A.N: I know it's been a long time in coming, a very long time in coming but I hope you all will stick with me while I figure this one out. And not without further stalling on with the show.

Disclaimer: I own nothing

Chapter three

Need you now

December 2009

She couldn't believe her rotten crappy luck and on Sunday of all days to have such despicable things happen to her. She was a good person after all helped out at the local community center, gave money to church, helped out friends when they needed it. So why did she have such crummy luck?

The question whorled around her mind for the second time in the space of a few minutes while she took in the fact that her classic caddy Esther sat parked at Kroger's with a flat tire. A whoosh of air rushed passed her parted lips as resignation of the situation had her shoulders dropping. Her hand slipping into her gold and silver handbag in search of her cell phone only to find once brought from the dark depths that the batteries were dead and therefore useless in her bid to call for help.

Closing her eyes against the beginning ache Penelope tried to figure out just what she was going to do, while stowing her grocery's in the back seat. She knew Derek would ride to her rescue without a second thought, but the fact that he was across DC at one of his properties had that idea nixed two seconds later. Her next thought landed with JJ, but there to she came up empty cause the petite blonde, son and husband were out of town on there one rare weekend off before the holiday season kicked in. Another deep sigh fled her body knowing her only choice now would be Kevin. Thoughts flashed back to that morning.

Bright pink tipped fingers searched for the annoy source of the high pitched buzzing noise, once found she slammed her hand down to stop the infernal racket flopping back into the warmth of the mountain of pillows surrounding her. Groaning Penelope pulled herself back up flipping the covers off and hauling her body from the soft comfortable mattress underneath and padding towards the bathroom.

"It is Sunday after all Penelope," she told herself staring at her reflection in the bathroom mirror. "It does you good," she concluded with a sharp nod before getting undressed and starting her shower.

Thirty minutes later feeling refreshed and ready to grab the world by the balls, she padded towards her kitchen warm light blue terry cloth wrapped around her body, fluffy white towel bundled around her wet hair. A blinking red light had her pausing to check what messages were left while she started on making a pot of coffee.

"Penny," came the slightly whining male voice over the tiny speaker of the machine. "I know your home. Why are you ignoring my calls?"

Penelope sighed resting both hands on the counters edge to gain strength and patience. Truth be told she hadn't been dodging his calls well not out of spite anyway but over the last few days Kevin had become clingy and whiny. She knew he worried about her, about the job she did, not that it wasn't sweet, but really enough was enough already. She wasn't going to break apart just because her best friend had been killed and she damn sure wasn't going to move departments just because Kevin felt a little on edge.

"Fine I guess you're not going to answer I'll try back later and answer this time," Kevin finished before hanging up with a soft click.

This was her life damn it, Penelope thought slamming her hand down on the bright yellow tile for emphasize only gaining a sore palm in the process with no one but herself in the apartment. As she now had his phone to look forward to later.

Forcing herself away, after taking a few calming breaths, Penelope proceeded to start her morning routine getting the bagels out to toast and the strawberry cream cheese before heading back to get dressed for Sunday morning church. Fragrant coffee filled air met her noise while she put the finishing touches on her hair, clipping the last piece of platinum blonde hair in place. Giving herself a sharp nod of approval before collecting her purse hearing the subtle beep of her cell she pulled it free to check and sure enough three new text messages and a voice mail waited for her all from Kevin. Exasperated beyond all belief Penelope shoved the offending contraption back inside her purse, but not before putting the ringer on vibrate.

Tan heels clicked on dark brown tile as she made her way back towards the kitchen to fix her travel mug of coffee, slather a good dollop of cream cheese on a plain Thomas© bagel, before heading out the door ignoring the shake from within her silver and gold bag at her left shoulder.

Now standing in the cold wind, with weak sunlight for warmth, Penelope cursed her luck while fishing through her purse for change.

'I really should've stayed home in bed today,' Penelope mused starting the trek back towards the jam packed store.

"Garcia?" a deep voice called breaking her from a morbid train of thoughts.

Slowly Penelope turned smoothing a hand down her bright yellow jacketed sides, "Hotch."

The profiler in him knew something was amiss just by her stance and fumbling fingers. A frown marred his handsome features as he watched her. "Something wrong?"

"No of course not why would you say that," she returned her voice dripping in sarcasm not meant to be directed with him.

"Aunt Penny ok?" Jack asked tugging on his father's black jacket.

"Not sure buddy," Aaron answered with a brief glance at his son, before turning stern dark eyes back towards his tech. "Are you alright Garcia?"

She knew that look the don't give me no shit I can see right through you, look that Penelope hadn't seen directed at her in some time.

Shoulders drooped, eyes dropping towards her shuffling feet, "Got a flat tire," she mumbled.

"What?" Aaron asked astonished that Penelope would let something happen to her baby Esther.

Eyes shot up to glare at a half grinning man, "I have a flat tire ok?"

"And you didn't call Triplet A?"

Again she mumbled something Hotch had to strain to hear and found hard to believe would the words met his ears.

"What was that?"

Exasperated, Penelope stomped an impetuous foot into the cemented parking lot, huffing out, "My phones dead ok."

