Title: Hoping – Part 1
Fandom: Criminal Minds
Prompt for 30 forbidden fruits: #23 Numb
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/? of the ‘Love and prejudice’-series.
She didn’t see or hear much of what was going on around her. Not after she watched the paramedics heave Derek’s lifeless body into the ambulance, anyway. Somehow, with help from someone, she got to the hospital, where they refused to tell her anything.
She didn’t know whether Derek would make it. She didn’t even know if he was still alive. She just knew that this was all her fault. If he died, it would only be her fault, because she had rejected him, even though she hadn’t wanted to.
This was the punishment for her behavior. She had started a relationship with a man she didn’t love – not completely, anyway. She had done it to get over a man she was sure she could never have. And when Derek had finally made a move on her, she had pushed him away. Now, she was about to lose him forever.
This was all her fault. How was she supposed to explain that to Derek’s family? Would they ever be able to forgive her? She knew she could never forgive herself, ever.
She heard voices, a man and a woman, but she wasn’t sure what they were saying. She heard Derek’s name and the information that they still couldn’t tell them anything.
How much time had passed since he’d been brought to the hospital? Hours? If so, how many? She had lost track.
The suspense was eating her up. New tears streamed down her face, but she didn’t bother wiping them away anymore. She just wanted to curl up and die. This was all her fault.
She felt a hand on her shoulder, and looked up into the friendly face of an older, white, red-haired woman.
“Penelope?” the woman asked.
She managed to nod in response.
Giving her a warm smile, the woman said, “I’m Fran Morgan, Derek’s mother.”
“I’m so sorry,” Penelope whispered, starting to sob again. “This… is all… my fault.”
“No, honey, it’s not,” Fran told her in a soft voice, sitting down next to her and putting an arm around her. “This is not your fault. You know that Derek was always ready to take risks to save other people. He couldn’t know the bullet would go through his vest.”
“But if I hadn’t… If he hadn’t been out there on his own… I… If I’d just…” Penelope stuttered, unable to form a coherent sentence through the flood of sobs escaping her mouth. “I could have warned him, if he… if I…”
“This is not your fault,” Fran insisted, gently pulling her into a half-embrace. “I know that Derek wouldn’t want you to blame yourself.”
“They won’t even tell me how he is,” Penelope sniffled.
“Don’t worry. Let me take care of that,” Fran told her. “But now, you should finally answer your phone.”
Penelope blinked at her.
Smiling, Fran pointed towards her purse. “It’s been ringing for a pretty long time now.”
Fishing the phone out of her purse, Penelope hurried out of the room to answer the call. She hadn’t even realized her phone had been ringing. And actually, she didn’t want to talk to anyone right now. But she knew she needed to answer this call.
“Hey,” she greeted once she was out of the door. For the first time, it didn’t bother her that she wasn’t allowed to use her cell phone inside the hospital. She wouldn’t want anyone to eavesdrop while she talked.
“Hey,” the voice greeted back, filled with concern. “It’s that bad, huh?”
“He’s still in surgery,” Penelope replied, sniffling again.
“Still?” the voice asked, sounding surprised and appalled at the same time. “Agent Rossi called me about three hours ago. I thought… So, it’s really bad, then?”
“I suppose,” Penelope answered, new tears streaming down her face, “but no one wants to tell me anything. His mother just arrived, but I guess they didn’t tell her anything, either.”
“I’m so sorry, Penelope,” Kevin told her, sounding honest and very serious.
“Thank you,” she sniffled.
“Do you… want me to come over?” he asked carefully.
Penelope considered accepting his offer, but there was too much she needed to sort out with Derek – and she didn’t want to hurt Kevin. If he saw her like this, he would know to whom her heart really belonged.
“No,” she said softly, “but thanks. I just… I don’t know. I suppose they won’t let me see him anyway, and… we’re all waiting here, so it’s not like I’m sitting here on my own.”
“I’m really sorry,” he told her again. “I know how much he means to you.”
No, I’m sure you don’t. “Thank you,” she said, trying hard not to sniffle again.
She heard Kevin take a deep breath on the other end of the phone. “I really know, Penelope,” he said. “I know how much you love him.”
“It’s okay,” he interrupted her softly. “I knew from the moment I saw you with him. I knew I was lucky to get a chance at all. And I know that you love me; you just love him more.”
“I… I’m sorry,” was all she managed to say.
“Don’t be,” Kevin told her. “You can’t change how you feel, and I would never ask you to try. What I wanted to tell you was that, if by any chance this… incident changes something between you and Derek, I won’t hold you back.”
“Wh… What?” she stuttered. What was that supposed to mean?
“If you want to tell him how you really feel, then just do it.” There was a long pause, before Kevin continued, “I don’t want you to reject him because of me. I want you to be happy.”
“But Kevin, I…” Penelope started, not sure what she wanted to say.
“I know that you would never hurt me,” he replied. “But do you really think it wouldn’t hurt to know that you will always ask yourself what your life had been like if you had gotten your chance to be with him?”
“Kevin, I would never…”
“Not knowingly, but like I said, you can’t change how you feel,” he said, his voice still soft. “I don’t want you to let your chance pass, Penelope. Not because of me.”
“I…” she started, but again, she honestly didn’t know what to reply to that.
“I really hope that he’ll make it,” Kevin said. The calmness in his voice let her wonder how long he had actually known, how long he had prepared himself for this exact talk. “And if there’s anything I can do, just let me know. I’ll be right here if you need me.”
“Thank you,” she whispered, sniffling again. “I love you.”
“I know,” he answered in a low voice. “I love you, too.” That being said, he hung up.
Closing her cell phone, Penelope slowly walked back towards the waiting room.
“Is everything okay?” Fran asked.
It was an odd question coming from Fran Morgan, of all people considering the situation, but Penelope felt obliged to reply nonetheless. “I don’t know,” she said quietly. “I think I just broke up with my boyfriend – or maybe he broke up with me. I’m not sure about that. Is there… any news?”
“Not yet,” Fran answered with a slight sigh. She put her arm around Penelope again. “Why don’t we go look for a doctor and see if he can tell us anything?”
“I doubt they’ll give me any information,” Penelope mumbled.
But Fran put her off. “Let me worry about that.”
Just at that moment, an older man came through the door leading to the OR and took off his mask. “Derek Morgan?” he asked.
“That’s us,” Fran told him. “I’m his mother. How is he?”
“The bullet hit him right under the heart and got stuck in one of his ribs, near the spinal chord. Luckily, there doesn’t seem to be any damage, so it’s likely that he won’t suffer any long term effects,” the doctor told them.
“How is he?” Fran repeated, obviously not at all satisfied with the information provided on her son’s current condition.
The doctor took a breath, before answering. That wasn’t a good sign. “Well, the bullet has caused severe damage. We had to remove a part of his stomach. That isn’t a problem, but it also affected his lung. He would be in a lot of pain. That’s why we decided to put him into an artificial coma.”
“Can we see him?” Fran asked.
The doctor frowned at Penelope. “And you are?”
“She’s his fiancée,” Fran replied instead. “Is that family enough to let her see him?”
“Of course,” the doctor answered with a nod. “Follow me, please.”