Disclaimer: I own nothing.
I was asked by a few people to do a sequel to my Criminal Minds/Law and Order:SVU crossover I completed a little over a year ago. I've finally decided to do it, and I hope you'll enjoy it!
Note: This story takes place five years following to the events of the epilogue of The Violator. As a refresher, the epilogue included JJ and Olivia's wedding and Derek proposing to Penelope. If you haven't read the first one, there will be some things you may not know the reference to, so I highly suggest reading the first one if you haven't.
"I'm walking down the street now," Olivia said, a laugh escaping her lips as she walked down the New York City street toward the adoption agency she planned to meet her wife at.
JJ's response came out nervous, like she would be sweating buckets the moment Olivia laid eyes on her. Olivia knew exactly why. This agency would mark the fourth adoption agency the Benson-Jareau family went to in their attempt to find a child to adopt. No one seemed to think they would make a fit home for a child, despite their jobs as respected members of law enforcement.
"Honey, I want you to slow down, and breathe," Olivia soothed. "Who knows, maybe this one will be the one that turns our luck around." She rounded the last corner of the block. Her wife came into view, and Olivia kept going, her phone still to her ear. She smiled. JJ twirled her ponytail between her fingers, and though Olivia couldn't see her face, she knew her wife would be biting her lip. She always did when her nerves started to get the better of her.
"The universe seems to have it out for us," JJ grumbled as Olivia approached her from behind. "Three agencies have already told us we're 'too busy' to adopt a child. Hell, we have Henry, and he's completely well adjusted!"
Olivia sighed. This whole situation killed JJ. It hurt Olivia to see her that way, and she wished she could take away every ounce of pain her wife felt. She felt it too, but she would gladly take on anything extra to ease anything causing JJ to worry.
Stopping behind JJ, Olivia sighed a heavy sigh. "I know he is," she said.
Whirling around, JJ jumped, startled. When she saw it was Olivia, a relaxed smile graced her face. Taking her phone away from her ear, she placed her phone back in her purse. Leaning forward, she touched Olivia's cheek and kissed her gently.
"Hey," she murmured, taking Olivia's hand and giving it a squeeze. "You snuck up on me."
Olivia shrugged, holding JJ's hand right back. "Just trying to keep you on your toes," she teased. They started inside the lobby of the building and made their way to the elevator. When they got in the elevator car, Olivia glanced over at JJ and gave her hand another squeeze. She saw the raw nerves all over JJ's face, the anxious energy spreading like a disease. Putting her arm around her wife's waist, she pulled her into her arms and kissed her cheek.
JJ laughed. "What was that for?"
Olivia pushed JJ's ponytail off her shoulder. "It's for you to calm down," she said. "Things will go fine."
"We thought things would go fine at the other places, too," JJ muttered.
"Then we'll just go to another one if they don't like us either," Olivia countered. She smiled. "It'll be okay."
JJ remained quiet as the doors opened onto the level they needed to be off at. They walked off onto the floor where the adoption agency's offices were. Pushing through the doors of the Kuyper Children's Foundation, JJ and Olivia entered in front of the reception desk. A secretary sat behind the desk, his fingers flying across the keyboard as he looked up at them.
"Hello there!" he said, giving them both a smile. "How can I help you ladies today?"
Olivia spoke up. "We're supposed to be meeting with a Susan Long to talk about adoption possibilities," she said, still holding JJ's hand. "Could you let her know we're here?"
The secretary bobbed his head. "I'll give her a call," he said. "You two go have a seat over there, and Susan will come get you as soon as she's ready for you."
"Okay, thanks," JJ murmured as they went to sit down. As they sat, JJ's phone vibrated with a notification. Olivia glanced at her wife as she scrolled through the alert on her phone. When JJ's face noticeably paled and she rubbed her forehead in what looked like self-irritation.
Olivia frowned. "Everything okay?" she asked in concern. "You look like your just got a work text." JJ's schedule, while not as cross-country as it once was during her years in the BAU, still became hectic on a weekly basis.
JJ shook her head. "No," she mumbled, closing her eyes. "It's not that. We missed a date."
"What date?" Olivia asked, confused. She wasn't aware of anything going on that she didn't know about.
