Slowly, Penelope got back to her almost normal self. With Gabe as her driving force, there really was no question about it. It was a non negotiable. She knew that Michael would hate to see her fall apart just because he was gone and she owed him more than that, she owed Gabe more than just a shell of the person she once was. As promised Derek had stayed a strong force in both Gabe's life and hers. His enduring patience, never failing support and love broke down walls within her she had long since declared to be permanent. She was grateful that he was around. She knew that Gabriel coped as well as he had because he had Derek, though he could never replace Michael, he filled a part of the huge void they all felt without him.
"Hey P, you home?" Derek called out as he came through the door. He had long since been given his own set of keys for the times when he would pick up Gabriel from school and drop him home.
"Yeah, just in the office finishing up some stuff. Be there in a sec." he heard her reply.
"Hey Kiddo, go wash your hands and I'll get you a snack. Your Mom will be down in a sec."
As a rule Gabe wasn't allowed in the office especially when Penelope was working due to the contents of what she was working on, she never wanted him to accidentally see something he shouldn't and potentially scar him for life.
"Okay Daddy." Derek smiled. It had been a couple of months since Gabriel had started calling him Daddy, and it still brought the biggest grin from his face.
"Did he say the D word again?" Penelope teased as she saw the goofy grin on his face. Derek only smiled wider,
"Sue me, I love hearing it."
"Don't worry, when he first uttered the words Mama I followed him around and made him say it over and over again. If it weren't for the possible irreversible damage I would have kept going too. Michael had to point out that Gabe was going to be going me Mama for the rest of my life." She confessed with a sad smile at the end. Derek gave her arm a quick squeeze before heading towards her fridge to get a snack ready for Gabe.
"MAMA!" Gabriel shrieked excitedly flinging his arms around his mother's legs. Penelope braced at impact and reached down to pick him up.
"Hey Baby. Mama missed you. Did you have a good day at school today?" Gabe nodded excitedly,
"Guess what Mama?"
"You're invited to school for our end of school year party. There's a presentation and I am getting an award. Daddy already said he's coming, you can come can't you?"
"I wouldn't miss it for anything in the world kiddo. Of course I'll be there. I'm so proud of you Monkey. You know with or without an award your Daddy and I would be there beaming with pride?"
Derek returned the proud grin on Penelope's face. He placed a tub of yoghurt and a spoon in front of their son as Penelope sat him down on the bench.
"What do you feel like for dinner P? I'm cooking."
"Mexican?" she suggested,
"Sold. I so didn't know what I wanted till you said that. Tacos, Burritos and Nachos?"
"Which army are you feeding?"
"The ones that always end up here?" he answered naming Emily and Reid mostly. Ever since Michael had passed away they spent more and more time at Penelope's being the two token singles of their team.
"Good point. Do you need a hand?"
"No, you're not done yet are you?"
"Not really. I have a few searches to go and I need to check in with Team B, but I can be back here to help you chop and what not."
"It's Mexican P, it won't take long. You do your thing and Junior here and I will do homework while we cook, won't we kiddo?" Gabe nodded with a mouthful. Penelope's heart warmed at the sight of full size Derek and his Mini Me. It often took her breath away. She dropped a kiss on Gabe's head gave Derek's arm a meaningful squeeze before heading back to her office. Gabe watched as his father's eyes followed his mother all the way to her office,
"You love Mama don't you?" taken aback by the directness of the question Derek, it took him a moment to reply
"Yes I do Kiddo. I love your Mama very much."
"Good, she loves you too." He replied innocently before digging into his yoghurt once more leaving Derek somewhat speechless.