Do You Know How Much I Love You? Chapter 17
Bethesda Memorial Hospital –
The loud frantic click-clack of her heels alerted the others that she was coming. Rounding the corner at lightening speed Garcia nearly lost her footing as she slid to a halt at the waiting room doorway. JJ rushed toward her grabbing her firmly by the shoulders breaking her fall.
“What happened? Where is he?”
“He’s fine! He’s fine Garcia. Calm down.”
“I was on my way to his house when you called…I was supposed to help him with the nursery and … oh no the nursery…the house…it’s gone now what? Now…”
“Easy, easy! B-R-E-A-T-H-E…”
Garcia struggled but she inhaled a shaky breath and exhaled collecting her thoughts. Rossi, Hotch and Reid all gathered around her as she slowly lowered herself into a chair.
“I need to see him! I need to see him now.”
She tried standing but JJ held her in place.
“You can’t see him now.”
“But you said he was okay!”
“He’s got a slight concussion and some glass imbedded in his back and shoulder from the shattered windows. The doctors are just removing it. When they’re done we can go in.” Reid added.
The team exchanged looks. All of them had thought the worst when the call had come in. Like so many times before in the last several months this was close way too close.
“When is it going to end?”
They’d all been thinking that too. Garcia looked up. One by one she looked into their eyes for an answer that she knew none of them had.
“When is it going to end? He can’t take any more.”
Exam Room –
He wanted to see his son. That’s all that mattered even though JJ and Reid had assured him that Hank was safe he wanted to see him with his own eyes. He imagined what must have gone through his team’s minds this time. He secretly wondered if they would eventually get tired of him and the nonstop drama that surrounded him. Then he thought of Penelope.
She saw the bruises on his face the result of hitting the sidewalk. He saw the worry in her eyes and he remembered the promise he’d made her years ago, a promise he’d broken dozens of times since. The others followed her into the room but it didn’t matter she rushed over to him and threw her arms around his neck. He jumped slightly and muffled a moan from the pain of the close contact against his tender skin. JJ was the next to step up planting a soft kiss on an uninjured spot on his cheek. He nodded and smiled as he saw their looks of relief.
“Are you okay?”
She planted a kiss on his lips unashamed not caring in the least about the looks being exchanged behind her back.
“I’m fine, Baby Girl.”
He noticed the looks too. It was fine and he knew there would be questions later. He was tired of running from the questions and tired of running from her. He glanced at them; they were smiling now and he shook his head and smiled in return.
“I’m sorry.” He began.
He didn’t know what else to say. He’d been the center of their worlds for all the wrong reasons for too long now.
Hotch understood the apology he’d felt the same way after Foyet. He wasn’t to blame then just like Morgan wasn’t to blame now, yet he needed to say it nonetheless.
“Hotch, Rossi, Reid, JJ, and you Baby Girl, I don’t know how to thank you all.”
“You don’t need to thank us.”
JJ felt a tear escape as she placed her hand on his shoulder.
“I don’t know how I would have survived any of this without you all.”
“We’re family. That’s what family does.”
Everyone turned toward Reid surprised and happy that after all these years the young genius had finally gotten it.
“Thanks Pretty Boy. We are a family aren’t we?”
“You better believe it.”
Rossi smiled and fought back his own grown-man tears while Hotch smiled and nodded. Morgan had finally gotten it too.
Bethesda Memorial – Next Morning –
Morgan hadn’t been able to talk his way out of a night in the hospital. Even though his injuries were minor, the doctors knew he hadn’t gotten much rest over the last week. So with the help of his team, they’d all insisted he stay put for the night. Garcia and JJ promised to look in on little Hank before they left for home and that sealed the deal.
None of them had gotten much sleep but they eagerly gathered at the hospital. JJ had managed to put together an outfit for Hank from some of her children’s baby clothes that she’d stored away just in case she and Will were blessed with another child in the future. Rossi and Hotch brought breakfast and Reid had brought Morgan’s go bag with a fresh pair of clothes for him to change into. As he struggled out of bed his body reminded him of his injuries. He felt overwhelmed at the whirlwind that was now his life. He was taking his son home today; he had no idea where home would be now that even that had been violently taken from him.
On cue there was a knock at the door and before he could respond the door slowly opened and a young man, no more than eighteen stepped in. Morgan noticed the large brown envelope in his hand.
Morgan watched the young man’s hand extend his way and without a word he took the envelope from him.
“Not a problem. Have a nice day.”
