Fandom: Criminal Minds
Prompt for 24_runes: #23 Dagaz (hopelessness)
Word count: 2534
Disclaimer: Neither the show nor the characters belong to me, they belong to CBS. Nonetheless, I love to borrow them from time to time.
Summary: Part 8/? of the ‘Loser Lynch’ series.warnings: spoilers for season 3
AN: Hey there, it’s me. No, I haven’t fallen off the face of the Earth. Well, actually I have in a way but I was lucky and found my way back. :) I’ve started my new job, or the last part of my education to be more precise. It’s a long story and maybe I’ll find the time to blog about it one day but now I hope you’ll enjoy this chapter.
A big thanks to everyone who reviewed. I’ll try to answer all of you, but certainly won’t manage to do so before the weekend.
I’m still working on the ‘Worries’ story and will hopefully have the next chapter finished by the end of this week. But as I said, my job’s keeping me really busy (as much as I enjoy it, it can be challenging at times).
But now, go on, read, enjoy… oh, and don’t kill me. :)
“Penelope?” Derek said, the surprise obvious in his voice. “Hey.”
“Hey.” she smiled at him but failed to make it look genuine. “They just released me from the hospital.”
“Really?” he raised his eyebrows at her. “I thought they wanted to keep you there at least a few more weeks.”
“Yeah, they didn’t deem it necessary, I guess.” she shrugged. “After all, the toxin has been removed and all. I’ll be fine.”
Derek frowned at her. Maybe he should call the hospital and ask them, just to be sure. On the other hand he didn’t want her to feel controlled and mistrusted.
“You know, I didn’t have any money with me but I needed a cab.” she told him quietly. “Could you pay the driver? I’ll give you the money back later.”
“Sure, of course!” he quickly nodded and grabbed his wallet. “Come in and get comfortable, I’ll be right back.” He smiled at her, hesitated for a moment and then kissed her cheek before he disappeared through his door.
When Derek came back Penelope was still standing in his doorway. She looked so lost that he took a step forward and caught her in his arms. He held her for a good twenty minutes.
“Could you drive me home?” she asked a little huskily and broke free from his embrace.
“Doll face, I think you shouldn’t go back to that apartment.” he replied. “You can stay here if you like.”
Her head shot up and she stared at him for a second. Did that mean he wanted her to stay overnight? But she didn’t want to go back to the apartment. So she nodded. “Thank you.”
“Hey” Derek said soothingly and grabbed her hand. “you know, I’m always there when you need me.”
She gave him a sad smile and whispered: “Yeah, I know.” Maybe she shouldn’t have come here. Not that she didn’t want his company or his comfort, in fact she needed him now more than ever – and at the moment she didn’t know where else to go.
But she wasn’t entirely sure she wanted to go back to her old life. Maybe she should consider quitting her job and starting a life, somewhere where nobody knew about her or her past. Somewhere where she could just forget about everything.
For the next few days Derek tried his best to take care of her and cheer her up. He refused to let her return to the apartment and instead convinced her to stay with him and Penelope realized what she would leave behind if she really left. How could she start a new life somewhere else if it was without him, her best friend. On the other hand it hurt more and more every day that this was all he was and would ever be, her best friend.
Derek frowned at her in concern when he prepared the tea in the kitchen. She was sitting on his couch staring at the coffee table in front of her and absentmindedly stroking a whining Clooney. Even the dog noticed that something was terribly wrong with her. Almost another week and it hadn’t got one bit better.
Not that she seemed to suffer or anything and to everyone else she’d certainly seemed just fine, maybe a little calm. But Derek knew her too well not to be concerned. In the years they’d already known each other he’d seen her act in every possible way. But one thing she’d never been was calm. Penelope Garcia was never at a loss of some playful words or an indecency. And now she barely said anything and he hadn’t seen her laugh in what seemed like ages.
And he simply was at his wit’s end. He didn’t know what to do to help her. Finally Derek decided that maybe she just needed a change of surroundings. So he picked up his phone and called the only person he could think of who immediately could provide a place for them to stay for a couple of days.
“Derek.” Fran answered happily after she’d checked the caller ID and then she frowned. She knew her son way too well to assume that he simply called her to say hello. “What’s wrong? Are you hurt or anything?”
Derek smiled at the questions. Of course, his mother knew that something was wrong when he called her on a day that was neither a birthday nor any other holiday.
“No, I’m fine. But I need you to do me a favor.” he decided that it was better not to beat about the bush. “It’s about Penelope.”
“Your technical analyst?” Fran asked. “What’s wrong with her?”
“She’s been… having a very hard time recently.” he carefully answered. “You know, after she was shot she met another guy and he… wasn’t exactly what she’d pictured him to be. She’s really down at the moment and I just thought that a little holiday would do her good.”
“When are you planning to come here?” she wanted to know.
Derek sighed with relief. He’d known that he could rely on his mother. “How about Saturday?” he replied.
“Only if you promise to go to church with me on Sunday.”
He chuckled at that: “We’ll see, mom. See you on Saturday.”
That being said he hung up and frowned once more at the woman on his couch. Taking a deep breath he walked over to her, handed her a cup of tea and sat down next to her. It certainly wouldn’t be easy to convince her of their little trip to see his mother.
After almost five minutes of silence he decided that he should just get it over with. “You know, I’ve been thinking about this and I… well, I think maybe we both need a little holiday.”
When she didn’t answer Derek continued: “So I called my mother and asked her if we could come over for a couple of days this Saturday. She said it wouldn’t be a problem so all we have to do is pack some things together and book a flight.”
“Okay.” Penelope shrugged.
Derek raised both his eyebrows. Okay? That was it? No discussion, no excuses why she couldn’t go with him? Now he was really starting to get worried.
She made him take her to the apartment she’d shared with Lynch to get some clothes. Derek watched her pack a suitcase in the bedroom where that sleaze had locked her up and tried to rape her – and his concern grew.
She wasn’t showing the least reaction. She didn’t shake or even take a deep breath when she entered the room. She acted like nothing had ever happened in there.
And it seemed that she was getting quieter every day, as if she shrunk into herself more and more – and somehow Derek felt that he was losing her. On their flight to
He’d been driving this route so many times that he couldn’t count them anymore – but he’d never felt as uneasy before as he felt today. If only he knew what to do to make things better. If only he knew how to get his baby girl back.
She’d always been so light-hearted, chipper and cheerful, especially around him. Since the day they’d met there’d only been very few days where he hadn’t seen her laugh. She’d been such a blitheful and happy person – and Lynch had destroyed all that.
When they arrived at his mother’s house the elder woman was already standing in the door awaiting them, a wide smile on her face. She greeted her son with a hug and then shook hands with Penelope.
“Hello, Mrs. Morgan.” Penelope said unusually firmly. “It’s nice to meet you. Thank you for letting us stay with you.”
“It’s not like this is a big sacrifice.” Fran put her off. “I love to have guests and I see my son much too seldom.”
Derek smiled sadly at the scene and found himself wishing that he’d introduced Penelope to his mother under much better circumstances.
“You care a lot about her.” Fran stated when Penelope had disappeared in the bathroom to refresh a little.
“I love her.” he replied without even thinking about his words or to whom he said them. “She’s special.”
Fran frowned and eyed her son up. “I think you should try and find out what kind of love you’re feeling for her.” she mumbled.
But Derek was too lost in his thoughts to really listen to her words. “I don’t know what to do, mom. I’ve never seen her like this before. I mean, she went to a therapy and stuff. If they weren’t sure that she’d be okay they wouldn’t have released her from hospital, right?”
“Maybe she just needs a little more time.” Fran shrugged. “Or maybe you’re right and all she needed was a change of surroundings. Or maybe she’ll start to get better once you stop worrying so much about her. You know that this can become oppressive.”
Derek sighed. “Yeah, you’re certainly right. It’s just that… this is so unlike her. You know, she’s always been pretty much a chatterbox and now she barely says a word.”
“I figure she has a lot to think about and a lot to deal with at the moment.” Fran tried to calm him down. “If I were her I’d be thoughtful as well.”
All he could do was hope that his mother was right. And the evening gave him at least a spark of hope that Penelope would eventually recover.
She talked a lot with Fran about her past, the job and – of course – about Derek. That quickly became their favorite topic for the evening much to his annoyance.
But when Derek heard Penelope laugh at one of the stories from his childhood Fran told her he figured that this was a very low price to pay if it could make her feel a bit better.
The next morning Fran nagged Derek about going to church with her until he finally gave in and agreed causing her to smile triumphantly.
“I’ll go and ask Penelope if she wants to join us.” he mumbled and shook his head. Mothers!
He found her sitting on the bed in the room that had once been Sarah’s bedroom.
She looked up when he entered the room and gave him a small smile.
Derek frowned at her in concern and knelt down in front of her. She was calm again, the spark of playfulness he’d seen in her the evening before gone again. But unlike before she seemed rather determined than just quiet and Derek wondered what she was determined to do.
“Mom and I are going to church.” he informed her. “I know, that doesn’t sound like me but what can I say? She’s still my mother, if you know what I mean.”
This caused her to smile a little more.
“Do you want to join us?” he asked.
Penelope shook her head. “Going to church isn’t for me. I haven’t been there once after my parents died.”
“It’s never too late.” he smiled. “Are you sure you don’t wanna join us?”
“Go, I’ll be fine.” she assured him and returned his smile as good as she could.
“Okay” Derek sighed, “I promise we won’t be away for too long.” He leaned forward to kiss her forehead and wanted to get up.
“Derek?” Penelope held him back.
“Yeah?” he gave her one of those irresistible smiles she loved so much and knelt back down.
“Thank you.” she whispered. God, how much she would miss this smile and these beautiful deep brown eyes. “For everything you did for me.”
“You know that I’m always there.” he assured as he gently stroked her cheek. “Whenever you need me.”
“I know.” she nodded. “I just wanted you to know… how much that means to me.” And then she leaned forward and pulled him into a tight embrace. “I love you, Derek.”
“I love you, too, baby girl.” he replied as he hugged her back.
They held each other for several minutes and once again Derek started to get worried. Penelope hugged him as if she was sure it was the last time she would ever get the chance to do it.
“This is not your fault.” she finally whispered. “None of it.”
“I know” he assured her and pulled back to look into her eyes, “and it’s not your fault either.”
She smiled the saddest smile he had ever seen on anyone’s face before she pointed her head towards the door. “You should go now, I don’t want you to be late.” And then she hugged him again, even tighter this time.
“Are you really sure…” Derek asked once more, his concern growing with every second he watched her. She seemed so calm, just too calm. “I mean, I could stay behind.”
“Go!” was all she said as she leaned in to kiss his cheek. “Goodbye, Derek.”
He nodded unwillingly and left. After all, she’d said it herself: Giving up wasn’t for her. But somehow it seemed like that had changed recently.
At least she managed to hold back the tears until she saw the car turning from the driveway into the street. Goodbyes simply weren’t for her, they were always too sad. But she just couldn’t stand this any longer. The baby and childhood stories Fran had told her about Derek had just reminded her that she would never have children, never be able to tell such stories to anyone since there was no one who would like to be the father of her children.
This feeling of loneliness ripped at her heart since the day her parents had died and no one could ever fill in this gap inside her. Best friends were soothing and it was a good feeling to have them. But that simply wasn’t enough if there wasn’t anything more.
She’d believed her whole life long that one day she would find a nice guy just like everyone else. She’d believed it after her first lover had broken her heart and almost ruined her life with rumors he’d spread about her afterwards. She’d believed it after every single date that ended up with a one-night-stand – if they even got that far – and a disappointed guy rushing out of her apartment the next morning. And she’d believed it after
She’d stopped believing it after Kevin.
The story that everyone found someone eventually, someone who loved you just the way you are, simply wasn’t true. At least not for her. Being happy simply wasn’t meant for her. But one thing she didn’t want was to feel so incredibly lonely and unwanted for the rest of her life. Nobody wanted her, so nobody should have to endure the burden of having her around.When she looked into the mirror in the bathroom new tears sprung to her eyes. She knew this wasn’t fair and she knew that it was selfish and gutless. But she just wanted this pain to finally stop.