Title: For better or worse – part 9
Disclaimer: nothing’s mine, it all belongs to CBS and so on
Summary: Sequel-sequel to Twelve hours and Nightmares and other after effects. When he realizes that none of his plans worked he decides to try something more drastic.
Please read and review!
AN: I know I have to apologize again. I’m evil, really! But I can’t help myself. I love cliffhangers. Unfortunately, I can’t promise that everything’s going to be alright because I don’t want to spoil my own story… ;) I hope you’ll enjoy this chapter nonetheless. I thought it would be nice to insert some scenes where the team tries to profile the stalker.
“Did you recognize anyone in the hospital you know from somewhere else?” Hotch asked and looked at the two agents.
They both shook their heads.
“Garcia, did you leave the coffee alone after you bought it?” he wanted to know.
“No” Penelope assured him. “I immediately returned to my office. I didn’t even place it down to pay because I had taken the money out of my wallet beforehand.”
“It probably wasn’t drugged by someone working in the cafeteria.” Spencer explained. “As soon as we were officially allowed to investigate this case we checked every employee, their lockers as well as the entire cafeteria. No labor inducing agents or traces of them. The unsub would probably have pictures of you in his locker so that he can in a way be close to you.”
“Did you leave your office after you’d bought the coffee?” Derek asked.
Penelope tried to recall that day in her mind and then nodded: “I… I had to go to the rest room for a few minutes.”
“That means he has access to your office.” Hotch frowned at that thought. “He works for the Bureau, it’s someone who wouldn’t raise questions when he’s seen in our department.”
“What about this Peter something?” Derek asked. “JJ said you were on a date with him about a year before we got together.”
“That’s not true.” Penelope replied. “I mean, it wasn’t a date. Remember that computer geek reunion as you called it? I met him there. Running accidentally into someone isn’t a date.”
“But he would fit the profile then, right? I mean, he has the necessary computer skills. And JJ said he had a crush on you.” Derek gave her a querying look.
“I just had this impression.” JJ shrugged.
“I doubt that.” she shook her head to emphasize her words.
“Why don’t you think that it’s him?” Hotch asked.
“Well” Penelope shrugged and thought about it for a while. “I mean, it could be him but… I haven’t even talked to him in almost two years. I… I don’t know. If he’d been so obsessed with me, wouldn’t he have tried to… talk to me or something?”
“Then what about Kevin Lynch?” Derek asked.
“I don’t think it’s him either.” Penelope replied. “I mean, your profile says that this guy is very self-confident and organized. Remember, my office was a total mess when I returned and Kevin is even shier than Reid.”
“That’s right.” Spencer nodded. “He doesn’t fit our profile at all. He’s obviously obsessed by the idea that Garcia is his and he makes every effort to tear you apart.”
“He must have some computer skills.” Penelope added. “The photo images were really good. An amateur wouldn’t have been able to do that.”
“Garcia, I need you to be honest now. Where you uncertain about Derek’s feelings for you?” Hotch asked.
She took a deep breath, sighed and then nodded.
“That means he knows you quite well.” Spencer concluded. “Did you tell anyone about it?”
She shook her head no.
Hotch frowned a little. “He was rather sure you’d believe these pictures over Derek.”
“I didn’t talk to anyone before I received the pictures.” Penelope assured. “Not even to JJ. I… I tried to repress that uncertainty and it worked quite well.”
JJ sighed. “He has a fairly good knowledge of human nature.”
Penelope just looked down.
“What about the flowers and the card?” Derek asked.
“I’m not sure whether he really thinks he’ll win Garcia’s heart that way or whether he’s scoffing at you. Anyway, it’s the same with the other gifts. Left at the reception desk at the motel round the corner. A courier brought it to the hospital.”
“He’s probably watching us.” Derek stated and noticed that this thought made Penelope shiver. “He must have known that his first plan didn’t work.”
“Why is he doing this to us?” Penelope whispered.
“Because he is twisted.” Derek softly said.
“And dangerous.” Hotch added. “He has already proven he is. You should be very careful. If he’s watching you he frequently returns to the hospital. Keep your eyes open!”
“Do you think he’ll make another attempt to kill Eliana?” Penelope asked in a low voice.
“We can’t be sure he won’t.” Hotch replied. “I don’t want to frighten you needlessly but he has already proven that he’s willing to do anything to get you. And he obviously can’t stand the thought of you having a baby with another man. You should be careful.”
“That means Derek’s in danger too, right?” she asked and gave him a concerned look.
“Don’t worry, goddess.” he smiled and put a hand around her shoulders. “I can take care of myself.”
“I’m not worried that you can’t.” Penelope sighed. “I’m rather worried that you won’t.”
“We’ll make sure nothing happens to either of you.” JJ assured her and took her friend’s hand. “Actually, we might have a plan on how to catch him.”
Derek frowned at her and asked: “What are you up to?”
JJ took a deep breath and explained: “A hoax. I already called a friend of mine who owes me a favor. Tomorrow’s newspaper will publish an article saying that Eliana died of asphyxiation and that you took a few days off and went to see your family.” she looked at Derek. Then she continued: “Penelope had a nervous breakdown and is now in the psychiatric ward. We are pretty sure he’ll consider this a chance to get close to her so…”
“No.” Derek jumped up and almost shouted at her. “No way!”
