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[personal profile] bibliothekara
Disclaimers: No member of the Criminal Minds team belongs to me, they belong to Bernero, Gordon, et al. Even though if they gave me Hotch and/or Garcia for Christmas, I'd be thrilled. All the lyrics quoted here in belong to their attributed authors, and the sea shanty is by Charles Wingate.
Rating: FRC. Angst, some Hotch-whump, but nothing explicit.
Genre: Gen/Hurt-Comfort/Friendship
Spoilers:  None. Set in the nebulous near-future.
Characters: Hotch and Garcia, with some cameos by the rest.
Series: Night Watch 'Verse

Note: a) Title from "Lord of The Rings: Return of the King", for reasons which will become apparent.
b) This is a remix/variation/three-times-bass-expansion-riff on a comment-fic that [livejournal.com profile] melliyna wrote me. (This being the second time that's happened.) The prompt being "Garcia and Hotch, locked in a room somewhere. (Possibly a broom closet?)" Well, it was awesome, and the closet turned into a maintenance shed, and grew horns and  a tail. (The story did, metaphorically.) So basically, this is all her fault too.

Summary: Why is it that when she comes out in the field, things never go smoothly? After an encounter with an unsub leaves them locked in a shed, a freaked-out Garcia tries to keep a concussed Hotch awake long enough to be rescued, using every trick she knows.


********

"I'm so sorry about this, sir."

"Garcia?"

"Yes?"

"We're locked in a maintenance shed. A very small one, about 10 feet by 10 feet. Your arm....is currently somewhere in the vicinity of my lower back, while my right foot is about 8 inches from your ear."

"Your point being?"

"I think we moved past 'sir' about 45 minutes ago."

"When I'm nervous, I get formal."

"I know."

"And that head wound of yours is not making anything better."

"It's a flesh wound; it looks worse than it is. I feel fine, considering."

"Okay, let me mentally file that under 'Things Hotch would say, wouldn't he'."

" That may be true. But I'm conscious and I'm talking to you, aren't I?"

"That is a good sign. But I'm still not thrilled with the whole situation."

"Penelope?"

"Yes?"

"Listen to me, very carefully. This is in no way, in no fashion, in no possible permutation, your fault. Do you understand that?"

"Yes, sir."

Hotch opened his mouth to object, thought better of it, and simply sighed. He would have shaken his head, had it not hurt to do so.

"The team's smart, they'll find us."

"Eventually. If they even figure out where we are."

"There's only a finite number of places that we could be. And once Dave realizes that he can't reach me to complain about Sheriff Dawkins, he'll start to worry."

"I'm going to tell him you said that."

"Go ahead. I've said worse. For that matter, so has he."

"I suppose we are lucky that we ran into the submissive partner, not the dominant, and he only locked us up."

"There you go." 

"The submissive being Deputy Randeller was kind of unfortunate, though."

Garcia looked over at Hotch, and Hotch looked over at her, and she had an almost-psychic premonition.

They chorused in unision: "Florida."


*****

CASE 8655-39A "MarKid"

FINAL REPORT:
SSA Aaron Hotchner, Unit Chief

The team arrived in Marianna, FL,  on August 8th. We were called in by the Jackson County Sheriff's office on a series of kidnapping-and-ransom cases, which they had determined to be related. They had identified two UNSUBs, working in tandem. There had been no deaths, but the latest victim was still missing, and Sherriff Leonard Dawkins was worried that the UNSUBs had the capacity to turn violent.  It was obvious that  while the pair disguised their identities, they knew their victims well, and chose them carefully beforehand. This was determined from the fact that the ransom notes were delivered through anonymized email and instant message clients. This is the reason that I requested Technical Analyst Garcia accompany us to the location.

Marianna is a relatively small Panhandle town of around 6,300 people, so victimology was somewhat complicated. However, we determined the two kidnappers to be white males, in their late 20s or early 30s, working or lower-middle class. A pair of experienced small-time-criminals who had gained ambition. Men who had hit on the old-Depression Era idea that kidnapping was sometimes more lucrative than simple robbery.  This profile was not sufficiently refined, however, and the sheer size of the suspect pool had both us and the Sheriff's Department at a  standstill.


******

Garcia craned her neck, to work out the kinks. Of course, that simple action then created more muscle issues elsewhere, and before she could think not to, she shifted her body.

A groan and an 'ow' from the other occupant of the shed stopped her.

