Chapter 1

AN: My story fairy really likes angst.

Penelope was set to fly. She had her laptop under her right arm, a pile of files that needed to be entered under the left. She was going to have a quiet Friday night at home, finishing up this stuff. The week was kind of tough; it was an incredibly gruesome case that they just wrapped up. The hardest thing would be scanning in the pictures before they went into the FBI archives. Reading about it was bad enough, actually seeing the pictures is what caused the nightmares for her.

Thinking about nightmares automatically brought her to thinking about her best friend. Sir Derek, the brave and courageous co-leader of their team, had a long and complicated history with her. She was there when he had to face horrors from his past, he was there when she almost died after being shot. There was a true love there; they even said it to one another.

She smiled a bit more, hiking the files that were slipping closer to her side. God had a funny sense of humor, putting them together. He was a player, gorgeous beyond reason, with a sculpted six pack of muscles. She was not beyond admitting she salivated over him before.

And her? Well, she was a geek, a bit chubby, but awfully cute too- according to her boyfriend Kevin. They were from completely different worlds, but they clicked like nothing ever in her life before. It was magic when they were together, he made her smile, she made him smile. He made her feel beyond special; he made her feel loved.

At one time in her life, she seriously thought about pursuing him. She nixed that thought almost immediately. Dream on, Penelope, she thought, watching him stream by with one leggy supermodel after another. They went out as a group, and throngs of women were there, begging him to dance. She was lucky if one person looked at her twice.

But what she had with him, what she loved, was too special to ruin with all that relationship business, anyway. They would always be together, always be friends, no matter what. She was there through his girlfriends du jour, and he was here the entire two years she dated Kevin.

Funny, though. Derek never seemed to like Kevin. He refused to go out, if "Lynch" was in the group. He never called Kevin by his first name when he did meet with him. Kevin seriously thought that Morgan (He wasn't going to call him "Derek" either!) was about the rudest individual that ever graced this planet.

"I don't know what you see in him, Penelope darling," Kevin said, sighing. "He's a pompous, arrogant piece of –"

Kevin never got to finish a negative about Derek; Penelope wouldn't allow it. He knew better than to insult Morgan in front of Penelope after two years. It was one of the few things they truly argued about. Kevin knew that in her life, Derek would always come first. As a friend, of course.

Derek didn't have as many qualms about ripping on Kevin. He was much more clever about it than Kevin. He didn't come right out and blast Kevin, he did it in subtle ways that Penelope didn't catch until she was about to hang up the phone. "Going out with Lynch tonight? That should be a blast. Good night, baby girl; you'll be home before ten."

It was almost funny. Morgan was one of the most personable men she ever met. But when he didn't like someone, he really didn't like them. She thought that it was because he was being like a big brother, all defensive over her. He was very protective of everyone on the team. He hated to see the crew hurting.

Actually, he hated seeing anyone hurting. It was the cause of the only real argument they had in history. His caring heart reached out to a victim's sister, Tamara Barnes. It was not allowed, it could jeopardize the case if he became involved. Also, she worried about the state of mind of the victim's sister, once Derek disappeared after the case was done. She'd be lost and alone again.

Derek was angry, thought she was out of line for calling him out. He assured her that she was worrying about nothing. That he "wasn't involved." She believed him. Derek never lied to her. Not in five years.

She decided to stop by his office, to say goodbye for the night. She opened the door. Derek was on his phone, smiling, holding a silver cross in his hand. She saw that before, but didn't know what it was or where it came from. One of many "things she didn't know about him", he told her.

She was about to say something when she heard what he said. "Yeah, baby, I'll stop by. Thanks for last night, it was special."

She blushed a little. She didn't want to hear Morgan with a conquest. Then she heard the rest. "Okay, Tamara. Later."

The slipping files hit the floor, along with her stomach. He lied to her!