Title: Worry – Part 2
Fandom: Criminal Minds
Prompt for 30_forbidden: #12 Remember
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 12/? of the ‘Love and prejudice’-series.
She heard the door being kicked in, but couldn’t turn to look who it was. Was it Derek coming back to save her? Or did the Unsub have an accomplice?
She saw the figure on the window disappear, and then she saw Derek rushing through the window, aiming at something out in the dark, but not shooting. He shouted something – and someone shouted back. But Penelope couldn’t understand what was spoken.
Suddenly, she felt two strong arms coming around her to pull her into a tight embrace. A familiar scent filled her nose, and she immediately relaxed in Derek’s arms.
She took a deep breath, inhaling his scent deeply. He smelled strong, masculine, and intoxicating, making her feel safe immediately.
“I was so scared,” she whispered against his chest.
He whispered comforting words to her, and then kissed the top of her head, making a shiver run through her body, followed by a comfortably warm feeling. She was safe.
Penelope wasn’t sure how long they stood there in the middle of her hotel room, holding each other. She just knew that she enjoyed their embrace much more than was appropriate. But instead of breaking free from the circle of his arms, Penelope closed her eyes to be able to fully enjoy this. She even felt herself thinking that this incident wasn’t all that bad.
That was, until Hotch came into the room, telling them the Unsub had escaped.
Realization hit her that this could happen again anytime – and maybe next time, Derek wouldn’t be there to save her and then hold her afterwards.
She couldn’t stop the shiver that ran down her spine.
“I’m sorry,” Derek whispered.
“It’s okay,” Penelope heard herself say, somewhat automatically. “I’m safe in here, right?”
“Of course you are,” Derek told her. “I’ll make sure of that.”
She nodded, rubbing her upper arms. Derek would protect her, as he always did. There was nothing to be afraid of as long as he was around – and he wasn’t going anywhere, was he?
Hotch told them to pack their belongings and get ready to move to another hotel.
It had to be really bad if Hotch thought it was necessary to move. The Unsub could come back anytime. Anytime.
Penelope shivered once again.
“Come on, let’s pack up!” Derek ordered, letting go of Penelope, which almost caused her to make a sound of complaint she could only just suppress.
“The sooner we get outta here, the better,” Derek added.
Penelope nodded, but she wasn’t sure about it. Couldn’t they just stay in here? Couldn’t Derek stay here with her and protect her as long as necessary?
Face it, Penelope, he has better things to do than babysit you.
Fortunately, she never really settled in hotels, so most of her stuff hadn’t left the suitcase yet. Her hands were shaking so vigorously, she wasn’t sure she would have been able to pack anything more than her toothbrush and the few cosmetics.
She wanted to carry her suitcase out of the room, but Derek took it from her. He always did things like that – and she still thought it was sweet that he was such a gentleman. She couldn’t help but wonder if he treated every woman like this.
Of course he does; that’s what he is like.
Taking a deep breath, she followed him into his room, where she sat down on the couch while Derek packed up.
Her head was spinning again – but this time, it was because of the Unsub, and not because of a particular FBI agent.
However, that changed when Derek came and sat next to her on the couch in his room. She couldn’t quite explain what happened to her whenever he was near. There was a heat radiating from his body she had never noticed coming from anyone but him.
It wasn’t even really something you could call ‘heat’, but Penelope couldn’t find another term, either. It wasn’t anything physically definable. It was a warm feeling that made pleasurable tingles run through her body and magically drew her closer to him. A feeling of warmth, safety, and belonging.
Yeah, all right, now you’re imagining things!
But there was a special bond between them, wasn’t there? She knew she was closer to him than she’d ever felt to anyone else before. What she didn’t know was whether this feeling was mutual.
What did it matter?! She was taken. She shouldn’t think about whether or not another man could be interested in her beyond the friendship they shared.
“Do you think he’ll come back?” she finally asked to break the silence. She needed to focus on something other than Derek Morgan. She needed to focus on the Unsub to catch him.
“I don’t know,” Derek replied. “But apparently Hotch thinks it’s possible. It’s better to leave.”
Penelope just nodded, but she wasn’t sure it was really better. Would it help at all? Was she really safer in another hotel, or would he find her there, too?
“We’ll keep our eyes glued to you,” she heard Derek say. “You’ll see; we’ll catch this guy in no time at all.”
“I know, I’m safe.” She needed to reassure herself.
From the corner of her eye, she saw Derek run a hand over his face and immediately cursed herself for saying the words out loud. She hadn’t meant to blame him for making her feel safe when she wasn’t. She had wanted to feel safe.
Derek assured her that they would never underestimate the Unsub again, that they would be prepared next time.
Drawing in a shaky breath, Penelope whispered, “Can we?”
