Fandom: Criminal Minds
Prompt for 10iloveyou: #6 Seconds
Rating: T, to be sure
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 9/10 of the
AN: Looks like I’m getting better, huh? It’s only partly thanks to the fact that despite the craziness of the last days, my muse was in the mood to work overtime. It’s also mostly thanks to my wonderful and very fast beta-reader.
Once again thank everyone of you for hanging in there with me. The story is almost finished, can you believe it? Only one chapter to go. *sighs*
Hope you’ll enjoy reading!
“We were too late,” Derek whispered into the crook of her neck.
“No, you weren’t,” Penelope softly objected. “You saved the boy.”
“Did we?” Derek raised his head to look up at her. “When we arrived, he was in bed with this boy, and…”
“Don’t,” Penelope interrupted him. “Don’t think about what Mason already had done to the boy. Think about what you kept him from doing. If you hadn’t been there and gone in, even though the backup wasn’t there, this boy would be dead right now. Not to mention the many potential victims you saved.”
“I know,” Derek sighed. “I just… can’t stop thinking we were too late. If I had been able to work this case, if I hadn’t let him get to me like this, we would have found him sooner.”
“Yeah, or maybe we wouldn’t have found him at all,” Penelope reminded him. “If you hadn’t taken this message seriously, we’d never have talked to Buford.”
“I don’t know.” He freed himself from her embrace, to sit up in his bed. “This guy just left the note referring to Buford to bar me from working the case – and it worked. What kind of profiler am I if it’s that easy to throw me off track?!”
“What kind of person would you be if that had left you cold?” Penelope softly placed a hand on Derek’s shoulder so that he turned back to her again. “You remember that case in
He nodded, softly smiling at the memory. “I was about to kiss you then.”
“I’m sure you were.” Penelope pecked his lips, before she became serious again. “Why can’t you be just as proud of yourself? You got the job done, despite the fact that it made you face your past and everything Buford did to you.”
Derek sighed again. “It’s been so many years, and still, I’m not strong enough to get over it. I can’t even face him, because I still feel like the thirteen year old boy I was when he… abused me. See, I can’t even name it without hesitation. He still has power over me and… that really sucks, you know?”
She nodded. “Yeah, I know. Derek, you probably won’t like to hear this, but… have you considered talking to someone about everything? A specialist, I mean.”
Derek looked down and bit his lip. For a moment, the room was dead silent.
Penelope’s body tensed. At least he hadn’t yelled at her right away, but she could tell she had struck a nerve. What would she do if he refused? Or didn’t react at all? She couldn’t just drop the matter because he didn’t want to talk about it. This was still a burden for him. He needed help – and Penelope wasn’t sure she could offer that help.
“I’m not sure I can do that,” Derek finally mumbled.
Carefully, Penelope took his hand in hers. “I can… go with you, if you want me to.”
Derek looked up at her again. For a few seconds, he just studied her eyes. “I really don’t know what I’d do without you, Baby Girl,” he finally said. “I love you, more than anything else.”
“I love you, too,” she whispered and leaned in to kiss him.
Pulling her onto his lap, Derek let his hand slide under her skirt. “I need you, Baby Girl.”
She knew he was avoiding answering her question, but she honestly didn’t care right now. She would address the matter later again; much later.
Derek fished in his pocket for the small box he had taken out of his mother’s locker this morning. This wasn’t exactly the most romantic moment, not considering the heat that had built up between them. But to him, it seemed like the right moment, nonetheless.
A soft knock on the door made them jump apart. Penelope quickly rearranged her skirt.
“Come in,” Derek snarled.
The door opened slowly, and Fran carefully stuck her head in. “I’m sorry to interrupt you, but… there’s someone at the door who wants to talk to you.”
Derek snorted, obviously annoyed. “Can’t that wait?”
“No, not this time,” Fran replied resolutely.
“Okay, we’ll be there in a minute,” Penelope assured her.
Nodding, Fran closed the door behind her.
“I don’t like being interrupted like this,” Derek mumbled. “Especially not when I’m with you.”
Penelope giggled softly. “We can continue that later, stud muffin.”
“It’s not fair teasing me like that and then sending me packing.” Derek grabbed her waist and pulled her close against him. “I was far from being finished.”
Smiling seductively, Penelope leaned closer to him and whispered, “I’m not turning you down, sugar muffin. This is just… a little foreplay.” Then she walked past him and opened the door. “Come on, it’s rude to let people wait.”
“You’re killing me, you know that, right?” Derek growled.
His chagrin about being interrupted was gone when he saw the visitors in his mother’s living room. He froze in the door, not able to walk towards them.
The boy turned around, ran towards Derek, and hugged him.
Relieved, Derek kneeled down and returned the boy’s embrace.
“I’m Caitlyn Roberts,” the woman spoke up. “I’m Alex’s mother.”
Released from the boy’s embrace, Derek stood up again and carefully stepped forward. “Yeah, I… I know who you are. I saw you at… when we found Alex.”
“We’re here to thank you, Agent Morgan.” Mrs. Roberts gave him a watery smile. “You saved our boy.”
“I… I just… I’m glad Alex is all right,” Derek replied.
