Fandom: Criminal Minds
Prompt for 24_runes: #5 Raidho (Seeing the right move for you to make and deciding upon it.)
Word count: 2879
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 11/? of the ‘Loser Lynch’ series. Derek does his best to help his baby girl.
warnings: spoilers for season 3
“No!” Derek yelled again. It was bad enough that they hadn’t allowed him to go into the room with her. Hotch had picked them up from the airport and driven them straight to the hospital where they had been waiting for almost half an hour before finally someone seemed to feel responsible for them. And then they had just taken Penelope with them for a first talk with one of the psychologists. God, he hated psychologists!
“Morgan, she needs to…” Hotch tried.
“No!” he shouted at him. “You have no idea what she needs, you don’t know her. She hates hospitals and I’m not gonna let you lock her up in here. She’ll come with me.”
“That is not possible.” Dr. Melrose who was leading the group therapy for suicidal patients objected. “Penelope is still in danger of commiting suicide, especially if she’s not taking her medicine. She needs to stay here where we can make sure that she…”
“Just tell me what to do.” Derek interrupted her. “This is not open to debate, Penelope will stay with me. So tell me what I need to do to make it possible!”
“Look, Derek.” Hotch tried once more. “We really should do what’s best for Penelope.”
“I do.” he yelled. “But I’m really not sure you do. You know how much she hates hospitals. She’ll never be the same again, she’ll never heal – not locked up in a cold, empty hospital room all on her own. And I’m not gonna let you do this to her. Period.” he turned to Dr. Melrose. “Listen, lady! If you don’t allow her to stay with me while she’s in therapy I’ll find a doctor who will.”
“Morgan!” this clearly wasn’t an understanding tone any longer. “You will let the doctors…”
“Excuse me, Agent Hotchner.” Dr. Melrose interrupted him. “But actually I think that Agent Morgan might be right.”
“Thank you.” he grunted sarcastically.
“But you should know that this won’t be easy, there’s a lot you have to pay attention to.” the older woman frowned.
“Whatever is necessary.” Derek nodded.
“Good.” Dr. Melrose eyed him up a little suspiciously. “Follow me, please!”
Hotch frowned as he watched Derek follow the doctor out of the room. He wasn’t sure that Derek could judge clearly what was best for Garcia.
“You’ll have to lock her in anyways.” Dr. Melrose explained once they were in her office. “She’s not allowed to go anywhere alone.”
“Okay.” he nodded.
The woman frowned at him: “She’s also not allowed to stay at your place on her own – at least not for the time being.”
“I got it.” he assured.
This just caused the furrows on her forehead to become deeper: “So, who’s gonna stay with her while you’re at work?”
“I’ll take some time off.” Derek shrugged as if this was the most normal thing to do. “Besides, if I really have to go anywhere I could call my mom and ask her to help me out.”
“I’m not entirely sure you’re prepared for what will be asked of you – or how long it might take for Penelope to regain her will to live.” she mumbled. “Maybe she’ll never be as cheerful again as she used to be.”
“I’ll do whatever is necessary to help her.” Derek insisted. “Even if it takes forever.”
For a moment it was silent in the room before Dr. Melrose carefully asked: “So… you and Penelope… are an item?”
Derek frowned and grumbled: “And how exactly is that your business?”
“Oh, I was just wondering.” the woman shrugged nonchalantly. “I mean, not many people would do what you are willing to do for her. I thought you must be really close.”
“We are.” he snorted.
“I see.” Dr. Melrose mumbled.
If it hadn’t surely meant losing the only chance he had to be allowed to take Penelope with him Derek would have banged on the table. “What?” he hissed instead.
“Nothing.” the woman shrugged. “Do you always act like that with Penelope?”
“I’m just trying to protect her.” he snorted. What the hell was wrong with psychologists?! Why did they always have to try and mess with him?
“That was not what I was talking about.” she replied calmly. “While you were in the waiting room before we called her in you were holding her – the whole time.”
“So?” Derek grunted between gritted teeth.
“I was just thinking that… if you don’t normally treat her this way…” there was a long pause before Dr. Melrose finally finished the sentence. “Maybe she doesn’t even want to get better.”
“Excuse me?” he frowned.
“Well, you constantly hug her” she shrugged, “probably even hold her at night so that she can sleep. You anticipate her every wish… I wouldn’t want that behavior to stop.”
Derek stared at the table in front of him, his mind trying to process what he’d just heard. Could that be possible? Could Penelope really not want to get better because she didn’t want him to stop holding her? Didn’t she know that he would hold her forever if only she asked for it?
