Sunday, November 24, 2013

Healing Waters Part II

Home of Derek Morgan – Wednesday 11:30 p.m.
Derek slowly slid out of bed hoping not to wake Penelope. If she knew he was awake she’d worry. He didn’t want her worrying about him; she’d done enough of that over the past several months. He knew she had been watching him all day since he’d been back wondering if he was really okay. Clooney’s strange behavior didn’t help matters either. He didn’t know what was going on with him; it wasn’t like Derek hadn’t been away before. He was fine now. Serenity Streams had made him better, whole again and he was happy and ready to get back to work. He didn’t want Penelope or anyone else worrying about him any more. Dr. Sykes was right if they worked together he would be good as new.

Derek’s head was splitting. He couldn’t get rid of the headache and he’d already taken the recommended amount of aspirin. As he rubbed his temples he turned and watched Penelope sleeping her back to him. He didn’t deserve her, he thought. No he didn’t deserve her at all. His mission was to convince her that he was fine now, like his old self…if only the headaches would go away.

Two hours later…
The hall just kept going, dark and narrow and quiet. All he could hear was the sound of his boots on the linoleum tile.  Where was everybody?

“Will someone please turn on the lights? Hello? Please! NO! Let me go! Untie my hands! I need to go home!” 

“Shoot him! Shoot him like I told you and you can go home! We’ll stop the headaches if you shoot him!”

“No more drugs, I can’t think when…NO!!!”

“Just pull the trigger and we will stop the pain…do as you’re told and we won’t hurt her!”

He looked down and noticed the gun in his hand…why was he caring a gun?

“Ahhhhh!!!! My head! Please make the pain stop! Where am I?”

“It’s the last door on the right, just shoot him like I told you and we will let you go home to her”

“NO! NO! Don’t hurt her!”

“Derek! Derek! Baby, wake up! You’re okay, it’s just a nightmare!”

Derek jerked and his eyes sprung open, wide-eyed looking straight into the eyes of Penelope who had wrapped her arms around him to prove to him that everything was okay.

“Pen…I’m sorry, Baby Girl.” He said collapsing back onto his pillow.

Beads of sweat sat on his forehead and his heart was racing. She stared and held him tighter rocking until he pulled away from her and sat up with his back against the headboard.

“You scared the hell out of me, Derek. Are you okay?”

“Wow. It seemed so real…I thought I was…” He turned and saw the worry in her eyes.

“I thought they were supposed to fix the nightmares.”

“Nothing can fix the nightmares, Baby. I’m supposed to be able to deal with them which is what I was doing before…” He stopped suddenly.

“I’m fine…never better. Dr. Sykes, he fixed me. I’m fine.” He said as if his response had been scripted.

Penelope watched as his facial expression went from fear to stone-cold calm in a matter of seconds. This time she wasn’t so willing to brush it off. Derek was not fine and nothing had been fixed. An uneasy feeling rushed over her as she pulled him back down and wrapped him tightly in her arms.

“What happened to you in that place, Derek?” She thought silently to herself.

Thursday morning
Penelope headed toward the kitchen taking special care in not waking Derek. As she started the coffee pot she couldn’t shake the nightmare. He’d had them before and they had increased since Ellie’s death but this one was different. The others were all variations of the same dream but this one was brand new. How could he go to a place that was supposed to help him and come back with a new more terrifying dream, she thought. She was at a loss and wanted so badly to be able to explain it away but her gut wouldn’t allow her to.

As she began cracking eggs for breakfast she felt his arms snake around her waist gently pulling her against his body. She smiled remembering how much she missed mornings like this. She relaxed against his bare chest and closed her eyes wishing that they could just have some peace; no more heartache, no more nightmares, just peace to live a normal life, well as normal as can be with their jobs, but just peace to be able to love each other and…

His voice broke her thoughts as he turned her to face him cupping her face gently in his hands.

“Good morning, Baby Girl.” He kissed her lightly on the lips.

“Good morning, my Prince.” She responded.

“What time are you going in today?” He asked taking a seat at the table.

“I told Hotch I’d be in around ten unless we got a case.”

