Title: Secrets – part 1
Rating: M for language and violence
Disclaimer: Neither the show nor its characters belong to me, they belong to CBS. Nonetheless, I love to borrow them from time to time. No copyright infringement is intended. The idea for the story and the story itself - including all following chapters as well as possible sequels or prequels - belong to me.
Summary: I wondered why Penelope’s brothers didn’t show up in the hospital after she was shot – and that’s the explanation I came up with.
warnings: angst, hurt the whole programme. I know it's a little dark, but I hope the second part will compensate that. :)
Please read and review!
AN: Thanks to Melissa for the beta-reading!
“Hey, baby girl, what are you still doing here?” Derek asked. Everyone else had gone to see their family for Christmas but he had yet to see her leaving the building. So he figured she was still there and wanted to find out why.
“I’m going to take the time to fix my babies.” she replied without looking at him.
“The holidays?” he raised both his eyebrows. “Come on, sweetness, we’re all off to see our families. What’s wrong with you?”
“Nothing, lollipop.” she shrugged. “I just… I’m not into all that family stuff, you know. I don’t have plans for Christmas.”
Derek frowned. He didn’t like the idea of Penelope spending the Christmas holidays alone in her office. “Come on” he smiled. “shut your babies down and let’s go! You’re spending the holidays with me, sugar muffin!”
“I… I can’t.” she replied, perplexed now. “You’re going to see your family and…”
“Not this time.” he interrupted her. “They’re coming to see me. My apartment, so I can invite whomever I want to. You know that I won’t accept no as an answer.”
Penelope gave him a soft smile and nodded. It couldn’t hurt, could it? She did as he’d told her and a few minutes later they were heading for his car. Esther unfortunately refused to drive properly during this cold time of the year so Penelope had decided to leave her in the garage and taken a cab this morning instead.
“So… uh… how long since you’ve seen your brothers?” Derek asked to end the silence that had filled his car since they’d left the building. She’d once told him that she had four brothers and he’d wondered why none of them had shown up when she’d been in hospital.
“Since shortly after the death of our parents.” she shrugged. “I just couldn’t handle it.”
The sadness in her voice appalled him. “Handle what?” he wanted to know.
Penelope almost jumped at his question. She should really start thinking before she said something. “Nothing.” she finally murmured and stared out of the side window.
Derek frowned and glanced over at her. She’d never refused to talk to him before, not like that. She’d always revealed her feelings to him, not even thinking about hiding anything from him. Something was wrong about her and her brothers, he could feel it. “So you and your brothers had a fight or something?” he carefully pressed her.
Penelope sighed and let her head drop for a moment. “You wouldn’t understand, okay.” she finally answered quietly. “Please, forget about it.”
“I can’t.” Derek replied and glanced at her. “What’s wrong, angel?”
“God, how I hate profilers.” Penelope murmured.
Derek remained silent for a good five minutes waiting for her to say anything. But she didn’t. “Is it really so bad that you can’t make up with them?” He’d had millions of fights with his sisters but they’d always managed to reconcile.
“Trust me, it is.” she simply replied.
“I’m just saying” he shrugged. “you shouldn’t spend Christmas alone. You know, it’s a family thing and if you have family you should…”
“Derek, please, stop!” she held up both her hands. “You don’t understand! I don’t want to see my brothers. Not on Christmas or any other time.”
He sighed and studied her face. She was angry and he wished she would just tell him why. “I understand that you’re obviously really upset and you don’t think you can make up with…”
“Stop it!” she suddenly shouted at him. “Don’t talk like you know how I feel. You don’t know anything about me and my brother. So don’t judge me!”
“I’m not judging you, sweetheart.” Derek assured her. So this was just about one of her brothers. Derek wondered what he could have done to make her that angry. One thing Penelope had never been was unforgiving. “I’m just saying you will feel sorry if you don’t go and make it up with your brother.”
“I’ll never feel sorry.” she snarled still staring out of the side window.
Okay, there was obviously more to that than he’d first thought. Penelope wasn’t only mad at her brother she seemed beside herself with anger. “What made you so angry with him that you don’t even want to see him on Christmas?” he softly asked.
“When’s your family going to arrive?” she changed the topic.
“Tomorrow by noon.” he replied. “We have the whole day for us and I think I have some of your favorite movies at home.”
She simply smiled knowing that he wasn’t going to bring her to her own place and leave her alone. She wished she could tell him the truth, tell him why she hated her brother and the rest of her goddamn family as much as she did. But she couldn’t. She couldn’t let him find out.
When they entered Derek’s apartment Penelope’s phone was ringing. She fished it out of her purse, looked at the caller-ID and frowned.
Derek studied her face still staring at the ringing phone in her hands. “Don’t you want to pick up?” he asked.
