David Rossi entered Aaron’s office at the sound of his raised voice. The person on the other end of the phone was certainly getting to know exactly how Hotch could lose his famed calm demeanour. And to Rossi that meant that the reason could be nothing other than one Abigail Sciuto. Rossi had known Aaron long enough to know that nothing could shake him quicker than something not being right with his best friend. And that shook Rossi to, though for reasons that so far he had managed to keep from Aaron. Just the thought of what his long time friend would say if he knew just how much it shook him was enough to make him break out in a rare sweat.
Rossi slipped into Aaron’s office and took a seat, happy to wait for Aaron to finish his verbal sparring with the poor fool that dared raise his ire. He managed to tune out the conversation as he went over the notes contained in the file in his hands. A new case had come up and Rossi wanted to seek Aaron’s thoughts on the suspect before presenting it to rest of the team. The suspect this time was a peeping tom that had turned into a serial rapist. So far he had been linked to 5 attacks. His target women appeared to be in the age group of late 20’s to early 30’s, all professional workers, all living alone. Other than that, there appeared to be nothing that linked these women. Despite deep searching through records of every kind, Garcia had come up with nothing. That alone made the case all the more intriguing. There was nothing that was hidden to Garcia’s computers. Rossi had just left the rather disturbed technical analysts office with her cussing still ringing in his ears. He smiled at the thought of the normally together Garcia letting loose on an unsub that dared believe they could hide from her. As he flipped through what material they had on the case, Aaron’s sharp tone bought Rossi back to the conversation.
“Just because you call and tell me she is alright doesn’t smooth things over” Aaron paused while the caller spoke. What he heard obviously wasn’t calming though; Rossi noticed his clenched fist as he paced back and forward. What the hell was going on? “Listen, you just call out of the blue and tell me that my best friend was almost killed in a lab accident ...”
What?! Rossi thought, fighting the urge to jump to his feet.
“...And then you tell me not to worry because she’s ok and you guys are dealing with it. How the hell do you expect me to react?”
Rossi had to work hard to control his breathing. Don’t let Aaron see you worked up over this. He may suspect ... Rossi looked up and saw Aaron looking at him, his face taut with concern, his phone call now over.
“Did you get that?” he asked.
Rossi tried to act nonchalant as he shrugged. “Some”
“Abby was doing a drug kit in her lab when she smelt almonds. She got out of the lab with about 3 minutes to spare”
Rossi schooled his face to remain calm, even as every muscle in his body clenched at the thought of Abby in danger. Calm, must be calm.
Aaron returned to his pacing, thrusting a hand through his hair. “NCIS called to let me know that she was ok, but only because they suspect that the crime scene they got the drugs from was a set up.” Aaron paused and looked at Rossi. “A set up for Abby”
Damn it all to hell, Rossi thought as he bit the inside of his cheek.
“Is she really ok?” he asked.
Aaron laughed. “You know Abby”
Yes I do, Rossi sighed inwardly. If only I could tell you.
Rossi rose to his feet as Aaron moved towards the door.
“I need to go and see her Rossi, need to make sure she is ok” He then noticed the file in Rossi’s hand.
“A new case?”
“Nothing we can’t handle on our own for a while,” Rossi waved him out the door. “Go make sure Abby’s ok”
Aaron nodded as he rushed out the door.
Rossi looked down at the file and frowned. How long before the team could get this case wrapped up? Quickly calculating a likely timeline in his mind as he entered his own office, he decided that his own visit to Abby could wait a couple of days. But a phone call couldn’t.
Abby knew without a doubt that the person knocking on her door was Aaron.
She knew that he would be demanding answers.
She sighed as she walked to the door.
“What the hell were you thinking?”
Bursting into her home the moment she opened the door, Aaron let loose on a verbal firestorm that she had learned years ago would die out quicker if she said nothing. Venting was how Aaron got rid of the fear that tended to be generated when those he loved were in danger. After a few minutes of ranting, Aaron finally calmed down. Taking a deep breath he walked over to where Abby stood and took her in his arms.
“I’m sorry, Princess” he whispered.
Abby smiled at the use of the pet name that only he was allowed to use. It had been a joke many years ago when Aaron had introduced Abby to a friend as “My Princess of Darkness” The name had stuck, and at times like this the use of it made her feel safer than a child curled up on her daddy’s lap.
Kissing the top of her head, Aaron moved back and led her over to her sofa. Sitting with his arms still anchoring her to his side, he placed her head against his chest and asked her, “What happened?”
“The cocaine found at the scene was compromised”
Never one to waste words, Aaron always got to the heart of the problem. And he was far too good at what he did to believe the half truth she had told Gibbs earlier.
“I think Foyet is back”
She wasn’t surprised by Aaron’s lack of reaction. As one of the best profilers in the BAU and the lead investigator on the Foyet case, he had insight into Foyet that others simply couldn’t hope to have. The only change in his demeanour that she detected was the slight hiccup his heartbeat made when she mentioned Foyet’s name.
“Then you can’t be here alone” he said simply.