“I’m ready to get back to work. I don’t understand why I have to wait until Monday.”

“Hey just enjoy it. Besides, you know Strauss, she’s going to want to talk to you before she signs off on your return.”

“Yeah, you’re right.”

Serenity Streams –
Dr. Emmanuel Sykes sat comfortably in his oversized tufted leather chair. His early morning routine of hot tea and toast was interrupted by the shrill ring of his office phone.

“Dr. Sykes.”

“Good morning Doctor, Erin Strauss here. I hope I didn’t disturb you.”

“No not at all. How are you? I assume you’re calling about Agent Morgan.”

“I’m fine and yes, I am calling about Agent Morgan.”

“Well of course you know that what we discuss here is confidential.”

“Yes, of course…”

“But I can tell you that Agent Morgan has made great progress during his stay with us.”

“Good, good. Is it safe to assume he is ready to return to work?”

“Most definitely. I have no doubt that your Agent Morgan is more than ready to return to work.”

“Thank you Dr. Sykes. I’ll let you get back to work.”

Sykes grinned as he hung up the phone. “If you only knew.”  He thought to himself.

Emmanuel Sykes was a little man with big man dreams. He’d struggled all of his life with feeling invisible among his family; with a father who’d conquered the world of business aided by a marriage of convenience to a wealthy socialite from one of Virginia’s oldest and richest families.  Emmanuel was nothing more than an inconvenience to his father who always seemed impatient with such a sensitive child and his mother always looked at him with disappointment in her eyes. Sykes thought becoming a doctor would magically win his parents approval but not so. Their emotions were withheld doled out only in rare tiny pieces.

The human mind was fascinating to him and he believed within the fragile mind laid the power to control the hearts and very souls of man. Somehow if he could unlock the secret then, maybe he’d find a way to make his parents love him.

A knock interrupted Dr. Sykes’ thoughts as Dr. Magee entered his office. She always seemed to make him smile but like everyone else in his life he was invisible to her.

“You’re in early.” She sounded unusually cheerful.

“I wanted to get caught up on some things. Our clients are going to want an update in a few days.”

“Well good. I know you’ll be ready.”

“Indeed. In fact, I have a little test scheduled for this evening.”

“Test? What sort of test?”

“This evening around midnight Agent Morgan will have an urge to go on a late night run.”

“How strange but you’re the doctor.”

“Yes I am and before it’s all over everyone will know who I am.”

She looked at him strangely as he seemed to drift into his own little world.

BAU Headquarters – Conference Room Afternoon
The team minus Morgan was seated around the conference table as Hotch briefed them on a request from the local police department. Each member had a file in front of them and thumbed through it as Hotch filled them in.

“Over the past three weeks the D.C. Police have seen a spike in suicides. Detective James has asked for our help.” Hotch began.

“Since when did we start working suicides, Hotch?” Rossi asked.

The pictures of three men hung side by side on the board.

“These three had some similarities that caught Detective James’ attention.”

“Well, if it really is murder made to look like suicide then the UNSUB crossed racial lines. Our first victim is African-American, the second Hispanic and the third Asian.” Reid pointed out.

“Do we have any other information on these men?” JJ asked.

“Not much. Since they were first ruled as suicides the cases were closed.” Garcia added.

“Are we sure we have enough to start a homicide investigation?” JJ wondered.

“We’ll need to talk to the families. I’d hate to upset them when they’re already grieving.” Alex added.

D.C. Police Department – Late Afternoon
The team had arrived about an hour later and was greeted by Detective Ernie James. He was glad that the BAU had agreed to look into these cases. No one would even listen or consider that three healthy men who had never shown signs of suicide would suddenly take their own lives in the exact same way leaving no suicide note. He was in hot water with his captain but because of his stellar record, he was being allowed to pursue it.

Anxiously, Detective James rushed toward Hotch extending his hand and nodding acknowledgment to the rest of the team.

“Thank you for coming. I’ve got a place set up for you next to my office.”

“Glad we could help although I’m not sure what we can do. It looks pretty cut and dry.” Hotch replied.

