Fandom: Criminal Minds
Prompt for 10_dates: #9 Birthday
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 8/10 of the 'Long way'-series. Someone figured out that Morgan and Garcia are never gonna end up together unless they get a little help.warnings: none
AN: I know, it’s been a ridiculously long time since I last updated anything. It’s a shame, but my beta-reader (big thanks for her great work!) had sent me this story about a month ago or so – and I had completely forgotten about it until I finally decided to ‘clean’ my inbox a little and found it.
Well, what can I say. Crazy doesn’t even begin to describe how my life had been lately. Even the weekends were so full I just didn’t find the time to write anything. Most of you know, I had lots of trouble lately. Well, some of it is fixed, but still I feel like everyone at work is just waiting for me to make a mistake so that they can say ‘I knew she’d fail’. Anyway, that’s a much too long story to explain in detail right now. Once everything’s over, I’m definitely gonna write a story about it though – I feel like I have to deal with all that in some way, so why not my way. ;)
All that made my muse take another break. I needed one, too, so I figured it would be fair to leave her alone for a while. :) Seriously, for about four weeks I couldn’t seem to get anything right, even if I found the time to write anything. I was just not in the mood. I was so focused on all the trouble at work and trying so hard to do a good job… I guess that just wasn’t the way. Now, I’m very comfortable with the fact that they all expect me to fail. At least I can’t disappoint anyone but myself anymore. ;) And before I end up with burnout, I’m gonna spend more time writing and less time worrying. Sounds like a plan, huh?
Okay, this is not exactly a ‘date’ chapter. But this is exactly what Morgan and Garcia needed to fix the mess their little encounter in the last chapter had caused. Besides, there’s talking about dates. That should be enough. ;)
Now, I hope you enjoy this. And I really hope I’m gonna be able to post at least one new chapter of all of my stories before I have to get back to work in about two weeks. But as always, I can’t promise anything but doing my best. You want to read the best I can come up with, after all, don’t you. At least, that’s what I want to post. ;)
I love you all for the great support I received. Lots of wonderful reviews, good wishes and people caring about me and my situation, asking how I was. You have no idea how much that helps me pull through all this.
Penelope’s first intention was to pretend she wasn’t home when she heard someone knock on her door. Then she heard a stern voice calling out, “Garcia, I know you’re there. Open the door! I need to talk to you.”
She took a deep breath and then opened it to face Hotch. “Sir,” she started, her voice shaking, “I… I can explain…”
“I’m sure you can.” He frowned at her as he stepped inside and waited for her to close the door behind them. “What happened between you and Morgan? And I want the truth!”
“Sir?” She tried to sound as innocent as possible.
“Don’t try to hedge!” Hotch was always getting straight to the point. “It’s been almost four weeks now, Garcia. You never call Morgan when we’re on a case, and when he calls you, you won’t answer. Whenever we aren’t on a case, you call in sick. What’s going on?”
She opened her mouth to deny it, but then sighed and let herself sink down on the couch. “I… I don’t know where to start.”
“Something happened during this rape case in
Penelope looked at her hands and whispered, “About a week before you took off for the case, Derek and I were at the movies. We… We had a fight, I don’t even remember what it was about, and I wanted to go home alone. I… I was attacked by a man who wanted to rape me.”
Hotch drew in a breath.
“Thankfully, Derek was there to protect me, but it was… really close,” she continued. “After that, I asked Derek to teach me how to defend myself, and I was doing pretty well. Then we had this case, and I had to watch these women being raped, and… I don’t know.”
“You felt with them,” Hotch finished the sentence for her. “Garcia, why didn’t you tell me? I would have taken you off the case.”
“I know,” she said, nodding, “but I didn’t want that. I didn’t want anyone to know, because I didn’t want anyone’s pity. I was fine… until I had to watch the video footage. I was starting to have nightmares after that, and didn’t sleep all that well.”
“That was why Derek asked me to fly back to
Penelope nodded, and then added, “It was also why he asked you to give us a day off. He thought it might help me if I put some daylight between myself and the case, but it didn’t, not really. I felt… I know I identified too much with the victims, but this time, I really felt like I was one of them. Derek did his best to help me cope, but… One night, I went to a bar to… to get drunk and… pick up someone.”
