Title: Heartbreak – Part 2
Fandom: Criminal Minds
Prompt for 30_forbidden: #4 Hate
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 14/? of the ‘Love and prejudice’-series. Penelope’s POV.
AN: Hey, it’s me again. After some crazy days, I finally find the time to post what my wonderful beta-reader finished betaing a long time ago. LOL Anyway, here finally is Penelope’s POV. Don’t expect too much, though, the end is still the same.
Oh, well, maybe I put a little twist in it… *evil grin*
Hope you enjoy it!
Penelope felt herself looking worried – almost scared – at all the people in the entrance hall of the new hotel. She hated feeling this way. She hated looking at people and sorting them into categories, like ‘possible UNSUB’. She wanted to keep seeing the good in everything and everyone, as Derek had put it.
She sighed at the remembrance of that. He knew her so well. He even knew what she wanted and needed to hear to make her feel better.
Smiling, she followed him up the stairs and into her new room.
He kept his promise of carrying her bag and making sure the room was safe. Yet, she couldn’t stop the shiver from running down her spine, as she watched him check the room. If this UNSUB hadn’t tried to get to her, he wouldn’t have to do this now.
She felt him nudging her shoulder, and heard him reassure her that she was safe now.
“Yeah, I know,” she replied automatically, desperately trying to stop shivering. If only she could actually believe it.
Suddenly, he was standing in front of her again, dangerously close. She could smell him, and all she wanted to do was throw herself into his arms and plead him to make her feel safe.
“What’s wrong, Baby Girl?” she heard him ask. “Don’t you feel safe in here?”
I’d feel much safer if you just stayed here. “I don’t know,” she replied, instead of saying what really was on her mind. “I… I felt safe in the other hotel, until… and now I just keep thinking that he might come back, and even though I know it’s very unlikely that he’ll manage to get to me a second time, I just can’t stop thinking ‘what if’.”
She resisted the urge to beg him to stay with her, to hold her and make it all go away. She knew he could, though. He could make her feel so much better, so much safer.
And suddenly, as if he had read her mind, Derek stepped forward and caught her in his arms. He pulled her close against him, closer than certainly was appropriate for mere friends, but she didn’t care. She just wanted this to happen.
Closing her eyes, she inhaled his scent. He was strong and brave, and she knew he would protect her, no matter what. As a matter of fact, he was the only man she’d ever felt entirely safe with, no matter what was going on.
She relaxed almost immediately, the fear and tension melting under his touch, in his arms. If only he would stay and make her feel safe for the rest of the night. If only she dared to ask. If only there weren’t so many reasons why she definitely shouldn’t ask.
“You know, I can stay here if you want me to.” His voice was strong, deep.
Her head shot up. Was she hard of hearing? Had he really just offered to stay here – for the night?! She knew she shouldn’t accept this. It was inconvenient – terribly inconvenient. But oh, how she wanted him to stay and hold her forever.
She hated the fact that he still had such an effect on her. He just needed to snap his fingers, and she was immediately at his feet.
Of course, she knew that he was just offering this because he was worried about her, and because he could sense that she was, too. Just as back then, at her apartment, when he’d wanted to make sure
“I’m just saying.” His eyes were still searching hers for an answer. “If it makes you feel safe, I could stay here and make sure nobody gets in.”
Yes! Yes, she wanted him to stay. She wanted him to make her feel safe. But she knew she shouldn’t – couldn’t – accept this. So she blew him off, telling him how much she appreciated the offer, but assuring him that she was fine, which she absolutely wasn’t.
She freed herself from his embrace, because she knew that if he held her any longer, she would change her mind and beg him to stay – and then she wouldn’t have been able to give a guarantee for anything anymore. Not that she thought he would even think about taking advantage of any kind of her. She, on the other hand…
So she had to turn away from him, lose the contact her whole body and soul were longing for. She headed for the bathroom, basically to have a reason to turn away from him.
She was stopped when she realized that his hand had refused to let go of hers. Slowly, Penelope turned back towards him, giving him a quizzical look. What was that supposed to mean? What was he up to?
He had that look in his eyes again, and it made her shiver. Why was his hand still holding hers? Why didn’t he let go of her? Not that she really wanted to lose contact, given the fact that his touch was sending so much warmth through her body.
“I’m serious,” he said, and Penelope’s heart started to beat faster. This wasn’t going to end well. Whatever he was about to say, she was sure she didn’t want to hear it – or maybe she wanted to hear it too badly.
“I can stay here. If you want me to.” Why did he keep saying that? Did he know that she indeed wanted him to?
