Status: complete

All the Madness in the World


“Let me remind you of the old maxim: people under suspicion are better moving than at rest, since at rest they may be sitting in the balance without knowing it, being weighed together with their sins.” – Franz Kafka


When your office was responsible for profiling the killers of the country, it wasn’t often that you got a quiet spell. Not that anyone complained when it happened—in fact, it was something no one talked about, as if doing so would somehow jinx it. We hadn’t had a case all day, and everyone was taking advantage of the down time to get caught up on our piles and piles of paperwork that needed to be filled out. All the reports were simple to do but took forever to complete: the price of good documentation.

My hands were cramping up and my legs were growing restless and it felt like a million pins were in my feet as they slowly fell asleep. I hadn’t spent this much time sitting down since I’d been recovering at home. My brain and body were craving stimulation, and everyone else was too focused for me to disturb them. With a sigh I pushed away from my desk, spinning in the chair and getting to my feet. The hunt was on for a candy bar or something: anything but more coffee.

I got my hands on an Aero bar and retreated to Penelope’s office for a break. We played a few games of cards and I helped her fix the cracking nail polish on her fingers. We talked and made plans for another girls night in the future (if work permitted) before she got a call of Kevin. I promised that I’d come back later and left her to her conversation.

On my way back to my desk I noticed that the blinds of Hotch’s office were still closed. He’d had a meeting with someone up high earlier in the day and apparently hadn’t gotten around to opening them again. They were almost never closed because he wanted to be transparent, to make all of us feel like equals even though we didn’t have an office or a door. This was one of the most important steps to keeping employees happy.

Without hesitating long enough to talk myself out of it, I changed directions last minute and headed up the stairs. Knocking on the door, he smiled and motioned for me to come in while he continued a conversation on the phone. I closed the door and quietly locked it behind me, wandering around the office until finally said goodbye and hung up. He rambled on a bit about who had called, but I wasn’t paying any attention.

Walking around the desk, I smirked as confusion overtook his features. He rolled his chair back and turned to face me, waiting for some kind of explanation for my behaviour. I didn’t wait for an invitation to bring his lips to mine, but he pulled away almost instantly and glanced back at the glass that was almost always uncovered.

“Blinds are shut, door is closed and locked.” I muttered impatiently, bringing him back to me. He hesitated for a moment, the cautious side of him no doubt saying to stop: after all, the last time I’d kissed him at work we’d been walked in on. But that couldn’t happen this time, and I needed something to do, and I wanted him.

It didn’t take long for his caution to be shut out and his hands to find their way along my body as I crawled on top of him. The sensation was completely different, given where we were. What was it, thrill? The risk of being caught? Whatever it was, it made everything more intense and made me desperate to be closer to him.

His hands tangled into my hair as mine wrapped around his tie—a habit that’d started long ago. The longer we were together, the more everything else faded. My legs didn’t register the leather of the chair, the feel of his pinstripe pants. My lips had long forgotten about all the people working on the other side of the glass. All I knew, all I wanted to know was him. It was only when I got up to pull off my underwear that he began to protest. With a laugh I climbed back onto to him.

“We…we can’t.” He stuttered as I pressed my lips down his jaw and neck, trailing my hands down his chest and resting them at the edge of his pants. “Not…here.”

“I’ll be quiet, I promise.” I waited for him to give in and kiss me again before I started working at the zipper. I knew that no matter what, I had to keep my promise because anyone could walk by the door at any time. If they heard a fraction of the noise I usually made, we would be in big trouble. His fingers slid under my shirt and trailed their way up my sides, dancing over my chest before working their way back down.

The second I moved my hands down a knock came on the door, sending my heart rate off the charts as I began to panic. The voice that announced themself was that of Erin Strauss, a hard bitch who harboured some sort of animosity towards the world. I scrambled to my feet as Hotch asked for a minute, my fingers working furiously to fix my clothing and hair as he did the same.

Grabbing a case file off of the desk, I started talking about the imaginary report I came to consult him on as he walked to the door and unlocked it. Greeting Strauss on my way out, I waited outside the door as she closed it and waited a moment before speaking.

“I can’t remember the last time you locked your door.” She said as I pretended to flick through the file, praying no one saw me eavesdropping.

“She just needed a place to talk.” He said, the chair squeaking as he sat down. The chair that sat at the desk, underneath which was the current residence of my underwear. I began to panic all over again. I couldn’t be here when she came out, I would have to find someplace to hide until he was finished talking to her and I could come back. But who knew how long that could take?

