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This is the first chapter of my "Moments in Time" series, which is a collection of short and unrelated oneshots about character moments based on a scene/episode.

Title: We're gonna continue
Rating: G
Genre: Missing Scene/Character study
Series: Moments in Time
Characters: Hotch, with appearances of the rest of the team
Spoilers: 3x03 Scared to Death
Warnings: None
Summary: It was Hotch's task to keep the team going after Gideon just left.

Disclaimer: All characters are property of CBS, Jeff Davis, Edward Allen Bernero and sadly not mine. I just take them along for the ride. Special thanks to my dear friend Sarah for all her help and encouragement and being a great beta. Thanks to everyone who read and/or reviewed one of my others stories.

Hotch looked out of his offices’ window that overlooked the bullpen area.

Even though his view was partially obscured by the closed blinds, he could see Morgan and Prentiss standing next to Reid’s desk where the young agent was again reading the note that Gideon had left him.

They all seemed to be affected by the older agent’s departure and Aaron couldn’t really blame them. He had asked himself numerous times already why Jason had left all of a sudden, and more importantly, why he had done it without saying goodbye either.

The agent walked over to his desk and sat down before picking up a frame with a picture his son had made in it, which lay next to the file of a new case.

Another day, another case. Business as usual.

Only it wasn’t.

His team wasn’t complete anymore. A vital part was missing.

A knock at his door made him look up and, putting the picture down, he called, “Come in.”

The door opened and section chief Strauss entered, coming to a stand halfway to the desk.

“How is everyone?”

Concern shone through in her voice and Hotch was mildly surprised by that.

Shaking his head slightly, he answered, “Adapting.” This did come as close to describing the situation as possible.

“His resignation is official. Jason Gideon is no longer an agent of the Bureau,” Strauss informed him.

Aaron was pretty sure he already knew the answer to the question he was about to ask, but he felt like he had to do it. “Is he going to guest-lecture?”

He looked up at her, still holding a little hope inside.

The section chief stepped up to his desk. “No, he’s gone. His years of service are appreciated. We’re looking for his replacement.”

She handed him a stack of files that he placed on his desk while replying, “That was fast.”

He couldn’t quite keep some anger from sipping into his voice that he got at the feeling that Gideon already was forgotten by the higher ups. He knew this was the way a situation like that was handled, but he couldn’t bring his heart to agree, having worked with Gideon for so long.

“The Bureau doesn’t like to leave posts empty for long,” Strauss reminded him and added, “I’d like your input.”

Now that was a surprise. Not long ago this woman had tried to get rid of him; had put a mole in his team, had him suspended and suggested for him to put in a request for a transfer to a different department.

And now she wanted his opinion.

“I appreciate that,” he said, and he meant it.

At that moment JJ pushed the door open and, after briefly looking at Strauss, she said, “Sir, we’re gathering.”

“Thank you,” Aaron replied, got up and left the office.

Together the two agents walked over to the conference room.

The media liaison looked at him and asked, “Is everything all right?” The only answer she got was a pair of raised eyebrows.

JJ entered the room followed by her boss and started handing out the files. “Okay, we have four victims in Oregon. Two male and two female…”

“I got this,” Hotch interrupted her after having walked halfway around the table to stand in front of the team.

The blonde agent stopped in her tracks for a moment, clearly confused. “Sure.”

While Prentiss nodded once at their boss, Morgan gazed from JJ to Aaron, also puzzled by this, and Reid simply looked up curiously.

“I know that we’ve all been wondering what this was all about,” Aaron began and lowered his gaze. “And, uh, you know, I’ve know Jason for many years and I can tell you-“ he shifted his gaze to meet Spencer’s eyes, knowing that the young man was searching for an answer just like he was, which made it even harder to admit, “I have no idea.”

Reid averted his gaze at that statement while Hotch, this time looking from one agent to another to emphasize his point, continued, “But that doesn’t even matter. What matters is we’re here and we’re gonna continue.”

He hoped that this was enough to prevent the team from falling apart and to keep them focused on the job. But even he wasn’t completely convinced by it.

Nonetheless, they had a case to solve and they needed to prove to themselves that they were capable of doing that without Gideon.

So he began after a brief pause, “Portland field office uncovered a mass grave with three bodies killed six months ago. Nearby they found another body. Causes of death range from burning alive to asphyxiation. No sexual assault.”

Almost instantly his fellow agents focused on the task at hand and Hotch had never been more proud to be a part of this team.