Fran smiled as she looked around the room. The last few weeks had been difficult but they'd survived. Derek was home from the hospital and even though he was moving slowly and dealing with pain the doctors had assured them that he'd make a full recovery. She didn't want to think about what her life would be like if he had not made it. Now here they all were, the makeshift family that they had created on their own, loving and caring for each other with their last breaths and it made her feel warm and safe inside. She'd even found love and no one was more surprised than her; she hadn't expected it and she wasn't looking for it yet somehow it had found her and she had stopped questioning the blessing of this man in her life.
"What's going on in that beautiful head of yours, Bella?"
"Nothing Sweetheart, I'm just loving our family; crazy as it is. We came so close to losing it all."
"But we didn't." He interrupted.
He kissed her sweetly on the cheek and left to find another bottle of wine for his guests. She shook her head and smiled after him thanking the gods for the hundredth time that day for sending him her way. There was still a lot to do before dinner was ready but she took just a few more minutes to think about the last several weeks and relish the fact that everything seemed to have ended on a happy note.
"Come, come on everyone gather around!"
His bellowing voice pulled her from her solitary moment as she joined the rest of them in the large great room.
"I want to propose a toast."
Dave held up his glass. Everyone focused their attention on the man who had volunteered to be the host for the day's festivities.
"I'm sure you will agree that these past few weeks have been hell. All of us have been questioned and re-questioned about that scumbag Kevin Lynch; we all wanted him dead and we all had the means, but luckily we have all been cleared of his murder!"
They all began talking at once, chuckles and murmurs filled the air. Rossi held up his hand calling order to the unruly bunch and continued on with his speech.
"I just want to say that I love you all and there's nothing I wouldn't do for any of you…"
"Dave you're not getting soft in your old age, are you?" Hotch interrupted.
The room erupted in silent smiles as Dave smiled and took a moment to control the emotions that had suddenly overwhelmed him.
"Not hardly, my friend."
Then as he surveyed the faces in the crowd he lifted his glass even higher.
"Here's to a closed case, close calls and new beginnings!
"CHEERS!" They all sang in unison.
Fran shot a quick glance at Rossi as she took a sip of the expensive champagne. Penelope, JJ, Sarah and Desiree joined her in the kitchen to finish preparing the elaborate dinner that she'd taken all week to plan. Just as she began cutting up vegetables for the salad she felt a strong tug on her arm.
"Derek? Can't you see I'm busy son?"
"I know Ma but I need to talk to you; it will only take a minute."
She placed her knife on he counter dried her hands on her apron and followed him through the room to the patio. She was surprised to see Dave already standing there.
"Okay Derek what's so important that you had to pull us away from the party." Rossi asked.
Derek looked at them both amazed at how far they were willing to go with their charade.
"When were you two going to tell me that you were together?"
Both Rossi and Fran turned beet red as they looked guiltily at each other.
"W-What are you talking about, Derek?"
"Ma please don't even try it. I know you two are together!"
"Derek, listen I'm not sure what you think you know…"
"Can it old man! I don't want to hear any more lies!"
"Did your sisters say something? Was it Sarah? No, wait, let me guess; it was Des! I swear that child can't keep a secret if her life…"
"No it wasn't Des! Wait…why did they know and I didn't?"
"We knew you'd be upset?"
"NO I wouldn't!"
"YES, you would!" Rossi countered.
"Like right now, you're upset!" Fran added.
"I'm upset because you didn't tell me!"
"Look Derek, your mother has the right to be happy."
"I know that Rossi, but you? Why does it have to be you?"
"What's wrong with me?"
"Really? You want to go there?"
"Yes Derek, tell me why not me?"
"Because you've slept with more women than…than…"
Derek was speechless. He saw a smirk cross his mother's face, which irritated him even more.
"That's not funny Ma!"
"Baby Boy what if someone told you that you couldn't be with Penelope because of all the women you've been with?"
"I'd tell them to go fu-"
"Derek! Watch you mouth!"
"Sorry. Ma, I just want you to be happy."
Fran took her son's hands in hers and waited for him to look at her.
"I am happy, Baby. Happier than I've been in a long time."
Dave gently wrapped his arm around her waist and kissed her on the cheek.
"I love your mother more than I've loved anyone else. I know my past but this woman right here, your mother is my future and I want to spend the rest of my life making her happy…with or without your blessing."
There was nothing more he could say; he saw the love swimming in both of their eyes. It was undeniable that they felt the same about each other as he felt about Penelope. So, without another word, he extended his hand to the man standing in front of him. Dave nodded and smiled taking Derek's hand shaking it firmly.
Resigned to the fact that David Rossi was probably going to be attending at all future Morgan family Christmas dinners, Derek turned and headed back into the house. Just as he was about to enter, he turned and saw that the couple had already lost themselves in a scorching passionate kiss.
"Can you two at least wait until I leave the area?"
Without breaking the kiss, Fran waved her son away and tightened her grip on the man in her life.
After dinner everyone gathered in the great room and got comfortable with coffee and drinks in hand. Dinner of course was amazing, Fran was a great cook and she enjoyed working in Dave's massive chef's kitchen.
"So Hotch, what did the coroner's report list as Kevin's cause of death?" Asked Reid.
"They said it was some sort of allergic reaction to something he ate or drank."
"As in someone poisoned the son-of-a-bitch?" Derek asked.
"It was inconclusive. Although the coroner did say he smelled blueberries on him but it could have been anything that he'd ingested over the last twelve hours before he died."
"I don't think I'll cry any tears over that bastard." JJ chimed in.
"Since all of the likely suspects were cleared they had no choice but to list it as, Natural Causes, and close the case.
