Fandom: Criminal Minds
Prompt for 24_runes: #7
Word count: 3518
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 18/18 of the ‘Loser Lynch’ series.
warnings: spoilers for season 3
AN: So, here we go. I almost can’t believe it, but this is the last chapter of this story. It’s kind of sad for me. I mean, I spent so much time with this story, especially in my head when I tried to get the next chapter right. And now it’s over.
On the other hand, I think this is exactly the way this story should end. It was a rather dark story, probably one of the saddest I’ve ever written. But in the end, there’s always hope for some change for the better. ;) And to sum it up in Garcia’s words: Everything happens for a reason.
I hope you’ll have as much fun reading the chapter as I had writing it. So, enjoy it, it’s the last one! :)
She could have sworn she heard Hotch’s voice from somewhere, somewhere near, but all she could see was blood, and all she could really hear was the sound of gunshots ringing in her ears.
She hadn’t even noticed she was shaking and sobbing, until two strong arms grabbed her shoulders and shook her a little forcefully.
“Penelope, look at me!”
Finally drawn from the trance she seemed to be in, she was able to look into her boss’s concern filled eyes. “He’s dead,” she whispered. “I… I shot him.”
“I know,” Hotch said. “It’s over. It’s okay.”
“No. No, it’s not,” she sniffled, and her eyes drifted back to the body on the floor, which was now being examined by Emily and Rossi. “I… killed him. I… took a life. I’m a killer.”
“No, Penelope, you’re not,” Hotch objected, and gently pulled her into a light embrace, hoping this would calm her down a bit.
“He killed Derek,” she sobbed into his shoulder.
“No, he didn’t,” Hotch assured her. “Derek’s fine. Look!” He gently turned her head into the direction of the door, where Reid was helping Derek to stand up. “He’ll just have a big bad bruise, that’s all.”
She stared at him for a while, trying to process what had happened.
Coughing a little, Derek pulled up his shirt a bit and smiled at her. “When you told me about your dream, and I heard about Lynch having escaped, I figured it was better to wear a vest. I’m never gonna question your dreams again, Baby Girl.”
With a heart-breaking sob, Penelope ran towards Derek and threw herself into his arms, causing him to wince in pain a little, but he didn’t really care. She was safe, that was all that mattered. It was finally over – or at least, Lynch couldn’t bother them anymore.
Penelope sobbed uncontrollably into Derek’s chest, partly out of guilt and grief about what she’d done, but mostly out of relief.
“I told you everything was gonna be okay, sweetness,” Derek whispered, kissing her forehead.
“Come on, we’ll take both of you to the hospital,” Hotch commanded, and before Derek could say anything, he gave him his best death stare. “That’s an order!”
Sighing, Derek yielded to his fate. It couldn’t hurt to make sure his ribs weren’t broken.
The hospital had almost become Penelope’s second home. For weeks, she’d been here every day. Now, she still went here three times a week. She was glad when the door opened and Dr. Melrose stepped in.
Carefully, the older woman sat down next to Penelope on the hospital bed. “Your boss told me what happened,” she explained. “How are you feeling?”
Penelope opened her mouth to say that she was all right. Then she wanted to tell her that she felt bad. “I…” she started, but she simply couldn’t find the words to end this sentence. Sighing, she replied, “Actually, I really don’t know how I feel.”
“You killed someone,” Dr. Melrose simply said, her tone without any sign of judgment.
“I know,” Penelope breathed deeply, before she went on, “and I know I should feel guilty, but I don’t. I would do it again if I had to. I’m glad Kevin is dead, that he can’t hurt anyone anymore.”
Dr. Melrose remained silent.
Penelope thought about her words, and then added, “I mean, I feel bad. I feel bad about taking a life, but…”
“You can feel safe now,” Dr. Melrose finished the sentence for her.
Penelope looked at the other woman, and then she nodded. Sometimes, it was almost scary how Dr. Melrose always seemed to know what Penelope was feeling.
“Good.” Dr. Melrose smiled. “Your reaction is natural. Did you know that cops say pretty much the same after they first shoot someone? It’s never easy, but I’m positive you’ll be able to deal with it.”
“So, I don’t need any extra sessions then?” Penelope asked.
“Do you feel like you do?” Dr. Melrose asked back instead of answering.
“Why do you always return the questions to me?” Penelope sighed.
Dr. Melrose smiled at Penelope. “Because it’s your life, and you are responsible for it. If you think it’s necessary to have extra sessions or if you want them, you’ll have them. That’s how it works.”
“So that I learn not to depend too much on what you tell me?” Penelope guessed.
