A/N: Hey! Just to let everyone know... There's about five more chapters left (The last two are so short I'll publish them on the same day.)
But... There's a sequel I'm conjuring up! It'll probably be short, maybe ten chapters, maybe fifteen at the very most. I'm planning on publishing the first real chapter of that Friday, with a preface on Thursday or on the day Hallelujah is complete. And why not unveil the title of the sequel? I'll put it at the end of the chapter.
Thank you all for subscribing, favoriting, or just reading. I know this isn't the most original story line with several faults in the canon, but I try my very best to keep it... Interesting? But that implies the canon isn't interesting, and that'd be a lie.
I don't own Criminal Minds.
"Women are like teabags; you never know how strong they are until they're put in hot water." ~Eleanor Roosevelt
This ranch was complete hell. When we arrived, almost every woman in there screamed in panic, all huddling in the corner of a musky basement. Each one was clothed in dingy dresses, all looking terribly worn. Almost all were without any sort of nutritional value and a healthy color.
After calling in ambulances, with specific instructions for female paramedics, Derek excused himself. There were seven women in here, all from the case file. "Look, I'm not here to hurt you, and I'm here to take you back to safety alright?" I announced, holding one hysterical blonde's hand as she trembled with either fear or happiness.
"He's going to hurt you," an older woman forewarned, she seemed to have a good head on her shoulders—but nevertheless one twisted by the misconceptions.
Her shrilling voice echoed in my soul, and I was glad that I didn't have to answer that, or that I didn't force myself to. These women have been here for months, some were probably here for years. I only underwent torture for a week, only seven meager days—in my eyes I had no right to tell them to feel safe.
Paramedics filed in, and the team relocated at the site, handing things over to the task force working on the project. Leaving early that morning with a heavier heart than before I finally got to see how I impacted someone's life by simply choosing this lifestyle. My weary eyes insightfully trained on the earth passing below me as I absorbed it. I belonged here.
This all was happening to me for a reason. Gates, even though I tried to keep him at the bottom of my worries, he happened to me for a divine purpose. I'd never been a fan of destinies because mine originally was fatally skewered and immoral, but in the cabin of the jet, I comprehended that my destiny wasn't mine anymore. People who had made impacts had lead me to do wrong, to do right, and a little more. Yes, I ultimately had the choice to rise to the occasion.
Rising to the occasion included not giving up, long hours of treatment, time spent on the bathroom floor sweating, thinking I would die from the intense withdrawals, pulling myself together, loving and devoting myself to someone who would go insane, studying for those tests, and at the very top—doing the right thing. What I did mattered now and I couldn't screw up royally.
It was intense thinking to say the least. With only sparse sleep the night before, I was appalled at the functioning level my brain possessed.
"Everything alright?" Penelope swiveled in the chair to face me.
Shrugging my shoulders, I tried to complete this minor report from the Utah incident. "I'm fine, why?"
Her eyes trained back to her computer. She was typing and sending things to another team of Technical Analysts for review. "Derek said that you were really spaced out on the plane and Derek, me, Rossi, and just about everyone else were very pissed at the comments made towards you by Janus," Penelope pecked away, yawning at the LED display.
Janus was an asshole. It happened though; I couldn't be hurt by something I actually believed about myself. "Well, was thinking about it all, I haven't got to do that recently," I confessed.
Penelope reached around to retrieve something. I loved this woman. In her office she was surrounded by everything good, she still kept fragments of herself—a happy, cheerful, high spirited woman with a marvelous head on her shoulders. Sometimes I was convinced that Garcia was more intelligent than Reid but only in some topics. "Utah?" Penelope asked.
"Everything," I bit my lip.
"Do you mind if the Oracle of Quantico asks why the young maiden's beautiful mind was wandering in decrepit places?" she enthusiastically interrogated.
It brought a smile to my face. Putting down the pen, I cleared my throat, "I don't mind O Wise one." As Garcia finished typing, she rolled over to face me, her hand waved as if she was giving me incentive to spill. Reading the painted mosaic clock over her shoulder, it was nearly eight in the evening. "This is just the first case I got my 'Aha!' moment, you know? Felt like I was a key factor, that I actually made the difference, and before the case I got a chance to read Reid's criminal journal on my case," I cautiously explained, not wanting to reveal the true nature of Reid's and I's bond.
"You always make a difference Flo, whether you feel it or not," her two hands clasped over one of mine. "And now for Sweet Cheek's criminal journal, do you want to speak about that?"