"Oh god, oh god, I'm so sorry, Hotch."

"It's all right, Garcia. Warn me next time before you do that, please?"

Penelope leaned back into her former position. However, she then glared over at Hotch.

"Sir. And yes, I called you sir, get over it. You wouldn't happen to be lying to your friendly neighborhood technical analyst about your injuries, would you?"

Holy crap, had she actually said that? To her occasionally scary force-of-nature of a boss, whom she had personally watched make a grown man weep at least once?

Fortunately, all she got from the force in question was a raised eyebrow. And then a wince, which answered most of the questions she had.

"All right, you lying liar who lies, how many fingers am I holding up?" She raised what she hoped was a sufficiently provocative gesture.

Hotch smiled slightly, which raised her spirits.

"Five, and I'd like to point out that the 'Live long and prosper' salute is not exactly playing fair."

They both laughed, but Garcia would not be deterred.

"Hotch, please, just tell me the truth."

His smile faded, but he acceded to her demand.

"On a scale of 1-10, the headache's probably a 5. It's not doing my inner ear any favors, or my stomach."

"Hotch, you know what that sounds like."

"It sounds like a concussion, but Garcia, really, I'm fine."

Fine. That blasted word. Garcia rolled her eyes, and unconsciously tapped her fingers against her thigh. Profilers were good at profiling exactly because they understood how people lied. And even moreso, how and when they told the truth.  Hotch even now would be trying to take care of her, but if he was actually admitting to symptoms, they were probably worse than he was letting on.

She looked over again, and realized that Hotch's eyes were now closed. Bad sign. BAD SIGN. As Leonard McCoy might say, she was a techie, not a doctor, but she knew that head injury victims losing consciousness was a bad sign. That things could get worse. Especially when, despite all of Hotch's optimistic talk, they really had no idea when the team was likely to come back to the station and open this darn shed.

She was not going to let him pass out and wake up in a hospital bed, in pain, again. Not if she had anything to say about it. She knew what that was like, intimately, and for Hotch to have to do it twice in one lifetime was not fair.

When this was all over, Penelope Garcia was going to have serious Words With The Universe on the subject. But for now, she would do what she could.

And what she could do? Talk. They hadn't called her "Penelope the Mouth" at CalTech for nothing.

"Hotch? Hotch, wake up. Please."

He jerked awake, and immediately regretted it.

"I'm okay, I'm okay, I was just shutting my eyes for a bit."

He was slurring his speech a little now, so Garcia immediately went to DefCon3.

"Sir, you know as well as I do, that I can't let you do that. So, I'm sorry in advance."

"For what?"

"For the fact that I'm pretty much tone-deaf."

She took a breath, and then she started to sing.

"Ohhhhhhhh, I'm a lumberjack and I'm okay
I sleep all night and I work all day
Oh he's a lumberjack and he's okay
He sleeps all night and he works all day..."


*****
CASE 8655-39A "MarKid"

(cont.)

Through further neighborhood canvassing, and careful culling of the tipline that SA Jareau had set up, we narrowed down the identity of one of the kidnappers, Edgar Heurtemann. A raid team was organized, given that intelligence plus the profile suggested that this unsub would be heavily armed. While organizing the raid outside the station, I received a text message from Analyst Garcia within the computer command center we had set up. She had had a breakthrough with the email and instant message clients. I gave command of the operation over to Sheriff Dawkins and SSA Rossi, and they left for the suspect's residence, with the understanding that I would follow along in several minutes. However, when I entered the command center, I found that Jackson County Sheriff's Deputy Andrew Randeller had remained in the station. He was holding Analyst Garcia at gunpoint, as he feared she had determined his identity as the other partner. I reached for my service weapon, and at that point, Randeller turned his attention to me. After lunging at me, during a brief struggle he assaulted me with the butt of his revolver. He then confiscated both my service and backup weapons. However, as we had previously determined in the profile, the pair contained a dominant and a submissive partner, and Deputy Randeller turned out to be the latter. He was apparently reluctant to do us any harm without consulting his partner. At gunpoint, Randeller led us to the station's maintenance shed, and locked us in.

**********

"... BUT THE HEDGEHOG CAN NEVER! BE! BUGGERED!"

There was silence in the maintenance shed for several minutes after that. Hotch opened and closed his mouth several times, as if deciding what to say. He looked somewhat unnerved.

"Garcia?"

"Yes?"

