Penelope sat across from him watching the concern in his eyes. He hadn't mentioned the woman in Miami that had risked her life to help him. Even though they hadn't said much to each other until now, Garcia could tell this woman meant something to him.

"Nothing's wrong. I just called to see how my favorite patient was doing."

Then he relaxed and a smile replaced the frown on his face. Garcia's heart sunk.

"I'm doing." He answered. "How's Harry?"

"Harry is Harry." She paused. "I'm hearing something in your voice. What's going on with you?"

Morgan looked across the table at Garcia who was now staring sadly out of the window. He knew her and he knew when it came to the ones she loved she always assumed the worst. So, he reached across the table and gently placed his hand on hers grabbing her attention.

"I'm not sure but I hope to find out very soon."

"Let me guess, you and that special lady haven't quite worked things out."

"Yeah I suppose you could say that."

"Don't stop until you do, my friend. You're a good man, Derek Morgan and you deserve to be happy."

He squeezed Penelope's hand as the two locked eyes.

"I don't know about that, my friend."

"Well I do! I better let you go, it sounds like you may have been in the middle of something. I'll tell Harry you said, hello."

"Please, I'd appreciate that…and Amanda…thank you, for everything."

Just as Morgan ended the call, Garcia stands and heads to the door. He stands nearly falling on his face staggering drunkenly after her and follows her down the hallway to the front of the house.

"Penelope! Wait, don't go!"

"I shouldn't have come, Derek. It sounds as if you have something going on already and I don't want to be in the way."

Catching up to her he grabs her wrist stopping her from going any further.

"Listen to me. I don't have anything else going on, okay? Amanda is a friend that's all."

"Derek, you're drunk and besides you don't owe me an explanation. I didn't fight for you, for us and if you've found someone else it's my fault…"

"Hush woman! And I'm not that drunk! There is no one else. I love you and no matter what's happened over the last week, that hasn't changed."

"But…"

"But nothing. I love you and if you don't feel the same about me, it doesn't change that fact."

She stared into his face and saw so many emotions swimming in his eyes. He'd finally found the courage to share his true feelings and she was scared to death. She pulled away from him and continued toward the door. Rushing past her he blocked her path gently pulling her into his arms.

"Why is it so easy to run away from me? What are you afraid of, Baby Girl?"

It felt good to be in his arms to be held tightly against his chest and to inhale his familiar aroma. This was a place she never expected to be even though she'd dreamed of being here for years.

"I'm afraid…and I'm a coward…and I don't want to lose what we have…"

"And what's that?"

"Our friendship."

"My beautiful lady, we are more than friends; have been for a very long time and we both know that."

He pulled away creating enough space between them without breaking his hold on her but enough to be able to look into her eyes. He saw the fear and he saw the love that he'd denied seeing for years. It was there front and center it had always been there but he'd always felt unworthy of her. He was tired of running and of being afraid. He was tired of wishing she was his and so without another word or permission he kissed her, lightly at first barely touching her lips. Then he kissed her again and again each time with more intent and passion until he deepened the kiss once she granted his tongue access into her mouth.

She kissed him back with all that she had been holding inside for him. She was still afraid but now she refused to run away. She was home here in his arms and in his life. He'd risked everything, their friendship and even his life to love her. How could she turn away from him and push him out of her life. She'd done that before and she'd nearly lost him. She wanted to believe that they could have everything they'd wanted from each other and so she relished the moment kissing him tasting the alcohol he'd consumed earlier and feeling his arms tightening around her.

The need for air pulled the two apart and now their smiles mirrored each other, giggling and exhaling like star struck teenage lovers.

"I love you, Derek Morgan."

"I love you, Penelope Garcia."

The next few moments were spent in silence him brushing strands of hair from her face and she basking in the warm love she saw in his eyes.

"Now what?" She asked.

"Now we love each other, freely, openly with no fear and when we start feeling afraid we remember what we nearly lost by not being honest about how we feel…and we trust."

"Trust?"

"Trust that I would never do anything to hurt you."

"And you have to trust that I would never do anything to hurt you."

"I can do that."

"Me too."

Still under the influence of alcohol she helped him to his bedroom carefully lowering him down on the bed. He grabbed her hand before she could leave the room.

"Stay, please."

"Derek…"

"I'm not asking you to do anything but stay with me. I just want you in my arms when I fall asleep, besides I want to be sober when I make love to you for the first time. Just lay here with me, okay?"

She smiled down at her drunken friend. She wondered how much of this he would remember in the morning. It didn't matter she wasn't going anywhere and she wasn't running. Whatever he didn't remember she'd fill in the blanks.

