Derek stood in the rain, his life in shambles around him. He was parked at the curb, soaking wet since he'd driven his motorcycle over instead of the big SUV. He'd needed to feel the rush of the power from the bike. He'd hoped it would give him courage. Instead, it simply got him wet when it started raining just after he'd left the house. Now? Now he was getting even wetter as he tried to work up the courage to walk up to the door.

It had been nearly four months since the confrontation with Penelope outside the bullpen at work. Four months since he'd quite possibly ruined the best thing in his life. Four months since he'd not only lied to his Baby Girl, but also to himself.

Four months was an eternity without his personal sunshine and salvation in his life.

The kicker of it all, he knew, was that she'd been right. She'd told him that Tamara was simply leaning on him because he'd been so kind to her when her brother had been killed. He hadn't listened. Not only had he not listened, he'd basically told her to mind her own business.

God, the moment he said the things he'd said, he'd known it was wrong. When the light died in those big, expressive brown eyes, it had nearly killed him. He'd done what he did best and shoved all his emotions but anger deep down inside.

Tamara had called it quits over a month before. She was sorry, she'd insisted. It just wasn't right. He reminded her too much of that awful time when her brother was killed. So she'd left. Moved on.

Leaving him completely alone.

It was only after he'd spent a few weeks tearing out walls at his latest purchase that he'd realized it was completely his fault, the position he was in. It was also then he'd realized that only he could fix it.

He'd tried to talk to her at work. She'd been polite. Cool. When he'd tried to speak to her privately, she'd blown him off, citing work that needed her attention. He'd been able to see the hurt and anger in her eyes, and even now, it was what gave him hope.

Hurt and anger meant she still cared.

Taking one last deep breath, he swiped a hand across his face, pushing the droplets of rain from his eyes. It was time Derek Morgan actually grew the fuck up and quit feeling so damn sorry for himself. It was time to figure out what he needed to do to get them back to being "them."


Penelope sat on the couch, glass of wine in hand, and watched the rain coming down outside her window. Another Saturday night, alone. Just like it had been every Saturday for the last three months.

A few weeks after Haley Hotchner's funeral, Kevin had given her an ultimatum. Switch departments, or they were over. He didn't like that she sometimes had to go out on cases with the team. That she was associated with the BAU at all. After all, he'd said, Mrs. Hotchner was divorced from Hotch, and the psycho still came after her. Why did Penelope think she was any different? She didn't put up with ultimatums, and as uncomfortable as she was sometimes now with certain members of the team, they were her family. So it had been goodbye Kevin.

The thing was, Penelope laughed sarcastically to herself, she didn't think she was any different. The one thing that made the situation different for her was that the other members of the team depended on her. Their lives sometimes depended on the information only she could find for them. The victims and potential victims depended on her. So at the BAU she stayed.

Even as every day seemed to get harder and harder.

No one had ever hurt her like Derek had hurt her that day almost four months ago. When he'd told her she was out of bounds with her concerns, he'd basically brushed her off. His words and attitude had suggested he didn't care at all what she thought. After so many years of being best friends, for that's what they'd been, that knowledge had cut her to the quick.

Penelope swiped a lone tear from her face angrily. She'd cried over Derek Morgan so many times the last few months that she was honestly surprised she had any tears left. Unfortunately, anytime she had a quiet moment alone, Derek's incredulous look and harsh words echoed through her memory. Every memory seemed to bring out the tears again.

Even with all of that, Penelope missed him. She missed the smiles, the laughter, the flirting. Most of all, oh God, how she missed the friendship.

Penelope set the now-empty glass of wine on the table, buried her face in her hands, and sobbed.


Derek finally got up the courage to move and was now standing in front of Penelope's door. He was careful to knock normally; he was afraid she wouldn't open the door if he gave the short series of raps he used to use regularly.

He'd about given up on her answering the door when he heard the locks tumble. He stood there in the doorway, dripping water all over the floor, when Penelope pulled the door open.

"Derek?" she asked quickly. "Is everyone okay?"

Penelope couldn't think of another reason for Derek to show up on her doorstep after nearly four months of little to no contact.

Derek looked down at the woman in front of him, huddled in a pair of ratty flannel pajamas and wrapped in a worn blanket. He thought she'd never looked more beautiful.

He cleared his throat. "Everyone's fine," he said quietly. "Can I come in?" When she hesitated, he begged, "Please."

