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Tender Loving Care (Criminal Minds, for matilda)


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Alrighty, I had a trade with lovely matilda and she wished for a Hotch/Garcia fic. I did my best to fulfill it, but holy SHIT it was difficult to make Hotch do the caretaking and keep him in character! :blink: I hope I didn’t fail too miserably at it, I really tried. Also, I know a cold usually don’t come on this quickly (while a flu does), but I couldn’t make her too sick or she’d probably be too miserable to do the Garcia witty talk and I had to have SOMEONE in character! :lol:

Anyway, this is the result, and I really hope you will like it matilda. :heart: A Very Merry Christmas! :hug::heart:


“Someone in Kansas is not fond of lawyers, it seems, because the past month no less than three of them have been found murdered in the same area. And this is the icky part; they have puncture wounds on their necks and almost completely drained of blood. Two male and one female victim, nothing in common apart from their gruesome death and their, in my opinion almost equally gruesome occupation…”

Garcia trailed off and coughed lightly in her hand before continuing; “One male victim was African-American, the other two Caucasian, age between 37 and 45.”

“Exsanguinations…” Rossi said in a low and absent-minded voice. “That’s unusual.”

“Add in the puncture wounds on the neck, and it practically screams vampirism,” JJ added.

“Yes, and that means that you, my American heroes, will go to Kansas pronto and do your thing. But you will go alone, because I will be keeping boss man around, thanks to the dynamic duo over there.”

She nodded to Reid and Prentiss, who looked like two chastened school kids.

“Sorry Hotch,” Reid said, and Prentiss mouthed the same thing.

“Well, you were right about the unsub, but you did violate protocol. I sincerely hope I can sort it out with Strauss alone, but I will have to stay behind,” Hotch said and offered them a glare. They both hung their heads like kids before the principal. Hotch would never admit it, but he had a hard time to keep from laughing. So he deepened his frown to make absolutely sure none of them could tell.

Garcia coughed again and took a sip of her tea. Her throat had felt slightly scratchy all morning, and it tickled in the back of her nose. She had chalked it up to allergies, but she wasn’t sure anymore; usually the antihistamines would have kicked in by now. She hoped she wouldn’t embarrass herself by sneezing in front of the team. She knew it was ridiculous to worry about such a thing; this team was like family and best friends rolled into one, but she really didn’t want to have them worrying about her. And most of all, she didn’t want to fail them.

As they vacated the room, she felt the tickle in her nose grow stronger, and she turned away and sneezed softly into her sleeve;


Hotch looked up from his papers.

“Bless you. Are you okay?”

“Sure. Sure I am, why wouldn’t I be? It was just a sneeze.”

She sniffed and managed a big smile, as if her sinuses didn’t feel like they were slowly filling up with feathers. Tiny, tickling feathers…

“You know where to find me if you need a miracle worker,” she added quickly and left the room on high heels. Hotch glanced at her through narrowed eyes. There was something off about her today, but he trusted her to come to him if there was actual trouble.


Garcia sneezed twice on her way down to her own domains, and her nose began to feel runny. She hurried inside her computer room, slammed the door shut behind her, and sneezed again before she could cover.


She sniffed and rubbed her itchy nose, hoping the urge to sneeze would go away, but not counting on it. She cleared her throat and had to cough.

Nope, this is not good, not good at all, she thought to herself as she plopped down on her chair and began rummaging through her purse in search for a tissue. Her phone rang.

“Yes,” she said.

Yes? That’s all? No Garcia lingo?” Derek Morgan said from the other end of the line.

“Can’t spoil you every time,” she said in a fake cheery voice and rubbed her nose with the back of her hand, willing the tickle to go away, or at least keep calm until she could hang up.

“Alright baby girl, I need the names of everyone who worked on the law firms our victims were employed by, let us know if anyone comes up twice.”

“Gonna take a while, I’ll get back to you sweetness,” she said and hung up, just in time to catch a sneeze in her sleeve.

Hotch opened the door just as she sneezed for the second time.

“Bless you,” he said, and Garcia jumped in her chair. “Are you really okay? Because it sounds to me like you’re coming down with something.”

“I’m fine.”

“I know that’s a popular thing to say in this team,” Hotch said. “But you’re always the one who looks after everyone, and there is no shame in being the one who accepts it.”

