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Disclaimers: No member of the BAU or the fictional FBI belongs to me, though I love them dearly. They are the playthings of Messrs. Gordon, Bernero, and Mundy.
Rating: FRT (No gore, lots of angst)
Genre: Gen/Future!Fic/Angst
Spoilers: Future!Fic, so everything up to 5x11 (especially for Season 5's opening arc)

Characters: David Rossi, Jack Hotchner; everyone else in mention.
, JJ/Will


a) Written for the  "Criminal Minds Gen-A-Thon II: It's Back Edition", in which you should all totally go participate.
b) Damn it, I try to write happy stuff, but Lady Angst, she has cruel wiles.
c)Title from "Saint George and the Dragon".
d) ETA: First story in what I am tentatively calling the Dragon'Verse.

Prompt: Rossi and Jack, ""fairytales do not tell children that dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairytales tell children that dragons can be killed.""

Summary: Future!Fic. 5 years after leaving the BAU for good, David Rossi gets a panicked midnight phone call from Quantico. Because some days, the dragon wins.


When the  missed call from the unknown number showed up on his cell- at 12:30 at night- David Rossi was more than a little wary. He'd read Misery, after all. And, more importantly, seen first hand the lengths that stalkers will go to to get what they want. The way these things end.

Man, he hadn't thought through that particular sequence in about 5 years. Ever since his mouth really had started writing checks that his ass couldn't cash. Since the arthritis set in his hands, and his other joints. Since he started actually getting old, and had been dragged, kicking and screaming, back out of the field.

Since he had left *his* team again, this time with a lot more reluctance.

He knew they'd  all tried to keep in touch. He also knew that New York is 3 hours from the Beltway and Quantico, which may as well be a thousand miles when you're in the thick of it. 

Some of them had scattered to the four winds. Morgan had finally let the natural process of advancement take its course, and was out running the San Diego field office. He had occasionally responded to Dave's emails; often complaining about the inadequacy of Southern California's winters. Ragging on his teammates with the practiced ease of someone who had lived through lake-effect snow.

Reid's mother, in the intervening years, had gotten worse; no intra-Bureau transfer for Spencer, though. He had given his pound of flesh; he was out. Also in Southern California,  teaching at UCLA. But returning every single weekend, and sometimes on weekdays too, to Vegas.

He wondered if Reid and Morgan ever saw each other, ever talked shop. Maybe. Maybe not the shop talk part, though.

Garcia, was...well, god knows where. After a decade of trying, the NSA had finally learned to lobby Penelope and Kevin Lynch as a team. And the last time, it worked. So she was off saving the world. Dave smiled at the thought of her pandas, and stickers, and figurines, brightening the scene somewhere in a tiny Bucharest garret.

Emily and JJ were still there. Breaking in the new generation of the BAU. Dave was mostly out of the loop, but he still heard things. About how SSA Prentiss and SSA Jareau's joint nickname, after 2 weeks, was The Dragon Ladies. About how after 2 months...the nickname seemed to mysteriously disappear, leaving a crop of unfailingly loyal new recruits in its place.

And Aaron....he was still there, of course. Having long ago shattered any longevity records the BAU didn't officially keep. Dave had vowed to himself, though, to not let that field lie fallow again. And he hadn't. 5 years out of the BAU, they still talked every week. Not phone calls, though. Emails, long ones. He had always thought he was a pretty good writer, but Aaron might be better, if he ever tried.

But the letters had suddenly stopped, about 5 weeks ago. He hadn't been too worried initially; long cases, long stretches of irregular hours. Who knew, maybe Hotch, wonder of wonders, had actually packed up himself and his son and taken a vacation.

Son. Jack. That unknown cell had a Quantico area code. Why wouldn't Jack be calling from their home phone? Dave's heart suddenly skipped a beat. He didn't even listen to the voicemail, just redialed the number without a second thought.

A voice- an impossibly old sounding voice- answered.

"Jack Hotchner."

God, was Jack Hotchner really 16 now? Had it really been that long?

"Jack, it's me."

"Agent Rossi, thank god, I'm so sorry that I called so late, but I didn't think you would want me to  wait until morning."

He sounded exhausted. He sounded exhausted exactly like his father used to, in that studiously normal way.

Dave decided to forgo the usual "Jack, I've known you  since you were 3, call me Dave" routine under the circumstances.

"Jack, just tell me, what is it?"

He could hear the teenager take a shaky breath, and regain his composure.

"It's Dad. How soon could you get down here?"