“Aaron, I’m not going to hide from him. I can’t live like that”
“Abby, you know as well as I do that this is a very sick, twisted man we’re dealing with. There is no way I’m letting you stay alone”
The fact that he had automatically deemed that “they” were dealing with Foyet was a testament to their friendship. Neither ever had to ask for the others help, it was just a given that they would get it – wanted or not sometimes. This was one of those not wanted times.
Abby pushed away from him and got up from the couch. “I can’t stay with you. You and Hayley are still trying to work through what’s left of your marriage”
“Doesn’t matter” Aaron argued. “You are the most important person in my life Abby. I can’t sit by and not do something”
She smiled. “I know, but I will not be forced to intrude. I would feel uncomfortable being in your home right now”
“Fine” Aaron sighed. “Then you can stay with someone else”
Abby laughed. “Who? Gibbs? McGee? Tony?”
Aaron looked ashen faced. “God, no, not DiNozzo!”
“I’m fine here, Aaron”
Just as Aaron was shaking his head, trying to think of a way to convince his hard headed friend that he knew better, the lounge window smashed. A moment later an explosion rocked the room.
“I got here as soon as I could” Rossi said, casting his eyes hurriedly around the room as he approached Aaron. “Where’s Abby?”
“In her bedroom. She got hit by some flying debris. Paramedics are taking a look at her”
Rossi took a deep breath as Aaron led him to Abby’s bedroom. The front room of the small bungalow was almost completely destroyed. The window area where the explosion had occurred was a hive of police activity. One cop took photo’s while three others collected evidence. There were two other police agents going over the rest of the room looking for other evidence. Rossi suspected from the look of the damage that a crude Molotov cocktail or some other “dirty” bomb had been hurled through the window, no doubt thrown when the perpetrator had seen someone standing near the window. Of course, when police got round to canvassing the neighbourhood they would find that no one had seen or heard anything. Such crimes happened with such speed that there was usually very little to witness. As Rossi followed Aaron into the small bedroom he schooled his features. The last thing Abby needed was another person wanting to save her from the world.
The sight that greeted him wrenched his heart though. Abby was sitting in a chair in the corner of the room. Her right cheek had a bad bruise; there was a cut above her right eyebrow and a gash on her jaw line. A paramedic was crouched in front of her shinning a light in her eyes and tracking their movement to ensure no head trauma had occurred. As Abby’s eyes tracked back to the right of the room she caught Rossi’s eyes and smiled sadly at him.
“It’s not as bad as it looks” she whispered. Rossi was sure she was talking directly to him and that she hadn’t been aware that the words had been said out loud. Aaron was the one to respond though.
“That’s because you weren’t standing right at the window. If you had been ...”
Rossi shuddered at the could have beens.
The paramedic stood and gave Abby a smile. “Your all clear ma’am. I’ve treated the cuts, some ice will take down the swelling, and you don’t appear to have any head trauma; though I would recommend that you have someone stay with you tonight just in case”
Abby murmured her thanks as the paramedic packed his things up and left.
“Well,” she laughed uneasily, looking at the two big men taking up her small space. “This has been quite an evening”
“Abby ... “Aaron started.
Abby shook her head and instead focused on Rossi.
“I’d offer you some coffee, but I have this little issue in the front room” she smiled.
Rossi couldn’t help but smile back. Despite having her home in disarray, hurting from her injuries and a best friend who was chomping at the bit to lock her away for her own safety, she still managed a little sass.
“Abby” Aaron stated her name more firm this time.
Head down, eyes down, Abby turned to Aaron and whispered, “Not now. I just ... not now ...”
Aaron crouched in front of her and took her hands in his. “Sweetheart,
I need you to listen to me. You are in danger. We both know what Foyet is
capable of. Today he’s shown that twice ...”
“You don’t know Foyet was behind the cocktail” Abby argued. “There could be someone else annoyed at me. I do have other cases”
“Anything that would cause someone to really act this way?” Rossi spoke up.
Abby looked up at him. “No” she whispered.
“Then what Aaron says holds true. Even if this isn’t Foyet’s doing you can’t stay here; it’s now a crime scene. You can’t stay by yourself, the paramedic said so.”
“But she can stay with you” Aaron stood.
“What?” Rossi asked. Had he really just asked him to look after Abby?
“Rossi, it’s perfect. No one would think to look for her at your home.
Why would they?”
Why would they indeed? Rossi thought.
As the silence stretched, Rossi knew there was an upside and a downside to this, and they were identical. The upside? He got to spend time with Abby. The downside was the same. Spending time with Abby could prove to be too hard to handle. Still he wasn’t about to let Abby be out on her own.
Despite Abby’s protest, Aaron packed a bag for her and Rossi led her out to his truck.
Making sure she was safely strapped in, he listened to last minute instructions from Aaron regarding calling in every hour and staying out of sight. As Aaron then walked to his car, Rossi turned to Abby. His heart again turned over at the damage done but he had to smile at her continued spunk.
“You really don’t need to do this Rossi”
“Aaron doesn’t want you to be alone tonight” his voice brokered no argument. “You’re staying with me, Abby”
“Great” Abby sighed, turning to look out the window as Rossi drove off into the night. “Like I haven’t been traumatised enough today”