Fandom: Criminal Minds
Prompt for 24_runes : #8 Wunjo (comfort)
Word count: 2802
Disclaimer: Neither the show nor the characters belong to me, they belong to CBS. Nonetheless, I love to borrow them from time to time.
Summary: Part 10/? of the ‘Loser Lynch’ series.warnings: spoilers for season 3
“Alright, what do we have?” Hotch asked and looked at JJ.
“Two families killed three months apart.” JJ explained. “Both in
“Are we sure we’re dealing with a serial killer and not just a copycat?” Rossi asked.
“Well, in both cases there were no signs of a forced entry so the families certainly let the attackers in.” JJ continued and pushed a button to show them the crime scene photos. “In both cases the families were stabbed with a knife from their own kitchen. First the dad, then the mother, the children were last.”
“Alright, Reid, you’ll work on the demographics, Emily and I will take a look at the victimology, see if they had anything in common. JJ, I want you to…”
Hotch was interrupted by the ringing of the phone on their conference table.
“Hotchner?” he frowned at the speaker on the table of their conference room. He didn’t like to be interrupted in the meetings but if they’d put whoever was calling through it had to be important.
“Agent Hotchner?” a woman’s voice asked. Hotch could have sworn he knew the voice from somewhere but he just couldn’t remember where he’d heard it before.
“Mrs. Morgan?” Reid jumped in, his voice showing his obvious surprise.
“What happened?” Hotch wanted to know. This certainly wasn’t a courtesy call.
“I’m sorry, I really don’t know how to prepare you for what I’m going to tell you so I’ll get straight to the point.” while Fran Morgan took a deep breath you could have heard a pin drop in the conference room as they tried to prepare themselves for whatever they would be told.
“Agent Garcia tried to commit suicide a few days ago. She cut her wrist.”
JJ gasped, Emily’s jaw dropped, Reid’s face went even paler than it naturally was and Rossi and Hotch exchanged a glance before the latter closed his eyes for a brief moment.
“Where is she now?” Rossi wanted to know.
“She’s in the hospital.” Fran told them. “She lost a lot of blood and needed transfusions. She was unconscious for almost two days. A few days after she’d regained consciousness they transferred her to a normal room. Derek stayed with her the whole time.”
“Excuse me, Mrs. Morgan” Hotch said, his voice unusually constrained, “I appreciate that you called us at all but – why didn’t you tell us earlier?!”
“To be honest, I wanted Derek to do it on his own. But he refused to, obviously.” she sighed. “I knew that eventually you’d have found out anyways and I didn’t want you to hear about all that from the hospital.”
“Thank you, Mrs. Morgan.” Rossi told her.
“Why?” JJ whispered more to herself. “That… just doesn’t sound like Garcia.”
“Well, Derek called the hospital where she did the therapy” Fran explained, “he wanted to know why they released her when she wasn’t cured. Apparently, Penelope left against their advice and she also stopped taking her medicine.”
“But why would she do that?” JJ asked again.
“She hates hospitals.” Reid replied. He remembered too well when she had been shot and wanted nothing more than to leave the hospital again.
“I’ll talk to her psychologist.” Hotch frowned. “Mrs. Morgan, I need the phone number of the hospital in
“Yes, of course.” Fran quickly replied and only a few seconds later read out the required number to him.
“Thank you, Mrs. Morgan.” Hotch said and took a deep breath. “Please, tell your son that as soon as the hospital in
Fran sighed and mumbled: “Derek’s not gonna like this.”
“I know.” Hotch nodded. “But it’s what’s necessary. Goodbye.”
“Bye.” Fran said and hung up. She sighed once more and grabbed her purse to head for the hospital. She wasn’t sure how to tell Derek what his boss had told her – after all, she was pretty sure he would shoot the messenger.
But then she reconsidered that and made a second call.
“Jennifer Jareau?” she heard the young woman’s voice on the other end of the line.
“Agent Jareau, it’s Fran Morgan again.” she said and before the other woman could ask a question or express her astonishment about the second call Fran explained: “I’m sorry to bother you but I found your phone number among Agent Garcia’s clothes when I was trying to get her everything she might need at the hospital and… well, apparently the two of you are pretty close and I have a few questions you might be able to answer – something I didn’t want to discuss in front of your boss.”
“Oh, alright.” JJ frowned. “Go ahead.”
