Title: Love hurts
Fandom: Criminal Minds
Prompt for 10 hurt/comfort: #1 Injured
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: Little missing scene from ‘Penelope’. I wondered how – with all the pain she was in – Garcia managed to change her shirt. This is my idea about it. It’s also my explanation for why – after everything that happened between Penelope and Derek – opted for Kevin.
warnings: well, spoilers for ‘Penelope’
He heard a low gasp of pain from the bedroom and immediately hurried into the room. “What’s wrong, baby girl?”
“Nothing.” she almost yelled at him. “Get out!”
“Out!” she shouted.
He was startled for a moment. Then he carefully asked. “Honey, did I do something wrong? If I did, I’m sorry. I never meant to do anything to… make you upset or…”
“No” she interrupted him and sighed, “it’s just… I… I need to change clothes. So… would you please just leave me alone.”
“I could help you.” he volunteered.
“No way!” Penelope gasped. “Derek, I can’t… I don’t want to… I’m not going to undress in front of you.”
“I won’t look.” he quickly promised.
“Yeah, I’m sure about that.” she mumbled.
Derek stepped forward and knelt down in front of her. “I could just as well stare at you if that would make you feel better.”
“That’s not funny.” she grumbled.
Suddenly all serious Derek took her hands in his and softly explained: “I don’t want you to be in pain and I absolutely don’t want you to rip your stitches in a careless movement. That’s why I’m here. I just want to help and make sure you’re alright.”
“I know.” she whispered.
Derek gently squeezed her hands. “Let me help you, Penelope!”
She drew in a shaky breath and closed her eyes. This was going to be embarrassing. But she knew changing the shirt on her own would be too much pain. It was almost impossible to raise her arms over her head. So she nodded.
Derek stood up, walked around the bed and carefully sat down behind her. “The flashy purple one?” he asked with a soft smirk that was even audible in his voice.
Fortunately, he was sitting behind her so that he couldn’t see the soft shade of pink that appeared on her cheeks. “Yeah, that’s… I usually wear that at night.”
“Ready?” he smiled and gently grabbed the bottom of her shirt.
“No.” she whispered and took in another shaky breath.
Carefully Derek pulled at the shirt, higher up revealing the bandage around her middle. When he noticed Penelope shiver he stopped and asked concerned: “Did I hurt you?”
“No.” she almost panted. “Just… This is so embarrassing.”
“Just pretend I’m one of the nurses.” he smiled and continued to pull up the shirt.
She couldn’t stop the gasp of pain when she had to raise both arms above her head so that Derek could remove the shirt. But it would certainly have been much worse if she had done that on her own.
“Bra?” he asked huskily. This was definitely inappropriate now but he knew that she couldn’t reach behind her back – or at least shouldn’t at the moment.
“No!” Penelope gasped. Then she swallowed and nodded. “Yes.” God, this was getting more and more embarrassing.
Carefully Derek opened the clasp and tried not to watch her while she carefully removed the piece of closing. Yet his eyes were studying every inch of her bare back. Her skin looked so soft and tempting. He could smell her and he was mere inches apart from touching her, tasting her. He could just lean forward and nibble at the soft skin.
Of course, he shouldn’t – and wouldn’t at the moment. Not when she was in so much pain. But the mere thought of that made his whole body jerk.
Derek shook those thoughts off – at least as good as he could. He shouldn’t think about her like that, especially not now! So as soon as she was done removing her bra, he quickly grabbed the purple shirt and carefully pulled it over her arms, then her head and slowly down her body – yet he couldn’t help but take every opportunity to accidentally touch her.
“Thanks.” Penelope mumbled.
“You’re welcome.” Derek smiled and now took a deep breath himself. He had to admit that the situation was awkward.
“Could you… um… leave me alone now?” her voice was barely above a whisper.
He frowned for a moment and then his eyes fell upon the pajama trousers on her bed. Grabbing them he jumped up and walked around the bed so that they were facing each other. “Let me help you!”
“No!” she shouted at him and tried to grab the trousers from him. But that simple movement made her gasp, wince and grimace in pain.
“Are you alright?” Derek quickly asked and grabbed her shoulders in a desperate attempt to do anything to make it better.
“Yeah, I’m fine.” she mumbled holding her hurting stomach. “Please, Derek, go out. Helping me change my shirt is one thing but…”
“Trust me!” he said. “I don’t want you to hurt yourself.”
But he had already grabbed her waistband.
Blushing deeply Penelope stood up – with Derek’s help – and let him pull her trousers down to her knees. This was so incredibly embarrassing that for a brief moment Penelope wished she hadn’t survived the shooting.
But Derek was just as sweet and cute and caring as usual. He didn’t look at her, not even once. He kept his eyes on his hands and the trousers he was carefully pulling up her bare legs.
In a way it was cute – but on the other hand Penelope felt a little disappointed that he didn’t even try to look at her. He obviously didn’t find her in any way attractive. Which meant the ‘I love you’ a few minutes ago had just been a friendly one.
Derek didn’t dare look at her because he didn’t want to make her feel uncomfortable – and he wasn’t entirely sure he would be able to keep himself from ‘taking advantage’ of her if he did. It had almost been too much to look at her back. Looking at her legs was out of the question. So he kept his eyes focused on what his hands were doing. But he never missed a chance to touch her soft skin.
When he was done, Derek finally looked up and smiled at her. He helped her lay down, tucked her in, gave her a quick peck on the cheek, wished her goodnight and went back into the living room to sleep on her couch.
Penelope turned to her side and closed her eyes. She couldn’t stop the tears from damping her pillow – but at least she could keep herself from sobbing so that Derek didn’t hear how she cried herself to sleep. His words had given her hope that there could be more, yet his actions had shown her that there never would. She’d never thought it possible since the wounds from the shooting hurt so much that she almost couldn’t bare it. But a broken heart hurt more.
She could nonetheless pretend it was just due to the fraternization rules and cherish the fact that they at least had such a close friendship that there was some kind of love between them. Although it would never be real love. She would keep enjoying their flirtatious banter and she would savor the fact that he took such a good care of her.
But despite all that it was still hard to realize that there could never be more than friendship between them. Of course, she should have known better even after he’d said these three little words she’d been craving to hear from him since the day they met. She wasn’t his type and it was pathetic to keep up the hope that someday he would change his mind out of the blue.
But she couldn’t stop loving him – even though it hurt, especially when she once again had to realize that he didn’t love her the same way. Every little gesture from him gave her hope that there could be more and every time this hope was deceived. It was pathetic, that much was for sure. She should stop mooning over him as soon as her broken heart was healed.