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Twelve hours - part 9

Title: Twelve hours

Pairing: Morgan/Garcia friendship

Rating: PG-13 – just to be sure

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

Summary: They have a suspect, they have an address - but they don't have any more time.

warnings: none

Please read and review!

Half an hour had past before they finally reached Deputy Miller’s house. Derek didn’t wait for Hotch and Emily. He didn’t wait for the police units either. He jumped out of the SUV, pulled his gun out of the holster and kicked in the front door without hesitation, without a single warning.

Deputy Miller was sitting in front of his laptop and almost jumped out of the seat when his front door was kicked in. He stared at the tall, muscly FBI agent and reached out for his own gun next to his computer.

“Don’t even think about it.” Derek hissed and stepped towards him. “Where is she?” he took Deputy Miller’s gun and pointed his own one right between the man’s eyes. “Where is Penelope?”

He smiled triumphantly and glanced at his watch. “Twelve hours and thirty-seven minutes so far. She is running out of time… or out of air that is.” Miller slowly turned to his computer and pressed one of the keys. The black screen changed revealing what he’d been looking at before they arrived.

Derek froze when he saw her image on the screen. She was sitting in the small metal bunker, her head leaned back against the wall, her eyes closed, her mouth slightly opened. She was sweating and suddenly coughing. Derek sighed with relief, she was still alive.

“But I must admit, I’m impressed. None of my guests had ever managed to stay that calm and survive that long. But anyway I don’t think you’ll make it in time. She is obviously running out of oxygen in there. I think in about ten minutes she will loose her conscious and then after another…” he was interrupted in the middle of his sentence when Derek’s fist hit his face. The force of that punch tossed him out of his chair and he landed hard on the floor.

Derek grabbed him, pulled him to his feet and threw him against the wall. Bracing his forearm against his throat he shouted at him: “Where did you bury her? Answer me!”

“Derek!” JJ shouted at him. She and Spencer had stayed in the doorway, their guns pointing at Deputy Miller, just in case.

He didn’t answer, didn’t even turn to look at them. He punched Miller again, even harder this time. Miller’s head flew back against the wall and his lip burst open. Blood ran down over his chin. “Where is she?” Derek shouted again and raised his fist to hit him again.

“Agent Morgan!” Hotch’s voice stopped him. “Let go of this man.”

Derek’s hand sank a little but he still didn’t turn to the floor. “I’ll beat the shit out of that bastard!” he hissed and raised his fist again.

“Let go of him!” Hotch shouted.

Derek stared at Miller for another minute and then finally let him go. He was beside himself with anger and desperately wanted to beat this bastard until he forgot his own name.

Sheriff Logan arrested Miller and led him to the patrol car.

Derek sat down in front of the computer and moved the cursor. Nothing happened. “Damn” he whispered. “Pen would know what to do now.”

“Maybe I can help.” he heard a voice coming from the door. He turned and looked at Dayana who was raising her brows in a questioning look. “I don’t know much about computers but… at least a little.” she shrugged.

Derek looked at the screen. Penelope was coughing again. He sighed and got up leaving the seat for Dayana.

The young woman’s fingertips flew across the keyboard and she frowned slightly. The screen changed and she was scanning some files briefly. “That sounds interesting.” she murmured.

“What?” Derek wanted to know and looked over her shoulder.

“This folder’s named ‘semper mea’.” she explained pointing at the screen.

“What’s interesting about it?” Derek frowned. “What does that mean?”

“It’s Latin and means something like ‘forever mine’.” Spencer replied.

Dayana opened the folder and her blood ran cold. There where dozens of audio files in there all named after one of the victims.

“Open that one!” Derek commanded and pointed at a file named ‘Penelope’.

She nodded and did as Derek had told her.

“I know that you can hear me.” the familiar voice said. “And I know what you want from me. But I’m not giving it to you. I know that my team will find me, they’ll come and save me. And until then I’ll save as much oxygen as I can. So I won’t cry, I won’t scream and I won’t talk anymore. You like my voice? Well, then remember it well because this is the last thing you are going to hear from me.”

Derek drew in a shaking breath feeling worried, terrified – and proud. She was so strong. Her voice hadn’t shown the least fear or concern, just certainty.

“Um… I guess that’s how he communicates with them.” Dayana said and handed him a headset.

Derek put it on immediately. “Penelope” he asked softly. “Do you hear me?”

“Derek?” the familiar voice replied.

“Yeah, I’m here, baby girl.” he was relieved to hear her voice. “We’re in the unsub’s house. You can’t be far from here. We’ll find you… soon.”

Hotch stepped behind Dayana and asked: “Can you trace the signal of the camera or that of the microphone?”

“I’ll try it.” she said, her fingers once again flying over the keyboard.

“Derek, I’m so sorry.” Penelope whispered. “I never wanted us to fight… we were so close and… I didn’t want to fall out with you.”

“Save your breath, doll face.” he said in a low voice. “You can tell me all this after we found you.”