"Could you please never sing that particular song? Ever again? Or mention this to anybody else?"

"Okay. I know Nanny Ogg isn't to everybody's taste." She tried to laugh at her own joke, but  didn't have the energy.

She had been singing and reciting and telling jokes for what felt like hours, but was probably shorter. She had gone through the entirety of David Bowie, the Monty Python songbook, a whole lot of random Terry Pratchett quotes. Her throat was  hoarse, but she was not going to stop. Not if it kept Hotch awake, and not if it let people know where to find them, that they were stuck in here. If they ever did.

A wave of emotion crashed over over her, and she looked away from Hotch, attempting to hide her tearful eyes in the crook of her arm.

"Garcia? Garcia, are you all right?"

The solicitous tone in his voice only made it worse.

"No, I don't think so."

"It's going to be all right."

"No, no it's not, I got us stuck in here, and I got you hurt, again, and no one's ever going to find us."

The tone of her voice annoyed even Garcia. She took a breath, and attempted to control herself.

"And you know what, I should really stop talking and singing and nattering, because I'm really not making anything better at all."

She looked over at Hotch. He still looked only half-concscious, but there was that softness in his eyes. The look  she saw mostly when he was with his son. She didn't feel like she deserved it.

And then something remarkable happened. A soft, warm baritone seemed to fill the small shed.

"My father was the keeper of the Eddystone light
And he slept with a mermaid one fine night
Out of this union there came three
A porpoise and a porgy and the other was me.
Yo ho ho, the wind blows free,
Oh for the life on the rolling sea!
"

That one verse was all that Hotch seemed to have the energy for, and he finished. Garcia was gobsmacked.

"That was... it was...I don't even know."

"My aunt Aggie taught it to me. When I was 6. When Jack was little, there didn't seem to be any traditional lullaby that worked, so I tried that. And he kept asking for it, again and again."

"It was beautiful, sir. And a little bit raunchy."

"It still always calms him down, wherever we are."

Hotch took a deep breath, and then reached over, to grab firm hold of Garcia's hand.

"Penelope, please, trust me. We will get through this."

He squeezed the hand tight, leaned back, and closed his eyes again. His breathing was level, but Garcia had the innate sense that they might be running out of time.

She looked up at the mostly dark of the shed, at the one tiny hole, which had allowed them one shaft of light this whole time. If Hotch could be brave, so would she. She would not let this small fraction of a sheriff's deputy break down Penelope Garcia.

"Hmmm...where was I? I don't think I'd gotten to Tolkien, had I?"

A mumbled negative was emitted from the peanut gallery.

"In western lands beneath the Sun
the flowers may rise in Spring,
the trees may bud, the waters run,
the merry finches sing.
Or there maybe 'tis cloudless night
and swaying beeches bear
the Elven-stars as jewels white
amid their branching hair.
"

Her high alto didn't quite match the Donald Swann setting she was used to. Her voice cracked, and she strained at the lower notes. But she was not going to stop, damn it.

"Though here at journey's end I lie
in darkness buried deep,
beyond all towers strong and high,
beyond all mountains steep,
above all shadows rides the Sun
and Stars for ever dwell:
I *will* *not* *say* the Day is done,
nor bid the Stars farewell!
"

After the last note, she felt that had been the last reserves of her strength. She lodged her head against Hotch's ample shoulder, and rested.

However, she was not able to rest long, as she soon heard a disturbance outside the shed. Someone was fumbling with the lock. Someone then gave up on the lock, and kicked the door, making the whole shed shake. She heard Hotch wake up next to her, and felt him tense up instinctively. It didn't feel like he was conscious, though. A low keening whimper of pain proceeded to break her heart.

"Shhh, Hotch, it's all right, it's all right."

And it was, because the door finally broke open. The late-day sun poured in, illuminating two of the most welcome faces ever. The tense but industrious gaze of Derek Morgan, and the broad grin of Emily Prentiss.

Derek yelled to what Garcia guessed were the other search teams.

"WE GOT 'EM! EVERYBODY, WE FOUND THEM!"

Emily smiled, crouched down in front of them, and started to cut their bonds.

"Don't try to move, guys, we've got EMTs coming."

"Emily, we need to get Hotch to the hospital, he's got a head wound, and what I think is a pretty bad concussion. I've been trying to keep him awake."

"That she has, that she has."

This, mumbled from the man in question, made all three of them laugh. Morgan took it on himself to explain the rest of the situation.

