"Derek, you are being ridiculous," Garcia said for what felt like the millionth time today. This conversation just seemed to be going around in circles.
"No, I'm not and I'm not changing my mind. Either you come to Chicago with me for Christmas with my family or I stay here. But you are not staying alone on Christmas, certainly not after you've been shot."
"That was almost two months ago," she reminded him.
"Right. It was two months ago you were shot in the gut, you still have pain and you're still going to physical therapy."
"Right," she said, "So I shouldn't travel."
"We're flying on a state of the art jet," he said, as the BAU's jet was dropping them off, since it was already Christmas Eve and they had all been late for their plans because of the most recent case.
"You're already late for your two days home. You should go and..."
He stopped her with a hand over her mouth, "I'm not going unless you come with me, mama...end of discussion. And if you won't go, well then I guess you'll have to call my mother and tell her why her baby boy isn't coming home for her favorite holiday."
Her glare could have burned right through a lesser man. She huffed and picked up her pocket book, "I have to go home and change first. I can't meet your mother in rumbled clothes."
He smiled, "Trust me Penelope, my mother's going to love you no matter what you are wearing."
True enough Penelope found herself welcomed not only my Morgan's mother, Diane, but by a horde of his sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews. There were people from one end of the Morgan house to the other.
She'd been talking to his cousin, Anthony, for half an hour and found him almost as smooth as Derek.
"So my cousin tells me you are quite the whiz with these fingers," he said, bringing her hand to his lips.
"Well, I don't like to brag, but...I'm extremely talented," she wiggled her fingers even as he held them.
"Hey, hey," Derek came up from out of nowhere, handing her a drink and taking her hand from Anthony, "Back off man, she's off limits."
Garcia felt herself blush as Anthony smiled and raised his hands up in the ancient symbol of backing off.
Derek kept his hand twined in hers and let her away from his cousin and up the stairs. She followed him, sipping her eggnog. He led her to the end of the hallway, opening a door and shooing several young children out before dragging her inside.
"Here," he said, "I figured you probably needed some rest."
She shook her head, "It's not like I'm going to collapse. You worry too much."
His eyes turned serious, so serious that it made her shake a little, "Not possible, baby."
The way he said baby made her shiver. That term of endearment was limited to quiet moments between the two of them, like right now, closed in his room.
Hey..."Hey, this is your room."
He smiled, "And you call yourself brilliant. Yes this is...well was my room."
She smiled, standing back up to look at his shelves full of trophies, "Star quarterback indeed."
He shrugged, "Once upon a time. You having a good time baby girl?"
She turned back to him and smiled, "A great time. I'm glad you kidnapped me."
He shook his head, standing up and coming closer to her, "I'll remember that the next time you tell me no."
She shivered as his fingers brushed against her bare shoulder, his breath against her ear, but then he was pointing out pictures of family and she let the moment pass as nothing.
Christmas Eve had been crazy in the Morgan household, but Christmas Day was the complete opposite. Everyone slept late, and then the family crowded around the tree drinking hot chocolate and opening gifts. To her utter embarrassment Morgan's mother had given her a gorgeous hand knitted scarf while she'd come almost empty handed. It was hard to be embarrassed for too long though with Diane wrapping her arms around her and thanking her for coming.
Christmas morning included mass and it was clear that Morgan still wasn't completely comfortable being back in a house of God. She knew he'd been going every week since she'd been shot, but he was always vaguely unsettled afterwards.
After mass she'd helped Morgan's mother prepare dinner, which was an intimate and fun affair, just him, his uncle and his two sisters. Afterwards his sisters left to visit their in laws and the men helped haul everything into the kitchen and then Diane shooed them out and they moved to the living room to watch football.
She stayed with Diana helping her clean up.
"You don't have to do this Penelope, go sit with Derek and the boys."
She shook her head, "Football is definitely not my thing. Besides it's the least I could do after you've been so wonderful to me. I really appreciate you letting Derek bring me along."
"Letting?" she said, then laughed, "Sweetheart I've been demanding he bring you to visit forever. He's all you talk about."
Penelope went very still at those words, then shook it off, "Well, I mean...I'm...with me being shot and everything he's been very worried. And he's been taking great care of me."
"I'm sure he has, but I didn't just mean since you've been shot. Derek's been telling me about you for a while now."
"How...how long is a while?" her breath stuttered out.
Diane shrugged, pretending to be casual about her answer, "A year, little more. I constantly asked him about work--his whole life I've asked him questions, but he would never give an inch. And not just when he was undercover either--all that time. Nothing about his cases, nothing about his day to day life, and nothing about the people he worked with. Then one day out of nowhere he tells me about this crazy computer genius Garcia and how she'd threatened to send Photoshop pictures of him in chaps to everyone in the FBI."
She let out a half laugh, half gasp, "I...I didn't know he told you that."
"Sure, that, how you were brilliant and funny. How you were loyal, how you protected him from that whole...that whole incident where he was arrested."
Penelope looked down, "I was just doing my job."
Diane grabbed her wrist, "Is that all you were doing Penelope?"
"I'm sorry," she said, dropping Pen's wrist, "I just...my son hasn't gone to church since he was a boy. And then one day he calls me out of the blue and tells me he went in and he prayed and that he believes in his heart that praying like that saved the woman he loves."
Penelope stopped breathing, stopped moving and thinking, her whole body just went on pause.
"I don't know how you feel about my son Penelope, but I know him and I know when he looks at you that he's in love with you."
Penelope shook her head, looked down so Diane couldn't see the tears streaming down her cheeks, "I'm crazy about him," she whispered, "I just didn't think….I never hoped…."
Diane tilted her chin up and smiled, "I'm sorry if I overstepped my place by telling you but," she shrugged, "I'd like some grandchildren soon."
Penelope couldn't do much more but nod dumbly as Diane kissed her cheek and went back to cleaning dishes.
She took a nap late in the day on Christmas, the jetlag and residual effects of her injury catching up with her. When she woke the house was dark and she quietly moved downstairs. It was only midnight but she was wide awake now. She headed for the living room figuring she'd catch a late night infomercial. She suddenly missed her computer.
She was surprised to find lights coming from the living room. She ducked her head in and found the fireplace was still going and the television was on, although the volume was very low.
"Derek," Penelope said as she came into the room, "you're up."
"I'm up," he said, "Couldn't sleep...you coming in or you going to stand in the doorway all night."
She blushed, "I didn't know if you wanted company."
"Company no," he said, "But I want you."
The words made her shiver and she moved closer, sitting down next to him. His arm reached around her and soon she was settled against him, her back to his muscular chest, "Did I...thank you for bringing me here. Your family has been great, amazing. It's been...I don't think I've enjoyed Christmas this much since before my parent's died."
"I'm glad," he said, leaning in and kissing her forehead, "And just so you know my mother says you have a standing invitation every year."
"That's so sweet. I'm sure...I mean you might want to bring someone else next year," she asked the question not to test exactly, but just to be sure, before she jumped off that cliff she wanted a parachute.
"There is no one else, baby girl. Don't you see that by now?"
She turned to face him and her mouth opened in shock when she found him holding mistletoe over their heads.
He shrugged, "Man's got to use every advantage he can."
Penelope smiled, reaching up to pull the mistletoe away from him, "You don't need that," she said just before leaning forward to kiss him. He deepened the kiss, pulling her closer to him.
"I love you Penelope," he whispered into her ear as he held her against him.
"I love you Derek, so much."
She rested against him, both of them drifting off to sleep and when morning came Diane Morgan cried at the sight of them, and then shooed everyone away from the living room, making sure no one disrupted her baby boy and his baby girl.