“I hear you. That’s what my captain keeps telling me. He’s giving me two days to settle this and then he’s closing the case for good.”

“Well let’s get started.”

Hotch and the team headed to the area that was set up for them. Like their conference room in Quantico, the pictures of three men hung on a white board with their names and ages hand written on labels below each picture. The men were of different racial groups, which for a serial case was rare. That alone would have prevented anyone from suspecting any connection between the three deaths. As the team settled in and began reviewing the case files, Garcia called and Hotch placed her on speaker for everyone to hear.

“What do you have, Garcia?” Hotch asked.

“Our victims are Abner Stone, 35, a sergeant in the Marine Corps. He recently returned from his third tour of Afghanistan. The second victim Sergio Mendoza, 45, was a first responder during 911 and recently retired from the New York Fire Department and relocated to DC. Our last victim Victor Chen, 37 was a DC Police officer whose family was recently killed by a gang member in retaliation for his brother being killed by Chen during a robbery.”

“Yes. In fact, Chen was my partner.” James waited for the fallout.

Rossi shot an angry glance at Hotch then at Detective James.

“Is that why you asked us hear? To prove your partner didn’t kill himself?” Rossi fumed.

“I knew if I told you, you wouldn’t come. But listen, my partner did not kill himself! He would never do that! When I saw the similarities in the other two cases I knew in my gut something was up.”

“The similarities are weak at best Detective.” Hotch added trying to remain calm at being manipulated into getting involved.

“We don’t handle suicides but out of professional courtesy we’ll take a look.” 

Hotch paused and looked at Rossi and then the rest of his team.

“And Detective…if there is anything else you haven’t told us, you need to tell us now.”

The Detective nervously looked at Hotch with an apologetic and grateful look in his eyes.

“No. There’s nothing else. Thank you Agent Hotchner.”

“We need to interview their families to see what ties these men together.” Hotch added.

“I’ve already sent their addresses to your tablets.”

“Thanks Garcia.” JJ chimed in.

“It’s getting late. In the morning, Rossi, you and Alex go and talk to Abner Stone’s family, JJ and Reid you have the Mendoza family and Detective James and I will go see the Chen family.” Hotch ordered.

The team headed out of the precinct and back to Quantico. Garcia powered down her babies and headed to Derek’s.

Home of Derek Morgan – Evening
Derek was busy putting the final touches on dinner. He wanted to surprise Penelope when she arrived. The team had spent the day on a questionable case in DC and even though he was curious he was determined not to mention it. He wanted the two of them to have a relaxing evening, stress-free and as close to normal as possible.

Just as he removed the lasagna from the oven he could hear the door open and her keys jingle as she dropped them onto the table near the door. He smiled to himself counting the seconds when she would round the corner and enter the kitchen.

“Well, well what is my handsome god up to?” She met his smile with her own.

He met her as she stepped across the threshold and took her in his arms planting a deep sensuous kiss on her lips as if it were a promise of things to come.

“I thought I’d cook tonight; my way of saying thank you.” He smiled looking deep into her eyes still holding her tightly.

“Thank you for what?” She was confused.

“For being here with me and everything else that would take all night and into the morning to list.” He said releasing her and returning to the stove.

Penelope plopped down at the table and exhaled. She watched him as he dished the salad into two small bowls and carried them over to the table. She was encouraged to see him so relaxed, happy and he hadn’t mentioned work or their case. This definitely was not like Derek at all. He lived and breathed work, fighting crime and being an active part of the BAU. She continued to watch as he placed the garlic bread and lasagna on the plates and brought them to the table. Was this real? She wondered. Time would tell.

“You never cease to amaze me, Mr. Morgan.”

She smiled and took a small bite of her food. He watched her waiting to get her approval.

“Well?” He asked.

“It’s delicious! I’m impressed.”

“Thank you. Anything for my Princess!”

Derek rubbed his temples, annoyed by a nagging headache, and then took a bite of his food. He was satisfied that it indeed tasted pretty good. They sat and talked enjoying each other’s company and each secretly praying that this would be the beginning of better days.

Much later…
It was midnight and Derek and Penelope had been sound asleep for at least an hour when suddenly Derek awoke. He had a sudden urge to go for a run. His sudden stirring jarred Penelope awake and she turned in time to see him dressing in his running clothes.

“Derek?” She looked at him puzzled.

“Go back to sleep, Baby. I’m just going on a run.” He kept dressing.

“At midnight?” She glanced at the clock on the nightstand.

“I’ll be back. Go back to sleep.”

“Derek. What’s wrong? Since when did you start running at midnight?”

“Penelope, please it’s okay. I just need to go for a run!”

“Why now, Derek?”

“I just do. Please.”

She watched as he tied his shoes and grabbed his sweatshirt and keys. As an afterthought he approached the bed and leaned down and planted a kiss on the top of her head. Speechless and confused she watched him head out the door.

How was she supposed to go back to sleep, she thought to herself. What was she supposed to say when he returned and what could he possibly say to make this odd behavior seem normal?

Derek stepped out into the cool night air and inhaled the chilled breeze into his lungs. He wasn’t sure why he was out this late at night but he ran towards the park into the night alone.

As Derek came to the end of his third lap around the park he saw a dark figure ahead of him and slowed down. As he got closer he recognized the small man as he stepped under the amber glow of the park’s lamp pole.

“Dr. Sykes? What are you doing here?”

“Just checking up on my favorite patient.”

Sykes smiled as he looked into Derek’s confused eyes. He slowly approached Derek who stood silently watching the man.

“You are my favorite patient aren’t you Derek?”

Derek stood still, quiet and submissive as if waiting for permission to move or speak; this was not like Derek Morgan, the fearless profiler that would jump to action and kick ass at the drop of a hat. Sykes began to walk circles around Derek as if he were examining a prized thoroughbred. Still Derek stood trance-like.

“I’m glad you’re taking care of yourself, Derek. You’ve passed a most crucial test.” Sykes stopped in front of Derek.

“Yes.” He answered sounding as if his mind was no longer under his control.

“You do want to save her life, don’t you, Derek?”

“Don’t hurt her, please.”

“Good. That’s good. All you have to do is pull the trigger just like I told you. Then you can go home to her, okay Derek?”

A few minutes later…

Home of Derek Morgan
Penelope pulled the covers over her body and closed her eyes. The familiar sound of his keys turning in the lock made her heart speed up relieved that he was home safe yet nervous as to what his state of mind would be.

Quietly he entered the house and headed to the bedroom. He approached the bed and looked down on her lying quietly. He assumed she had fallen back to sleep shortly after he’d left.

She heard the shower and then shortly saw steam escaping under the door. Her nerves were going crazy. Derek was trying so hard to convince her that he was alright but she knew in her spirit that he wasn’t alright, not even close. Clooney had sensed it the moment his owner had come through the door. With all that he had gone through especially this year he had managed to keep his head above water. The recent cracks that she had seen in him was nothing compared to what was going on now with him. She really couldn’t put words to it and if she had to explain it out loud to someone they would think that she needed a short stay in Serenity Streams. She knew Derek, better than anyone and she knew when he was struggling, or hiding something or even trying to protect her from something. This person that had returned from Serenity Streams was not the man she knew and loved and what scared her the most was that she was certain that even he did not realize that he was not the same.

The hot water beat down relentlessly upon his body. His head rested on the wall, eyes closed as he focused on the throbbing pain pounding just behind his eyes. He had to get rid of the pain it was driving him mad. He found it hard to sleep and hoped desperately that the shower would help him to rest.

Friday morning
Derek was still asleep when Penelope got up and headed to the kitchen to start the coffee pot going. She was still bothered and she welcomed a day at work. She even considered staying at her own apartment tonight to give Derek his space back.

Movie nights always ended with one or the other staying over but it had never progressed past cuddling. Their admissions of their true feelings seemed to have butt heads with another crisis so they were stuck again fighting another problem that was in the way of them addressing the “now what” of their status as a couple. She ached to be near him in a real way not just as a best friend but in her new place in his life. She thought his return from Serenity Streams would be that new beginning but it was as if he didn’t even remember his words to her. She almost felt sick to her stomach at the thought that what he had admitted would become just empty words. What she did know was that she wasn’t about to let their future go up in a puff of smoke. Whatever happened to him while he was away was not going to take him away from her. She vowed to get answers if it was the last thing she did in life. 