She coughed. Hotch raised his eyebrows.

“I believe you need some more tea, Penelope.” He took the empty mug from her table. “Do you want lemon or honey in it? Either is good for a sore throat.”

Garcia looked at him like he had just grown an extra head.

“H-h-honey, please. Thank you. Sir.”

The corners of his mouth twitched slightly. Leave it to Garcia to be so concerned about others while not allowing others to be concerned about her. And of course, a common cold was nothing to be overly concerned by; the team had all passed those back and forth between each other from time to time, but it was usually Garcia who fussed over them when they got sick.

Hotch decided that this time, he was going to fuss over her a little bit.


As he returned with tea and some oranges, which he knew she liked, his phone rang. Glancing at the display, he saw that it was Strauss. While his face showed nothing, he winced inside. What now?


“Aaron, I have to cancel our meeting this afternoon. I will be out of state for a few days for personal reasons.”

“Anything I can do?”

“I said personal reasons,” she emphasised. But he could hear a tiny smile in her voice when she added; “But thank you. And it’s nothing bad.”

“So, when will we reschedule the meeting?”

“We won’t. I have cleared agents Reid and Prentiss, but you are under strict orders to imprint the protocol in them again and make sure it isn’t repeated.”

“I will.”


He hung up just as he entered Garcia’s magic bat cave (as she had referred to it as on several occasions), and said:

“Strauss just cancelled the meeting and cleared them both.”

Deus ex machina, he thought and shook his head. Garcia accepted the tea with a grateful look on her face, and then commented;

“Deus ex machina.”

“That’s exactly what I just thought.”

“Great minds, and all that,” she said and laughed. The laughter was punctuated by a series of coughs and she took a sip of the tea to soothe her irritated throat. Hotch glanced at her with sympathy, which softened his stern features at least a little bit.

“Is there anything else you need?”

“Nope, I’m good.” She wiggled her nose as if to will the tickle away without actually having to rub at it, but it obviously wasn’t enough as she snapped forward with a tickly, delicate double;

“Isschew! Heh-iSSChew!”

“Bless you. Forgive me for pointing it out, but you don’t sound too good.”

“It’s just a head cold. I can still… huh… huh-ISSCH! Still do my job.”

“I’m not questioning your ability to do your job,” Hotch said and handed her a pack of Kleenex. She took one out and said;

“Please look away. This isn’t pretty.”

He did as she asked and she blew her nose in the most unladylike manner, clearing her stuffed nose as well as she possibly could. While it did clear her nasal passages, it also aggravated the irritation and she sneezed again. She had barely recovered when Morgan called her again.

“Hey baby girl,”

“Hello there superboy, I have the info you asked for, sending it to your tablets now.”

“Great. How are you?”

“What, me, I’m fine, I wish everyone would stop asking me that.”

“Mm-hmm. Alright. Talk to you later.”


Hotch’s cell phone buzzed with a text. It consisted of five words; “keep an eye on her.” It was from Morgan, ever Garcia’s protector. Hotch actually smiled as he sent his reply; “I do.”

“What was that?” Garcia asked.

“What was what?”

“You smiled. You never smile.”

He chose not to comment on it. The truth was that if there was anyone except for Jack that could always make him smile, it was Penelope Garcia.


Morgan called again a couple of hours later, but to Hotch this time.

“Hotch, listen…” he sounded shocked, and his boss steeled himself for what was to come.


“Our guy… he just walked in here a few minutes ago and confessed to the whole thing. Says he’s known people who hired those particular lawyers and claims they sucked them financially dry and yet lost their cases. He says it was his way of sucking the lifeblood out of them.”

“Are you sure he’s the right guy?”

It was never this easy. Never.

“He is. Everything seems to add up. Unsurprisingly, he doesn’t want a lawyer.”

“Figures. Alright, good job. When will we expect you back?”

“We’re just going to wrap this up. Early tomorrow morning, at latest. How’s my baby girl doing?”

Hotch glanced over at Garcia, who wiped her reddening nose with a fresh tissue while typing with her free hand.


“I’m not surprised.”

“Well, since this case was a breeze, we’re going home.”

“You do that. See you tomorrow.”