“He is,” his father said, nodding. “The doctors say he won’t have any long-term effects – not physically, anyway. Thank you, Agent Morgan.” The man stepped forward, offering his hand to Derek.
Derek shook it and quietly replied, “I’m glad to hear that. I know it’s gonna be hard, but… Alex is a tough kid. You’ll get through this.”
“We’ll go to therapy,” Mrs. Roberts told him. “To help Alex get over this. He… he has refused to speak so far, but… we’re sure that will pass.”
Derek felt someone pulling at his shirt. He looked down to meet Alex’s bright blue eyes. When the boy pulled at his shirt again, Derek leaned down to him.
“They want me to talk to a psychologist,” Alex whispered into his ear.
Derek thought about his words for a moment, before answering. “Maybe that’s a good idea. It might help you get over it, if you talk about what happened to you. That man can’t hurt you anymore; you’re safe. I know it’s nothing you want to talk about, but maybe it’ll help.”
“But I don’t want my parents to hear that,” Alex explained.
Nodding knowingly, Derek suggested, “Why don’t you just tell them? Tell them you want to talk to the psychologist in private first. I’m sure they’ll understand.”
Alex thought about his words for a second, before whispering, “I don’t like the psychologist.”
Smiling at the boy, Derek promised, “I’ll get you someone else. I promise.”
Derek stood up and turned to Alex’s parents. “Maybe you should consider letting Alex see another psychologist. Don’t get me wrong, Dr. Winters is a good doctor, but… I recommend Dr. Samantha Jones. She’s a friend of mine and specializes in children who experienced abuse of any kind.” Derek fished a business card out of his pocket and handed it to Mrs. Roberts.
“We’ll call her,” Mrs. Roberts promised, taking the card from Derek. “Maybe Alex will talk to her.” She looked down at her son, smiling warmly. “He talked to you, after all.”
“You know,” Derek carefully started. He ran a hand over his head, trying to figure out how to tell them what Alex had asked him for. “I really don’t want to tell you how to deal with the situation, but… have you considered letting Alex talk to the psychologist in private first? Maybe it will be easier for him to talk about what happened if you… don’t hear what he has to say, at least at first.”
“Was that why he refused to talk to the psychologist?” Mr. Roberts wanted to know.
Derek looked down at Alex. The boy just nodded.
“Honey, why didn’t you just say so?” Mrs. Roberts asked, hugging her son.
“I didn’t want you to be… hurt,” Alex told them.
“Alex, all we want is for you to be all right,” she explained. “If you don’t want to talk to us, but rather to a psychologist, that’s fine.”
“Thank you,” Alex whispered, turning back to Derek again.
“Anytime, buddy.” Derek softly placed a hand on the boy’s shoulder.
“Thank you, Agent Morgan.” Mrs. Roberts held her hand out to Derek again. “For everything!”
“You’re welcome.” Derek smiled and watched them leave his mother’s house again.
“They’re gonna be fine,” Penelope softly said, leaning against Derek as she waved them goodbye.
“I know.” Smiling, Derek wrapped his arm around his girl to pull her closer. “Thank you.”
Raising her head to look at him, Penelope asked, “For what?”
“For inviting them so I could see Alex was okay.” He leaned down to softly peck her lips.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she whispered against his lips. “It was their own decision.”
“Yeah? And how did they know where my mom lives?” he chuckled.
“I don’t know,” Penelope assured him innocently.
“Hmmm, liar.” Derek leaned down, stopping just millimeters apart from her lips. “I love you.” He crossed the distance between them to kiss her softly.
Penelope moaned softly. When they broke the kiss, she whispered, “I think we were interrupted at something important.”
“Yeah, I remember.” Penelope had no idea how important it really had been. Carefully, he searched his pocket for the box he’d wanted to give her several minutes ago.
Fran smiled as she watched her son and Penelope, and then she cleared her throat.
They both turned her head towards Fran, and Penelope blushed slightly. She had forgotten they still weren’t alone.
“Dinner is ready,” Fran told them. “But I can… save some for you if you… want to eat later.”
Derek sighed. He was never gonna make it if they were kept getting interrupted. “No, no, we’ll be there in a minute,” Derek assured his mother.
Nodding, Fran disappeared into the kitchen. She knew her son well enough to know when she should just leave them alone, without asking any questions.
Penelope wanted to follow her, but Derek grabbed her arm and held her back.
“Just a second, Baby Girl.” Derek took a deep breath. It was now or never.
“What’s wrong?” she could tell from the look on his face that he was worried about something.
“I’ve been planning on doing this all day long. I wouldn’t have survived this without you. I can’t tell you what it meant to me that you came here to look after me. You always know when I need you the most, and you always care more about me than about yourself.
“I love you, Penelope. You’ve become one of the most important people in my life, and there are very few of them. I can’t imagine a single day without you, and I don’t want to. That’s why I wanted to ask you something.”
He kneeled down in front of her and opened the black box he had taken out of his pocket, to reveal a small diamond ring. “Penelope Garcia, will you marry me?”
Penelope gasped, and the next moment, tears ran down her cheeks. “Yes,” she said, her voice barely above a whisper. She wrapped her arms around his neck. “Yes, of course!”Sighing with relief, Derek returned the embrace and softly kissed her lips. Then he took the ring from the box and put it on her finger.