Saturday, September 21, 2013

Saving Grace

Still reeling from a recent loss from his past, Morgan realizes that he must let go of the past and push through grief in order to preserve his present to give him a fighting chance for a future.

Home of Derek Morgan – Day
Days off seemed so foreign to Derek with such an unpredictable schedule with the BAU, time off often seemed like a mirage. He appreciated Hotch giving him time away to heal physically and emotionally after the loss of Tamara and the ordeal with Peter Bogman. His body ached and so did his heart. He kept fighting against the guilt of not keeping in touch and ultimately pushing Tamara away. She should have been enough for him. She had the qualities to make any man with even half a brain settle down and be happy. As much as he was attracted to her for everything she was and everything he could imagine they could have together, something was missing. Deep in his heart he felt that he would be settling for less than what his heart truly desired.  What and whom he wanted seemed out of reach in his mind and so here he was, alone dreaming about a woman that he could never have.

Derek knew he couldn’t afford to dwell in misery, he had too much to do and idleness would cost him his edge and make him soft. He needed to get up and get going, after all those unsubs out there weren’t going to wait until he felt better. So, with his time off he thought he would start working on his latest property; a small two-story Victorian near the outskirts of town. When he first laid eyes on it he imagined a family who probably never thought they would be able to afford a home, living there. He wasn’t sure how much work he could put in before his body screamed for a break but he had to start somewhere, and he needed a distraction from the thoughts that raced through his mind and haunted his every waking moment.

Apartment of Penelope Garcia
Penelope dreaded going into the office knowing that Morgan wouldn’t be there. He had such a presence there that it seemed empty without him—or was she thinking about her heart? She was worried about Morgan and she wished that there were something she could do for him, but what do you do for a man who is grieving the loss of a woman when you are in love with him yourself? Each time she looked into his eyes and saw the pain, she kicked herself for allowing herself to love this man, her best friend and a man who would never think of her as anything but a friend. She wondered if there would ever be a man that would mourn and hold the pain in their eyes like that for her.

Penelope had already received a text message that the team had a case. She welcomed the distraction and so she quickly dressed and headed to her sanctuary where she hoped her work would keep her mind off of Derek Morgan if that could even be possible.

BAU Headquarters
The team was headed to Memphis and it was a bad one. Three women had been found dismembered and their body parts scattered across the city. Even though no one mentioned it, they needed the entire team and with Morgan on leave it was going to be a heavy burden on the others. More importantly, Morgan needed to be on that jet headed to Memphis, nothing good was going to come with time alone to mope and blame himself for yet another thing that he could not have prevented.

“In the past three months the body parts belonging to three women have been found across the city of Memphis.” Hotch began showing headshots of three beautiful thirty-something women, blonde and extremely attractive.

“…Each woman had been reported missing three to five days prior to their bodies being found; and according to the coroner’s report they were dismembered anti-mortem.” Hotch added.

Penelope looked away from the screen as the pictures of limbs cut with surgical precision flashed across the screen. The rest of the team seemed unmoved by the grotesque sights.

“Looks like we’re looking for someone with a medical background.” Rossi noted as he focused intently on the pictures in the files in front of him.

“Why is this guy only killing blondes?” JJ flipped through the pages shaking her head. “It’s always blondes.”

“Actually that’s not correct. In fact, only three out of ten murder victims are blonde. The other seven are brunette, redhead or a combination of, and if you take into account that most blondes are not true blondes, then the number of blonde murder victims decreases.” Reid looked around the table quite proud of himself.

“Somehow that doesn’t make me feel any better Reid.” JJ shoots a glance across the table.

“Wheels up in thirty.”

Morgan’s Victorian Fixer – Later
Morgan was well into demolition, ripping up floor tiles in the kitchen and removing old appliances. The dirt, dust and soot mixed with sweat created a muddy film over his shirtless body. Every swing of a hammer was an attempt to erase the memories and regrets that continued to haunt him. Nothing however, was able to keep him from thinking about Penelope. He missed her and he thought about calling her at least a dozen times in the last several hours but he knew with the team being on a case she would be busy.

As Morgan began to wrap it up for the day his cell began buzzing. Penelope’s picture popped up and his heart leaped.

“Hey Baby Girl.”

“Hello Handsome.” It was good to hear his voice.

“How’s the team?”

“Landing in Memphis as we speak. I took the liberty of sending you the case file…just in case.”

“You know I’m on leave.”

“I know but old habits die hard. I just thought you’d be curious.”