“Will you… stay with me… on the phone I mean?” she asked.

“Of course, sugar.” he answered.

“Good.” she drew in a deep breath and coughed again. “I just… don’t want to be alone when I…”

“Don’t talk like that.” he interrupted her in shock. “You won’t die. We’ll find you!”

“Not in time.” she replied calmly. “The air in here isn’t enough for more than another fifteen or twenty minutes. You’re not going to make it fast enough. I’m going to die, I know that – and you know it, too.”

Derek let his head fall down and fought against the tears that wanted to spring to his eyes. She was wrong, she had to be! Derek was not willing to believe that!

“It’s okay.” she said softly when he didn’t answer. “I know you did your best.”

“No, it’s not okay.” he almost shouted at her. “Listen to me now, Penelope! I am not willing to give up – and you shouldn’t be either.”

“I don’t want to give up.” she answered, her voice still calm and low. “But there’s nothing we can do anymore. Just… promise me to come to my funeral, will you?”

“No” he replied brusquely. “No, I won’t. Because you definitely do not have any permission to die, do you understand me?! We will find you – and you will live!”

“Okay, the bad news: I’m not able to locate one of the signals.” Dayana said.

Hotch sighed dispirited. “Any good news?” he asked.

“Well, kind of.” she shrugged. “He doesn’t use a satellite to communicate with her. That means she’s somewhere in the vicinity of three hundred miles.”

“That’s too much to search within fifteen minutes.” Spencer claimed and looked down the next second. That had not been helpful.

Dayana turned to Derek and commanded: “Ask her what she can see in front of that bull’s eye! Maybe that’ll give us any clue.”

“It’s damp and loamy.” Penelope answered. “And the earth is somehow… yellow.”

Derek repeated what Penelope told him and Dayana frowned.

Lara leaned over and pressed some keys on the keyboard. “She’s somewhere in this area.” she pointed at the screen which now showed a map. A red square depicting the area.

Dayana raised her eyebrows and added: “That’s a field of nine square-miles.”

“How do you know she’s there?” Hotch asked.

“This area once was used for arable farming, not very successfully. They tried almost everything to make the soil here utilizable for agriculture. This was somehow an area for experiments. They tried all kinds of fertilizers they knew at that time and on a particular field they tried a special sort of soil they’d imported from China. It was said to be very rich of nutrients and therefore convenient for agriculture.” Lara explained.

“Wow” Emily said. “now I know why you stand so well with Reid.”

“Well, I” she blushed slightly and awkwardly cleared her throat. “I studied history.”

“Lucky us!” Hotch gave her a smile.

“Baby girl, we’re on our way.” Derek said into the headset. “We know where you are. Hang in there just a few more minutes! We’re on our way.”

They ran out of the house, ordered the other policemen as well as Derek’s mother and sisters to follow them. Dayana had printed the map so that they knew where to start.

“Okay, it’s a field of nine square-miles.” Hotch explained. “That means three miles due North and three miles due East from this point. Look for loose earth, everything that looks as if it has been dug over recently!”

“Penelope, we’ll find you in a few minutes.” Derek softly said while everyone started to search the area carefully so that they won’t miss something in the dense undergrowth that now covered the former fields. Due to the fact it was after midnight it was so dark they could hardly see their hands before their eyes.

“I’m… so tired.” she said.

“You have to stay awake.” he begged her. “Please, goddess, just a few minutes.”

“I’m so sorry, Derek.” her voice almost wasn’t audible.

“Penelope, don’t… don’t fall asleep!” he shouted.

She didn’t answer.

“Please, baby girl, talk to me!” he unsuccessfully tried to keep the worry out of his his voice.

She remained silent.

The next minutes seemed like hours for him until he finally heard one of the policemen shout: “Over here!” He ran as fast as he could and immediately leapt at the point where the undergrowth was brushed aside.

He was digging in the loamy, dirty ground with both his hands as fast as he could. Penelope had passed out only a few minutes before they had found the possible… grave. Minutes! She didn’t even have a goddamn second!

Hotch and Logan were running to him, each one a spade in his hands digging as fast as they could while Derek kept doing the same with bare hands until they finally scraped over the metallic surface. He hurried to brush the dirt away and ripped the door open. He got in, pulled her out, laid her lifeless body on the ground all in what seemed to be one single movement. He checked her breath. Gone. Checked her pulse. Gone. Immediately Derek started CPR, pumping the blood through her body, pressing life into her lungs. It seemed like an eternity, he didn’t want to give up, couldn’t let her go even if he wanted to. There was still some life in her, he knew that. She wouldn’t give up that easily. And he wouldn’t either.

Everyone was standing around them, watching the scene. JJ was shaking, slightly pacing back and forth. Lara held Spencer’s hand.

“Derek” Hotch said softly. “it’s… over. We did our best but… it’s too late.”

“No, it’s not!” he objected and continued CPR.

“Derek, let her go!” Hotch whispered.