Title: How do you know
Fandom: Criminal Minds
Prompt for 10_hurt_comfort: #2 Love
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: After an advice from Emily Derek wants to talk to Penelope – but unfortunately she gets him terribly wrong.
warnings: hurt/comfort and a little fluff
AN: Thanks for all the wonderful reviews I received. Unfortunately, I’ve been quite busy recently so I didn’t manage to answer all of them yet. But I hopefully will do so soon.
“Can I ask you something?” Derek suddenly spilled out.
Emily slowly turned her head and raised an eyebrow at him. It had been the first thing he’d said throughout the whole drive. The whole day, actually. He’d been unusually quiet, lost in his thoughts and everyone had thought that it was because of this mysterious girlfriend he was dating.
Not that Derek Morgan had ever admitted that he was seeing anyone at all. But it had been the latest rumor after Derek had blown the team off when they’d asked him to have a drink with them saying that he had ‘different plans’ for the evening.
And today he’d barely said a word. They were on another case for three weeks now. In a way it was a good and a bad thing. A good thing because the main reason they hadn’t found much yet was that there hadn’t been a new victim found within the last two weeks. A bad thing because they COULD find a new victim every day. They’d just gotten a call that there was a new body found, not necessarily a victim of the UnSub they were looking for though.
“Sure.” she finally shrugged.
Derek shifted a little uncomfortably in his seat. The question he wanted to ask was certainly something embarrassing, at least for him. Emily didn’t need to be a profiler to know that it was something about women in general or a particular woman.
He cleared his throat, his eyes fixed on the road, his hands clenched at the wheel. “When you’re in a relationship” he finally started, “how do you know… that it might be more?”
“You mean like love?” she couldn’t help but smile at that.
“Yeah.” he grumbled.
Emily then frowned thinking about the question. “It depends, I guess.” she mumbled. “I mean, everyone experiences love in a different way. But I think when you miss the person whenever she’s gone, when you’re thinking about her the whole day long and when you can’t imagine a single day without her… I guess, that’s when you know it.”
Derek just nodded.
“Why haven’t you told anyone about her?” Emily burst out and immediately bit her lip. She shouldn’t invade his privacy like that.
But Derek answered without hesitation: “She didn’t want me to tell anyone.”
This, however, caused Emily to raise both eyebrows at him. “Oh.” she simply said.
The tone in her voice made him frown. It had sounded almost… pitying. “What does that mean ‘oh’?” he wanted to know.
“Well” now it was Emily who shifted a little uncomfortably, “it either means that she doesn’t want people to know because she… is somehow ashamed of you. Which is apparently not the case ‘cause you’re neither a fool nor a nerd and, well, gorgeous. Or it means she’s afraid that you might be ashamed of her – which certainly means she doesn’t think she’s beautiful enough to go for your girlfriend.”
“Oh.” Derek replied.
“As I told you.” Emily mumbled.
The body turned out to be the next victim – and much to their luck the killer must have been disturbed. He had left so much evidence that it took them less than three days to track him down and arrest him.
Derek had planned to wait until they’d arrived back at
So he grabbed his cell phone and withdrew into the back part of the plane behind the curtain. He found himself smiling at the sound of her voice greeting him playfully with a nickname. She was always cheerful but even more when they’d closed a case and caught another UnSub.
“Hey, baby girl.” he greeted back.
Her playfulness disappeared for a second and she asked concerned: “You didn’t get another case, right?” His voice sounded too serious for an ‘I just wanted to call’ call.
“No, we didn’t.” he smiled. “I just wanted to talk to you.”
“Wow, only two hours and you already missed the sound of my voice.” she giggled softly, the sound making him chuckle. “That’s a new record.”
“No, seriously, I need to talk to you.” he then said. “Originally I wanted to wait until I got back but… this is important and… I know talking about that on the phone isn’t exactly adequate but…”
“Oh, no” the playfulness was gone again, “I knew this was going to happen.”
“Excuse me?” he asked puzzled. She sounded as if she was at the edge of tears.
“It’s okay.” she quickly assured, her voice now clearly filled with tears. Derek could hear it even though she was trying to sound cheerful. “As I said, I knew this would eventually happen so… you don’t need to explain anything. And actually I’m glad you talked to me over the phone so I… Anyway, would you just… Just do me the favor and give me a few days, will ya? I just… It’s better if we avoid each other for a while.” And then she hung up.
