JJ stared down at the photograph in her hands as tear drops fell in heavy waves. In the photo was a moment of her, Garcia and Emily on a shopping date that was few and far between. They had managed to get their attractive waiter to take a photo of their limited encounter. Each woman possessed their own style and attitude. Yet, Emily and JJ each found a maternal and sisterly bond within their technical analyst.
JJ didn't wipe away her tears as the realization that both Emily and Penelope were robbed from their lives by means of deceit. Neither woman was dead, yet neither were in their lives due to the dangers of their work.
She could recall the long fights she had with Will as she considered returning to her BAU family and leaving the Pentagon. Will had become comfortable with the normalcy and safety of her job, which had driven JJ mad. He pleaded for her to stay and give him a good reason for her return to the FBI to come a profiler.
Her only reason was that the BAU was her home and family.
That was the only answer she needed.
Yet, as she stared down at the photograph in her hand, now covered in her salty tears, JJ feared that she made a terrible mistake.
"Oh, you're here."
JJ looked up and saw Spencer standing awkwardly in the doorway. He took Aaron's advise and dressed differently in order to confuse the UNSUB. He stood in a navy blue college sweatshirt and jeans. JJ was the only woman alive who knew of his collection of college sweatshirts he would purchase after he spoke at different schools. With his scruff and stances, JJ could see how any woman would fall for him.
Spencer's gaze turned from surprised to concerned as he quickly moved toward her and wiped at her tears. "What is it?" he asked.
"What if she never comes home?" JJ asked sadly.
Taking a moment to gather his thoughts, Spencer began with saying, "Statistically, the number of people who go into hiding..."
"Spencer," JJ interrupted, placing a halting hand upon his chest in a movement that surprised both of them. Instead of moving her hand, however, she gripped his hand in hers. "Reid, I don't want statistics. I want to know what we are going to do if we never get to see her again."
Spencer tightened his hold on her hand and only responded saying, "She is coming back."
She shook her head in disbelief and began questioning him. "Spence..."
"Penelope will come home."
The seriousness in his voice triggered her burning tears to fall. Spencer held the picture of the women in his life tightly as he held his crying friend in his arms. His heart was still broken at thoughts of Emily's death. Now that Seaver was dead and Penelope had disappeared, Spencer wondered if he would ever truly let a woman into his heart and life. He feared of what would happen if he let them into his life and heart.
As he stared down at the photo of JJ, Penelope and Emily, Spencer didn't fight his own rebellious tears that fell along with the blonde in his arms.
EWLYH - EWLYH - EWLYH - EWLYH - EWLYH - EWLYH - EWLYH - EWLYH -EWLYH - EWLYH - EWLYH - EWLYH - EWLYH - EWLYH - EWLYH - EWLYH -EWLYH -
Penelope felt her heart stop as she watched the man she adored stiffen in tension and anxiety. She was foolish to return and endanger him. Noting the several occasions her super heroes dealt with stalkers, Penelope kept away from windows and doorways. Instead, she clothed herself and kept in the shadows, trying to take in the seriousness of their situation.
She knew her return was risky. However, she couldn't get the images of Ashley's brutal murder from her mind. Her killer was so ferocious and unforgiving. It made Penelope ill as she realized that Seaver's death was on her hands. She shivered as images of Kevin's slit throat entered her mind. Her running and hiding from the UNSUB angered him to the point of murder.
Penelope glanced at Derek as he gripped the fireplace firmly. He used affirming and quick diction to end his conversation faster, however, she could tell there was a lot of information to process. She wondered if he resented her for the danger she put their family through. That thought alone caused bile to rise up her esophagus.
Derek listened to Hotch's instructions over the line while observing his Goddess from their safe distance. Moments ago, they had been trapped in a heated and animalistic release of control and power. Yet, it all disappear with the ringing of a phone, and fear dominated their surroundings. His heart broke as he took in her broken demeanor. He wanted nothing more than to hold her tight and relish in her ivory form. However, his hunger for this mad man became Derek's priority as Hotch provided the descriptions over the line.
As he ended his conversation, he turned and faced his Goddess with seriousness consuming his gaze. Penelope fiddled with her fingers while keeping her head downward, almost afraid of his visual appraisal.
Stepping toward her, he took a seat upon their bed and brought one of her hands to his lips. Placing a kiss upon their joined hands, he inhaled her feminine scent and her presence. Looking up into her timid eyes, he whispered, "We need to move."
