Title: Back home

Fandom: Criminal Minds

Pairing: Morgan/Garcia

Table:Time

Prompt for 10 I love you: #4 Months

Rating: K

Disclaimer: Neither the show nor the characters belong to me, they belong to CBS. Nonetheless, I love to borrow them from time to time.

Summary: Part 1/10 of the Chicago series. Derek has to go back to Chicago – undercover to solve a rough case.

warnings: none

AN: I know, it's been a long time again and this is so not an update but the beginning of another story. What can I say? When I signed for all those challenges it seemed like a good idea. Anyways, in about a months I'm gonna have a two weeks holiday – and I already know how to use it. ;) Until then, I hope you enjoy this one as much as the other stories. I'll update – eventually – and I promise to at least try and hurry.

"The Chicago P.D. has a problem." Hotch started the meeting this morning. "They've been after a child murderer for three months now but he always seems to be a step ahead of the police."

"There are eleven victims so far." JJ jumped in and clicked so that the pictures of them appeared on the screen. "All boys between the age of five and twelve, all white, blonde and with blue eyes. All of them were taken from a local super market, held hostages for about five days during which they were abused and tortured. Eventually, they were suffocated and the bodies dumped near their parents' house."

"So they want us to do a profile?" Derek guessed.

"Yes", Hotch affirmed, "but that's not all they want. They set up a trap for him. The bait was a boy about seven years old, the son of one of the police officers. They knew from where the guy picked his victims and which type he preferred, everything was perfect but the guy didn't show up four days in a row. Instead he took another child from a nearby kindergarten. They assume that someone warned him."

"So they must have a mole in their department." Emily jumped in.

"Apparently, yes." Hotch nodded and then turned to Derek: "They want you to investigate that undercover. They really need to catch this guy and if one of their police officers is working with him they certainly never will."

"And since I once was a cop in Chicago…" Derek added.

"Your flight will depart in six hours." Hotch nodded.

"How long am I gonna stay there?" he wanted to know.

Hotch frowned slightly: "Officially you're transferred to Chicago for the next three months – but if we catch this guy sooner…"

"Alright, I'll go, pack some things and then call my mom." he sighed.

"We'll try to come up with a profile in the meantime." Hotch replied. "Reid, you'll do the demographic profile! Prentiss, you and Garcia do the victimology. Try to find commonalities the local P.D. might have missed! JJ, call Detective Gordinski and tell him to send us a list of people who in his opinion might be the mole!"

Nodding all of them rose and left the table. About three and a half hours later they met again for a last briefing.

"You know the protocol considering undercover missions." it was a statement from Hotch, not a question.

"Sure thing", Derek shrugged, "it's not the first time I've gone undercover."

"This is our first profile." Hotch said as he handed Derek the file. "We'll stay in contact but it's better if no one knows that you're calling the FBI. That's why we'll always call Detective Gordinski with any updates on the profile of the UnSub. He officially asked the FBI for help in this case."

"But anything about the assumed mole will only be passed between us." Derek added.

Nodding Hotch replied: "That means we have to come up with a logical excuse for you to call one of us."

"How about I call my girlfriend?" Derek shrugged and waggled his eyebrows at Garcia who was sitting next to him. "Seriously, no one will notice any difference and I won't have to play-act when we talk to each other."

"I agree." Hotch affirmed. "You two already behave like a couple."

Everyone looked at him strangely. Then Derek smirked: "Hey, was that a joke?"

One corner of Hotch's mouth went upwards almost not noticeable. "You're dismissed. Shall someone take you to the airport?"

"I'll take him." Penelope stated and got up.

Smiling Derek followed her out of the room. "See you in a few months – or weeks if I'm lucky." he winked at his teammates.

The drive to the airport was unusually quiet and Derek was almost sure he knew what Penelope was thinking about.

"Are you okay with this?" she suddenly asked as she pulled into the parking lot.

"Your driving skills are not that bad." he chuckled.

"Very funny." she grimaced at him, got out and headed for the waiting hall. "I wasn't talking about me driving you to the airport."

Sighing he followed her. He hadn't meant to offend her, just to lighten up the mood a little. "I know." Derek replied when they'd arrived in the hall, all serious again, and took her hand in his. "And I'm grateful that you worry so much about me but you don't need to, I'll be fine."

"Really?" she asked quietly and squeezed his hand. After all he had to go back to his home town to chase a child murderer. He was even going to stay with his mom during this case and he had to work with Gordinski. That would surely awake many bad memories.

"I will be fine." Derek assured and reached out to cup her cheek with his hand. "I have you to take care of me, you're my solace, remember."

"God-given." she added voicelessly. "Don't forget about that."

"Never." he smiled and brushed the tear away that had escaped her eye.

"Sorry", she sniffled slightly, "I just don't do goodbyes."

"It's just for three months, maybe even less." Derek tried to console her.

"I know." Penelope sighed. "Just promise me to come back in one piece."

"I'll do my best." he smirked.

Seeing him smirk like that Penelope suddenly realized that this was probably the last time in a very long while she would see that almost childish look on his face and she couldn't hold back the tears any longer. So she quickly looked down to keep Derek from seeing her so weak. Even though she knew that it certainly wouldn't help, he would know immediately what was going on. Not only because he was a profiler, but because he knew her.

Derek thought he couldn't trust his eyes anymore when he realized that Penelope was actually crying. She cried because he was leaving!

"Hey." he whispered soothingly, took a step towards her and placed his hand under her chin. "It's just gonna be a few months at most. I'll be back in no time at all."

"I know." she sniffled. "And I know that it's stupid but I also know that I'm gonna miss you like hell."

Smiling Derek leaned down and placed an almost not noticeable kiss on her lips: "I'm gonna miss you too, baby girl."

"Yeah, the thing is, you'll have a nice chick to take your mind off of that in no time at all." Penelope bit her lip. She hadn't meant that as harshly as it had escaped her mouth.

"There's only one Penelope Garcia." Derek replied in a low voice just as his flight was announced. "I love you, baby girl, you know that."

"Yeah, I know." she sniffled again and pulled him into a tight hug. "I love you too, handsome." She watched him leave and mumbled: "More than you'll ever know."