BAU Headquarters Erin Strauss’ Office – Morning
Penelope Garcia sat nervously twirling her fingers as Erin Strauss got comfortable behind her desk. She had never had a reason to be in this office before but she had heard that is was expensively decorated and it was, quite impressive.

“Thank you for seeing me this morning, Ma’am.” Penelope exhaled to release the nerves.

“Of course. I was somewhat surprised to get your call.” Strauss studied her intensely. “You said you wanted to talk about Agent Morgan.”

“Ah…yes.” She suddenly began to think that this wasn’t such a good idea. No one knew about her and Morgan being a couple; they had decided not to reveal that yet, especially to Strauss who no doubt would give them problems about it.

“Derek…I mean Agent Morgan and I are very good friends…best friends…and…I know that the two of you have had your…I mean every since he’s come back from Serenity Streams he’s been…different…”

“Different how? Is he having problems? Dr. Sykes assured me that he was fine…better than fine in fact.”

“No, no…he’s fine…he’s perfect…that’s just it. He’s almost too perfect…I mean not that he’s not perfect…but…”

“You know better than any of us that he’s been through a lot this year. More than anyone I know could possibly deal with, give him time. Dr. Sykes has given him the tools to better deal with all the things he’s been carrying around.”

Penelope knew that this conversation was a waste of time. Just as she had feared, no one would understand that Derek was not fine—not by a long shot.

“He’s been having crazy headaches…he doesn’t think I know about them and last night at midnight he went on a run through the park.”

“Oh really and you would know that because…?” Strauss raised her eyebrow.

“Oh...uh…we had…um…movie night at his house and I fell asleep…on the couch…and…”

“Look, Miss Garcia, I’m sure he’s fine. As soon as he’s back in the field everything will be back to normal.”

Strauss smiled and stood to signal that the meeting was over. Penelope quickly rose to her feet embarrassed for even thinking that Strauss would or could help.

“Thank you for your time, Ma’am.”

Penelope made a hasty retreat to her office and closed the door feeling helpless and humiliated.

BAU Headquarters – Afternoon
Penelope welcomed the distraction of the afternoon’s briefing. The families of the three suicide victims had been interviewed and now the team was coming together to share information.

“Rossi and I interviewed Abner Stone’s family. According to his mother, since he’s been back from his third tour of Afghanistan he’s been having some emotional problems, PTSD.” Alex began.

“His mother said that he’s always been very emotionally stable, focused and dedicated to his job. He went into the military straight out of high school.” Rossi added.

“Yes, and she said until these last few months, he’s never had any problems; nothing that would even hint at suicide. She said he seemed…conflicted…like he was having some sort of internal battle.” Alex continued.

“His mother started getting nervous when he’d suddenly do something out of character like he’d get up in the middle of the night and go swimming or he’d go hiking at midnight…”

Penelope nearly jumped out of her skin, knocking over her mug and spilling coffee onto her dress and the file lying in front of her. The team, startled, looked up into her panicked, wide-eyed face.

“Garcia! Are you alright?” JJ asked.

Penelope quickly began to nervously clean up her mess.

“Oh! I’m sorry, sorry.”

“Garcia? Do you need a break or something?” Hotch looked concerned.

“No, no, I’m fine….I’ll get this, please continue.”

Trying not to be distracted by their Technical Analyst fumbling and bumbling as she cleaned up her mess the team continued.

“Our interview with the Mendoza family sounds like that. Sudden odd excursions out of the house, headaches…” Reid began before he was interrupted.

Those words froze Garcia in her tracks.

“Headaches? Did you say headaches?”

“Yeah, why?”

“Did any of our victims spend any time in a care facility or specialized therapy group?”

“Yeah Mrs. Chen said her son was ordered to go by his commanding officer when he started to have some anger issues.” Added Detective James.

