Penelope was in her pyjamas cocooned in her doona comfortably slouched on her couch, smoosched in perfect position as she watched 'The Holiday' for what seemed like the millionth time. She was coming down with a cold and feeling feverish and all she wanted to do was stay warm and not move. With all the movies lined up in her Media Centre and necessary supply of tissue, liquids, cold tablets, and food within easy reach there was no need to get up unless she needed the bathroom. She was just getting to one of her favourite parts when she heard a knock on the door. She closed her eyes and groaned and pretended not to hear, but whoever was on the other side was insistent.
am not getting up." She muttered determinedly to herself
"Come on P, I know you're in there I can hear whatever sappy movie it is you're watching, more than likely 'The Holiday', though I will never understand your fascination with that movie." Derek called out from the other side of the door
"If you insist on bugging me, use your keys. I'm not moving." She called out in frustration knowing that he would keep knocking if she didn't. Derek chuckled as he opened the door and found a mountain of bedding on the couch, he could only assume that underneath it all was his best friend.
"It's the couch that swallowed you whole." He teased
"Hey P, are you okay?" Derek asked worriedly when she didn't have a retort. As he came closer he saw the tissues in a neat pile on the floor, along with the supplies on the table and Penelope's paled face. Derek rushed over and started to fuss, placing his hand on her forehead as she smacked it away
"I'm fine. I have a cold that's all. I'm medicated and will be as good as new by tomorrow. Now are you here for a reason or did you just suddenly remember you had a best friend?" she asked tiredly.
"Sorry P, it's just been crazy." He answered hanging his head.
"I know, we work at the same office remember. As busy as work is, you know it's not work. Look I'm really tired. I just want to watch sappy movies till I fall asleep, which will be any second now if you'd let me. I understand that your schedule may have cleared for the evening, but you're going to have to find someone else to fill your free hour."
She wasn't quite sure if it was because she was feeling really bad, or the medication that made her so harsh, the look of guilt and hurt on his face made her feel bad but she didn't have quite enough energy to even attempt an apology that she knew she would have to manufacture.
Truth was, she hadn't seen him in months, out of the briefings at work, occasional lunch with the team. He'd stopped hanging out with them after work, and worse yet he had disappeared from her life. At first he would cancel plans, but after awhile they just stopped making them. Though Penelope in theory understood, her heart was having trouble catching up. Ignoring him she un-paused the movie and resumed watching as though he wasn't there.
Defeated Derek slid from the couch to the floor and faced the TV without saying a word. Penelope glanced at him briefly before burying her head back into her doona, with only leaving a small opening for her eyes to see the TV. Derek knew she had every right to be angry at him, that her points were valid, and that he had been an ass of a friend to her of late.
He met Danielle on the plane on the way to Chicago to visit his mother. Penelope was meant to go with him but had to stay back and work as the other team's tech analyst had become sick. Danielle was visiting was going to Chicago for work, she worked at an Ad agency, and while she was in Chicago they spent most of their time together. It was easy to see how smitten he was with Danielle. She was extremely beautiful, smart, and so separate from his world that it was a breath of fresh air he needed. As new relationships go, he and Danielle tried to spend as much time as they could together, which he knew his friend's didn't begrudge.
Everyone had met Danielle, with the exception of one person, Penelope. He had introduced Danielle to the rest of the team when Penelope was on a case with the other team. When she had found out, he knew that she was hurt but let it slide. Three months later he still had not introduced them. In fact Danielle knew very little of Penelope.
Derek fell asleep leaning against her couch as they watched the remaining of 'The Holiday'. When the movie had finished she had forced herself off the couch careful not to wake him as she rose and headed back into her room. Derek woke to her closing the door to her bedroom behind her. He noticed that she had left a blanket for him on the couch in case he got cold in the middle of the night, which had to mean something right? However the fact that she closed her bedroom, which she rarely ever did, especially when he was over was a clear indication that forgiveness wasn't in cards that night.
When Penelope awoke the next day, there was a steaming hot cup of tea on her bedside table, along with her box of tissues, vicks, medication and bottle of water. There was a note stuck on the bottle of water.
"I had to go. I'm sorry." Penelope ripped the note off her water and scrunched it up before throwing it across the room almost hitting Emily square in the face as she entered her bedroom.
