Disclaimer: I own nothing.
A/N: So, I've got a new story. A warning on this one: it is VERY dark. This is going to be one of the worst unsubs I've done. There's also going to be trigger-warnings on the chapters that contain more violent themes. This story is rated M, but not because of sexual content necessarily.
A/N 2: Due to the timeline of this story, and the fact it spans over many years, many things about the beginning of the BAU have changed. Such changes include: Gideon and left before Garcia was recruited; Penelope and Derek got together much, much sooner with no Lynch in the way; and ages of certain team members were backed up to fit the purpose of this. Certain events may have not happened either (you'll all see which one as you read). This is to clear up any possible confusion if I reference something about the past.
"Baby, did you finish the college applications last night?" Derek called from his kitchen as he poured his coffee into a travel mug. "I'd rather we not have to pay the late fees just so you can get into Princeton."
"I never applied to Princeton, Father dear." Seventeen year old, Elia entered the kitchen, her backpack swung over her shoulder. "Yale, yes. Princeton, no."
He shot her a wounded look. "Georgetown?" He wanted his daughter close by. The thought of her moving so far away filled him with a sense of terror he could hardly bear.
Since he'd lost…Even thinking it was too painful.
Elia shot him a sympathetic look. "Yes, Dad," she explained. "I applied to Georgetown."
"You know your Aunt JJ went there," he pointed out.
"Well aware," Elia said. "She wrote me a letter of recommendation. I also called Aunt Alex up in Boston, so I'm thinking that will be helpful, too." She smiled, her eyes lighting up. "The grades won't hurt either."
Derek smiled back at her, haunted by her smile. It was so similar to her mother's, just like everything else about her. Her personality, her appearance. Everything about her screamed she was Penelope Garcia-Morgan's daughter. Except for maybe her fashion decisions; her clothing was significantly more muted than Penelope's had been.
If only Penelope were here to see her, he thought mournfully. She'd be so proud.
"Your mother would be very proud of you," he told her after a moment, voicing his thoughts.
Elia's face softened. "I'm sure you're right," she murmured. "I wish I would know."
Derek sipped his coffee, looking down at the floor. He was fighting the demons raging inside him, ones that attempted to break through the iron barriers he'd built to try and fight the agony of his grief. Problem was, there were thousands of cracks in those walls. Memories seeped in when he least expected them, kicking him in the gut to the point he wanted to buckle over.
Elia observed her father's extended silence and remained silent. She knew her father mourned every day of his life for the mother she herself had known for only six months. Although her father was her best friend, there was something missing in him, a hole she didn't know would ever be filled. He went on dates occasionally, but Elia knew and saw the relationship never lasted more than a month.
The fact he wore his wedding ring around his neck hidden beneath his shirt probably didn't help his luck with women.
"Your dad will never be the same again," her Aunt JJ once told her. "The day your mother disappeared, he became an entirely different person. Part of him died that day."
Shaking his head, he pushed everything to the back of his mind and looked at his watch. "Oh, look at the time," he grumbled. "C'mon. I gotta get you to school and get to the office. Sounds like we've got a case coming up. Multiple homicide in Florida."
She winced. "That's never a good place for a murder," she muttered. "And Florida's not exactly the greatest place on Earth. After all the fuck ups with the election in 2000…"
He rolled his eyes, and they started for the door. "First of all, watch the language, and second, you weren't even born then. I don't know why you care about an election that had no effect on you."
It was a bright and sunny day when they exited the house. There were puffy white clouds in the sky, and a slight breeze was floating in the air.
"Dad, if I want to go into poly-sci, I need to know about this stuff," she pointed out. "And it did affect me. Stuff from presidents tends to have an effect on future generations. That's why they're the leaders of —"
Placing a hand on her shoulder, Derek shook his head. "Yeah, I don't really want a history lesson, hon," he said, a hint of amusement in his voice. "Save it for class."
She snickered. "Fine then," she said. "But at some point you have to listen to me. I won't let it go."
"Yeah," he said, opening his side of the SUV. "I know you won't." Another way you're just like your mother, he added silently in his head. He turned the engine on and backed out of the driveway.
Twenty minutes later, they arrived at Elia's high school. She looked outside at the bustling sidewalk with that would lead her to the building. Students were already entering the building or hanging out outside, waiting before school began.
Elia turned to look at her father and held up her fist. He made a fist of his own and bumped it with hers. "You good?" she asked, arching a brow.
"Yeah," he said. "I'll probably be gone tonight for that case. But if you need anything, give Kevin a call."
"How are you still friends with Kevin if you scared him off of being the technical analyst for the team?" Elia asked with a laugh.
Derek snorted. "We didn't become friends until later on," he said. "But if you remember correctly, according to you, I've apparently scared off every other one we've had." It was true, though; Derek had managed to scare off every technical analyst they'd had for a long time. They all ended up dashing off after only a few months.
"That's because you're a scary guy," she teased. Sighing, she unbuckled her seatbelt and put her hand on the knob. "I'll talk to you tonight, Dad."
He leaned over and kissed her forehead. "Yeah." He smiled. I love you, El," he murmured.
She nodded and flashed him a grin so like Penelope's. "Love you, too." Then she was gone, out the door and disappearing into the crowd of students.
"Morning, Morgan," Reid said as Derek stepped off the elevator. "Weekend alright?"
