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29 June 2013 @ 10:18 am
Fic Post: Three the Hard Way  
Title: Three the Hard Way
Author: Montiese
Category: Angst/Drama
Characters: David Rossi, Erin Strauss, Aaron Hotchner Alex Blake
Pairings: Rossi/Strauss, Hotch/Rossi
Rating: TEEN
Summary: Affairs were never as romantic and poetic as movies or books made them out to be. Adulterous men were rarely Ralph Fiennes or their lovers Kristin Scott-Thomas.

“I hate when you sneak away.” She opened her eyes, slipping her hand under her chin as she looked at his back. It took every ounce of strength she possessed not to reach out and touch him; to make him hers again. Erin Strauss was a strong woman.

“I'm not sneaking away.” Dave replied.

“When I'm asleep and you creep out of bed, it’s sneaking away.”



“I'm not sneaking away.” He turned to her. Dave reached out to stroke her face. He was in love with her face.

“Why don’t I get one night, or even one weekend? Wow, that would be something wouldn’t it?” she rolled her eyes. “I'm not going to beg for your time, David.”

“You’ve never had to do that.”

They were both quiet for a while. Dave’s hand was still on her cheek. Erin turned her head to kiss his palm.

“Change is good.” She whispered. “Even when it hurts more than you thought possible, it’s still good.”

Dave didn’t know what she meant and wasn’t sure he wanted to. It was true that no one would stay in the position he put Erin in for longer than a moment unless they were a glutton for punishment. No matter how hard he tried to justify it or make it better, she was his mistress. Affairs were never as romantic and poetic as movies or books made them out to be. Adulterous men were rarely Ralph Fiennes or their lovers Kristin Scott-Thomas. While the complications and implications of this affair were slightly different, it was an affair just the same.

“I love you.” He leaned to kiss her.

“You love him too.”

“Yes,” Dave nodded.

“You love him more…you always have.” She said.

“It’s complicated, and I know that sounds like a copout but you of all people know that it’s anything but.”

“You're never going to make a decision, David. At this point you probably feel like you don’t even have to anymore.”

“I feel a million things that I can hardly bear to express.”

“Of course you do.” Erin slipped away from his touch. She got out of bed without bothering to cover her nudity, which was very unlike her. “I'm going to shower. You can sneak out while I'm not paying attention.”

Dave sighed as he watched the bathroom light illuminate the dark bedroom. Then it went black again. He got up from the bed, stepping into and pulling up his boxer shorts. His clothing, blue jeans, and a black button down shirt, was neatly placed on one of Erin’s Queen Anne chairs. It was rare that his clothes ended up scattered on the floor.

There were times when desire overwhelmed them. Still, Dave and Erin had been together in one way or another for a very long time. Lust was fantastic but the comfort of being close to someone who knew every inch of him couldn’t be faked. They didn’t make love every time they were together. Like any other couple there were many things that came before carnal desires.

Dave didn’t want to leave. He didn’t want to go without saying goodbye to her. Putting the palm of his hand on the closed bathroom door, Dave held it there for a while. He took a deep breath and then walked out.

It was raining hard outside but Dave’s Suburban was parked in her Chevy Chase driveway. He pressed his keyless entry from the porch and dodged the raindrops. In the car, Dave looked up at the master bedroom window. It was still dark.

There was nothing else he could do tonight. Perhaps in the morning they could both make more sense of this. Nothing about it was simple but Dave wanted to try. He didn’t want to lose Erin like this.


“Usually you manage to take a shower before you come home.” Hotch said as he walked into the kitchen. It was close to midnight; he’d done this more than once in his marriage.

His voice startled Dave but he didn’t let it show. His rational brain told him within seconds who it was. He expected Hotch to be asleep even though he knew where Dave had been. Dave reached into the cupboard for the teabags. He didn’t turn to look at his husband.

“It was otherwise occupied tonight.”

“You smell like her.”

“I'm sorry Aaron…I’ll shower before bed. I promise.”

“I put up with what I put up with Dave; and maybe that’s partially my fault. I don’t want you smelling like her in our house.”

“Please don’t refer to Erin as her.” Dave turned around.

“I wouldn’t have to refer to Erin at all if your skin didn’t smell like her perfume and your face like the inside of her thighs.”

The words stung like a slap across the face. The sassy part of Rossi wanted to tell Hotch he had no idea what the inside of Erin’s thighs smelled like. That would’ve been the wrong thing to say. He didn’t want to say it anyway. There was no use in hurting Aaron more than he already had.

