Chapter I: A cup of tea
"Tea should be taken in solitude." ~C.S. Lewis
Morgan was passing from the coffee area of the bullpen in his way to Rossi's office, when he saw Hotch there making some tea from the one that Emily had sent to the team from London. He stood stunned for a bit but not long enough to catch Hotch's attention and continued his way. He entered the older agent's office without knocking, still a bit distracted, and found Dave standing by the glass window looking over to the bullpen that was empty at this late hour of the evening. Rossi had some paperwork to do and that's why he was still there, but also because he had some stuff to think about too.
"Here are the files you asked for, Rossi. You owe me! It took me some a really long time to dig them up. What are they for?" Morgan asked when he noticed that Rossi was now watching Hotch walking up to his office holding the hot cup of tea in his hands.
"Now I know why we have one bag of tea less every morning. Did you even know that he drinks tea?" Morgan continued smiling teasingly, "Is he cutting down on caffeine or something?"
"He makes a cup every single evening of this month," Rossi answered skeptically taking his attention off the window.
"Does he spend every evening here drinking tea and doing paperwork? Is he alright, man?"
Derek was now really concerned. Rossi didn't answer. Morgan shook his head in disappointment.
"He seemed so ok a few weeks ago," he added.
"Because he was distracted…"
"The story with Beth went down, didn't it? Oh no… He misses his woman. That's the thing!"
And that's why he drinks English tea," Rossi answered firmly
underlining the word 'English'.
He took the files Morgan brought and went towards the door.
"Thanks for the files, kiddo!"
And Rossi left the office leaving a far more confused Morgan behind.
"OK… This is not my cup of tea. Oh God, again with the tea…!" Derek muttered to himself annoyed.
Rossi knocked on Hotch's door . Hotch was staring at the opposite wall in thought holding the hot cup in his hands. When David knocked, he left it on the desk and got busy with filling some papers in front of him.
"Come in," he said as normally.
He watched Rossi from the corner of his eye but he didn't lift his head.
"Dave, what's up?"
"I finished my paperwork and I want to tell you something, too."
David sat in the chair in front of Hotch's desk.
"English police caught a guy and Interpol thinks that he is connected with some cases here."
David placed the files on the desk. Hotch stiffened a little at the Interpol mention, not too obviously. He took a sip from the tea. But Dave knew better.
"They need to check it out, because he is an American citizen. If so, they should decide on sending him here to face his sentence."
"Serial killer?" Hotch asked casually. He still hadn't lifted his head.
"He popped up in an organized crime case. They are not sure if he is a serial killer but certainly he follows some patterns known to us from five unsolved cases here."
"How came I was not notified?"
"A friend of mine called me directly."
Hotch lifted his head finally in question.
thought I was still in retirement," Rossi continued quickly so as not
to leave Hotch thinking for long that Emily avoid contacting him.
Actually that was the truth. His friend in discussion was not Emily and she had indeed called him directly.
"She? I didn't know that you have fans who work for Interpol, Dave," Hotch joked so as not to show his relief.
"Actually I met her during a presentation of one of my books overseas."
Hotch lifted his eyebrow.
"Oh no, no! The girl is young enough to be my daughter, Aaron!"
"That didn't stop you before…"
"Oh come on! Can't I have females as just friends?"
"You tell me. Obviously I am not an expert." and at this point Hotch was bitter.
"Have you ever thought why you and Beth didn't work?" Rossi became serious jumping into the subject. He knew it wasn't the best move but he wanted to catch his friend off guard.
"Whenever I can I'll take the chance to come to New York. Who was I kidding?" Hotch muttered to himself.
"Maybe there was different reason you didn't try harder and she didn't understand finally," Dave said eyeing the cup of tea.
"What did you want to tell me in the first place, Dave?", Hotch said strictly.
He took the cup in his hands. As a profiler he knew that this meant that the tea had a meaning for him but at this moment he was annoyed by Rossi's intrusion.
"I was asked to give a lecture to some new agents of Interpol and at the same time to provide some information about the cold cases. And I can't go."
Hotch at any other circumstances would have said something like "So bad with your fan?" but now he just wanted David to finish and get out leaving him, his thoughts and his tea alone.
"I was asked to go to London and I can't. Last week
when I was ill, I finally had a pretty bad cold in my ears. The doctor
doesn't allow me to get on a plane for a month, at least not for so many
hours for no serious reason," Rossi lied.
It was a lousy lie, he knew, but flying to a case is a serious reason. Eight hours of flight go to London and eight hours to come back for some co-operation that may not have a result weren't considered "a serious reason".
"I'll send Morgan. He had been there before."
"Morgan is not proficient enough to give a lecture and he has no idea about the cases. Neither does Reid. They need someone with inside eyes not just with the facts. We worked on them many years ago. You are the only one qualified enough for both," Dave continued standing up.
"Dave, I have a son if you forgot it and also I can't leave the team!"
"You are not gonna be gone for ages. It's only a week and as for the team I can hold the strings for a while, my friend. I've done this before."
Hotch bent his head and shook it in disagreement. He did not want to go to London, at least not forced like this. David walked towards the door.
"It's a good opportunity Aaron! You'll get to get out from here, see if Big Ben is still in its place and get some more of this tea you seem to love so much…"
Smiling knowingly Rossi opened the door and got out of the office, leaving a confused and thoughtful Hotch still holding his cup of tea.
Tea is a cup of life. ~Author Unknown