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Fic: Blindfolded Birthday Games

Blindfolded Birthday Games
Summary: Family can be the most comforting and annoying on birthdays.
Disclaimer: not mine
Spoilers: All of Joan of Arcardia and Season 7 finale of Criminal Minds


“Uncle David?”

Special Agent David Rossi turned in the prison parking lot to look at the pretty, young professional woman. He didn’t recognize her and she realized it. “Sorry, it’s been well over a decade but you still look exactly like my dad. I was a kid the last time you saw me.”

“June!” David remembered now that she had given him enough clues. Her father was actually a second cousin, but the resemblance between David and Will Giradi was uncanny.

“Close,” she said with a forgiving smile. “It’s Joan.”

“Joan, sorry. What are you doing here?”

She raised her briefcase. “I’m interning at the local DA’s office and had an interview here. What are you doing here? The presentation you gave for the criminology students was over hours ago.” She shrugged at his surprise. “I tried to catch you then to wish you happy birthday but you and your team left too fast.”

“You remember my birthday?” David was flabbergasted.

“I should hope so.” Joan grinned impishly. “It’s the day before mine.”


Joan nodded and started digging through her monster purse. “It’s on my driver’s license if you don’t believe me.”

David raised his hands in surrender. “I did not remember that. I believe you.” He paused and considered how morose the evening would end if he was left alone. He had just pulled strings to spend time on his birthday with a sadistic serial killer for the sake of one more name of a woman murdered. “What are you doing for your birthday dinner?” he asked her. He didn’t want to be alone anymore.

Joan switched her briefcase and her purse to her other hand. “I’ve got a lasagna that my dad made in my freezer and a bottle of cheap red wine. You’re welcome to join me if you would like.”

David shook his head. “Save that for another day. Let’s go to dinner.” He could see her mentally running through her presumably tight budget. A DA internship wouldn’t pay much of her school loans. “My treat. I insist. Consider it… a thank you for being a family member that did remember my birthday.”

“Are you sure?” she hesitated.

“Yes. Come on. You have to know the best Italian place in town. I was told it was Garibaldi’s.”

Joan winced. “It’s the priciest in town, but it isn’t the best. No one mentioned Boylan Road?”

“No.” David pointed to his rental car. “That’s where I’m parked. Do you want me to follow you there?”

“I was going to catch a cab home, but…”

David interrupted her. Now that he was offered a little bit of family on such a trying day he was going to seize it. “Great! I’ll drive, you navigate.” He tucked Joan’s hand into the crook of his elbow and steered her toward the car. “What kind of Italian restaurant is called Boylan Road?”

Joan let herself be led away from her intended plans. She chuckled at the question. “The kind where a woman born and trained to be a chef in Rome came to the States and fell in love and married a Japanese national. She took his name so she didn’t want to call the restaurant something that she no longer answered to and if they used his name for the restaurant people would be calling for a whole different genre of food.”

David laughed. “What’s the best thing on the menu?”

“The tiramisu,” Joan answered swiftly. “So leave room for dessert. They have a garden in the back and they grow and make all of their sauces from scratch.”

“I am looking forward to this already.”

“You should be,” teased Joan.


A week later, Morgan noticed the woman before she approached their desks with a smile. She was the quiet type of pretty. She was business but not suave. “I’m here to see Agent Rossi,” she said to Morgan when their eyes met.

Morgan stood and motioned with his hand. “This way.” She followed him up the stairs to Rossi’s office and knocked on the door. “Rossi, you have a visitor.”

The older agent looked up and a genuine smile lit up his face. “Joan. What a pleasant surprise.” He stood and came forward to envelope the woman in a hug. A take out bag hit his shoulder as the woman eagerly returned the embrace.

“Is that a Boylan Road tiramisu?” Rossi motioned to the paper bag.

“It is.”

“What brings you my way and with such a treat?”

Rossi hadn’t motioned Morgan away yet, so he leaned in the doorway to watch the show.

“It’s a bribe. I did something that you won’t like and even though you’re probably be happy with the results, you’ll still want to yell at me. If you yell, I’ll eat it to feel better. If you don’t yell, you get it.”

Rossi frowned, instantly on alert. “Joan. What did you do?”

“Nothing illegal,” she promised.


She pulled a homemade birthday card out of her pocket. Rossi instantly recognized the handwriting. “You didn’t,” he breathed.

She shrugged and offered him the card. “Fifteen more names and locations.”

“Joan.” Rossi was too angry to even speak. He took the card and read the names of the murdered and the places that they were buried. She had pried a surprising number out of the murderer. “That man…”

Joan cut him off and turned to Morgan. “Do you like tiramisu, agent?”

“I do,” but Morgan recognized the handwriting as well. “But I agree with Rossi. That man…”

Joan rolled her eyes. “I handled it just fine.” And it was true, there was barely a shadow negativity in her actions. The sadist hadn’t touched her spirit. She was less affected than Rossi, a trained and experienced federal agent, had been. “So? Tiramisu?” She looked so hopeful that Morgan had to intervene.

“I’d love some.”

Joan’s smile was blinding and she quickly served the dessert on the plates that she had brought. She handed Rossi and then Morgan a fork, a full plate and a napkin. Morgan dug in and the treat was as delicious as expected. Rossi grumbled but finally the smell was too tempting and he took a bite of cream, rum and chocolate.

That was when Joan dropped the bomb. “So this is going to become a birthday tradition, I guess.” She disposed of the garbage and was out the door. “I’ll meet you next year at the jail,” she promised cheerfully.

The look on Rossi’s face was priceless. Morgan had to control his amusement so that he wouldn’t spit out the dessert. They had been played, well and truly played.



( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 20th, 2013 09:48 pm (UTC)
Awesome. I really enjoy all of your Joan of Arcadia pieces, but this one particularly stands out. I love the Criminal Minds team and seeing them interact is a delight. Thank you for sharing this.
Jul. 22nd, 2013 01:19 am (UTC)
aww, thanks so much for the review. i've been thinking about a cross between the two shows for years but finally had a plot with this episode. It made it easy.
Jan. 4th, 2014 09:11 pm (UTC)
Loved the last line! Interesting crossover!
Jan. 4th, 2014 09:16 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I was happy to have a reason to cross the two shows.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )