Title: Whatever happened
Fandom: Criminal Minds
Prompt for 10_hurt_comfort: #8 Tears
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: Penelope is hurt and refuses to tell Derek what happened. But in the end he realizes that it doesn’t really matter.
“Where’s Penelope?” was all Derek grunted when Kevin Lynch opened the door. They’d been an item for quite a while now and moved in together about two weeks ago. Everything seemed to go very well but still Derek didn’t like him very much.
“Um… I don’t know.” he mumbled.
Derek raised both his eyebrows at him and took a threatening step closer: “What do you mean you don’t know? Why isn’t she answering her cell phone.”
“Because she left it here.” the other man shrugged.
Now he was really alarmed – apart from the fact that he was breathing fire. “She left her cell phone here? The phone she never leaves ANYwhere? What happened?”
“I don’t think that’s your business.” Kevin muttered and looked down.
“Look, LYNCH” Derek hissed and the man in front of him winced a little, “we’re on a new case and I need to find Penelope AS SOON AS POSSIBLE! So where is she?” Derek didn’t deem it necessary to tell him that actually there wasn’t a case. They were just hitting the town as a team – a team Lynch didn’t belong to but the Oracle of Quantico did! So he’d come over to ask her to join them, hopefully without her appendix. He missed flirting with her and… well, simply having her all to himself.
“As I said I don’t know.” his voice was barely more than a whisper now. “She… um… was upset and… um… I don’t know where she went.”
“Great!” Derek grumbled and repressed the urge to punch the guy’s face for making his baby girl so upset that she didn’t even take her phone with her. If anything should happen to her… “I’ll find her.” he stared Lynch down, not exactly a challenge. “And she’d better be okay – for your own good!”
Of course, she wasn’t okay. She was upset and it was Lynch’s fault and Derek didn’t even know what had happened. But that wasn’t important, not now. The most important thing now was to find her and make sure she was safe and alright – at least as much as possible under the given circumstances.
He went to every single place he could think of where Penelope might go when she was upset. But he couldn’t find her. At last he jogged through the park near the
Unfortunately, she was. She just wanted to be alone, she didn’t want to see anyone. Moreover, she didn’t want anyone to see her, not the way she felt at the moment. Penelope didn’t even wince when a young guy jumped out of the bush in front of her and held a knife out.
“Gimme your money!” he hissed.
Her only reaction was to stop. Her hands were wrapped around her middle and she looked at the dusty path to her feet. If he killed her, well too bad! Who cared? She only felt new tears springing to her eyes.
The guy seemed to sniff a good chance. He grinned and waved his knife around. “You’re a nice lady. Maybe we could have some fun.” He took a step closer but was stopped by the feeling of cold metal pressing against his left temple.
“Don’t even think about it!” Derek hissed as he held his gun at the guy’s temple.
He immediately dropped the knife and raised his hands above his head. “Sorry, man, I just… you know…”
“You’re lucky that I’ve bigger fish to fry.” Derek grumbled without taking the gun out of the guy’s face. “So you better kiss off!”
And the next second the kid was running like hell.
Taking a deep breath to calm down Derek stepped in front of Penelope and softly said: “You should know that it’s dangerous to walk around here alone in the middle of the night.”
“So?” she shrugged.
Derek just frowned. It was really bad if she didn’t even care about being robbed or maybe even something worse. “Penelope, what happened?” he softly asked.
She didn’t answer. But when Derek saw her lower lip tremble and the tears in her eyes he took another step forward and caught her in his arms, relieved that she let him comfort her. Gently kissing the top of her head he whispered: “Come on, sweetness, let me take you home!”
“No” she sniffled, “I can’t… I don’t want to go home.”
“I know” he nodded and led her towards his car, “and I wasn’t talking about your place.”
“But… I can’t…” she tried to object.
“Don’t argue with me, baby girl!” he put her off. He couldn’t leave her alone. He simply didn’t want Penelope to get hurt – never again.
Too upset and hurt to object Penelope just nodded. She remained silent while Derek drove his car towards his apartment and into the parking lot in front of the building and she still was ten minutes later sitting on his couch curled up in a blanket when he handed her a coffee.
“I also have some ice cream.” he offered with the most comforting smile he could manage.
But Penelope didn’t even look at him when she shook her head no.
Derek eyed her up in concern. It was obvious that Lynch had broken her heart – and he was most definitely dead for hurting her like that! But it remained a secret to him what he could do to make it better and make her stop crying.
She refused to talk for the rest of the evening but when she was sitting in his bed and he had said goodnight and was about to shut the door behind him Derek saw new tears running down her cheeks. And he immediately rushed back to the bed and caught her in his arms again.
