Fandom: Criminal Minds
Prompt for 24_runes: #2 Uruz (sudden or unexpected changes usually for the better)
Word count: 3140
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 13/? of the ‘Loser Lynch’ series. Derek and Penelope open up to each other and talk about their feelings.warnings: spoilers for season 3
AN: I just wanted to say thank you again. Thank you for all the wonderful reviews I received and to everyone who put this story on their alert or favorites lists. And thank you for sticking with me and never complaining when you have to wait for an update.
As always I hope this chapter was worth the wait. Now enjoy!
Taking a deep breath Derek sat down in the large corridor in front of the room and waited for what seemed like an eternity but was just an hour – all the time wondering if it had been the right choice to talk to Dr. Melrose about what had happened the previous evening.
But he was worried about Penelope and about their relationship to be already in a crisis when it was just about to start. And he knew that eventually they had to talk about what had happened the day before and even though Derek absolutely didn’t want to discuss all that with a psychologist he wanted to do what was best for Penelope.
So he’d told her and all Dr. Melrose had responded was asking him to stay so that she, Penelope and Derek could have a talk after the meeting. While that wasn’t what Derek had wished for he was ready to have that talk – for Penelope.
He wasn’t sure what Dr. Melrose wanted to tell them or wanted him to say. Did she want to know about his past? Would she notice it? Did it even matter in this situation? Could it have to do with his fight with Penelope? (Could he even call that a fight?) Damn, he was the profiler! He should be able to figure all this out on his own!
When the door opened he immediately stiffened. He could see on Penelope’s face that she was less than pleased that he’d talked to Dr. Melrose.
“Follow me, please!” the older woman ordered and led them down the hallway to her office.
Once inside Penelope and Derek sat down in the two chairs opposite Dr. Melrose’s desk and waited while Dr. Melrose just watched them. Derek glanced at his baby girl and bit the inside of his bottom lip. This had been a bad idea!
“We cuddled.” she said and these two words were followed by a long silence. “Then we kissed.” she finally added and bit her lower lip. “But Derek wanted to stop… so we did.”
“How did you feel then?” she pressed her.
Penelope insecurely chewed on her lip and then just shrugged.
Dr. Melrose waited, her eyes never leaving Penelope.
“Stupid.” she finally said and looked down.
When neither Dr. Melrose nor Penelope said anything in addition Derek dared to ask: “Why?”
“Because…” she started and then shrugged. She sighed and finally said in a low voice: “Because I really thought this was possible.”
Derek frowned. Had he understood that right? Did she doubt him and his intentions?! “Baby girl…” he started but was interrupted when her head shot up to look at him.
“It’s okay” she assured and gave him the most genuine smile she could manage, “as I said I understand.”
“Penelope, what do you understand?” he demanded to know.
She sighed again and looked back down. “I understand that you just… said all that because you didn’t want me to… do that again.” she gestured towards the wound on her right wrist that was about to turn into a scar. “After all, I’m so not your type.”
“That’s not true!” Derek protested. “I meant every single word.”
Penelope raised her head again to look at him and started: “Then why didn’t you…” she stopped and blushed a slight shade of pink. It was just too embarrassing to finish this sentence – especially in front of someone else. Besides she wasn’t sure she really wanted to hear the answer.
Derek reached out to brush the tear away that ran down Penelope’s cheek.
She couldn’t help but close her eyes and lean into his touch.
“I love you, Penelope.” he said softly.
“I know.” she nodded, her voice shaking. “But you… You don’t know what it’s like to feel so…” she interrupted herself.
“To feel so what?” he asked when she refused to finish the sentence.
Penelope looked back down at her hands that were compressed in her lap and whispered: “So unwanted.”
Derek took a deep breath, ran a hand over his face and swore silently. Him rejecting her must have looked like a corroboration of these feelings to her. “I DO want you.” he assured once more.
But Penelope didn’t answer.
“Penelope, why do you feel that Derek can’t want you?” Dr. Melrose asked.
“Well, I mean, look at him.” she mumbled as if that explained everything. Then she sighed again and added: “After everything that happened to me… Maybe I’m just not meant to find someone, you know.”
“You’re afraid that there’s a snag to it.” Dr. Melrose concluded.
Penelope shrugged: “There’s always a snag to it.”
Derek knelt down in front of her and put a hand under her chin to make her turn her head and look at him again. He waited until she had locked eyes with him before he declared determinedly: “Not this time, sweetness. I love you and I want you and no matter what happened in the past or will happen in the future, nothing’s gonna change that.”
But she just looked down and again didn’t answer anything.
Sighing Derek got up. This was more than frustrating! “Look, I understand that after everything that happened to you, it’s hard for you to believe all this.” he tried. “Lynch made you feel like you’re not worth being loved and that you’ll never…”
“Derek, don’t profile me!” she almost yelled at him.
