"You wanted to see me sir," Ashley Seaver said knocking softly on Hotch's door as she stood in the doorway of his office. The text message on her phone had specified she was to see Hotch as soon as she arrived at the unit.
Hotch did not look up from his work immediately and she wondered at first if he had heard her. She was just about to speak again when Hotch said, still not raising his head from the paper he was writing on, "Agent Seaver, come in, close the door and take a seat."
Ashley did as she was told, a bit uneasy as to why the unit chief had called her to his office. He continued to write like she wasn't there. Finally, when she was about to say something, Hotch raised his head and spoke. "Agent Seaver, the BAU is not in the habit of having cadets. This is a specialized unit usually requiring seven years of field experience before entry can even be considered." He paused.
"I'm aware of that sir and I really appreciate you giving me this opportunity…" She stopped speaking when Hotch raised his hand to stave off anything further.
"You were invited on the first case to consult because we felt your particular knowledge might be of benefit to us in catching our unsub, however, that didn't really prove to be the case. The only reason we caught him was because you stumbled upon him while returning the laptop. I had told you not to go anywhere unaccompanied, but you saw fit to disobey that order."
"I'm really sorry for that sir, and I told you it wouldn't happen again, which it hasn't," she interjected.
"No," Hotch agreed, "it hasn't. But some things are concerning me. When I was asked to okay your remedial training I was away dealing with a problem with my son. Perhaps my thoughts were divided and I didn't give your request the attention it deserved."
Seaver swallowed the lump in her throat, her mouth as dry as the Sahara desert. "What are you saying sir?"
"Some of your comments and observations lack the insight I'd expect to see from someone in the BAU. I know you're still learning," he said before she could respond, "but I would have hoped for more progress. The explanation you gave for cutting behavior is exactly the opposite of the truth. Cutting is a way for the individual to feel control, not lose it."
Seaver looked down at her hands but didn't respond.
"Some of the questions you ask have me wondering if you and the team are seeing the same thing. Asking if a ten year old autistic boy could have shot his father and then dragged him and his mother off somewhere is… I don't know what that is… beyond absurd. You must realize that. My agents have enough to do in the field to catch these unsubs without worrying if they have to hold your hand through the whole procedure. Do you understand?"
"Yes sir," Seaver responded quietly.
"Now, another thing, your behavior the other day in the plane."
"Sir?" Her head came up, her tone questioning.
"I'm talking about the disrespect you showed Dr. Reid when he answered a question you had asked."
"Well, sir, he just seemed to go…"
"On and on," Hotch finished for her. "I realize that. We all realize that. That's the way Reid is. Sometimes we let him ramble. Sometimes, if time is of the essence, or it's not a good day, we cut him off. We've been with him a long time and he's okay with that. You have only been here a short time. You are a cadet and Dr. Reid is an SSA. Your comment to him tells me that you show him no respect as a superior, which is the wrong attitude agent."
"So what should I…"
"You should have listened to him. Yes, afterward you may have rolled your eyes and said, I'm glad that's over, like we all do at times, but sometimes if you listen to Reid, you'll find out you may actually learn something."
"Am I being dismissed from the unit sir?" Seaver asked. She almost felt like backing away at Hotch's scowl.
"Not at this juncture, but I'll be looking for some improvement. Now, I want you to go and write a paper on cutting behavior. I want an explanation of the reasons behind cutting behavior, what the individual gets from the cutting, how it is handled and how it can be prevented. You have three days. Perhaps next time you talk about something in a case you'll make sure you know what you're talking about before you weigh in on the subject."
"Yes sir, I'll get to work on it right away. It'll be on your desk in three days." She stood to go.
"No," Hotch said as she turned for the door.
Seaver stopped dead in her tracks and turned to face the unit chief, "Sir?"
"I have too much on my plate as it is. I want you to give the paper to Dr. Reid. He'll know far more on the subject than any of us. I'll alert him that I'd like him to grade it for me. That will be all agent." Hotch bent his head back to the papers on his desk like Seaver never existed.