97. Breakfast

Rating: K+

Author: rogueandkurt

Fandom: Criminal Minds

This is an old one, set in Season One. Spawned from an enjoyable Easter Brunch earlier this year. Just your basic team-fluff. Enjoy.

Disclaimer: I do not own Criminal Minds.

Aaron Hotchner sat by himself at the table, enjoying the tranquility of the near-empty hotel restaurant in the early morning light. He took a sip of his coffee, trying to make the cup last so as not to attract the attention of the bored and overly flirtatious young waitress, and turned the page of his newspaper.

He rather enjoyed mornings like this - in the calm before the others woke - when he had a bit of time to himself. Mornings at home were often rushed as he hurried to kiss Jack and Haley goodbye and beat the early traffic to the office. Even weekends were fraught with his frantic desire to fit in as much family time as possible, fearful that every sound might be a phone call from the Bureau. With the case solved and their unsub safely in custody, the BAU was left with little else to do but enjoy a calm, worry-free sleep at the hotel before their return to Quantico later that day.

A bedraggled and grumpy-looking Agent Greenaway all but slumped into the seat across from him, burying her head in her arms and muttering something about needing coffee now. Hotch returned his eyes to his paper, a hint of a smirk on his face.

"Late night, Elle?"

Elle glanced up, giving her boss a barely-contained glare as the waitress hurriedly poured her a cup of joe.

"Four hours," the younger agent complained.

"You too?" Morgan questioned, dropping into the seat next to Elle and granting the waitress a flirtatious smile as she moved to fill his cup as well.

"JJ never came back to the room last night," Elle informed him, her narrow-eyed glance heavy with meaning.

Derek shook his head, torn between being impressed and annoyed. "I'm all for those two having a bit of fun after a case, but this is getting ridiculous."

Elle nodded her agreement, rubbing her eyes tiredly and stretching the kinks in her neck. "What time are we flying out of here, Hotch?"

The unit chief folded his paper, resigning himself to the loss of his quiet time. "The earliest flight time I could get is a few hours from now - the pilots wanted to check a few things. We'll head over to the airstrip as soon as we finish up here."

The trio quieted as the waitress handed them menus, each of them carefully considering their government-funded breakfast.

Elle groaned, setting down her menu and laying her head in her arms once more. "I'm too tired to eat."

"Speak for yourself," Morgan replied, perusing the menu with interest, unable to decide which delectable item to choose. "Late nights always help me build up an appetite."

The female agent smirked, about to make a rude observation about Morgan's usual brand of 'late nights', but caught Hotch's eye and reconsidered. Instead, she turned her gaze to the waitress who was once again approaching.

"Can I take your orders?" the young woman inquired eagerly, her eyes on Hotch, who resisted the urge to tap his wedding ring conspicuously.

"Thank you, but we're still waiting for a few of our party to arrive," he offered instead, thinking, as she left, that there had to be something else the woman could be doing besides hovering over their shoulders.

Morgan licked his lips, his interest in the menu growing. "I don't know about you guys, but I'm jonesing for some strawberry waffles."

Elle perked her head up in interest, her appetite having apparently recovered. "I'll eat some of your toppings."

"You can get your own," Derek shot back playfully.

"Someone should tell them the walls aren't that thick," Gideon commented, taking the seat beside Hotch. "If they want to do that while we're at the hotel, they're going to have to be quieter."

"Tell me about it - they were still at it at three o'clock this morning," Morgan stated.

"Hotch, can't you do something about them?" Elle inquired as the waitress hurried to fill Gideon's coffee cup.

"JJ's in charge of room assignments," the unit chief replied. "Besides, they never do it when we're working an investigation."

"Not like it bothers you any," Morgan challenged, raising an eyebrow at his boss. "Remind me again why you never have to be in the room next to them?"

Hotch took a sip of his orange juice, hiding his thin smile. "The perks of being in-charge."

The two younger agents rolled their eyes, returning their focus to the menus.

"Where do they get the energy?" Elle wondered, shaking her head as she poured another packet of sweetener into her coffee cup.

"They're young," Gideon dismissed, stirring his coffee so precisely one would think he was timing the length of each rotation.

"I remember being able to--"

Derek's comment cut off as he spotted JJ and Reid entering the dining room. All eyes turned to the two agents in question, who looked tired but decidedly more relaxed than they'd been the night previous.

"Good morning, Tiger,' Morgan grinned as they approached, his urge to tease apparently outweighing his annoyance at being kept up to all hours of the night.

Reid blushed, ducking his head in embarrassment as he took the seat next to Derek. JJ, however, sat primly, choosing to ignore the knowing stares of her teammates.

"Did you guys order without us?" she asked, picking up a menu.

"No, we were waiting for you," Hotch informed her, signalling the annoying waitress over.

Morgan leaned over to Reid, a smirk on his face. "So, genius, are you a broken man?" he asked.

"No," Spencer squeaked, his eyes on his menu as JJ casually placed her order.

"It's alright, kid. You can tell me," Morgan continued, enjoying the fact that he was making Reid squirm. "She kicked your ass, didn't she?"

"She cheats!" Reid declared, righteous indignation in his expression as the rest of the team tried not to grin, their annoyance slowly evaporating.

"Like you don't," JJ retorted, a self-satisfied smirk on her face.

"There's a difference between using odds and statistics to your advantage and rigging the deck in your favour," Reid protested, eyes roaming the faces of his teammates, searching for a comrade among them.

Morgan chuckled, leaning back in his chair. "Well, that's what you get for challenging her to an all-night poker tournament."


Well, there you go. Like I said, nothing groundbreaking. Did I have anyone going with the JJ/Reid bit?...No?...Not even one person?...sigh...Yeah, misdirection = not my thing lol. ;)

Incidentally, this was my first time using Elle in one of my oneshots (not including 'Moments', which is really more of a collection of drabble/vignettes)!

Hated it? Liked it? Completely indifferent but have an affinity for pushing buttons? Let me know - please take a moment of your time to leave a review. Concrit is much appreciated!

I'll try to be back with more soon.

Keep Smiling! ;)