Of course he knew. He was a profiler, after all. But he also knew that she couldn’t make him stay, not when she was with someone else. So she tried once more to convince him that he really didn’t have to stay.
He didn’t seem to be giving up that easily, though. “I don’t consider it a duty,” he insisted. “I’ll stay if you want me to.”
Penelope didn’t know what to reply to that. Of course she wanted him to. And of course she had to send him away. She couldn’t, though. The words simply refused to leave her mouth, and there was no way of making them get out.
“I love you,” he told her.
The butterflies started to rise in her stomach again, just like they had the first time he’d said those words to her, back at her apartment. But he surely didn’t mean them the way she wanted him to mean them.
“I know,” she managed to whisper, and swallowed hard. “I love you, too.”
“I mean it,” he said.
Why did he have to torture her like that?
“You asked me why I was acting so strange lately. It’s because of you. You’re making me go crazy whenever you’re close to me, because I love you – because I’m in love with you.”
Penelope felt tears springing to her eyes. For years, she’d longed for him to say something like that to her. He’d never said it, though, not until now.
And now, she had to turn him down. She was with someone else, and Derek – as much as she loved him – was a player, a womanizer. He wasn’t good at keeping relationships, and Penelope knew that she would never survive it if this didn’t work.
Her relationship with Kevin worked, though, and she really liked him. Of course, she didn’t love him as much as she loved Derek, but there was no way she was ever going to love someone that much again.
Besides, if this relationship didn’t work, she knew she would be able to move on. It wasn’t that she wouldn’t care; she would, and it would hurt to lose Kevin. But she would survive it.
Once again, he assured her that he meant it, that he wasn’t just saying all this because of the heat, or the unsub, or anything else making him say it.
“But… why?” she finally managed to say. Surprisingly, she didn’t just break down, sobbing uncontrollably, because that was exactly what she felt like doing at the moment. She so desperately wanted to just throw herself into his arms and believe whatever he promised her. But she knew he couldn’t keep that promise. None of his relationships had worked so far. Why would it be any different with her?
Not to mention that she couldn’t, didn’t want to, hurt Kevin. Especially not like this.
The way things had been until now, she and Derek could at least be close to each other, as friends – even though she would never stop longing for more.
However, when he reached out to touch her, she took a step backwards. It wasn’t because she didn’t want him to touch her. Oh, how she wanted him to! But she knew that if he touched her now – apart from his hand that was still holding hers – she would forget about her boyfriend, and about everything she knew that was speaking against giving in to Derek. She just wanted him too much.
She could see his heart breaking, and felt the pain in her chest, as if someone had stabbed a knife right into her heart and was now twisting it, over and over again. Only then did she realize that she was crying.
“Why now, Derek?” she whispered, wiping the tears from her face. She had to tell him the truth. No, she had to tell him what was right to tell him now. That was something different.
The truth was that she wanted him, wanted to be with him. But she had to tell him that she was with Kevin, that she was happy with him, and that she wouldn’t leave him. She didn’t know how she managed to actually say the words out loud, but she did. And she saw the hurt on Derek’s face, even though he tried his best to hide it from her.
“I understand,” was all he said, his hand letting go of hers.
She wanted to cry out when she lost contact with him, but she managed to keep herself from doing so. Every cell in her body was longing for regaining the feeling of warmth and safety only he could provide.
“I’m sorry,” she heard herself whisper, and it sounded poor and unfair.
“Don’t be,” he said, his voice cold and unusually rough. “I shouldn’t have said anything.”
That being said, he left her room, and Penelope couldn’t stand it any longer. She hurried after him, calling out his name in an attempt to stop him. If he had turned around, she’d have thrown herself into his arms and sobbed that everything she had said was a lie, that all she ever wanted was to be with him.
He didn’t turn around, though. It was over. She’d had her chance, and she’d let it pass.
Closing the door behind her, she sank against it and started to sob.
About ten minutes later, there was a knock on the door. She practically ripped it open, and had to try hard not to show the other man her disappointment. She’d hoped it would be someone else.
“Sir,” she said, stepping aside. “Is… something wrong?”
“No,” he replied, closing the door behind him. He certainly could tell that she’d been crying, but Penelope didn’t care, and he didn’t address the matter. “I just… wanted to ask you something, about Derek.”
“What about him?” she asked, trying to sound as neutral as possible.
“Did you know that he was thinking about leaving the unit?” Hotch questioned.
“What?” Penelope burst out. This was all her fault. She hadn’t only lost him as a friend, or a potential lover. He wanted to leave her, leave the unit because of her. She’d lost him for good.
“He asked to be transferred to