All of the victims had recently been through counseling; a new progressive therapy program.


Penelope quickly began typing on her laptop as the others watched her in confused silence.

“Oh my God! I knew it!” She muttered.

She kept typing, furiously unaware that the team was worried that she had finally flipped out.

“Garcia? Talk to us. What’s going on?” Hotch said.

“Listen to this! Each of our victims spent a week or more at Serenity Streams under the care of its founder and director Dr. Emmanuel Sykes.”

“What do we know about this Sykes person?” Rossi asked.

Garcia began typing again and after a few seconds stopped. Her mouth dropped open as she slowly shook her head in disbelief.

“Garcia? What?” JJ nervously asked.

Garcia began reading, not wanting to believe or accept what was on the screen.

“Dr. Emmanuel Sykes is known for his controversial and unorthodox treatment of mental illness. He’s been the subject of a number of lawsuits and investigations and has even had his license suspended at least three times after the mysterious deaths of several of his patients.”

“Why is he still practicing? Reid asked

“Because he has found a way to label what he does as some new wave aversion slash lifestyle alternative and he doesn’t need a license!” Garcia was now furious.

“Wait…Serenity Streams that’s where Strauss went!” Rossi shouted.

He knew he wasn’t supposed to know that. No one was supposed to know that except a select few. As Rossi put two and two together, Garcia thought of Morgan.

“It’s also where she sent Morgan…Oh my god!”

Rossi quickly ran to the door, opened it and stepped into the hallway.


Agent Derek Morgan was behind the wheel of his truck headed no- where in particular. His mind was cluttered with so many thoughts that made no sense at all.  He had done everything that Strauss had ordered him to do and felt worse than he did before Serenity Streams. He didn’t feel like himself, his head still felt like a jackhammer had been running amok nonstop. It was hard explaining or controlling his actions. He needed answers and he needed them now. Every time he tried to force his mind back to the events of last week all he saw was darkness and when he fell asleep visions of death and threats of death and commands to kill haunted him. The only way to find out what really happened, why he felt completely out of control was to go back to where it all began.

Penelope and the team focused intently on the laptop screen, reading the truth about Dr. Emmanuel Sykes. Erin Strauss had joined them as Penelope filled them all in on Derek’s odd behavior; the robotic, trance-like responses whenever he was asked how he was feeling, the struggle he had trying to appear fine and normal and his bizarre late night run through the park. She told him about the headaches and the fact that Clooney refused to go near him.

“There are scientific findings that point to the validity of a real unexplainable bond between man and dog, thus the phrase, ‘man’s best friend’”. Reid offered.

“Wait, are we talking brainwashing here? Sounds like something straight out of a sci-fi movie.” Rossi added.

“Strauss, did you notice anything out of the ordinary when you stayed there?” Hotch asked.

“No. Nothing. We had the normal group sessions, the 12-Steps…nothing out of the ordinary.”

“With all due respect, but she doesn’t fit the profile of any of our victims.” JJ surmised.

“You’re right JJ.” Hotch admitted. “All of our victims are men. They were athletic, dedicated men in service-type jobs, focused and driven heroes.”

“Exactly, these men where in high stress, high stakes jobs They were extremely dedicated to protecting and saving others.” Reid looked at Garcia.

“Then why did they all kill themselves?” Alex wondered out loud.

“Because they were all heroes, duty-bound. Whatever Sykes was ordering them to do went against who they were at their core. They were lifesavers, heroes, not killers. Sykes could not play on any socio-pathic or deviant behavior because it was not who they were.” Reid surmised.

“So, they killed themselves rather than kill others.” Rossi.

“Exactly. Their minds couldn’t process the command that was opposite to who they were so suicide was the only way out.”

“Where’s Morgan?”

“He-he…should be home. He said he was working on his basement today.”

“Why would Sykes be brainwashing these men?”

“…And why these specific men with these very specific characteristics?” JJ added.

“Assassins!” Rossi blurted out.

“Assassins?” Strauss looked disbelieving at Rossi.

“The top twelve world leaders are in town today for the signing of an unprecedented peace agreement. There are a lot of extremist factions who would love to stop that from happening.” Rossi continued.

