characters: Leighton Tanner (OC), Hotch

setting: flashforward

disclaimer: without prejudice. the names of all characters contained here-in are the property of CBS and Jeff Davis. no infringments of these copyrights are intended, and are used here without permission. Leighton Tanner and all other characters labelled (OC) in the header above belong exclusively to me.



there are people who never would have fallen in love

if they had not heard there was such a thing

(-Fran├žois La Rouchefoucauld)

date: December 12th, 2013

place: Behavioral Analysis Unit, Quantico, Virginia

"Are you sure about this?" Hotch asks, and looks up at her, his brow set stern and self-assured, the way she's come to appreciate during her time spent on his team. There's both concern and acceptance in his voice; it's not a real question either, but he's still making sure.

Leighton nods. "I've made my decision," she says, and folds her hands together in her lap.

"You've asked for reassignment to the White Collar Crime Unit," Hotch says, reading the request from her official resignation letter.

"I know it's a long shot." Leighton shakes her head and shrugs. With her situation changing, she thought it was best she got a more stable work schedule. The White Collar Crime Unit will give her a steady nine-to-five routine; it will also keep her seated at a desk, but at least it will keep her mind occupied. After all, con men needed profiling from time to time as well.

"You've got it," Hotch says.

Leighton blinks. "Excuse me?"

"Rossi and I both wrote a personal recommendation," Hotch explains, closing the file on his desk. "Strauss has already approved the request." Leighton is staring at him wide-eyed when he looks at her again. He gets up from behind his desk, and extends a hand. "Congratulations," he says.

For a few moments, Leighton is at a complete loss for words. "I don't know what to say," she says, gets up from her chair, and shakes Hotch's hand. "Thank you," she smiles.

Hotch walks around his desk, folds his arms over his chest, and leans back against his desk. "You'll be teaching too?" he asks.

"If they'll have me," Leighton nods. "Someone should learn from my mistakes."

"You're a good agent, Leighton," Hotch says. Six years, he thinks, and she still considers herself the same reckless FBI agent she was when she started out with the BAU. "Don't let anyone ever tell you different." He knows the rest of the team will be arriving soon, and he'll have to inform everyone that Leighton will no longer be with them. Even though he knows she's leaving for all the right reasons, it'll be hard for everyone to watch her go.

"If you don't mind, Hotch," Leighton starts, "Spence and I would like to tell the team together."

"Of course." He walks around his desk again, and grabs a box out of the top right drawer. "This is for you." He hands the small black box to Leighton. Jack had told him to wrap it in something more colorful, but Hotch had deemed it safer to go for a more neutral color. In case someone started asking questions. "Consider it a going away present."

"Hotch, you didn't have to." Leighton shakes her head.

"I wanted to be the first," Hotch says, and Leighton swears she can almost see him smile. "Jack helped me pick it out."

Leighton lifts the lid off the box carefully, and turns it in her hand. A tiny cube tumbles onto her palm. She laughs, mostly to herself. "It's perfect," Leighton smiles broadly, and looks up at Hotch. "Thanks."



to be continued