Title: Threat – Part 1
Fandom: Criminal Minds
Prompt for 30_forbidden: #11 Forget
Rating: T (just to be sure)
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: The heat now isn’t Derek’s only problem.
AN: I know, it’s been a ridiculously long time again. I planned on writing a nice Christmas story, but once again life got in the way, so I simply didn’t find the time to write anything. To be honest, I didn’t even find the time to post this story. Thanks again to my wonderful beta-reader Jenny!
What can I say?! I will never understand why some people have fun destroying the life of others – or simply destroying other people. It’s amazing how many psychopaths really are out there like the one described in the episode “25 to life”.
But, somehow, I managed to get through all this more or less unscathed. So, now here I am and hopefully, I’ll have more time to write in the future.
Thanks once more for hanging in there with me. Thanks for all the encouraging reviews I always receive. You helped me get through the hardest two and a half years of my life.
Now, I hope you enjoy this chapter. I thought it was time to shake things up a little. ;)
Derek breathed deeply and ran a hand over his face. Penelope hadn’t been able to find much on the unsub’s computers. This guy was simply too good, even for her. Hotch was worried about her, which meant that Derek hadn’t left Penelope’s side in a very long time. Not that he minded. He wanted to be with her – but then, he also wanted to avoid her. He’d never felt so peculiar about anyone.
He felt good when he was near her – much too good. He knew it was wrong. That was why his head told him to stay away from her. Alas, the whole rest of him kept staying close to her. He loved their banter much more than was good for him. He loved to hear her voice, her laughter.
The events of the previous day were still very present on his mind. He’d always been easy and good with women. He’d never had any problems flirting with them. Why was everything so different with Penelope?
Why did he have to feel this way about her in the first place?! She was with someone else, and it wasn’t like he’d have to look very long for somebody else, either. The problem was… he didn’t want anyone else. He wanted her, and that scared him.
He had learned the hard way that true love and physical attraction didn’t go together. He had never loved a woman AND felt physically attracted to her. It was either one or the other, but never both – until now. Now, Penelope was like a magnet to him. She was the lantern, and he was the moth. Even though he knew that he’d burn himself, he couldn’t stay away from her.
He heard the door being pushed open and quickly put the photograph away.
“Anything?” he asked when he saw Penelope stepping through the door.
“Nada,” she replied resignedly. “He’s better than I thought. Deleted all his files, and there’s just no way of bringing them back, not even with the help of my baby with all its nice programs.”
Derek swore silently. Things had just gotten worse. They were stuck here for the unforeseeable future. This sicko just always was one step ahead of them.
“Shower and bed for me,” Penelope told him. “I really need to rest.”
He couldn’t help himself; this was too easy. “Does that mean I’m not invited?” Derek teased, before he even had time to mind what he was about to say.
“Hot Stuff, you wouldn’t be able to keep up with me, even if I’m in my worst condition,” she giggled.
Derek smiled lecherously at her. “You wanna try me?”
Stop it, Derek, don’t do this!
“Oh, be still my heart!” Penelope theatrically put a hand to her chest, before she sashayed out of the room.
Derek’s smile turned into a frown as he recalled what Hotch had told him while Penelope had been trying to crack the unsub’s computer.
“Did you tell her?” Rossi asked.
Derek shook his head. “I didn’t want her to… I don’t know. Do you think I should tell her?”
“You know her better than any of us.” Rossi shrugged and sat down next to Derek. “How do you think she’ll react?”
“She’ll continue working to find this guy as fast as possible,” Derek replied. Sighing, he handed the picture to Rossi and added, “But internally, she’ll freak out.”
“She’s not trained for situations like this.” Rossi stood up to pour himself and Derek a drink.
Yeah, that’s because she shouldn’t GET in a situation like this, Derek thought. If only he could convince Hotch to send her back to
“We’re all worried about her, Derek,” Hotch told him as if he’d read his mind.
“I know,” he grumbled.
Hotch and Rossi exchanged a knowing look.
Sighing once again, Derek got up. “I’m gonna tell her.” If he was in her situation, he would at least want to know about it.