“So… what do think I should do now?” he finally asked gloomily. “Abandon her?”
“No.” her face softened and she looked right into his eyes. “If you’re really ready to do what’s necessary to help Penelope, you should try and find out where exactly you want to take this. You have power over her and considering her condition this also means you have a great responsibility.”
Derek didn’t know what to say to that. What was everyone expecting him to do? He did everything he could to keep Penelope safe and to help her. Or didn’t he? He couldn’t just ravish her – not after everything she’s been through. He would wait until the time was right.
“You also have to lock all the drawers and cabinets in your apartment.” Dr. Melrose changed the subject. “Penelope mustn’t have access to knives, forks, razor blades… Anything she could use to hurt herself.”
“I understand.” Derek nodded and sighed slightly.
“And she mustn’t be able to lock any door by herself, not even to the bathroom.” she added.
“Okay.” he really didn’t like the idea of treating Penelope like a prisoner in his apartment. But on the other hand it was certainly much better than locking her up in some cold and sterile hospital room.
“You have to lock all your weapons away” she continued, “as well as every hanger, letter opener and every other sharp item. To cut it short, you have to lock everything except for the closets – that includes all the windows.”
Derek sighed and then nodded. He wasn’t too pleased when Dr. Melrose said she wanted to check his apartment every once in a while. But at least after he’d agreed to that Derek was finally allowed to take Penelope home.
He found her sitting on a bed in a grey and cold room, nothing cheerful, nothing that reminded him in any way of his baby girl in there.
“Hey, sweetness.” he greeted, rushed over to her and pulled her into a tight embrace. “Come on, I’ll take you home. I mean, you’re cleared to leave the hospital and stay with me… at my place.”
Her head shot up and she stared at him: “Really?”
The look on her face just affirmed that he was doing the right thing. For the first time in weeks he saw at least a hint of comfort in her eyes. She obviously was glad that she didn’t have to stay here, that he didn’t leave her alone.
“Bring her to therapy tomorrow at 9 am.” Dr. Melrose ordered. “I’ll bring her home afterwards.”
Derek just nodded knowing well enough that she only wanted to check his apartment.
Penelope looked incredibly tired and even more sick than she’d looked before they’d left
He had to admit that he was tired himself. But when he was lying on his bed he simply couldn’t find any sleep. He just felt too cold, which was odd. He barely ever felt cold. It felt like something was missing but he didn’t even want to think about what it was.
At last he decided that he had to check on Penelope and make sure she was alright to be able to find some sleep himself.
Seeing her reflection in the mirror Penelope couldn’t believe this was really her. About two months ago she’d thought she was the luckiest woman on earth. She’d been happy. About three weeks ago she’d tried to kill herself – something she’d never thought she would do.
And she’d also never thought she would ever feel so lonely. She’d been alone almost her whole life long but she’d never actually felt lonely. She’d always known there were people who cared about her, people who loved her as much as she loved them, people she could trust. But now all she felt was lonely even though Derek did his best to make things better.
But that would eventually stop and she would be lonely again. She knew it. He would get tired of her being around him all the time. He had held her every night while she’d been at the hospital. That would stop now that they were staying at his place.
She crawled under the blanket but didn’t even try to lay down and sleep. She knew she couldn’t. When he didn’t hold her the nightmares would come back letting the feeling of loneliness and despair only get stronger.
Her eyes fell on the scar on her wrist and she failed to keep the tears from falling. She wasn’t even sure whether she was glad that Derek had found her in time. Maybe it would have been better for everyone involved if…
When she heard a knock on the door she quickly wiped her face.
Smiling cautiously Derek sat down on the bed and asked: “Is there anything else you need?”
She stared at him for a second and then slowly shook her head no.
He could practically see the plea in her eyes and since there was nothing in the world he wanted more than to hold her he reached out to wipe a tear from her cheek and whispered: “Scoot over, baby girl!” Then he climbed onto the bed and caught her in his arms sighing contently when she snuggled up as close to him as possible.
Derek drove her to therapy every day and back home afterwards. They ate together, watched movies together, he didn’t leave her side once – and it was getting harder each day. Not that he could ever get tired of spending time with his favorite girl. But still she didn’t seem to get better. She barely spoke a word. And Derek hated to see her like this and not being able to help in any way.
