Note: Written for the 2nd FanFiction Challenge (the one for July) created by ilovetvalot and tonnie2001969 on the "Chit Chat on Author's Corner" forum.
Pairing: Garcia/Morgan (relationship pre-established)
Song Title Prompt: When the Lights Go Out (The Libertines)
Summary: A bit of a love fest between Garcia and Morgan. He attempts to comfort her through one of her lifelong fears while masking his own. As easy as it would have been to make this dirty given the prompt I had, I tried to think outside the box.
Author's Note: Thank you to the FanFiction girl who introduced me to The Rocket Summer's song Goodbye Waves and Driveways. This is the result of me putting it on repeat for several hours.
People leave their mark(s) everywhere. The little things that they do or say. Their scent, their voice, their eyes, their smile. It's everywhere.
She makes him think of thunderstorms; of rain clouds and rain slapping on pavement and lightning flashing bright against the starless, black sky. She is afraid of them, terrified even; she looks haunted when she sees them. Once, they were together, and the power went out; the first thing that she said was his name, Derek. That's what she makes him think of. Of his name in the dark; the sound of rain like thousands of pins being dropped onto a tile floor. Wet, and warm, and loud, and beautiful, yet frightening at the same time.
No matter where he is, if it storms, he thinks of her and where she is and whether or not she is curled up to her pillow wishing it was him. He likes thunderstorms, or atleast he used to. Now they just make his arms feel empty when he's not with her.
It's thundering now; the lightning will begin shortly. Heavy rain and high winds are expected all through the night and into the next morning.
Roughly an hour into what she would later dub as the storm of the century, a large branch snapped, crashing into the side of Garcia's house causing her to wake from a blissful slumber and gasp in fear. The howling wind caused the freshly broken branch to clatter menacingly against the aged window. Feeling around the cold mattress, searching frantically for the familiar warm body of her lover, "Oh God Morgan, where are you? I'm going to die and you're not even here."
Then she remembered why he isn't there. He takes her for granted and she wanted a few days to collect herself. Good going, Pen. This is mother nature's way of showing the error in your perception(s) of him. He's a man; they're dense sometimes.
Across town, he's seated outside on his three-season porch watching the rain fall. He's listening to the thunder, wondering if it's making her cower in fear like it has every time in the past. He's viewing the lightning illuminate the sky, imagining her jumping at each bolt.
When he asked her a few days ago why she'd covered for him and finished his documentation for a report that he'd forgotten to complete, she simply replied, "because I care about you. Even if you don't care about me." He asked her why she would think that. She answered, "Derek, you don't often tell me you love me and you don't tend to act like it. What am I supposed to think?"
Penelope patted around the bed toward her night table for her glasses before positioning them properly on her face. She mumbled nearly inaudibly to the vacant room, "Pull yourself together. You can get through this. What would Derek do?"
Garcia grew more fearful as the rain turned heavier once more, sounding like large hail while it mockingly pounded the roof and side of her home, "God damnit, what would Derek do? Maybe, he'd turn some lights on?" Reaching slightly farther, she turned the small rotary switch on her bedside lamp. Nothing. She turned it once more. Again, nothing. She turned it hastily five more times, still nothing.
As the next bolt of lightning filled the sky with white light, he spoke quietly to his dog, Clooney. "I do love her. I do. She is so important to me. More than anything else. I guess I thought she knew because I did. I do. And she's my better half; how could she not know?"
The ringing of his cell phone permeated the sounds of rolling thunder all around him. He glanced at the name and then at the time. 12:29 am.
He shifted his eyes and smiled at Clooney's head resting on his leg. "It's her," he advised before answering the call amorously, "Hey you."
Using a pet name she'd given him the last time he scrunched his nose up at something she'd asked him to do, she responded, "Scrumpy, is the power on at your place?"
Looking around, he hadn't left any lights on when he came outside, so he walked casually back through the front door before taking in his surroundings. Central air conditioning is on and blowing through the vents. The laptop resting on the living room coffee table shows the outlet power indicator light is green.