"Hey, watch where you aim. You could take out an eye there." Emily teased trying to coax her friend out of her bad mood despite the fact that she completely understood the reasons behind it. Derek had called her early in the morning to tell her that Penelope was sick and if she could check on her as he had to go.
already there. You can't wait an hour or two to for her wake up?"
she asked quite fed up with his behavior.
"Please Em, I don't want her to wake up alone and I can't stay. Please, for Pen."
"You're damn right for Pen Derek Morgan, because I'm not doing this for you."
"I know. I'm sorry."
"I'm not the one you owe an apology to Derek."
"I know that too Em."
"Fine, will you be there by the time I get there or use my keys?"
"I have to go in a few minutes. I'm just getting her stuff together for her so she doesn't have to leave her bedroom."
"Whatever, I'll be there in half an hour."
are you doing here?" Pen asked suspiciously,
"Nothing much, thought you might want to go out and do Brunch, but looking at you I'd say you're not really up for moving at all are you?" Em observed walking over to her friend placing her lips on her forehead before replacing it with her palm as she sat down
"You achy all over?"
"Yes and my nose won't stop running," Penelope grumbled frustrated, she hated being sick
"And grouchy!" Em observed teasingly
"Sorry, I just hate being stuck in this bed, and I'm frustrated and you happened to be in the line of fire."
"Let me guess, your target slipped out of here this morning?"
"He called you didn't he?" Penelope accused,
"Yes, but I really was already coming over to drag you to brunch. What happened? Did you talk?" Penelope filled her in on the little there was to tell and by the look on Em's face she was far from impressed with Derek Morgan.
"Get in line Em." Pen said with a smirk reading Em's expression.
"You get first dibs, but I'll be right behind you."
"Honestly, if I have to fight him to explain, then maybe we don't have the friendship I thought we did. If he can walk away as easily as he has for some girl, whom may I remind you, his supposed best friend has yet to meet, then maybe it's time to cut one's losses you know?" Penelope said sadly as she blew her nose.
"Oh Pen, he loves you. He's just being stupid. Don't give up on him just yet."
"I don't think there's very much to give up right now Em."
she doing Em?" Derek asked the following day as he sat down at his
"Don't you even start with me Derek James Morgan." Em said evenly, no doubting where her loyalties were at that point. Derek hung his head,
"I just want to make sure she's okay."
"You should care enough to ask her yourself, but then again maybe she's right, maybe you just don't care anymore."
"She said that?"
"To think I talked her into thinking otherwise when you don't even check in after slipping out of her apartment like some random one night stand. You didn't even bother to call her or drop her a message to see how she was feeling. Who are you and what have you done with Derek Morgan who actually cared about his best friend, because there's a line of people who really miss him right now." Derek sunk into his chair unable to argue.
"Derek, you know I love you to bits like a brother, and I'll always be there for you, push comes to shove, but Pen's my friend too and you've been treating her like crap and that's not like you. The Derek Morgan I know and love would not slip out of his best friend's apartment when she was sick. The Derek Morgan I knew would be standing vigil by her bed, forcibly shoving chicken soup down her throat till she was better. The Derek Morgan I thought I knew would never leave his best friend out in the cold because some girl walked into his life. I guess I just miss the Derek Morgan I know, because if he was here, I'd tell him that I want him back." Em sighed and rose from her chair leaving him with his thoughts.
are you feeling Penelope?" Hotch asked as they gathered around the
"Much better thanks Sir. I had nurse Prentiss take care of me all day yesterday." Hotch smirked,
"Glad to hear you're feeling better but I don't want you to over do it. You feel a little off I want you to go home, you hear me?"
"Yes sir." Penelope answered obediently. JJ presented the case before them as they threw in their thoughts. Penelope noted all the searches and cross referencing Hotch wanted her to do, and slipped out of the room when they were done. They were a close knit team, and family to an extent therefore the difference in Morgan and Garcia was evident to them all. Though the two remained professional at all times, it certainly was unnerving to hear the exchange between them without affection. They didn't have to be profilers to point out the source of their issues.
Pen, you're here late." Chris observed knocking on her door.
"One can say the same to you my friend." She replied smiling. Chris was one of the Agents from the other team that she had covered for on more than one occasion. He was nerdy like her but less quirky, but not quite Reid geeky. He was ten years her senior and certainly looked out for her from the first moment they met. In the scheme of things, he was the Aaron Hotchner in his team. Penelope enjoyed their conversations immensely and had fun with him.
