A/N: This takes place at the end of season 5, episode 6, "The Eyes Have It." In my world, Derek was not involved with the sister of the victim from a previous episode, so after Garcia left him in his new office, he did not call said sister. Blech. ;)
Derek was still sitting at his new desk in his new office an hour after Garcia left him to settle in. Hearing a knock on the closed door, he called out, "Come in!"
Hotch walked and gave a whistle. "JJ told me before she left that Garcia had fixed up this room for you. She did a pretty good job, didn't she?"
Derek grinned. "She never does anything halfway. Check this out," he told Hotch, opening his new secret fun zone. "Apparently, I need to keep up appearances with most of the office, but Garcia couldn't decorate without leaving her unique stamp on things." He pulled out the little electronic dog and turned it on, the bark pulling a laugh from the man seated across from him.
"That's our girl," Hotch said, grinning slightly. "What's the picture?" He pointed to the back of the frame that was sitting on Morgan's new desk, facing the temporary unit chief.
"She took a picture of herself and framed it for me. Another 'Penelope Garcia' original for my desk, apparently." Derek looked at the picture and chuckled before turning it around to show Hotch.
Hotch picked it up and studied it quietly for a few seconds. "Hmm..."
"What's up? Something wrong?" Derek asked, his voice a mixture of worry and curiosity.
"No, no. Sorry. Nothing's wrong with it. Just a curious thought. Do you know sign language, Derek?"
Sign language? "No, why?"
Hotch smirked and stood up, handing the picture back to Derek. "Now might be the perfect time to learn. Good night. Go home, Morgan. Everything will be here tomorrow. Get some sleep."
"Thanks, man. See you tomorrow," Derek called as Hotch walked out, closing the door behind him.
Derek sat for a few minutes longer, getting used to the comfortable chair beneath him, before grabbing his things and leaving the building. He headed for home, anxious for a good night's sleep before a new case started the next day.
The minute he got home, Derek kicked his shoes off in the living room. He began making his way back to the bedroom, but curiosity got the better of him. Turning around, he settled down onto the couch and pulled his laptop up onto his knees, turning it on and closing his eyes as he waited for the thing to load.
As soon as it was ready, he opened the browser and went to his favorite search engine. He thought back to Penelope's picture and typed in the search phrase, "sign language pinky thumb pointer finger." After wading through several links that were no help, he found what he assumed Hotch had been talking about.
I love you.
Derek sat quietly, staring at the information on the screen and letting his mind wander. He immediately thought back to nearly two years before, when his Baby Girl had been shot. After she was released from the hospital, he'd sent her off to bed in her apartment. He remembered their conversation like it was yesterday.
"You need some rest," Derek told her, nodding toward her bedroom.
She smiled. "You're right. Go. Be free, my love."
Shaking his head, he told her sternly, "Hey, I'm not going anywhere."
"What? I'm fine," she said, pointing over her shoulder, out the window. "I got my Goon Squad parked out front."
"Goon Squad or no Goon Squad," he interrupted, "that couch right there is gonna be my best friend until we find this guy. Now leave it alone." Derek gave her a smirk to let her know he was teasing, yet completely serious.
Grinning, she nodded. "Okay." Garcia walked to her bedroom, pausing in the doorway. Turning around, she said teasingly, "But if you're thinking of trying to take advantage of me, let me call my doctor so he can revive me afterwards."
They both chuckled, even as she turned around to continue into the bedroom.
With a smile on his face, Derek called out quietly, "Hey, silly girl."
"Hmm?" she asked, turning back with a smile.
His face turned serious as he paused for a moment. "You know I love you, right?"
With very little hesitation and just as much seriousness, she answered, "I love you, too."
They looked at each other for a second until he pointed over her shoulder. "Go to bed."
She smiled softly before turning away from him and walking the few feet to her bed, where she smiled at him once more before crawling into bed to try to sleep.
Derek had known immediately that she hadn't taken his sentiment the way he'd meant it. Of course he loved her like a sister—a friend. But when he'd listened to his messages after walking out of the church and heard first from JJ and then each of the other members of the team that she'd been shot, he'd felt his heart stutter and almost stop in fear. He knew then that the love he felt for her was significantly more than friendship. When the Battle shootout happened in the BAU bullpen, he watched her meet Kevin and saw her face light up, and his confidence dropped. Derek had shoved his feelings deep down inside and hoped that Kevin would make her happy.
Now, almost two years later, Derek was wondering if he'd made the right decision, not clarifying what he'd really meant when he'd said he loved her. He was normally a force to be reckoned with. He could face down an armed suspect without blinking an eye. He could throw himself into the middle of danger and not consider the consequences until after the crisis was over. Leaning his head back, he banged the back of the couch several times to clear his mind. Dammit, he thought. The idea of talking to Garcia about how he felt and his questions about her feelings toward him made him feel crazy...out of control. That was a feeling Derek most definitely did not welcome.