The couple never talked about Erin. Hotch still worked with her everyday at the BAU though Rossi was once again retired to focus on his writing. That was probably for the best considering what was happening. A relationship once slowly building into mutual respect and even friendship had all but crumbled because of Dave’s behavior.

“I'm truly sorry.” Dave said.

“I don’t think that’s good enough anymore.” Hotch said. “In fact I know it’s not, and it never really was.”

“What do you want me to do, Aaron?”

The teakettle whistled loudly, making Hotch bristle. Dave quickly turned it off. His husband had several triggers of his PTSD that he kept well hidden from everyone. Dave knew everything and always did his best to make the large condo they shared a safe space.

Too bad sharing his life wasn’t the same. Hotch didn’t answer his question, he just turned and walked away. Since the living room and kitchen were one large space Dave watched him go. He would sleep alone tonight. Lately it didn’t seem to matter who he spent his evenings with, his nights were spent alone.


“It was never my intent to hurt either one of them. I have to make a decision.”

“No, you have to make a decision and stick to it. There's a difference.”

“I'm not going to get into a semantics argument with a linguist.” Dave shook his head.

“You better not.” Alex managed a small smile when she ate her spinach and feta omelet.

“Last night wasn’t good.”

“What happened?”

“You already know, Alex. I have to make a decision. Someone I love very much is going to come out on the wrong side of this.”

“You think they haven’t already?” she asked. “Both Erin and Hotch deserve the full love and attention of a person so important in their lives. You deserve not to have to run around like a chicken with your head cut off trying to please everyone. There are some who would say that you're really just trying to please yourself, and still failing.”

“Some?” Dave raised an eyebrow as he ate his steak.

Brunch at Equinox was always a pleasure, as was brunch with Alex. He never realized when they started working together a couple of years ago that she would become such a trusted friend. There was something about Alex that pulled Dave in. He didn’t even let the problems between her and Erin stop them from getting close. In Alex’s defense, neither did she.

It wasn’t always easy to talk to her about Erin or the situation they were all in but Dave had to tell someone. Alex listened and only gave advice when she was asked. She never judged him; wanted the best for everyone involved. They all knew what was happening wasn’t the best.

“What are you going to do?” Alex asked.

She thought he should’ve done something about it years ago. He wasn’t the only person to blame but Dave started it. Most people would say that you couldn’t be in love with two people. Most people would say that Rossi wanted his cake, pie, and coffee too. Alex was sure he tried countless times over the past two years, even before she knew him, to stop what was happening. They were all hurting now. Someone had to make the first move or they'd never recover from the scars.

“I’ll figure something out.” He cleared his throat. “I don’t have a choice anymore.”

“You never had a choice, Dave. You just thought you did.”

“I'm not a douchebag. I don't want to be that piece of shit guy.”

“I never said that that you were.” Alex replied.

“Sometimes I feel like I am.” He said.

“Sometimes we all do for more reasons than we can count.”


“I don’t know when we’re coming back.”

“I know how it goes, Aaron. What's the case?”

“Missing teenage boys, which you also know is never good. I think Helena PD waited too long to call us. Some police departments still don’t properly communicate. There will surely be more cases that fit the victimology when we get there. Jack was supposed to come home soon so…”

“When is he coming in?” Dave asked.

“This weekend but I'm not entirely sure I’ll be back.”

“I’ll be here.”

“I don’t think…” Hotch sighed.

“Aaron, I can take care of Jack. I've been doing it for years.”

“Are you sure? I wouldn’t want to interrupt anything that you might have planned in my absence.”

“I can do it.” He tried to hide how upset he felt. Dave loved Jack and Hotch knew that. He wasn’t going to abandon a kid who was barely ten so he could get his jollies. “Who’s going to stuff him with pizza and cupcakes if Uncle Dave doesn’t?”

“We need to have a long talk when I get back, Dave.”

“I know.”

“We both have a lot to think about.” Hotch said.

“I love you, Aaron.”

“I love you too; that’s why this hurts so much.”

“It’s all my fault.” Dave said.

“Silence is a form of complicity. I’ll call you tomorrow to let you know when Jack will be there.”

“Great,” he tried to smile. “Be careful and I’ll see you soon.”

“Goodbye, Dave.”

The way he said it made Dave’s stomach sick. A long time ago they both said they would never say goodbye again. It was the first time Hotch had uttered the word since that moment. Almost three hours later and Dave’s stomach still wasn’t right.

Dave had worked on the novel, walked the dog, and made himself a sandwich. Then he laid down on the couch. Naps weren’t his thing but maybe today it would help. The odds of falling into anything resembling comfortable sleep were low.

