Penelope had been called away to New York, and had arranged for Derek to look after Amelie in her absence. After three days of intense training and conferences Penelope was more than ready to come home and see her daughter who she missed like crazy in her absence. Though she called throughout the day every day, and Derek turned on Skype so she could see her, it wasn't the same. Thankfully, it was only three days, and she was able to see the New York crew whilst she was there. Penelope let herself into her apartment, uncertain if Derek was there with Amelie, or Amelie was in his apartment. She smiled as her gaze fell to him laying asleep on her couch, with both babies on his chest, an arm secure around each child. Grinning, she quietly grabbed her camera and started snapping away knowing it would be a great present for Fran.
"Oh hey, no fair." He protested.
"But sooo cute," was her only reply as she put down the camera to take Amelie from him.
"Welcome home." He greeted as he sat up carefully.
"It's good to be home," she replied holding Amelie close to her.
"Hi Baby, did you miss Mommy? Because Mommy surely missed you."
"She missed you. We all did." Penelope smiled and dropped a kiss on his cheek.
"Me too. That goes for you too Little Derek." She added dropping a quick kiss on DJ's forehead.
"You eaten?" he asked.
"Not yet, and I'm starving. I was thinking Pizza if you're up for it?"
" Sounds great. I'll order you get comfortable. Give me the munchkin and they can play for a bit."
Penelope couldn't help but watch as he took their daughter in his free arm and set both kids down in the play pen that he had built for them. There was no denying that he was a great father, and that he was devoted to both of his children. She loved watching him in action, it warmed her heart. Admittedly, it stirred emotions within her and pulled successfully at her heart strings. They were taking each day as it came. Being friends came naturally, and it showed. Despite Penelope's initial hesitations, she found herself falling into routine with him as though no time had passed. It was hard not to feel extremely loved by him. It came so naturally to him that there was no doubting it. Penelope was generous with him, and for that he was grateful. Though she was a little guarded, there was no resentment that lingered. She was Penelope through and through.
When Penelope emerged from her quick shower and change into her sweats, she found him in the middle of the play pen with the kids as they used him as a jungle gym. Picking up her camera again she started documenting the moment for all eternity.
"Penelope Elizabeth Garcia, put the camera down and get in here." He demanded. Penelope chuckled and joined them in the playpen camera still on hand continuing to take photos of both the kids. DJ crawled on her lap and looked up at her with his arms reaching for her. Penelope put the camera down and picked DJ up holding him above her head blowing rasberries on his stomach. DJ giggled happily trying to reach her face with his pudgy little hands. Derek took the opportunity to steal the camera and take photos of her and DJ.
"Your Daddy thinks he's so clever. He doesn't realise he was drooling when I took a photo of him sleeping." DJ giggled as though he understood what it was that she was saying.
"I was not." Derek protested indignantly.
Penelope lowered DJ to her shoulder where he lay his head and snuggled into her neck.
"A snuggler just like your father, the both of you," as the words came out Penelope blushed, earning a smirk from Derek.
"In more ways than one," Derek added as DJ tried to slip his whole hand into Penelope's shirt, only deepening the redness on her face. Before further comments were made a light knock on the door interrupted them. Derek jumped to his feet.
"I got it,"
As Derek released Amelie, she crawled over to her mother and placed her head on her knee contently as Penelope stroked her curls affectionately.
"Come eat P. They can play a bit longer." Penelope nodded in agreement and joined him. He handed her a plate and a bottle of water. Penelope filled her plate and collapsed on the couch,
"Big few days?" he asked as he sat beside her.
"Yeah, too much info not enough time, back to back seminars and meetings in between. It was crazy. I met up with the guys for dinner every night, and I could barely carry a conversation."
"Did you stay at Mac's?"
"I wish, but the Bureau had all of us staying in the one hotel. I may have gotten more sleep if I did."
"Still hate hotel rooms?" he asked with a knowing smile.
"I love hotel rooms, it's my subconscious that seems to have an issue with them."
"All in all, it was a good trip?"
"Yeah, it was. I like the variety of work that I'm doing. I like the theory behind the execution."
"Nerd." He teased as she gave his shoulder a light shove with her own.
"T working?" she asked,
"Yeah, they've sent her to pitch something in California, she's there for a week so I have DJ while she's gone."
"Oh, I'm sorry if I'd known I would have made other arrangements for Amie. You must have had your hands full with them both."
"Don't be silly P. I love it. I'm grateful for the time I get with them. Sometimes it feels like I keep trying to catch up, that I don't make enough time to see them, be with them."
"Derek, you're one of the most devoted father's I have ever met. These two are not at all starved for your love or affection and don't you dare sell yourself short thinking that you are."
"Then why do I feel like I've failed them both, like I've failed all of you."
"Derek, the blame isn't yours alone to carry. You, Me, Tamara, the three of us, we've all had a hand in this little predicament, but we're making the most of it. We've all lay aside our issues and put them first, as it should be. You're not solely to blame for how it all fell apart. For the record, I've never felt like you failed me."
"How could you not?" he asked bewildered.
"Because, it takes two to tango. Don't get me wrong, I was angry, but mostly I was hurt. To me it seemed as though I wasn't enough. That she could offer you more, you know?" she answered honestly resting her head on the back of her couch.
"My issue was never about you Derek, it was about me, and how I saw myself."
"P, it was never about you falling short of what you thought I deserved, truth was I never thought I deserved you. After the way I reacted, even more so. You have always been so gracious with me, my mistakes, and my stupidity, you deserved better than that."
"Don't we make a pair?" Derek chuckled.
"P, I want to make my intentions clear. If I hadn't before, let me do it now. I want you. I want us. For the rest of our lives. I don't care how long it takes, I'd wait forever if I have to. I would rather live the rest of my life waiting for you, at the possibility of us, than be with anyone else."
"Derek, I love you. You have to know that, and I want what you're proposing more than words can possibly express, but it scares me to want it. You scare me." She said looking right into his eyes, for the first time in almost two years, he saw right through her. She had lowered the walls that she hid behind when he was around and allowed him to see right into her soul. Taking a chance he slid his hands to cup her face,
"I love you. I have always loved you and only you. I am in this, forever. I am all in. I promise you that. I'm scared too P. I'm scared that I'm going to do something that will screw us up and I lose you, and I lose Amie forever. Nothing scares me more than that, but I love you. I want you. That love and that want is bigger than the fear I have. I'm willing to jump off that cliff, with blindfolds even, as long as I am holding your hand when I do." Penelope brought her forehead against his,
"A tad dramatic, but I get it. If you want to give this a go, I'm in." Derek broke into a grin and drew her into his arms into a tight embrace.
"You've just made me the happiest man alive." He whispered softly in her ear, before burying his face on her shoulder.