Title: Learning the hard way
Fandom: Criminal Minds
Prompt for 10_dates: #3 School
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 4/? of the ‘Long way’ series.
AN: Thank you once again for so patiently waiting for this update. Here you go, finally. I know, three and a half months is a long time.
So let’s try and remember. When we last saw our heroes… :) During a case, Derek realizes that he is in love with Penelope. He makes a plan on how to win her heart. He takes her to the movies and drinking. Alas, things don’t go as Derek has planned them – and Penelope is attacked at night in an alley by a man who wants to rape her…
Now, here’s what will happen next. As usual lately, I was in a dark mood, so it’s a rather dark chapter, I guess.
Derek slowly drove his SUV down the street. His window was rolled down so he could hear her, maybe even see her, more easily. He passed the small alley he wished she hadn’t taken, but he knew her well enough to take a closer look.
He abruptly brought his vehicle to a halt. He couldn’t believe his eyes at first. There was a tall guy in a leather jacket pressing a woman, who closely resembled Penelope, against the wall. Then Derek heard her scream.
Penelope couldn’t believe this was happening. It couldn’t be. Not to her. This just couldn’t be true. One last time, Penelope tried to fight her attacker, but it was pointless. Maybe she should have tried to brace herself for what was about to come, but she couldn’t. She tried to think of something else, tried to think herself to another place far away from this alley and this man and the things he wanted to do to her.
She felt a jerk – and then nothing. Nobody pressed her against the wall anymore. The hands were gone; the feel of his disgusting body against hers gone as well. She turned around carefully. It took her a moment to interpret the scene in front of her correctly, and make out what the heap of clothes and human limbs really was.
The man who had attacked her was laying on his back, not moving much at all. Derek was half kneeling, half laying over him. He was letting his fists tell the man what it meant to mess with his Baby Girl. Blood was sprinkling his clothes.
Her first impulse was to sneak away and run home as fast as she could, but she couldn’t move. Her eyes refused to let go of the scene in front of her. She sniffled as she watched.
Derek was beside himself with anger, and for the first time in a long time he could remember, he really wanted to kill someone. Well, he’d thought about killing one or two unsubs during their interrogations, but he’d never actually been so close to doing it. Then he heard Penelope make a quite noise next to them.
Derek immediately let go of the now unconscious man. He stood up, examining the results of his actions for a second, with a mixture of fear and disbelief, before he turned to Penelope.
She was still standing against the wall, and was shaking so badly that she could barely hold together the remains of her top.
With one step, Derek closed the distance between them and stopped right in front of her. He wanted to pull her into his arms, but didn’t dare. Not after what had just happened. “Baby?” he whispered, more than spoke aloud.
Her lower lip trembled, and she felt her knees going week. She gave in and let herself sink against Derek’s chest. She sobbed when he wrapped his arms around her. Those strong arms, where she felt safe and at ease.
“Let’s get you home,” Derek whispered as he put his jacket around her shoulders. He gently led her back to his SUV.
Penelope didn’t answer. She just followed him, even let him fasten the seat belt for her. She didn’t hear him call the police and tell them about a man who had tried to rape her. Nor did she notice that he wasn’t driving to her place.
Derek pulled into the parking lot and turned off the engine. He waited a second, his head hanging in shame. He knew he needed to do this before he could let her get out of the car and into the bath she certainly needed.
“Baby Girl, did he… rape you?” She shook her head. “You know that if he did and you want to press charges…”
“It was close,” she interrupted him.
Too close, Derek thought. He sighed and got out.
The walk up to his door was silent. Penelope didn’t complain about the fact that this wasn’t her place, nor did she ask him about it.
Clooney greeted them exuberantly, and Penelope petted him absentmindedly while she remained standing in Derek’s corridor. She didn’t want to move any closer, and she definitely didn’t want to sit down. Derek would have noticed that some parts of her clothes were missing.
“I’ll run you a bath,” Derek offered, Penelope’s obvious discomfort not escaping his notice. He figured she needed something to wear, so he searched his wardrobe for something that would at least be somewhat suitable for her.
Ten minutes later, Penelope let herself sink into Derek’s huge bathtub. She closed her eyes and inhaled deeply. This was exactly what she’d needed, and even if it couldn’t really make the feeling this guy’s hands had left on her body go away, it still made her feel better.
When the water turned cold, Penelope unwillingly got out of the bathtub and dried herself off. It was odd to put Derek’s clothes on, especially his tight boxers, but it was much better than feeling so… exposed and vulnerable.
Carefully, Penelope stepped out of the bathroom and walked into Derek’s living room. It felt strange to be here after everything that had happened – almost as strange as the feeling she’d had at the hospital after
“Hey,” Derek greeted, offering her a seat on his couch. “You want something to drink?”
“Yeah,” she nodded as she sat down. “Something strong, please.”
Derek sighed as he poured them each a Scotch. He’d pictured this evening so very differently. He’d wanted Penelope to have a good time, wanted to take her to the dance floor and make her enjoy a special evening so she’d feel like they were on a date – then he could ask her out on a real date. He so hadn’t pictured her going through what had happened today. When he’d pictured having a few drinks with his girl tonight, he hadn’t thought of something like this.
Penelope downed the drink the moment she took it from Derek, and he silently refilled her glass twice before he sat back down next to her. The worry was clearly written all over his face as he watched her downing drink after drink.
Turning the now empty glass in her hands, Penelope quietly said, “For a moment, I thought you were going to kill him.”
Derek took a deep breath. “For a moment, so did I.”
“Can you… teach me?” she asked.
Frowning, Derek turned to look at the woman next to him. “Teach you what?”
“How to… defend myself,” she replied voicelessly. “Just… in case.”
Derek took her shaking hand in his and nodded. “Of course.”
That night, when Derek took her to bed and noticed her shivering, he wordlessly crawled underneath the blanket next to her and wrapped his arms tightly around her. It was a good thing they had the next three days off. Penelope could use that time to start recovering from what had happened to her.
She stayed at Derek’s place for a few days. They started their lessons in self-defense, spent almost every minute of the following days with each other, and even shared the bed at night; Derek had definitely enjoyed that fact.
He still didn’t dare ask Penelope out though, not after what had happened to her. When he tried to raise the subject of dating, all Penelope said was that she was fed up with that for the time being.Penelope had practically moved in with him. It almost felt like they already were an item – apart from the fact that they hadn’t been on a single official date together. Unfortunately, Derek wasn’t quite sure how to ask her anymore.