Title: Postpone – Part 2
Fandom: Criminal Minds
Prompt for 30_forbidden fruits: #9 Past
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 26/? of the ‘Love and prejudice’-series. Penelope’s POV again.
AN: I know, I know, it’s been a ridiculously long time again. What can I stay? I have three jobs at the moment just so that I can pay the rent. Unfortunately, most people around me can’t understand that with three jobs I just don’t have that much time – so I have to use most of my rare free time to do something for other people because “they only have one life”. (Yeah, that was what I was told when I refused to undertake more tasks…long story.) I was like “Well, good thing that I’ve got about 20 lives…”
Anyway, the next holiday is near and I really hope I’ll be able to write more and therefore update sooner then. After said holidays I will hopefully only have to keep two of the three jobs to get by. ;)
Now, enjoy this chapter!
Carefully, Penelope stepped up to the table where she had spotted Fran. “Good morning, Mrs. Morgan,” she greeted, reluctantly sitting down opposite the elder woman.
“Good morning, dear,” Fran replied. “I thought I told you to call me Fran.”
“I… I guess I need a few days on that,” she mumbled, trying hard not to blush.
Fran smiled warmly at her. “Just because I’m Derek’s mother?”
“No,” she exclaimed, blushing once more. “Well, yeah, maybe. It’s just that…I’ve envied the team for getting to know Derek’s family a few years ago, and I really wanted to meet you one day. But this is… Let’s just say I’d have wished for better circumstances.”
“Me, too,” Fran told her with a nod.
This, however, caused Penelope to frown at the other woman.
“Well, you’ve basically been all Derek talked about for quite a while now,” she said in answer to the unspoken question.
Penelope’s eyebrows shot up in surprise. Derek had told his family about her?
Fran’s smile became a little wider. “It took him some time to realize he was in love with you, though.”
This time, Penelope’s eyes almost popped out of her head.
“I’m his mother,” Fran told her with a smirk. “I’m rather sure I knew it before he did.”
Penelope smiled sheepishly and tried hard not to blush. She couldn’t help but wonder if it might be a problem that Derek’s mother obviously knew about them. But asking her not to tell anyone certainly was something Derek should do himself.
“Don’t worry,” Fran said, interrupting Penelope’s thoughts. “I’m not gonna tell anyone. I have a philosophy of staying out of my children’s love life.”
“Well, at least now I know where Derek got his profiling skills from,” Penelope mumbled. She felt relieved to know that at least she didn’t have to watch her words in Fran’s presence.
“I think I’ve learned a lot from him since he started working with the FBI,” Fran objected. “There’s one thing I can’t figure out, though. Why did you think this was your fault?”
Penelope swallowed, then she took a deep breath and looked down. “We…We had a fight,” she whispered. “Derek…admitted his feelings for me, but…well, I was seeing someone else, and…”
“You blew him off,” Fran guessed when Penelope refused to continue.
She nodded. “I just…I didn’t want to hurt Kevin, you know. And I…I don’t know…”
Fran opened her mouth to say something, but decided to rather let the matter go. “You know, I want to talk to Derek’s doctor today to see how he’s really doing. Maybe you should rest some more and we can meet at the hospital later. You look like you need it.”
“Yeah, I haven’t slept all that well,” she mumbled. “But I can’t. Hotch called just before I came down here. They want to meet me at the hospital in about an hour. I guess they want to visit Derek once more before they head home.”
“What about you?” Fran wanted to know.
Penelope shrugged. “I still have some unused holidays and certainly a bunch of extra hours. But I need approval to use them and stay.”
“And you don’t think your boss will approve,” Fran guessed.
“Well, I just don’t know if I will be allowed to stay behind,” Penelope replied. “But I’m sure he won’t leave Derek alone.”
“You know, it’s good to see how much the whole team cares about Derek,” Fran told her. “When Derek started working with the FBI, I didn’t know if it was really such a good idea, considering the kind of people he has to deal with. Now I can see that it was.”
“This job really binds you together,” Penelope told her. “With everything we see every day…sometimes, I really think I wouldn’t be able to deal with all this if we weren’t as close as we are.”
Fran frowned a little. “So…it was this job that brought you and Derek together?”
“More or less,” Penelope mumbled. “I…I don’t know. I mean, we met through this job in the first place, but…it wasn’t the reason we…” She sighed and paused for a moment before continuing. “Somehow, Derek and I hit it off with each other right from the start. I never thought we’d be more than just friends, though.”
“Is this why you’re so…reluctant about your relationship?”
Penelope stared at her for a second.
“I’m sorry,” Fran mumbled. “That’s certainly none of my business.”
“No, it’s just…complicated,” Penelope replied with a sigh. “There are rules forbidding us to be together, you know. That’s why we’re not exactly shouting it from the rooftops.”
“I see,” Fran said, even though she was sure there was more to it than Penelope wanted to admit.
Penelope opened her mouth to say something more, but was interrupted by her cell phone ringing.
“Sorry,” she mumbled before answering. She talked to the caller for just a few seconds, ending with the words, “I’ll be right there.”
