Title: For better or worse – part 3
Disclaimer: nothing’s mine, it all belongs to CBS and so on
Summary: Sequel-sequel to Twelve hours and Nightmares and other after effects. After they’ve told the team now Derek has to tell his mother before leaving for a really rough case.
Please read and review!
AN: Special thanks to Gretchen for beta-ing!
Fran looked a little puzzled when Penelope opened the door and smiled at her. Derek had told her that he had to go on a case in
“Hello, Mrs Morgan, nice to see you again.” she greeted and stepped back to let her get into her apartment.
Rolling her eyes she accepted the invitation and stated: “I told you to call me Fran about a hundred times already!”
“Yeah, sorry” Penelope answered sheepishly, “I… um… I guess I need a few days on that.”
“Hi mom!” Derek smiled stepping out of the kitchen and hugged her.
“I thought you were sick in bed.” Fran stated eyeing Penelope.
The latter frowned a little. “Why should I be?”
“Well, it sounded like you were ill or something when Derek asked me to come over and take care of you.” the older woman replied confusedly looking first at Penelope then at her son.
Penelope raised both her eyebrows and gave Derek a knowing look. He hadn’t told her.
“Um… How about dinner, mom?” he smiled and darted an apologizing look at Penelope behind his mother’s back.
“You know, I’d rather go to the bathroom first.” Fran sighed.
Penelope pointed towards the door. When Fran had closed the door behind her, Penelope crossed her arms in front of her chest, her right foot tipping in annoyance, and stared at Derek. “I’m ill, huh?” she simply asked.
“I never said that.” he tried to defend himself.
“Yeah, but you didn’t tell her the truth either.” she declared.
Derek took a step towards her. “Baby girl, I swear we’ll tell her at dinner. I just… You know, this is really important and I didn’t want to tell her on the phone.”
“I rather think you’re afraid to tell her and you’ll let ME do it!” she raised an eyebrow both in annoyance and expectance.
“No” he assured, “I mean, why should I… I’m not afraid to tell her. It’s great news and…”
“What is great news?” Fran asked just returning from the bathroom.
Derek’s eyes widened as he turned around to look at her. A little lost he looked back at the beautiful blonde who was now giving him a ‘just tell her for God’s sake’ look.
“Derek?” Fran asked a little bewildered when none of the two answered her question.
“That dinner is ready.” he smiled leading his mother towards the living room.
Penelope raised both her arms and let them fall down. Why the hell was it so difficult for him to tell his mother? It had been no problem to tell the rest of the team.
They ate in almost complete silence. Fran noticed the icy atmosphere between her son and his girlfriend. Something was definitely going on. Penelope probably wanted Derek to tell his mother something and he refused to do so. Fran noticed the expecting looks Penelope gave her son. What could it be? Maybe they weren’t going to visit her on her birthday because they wanted to do something else this year. But why should Derek refuse to tell her about that? He knew that she wouldn’t be mad at him.
Penelope stood up.
“What are you doing?” Derek asked and immediately jumped out of his chair almost knocking it over.
“I want some dessert.” she replied a little puzzled.
Smiling he gestured her back to the chair and said: “Let me get it for you.”
She opened her mouth to object but then simply sighed and sat back down.
Fran frowned a little. Derek had always been a sweetie towards his girls, caring and attentive. But that behavior seemed a little exaggerated. Suddenly she remembered when her husband had treated her like a
Penelope and Derek looked at her and raised an eyebrow.
Fran’s grin widened as she looked at Penelope and stated: “You’re pregnant!”
Derek’s jaw dropped and Penelope slowly raised her second eyebrow. Then she simply nodded.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” Fran wanted to know. “I’m going to be a grandma!” She got up, hugged first Penelope and then her son.
“Um… you know… I just… couldn’t figure out the right moment to tell you.” Derek stumbled and smiled a little sheepishly. “How did you…” he started to ask while he placed a little bowl of Tiramisu in front of Penelope. Looking at the bowl and then at his future wife he simply grinned and added: “I guess I tipped my hand, huh?”
“Your father was just as overprotective during all my pregnancies.” Fran stated and rolled her eyes at the remembrance of that. “Why do men always equate pregnancy with illness?”
“Okay, this is so going to be our only child.” Penelope rolled her eyes theatrically.
“I promise to change for the better.” Derek smiled and kissed her temple.
“When’s the due date?” Fran asked excitedly.
“The 25th of August.” Penelope replied.
“That’s less than six months!” Fran exclaimed. “When did you plan to tell me?”
“About two months ago.” Derek shrugged and gave her an apologizing smile. “And mom, there’s something more. We… We’re gonna get married.”
“Really?” her face lit up just a little more – even though both Derek and Penelope had doubted that would be possible. She’d never thought her son would ever get married.
“Really.” Derek nodded. “Actually I wanted to marry Penelope first and then start to think about children, but our little offspring obviously was in a hurry. Anyway we’re gonna get married in June – before the baby is born.”