"Yeah, why?" He turned on the television and tuned to The Weather Channel for a local radar update.
Penelope tried to remain calm while speaking, "It looks like it's been out for awhile here. It came on for a couple of minutes, so I went to make some toast, but it never popped back up because it went right back out again."
"I'm sorry, Baby Girl. No, it never even flickered here."
Derek watched in amazement at the massive conglomeration of deep reds and oranges on his television screen covering all of DC as well as much of Virginia and Southern Maryland. The flashing Tornado Warning notification for Arlington County prompted him to walk back outside. This time, he stood in the still present rain; he felt the winds swirl around him as if they were coming from every direction. The winds were strong but the trees were eerily calm.
Growing up in Chicago, he became familiar with thunderstorms. His undoing is and has always been the prospect of a tornado sweeping through his, or any, neighborhood at night. Unlike a hurricane, there's not a lot of warning with a tornado beyond the typical lack of rain coupled with rotating winds. These conditions aren't enough on their own to wake up unsuspecting residents before causing devastation to anything in their path.
He knew from the map of the radar and their geographic position in relation to the rest of the storm, the southwest portion of a quickly approaching supercell, that both of their homes were in direct path of a possible tornado.
While Derek tried to wrap his mind around the weather, Penelope spoke fearfully, "Derek, I'm scared. Can I come over?"
Knowing she lived a few minutes west of him and thus closer to the oncoming storm, he searched quickly for his wallet and keys. Derek commanded, "Baby, listen to me. Go look out your window, tell me what you see. What you hear."
Agitated, Garcia countered, "Damnit Derek. Answer my question."
Defensively, he responded, "Christ Woman, I'm trying to answer your question. I want you to find a flashlight, the one in the drawer to the left of the sink in the kitchen. Look outside, what's happening?"
"It's raining. A lot. Derek, it's raining a lot."
"Good. That's really good. Now go get yourself a blanket and then I want you to go into the bathroom on the ground floor, sit in your bathtub and just wait for me. Okay? I'm leaving right now, I'll be maybe five minutes. It's raining really hard here too and I'm going to need both of my hands to drive. Just assure me you'll do what I said."
Unsure that he'd still have power in thirty minutes, or that he'd even be able to get there and get back home before the storm swallowed him and his truck whole, he made an executive decision to not come back home tonight. Instead, he'd just wait out the night time storm with her at her house even though she doesn't have a basement with a storm shelter.
"I will. I am. I'm walking to the bathroom now." A short time later, she continued, "I'm in the bathroom, but don't you dare let me go though, Derek. If you hang up this phone I'm going to be so mad at you."
Derek locked up his home and ran with Clooney to his truck. "Okay. Now stay put. I know you're scared honey; I'm going to put the phone down for just a second to back out of the driveway." He shifted his truck into reverse and pulled out. He realized how foolish and downright stupid he'd probably appear if anyone were to see him attempting to drive right now. He didn't care. He had to do something, anything to keep her safe and keep her protected. That's what you do when you love someone.
After a few turns, already halfway to Penelope's home, the streetlights and stoplights abruptly disappeared from his vision; their power source disrupted.
He arrived a few minutes after that and let himself and Clooney inside with the key she'd given him previously. He felt his way along the walls, calling out for her as he approached. She all but threw herself in his arms as he opened the bathroom door.
He took the flashlight from her possession and guided her shaking frame out of the room and toward the basement stairwell. Once at the bottom, they made their way to the small media room; it was the only room in the house without windows. He shined the flashlight at the sofa, Clooney was already resting in the corner next to it, on a bed that Garcia had bought him previously. Satisfied that the three of them were safe, he sat down with his back at the crook of the couch and pulled her to sit between his legs, leaning her back into him. His strong arms wrapped protectively around her, and she melted into him.
Her voice echoed in the room, "I fucking hate this place."
Derek replied seriously while holding her tighter, "I don't."
"Yeah, well you have power," she complained.
Kissing the side of her face, he whispered into her ear. "Yeah, that might be true, but here I have you. I love you, Penelope."