- Rough Draft
- No Beta
- Alternate Universe
“I don’t know what to do, Kate.”
David Rossi surveys his surroundings. Hotch, the team, their fellow mourners. The small but heartfelt ceremony. Hotch’s speech moving even the most reluctant to tears.
A man arrives. He’s dressed really well and his overcoat is respectably somber but he doesn’t join them. He moves off further into the cemetery. His body language is closed, no visitors welcome, but it’s also desperate. Confused. And the man is packing. At least one, possibly two guns on his person. Maybe more, his body surprisingly hard to read.
Probably just law enforcement. God knows federal agents are a dime a dozen in Virginia but his desperation is concerning. It could make him dangerous and Rossi won’t let anything make this worse for Hotch.
Casually as he can Rossi breaks from the group, wandering over to the Desperado.
“I don’t know what to do, Kate.” The man’s voice is not as deep as Rossi expected but it’s lyrical. This man grew up bilingual, French, Spanish, possibly Italian. Probably Italian, he’s got a bit of New York in his twang. “I can’t go out in the field with them again. They’ve proven they don’t have my back and they don’t care if I know it or not.
“I can’t let it go -I’m SFA- but if I report it, Gibbs will have my hide.”
SFA? Gibbs? As in the infamous Leroy Jethro? Gibbs is not exactly a common name. Especially not in a federal agency in the D.C. area. So, this must be the Tony DiNozzo Fornell is always lamenting about not being able to bring over to the Bureau.
The man that is probably DiNozzo is quiet for a while. When he continues his voice is softer but more painful. “I know I should go to Gibbs but… let’s face it, he hasn’t had my back since Mexico. Not really. They could have gotten me killed with that stunt and he wouldn’t even have noticed.
“Nobody has noticed and it’s obvious in the logs.”
“Nobody noticed what?” Rossi finds himself asking.
Probably-DiNozzo whirls, wincing as he jerks to a stop.
“Who are you?” DiNozzo looks like shit. Pale, obviously in pain and not sleeping properly.
“A mourner.” He nods vaguely in the direction of Haley Hotchner’s funeral. “Sounds like you’re mourning something, too. Wanna talk about it?”
Probably-DiNozzo looks him over, a little more closely. “Do I know you from somewhere?”
Probably from his books, Rossi thinks but instead, he shakes his head. “No, I’d remember you.”
DiNozzo tries to find something in his statement but after a moment gives up.”Just team drama.” He says, “You know how it is.”
“Sounds like more than team drama if it could get you killed,” Rossi tells him honestly. “Tell me about it. I don’t know the people so I’m as close to a neutral perspective as you can get.”
He takes a seat on a bench and waits DiNozzo out with what Prentiss calls his ‘papa bear face’.
DiNozzo joins him fairly quickly but he’s quiet for a long time. Together they watch as white roses are laid on Haley’s casket and the crowd begins to drift away.
“My team,” DiNozzo begins. “We. We caught a murder case. Nothing new or exciting except that the victim was murdered during a broadcast.” Broadcast of what DiNozzo doesn’t say but in this case, it’s not particularly important to Rossi. “We tracked the shooter to a real swanky neighborhood. One with fences and security, big houses, the whole nine yards. Real American Dream kinda stuff.
“We have a voice print of the shooter from the broadcast. I get tapped to get recordings of everyone we can for matching.
“I go in, ask people questions about the neighborhood. I’m out there for three hours chatting people up with two of my team in an unmarked car nearby for backup.
“I get everybody. Almost get run over once and punched twice but I get ’em. And then I head back to the car. They are still in the first spot I left them, haven’t moved to maintain a safe distance as I’d advised but I’m not terribly surprised. They’ve been like that lately.
“What surprises me is that I can’t hear the audio. Now maybe they knew I was coming and turned it down to save us all but when I joke about it, they admit they weren’t listening.
“Pretty much the moment I left the car they turned off the sound and they didn’t see a problem with that. They thought it was hilarious.”
It’s the most disgusting, dishonorable, abusive thing Rossi has heard of one badge doing to another in a very long time. His training takes over even as most of his inner self is screaming in fury and he asks questions. He explores the team dynamic. The disrespect of his position as Senior Field Agent. The history of troublesome behavior. The individual trouble makers. The supervisory agent that allows this madness to go on.
He also watches DiNozzo for signs of dishonesty. He doesn’t get any though he does get the feeling DiNozzo is low-balling some of the behaviors. Especially when the agent grasps the direction of his inquiry. Which is really damn fast for a non-profiler.
“So, what do you think?” DiNozzo finally asks. It’s well after dark and Rossi should be at the post-funeral wake/reception… but he can’t leave this man like this.
“I think you need to get your ass out of there before that liaison officer kills you. Sounds like she’s been gunning for you a long time and if your boss won’t do anything about it -and it sounds to me like he’s willfully blind to it- you have to. For your own sake.”
DiNozzo’s quiet for a long time after that, wrestling with something. “Yeah, I. I mean, I would hope.” The man stops and actually turns to consider him for a few moments. “You know I never actually asked for your name.”
Dave hesitates. This will either be the straw that breaks the camel and send it running for cover and eventually death or the nail in the coffin of this man’s current career and save his life. “I’m Dave Rossi.”
“Dave Rossi. As in David Rossi. The David Rossi? Most published author on serial killers, behavior science as applied to criminology, and victimology. The man that literally wrote the book on hostage negotiation. Founder member of the BAU. Current member of the flagship Behavioral team at Quantico. That David Rossi?”
Not quite embarrassed, Dave deflects. “My friends usually just call me Dave.”
DiNozzo chews on that for a moment. “And you think Ziva’s trying to kill me.”
“Yes, I do. And so do you. You’d know it of you would get out of your own way and think about it for a moment.”
“No,” the younger male argues back. “If she wanted me dead, I’d be dead. Super assassin chick and all that.”
“Not if there is someone she’s afraid of in the way. ” DiNozzo opens his mouth to argue but Dave doesn’t let him. “You can call it respect if you want but it’s fear. A person like that doesn’t respect anyone. Can’t love anyone. She only knows fear, rage, and survival.”
DiNozzo is quiet again and Dave can feel a terrible finality to it.
“Get out of there, kid. Get out of town completely. While you can.” He pulls his card and hands it to the statue of an agent. “If you need help.” And walks away.