“Yeah, something like that.” The older woman nodded.
Penelope sighed. “I don’t know if I need extra sessions – or if I want them. Right now, I only want to go home with Derek. Or… should we stay elsewhere for the time being?”
“Your apartment certainly isn’t cleared by the police yet, so I fear you’ll have to stay elsewhere,” Dr. Melrose replied with a shrug.
“I hadn’t thought of that.” Penelope sighed. “I don’t know if I want to go back there at all.”
“You know, I always thought that when couples move in together, it’s better for them to get a new apartment, instead of one moving in with the other.” Her voice was unusually casual. “But that’s just my opinion.”
A careful knock on the door kept Penelope from saying anything in return. “Come in!” she immediately called out, hoping it was Derek who just didn’t want to disturb them.
“Hey,” Derek greeted, sticking his head in at the door. “I just wanted to see how my favorite girl was doing.”
Smiling widely, Penelope got up from the bed to rush to the door and wrap her arms around Derek, leaning her head against his muscular chest. “Ready to go home,” she sighed. “Or… wherever we’ll spend the night.”
Derek gave Dr. Melrose a quizzical look and sighed with relief when she nodded. “I’ll see you on Tuesday, if you don’t need me sooner.”
“Thank you,” he whispered, and led his Baby Girl outside to Hotch’s waiting car.
“So… are we gonna stay at a hotel tonight?” Penelope carefully asked. She didn’t like the idea. She just didn’t like hotels.
“Nope.” Derek grinned, but didn’t give her an explanation.
About ten minutes later, the SUV stopped in front of a small house.
“What’s this?” Penelope asked a little puzzled.
“A little surprise.” Derek smiled at her.
Her eyes almost popped out of her head. “You bought this house?”
“Not yet.” He softly pecked her lips. “I wanted to hear your opinion first. But I talked to the owner and explained what happened. He said it was okay if we spent the night here.”
“I love it.” She excitedly clapped her hands and jumped out of the car.
“You haven’t even seen the inside,” Derek called after her.
“I don’t need to. I know I like it already,” was the reply.
“Good night, Morgan.” Hotch waited for Derek to close the door, chuckled, and drove off.
“So, welcome to our potential new home.” Derek pecked Penelope’s cheek before opening the door for her.
“As I said, I love it,” she whispered as she stepped inside, taking in the spacious entry, decorated with little tidbits. “Are these mine?”
“I had JJ and Reid bring some of them over while we were at the hospital,” he explained as he wrapped both arms around her waist. “I thought you’d feel better with something familiar around you.”
“I feel great as long as you’re with me.” Penelope closed her eyes and leaned back into the comforting embrace.
For a few minutes, they just stood in the entryway of what could be their house in a few days and enjoyed each other’s presence. Then Penelope turned around, pulling Derek down for a deep, passionate kiss.
“Wow,” Derek panted, but didn’t get the chance to say anything in addition, because her soft lips crashed down onto his again.
“I want you!” Penelope whispered between kisses.
Derek broke the kiss and pushed her away a little. “Baby Girl, I don’t think we should…”
“No,” she quickly interrupted him, “you know this would have happened today, and… I don’t want him to destroy this. I don’t want him to win.”
Derek frowned at her in concern. He remembered his conversation with Dr. Melrose about this, and how she’d told him that it had to be Penelope’s decision, that she would know when the time was right.
“I want you,” she repeated, locking eyes with him so he could see she was serious.
“Well, in that case…” Derek smirked and lifted her up to carry her into the bedroom. “But I have to warn you, sweetness. It’s gonna be a long night, because I absolutely plan on taking my time.”
“I have no intention of complaining,” she whispered, unable to speak any louder as the thrills of anticipation rushed through her body.
Grinning mischievously, Derek pulled his shirt over his head, making Penelope gasp as she saw the large bruise on his side. “It’s okay,” he assured her. “I’m fine. It’s just a bad bruise, that’s all.”
Carefully, Penelope reached out to let her fingertips run over the bruised skin, but when Derek groaned, she quickly pulled away.
“No, no,” he said with a grin, “that wasn’t a sound of pain.”
“Oh…” Penelope smiled and blushed slightly.
“I love you, Baby Girl.” He locked eyes with her as his hands wandered under her shirt.
Penelope drew in a shaky breath.
Frowning in concern, Derek pulled his hand away. “If I’m going too fast…”
“No,” she quickly interrupted him, “please, don’t… don’t stop.”
The look on his face still had a hint of worry in it. “I just want you to know that whenever you say stop, I’ll stop.”