Before he could question himself further, he set the laptop aside, grabbed his keys while shoving his feet back into his shoes, and then headed back to the BAU. Walking into his office, he grabbed the picture off his desk and then nearly jogged back to his truck. As he pulled out of the parking garage, he hit speed dial number one, calling Garcia.
After one ring, her low, sexy voice answered. "Well, if it isn't the hot and sexy profiler with the new office! How's it going, Angelfish?"
Derek smirked. "Hey, uh, I was wondering if I could drop by for a minute." He'd thought about just showing up, but figured this was not a conversation he wanted to have in front of Lynch.
"Ooh, calling to ask if you can stop by? This is interesting..." Her voice trailed off, and he nearly chickened out and told her never mind. "Is everything okay, Derek?"
"Yes, yes, sorry! Everything's fine. I just have something I need to talk to you about and didn't want to interrupt if you had company."
"Nope, all by my lonesome tonight, sweet cheeks. See you in a few?"
He nearly cried with relief, disgust and amusement rolled into one at the feelings churning in his gut.
"Less than five, Baby Girl. See you then," Derek said, hanging up before he told her to forget it.
Four minutes later, he pulled into her parking lot and killed the engine. He grabbed the picture from the seat beside him and tucked it into his jacket. He hustled down the sidewalk and then bounded up the stairs to her door, where it opened before he'd even finished his first knock.
"Have you been home yet?" Garcia stood there in the doorway, looking him up and down carefully.
As she moved out of his way so he could walk into her apartment, he smiled. "Yeah, I talked to Hotch before leaving work and then went home." Suddenly, his nerves attacked again. "Uh, look, can we sit down?"
Penelope looked worriedly at him for a moment and then straightened her backbone, took his hand, and led him to the sofa. "Sure." After they'd settled, he watched her turn toward him, still clutching his hand, before she said, "Now, Hot Stuff, talk."
Derek wasn't sure what to say. A few minutes before, when he'd had the brilliant idea to come over here, he'd known what needed to be said—what needed to be asked. Instead of trying to find the words, he used his other hand to pull her picture out of his jacket. Wordlessly, he handed it to her.
Garcia looked at it carefully, wondering why he was showing this to her. "Okay..." Derek could hear the confusion in her voice.
"So like I said, Hotch stopped by my new office before heading home." When she nodded, he felt a bit of the pressure of the moment ease. "I was showing him my new fun drawer, and then he asked about the picture. When I showed it to him, he asked me an interesting question."
Now Derek could see the nervousness flitting across her sweet, beautiful face. He hated to be the cause of it, but he'd gone too far to stop now.
"O-Okay, and what was that?"
"He asked if I knew sign language."
"Wh-What did you say?"
Derek chuckled, shaking his head. "I said no. I've never had a reason to learn, unfortunately." He could almost see relief, mixed with a bit of sadness, on her face when he said that. "He then told me that maybe it had come time to learn some."
"Oh, that's probably a good idea. After all, if you guys get a case and one of the victims or the UNSUB is deaf, that would be a good thing to know. I think Reid probably knows some, but still, it can't hurt to—"
Derek took his hand from hers, reached over, and put a finger against her lips.
"Penelope. Let me finish, please." At her nod, he removed his finger, reaching down to take her hand in his again. "When he wouldn't tell me more, I went home. I thought about going to bed, but knew that if I did, I wouldn't be able to sleep. So I sat down on the couch and began looking up information about sign language on my laptop. It took me a little bit to figure out that I should search for 'sign language pinky thumb pointer finger,' but once I did, it all kind of clicked into place."
"Derek," Garcia started, closing her mouth when he gave her a piercing stare, ready to move his finger back to her lips.
"I couldn't just sit there after that. I had to know." Garcia started to open her mouth and then looked down at his fingers, shutting her mouth quickly. Derek laughed. "It's okay, Baby Girl. Talk, please."
"Know what?" she asked quietly, suddenly unable to meet his eyes.
Letting go of her hand, he used a couple of fingers to lift her chin, forcing her to look at him. "Did you mean it?" He saw the indecision in her eyes and watched her try a few times to speak. "Tell me the truth, Penelope. Did you mean what you're telling me in that picture?"
Closing her eyes, she nodded. Derek was unable to move, worried that if he said anything, she would take it back, and he knew in his heart that she really meant it. When tears slowly began making their way down her cheeks, he set the picture carefully on the table. Slowly, carefully, he reached up and cupped her face gently in his large palms. Using his thumbs to brush away her tears, he leaned forward and captured her soft, red lips with his.
Derek knew that they had a lot to work out, including Lynch and Strauss, but for now, in that moment, nothing else in the world mattered other than the feel of her lips on his, coaxing him into pleasures that he'd only dreamed of before.