The Fall Chapter 16
Atlanta General – Evening –
He was alone and for that he was grateful. He had no idea how long he’d been asleep since the woman Fran, had visited him. The pain in his gut had subsided to a dull roar and his chest and abdomen felt as if a fire had just been put out but the embers were still smoldering.
He felt miserable but he relished in the quiet and the solitude. He didn’t want to see anyone or hear stories of a childhood he didn’t remember. His mind was a jumbled mess and still no one would tell him anything about Savannah. He hated hospitals, the narrow bed and the tasteless food was unbearable.
The clock on the wall said, six twenty-seven and his growling stomach confirmed the fact that he hadn’t eaten since breakfast. He needed to stretch, to stand to run. Slowly, he sat up on the edge of the bed. He tried his legs and as his feet hit the cold tile floor he felt a surge of energy and determination to get out of the gray room and out into the light.
Penelope hadn’t been back in Derek’s room since he’d collapsed on the floor of his hospital room. The sight of him seizing stiffly before her was something she never hoped to see again. Now she sat alone in a small conference room two floors down. The hospital had generously given the team the space to gather without being disturbed. A detective had kindly brought her computer over from the police station and now here she sat doing what she’d grown accustomed to doing for the past six months…looking for Derek.
“Needs some help?”
Sheldon stepped through the door setting the worn backpack on the table next to her and sat without waiting for a response. She watched as he removed the laptop and waited as it powered up.
“I thought you worked construction with Derek.”
“Well, that’s a story for another time. Right now we have to help Derek and I think you could use some company, am I right?”
Penelope smiled and watched Sheldon’s programs light up the screen.
There were only a handful of people who had the operating systems that she saw racing across his screen. He turned and smiled at her.
“Impressive. What are you, construction worker by day, computer geek by night?”
“Something like that.” He giggled. “Now, bring me up to speed.”
Dell’s Bells Deli –
Dave watched Fran as she idly pushed her food around her plate. She’d barely eaten a thing and he was worried. It had taken quite a lot of convincing to get her to leave while Derek slept. Now the deli across the street had become a makeshift refuge for them both.
Fran never responded but Dave looked up into the waitress’s eyes and nodded affirmatively.
Fran looked up at Dave then the waitress.
“Oh, yes please.”
The young woman filled both of their mugs and without another word turned and walked toward the counter.
“He’s going to be all right. You did the right thing bringing the photos.”
“I don’t know. I mean he wasn’t ready to see the truth. He wasn’t ready now I may have made things worse.”
“You did what you thought was best. He’s your son and soon he’ll remember, he’ll remember everything.”
“If he survives. I told you what the doctor said. The withdrawal is going to be pretty rough on him. Just like anyone who goes through withdrawal.”
“Derek is strong, you know that. He’s been through a lot and he’s always come out okay.”
“I hear you but this…this is something…it may be too much. In all my years of nursing, I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Dave placed his hands on top of hers as she sat staring into space.
“Your son has held on for this long and he’s not going to give up now.”
Atlanta General Hospital –
Penelope and Sheldon had spent over an hour reviewing her searches and starting new ones. Each one had led to dead end after dead end but it was good to have a pair of fresh eyes. It was Sheldon’s fresh eyes that gave her the first ray of hope in months.
“I think I found something!”
“Damn, I know who did this!”
Hotch rushed through the crowded hospital lobby. He’d struck out with Savannah and Marcos and he dreaded coming back with no more answers than when he’d left. The two had been calm, cool and collected confident that the other would not rat the other out.
To make matters worse, Hotch had received a heated phone call from the bureau chief that demanded his immediate attention.
“STOP what you’re doing! Right now!”
Both Sheldon and Penelope looked wide-eyed toward the door. Hotch burst inside in a huff slamming the door loudly behind him.
“What’s going on, Hotch?”
“Sheldon Rice, you’re under arrest!”
Sheldon slowly raised his hands off the keyboard. Penelope watched dumbfounded as Hotch pulled his handcuffs from his pocket and headed toward the two.
“Hotch, what’s going on?”
“I-I can explain…” Sheldon pleaded.
“You had an agreement with the federal government…”
“But…but you don’t understand!”
Sheldon grimaced as the cuffs tightened around his wrists.
“Please he was helping me search for…”
“I found something!”
“I think I know who did this!”
Hamilton smiled as he watched Derek moving slowly down the hallway. He didn’t expect it would be this easy. In fact, he’d mentally prepared himself for a long night in the waiting room.
Derek stopped in front of the elevator. There were several others, medical staff, patients and visitors waiting eagerly to use the elevators as well. Hamilton quietly slipped into the crowd behind his prey.
Fran and Dave walked through the hospital entrnce hand-in-hand. They both needed the time together and if only for a moment the two had managed to take the other’s mind away from what faced them when they returned.
The elevator door pinged and opened. Hamilton Porter slipped to the back of the car while Derek, ever the gentleman helped an elderly woman inside. Floor by floor the elevator stopped until it was just Derek and Hamilton left. Derek exhaled as the door closed. He relished the extra space and quiet. He wanted to go home. It seemed like ages since he’d been in his own house.
“A little late for a run isn’t it?” Hamilton asked.
“It’s never too late for a run.”
Then without protest, Derek watched as Hamilton pushed the button that would send the elevator to the roof.
“Good boy, that’s a verrrryyyy good boy.”
Dave knew immediately that something was wrong as soon as he and Fran walked through the door. The fact that Derek had not beeb in his room when they stopped by before joining the others didn’t help matters.
“What’s going on in here?” Dave began.
Fran looked around the room. She expected to see Derek.
“He’s in his room, why?” Penelope’s voice trembled.
“No he’s not. We were just there.”
Dave shot a worried glance at Hotch.
“I’ll go check with the nurses.”
JJ rushed out the door while the others silently tried not to think the worst.
“Hotch what’s going on? Why is he cuffed?”
“Please Agent Hotchner…”
Sheldon interrupted before Hotch could speak.
“I know who did this! I can help you find him and if he’s still the man I think he is, he’s close, very close!”
“I can’t lose him…not again!”
Reluctantly, Hotch released Sheldon from his cuffs.
“After this is over, these go back on.”
“If it saves Derek, I’ll put them on myself.” Sheldon responded.
Hamilton pushed Derek through the door and onto the roof. The fact that it was cold and he was barefoot didn’t seem to phase him at all. Derek stared quietly into space while Hamilton smugly paced a small circle around him.
“You have been a problem since day one. I tried to tell Savannah that you weren’t worth it but she insisted.”
Derek remained still and silent.
“Happy Birthday, Baby Boy!”
She smiled as he pulled her against his body. Their lips met in a soft warm kiss. He loved her, more than he ever thought possible. He’d told her over and over that he didn’t like surprises…didn’t want a fuss made over his birthday.
“Savannah is very unhappy with you, Darren. You had one job and one job only!”
Hamilton was surprised to hear him speak. That wasn’t a part of the program. Things were worse than he’d imagined. Savannah hadn’t been forthcoming on just how bad things had gotten
“What did you say?”
Derek closed his eyes for a moment and shook his head to clear his mind.
Hamilton stopped in front of the man who’d fought him longer and harder than anyone ever had before.
“Do you remember what I told you I would do if you disobeyed me, if you kept fighting me? Do you, Darren?”
“What did you say?”
Hamilton pulled a long thin knife from his pocket and released the blade from the handle.