little_profiler (little_profiler) wrote,

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Title: Inquiry

Fandom: Criminal Minds

Pairing: Morgan/Garcia

Prompt for 30_sweets: #20 Do you mind…

Rating: K

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 13/? of the ‘No more sweets’-series.
warnings: none

“So, you and Garcia, huh?”

Derek had almost made an emergency stop at hearing those words from the man next to him. How could he know? Okay, they’d arrived at the airport together, but that was really no big deal, was it?

Maybe it was just good guessing. Rossi seemed to do that a lot. He couldn’t possibly know anything. He was certainly just trying to sound as if he already knew to make Derek talk.

Instead, he cleared his throat. “What about me and Garcia?” he asked in the most neutral tone he could manage while speaking about her.

His heart started beating faster, though. He wasn’t entirely sure why Rossi had addressed the matter at all – most of all, with Hotch sitting in the back seat. Glancing into the rearview mirror, Derek could have sworn he saw a grin flashing over his boss’ face. Was that why they’d gone with him and sent Reid and Emily to the other dumping site? To grill him about whatever they thought they had noticed between Garcia and him?

Damn, they should have talked about whether or not they wanted to tell the team, but Derek had been too busy worrying about Penelope’s reactions to this case. She was feeling too much for the victims not to let this get to her. And this one was nasty.

“Well, she was with you when I called,” Hotch piped up in the backseat. “That was why you told me I didn’t have to call her – and that was why you arrived together at the airport.”

“So?” Derek asked with a nonchalant shrug. “She was with me, and we were watching movies. What’s so unusual about that?”

“Nothing,” Rossi answered with a grin. “It was more about how you two were watching one another, I guess.”

“Or that you were holding hands during the flight, after the briefing,” Hotch added from the back seat.

Derek sighed. “Penelope was upset because of the pictures, our detailed description of the body parts, and which tools were used to dissect the victims. I was just trying to comfort her.”

He wasn’t even telling a lie. Of course, a lot had changed between them. But what the two men were referring to had certainly been the most natural behavior between them that day. They had flirted shamelessly. He had even stolen a kiss from her. But him holding her hand to comfort her really wasn’t any sign that something had changed between them.

“Also, I didn’t stare at Penelope,” Derek added with a slight grumble.

And the two of you were kissing while you were fighting over the bag of sweets you’d brought on the plane,” Hotch added. “You just didn’t think anyone had noticed.”

Derek remained silent. He was sure no one had seen them when he’d stolen the kiss from her – he had made sure of that – and it had been before they had fought about the sweets. Hotch and Rossi were just trying to draw him out.

“And you’re using her first name,” Rossi noted with a smirk. “That’s new.”

“Yeah, usually you call her Garcia, not Penelope,” Hotch agreed.

“You know, I’m beginning to realize why Penelope hates profilers,” Derek grumbled.

“You know you’re violating the frat rules, right?” Hotch told him in his best boss-manner.

This time, Derek brought the car to a halt. Turning to his boss in the back seat, he said, “What do you want me to do, huh? Admit that Penelope and I are an item? Okay, yes, we are. I love her, and I told her so, and we spent a wonderful day together.

“To be quite honest, I really don’t care about any frat rules. This is much too good to abandon it because of something as stupid as that. So, if you’re trying to tell me that one of us has to leave the unit for us to be allowed to be together, I’ll hand in my resignation tomorrow.”

“Actually, we were just trying to get you to talk,” Rossi told him with a shrug. “We weren’t entirely sure whether or not you’d finally made a move on her.”

“Finally?” Derek raised an eyebrow at the older man.

“Yeah,” Rossi replied, smirking over his shoulder at Hotch. “We both noted the change in your behavior, but we’ve been mistaken about that before, so…”

Derek frowned at him. “What do you mean, you’ve been mistaken before?”

Smirking once more, Rossi replied, “Well, we thought you two had finally made a move after the ordeal with Battle.”

Derek clenched his jaws, but didn’t want to go that way. He didn’t want to talk about Battle, so he decided to take the bull by the horns. “Okay, yes, I… I asked Penelope to go with me to my sister’s wedding. I finally told her how much she means to me, and we spent a wonderful day together. She met my family yesterday; that’s why she was with me.”

Taking a deep breath, Derek said, “So, do I have to look for a new job?”