“You’re right Rossi. If this agreement is signed it would expose many of the terrorist cells and make it nearly impossible to exist as they do now.” Reid added.

“JJ call Homeland Security. Garcia call Morgan. If he’s the one Sykes has programmed to disrupt that meeting then we need to get to him before he completes his mission.”

Serenity Streams –
Derek sat outside the wrought iron gates of Serenity Streams. He wasn’t sure how he found his way there but he had. He needed answers and he wasn’t leaving until he found them.

His thoughts were interrupted by the ringing of his cell phone; he didn’t have to look at the display to know it was Garcia.

“Hey Baby Girl.”

“Where are you?” She tried to keep her voice from shaking.

“I need answers…”

“Derek, listen to me. You need to come to the BAU.”

“Not until I find out what happened to me.”

“Baby, please, let Hotch and the team handle this.” The panic was evident now in her voice.

There was no response from Derek. Unbeknownst to her, Derek had laid the phone on the seat next to him and left the truck to look for a way onto the grounds.

“Derek? Derek! Answer me, please!”

Office of Dr. Emmanuel Sykes/Serenity Streams
The confident doctor sat behind his desk on the phone with an important client. He was boasting about his readiness for the upcoming mission and promising success that would earn him a large payoff afterwards.

Derek was surprised at how easy it was to get onto the property unnoticed. He chocked it up to Sykes’ ego and over confidence about not getting caught. Still, there were no patients walking around the grounds just extreme quiet. Just as he reached the old plantation style main building one of the attendants appeared near the entrance. As he  stepped outside and descended the steps and headed toward the opposite side Derek ducked down behind a clump of shrubbery until it was safe to proceed inside.

As he made it down the dark hallway he heard voices coming from a large office to the right. It was Sykes, the man who had turned his life upside down.

“Don’t worry Sir! I’ve got everything ready. That meeting will never take place. My man is in position.”

There was a pause as the other side of the conversation was inaudible to Morgan. He so wanted to burst in and force the scrawny doctor to tell him the truth and make him undo what he had done to his mind.

“I understand. He’s passed all of my preliminary tests with flying colors. (pause) I’ve made sure that he won’t be able to tell anyone. (pause) I’ll call you when it’s done. (pause) What happens afterwards? He dies.”

Sykes hung up the phone and suddenly realized that he was not alone in the room.

“Agent Morgan! What are you doing here?” Sykes was panic-stricken.

“What did you do to me?” Morgan began to slowly approach the man.

“What are you talking about?”

“The headaches…the nightmares…What?”

Sykes stood and looked piercingly into Morgan’s eyes. A sharp pain hit Morgan with a fierceness that caused him to stagger. He closed his eyes trying to shake off the pain and regain control.

“What did I tell you to do, Derek? You do want to save her don’t you?”
“Stop! Stop the pain!” Morgan felt his control leaving.

“You have to finish the job. Do what I told you to do! Pull the trigger! Then I’ll let you go home to her!”

Just as Sykes thought he had regained control of his wayward patient, Morgan lunged forward and grabbed him around the neck and slammed him across the desk sending papers, and everything else flying across the room.

“Stop the pain!” Morgan increased the pressure around Sykes’ neck.

Sykes eyes bugged out as he struggled to breathe and find a way to escape this mad man. Morgan didn’t care if this despicable creature stopped breathing. He continued to press harder feeling his bones and muscles giving under his grip. The little man was no match for him. All he could see was red.

Hotch, Rossi and Detective James burst through the door. Reid, JJ and Alex had been sent to other parts of the building. Morgan continued to strangle Sykes, the three other men ran to pull him off and finally after several minutes of struggling they managed to free Sykes from Morgan’s death grip.

Rossi and Hotch wrapped Morgan in a bear grip as he continued to struggle. James pulled Sykes up from the floor not caring that he was coughing and gasping for air and cuffed his hands behind his back.

Finally Morgan began to settle down in his teammates grip just as the rest of the team joined them in the office. James leads Sykes out of the room and out of the building as he screamed and ranted.

