Derek couldn’t get out of the office fast enough. He wasn’t expecting to see what he had just seen. Just the night before he’d finally worked up the courage to tell Penelope how he felt; he was happily surprised that she felt the same way about him. But now, less than twelve hours later, she was in Sam’s arms. Maybe she had changed her mind and come to her senses and realized that she could do better. Whatever the case, Derek’s heart was broken, shattered into a million pieces and all he wanted to do was go home.
Penelope had heard the gasp, then saw the hurt and shock on his face when she pulled away from Sam and turned around. It wasn’t what it looked like; not by a long shot. Sam had dropped by the office, something he’d rarely done in the past. This time it was simply to drop off the keys to her apartment. They had mutually agreed to part ways several weeks before and with the team gone on back to back cases, she hadn’t taken the time to tell anyone including her best friend. Even though she had admitted to herself that she wasn’t in love with Sam, she still loved him as a person and the thought of him not being in her life made her sad. He was a kind man and he’d worked hard at trying to make her happy. But he couldn’t, she was hopelessly in love with Derek. Sam had kissed her for old time’s sake; nothing more was meant by the embrace and the kiss; both had caught her by surprise.
Sam loved Penelope but he had gone into their relationship with his eyes wide open knowing that she was in love with Derek. The fact that she had not even admitted it to herself did not change the fact that she loved him and more than that, Derek loved her. Still Sam had hopes of changing her heart and her mind and for a while he had tricked himself into believing that he had succeeded, but almost a month ago he had overheard a conversation between JJ and Penelope that forced him to accept the fact that he had not.
“You never answered my question, Sam.”
“When we broke up a few weeks back, I asked you how you knew that I was in love with Derek.”
Sam wasn’t sure he wanted to admit that he had been eavesdropping but at this point he had nothing to lose.
“I heard you talking to JJ on the phone. I had dropped by to see if you wanted to go to lunch. Your door was cracked, and I heard you talking…you admitted that you finally realized what everyone else had already known; you were in love with your best friend.”
“I’m sorry Sam. I never meant to hurt you.”
“No, I have to admit it too; I knew you loved him.”
“Penelope you two are so obvious. You’ve never looked at me the way you look at him. I was foolish to think that I could make you love me instead.”
Sam pulled her into his arms and held her tight against his body. He wanted a life with her but more than that he wanted to win but that wasn’t in the cards for him. She had always accused him of not being spontaneous; this would be his last chance to prove her wrong and so without warning he kissed her, hard and deep. He watched her eyes widen in shock and for a moment it gave him a lot of satisfaction that he had finally proven to her that she had underestimated him. It didn’t matter that her body was stiff as a board, what did matter was that Morgan had witnessed it all.
“Let him go, Penelope.”
“No, I have to go…I need to explain…I’m sorry Sam.”
And then she was gone leaving him alone in her office as if the last three years of their lives together had never happened.
Derek had taken the long way home. In fact, he’d driven around the city for several hours before finally arriving home. Penelope had called and left several messages on his phone; he didn’t want to talk to her or anyone else for that matter. He just wanted to be alone. The image of her…of Sam kissing her was burned into his brain…he needed a drink.
Penelope looked everywhere for him; he wasn’t home, he wasn’t answering her calls and she was beside herself with worry. She needed to explain that Sam had kissed her and that it wasn’t anything she wanted or expected. She was furious with Sam for possibly ruining everything. She’d loved Derek for twelve years; since the first day she had laid eyes on him. It had taken them this long to finally get together and she wasn’t going to lose him now.
Penelope drove to his house again. His truck was in the driveway now; she pulled in next to him and killed the engine. She saw that the lights were on perhaps that was a good sign. Her nerves were getting the best of her as she climbed the steps to his front door. She rang the doorbell, once then twice. There was no answer. It was now or never she wasn’t going to leave his house without making him listen. She knew how stubborn he could be, but she loved him too much not to have her say.
Penelope rang the doorbell one last time before using her key to let herself in. She didn’t see him at first; the house was eerily quiet. Except for the light in the far corner, the other parts of the house seemed to be dark. Then she saw him…she froze in her tracks. Derek, the man of her dreams was lying still on the floor, a pool of blood slowly growing beneath him.
