The Tapes Chapter 32

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My scars remind me that I did indeed survive my deepest wounds. That in itself is an accomplishment. And they bring to mind something else, too. They remind me that the damage life has inflicted on me has, in many places, left me stronger and more resilient. What hurt me in the past has actually made me better equipped to face the present.

-Steve Goodier



Derek awoke early that morning, an unsettled feeling his chest. Hotch wanted him in a hour early, to "talk" or whatever. And to be honest, Morgan didn't want to touch whatever the hell this was with a ten foot pole.

Look, he understood he jumped the gun and got attached to Belle, but he sure as hell wasn't gonna apologize. She was one of the best things to ever happen to him and if his stubborn boss would get his head out of his ass for 5 damn minutes and actually talk to her? They would probably get along.

Not that Derek WANTED Hotch near his daughter right now.

Honestly he didn't trust him with her, and with good reason.

So here he was, at a way to early hour, writing a note to Belle so she wouldn't worry and leaving. As he was making his way to the front door the lip of the floormat tripped him. Grunting, he looks down at the messed up carpet, quirking a brow as he sees a marking on it. Kneeling down he slowly picks it up, confusion enveloping him as he sees a symbol. A very similar one to the Winchester Crest, why the hell was it here? Who made it?

Okay dumb question Derek, Belle most likely did, but why? Shrugging it off for now, he places it back shaking his head and pushing the thought down as he headed out the door.

Time to figure out what the hell Hotch was up to now.

***

Entering Hotchners office made Derek tense, looking at the tired face of his team leader made a pang of regret shoot through him. The rift in the team, his home life and more importantly, the cases were obviously taking its toll on him. Yet, he still couldn't bring himself to regret any decisions he's made thus far.

Belle was his kid now, no ifs and or buts about it.

"I'm glad you came," Hotch admitted, his voice low and gravely, thinly layered exhaustion consuming his form.

Derek scoffed sitting across from him, defenses up, "you didn't give me much of a choice, did you?" The photo of Jack rested proudly on the mans desk, much like his own of Belle's. Other office supplies was scattered across his work place, that and piles on manilla folders and paperwork.

"I admit," He begins, placing the pen he held down, "I was frank-"

"Frank? Hotch you texted me at 11 at night talking about how we needed to talk, with no explanation, no details. You were withholding and you know it!" The agent slams his hand down on the desk, shaking the pencils held in the small container.

Hotch's face was still, unmoving, cold. "I knew if I told you everything... you wouldn't have come."

That wasn't a good sign, if anything it should have told him to stand and walk out then and there. "What do you want Aaron."

Said man blinks in surprise, before nodding, "I know we've moved on to other cases, but I wanted to keep looking in to the Winchester cases-"

"Why?" Derek demanded, "its done."

Hotchner leveled him with a stare, "We both know there are still things that don't make sense, Dean Winchester had an identical body found of him, all of them have supposedly died multiple times." Hotchner picks up a file beside him, "unexplained things happen around them, it's much bigger than what was initially thought and if you weren't so close to this case, you would see that."

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