“Thank you.” Fran took a deep breath. “You know, I noticed something between my son and Penelope and I was wondering… Well, I don’t know how to explain this. I mean, I know that Derek’s not the kind of guy who settles down with a woman and I’m honestly not interested in how many affairs he had over the years. And I really don’t want to be nosey or anything but since Derek said he loved her… Is there something going on between him and Penelope?”
“You mean if they are or have ever been an item?” JJ smiled to herself. “No. But… well, if you asked any of us we would all say that their relationship is very special. But I don’t know how to name it appropriately.”
“I see.” Fran nodded to herself and bit her lip. “Do you know if Penelope is in love with my son?”
“She loves him dearly.” JJ replied and thought about it for a moment. “I can’t tell whether she is actually IN love with him. I mean, I don’t know for sure, she never told me.”
“But you think she might be?” Fran pressed her.
JJ sighed. “I’m afraid so.” Then she bit her lip. She shouldn’t have said that! After all she was talking to Derek’s mother.
“What do you mean?” the woman wanted to know.
“Look, I’m not a profiler but… as you said Derek’s not the guy who settles down. But I know that he loves Penelope and he would do anything to protect her.”
“That much I already figured out.” Fran nodded.
“I fear I can’t tell you more.” JJ sighed. “After all I’m most definitely not qualified to judge the relationship between Penelope and your son or their feelings for each other. But I do know that Derek has a hard time trusting people but he would entrust his life to Penelope and he shares things with her he shares with nobody else.”
“I understand.” Fran replied. “Thank you, Ms. Jareau.”
“Mrs. Morgan, you don’t happen to know…” JJ interrupted herself and thought about the question for a moment. “Did Penelope tell you or Derek anything about… why she did this?”
“No” Fran replied, “I’m sorry, but Penelope hasn’t talked at all since she has woken up.”
“Not even with Derek?” the question escaped her lips before she even took the time to think about it.
“No, she hasn’t spoken at all.” Fran repeated. “Maybe Agent Hotchner is right and she should be… taken to the hospital.”
“You were right.” JJ mumbled. “Derek’s definitely not gonna like this.”
“I know.” Fran sighed. “That’s why I don’t like the idea of being the one to tell him about it.”
“Do you want me to call him instead?” JJ offered.
Fran chuckled slightly: “No, Ms. Jareau, thank you. But I know how to handle my son.”
They said goodbye and Fran hung up. She wasn’t so sure she really knew how to handle Derek at the moment, though. She’d never seen him so upset before.
When she opened the door to Penelope’s room about half an hour later she was taken aback by the sight in front of her.
“Hey.” Derek whispered and carefully freed himself from the embrace. Penelope was still sleeping and he wanted things to stay that way. So he gently pushed his mother outside and closed the door behind him.
“I’ve talked to Agent Hotchner.” Fran informed him keeping her voice low partly so she didn’t disturb anyone and partly so the nurses couldn’t overhear their conversation. “I didn’t want him to hear about all this from the hospital.”
“Thanks.” Derek grumbled. Of course, he knew that eventually he’d had to be told about what happened anyway.
“He wants to talk to the hospital here and have her transferred back to
Derek ran a hand over his head: “They’re gonna lock her up in that goddamn hospital, right? But not on my watch! I won’t let them do that to her!” he mumbled the last words more to himself than to his mother.
For a moment there was a somewhat awkward silence between them that barely occurred between Derek and his mother before she spoke again: “I think you have to make a decision.”
The thing Derek liked most about his mother was that he’d never once heard her beat around the bush, she always got straight to the point. “What do you mean?” he frowned at her.
“Penelope loves you.” she told him.
A small smile appeared on Derek’s face. “I know.” he nodded. “I love her too.”
“And are you in love with her?” Fran wanted to know.
Derek opened his mouth to tell her that this was none of her business but then bit his lip since he didn’t dare. She was still his mother after all.
“You can’t treat her like that.” she insisted. “You can’t share a bed with her and not be serious.”
“You’re a little old fashioned, don’t you think?” he mumbled and crossed his arms in front of his chest.
“No, I’m not!” Fran obviously struggled to keep her voice low. “Penelope is very vulnerable at the moment, and very responsive to wrong signals you might be sending. You need to be honest with her because she needs to know where she stands. Does she know how you feel about her?”
“I told her…” Derek started but didn’t get very far.
“Do you even know how you feel about her” Fran went on, “what kind of love you’re feeling for her? Do you love her as a friend or like you love your sisters or might there be more?”