"God. What happened? Is he sick, is he..." Had some other psycho tried to finish the job George Foyet started 10 years ago?

"Not like that. He's...he's just...Emily is with him now, and the doctors say he should be able to recover, but..."

Jack's choked sob carried over the phone line, and it took all of Rossi's control not to echo it.

"I should have seen it, but I was so busy with finals, and jazz band, and everything, and you know Dad, he'll tell you he's fine, tell you and make you mac and cheese until the cows come home."

"Jack, please tell me, where is your Dad?"

"He's at St. Elizabeth's. The psychiatric ward."

The words came at Dave Rossi like a punch to the solar plexus.

"I came home from school this afternoon, and he was shut up in his room, looking at old files, and he wouldn't talk to me, and he wouldn't open the door. And I called Emily, and she came, and we broke down the door, and he...he's just shut down. It's like Dad's still in there somewhere, but he can't get out."

Catatonia. Major depressive episode. The reason the letters had abruptly stopped.

"Jack, are you okay?"

"Yeah, I'm fine, of course, I'm fine. It's Dad that needs your help."

"Sure, kid. I'm going to pack my bags, and drive down as soon as I can, but do you have someone you can stay with until then?"

He heard a sub voce conversation, and then Jack got back on the phone. "I'm 16, I can stay by myself, but JJ says that I'm coming home with her and Will and Henry and she's not taking no for an answer."

"Good. We'll get through this, kid, we'll get your dad back with us, don't worry."

"I just...I didn't see. It was right in front of me and I couldn't see. "

"Jack, stop this. This is not your fault. You're a kid, we're the adults, we're supposed to take care of you."

"But I should have noticed something. He's tried so hard, since everything...."

Jack had told him once that he hardly remembered the day his Mommy died; that all he got were flashes, sounds, words. Dave wasn't sure how true that was. But Aaron had always told his son that when he was ready, when Jack asked, he would tell him everything.

Hotch had carried that story for the both of them, fought off the dragon for 10 years.

"We'll bring him back, Jack. You and me and Emily and JJ. Your dad is one of the strongest men I've ever known, and he's not going to give up without a fight. He's not going to give you up without one, either."

Dave couldn't see Jack Hotchner at that moment, but he imagined he knew what expression was on his face. The same set of the chin, the same fierce determination.


It was David Rossi's turn to fight off the dragon for a while.


Date: 2010-01-09 09:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
There's more, right? THERE'S MORE!

Wow, this is a terrific start to what I'm sure will be a fantastic series.

Date: 2010-01-10 03:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
*another plot bunny/WIP* *aiee*

But there might be, yes. I started out towards nostalgic or bittersweet, but it turned into something quite different. And now that I sent Reid and Morgan out to Southern California, it seems obvious to me that they need to, and would, come back. (How I get Garcia back from NSA-bunker-dom, is less clear.)

DAMN YOU CM WRITERS. You have made Jack Hotchner's future way too tempting and fertile a subject.

Date: 2010-01-09 10:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh, please write more! I wanna know what happens next. :)

An excellent vignette.

Date: 2010-01-09 10:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh, so, so intriguing. I'd love to see more of this. Excellent premise.

Date: 2010-01-10 06:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
*flails* I'm about to become an old lady..(or as the kids at work tease me "an elderly lady" *snerk*) you can't just leave me (us) hanging like that! We'll make 'mac and cheese' for you!

Seriously, this is wonderful but we need to find out what happens! This is the teaser for the ep and now we're watching the opening sequence and waiting for the show to start. Please!

Date: 2010-01-14 03:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I can see Reid leaving the FBI, but I can also see Hotch staying until he breaks. I liked your characterizations in this story, thanks for sharing! Sequel perhaps?

Date: 2010-01-14 07:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Well, no proper sequel yet, but if you follow the Dragon'Verse tag, the second story, "Unholy Geometry" is posted. It's an Emily-centric prequel.

I could see Hotch changing the *way* he was working, for Jack's sake. But yeah, not leaving. Though my working-canon is that he's allowed Emily and JJ to take on a lot, becoming the eminence grise. Probably the baby agents go to him to complain about the Dragon Ladies.

Date: 2010-05-09 12:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Wow. How did I miss this the first time? I loved the details that you worked in to this, scattering the BAU sensibly about yet still having Hotch at the BAU. I enjoyed how you presented Dave here as well as the anguish of Jack not being able to see his dad break down, because we all know Hotch would hide it from everyone and anyone he could. Cheers!


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