Penelope rushed to his side trying desperately to will him awake. His chest barely moving up and down gave her no hope and no answers.
“Baby wake up! PLEASE!”
Penelope pulled her cell phone from her bag and dialed 9-1-1. She wanted to scream she wanted to plead with him to forgive her but there was no guarantee he would hear her.
“Don’t leave, me…don’t leave me, Derek! I’m so sorry…”
Sam watched from the shadows of the large hallway. Poor Penelope, he thought. He loved her so much; more than he had loved any other woman in his life. He had told her that it was okay, that he understood; that all he wanted was her happiness. He lied.
Penelope held Derek’s hand tightly in hers as she cried hysterically. Sam quietly slipped down the hallway toward the large room at the end of the hallway. Without being noticed he climbed out of the same window that he had used to enter the house and watched from the yard as the ambulance pulled up.
“This is what happens Penelope…this is what happens when you don’t choose me.”
Potomac General – Evening –
Hotch, JJ, and Reid rushed through the emergency room doors; Penelope met them just before they reached the nurses station. Her eyes were puffy and red, and her face was drained of all color; they didn’t need a doctor to tell them that things were bad. The group surrounded Penelope as they walked toward the waiting room. It was a slow night and for that they were grateful to be the only ones occupying the small room.
“Garcie what happened?” JJ asked.
“I don’t know. I’d been trying to reach him all day, but he wasn’t answering his phone. I-I needed to explain…to tell him that it was all a mistake…It wasn’t what…I…Oh my god…he was so still, I thought he was…I can’t lose him, I can’t…”
“Garcia, please focus…what happened?” Hotch repeated.
“I, I let myself in because he wouldn’t answer the door; I knew he was there. He was lying on the floor and there was blood everywhere.”
“Did you see anyone else; did you hear anything?” Hotch continued.
“No, no…I don’t know…I don’t think so.”
“Who would do this?”
“With what we do for a living we’ve all made a lot of enemies.” Dave answered.
“What did the doctors say, Garcia?”
“Just that they were taking him immediately to surgery. The paramedics said that he coded on the way here, but they were able to revive him.”
Hotch and Dave walked toward the door while Reid and JJ sat with Penelope. Both men were at a loss for words; Their jobs had brought evil to their doorsteps too many times to count but it never made it easier to handle or understand.
“Does Fran know?”
“Yeah I called her; she’s in Chicago visiting the girls. I sent my jet to pick them up.”
“This is crazy Dave!”
“Why Derek? Why now?”
“We need to make sure the police keep us in the loop. Whoever did this could be targeting all of us.”
“Did you notice how upset Garcia was?”
“Well, we all know how she feels about Derek.”
“Yeah but since she’s been with Sam, they haven’t been as close.”
“Her being at Derek’s at almost eleven o’clock is odd for a woman in a relationship.”
“I don’t know any man who would be okay with that.”
“I think we need to talk to Garcia.”
Home of Sam Collier –
Sam had taken care not to be seen leaving Morgan’s house. He waited almost two hours before Morgan came home. He’d watched Penelope arrive shortly after him and then leave once she discovered that her lover was not home.
He’d made it home long enough to shower Morgan’s blood off of his body. Gathering his bloody clothes into a tight bundle he tossed them into the garbage for pick up the next day. No one would suspect him; his breakup with Penelope had been amicable and so he felt confident that he had no worries. Still, he would stay close to his ex to make sure he stayed one step ahead of those who’d be looking for the person who had shot a federal agent in his home.
Sam grabbed a beer and turned on the television; already the shooting had made the news in a special broadcast. It was a shame that not even highly trained officers of the law were safe in their own homes and if Derek survived, he would have to make sure to finish what he started before Derek had a chance to identify the person who shot him.
Potomac General – Early Morning –
“Why haven’t they told us anything yet?”
“Garcia, I know how you feel but the doctors will let us know…”
“No JJ you don’t know how I feel! Nobody knows how I feel! I can’t lose Derek, I can’t not now!”