“Thank you Doll. So, what time are you getting out of there?”

“Oh, Sugar…I’m not. This is a bad one. Hotch and the gang are hitting the ground running so that means Mama is staying put.”

Morgan’s heart sank; he was hoping to hangout with her tonight.

“Hey, if you get bored, you can always come by and keep me company.”

“I just might do that. I better let you go. I’m headed home.”

“See you later?”


Morgan finished packing his gear and locked up to head home. His mind was racing, wondering about the case and wishing he had sucked it up and resumed his life. It wasn’t like him to need to be away to regroup and heal. They had seen so much, unimaginable crimes against the innocent and it had become routine to see death, mayhem and pure evil up front and personal each and every day. He was questioning himself now since Tamara’s death; was he really making a difference or was he and the team merely treading water. As awful as it appeared it was what he wanted to do and he couldn’t imagine doing anything else with his life.

BAU Headquarters
Penelope was exhausted and the screens in front of her looked like a blur. Her neck was stiff and her head ached. This case was as tough as they got and the team had no leads. She hadn’t stopped to eat and her stomach was letting her know that it would not tolerate being neglected any longer. The thought of another snack from the vending machine nearly made her gag.

A light knock on her door grabbed her attention as she swung herself around just as the door opened and the sight of an incredibly gorgeous man met her gaze with a smile.

“Well hello, Handsome! Aren’t you a sight for sore eyes…literally, I’ve been staring at these screens for hours and my eyes are killing me!” The smell of food filled the room nearly knocking her over.

“Hey Baby Girl, hungry?” Morgan stepped in and set the large bag in his arms down on an empty chair in the corner of the room.

“Oh, you are indeed my hero!” Garcia opened her arms inviting him to come closer. He did and gave her a big hug and kiss on the top of her head. She inhaled him as she held him in place wishing that she didn’t have to let him go but her stomach was screaming to be fed.

“I had a feeling you probably hadn’t eaten, so I took a chance and brought you a late dinner.” Morgan began to take the food out of the bags and set them next to her on the desk.

“I love you!” If he only knew, she thought to herself.

“I might be banged up a little but I still have to take care of my Baby Girl.”

As she ate, Morgan sat across from her. He was distracted but he was glad he came by. He felt bad that he wasn’t in the field with the rest of the team. His body ached but he wished he’d just sucked it up and gotten on the jet.

“So how are you feeling?” Garcia tried looking in his eyes to see for herself knowing that he would never admit anything other than he was fine. He looked tired and she guessed he hadn’t been sleeping.

“Don’t worry about me, I’m fine.”

“Okay, Derek, where’s the bridge and swamp land and the crap in general you want to sell me? You’re the most gorgeous man I know but you look like hell!”

“Ouch! Okay, I haven’t been sleeping…”


“And what?”

“Derek, I won’t pretend to know what you’re going through. I know Tamara meant a lot to you but you can’t blame yourself for her death. Bogman was supposed to be in jail not running free! That’s someone’s else’s fault not yours.”

“I hear you, I just need some time…”

“Just don’t take too much time. The team needs you and you need the team.”

Derek got up and moved behind Penelope and began to massage her neck and shoulders. She was tense and his hands kneading her skin felt like heaven as she closed her eyes and relaxed under his touch. Was there nothing this man couldn’t do, she thought.

“Man, you’re tight. Just relax and let Derek Morgan make you feel better.”

“Oh baby, I can think of some other things you can do to make me feel better.” 

A wicked smile crossed her face as she looked up and locked eyes with him. He smiled back at her.

“You are so bad, Mama!” He ended his massage and kissed her again on the top of her head.

“I better get out of here and let you get back to work. Get some rest, Baby Girl.”

“Rest? What’s that?”

She watched as he gave her a smile and left the office. She could still smell him in the room and could still feel his strong hands on her shoulders and neck. She closed her eyes to reset her mind on work. Damn, she loved that man. If he only knew what she imagined his hands doing to her body…

Hotch’s call jerked her from her Derek Morgan induced fantasy as she quickly swung around to face her computer.

“Hotch..uh hi!”

“Garcia, another woman has just been reported missing, a Grace Shultz. She looks just like the other victims. Her husband reported her missing when she didn’t return from the local junior college this evening. Can you check to see if she has anything in common with the other three victims?”

“Ay, ay, Sir.” Garcia began feverously typing on her keyboard.