Hotch and Rossi exchanged a look, before the former said, “You’re not working in the field together – at least, not usually. Besides, it’s impossible for your relationship to affect your work any more than it has so far. So, I don’t see a problem.”

Derek let out the breath he hadn’t even realized he had been holding. If Hotch and Rossi hadn’t approved their relationship… But what would Penelope say to the fact that he’d told their boss – and someone who very well could have been their boss – without having talked to her about that beforehand?

“What about Strauss?” he finally asked. He was sure she wouldn’t approve.

Rossi just smirked at that. “Let me worry about her.”

“Now that we’ve laid it on the line, would you mind driving on?” Hotch asked from the back seat.

Derek mumbled an apology and did as he was told.

Only a second later, Rossi’s cell phone rang. The talk was very short, but from the tension in Rossi’s voice, Derek could tell what it had been about. Penelope had found something – and whatever it was, it wasn’t good.

“Apparently, the UNSUB has uploaded a video into the police database,” Rossi told his colleagues. “Seems like the coroner was right. The victims were still alive while they were tortured – and he didn’t even find half of the injuries that had been caused before their deaths.”

Derek ran a hand over his head. Penelope had, had to watch these scenes, and he hadn’t even been there to help her deal with it. He shouldn’t have agreed to drive to the crime scenes while JJ stayed with her. He remembered very well how hard it had been for her to watch the videos of women being raped and tortured – and this was even worse.

He turned the car around without being told, heading back to the police station.

“That changes our profile,” Rossi said, taking out his notebook. “According to Garcia, the video was most likely the source of the virus. So, he uploaded the video into the police database, and then crashed the system so that all data got lost. Why?”

“Maybe he’s playing games,” Derek suggested. “He wanted us to find the video so we would know exactly what he’d done to his victims.”

“But could he be sure there would be someone who’d be able to restore the data?” Rossi asked. “The local police hadn’t been able to do it.”

“Uploading the video into the database and not assuming that anyone would ever find it doesn’t make any sense,” Hotch jumped in. “Why would he do that, if he really didn’t want anyone to find it?”

“Okay, so, the question is, why did he want us to find it, and if he wanted the video to be seen, why did he hide it in the police database, instead of posting it somewhere?” Rossi mumbled more to himself. “We thought he sent the virus to destroy data.”

“Seems like he’s sure we can’t catch him, not even with the video,” Hotch added. “Maybe Garcia can try and filter some background noises or something.”

Derek clenched his hands around the steering wheel. If the guy had really taped everything he had done to his victims, it would be horrible for Penelope.

Maybe they should consider bringing in another technical analyst – even though Derek was sure Penelope wouldn’t want that. She wanted to help catch the UNSUB, but this might be more than she was able to handle.

“He chose his victims at random,” Hotch started with the profile. “They had nothing in common, except that they were all women between the age of twenty and forty. But they all had different hair colors, a different relationship status; he even crossed race lines, which is very unlikely for a serial killer.”

“He’s very confident,” Rossi added. “Choosing the victims at random certainly means he doesn’t use his time to stalk them and find out about their daily routines. He sees them and strikes – sometimes even at broad daylight.”

“That goes with the fact that he uploaded this video right into the police database,” Derek jumped in. “It’s like he’s mocking us, sure that we’ll never be able to find him.”

“He’s arrogant, and he is ruthless,” Hotch agreed. “There will be another victim soon, if we can’t stop him. And even though I can’t imagine what other torturing methods he might think of, I have a feeling that we haven’t even seen half of what he’s capable of.”

Derek clenched his teeth so much, they were starting to hurt. This wasn’t going to end well, and he wasn’t sure they were going to get out of this unscathed. He knew how much Penelope suffered during cases like this.

It wasn’t that they left him or any of them unaffected, but she suffered the most, he knew that. Or maybe she just was the only one of them who wasn’t afraid to admit it. This was going to be bad – and if the UNSUB was as good with computers as he appeared to be, it might even get worse.

No, it wasn’t going to get that far. He wouldn’t let it. He wouldn’t let this UNSUB haunt his Baby Girl’s dreams. He would try to lighten up her day as much as he could – just like she always did for him. And if this case was getting to her too much, he would make sure she took a break.


Tags: 30_sweets_challenge, morgan/garcia, story_no_more_sweets
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