He hung up and turned back to Garcia.

“They’ve got him. Which means you can go home and get some well-deserved rest. Come on, I’ll give you a ride.”

She began to log out and shut down the computers, then got up and grabbed her coat. Hotch, waiting by the door, held out her purse for her. She took it with a smile.

“All my adult life I’ve believed there were no real knights in shining armours, and then I start working here and you’re everywhere, saving damsels in distress.”

This time he didn’t bother hiding his smile.

“It’s somewhat difficult when the damsels don’t want to be saved though,” he said.

“Was that a joke? Oh my God, Aaron Hotchner made a joke!”

“If you tell anyone, I’ll have you cuffed.”

“Oooh, now that sounds interesting!”

This actually had him laughing out loud.


As he dropped her off by the door, she dragged herself inside, coughing nearly constantly now. Her throat felt raw and she wondered if she was running a fever. She felt light-years from her usual cheery self and the only thing she wanted at the moment was to pull a blanket over her head and whine. Preferably out loud.

Instead she took a hot shower and put on the comfiest of her comfy clothes; fuzzy pink bunny slippers and an equally fuzzy and equally pink robe over mint green pyjamas. She towelled her hair dry and sat down on the couch with a box of Kleenex and yet another cup of tea, and had just gotten comfortable when there was a knock on the door.

“Ohh nooo…!” she whined but got up to answer it nevertheless. The sight that met her rendered her completely speechless. Hotch balancing several take-away soup bowls and a bag from a grocery store. Upon his face was a look she had never seen before; a mixture of his usual stern frown and a somewhat sheepish, concerned look.

“Hello again, Penelope,” he said. “You didn’t seem like you would feel like cooking dinner tonight, so I took the liberty of making sure you get something to eat.”

“Aww…” she stepped aside and let him in.

“I could leave if you want me to,” he assured her quickly, as if she had accused him of being inappropriate.

“No. Stay.” she gestured towards her pink nose and added “Unless you’re afraid of catching this.”

“I take my chances,” he said and began to unpack the bags. “I know you’re a vegetarian, so chicken soup was out of the question, but I got you tomato soup and some interesting lens soup to choose from…” he trailed off as she began to laugh. “What?”

“Nothing. It’s just that, I knew you were a knight, but I had no idea you were Florence Nightingale as well.” She coughed into her sleeve, chesty rasping coughs, and sneezed twice before she could get herself together again.

“Neither did I,” he responded, but casually enough.

“Where is Jack? I’m not snatching his dad from him, am I?”

“He stays with his cousins for a few days, so no, you’re not,” he said as he unpacked the final bag. There were cough syrup and nose spray and Tylenol and even more Kleenex. She smiled.

“You thought of everything.”

“Well, you’re always the one who takes care of the team, so if there is anyone who deserves some TLC it’s you. Have you checked your temperature?”

“Not yet, I…”

“Then do.”

“O-okay boss. Hehheh-ISSCHEw!”

“Bless you.”


It turned out she did have a fever, though not too high, she was clearly sick. A hacking cough escaped her sore throat all evening, but Hotch didn’t seem to be bothered by either that or her sniffling, nose-blowing or the incessant, tickly sneezes. Several times she had fits that didn’t seem they’d stop at all, and she kept apologising between each sneeze.

After finishing their soup, Garcia suggested they’d watch a movie, but halfway through she fell asleep, exhausted from all the sneezing and coughing. Hotch glanced at her flushed face and doubted very much if she’d manage to get to work tomorrow. He got up to leave, put the blanket over her, and turned off the TV.

Before going, he wrote a note for her and put it on the couch table. It read; “Penelope, I took your keys so I could lock the door behind me. I’ll come by tomorrow morning. If you’re feeling better I’ll give you a ride to work. If not, I’ll just return the keys. Sleep tight and get better. Love, Hotch.”

The last part came unplanned, and he considered rewriting the message. Then he thought better of it. TLC did after all stand for Tender Loving Care.


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wubsmiley.gifwubsmiley.gifwubsmiley.gif Oh, I love it sooooo much!! Thank you! I know they're tough to write together, but I just love them.

Thank you!!! I'm working on yours now that my Secret Santa is done :)

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  • 11 months later...

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