Fandom: Criminal Minds
Prompt for 24_runes: #19 Ehwaz (movement and change for the better)
Word count: 1980
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: She has left without any explanation – but he won’t rest until he found her.
AN: Special thanks to Gretchen because I’m keeping her so busy with all the stories but she never complains.
There wasn’t much one could do on a plane. Catch up on some paperwork or maybe sleep for a while but Derek wasn’t tired. Nor did he bring any paper work with him. So he took out the note to read it for what seemed like the millionth time since he’d found it on his coffee table about four months ago.
I’m sorry, gorgeous, but I had to go. Don’t blame yourself, you never did anything wrong. In contrary, you made me happier than I ever was before. Thank you and don’t try to find me.
I love you.
Had she really believed that he wouldn’t search for her? Well, apparently not cause she had made every effort not to be found. It had taken him four months, four months of unauthorized and obviously unwanted search. Finally the PI he had hired had found her pretty much accidentally. She taught computer science at a high school in
The PI had told Derek he wasn’t sure it was her because there was no name or picture on the site, just a brief description, but Derek knew it. This could only be his baby girl. He didn’t want to force her to go back with him, he just wanted to talk to her. He needed to know what he’d done to make her leave him. He had feared that he would eventually fuck up, do something that hurt her but he at least wanted to know what it was and ask her forgiveness.
Derek had thought everything between them had just been perfect. That Penelope had been as happy as he had been. But apparently she hadn’t. She wouldn’t have left him otherwise, right?
It didn’t take Derek long to find the high school. He didn’t take the time finding a motel where he could stay overnight, there would be plenty of time for that later. He just wanted to see her, talk to her and apologize.
So he took a cab from the airport directly to the address the PI had given him. During the fifteen minutes drive he wondered what he would do if she just told him to fuck off and go to hell. What if she never wanted to see him again? He’d barely survived the past four months without her. The only thing that had kept him sane had been the search for her – but if she never wanted to see him again…
Even after he’d finally dared make a move and they’d become an item Derek had never really realized how much he needed her to be a part of his life until she was gone. He wondered how he’d ever managed to make it through a single day without hearing her laughter.
“Penelope Garcia?” Derek asked and took out his badge to avoid any other questions.
“Man, is she one of
“No, she’s a friend of mine.” Derek grumbled. “Where is she?”
“Sorry, man, this name doesn’t ring a bell.” the man replied.
Derek couldn’t believe these words. He couldn’t believe that this guy obviously hadn’t noticed her. They were talking about Penelope Garcia, THE Penelope Garcia. How could any man in this world not notice her?
“She’s been working here for about four months” Derek explained impatiently, “teaching the computer science classes.”
“Oh, you mean the girl with the huge belly.” he chuckled.
“Excuse me?” Derek snorted. Sure, his baby girl was curvy – God, how he’d missed the feeling of her perfectly shaped body next to him over the past months – but that was… simply exaggerated. Her belly was anything but huge.
“Oh, sorry, I didn’t know…” the man just chuckled. “Her class is over in ten minutes. She’s in 416, up the stairs and then to the right.”
“Thanks.” Derek grumbled and hurried towards the room. He waited for all the tenth graders to leave the room before he entered. There she was, her back turned on him while she was cleaning the blackboard.
He took in a deep breath and stepped closer. “Hey, baby girl.” he carefully greeted.
She stopped in the middle of her movement and stiffened. “Derek!” she exclaimed but refused to turn around and look at him. “How did you… What are you doing here?”
He winced a little when he heard her obviously shocked voice and realized she didn’t want to look at him. Apparently, she didn’t want to see him. Maybe it had been a bad idea to come here or to search for her at all. But he had to talk to her.
“I… hired a PI and he read about the election on the internet.” he admitted in a low voice. “The flashiest computer science teacher ever could only be you.”
Of course, he couldn’t see the small smile that crossed her face nor the tears that sprung to her eyes because she still didn’t turn around to face him. There were a million things she could have said at the moment and even more she wanted to say. But she just replied: “You shouldn’t have come here.”
He took another deep breath. He’d known it wouldn’t be easy. But he hadn’t imagined it to be this hard and hurtful. “Please, sweetness” he begged, “I just wanted to talk to you and… Please, tell me what I did to make you so upset that you left me. Whatever it was, I didn’t do it on purpose, I promise, and I’m sorry, very sorry. I just… I need you.”
“Please, just leave me alone.” she answered, her voice barely more than a whisper. “I can’t… I don’t want to talk to you.”
“What did I do?” he felt desperate, lost and almost like crying in frustration.
