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Title: Nightmares and other after effects – part 2

Pairing: Morgan/Garcia romance

Rating: PG-13 – just to be sure

Disclaimer: All BAU characters belong to CBS, the rest came out of my own freaky mind

Summary: Sequel to Twelve hours: Derek reveals the reason for his nightmares.

warnings: nope, not really

Please read and review!

“How many names do you have?” Hotch answered his phone. This case was getting more and more annoying. For three weeks the unsub was constantly one step ahead of them. Their first suspect had been one of the police officers. But then another child was abducted while verifiably all police officers had searched the nearby wood for the body of Amelia Harris, the second victim since they’d arrived here.

“Twenty-four, Sir” Penelope replied. “I’m sorry, but with the little information you gave me I wasn’t able to narrow the list down very much.”

Hotch sighed. “Send it to me, anyway. We’re going to spend the rest of our lives here if we can’t find him anytime soon.”

“You’ll receive the list of names in five, four, three, two, one… now!” she replied.

“Thanks, Garcia.” Hotch frowned and glanced at the sheet of paper the fax had just printed. “How’s Morgan?”

“Better, I guess.” she replied. “At least he looks better… um… more… rested.”

“Did he talk to you?” he carefully asked.

Penelope hesitated. She wasn’t sure how to answer that question. She’d promised Derek not to tell anyone what he’d told her but she also didn’t want to lie to Hotch.

“I don’t want to know what he told you.” Hotch assured when she didn’t give him a response. “I’m just worried about him. If he talked to you I would be… relieved.”

“Yes, he did talk to me.” she quietly answered.

“Good” Hotch sighed again. “I need the members of my team rested and fit for service.”

“I know.” she answered. “I… I’ll make sure he gets enough… rest.”

“I hope you’ll be able to do so.” Hotch handed the list to Emily who went back to Reid and JJ into the provisory briefing room. “We work better with the entire team on the spot.”

“He’ll be fine.” Penelope assured in a low voice. She really hoped she wasn’t wrong about that. Anyhow he really was more rested than he’d been when the team had left. “I’ll make sure he will.”

Hotch frowned. “I know you and Morgan are close friends and I don’t want to question your skills of taking care of him. But maybe he should… consult our psychologist.”

“I’m rather sure he’ll decline to do so but I’ll propose that to him anyway.” she smiled slightly. Maybe the psychologist really wasn’t the worst idea. But she was sure she wouldn’t be able to talk him into it.

“Hey, beautiful, how about some Chinese food for lunch?!” Derek smiled and held a carton with the emblem of her favorite Chinese restaurant out to her.

“Derek” he heard Hotch’s voice coming from the speaker. “you sound… really rested.”

“I am” Derek nodded and smiled at Penelope who was scenting the aroma of the food and appreciatively closing her eyes. “I slept quite well during the last nights.”

Penelope’s eyes widened and she stared at him almost in shock. Hotch would certainly want to know what had made him sleep tight during the last three weeks – and they couldn’t tell him that it had been her presence.

“Sir, we found Cameron Slaughter’s body.” an officer told Hotch.

He breathed deeply and closed his eyes. “I’ll call you back.” he told his two co-workers and hung up. He went into the briefing room and declared: “Cameron Slaughter’s body has been found. Prentiss, we’ll examine the crime scene. Reid, JJ, here’s a list of new suspects Garcia sent us. Start questioning them!”

“We really could need Derek’s help.” JJ mumbled.

“Agent Morgan is suspended from field work until further notice.” Hotch replied. “He’ll help us over the phone.”

“What’s wrong with him?” JJ wanted to know.

Hotch frowned and gave her a deprecating stare. “Agent Morgan is not fully serviceable at the moment.”

“He looked tired recently.” Emily agreed. “But is it really that bad? I mean, he could really help us with that case and as far as I can judge we need all help that we can get.”

“Agent Prentiss, my decision is fixed so don’t question it! And now we will examine the crime scene.” he commanded. “And you” he pointed at JJ and Reid. “are going to question every man on the list Garcia sent us, now! We mustn’t loose any more time. The sooner we get any closer to the unsub the better!”

“Yes, Sir.” the three agents mumbled and left the room.

&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&

Both Penelope and Derek were relieved that Hotch had been prevented from asking any further questions and they both hoped he’d have forgotten all about that talk the next time he called one of them.

They finished their lunch in complete silence. Finally Penelope set aside the carton of her meal and took a deep breath.

“Derek, things can’t remain that way.” she stated and looked at him.

“What… do you mean?” he asked in confusion and concern.

Penelope sighed: “I can’t spend every night with you. I mean, it’s not that I… don’t… want to help you but… This can’t be the only way to keep you from having nightmares.”

His heart sank together with his head. “I know.” he simply replied. He’d known she would say that one day – he couldn’t even believe that it had taken her three weeks.

“Why is that such a burden for you?” she softly asked.

Derek raised his head and gave her a puzzled look: “You’re my best friend and I… you almost died. How should that not be a burden for me?”

“It wasn’t that much of a burden when it happened to Spencer.” she carefully reminded him.

“That was…” Derek stared at her and then looked down. “different.”

“Why?” she wanted to know. “Why was it different with him being… a victim?”

“Because this was not my fault.” he whispered.

Penelope frowned and opened her mouth to say something. But she was too baffled to formulate a proper sentence. But when he refused to say anything in addition she finally said: “What happened to me wasn’t your fault either.”

“Yes, it was.” he replied without looking at her. “Miller was with us almost the whole time and we didn’t notice it was him. We didn’t even consider him a suspect. Hell, I… I told him almost everything about you. I praised your computer skills and what you are able to find out with the help of your babies. He heard us talk to each other on the speaker and… damn I… I even gave him your name. The reason he was going after you was… me.”

“This was not your fault.” she softly repeated. “You couldn’t know it was him.”

“We let him through this goddamn road block while you were most certainly in his trunk. We… we could have saved you then. You wouldn’t have need to go through all this, spending more than twelve hours in that bunker almost… almost dying if we’d just realized it was him!” he had jumped off his seat and was now pacing the room.

“As I said you couldn’t have known.” she repeated trying to stay as calm as possible hoping this would calm him down. “He was really smart, otherwise he wouldn’t have been able to… do this for more than ten years.”

“He almost killed you because I endangered you.” Derek almost shouted at her. “I… I’d sworn myself to protect you, to keep you out of all this.”

“You know that this can happen to anyone of us anytime.” she reminded him.

“But it should never have happened to you.” he shook his head as if to support his words and voicelessly repeated: “Not to you.”

“I appreciate that you care that much about me.” she answered. “But why does that psyche you out so much you can’t sleep at night.”

He stopped and turned to look at her. “Because I love you!” the words had escaped his mouth before he was able to stop them.