Title: Worries, hesitancy and too much thinking – part 1
Rating: T for later chapters
Disclaimer: The show and its characters don't belong to me, they belong to CBS, I just love to borrow them from time to time. The idea and the entire story itself belong to me, though. That includes every following chapter as well as any possible pre- or sequels posted after this one.
Summary: That’s what in my humble opinion should have happened after ‘True Night’.
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“Go out with me!” Derek softly said.
Penelope smiled at him that cute, innocent and yet so seductive smile he loved so much on her face. “You don’t need to do this, gorgeous. I’m fine.” she assured.
“I’m serious.” he replied. “I want to go on a date with you.”
This time she frowned and looked down. “Derek, I don’t want a pity date.”
“It’s not a pity date.” he objected, wincing a little at the sound of his proper name. Last time she’d called him that her next words had been: You suck! “I asked you out before… all that happened, remember?”
She snorted still refusing to meet his eyes: “Just because you were sorry.”
“No” Derek assured. “I mean, I was sorry. And I was jealous! I didn’t want you to go out with this guy because… because I felt like I’d let my chance pass. I want to go out with you. And if this is a pity date, then you’d be the one taking pity on me.”
“You don’t need pity dates.” She grumbled turning back to her computers. “You can ask any woman in the Bureau and I’m rather sure they’ll all gladly go on a date with you.”
“I don’t want to go out with any woman.” Derek softly replied taking a step closer to her. “I want to go out with you.”
She laughed dryly. “Sure. See, I’m grateful that you took such a good care of me. But that’s it, I’m fine. You don’t need to go out with me.”
“But I want to.” he said a little desperately.
This time he didn’t get an answer at all.
Sighing Derek ran his hand over his head. Maybe he was going too fast. Maybe he could convince her to go on a not-quite-a-date date with him. “Baby girl, do you already have… any plans for the New Year’s party?” he carefully asked.
“Yeah” she nodded without turning towards him. “I won’t go, that’s my plan.”
“Go there with me!” he begged.
Slowly Penelope turned her chair to frown at him. Then she sighed: “I already told you, I won’t go on a date with you, Derek. Now leave it alone, please!”
“It’s not a date.” he objected. “It’s the official Bureau New Year’s party. We’ll all be there! And you and me are just… arriving and leaving together. You can’t call that a date.”
“As I told you, I don’t plan to show up.” shaking her head to emphasize her words she turned back to the computers once again.
“Please, sweetness, no one should ring in the New Year alone.” he tried to give her his most irresistible smile even though she couldn’t see it. “It’s going to be fun.”
“No date!” he promised, defensively raising his hands. “Just you and me hanging around and having fun, ringing in the New Year. We did that before!”
Why on earth was he so obsessed with that date thing? Probably because he wasn’t used to being blown off. “Okay” she finally sighed. “JJ tried to convince me to come to the party anyway and I’m rather sure neither of you will give up on that until I agree.”
“Most definitely!” Derek smiled. It wasn’t much since it wasn’t quite a date, but at least it was something. A step forward. All he needed to do at this party was show her that a date with him could be a lot of fun.
Shaking her head again Penelope sighed: “I’m going to regret this.”
“No, you’re not. I won’t let you regret it, I promise!” Derek smiled triumphantly and once again leaned down to kiss the top of her head. “See you around, goddess.”
“Sure.” she quietly answered. This was a bad decision and she knew it. She hadn’t just refused to accept Derek’s first invitation because she’d been pissed at him. There were so many problems about her and Derek dating.
First of all, they worked together and if this didn’t work one of them would probably have to leave the office or the tension would eventually kill the dynamic of the team. And it surely would be her who left. Derek wouldn’t give his job up and she’d never ask him to do so. But working together afterwards would be impossible, especially for her once he’d broken her heart.
Which immediately led to the second problem: They were such close friends and she didn’t want to spoil that. She wanted him to be a part of her life – and the friendship they had was all she’d ever get from him.