Penelope nodded and attempted to move from him. She didn't go far as he blocked her from fluid movement. "What, Derek?" she asked painfully.
"Michelle was attacked just over an hour ago," Derek replied solemnly.
Penelope paled and felt her tears burn her eyes. "Oh God," she moaned.
"She's alive," he interrupted, wiping her heartbroken tears away.
"What?" Penelope asked.
"She survived. And she was able to identify the stalker."
Sitting up straight, Penelope anxiously moved her hands up and down his muscular arms to grasp his strong hands in hers. "Who is he?" she asked.
Rubbing her soft hands in circles with his thumbs, Derek replied, "Damon Oldenmeyer, Michelle's lead assistant. We didn't question him, because of his dedication to the team. However, he had the most access to you and the teams."
Penelope felt like bullets hit her chest as her offender's name left Derek's lips. With Derek's words, Penelope gathered the image of Damon in her mind. His height and lanky stature, his bold green eyes, his unusual kind smile for working within Michelle's unit, his overzealous attitude to work long hours within the lab. It all pulled together like puzzle pieces. Yet, that didn't comfort her as tears escaped Penelope midnight blue eyes.
"Hey," Derek said, pulling her close to his chest. "I've got you, baby."
Penelope released her tears as she felt her heart tear apart. These three months of fear, death and loss came crashing down as she realized who was to blame. She could imagine Damon killing Kevin out of necessity. She could see the sick pleasure he got from slaughtering Ashley with that truck. She could see his face in the windows and down the street. These images and his smile haunted her as she clung to Derek in desperation and heartache.
Derek knew they couldn't stay longer. His absence was noticed among his team, according to Hotch. Yet, he couldn't release the woman in his arms in fear of losing her completely.
As her tears subsided, Penelope removed herself slowly from his hold, finding her own solace in his onyx eyes. "I have to come with you," she said.
"No," Derek said harshly. "You can't go where I am going. Everyone thinks you are in hiding."
"Derek, if the team knows I am back, we can manipulate me to bring Damon out to light."
"We aren't going to use you as bait, Penelope," Derek said, growing angrier with her proposed plans.
"Derek, Damon won't stop hurting us unless he gets what he wants. I have to go with you, so we can develop a plan with the team to trap him." Penelope know of the seriousness of the situation she would be putting herself in. However, no one else would die for her, not as long as she was still breathing.
Scooting forward, Penelope lifted her hands to cup his strong face. Taking his lips in a passionate lock, she made love to his mouth with purpose and devotion. Derek gave in easily as he opened his mouth to her tongue's advances and he gripped her tightly to him. For moments, Penelope allowed her mouth and heart to convey her unconditional devotion the way words were unable to.
Leaning her forehead against his, she whispered, "Do you know I would die if anything were to happen to you?"
Derek didn't reply, but only tried to steal her lips in another kiss. He succeeded for only a short manner of time before she gently pushed him away. "Without you, Derek, I am nothing. I would do anything for you."
Derek nodded against her and lifted her gently from their bed. He leaned down and grabbed her black wig from the floor, a sad smirk falling upon his face. He placed it upon her head, her hands assisting in making her disguise work. Derek stole a final kiss from her as he whispered, "I love you," in their final moment of privacy.
"How do you want to do this?" she asked.
Derek moved toward his bedside table and scribbled the address of the team's central location for her. "You can't follow me, in case Damon is watching."
Penelope looked at the address and nodded in understanding.
"If we leave now and you take an alternative route, you can meet all of us in the safe zone within the hour. From there, we can follow up with Hotch and Reid's strategy to bring Oldenmeyer down."
She nodded and gripped the paper tightly within her hand. Penelope could feel her heart race as anticipation and fear consumed her.
"Baby Girl," Derek said, gripping her hand tightly to interrupt her paling thoughts.
Penelope lifted her gaze and granted him a tired smile. "Yeah, sugar?"
"I love you, Penelope Garcia."
Chuckling, Penelope said, "We need to watch a new romantic action film. We need new lines."
Rolling his eyes, Derek murmured "Silly Woman," upon her lips as he kissed her a final time. He gathered his go bag from the closet and proceeded to lead them out of the apartment. Derek kept 100 paces ahead of her, Penelope no longer in his visual range as he drove away from the house. Neither of them caught the angry flashes from the neighboring rooftop as Oldenmeyer captured their departures.