Author's Note: First, I hope you guys enjoy this new story. It will be updated once a week.
We have a few announcements for year today. First, don't forget we have a new challenge open on the forum, "Chit Chat on Author's Corner". Sign-ups for our January challenge, "The Happy New Year's Challenge" is open through December 30, 2010. We'd love to have each one of you. Simply swing by the forum (you can link to it thru our profile pages) and sign up with the pairing you'd like to see written and three prompts associated with the holiday. On Jan 1, 2011, you'll be assigned a random pairing (not the one you usually write) and three prompts to write by January 30.
And don't forget - those that signed up to complete the CM Christmas Fic Gift Exchange, you have exactly TWO days left. Please PM me if you have any problems.
Finally, if any of you have any idea for issues/activities that you'd like to see "Chit Chat on Author's Corner" forum tackle in the form of discussion threads and/or challenges, please let us know. We want to bring you all some really fun threads in the New Year!
As always, thank you to every reader, reviewer, and person that favorites or alerts one of our stories. Hearing from each of you means a great deal to each of us. We truly value your thoughts and opinions. Now, on with our story!
All Hail the Chief
TV Prompt - Brothers & Sisters: "Call Mom"
"Go home," a familiar stern voice ordered from behind where Emily Prentiss sat hunched over her desk. One hand clutching a used tissue and the other held a steaming cup of coffee in an effort to open her clogged sinuses as she read one of the many files stacking her desk.
"No," she said without looking up, her voice nasal even to her own ears. Damn it, she thought tiredly, why had she been afflicted with such a useless immune system?
"Prentiss, it wasn't a request," Aaron Hotchner declared impatiently, reaching for her sweater as another shudder swept over her, her fourth in the ten minutes his practiced eye had been carefully watching her. "It was a direct order," he clarified, draping the soft chenille fabric over what was, in his opinion, a far too thin frame.
"Has my job performance been impaired in some way?" Emily asked archly, her voice hoarse as she flipped the page of the file she was reading.
"Of course not," Hotch snorted, rolling his eyes at her terse question and her refusal to even meet his eyes.
"Then I'm assuming you have no legal grounds to dismiss me for the day," she said as evenly as possible as she shrugged.
"Prentiss, you're sick," Hotch stated evenly, watching as her back seemed to stiffen in response to his words.
"I'm not sick," she denied immediately, shaking her aching head. "I don't get sick. No one in the Prentiss family gets sick. You should remember that."
"You realize how ridiculous you sound, right?" Hotch replied as Emily coughed, the sound between a bark and a choke. Now, that definitely did not sound good! "You're spewing your germs everywhere. The rest of us have the right to do our jobs without fear of whatever contaminants you're spreading," he pointed out gently, willing to take whatever tack necessary to sway her to his line of thinking.
"I covered my mouth," Emily muttered, her voice labored as she struggled to catch her breath.
"Then you touched your desk," Hotch pointed out patiently, raising one dark brow, "which some hapless passerby could touch...then be as sick as you are."
"First, I'm not sick," Emily retorted again as she shook her head as she wiped her runny nose. "Second, that would be fitting punishment for the person...they shouldn't be touching my desk."
"You want to punish poor Juanita the janitor with the pestilence?" Hotch smirked.
"I'd like to punish you with the plague," Emily retorted, wincing as her scratchy throat protested when she attempted to raise her voice. "Don't you have someone else to harass?" she asked over her shoulder, narrowing her tired eyes as she tried to track his movements.
"Emily, being sick is not a crime," Hotch sighed.
"Sick is not a word in my vocabulary," Emily countered, turning back around and grabbing her pen. She made a production of making a detailed note in the open file before closing it precisely and reaching for another.
"Why are you being so stubborn?" Hotch asked, slowly growing irritated with her less than cooperative attitude.
"Why are you being so persistent?" Emily asked, matching his tone as her dark eyes lifted to flash at him warningly. "You're the Unit Chief. I'm sure you have work to do somewhere."
Unclipping his badge from his waist, he tossed it casually on Emily's desk, the heavy metal falling with a dull thud on the center of the page she'd been pretending to read. "There," she heard his deep voice say resolutely. "I'm not your Unit Chief anymore."
"Really?" Emily snorted, immediately regretting that action as her ears popped painfully.
"Really," Hotch confirmed, his voice low and dangerous as he crouched beside her desk chair, aware he was drawing curious stares around the bullpen. Aaron Hotchner on his knees...or as close to it as he'd ever get...wasn't something most people in the Bureau would want to miss. To the innocent onlooker it would appear as though he were preparing to beg.
Of course, Emily knew better.
"Ask me who I am now, Emily," he demanded softly, his voice just loud enough for her to hear.
"I'm fairly certain you still think you're my boss," Emily muttered, wiping her itchy nose with another Kleenex.
"Worse," Hotch denied, his jaw clenching as he watched her wince as she shifted in her seat. "I'm the father of your unborn baby. And even worse than that, I'm almost out of patience."
"Ohhhh, scarrrryyyy," Emily mock shuddered, widening her eyes dramatically for effect.
"I have two words for you, Emily," Hotch said conversationally, his eyes resting on her fever flushed cheeks as he reached past her for the cell phone resting on the surface of her desk. Dangling her phone in front of his lips, he smiled. "Call. Mom."
Blinking rapidly as she realized what the determined man in front of her had done...and just what exactly his intentions were… she lunged for the phone. "Aaron, nooooo!" she squealed, snatching the phone from his hand and desperately pressing the red END button.
Watching her breathe heavily as she slumped back in her chair, he slowly pulled his own phone from the depths of his suit jacket. "You forget that I have one, too," he drawled. "And while your Unit Chief might have had some ethical dilemmas tattling to your mother, I assure you, your husband does not."
One eye narrowed dangerously as she glared at him. "You wouldn't," she breathed.
"Wouldn't I?" He smiled without humor, raising an eyebrow.
Rolling her eyes, Emily reached for the handle of her desk drawer, extracting her purse and slamming it on top of her desk. "I want you to know that I despise you right now," she managed tightly before another coughing fit seized her, her fingers clenching around the purse's leather straps.
"Somehow, I think I'll live," Hotch smirked, coming to his feet and helping her out of her chair and into her coat.
"Don't bet on it. I'd sleep with one eye open tonight, Aaron," she muttered as she watched him gesture for one of the junior agents.
"I'll take that under advisement. Anderson," he nodded to the young man approaching them. "Please escort Agent Prentiss back to her house and make sure she stays there," he ordered. "Consider it a protective detail."
"You're actually assigning me a chauffeur and a chaperone?" Emily asked incredulously, resting her hands on the rounded bump that was now her stomach.
"And make sure she eats something," Hotch directed, ignoring the mutinous glare his wife leveled on him.
"He's not a chef, Hotch!"
"I am today, ma'am," Anderson replied professionally, taking Emily's arm and studiously ignoring the death-ray level glare she was aiming in his direction. "I'm on it, sir," he nodded to Hotch.
And watching as Agent Anderson guided a reluctant Emily Prentiss-Hotchner toward the elevators, Aaron Hotchner knew one thing.
It was good to be the Chief.