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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Missed Opportunities


As Derek considers revisiting an old love interest, a demon from his past threatens all that is dear to him forcing him to second guess his life's choices.

It had been almost a year since Derek had seen her; He had been torn from the start about pursuing a relationship with her. She had lost so much already that he didn’t want to add more pain to her life, and with this job, it was inevitable that a relationship with him would end like so many others before. The BAU didn’t allow for a personal life. Others had tried it and failed miserably. Hotch had come the closest but even his marriage to Haley had failed and cost her life. Rossi had been married four times and was a bigger serial dater than he was. Happiness was not a part of the benefits package and that included a normal personal life.

He had met Tamara Barnes two years ago while investigating her brother and sister-in-law’s murders. Distraught and breathtakingly beautiful she walked into the Baltimore Police Department looking for answers to the brutal murders. Derek remembered how hard it was not to react to her beauty and maintain his professionalism, which was vital to his job. Penelope had warned him not to get emotionally involved with her. She warned him that if he wasn’t in it for the long haul he would do more harm than good. He wasn’t involved he insisted. He was irritated at her for accusing him of not being professional and jeopardizing the case. Still, Derek felt a connection with this woman that he couldn’t deny. The two kept in touch for a while after the case. She was different, mysterious and interested in him without being pushy or overbearing. She was patient and understanding that his job left very little time for her. It had been him who had pulled away and after awhile he couldn’t blame it on his job. She was perfect, any man would be lucky to have her in his life but he pulled away, making excuses for why he couldn’t see her until after awhile, she had become among the other women whom he had dated and then left.

Now, after nearly a year had passed, he was seeing her again. Even as her cold dead body lay on the coroner’s table, she was still incredibly beautiful. He felt guilty for not keeping in touch and he blamed himself for her death. If he had stayed in touch maybe she would still be alive, safe. All the emotions welling up inside of him anger, grief, guilt, was overwhelming and he found them all too hard to manage. Tamara was a good person, kind and patient and forgiving and she didn’t deserve to die like this; no one deserved to die like this. He knew he wouldn’t rest until this case was closed.

Offices of the Behavioral Analysis Unit/FBI Quantico, VA
“The Baltimore PD has asked for our help on a serial murder case…”

Hotch stood before the BAU’s smart board as he began showing pictures of women who had recently been killed in the Baltimore, Virginia and D.C. area.

“Hey, where’s Morgan?” Garcia was surprised that he was not in his usual place and the rest of the team looked puzzled at each other. Without answering her question, Hotch proceeded.

“Priscilla Merman, 38, was found naked, bound and gagged in her DC home three nights ago. She’d been raped, sodomized and beaten before her throat was slashed.”

The team watched intently looking at the files before them and back to the board.

“Bethany Richards, 40, was found in her Fredericksburg apartment two nights ago, raped and sodomized and killed in the same manner as our first victim.”

The team finds it difficult to look at the gory pictures even though they’ve seen worse in the past.

“Last night, another woman was found, this time in Baltimore, also naked, bound and gagged. Same M.O. as our other victims.” Hotch clicked and showed the picture. The team gasped at the familiar face and no doubt the reason for Morgan’s absence.

“Tamara Barnes, 37, we all know her from a case a few years ago when her brother and sister-in-law were killed. Morgan and Ms. Barnes kept in contact after the case and became friends.”

“How is he?” JJ asked.

“He’s at the coroner’s office.”

“Hotch, he can’t work this case. You know that!” Rossi insisted knowing full well how explosive Morgan could be when it came to people he cared about being hurt. He knew that Morgan would jeopardize this case if he were involved.

“I know. We’ve got to close this quick. I’m not sure how this is going to affect him but I know it’s not going to be good…” Hotch added.

Morgan, visibly upset, enters the room and quietly sits at the table. He says nothing as he grabs one of the files and begins to look through it as if he was okay but he was far from okay. The rest of the team look on in silence.

“Derek…” Penelope started, not sure what to say to her friend. The pain in his face was too hard for her to watch.

“…Not now Garcia.” He was barely holding it together and he had to focus or he’d fall apart. Emotion was weakness and he had vowed a long time ago that he would never show weakness to anyone, especially this team.

“Garcia, I need you to start digging into these women’s lives and find out what they had in common. Also, find out if there have been any other murders with this same MO in the last year.” Hotch shot a concerned glance at Morgan watching him as he continued to study the open folder in front of him.