None of the other two men held him back as Derek stomped out of the room.
He hesitated, reconsidered his decision – then reconsidered the decision to reconsider it. Finally, he knocked.
It took almost a minute, before Penelope opened, dressed in her pajamas. Neither of them minded; he’d seen her in them before.
“What’s wrong?” Penelope frowned. “You look like someone got shot.”
“Can I come in?” Derek asked, without answering her question. “I… There’s something I need to tell you.”
“Okay… Someone got shot, right?” She stepped aside so that Derek could enter.
“No,” he assured her. “We just… got a warning.”
“Warning?” She sat down on the couch in her room. “What kind of warning?”
Derek fished the picture out of his pocket and handed it to her.
Penelope took the picture and stared at it in shock. It was her, sitting in front of a computer. She turned the picture around, to find the handwritten message:
Stop chasing me!
“We believe he hacked your computer, and this is the proof,” Derek explained.
Penelope frowned and studied the picture again. “He didn’t hack my computer,” she told him. Moving closer, she pointed at the background of the picture. “This is his hiding place. He certainly didn’t even need to hack the computer to take this picture of me.”
Derek frowned. He hadn’t even noticed that it wasn’t Penelope’s office where the picture had been taken.
God, and it just became harder to concentrate with her so close to him. He could feel the heat radiating from her body, smell her perfume…
Derek cleared his throat. “So he’s been watching us the whole time.”
“But only in his place.” Penelope thought about it some more. “Maybe he isn’t as good with computers as I thought he was.”
“What do you mean?” Derek asked, frowning at her.
“Well, he hasn’t tried to hack my computers so far.” Penelope chewed on her lower lip as she thought about the unsub.
“You would have noticed if he had,” Derek stated.
It was getting harder to concentrate with her so close to him. Suddenly, the memories of the previous night came back, and Derek felt uncomfortable – ashamed, even. Of course, Penelope couldn’t know what he had done while thinking about her, but still…
“I won’t stop chasing him,” Penelope mumbled more to herself than to Derek.
“I know.” He nodded, and then took a deep breath. That was exactly why he was worried about her – and about himself. The fact that his Baby Girl was threatened by the unsub meant that Hotch would make Derek watch over her. God, was he in trouble!
“Hey…” She grinned at him and nudged him with her shoulder. “There’s nothing to worry about. I’ve got you to protect me, remember?”
“Yeah…” He tried to give her a smile. That’s exactly what I worry about.
“Okay, so, if he tries to threaten me, it means he sees me as a threat, right?” Penelope frowned. Maybe she had already found a lead without knowing it.
“Certainly, but it also means you’re in danger. We have to be careful. From now on, you won’t go anywhere alone.” Derek locked eyes with her to make her understand how serious he was.
“It scares me when you talk like that,” Penelope whispered.
Carefully, Derek stroked her cheek. “I’m worried about you,” he replied honestly. “I didn’t mean to scare you, but we really have to be careful.”
She nodded and rubbed her upper arms.
“You’re safe in here,” Derek assured her. “You got six armed FBI agents to protect you, after all.”
“Yeah, well, I still don’t really believe in guns, you know.” Penelope rubbed her arms again.
“Hey, Baby Girl…” Derek made her look at him again. “I won’t let anything happen to you, ever.”
“I know that.” She tried her best to give him a smile. “I’m just not used to situations like this.”
Derek nodded in understanding, but didn’t say anything in return.
God, she was so beautiful. She seemed to look more beautiful when she was afraid. If only she’d let him kiss all her fears away. Maybe he should stay with her for the night to make sure she was all right.
Yeah, so she needs to be protected from you and your approaches.
“Try to get some sleep now.” Derek almost jumped up from the couch, hoping she didn’t notice. “Call me if you need anything.”
“Um… sure,” Penelope agreed, watching him leave.
Derek closed the door behind him, took a deep breath, and headed for his room. He really needed to get these thoughts about a particular technical analyst out of his head. He couldn’t even spend a single minute in one room with her anymore. That wasn’t normal.
He hadn’t even closed the door to his room, when he suddenly heard Penelope scream.