JJ shut her phone off and pocketed it once more. She glanced over at Olivia, exhaustion shining in her eyes. "I missed Logan's birthday yesterday," she said, softly. "Again." She shook her head and clenched her fist. "I can't believe I did that this year."
Olivia's mouth formed an o. The answer marked the third year in a row they forgot to call or send a birthday card to JJ's godson, Logan. When JJ called the year before to apologize for a belated birthday wish, Derek had been the one to answer the phone because Penelope wouldn't take the call.
It had been a long three years since JJ and Olivia had seen anyone in the BAU, and Penelope took the separation and lack of communication hard.
"Jayje," Olivia murmured, squeezing JJ's hand. "It'll be okay. You'll call, you'll talk to Logan, things will be fine."
JJ looked directly at her. "It's just…" Her voice trailed off. "It's all of this piling up at the same time. Work, not being able to find someone who will let us adopt, not seeing everyone at Quantico for the past few years. I mean, Penelope won't even talk to me!"
Olivia nodded in understanding, knowing that JJ's best friend's radio silence was hurting her. "I know," she murmured. "We'll figure out how to get this all to work out, though. Work, kids, getting back in touch with Penelope. All of it."
"Will we, though?" JJ asked, doubtful. "I just —"
"Susan will see you both now!" the secretary interrupted, calling to them from across the room.
JJ breathed heavily and rose to her feet, offering her hand to Olivia. Smiling up at her sadly, Olivia took JJ's hand and pecked her lips. "It'll be alright," she repeated, knowing that even though she said the words, JJ would still have a hard time hearing her.
"Let's just get this over with," JJ whispered, a sad tone to her voice as they started for the direction they were told.
Please don't let a work call interrupt this, Olivia thought to herself as they walked the hall to the social worker's office. We need this to work before everything drives us into the ground.
"Sleep tight, buddy," Derek said, leaning down to kiss his son's forehead as he tucked him into bed. "You gotta rest up for that first day of school tomorrow."
Logan grinned up with excitement at his father. His eyes drooped with sleep, but joy at school still shone in there. It was the typical excitement children displayed for their very first day of school, but Derek had no doubts in his mind that initial anticipation would disappear the moment the concept of homework got introduced to him.
"I'm so excited, Daddy!" Logan chirped.
Derek smiled. "I know you are," he said.
Logan frowned momentarily and looked up toward the door. "Where's Mama?" he asked.
"I'm right here, birthday boy," Penelope's voice said from the door to Logan's room.
Derek turned around and saw his wife coming in the doorway. A knife twisted in his heart at her face. Red, puffy skin surrounded her eyes, and dark circles rested beneath accompanied the swollen flesh. He knew precisely why she looked like this.
"Mama, it was my birthday yesterday," Logan corrected.
Penelope crossed the room with a smile, her hands resting on the bump of her stomach where their second child grew. She sat on the edge of their son's bed and moved a stray curl of his hair back from his forehead.
"Ready for dreamland?" she murmured. Logan grinned and nodded at Penelope and sat up to hug her. Tears welling up in her eyes, she wrapped her arms right back around him and held him tightly. "I love you."
"Love you, too, Mama," he yawned, laying back into his pillows.
Rising to her feet, Penelope started for the door, not waiting for Derek to follow. As they exited the room, he took one more look at his son before turning the lights off. He closed the door and looked around the hallway for his wife. She was nowhere to be found, and he sighed. Heading toward their bedroom, he pushed the door open and found her wrapping herself in a sweater.
"Baby?" he murmured, going to stand behind her. He placed his hands on her shoulder, wincing when her muscles tensed beneath his touch. "Baby, can we please talk about this more?"
"What is there to talk about?" she muttered, turning around to face him. Her eyes appeared dry now, but the puffiness was still there. "You think I'm crazy, it's that simple."
He shook his head and gritted his teeth. Not this again, he thought angrily. He made desperate attempts to show Penelope he didn't think she was going crazy, however he was losing patience with her insisting that he was saying it.
"I've never said that to you," he growled. "I do not think you are going crazy."
"Why else would you say I should go back to therapy?" she hissed, crossing her arms tighter over her chest.