“Yes, Boss.”  Penelope answered still staring across at Morgan.

“Morgan, I’m pulling you off of this case. You’re too close to our third victim and…”

“No way, Hotch! I’m working this case!” Morgan yelled.

“No you’re not, and that’s an order! Hotch yelled back forcefully playing the boss.

“Do you expect me to just sit back and do nothing? I knew her, she was my friend; she didn’t deserve this, Hotch?”

“I know Morgan; nobody deserves this but I can’t have you on this case! You know the rules…you can stay here in the office but you cannot work the case!” Hotch knew he was asking the impossible of Morgan. He had to take a hard line to protect Morgan from himself. He didn’t like it but it had to be done.

“Morgan, we’ll get the guy who did this to Tamara, I promise you. Just let us do our job okay, kid?” Rossi intervened. He couldn’t imagine what Morgan was going through but he also knew his emotions were out of control and there was no way he was going to be able to reel them in.

“Rossi you and JJ go to the second crime scene. Alex and Reed go to the first and I’ll meet Baltimore PD at the most recent scene. Morgan…stay…here!”

The team filed out of the room while Morgan stayed ready to explode and angrily pacing the room. Penelope wanted to say something but she was afraid that there were no words that could make this better for him. The only other time she’d seen him this inconsolable was when they had run into the Prince of Darkness two years ago in Los Angeles. This was even worse. Tamara Barnes meant something to Derek and he had become friends with her against her warnings. Penelope knew that they had dated but out of the blue he ended things with her. He’d most definitely blame himself for her death. That’s what he did, assigned himself the responsibility of taking care of everybody; an impossible task for anyone even Derek Morgan.

As the team is out in the field, Morgan sits pouting in his office. He couldn’t believe Hotch pulled him from this case. He needed to be out, looking for the son-of-a-bitch that killed Tamara and the other women.

Penelope began researching finding eight other women in the D.C.-Maryland-Virginia area that had been killed in the past year. None of the women appeared to have known each other or frequented any of the same places. The victims crossed racial lines, which was rare for a serial killer. Hotch realized that three kills in three days meant this unsub was spiraling and if they didn’t find him soon they’d be called to a new crime scene in less that 12 hours.

“Hey Baby Girl, I’m out of here. I can’t sit around here and do nothing.” Derek poked his head into Garcia’s lair, still looking crushed and angry.

“No! You can’t you heard what Hotch said!” Penelope began to panic.

“Don’t worry, I’m going home. Look, I’m sorry for taking your head off earlier, I know you were just worried about me.”

“No worries, my Sweet. Listen, if you need me, for anything, I’m here.”

“I know you are. Thanks.” Derek closed the door and headed home.
  
Home of Derek Morgan – Later same day
Derek is sitting at his dining room table thumbing through his mail. It was just a way to divert his mind from Tamara and her brutal death. The silver cross that she had given him shortly after the team had closed her brother’s case laid in a crystal case in the middle of the table. He took it out and examined it, fingering it as he remembered the few times that he and Tamara had spent together. She had offered to buy him a drink and he had taken her up on her offer after returning home from a horrific case. They had met at a local bar, it was late but he needed something to remind him that he was sane and he needed to be near someone that was not a part of the madness that he faced every day. Tamara gave him that if only for a little while. When he left her home the following morning he felt selfish for having a moment of happiness and freedom from the madness.

In the midst of his mail, was an envelope, addressed to him; no stamp and no return address, just a white envelope with his name on it. He opened it and immediately called Hotch.

“Hotch I know who the unsub is!”

“Morgan, I thought I gave you clear orders not to work this case!”

“I know Hotch but…”

“Morgan, if you are working this case, I’ll put you on suspension until the case is over!”

“Hotch, listen to me…I’m not working the case!”

“Then what?”

“When I got home there was a letter addressed to me from the unsub.”

“What? What are you talking about?”

“A letter- it said, this is your fault!”

“Morgan, meet me at the BAU.”

“I’m on my way.”

Hotch called Garcia and asked her to look into any BAU cases and cases that Morgan handled while with the Chicago PD to see if any of the people he had put away had been recently released.

Morgan never made it back to the BAU. Hotch and Rossi thought he decided to go after the unsub on his own. JJ tried him on his cell several times with no answer. Garcia after several searches found what Derek had discovered on his own. 