Derek sipped his travel mug. "Yup," he replied. "Nothing major. El and I went to the art fair, and she filled out the rest of her college applications. What about you?" He gave him a wry grin. "Spend any time with the kiddos?"
"Maeve wanted to take the kids to the park, and while I ended up reading aloud to them, I drew in a whole crowd," Reid laughed, adjusting his messenger bag on his shoulder.
Derek arched a brow. "What exactly were you reading?" he asked.
"Camus' The Plague," Reid replied.
"You were reading Albert Camus to your ten year old and eight year old?" Derek asked in surprise as they walked through the door to the bullpen.
Reid nodded as if it were the most normal thing in the world. "Oh, yes," he said. "I wanted to do The Stranger to get them interested in existentialism, but they wanted to hear about an epidemic, so I went with this one."
"Kid, you confuse the hell out of me," Derek laughed, cracking a smile. "But if the kids like it, more power to you."
Reid just grinned. "Just wait 'til I get them into Voltaire."
As they entered the bullpen, they found Rossi leaning against JJ's desk, his arms crossed over his chest. They were chatting about something, but they looked up and nodded to Reid and Morgan as they approached.
"Hey, guys," Reid said, setting his things down at his own desk. "Good weekends?"
JJ grinned and held up her phone to show them a photo. "Liz's team won the soccer game," she said proudly, presenting a photo of her daughter holding a soccer ball. "She scored two goals. More than anyone in the whole game."
"Congrats to her," Derek said, sticking his hands in his pockets. "She's getting good, isn't she?" He smiled.
"Just like her mom," JJ stated proudly, setting her phone back down. She leaned back in her chair and jerked her thumb in the direction of Dave. "This one spent the weekend planning what he's going to do for his first month of retirement."
Rossi was getting ready for permanent retirement soon. His last few months had been spent working strictly from Quantico, consulting on cases rather than accompanying the team.
"An entire month somewhere warm, a Cuban stuck between my lips, and a glass of scotch in my hand while I'm staring at some vast expanse of ocean," Rossi said, spreading his hand in front of him, a content expression on his face. "Gonna live the good life."
Before they could continue, Hotch's head was stuck through the door to the round table room and motioned for them to join him. "Time to get started with the briefing," he called.
Rossi nodded to them. "I've got a few case files to look at," he sighed. "Good luck with the case, guys. And if you happen to need a consultant, you know my number."
Reid, JJ, and Morgan nodded to him before going to join Hotch in the briefing room. "Elia was joking about Florida this morning when I mentioned that's where we're headed," Derek chuckled as they started for the door. "I swear the girl is going to dominate any political science class she takes."
"Well, she's persistent, that's for sure," JJ said fondly of her goddaughter.
They entered the room and took their seats. At the head of the room, readying the screen with the case information, was Supervisory Special Agent Jacqueline Sanders. After Alex Blake left several years ago, a variety different agents had come and gone as her replacement; Sanders was the most recent recruit, having been with the team for almost two years now. She was serving as their liaison.
"We've got a bad one," she said, jumping right into the case details.
As they listened to the brief facts and evidence they had, mentioning theories that might be starting points to work with, Derek's phone buzzed on the table in front of him. Briefly he glanced at it. He frowned at the sender.
One message from Kevin Lynch.
Found something interesting. Find me ASAP.
He quickly sent back a text, affirming he would be there as soon as the briefing was done. He went back to paying attention to the case at hand, granted he was slightly distracted. Lynch texted him every once in awhile, but rarely did he use ASAP to describe what he had.
"We've got to get down there immediately," Hotch said grimly, closing his tablet case. "With the rate this unsub is accelerating, we've got limited time before he strikes again. Wheels up in thirty."
As everyone began collecting their things, Hotch turned to Morgan. "Everything okay?" he asked. "You look a little…tense after that text you got."
Derek furrowed his brow, feigning nonchalance. "Oh, it's nothing," he lied. "Elia just sent me a text about something."
Hotch arched a brow, but didn't argue. "Alright," he said. "I'll see you on the jet."
Derek nodded, waiting for his boss to exit before sneaking out the back door of the round table room. He headed down the hall, looking over his shoulder to make sure no one on his team saw where he was going. He didn't want any of them to know what he was working on. Usually he wasn't in to secret projects, particularly ones that he had to keep secret from his daughter, but this was one he needed to keep under wraps.
There was only one person who knew what he was truly doing. He was an unlikely ally, but an ally to Morgan nonetheless.
When he reached the office of Kevin Lynch, he rapped sharply on the door until the door opened to reveal the technical analyst. Over the years, the other man's hair had gone gray and he'd gained a small bit of girth, but he'd also married Gina Sharp.
Appearance and marital status weren't the only thing that were changed. The man who'd once had a crush on Derek's wife was now a friend who he was able to confide in.
"Lynch," Derek greeted him, nodding his head. "What have you got?"
Kevin moved out of the way and gestured for Derek to come in. "Something you'll be interested in, I think," he explained. "I just found it early this morning, but I wanted to keep digging and make sure it has some merit before I let you know."
"Let's get through it as quick as possible then," Derek said, anxious to hear the information Lynch had for him. "I've got wheels up in thirty, and I don't want the team to know I'm stopping by." He was on edge now, a deep desire to hear anything and everything Lynch had to tell him.
Nodding, Lynch shut the door behind them before beginning his explanation on his findings.
Let me know what you guys think Derek and Kevin are looking into. I'd love to hear your thoughts :)