Author's Note: We have a couple of announcements for you all today. We're proud to announce that signups are open for the Fanfic Challenge - Round 4 on our forum, "Chit Chat on Author's Corner" or, as we like to call it, the "PYOP Challenge" (pick your own pairing challenge) through September 1st. For those interested, simply go to the forum to the PYOP Challenge thread and sign up with your favorite pairing. On September 2nd, we'll assign you a scenario to write provided by some of our lovely fellow authors. This will give everybody an opportunity to write what they love and provide readers with some awesome stories. Please sign up at the forum or shoot us a PM signifying your willingness to participate. So, please come join the fun and let's make this the most successful challenge yet!
We also have wonderful new interviews with the lovely Sarramaks and hot4cullenmen! Please check it out and let them know your thoughts!
We've also added a fun new prompt thread called, "Fortune Cookie Fridays" based on an idea submitted by LoveforPenandDerek. Come by and check it out...perhaps, it will feed the muse.
And, as always, thanks to everybody still reading, reviewing, alerting and favoriting our stories. We couldn't do this without your support!
The Boss Man Cometh
Glancing up from her bank of highly expensive computers as her lair's door slammed open obnoxiously, Penelope Garcia's eyes widened on her gasping best friend. Dark mocha skin gleamed with sweat as he looked frantically around her office, searching for something.
"You gotta hide me, Baby Girl! I'm dead," Derek panted, wiping the back of his hand against his forehead as he looked over his shoulder at her now-closed door nervously. "So freaking dead," he muttered anxiously, his tone rising to the soprano range quickly as he opened up the small filing cabinet, shaking his head as he slammed it close again.
Canting her colorful red head to the side, Pen measured the familiar man in front of her with practiced eyes. Oh, yeah, her piece of primo Dark Chocolate had definitely screwed the pooch somehow. His darting eyes and perspiring brow spoke volumes without him ever saying a word. She'd learned to read those signs on the proverbial wall of Derek Morgan's psycho years ago. "Okay. What'd you do, my big chunk of chocolaty goodness?"
"I...uhmmm...I screwed up, Mama," Morgan stuttered, his Adam's apple bobbing madly as he finally focused frantic eyes on her.
"Screwed up how, Lovebug?" Garcia asked reluctantly, almost afraid to hear the answer. Knowing her love muffin, he could have done anything from the sublime to the absurd…and all points in between. The last time he had showed up unexpectedly in her so-called private zone, he had needed safe passage to an Emily-free zone, the dark-headed agent intent on murdering him in his sleep for setting her up with the FBI's version of a sex-addled octopus. But she had a feeling that this current escapade would top that previous moment. In spades.
"Well," Morgan said oh so casually, scuffing his shoe against her tiled office floor, "you know that little hottie that I was chatting up last night at Houlihan's...the one I thought was so into me?"
With a sinking stomach, Penelope merely lifted one eyebrow and nodded, encouraging him to continue. But, sweet Apple computer, she had a sneaking suspicion where this was going … and it definitely wasn't any place she wanted to be. Honestly, she asked herself rhetorically, when has she become Derek Morgan's all-magical fairy godmother? Apparently the man had been exposed to one too many fairy tales as a child, and had experienced an obvious break in reality at some point in the very recent future.
"Yeah," Morgan gulped audibly, his Adam's apple bobbling frantically. "Anyway, I assumed she was into me. And when she kept asking me questions about the Bureau and our last case…." He paused for a moment as he shook his head, mentally wincing at what had been his apparent lapse of sanity. "Hell, Mama, I thought it was just her way of stroking my ego. And, I admit, I fell for it."
"Oh, God, Derek! What'd you tell her? And who the hell was she?" Garcia asked on a moan, already walking quickly toward her computer and opening her most reliable search engines. May the gods of Google not fail her now.
"Cassandra Hibbs. Washington Post," Derek whispered miserably, hanging his head as he stared at the linoleum floor once again, wondering if it would be possible for the ground to just open him up and swallow him whole. Surely he would come out safe and sound on the other side, wouldn't he? That would be China, right? Definitely far enough away that he could assume a new identity before his current one was obliterated by the forces that be.
"The Post?" Garcia squeaked, jerking her gaze to Morgan's embarrassed face as she slammed her hands against her desk, her keyboard bouncing from the vibration. "As in the most read paper in DC? Third most circulated paper in the US? THAT Post?"
"That's the one," Morgan affirmed unhappily, meeting his friend's eyes for a scant moment before throwing his hands up in the air in protest. "But I didn't know, Mama! She said she was a nurse that wanted to mend my battered heart."
"I'll just bet she did," Garcia huffed, her eyes squinting as she took in the stupidity standing before her. "And while she was doing that, she'd be slipping cyanide into your jello cup, you overgrown teenager!" Taking a deep breath as she efficiently tapped the woman's name into her computer, she shook her head. "How much and what did you tell her, Morgan? And what was her angle?"
"According to the voicemail she left on my phone, she's doing an expose on Bureau practices and used me as her source. Garcia, I trashed Strauss."
"How bad?" Garcia bit out, her eyes flashing as she continued to tap keys with lightening speed.
"Bad enough that Hotch got called into her office first thing this morning. Evidently, Cassandra called Strauss to allow her to comment before she runs with the story."
"You're right," Garcia nodded, her jaw tightening as she hacked through the Washington Post's security measures. "You ARE dead? Any preference on your coffin color?"
"Sweetness, you gotta help me! Is there any chance you could..."
"...send the Post a complimentary virus, thus wiping out their existing stories, and then perform the same service for our Ms. Hibbs personal PC? I'm on it. But, that's not gonna save you from Hotch."
Their eyes met as a door slammed down the hallway in the vicinity of Morgan's office and a deep curse barked through the air. "Garcia?" Morgan yelped, his feet literally leaving the ground as he bounced like a rabid kangaroo.
Lips tightening as she tapped furiously, she shook her head. "Not yet," she hissed. Seeing his impatient eye roll, she growled, "Don't you dare give me that look, Derek Morgan! Is it my fault that the Post has strengthened its firewalls since my last little foray into the world of espionage? Besides, if not for YOUR ego and erstwhile ding-a-ling, we wouldn't be IN this mess!"
Hearing heavy footsteps moving closer as they moved toward her inner sanctum, Morgan panicked. "He's coming!"