"We haven't picked up a new case yet so we've been doing paperwork, and I wanted to finish mine before going home, hence I'm here so late, but I figure I'd take a stroll down here on a chance that you are still here, because you like live here and voila you are."
"Yeah, my team's out on the field. They haven't checked in yet and they usually do when they finish for the night."
"You up for pie?" he asked with a grin knowing her weakness.
"Only if there's a burger and milkshake before it. I'm starved I've been here for days."
"You're on. Now come on, I know you can forward your calls to your cell so you're not waiting here." Pen nodded and with a flick of a finger she was set to go. They headed to the diner near the Bureau, just in case she needed to head back to the office, that and it was one of their favourite places to go. Unsure of how it started but they had taken to calling each other by their middle names, or something that derived from it. Often she called him Bai, short for Bailey, while he called her Mags, short for Margaret. Penelope found that it was easier to talk to him about anything, than anyone else she's met before. She loved that about him. He challenged her to try things she would never even think about doing. He had encouraged her when she threw in the thought of buying her own place and renovating it even if she had no idea what renovating involved. He was a fountain of knowledge and Penelope loved to pick his brain and vice versa. Penelope was certainly one of a kind and he loved that about her. Nothing was ever too outrageous and seeing her excited about anything always brought him pleasure. She reminded him so much of his little sister, which was always bittersweet.
you go?" Pen asked worriedly as he drifted briefly,
"Somewhere far. You just remind me so much of my little sister when you talk. Your mannerisms and the way you talk."
"I'm flattered. You sound like you love her a whole lot. Are you guys close?"
"Yeah, she was awesome."
"Was?" Penelope said softly. Chris nodded and sighed deeply before he began.
"Our parents were told that after me, they could have no more children, so when Isabella was born, she was like the family miracle. She was this ball of loving energy. From the moment she was born, we were all smitten with her, and she had all of us wrapped around her little finger. She followed me everywhere and though it could have been annoying, it wasn't. She had this way of making someone feel as though they were her whole world. She had a heart the size of a planet. We were out on a camping trip with our parents. I was fifteen at the time and she just turned five. For her birthday she requested we go camping. She loved bonfires and trails and just had this amazing sense of adventure. One night after she begged and begged we snuck out of the camping grounds in search for ice cream. I know I should have known better, but she just looked at me with those big blue eyes, pigtails with lips pouting that I couldn't say no. We were walking through the woods and as always she was talking a million miles a minute, that kid could talk hey and out of no where a couple of guys grab us. One of them held me down while the other took her as she kicked and screamed for me and I couldn't get to her. I got knocked out cold, but before that all I could hear was her screaming for me, and I…" Penelope placed a hand over his and squeezed it.
"Anyway, my Dad had heard the screaming and bolted to find us and found me out cold. When I finally came to, she was gone. The search went on for about a week, my Dad and I stayed at the campsite to help with the search. Then finally they found her pyjamas and it was covered in blood, there was a trail that led to the lake and that was that." Penelope wiped the tears that fell from her eyes with the back of her hands.
"Bai, you know it wasn't your fault right?" she said as she held both his hands in hers.
"Some days my mind can wrap itself around that concept, but most days no I can't help feel that it is."
"Is that why,"
"Why I'm in the Bureau?" he completed for her as she nodded,
"Yeah, they never caught the guys who did it, so I guess the part of me that demands justice thinks that the more bad guys I catch, maybe one day without knowing it, I'll catch the monsters who did this to my sister you know? But it never feels better."
"Oh Bai, I'm so sorry." Penelope said getting up from her side of the booth to join him on his. Chris draped an arm around her as she hugged him.
"Thank you for sharing that with me, I know it would not have been easy."
"Easier than I thought it would be."
"Good, because you know I'm always here for you right?" Chris smiled,
"Thanks Mags, I appreciate that. What to do think? Time for pie?"
"Absolutely." She replied with a grin.
Her phone began to buzz, in her pocket. She looked down at her phone and saw that it was Morgan calling her, and she wasn't up for talking to him, especially at that moment. A few seconds later she saw Emily's name flashing and excused herself from conversation,
Em, you guys in for the night?'
"Yep, just got in the SUV heading back to the hotel, where are you? That's some pretty funky music, even for your office." Em said recognizing the 50's music in the background.
