"Hey, have any of you seen Blake lately?"
Penelope pulled away from Derek to look over at JJ, feeling her brow furrow together in confusion. "What do you mean? She was here when we arrived. She was right over there." Penelope turned to where she had seen the woman last, only to find her missing. "This is not good, Boo," she murmured as she took hold of his hand and pulled him over to where Alex had last been. "Alex? Where are you?" she called out looking at the people who were gawking and passing by their little gathering. There was no answer, and she let out a deep breath as she went to the SUVs, peering in them to make certain that she hadn't just tucked herself away in one in order to deal with her grief in private. Again, she came up with nothing, and felt a small klaxon of alarm start to go off in her brain.
"She should be around here, Baby Girl."
"I know, and that's what makes me so unsettled. Do you think that she went back to the hotel?"
"Without telling one of us? Or taking one of the SUVs? I highly doubt it." Derek squeezed her shoulder before turning and looking at the group. "Hotch! I think that we have a problem here!" he called out as he waved the others over. In moments, they had joined Penelope and Derek, all wearing variations of concerned looks on their faces.
"You didn't find her, either?" JJ asked, and Penelope shook her head. "Fuck, I was worried that something like this might happen. Hotch, we have to assume that she was taken by Curtis, too. There's no way that this is a coincidence."
"I feel the same way, JJ. All right, Derek, take Reid and Garcia back to the precinct, I want you three to delve deeply into Curtis's background. Also, Garcia, you need to try and ping Blake's phone, to see if she still has it on. It will be easier to track them down if we can get a handle on where her phone is."
"She also has a smart watch, so I can track her that way, if her phone is off." Hotch gave her a small nod and she smiled wobbily at him as Derek slipped his arm around her waist and guided her over to their SUV, Reid ambling along behind them. "The two of you are going to have to keep me focused, I hope you know. With Erin gone, and Alex missing, my mind is all over the place. I know that it's to be expected, but I still need to be held accountable."
"Of course, Penelope," Reid said as they paused outside the vehicle. She was a little surprised when he pulled her into a hug, and then she felt a few shaky breaths wash against her neck and understood. He was thinking about Maeve and how he had been ripped from his soulmate. Guilt began to wrap its tendrils around her heart and brain, and she ached to tell him that all was not lost for her, that this was a ruse to keep Erin safe, but she didn't know if Curtis was listening in on them.
Taking a deep breath, she waited until Derek had turned the vehicle on and started back towards the precinct before speaking. "The Blackbird returned to us, and so will my Phoenix. There were certain precautions that had to be taken, just like with the Blackbird. I can't have you mourning for that, Reid, when it's not the truth, but it is the truth that I have to live until certain subjects are brought to justice."
"Then we will hope that we can very quickly make that happen," Derek replied as he continued to drive. She nodded and settled back in her seat, trying to calm the unsteady tattoo of her heartbeat as she began to hum their song. It had lost the sad tinge that it had had earlier, and had started to gain strength, which told her that Erin was getting stronger, something that caused her heart to hurt a little less, even though she knew that it would be some time before she could see her soulmate. Just knowing that she was on the mend, however, was enough to let her know that she would be that much more focused on finding Curtis and where he had taken Alex. She couldn't allow him to steal another member of their team away, and she knew that it would be difficult to track him down, since he was a wily bastard and knew how to avoid detection. Which made sense, since he had been a part of the BSU and knew how to outsmart unsubs, and he had used that knowledge in order to become the perfect unsub. The only clue she had on him currently was that one semi-clear frame where he had accidentally glanced up at the camera for a bit too long, but she would be using that as soon as she arrived back at the precinct to create an algorithm that would sort through all the camera data in the city to find him. Knowing that Alex would be with him, too, would narrow down the parameters, since she had numerous clear photos of her that she could feed into the algorithm, as well.
"You look like you have a plan, Baby Girl."
"I do. I just have to pray that my fingers can fly fast enough to get to work. Reid, I'm going to have you call Agent Anderson and as him to tell you everything he can find on John Curtis and then relay it to Hotch. Derek, you've picked up enough from me in order to be able to ping the location of cell phones, how to triangulate from the data. I'll have you do that for Alex's phone while I write the algorithm for my plan. I know, it seems like a silly thing for me to focus on, but this could be our best line of attack to bring Curtis down. I won't fail Alex, like I failed Erin. She is going to be all right."
Derek gave her a tight nod as he picked up speed, weaving in and out of traffic as best he could until they were finally back at the precinct. Penelope hurried into the building before Derek had even turned the vehicle off, and slid into the chair in front of her laptop, waking it up and letting her fingers fly across the keyboard as she started to write the code that would lead them closer to Curtis. The others joined her moments later, and also got immediately down to work. There wasn't much talking at first, since they all knew how important it was that they find Blake as quickly as possible. Finally, Penelope had her algorithm up and running, and while that was happening, she began to look into the background of Curtis's previous accomplices, hoping that they could give her some clues into the man.
"Finally," she breathed out when she noticed a string of calls going from the latest accomplice and the same number. Popping that into her search databases, she quickly discovered that it was registered to an unfamiliar name. From there, she went down a long rabbit trail that eventually turned out to be connected to John Curtis, and she sent up a quick prayer of thanks. "All right, Reid, Derek, we have some good news. I think that we might be able to track Curtis down, since I believe I just found his mobile number. Have you had any luck on your end?"
"I think that Blake's phone is off. You mentioned that she has a smart watch?" Derek asked and she nodded. "Then I think it's time you took over with the triangulations, since you know how to ping that. I'll keep watch over your algorithm while you do that." She gave him a quick smile before switching places with him and clacking away at the keyboard, using both numbers to try and hone in on the place where John and Alex were, knowing that this was their best option of finding them and bringing Alex home alive.