Fandom: Criminal Minds
Prompt for 24_runes: # 24 Othala (aid in spiritual and physical journeys)
Word count: 2990
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 12/? of the ‘Loser Lynch’ series. Well, as the title suggests, Derek has to face some challenges.
warnings: spoilers for season 3
AN: Hey, everyone. I know, I promised to update sooner. But as you could see I just wasn’t able. Who or what can I blame for this? Well, my crazy life certainly. A current lack of ingenuity, maybe. My wonderful beta-reader was so fast with this one (Thanks again, Gretchen!) but I just didn’t find the time to actually post it until now. Apart from the fact that I’ve practically not written anything in what seems like ages. Can you tell, I’m depressed right now.
Anyways, I’d like to tell you all what’s going on in my life at the moment so that you have an idea of what I’m talking about and why I’m not updating as regularly as I want to. But to be honest, this would just take too much space. Trust me, the story would be much longer than this chapter here. Maybe I’m gonna write a story about it when it’s all over. *laughs* I really don’t want to bore you with that right now.
But I wanted to take a moment to thank you for all the support I got through reviews encouraging me to keep writing. If it wasn’t for you, my faithful readers, I’d certainly have completely stopped writing already. And thanks to everyone who put this or one of my other stories to their alert and/or favorite list. It does me so good to see that you obviously like what I’m writing.
Okay, now I hope you enjoy this chapter. I’d like to tell you that there’s more coming soon. But all I can promise at the moment is that there will be more eventually. I just don’t know when I’ll be able to write again.
She pressed her hands against his chest in a sudden impulse to push him away. But when she felt his tongue begging for entrance she couldn’t help but give in to him and her fingers dug into his shirt. How many times had she dreamed of getting a kiss like that from him?!
His hands slid behind her back to pull her body closer against his. This wasn’t like any kiss he’d ever shared with any girl. A swarm of butterflies arose in his stomach and his heart started beating like mad. In fact, he hadn’t felt that way since his first kiss.
When they broke the kiss Penelope did something Derek would not have expected after a kiss like the one they’d just shared. She slapped his face, really hard.
Derek just looked at her in complete confusion his hand carefully feeling his aching cheek.
“Oh my…” Penelope stared at him in shock and regretfully touched the cheek her hand had just hit. “I… I’m so sorry.”
“No, I am sorry.” he smiled sheepishly. “I didn’t mean to jump at you like that.”
Penelope leaned her forehead against Derek’s and closed her eyes. “What… Why?” she gasped unable to formulate a meaningful sentence.
Derek placed a finger under her chin and made her look at him again. He could see the surprise and the complete confusion in her eyes. He just smiled.
“Derek?” Penelope carefully asked.
“Of course, I want you, beautiful.” Derek whispered. “I love you and I want you. It took almost losing you for me to realize it and when I did it scared the hell outta me. You know, falling in love and settling down is not for me. At least I thought it wasn’t. But the truth is that I have never wanted any other woman but you in my life.”
“But…” her eyes desperately searched his to find any answer since she wasn’t even able to pose one of the thousand or so questions that were running through her mind. Great, he’d just decided that he might want her and she made a complete fool of herself.
“I love you, baby girl.” he smiled and leaned forward to kiss her again.
This time she at least managed to kiss him back – and without slapping his face afterwards. When they had to break the kiss for air Penelope was still utterly perplexed. But she smiled at him and whispered: “I know you do. But I thought you didn’t mean it that way. Because after you told me that you loved me you never made a move on me.”
“I know.” he sighed. Then he reached out to put a strand of her blonde hair behind her ear. “You know, when I heard about you and Kevin I was jealous as hell. But then I saw how happy you were and I was glad. I only wanted you to be happy and I was afraid I couldn’t be the one to make you happy.”
“I… don’t understand.” was all she replied.
Derek took a deep breath: “I don’t know much about relationships. I had flings and I met very few people I came to trust. But that never went together for me, so I never tried to make a woman stay with me. I was afraid I might hurt you and that’s the last thing I want.”
“But… you want to give it a try now?” she carefully asked. “You… you think it might be different… with me?”
Grinning Derek leaned over to kiss her cheek and whispered: “Most definitely. You’re already a part of me, buttercup. This time I’ll keep you here with me. I won’t let you go again, ever.” He leaned in to give her another breathtaking kiss.
“Just promise me one thing.” he added seriously.
“Anything.” she quickly nodded.
“Careful, little girl.” he chuckled but then became serious again: “For now just promise me that whenever I do anything wrong you’ll tell me right away.”
“I promise.” she smiled, the first genuine smile in what felt like ages to both of them.
“Now let’s go to bed, baby cakes!” Derek stated and pulled her with him towards his bedroom. “I guess there’s a lot we have to talk about.”
Much to Penelope’s joy they didn’t talk that much. They were lying in his bed snuggled up close against each other and kissed until past midnight when they both decided that it was time to sleep.