"You caught me. Chris here kidnapped me from my lair and we're having a very late dinner, and now very early dessert." She answered as she noticed the time.
"Aww, you're having pie without me." Penelope laughed imagining the pout on Emily's face.
"We'll go as soon as you come back okay. We'll get you some pie honey." Chris started laughing when he guessed that Em was indeed complaining that she was missing out on pie. They had all met Chris before, but have seen him around more often after Penelope had been loaned to their team. A lot of the time that he and Penelope hung out JJ, Em and Reid tagged along. Chris reached for the phone,
"Promise Em, we'll take you and JJ the moment your plane lands."
"I'm glad to hear it Agent Lorenzo. I'm just glad you got our favourite tech to actually leave her office long enough to actually get some nourishment, she tends to live in her lair when we're on a case."
"Don't worry, now that I know her tricks I'll beat the habit out of her." Penelope's mouth dropped open as she whacked him on the arm,
"Em, she just hit me."
"Now kids behave, we won't be home for a couple of days and I trust you will keep each other alive long enough to get me some pie ok."
"I want pie too." JJ said turning from the front seat of the SUV.
"Tell JJ I heard and that she has my word that she will get pie."
"I have Agent Lorenzo's word that you will get your pie." Emily assured JJ.
"Well you kids have fun, and thanks for taking care of Pen."
"All good. We'll see you soon. I'll let you say goodbye to Pen."
"Hey honey. I'll see you when you get back. Movie night at mine,"
"Sounds good. Talk to you tomorrow."
Derek who was listening to the whole conversation couldn't help but feel a little threatened, but then again he knew he dug his own grave.
you think it was mean to have that conversation in front of Derek?"
Em asked JJ as they got ready for bed, feeling a little
"No, because he needs to know that she is capable of having a life without him, that he isn't the only person who cares about her. I'm glad she has Chris, he's a great guy and he brings out the best in her. She's so relaxed when she's with him, there's no pretense, there's no walls, just Pen.
"I know, I noticed that too. I genuinely like him."
Before heading to bed Derek tried to call Pen again and found that she had turned off her phone which is something she rarely if ever did. Then again, they were done for the day, any emergencies could be sent via her pager which she always had with her. Sighing he got changed into his sweats and called Danielle, as he did every night before going to bed. Something he was acutely aware he did with Penelope before Danielle came along.
Penelope wasn't at the bullpen when the team arrived so the girls and Reid assumed that she was at her bunker and headed there only to return moments later confused that she was nowhere to be found. They had finally gotten used to not having her wait for them in the bullpen, it was unspoken that she would be in her bunker, but when she wasn't Reid's forehead creased with worry. Before he could voice his worry the elevator opened and they could hear her distinct laugh coming out of the elevator. Penelope emerged with Agent Chris Lorenzo and his partner Rita Lee Lance.
guys are back!" Penelope greeted happily. Walking over to JJ and
Emily giving them a hug hello.
"If you guys are done for the day we've come to take you out for pie as promised." Chris announced.
"Awww, you remembered. Hey Rita how are you doing?" Em asked turning to Rita,
"Can't complain. We've just had Chinese for dinner and we're on our way to get pie. Can't get any better than that right?" the rest of them laughed in agreement.
"Hotch told me to go home hours ago so we grabbed Chinese while we waited. I was aiming to get back here before you but garbage guts here took too long."
"Hey there are starving people in the world, I'm anti wasting food. Now are we going to stand here all night, or am I getting pie in this lifetime?"
"Sure, whatever." Penelope muttered exchanging a knowing glance at Rita who chuckled.
"Okay, Reid you have to come because I will not be surrounded by these women on my own. How about you Derek, would you like to join us?" Chris asked extending the invitation.
"Ugh no thanks, I've already made plans." Derek didn't miss Penelope glance at Em with a 'Of course you do' look on her face, clearly past the point of hiding her reactions. Chris looked up at Hotch's office.
"Yo Hotchner, you and Rossi coming?" Chris bellowed from where they stood in the empty office floor. Chris and Aaron were old college friends. Therefore they all knew that only he could get away with pulling such a stunt.
"Lorenzo, how many times do I have to tell you to quit bellowing on my wing? You have your own wing in which you are able to behave like the monkey that you are as you see fit. Rita, seriously how does your team put up with this guy?" Hotch asked as he came down the stairs. Rita shrugged her shoulders in amusement as Chris grinned,
"Now is Rossi coming or must I bellow once more?"
