Through the Streets of London

Chapter VI: Is something more going on?

"A good friend keeps your secrets for you. A best friend helps you keep your own secrets." ~ Lauren Oliver

The rest of the driving was quiet. They had decided to first pass from Hotch's hotel so he could leave his suitcase and then head to the Interpol Office. Gloria had parked in some empty space around the corner from the hotel. Hotch took his luggage and went to check in leaving the two women in the car. While he was getting back, he saw from some distance that they had gotten out. Gloria was leaning on the trunk, smoking a cigarette. She had her head down while Emily, opposite her, was talking to her. From their body language Hotch could say Emily was upset and was trying to convince the other woman on something but Gloria was denying it. He tried to approach them from behind the corner in a way so as to avoid being seen immediately. It wasn't really polite to spy on them but his curiosity got the best of him and, of course, he was an FBI agent.

"Don't think I didn't notice you shifting around. You're obviously in pain! This attitude should stop!" he heard Emily saying.

Emily was talking about Gloria shifting in the car, he thought. In pain? Was the agent injured?

"Emily, just let it slide. Please."

"Ria, they can't ignore you and leave you in freezing conditions like this! You are only getting worse!" that was the angry, caring Emily.

That was finally the big deal with the car. Obviously the woman wasn't getting the best attitude in the office and Emily was defending her. She never ever changed…

"It's not like I can get any better either," Gloria murmured taking a drag from her cigarette, "I can handle these things by myself. Let me, please. The extra attention doesn't help me or you, my "no politics-friendly" friend, and the bastard left you with enough stuff to deal with."

Emily dropped her head and shook it from side to side. Hotch assumed that her new job was pretty tough. She hated politics and it seemed like she was stuck with too much of this. Who was the "bastard", though?

"Emily, you've done enough already, too much actually with "this". I…" Gloria carried on, lifting her head and touching Emily's shoulder. She sounded too thankful.

Hotch concluded that even all that woman's strange vibes, she definitely respected Emily and looked out for her. He didn't know however what the "this" was…

""This" was something that should be done in any way or another, for all the reasons in the world, not just you."

"I know. But I still thank you.", she dropped her hand, took the last drag form the cigarette and threw the but in a bin beside her, "At least you got a piece from the pie! Your wish! You got him here, didn't you?" Gloria teased Emily playfully, obviously to change subject.

But Hotch froze on his tracks. "Him"? A man? "Here"? So the man wasn't here before and Emily wished he was? Was Gloria talking about him, Hotch himself? No, no! Where the hell did this come from? He shouldn't flatter himself. They were talking about someone else. Hotch was here for a case, not for something that Gloria should be thankful to Emily for.

Emily blushed and smiled but the lack of an actual answer in words didn't clarify his quest.

"Emily, are you still ok with this? I mean hiding something so…" Gloria continued concerned.

"It's fine, Ria," Emily cut her off reassuringly.

Hotch was getting more-more confused. He had no idea about what they were talking about. What was the "this"? Who was the "he"? What was Emily hiding and from whom? They stopped talking, so he let some moments pass before he appeared from behind the corner.

"Interpol got you a very nice hotel, didn't we?" Gloria told him when she saw him.

"Sure," he said simply and they got in the car.

Gloria dropped them in front of the Interpol building. They agreed that she would meet them after lunch for a more detailed briefing and then they would all go and get some rest.

Hotch and Emily went upstairs to her office. He thought that the room was alot like his. He was right. They always had the same taste in things. Everything was in order except a huge pile of papers on the side of her desk. He noticed a glittered pencil case and some funny gadget on a self of the bookcase behind her desk. These should have been Garcia's gifts. On her desk there was a photo of Emily with JJ, Penelope and Morgan from some night out with a silver St Christopher's pendant hanging on the side. This should have been from Rossi. St Christopher was the protector of travellers he remembered. He thought there was no sign of him until he noticed the pen beside a paper. He had given it to her when she left and it seemed that she used it every day...

"Oh yeah I have an office now," she said taking off her coat going to sit behind her desk interrupting his thoughts, " How do you manage to work in one of these for all those years? Sometimes I find it too lonely."

"I'm quiet you know, you make a first impression,", he remembered the lyrics of a song. For him the office was his refuge. For her it was a lonely place. But 'I somehow found you and I collide...'

"So how is everything here?" he said, sitting in the chair in front of her desk.

"OK, I think. Too much politics, however. I finally have to thank my mother for the genes she passed on me. Now I know what you are getting through."

"At least you don't have Strauss," he smiled.

"I had Clyde in this position before me and believe me it is worse. The guy was jumping to conclusions and never followed procedures. He has left a complete mess," she sounded too unnerved.

Clyde was "the bastard", Hotch assumed. He almost smiled. He definitely agreed with Gloria on this. Clyde didn't want to help with Emily's case till he had threatened him, and then he took Emily away...

"You have to work with Gloria on the cases. Are you ok with this?" Emily continued.

"Why not?" he asked, it was time to do some fishing about the mysterious woman.

"I'm telling you she is my only friend around. I hope your profile during the ride here is not that bad."

Hotch raised his eyebrow. Emily laughed.

"Hotch, you were examining her like she was an UnSub. She is good, trust me," Emily got serious, "I knew her from before. She is clever and efficient. Five undercover operations of long or short time, all successful, at her age, is an extremely high score."

He continued looking at her. There was more to the story. Emily knew he had figured this out, too, so she smiled thoughtfully looking at the papers in front of her.

"You are too good, Hotch. I never forgot that... She's struggling a little, I know. Clyde really screwed up her last case. He took the wrong decision, he left her uncovered. The case turned out ok but she got injured pretty badly. She's left with permanent damage on muscles of her right backside."

"And she is in the field?" he asked concerned and a bit surprised.

"Hotch, she saved my life in this condition and without a gun. She had better days but she is coping," Emily replied back in a tone like she had told the same thing too many times.

However, at this point Hotch almost got a heart attack.

"Don't tell me that even in this position you still go out there?!"

He hoped he didn't sound too upset but he certainly was. God… At least, all this time he had been thinking that she was safe, away from trucks, bullets, stakes, planks, crazy religious leaders and so on and now he learnt that he came too close to learn from the evening news that she got killed!

"What can I say? Sometimes I just miss the action. And as it seems the danger misses me too."

Definitely. She had a habit of attracting all the previous stuff. Suddenly Hotch was too grateful to a woman he didn't like.

"So should I expect 'I don't trust boss men' syndrome?" he asked returning to their previous subject to calm down.

"Boss men? Are you hanging out with Garcia?" she laughed, "She knows you are not like Clyde...", she continued without looking at him.

So she had indeed spoken to Gloria about him. But that was expected. She had to know with who she was going to work with.

"But given your 'I don't trust women' syndrome...", Emily continued in a joking tone.

"I think I kicked that habit, long ago.", he answered looking at her intensely.

He knew that this wasn't completely true. It was true as it concerned her but not in general. He hadn't said earlier in the car that he still wasn't ok with the new agent in BAU. It's not like he didn't trust her on the job. She was an experienced agent. He just couldn't get close, trust completely. She was only business for him and nothing more, just another opinion on a case.

"Are you sure?" Emily looked at him in question.

She looked like she was still joking but he could see some pain in her eyes. Did she even think that he didn't trust her? Maybe in the beginning he didn't, but after? He did trust her and he had done everything to prove it to her. Did she have any doubts before or even then?

"Anyway. Just, please, keep off each other's throats for the next week," Emily finished.

"You know, sometimes you've got to trust the people you love. You've got to trust that if they're good people, they'll make good decisions." ~ Janette Rallison


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