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13 June 2013 @ 06:13 am
Fic Post: I'm Better for the Smile You Give  
Title: I’m Better for the Smile You Give
Author: Montiese
Category: Drama/Humor/Romance
Pairing: Rossi/Strauss
Rating: TEEN
Spoilers: The Brothers Hotchner, The Replicator
Summary: “I don’t care that you're smiling at my expense, I only care that you're smiling.”
Author’s Note: Erin lives! That’s all I have to say about that.

It was a warm morning even though it was raining. The rain had been harder overnight but slowed to something she could walk in. Erin woke up early, leaving Dave sound asleep. She walked two miles on one of the many nature trails with Mudgie by her side. The world was quiet at this hour though Erin didn’t really know what time it was.

She took off her watch as soon as they arrived and she had no idea where it was. That was fine with her. Sitting on the porch, Erin inhaled the fresh air. If things hadn’t gone horribly wrong she would be touring the Canadian Rockies by train. There would be majestic peaks, five-star hotels, and picturesque small towns.

Instead Erin spent almost four days in the hospital. After the hospital released her, she and Dave flew to Quantico with the Deputy Director. Straight from Quantico the couple drove to Dave’s cabin in Shenandoah National Park. They were going to have their time away, Dave promised her.

Since the doctors recommended rest it was better to be somewhere stationary and familiar. Erin refused to argue. Firstly, she had loved Dave’s cabin since the first time he'd brought her there. Secondly, damn near any place was better than the hospital.

A week passed since The Replicator attacked her. Erin now knew that he was John Curtis and that she was the primary target. That wasn’t easy information to live with. Over the years in the Bureau, Erin Strauss ruffled her fair share of feathers. To know that someone would kill because they were passed over for a prime promotion made her sick.

She saw the way Alex Blake crawled her way back from disgrace with hard work and tenacity. What happened wasn’t Alex’s fault but it wasn’t entirely Erin’s either. There was no use in passing blame. Maybe she was the only one who felt that way but she did.

The decision that the team who worked the case should take the fall came all the way from the top office. The FBI was in the spotlight again for the wrong reasons and it was unacceptable. That didn’t stop Erin from signing off on Alex Blake’s paperwork to join the BAU, with the Deputy Director’s blessing. A decade had gone by and it was time for everyone to move on.

Apparently all parties involved didn’t get the memo. Taking a deep breath, Erin tried to stop thinking about it. Replaying every moment in her head wasn’t healthy. Soon she would have to sit down with a Bureau psychiatrist.

As hard as Erin fought it, Kirk put his foot down. He was right but that didn’t mean she wanted him to be. So often she’d been on his side, making her field agents get clearance before returning to work. It wasn’t often that she was on the front lines.

Erin scratched behind Mudgie’s ears while pushing it all out of her head. She needed to think good thoughts; think about the things that made her happy. Dewy grass under her bare feet was a joy. She loved Carly Simon songs, the smell of Dave’s cooking, her kids laughing, buying shoes, reading books, spooning with Dave, and taking long walks. There were so many things that Erin loved…those were just the things that came to mind first.

“I made you some coffee.” Dave walked onto the porch with two mugs.

“Mmm, that sounds perfect.” Erin smiled.

He sat on the porch swing with her but Mudgie was half in her lap. The Chesapeake Bay Retriever wasn’t moving. Dave gave his dog a friendly pat on the head. There was no use being jealous. Mudgie turned his allegiance to Erin soon after she moved in with them. That had been years ago.

“You didn’t have trouble sleeping, did you?”

“Not really.” She lied. Well, it wasn’t quite a lie.

“This is perfect sleeping weather.”

“I know. We should take a nap together later.”

“Yeah.” He nodded. “I’d like that.”

“It was a great morning for a walk.” Erin said. “The dog needed to go out anyway so I thought I’d get some fresh air and clear my mind.” She sipped her coffee. It was perfect of course…Dave always made it just the way she liked it.

“How was your walk?” Dave asked.

“It was wonderful. I think Mudgie and I did about two miles but I wasn’t counting. We were just enjoying ourselves. Later this morning I'm going to paint the chair and bookshelves. We have varnish, don’t we?”

“Yes. I think I'm going to write a little later. Do you mind?”

“I don’t mind.” Erin shook her head. “This time away was supposed to be a good time for us both. I know how much you enjoy writing. If it doesn’t rain tomorrow then I want to go hunting.”

