Chapter 15- Epilogue
A/N: I can hardly believe this project with Kricket has come to an end. It has been a pleasure and a privilege to work on this with her and to get to write the epilogue/finale. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Harlie (aka Harleyzgirl)
AN2: Thank you to all who have read this and given such warm and wonderful reviews. And thank you especially to Harlie, for giving me a deliciously wicked UNSUB to work with. You keep writing those UNSUBS, my friend, and I'll do what I do best! ;) And believe me, in working with you: the great honor is all mine.
The clear, steady brass notes of Trumpet Voluntary resonated throughout the sanctuary as those gathered rose to their collective feet. Derek stood with Hotch and his brother in law Jacob at the front, watching intently as Reid lead Penelope down the aisle. Penelope was resplendent in a silver dress. The bodice wrapped around her torso in a cross over pattern, the silk material hugging her in to the waist, and then flaring out slightly. She'd opted for no bow to accommodate a line of fifty tiny pearl buttons down her back.
Once they reached the front, Father Zach said, "Who gives this woman in marriage?"
"Actually, Father, I'm not so much giving her as escorting her. You see-"
Penelope tightened her hold on his arm, digging her fingers in. Reid quickly got the message. "Sorry, Father. I have that honour."
"Thank you." The Father kept the smile from his tone, but the corners of his mouth arched up as Derek stepped forward to replace Spencer at Penelope's side.
She handed her bouquet to JJ who stood as her maid of honour and gave a smile to Emily before turning back to face the priest.
"Dearly beloved, we are gathered here in the sight of God and of man, to join this man and this woman in holy matrimony. If anyone has just reason why they should not be allowed to marry, may they speak now or forever hold their peace." Everyone in the church held his or her breath during the moment of silence. It was almost as if they all expected something heinous to happen. Finally, Father Zach resumed, "Do you, Derek Patrick Morgan, take Penelope Amelia Garcia to be your lawfully wedded wife?"
"Hell…Sorry, Father. I mean yes."
By now, Father Zach was no longer trying to control his smile. "And do you, Penelope Amelia Garcia, take Derek Patrick Morgan to be your lawfully wedded husband?"
"Yes, with all my heart," Penelope replied, her gaze locked with Derek's.
"Very well. Derek and Penelope have elected to write their own vows. Derek."
"Penelope, you are my heart. You have been my solace from long before I ever told you. To know you are willing to spend the rest of your life as my wife is humbling. I will endeavour to always be the man you fell in love with. I want to be the hero you believe me to be. Most of all, I want to be your friend, your protector, and your lover, for as long as you will have me, because baby girl, there will never be another woman for me."
Father Zach blinked himself a few times before he said, "Penelope."
"Derek, you are my hero. You literally saved me both physically from danger, but also emotionally from myself. You see in me a woman that, until I met you, I didn't believe could ever exist in this shell. You have made me want to be the person you cherish, the woman you call your solace, your baby girl, forever and always. I can't wait to spend the rest of my life with you, hot stuff."
Father Zach chuckled outright before turning to Hotch and saying, "Do you have the rings for baby girl and hot stuff?"
Hotch raised an eyebrow, but handed them over. Rossi could be heard laughing outright from his seat beside Derek's mother Fran.
Becoming serious once more, Father Zach placed the rings on the Bible, said a brief prayer, and then held it out to Derek first. "Repeat after me. With this ring, I thee wed." Derek did as requested, slipping the platinum ring onto Penelope's third finger. Following the Father's instructions, she did the same to Derek.
In a blur of activity the register was signed, they shared their first communion, lit the unity candle, and then it was time for Father Zach to make the official presentation. "As is the custom of the church, I would ordinarily now present to you Mr. and Mrs. Derek Morgan. But as those of you gathered here know, this couple has never done anything in the usual way. So I now present to you The Crown Prince of all Heroes and his Oracle of Quantico, Derek and Penelope Morgan. Please join me in congratulating them."
No one present had to be told twice. The sanctuary erupted in applause, laughter, and lots of happy tears, as Derek and Penelope walked down the aisle arm in arm to the rich elegance of A Midsummer Night's Dream Wedding March.
The reception was in full swing; the time had come for speeches and toasts to begin. Rossi, as Master of Ceremony, called those still dining to order, "Folks, you knew it had to happen, and so we'll start with the speeches. First up, Unit Chief Special Supervisory Agent Aaron Hotchner."
Hotch left his seat beside Derek and headed to the podium. He surprised everyone, not the least of who was Rossi himself, by cracking a joke, "Don't look so dour, Dave; Erin's not here. I promise to be quick." True to his word, Hotch was done with his usual efficiency in less than five minutes. JJ followed, and then, as per Derek and Penelope's agreement, the microphone was opened up to those present.
It took Fran Morgan about eight seconds to get from her seat to the podium. She was grinning from ear to ear as she stopped to kiss both Derek and Penelope on the cheek as she went past. Standing at the podium, she held up her glass and twirled it in the light, before bringing it back down and setting it on the podium. She began to speak. "I can't tell all of you how happy I am to be here today to celebrate this day with my son, Derek, and my new daughter, Penelope. I have years of memories involving Derek's baby girl; many of those were from before he finally let me meet her! This day is a fulfillment of destiny. Theirs is a love that has been long in the making no one can deny, whether you have just met or have known them for years. I ask each of you to join me in toasting their love."
Fran began to raise her glass and then abruptly stopped. "Oh, you know what? We need to toast something else, too! I don't know how many of you have noticed the absence of alcohol this evening. Well, I happen to know it can't be a coincidence, so please join me in toasting Derek, Penelope, and my first grandbaby, too." At that, Fran Morgan turned from the podium with her glass held high. She winked at the shocked faces of her son and daughter in-law before taking a sip.
"We're busted, baby girl."
"So it would seem, hot stuff. Do you mind?"
"Hell no, mama. My boys did their job, and I don't want babies with anyone but you."
As everyone else in the room began to talk at once Derek and Penelope shared a deep and loving kiss.
Meanwhile At Chestnut Lodge Asylum, Maryland…
Tamara Barnes, dressed simply in blue jeans and a matching blue cotton shirt, sat in her cell. She was surrounded by dozens of cut out images of babies. Almost all were African American, however a few were possibly of Southeast Asian or Hispanic decent.
"My babies," she murmured softly.
All had a name clearly printed across their forehead. Damara, Terrak, Dara, Kate, Reka, Karem, Dakar, Mera, et al. In her lap, she held a journal, in which she carefully taped each picture, then added the details of their birth. There were different weights, lengths, times of birth, head circumference; very little similarities were listed for the babies.
But all had one thing in common: listed under father was Derek Morgan.