Home of Derek Morgan – 3 days later –

The two had been inseparable and as it turned out Derek had remembered every word and detail of the night that Penelope had found him drunk and wallowing in self-pity. The team had been given a week off and when they returned on Monday he'd be there too. She'd been able to help him through his moments of guilt over Savannah's death and his anger over her betrayal. They both were willing to accept the fact that the road ahead, fighting the demons of his past was one they would have to travel together.

Morgan hadn't slept much the night before anticipating the DNA results on Savannah's unborn fetus. He didn't know how he felt; the two of them had had many discussions about starting a family and he'd always argued against having children with her. The real reason for his resistance was his feelings for Garcia. He'd jump at a chance to have a child with her on that he was clear. The thought of Savannah's child being his would do nothing but add another level of guilt on his shoulders. If the child was Cruz's he'd feel even more betrayed by a woman who swore she loved him. At any rate, today was the day and he was thankful that Garcia was there with him.

She was worried about him. He hadn't slept all night, which meant she didn't either. As much as she'd felt bad for Savannah, she couldn't help but be angry now as she watched the torment on his face as he nervously made himself busy while waiting for the coroner's call.

One Year later –

Penelope sat on the porch swing smiling as she watched Derek throwing the ball while Clooney retrieved it and returned it to his owner. She felt so blessed and as she watched the man in her life, she knew that this was her fairytale in living color, no more just a secret dream.

He threw the ball one last time and turned to join her on the porch quickly taking the four steps two at a time and plopping down next to her on the swing. Smiling he placed a soft kiss on her cheek as she laid her head against his shoulder.

They both chuckled watching the dog look at his owners with his large sad eyes playtime was over, so as if he were a pouting child he stretched and lay quietly at the bottom of the wooden steps.

Morgan was beyond happy never in his wildest imagination could he have imagined being this happy. He placed his hand on her swollen tummy amazed at how much it had grown over the past six months. Penelope placed her hand on his happier than she'd ever been in her life.

"I love you Penelope Morgan."

"I love you too, Derek Morgan."

He then leaned down and placed his ear on her belly and the biggest grin spread across his face.

"I love you too, princess! Daddy and Mommy can't wait to meet you!"

"You're going to be such a great father."

"That's all I want to be, Baby Girl; a good husband and a good father to the two people that mean the most to me."

Then she saw the sadness in his eyes as he sat up and looked ahead blankly into the yard. She already knew what he was thinking. Even after all these months he was still haunted by the what-ifs.

"I can't help but to think about the baby; Savannah's baby."

"Baby Boy, you've got to get past that."

"I know and I'm getting better, really I am. It's just my dream was for my children to be our children, yours and mine."

"And your dream has come true. Savannah's baby wasn't yours it was Cruz's. We got a second chance and now we're having our own family, you and me, Handsome."

He pulled her close and planted a kiss on her head.

"Yeah, you and me just the way it was always supposed to be." He began. "Thank you."

She pulled away to look him in the eyes.

"For what?"

"For not running away that night a year ago. For staying and fighting for us and our family."

"I love you Derek, I always have and you my Sweet, are worth fighting for."

Without another word he kissed her, lightly at first barely touching her lips. Then he kissed her again and again. Then when she finally granted him access he deepened the kiss and showed her the best he knew how that he loved her and needed her.

The three months passed quickly. With cases coming faster than they could count Derek barely found the time to prepare the nursery for his daughter's arrival. When the day finally arrived he was on his way back from Baltimore navigating the wet streets in the middle of a rainstorm. Penelope had threatened him that if he got into an accident she would kill him herself. So, he took extra care because he knew she meant every word.

Melanie Rose was born an hour after he and the rest of the team had arrived at Potomac General Hospital. She was the most beautiful thing he'd ever laid his eyes on. Fran and his sisters had arrived three days before to watch over Penelope while he was working and for that he was grateful. Now as they all were crammed into the small room, Morgan was overcome with emotion and Penelope had long given up on controlling the tears that insisted on running nonstop down her face.

Their lives would never be the same and he was certain beyond all doubt that he was a blessed man. Unlike in his past he felt content now and certain that he was where he needed to be and with whom he was meant to be with. His feelings of inadequacy, feelings of failure and desperation that had caused him to act in haste were gone. Now the uncertainty of the future didn't force him into silence instead it motivated him to be better and to do better because now unlike the past, he was no longer alone.

###

"If we never experience the chill of a dark winter, it is very unlikely that we will ever cherish the warmth of a bright summer's day. Nothing stimulates our appetite for the simple joys of life more than the starvation caused by sadness or desperation. In order to complete our amazing life journey successfully, it is vital that we turn each and every dark tear into a pearl of wisdom, and find the blessing in every curse."

Anthon St. Maarten, Divine Living: The Essential Guide To Your True Destiny

The End…