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Title: He Could
Fandom: Criminal Minds
Characters: Morgan
Rating: PG-13/FRT
Word Count: 400
Summary: Morgan wants to tell his mother about Carl Buford.
Warnings: Vague references sexual abuse.


Derek didn't say much as Carl Buford drove him back from the cabin. Carl didn't seem to notice. He flipped through radio stations, stopped at a fast food place and got Derek fries and a shake, all like it was nothing. Like nothing had happened.

Derek thanked him for the fries and complained about half of the radio stations until Carl found one that they could agree on. He could pretend nothing had happened, too.

He didn't even think about it, for the most part. He liked the shake, he ate the fries even though they were soggy, and he sang along with the songs he knew. But sometimes, when Carl was quiet and focusing on the road and Derek was just looking out the window, he'd get a sick feeling in his stomach.

I'll tell Mom this time, he thought to himself. He'd thought about it hundreds of times, especially at night when it was dark and he couldn't sleep. I'll tell Mom. I'll tell Mom.

Carl dropped him off and said goodbye with a smile and a hand on Derek's shoulder. Derek's mother hugged him as he walked inside and said, "Did you have a good time?"

Derek smiled, bright and hollow, and said "Yeah, Mom, it was great."


When Derek's mother learned that Carl Buford had been arrested, she was shocked.

"It's some kind of mistake, isn't it?" she asked. "Like when they arrested you. It'll be cleared up soon, right?"

"No," Derek sighed. "No, he's the one who killed that boy."

"Oh my God," his mother said, pressing her hand to her mouth. "How could someone like Carl..."

"It happens," Derek said, not knowing what else to say. "Sometimes the people who knew the killer never would've guessed it."

"I just can't believe it. He was always so good to you."

And it all had happened nearly twenty years ago. Derek had already told people, didn't that mean he could do it again? Half of his team knew, for God's sake. He didn't even have to be afraid she wouldn't believe him, because there were going to be police reports and newspaper articles and news segments and the entire town was going to find out what Carl was.

He could say it.

He could always have said it.

"Yeah, Mom," Derek said, and looked away. "He was great."
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May 2009

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