Which led to problem number three: Derek was a player. So whatever it was that had made him interested in going out with her, it wasn’t real feelings. Of course, he’d said he loved her and Penelope was sure he did. He loved her as a sister or a dear friend. Nothing more. But at least that much.
Which finally led to problem number four: She loved him, much more than she’d ever wanted to allow herself to fall for him. If she went on a date with him he would raise hope somewhere deep inside of her no matter how much she would try to repress it. Hope that there could be more. Hope that he really was in love with her. Hope that they could become happy together and be an item. Hope that only would be spoiled when in the end she’d realize that it wouldn’t work or that he had played with her as he’d played with all the other women.
When she felt the tears welling up in her eyes Penelope concentrated on the file Hotch had ordered her to put together. She didn’t want to think about her and Derek and all the things anymore that would never happen no matter how much she wanted it.
“Go ahead, dance with her!” Penelope ordered pointing her head towards the pouting woman who had just left their table. She had been the fifth woman who’d asked him to dance with her tonight – and the fifth woman he’d blown off.
“Not in the mood.” Derek shrugged and smiled at her.
Penelope raised an eyebrow: “You don’t expect me to believe that, right? You being not in the mood to dance is as likely as… Hotch telling dirty jokes. You can dance with her, it’s okay, really. As you pointed out, this is not a date.”
“Still I’m here with you.” He stated. “And I absolutely don’t want to dance with anyone but you tonight.”
Rolling her eyes she sipped at her drink: “I’m not going to dance with you.”
“And I respect that.” Derek assured. “But you’ll have to respect that if you don’t want to dance with me then I’m not going to dance at all.”
“Hey, don’t blame me for…”
“I don’t blame you, goddess.” He laughed. “I’m just not in the mood to dance with another woman. That’s all.”
“Why?” was all she could manage to say until she finally succeeded in collecting her thoughts at least to some extent. “I know you love to dance and you’re great at it. I don’t want to keep you from having fun.”
Derek chuckled: “Baby girl, I haven’t had so much fun in years. I’m enjoying this evening very much and I’d much rather stay here and keep talking to you than dancing with another woman who’s not half as witty as you are.”
She rolled her eyes again. What did he think he was accomplishing with all these compliments? “I didn’t know you talked when you danced.”
Derek sighed discouraged. He’d told her how beautiful she looked – which was far from being a lie – when he’d picked her up at her place and all she’d done was rolling her eyes. He’d tried to make a compliment about her intellect and still all she did was rolling her eyes. He was running out of ideas.
Derek had never had a problem flirting with women – he’d been more than successful in doing so. And he hadn’t had a problem flirting with his baby girl as long as it remained playful. When it came to serious compliments she stonewalled him.
What had he done wrong? He’d told her how he felt and from the expression on her face he knew that those three words had been all she’d ever wished to hear from him. She’d even said it back. But still there seemed to be no way of them becoming an item.
Sure they were best friends and their relationship had only become stronger after she was shot. The problem was that he wanted more. He wanted his baby girl to be entirely, really and wholeheartedly his. She already was the most important part of his life but she didn’t seem to know it yet.
Which led to the second problem he had. Penelope didn’t believe that he really was in love with her. Why she couldn’t believe it he couldn’t tell. Okay, to be honest he had a vague idea. His whole life long he’d been a player. He’d enjoyed seducing women most of them for just one night. He had never promised anything, though, but Penelope didn’t know that.
Which led to problem number three: Derek had no idea how to make her aware that she was different. He’d never wanted to fall in love. He had never thought he could feel like that for any woman. But Penelope wasn’t any woman. She was unique, the wittiest, noblest and kindest woman he’d ever met. Everyday she managed to make him fall more for her without even noticing it.
Which immediately led to problem number four: He was desperately attracted to her. No woman had ever managed to do what she had achieved, although many of them had tried. Penelope had him wrapped around her little finger. And the worst thing was that it seemed that had never been her intention.