“Hotch,” she explained. “They’re waiting for me at the hospital.”
Fran nodded and then asked the waiter to call them a cab.
The drive to the hospital was rather silent, as they both were lost in their own thoughts. Penelope wondered if she could dare ask Hotch if she could stay behind. Wouldn’t he know about her and Derek right away? He was a profiler, after all.
“Strauss wants us back by tomorrow,” Hotch said without ceremony as soon as Penelope had arrived and completed the round of hellos.
Penelope’s heart sank. Apparently, Hotch hadn’t been able to convince Strauss that one of them should stay behind and look after Derek.
“I told her we wouldn’t leave anyone behind just like that,” Rossi added. “And I convinced her that one of us be allowed to stay.”
Penelope’s heart started to beat faster. “Who?” she asked reluctantly.
“We haven’t agreed on that yet,” Hotch replied.
“Why don’t we draw matches?” Reid suggested, holding up a box he got out of his pocket.
Hotch frowned at him for a moment, then nodded and took the box from the young agent. Seemingly weighing his options, he looked at the box for a moment before handing it to Garcia. “Would you?” he simply asked.
She nodded a bit too enthusiastically for her own liking and took the matches from him. They all took one of the matches from her hand leaving the shortest to her. No one seemed to be surprised, and Penelope wondered for a short moment if they knew she’d lost on purpose. But she didn’t really care. She was too excited about the fact that she was allowed to stay with Derek.
“Hey, Baby Girl.”
She heard a familiar voice behind her and turned around, a radiant smile on her face.
“Hey, Hot Stuff.” She knew she shouldn’t kiss him right in front of the others, but she couldn’t resist leaning down to at least kiss his cheek. She used the opportunity to tell him his mother was going to be there soon as well.
“You two…get along well?” he asked, looking at her expectantly.
Penelope assured him that they were. “She’s nice,” she added, “and…well, to be honest, with the way she treats me, I already feel like her daughter-in-law.”
“Yeah, that sounds like my mom,” he whispered.
Penelope told him – loud enough for the others to hear as well – that his mother was talking to the doctors to find out how he really was doing.
Hotch used the prompt to make Derek tell them how he was.
Once again, Derek assured his friends that he was doing great. He told them about his physiotherapy, but Penelope wasn’t really listening. She was too excited to finally tell Derek that she was allowed to stay with him for the time being.
“We’re heading back to Quantico,” JJ finally told him. “Strauss isn’t allowing us to stay here till this is over.”
“However, we could convince her that one of us should stay behind to look after you,” Rossi added.
Derek smirked. “By ‘we,’ you certainly mean yourself.”
Rossi grinned at him.
“We drew matches to decide who’s gonna stay behind.” Reid explained.
“Really? Who was the lucky one?” Derek asked.
“Yours truly,” Penelope said a bit too exuberantly for her own liking. “I always lost that kind of game.”
“Well, lucky me,” he mumbled, grinning at her.
“We’re taking off in an hour,” Hotch told Derek before turning to Penelope. “Make sure he doesn’t overdo it. We want him back in one piece.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll make sure he takes it easy,” Penelope promised.
Penelope watched their teammates leave the cafeteria and her heart started to beat faster. She couldn’t believe Hotch had agreed about leaving her behind.
“So, was it really a lucky coincidence you drew the shortest match?” she heard Derek’s voice ask and turned her intention back to him.
“Well, when Reid suggested this, I…kind of…prepared the matches, you know,” she replied, feeling her cheeks turning red.
He reached over the table to take her hand in his. “You know, my physiotherapist suggested you could…help me during the lessons.”
“Are you sure you really want me to?” she asked in a soft voice, glad for the change of topic.
“I…I know I want to be allowed to spend more time with you,” he told her. “Even though I’d much rather spend some time alone with you.”
“Derek Morgan,” she scolded playfully. “Is that really all you can think about?”
He rolled his eyes. “Believe it or not, this is not the way I picture the start of a relationship.”
“No?” she chirped. “Then tell me, how do you picture it?”
“Going out,” he told her, gently squeezing her hand. “Having dinner together, dancing, and most importantly, kissing good night.”
“All that on a first date?” she whispered, leaning closer. She could do without dinner and dancing. But he had a point on the kissing part.
“Hm… It depends on the girl,” he told her, giving her that irresistible smirk she loved so much. “If she’s fun to hang around with and has such adorably irresistible lips, yeah, why not on the first date?”
“What about some cuddling?” she wanted to know. “Is that something you save for later or also something you would do on a first date?”
“I’d cuddle with you even without a first date,” he whispered. He was so close that she could feel his breath against her lips.
That was when her eyes fell upon the door behind him that was just opening. She pulled back and pointed her head toward the door to tell Derek his mother had just arrived.
“I hate hospitals.”
Penelope couldn’t stop a sigh from escaping her lips. “Maybe we should…delay such attempts until we can finally be sure that we’re alone.”
“How about we elope to an uninhabited island?” he said only loud enough for her to hear.
Postpone - Part 2
Title: Postpone – Part 2