After nearly an hour of tossing and turning, Dave grabbed his cell phone from the coffee table. He pressed two and listened to it ring. For a moment he thought it would go to voicemail. Then she picked up. Her voice sounded tired.

“Are you alright?” he asked.

“Mmm hmm.”

“Do you think I truly believe that when you answer me in monosyllabic tones?”

“I'm tired but I'm fine.” Erin said.

She wanted to say she was expecting this phone call, knew Hotch and his team were on a jet to Montana. When had it all become so predictable and unsatisfying? It was probably that way in the beginning. Erin had no idea how she got caught up in something like this.

“Do you want to have dinner tonight?”

“No thank you. I don’t have much of an appetite and I'm really busy.”

“Dinner isn’t for another few hours.” Dave chuckled. “You're not going to be hungry?”

“It’s not a good idea, David. This isn’t a good idea anymore. It was always a bad idea; I was just weak.”

“You don’t have a weak bone in your body. You’ve been a ball breaker since the day we met.”

“It’s over, David.” Erin said. She exhaled after it was out. She honestly wasn’t sure if she was holding her breath or just couldn’t breathe. “I'm not angry with you.”

“You can be if you want to. I probably deserve it.”

“I'm angrier at myself.” She wasn’t going to let him play the victim card. They'd all been doing it for too long. “I knew better but I was so damn in love with you. I'm still in love with you.”

“You know how I feel about you, baby.”

“Yes I do. You’ve always made it perfectly clear. Four years ago you chose Aaron Hotchner and that should’ve been that. I don’t know how many different ways you could’ve told me that I would never be first.”

“If you think I’d ever hurt you intentionally…”

“The stupid things we’ve done, all three of us, aren’t because we’re evil.” Erin said. “We’re surely selfish and can be ridiculous but none of us are evil. I'm just tired David; I'm tired of being your whore.”

“Please don’t use that word with me.” He said.

“Goodbye. Don’t call me, don’t send me messages; I need space. I need time. I need to be away from you and from the person I was becoming.”

“I just want to know that you're alright, Erin. How will I know if you don’t talk to me?”

You can't possibly think that I'm alright, you stupid, selfish, son of a bitch, Erin’s mind screamed while she said nothing. There was nothing left to say. Blaming it all on him was a waste of time. This was just one more thing Erin would have to take responsibility and make amends for. She needed to do that without any influence. There were people she owed apologies to and David Rossi wasn’t one of them.

“Goodbye David.”

He heard the line go dead and knew she was gone. Just like that it was all over. It had probably been over more than a thousand times but they kept going anyway. Dave knew that wasn’t going to be the case this time.

He still held his cell phone to his ear, his hand clutching his stomach. He really didn’t want that turkey on wheat to make a reappearance. The sound of water drops told him that he had a text message. Dave looked at the spinning envelope, touching it so it would open.

I called Jessie and told her to keep Jack until I get back to town. Dave, I would really appreciate if you weren’t there when I got home. I love you, you love me; those are words we say. But what's been happening for the past two years has been so unhealthy for both of us. I need space. I have a lot to think about and I can't do it with you right there. I wanted to call but I can't right now. If I really knew what to say I would’ve said it a long time ago.’ –Aaron

Dave started to gag, jumping from the couch and rushing into the powder room. His head in the toilet wasn’t the best place to try and figure out how he would fix everything. In a matter of moments his entire life spiraled out of control. He lost the two people he loved the most. Holding onto both of them was impossible but Dave never expected something like this. All this time he believed that he was the one who needed to make the decision. It seemed as if Erin and Aaron made it for him.


Where am I?: the lair
Feelings: calmcalm
Background Noise: silence
Blender Ovenarathesane on June 29th, 2013 07:17 pm (UTC)
wow this is a longass comment, sorry!
Oooh. This was good.

(And I feel bad leaving a comment on this before I leave one about the latest California Dreamin', but really all I want to say about that is I continue to love it!)

The angst ... it was perfect. It wasn't too overwrought and I can completely see Dave creating a situation like this. I appreciate that you utilized Alex - I feel that she would be the type of person who wouldn't be judgmental about a situation this type of situation. And I feel that despite her feelings about Erin she would also not try to run her down in her conversations with Dave. She would want the best for all three of them.

I like that no one was the villain, here. I love that both Erin and Aaron decided to leave. Neither would deserve to be treated that way. And, yet, I still have sympathy for Dave. I could buy him loving them both. But I don't think either Hotch or Erin would be down with polyamory!