And even though she didn’t get a lot of sleep Penelope felt very well rested when she woke up the next morning. Carefully she slid out of Derek’s arms and then out of bed so that she didn’t wake him up. Smiling she watched him sleep for a little while before she decided to prepare some breakfast.
When she walked into the kitchen Clooney raised his head and started to wag his tail.
“Good morning, boy.” she greeted happily and leaned down to scratch his ear.
Clooney yawned and then slowly got up, stretching and yawning so excessively that it made Penelope giggle.
“Poor boy.” she whispered and petted his head. “Didn’t you sleep well? I haven’t slept that well in ages.”
Clooney just grumbled and went to the door and started to scratch at it noisily.
“Shh!” Penelope scolded. “You’re gonna wake your master.”
The dog just whined and scratched some more.
“Okay, okay, you want to go for a walk, I got it.” Penelope sighed.
She tried the patio door because she thought that Derek’s backyard had to be enough before she was dressed and had had some breakfast but the door was locked. Frowning she noticed that the nearby windows were locked as well. Didn’t Derek have an alarm?
Sighing once more she got herself a warm jacket and headed for the front door. Clooney was still whining impatiently. It wasn’t surprising that she found the door locked as well. What was strange was that there was no key anywhere near the door. Something was wrong.
“Morning, princess.” she heard Derek’s sleepy voice from behind her.
Slowly Penelope turned around and stared at him. He was still just in his boxers and looked puzzled between his whining dog and Penelope back and forth.
“Baby?” he asked concerned when he saw the fear in her eyes. “Are you alright?”
“Why is the door locked?” she asked instead of giving him an answer.
“I always lock the door overnight.” he replied not yet wholly aware of what was going on.
“And where are the keys?” she whispered and took a step backwards.
Suddenly realizing how this situation must look like to her Derek took a step forward and reached out for her. “Baby, this is not what you think it is. Let me explain that!”
“No!” she yelled at him and pressed herself against the door. “Leave me alone!”
“You’re just like him.” she whimpered. “You locked me up in here. Why did you do that to me? You’re just like him.” her voice cracked and she slid to the floor, sobbing slightly.
“Penelope, I know how this looks but please, trust me and let me explain this to you.” Derek tried again to approach her.
But Penelope suddenly jumped to her feet, pushed him away and started to cry for help. She beat against the windows and yelled: “Let me out!”
“Penelope!” Derek had to yell to drown out Penelope’s voice. “Listen to me!”
Eventually, Derek managed to get a hold of her. She fought him but when he wrapped both his arms tightly around her, holding her arms in place and her back against his chest, she gave up, slid to the floor and cried silently.
“I had to do this.” Derek whispered into her ear. “I had to lock you up in here because otherwise they wouldn’t have let you stay with me.”
Her shaking slowly subsided when his words reached her brain. “What?” she sobbed.
“That’s why Dr. Melrose pays us a visit every once in a while. She comes here to check whether everything complies with her orders. You aren’t allowed to leave this place alone or to stay here alone, at least not for the time being. I also had to lock anything away you could use to hurt yourself, that’s why most of the drawers are locked.
I had to do all this or they would have locked you up in the hospital and I certainly wouldn’t have been allowed to visit you very often. That’s why the door is locked and that’s why I had to hide the keys.”
“You did that… for me?!” she whispered.
“I’d do anything for you, goddess, I thought you knew that.” Derek replied and lessened his hold of her a little.
Penelope sank back into his embrace and started to sob again. “I’m so sorry, I thought… How could I ever think you would do that to me?!”
“No, I am sorry.” Derek objected. “I should have told you right away. I just wasn’t sure whether you’d really chosen staying with me over the hospital.”
“I hate hospitals.” she answered voicelessly.
“I know.” he nodded and gently kissed her cheek. They both knew that in the condition she’d been in she’d certainly chosen the hospital nonetheless – mainly because she’d thought that Derek didn’t want to have her with him.
They kept sitting on the floor for at least half an hour, Derek gently rocking Penelope in his arms while she tried to collect herself again. Then suddenly she jumped up. “Oh, my God, I forgot about Clooney!”
“It’s okay.” Derek smiled at her. “I’ll take care of that.” He disappeared for a second and then came back fully dressed and let the dog out of the patio door.
“I… prepared some breakfast.” Penelope said a little sheepishly when Derek walked into the kitchen.
Instead of answering he pulled her into his arms and placed a soft, lingering kiss on her sweet full lips. “I love you, Penelope.”
“I love you too.” she sighed and leaned her head against his chest. “I’m so sorry that I…”
“Hush, woman.” he scolded softly. “Let’s not talk about this anymore. I’m starving.”
This time when Penelope arrived at the therapy room, she was smiling – and a little nervous. Would anyone notice that she was different and ask her about it? What was she supposed to answer? That she was with Derek now? Did he even want anyone else to know?
“Baby girl?” Derek interrupted her thoughts just as she was about to enter the room.
“Yeah?” her voice was barely audible when she turned back to him, her heart was pounding like mad.