“Are you sure you want to do that?”

“Mmm hmm. There aren’t a lot of things I haven’t tried at least once. Hunting is on that list. Well I did go on a foxhunt once as a child but that’s another story.”

“It’s duck season here so we can do that.” Dave said. “I cook what I catch.”

“I love duck so that’s a good thing. Did you catch that silly mallard in the den?”

“Hey now, Clifford is not silly. He was my first kill here; he's commemorative.”

“You named him?” Erin raised an eyebrow.

“I love you.” Dave leaned across Mudgie, who was less than pleased at being disturbed, and kissed his wife.

“I love you too.” She stroked his face.

“And it’s alright that I'm being a bit overprotective right now?”

“If this is a bit then I don’t want to see full throttle.”

“There's still this void in the pit of my stomach…”

“I'm fine, David.”

“I know.” He nodded, kissing her again. “You're a fighter and you always have been.”

“You would know.” Erin smiled.

“Oh yes I would. What do you want for breakfast, baby?”

“I want you to surprise me.”

“I've been doing that for years now.” Dave said.

“No, not really.” Erin shook her head, barely suppressing her smile.

“I don’t care that you're smiling at my expense, I only care that you're smiling.”

“Why didn’t you say so earlier? I could smile at your expense so much more.”

Dave gently squeezed her nose. He kissed her once more before getting up and going into the cabin. Mudgie followed, leaving Erin alone on the porch. She drank the last of her coffee while watching the rain fall. There were probably a million reasons she could feel sorry for herself and depressed. Erin didn’t want to ignore that she would eventually, sooner rather than later, face many old demons while working out what happened to her.

It would always be in the back of her mind. Someone tried to kill her. But she would get through it. Erin was stronger than John Curtis; always had been. He was dead and she was alive. The best payback of all was to live.


Where am I?: the lair
Feelings: sleepysleepy
Background Noise: rain outside my window
Blender Oven: 24 - Karen/Billarathesane on June 13th, 2013 01:34 pm (UTC)
Ha, I read this on AO3 but as always I prefer to leave comments on LJ.

Anyway, I love Erin's voice here. This is how I see reacting from how she feels about the oid case, to not wanting to see the psychiatrist but recognizing it's to right thing to do to the line about payback - it all rings true to me.

Your characterizations of Erin and Erin and Dave always feel right to me. With a few exceptions most of the fic I've read involving those two(as a pairing I mean) has been too OOC for me to fully enjoy. And I've read a lot. The fic I've read either makes them too sweet or Erin too saintly(it feels like some are trying to combat the antipathy toward the character in their writing) or they are too harsh. I don't mind bleak fic or fic where the characters are self-destructive but I don't want to read two characters I love be incredibly abusive to one another. You always seem to strike the right balance.

Edited at 2013-06-13 01:51 pm (UTC)
SSA McGeek: Erin and Dave....lovemcgarrygirl78 on June 13th, 2013 03:37 pm (UTC)
I feel the same way about a lot of Rossi/Strauss fic I've encountered. I feel its OOC or people either try to make Strauss saintly or Rossi into some Lothario...its just never right and I have to stop reading. While I'm surely not saying mine are perfect, I feel like I see and feel all the sides of the characters and dont mind showing the more or least desirable parts of them.

I had to write this story. With Erin gone in canon, I was afraid I would try to save her and just end up with a bunch of angsty drudge but I like the road this one is traveling on. Yes, Erin is going to have to fight to get back into top form and she is going to have to face what happened to her and why. But she also has a man that loves her very much. He's a man that makes her laugh and feel and swoon and she does the same to him. I want to make sure I show all of that too. Good times and bad, Dave and Erin are making each other smile.
Blender Oven: CM - Rossi/Straussarathesane on June 14th, 2013 08:25 am (UTC)
If a story is set in the past or there are flashbacks I don't always mind Dave as a Lothario(as long as he's not too absurd or offensive) as there's evidence that he might have been like that in the past. But I don't think there's any canonical support that he is still that way.

Yes, Erin is going to have to fight to get back into top form and she is going to have to face what happened to her and why
Yes. That's exactly how Erin would behave. I'm glad you are going to continue to write Dave and Erin - I know I am going to miss her(so very much) next season. Good fic can have a palliative effect.