Back with another one-shot. This time, something I needed to write. Hope you enjoy.
Disclaimer: Nothing has changed unfortunately.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation building in Quantico, Virginia, is home to the renowned Behavioral Analysis Unit, most commonly known as BAU. The team of that specialized unit is comprised of the most brilliant minds in the FBI. The head of that unit is SAC Aaron Hotchner, also referred to as Hotch.
However, this unit chief has his own chief, one step higher in the chain of command. This is a woman with a well-earned reputation of being a fierce, strong, snappy person, respected by many, feared by most. Behind her back and far, far away from her, many agents call her "The Bitch", but usually people refer to her as Chief Erin Strauss.
Right now, they are meeting in Aaron Hotchner's office. Due to prior similar meetings, everybody knows nothing good can come up from that. One just has to wait and see to find out.
And that's exactly what two BAU team members are doing, down in the bullpen area, although not one of them dares to express their concern out loud. They are just pretending to enjoy a meaningless conversation, but without permission their eyes every once in a while (or every 20 seconds to be exact) rest on the closed blinds of their boss' office. Both of them remember when Chief Strauss met up with Aaron Hotchner to discuss, or we could say "order" him to step down from his position as unit chief. And more recently, just a month ago, they had a meeting in that same office with an outcome that affected all of them, and not only at a work level.
A month ago, their media liaison, Jennifer Jareau, was "kindly invited" to offer her services at the Pentagon. If you check "kindly invited" in the Thesaurus, I am sure you will find "forced" as synonym. To say that the decision was unwelcomed by the team would be an understatement. Unfortunately, Aaron Hotchner could not do anything to change that decision and had to see his blonde subordinate walk out the door.
With that departure still fresh in their memory, the two BAU team members in the bullpen fear the outcome of this new meeting.
By now, Chief Strauss and SAC Aaron Hotchner have been behind closed doors for one hour.
"Stop checking your watch, genius, you're making me nervous," says Penelope Garcia, the technical analyst of the team.
"I am not," answers Dr. Spencer Reid, the youngest member of the team and you could say the worst liar of them all.
"You so are, pumpkin" adds the woman on an attire so colorful that would make the rainbow feel jealous. The technical analyst brushes her hand through the young man's curly hair. In turn, the agent ducks his head, a bit annoyed at that action and at the fact that he has been caught lying.
Just then, another agent gets in the picture.
"What are you two up to?" asks the man with legs so powerful that give nightmares to most doors every time they stand between him and his prey, and an iron steel six-pack that attracts the envy of many men (agents or not) in the premises and lustful looks from most straight women. This dark skin, bald man joining the other two team members is non other than Derek Morgan.
As if they have been caught red-handed, Penelope Garcia and Dr. Spencer Reid answer in unison: "Nothing." But they answer too quickly, and Derek Morgan instantly knows that "Nothing" means "Something".
Unconsciously and as if the forces of attraction in the universe move his muscles, Derek gets closer to the red-headed technical analyst, who is standing by the doctor's desk.
"Ok, then, let's go grab a coffee and do nothing in the break room" offers Morgan.
"No" answers Dr. Reid, confirming Derek's suspicions. He also notices hesitation on Penelope's body, so he is just left to ask the following question.
"What's going on? And don't tell me nothing." Trying to persuade the woman by his side, he places a kind hand on her shoulder while alternating his questioning look between her and the other man.
There is something I should probably mention, Dr. Spencer Reid likes to talk and when he is anxious, his mouth produces more words per second than a teenage girl does on the phone with her BFF after her first date. And boy, Spencer is anxious now.
Lowering his voice and signaling with his head towards their superior's office, Reid explains: "Hotch is in there with Strauss. They've been in there for..." He checks his computer, "one hour, 13 minutes, 22 seconds."
"Ok, so?" Derek asks. Of course, he has not been exploring every possible reason why Strauss is in there with Hotch, so Penelope kindly answers.