Derek had never seen her so upset before, nor had she ever cried so badly in front of him. When he figured that she wasn’t going to stop sobbing and sniffling anytime soon and there was nothing he could do to make it better but hold her Derek crawled under the blanket next to her.
Her head was resting on his muscular chest, his heartbeat steady and soothingly calm, his strong arms wrapped tightly around her and for a moment Penelope felt like her life wasn’t over and it wasn’t all that bad.
Okay, she’d moved out of her apartment to live with a man she thought she loved and she thought who loved her and there was no place she could go now after this disaster… Thinking about that only made her burst into tears again.
Derek kept stroking her back and whispering that everything was going to be okay but it didn’t seem to soothe her one bit. Every time he thought that she had finally calmed down enough to find some sleep she started to sob again and all he could do was wrapping his arms tighter around her, kissing her head and assuring her that it would be all right.
Eventually it seemed that there were no more tears left and Derek felt Penelope relax against him. He only hoped that meant it was going to be better.
The next three days Penelope kept refusing to tell anyone what had happened between her and Kevin and Derek didn’t ask. It was none of his business and no matter how much he cared about Penelope and what Lynch had done to hurt her like that, all he really needed to know was that his baby girl was fine. And she seemed to be.
Until Derek entered her inner sanctum three days later and found her as distraught as she’d been on their night-time encounter. He figured that Lynch had come over to talk to her and immediately clenched his fists. If that sleaze had dared…
“Baby girl?” he softly asked and knelt down next to her.
She just turned away and sniffled: “I’m fine, leave me alone!”
“You’re far from fine.” he objected and reached out to caress her cheek. “Tell me what happened!”
Looking at him with red puffy eyes she asked: “You didn’t hear the rumor yet?”
“Sweetness, I have no idea what you’re talking about.” he softly said and gave her his most comforting smile.
“Kevin.” she sobbed and burst into a new flood of tears. “I’m so sorry.”
“You don’t need to be.” he assured her. “You did everything you could to make it work. Whatever he did to hurt you…”
“Not about him.” she interrupted him and sobbed again. “But… But us… I… ruined everything.”
“Sugar muffin, I still don’t know what you mean.” he smiled. “You didn’t ruin anything.”
“Of course, I did.” she objected and turned away from him. “I talked to Kevin and… somehow I mentioned that you… took care of me and… and now he’s telling everyone that… that I’m a bitch and cheated on him. He… he told everyone that… that we had sex.”
Derek snorted disdainfully and got up: “I’ll talk to him. I promise I’ll make him take back whatever he said about you!”
“What does it matter what he said about me?” she sniffled.
Puzzled Derek turned back to her. If she wasn’t upset that Lynch had called her a bitch and who knows what else… then what?
“Didn’t you hear me?” she asked through sobs. “He… he told everyone that… that we… you and me…”
He raised both his eyebrows at her. “And?”
“And?” she exclaimed. “What are people going to think about you? I mean, they all think that you did it… with me…
“Wait a minute!” Derek knelt back down in front of her and cupped her cheek with one hand gently brushing away the tears. “That’s all you are worried about? What people think about ME? He insulted you! You should be upset about every single slanderous word he’s spreading about you.”
“You’re the hottest guy in the whole district.” she sniffled. “You’re such a gentleman and the best friend I can think of and I… Now people will talk… because of me. I mean, you can have any woman you want.”
“That’s not true.” he put her off.
“But that’s what people are going to think or say.” she objected. “I mean, they’ll think that you took pity on the pathetic ugly fa…”
“Stop it!” he scolded her a little harshly. “I don’t want to hear you talk about yourself like that! And if that’s what Kevin made you think about yourself he’s dead – as soon as I know where to get rid of his body! I don’t care what people think or say! And I’ll just tell them that I don’t want ANY woman.”
“Derek, you don’t need to…”
He silenced her by putting a finger over her full lips. Then he smiled and let the same finger caress her cheek. “I’ll tell them because it’s the truth.”
New tears sprung to her eyes and she looked down to hide them. Derek probably already thought of her as a complete wussy.
But he made her look at him again and smiled. And then he leaned up to kiss her gently, softly and fully on the lips. His hand slid behind her head to pull her closer and deepen the kiss and she opened her mouth willingly with a soft sigh. Maybe her life really wasn’t all that bad.
Smiling at her reaction Derek rose to his knees so that he could pull her just a little bit closer. Whatever had happened between Kevin and Penelope didn’t matter anymore. Because in the end it had brought them here – and neither of them wanted to be anywhere else.