Title: Fighting – Part 2
Fandom: Criminal Minds
Prompt for 30 forbidden fruits: #24 Lonely
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 19/? of the ‘Love and prejudice’-series.
AN: And here you go again. I thought after such a long wait, you deserved at least two updates. ;)
The most annoying thing about the induced coma was that Derek could hear everything around him. He could even smell: coffee, disinfecting agents, and Penelope.
Or was it just his mind playing tricks on him? Did he really just imagine all this? If so, then why couldn’t he see anything?
“If he survives the next twenty-four hours, there’s a good chance he’ll pull through,” a male voice echoed through his mind.
He wasn’t sure if he had really heard the voice, though. Maybe he had just imagined it, because he had seen so many movies – and in a situation like this, someone always said that the patient just needed to survive the next twenty-four hours.
Twenty-four hours wasn’t that much time, was it? He could do it. He could survive. He needed to pull through for Penelope, even if it was just so he could tell her he was okay with them just being friends.
Of course, he was anything but okay with the thought of that. But if the alternative was losing her forever, he would settle for what he could have. If she was happy with Kevin, he would accept it.
He surely wouldn’t give up dreaming, though. He couldn’t give up dreaming that she hadn’t chosen Kevin over him, that she would be much happier with him. It wasn’t forbidden to keep dreaming, was it?
Even in his current state of being somewhere between a coma and consciousness, he dreamed about her. Her scent was surrounding him; he could feel her presence, and hear her voice… There was no way he could not be dreaming about her.
He was dreaming about all the nights they had spent cuddling on his couch or hers, watching movies together. Her head resting against his chest, while he was feeding her popcorn. He had never really realized what those nights had meant to him, the feeling of her soft, warm body snuggled up so close against his.
If only he hadn’t been so damn blind. If only he had leaned down to kiss her when the urge had overcome him. Just once. Then she wouldn’t be with Kevin now.
He had never dared, always telling himself that it was just a natural physical reaction to her being so close to him and nothing more. That under “normal” circumstances, he wouldn’t feel this way about her, wouldn’t have this sudden urge to kiss her, to taste her.
He had never wondered why he was so fond of cuddling with her in the first place. It had never occurred to him that canceling dates with women who were more than obvious on how they wanted the evening to end for watching a movie with Penelope wouldn’t seem normal to anyone else.
For him, it had been the most normal and most obvious thing to do. If he had thought about it, really thought about it just once, he would have realized his feelings for her much earlier and could have acted upon them before it had been too late.
Or maybe she really had never thought of them as more than just friends, and it wouldn’t have changed anything.
He wasn’t going to find out. It was too late for leaning down to kiss her on one of those nights. He would never find out if she would have kissed him back or pushed him away.
Their movie nights were over. When Penelope had started dating Kevin, they had stopped spending the evening together. And Derek had stopped canceling dates to be with Penelope.
And then he had stopped dating at all. He’d never really been in the mood for a date after that. He’d picked up a woman at a bar every once in a while – but he’d never really gone out again, except for the rare times Penelope had invited him to join her at the movies.
It hadn’t escaped his notice that, while she was still flirtatious around him, she always made sure they weren’t alone on those occasions. There was always at least one other member of the team with them, so they could have called it a “team night”.
Derek had still enjoyed spending time with her – probably way too much for his own good. But he had always canceled when Kevin was invited to movie night, too.
Luckily, Penelope had been empathic enough to notice that and not invite Kevin to their nights, too. She started calling it a “no partners night”. Of course, she couldn’t have known it had made him feel all the more lonely around her.
He heard her voice, but wasn’t able to understand what she was saying. Was it a dream again? Or was she really here talking to him?
Was any of this real? He thought he could hear what was going on around him. Doctors talking, nurses changing the beddings… But… Maybe it was just a dream.
He kept dreaming about Penelope, after all. So maybe everything he thought he heard was also nothing more than a dream. But he could see during his dreams – and he couldn’t see when he heard those voices…
He felt a soft hand taking his, and he knew it was Penelope’s. He had touched her so often, felt her touch so many times, that he simply knew when she touched him, even without being able to see anything.
He tried to squeeze her hand in return, but wasn’t sure he really succeeded. Was her touch even real, or was it also just his mind playing tricks?
If this wasn’t a dream, if she really was here with him, it meant she still cared about him, didn’t it? What did that mean for their relationship? She hadn’t stayed in the hospital with Hotch when he had been attacked. But she was with Derek now.
If she was really there…
Derek felt something pulling him towards darkness again, but he tried to fight it. He heard voices around him, sounding nervous, panicked even. What was going on?
He felt dizzy – if that was even possible given his current condition. He felt… strange, somehow light, almost weightless.
Then he felt pain rushing through his chest. It felt as if he’d been shot again, or punched really heart in the side and against his breast bone.
Maybe this was his memory coming back. Maybe he remembered the shooting again.
He heard the voices again, blurred and far away. The feeling of Penelope’s hand holding his was gone. But there was the pain again, even more severe than the first time. It was getting harder to breathe, as if someone or something was lying on his chest.
He was drifting back and forth between a completely dark nothing and the voices in the bright room that he hoped was a hospital room.
What on Earth was going on here? Maybe he was already dead and was just unwilling to accept it?
No, he wasn’t dead. He was in a hospital room, and Penelope was here with him. Whatever or whoever was pulling him towards darkness was just trying to keep him away from Penelope.
He wouldn’t let that happen.
Maybe he had to suffer the pain to be with her. It didn’t matter, as long as he could just tell her how sorry he was and how much he cared about her – and that he wanted her to be happy. He needed to wake up and tell her.
The voices around him were gone. His chest still hurt, but it was easier to breathe. And it wasn’t the throbbing pain anymore. His chest was more… feeling sore.
And then he felt her hand holding his again. He tried to squeeze it. He tried to concentrate on nothing but her hand holding his. But he couldn’t tell whether he was succeeding.
He felt something touching – or more leaning against – his shoulder. He could smell her shampoo, feel her soft hair tickling his chin, and hear her… cry?
She was crying? What did that mean?
She whispered something into his ear, but Derek wasn’t able to understand it. But she was talking to him. He could feel her breath against the crook of his neck. He could feel her touch, the weight of her head on his shoulder.
It was pointless. He couldn’t even move his lips, let alone get out a single sound.
It didn’t work. He couldn’t talk, no matter how hard he kept trying. He was bound and determined to get back to her and tell her everything he needed to tell her – but the darkness was stronger.
It had worked once, he was sure of that. He had called her name in surgery. He knew he had spoken then. He could do it again.
Or maybe he couldn’t. Maybe now he was sedated and that was why he couldn’t speak. Or he was in some sort of vegetative state. He had read about it. People seemingly being able to discern everything around them but not able to react in any way.
No, he had talked. He had called her name… her nickname.
Baby Girl, he said, trying again, and suddenly, her head was gone.
Had it worked? Had he actually really said anything? He couldn’t remember having moved his lips. But his throat was sore, so maybe he had been able to speak.
He needed to concentrate more. He needed to open his eyes and call her name. He needed to wake up!
“Baby… Girl,” he croaked.
Fighting - Part 2
Title: Fighting – Part 2