The young man turned and unceremoniously left the room. Morgan stared at the envelope. He knew what it was and he’d dreaded what it held inside. He’d second-guessed his decision, perhaps made in anger and haste. More than one person including himself had questioned Hank’s paternity and now he had the undeniable proof one way or the other, all he had to do was open the envelope. Reid was the next to step through the door and Morgan welcomed the distraction as he placed the envelope face down on the bed. It didn’t go unnoticed as his younger friend handed him the go bag.
“Is that it?”
“Yeah, that’s it.”
“I don’t know, I have opened it yet.”
“Are you going to?”
Reid saw the fear in his friend’s eyes. Hank meant everything to him. He couldn’t help but remember the conversations the two had shared during Savannah’s pregnancy. Both of them had been taken by surprise at Morgan’s eagerness to become a father. Now just by the simple act of opening an envelope that too could be taken from him. Reid worried he wasn’t sure if Morgan who was the strongest man he knew would be strong enough to survive that.
Garcia’s hands shook as she helped JJ dress Hank. JJ noticed her friend’s nervousness and wondered what would become of the woman who’d loved Derek since the day she’d joined their team. She gently placed her hand over Garcia’s and waited for her to look up.
“Calm down. You’re doing just fine.”
Garcia continued to struggle afraid to look her friend in the eye.
“I don’t know why I’m so nervous, JJ.”
“You’re nervous about the same thing we all are nervous about. You’re wondering how Derek will manage, how he will handle being a father, a single dad.”
“But he will manage. He always does. He loves this little boy and nothing will stop him from being a good dad to Hank.”
“Yeah but what if…”
“No. No, we’re not going there, Garcia. This is Morgan’s son in every way that matters.”
“I just don’t know what will happen to him if…”
“Stop it, right now. Hank Spencer Morgan is Derek’s son and we all will be there for whatever the two of them will need!”
Garcia shook her head and continued to smile down at the anxious baby as she finished dressing him.
“Are you ready?”
Reid couldn’t help but see the apprehension on Derek’s face as he watched the two women from the other side of the glass. It was such a stark contrast; JJ an obvious veteran it seemed so easy for her. Garcia on the other hand seemed a little unsure.
Derek felt his stomach flutter as the nurses gently placed Hank in Penelope’s arms. Morgan smiled as the woman whom he’d loved since the day they’d met, kissed his son lovingly on the top of his head.
“Am I crazy, Pretty Boy? Am I crazy to think I can do this?”
“No Morgan, you’re not crazy and yes, you can do this.”
Morgan shifted the envelope in his hand. He still hadn’t opened it and he wasn’t sure when he would. It was time to take Hank home and begin a new life one birthed from deception, lies and violence. He wanted to be sure that things would work out and he wanted to feel confident that he was what Hank needed but so much had happened that had rocked his world. He was fearful of the truth…it had made his reality dark and scary.
Time seemed to slow to a halt as Garcia and JJ walked out of the nursery toward them. He saw the expectation and her teary eyes as Garcia held Hank in her arms. JJ stood near Reid sharing glances with him and waiting for Morgan’s reaction to the magnitude of the sight before him.
He had no words and silence seemed appropriate for the moment. Morgan wanted to reach for Hank but his hands were full; one with his go bag the other with the large brown envelope. Both of them felt heavy the envelope more so than the bag with its implications and potential. He was amazed at how much power he had eagerly given it over his life.
“Are you ready, Handsome?”
Morgan glanced at Reid and nodded. It had been the second time in mere minutes that he had been asked that question. He hadn’t answered; he didn’t have an answer. Then Reid grabbed the bag from Morgan’s grasp and headed toward the hallway.
“How about if JJ and I go get the car?”
Morgan nodded and then focused his eyes on Garcia’s. The silence between them now seemed overwhelming.
“Are you ready for this?”
Morgan lifted the envelope to eye level and examined it as if seeing it for the first time. He turned it over and ran his index finger lightly across the sealed flap. Hank cooed and began to wiggle in Penelope’s arms as he slept. The sound of the envelope ripping under the power of his hand broke the silence, then a heavier sound of ripping as he tore the now two pieces into four. Penelope gasped not sure what to think.
“What are you…?”
Derek tossed the remnants of the envelope in a nearby trashcan and held his hands out patiently while Penelope placed the bundle in his arms. After he was confident the baby was secure in his hands he pulled him close to his body and planted a sweet kiss on his head.
“Now I’m ready. Let’s go home.”