Nodding my head, I looked down at my shoes as if they held the most interesting feat in the world. Maybe the plastic buckle on the flats would give me divine inspiration and the muse of Homer. "Basically, he said that when he left me in police custody before being shipped to rehab, a life of evil and a life of morality were equal choices for me, and that he didn't know if I was leaning towards one or the other," I frowned, finding the courage to pick my head up. "It reminds me that if these events… No matter how difficult they are… Lead me away from harming people," I shivered in my skin.
"It doesn't mean you deserve harm Flo," Garcia gave me a stern look.
Shaking my head, I expressed, "I know that, but when the team found me Penelope… It was rough. I know what Reid meant by what he said because I never felt the need to do right, no amount of rehab or therapy, no medicine made me want to do right, it is an external force Garcia," I became flustered, trying to find reasoning in my words.
"I think it's more internal than you think," Penelope urged, giving my hand several shakes and squeezes, "The way you handle things, the way you process and think, you are so wise and mature."
"Well, Hotch isn't too happy with me, that's for sure," I sighed, picking my pen back up, trying to avoid heavier topics.
"You wanted to speak with me?" I knocked on the door frame of Hotch's office.
"Sit down Carter," Hotchner ordered.
I was being sent in here far too often for my liking, "You made personal ties to a victim, nearly jeopardized the discovery of a fifty year syndicate, broke protocol, and didn't remove your weapon while off duty," Hotchner announced. The words stabbed at my self esteem and I was sure I was going to be fired. "In all honesty Agent Carter, while you exhibited excellent confidence, it was the textbook definition of a reckless agent, and it makes me believe you are still impaired…"
"I passed psychological and psychiatric assessments," I interrupted him.
"We work in the Behavioral Analysis Unit; we all know that everyone knows exactly how to act and how to answer these questions. Instead of suspending you, I'm going to ask Rossi to mentor you," Hotchner explained, stacking up files on the desk.
Before I was going to lash back, I realized how that wouldn't help my case, "Thank you sir," I managed.
"My pleasure Florence, you're a natural Agent with a good head on your shoulders, but people above me won't see it in that perspective."
Spencer had to catch a ride home with me, not that I was complaining at all. Something was eerie about the way the rain stained the window. Phone ringing, when I realized the person's picture op up I was astonished to see who had interrupted my thoughts once more. "Juliet," I grimaced, answering the call.
"Hey, it's been forever since I've talked to you," her voice was full of so much fake enthusiasm I wanted to grab my purse and barf.
My sister and I never did get along. Juliet always liked to live with people around her in her perfect, stainless world. "What do you want?" I snapped back.
"You're going to find this more pleasurable than appropriate," Juliet sighed. Something in me told my evil subconscious that she was right. Spencer gave me a concerned look before I burst out into laughter.
For once, my sister needed someone else, specifically me. "You actually remember me; go ahead, what do you need?" I asked, trying to own up to my smugness.
"Holly is sixteen and… and…" Juliet began crying.
Holding back as long as I could, I knew this was Juliet's ploy for attention. Either way, I was going to do it for Holly, she didn't deserve Juliet as a mom. "I'll do it," I groaned.
Sniffling, a more jovial tone passed over her, "You don't even know what I'm asking."
It took all my strength not to crush the phone. She just loves to dump and run. Juliet's done it before, way back when, and after a few years of responsibility it's no wonder why she can't take it anymore. "Bring Holly up here, same address as last time, she can stay with me," I quickly replied.
"Thank you so much," Juliet snorted, "We're in Philadelphia and we're going to be there by nightfall." And with that, the phone clicked off.
Philadelphia? Philadelphia? That manipulative bitch already knew I was going to say yes. Might as well save some time and begin the drive. My insides were turning in anger and my phone launched to the floor. "Stupid bitch," I cursed under my breath.
Spencer bit his lip, "Everything alright?"
I couldn't answer that right now. If I possessed the power to not reply with a large bitter compliment that would evoke a fight, I deserved self-control of the year award. Turning off of the exit, I decided now was a good time to answer him since he was being so patient, and in no way did I desire to attain any of my sister's traits, "My sister is dropping off her troubled teen with me for God knows how long."
"Wait and you actually agreed to it, Florence…"
"I know, I'm an idiot, with Alex chasing me around, with all of the days I'm gone, the fact it's a sixteen year old," I hushed him. This couldn't possibly work.
Alright... If you care... The sequel is sticking with a song theme. This story is named after Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah (even though I was thinking the Jeff Buckely styling of it.)
I'm 90% sure the sequel will be called: "Malibu." And yes, Malibu as in the Hole song. It's nice to skip genres. I am also thinking another song, but that'd give away too much of the plot. I do not own these songs.
So what do you think of Holly? Leave it in the crotch... Youtube moment :P.