Hotch saw her blush, even though she was trying to hide it from his view. “You tried to suppress your feelings for so long that you needed some human touch to remind you that you were still alive. We all know that feeling.”
Penelope nodded, thankful that he understood. “I… had tried to deal with all the feelings this case was evoking in me. When I couldn’t, I just repressed them, until I didn’t really feel anything anymore. I just… wanted some tenderness.”
“What happened?” he softly pressed her.
“Derek thwarted my plans,” she answered with a sigh. “He went to the bar and made me go with him. We had a fight about that, and then… then…” She swallowed, not sure how to finish this sentence, how to tell her boss what had happened between her and Derek. Finally, she whispered, “He made love to me that night.”
Her choice of words didn’t escape Hotch’s notice. “You have avoided him since.” He didn’t even need to wait for her answer; he already knew it. “Why?”
“Because… you know him,” Penelope shrugged. There was a long pause, before she continued. “He’s not the relationship kind of guy, and I’m not even his type. I don’t know why he did that, but it didn’t mean anything to him, at least not as much as…”
Hotch waited a few seconds for her to finish this sentence, but when she refused, he finished it. “As it meant to you.”
She sniffled and wiped her face.
“You love him,” Hotch stated.
“Is it really that obvious?” she whispered.
Hotch smirked a little. “I’m a profiler, after all.”
Penelope smiled sadly and looked down. “I know I shouldn’t feel this way about him.”
“We can’t change how we feel,” Hotch told her with a shrug. “That’s why the frat rules leave the possibility to… stretch them a little.”
She didn’t say anything in return, but Hotch could see her body tense.
“Have you considered that Derek was trying to ask you out?” He knew about the breakfast, and he’d heard parts of their conversation while Derek had been on the phone with her, just before Hotch had sent him back to
Penelope stared at him and sniffled. “I… No. I mean, we went to the movies before. It was never… anything like a date.”
“You know that Derek loves you, right?” He studied her face, waiting for a reaction.
“Yeah,” she smiled sadly and said softly, “But not this way.”
“Why don’t you talk to him?” he suggested. “Try to figure out what that night meant to him. You might be surprised.”
“There’s… more,” she reluctantly told him.
“Being?” Hotch asked.
Penelope took a deep breath, and then whispered, “I’m pregnant.”
Hotch raised an eyebrow. That indeed was more than he’d expected. “Are you… sure?”
“I took five tests,” she replied. “They were all positive. I… I still need the doctor’s confirmation, though.”
“Do you already have an appointment?” he wanted to know.
Penelope shook her head. “They told me to come by when I had time – they know my working hours – but I… I haven’t dared so far.”
“You’ll go now!” Hotch decided and stood up. “Come on, I’ll give you a ride. You shouldn’t drive right now.”
“But…” She wanted to object, even though she knew it was pointless.
“I’ll send someone to pick you up. Now, come on!” he demanded.
Sighing, Penelope admitted defeat and let him take her to her doctor’s.
“Wait here! I’ll send someone to pick you up in about half an hour,” Hotch told her when they had arrived at the large white building. “I need to get back to the Bureau.”
Penelope just nodded and got out. She considered calling a cab as soon as Hotch took off, but he waited for her to enter the building before he did.
Hotch stomped into the bullpen and came to a halt in front of Derek’s desk. Placing a piece of paper on the desk, he explained, “I talked to Garcia.”
Derek swallowed and straightened in his seat.
“She told me everything,” Hotch went on.
“Sir, I can explain…” Derek started.
Hotch immediately interrupted him. “Don’t explain anything to me. I already understand. Explain it to Garcia! She’s at the doctor’s. Go pick her up!”
“Is she all right?” Derek asked, appalled.
“You’ll find out.” Hotch turned to leave, but then turned back to Derek and said, “I expect you to sort things out between the two of you.”
“Yes, sir.” Derek nodded and headed for the elevators.“And Morgan,” Hotch waited for him to turn to him, before he added, “Ask her out already!”