, what kind of parent do you think I am?"
"I raised you, so god only knows." He quipped dryly.
JJ stifled a laugh at the bewildered looks on her colleague's faces as they sat down. Morgan met JJ's sparkling eyes and shook his head. "You never mentioned that this place was your Dad's."
"But the waiting was worth it, just for the dropped jaws." JJ giggled as her Dad gave her another hug.
Hotch observed JJ's suddenly relaxed appearance before nodding his thanks to the bar tender, who placed a coffee mug in front of him. "We're sorry for the intrusion but we really need to know about what happened here three nights ago."
"All in good time," Ronnie shrugged, "I haven't deleted the surveillance footage from that night yet and I just told Mark to haul Sherriff McCallans' ass up here to talk to you."
JJ looked at Hotch apologetically. "Whose bike was backed over?"
"Boots." Ronnie stated nonchalantly.
JJ groaned inwardly. "No wonder it said there was a severe beating in the police report."
"It wasn't that bad, a few bruises and cuts." Ronnie said, smiling gratefully as Dana returned with plates of steaming hot food. He wrapped his arms around the red headed waitress's waist and kissed her cheek. "Thanks Dane."
"Is he being uncooperative?" Dana asked JJ sincerely.
JJ laughed and shook her head. "He's just being his usual bossy self."
Dana rolled her eyes and turned to the other two profilers. "My husband thinks he can call all the shots, don't let him bully you both into anything. He just wants to keep JJ here as long as he can."
"What, I would do no such thing." Ronnie gasped with wide eyes before shoving a handful of fries into his mouth.
Hotch smiled warmly at JJ's soft blush. "So Dana's your mom?"
"No, I'm the wicked step mother." Dana corrected with a soft smile.
Ronnie laughed gruffly. "The second time is the charm. The first wife was a real bitch."
"Dad." JJ chastised.
He rolled his eyes, similarly to JJ's trademark sarcasm. "Sorry, sweetheart. I won't say anything more about your mother."
"Dad, do you think you can go get those surveillance tapes, for us?" JJ asked in attempt to get the conversation back on track.
Ronnie looked down at his daughter in annoyance. "I yelled for Mickey, you know I don't know how to work that piece of techno-babble garbage."
JJ stifled a laugh. "We're working a case Dad, Little Mickey could take hours getting down here."
"He'll get here when he can, Jenny." Ronnie retorted with a roll of his eyes. "So is this the case to do with those fires across Pittsburgh?"
Hotch nodded as he blew on his coffee. "We believe the man that was driving the silver jeep is our arsonist."
"Knew he was trouble the moment he stepped in the room, didn't I tell you that Dane?" The fair haired man scratched his beard as he talked.
Dana nodded in agreement. "That's what you said when you got home."
"I cut the bastard off, he got a little aggressive, well I wasn't taking no sh..."
"Dad." JJ groaned at his blunt attitude.
Ronnie's eyes widened at his daughter's interruption. "What."
"The swearing." The profiler muttered with a shake of her head.
The bar owner looked around the busy room. "No kids around here."
Relenting to the young woman's glare, Ronnie nodded in understanding. "Fine. I kicked him out, when he refused to leave, me and ole Boots assisted him to the door."
JJ's expression remained passive. "So you and Boots manhandled him to the door, then what?"
"Big Mickey wanted a refill so I attended to my customers needs." Ronnie placed his hand on his chest humbly.
The blonde profiler scoffed quietly. "While Boots and his friends, were outside giving the unwelcome stranger a beating?"
"Your step-brother came in told me what was going on, I went out with the bat and broke it up. When I saw Boots' DynaGlide twisted on the ground, well let's just say I didn't give the man choice but to leave." He scoffed in disgust of the memory.
Hotch raised an eye. "Can you describe the man?"
"That's the thing, he looked just like anyone else. He kept his head down, wore a Red Devil's hat and had these dark rimmed glasses on that blocked out most of his face. I kept the tape out back so that if showed up again I would have something to compare his face too." Ronnie explained gruffly.
JJ sat forwards slightly. "The security footage caught his image?"
"It's not a great shot but there's something there, McCallan got a good look when he took my statement." The bar owner stated with a shrug.
"Ronnie, Dana, the suppliers are on the phone." A young man wearing an apron and blue cap approached the small group with a weary expression across his face.
"We'll be right back." Ronnie assured before standing and kissing his daughter's head. "Don't go anywhere."
Morgan dug into the fried food in front of him while quizzing JJ. "So, when was the last time you came home?"
"It's been a while." JJ mumbled in response.
Morgan met Hotch's eyes, curious to their colleague's shift in behaviour and shrugged. "Your Dad seems..."
"He seems like a nice man." Hotch added quickly.
"He is. Dad looks a little intimidating but he's just protective of me." JJ expanded. "Especially when around men... and cops... male cops."
"He doesn't like the fact that you're an FBI agent?" Hotch asked.
JJ smirked. "No, if he had his way, I'd still be busting my ass off in this place."
"You. Worked. Here." Morgan's face crumpled in disbelief.
JJ laughed lightly. "Why is that so difficult to comprehend?"
"Have you seen this place?" Morgan said in disbelief. "You don't exactly give off the biker chick vibe, blondie."
"There's a lot you don't know about me, Derek." JJ chided in humour.
Morgan chuckled. "Oh really? You ever rode a hog?"
"Of course, have you?" JJ retorted with a scoff.