“Garcia, I know Morgan is on leave but we could really use him on this case. If this unsub stays true to his M.O. Grace only has 24 hours before he starts cutting her up.”

“He was just here. He didn’t look too good, boss.”

“Talk to him, Garcia this unsub falls right into his specialty of obsessional crimes and it’s going to take us too long to figure it out without him.”

“Okay, I’ll talk to him.”

Home of Derek Morgan – around midnight
Derek knew where his place was, it was with his team in Memphis. He had been studying the file that Garcia had sent him since returning from the BAU. This unsub was a sick  son-of-a-bitch.

The doorbell rang breaking Morgan’s concentration. Puzzled he answered surprised to see Garcia standing on his porch.

“Garcia, what are doing here?” Stepping aside to let her in.

“I know it’s late…but I need to talk to you.”

“What’s wrong? Are you okay?”

“I’m fine, Morgan, but the team needs you.”


“I know, I know you’re on leave, you don’t know if this is what you should be doing…I get it but right now your team needs you! Right now, Morgan!”

Morgan began to pace and make sense of her midnight visit.

“Garcia, I don’t know what I can do to make a difference…”

“Look, Hotch called, another woman has been kidnapped. This case screams to your expertise on fixations and obsessions, Morgan!”

Garcia glances over Morgan’s shoulder and notices the files spread across the dining room table.

“You’ve been studying the case, see, you’re ready to go!”

“I don’t know Garcia.”

“Listen to me, the Derek Morgan I know would not leave his team hanging! He’d never put himself before them. You know the case…they need you…Grace…that’s the new victim’s name, she needs you. She has a husband, they just got married six months ago…she has 24 hours before this son-of-a-bitch starts chopping her up into little pieces!”

Morgan closes his eyes and begins rubbing his head.

“I know you’ve had a rough time, but Hotch and the team need you, Grace needs you…be her hero, like I know you can be.”

Memphis Metro Police Headquarters – Next Morning
Hotch, JJ, Reid, Alex and Rossi have not left the precinct since arriving the day before. They all look dead tired but they are still mulling over case files and keeping themselves awake on stale coffee. The Lead detective is seated in an interview room with Grace’s parents and husband.

Morgan enters the busy office and heads toward the team. They are obviously tired but happy to see him and they greet him with tired smiles.

“Thanks for coming.” Hotch extends his right hand and pats him on the shoulder with his left.

“This case is a mess! I’m sure Garcia’s told you about our latest victim.” Rossi added.

In a matter of seconds Morgan has put aside his troubles and begins working alongside his team mates digging and sorting through the files and photographs. Garcia holds down the fort back in Quantico working her magic in cyberspace. She’s proud of her man for pushing through his grief and physical pain to help solve this case. She hoped that this would help him and not do more harm than good.

After much research and discussion, Morgan’s fresh eyes and knowledge of fixations and obsessions, they receive a lead and head out to apprehend the unsub and rescue Grace. 

The Unsub is identified as Boris Mathers, a career criminal with a history of an abusive childhood. His mother, a blonde had been killed by his father when he was eight. His father Charles Mathers made his son assist him in dismembering his mother. It was believed that his mother was the beginning of his father’s many years of murdering and dismembering women. At Morgan’s insistence Garcia was able to find the connection with the father. Morgan also figured out that the father’s death was the stressor that caused Mathers to take up where the father left off. Garcia was able to discover that between Mathers and his father, 30 women had been killed over the span of thirty years.

The team arrived in time to save Grace. Morgan was the first through the door and it felt good kicking the door down and surprising Mathers. It was days like this that the team lived for and made what they did worthwhile. To see Grace reunited with her family was confirmation for Morgan that he belonged in the BAU after all. He knew that grief and pain was all a part of the job; so were the nightmares but like everything else, he had to work through it and not let it destroy him.

BAU Headquarters – Evening
The team arrived completely exhausted; Penelope was anxious to see Derek step off of the elevator. He smiled and hugged her tightly and she hugged him back smiling into his chest and inhaling him deeply. Just before he released her she whispered to him that she was proud of him and happy to have him back.

As the two walked toward his office he grabbed her hand. It had been a tough few weeks. He had lost a dear friend and been tested physically beyond his limits but he’d survived. He knew that Penelope was the key to that survival. No matter what this job or even this life threw at him, her friendship was his anchor. She was his God-given solace. He loved her and needed her in his life. One day, he only hoped he would have the courage to tell her so.

"Every man is guilty of the good he did not do."-Voltaire

The End...