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The Music of the Spheres

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"Thanks again for picking us up, Helen. I know that it's not exactly on your list of duties, but this makes things so much easier for us," Penelope said as she loaded her bags into the woman's trunk. Derek followed suit, and then they were heading towards her apartment so that she could drop all their bags off, knowing that they'd be safe there in case Derek got called out on a case. Then, they were off to the BAU, and Penelope was trying to calm the nerves that were bubbling in her stomach. "Are they still out in Seattle?" she finally asked, needing to know.

"Yes, but Agent Hotchner said that they should be back by the time you arrive at the building. He's been keeping in close contact with Chief Strauss."

"Oh?" Derek asked, leaning forward to look between the two of them. Penelope had told him about Erin being her soulmate after he had confronted her about trying to set things right between him and Emily. Their discussion had allowed things to thaw between the two of them, and though it wasn't all better, she had the feeling that one way or another, they'd be coming back together soon. "Why is that?"

"Something particularly bad happened last night. Chief Strauss didn't fill me in on the details, just let me know that speed would be of the essence this morning." Helen smiled at Penelope before pulling into the parking lot, and Penelope raised her eyebrows quickly to see that Helen had an assigned space that was much closer than the ones that Penelope had to use. "All right, I need to run and get breakfast for myself, since this superseded that this morning. And if Chief Strauss doesn't see you before the briefing, she told me to tell you 'welcome home'." Penelope grinned as they climbed out of the car, and she shouldered her purse before linking arms with Derek, heading into the building and over to the elevators.

"So, do you think that they've missed us at all?" he teased as they rode up to the sixth floor.

"Of course they did, sugar! They've had to get used to a newb on the team without us, and from what I've learned about her, well, it should be interesting to say the least."

"Oh?"

"Yeah. She's like, crazy smart, and still lectures on linguistics. It appears that she transferred to a position at Georgetown when she got the job here. So she'll be pulling double duty, through the help of her grad students."

"It seems that you learned a lot about her, Baby Girl," Derek said as the doors opened on the sixth floor.

"I felt like I had to learn a lot about her, since we would be that much behind, given that we just spent a glorious summer in London. Even if you didn't get to have as much free time as I did."

"That suited me just fine, actually. I've travelled enough with this job, after all."

"Meh, I guess I'm just not as jaded as that, yet." They stepped into the bullpen, and Penelope looked around for her family. They weren't anywhere to be seen, so she turned to look at Derek in confusion. "I thought Helen said that they would be here when we arrived?"

"They may have gotten caught up in traffic. You know how bad it was when Helen was driving us, so give them a little slack. Besides, this will give you a little extra time to fill me in on this Blake woman."

She nodded, smiling a little as they stepped away from the door, not wanting to block it for their colleagues. "Apparently, Reid guest lectured with her a few times, because of course he did. I think that she's a mentor of his, since language fascinates him so much."

"Hey, guys!"

Penelope turned to see JJ and Reid coming into the bullpen, wide grins on their faces. "Jayje!" she cried out as she wrapped her arms around her friend, holding her close. "It is so good to see you! I brought presents!" She reached into her bag and pulled out a small double decker bus for JJ and handed over a tumbler to Reid. "Now, fill me in on the newbie. I've done a lot of research into her background, so I know that she's insanely smart, but smarts only count for so much. I need to know, beyond her intelligence, beyond how well she might work with everyone, is she nice?"

Derek was giving her a nervous look, and Penelope felt the blood drain from her face as she turned to see the woman she had been talking about standing there, a bemused look on her face. "I do hope that you mean the more modern usage of the word nice, since it originally meant that you were calling someone stupid."

"I, I would never. I'm sorry. I…"

Thankfully, her clumsy attempt at an apology was cut off by Hotch and Erin striding into the bullpen, tight looks on their faces. "We caught a bad one in Texas." They all nodded and Penelope found herself following after them quickly, hoping that she would catch a hint of their song. It seemed that Erin was in full business mode, however, though she did spare a small smile for her as she picked up the remote and took her place at the front of the room, waiting for everyone to take a seat.

"I can work the remote, ma'am," she said lowly, watching Erin shake her head.

"There's no point for me to have this job if I can't work the technology. Besides, there are going to be images that you don't want to see appearing onscreen, and since time is of the essence, it will be faster if I do this."

Penelope nodded, wondering just how bad the case was for Erin to react like that. Pulling out her tablet, she called up the current case notes and began to look through it, trying to swallow her feeling of revulsion at what she was seeing. Knowing that she had to focus, she pulled out a notepad and pen, taking notes while Erin spoke, making certain to smile each time their eyes met, trying to let her know that she wasn't going to let the gore on the screen distract her from her job. Finally, the briefing concluded, and everyone got up from the table, making for the door. Penelope tried to linger, only to get a small look from Erin before she indicated towards the door with her head.

Giving a small nod, Penelope hugged her notepad and tablet close to her chest as she scurried out of the room and over to her office, quickly keying in her password before entering the room and booting her systems up. The sound of her babies coming to life filled her with joy, and she realized just how much she had missed being here for an entire quarter of the year. Humming their song beneath her breath, she set about getting the office back to her liking, seeing that Kevin had rearranged things in her absence. Once it was almost back to where she wanted it, Penelope took a seat at her chair and settled down to work, knowing that this first case back was going to be awful, and not knowing how to make it better for her team.