I still don't own them…

Thanks to everyone for the reviews. Letting Avery escape has received mixed reviews but I promise to make use of him in a future story and he will eventually receive his just rewards just like Foyet has received his! For now I wanted to focus on M/G. Enjoy!

Chapter 9

That night, Hotch ordered everyone except Morgan home for some well deserved rest. While they were all upset that Avery had escaped their grasp, they were thrilled to have Garcia back.

Derek spent the night at Penelope's bedside, refusing to leave her for a second. He slept in a chair next to her bed, never letting go of her hand. He needed the contact just to reassure himself that she was ok.

The next morning, Penelope began to break from her unconsciousness. As her eyes fluttered open, she began to panic, not realizing where she was. Her mind instead took her immediately back to the warehouse and she began to thrash and struggle, trying to get away.

Derek jerked his head up from where it had been across his arm on the bed. Hearing Penelope's frightened cries and seeing her struggle ripped through his heart like a knife. "Shhhhh, Baby Girl, you're ok, I'm here," he tried to soothe her as he stood up and put a hand on each of her shoulders trying to calm her down. Looking straight down into her beautiful eyes, he swore he could see all the way into her terrified soul. "Baby, please", he pleaded, "come back to me. Avery's gone, I won't let him hurt you anymore. Look at me Baby Girl," he gently but sternly ordered. He had to get her attention, to bring her out of the darkness she was living in.

"Derek?" Penelope responded as a glimmer of recognition began show in her face. "Where am I?"

"You're in the hospital, Penelope. It's over, you're going to be ok." Derek assured her again as he sat down next to her on the bed.

It's really over?" she questioned.

"Yes, I promise Beautiful, it's over." Derek reached across and brushed her hair out of her eyes before leaning over to give her a gentle kiss on the forehead. As tears of relief began to spring from Penelope's eyes, Derek leaned in and kissed them away as well. And then, ever so tentatively he brought his lips down and brushed them lightly across her mouth.

Backing away just enough to look into her eyes, Derek decided there was no time to waste, he had things that needed to be said: "I'm in love with you, Baby Girl, and I'm making you this promise, right here and now. I will always be here to keep you safe and to love you with all of my heart. I don't ever want to see you hurt or chance losing you again. Tell me you'll be mine and let me be the one to take care of you, to love you, to comfort you. Let me be the one who makes you laugh, the one who cries with you and the one who is there when you just need someone to listen. Let me be your solace and your hero because you are all of those things and more to me."

Penelope couldn't believe what she was hearing but the words coming from Derek made her heart soar. For years she had sat back and only dreamed of hearing such things from him. She had been in love with him from the moment he had first called her Baby Girl on the first day they met.

As sore and bruised as she was, she wanted nothing more at this moment then to be held in his arms. She needed to know that this moment was real and to feel his heart beating against her chest and his breath against her. Bringing herself up as close to him as she could she put her arms around him, grasping onto him like never before. As she felt his arms gently encircle and support her, she whispered into his ear, "I love you, too my love, I always have and I always will."

It seemed as if they stayed that way forever. Both holding on to the one thing they found most precious in life, each other and the love they had always shared but had just found the strength to admit.

When he finally released his hold, Derek gently laid her back on her pillow, "Woman, you have just made me the happiest man on earth!" He told her with a flash of that devasting Morgan smile.

"Yeah, well I hope you know what you're in for", Penelope came back with a giggle. "Now that I've got you in my web, you're never getting away from me".

"Baby, I wouldn't want it any other way".

"You wouldn't want what any other way?" both Penelope and Derek turned to see an inquisitive Reid standing in the doorway. The rest of the team was behind him.

"Reid, would you get out of the way so the rest of us can come in?" Emily said with mock annoyance as she pushed past him. Carrying flowers and gifts the rest of the team poured into the room behind her.

"Oh, Pen, it's so good to see you awake!" JJ exclaimed as gave her friend a quick hug.

"How are feeling, Garcia?" Hotch asked in his usual matter of fact way.

"Great Bossman! Just jinkies!"

"Well I find that hard to believe understanding the extent of your injuries. According to your chart you're probably experiencing some pain….." Reid began to rattle off as he perused Garcia's chart that had been hanging on the end of her bed.

"Reid, would you shut up?" Rossi snarled. "I'm sure Garcia doesn't need to be told how she feels." Chuckles could be heard around the room as the team watched Reid meekly put the chart down. "Anyways, I don't think Garcia's mood has anything do with her injuries right now," Rossi said as he threw a quick wink towards Penelope and Derek.

And Rossi was right but not just about Derek. As Penelope looked around the room she realized that with the events of the last days her 'family' had become even closer and she loved them all even more than before, something she would have said wasn't possible a few short days ago. While there would be difficult days ahead as she learned about Avery's escape and dealt with the horrible things he had done to her, Penelope would come to learn that love was the best revenge of all!

The End!

Well that's it! I sooo hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Please review and let me know what you thought of my story. Hopefully my muse will lead me to another story soon…any ideas for a sequel to this one would be gratefully accepted.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!