Title: For better or worse – part 6
Disclaimer: nothing’s mine, it all belongs to CBS and so on
Summary: Sequel-sequel to Twelve hours and Nightmares and other after effects. Penelope thinks that her secret admirer is nothing to worry about – until he proves her wrong.
Please read and review!
AN: Once again, thanks to Gretchen for the beta-reading.
“Nothing?” Derek asked a little annoyed.
“Nothing.” JJ replied and shook her head to emphasize her words. “No finger prints on the box or the card. No traces on the dead rat. It was killed by rat poison that you can buy at any mall. The box was delivered by a courier who picked it up at the reception desk of a nearby motel. It was the same with the other box and the flowers where picked up from a flower shop. Everything was paid for in cash. I’ve asked the shop owners but they can’t remember who bought the flowers.”
“This guy knows how to cover his tracks.” Derek grumbled.
“The two boxes where left at two different motels. It was a different courier every time.” Emily spoke up. “He probably wants to make it look like there’s no connection between the presents.”
“Or maybe he’s trying to cover up the fact that he lives in or near D.C.” Spencer stated. “He also seems to be quite rich considering what the flowers and the necklace must have cost.”
“The diamonds are real.” Derek said and grumbled again. “A secret admirer is one thing but he’d better not try to mess with me!”
“I don’t think he wants to mess with you.” Spencer replied and frowned a little. “I rather think he wants to scare you enough to split up with Garcia.”
Derek snorted. “Yeah, fat chance of that happening! He’s not going to get rid of me that easy. I’ve waited much too long for all this to happen and that guy won’t make me to lose it.”
The four agents jumped a little when Hotch entered the briefing room. They quickly put the reports about the boxes, cards and the flowers under the case files laying on the table.
Hotch frowned a little, closed the door behind him and sat down. “What’s going on?” he wanted to know.
“Well” JJ cleared her throat and stood up. “Not much lately. There is one case in
“I wasn’t talking about new cases.” Hotch interrupted her in his typical firm voice. “What were the four of you talking about before I entered?”
Reid shifted uncomfortably in his seat while Emily and JJ exchanged puzzled looks. Derek sighed and ran his hand over his head.
The corners of Hotch’s mouth showed a slight upward movement almost unnoticeable. “Did you really think you could keep anything from me?”
Finally Derek replied: “Penelope has a secret admirer. Or at least he seemed to be only that until I received this note two weeks ago – along with a dead rat.”
Hotch read the note Derek had handed him and stated: “He obviously thinks Garcia belongs to him.”
“I would really like to beat the shit out of him.” Derek commented.
“This note is a clear message.” Hotch handed the card back to Derek.
“Does he really believe he’ll make her split up with Derek by sending her all these gifts?” JJ raised both her eyebrows. “I mean, her pregnancy should be a blaring sign.”
“He doesn’t think straight.” Hotch replied. “And maybe he doesn’t know about the pregnancy yet.” There was no need to remind everyone else that her stomach had only started to become visible a few weeks ago. Now, however, it was growing quite fast.
“What kind of gifts did he send her?” Hotch wanted to know.
JJ briefed him about the boxes, their contents and the flowers as well as the couriers and the motels they had been left at.
“You know that we’re not allowed to investigate this case officially. In fact, this isn’t a case at all.” Hotch declared.
“Hotch” Derek started his voice portraying his concern. “This guy is really getting…”
“But” Hotch cut him off. “We also know where it can end up with a stalker. Our experience taught us to be careful.”
“What about Rossi?” Derek frowned a little. He wasn’t sure if he really trusted him enough.
“Maybe we should keep that between us for the time being.” Hotch suggested. “I don’t think he would cross us but there’s no need to get him involved.”
The four younger agents nodded in agreement.
“Did Garcia already check everyone who’d checked in to these motels?” Hotch wanted to know and immediately looked at Derek.
“Yeah, she checked the lists but no name appeared on every list or sounded familiar to her.” Derek sighed. “He probably used fake names.”
“Or he didn’t check in at all.” Hotch stated. “What about the couriers?”
“It was always a different one.” JJ replied.
“Nonetheless one of them could be the stalker.” Hotch said. “He may have delivered the first flowers and then considered it too dangerous to deliver the following gifts himself. Let Garcia check the names and take a look at their photos, maybe she’ll recognize somebody.”
Derek nodded and headed for his baby girl’s office. When he opened the door she was just about to take a sip from a cup that clearly originated from the Bureau’s cafeteria. “Hey, what’s that?” he wanted to know.
“Nothing.” she assured.
Derek grabbed the cup from her and looked at the brown liquid. “Baby, you shouldn’t drink coffee.” he looked at her reproachfully. “It’s not good for the baby.”