“What else shall I do?” Derek yelled back at her. He knew he should try to stay calm but he was at his wits end. “You don’t talk to me so I have no idea how you’re feeling. And I don’t know what I can do to make it better because you’re not talking to me!”
“Maybe I just don’t want to talk to you.” she mumbled.
Derek was startled for a moment. This was getting more and more frustrating with every word that was said. “Why, Penelope? Don’t you trust me anymore?”
“Oh, I don’t know.” Penelope said sarcastically. “Maybe it’s because I just can’t be sure if you’re honest.”
“What?” Derek exclaimed. Trust had never been an issue between them. Did she actually believe what she’d just said?! “I never lied to you.”
“Really?” she asked in a low voice. “Let’s face it, the only reason we’re together at all is… this.” she repeated pointing at her wrist once more.
“That’s not true, I…” Derek tried to object.
But Penelope interrupted him again: “Oh, well, maybe it’s true. Maybe your feelings are real. But the point is that if it hadn’t been for Kevin turning out to be a complete psycho and me trying to commit suicide you would have never made a move on me!”
“Do you really think I don’t know that this is all my fault?” Derek clenched his teeth to keep himself from yelling at her again. He felt tears wanting to escape his eyes, tears of anger and mere frustration. So he went to the window, turning his back towards Penelope and Dr. Melrose. “Do you think I don’t know that if I’d made a move on you before Kevin all this would never have happened?!”
Penelope was taken aback by his reaction. Was he actually crying? She hadn’t meant to blame him for what had happened to her just… She wasn’t even sure what she’d wanted to say. Carefully she stood up, walked towards him and placed a comforting hand on his shoulder. “Derek, I…”
Derek turned around and immediately caught her in his arms, holding her as if his life depended on it and burying his face in her hair. They remained that way for a few seconds both of them crying silently.
“Before you… cut your wrist I could feel you slipping through my fingers every day and it seemed like there was no way I could keep you with me. And I’m still afraid I’ll lose you.” he whispered into her ear. “I can’t lose you, baby girl. You mean so much to me.”
“I’m so sorry.” Penelope sobbed the realization suddenly hitting her how many people she’d hurt by what she’d done. She hadn’t wanted to hurt anyone but herself – and especially not Derek. She just hadn’t known how much she really belonged here and how many people cared about her. If only she’d known how much Derek cared about her. She’d never…
“No, I’m sorry.” Derek insisted and lifted his head to look into her eyes. “I should have told you all that a long time ago. If I had, you wouldn’t have thought that nobody cared and…”
“No, Derek, this is not your fault.” Penelope whispered.
“Of course, it is.” Derek sighed and reached out to put a strand of hair behind her ear. “I told you how much you mean to me and then I left you hanging and obviously gave you the impression that I’m not attracted to you. But I am and I should have told you. Besides I could have forced you to go with me when I sensed that something was wrong with Kevin. You wouldn’t have had to go through all this if I’d just…”
“Derek, don’t.” Penelope interrupted him and put a small hand over his mouth. “You can’t always put the blame on yourself. I know, you’re the tough, strong guy but the weight of the world is too much even for your broad shoulders. This was not your fault.”
He smiled at her and took a deep breath. For the first time in ages she’d sounded like his baby girl again. “I love you, Penelope.” he repeated gently kissing her fingers. “I already did for a long time but I… You know me, you know about my past. Hotch was right, I do have trust issues. I don’t even know if I can love someone. I never let anyone in before because I didn’t want them to know me, to find out what happened to me and that I’m still struggling with the memories of my past, that I’m still haunted by nightmares.”
Penelope looked down again. She’d been so selfish. Derek had gone through so much more and she should be grateful that he wasn’t just thinking about himself but was taking such good care of her.
“But I know that with you it could be different. I knew that right from the beginning and it scared me. I am afraid that I… might not be able to keep up this relationship no matter how much I love you and that in the end I’ll break your heart. Because for all I know love sometimes just isn’t enough. I’m a wreck like all victims are.
You deserve someone who can make you happy, someone with a steady and safe job, someone who can chase away the horrors of this job and I can’t always be that someone because I am broken and I’m haunted and I just… didn’t want to do that to you. This is a burden I should carry on my own and not put on anyone’s shoulders – least of all yours.”
“Wow, this is the greatest bullshit I ever heard. Have you considered letting me worry about all that?” she whispered. “I mean, how do you know what I need? Maybe I don’t need someone with a steady job, someone without scars and nightmares. Maybe all I need is – and ever was and always will be – you.”
Derek gently took both her hands in his and added: “I didn’t want to screw up by going too fast. I know you weren’t ready for this and you would have regretted it in the morning. I just didn’t want to hurt you.”
“I know you’re right.” Penelope nodded. “But I just thought…”
“I know.” Derek frowned at her, the desperation not only visible on his face but also audible in his voice. “And I don’t know how to show you just how much I want you in my life, how much I need you.”