Derek stared at his phone and wondered what had gone wrong. He’d tried to approach the topic carefully but apparently he’d done something completely wrong. Why was she so upset?! She didn’t even know what he wanted to tell her? He hadn’t even started to actually say anything so basically he simply COULDN’T have said anything wrong.
He called her again. She didn’t pick up.
He tried again but once more no one answered the phone. Finally he sent her a message.
Penelope sat in her office all in tears. Of course, she had known this moment would come. But yet she wasn’t prepared for it. This was Derek and… well, her. It had been great as long as it had lasted. But right from their first kiss Penelope had known that this wouldn’t last forever. Eventually, he would get tired of her.
That had been the reason why she’d never wanted anyone else to know. And she was pretty sure that he’d felt more comfortable that way too. It actually made it easier to dump her ‘cause if no one knew about them he wouldn’t have to answer to anyone about it.
Her phone rang again and when Penelope read his ID she just sobbed more. Why couldn’t he simply leave it at that, leave her alone?! Did he really think he would make anything better by talking it over?!
He called her again. Why did he have to be so insistent?!
And then the phone chimed signaling that she’d received a text message. Penelope hesitated for at least twenty minutes before she finally opened her cell phone to read the message.
Please, baby girl, pick up and let me finish what I wanted to tell you.
She burst out into a new flood of tears. How could he still call her pet names?! After he’d just dumped her he still called her ‘baby girl’. She wasn’t his baby girl anymore. And she never wanted to be anyone else’s again, ever.
Of course, she didn’t pick up. Not once of the thirty or so times he called her after having sent the message. And of course, when he entered her office he found it empty. She was already gone. So twenty minutes later he was standing in front of her door.
“Come on, baby girl, open!” he called and knocked once again. “I know that you’re in there! Please, let me explain everything.”
She didn’t answer.
This was getting stupid – not to mention annoying. “You know I could just use my keys.” Derek sighed and ran a hand over his head. “Come on, let me in!”
Five seconds later he heard the door being unlocked. And then she opened to look at him, her eyes red and puffy from the tears.
Derek gave her a concerned look and then he took a step forward, closed the door behind him and caught her in his arms where she immediately started to sob. “Doll face, what’s wrong?” he carefully asked.
Penelope pushed him away, slapped his face and yelled: “How can you seriously ask me that? How can you… How can you do this to me?”
“Do what?” he asked completely lost.
“What are you doing here?” she sniffled and turned her back on him.
“You didn’t let me finish what I wanted to say earlier.” he softly replied.
“Finish what?” she yelled. “You dumped me, I got that. You don’t need to make it more hurtful by actually SAYING it.”
“I did… what?” Derek’s eyes almost popped out of his head.
“You said it wasn’t appropriate to talk about something like that on the phone.” she sniffled. “Men only think it’s not appropriate when they… well…”
“Wait a minute.” Derek gently grabbed her shoulder and turned her around to make her look at him. “Sweetness, I never said something like that.”
“And I never wanted to say that. I wanted to suggest that we tell the team about us.” he explained. “I don’t want to hide anymore, I want them to know. I want the whole world to know about us because I love you and I want to give these feelings free rein.
And I called you and wanted to talk to you on the phone because… well, actually I was nervous because I was afraid that you… wouldn’t want to tell anyone. And I thought that if you wanted them to know we could tell them the moment we all got back to the bureau.”
Slowly she raised her head to look at him.
“I love you.” Derek repeated softly and reached out to stroke her cheek. “Never think that I would dump you, you hear me?”
Penelope nodded and looked back down.
Derek took a step forward and caught her in his arms again. “So, what do you think? Should we tell the rest of the team?”
“Yes.” she sniffled. “Definitely yes.”
He pulled back a little to look at her and gently caressed her cheek: “I never felt this way before so… to be honest I had to ask Emily for advice to know whether this is real love or… I don’t know. I think I was scared by these feelings.”
“And… now?” she carefully asked.
Smiling down at her he replied: “Now I know that they only mean that this time everything is different. This time it’s gonna last.”
“Good.” she took a deep breath and then smiled at him. “Good.”
“You got it, baby girl, definitely good.” he leaned down to finally get the kiss he’d been craving for three weeks now.
She sighed happily and wrapped his arms around his neck. She definitely never wanted to be anyone else’s baby girl but his, ever.