The older profiler raised an eye. "Tattoos?"
"Wouldn't you like to know?" JJ smirked as Morgan began to fan himself with his hand.
"Dude, so many fantasies coming true right now." Morgan said to Hotch who just glared at him in response.
JJ giggled as Hotch stared their colleague into retreat.
"Do you think we're going to get anything useful from the security tapes?"
"No." JJ answered instantly. "If dad can't even tell us what the guy looks like never mind his back story, lifetime achievements and future aspirations we're not going to get anything."
"Your dad is invested in his customers' huh?"
She laughed lightly. "Yeah most people say he's just a nice, friendly barkeep. However, I know it's just because he's nosey. I wouldn't be surprised if he gets both of your life stories by the time we leave this place."
"You're different here." Hotch announced softly.
"I am?" JJ's eyes widened in surprise.
"You're relaxed." Hotch expanded on his reasoning.
"I spent half my childhood in the apartment upstairs. That was before Dad married Dana. I worked here since I was thirteen. I handled the books until I left for the Academy. This place is a part of me. Even if it is a dump." JJ explained with a shrug.
Ronnie approached the three agents from behind the bar. "I told you before, this place is a dive not a dump."
"Have you seen the ugly 1980's carpet in the seating area?" JJ retorted cheekily.
Ronnie scoffed. "It's an original feature."
"Here's McCallen, now." The sheriff entered the bar and made eye contact with the blonde agent.
McCallen ignored the two male profilers as he approached the bar. "I'd have expected a customary phone call rather than you getting your Daddy to summon me up here."
"Well I apologise if you feel we overstepped." JJ replied cordially.
"The department can't help you with your little investigation."
"We haven't even discussed the case with you." Morgan interrupted.
The sheriff sucked his large gut in and groaned. "The driver of the silver jeep was unidentified, so sorry for your trek out here but you can leave the town now."
Hotch eyed JJ in confusion. "Gossip spreads like wildfire around here." Turning her attention back to the sheriff in annoyance. "Perhaps you could tell my colleague's about what happened three nights ago while I go and get a copy of surveillance footage?"
"Unless that's below your status, Peter?" Ronnie added in a growl.
Begrudgingly the local Sheriff stayed and discussed the incident with Hotch and Morgan. By the time JJ returned with a disc of the surveillance footage in her hand the sheriff was grumbling about the Jareau's reputation in East Allegheny.
He was moaning loudly when JJ and Ronnie stopped behind the balding LEO. "And that's just for starters, Sandy Keller-Jareau is just as much a handful..."
"Excuse me Sheriff but is this relevant to the case?" JJ interrupted tersely.
McCallan turned and shook his head. "In the future little JJ, I'd appreciate a little heads up before you bring the Feds around to my town."
"Of course." JJ smiled sweetly while placing a hand on her father's arm to calm his growling.
Hotch stared at his younger colleague as the Sheriff left the building. "Well he comes across as a pleasant man."
"Isn't he?" JJ agreed with his sarcasm. "Rossi called. They've got an ID on the driver."
"How?" Morgan wondered out loud.
"Jonah Collins was very forthcoming to the agents from the field office down in Kentucky. He told his former cell mate where he could find the car keys. Grover Maitland is a former inmate who was sentenced to three years for B&E. Rossi said Maitland fits the profile."
"We can meet up with Rossi and Reid if we leave now. They think they have an idea where he might be hiding out. Maitland's adoptive grandmother has a house in Pittsburgh."
"Let's go." Hotch ordered before turning to Ronnie. "Thank you for your cooperation, Mr Jareau."
"Ronnie, please." He shook a retreating Morgan's hand before shaking Hotch's. He leaned into the Unit Chief and whispered. "Take care of my girl."
"Of course." Hotch nodded as he left to let JJ have a moment alone with her father.
JJ wrapped her grizzly dad in a hug. "Thanks for your help and for the food."
"You barely ate." He grumbled. "Watch your back."
"Always. I'll try and stop by when my case is done." JJ smiled warmly.
Ronnie cleared his throat and nodded. "Make sure you do."
JJ waved goodbye to Dana before jogging out to the car where Hotch and Morgan were patiently waiting for her.
As they drove back onto the interstate, Morgan turned to face the back seat where JJ was gazing dreamingly out of the window. "So that's not at all how I imagined the place where you grew up."
"What did you expect?" JJ asked in amusement.
"A white house, picket fencing and two parents with half a dozen kids. Or maybe's a farm." He shrugged.
JJ laughed. "Nope, I got stuck with a biker dad and a Mom with dreams above her station."
"I can understand why Ronnie doesn't like police if Peter McCallan is what he measures other cops by." Hotch summarised.
JJ cleared the emotion out of her throat with a small cough. "McCallan went on a witch hunt after we lost my sister. He arrested my Dad on abuse charges. They weren't true, but McCallan was out for blood."
"That's horrible." Hotch gasped while checking the back seat passenger was okay in the rear view mirror.
JJ nodded once before continuing. "But my Dad doesn't like feds because I was so eager to leave the one bar town to run around with a gun, as he likes to say."
"Do you think he'd like it if we stop by after the case for a round with the rest of the team?" Morgan questioned with a grin.
JJ groaned inwardly. "Don't you want to get back home?"
"Not if it means we miss out on hearing embarrassing stories from your past." He countered, which Hotch laughed in response to.
The East Allegheny native moaned uncomfortably. "Great."
Thanks for reading!