He reached out and took her hands. His thumb traced the scar in the center of one of her hands where the Violator stabbed through her flesh seven years ago. She yanked her hand back, hiding them beneath the hands of her sweater sleeves.
Looking up at her with sadness, Derek shook his head and cupped one of her cheeks. "Penelope, I'm not calling you crazy at all," he urged her again. "But this PTSD recurrence isn't good for the baby or you. You're having nightmares every night."
"You think I don't know that?" she sniffled, wiping tears with her sleeve. "I'm the one having them!"
"I just want you to be healthy," he pleaded. "Hardly any sleep isn't healthy." He moved his hands to her belly. "I'm just worried about you."
For a moment, he thought his words might have made it through to her. Her eyes, shimmering with tears, stared back up at him. But in the end, she turned away from him and went to their bed.
"I'm going to try to get some sleep," she whispered, getting in beneath the blankets. "Turn your light off whenever you decide to go to bed."
Sighing, Derek nodded and went to kiss the top of her head. "I'll be back soon," he whispered. "I'm going to make sure I have no calls to get back to." She didn't say anything, and he left the room. Going downstairs, he plopped himself down on the couch and pulled his phone out of his pocket.
Only one text awaited him, and it wasn't from work.
It was from JJ saying, I'm sorry for not calling on Logan's birthday. Tell him Liv, Henry, and I love him. And Fin and Elliot say it, too.
Three years had passed since the BAU had last seen Jennifer Jareau and Olivia Benson. Their absence in her life weighed heavily on Penelope, and immediately Derek knew why his wife's mood the last few days left her miserable.
In addition to marking three years in a row since they'd seen JJ, it also had been three years in a row JJ forgot Logan, her godson's, birthday.
Sighing, Derek leaned his head back against the cushions of the sofa. He needed to get JJ to come and see Penelope. His wife thought of him as her best friend, but he knew there were some things she needed JJ for. While she bonded with Kate Callahan, their most recent addition to their team, when she arrived at Quantico, that bond didn't equate to the one she once had with JJ.
As Derek sat in his world of thought, Logan's corgi, Tyrion trotted up to him and hopped on the couch with him. The dog rested his head on Derek's thigh and stared up at him with wide eyes.
"I still can't believe she talked Logan into naming you that weird ass name," he mumbled, referring to when Penelope went through her Game of Thrones phase two years ago and convinced their then three-year old to name their dog after her favorite character. He rubbed the dog's lopsided ears.
Not able to think of anything better to say, he rose to his feet and patted the dog's head once more before trudging off to bed. The only thought in his head as he climbed the stairs was how to help Penelope.
He just didn't know how.
The Unknown Subject
"Why are you doing this?" the first man cried as his hands were tied behind his back by his attacker. "Who are you?"
Ripping a piece of duct tape from his large roll of it, the Attacker rolled his eyes behind his faceless white mask. "It's always the same boring questions," he muttered. "Who are you? What do you want?" He gave a dark chuckle. "Just once I wish someone would ask something different. My mother was an English teacher, and she taught me to use language colorfully. Your questions? Not so colorful."
Without another word, he yanked the duct tape from the roll and slapped it onto the first man's face. He stepped back and observed his handiwork. The husbands lay on the hardwood floor of their Manhattan townhouse, both of them in nothing but their underwear; their hands and feet were bound with cable ties. Both pairs of eyes flicked wildly around the room.
Their fear sent a rush of excitement up the Attacker's spine.
Going to his kit, the attacker pulled out a severe iron pipe. He turned around, patting the pipe against his gloved hand. He whistled a chipper tune and circled around both men.
"Who to take care of first?" he asked aloud, his voice echoing off the walls of the room. He scrutinized each man, and in the end decided to go with the weaker, skinnier of the two victims. "I think I'll start with you."
The man on the ground struggled in his bonds, tears streaming down his face. His voice couldn't make it past the tape, and all that could be heard was the sound of his panicked grunts.
"Stay still," the Attacker said, his voice lowering so it sounded almost like a mother coaxing a scared child. "It'll hurt less if you don't struggle."
Then he raised his iron pipe to strike, the next sound filling the room becoming the cracking of bone.