“I’m sorry.” she whispered and closed her eyes to keep the tears from falling. “I knew how selfish it was and I knew that you’d have to find me and… But I just felt so lonely and it seemed to be the only way out. I thought that… since nobody wanted me… I just didn’t want to be a burden to anyone.
I know that it’s not easy to bear with me at the moment. I want to be my old self again and I want to believe all this but… then this voice in my head tells me that this can’t be, that I’m just not meant to be happy. I know I shouldn’t be listening but…
I guess it’s also due to the depression and.... I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I mean, giving up and committing suicide is just… this is not me. I’m so confused at the moment. All these feelings… They’re so strong and sometimes I just can’t handle them. And then I keep thinking that this is just not me and it scares me. I’m… afraid of myself somehow.”
“We will get through this, baby girl.” Derek said confidently squeezing her hands gently. “I promise. I’m not going to let you down, ever. As I said I’m not willing to let you go.”
“Agent Morgan” Dr.
“Okay.” he nodded.
Penelope’s eyes almost popped out of her head. “Okay?” she exclaimed. “You hate psychologists because you hate being profiled and talking to them. And you agree to go to a session twice a week?!”
“If that’s a way to help you and us.” he nodded. “I’d do anything for you and I want our relationship to work.”
She could see the truth in his eyes and for some reason this broke down the wall inside of her that had kept her from believing this was real. Derek – who went for every psychologist’s throat who’d even dare to ask him what time it was – was willing to go to therapy with her knowing that he’d certainly be forced to face and talk about things he wanted to put into a box and bury in the center of the earth. And he did all that for her.
“Well, then I expect you two on Friday.” Dr. Melrose smiled and stood up. That was it for today and she’d come much farther with these two than she had expected.
The drive back to Derek’s place was rather silent as Penelope was still trying to process what Derek was willing to do for her.
And Derek just held her hand during the whole drive gently stroking the back of it with his finger but otherwise leaving her alone with her thoughts.
They both were surprised to see Hotch standing in front of Derek’s door obviously awaiting them. His face was rather strained and it was obvious that he had to tell them something he didn’t want to bring up.
Penelope silently squeezed Derek’s hand at the look on Hotch’s face. Did he know about them? If so his face told her that he didn’t approve it.
Derek took a deep breath. He’d wanted to have this talk to Hotch anyways so why not now?!
Even though from the look on Hotch’s face he wasn’t sure this was the right time for this Derek decided to take matters into his own hands. “Hotch” he greeted and opened the door to let them all in. “I’m glad you’re here, man. There’s something I need to talk to you about.”
Hotch took the seat Derek had silently offered him and watched Penelope shifting uncomfortably at Derek’s side. “If it’s about what happened between you two, never mind. Rossi talked to Strauss already so there’s nothing you have to worry about.”
Derek’s jaw dropped and both he and Penelope were speechless for a moment.
“What?” one corner of Hotch’s mouth moved slightly upwards at the looks on his agents’ faces. “Did you really think we didn’t notice? It was written all over your faces yesterday. Even Reid didn’t miss it.”
Penelope blushed and Derek just smirked and took Penelope’s hand in his.
“The reason why I’m here is the case we’re working.” Hotch explained. “We’re… stuck to say the least. We know that we’re missing something, a connection between the victims. Thing is, we just can’t put our finger on it and the techs they’re sending us are… well… they’re just not you, Garcia.”
Her eyes widened in slight shock: “You mean… you’re asking for my help?”
“You know I wouldn’t ask if we weren’t that stuck and I can’t think of anyone else who could help us as much as you can.” Hotch sighed. “And it doesn’t mean that you have to agree. It’s completely up to you and we all understand if you’re not ready for this.”
“Wow.” Penelope whispered as she thought about Hotch’s request. Derek and she were allowed to see each other, maybe even get married one day if they wanted to. And she was obviously missed and needed at work which meant that maybe one day she could go back to the BAU. Could her life really be about to change not only for the better but towards absolutely great?
“I think I should call Dr. Melrose.” Penelope mumbled more to herself and got up from where she’d been sitting next to Derek on the couch.
Hotch frowned at Derek, the worry obvious on his face. Had he asked too much from her?
All Derek could do was shrug slightly.
“Dr. Melrose, it’s Penelope.” they heard her say and then she explained what Hotch had asked her to the person on the other end of the phone. There was a pause before she said: “Yes, at least I guess so. I’m not sure. It feels… strange.” Another pause. “Yes.” And another pause, a little longer this time. “Don’t worry, he wouldn’t leave my side anyways.” Then she hung up.
Smiling slightly Penelope returned to the two men and said: “You can count me in. But I have to take my watchdog with me.”Derek sighed with relief, got up and pulled Penelope into a tight embrace. For the first time in months she’d sounded like she was on her way back to her normal self. Going back to work even if it was only for a few hours would do her good. At least that was what Derek told himself because he wasn’t sure that he entirely liked the idea.