“I know,” she told him, “but I’m not planning on stopping you anytime soon.”
“Good.” He leaned down to nibble on the soft skin on her neck. “Because I’m absolutely planning on taking my time with you.” She tasted of strawberries, certainly a special body lotion or shampoo. Derek’s heart skipped a beat at the thought that she’d just used it for him.
Penelope’s eyes fluttered shut. She couldn’t remember how many times she had dreamed of this particular moment, and the reality was so much better than any of her dreams. Derek seemed to know exactly what she liked – and he was even more skilled than she’d imagined him to be.
They’d waited pretty long before they’d crossed this line. Derek had said he’d wanted to give Penelope time to heal. But in fact, she’d needed the time to overcome her insecurities. She wasn’t exactly the type of woman Derek was normally attracted to, and she was anything but experienced, especially compared to him. She was sure he would notice.
But if he did, he didn’t let it show. He was sweet and caring, the whole time only concerned about her, that she felt good – and she had never felt better.
“I’m sorry,” Penelope whispered, as they were lying in each other’s arms, watching the sun rise outside.
“For what?” Derek asked, turning his head a little to look at her.
“For… well… I know I’m not as… good as… Well, you’re certainly used to women more… experienced,” she stuttered.
“What?” he called out. “Honey, I don’t know what you think I’ve experienced so far, but last night was simply perfect. Besides, I honestly don’t want to know how experienced you are. In fact, I’d like to pretend I’ve been the only one.”
She giggled softly and looked up to kiss his lips. “You will be, from now on.”
“That sounds like a plan.” Smiling, Derek wrapped his arms tightly around his girl and drifted off into a deep, dreamless sleep.
The next day, Penelope and Derek signed the contract that made them owner of the house.
Three days later, when he entered their new home, he found her sitting on the bed, a picture in her hands. The expression on her face was sad; gloomy, even. Standing in the doorway, Derek waited for her to say something.
Finally, she put the picture aside, looked up at him, and said, “You know, there’s something I’ve refused to talk about so far.”
Penelope took a deep breath, took the picture from where she’d placed it face down next to her, and handed it to him.
It was an ultrasound picture.
“The only picture of the baby I have,” she whispered.
Derek gently took her hand in his. If only he could do something – anything – to make it better.
Squeezing his hand in return, she added, “I’m feeling… guilty.”
“It wasn’t your fault that you lost the baby,” Derek reminded her.
“I know.” she nodded in understanding. “That was not what I meant. I’m feeling guilty because… as bad as it might sound, sometimes I find myself thinking that maybe it was… good that I lost the baby.”
“Why?” He frowned. “I thought you wanted children.”
“I do,” she said, “but after everything Kevin did to me, I don’t think I could have given birth to his child. I know it’s not the child’s fault, but… I don’t know.”
“I know what you mean,” Derek assured her. “And no one can blame you for feeling this way.”
“I do,” she whispered. “I wanted this child so badly, but… I know it’s silly, but I can’t stop thinking that maybe the child would have… been like him. Some mental diseases are inherited, and he was really sick.”
Derek’s heart cramped when he saw the tears running down her cheeks, and he put his arm around her shoulders.
Penelope let her head sink against his chest and whispered, “I thought I was going to die. I’ve never felt that way before – and I never want to feel like that again.”
“And I’ll do whatever I can to make sure you won’t.” He wrapped both arms around her and kissed the top of her head.
Closing her eyes, she took in a shaky breath. “If only I’d noticed something. I thought he just wanted to take care of me, and… actually, I was happy that he was there. But he was the one who caused the illness and the miscarriage, because he didn’t want to share me with anyone, especially not a baby.
“He did all that, even though he knew how badly I wanted this child. He took the risk that I would sink into a depression and may never have been the same again. But you know what was worst? He helped me look for furniture for the nursery and everything else we might need. He even talked to me about possible names, even though he knew he would never let me have my baby. The whole time, I was thinking about what it would be like to be a mother, what the baby would look like, and what it would feel like to hold her in my arms. And he just smiled, knowing that…”
Derek remained silent for a while after her voice had trailed off. Then he gently pushed her away and made her look at him. “I’m so sorry this happened to you, Penelope,” he whispered. “But believe me, there’s no way to know that a man is sick like Kevin was.”
“I know.” She sniffled and snuggled back up against him. “But… I can’t stop thinking that if I’d noticed something or if the doctors would have found out about the poison earlier… or in fact, if I’d just listened to you, I would be a mother now. I would have a child now.”
“And I know you would be a wonderful mother,” he replied.
She smiled bleakly. “I don’t know.”
