Title: Does anyone care
Fandom: Criminal Minds
Movie quote: #3 “Here I was born, and there I died. It was only a moment for you; you took no notice.” Vertigo
Disclaimer: Neither the show nor the characters belong to me, they belong to CBS. Nonetheless, I love to borrow them from time to time. No copyright infringement intended. The idea for the story and the story itself - including all possible pre- and sequels - belong to me.
Summary: Written for 10_quotes. Set after ‘Penelope’. Penelope realizes that family doesn’t necessarily mean kindred.
warnings: hurt/comfort, spoilers for season 3
“So… um… what about your brothers?” Derek finally asked. Since he’d arrived at the hospital and only found the whole team there waiting for any news he’d wanted to ask this question but hadn’t dared so far.
Penelope had once mentioned that she had four brothers and Derek had wondered why none of them had shown up at the hospital. On the other hand, she’d also told him that she’d gone underground for quite a while when she’d been eighteen. Maybe they’d broken contact. But Derek wondered why. He couldn’t imagine any reason to break contact with his family.
She turned her head away from the TV screen and towards him: “What about them?”
“Well” Derek shifted a little. Maybe he shouldn’t have asked. After all, it wasn’t his business. But he simply didn’t like the thought that she had almost died and no member of her family cared. “You know… If one of my sisters had been in the hospital I would have been there in no time at all.”
She smiled at him: “That’s because you’re not a careless egoist.”
The expression on his face was a mixture of concern and lack of understanding.
Penelope frowned and looked down. “They never cared about
I died on this table and I knew they wouldn’t care. I thought none of you would care either. Yet when I woke up you were all there and I… I’m sorry I misjudged you.”
She took a deep breath and her face twisted a little. Movements like this were still rather painful. “My mom always said that when you have a near death experience it’s like a rebirth. Your life as you knew it is over after that. I think she was right.”
“No” Derek quickly objected, “no, she was wrong. Your life is still the same, nothing has changed. It’s still…”
“You misunderstood me.” Penelope softly interrupted him and gave him a warm smile. “That doesn’t necessarily have to be bad. I know that the shooting didn’t end my life or my work. Everything around me is still the same. But it changed me.
My whole life long I wondered why my brothers never cared about me and every time I met or heard about a family that was as close as… well, your family for example it made me feel bad and lonely. I never realized how lucky I am that I found a new family – until now.”
For a moment Derek remained silent. Then he carefully reached out and put a hand on her shoulder. “And we DO care.” he said in a low voice. “All of us.”
“I know.” she smiled and took a deep breath.
“But?” Derek softly asked when she didn’t say anything in addition.
“Can I ask you a question?” she asked in return.
Derek frowned a little. Changing the subject was not like her. “Sure.” he nodded.
She turned away from him and seemed to think about the right words. Then she looked back into his face and asked barely above a whisper: “Why are you doing all this… for me?”
Raising both his eyebrows he mumbled: “What… exactly do you mean?”
“You stayed with me” she replied and looked back down, “saved me from him, from being shot again. Actually, you even risked your life for me. And now… you’re still here… taking care of me. I just wonder why. I mean, if you think that you’re in any way responsible for all this, I can assure you that it’s not your fault. You don’t need to feel guilty because of our stupid fight or…”
“Stop right there, baby girl!” Derek interrupted the flood of words that escaped her mouth. “And listen to me! I stayed with you because I was worried about you. I never wanted you to get hurt. I always thought that you were safe here at
I always wanted to protect you that’s why I stayed and that’s why I risked my life to protect you from
And you’ve been shot, almost killed by someone you liked and trusted. No matter how strong you are this will leave marks, I know what I’m talking about. I’m not going to leave you alone when you have to deal with all these memories.
Maybe your brothers don’t care about you, but I do. That’s why I do all this. You mean a lot to me, you’re a part of my family and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else now. I want to take care of you and you’re not going to get rid of me anytime soon.”
She nodded and then she sniffled a little.
Derek gently pulled her into his arms and kissed the top of her head. “I know you learned that no one cares about you but yourself. But that’s not true. You don’t need to handle everything on your own. Accepting my help doesn’t mean that you’re weak. I’m here.” he whispered. “Whether you want me here or not.”
“I… I don’t want you to go away.” she finally whispered and snuggled up a little closer to him. For the first time in her life she didn’t feel lonely.
Derek pulled the blanket over her and wrapped his arms tighter around her. “Good, because I don’t want to go.”