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Title: Nightmares and other after effects – part 7

Pairing: Morgan/Garcia romance

Rating: PG-13 – just to be sure

Disclaimer: All BAU characters belong to CBS, the rest came out of my own freaky mind

Summary: Sequel to Twelve hours: Derek tells his mother why he refused to let his co-workers no about his relationship with Penelope.

warnings: none this time

Please read and review!

“Tell me what happened.” Fran gently commanded. She was really concerned for Derek had never called her before out of lovesickness.

“I…” he sighed and ran his hand over his face. “I refused to tell the rest of the team about us and… we fought about that. Well, we didn’t really fight. I wanted to assure her that I will tell the others but she refused to listen to me. I can’t even blame her for that. She’s right. She deserves so much more than I was willing to give to her.”

Fran frowned. Derek hadn’t seemed to worry about the fact that she had – pretty much accidentally – found out about them. So why didn’t he want his co-workers, his friends to know it? “Why didn’t you tell your team?” she wanted to know.

“I don’t know.” he shrugged not recognizing she couldn’t see him. “We first agreed we’d let them figure it out themselves but… they didn’t and… after two months Penelope wanted us to tell them. I… I said I wanted to talk to Hotch before every one else but I never did. It simply… never seemed to be the right moment for telling him.”

“If you keep waiting for the right moment to reveal something like that you’ll have a long wait ahead of you.” Fran replied. “But I know you too well to believe that this was the only reason you didn’t tell your co-workers. That pretty much seems like a pretext to me, Derek.””

“What… are you talking about?” he asked obviously perplexed.

“That is not the real problem, is it?” it was more like a statement than a question. “I mean, it’s not that you couldn’t find the right time or the right words to tell your friends that you two were an item. So what was the problem? Don’t you love her?”

“Of course, I love her.” Derek answered and the tone of his voice left no doubt that this was the truth. “But I’m… I’m not made for a relationship. I spoiled it, again.”

“That is not a proper argument.” she scolded him. “If you try hard enough you can make a relationship work and you know that.”

“Do you mean to say I spoiled it on purpose?” he almost shouted at his mother.

“Of course not.” she sighed. “I’m just saying that you being unable of having a relationship is a weak argument. And moreover the question is not why you spoiled it but why you refused to make your relationship with Penelope public.”

“I honestly don’t know that.” he said. “I was just… somehow… I don’t know.”

“Scared?” Fran pressed him.

Derek breathed deeply and tried to answer that question to himself. Had he been scared? If so about what? About what his co-workers might think about it? He knew there was no need to worry that they wouldn’t disagree with Penelope and him having a relationship. Finally Derek sighed: “Maybe.”

“It’s because of Beth, right?” she could imagine her son’s eyebrows raise in disbelief that she’d brought up that issue.

“That was such a long time ago.” he replied. “What should my relationship with Penelope have to do with her?”

“I think you didn’t tell the rest of your team because you were… worried about the fact that Penelope is white.” Fran had always thought that it was better to wear one’s heart on one’s sleeve and she’d brought up her children to do the same.

“You know that I don’t care about that.” he snorted. “After all dad and you have been quite an inspiring example.”

“I know that you don’t care.” she replied. “But you fear that Penelope does. Beth broke up the friendship with you because people didn’t seem to accept a black and a white child as friends. Even her parents were against it.”

“Mom, we were children.” Derek reminded her. “That was totally different.”

Fran sighed: “But you’ve never had a girlfriend who was white before.”

He opened his mouth to say that she was wrong but he had to admit his mother really had a point there. Of course, he’d flirted with white women as well – but he’d usually taken those of Afro-American descendant home. Derek hadn’t even recognized that he’d done so. He’d never minded something so unimportant as the color of skin. But Fran was right. “I know.” he finally answered. “I honestly don’t mind what people think about it. I mean, I’m used to almost any kind of insult people come up with but…”

Fran waited for almost a whole minute but when her son refused to finish his sentence she added: “But Penelope isn’t?”

He breathed deeply and closed his eyes for a moment. “Beth told me back then that she couldn’t stand people staring at us when we spent time together. No matter what we did, even if I just walked her home, people kept staring at us as if we were from a different planet. And after a group of older kids once almost had beaten us up she ended the friendship. I can’t even blame her for having done so.”