“Your on speaker Garcia.” The rest of the team gathered waiting to hear what she had to say.

“When Morgan was on the Chicago PD he worked a serial rape case. He single-handedly brought the unsub down and it was pretty bad. Anyway, this guy, a Peter Bogman had a son who died while he was in prison. He wasn’t allowed to go visit his son in the hospital nor was he allowed to go to his funeral. He started sending Morgan threatening letters promising him that if he ever got out of jail, he’d make Morgan pay.”

“Garcia, if this guy was a serial rapist, he’d still be in jail, right?” Rossi asked.

“No not so, my handsome Italian. Apparently, the prosecutor who handled the case has been brought up on charges and all of his cases for the last fifteen years are being reviewed. Bogman was released because of some judicial hanky-panky. He has been a free man for over a year now.”

“Nobody informed Morgan about this?” Alex inquired.

“Actually, there is no rule that requires the state to inform the arresting officer when a criminal has been released from prison.” Reid informed them.

“This is not good.” Rossi added. We’ve got to find Morgan and let him know.” Rossi continued.

“He should have been here by now.” Reid added.

A sinking feeling landed in Garcia’s stomach. If this guy was responsible for the rape and murder of all of these women, Morgan could be in danger.

“Now we know why these women had nothing in common. Morgan is the intended victim. He was going to kill until Morgan realized it was him.” Hotch dialed Morgan’s number again.

“He escalated when Morgan wasn’t getting the message.” Reid began reviewing the current victim files again.

“He changed his M.O. He didn’t kill his victims in his original cases in Chicago.” JJ concluded.

“We’ll he is now.” Rossi looked at Hotch when he realized that Hotch had not been able to reach Morgan.

McWhorter Tools Warehouse Industrial District –
It had been almost twenty years since Morgan had seen or heard from Peter Bogman. He had been the lead detective on a case of serial rapes that had terrorized Chicago for three years. Morgan busted Bogman and he was sentenced to 25 to life. Bogman’s young son had gotten ill after Bogman had served two years and he blamed Morgan for not being able to see his son or attend his funeral. For years after, he sent messages to Morgan promising revenge. 

He’d aged, Morgan thought as he sat in a metal folding chair hands handcuffed behind his back.  Bogman had been waiting outside of his home and when he left to meet the team at the BAU, he was surprised and forced to drive to the McWhorter Tools Warehouse.

“I bet you never thought you’d see me again.” Bogman paced in front of his captive enjoying the moment.

“No. I guess I didn’t.” Morgan’s mind was racing. No one knew he was here and time for him was running out.

Bogman rushed towards Morgan brandishing a knife and holding it against his throat.

“This is the knife I used on your girlfriend.” Bogman let out a hissing laugh as Morgan struggled to get free.

“Easy now. This knife is pretty sharp. Cuts through human flesh like butter.” 

Bogman slid the knife slightly across Morgan’s neck just enough to draw blood. Morgan refused to show emotion. This was a game to Bogman and he wasn’t going to play along.

“Still the tough guy, aren’t you? Well we’ve got all night.”

Home of Derek Morgan – later
The team has arrived. Morgan’s car is gone. Rossi and Reid search the interior of the house but it’s empty.

“Clear!” Rossi yelled from the bedroom as he joined Reid in the front of the house.

“This isn’t good. Neither Garcia or Hotch have been able to raise Morgan on his phone.” Reid began.

“No doubt the unsub grabbed him on his way back to the BAU.” Rossi noted.  “We’ve got to find him, quick. Let’s go.”

The two joined the others outside and as they approach, Hotch is on the phone with Garcia. Rossi shakes his head to the others indicating that no one is inside the home.

“Garcia, check to see if you can trace Morgan by his phone.” Hotch knew things were getting desperate now.

“Got it!” Penelope was shaking now. Derek was in trouble and she prayed that they would find him in time.

“Garcia also check any credit card activity for Bogman. Maybe there’s something that would indicate where he may be headed.” Hotch ends the call and turns to the team. His worried look said everything that the rest of the team was thinking.

Garcia, with her super powers rushed to search per Hotch’s instructions. She had to push through her fears about what may be happening to Morgan. It didn’t take long before she discovered a lead.

“Hotch, I think I found him.”

“Where Garcia?”

“Earlier today, Bogman made a fifteen hundred dollar paymet to a Mercantile Properties and they own several warehouses in the Industrial District. One of the warehouses has been empty for the last several years.”