“Garcia, is there something you need to tell us?” Hotch asked.
She looked in each of their faces as they waited for her to respond. This wasn’t how she imagined sharing the news about her and Derek.
“Derek and I are together.”
“What?” Reid smiled before going on. “When did this happen?”
“Officially, night before last.”
“What about Sam?” JJ asked.
“We broke up three weeks ago; I didn’t tell you guys.”
Hotch looked at Dave, both men seemed to have the same suspicion but neither said a word.
“How did he take it? I know he was jealous of…”
“No JJ, he took it well. We both agreed that breaking up was for the best.”
“So, it was mutual then.”
“Yes Reid, it was mutual.”
Now all of them with the exception of Garcia had wondered about Sam being the one who had done this. Silently the profilers would not bring him up again as a suspect until they had more evidence. They all wanted to be wrong for Penelope’s sake.
The group turned toward the gray-haired man standing in the doorway. His wrinkled pea-green scrubs were stained with blood and he looked weary. It was hard to read his face even for a profiler.
“Yes!” They answered in unison.
“I’m sorry to keep you all waiting. I’m Agent Morgan’s surgeon.”
“How is he?” Penelope asked.
“It was touch and go for quite a while, but he made it through surgery. He’s lost a lot of blood and we nearly lost him.”
“What happened to him, doctor?” Dave asked.
“He was shot twice in the chest at close range. One bullet came dangerously close to his heart and the other bullet grazed his spine.”
“Is he going to be okay?” JJ asked.
“It’s too early to tell. The next twenty-four to forty-eight hours are critical. If he makes it then we will be able to reassess him again at that time.”
“What can we do?” Hotch asked.
“Does he have family?”
“We’re his family and his mother and sisters are on their way.”
“Well, good, good; the sooner they get here the better.”
“No…no don’t say that! You can’t give up! Are you saying that he’s not going to make it?” Penelope pleaded.
“I’m saying that his condition is very critical, and I can’t give you any guarantees that he’ll make it. I’m sorry, I wish I had better news.”
Penelope felt her knees buckle and the room begin to spin. Dave wrapped his arm around her waist and slowly guided her back toward a nearby chair. This was not the news any of them wanted. Morgan had to make it, he’d been injured before and pulled through but nothing like this. Who would do this? Who would come to his front door and bring evil inside?
“Thank you, doctor.” Said Hotch.
“Again, I’m sorry the news isn’t better.”
Potomac General – Afternoon –
Fran rushed through the doors with Sarah and Desiree on her heels; Dave was the first to see them running and he met them in the hallway pulling his wife in his arms.
“How is he; how is my son?”
Sarah and Desiree joined the two in a family hug and for the next few moments Dave wondered how he would tell them what had happened.
Penelope looked up to see Fran and the girls. She wondered if they would blame her for what happened to Derek. If he had not seen her and Sam kissing, he would have never been home alone; never would have been shot and left for dead.
Fran noticed the blonde and pulled away from her husband. She saw the fear and sorrow in the younger woman’s face. It was all she could do not to crumble on the floor but on shaky legs she approached Penelope.
“I’m sorry; I’m so sorry, Fran.”
Fran pulled her against her and wrapped her in her arms.
“Did you pull the trigger?”
“Then this is not your fault, understand?”
Penelope nodded against her and the group joined the others in the waiting room. Everyone exchanged teary greetings and then like only Fran could, she demanded to know what happened.
“Okay, somebody needs to let me know what happened and I need to know when I can see my son.”
Dave took her hand in his and exhaled. This was on him to tell and him alone.
“Derek was shot last night in his home.”
“Shot? Who...who would shoot him?”
“We don’t know who shot him, but the police are on it...”
“The police? What about the FBI, what about your team?”
“Trust me, Fran we will not rest until we find who did this.” Hotch assured her.
“None of this makes sense!” Desiree began. “We just talked to Derek night before last and he told us...” then she stopped.
“He told us you two were together and he was so happy.” Sarah continued.
Penelope broke, tears flooded down her face and she couldn’t speak; it was her fault of that she was certain. How could she tell them knowing that they would hate her?