"So? Are you kidding me, hotstuff? Don't you remember what happened last time they met in there?" To make her point clearer, she takes Derek's phone from his belt and says to it: "Hello, JJ? Yeah, you're gone!" She closes the phone and puts it back to where it was before, her hands suspiciously staying more than necessary on the man's waist.
Spencer, sitting behind his desk, looks more restless now that they forgot the chitchat and are addressing the topic of his interest.
"Wait, are you saying they may want to take another one of us from the team?" asks Morgan. Garcia and Reid nods at the same time.
True to his own self, the younger member of the BAU team explains further: "It wasn't just that time. When Strauss wanted to take Hotch down, they also met. So you have to admit it's possible." Unconsciously, Spencer takes his cup of coffee to his mouth, but realizes the cup has been empty for an hour. So he returns it to its spot by the phone on the right.
"No way. The team wouldn't work with one less member. And they know that." Even though Derek says this, worry starts growing inside his body.
"Yeah, but do they care?" asks Penelope.
Morgan has to admit that the woman is right. Chief Strauss has always been a pain in the ass when it comes to the BAU team.
Dismissing his own worries, Derek says looking at the closed blinds: "Anyways, I don't think they'd dare take any of us from the team. I mean, there must be some other reason."
Penelope's eyes grow bigger until they look a bit abnormal, you could say. "Oh God, what if Strauss heard what I did in the swingers case and wants to replace me for some other boring looking analyst?"
Derek chuckles and, massaging the woman's neck until he feels it's more relaxed, adds: "Momma, nobody will take you away from my side."
Garcia turns to see the full glow of Derek's trademark smile and for a second there, she forgets about everything, even her own name.
"What if they want Rossi to retire for good? I mean they've been talking about cut-backs and that way they would be saving a lot of money," says Reid, considering all the options.
"No way, kid. I still think this meeting is about something else," explains the older agent.
Reid mulls over this for a moment and comes up with something else: "What if the head of the New York office wants you for their team?"
"Oh no, sweetcheeks, my chocolate thunder can't leave us. Even if they try, I'll cybernetically persuade them to change their mind." Spencer Reid knows Penelope Garcia is capable of that and much more.
Derek Morgan, taking the opportunity, puts his flirting machine at full speed, "Thank you, gorgeous. I don't doubt your skills. I feel safe by your side."
Sensing Reid's discomfort, Penelope smiles at him and says: "And don't worry, genius, I won't let anybody get near you. They can't take the embodiment of innocence from the team."
Spencer tries hard... He really does, but no... He is blushing.
"I'm not innocent," he says in a tiny voice that can barely be heard.
"Hey, I'm innocent too," suggestively states Derek.
"Well, give me an hour and I can fix that."
Disgusted at the scene unfolding in front of him, and still blushing, Reid exclaims: "Garcia!"
Reid's fingers become alive as he says: "First, I'm right here. Second, does the name Kevin Lynch ring a bell?"
"Who is Kevin Lynch?" seriously asks Garcia.
At that, Derek Morgan kisses her at the top of her head. But his trained eyes catch something on Spencer's expression.
"What is it?"
Hesitantly, Reid says: "What if they are not talking about taking someone from the team, but adding someone to the team?"
A wave of silence covers the place as the two agents and the woman consider this.
"What are you, kids, whispering about?"
Relaxedly coming from the break room with a cup of hot green tea in his hands is a man that inspires respect with every step he takes. He is an attractive middle-aged man, who according to unrevealed sources, in his first years in the FBI used to know the meaning of having "fun" at the workplace. The name of this senior agent is David Rossi.
Right behind him, we can see the brunette woman of the team. In the field, she is as strong as Morgan, she doesn't show fear or emotions, but when nobody is looking, when she lets her guard down, she's just a vulnerable human being who gets affected by the things she sees daily living side by side with evil. If you were wondering, her name is Emily Prentiss.
"Yeah, what's going on?" she asks.
Morgan answers: "Hotch is in his office with -"
"Strauss," Rossi cuts in.