“Derek, this is the only chance we have.” Emily softly said.
He stared her down until she finally looked away and then snarled through gritted teeth: “I can’t believe that you agree with that so-called plan.”
“As I said, we don’t have much choice.” Emily quietly explained.
“No.” this time he shouted at her. “This is a stupid plan and I won’t let Penelope do this!”
“Derek, we…” Spencer started.
“And I won’t let YOU throw her to the wolves!” he cut the younger agent off.
Hotch looked at Penelope who was still sitting in the chair next to the one Derek had almost knocked over when he’d jumped out of it to yell at his co-workers.
“We don’t even know what he looks like.” Derek reminded them. “It could practically be anyone. That means if he gets a hold of Penelope we may not even notice before it’s too late. Or we’ll spoil the whole thing because we arrested the wrong guy. This plan is STUPID!”
“We are all sure it will work.” JJ assured him.
“Shall I spell that word for you?” Derek was obviously beside himself with anger. “Which part of no didn’t you get?”
Hotch kept eyeing Penelope and ignoring Derek’s blaze of anger. Penelope looked at her hands avoiding everyone’s eyes. She obviously wasn’t sure what to think about the plan.
She could do this. She had to. As JJ had told her after she’d shot
“Maybe we should first find out more about him.” Spencer carefully stated. Although he knew Derek Morgan very well and was sure he would never hurt any of them his rage still scared him a little and he did what he could to calm him down in situations like that.
“Yeah, that sounds like a pretty good idea, genius.” Derek sarcastically replied.
She needed to do that. As Emily had said it was the only chance they had. He had simply covered his tracks much too well.
“Why don’t you use me?” Derek asked. “Tell the media that I was almost killed in a shooting or something and that I’m now in the ICU. He’ll surely come to finish what he started.”
“No, he wouldn’t.” Hotch replied. “He’s much to careful and you know that. An FBI agent who survived a bomb attempt is given police protection and he knows that. He didn’t make another attempt to kill Eliana once she was in the NICU.”
“But…” Derek was running out of arguments but he simply couldn’t let Penelope do this.
“Listen” JJ softly said. “Once this article is published we’ll replace half of the staff here with our own agents. When he hears about you having left and Penelope being alone in the psychiatric ward he will certainly think that this is the chance he’s waited for.”
“To do what?” Derek crossed his arms in front of his chest.
“We won’t let him get a hold of her!” JJ assured once again.
“Come on” Derek looked as if he was about to punch something – or someone. “You cannot be serious! Penelope is not trained for an undertaking like that.”
“I understand that you are worried about her, but I assure you that…”
“No” Derek cut Emily off. “You wouldn’t ask any other civilian to do that. Penelope is not an FBI agent. I’m rather sure that it’s against protocol. And besides, you can’t force her to be the decoy for this… sleaze.”
“Maybe we should ask Garcia if she’s willing to do that.” Hotch suggested still looking at their technical analyst.
Penelope’s head snapped up to meet Hotch’s eyes and the questioning look on his face. Then she slowly looked at Derek, at JJ, at Spencer and finally back at Hotch. “I… I don’t know.” she stuttered in a low voice. “I… guess I need some time to… think about it.”
Hotch opened his mouth to say something but was interrupted by a nurse who entered the room. “Excuse me, Agent Morgan?”
He straightened and then turned around: “Yes?”
“I’m sorry to interrupt you but one of the paramedics just called us. It seems your car is blocking the way for the ambulance. Could you park it somewhere else, please?”
“Yeah, sure.” he sighed. “Sorry, baby girl, I’ll be back in a minute.” Derek grumbled a little when he left the hospital and headed for his car. He frowned. How could his car block the way where it was parked? Moreover, where was the ambulance that was trying to pass on that street? But then he saw the no parking sign and shrugged. Maybe the ambulance had taken another route.
He fished his keys out of his pocket and unlocked the door of his car. He got in and put the key into the ignition. He was about to start the engine but hesitated. Something was wrong. His car wasn’t blocking the road not even for a larger vehicle like an ambulance. Moreover, where was said ambulance? And Derek could have sworn that the no parking sign hadn’t been there when he’d parked the car. Maybe this sleaze was trying to get him away from his family, from the hospital. He’d surely planned something.
His chest restricted at the thought of that. Penelope was probably still in their room with Hotch answering his questions. That meant Fran was alone in the NICU. It would have been so easy for him to kill their daughter after knocking his mother out or something even worse.
Derek took a deep breath. He was freaking out. His whole team was there to protect Penelope, Eliana and his mother. This sleaze wouldn’t dare touch one of them. On the other hand, they were in another room and maybe none of them would even notice if he entered the NICU. Maybe he should… Derek took another breath. Calm down, Derek Morgan! He scolded himself. They are safe! He grabbed his keys to start the engine.
Penelope was startled by the loud sound of a nearby explosion. Her whole body started shaking. “Derek.” she whispered.
“Stay here!” Hotch commanded and the four agents rushed out of the room. If it had been the stalker he might still be somewhere near.