"I'm coming, I'm coming. You're obnoxious, you know that Lorenzo?"
"It's a part of my charm. Come peeps. Pie awaits, and after we hit the bar."
Derek watched as they piled into the elevator in constant chatter. They had all bid him farewell with the exception of one person who refused to return his gaze. He was well aware of the part he played in that, and he wasn't quite sure how to fix it.
After pie, as promised they all ended up at the Bar for drinks. It was yet again the weekend and they were ready to decompress. It had been a long week for all of them and it called for a little alcohol and a lot of dancing. Derek who had agreed to meet Danielle there with her colleagues for a celebratory drinks for their new account had been watching the door for his team to enter. He would have said he'd see them there but something told him if he had Penelope would bail on drinks on the account of him and he didn't want that. In truth he had been missing her a lot lately and he had become aware of how little time they had been spending together. Too little too late he knew, but somehow he was going to try and make it up to her.
As they entered the bar Penelope was the first one to see him, he watched as she threw Emily a somewhat panicked look. She wasn't expecting to see him again, she had said goodbye to him in her mind and she was ready for a good night out with friends, not be at a bar with supposed said best friend and the love of his life that she has never met. As though sensing her discomfort, without her ever telling him of their current situation Chris had draped an arm around Penelope's shoulder and kissed her temple,
my friend have shot with your name coming to you and then we are
going to Boogie. Isn't that right Sam?" Chris said looking over
"Ooh yeah, we're gonna party like its 1999." Penelope laughed and felt her worries fade away. She was glad she had gotten to know Chris and Rita the last few months. She had such a blast with them. Emily at that point could have hugged Chris herself in appreciation. They grabbed their favorite table at the corner of the bar while the boys went to get their drinks. Penelope was engaged in an animated conversation with Rita, Em and JJ when Derek approached.
"Hi Emily, JJ how are you?" Danielle greeted enthusiastically.
"Hi I'm Danielle," she then said turning to Penelope and Rita,
"Hi, I'm Penelope and this is Rita."
"Nice to meet you, so how do you guys know Derek? I know these guys work with him." It was then it became clear to Em and JJ that Derek had never mentioned Penelope to his girlfriend and their eyes flared with anger.
"Rita works at the BAU on the other team and I'm just the Bureau's tech analyst." She replied with a smile, hiding the hurt from the same realization that Em and JJ had come to. Rita who was a seasoned profiler filled in the blanks,
"She's being modest, she may be our Tech Analyst but she's responsible for saving all our at asses at one time or another." Rita said giving Penelope's shoulder a quick nudge with hers. While JJ and Em were nodding in agreement, all the while Derek could feel the daggers they were sending his way behind the smiles. Pen appreciated the Sister Solidarity but it saddened her to see exactly how far apart she and Derek had become.
"I'm just going to use the bathroom, Babe why don't you hang with your friends awhile. I know you're getting bored." Penelope loved the irony of it. She actually liked the girl before her. It was her supposed best friend that she was having difficulty in liking at that moment. Reid, Rossi, Hotch, and Lorenzo arrived just as Danielle went to the bathroom. Chris handed Penelope her promised shot, and with a clink of the glass Em, JJ, Penelope, Chris, and Rita took the shot. Chris pulled Penelope and Rita to their feet.
"Ladies, let's boogie. Em, Jayje?" he asked pulling his hand up to both of them.
"Let the shot kick in, we'll join you in a few minutes." Em answered for both her and JJ. Penelope shook her head as if to ask them not to what they were about to which was lay into Derek for what they had just realized. She knew they were about to defend her honour.
"Actually Sam, why don't you and Pen go ahead, I might hang back with the girls." Rita said wanting to add her own two cents in. She may not have known Penelope as long as they have, but she cared about her deeply.
"Girls, really. It doesn't matter. Let's go." She begged.
"What doesn't matter Mags?" Chris asked,
"Nothing, let's go." Penelope said counting her losses and dragged Chris to the dance floor throwing the girls one last pleading look to allow her to fight her own battles.
cannot believe you Derek Morgan. Your girlfriend knows nothing about
Pen, who is your supposed best friend. I actually gave you the
benefit of the doubt about not introducing her all this time but you
did it on purpose. Wow, I so did not expect that." JJ said
"You've done a lot of hurtful things the last few months Derek, but this one takes the cake. I don't know what's going on in that mind of yours but you blew it today." Em added.