Shocked, Penelope stood at the door, looking at Derek. Really looking at him for the first time in months. He looked thinner, like he hadn't been taking the time to eat regularly. The normal mischievous sparkle in his eyes was gone; it had been replaced by a much more serious, even somber, darkness. She'd only seen that look on his face once before, right after he'd returned from Chicago and the Carl Buford case.

The last thing Penelope noticed about him was the shivering. It said a lot of her shock that she hadn't noticed how soaking wet and cold he was when she first pulled open the door.

"Oh, God, Derek, come in," she cried, grabbing hold of the collar of his jacket and tugging him into the apartment.

"Pen—" he started, only to be interrupted.

"Not now, Derek. You have to get warm. Follow me." Penelope led him back to the bathroom and shoved him inside. "There are clean towels on the shelf. Take off your wet clothes and get in a hot shower. There'll be clean clothes on the bed for you to wear when you get out."

Penelope closed the bathroom door behind her and then quickly went through the bottom drawer of her dresser. If she was remembering right, she still had a change of his clothes from one of the last times he'd been over. When she found the sweatpants and T-shirt, she set them on the bed and then moved out of the bedroom.

She went straight to the kitchen, poured another glass of wine for herself, and pulled out the bottle of scotch from the cabinet for Derek. He would need something to warm his insides once he was out of the shower. After a minute, she pulled out the leftover spaghetti and meatballs from her dinner earlier in the evening and put it in the microwave, ready to heat up when she heard the shower turn off.

Derek had just about felt like he would never be warm again when Penelope shoved him into the bathroom. With his entire body shaking from the cold, he turned the shower on and stripped out of this wet clothes. He set them in the sink so they wouldn't drip on the floor any more than they already had. Stepping into the shower, he slowly began to feel like his body was thawing.

When he was warm enough, he toweled himself dry and then moved into the bedroom. He could hear Penelope in the kitchen, so he quickly pulled on the sweatpants and T-shirt she'd left on the bed. Once he was dressed, he brushed past the beaded curtain in the doorway of the bedroom and padded barefoot into the kitchen.

Penelope handed him a glass with three fingers of scotch and pushed him down into a chair at the kitchen table. When he looked, he saw a heaping plate of her homemade spaghetti. His stomach growled, and he knew it had been way too long since he'd last had anything substantial to eat.

"Thanks," he mumbled, glancing up at Penelope, who quickly turned away and busied herself by cleaning up the counter. "Penelope—"

"Don't, Derek. Not yet. Eat. Then we'll talk."

Penelope picked up her glass of wine and then moved behind him to go to the living room. Without much of a thought, she paused behind him and placed one hand on his shoulder gently. She saw his breath hitch, and then his hand came up to grasp hers for a moment before she pulled away and continued over to the couch.

Five minutes later, she could hear Derek behind her in the kitchen, rinsing his plate. She waited, and then he finally walked slowly toward her and sat on the couch beside her. They were careful not to touch one another.

Penelope took a sip of wine before setting her glass on the table. He was the one who had come to her, so she knew it was his show. He would have to be the one to break the silence.

Derek cleared his throat. She wasn't going to make it easy for him. Not that he expected that, or even deserved it.

"Baby Girl—" he started.

Penelope interrupted. "Wait. You haven't earned the right to call me that anymore, Derek."

Damn, he'd known it would be hard. He hung his head, nodded, and then started over.

"Penelope, I have a lot to say, and I'm not sure where to start. I guess the first thing should be to say I'm sorry." He held his hand up when she started to interrupt again. "I know. Sorry doesn't even come close to being enough. Trust me, I know that, but it was the place I had to start." She nodded, so he continued. "I can't tell you why I reacted like I did when you came to me with your concerns about Tamara. If I could take it back, I would. Unfortunately, I can't. I can tell you this, though. You were right. Completely."

Derek continued to tell her everything about the days surrounding Tamara's leaving. Penelope sat, hands clenched into fist as she listened. She wanted to hold him, give him comfort, but she knew she wasn't ready for that yet. So instead, she sat and listened.

"I've spent the last month cursing myself and my stupidity. I heard your advice and warnings all those months ago and let my stubbornness overrule everything else. I have no good explanation for why I didn't listen to you. I honestly don't. You were my best friend, and I knew you loved me and had my best interests at heart, yet I completely discarded your words. I'll never be able to tell you how sorry I am for that."

Penelope felt tears gathering and swiped them away before he could notice.