“Agent Hotchner…I understand what she went through was a horrific thing, and that she would have need of someone to be there for her,” Strauss began.

“No, you know what she went through. With all due respect ma’am, you don’t understand what it’s like to be targeted and tortured. I’m responsible for the state of my agents.”

“But your responsibilities do not include acting as a psychiatrist.”

There was a silence that ensued which I took as my cue to leave. I hesitated going down the stairs, making sure no one was at the bottom that could look up and catch a glimpse of the outcome of my stupid impulses and poor decision making. What the hell was I thinking? How could it have ended well? I went to the only place that would be safe: Garcia’s.

She beckoned me inside when I knocked on the door, immediately picking up on the panic I was exuding. I closed the door behind me and started pacing, heaving out a sigh and trying to calm myself down enough to explain what had just happened.

“Is everything okay? You’re not hurt or something are you?”

“No, I just…Pen, I just made a really big mistake.” Finally sitting down, I ran my fingers through my hair and explained what had happened from the top. She was hiding her smile at my behaviour only because of how things ended. “If she heard us, Pen…”

“Don’t you think she would have said something to Hotch right away? I doubt she knew you were playing Harriet the Spy on the other side of the door.”

“I don’t know. God!” I put my head in my hands. “I’m such an idiot.”

“No you are not! Did I ever tell you about the time when Rossi came over to my apartment when Kevin and I just finished having shower sex? And this was back when no one knew about us! Everything ended up alright, so you’ll be fine. I promise.”

“But that was Rossi. This is our boss’s boss.” My phone buzzed in my pocket and I checked it, a text from Hotch asking where I was. I told him and relayed to Garcia that he was coming here. She continued to calm me down to the best of her abilities, talking about the proof that Strauss would need if she ever wanted to be a malicious bitch about things. This continued for the brief time it took Hotch to get to Penelope’s office. He knocked once and then came inside.

“Garcia, could you give us a moment please?”

“Yes, my captain.” She said nervously, getting up and taking wide steps around him before leaving the two of us alone. He took a bundle of crumpled fabric from his pocket and handed it to me, waiting in silence as I slipped the garment back on.

“I know, I messed up. Bad.”

“I didn’t stop it, though.” He said as I held my breath, waiting for the verdict. “She didn’t say anything, so I don’t know if she suspects something…”

I heaved out a sigh of relief. “Remind me to bring in a crossword puzzle in case of another dull day at work.”

“Natasha,” He began, a look overtaking his features that started to make me nervous.


“That was a really close call.”

“I get that, Hotch, but what do you want me to do?” I asked, resisting the urge to cross my arms over my chest. “I’m sorry, I screwed up. All I can do is make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

“It can’t happen again.”

“What are you saying?”

“I’m not—this isn’t me ending anything.” He explained quickly. “I just…think it might be best if we pulled back a bit. Just to be safe.”

“Pulled back.” I let the words sink in, a thousand thoughts running through my head as I nodded. “Yeah. Sure. Absolutely. Sounds great.”


“You know what,” I cut him off, looking down at my watch. “It’s almost time to clock out and I’m giving Spence a ride home. I’ll see you around.”

Without hesitating a second I stepped around him and tried to ignore the burning sensation in my eyes. I didn’t know what I was feeling—anger, disappointment, sadness, or regret—all I knew was that it felt horrible. It was swelling inside of me even as I was approached by Garcia, who immediately read my face as thought something had happened with Strauss. I assured her that everything was fine and told Spencer it was time to go.

I did my best not to be testy with him as he took ridiculously long to gather his things, managing to knock over his coffee and drop one of his case files in the process of leaving, forcing me to stay in the building so much longer than I wanted. I tried not to look as Hotch returned to his office, blinds now open just like his door.

Spencer could tell something was up but I kept it to myself; partly because I didn’t want to talk about it and partly because I didn’t want to explain how everything had started. Almost getting caught having sex a few yards away from where he was sitting wouldn’t exactly make the most comfortable of stories. I dropped him off at his house and declined his request for me to go inside for coffee. He gave me that sad look that he did whenever he knew something was wrong and begrudgingly said goodbye, finally giving me peace.

Hotch tried to call me a few times later that night but I let them go straight to voice mail. I ran through a routine of dinner, clean up, feeding the fish, working on whatever I’d brought home, and watching anything other than the news in an attempt to wind down so I could get some actual sleep. It didn’t work, though, and so I was stuck tossing and turning for most of the night, a heaviness in my heart.

I hated this.
♠ ♠ ♠
I know, I know.
I promise, whatever badness might ensue, I will make up for it. Have faith!