“Penelope, what’s going on?” Fran inquired.
“She’s upset, it’s hard for her...all of us to make sense of this.” JJ answered.
“Penelope?” Fran asked again.
“Yes, yes...JJ’s right. I can’t deal with this right now. Please I need some air.”
Then abruptly she ran from the room headed toward the Surgical ICU out of sight. Fran started after her until Dave stopped her gently grabbing her arm.
“Let her go, Bella; don’t worry she’s not leaving not while Derek is lying in that bed. Just give her some time.”
Sam was nervous; he’d never hurt anyone in his life but now he had Derek’s blood on his hands. He didn’t know who he was anymore, and he was scared and desperate. He wanted to forget what he had done but more important he didn’t want anyone else to know what he had done. He needed to stay close to know what was going on firsthand and perhaps to make sure the suspicion never fell on him.
Sam felt his stomach flutter as he walked through the main entrance doors. The elderly volunteer at the front desk was eager to help him with directions to the third floor ICU. Nodding and thanking her profusely, Sam hurried toward the elevators before the woman realized that he wasn’t actually family.
Even though her back was to him he could tell that she was upset as she stood staring through the window. The woman downstairs had already informed him that the patient could not have visitors, but he was welcomed to wait in the waiting room. Careful not to be seen by anyone familiar and trying hard to act as if he belonged, Sam was close enough now to Penelope to touch her.
He startled her; he was the last person she expected to see here.
“Sam, what are you doing here?”
“I heard what happened; it’s all over the news! I-I couldn’t believe it!”
“Sam, I really don’t...I can’t believe you would come...not after...”
Sam wrapped his arms around her and pulled her close. He pretended not to notice that her body stiffened and resisted being held against his body.”
“I just thought you’d need someone. I love you Penelope and now is not the time for either one of us to dwell on our breakup, besides I’ll always be your friend.”
Penelope pulled out of his arms remembering how all of this started in the first place. She turned away and continued her vigil at the window.
“Have you found out what happened?”
“No, the police have no leads.”
“Has Derek said anything?”
“Look at him, Sam! He’s been unconscious since they brought him in and he nearly died in surgery, so no, he hasn’t said anything, damn it!”
She knew he meant well but she didn’t need him here reminding her that it was his fault, their fault and if Derek died her life would be over. She felt horrible for yelling at him but all she wanted right now was to be left alone.
“I-I’m so sorry Penelope, that was a stupid question...”
“No, no Sam I’m the one who’s sorry. I didn’t mean to take it out on you; I’m worried about Derek that’s all.”
“I understand and I know it’s not my place to be here I just needed to know you were okay.”
“Thank you and I’ll be fine when Derek opens his eyes and I get a chance to explain that what he saw wasn’t what he thought he saw.”
“I get it. If that’s what will make you happy, then that’s what I want too.”
Home of Derek Morgan –
“Thanks for coming with me JJ.” Reid began.
“Anything is better than sitting around doing nothing. At least here I feel like I’m doing something to help find Derek’s shooter.”
“Hotch managed to keep the director off of our backs for a while.”
“Yeah but it’s only for three days and then we’re going to have to take a case.”
“JJ, it’s no way we can take a case when Derek’s laid up in the hospital!”
“No! What if he dies, what if his killer gets away and what if...”
“Spence calm down. We will find the person who did this and when we do...”
“What? When we find him, what?”
“Let’s just say, you better hope my gun is empty.”
“Get in line Jayje, get in line.”
Reid and JJ carefully walked each room of the house trying to piece together the events that led up to Derek being shot at close range in his own home. With the exception of the large blood stain on the floor Derek’s house was immaculate with everything in place except...
“Spence, over here!”
Reid joined her near the fireplace.
JJ stared intently at the mantle that was filled with frames of pictures of Derek and his family and the team, the pictures that were of Derek and Penelope were missing; at least three pictures all gone.
“Don’t you see it?”
Reid kept staring and then he saw it too.
“The pictures of Morgan and Garcia aren’t here.”
“Exactly, the shooter took the pictures of Morgan and Garcia.”