"We knew something was hinky when Hotch didn't show up, but we got Heurtemann. And then, if you can believe it, Randeller called Heurtemann's cell while we were there."

Derek shook his head at this stupidity.

"Once we got back , we collared him, and he claimed he hadn't done anything to you. But he wouldn't tell us where you were. We searched everywhere, and once we heard your beautiful pipes, Garcia, it was pretty easy."

Emily smiled even broader.

"I think that was Tolkien, right? Sam in the Orc-tower at Cirith Ungol."

Penelope gave a silent prayer to whomever, that she had found a professional home so filled with geeks. As the paramedics finally arrived, Morgan looked at his boss.

"You think you might be able to walk, Hotch?"

"I don't know. I don't think so. I can try." Hotch's actions belied this statement, as he flailed attempting to move himself into a more upright position.

"That's okay, that's all right, just hold up a second. It's not like you're going to be late for anything."

As the EMTs helped Hotch onto a gurney, the agent glared at Morgan, and then lay down, mumbling something.

Emily helped Garcia up, but looked confused.

"Did Hotch just mumble something...in Elvish?"

Garcia beamed at her two teammates.

"Quenya, actually. The secret geek."

Derek smirked.

"Did he insult me in geek-speak? Spill, baby girl, what was it? "

" 'A wizard is never late, Derek Morgan. Nor is he early. He arrives precisely when he means to.' "

*fin*

Date: 2010-06-12 06:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] katewallace.livejournal.com
:flail: This is awesome on so many levels, I can't even begin to list them all. Your Hotch/Garcia is so wonderful and tender and...Hotch singing! Thanks for sharing this!

Date: 2010-06-12 06:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] alphabet26.livejournal.com
Oh, I loved this! So much win here. Thanks for sharing it! :D

Date: 2010-06-12 07:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wingstarvegeta.livejournal.com
Oh, I loved this! It was just so... sweet. And I seriously didn't need more cavities. LOL. I will grovel on my hands and knees and kiss your feet for more of your Hotch/Garcia!

Love and cherries,
Wingstar

Date: 2010-06-12 07:19 pm (UTC)
risha: (Garcia)
From: [personal profile] risha
*dead from cute and sweet*

Date: 2010-06-12 10:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dannicawebb.livejournal.com
SO perfect. Just absolutely gorgeous :) Thank you for posting.

Date: 2010-06-12 10:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] joey112.livejournal.com
Just right. Thanks for this, it truly brightened my day. Love Garcia and Hotch.

Date: 2010-06-12 10:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] amichevole.livejournal.com
You know, I would have bowed down for you for all eternity if this had somehow ended with Hotch screaming "THIS IS NOT MY COW!"

And that totally calls for a Discworld AU.

Very much love. This was wonderful.

The team - they love their Tolkien.

Date: 2010-06-12 11:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] daylyn.livejournal.com
This is so wonderful and perfect and absolutely fantastic. Loved it, so much!

Date: 2010-06-13 12:40 am (UTC)
ext_104931: Beauty And The Books (Faramir)
From: [identity profile] melliyna.livejournal.com
I LOVE THIS. FOREVER. Also it is exactly right *nods, uses Faramir icon for the quote I nearly used for my comment fic title came from him*

Date: 2010-06-13 07:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kimmeke-86.livejournal.com
I loved it! This is amusing, cute, heartwarming with a bit of drama mixed into it. Loved how Garcia was dealing with the situation. Loved the Hotch/ Garcia here.

Date: 2010-06-13 09:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] woodchoc-magnum.livejournal.com
This was just amazing! Garcia singing Monty Python! *squee*

Gorgeous fic!

Date: 2010-06-13 10:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] samanthamt.livejournal.com
Eeeeeekkk! Oh how I love anything Hotch/Garcia, there's not enough of it out there, so thanks!!!!! So cute, Hotch is totally the secret geek and I loved Penelope in this as well! Thanks for sharing.

Date: 2010-06-14 01:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] angelnimp.livejournal.com
Fabulous! And ***squee*** for Hotch speaking Elvish ;)

Date: 2010-06-16 02:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hagar-972.livejournal.com
*giggles* Garcia makes a great Sam. And Hotch would claim Gandalf.

Date: 2010-07-16 04:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hotch-fan.livejournal.com
Great Fic.
I love Hotch/Garcia friendship.

Thanks for sharing : )

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