It's perfect as a one shot but it makes me wonder if in this universe if Dave and Erin had a relationship prior to Dave and Hotch getting together. Hee, this fic has got me curious! In my head cannon (as far as the show goes) Dave and Erin definitely had one before Rossi left the first time. I always pictured it happening after his divorce from his first wife(even prior to seeing Carolyn on the show, I felt the timeline would work out, I assumed that he and Erin met sometime in the mid 80's if she is supposed to be around the same age as Jayne) and before she married her husband. And I could see them having lapses after they broke up though I am not always sure if Erin would cheat on her husband. I see her having occasional "slips" - one nighters - but not a long term affair unless she and the nameless husband was separated.

Think I enjoyed this one so much because even though Rossi/Strauss is my OTP for this show the only m/m pairing I can even accept - that I see as feasible(on CM) is Hotch and Rossi. I don't read many pairings with Criminal Minds. I don't ship much with it, especially compared to some of my other fandoms where I ship anybody and everybody together. Mostly I read R/S, genfic, Prentiss/Todd or established cannon character/OC. I do like Hotch/Beth and mostly like JJ/Will(that they keep repeating the mommy issue with them is why I think my love for them has waned a little) but I never read fic about those pairings.

I'm pretty sure I read Hotch/Rossi before I read any Rossi/Strauss because ... well I couldn't find any with Dave and Erin for so long! Or least I couldn't find any fic where there characterizations worked for me. You and perhaps three or four other authors capture them well. There's been an influx of Rossi/Strauss stories since The Replicator aired and apart from your stories I've like two of them. I don't know why it is so hard to find good fic for them. Maybe if they were a more popular pairing it might be different story.

Anyway, I am babbling, so once again, great job on this. I know that it probably wasn't easy for you to write as it seems like it is a little outside your comfort zone but I am glad you did. Not a writer(well, a writer of fiction, any way) but I think it is always good to push your creative boundaries. It makes you a stronger artist.

Edited at 2013-06-29 07:17 pm (UTC)
SSA McGeek: Erin and Aaron....badasserymcgarrygirl78 on June 29th, 2013 08:32 pm (UTC)
Re: wow this is a longass comment, sorry!
Writing this has me as curious as your reading it has you. I already have tickles of at least one other part in my head but I am working on at least two other fics so I'm sure I'm going to give it precedence.

Writing this was hard because I love all three characters and I didnt want Dave to come out like a douche while also establishing that what was happening was his doing. I think Erin has fault as well and even Hotch does, no one is the bad guy or the good guy, they're just three people in an impossible situation that they have to get out of no matter the consequences because staying is worse than going.

I knew Alex would be the friend. Firstly, she's their age. Second, I fuckin love her. Third, she's in a stable relationship that presents its own set of challenges, being distance, and she probably understands loneliness and questioning whether things should stay as they are or if she or James could change. Plus she's just so damn rational but I feel the layers of love and empathy and awesome under that rational skin that they just havent gotten to yet except in little slivers.

Hotch/Rossi is the only slash I can imagine in this fandom as well, and I've written a few stories for them over time. I dont see it as believable as Rossi/Strauss but I love slipping into a little fantasy world with the two men...though this turned out to be more like a nightmare, you know.

I definitely left my comfort zone when I wrote this but I know there will be at least one more and the addition of at least one more character to stir things up. This is a quagmire but that's usually when you get the best of the these characters.
Blender Oven: CM - Strauss - Rossi B&Warathesane on June 29th, 2013 08:57 pm (UTC)
Re: wow this is a longass comment, sorry!
Yeah, I think they would all be culpable, didn't mean to imply that Erin and Aaron were blameless. Aaron let this fester this for two years. He stayed. Unless there was some kind of agreement about having an open marriage(or a similar type of deal) he's responsible for this mess too.

I agree about Alex being so rational but also being capable of compassion and empathy. That's probably what I most like about her character.

I look forward to reading the next one and to see what other character(or characters) makes an appearance.
SSA McGeek: David Rossi....smirkaliciousmcgarrygirl78 on June 29th, 2013 09:41 pm (UTC)
Re: wow this is a longass comment, sorry!
Oh no, you didnt imply that. But its funny that you mention an agreement because I think there was one, I just dont know quite what it was yet. Whatever it was, it wasnt made with the intention of what actually happened happening (if that makes sense).