“No.” she replied and wanted to put the still ringing phone away.
“Who is it?” Derek wanted to know and grabbed the phone from her. Looking at the ID he frowned himself. It was her own number. Someone tried to call her from her apartment.
“Who was this, a new boyfriend?” he asked playfully.
“Not really.” she shrugged.
“Don’t evade my questions again!” something was definitely wrong. Penelope had told him she was spending Christmas alone – but someone was in her apartment, someone she tried to avoid, certainly for a good reason. “Who is this guy and what’s wrong with him?”
She looked down but didn’t answer.
“He’s in your apartment.” he started for her.
“Just for a couple of days.” Penelope shrugged. “Over Christmas.”
The slight change in her voice appalled him and… was she shaking? Derek stepped closer and took her hands in his: “Talk to me, Penelope! What is wrong?”
“Nothing.” she dodged. “I’m just tired, that’s all.”
She tried to pass him heading towards the couch, but Derek grabbed her arm, turned her around and laid both his hands on her shoulders. “Penelope, please…”
She couldn’t stop the gasp of pain and winced a little.
“What’s wrong?” Derek asked concerned. She’d probably spent too much time in front of her computers again. He knew what this did to her back. Gently he started to knead her shoulders as he often did to ease the tension.
“Don’t!” Penelope gasped and squirmed to escape his touch, her face twisted with pain.
In shock he let go of her shoulders. Her reaction had clearly shown him that his touch had hurt her – and it was more than the normal tension. “Show me your shoulder!” he commanded.
“It’s nothing.” Penelope quickly assured him. “Nothing to worry about. I just stumbled against a locker, that’s all.”
“Let me see it!” without waiting for any response Derek brushed away her shirt to take a look at her shoulder. He gasped when he saw the dark blue and red bruise. It didn’t take him much to put the pieces together. “Did he do this?” he simply asked.
“It’s not that bad.” she replied and avoided his eyes. She turned around and started to rummage around her purse. She took out a small tube with shaking hands, opened it and swallowed a pill.
“What’s that?” he wanted to know, grabbed the tube from her before she could react and studied the label. Tranquilizers. “They are quite strong.” he murmured. “How long have you been taking these?”
“For a few years.” she answered quietly and turned around to escape that situation.
“Talk to me!” Derek grabbed her hand and forced her to look at him again. He was beside himself with anger when he saw the horrified look in her eyes. Not only had this sleaze dared to do this to her. He’d managed to frighten Penelope so much that she was now scared of him! “What?” he stared into her fear-filled eyes. “Are you scared of me?”
“No.” she whispered.
“Do you think I’m going to hit you, too?”
“No.” he could tell from the look on her face that she wasn’t sure about that anymore. “Please, let go of me!”
Derek stared into her eyes for a moment. He desperately wanted to punch something, a punching bag, a wall – or better this guy’s face. “You have to leave him!”
“You’re not going to leave me, never!” he yelled at her. She’d never seen him so angry before. She had known it was a mistake but Antonio needed help and they weren’t able to help him. But maybe turning him in was not the best way to get him help. Her heart almost stopped beating when he stepped closer, his face showing nothing but fury. She knew what was going to happen – and she knew defending herself would only make it worse. She’d accepted her fate a long time ago, after she’d realized that no one was going to help her. She felt his fist in her stomach, stumbled and fell to the cold, hard floor of her apartment.
She’d have flashbacks before but only a few that were so intense that she could actually feel all that again. She winced and held her stomach. She stumbled and sank to her knees.
Derek noticed the absentmindedness in her eyes. She seemed to be a thousand miles away – and from her expression Derek could tell that it was not a good place where she was. He stepped closer and gently grabbed her upper arms trying to pull her to her feet. “Penelope, do you hear me?”
“You can end this – and you know how!” Antonio said with a malicious grin.
Penelope tried to find a way out of that situation. Maybe she could argue with him, or just fight him. He stepped closer and grabbed her arms, his fingers painfully digging into the flesh. Fighting him seemed to be the only choice she had.
“Don’t” she shouted and tried to punch him. “don’t touch me!”
In shock Derek let go of her. “What’s wrong?”
“What’s wrong?” he smirked. “You’ve never complained about it before.” He grabbed her hair and pulled her head to his face so she could feel his breath as he hissed. “You do it voluntarily or I’ll make you do it. You know which one’s more pleasant. Your choice!”
He slammed her against the wall and she slid to the ground. Penelope squatted in the corner hoping that she could escape him. But she knew she couldn’t. He came closer and knelt down in front of her.
“Please, Antonio, don’t.” Penelope whimpered when Derek stepped closer. She’d withdrawn into a corner and buried her face with her hands. “Don’t make me do this!”