"I haven't known you all for very long, and Pen's only recently become my friend these last couple of months, but I care about her. The stunt you just pulled almost killed her, and that's sitting from the outside in. I don't know why you did it, and I would like to assume that it is for a good reason, because you don't seem the type to inflict that kind of pain on anyone, least of all someone you supposedly care about. The rule against inter profiling aside, you know as well as I do that Pen's not as tough as she seems, and she gets hurt probably more often the normal person, and when it hurts her, it stays with her. You made a choice Morgan, and I hope you're ready to live with the consequences of those actions, because she gave up on you today." Rita said slipping out of her chair to join Chris and Penelope on the dance floor. Despite how worried she was about what the girls could say to Derek, Chris totally took her mind of it. He was standing before her doing the craziest dance moves that had her in hysterics as she stood there watching him.
"Sam, I love you, but you dance like Steve Urkel." Rita said affectionately as she joined them. Penelope glanced at Rita who threw a reassuring smile in her direction.
"That wounds me Sam." Chris replied in a mock hurt voice as he clutched his chest. Penelope couldn't help think that once upon a time her friendship with Derek was once that uncomplicated.
never mentioned Penelope to your girlfriend?" Rossi asked in
"It just never came up?" Derek said lamely. JJ and Em shook their heads in distinct disdain.
"That's bull and you know it." JJ said standing to her feet. Em followed and gave him a look of utter disappointment.
JJ and Em joined Chris, Rita and Penelope on the dance floor, despite the little cloud that parked over their heads, they managed to have a great evening, mainly because Chris was such a ball of energy that they didn't get a chance to think of anything else but the fun they were having. When it was time to go Derek didn't even see the girls slip out with Chris and Rita. Em had somehow managed their little escape when Morgan was surrounded by Danielle's work crew. Everyone fully aware of the plan, with the exception of Chris who had no idea what had transpired between Penelope and Derek. Penelope knew that she couldn't avoid Derek forever, nor could she really be mad at him forever, but she just wasn't ready to talk to him just yet.
Reet, we're having a girl's night at Pen's. Sappy movies, girl
talk, ice cream, pop corn, the whole works, and we usually sleep in,
do brunch, and cause havoc at the mall, you up for it?" Em said
extending the invitation. The three of them were pretty exclusive,
but after Rita's speech, she was one of them, whether she wanted to
be or not. Rita looked at Chris,
"You mind Sam?" Rita asked seeing as she would be ditching their usual Friday night plans.
"Of course not, you four have a blast. Like an old man I am going to bed." He said as kissed them all on the cheek.
"You realize you don't have to walk us to our car, you're the one on your own." Penelope pointed out as he followed them to the car park. Chris grinned,
"As if I'd let any of you walk anywhere alone, let along all four of you. In my hood we look after our own."
"Chivalry isn't dead after all." JJ stated smiling.
"Not while Sam is around." Rita agreed.
I really appreciate what you did for me, I truly do. I love you all
the more for it, but it ends here okay. I can fight my own battles
and I will sort this thing out with Derek. He's been an ass, and I
would be the first to say it, but I cannot begrudge him the first
real relationship he has had the guts to stand by. Did it hurt,
totally, but once upon a time that guy was my best friend, and I
can't pretend he doesn't exist. I have forgiven a lot worse than
what he has done. Things will never be the same again, but I don't
need all of us to declare mutiny. He loves you guys as much as I do
and need you in his life as much as I do. It was a bad call on his
part, and I may never fully understand it, but I have to forgive it.
Otherwise, we all suffer. Not just him, but me too. I can never hate
him. We have been through far too much for me to even go down that
road." Penelope said as they sat around in their pyjamas on her
couch, pints of ice cream being passed around. JJ, Em and Rita
exchanged a look before nodding in a reluctant agreement.
"Okay, on the condition that if he continues to doing stupid things, permission to call him on it. I mean that is what friend's do right?"
"As long as you're doing in the name of your friendship and it has nothing to do with your loyalties to me, then I'm all for it."
"You drive a hard bargain lady." JJ grumbled.