“JJ, Morgan knew the shooter. That’s why he was able to get so close before Derek saw him as a threat.”
“Forensics said that whoever it was entered through a bedroom window.”
“But whoever it was Derek probably thought he could defend himself against him.”
“Yeah until he saw the gun.”
“We need to get back to the hospital.”
Potomac General –
JJ and Reid rushed through the doors and headed toward the ICU waiting room to join the others. A detective from the local police department was briefing Hotch and Rossi on what they had so far. They’d all surmised that the shooter had to be someone that Derek knew and did not feel threatened by.
“Detective Warren, this is agent Jareau and Dr. Spencer Reid.” Hotch began.
The three nodded in greeting to each other.
“What did you two find at Morgan’s” Hotch continued.
“The shooter took all of the pictures Morgan had of him and Garcia together.” JJ answered.
“Trophies.” Dave added.
“We need to put someone on Garcia as well. This person may try to kill her too.” Hotch noted.
“I’ll have a team assigned to her immediately.”
Detective Warren stepped away to make a phone call.
“Where’s Garcia?” JJ asked.
“She walked down to the ICU to be near Morgan.” Rossi answered.
“I’m going to head down that way.” JJ added.
“JJ, I don’t want you to leave her side. I don’t care if there’s a team of officers on her or not. None of us is to be alone until we catch this guy.” Hotch ordered
JJ quickly made her way down the hallway; she was surprised to see Sam there with Penelope both talking outside of Derek’s room. It was odd to see him since they were no longer a couple and he hadn’t taken the breakup very well. Before reaching the two, JJ sent a quick text message to the team.
Penelope was relieved to see JJ; she had been thinking of a graceful way to get rid of Sam, perhaps JJ would be of some help. Sam had a way of being persistent with his kindness still she didn’t know of anyone who’d be here under these circumstances.
“Hey JJ...” Garcia began quickly moving toward her friend.
“Any news?” JJ asked.
“None. JJ he’s so still, I can’t lose him...I...”
JJ pulled Penelope into her arms as Sam watched. He was uncomfortable and it was obvious, especially to JJ.
“Sam what are you doing here?”
“I uh heard what happened and I just wanted to check on Penelope.”
“Wow, you’ve got to be the best ex-boyfriend in the world.”
“Thanks, I think?”
“We’ll look after Penelope from here, it’s late and I know you must be tired.”
“I don’t mind staying.”
“Really? Well just so you know this is an active police investigation and if you stick around the police will probably want to interview you; I mean they’re interviewing everyone who knows Derek.”
“Oh, but why me I mean we weren’t close or anything...”
“Exactly, and that’s why they’ll want to know why you’re here. I mean we all know you’re a good guy and you’re here for Pen, but the cops, I mean they’re going to think that it’s pretty odd, you know?”
“Yeah I get it...I think I better go on home.” Sam gave Penelope an awkward hug. “If you need anything, call me okay?”
“Sure, sure Sam. Thanks for coming.” Penelope answered.
Sam hurried down the hallway; Penelope turned to her friend slightly confused.
“What was that?”
“What was what?”
“I thought you liked Sam; you were rude.”
“Until we find out who shot Derek, everyone and everything is suspect especially random visits from broken-hearted exes.”
“You don’t think...no, no way Sam would hurt Derek!”
Both women turned around slowly and looked straight into the eyes of Fran Morgan Rossi.
“H-hey Fran.” Penelope's voice quivered as she looked into the eyes of the older woman.
“I’ll go see if I can find some coffee at the nurses station.”
Penelope didn’t want to be alone with Fran; she didn’t want to face Derek’s mother and tell her that it was her fault that he was here fighting for his life.”
“Penelope, talk to me. Who is Sam?”
...to be continued
*Disclaimer: The Derek Morgan Chronicles is fan fiction based on the CBS Crime drama, Criminal Minds. We do not own Criminal Minds or its characters.
About the Creator
I adore words and I love what happens when we grab them, sleep with them, holler and scream and laugh at them! I love what happens when we throw them in the air and watch them fall magically from our minds onto paper!