But he was happy to be here and have the opportunity to spend an evening with her. And as he had known it would be, it was pure fun – except for the desperation that grew inside him every time she rolled her eyes in response to one of his compliments. She looked so beautiful tonight, her long blonde locks framing her beautiful face, her perfect teeth behind these ruby lips and her deep brown eyes behind the purple-framed glasses.
However he wanted to believe that this evening was a start. After he’d given up on wooing her for the time being they’d started telling stories from their childhood. Derek talked a lot about all the good memories of his father he remembered before he died. How he’d taught him to ride a bike or how they’d gone fishing once just a few weeks before he’d been killed. How his father had promised they would go camping together and how they’d never gotten that chance.
Penelope told him about camping with her whole family and how her parents had made every effort to teach their children love and respect for every being in the world. Listening to her stories Derek studied her face and fell more for her with every word he heard. He never wanted to let her go again.
“Can you imagine that?” she chuckled. “My four brothers were playing with dolls. My parents wanted us to become open for anything.”
“They did a great job if you ask me.” Derek smiled at her. He could have slapped himself at the same second. He’d managed to ruin the amusing conversation they just had had because he’d once more spoken before thinking about the words. Now she would roll her eyes and probably stop telling him stories from her past.
But instead she smiled a little sheepishly and said in a low voice. “I wish you could have met them. They would have loved you.”
“I’m rather sure the feeling would have been mutual.” Derek smiled.
Penelope locked eyes with him and she swore she could see right into his heart. She could see the love in his eyes and for a short moment she believed that they could be real, that maybe – just maybe – this could work.
“Listen everyone!” Hotch’s voice startled them. “These are the last seconds of the year 2007.” He switched the TV on that Spencer and JJ had fastened on the wall so that everybody could see it and the screen showed a big watch. They all raised their glasses and started to count down.
“Ten… nine… eight…” the voices of two dozens of agents echoed through the bullpen. “… two… one… Happy New Year!”
“Happy New Year, baby girl.” Derek smiled at the woman next to him and raised his glass.
“Happy New Year, hot stuff.” she smiled back and chinked her glass with his.
They didn’t stay much longer and about one a.m. they arrived at her apartment complex. The whole way to her home and even after they’d reached their destination they chatted, joked and laughed. About half an hour after Derek had parked the car in front of the front yard they said goodbye and Penelope got out of the car.
She turned and bent slightly forward to look at him. “Thank you.” she smiled. “I… really enjoyed this evening.”
Derek opened his mouth to answer that they should do that again sometime. But he was rather sure this would lead to another discussion about going out with each other and he absolutely didn’t want to end the evening this way. So instead he gave her his most charming smile and replied: “Me too. I can’t remember when the last time was that I had so much fun.”
Her smile turned from slight to radiant and she said in a low voice. “Goodnight, sweetness.”
“Goodnight, goddess.” Derek watched her walk through the front yard towards the door and frowned when she hesitated before walking up the stairs staring down. He had been sure the rain would eventually wash the blood away but the stains were still clearly visible.
Penelope felt him watch her and she indulged in the fact that he obviously wanted to be sure that she got in safely. When her eyes fell upon the fading traces of blood she stopped. Shivering at the memory of Baylor and getting shot she walked up the stairs on the far left – as far away as possible from those traces.
When she closed the door behind her he took in a deep breath. The evening hadn’t exactly gone the way he wanted it to go, but it could have gone much worse. Maybe he would be lucky and get a second opportunity like the New Year’s party to ask her out. If this was the only way to spend an evening with her he would be content with that.
Sighing he started the engine. He felt a little desperate and considered asking his mother for some advice. She would probably laugh at him, he had never ever ask his mother for advice before when it came to a woman.Derek Morgan had always been a man who knew how to win a woman’s heart – but when it came to Penelope Garcia he didn’t have a clue.