Fandom: Criminal Minds
Prompt for 10iloveyou: #3 Days
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 8/10 of the
AN: Once again thank you, all of you! For always hanging in there with me, for not complaining when my life is so crazy I just can’t post anything for weeks, for all your support, and, of course, for all the wonderful reviews I received, and for putting my stories on your favorite- and/or alert-lists.
Also, I big thanks to my wonderful beta-reader! She’s always faster with beta-reading than I’ll ever be with writing. ;)
Now, this chapter is a little more focused on the case that led Derek back to
After Penelope had found out the email address, they had studied all the messages Buford and the UNSUB had exchanged. Unfortunately, the UNSUB turned out to be pretty good with computers as well. It was hard to track him down from only his email address.
Unfortunately, before Penelope was able to track him down, he had abducted another child. They were running out of time, and the operation was more risky, knowing that the UNSUB had a potential hostage with him.
“Come on, give me something I can work with!” Penelope begged her computer. They needed a miracle if they wanted to save the child. It had been three days since the boy had been abducted – meaning, there weren’t more than two days left for them to find him.
She almost jumped, when the door to her temporary office opened and Derek stepped in.
“Sorry, I… I didn’t want to scare you.” With a soft peck on her cheek, he placed a cup of frappuccino in front of her.
“Aw, thank you,” she sighed. “You just saved my day, my hero.”
“How’s it going?” he carefully asked.
Penelope sighed and tiredly wiped her eyes. “Bad, to say the least. This boy is dying because of me, and I just can’t seem to find a single clue.”
“That’s not true.” Derek spun her chair around so that she was facing him. “You’re the best. You can track someone down who threw garbage into your can.”
“Yeah, but that would be easy, because I would at least know what he’d been eating or drinking or using for whatever.” Penelope sighed again. “But this guy… I need more than just his email address. I… I need something to work with.”
“What about the password he used?” Derek wanted to know.
“It’s toy store.” Penelope sighed again. “But we already knew that was where he abducted the boys from. It’s not helpful. I already tried the list of employees of the shop, but there’s only one employee, and she’s a 46-year-old woman, no husband, no kids, no pets, no nothing. Whatever I come up with is just another dead end.”
“But didn’t he have to leave his name and address when he signed up for the email account?”
“Yeah, but that was a fake ID. It’s another dead end. I’m sorry.” Penelope’s shoulders sank a little. “I tried to track down his IP address, but it led me somewhere to North-East-Asia, Mid-Africa, and
“No one’s too good for you, you know that.” Derek smiled at her.
“I’m afraid he is.” Penelope turned back to her computer. “I’m running out of ideas on how to catch this guy.”
“That fits into the profile,” Derek mumbled. “He approaches the boys in public and manages to escape with them unnoticed. He’s pretty smart, and he’s confident enough to abduct children from crowded places.”
“And he’s definitely computer literate,” Penelope sighed. “Add that to the profile.”
“Don’t worry, we’ll find him.” Derek pressed a kiss on her soft hair, inhaling the sweet scent deeply. “I’ll accompany Detective Johnson on patrol, see if we can find someone near the mall who acts bizarrely. I love you, Baby Girl.”
“I love you, too.” She smiled up at him, but couldn’t keep herself from wondering if he would still love her when she didn’t track the UNSUB down in time. Sighing, she turned back to her computers.
“Any lead?” Johnson asked as Derek left the room.
“None so far.” Derek sighed. “Obviously, this guy knows a lot about how to cover his tracks. Let’s hope we find something at the mall.”
“Didn’t you say she was the best?” Johnson frowned.
“She is, trust me,” Derek grumbled. “She’ll find him. He’s just good, so she needs more time.”
“Yeah, but time is what we don’t have, right?” Johnson pointed out.
“If you think you can do better, why don’t you go in there and track him down from only an email address with a fake ID and an IP address being redirected throughout the whole damn world?!” Derek ranted.
“Whoa, hey, I’m sorry, okay?” Johnson grinned at Derek, raising his hands defensively. “I didn’t know.”
“You didn’t know what?” Derek snarled.
Johnson chuckled. “That you and she were involved.”
Derek opened his mouth to put the younger police officer in his place, but the ringing of his cell phone kept him from doing so. “Talk to me, goddess!” Derek answered the call, putting her on speaker and ignoring Johnson’s knowing look.
“We’re on our way.” Derek turned the large SUV and drove off in the opposite direction.
“How did you get that address so fast?” Johnson wanted to know.
“Well, after I finally realized that if he can escape with the little boys unnoticed, even with all the police around and everyone watching out for their children so much, he certainly looks like someone you would trust, someone who seems to belong there. Also, if he’s this skilled with computers, he is certainly a computer science student. I just had to cross check the list of employees with the very short list of computer science students in
“Now, it was a little harder for me to find him, because he quit his studies a while ago, but he still works at the mall,” she added.
“How’s that possible?” Johnson frowned. “We interviewed every employee there and came up empty. I don’t even remember someone named Mason.”
“Because he’s not on the regular list,” Penelope replied. “He works as a clown, Santa Claus, whatever they need to get parents come to the mall with their children. It’s a popular job, especially for students, and the profile said he was in his mid-twenties, so I thought it might be one of them. The mall has five people on that list; they call them ‘temporary equipment.’ Nice term. Anyway, there’s only one of the students working in the mall who studied computer science. He’s your guy.”
“Thanks, Baby Girl.” Derek gave Johnson a triumphant grin. “I knew you would find him.”
“Always at your service, Hot Stuff.” He could almost hear the wide grin on her face. “Kwaheri. That’s Swahili for goodbye.”
“Wait!” Johnson’s interjection kept Penelope from hanging up. “We’ll need some…”
“Backup?” she interrupted him. “It’s on its way and should arrive within the next five minutes. I also sent for a psychologist, in case the boy needs one, and his parents. Anything else?”
Johnson just stared, open-mouthed, at the phone.“No, you thought about everything,” Derek replied. “Bye, girl.” He hung up and grinned at Johnson. “I told you, she was the best.”