“Doctor Jerome said it was okay to drink a little bit from time to time.” she sighed. “Derek, please, you know I can’t do without it.”
“You have to.” he replied. “Because I’m going to throw it away.”
She growled with annoyance but knew it was pointless to discuss it with him. “It tasted strange anyway.” she mumbled.
“And honey” Derek turned around in the doorway. “Hotch wants you to check all the couriers that delivered the boxes and bouquets and see if you recognize one of them.”
“Hotch?” she raised both her eyebrows.
Derek nodded: “He’s concerned as well. And maybe you should look at the photos of everyone who’d checked in at the motels, just in case.”
“Man, that’s going to take me till tomorrow – at least.” she sighed turning back to her babies.
Derek smirked, closed the door and headed for the rest room where he poured the coffee into the basin and threw the cup into the trashcan. She would have to do the next two and a half months without it!
“Nothing.” Penelope sighed. Derek offered her a seat but she put him off. “I’m sorry but I didn’t recognize any of the couriers or the motel guests and none had any previous convictions. The couriers don’t even work for the same company.”
Hotch frowned and stated: “I’m sure you know who he is. From the way he addresses you on these cards I would guess that he has approached you at least once. He’s confident, polite, but probably the way he talked to you or looked at you made you think something was wrong with him.”
“I’m sorry.” she answered the querying look on his face. “I can’t remember anyone addressing me lately and having any strange behavior.”
“He must have seen you with Derek recently and in a situation that really upset him.” Hotch continued. “The note and the dead rat he sent Derek showed a lot of fury about the fact that the two of you are an item. Only having heard about it probably wouldn’t have caused such strong feelings.”
“The stressor, so to speak.” Derek murmured.
“Is there a particular situation that comes to mind?” Hotch asked the two agents.
“Well, after we returned from that case in
“If he saw you then that means he’s got access to this building.” Reid declared. They were pretty careful about strangers entering the car park given the fact that bomb attacks on federal agents had cost many lives in the past.
“Does that mean he’s an agent?” JJ raised both her eyebrows.
“Not necessarily.” Hotch answered for the young genius. “There are a few other people who have access to this building like postmen and…”
He was interrupted when Penelope suddenly gasped, winced a little and put a hand on her stomach.
Derek immediately jumped out of his chair and rushed at her side. “What’s wrong?”
“I don’t know.” she panted and squirmed, her face twisted with pain. “It hurts.”
“Take her to the hospital!” Hotch commanded and frowned when he watched Derek leading a still squirming and groaning Penelope towards the elevators.
From the expression on her boss’s face Emily could tell what he was thinking. “You think that has something to do with this ‘secret admirer’?”
“I don’t know.” he replied and frowned just a little more. “I hope it doesn’t.”
“Maybe we should follow them to the hospital to find out what’s wrong.” JJ suggested.
“Reid, go with her!” Hotch commanded. “Emily and me will go check Garcia’s office and see if we can find anything that doesn’t belong there. We’ll meet you at the hospital.”
Her office looked the way it always did. Hotch grabbed the flowers and sent them to the laboratory just in case. There was nothing that seemed suspicious to him or Emily. Hotch knew that Derek and Penelope had had lunch in the cafeteria and she apparently hadn’t eaten anything else. There were no cups except the one she used for her favorite pens. A little disappointed that they hadn’t found anything they headed for the hospital about an hour later.
“Any news?” Hotch asked JJ and glanced at Derek who was pacing the waiting room.
“Not yet.” JJ replied. “It seems Pen went into labor.”
Emily raised both her eyebrows. “That’s much too early! Why…” she simply shook her head.
“We don’t know much yet.” JJ sighed. “We’re still waiting for the doctors to tell us something.”
“Penelope Garcia?” a young doctor asked and looked at the agents.
“Yes.” Derek answered and rushed to him. “What can you tell me?”
“We weren’t able to stop the labor.” he replied. “She gave birth to a baby girl. But as you know it was way too early.”
Derek’s heart stopped beating and he looked helplessly at the man in front of him.
“She’s alive.” the doctor continued. “But she’s in very critical condition. She was sent to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit where she was placed in an incubator and will be monitored around the clock.”
“What are her chances of surviving?” he whispered.
There was a long break until the doctor finally said: “About forty to fifty per cent.”
Derek ran both his hands over his head. This simply couldn’t be happening. “What about Penelope?” he wanted to know.
The doctor sighed. “What happened was emotionally very traumatic for her. She’s catatonic.”
He closed his eyes for a moment and leaned against the wall. Then he asked: “Can I see her?”
“Of course” the young man nodded. “I’ll show you the way. We treated her with barbiturates but we don’t know very much about catatonia. No one can tell when she’ll awake from it.”
“Or IF she will at all.” Derek added dryly.