This time Derek would have had a chance to reply something. But he honestly didn’t know what to say.
“I know that you think sex and love don’t go together. And I know that you have problems trusting people and by that I also mean letting them in.” Fran continued, her voice softer again.
“I trust Penelope.” he objected.
“I know.” Fran nodded. “I’ve noticed that she’s very special to you. I’ve never seen you act like that with any woman. But you need to figure out exactly what you’re feeling about her.”
“I…” he tried again.
“Can you imagine wanting to spend the rest of your life with her?” she didn’t even wait for him to answer. “Can you think of her as your actual girlfriend? Because then you can go back in there, climb onto her bed and hold her as long as you want. But if your interest in her is merely of a friendly nature you shouldn’t get too close to her, not now, not after what she’s been through because you’ll only break her heart.”
Derek snorted: “You don’t…”
“I know, Derek.” Fran harshly interrupted him.
“I need to go back.” was all he mumbled as he pretty much stormed back into the room.
When Penelope had woken up and found the bed next to her empty her eyes had immediately filled with new tears but she’d fought them back. She could hear muffled voices through the door and even though she couldn’t understand anything of what was being said, she clearly recognized Derek’s voice. At least he was still there.
She heard the door being opened and immediately stiffened. She didn’t dare to turn around and look at him, she just couldn’t stand that look. Okay, they hadn’t exactly spent the night together but she was sure it was enough to receive that look in the morning.
But when she heard him step nearer she couldn’t help but turn her head a little, the apprehension certainly showing on her face. Instead of the look she’d expected she received a small yet reassuring smile and wasn’t able to hold back the tears any longer.
Derek looked into her eyes and tried to smile. He knew his mother was right and he knew it was his fault that things had gotten this bad. He really should give her time and maybe back off a little – and he needed to figure out what he was feeling about her. He knew that she meant the world to him, that he loved her and needed her. But he’d never actually let his mind go this way, he’d never thought of her like that, at least not knowingly. He probably should be sure about his feelings first because the last thing he wanted was to hurt her in any way.
But when he saw a tear rolling down her cheek he didn’t care about anything anymore, he just wanted to hold her and comfort her. So he climbed back on the bed and caught her in his arms pulling her as close as possible. Maybe it didn’t matter what kind of love he was feeling for her as long as he was there and gave her all the love he could give.
Fran sighed and closed the door behind her.
“You know, I called the hospital back in
Penelope didn’t answer.
“Baby, why did you break off that therapy?” he softly asked.
He felt her shrug but still she refused to answer his question.
“Why did you do this?”
She shrugged again: “When your mother told me all those stories about you and your sisters, I realized that I will never be able to tell such stories to anyone. I will never have children. This was my only chance to have a child and… and Kevin took it away from me.”
Derek opened his mouth to object but wasn’t sure he really should. Finally she was talking to him and he didn’t want to say anything that might make her stop.
“I thought he loved
Derek reached for her hand, intertwining his fingers with hers, and then raised her hand to his lips and placed a gentle kiss on its back before placing it onto his chest, over his heart, and squeezing it softly.
“He did love you. He was just sick. I don’t even think it was his actual intention to hurt you. I mean, he did and I absolutely don’t want to condone what he did to you but he is really sick. And what he did he didn’t do because he wanted to do you harm but because he wanted to keep you with him. And he didn’t want to share you.”
“I really don’t want to talk about Kevin right now.” Penelope whispered. “Besides it doesn’t make it better.”
“I know” Derek sighed, “I just wished I knew what could.”
“You were right about him.” she replied. “Why can’t you just leave it at that?”
Derek didn’t know what to reply to that. He so desperately wished that he’d been wrong about Lynch. No, actually he wished that his baby girl had never met this guy. If only he could turn back time and undo everything this sleaze had done to her.
“Baby girl” he finally whispered, “you know that I love you and that I’m not gonna leave you alone, no matter what. You won’t have to go through that alone. I’ll be right here.”
“Yeah, I know.” she replied. But somehow Derek had the impression that even his reassurance didn’t make it any better for her. If only he knew what to do or to say to comfort her and take all that pain away. But he was lost.Penelope had wanted to die and Derek wasn’t sure anymore that she wouldn’t try again. That was one of the reasons he refused to leave her side. He would do anything to protect her – even if he had to protect her from herself.