"I think that there's something seriously hinky going on, Hotch. I know that we have that person copying our former cases, which is weird enough, but…when we were at that game with Reid, I thought that I saw someone watching us. There was a glint of light that shone off something in a car, and the only reason I caught it was I turned my head to see how Blake and Erin were getting along."
"About that. When did the two of you become friends?"
Penelope knew that her supervisor was trying to avoid dealing with her first statement by focusing on the new relationship. "After the bank heist, when we danced together at Jayje's wedding? That was when we first came to an understanding. After that, we talked at least two times a week while I was in London with Emily. I was lonely for home and couldn't call JJ all the time, since we travel so much, and it seemed like the next best solution."
"Well, I do like the results that it's had for our team and in her. She's certainly nicer than she had been in the past. And I thought that we were going to have a rockier outlook between her and Blake, since I know all about the bad blood between them. You're just a great influence on people, Garcia."
She preened a little at the praise before taking a deep breath. "That's all well and good, but you're avoiding my concern. What if besides a copycat, we've picked up a stalker, too? Or what if they're the same person? I just, things are nebulous between me and Erin, and I don't want to have to add worry about you all on top of that."
"I don't think that you need to worry about us, Garcia. But if it will set your mind more at ease, I'll make certain to keep an eye out while we're on a case, and you can do the same here?"
She nodded, knowing that that was probably the best she could get out of him in that moment. "I will do that, Hotch."
"And tell Erin that I'm glad she chose to be friends with you. I think that this relationship will benefit you both."
She gave him a small nod as she left his office, heading down the stairs and out into the hall. Passing by Alex, she gave her a small smile before turning into Erin's office, hoping that she was there and not in a meeting. "Helen, please tell me that she's in. I really need to talk to her right now."
The assistant looked up from her computer and gave Penelope a short nod. "She's on a conference call at the moment, but as long as you're quiet, you should be able to head right in."
"Are you certain? I don't want to disturb her."
"I know about you two. I overheard the start of quite a few conversations when you were in London, and soulmates just give off this energy. Also? She has been a lot more easy going since you started this relationship. So, yes, I am certain that it will be all right for you to head right in. After the morning she's had, I'm certain that you will be a welcome sight. I'll keep out any other visitors until you leave."
"Thanks, Helen," she said, feeling a real sense of warmth for the woman spread through her body as she went over to the door and let herself into Erin's sanctuary. Taking a good look around, she drank in the elegant way it was decorated. Erin looked up from her phone, giving Penelope a quick flash of a smile before holding up one finger. Penelope nodded and then moved through the office, taking in all the small details that helped tell her more about her soulmate. The closer she got to Erin's desk, the quieter she tried to be, so as not to interrupt her. Penelope's breath caught in her throat, however, when she saw that on Erin's desk, next to the picture of her three children, was a picture of her. It wasn't the best one she'd ever taken, since it was what was on her ID badge, but just knowing that she was in a place where Erin could look at it whenever she wanted made her heart sing.
Finally, she took a seat in front of Erin's desk, waiting for her to finish her conversation. Penelope tried not to pay too much attention, since it wasn't her business, but she still picked up snippets of things, muffling her giggle when Erin rolled her eyes. "Yes, I understand. I will definitely have that report to you by the end of the day. Thank you. Good bye." Erin let out a deep sigh as she shook her head and slumped down in her seat a little before rubbing her hand over her face. "Do you have any idea how good it is to see your face right now?"
"I can imagine that it is quite good. But you need a better picture of me on your desk. We'll have one of the children take one of us together and I'll print it out here before bringing it to your office. Can we talk shop for a few minutes? I don't want to make a frustrating day worse, but, well, Hotch isn't listening to me and I am super worried."
Erin's face fell a little as she nodded, leaning forward and steepling her fingers together as she gazed at Penelope. "What's wrong?"
"You know that we've picked up someone who is copying our previous cases. So far, only two of them have been replicated, to our knowledge, but that's too many to be a coincidence." Erin nodded as she reached out and picked up a notepad and pen, poising herself to take notes on what Penelope was saying. "I don't have any more information to work with on that angle, but something hinky happened when we were all at Reid and Derek's softball game."
"I didn't notice anything odd," Erin murmured as she wrote a few notes. "What caught your attention?"
"I wanted to make certain that Alex wasn't giving you too much grief about being there, only to be pleasantly surprised by the fact that she was conversing almost pleasantly with you. While I turned my head, I saw something reflect the sun and found my attention drawn to a car that was idling on the street. I thought it odd, but it left soon after, so I didn't think too much more of it. Until the second replicated case. Now, I'm freaking out about the fact that it appears that someone is stalking our team, and I don't know how to proceed from here. I wish that you could tell me I'm blowing things out of proportion, but that's what Hotch did, and I still feel that hinky, off, feeling, deep in my gut. How do you want me to proceed? The last time I compiled data outside my team's knowledge, I got shot."
"We'll proceed with caution from this point on, Penny. I have the feeling that you're not wrong, but without more data, there's not anything we can do at the moment."
She nodded a little, trying to blink back tears. "I know it's only Tuesday. I know that you have the children this week. But may I please come home with you tonight? I need to be held by my soulmate."
"That would be fine, darling. Now, I really do need to finish that report, and then do a little digging on this myself, but we'll talk more about this when we get home. Meet me at my car at five, if you can get away."
"All right, I'll see you then." Penelope kissed her fingers before holding them out, watching as Erin copied the movement before pressing her fingers against Penelope's in the closest thing that they could get to a kiss in the office. "Until this evening," she said lowly as she got out of her chair, still feeling a pervading cloud of doom hanging over her head as she left.