Raising an eyebrow in surprise, Reid offers more information: "Yes, and they've been in there for -"
"Almost an hour and a half," Rossi cuts in, again.
"Ok, psychic Rossi, do you know why they are in there?" asks Garcia, resting a hand on her hip and tapping one of her yellow high heels on the floor.
Instantly, Reid's head fills with information about psychics, the difference between being psychic and being "a" psychic, their use of intuition, etc, etc, but he is too interested in Rossi's answer to continue with that line of thoughts. Anyways, I can assure you, he will go back to that later.
"Yeah, do you know why?" Morgan asks changing his focus from Hotch's closed door to Rossi's calm demeanor.
Prentiss looks as eager to know as her colleagues do.
Rossi opens his mouth, then closes it, lifts his cup of tea to his lips, drinks a sip, lowers the cup and says: "I have no idea." Then, looking up to the unit chief's office, he adds: "But I'm sure we will soon find out."
Four pair of eyes turn to see Chief Strauss, "The Bitch", getting out of the office and coming down the stairs.
"Agents." The woman nods.
"Ma'am." "Chief Strauss." The agents answer. "Erin" Rossi grins.
A Strauss disappears; Morgan and Reid are trying hard to come up with an excuse to go into Hotch's office without raising suspicion.
But they won't need to.
Standing at the top of the stairs is the man with the answer to the puzzle.
"BAU team, a word, please." You can immediately feel the level of uneasiness shooting up to the sky.
Garcia feels like flying at light speed to the round table room. Luckily for her, Morgan's hand on her shoulder prevents her from doing it.
Reid is the first one to come into the room, nervously hiding his hands in his pants pockets. Hotch is standing by the white board on the other side of the room. Prentiss comes and sits by Reid's side. Morgan and Garcia cross the threshold at the same time. The last one to enter the room is Rossi, who continues to enjoy his tea.
The BAU unit chief knows he is not supposed to profile his subordinates, but anyways, he takes his time to study them.
Reid is fidgeting on the chair as if he needs to use the restroom. Prentiss is eating her almost non-existent nails. Garcia's heels are tapping against the floor in an annoying way. Tap, tap, tap, tap. Morgan is sitting expectantly, trying to look calm, while using all his profiler's super powers to read Hotch's impenetrable look. I must say, he fails miserably. And Rossi, well, he's just sitting there, stretching his legs under the table and resting his back against the chair with both his hands crossed on his prominent belly.
"Hotch, what's going on?" Breaking the ice, Morgan is the first one to talk.
"We have a case," calmly answers Hotch, in an authoritative voice.
"Is that what the meeting was about?" Emily knows she probably should not ask that question, but she cannot help it.
"No offense, sir, but could we know what it was about?" asks Garcia, feeling uncharacteristically shy.
"I think we should probably focus on the case now" seriously answers the unit chief.
Reid bites his lower lip to keep his mouth shut and concentrates on a spot on the table.
"Ok then, can you give us more information about the case, Aaron?" Rossi leaves his empty cup of tea.
"I don't have the information. We should probably wait... for our media liaison to start." Aaron Hotchner pauses, waiting for his team's response.
"What?" Reid lifts his eyes and looks at his boss. He cannot help but feel betrayed.
"Already?" asks Penelope, with unexpected tears in her eyes.
Although they have not agreed on this, Garcia and Reid already know they will not like their new team member.
"It's been only a month," Emily whispers, clearly against the decision.
"I thought we were going to divide JJ's work among us for now. You said you weren't replacing her." Morgan's tone of voice tells Hotch that he wants an explanation.
"He's not." A woman's voice is heard behind them.
The startled five members of the BAU team sitting at the table rapidly turn to see the owner of that voice, a voice too familiar to them.
"There she is." Hotch looks at the blonde woman standing at the door.
Wearing a grey suit with a blue top underneath, a huge warm smile and kind blue eyes, with folders on her hands, is the missing piece of the puzzle.
"Hello, guys. I'm back."
So? I don't need to say who she is, right? There's only one media liaison for the team.
Thanks for reading.