Derek knelt down in front of her and tried to put a hand on her shoulder. But she punched him blindly with both fists, screaming furiously and he backed off in shock. “Baby girl, it’s
Penelope opened her eyes and looked at him. “Derek?” she asked puzzled. Then she seemed to realize what had happened. “Oh, God, I… I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to punch you. It’s just, I…” she stopped and looked down.
“You were reliving it.” Derek finished her sentence.
She simply nodded, ashamed of her breakdown. She never wanted him to find out, never wanted him to know about this. And yet she was relieved that he did.
Derek pulled her to her feet and led her to the couch, sat down next to her and gently put an arm around her shoulder. She wasn’t crying, just slightly shaking. After a while he got up, took two glasses from the cabinet and filled them with Scotch. He felt they both needed a drink right now. Derek handed Penelope the glass and watched her sip at it.
“You have to leave him.” he stated once more as he sat down next to her and emptied his own glass with one go.
“Derek, it’s not that simple. I...” Penelope tried to object.
“Yes it is.” he cut her off. “It is that simple. You’ll never let him into your apartment again! You change the lock and then you report this to the police.”
“I can’t.” she whispered.
“You have to.” Derek insisted. “Penelope, I’ve seen this before and so have you. This is never going to stop and you know that.”
Her voice was barely audible when she answered. “Sometimes he’s just… so angry.”
“And he takes this anger out on you.” Derek snarled. God, how he wanted to show this bastard what it felt like to be beaten up.
Penelope simply shrugged.
“Don’t you dare condone what he did to you!” Derek almost shouted at her.
“Derek, you don’t understand.” she whispered.
“That’s right.” he nodded. “How can you want to go back to him?”
She didn’t answer.
“Come on, sweetness.” Derek cupped her chin with his hand and forced her to look at him. “Don’t shut me out again. I can’t help you if you don’t talk to me.”
She studied his face and tears sprung to her eyes. He really wanted to help her, he wanted to stop this, stop him. No one had ever wanted that before, no one had ever paid attention.
“Did I say something wrong?” Derek asked concerned when he saw the tears running down her cheeks.
“No” Penelope sobbed. “it’s just… no one ever cared about it. They all knew what he did to me and no one ever stopped him.”
Derek frowned and asked: “Who knew about this?”
“The rest of my family.” she whispered.
The rest of her… The realization hit him like a bolt from the blue. There was a reason why she didn’t want to see her brothers, not even on Christmas. This guy in her apartment… “Antonio is your brother, right?” he asked.
Derek took a deep breath and ran his hand over his head. He couldn’t imagine doing something like that to any woman, but his own sister?! “When did this start?” he wanted to know.
“I don’t know.” she replied. “He’s been willing to use violence his whole life long. At school I thought it was kind of cool because only a few people dared to bother me. But after our parents died he changed. He became more and more angry until one day we had a really bad fight and he hit me. I left shortly after that. I never told them my new address, I’m not sure how he found me.”
“And none of your other brothers did anything to stop him?” he wasn’t able to keep the horror and the lack of understanding about that fact from his voice.
“I guess they didn’t care.” Penelope replied in a whisper.
“Did he…” Derek breathed deeply. He didn’t want to know the answer cause it would only make him more angry. But he needed to ask the question. “Did he rape you?”
Penelope took in a deep, shaky breath and shook her head. “But sometimes he touched me and… forced me to touch him and to…”
The glass in his hands burst into a million pieces that scattered across the floor of his living room and Penelope was startled. She stared at his bleeding hand in shock.
Derek frowned staring at the shards and his hands. “I’m sorry.” he murmured and got up. He went to the bathroom and locked the door behind him. He washed the blood off his hands and examined the little cuts. Nothing severe. He breathed deeply, balanced his arms on the basin and looked into the mirror. He was angry. Angry with this Antonio for doing this to his baby girl, angry with her goddamn brothers for not helping her, angry with her for not telling him. But most of all he was angry with himself for never recognizing the hell she’d gone through – and was still trapped in. How could he have missed it? He thought he knew her but he hadn’t paid enough attention to see what she was going through. If he’d realized sooner then maybe… He smashed the mirror with his fist and watched the shards fall into the basin.
“Derek?” he heard a soft voice coming through the door. “Are you okay?”
How could she be worried about him right now? How could she be so selfless? It made him even more upset with himself. He opened the door and immediately caught her in his arms. “He’ll never hurt you again, doll face.” he promised. “I’ll make sure of that.”
She put her arms around his waist, leaned her head against his chest and closed her eyes. “Thank you.” she whispered.
He could still hear the fear in her voice and snarled through gritted teeth: “I swear if he ever dares to touch you again, I’ll kill him.”
“Derek, don’t talk like that!” she gasped in shock.
“I mean it.” he insisted. “He touches you again, I’ll kill him.”