“Nothing.” Penelope assured. “You didn’t do anything wrong. I did. Please, Derek, just go!”
“Why?” he pretty much whined. “Why don’t you at least look at me? Penelope, you have no idea how… alone and lost I feel without you. I need you and I want you back. I don’t want to have to spend a single day of my life without you ever again. But I love you too much to… if you honestly want me to leave and never come back then I’ll do so. But I would at least like to know why. Please, Penelope, look at me!”
She couldn’t stop the sob before it left her mouth and she desperately tried to keep up her self-control. Slowly she turned around to face him, her eyes filled with tears.
When she finally turned to face him Derek’s jaw dropped. Now it was obvious what the guy at the desk had been talking about. Derek stared into her tear-filled eyes and then back at her hand gently stroking her clearly visible bump.
“I’m sorry.” she whispered. “Now you know why I had to leave.”
He looked back into her face and raised both his eyebrows. He was far from knowing why she left him. Had another man fathered the baby or what?
“I knew you didn’t want children.” she sobbed constantly rubbing her hand over the life growing inside of her. “But I couldn’t stand the thought of aborting this child, our child. I… I wanted it, I wanted to have this child so badly. And I knew that if I’d told you, you would have wanted to take care of the child and I simply didn’t want to force you into something you don’t want so the only option I had was to…”
Derek hurried over to her and stopped the flood of words by putting his finger over her lips. “Baby girl, stop that for a moment, okay, and listen to me! When I said I never wanted children that was almost four years ago and I didn’t know that you would be the mother. But things have changed drastically, at least for me.”
He stepped back to take a better look at her bump and grinned: “Mom, Des and Sarah will go mad with joy!”
“What?” Penelope asked a little puzzled.
“Oh, I… um… I promised mom to bring you with me for her birthday which is in two weeks.” he explained.
She frowned at him: “You were pretty sure you’d find me, right?”
“Well, actually I promised her that when I went home for Christmas.” he admitted and smiled sheepishly. “You were all I talked about and they… wanted to meet you. So I hope I can keep my promise.”
Penelope looked down and whispered: “I’m so sorry. I know I should have told you but… I never thought you wanted a family.”
“I do.” Derek smiled. “And not only since I know we’re gonna have a child. I’ve been thinking about that for quite some time now.” He knelt down, took a small black box out of his pocket and opened it.
Penelope stared at the ring in shock. It was beautiful, silvery with a purple jewel in its middle. It was so much like her that she immediately knew he’d spent hours maybe even days to find it. The tears now ran uncontrollably down her cheek. She’d thought it had been a mistake to forget getting the shots in time and become pregnant. But maybe her greatest mistake had been not to tell him but to leave instead. It had cost them four months.
“It took me much too long to realize that you’re the one woman I’ve been looking for my whole life long. I was so blind I didn’t see what was right in front of me. But now that I found you, I’m not willing to ever let you go again. My mom once told me God created a special person for everyone in the world. I never believed her until I met you.
I love you like I never loved a woman before. I want to spend the rest of my life with you and no one but you – and I want to have a family with you. You are everything to me, everything I want and everything I need. Penelope Garcia, will you marry me?”
“Yes.” she nodded. “Most definitely yes!”
Smiling Derek got up, put the ring on her finger and pulled her into his arms. “Promise me, you’ll never leave me again.” he whispered. “The past four months have been like hell.”
“I promise.” she nodded. “I’m so sorry, I thought you wouldn’t want all this.”
“I can’t imagine anything better than to have children with you, goddess.” he smiled and kissed the top of her head.
“Well, good that you said children…” she replied and looked up at him.
Puzzled again Derek raised an eyebrow until the realization hit him. “Twins?!” he exclaimed.
Penelope nodded, smiled sheepishly and ran her hand over her belly once more.
Grinning like mad Derek put a hand on the growing bump and whispered: “These are the best news I ever got.” He leaned forward to kiss her deeply.
They were interrupted by a soft giggle behind them and Derek turned around to look at three girls at the age of about fifteen who were standing in the doorway.
“I have another class now.” Penelope explained and blushed a little.
“Forget about the class and come back with me!” Derek begged her.
“I can’t” she replied giving him an apologizing look, “I work here by contract and I have to make sure someone can replace me.”
“But you will come back?” he smiled.
Fumbling with the new piece of jewelry on her finger she nodded: “Of course, I will.”
“Then I’ll wait.” Derek stated.
Penelope’s head shot up and she stumbled: “I… I’m not sure… how long this will take.”
“Doesn’t matter.” he said in a low voice and softly pecked her cheek. “I’ll wait.”