“Penelope is not Beth.” Fran softly said.

“I know.” Derek sighed. “But I… I was just afraid that if people started to… treat us like they treated Beth and me when we were kids… that everything would be just as it was then.”

Fran frowned. “I understand that you are apprehensive about how people react but I can tell you for sure that when the two of you really love each other there’s nothing in the world that could tear you apart. Your father and I had to face the same problems, you know that.”

“Yes, I do.” he sighed.

“Penelope loves you.” Fran assured him. “And she is a very strong and courageous young woman. I don’t think she’d give a damn what people think about your relationship.”

“I know she wouldn’t.” Yes, he knew. He knew too well that Penelope Garcia never ever gave a damn what people thought about her – except him, Hotch and Gideon maybe. That was one of the reasons he loved her.

“Then go and talk to her!” she demanded.

“I wish it was that simple.” he whispered.

“Derek, it is that simple.” Fran insisted. “All you have to do is swallow your pride and talk to her!”

Derek sighed again: “I don’t think she wants to listen.”

&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&

Hotch frowned when he hung up. He’d never heard Penelope Garcia sounding so wasted and so sad. She was always cheerful and teasing even him on the phone. Even after one of the unsubs had gone after her and she’d almost died she’d recovered very fast. But today her voice had not even sounded like that of Penelope Garcia.

Maybe she was really ill as she’d told him on the phone. Or maybe something was really wrong. Hotch decided to question JJ and Derek about it. Maybe one of them knew what was wrong with her. Hadn’t they taken off for the next case this morning he’d surely sent one of her friends to go and check on her. But as much as he was concerned at the moment he didn’t want another agent to do that.

“Hotch, Detective Jones has arrived.” Derek informed him.

“Oh, Derek, for a word!” Hotch waved him nearer.

Frowning Derek stepped into the room and closed the door. “What’s wrong?”

“I wanted to ask you the same.” he replied. “Garcia has reported sick.”

Derek swallowed hard. It was his fault and he wasn’t even there to go and check on her. He couldn’t even call her for she didn’t answer her phone when she saw his number on the display – and she also refused to pick up when he suppressed the number.

“I was just wondering if you know what’s wrong with her.” he gave him a questioning look.

“I… um… I’m not sure.” Derek shifted uncomfortably in his seat. That would just have been the perfect moment to tell Hotch about him and Penelope. The only thing was that there wasn’t anything to tell anymore.

“Well, I don’t want to jump at conclusions but she somehow sounded rather sad than really ill. Is there something I should worry about?” Hotch pressed him.

“I don’t think so.” Derek said wondering why on earth Hotch paid so much attention.

“You know I didn’t recognize when Elle had problems and we lost her.” Hotch sighed. And moreover he hadn’t paid enough attention to recognize that Haley was about to leave him. “I just don’t want to make the same mistake twice. We can’t afford to loose another agent.”

“I understand.” he nodded.

“That applies to you, too.” Hotch frowned.

Derek raised his eyebrows and gave him a puzzled look.

“You seem to be back to the insomnia.” Hotch stated. “I hope you’ll come to grips with whatever causes it so that I won’t have to suspend you from field work again.”

He nodded: “I hope so, too.”

Hotch sighed again: “Derek, I know that you…”

“We have a problem!” JJ interrupted him bursting into the room. “The unsub has just tried to rob another gas station and he’s taken four people hostages.”

Derek jumped out of his seat: “Let’s go!”

It took them about fifteen minutes to reach the gas station. The SWAT-team hadn’t arrived yet and the unsub was about to loose his nerves. Hotch ordered Derek and Emily to go to the backdoor and wait for further orders. But Derek ignored that order, burst into the gas station and overwhelmed the unsub before he’d even known what was going on. The man was in his mid-thirties and obviously deranged. He’d robbed four gas stations and three restaurants and every time he’d made one of the hostages chose another one of them to die.

Hotch watched Detective Jones haul the unsub off and stared Derek down: “What was that?”

“I thought he would freak out and maybe kill the hostages.” he shrugged.

“If you want to risk your life at all costs you should maybe consider a break – and not a very short one.” he snarled.