Title: Awakening – Part 1
Fandom: Criminal Minds
Prompt for 30_forbidden fruits: #18 Escape
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 21/? of the ‘Love and prejudice’-series.
AN: I know, it’s been years again. What shall I say?! There’s really no excuse.
Hope the chapter was worth the wait. Enjoy!
“Baby Girl,” he croaked again. His throat was sore, and he wasn’t even sure he was actually speaking.
He wasn’t sure this was real, either. Was he really speaking – or at least trying to? Was his throat actually making any sound?
He needed to open his eyes to see whether he really was awake or if this was just one of his… coma…near-death…whatever experiences.
Bright light was blinding him when he tried to open his eyes. That didn’t work. He wasn’t able to see anything.
Move! He had to move to get Penelope’s attention. Maybe, if he could raise his arm or at least move some of his fingers, she would notice that he was awake, even if she hadn’t heard him.
It took all the strength he had to lift his arm. It felt like his whole body was covered in lead, making it almost impossible for him to move.
Had he moved? It had felt like he had moved, but once again, he wasn’t sure.
Then suddenly, he felt a hand grabbing his.
“Derek,” he heard Penelope’s shaking, tear-filled voice. “Derek, can you hear me?”
Not knowing if he could really get out a response, he just nodded.
“Oh, thank God, Derek. I was so scared,” she whispered into his ear. “I’ll call the doctors and your mom.”
“Mom?” he croaked. God, it really must have been bad if they’d called his mother to be here with him.
“Yeah,” Penelope affirmed, still close enough for him to smell her sweet perfume. “Hotch called her after you were shot and it looked bad. Please, don’t ever do that to me again.”
She chuckled slightly, and for a moment, she placed her head back against the crook of his neck.
“How…bad?” he managed to ask. He just needed to know how much he would have to make up for once he was out of the hospital.
“Very,” Penelope quietly responded. This word was followed by a long silence, before she continued, “You almost died, Derek. The doctors told us that your heart stopped beating several times while you were in surgery. It took them forever to stabilize you.
“They had to put you into an induced coma because the bullet had caused so much damage. They wanted to give you time to heal. But apparently, something went wrong. Your heart stopped beating again – and they stopped giving you the medication.”
He swore silently. He had never wanted to do this to her.
“I swear, these were the most horrible weeks of my life,” she added in a whisper.
Weeks? He’d been in a coma for weeks? He could have sworn it had only been a few days, not weeks.
“How…long?” he asked.
“How long have you already been here?” Penelope completed the question for him. “To be honest, I’m not sure. But it must have been about two weeks, maybe three.”
So she had lost track of time, too? She really must have been worried about him.
Carefully, he lifted his hand in an attempt to stroke her cheek.
Penelope’s hand covered his, and she pressed a soft kiss into his palm.
He could almost feel the relief radiating from her body. So she’d really stayed here with him the whole time? That certainly meant something, right? It had to mean something.
“What on Earth were you thinking when you headed for the UNSUB’s hiding place on your own?” she whispered. “Did you really think you were bulletproof?”
It was still hard to speak, but he couldn’t think of anything better than waking up to talk to his Baby Girl. “He…proved me wrong…”
“That’s so not funny,” Penelope mumbled. “I really thought I was going to lose you this time.”
“Sorry,” he croaked.
Something wanted to pull him back into darkness, but he fought it. He couldn’t fall asleep again – not before he had told Penelope everything. He needed to tell her how sorry he was, that he’d never meant to do this to her. He’d never meant to hurt her.
He needed to tell her how much he loved her, that he always had and always would love her, but that he understood if she loved someone else and that he wouldn’t press her or anything. He needed to tell her that he would be glad just being her best friend.
“Shh, don’t speak too much,” she whispered, covering his mouth with her index finger. “You need to save your energy.”
“Penelope, I…need to…tell you…some…something,” he managed to say.
“Not now,” she pleaded. “You can tell me when you’re better. You need to rest now. Go back to sleep.”
“No, I…I need to…” he started again.
But he was interrupted by her soft lips on his in a sweet, chaste, much too short kiss.
“I know,” she whispered. “You don’t need to say anything.”
He finally managed to open his eyes, staring at her softly smiling face almost in shock.
He didn’t manage to say anything more, though. The doctors stormed into the room, and Penelope had to step aside.
He didn’t want to lose contact with her.
Once again, he felt hands pulling at him and voices speaking. They were much clearer this time, but he still couldn’t understand what they were saying. His mind was too busy trying to process what had just happened.
Penelope had kissed him.
Or maybe he really was still dreaming. This had to be a dream after all. Penelope had told him she didn’t return his feelings. She wouldn’t kiss him.
On the other hand, all that had been before he’d been shot, so things might have changed. It had taken him almost losing Penelope to realize just how important she really was to him.
Maybe this was real. Maybe he had woken up and she had greeted him with a kiss. If that was true, he was the luckiest man on Earth.
He heard Penelope’s voice again and then the voice of his mother. If the doctors didn’t send them out anymore, it certainly meant it wasn’t that bad, right? He was getting better. He needed to get better. Especially if there was hope that Penelope had changed her mind about them.
But maybe it had just been the situation. She was still with Kevin, after all. Maybe she had just kissed him out of relief. It hadn’t been a real kiss, anyway. Okay, she’d kissed him fully on the lips, but still…
And even if she had split up with Kevin in the meantime, there was no chance they were going to get involved – at least not officially. The rules forbid a relationship between them. They might have been stretchable in the case of Pen and Kevin. They didn’t really work together.
But in the case between Derek and Pen? The rules were unambiguous. If anyone found out they were seeing each other, they were both screwed.
The problem was that if he had finally been able to win her heart, he wouldn’t want to keep their relationship a secret. He would want to shout it from the rooftops. He wouldn’t want to be forced to only see her outside the Bureau and always have to make sure no one saw them kissing or even holding hands.
No, he wouldn’t let this happen. If Penelope had really changed her mind, if she really wanted to be with him, he would find a way. And if that meant he had to quit his job with the FBI then that was the way it would be.
He wouldn’t let anything get in their way anymore. He hadn’t gone through all this to lose Penelope because of some stupid rules made by even more stupid people. What was forbidding relationships at the Bureau good for anyway? Did it change how people felt about each other? Fat chance!
No, he wouldn’t keep their relationship a secret, and he wouldn’t let anything else get in their way. He would tell Penelope again how much she meant to him – and he would definitely kiss her again. And then he would ask her to marry him.
If that kiss they had shared had meant anything, of course.
But she’d been here with him for two or three weeks. She had been so worried about him that she had even lost track of time. She had told him how glad she was that he was awake and how worried she had been about him.
That kiss must have meant something for her, too.
Either way, it would always mean the world to him.
Awakening - Part 1
Title: Awakening – Part 1