After their talk they decided on Dirty Dancing, My Best Friend's wedding which is one of their other favourites was a little too close to home at that point. They weren't even half way through the movie when each of them had fallen asleep. Penelope woke up to go to the bathroom and was covering her friend's with blankets to make sure they wouldn't get cold throughout the night when she noticed that her phone was vibrating in her bag. Worriedly she hurried to get it, only to find that it was Derek. She contemplated on not answering, but saw that he had been called a few times.
Penelope answered with a whisper.
"P," Derek said somewhat desperately glad that she had picked up.
"Are you okay?" she asked wondering if there had been an emergency.
"P, I screwed up. Can we talk?"
"Derek it's late and I have the girls sleeping over."
"You're not being fair. You can't just demand to talk because you're ready."
"Please…" Penelope sighed,
"Not on the phone. Come on down. I'm at your front steps." Penelope looked out her kitchen window and there he sat on the front steps of her apartment complex. She wondered how long he had been sitting there.
"Give me a few minutes." She said hanging up. Penelope went to her bedroom and grabbed a jumper from her drawer.
long have you been here?" Penelope asked as she sat down beside
"A little while, an hour or so. Maybe more."
"Why?" she asked.
"I wanted to apologise. I just didn't want to go to bed not talking. I'm sorry P."
"For what it's worth, I know you are, and maybe even to some extent I understand it. Not to say it didn't hurt, but I think my brain can process it."
"I just, well ever since you and I became friends, we've had this amazing connection and we just work without thought and our lives are so intertwined that all the relationships you and I have had, they've always taken second place, which was fine and it clearly wasn't meant to be, but Danielle,"
"Could possibly be…" she said completing his sentence. He nodded,
"And all of our previous relationships have always been threatened by our place in each other's lives." Penelope continued.
"I know it sounds awful, but I just didn't want her,"
"To feel threatened when there's nothing to feel threatened about." Derek nodded. Penelope covered his hand with hers.
"My brain gets it. You're just going to need to give my heart some time to catch up okay? For future reference, you could have just talked to me about this, I would have understood, but you doing it the way you did just made me feel like I no longer had a place in your life, that you were ashamed of what we had."
"Oh P, I really am sorry. I just panicked."
"It had to happen some time right. We couldn't exactly go on being each other's favourite toy forever. At some point, we have to grow up and make our own decisions about our lives. Make choices, regardless how hard they may be."
"P, I don't want to lose you over this?"
"You're the one who felt you had to make a choice, I'm just trying not to make this harder than it already is. I love you Derek, you and I have been through so much together that I don't think it is possible to stop loving you even if I wanted to. Our lives will always coincide, but this seasons brings on a new chapter. You've already started it. For now, I think it's best if we just continue on with the theme you've started, minimal contact, and you never know maybe somewhere down the line we can be the type of friends we once were." Derek knew what she was giving up, and he wasn't sure if he was ready for her to let him go because he knew the moment she did, he may never get her back.
"It's okay," she said rising to her feet determined to go before the tears started. Before she lost the battle of pretense and show him just how hurt she was. Derek stood up and pulled her into his arms.
"I love you P. No matter what, if you ever need me, I'm here. All it takes is a phone call." Penelope nodded not at all convinced by his words,
"I promise you." He said taking her square by the shoulders looking right into her eyes,
"Whatever changes may come our way, whoever comes into our lives, all it takes is a phone call and I'm there." Penelope nodded a little more convincingly than the previous time before planting a kiss on his cheek leaving him on her front step.
As she closed the door behind her she allowed the tears to run down her cheeks. It felt like the walls of her heart were closing in on her as she stood there. It was like something or someone died in her life. Just as she was about to head to her room Rita had come out of the bathroom. Seeing the tears in her eyes, she pulled her into the room and into her arms.
it's okay. I know it doesn't feel like it right now, but it won't
hurt so much forever." Rita soothed. She had noticed that Pen
wasn't in the apartment and when she grabbed a drink from the sink
she spotted them on the front steps.
"I know. It had to be done you know, without all the resentment, at least this way, it's almost mutual. How do I go on as though we're just some random colleagues when all we've ever been are Morgan and Garcia."
"You'll learn, and we will all be right there with you." Rita promised pulling her new friend into another hug.
Penelope had given the girls a brief run down, though they suspected it affected her more than she projected, they were glad that she and Derek had at least talked. Come Monday morning the tension was not as palpable as the rest of the boys feared it would be. Though there was a distinct different in conduct between Morgan and Garcia, there was no underlying tension or resentment, which left a bitter sweet taste in all their mouths.