“This is not the end! Do you hear me! This is not over!”

Morgan slowly got to his feet as his team surrounded him with looks of concern and love. They admired him for who he was and what he meant to their team and to the family that they had created over the last nine years.

He wanted to see Penelope. He knew she would be worried about him wondering if he had snapped and killed Sykes or if he’d been killed. He couldn’t stand the looks of concern in the faces of his friends but he understood nonetheless. All he wanted to do was go home and forget what he still couldn’t remember; a week of darkness, pain and lost time. He’d been fighting it seemed to get out of a black hole to save her, to keep Sykes and his men from hurting her and now it was hopefully over and he needed to see her, to hold her tightly in his arms.

BAU Headquarters- Gym – Saturday morning
Derek had arrived about and hour ago. The quiet of the room helped him to focus. He’d missed his early morning workouts and he had a week to catch up on.

He had been wailing away on the heavy bag when Strauss walked in.

“I’ve been in this room more in the last two weeks than I have in all my twenty years with the bureau.”

Strauss dressed in her business attire approached him as he slowly began to remove his boxing gloves.

“Maybe next time I’ll dress for a workout.” She chuckled.

Morgan grabbed his towel and wiped the sweat from his face. He could tell that she was nervous and he wasn’t in the mood to engage in idle conversation.


“I thought I’d find you hear.” He wasn’t going to make this easy for her she thought. “You’ve been cleared to return to duty.”


He stared at her intently as he wiped his neck and shoulders.

“Agent Morgan…I am so sorry!”

“Ma’am you don’t…”

“I seem to be saying that to you a lot lately.” She interrupted. “I was wrong…about everything…”

He didn’t know what to say to her. He saw the remorse in the eyes of a woman who was always confident and fearless; a woman who was hard and never pulled punches or apologized or explained anything that she felt was justified by her title and the power it gave her. As he continued to stare into her he saw something else, he wasn’t quite sure what it was, confusion, terror, he didn’t know, whatever it was it was dark and untouchable.

“So what happens next?” An honest question he thought.

“I don’t know.” She said. “You go back to work and I go back to doing what I do, running things.”

He shook his head in disbelief and stepped back grabbing his water bottle.

“It’s that easy for you? You damn near ruined my life! Hell you almost got me killed! So I go back to work like nothing happened, my team second guessing everything I do and you’re okay with that?”

“I don’t know what you expect from me, Agent Morgan.”

“You don’t know what I expect…from you?” A frustrated smile crossed his face. “I don’t expect a damn thing, Strauss! Not a damn thing!”

His words froze her in her tracks. She had nothing else to say; the fiery look in his eyes made her shiver for just a moment in fear. He turned and walked back toward the heavy bag where his belongings laid. As he tossed in his water bottle and towel she spoke again.

Her head had been hurting off and on all morning and she was feeling a bit disoriented. Her hand reached to the middle of her back where she’d been carrying her service revolver and pulled it out and aimed it straight ahead.

“Agent Morgan?”

Morgan turned slowly and his eyes went immediately to the gun trained on him. Many were not aware of her abilities with a gun. She’d been ranked as one of the top marksman in the bureau just under him. He knew what she could do, that she knew how to use the gun and even though she hadn’t been in the field in years he was certain that she hadn’t lost her edge. He figured he had about five steps between him and the hand that held the gun; five steps seemed like five miles especially if he came up short. His mind went back to a few short minutes ago when he saw the torment and confusion in her eyes and he prayed that it would now be his saving grace.

“Strauss, what are you doing?” He took one step toward her.

“I have to do this. You didn’t do what you were told.” She struggled to keep her hand steady.

Another step.

“You don’t have to do it either.” One more step.

“If I don’t he’ll hurt them!” One step.

“He can’t hurt them. We’ve stopped him. He’s going away for a long time.”

Her hand was shaking and tears were streaming down her face. Sykes had gotten to her too. He calmly reached for her hand; the teary fearful expression suddenly turned to an ice-cold blackness. Then the loud sound of the gun pierced the calm of the room.


Healing is a matter of time but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity. –Hippocrates

The End…