Dave pulled Fran close to his body and planted a kiss on the top of her head. She smiled up at him and leaned her head against his shoulder as he whispered in her hear.
"I love you, Bella."
She never thought she had it in her; what she had done had surprised even her but when she saw her son lying in that hospital bed clinging to life her world shattered. He'd been through so much and she could only imagine what had run through his mind when he found Penelope strapped to her bed naked and being brutalized by Kevin Lynch. She, Dave and the rest of the team had stood watch over him until the nursing staff shooed them away. She and her daughters had flown in from Chicago when they had gotten the news. She couldn't lose her only son, she'd already lost his father and losing him would be too much for her to handle.
She and Dave had returned to his house a little before midnight; she was exhausted but she couldn't sleep. After an hour or so of tossing and turning she slipped out of bed careful not to wake Dave and headed for the kitchen. Her mind was going a mile a minute imagining what Derek had gone through…what Penelope had gone through and she needed a distraction. So, she did what she always did when she couldn't sleep; she baked.
Pulling out the ingredients she quietly set them on the counter and began mixing the dry with the liquid and folding in the fresh blueberries then just before pouring the batter into the muffin tins she added a special ingredient that she had brought with her from Chicago…just in case. Once the muffins were in the oven she filled the teakettle and placed it on the stove. Maybe a cup of hot herbal tea would help her relax, she thought to herself.
"Gone for a drive. Will be back soon."
Leaving Dave a note she headed away from the house. Her heart was beating wildly in her chest she couldn't believe it had come to this. No one would suspect her; didn't think she'd have the nerve or the means to do such a thing…but it was her son and nobody messed with her son.
She knew enough about police stations to know that they all ran pretty much the same and so she stepped in the door and headed to the front desk. A well-dressed man about her age was at the desk insisting that he be allowed to see his son. She'd seen him on the news several times over the years and even in Chicago everyone knew about Daniel Lynch, the wealthy former chemist and business tycoon. It was hard to believe that his son had only hours before tried to kill her son.
After threatening to call the Commissioner whose number he had on speed dial the young officer behind the desk relented and allowed Lynch back to see his son. Perhaps he would deliver the muffins for her, she thought to herself. It was at least worth a try.
"Excuse me, sir."
The man turned around and looked at her with his nose in the air as if he'd stepped on cat poo.
"Yes, can I help you?"
"Yes. I was wondering…"
"I don't have time for this, speak up, woman!"
"I couldn't help overhearing…your Daniel Lynch, the successful business mogul, right!"
Immediately the adoration that was in the woman's voice softened him and she now had at least a portion of his attention.
"Why yes; yes I am."
"I hate bothering you but this was just dropped off for your son…do you mind?"
He stood eyeing her as she placed her nose close to the bag and inhaled.
"They smell awfully delicious! Blueberry! Everybody loves blueberry!"
Snatching the bag from her hand and without another word he turned and headed toward central lockup.
"Ass!" She muttered under her breath and quickly headed out the door unnoticed.
Dave was still asleep when she arrived back and slipped quietly under the covers. She smiled as his arm wrapped around her and pulled her close. It was done. She had done the unthinkable she only hoped that she would be able to live with herself.
The evening had finally come to an end. Morgan and Penelope were the last to leave and as Dave showed them out, Fran began cleaning up the mess in the kitchen. After closing the door and locking it, he made his way back down the hallway. He loved watching her move around his kitchen as if she'd been there forever. He marveled at how she fit into his life with ease. He loved everything about her; her green piercing eyes and vibrant red hair but most of all he loved the strength that she kept tucked safely away within herself. He was intrigued by the mysteries that he still wanted to learn about the woman who'd given birth to Derek Morgan. His heart beat for the woman who was willing to do the unthinkable for her son.
After a few minutes of silently watching unnoticed from the doorway in joined her quickly closing the gap between them and wrapping her in his arms planting a searing kiss on her lips.
"Not that I'm complaining but what was that for, Mr. Rossi?"
"I just wanted to show you how much I love you, Fran Morgan."
She wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him into a passionate kiss that made his heart skip several beats.
"If you really want to show me how much you love me, I can think of some other ways."
She winked and smiled as she released her hold on him.
"I tell you what why don't I lock up down here and I'll meet you upstairs."
"Sounds like a plan, my dear."
He smiled as she headed toward the doorway.
She tried hard not to wake him but he hadn't had much luck sleeping either. The bed had grown cold quickly where she had only moments been laying. The smell of her famous blueberry muffins baking in the oven reminded him that he hadn't eaten. He picked up his cell phone when he heard the garage door close. He knew what she had in mind; he'd thought of it a million times over the past several hours while they'd waited on news about Derek.
Even though she was familiar with police stations he knew she wasn't thinking straight and she wouldn't remember the surveillance cameras in the lobby. The young man at the desk owed him at least a dozen favors and he was eager to begin repaying the man responsible for his career with the Quantico police department.
Corbin had been a misunderstood hacker a few years back and was headed for a long stay in federal prison until Rossi stepped in and pulled some strings. Now he was nearing the end of his rookie year with a promising career in law enforcement.
He pulled her close as she got back in bed; he'd never tell her what he'd done on her behalf. It was no need to worry her about the faulty cameras that seemed to have gone on the fritz during her short visit at the station. Corbin would be promoted, Kevin would have a final visit with his father and he'd enjoy the rest of the blueberry muffins for breakfast.
She turned to face him; she was puzzled by the serious look on his face.
"Remind me to never get on your bad side."
She winked and they both shared a lighthearted chuckle as she headed toward the bedroom and he checked the doors and windows and set the alarm.
"Sometimes karma doesn't always come around fast enough that's why it's essential to plot revenge." Author unknown