Alarmed, Derek pushed her away a little to be able to look at her. “What do you mean?”
She sighed. “I don’t know. Maybe… maybe I’m not supposed to have children. I… I mean, considering both our jobs… What if… what if something happens… to you in the field, for example. What would I do then?”
“Baby, I’m not planning on leaving you anytime soon,” Derek assured her. “So stop these gloomy thoughts!”
“I don’t know,” she whispered. “I… I guess, I’m just afraid that I might lose you. This is… just too perfect.”
“What?” he raised an eyebrow at her. “You think you don’t deserve that?”
“I don’t know.” She shrugged. “Apparently I didn’t before. Why should I deserve it now?”
“Listen to me, sweetness,” Derek said firmly. “Do you think I deserved the abuse I experienced as a kid?”
“What?” she asked in shock. “No, of course not. How can you…”
“Then why did it happen to me?” he softly interrupted her.
“I… don’t know,” she replied, still puzzled. Why had he asked her that? Did he believe she thought that?! Or did he think he did? “You never did anything to deserve that… Oh…”
“Bad things happen to all of us,” he said when her voice had trailed off. “I guess life doesn’t ask if we deserve it or not. And my mom always says that the worst things happen to the best people.”
“Yeah, I got your point.” She smiled at him
They both remained silent for a while, and Derek just held her. Finally, she looked up at him again and sniffled. “Thanks for making me talk about all that.”
Derek nodded and cupped her cheek with one hand to brush the tears away. “Thanks for telling me.”
“I’m glad I did.” She smiled and leaned her head back against his chest. “I’ve been carrying this around way too long already.”
“Can I do anything?” he whispered and kissed her hair once again.
But Penelope shook her head. “It’s enough if you just hold me a little longer.”
So he did, because he knew that at the moment, it was all he could do, all she would allow him to do. One day, maybe he could do more.
“You helped me get over all that, and I’m really happy now,” she assured him after a long time of silence between them. “I just want you to know that. In fact, I’ve never been as happy as I am with you. It might sound silly, but you make me complete.”
“It doesn’t sound silly,” he replied, “’cause you make me complete as well. I’ll spend the rest of my life trying to make you as happy as I can, and one day, I will give you a child.”
Her head shot up, and he could see the hope in her eyes. “Really?” she asked voicelessly.
“Really.” Derek nodded and reached out to let his fingers play with a strand of her beautiful blonde hair.
“When?” she asked excitedly, and then looked down and blushed. That was a silly question.
Derek smiled nonetheless and made her look up at him again. “As soon as you want me to,” he whispered, leaning over to kiss her deeply.
“Thank you.” She smiled and pulled him closer.
“Don’t think that’s an altruistic act,” he chuckled as he leaned forward to kiss her, “because I’m absolutely planning on enjoying every single second that we try.”
She giggled softly. At least some of her playfulness he loved so much was coming back. “I just know that… well, this is asking quite a lot from you, having a child to take care of and stuff.”
“Sweetness, I want to have a child with you because this would make our love complete,” he assured her, locking eyes with her again. “On one condition.”
“That is?” she wanted to know.
Smiling down at her, Derek whispered, “That it will be a legal child.”
Her eyes widened. “You mean…”
“Yes,” he affirmed. “We will have a child, maybe even more than one. We will get married first, and everything will be perfect – just as perfect as you deserve it to be. I’ll make sure of that. Well, if you want to marry me, that is.”
“Yes,” she cried, throwing her arms around his neck. “Yes, I do.”
“I’m sorry I can’t give you the ring now,” he whispered as he returned her embrace.
“It’s okay,” Penelope assured him. “I know you didn’t plan on all that and…”
He pulled back to look at her and frowned a little. “I just left it in my apartment.”
Her eyes almost popped out of her head.
“I wanted to ask you on Friday. That’s why I wanted to take you out for dinner then,” he explained with a nonchalant shrug.
A tear of joy ran down her cheek, and she was grinning like mad. “I love you,” she whispered and hugged him again.
“I love you, too, Baby Girl.” Derek smiled. “I can go and get the ring if you want.”
“Can you give it to me on Friday?” she asked shyly. “Just like you planned on doing?”
“Of course,” he agreed. “And now let me take care of dinner.”
He wanted to get up, but Penelope held him back. “Wait,” she whispered, “can we… forget about dinner for a while? I’d like to… start trying.”
Smiling his most seductive smile, Derek leaned forward, and with that movement, made her lay down on the bed. “Whatever you want, my goddess.”
William Shakespeare wrote, "Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none." (From the Criminal Minds episode 3x09 ‘Penelope’)