"Derek, you really, really hurt me. We'd always been able to give each other advice without fear or hesitation. We knew we may not always follow it, but we always respected each other enough to at least listen to it. When Battle shot me"—she saw him wince at the reminder and nearly caved in the desire to reach over and take his hand—"I hadn't taken your advice about not contacting him. When you said then what you said, I took it the wrong way and contacted him out of spite. We all know how that turned out."

"Baby—uh, Penelope, Battle was not your fault. I know you know that," Derek said adamantly.

"No, I know. But if I hadn't let my stubbornness overrule everything else, I might've just talked it out with you instead of doing something that ended up with me getting shot." Penelope swallowed and finally looked directly into his eyes. "That's why when I came to you with the advice about Tamara, I expected a better reaction from you. I thought, if nothing else, our friendship and the history with that type of thing would make you think twice. I was devastated when you not only did what I'd asked you not to do, what I'd warned you about, but that you then let it change us. You chose her over our friendship. That's what I can't get past."

"Tell me what I have to do tonight, Penelope. 'Cause I'd do anything to make it right. I miss 'us,' our friendship. I'm sorry for the way I lost my head. I don't know why I said the things I said. There's really no good explanation. Baby, please, I'm reaching out for you. Open up your heart and let me come back in."

Derek moved from the couch to the floor in front of Penelope and kneeled down, hands on his thighs as he continued.

"Look at me, I'm way past pride. I'll stay here on my knees as long as it takes. Isn't there some way that we can try to be us again? Even if it takes a while, I'll wait right here until I see that smile that says we're us again. I can't imagine life without you. The last few months have literally been hell without you in my life, Penelope Garcia. I've said before that you're my God-given solace, and baby, I'm sorry I forgot that. I'll never make that mistake again." His voice broke as he looked up into her eyes. "I love you, Penelope. You are, and always will be, my best girl. I can't promise I won't do stupid sh—stuff in the future, but I do give you permission to call me on it each and every time."

Penelope looked down into his beseeching eyes, so dark and full of emotion, and felt the fissures in her broken heart beginning to mend. She leaned forward and took his face into her hands.

"I love you, too, Derek Morgan. You're the only man in the world who has the power to hurt me like you did. If you break my heart again, there will be no repair big enough to mend it. Do you understand that?"

Derek nodded. "I do, Pen—"

Penelope held a finger up to his lips and whispered, "Call me Baby Girl."

His hand shot up and moved her finger, and then he moved to close the small distance between them and covered her lips with his. He kissed her softly, reverently, like she was made of spun glass and one wrong move would shatter her into a million pieces.

When they pulled apart, they were breathing heavily.

"I want to be 'us' again, Derek. I've missed you." Her voice broke, and the carefully constructed wall around her heart crumbled and fell as she broke down into heavy sobs. "I'm so in love with you. I can't lose you again. I just can't. It would kill me."

Derek gathered her into his arms and sat down on the couch, pulling her with him onto his lap.

"Shh, sweetheart. I'm here now, and I'm not going anywhere. I'm never going anywhere again. I love you more than I ever thought possible. You own me now, Penelope Garcia. Do you understand me? You're never getting rid of me. The last month has taught me that; I can't live without my personal sunshine."

As he captured her lips with his again, Penelope felt the last little bit of the wall between them crumble to dust. After nearly four months, she was home again.


A/N: Based on Lonestar's "Let's Be Us Again." Sections of Derek's speech above in italics are directly from the lyrics below.

Tell me what I have to do tonight
'Cause I'd do anything to make it right
Let's be us again

I'm sorry for the way I lost my head
I don't know why I said the things I said
Let's be us again

Here I stand
With everything to lose
And all I know is I don't want to ever see the end
Baby please, I'm reaching out for you
Won't you open up your heart and let me come back in
Let's be us again

Oh us again

Look at me, I'm way past pride
Isn't there some way that we can try
To be us again
Even if it takes a while
I'll wait right here until I see that smile
That says we're us again

Here I stand
With everything to lose
And all I know is I don't want to ever see the end
Baby please, I'm reaching out for you
Won't you open up your heart and let me come back in
Let's be us
Baby baby what would I do
I can't imagine life without you

Here I stand
With everything to lose
And all I know is I don't want to ever see the end
Baby please, I'm reaching out for you
Won't you open up your heart and let me come back in

Oh, here I am
I'm reaching out for you
So won't you open up your heart and let me come back in
Let's be us again

Oh let's be us again