“That’s great Garcia!”

“And, one more thing, I tracked Morgan’s cell phone to that same area. I’m sending the address to your phones now.”

“Great work, Garcia. I’ll call you when we get there.”

The team arrived at the McWhorter Tools Warehouse in less than five minutes. Their entry was quiet, catching Bogman off guard. He was sure no one would find him and Morgan until he was long gone. He had underestimated the BAU and he would pay dearly for that. Morgan was still seated in the chair handcuffed; Bogman had beaten him and he was barely conscious. There was very little talk and no negotiating with this madman. Hotch wasn’t in the mood and frankly did not care if he brought him in alive. The mission was to rescue Morgan and that was all.

It was Rossi who fired the fatal shot ending Bogman’s life. He had made the wrong move toward Morgan and that spelled the end of his life. The team rushed over to Morgan, JJ freeing his hands as he slowly looked up at her. In the distance sirens rang out. Morgan was thankful to see his family around him. He wasn’t sure he would survive this ordeal but as he looked over at Bogman’s dead body lying in a pool of his own blood, Morgan couldn’t help but let out a sigh of relief.

Veteran’s Park Washington D.C. – 2 days later
Morgan, sitting at the edge of the man made lake is deep in thought. Still stiff and aching from the beating he had taken two days ago from Bogman. He kept seeing Tamara’s face every time he closed his eyes so needless to say, he hadn’t slept much and he was numb with exhaustion.

“Hey you.” Penelope placed a soft hand on Morgan’s shoulder startling him back to the present. “Sorry, didn’t mean to scare you.”

“I didn’t hear you. Shouldn’t you be working?” He’d apologize later for his sour mood.

“Ouch! Love you too.” Garcia pretended to be hurt.

Morgan hung his head and then continued to look out over the water in silence.

“I knew I’d find you here. How’s my hero?”

“I’m not sure if I can do this anymore, Garcia.”

“C’mon, Morgan, you are the Dark Knight, my hero, the slayer of all that is bad and evil in this world. If not you, then who?”

“I’m just so tired. This fight, this thing that we do, it never ends.”

“Yeah, but you knew that from the start. That’s why you signed on, why you joined the Bureau in the first place.”

“We know something that the rest of the world doesn’t know.”

“What’s that?”

“That the Boogey Man really exists.”

“And…” She asked puzzled.

“And he’s a jealous son-of-a-bitch! He loves the chase. He knows we’re after him. He gets off on having our undivided attention. Whenever we take our eyes off of him he gets pissed!”

“Okay, you’re getting a little too deep, Hot Stuff!”

“Garcia, I’m serious. That son-of-a-bitch doesn’t want us even thinking about anything, anybody but him; no wife, no lover, no family…nothing.”

“Derek, that’s not true.”

“It is true. You got shot. Look at Hotch, the Reaper killed Haley and tried to kill Jack. And Reid; killed his girl right in front of his face, hell made us all watch!  Look at Rossi, married how many times? JJ and Will almost lost Henry…Now Tamara…”

“I wish I could tell you something that explains all of this, but I can’t! It’s evil pure evil…Morgan, you’ve been doing this for a long time…you know you can’t explain it but that doesn’t mean you stop fighting!”

“I’m tired of fighting, Garcia! It’s too hard! Too close! I can’t do this anymore…I can’t…”

“Think about all the bad guys you and this team have put away. What if you had quit last week, last month or last year—all those unsubs would still be out there. Then what? Who would save those lives or find justice for those victims?”

“I hear you but this job requires too much…too much from your heart, your mind…it takes everything. I’m spent…empty…I don’t have anything else to give.”

“Then you take a break, get away, then you come back and get back in the fight! But you can’t quit. We need you. The world can’t afford to lose another hero.”

“I’m no hero, Garcia.”

“Well you’re my hero and you made me a promise.”

“What promise?”

“That you’d take care of me and I’m holding you to that promise.”

Morgan looked into Penelope’s face for the first time since they began to talk.

“For how long?”

“For the rest of your life.”

Morgan grabbed her hand and pulled her next to him. The two friends sat in silence in each other’s arms watching the swans float across the lake. Morgan didn’t know how tomorrow would look or if the pain in his heart would ever fade but one thing for sure he would need the love of a special friend to get there.

********
“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” -Thomas Alva Edison.

The End…