I bet I'm gonna write this story tonight because the characters have been going at it since I finished this one. But Erin's therapy session has got to come first...I'm editing that now.
Blender Oven: CM - Erinarathesane on June 29th, 2013 10:40 pm (UTC)
Re: wow this is a longass comment, sorry!
Ha, I think I get what you mean. I could see there being an agreement that one night stands or relationships that were mostly physical were cool. But if feelings develop that might be a problem. Or - as is the case with several of the polyamorous couples I know - relationships(or sex) with exes are forbidden.

And, for some reason, probably because it seems that Aaron has had very few relationships(he and Haley met in high school for god's sake!) I see it more as Dave being the one who needed other partners. Like maybe technically both could have extracurricular activities(so-to-speak) but that only Dave took advantage of them. Going off on a tangent here but I've always wanted to how many women Hotch has supposed to have been involved with.

I'm wonder about Kate. Because it is hard to know when their "liaising" took place. It seemed possible(or maybe even probable with how JJ and Garcia were reacting/guessing) that they slept together but I can't see him cheating on Haley. Maybe if they worked together after he and Haley were separated, I could see it happening. But then again, Hotch is such a professional that he might not have wanted to get involved in any way. It didn't seem like he dated anyone after Haley left but we can't know for sure. We don't see all that much of the characters personal lives.

Well, I enjoyed this but I am more interested in reading the therapy session than another part of this. I love Hotch and Rossi but not nearly as much as I adore Erin! It's funny I didn't realize that Erin had become my favorite character(after Emily left) until I began to worry that we were going to lose her. At least Erin will live on in fic.:/
SSA McGeek: Erinmcgarrygirl78 on June 29th, 2013 11:48 pm (UTC)
Re: wow this is a longass comment, sorry!
Hotch and Kate were definitely involved. I think it was when they went New York and the two were reunited. He and Haley were divorced so there was no problem. I think Hotch was lonely and frustrated and Kate kinda used it to her advantage to get something she always wanted. I'm not hating though, go girl if that's what you want. So yes, I do think Hotch and Kate were sexual. Other than that I dont think Hotch was involved with anyone. he threw himself into work and trying to be a better dad.

Dave is quite amorous and I think Dave would be bisexual over the course of his life. Loving sex and intimacy, loving it with men and women. While getting involved with Erin again was a bad idea, simply because she was an ex and worked so closely with Hotch, I think as he gets older Dave wants familiarity more than anything else. He doesnt want to be that old dude chasing the young girls at the club.

The Erin therapy session should be up before the end of the night here...so like a few hours. Or maybe 30 minutes...I can never be sure.
Blender Oven: CM - Rossi/Strauss sepiaarathesane on June 30th, 2013 12:28 am (UTC)
Re: wow this is a longass comment, sorry!
Yeah, because of how I watched CM sometimes I get confused about when things happened. I know Hotch and Haley were done by the time of the two parter in NY. I just wondered how long he had known her before those episodes.

( I've watched the last several seasons in real time but I saw all the earlier episodes via syndication, mostly in order. Before I used to only watch it when my mom visited - this was before I had to move back in with my parents - so I was familiar with the characters when I began watching it for real. I'm not sure exactly what year/season it was that I started watching it as it aired. It was before Prentiss left the first time but after 100 so, I guess that would make it some time in season five.)

Heh, I'm tired I'm not sure which Dave we are talking about here! In fic I can buy Dave easily as a bisexual. Because in fanfiction many more sides of a character can be explored(especially one from a show like CM that's more plot than character driven) and we can create (or learn) more about their life experiences.

Cannon Dave(and I do tend to see cannon versions as separate from fic ones) I am not so sure. He's sensual and amorous but he's also so ... not old-fashioned exactly but he's bit of a traditionalist. He's a lapsed Catholic, and I always got the impression that it family was very old school, old world. Though he's not homophobic. And I realize you be a traditionalist, Catholic and bisexual, it's just ... I think I could see him experimenting, maybe, when he was younger. But overall, I still read him as straight. But that's how I see him, we all perceive characters differently.

I'm so tired I am not sure if those last few paragraphs made sense!;)

Well, I'm sure I will read it whenever it is posted. Unless I am asleep! Though I doubt I will be asleep any time soon.
dreamaway78dreamaway78 on June 30th, 2013 12:42 am (UTC)
How lovely angsty! I love angst and you feel for all three- which means it was lovely written as well!
SSA McGeek: Erin.....mcthinkymcgarrygirl78 on June 30th, 2013 01:18 am (UTC)
Thank you so much. I'm glad you liked it. When they're tough to write like this one was, a nice comment goes a long way : )