Derek took her hands in his, making the butterflies rise in her stomach again, and then he made her look at him again. “Yes, we’ll be prepared.”
She nodded, shifting uncomfortably. He was too close to her, and the soft touch of his hand made her wish he would pull her into another embrace. She felt so much better when he held her. When she could inhale his scent, so masculine and strong…
“Maybe we shouldn’t move to another hotel,” she said, basically to keep her mind busy when it was once again going a way it should be going. “I’m just saying. The fact that he tried to get to me could help us, don’t you think?”
Derek stared at her, but didn’t answer. As a matter of fact, he had that look in his eyes again. The look he always had when he looked at her but didn’t seem to really see nor hear her. At least, he never reacted to whatever she was saying, as if he wasn’t listening at all.
“Derek?” she asked carefully.
His eyes darkened, and he licked his lips, making a shiver run down Penelope’s spine. What the hell was wrong with him? And what was wrong with her?! Neither of them was acting normal anymore.
“Derek?” she asked again, louder this time.
He made a sound that was somewhere between a sound of surprise and of disappointment.
She couldn’t help but frown at him. “Did you actually listen to me?” she asked, trying to not make her voice sound too annoyed.
She saw him shake his head, as if he needed a moment to clear his mind from whatever thoughts had kept it busy. “Sorry, I was… thinking…” he mumbled.
“You do that a lot lately,” Penelope replied, before she could keep the words from coming out of her mouth.
“Huh?” was all she got as an answer.
What? Hadn’t he been listening again? This was really starting to get frustrating! Besides, this totally wasn’t like Derek. He’d never talked to her without listening before.
“Are you okay?” she asked him, worry growing inside her.
“Yeah, it’s just…” he started, but refused to finish the sentence.
“Is just what?” she pressed him. What? Now he wasn’t talking to her about what was going on anymore? What the hell was wrong here?
He hadn’t noticed how she was drooling over him whenever she thought no one noticed, or what she was feeling whenever he came close enough for her to smell him, had he?
“I…” Once again, he didn’t seem to be sure how to finish. “It’s the heat,” he finally told her. “And the fact that this Unsub always seems to be one step ahead of us. I can’t really concentrate on anything. I’m worried, exhausted, and frustrated.”
“Yeah, me, too.” Not to mention that I’m overly hot for you. “And scared.”
Derek assured her again that she was safe, that nothing was going to happen to her, and that the Unsub wouldn’t get a second chance to get to her.
She knew he was telling her the truth. She knew all her friends would make sure that she was safe. But somewhere deep inside, a voice told her that there were so many ways to take them by surprise…
“I know,” she said, basically to try and convince herself. The fact that Hotch thought it was necessary to move to another hotel scared her. He wouldn’t do that if he didn’t think it was necessary, would he?
Penelope didn’t even realize she had said the words out loud, until Derek assured her that Hotch was just following protocol, that he didn’t want to take an unnecessary risk.
She shivered again. “Why do things like this always happen to me?”
“I don’t know,” Derek replied in a low voice, and – just a second later – pulled her into a tight embrace. Finally.
She relaxed the moment she felt his strong arms coming around her, pulling her close against his muscular chest. She was safe. Nothing and no one could ever hurt her there.
A knock on the door interrupted the moment, and Penelope could hardly suppress a sound of complaint when Derek let go of her to get up and answer the door.
“We’re ready to leave,” she heard Hotch say, and sighed.
Only a second later, Derek came back to grab both his and Penelope’s suitcases.
“I can carry that on my own,” she told him as she watched him heading for the door. “I’m all grown up.”
“I know,” Derek said, grinning at her, and very courteously, waited by the door to let her walk through first. “But I can’t help being a gentleman.”
She tried hard not to blush. It never failed to make her feel flattered and special when he treated her like that. “Why do I get the impression that you’re babying me?” she teased, to tell herself that this was just part of their usual banter, nothing special. “You didn’t carry my suitcase up here.”
“Woman, will you hush and enjoy the fact that I’m spoiling you here?” Even though she couldn’t see it, Penelope was sure he was rolling his eyes.
She just giggled. “Does that mean you’re gonna carry my suitcase into my room in the other hotel?” she asked with mocked coyness.
“Of course I will,” he promised. “Right after I make sure the room is safe, and that there are no monsters under the bed.”
“Okay, now I feel like you’re babying me,” she replied with a theatrical sigh.
She considered asking him if he didn’t want to stay overnight, just in case, but rejected the idea. After all, he could have affirmed, just to protect her – but then he would need to be protected from her. She was sure that at the moment, there was no way she could share a room with Derek Morgan and not ravish him.
Her heart beat faster at that thought.
Don’t, Penelope! Don’t go there again!
Oh, but her heart so wasn’t listening…