“What do you think about kissing in public?” he grinned.
“Oh” she gasped and then smiled, “I… I think it’s okay if we don’t overdo it.”
Chuckling he leaned forward and placed a gentle chaste kiss on her lips. “See you later.”
She nodded and then turned to pretty much float into the room, beaming all over her face.
As usual Derek waited outside the room. But this time Dr. Melrose was the first one to leave the room.
“I told them to create a poster with a list of reasons not to commit suicide.” Dr. Melrose smiled at him. “Normally I don’t do that kind of things but since Penelope seems to be a lot better today I thought that it might help the others if she tells them what has revived her will to live.”
She sat down next to Derek and they remained silent for a while. Until Dr. Melrose asked: “So, now you are an item?”
“Yes.” Derek simply replied.
“And may I ask what has changed your mind about that?” she frowned at him.
Derek was breathing fire again. “Listen, I don’t need your permission for that, okay?! I love Penelope, I already have for a long time but she was with someone else so I stayed out of it. Now we’re together and I’m happy about that. You’re supposed to help her heal – not to judge my relationship with her.”
“Alright” Dr. Melrose replied calmly, “but I hope you know that this is not the end of the road. Nothing’s normal yet.”
“I know” Derek grunted, “trust me, I know. But no matter what’s gonna happen, I’m not gonna run away. Not this time.”
“Good.” she stood up and headed for the door again. But before she stepped in she turned back and added: “Don’t forget about that. The hardest part is still ahead of you.”
Derek wondered if she had any idea how well he already knew what she was talking about. What had happened this morning had only been the tip of the iceberg. He still needed to convince Penelope that their relationship was real and that he wanted it to last, that he loved her and needed her and wanted her to be a part of his life. And he needed to reassure her that every single day.
“Hey, gorgeous.” she smiled when she left the room.
“Hey, baby girl.” he smiled back and kissed her cheek. “Ready for lunch?”
It was the first time since Penelope had gotten out of the hospital that they weren’t eating at home but in a public restaurant – and of course, Derek needed to get Dr. Melrose’s approval beforehand. But nonetheless Penelope seemed to enjoy it so he wasn’t complaining.
They took a walk with Clooney when they came back and then Penelope did something that made Derek hope that she was eventually going to be her old self. She called the whole team, one by one, and invited all of them over for dinner.
Everyone was glad to see her smiling that evening, especially Derek. The dinner was fun but nonetheless Derek was glad that around eight p.m. they had all gone back home and he could spend the rest of the evening alone with his favorite girl.
“You know, I really wanted to die then.” Penelope whispered halfway through the movie without raising her head from Derek’s chest to look at him.
Not sure what to say to that he just took a deep breath and wrapped his arms tighter around her. He definitely didn’t want to hear things like that. He wanted Penelope to be happy, to have faith in life and her will to live back. But still he was glad that she was talking to him.
He wanted to tell her how glad he was that her attempt to kill herself had failed. He wished she could understand how much he needed her and why giving up on her had never been an option, how much she already was a part of his life and that he didn’t even want to imagine a single day without her.
Fortunately, Hotch had agreed that for the time being Derek was allowed to stay behind and help them over the phone. He would have taken a personal leave had it been necessary because there was no way he would leave her alone anytime soon.
“I’m glad I didn’t.” she added after a long silence and raised her head to look right into Derek’s deep brown eyes.
Derek cupped her cheek with his hand, his fingers slightly running through her hair in the movement. “Me too.” he whispered and pulled her closer into a soft kiss.
Penelope shifted a little to deepen the kiss and before Derek knew what was happening she was straddling him and her hands had found their way under his shirt.
“Wait, baby!” he panted as he gently pushed her hands away from him. “I think we shouldn’t do this. Not yet.”
He could practically see her heart breaking but instead of objecting she just climbed off his lap and crawled up at the other end of the sofa.
“Baby girl…” Derek started sitting up as well and reaching out for her.
“It’s okay.” she cut him off, audibly at the verge of tears. “I understand.”
Derek frowned. He was anything but sure that she understood why he’d stopped her. “Buttercup, I just didn’t want you to…”
“It’s okay” she assured, her voice cracking, “I understand if you don’t want me.”
Crap! “Sweetness!” Derek tried but she wasn’t even facing him, she just jumped up from the couch and headed for the bedroom, sniffling slightly.
“Penelope!” he called out as he ran after her almost getting the door in his face when she slammed it shut.
Derek decided to give her a moment before he opened the door. She was lying on his bed, her back turned towards the door, and pretending to be asleep.
Sighing he stripped down to his boxers and slowly got into bed behind her. He pulled her close against him and placed a gentle kiss on her cheek before he leaned his head against hers. “I love you, goddess.” he whispered. But she remained silent.Derek didn’t sleep much that night. His mind was trying to process what had happened. He’d meant well, he just didn’t want to go too fast, especially not after everything Penelope had been through. But apparently that had hurt her.