So all Derek could do was try and treat her as normal as possible. He didn’t try to make her talk, he simply didn’t dare to. They certainly pressed her enough in the therapy and here at his place she should feel safe from that and as comfortable as she could be. After all, that was why he’d insisted on keeping her with him in the first place. Nonetheless, he was about to give up himself. He just wasn’t sure he was really strong enough for that.
It seemed to be impossible to revive Penelope’s will to live or to even make her lips move upwards in the slightest hint of a smile – no matter how hard he tried, it seemed to be pointless. And as much as he fought against it, from time to time the thought occurred to him that maybe she would never be the same again.
So when after almost three weeks she suddenly started to talk to him Derek almost dropped dead with shock.
“I should have noticed it.” Penelope whispered all of sudden.
Derek was taken aback for a second and turned his attention from the movie they’d been watching to her. “You couldn’t have.” he then objected softly.
“You did.” she replied with a shrug. “I’m serious, Derek, I noticed the difference in him. He was just… like a puppy, following me all the time. And he tried to keep me away from all of you. He wouldn’t let me go anywhere without him anymore.”
“But you live with him.” Derek bit his lip. That sounded like an accusation.
“You have no idea how much I already regretted that decision.” she whispered and closed her eyes for a moment as tears threatened to fall. “Maybe I even did before… all that happened. The baby was the basic reason I agreed to live with him, I guess.”
“So you never planned on having a family with him?” he raised an eyebrow. “I thought you were happy with him.”
“I was.” he could see a single tear running down her cheek and reached out to brush it off. Instinctively she leaned into the touch for a moment and closed her eyes as she continued: “I mean, everything was just great. At first… But I… in retrospect I’d say I noticed that he changed. He wouldn’t let me hit the town with you anymore and the constant begging to stop working… I think I just refused to believe it. Maybe I wanted it to be perfect too badly.”
“Baby girl, don’t put that blame on yourself!” he gently stroked her cheek with his thumb and then took her hand in his, squeezing it softly. “This is not your fault, none of it!”
“I don’t know.” Penelope answered quietly. “After all, I agreed to live with him. It was me who gave him the chance to do all that to me. But I… I just didn’t want to be alone again. I mean, I… All I wanted was to be happy. I should have known better.”
“You deserve to be happy, baby girl. Don’t think you don’t just because…”
He opened his mouth to object but he had to admit he didn’t know what to say.
“Of course, I will.” she whispered.
Okay, so he was approaching the root of the matter. “So… you think you can’t find someone else?” he guessed.
Penelope shrugged: “Maybe I should have stayed with him.”
“What?” Derek burst out. “You can’t be serious, baby girl! Do you really think anything is better than being alone? I can tell you that’s not true.”
“Yeah, that’s easy for you to say.” she grunted and freed her hand from his grip. “You just need to open your door and then you can chose which girl you want to take home for the night. But Kevin was my first boyfriend in ages.”
“What’s wrong with you?” Derek frowned. “Normally, you have much more self-confidence and for a good reason. I bet there are many men out there waiting for no one but you.”
Snorting she wanted to get up to escape the situation.
But Derek grabbed her hand once more to keep her from doing so. “No, no, no. Listen to me, doll face. Men are not that complex. They notice you’re smart and it scares the hell outta them. But that doesn’t mean you won’t find anyone, you just have to look a little longer.”
“Yeah, like for the rest of my life.” she snarled.
“That’s not gonna happen.” Derek objected.
“If you think.” she shrugged.
“Come on, baby cakes, you were much more light-hearted and confident before you met Lynch.” he frowned at her. “What happened to the goddess of all brilliance and beauty.”
“That has nothing to do with Kevin.” she mumbled. “I guess she died on the table.”
“Hey, I never want to hear something like that again.” Derek scolded her.
She shrugged again.
“And stop that shrugging all the time, that’s not like you!” he berated. “Now listen to me! You will find someone else. I know you will. You’re smart and generous and beautiful.”
“Am I?” she whispered. “If I’m so great why then does nobody want me?”
“That’s not true.” he started to object. “I’m sure there’re…”
“You don’t.” she quietly added.
Derek blinked a little. What had she just said? “I’m sorry?”
“It’s easy for you to soft-soap me but you never actually mean it.” she sniffled and looked down to avoid his eyes. “I’m not beautiful. If I were you would want me. I’ve seen the women you want. They’re beautiful. But a guy like you would never want me because I’m not beautiful. I’m fat and ugly and…”Not knowing what else to do to make her stop belittling herself and finally believe him Derek cupped her face with his hands and forcefully pressed his lips against hers.