"Now was that so hard," Aaron said trying to hold in the laugh that threatened to spill forth, but came out as a harsh snort.

"Your being mean spirited boss man especial when this damsel is in distress," Penelope pouted her bottom lip sticking out a fraction.

"Aunt Penny," Jack's small voice came from below, while he tugged at her light green skirt. "Daddy won't like if you pout. He says we don't do that."

Penelope caught Aaron's eyes arching her brow for a second before squatting down to Jack's level. "I know Jacker's daddy isn't much fun is he?"

"He is at times," Jack truthfully answered a grin pulling at his tiny lips.

She winked at the little boy ruffling his hair affectionately, leaning in to whisper, "You think he'd be willing to help me?"

Penelope knew it was evil to use Jack against his father, but there was something about the way his eyes glimmered with unshed mirth that had the imp in her wanting to hear his laughter in full not just bits and pieces especially at a time when laughter would be the farthest thing from his mind.

Jack turned to his father, pulling at Aaron's jeans getting his attention. "Daddy you help Aunt Penny she needs you," Jack demanded in his childlike way.

"Of course I'll help her Jack. All she has to do is ask," Aaron answered bending down to pick his son up. "You have a spare Garcia?"

Her shoulders slumped once again, "I never got around to getting another spare put back from the last time I had a flat. Besides I would've had Esther fixed by now if I'd had that," Penelope defended herself trying to regain some of her dignity.

"Of that I have no doubt," Aaron assured her. "Let's take a look at the damage shall we."

Nodding she lead the pair back towards her beloved ride and motioned down at the offending piece of rubber that wouldn't hold water much less air.

Setting Jack on the truck and pulled his jeans up Aaron squatted down inspecting the tread carefully feeling for nails and coming up short. Glancing up with a frown on his lips Aaron rose back to his full height, "I don't feel anything in the treads, but it doesn't mean there's nothing there. I have Fix a flat in the truck if you give me a minute…"

"Anything Hotch I'm freezing," Penelope groaned hoping the problem would be fixed if just temporary till Monday.

He nodded jogging off back towards his own vehicle.

Facing Jack, Penelope wrapped the small boy in her arms seeing him shiver when the wind blew. Willingly he went into her arms burying his cold face into the crook of her neck.

"Aunt Penny?" Jack asked quietly unsure if he'd get a straight answer.

"Yes Jackers!" Penelope answered seeing the turn in Jack's mood and behavior.

Pulling himself free for a second he looked up big doe eyes filled with sadness. "Will Santa know where I'm at now?"

Penelope cocked her head already know the best answer, "Of course he will Jack Santa knows everything."

"But can he give me what I want?"

"And what's the sweetheart?"

"My mommy," he answered reburying his face to keep from showing the tears that threaten to spill.

"Oh Jack," Penelope said her voice filled with pain and sorrow for a child who lost so much in a short period of time. "Mommy's with Jesus this Christmas helping to celebrate his birthday in person. But she'll never not be with you sweetie."

"But how?' he asked desperately voice mumbled with the fabric.

Penelope inched Jack back so she could place a hand over his heart, "She'll always be here Jack. A place to keep her for all time and there she will never leave you and always love you," she answered emotions clogging her own vocal cords as she blinked a few times to clear the moisture. "So what else do you want for Christmas?"

Jack sat there thinking for a few mulling over the ideas in his mind, "Iron Man," came the innocent response.

"You'll have to wait and see if Santa brings that Jack," Hotch called starling Penelope, who turned and caught the look in his eyes.

"You heard?" it really wasn't a question more of an affirmation of the truth she already knew.

A quick nod to answer was all he gave her while he dropped back down to fix her tire.

"All set Garcia, but…"

"Never have liked how you say that Hotch it always spells trouble," Penelope groaned.

Hotch shook his head, "No trouble, but I will be following you first to the local gas station then home just to make sure nothing happens."

"Why thank you so much kind sir," Penelope drawled out dramatically with a fake sworn. "And here I thought you'd little old me to the wolves."

"Cute Garcia," Hotch commented dryly scooping Jack up into his arms.

"Daddy is we going home to Aunt Penny's?" Jack asked sleepily resting his small head on his father's broad shoulder.

"Something like that buddy, you nap for now," Aaron answered softly brushing light brown hair back from his son's brow.

"Hotch really you don't have…" but Aaron cut her off with a dismissive wave of his hand.

"Yes I do, I don't want to hear that you've gotten yourself into some accident or who knows what else," he argued giving her a stern look. "Now get in that car and start it up so you get warm, but wait till I'm behind you to back out. Understood?"

"Yes sir Agent Hotchner sir," Penelope responded cheekily with a sharp wink. However, before she slipped behind the wheel of her classic caddy she called out, "You know that tough guy act doesn't work so well with a drooling, sleeping four year old in your arms. In fact it's cute and…" she paused swiveled to catch his eyes sincerity in her voice while saying, "Thank you Aaron."

Shaking his head at the simple gesture, Aaron pivoted on the balls of his feet knowing how impatience Penelope could get, to make the short trek back to his SUV.