Title: Out of paradise

Fandom: Criminal Minds

Pairing: Morgan/Garcia

Prompt for 30 forbidden fruits: #19 Watch

Rating: K

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: Derek muses about Penelope, her relationship with Kevin and his feelings for her.

warnings: none

After all these years he wasn't sure anymore when it had happened – or how. But at some point during their growing friendship he had sworn to himself that he would watch over her as best as he could, no matter what. He had failed, hadn't been there when she'd needed him. But he had never stopped being protective of her.

Watching over her had meant being near her – which had ultimately meant that they'd become closer. In fact, he was much closer to his baby girl than he'd ever been to anyone else in the world. Maybe even closer than he was to his mother and sisters. And that had been the exact reason why he'd never thought about her as more than his best friend. She was too close to him to even come into consideration as anything more than that.

That had been until watching over her had started to mean watching her with someone else. They'd spent more time together after she'd been shot and Derek hadn't even noticed that he'd pretty much stopped dating other girls until Emily teased him about it.

And then it had hit him. He was so protective of his baby girl because he was in love with her. IN LOVE! He had dated so many girls over the years, some of them he'd even seen twice or more often, but he'd never once fallen for any of them. And now he was truly and hopelessly in love with his best friend.

The thing was that by the time he had finally come to his senses and realized how he really felt about her she was already with someone else. And so Derek just kept watching over her. Unfortunately, that also meant that he had to watch her with him.

At first he'd thought that it was just his over-protectiveness making him hate Lynch. When he'd heard about him and Pen dating he'd asked her about it. Well, he'd intended to make her come to her senses and blow him off. But she'd seemed so happy. And after all that had always been all Derek had wanted, seeing her happy. So he'd left it at watching over her.

But he couldn't quite hide his feelings towards Lynch. Penelope had even gotten mad at him about that when Derek had lost it and snapped at this geeky guy that suddenly was his opponent. Not that they were really fighting for the girl, Lynch had already won her heart. Even though 'won' wasn't the right word since Derek hadn't really fought.

Not that he hadn't wanted to. But when he'd finally realized what he really felt for Penelope and decided to make a move on her he had found out that she was dating somebody else. And at first he'd thought that he could win her back. That she would chose him over Lynch if only he told her what he really felt for her.

But then he'd realized that she was happy with Kevin – and Derek honestly wasn't sure that he could make her that happy, or anyone else for that matter. He was scarred and sometimes the memories of his past were so bad that he thought he couldn't take it anymore. He didn't want to do that to any woman, least of all his baby. She deserved better. She shouldn't have to deal with someone as broken as him.

But knowing all that in his head and telling his heart to stop feeling the way it did were two completely different things. He couldn't stop loving her, no matter how hard he tried. No matter how much distance he brought between the two of them – physically and emotionally – it didn't change the way he felt about her. It didn't ease the pain nor the jealousy he felt whenever he saw her with Lynch.

He'd crossed a forbidden line, he'd fallen in love. And now he somehow felt like he'd been banned from paradise before he'd even been able to taste the forbidden fruit. Derek Morgan had never thought that this would happen to him – he was unhappy in love. He was longing for a girl he couldn't have. He was craving her kiss, her touch… He had even started having fantasies about her – very intense, very explicit and very x-rated fantasies.

That's been why he'd backed off. He'd hoped that once he wasn't around her all the time, didn't smell her sweet, intoxicating scent every day it would get better. But it didn't. In fact, it became worse the more distance there was between them. He'd not only lost her to another man the moment he'd realized that he loved her. To him it seemed that it had also cost him their friendship.

They didn't hang out together anymore. No more movies and popcorn on a lonely Saturday evening. No more hours of talking and flirting on the phone on a sleepless night. Penelope now spent her evenings with Kevin – and Derek spent them sitting in his empty apartment cursing himself for having been too damn late!

Or he went running to get his mind off her. More than once he'd ended up in front of her apartment building to finally talk to her and tell her how he missed her, what their friendship had meant to him – what she meant to him. But he'd just watched her window until the light had gone out every time. He just didn't dare.

So Derek had come to the conclusion that the only possibility was to stay back and watch. Apparently she didn't need their friendship as much as he did. Apparently she didn't love him this way. And Derek was willing to accept that. She was happy – and that was all that mattered to him.