Fran hugged Penelope again and said quietly: “Welcome to our family.” Then she hugged her son again and smiled: “I never thought you would ever get married.”
Derek smiled back and then put his arm around Penelope. “I never thought I would find somebody with whom I wanted to spend the rest of my life.
Tears sprung to her eyes and Penelope sobbed: “This is so not fair. You know that I weep easily at the moment.”
Derek caught her in his arms and gently rubbed her back. “I would gladly take all side effects of the pregnancy.” he grinned.
“Derek, I understand that you want me to stay and take care of Penelope.” Fran changed the topic. “But maybe you should first ask her if she wants me to stay as well.”
Penelope looked at Derek then back at Fran and smiled: “I guess it can’t hurt anyone. I would really appreciate some… support.”
“This is going to be much worse than I thought.” Derek grumbled and ran a hand over his face. “There is no real MO, no real victimology… no nothing!”
“I know.” Hotch sighed. “I’d say these are from at least five different unsubs if it hadn’t been for these notes he’s leaving at the crime scenes.”
Derek frowned reading the last note again. It followed her to school one day which was against the rules. “He’s playing dirty little games with us!”
“He’s left stanzas of nursery rhymes at every crime scene.” Spencer explained. “And somehow the lines were related to the way he killed the child.”
“Mary Adams.” JJ said and pointed at the screen that now showed a picture of a five-year-old girl. “She was frozen to death probably in a cold storage. The lines he left with her were from the rhyme ‘three little kittens’.” She took the piece of paper out of the file and read out aloud: “Three little kittens lost their mittens and they began to cry. The same lines where left at the place where Bobby McArthur was found, frozen to death as well.”
“That means there’ll be one more victim he’ll let freeze to death.” Derek sighed.
“Considering the fact that he only started two month ago” Spencer frowned. “He’s killing pretty fast. Eighteen victims in only eight weeks. That means one victim every third day.”
“I hate this.” Emily sighed.
“It’s always hard when it comes to children.” Hotch said giving her an understanding smile. “I swear if I ever become immune to this I’ll quit that job.”
“Okay, so the question is what DO we know.” JJ sighed and sat back down at the table.
“Penelope wasn’t able to find a single connection between all eighteen children.” Derek explained. “They didn’t attend the same school, weren’t born in the same hospital. Some were born in this area, some moved here from almost all over the States. Two victims are Hispanics, one is of European descent and four are from
“But there must be some connection.” Rossi stated. “He probably doesn’t pick his victims up on the street at random. He is much too organized.”
“Well, then how does he choose them?” Derek raised both his eyebrows in obvious annoyance. “They don’t have the same mechanic or doctor or dentist or cleaners or whatever. Penelope checked everything, every possible connection back to their grandparents. There is NOTHING!”
“Okay, we are all exhausted.” Hotch interrupted this discussion before it could turn into an actual fight. “I think we should call it a day. We’ll definitely work better if we’re rested.”
Everyone nodded and one by one left the room until only Derek was left. He opened the laptop and waited for the connection to establish. “Hey, baby girl.” he gave her a tired smile.
“Hey, gorgeous.” Penelope greeted quietly. “It’s really bad this time, huh?”
“Yeah” he sighed. “Almost four weeks and we still don’t have anything. I know this was going to be bad but… How are you?”
“I’m fine.” she smiled. “Your mother’s taking good care of me. But I miss you.”
“I miss you too.” he said and closed his eyes for a moment.
Penelope knew that he didn’t want to ask her about the case but still felt like he had to. So she figured it was better to make this decision for him: “I checked all possible connections again. But still there is nothing. I even checked whether the mothers ever went to a fertilization clinic but… no, only one of them did and it turned out that her husband was the actual problem.”
That drew Derek’s attention. “Sweetness, could you run one last check for me? Try and find out if the fathers ever had a request for a paternity test.”
He could hear her fingers fly over the keyboard. After a few seconds she sighed. “Sorry to disappoint you again, my vision. None of them.”
“Damn!” he frowned. “They must have something in common.”
“I know” she replied in a low voice. “And we’ll find the connection. But you should put yourself into bed now. You’ve slept too little recently.”
“I bet the same applies to you.” he said not able to keep the slight accusation out of his voice.
She smiled and assured: “Your mother makes sure I get enough sleep. And I promise I’ll go home right after we say goodnight.”
“You should really be careful.” he sighed. “You need as much rest as you can get the closer you get to the due date.”
“Derek, it’s still almost five months away.” she smiled at him. “And I was only waiting for your call so I would be able to get some sleep.”
“Goodnight, doll face.” he smiled and gently touched the screen. He would kill to get a comforting, warming embrace from her right now. Unfortunately almost 600 miles kept him from getting that. “I love you.”“I love you too, Peaches.” she smiled back at him and blew him a kiss. “And don’t worry too much. You’ll get him, you always do!”