S8E1- The Silencer
Blake pursed her lips into a thin semblance of a smile as she slapped the completed files on Hotch’s desk. “I thought you said you were going home.”
“Haven’t finished the reports quite yet.”
“No other Unit Chief is as obsessive about finishing the reports half as much as you.
Hotch huffed. “Well, of all the things Strauss can complain about, my efficiency is not one of them.”
The new agent bowed her head in sympathy. Oh, they both knew first hand how Erin could be. But only one of them had seen just how much she’d changed.
“Are you okay?”
Her brow furrowed. “What?”
“The man you were kind to who shot himself in the head?”
“Are you my mother now?” she teased, with eased Hotch’s worry.
“It’s kinda what we do around here. Speaking of, how are you getting on with the others?” Hotch asked.
“Oh,” she smirked. “It’s been nice.”
“’Nice’? Really, Blake?” Hotch groaned as he set his head down almost childishly on his closed files. “Out of all the words to get caught up on? You know it’s hard enough for them to get used to new people.”
Blake smiled softly. “It’s been ten years, and for some reason you still think you can boss me around.”
“At least this time I am your boss,” he looked up dolefully. “Though to be fair, you were being a bit of an ass.”
“Now or then?” Blake cocked her head in feign curiosity.
The Unit Chief sighed, rubbing his temples. “I’m being serious. Just… don’t make it any harder on yourself to adjust, okay?”
The older agent rolled her eyes and crossed her arms in a huff over his chest. “What is that supposed to mean, exactly?”
“I mean no offense,” he said through her glare. “You’re not the first to have trouble adjusting. It even took David a long time to get used to sharing with the team. I get it, you’ve had to focus on getting your career back on track and you’re in the mindset of only trusting yourself, plus “sharing” has never been one of your attributes, but I’m just telling you now that it’ll be so much easier for everyone if you just start opening up now.”
Her mouth formed a small ‘o’. “I am opening up! Dr. Reid and I-“
“-Are excluding the others,” Hotch finished seriously. “I’m used to dealing with you two geniuses, but the rest of the team have their strengths.”
“I know that,” she scoffed.
Blake blinked, unable to formulate a response. After a few moments to collect herself, she sighed. “Look, it’s been a long couple of days. I’m going to go home and get some rest. You should, too.”
Hotch leaned back in his chair as she gathered her things from the bullpen and made her way to the elevators, leaving the floor dark and quiet. He ran his hands through his hair, his eyes falling on a collection of brightly colored pens with the British flag design plastered around the cheap plastic—Penelope’s gift from London.
“Why am I doing this?” he murmured to himself as he swiped up his phone and dialed an all-too-familiar number.
It picked up on the second ring. “Prentiss.”
He couldn’t help but smile. Even through the phone he could sense her grogginess. “Is this a bad time?”
“Hotch? What the hell are you doing up? It’s like two in the morning over there.”
He shot a quick glance at a clock, wincing slightly. “And it’s nearly seven over there, why are you still asleep? Don’t you have work?”
“Technically, yes, but I’m the boss so I’m allowed to be late.” She paused briefly. “How bad?”
“The case, how bad was the case?”
His grin broadened. “You know how I hate to make light of this stuff, but why can’t people go back to just straight up murdering each other? Why even bother with any of this other nonsense?”
Her laughter in his ear didn’t sound half a world away.